Monday, September 27, 2010

IHOP-KC Is Turning A Leaf

For those of you who do not know much about the International House of Prayer which is where I am going to be until the end of November, know this. . . It's awesome!
But sadly, one of the things I have been loving about it is about to end.  In  November of 2009 an outpouring of the Holy Spirit began in one of the classes.  It spread like wildfire and they began having Awakening Services shortly thereafter.  God is turning the page and the leadership team believes that it is best to go back to the groundfloor and begin praying and fasting for the next wave, the deeper waters of the river if you will.  So, the last night of Awakening services will be on October 9, 2010.

Why am I sad?  I am sad because the Awakening Services have offered a major freedom for me.  I can dance and sing as loud as I want and no one pays you any mind because they are doing the same thing.  Now it's back to the prayer room and there is not that type of freedom in the prayer room.  I've grown spiritually in those Awakening Services and it's sad for me to see it go when it's meant so much to me.
So, please pray with me if you will.  Pray that the spirit of freedom breaks out into the prayer room!  Pray that the Holy Spirit is not snuffed out because it makes people feel more comfortable.  Quite frankly I'm tired of people worrying about how comfortable they are, the gospel and being a Christian was never about that anyway. Pray that dancing like David is allowed everywhere, not just in one little box in one little section of the prayer room during certain times.  I love you IHOP, but that is booty!

Now please do not misunderstand me, I have nothing against quiet worship.  I like to have quiet worship sometimes.  I just believe there should be room for both.

Please pray that God continues to take us to deeper waters, and higher places in Him.  Please pray that the outpouring pours out everywhere and that people get healed and delivered in the cafe, prayer room, classrooms, library, etc.  Bring it on!  More Lord!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Threshing Floor

Threshing - Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain (or other crop) from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it. It is the step in grain preparation after harvesting and before winnowing, which separates the loosened chaff from the grain. Threshing does not remove the bran from the grain. Threshing may be done by beating the grain using a flail on a threshing floor. Another traditional method of threshing is to make donkeys or oxen walk in circles on the grain on a hard surface. A modern version of this in some areas is to spread the grain on the surface of a country road so the grain may be threshed by the wheels of passing vehicles. (Thank you Wikipedia!)

Threshing Floor - A threshing floor is a specially flattened surface made either of rock or beaten earth where a farmer would thresh the grain harvest.

John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

For the last week and a half we had been studying Ruth in my class.  On one particular day our instructor did a study entitled:  “Redeemer at the threshing floor”.  This was the study of chapter 3 in Ruth where she goes to meet Boaz on the threshing floor and lay at his feet.  Our instructor did another comparison of Ruth and Esther in this situation.  Ruth was told to go to the threshing floor for her husband and Esther was told to go to the palace for her husband.  He surmised that the people who God puts on the threshing floor, look at the people whom God tells to go to the palace and get angry or jealous.  He knows this because he was one of them.  There are questions as to why God blesses the Esther folks with so much, meanwhile the rest of us are being beaten like grain. 

In spirit I am an Esther.  It’s been spoken over me many times and I have been able to embrace that word wholeheartedly as I’ve always loved her story.  She saved her entire race of people even in the face of what seemed like certain death.  I’ve always had trouble with Ruth’s story because I found Esther’s to be so much more heroic.  Can I just tell you that in life I rarely “feel” like Esther.  These days I am identifying with Ruth as we study her story.  This threshing floor of life idea that our instructor presented resonated with me in deep ways.  After he did the study he did a ministry time for those who felt like they had been on the threshing floor of life for quite a while and had a lot of hurt and some offense with God for His allowing it.  So of course, you don’t have to ask me twice and I was up like a dart to the front of the room.  While everyone else is sobbing, I’m standing there solid and with no tears.  The pain had been raw a few months ago, but I had felt like a window had opened when God allowed me to come to IHOP-KC so the pain was not like it was and I was doing a lot better.  I’ve recently realized I am nowhere near done with being threshed.    I’m in pain, I’m hurting and I have no idea what to do with it.  So, I am doing my best to, “give it to God on a plate. . . a plate of heart mush” as one of my good friends called it yesterday.

I keep looking back on the past few years of my life and I am trying to figure out what God was doing.  I feel like I keep loosing things and people that I thought were some of the very reasons God had me where He did for so long.  All I can do is pray that seeds were planted, God has heard all of my cries and prayers and that good will come out of the threshing I have been through. 
Redeem and restore?  I have to pray that in a way that is also about the will of the Lord being done in my life.  That means that the restoring and redeeming may not look the way I expect it to but that things are being restored in a more perfect beautiful way. 
Because the end product is always about the Lord being glorified, so therefore we have to believe that if He wants His glory to shine in these situations that it will always come out for the good of those who love him. – Romans 8:28 We are assured and know that [[j]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
So even though I may not know why I’ve been on the threshing floor and I am sad, in pain and hurting that good will one day come from what seems so broken and unmendable.  Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composureHabbakuk 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.(A)

This harvest season has not looked at all the way I always imagined.  I thought that God would finally say “okay” and I would walk off into the sunset with a huge smile on my face and sunshine pouring out of my heart.  FALSE!! There has been trial, after trial, after trial on this bumpy road to harvest.  If I remembered how hard the labor was when harvest is actually gleaned then I would not have expected it to be so smooth and awesome.  So, instead of looking back, I am going to do my best to walk ahead.  I must keep in mind that as I walk forward into that new season I have prayed and fasted so long for that many more attacks and hurts will come and my spirit must be on guard for those. Proverbs 4:23- Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.
So, do not be discouraged when the harvest comes and things look worse than ever.  First remember that Satan is scared of how much damage you are about to do to his work and so he’s going to try to stop you.  Second, remember that you have the favor of the Lord over your life and joy will absolutely come.  Psalm 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Forget the Former things. . . I am doing a new thing!

A few months ago, I became obsessed with Isaiah 43:18-19 18"Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old." 19"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Once this verse was impressed on my heart, I began to see the Lord do that very thing.  Rivers were springing up everywhere in my very dry desert of a life.  Everything He sent was what I needed so desperately to sustain me.  He always does that for His beloved ones.
When I came to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO for my birthday this past May the last song I heard just before I had to leave to catch my flight was, "My Soul Longs for you Lord in a dry a weary land."  Which is taken from Psalm 63:1 "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water."
For years I have been in the desert waiting for the Lord to rescue me and take me into the promised land.  I'm not in the promised land yet, just on another, much much more enjoyable portion of the desert.  Our instructor made a point that opened my mind so much on Thursday, that I feel it needs to be shared.  He said that if we look at all the really powerful ministers in the Bible, they spent many years being taught by God in the desert and very little in ministry.  He said if you look at Jesus he spent 30 years in the desert of training for three years of ministry and was crucified at the end of his ministry.  John the Baptist spent 30 years in the wilderness eating locusts and honey for 2 1/2 years of ministry to be be-headed at the end of his ministry.  One of the most famous men in the Bible who got the best deal was Moses.  He had eighty years of life training for 40 years of ministry.  That is rare!  But the poor old man still never got to see the promised land.
Now please hear me, I am not saying this to discourage you or depress you.  I am telling you this because it is a hard truth that I am still grappling with at this very moment.  I have spent so much time feeling that my life has been a waste.  Wondering, what in the world the Lord has been doing with me and feeling as though I've not offered much if anything to the world through my current years of existence on the planet.  The epiphany I had on Thursday was that the majority of my life may not be spent in the Promised Land.  The majority of my life will be spent in the desert getting ready to be the most effective minister of the gospel that I can possibly be. 
See, we are all onions with a trillion layers to be pulled back and dealt with.  Years of junk along with our human flesh that must be crucified with Christ.  No, we shall never be perfect.  Even Paul during his ministry said in Romans 7:14-15, "14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.15For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns].
But we all need to get to a place of surrendering to the mercy of God.   Our instructor brought up a beautiful point today in class.  He said that if we would only understand the mercy that we have instead of always striving to repay our debt than we would lead lives without self-pity, pride and condemnation.  If we could just rest in our Heavenly Father's arms and truly understand that we are loved and forgiven and that were have already been pardoned, we would live our lives in a new way. 
We say we are understand it, but I do not think that we really get it in our heart of hearts.  A place of truly understanding God's mercy.  I think that each of us needs to get to that place.  A place of complete surrender in His love for us.  A place where we become passionate for others to know THAT love.  In this place we can be extraordinarily effective in our ministries because we finally understand that this is what it's all about.  It's not about US doing anything.  What it comes down to is what HE did and we are only here to make sure that everyone knows and understand this, so that they may also become powerful ministers.
I am a goal oriented, career desiring woman who has not managed to have a career.  So, I've been sitting in my pool of self-pity believing that until this point, my life has not amounted to what I think it should have.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still struggling with this idea.  I've not fully accepted that I've been absolutely doing what I was called to do for these past few years.  It's hard, I had big dreams.  I shook my fists, cried my eyes out and had all out temper tantrums.  I'm sure that there are still a few in me yet to come. 
My hope in this portion of the desert is that I rid myself of what I thought I should be in this life.  If we all don't understand this we will be miserable in the next season.   I must begin to relinquish these things to God and ask that my heart completely line up with His will 110%.  I desire that all my goals be ones that he has placed in me and that the desire for anything else is taken away. 
These words are hard because there are dreams I've had since I was a small child that have yet to be fulfilled.  What will I do if they never happen?  I have no idea.  I have to believe that God will give me what I need in that time.  I must believe that in my weakness His strength is made perfect.  That's why I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. 
Romans 7: 24-25 24O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death?  25O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Romans 8:1  1THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit.(A)

Friday, September 10, 2010

How He Loves Us!

Yesterday I was sitting with a new friend, and she showed me this AMAZING picture of Jesus!! I often have the burden of intercession and the Lord wakes me up late at night to pray until the burden lifts.  So, when I saw this picture entitled, "Jesus Intercedes for Us" I was blown!  I thought, "Man alive!  As messed up as we are His burden is so much more than anything I could ever imagine!"  And as I thought of this, my heart ached.  It ached for all that we put our beautiful Lord through.  It ached for all the ignoring and disobeying we do.  My heart began to be in physical pain for how much our Lord hurts.  I think that if we really thought about this picture and how much He really does love us, I bet we would act and react in a completely different way.  Jesus!  Thank you for your love, your grace and your mercy!
I liked the New Living Translation of Romans 8:34 because it says that He is "pleading for us".  Whoa, that is just so powerful!  Romans 8:34 (NLT) Who then will condemn us? No one--for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Journey Begins . . .

So, we left for Maryland this morning at 6:30am.  My mother was awesomeness personified and drove the U-haul because I'm a big chicken!  I will not lie and say that every step thus far has been smooth.  On the contrary, it's been bumpy all the way, but everything has worked out.  God has clearly had His hand on this from the very beginning and for that I am grateful.
So, tomorrow morning at 8am I begin the long 17 hour drive to Kansas City, Missouri.  I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am!  I can't wait to hear from God!!  I felt like His voice was so much clearer when I was there the last time, than when I'm caught up in all the noise of regular life.  Everyday life can be so bothersome, but I believe that if we seek Him hard we do not need to go to IHOP-KC just to hear what He has to say to us.  I think the major issue is that I was not sitting and listening as intently as I did in Kansas City when all the noise of my life was taken away and it was just Him and I.  We allow ourselves to miss out.   We spend so much time talking and asking Him to do what we want, that we don't stop and listen to what He wants.  If we did that more often,we very well might get the answers before we've even asked the questions.  Wow!  What a concept!  To start out listening to God first before talking at Him.  I think that if we purposed to do that more, our lives we be a lot different.
My first day back from my birthday trip to Kansas City,  I got up that morning and I said to God. . ."I just want to be with you and spend time with you all day, everyday."  Well, at the time I had a job to do, but He opened a door for some of my friends and I to begin a prayer group at work.  It was such a major stream in the desert for me.  I have loved going everytime we've been able to meet.  It was the best part of my day.  Those people have literally walked me through some difficult times and I am so grateful to God for allowing me to know them.
Who knew that four months later He would say "Yes" to that prayer in a life changing way.  It gives new credence to the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
So, this is what I vow to do, and I challenge you all to do it with me. . .stop and let God speak first.  Then when He speaks listen and be quiet.  Don't speak after and say, "But" or "I just".  Try, "Yes and Amen".  You have no idea where it might take you.  But, I can promise you that it will be a journey that will change you forever.