Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recognize the "God moments" and savor them.

So much of life is filled with the mundane tasks that we must do to be successful, productive and relevant individuals but I think that far too often we are so wrapped up in the "to-do" list that we miss our "God moments" that are sprinkled here and there along the way. This thought comes to me today as I had the amazing opportunity to have breakfast with not, one, or two or even three but FOUR Pastors. I was just sitting at this table listening to them speak, all very different, from different walks of life, different testimonies, different season of life, different personalities, strengths / weaknesses and was just in awe of my God. I kept wanting to pinch myself and was looking at another person at the breakfast table and was wondering to myself if he recognized the feast God had set before us, and I wasn't talking about the bacon & eggs! (Actually it would have been fresh fruit and egg whites as I am truly trying desperately to have some discipline in my eating habits.. but I digress...). This amazing gathering happened after our weekly 6am corporate prayer meeting and I was so grateful for that because perhaps I would have missed the significance of the moment had I not been so plugged into His Spirit. I may have felt inadequate, out of place, like an intruder or have reasoned my way right out of partaking of what God had prepared for me today. I can often talk myself right out of blessing when my eyes are fixed on me (and all my mess) and not Him. I was sharing my joy on Facebook regarding the breakfast and began a short conversation with a friend about it and during that exchange I said "I recognized the God moment and savored it". As soon as I hit "enter" to post it my Spirit leaped within me and began to bring teaching and revelation and I realized that I was prophesying to MYSELF! (More on that later) LOL! As I sat among those mighty men of God the Lord was confirming, teaching, revealing, challenging, exposing, equipping and encouraging me. I am so glad He gave me eyes to SEE the gift, the richness of wisdom that He himself had seated me among. So grateful that He prompted me to linger, to soak in all the wisdom, to witness the mentoring of a Father pouring into his spiritual sons, watching the sons encourage, affirm and receive the gift in/ of one another, to witness a glimpse of His Kingdom at work in the middle of a little country breakfast cafe. The atmosphere was thick with His Spirit and I was just filled with gratefulness to be at the table... like a fly on the wall of Kings... privy to wisdom and experience far beyond my present position or condition.

So I leave you with this thought... pray and watch, and watch and pray.... Keep your eyes open and your spirit connected to His so you don't miss those "God moments" He has prepared for you that will most likely be sprinkled in the middle of the mundane, every day activities like breakfast! Now off I go to search out the scriptures on those who did and didnt recognize the God moments!! I'll share when I can.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Between

Ever feel like you don't fit in the world, and yet don't really fit in the church either??? Well.. I DO! Been wrestling with this for a while... mulling it over... pondering, asking God to help me to understand or to change whatever needed to be changed in me. Then I started thinking about Jesus and his disciples and realized that I was in great company! Not saying that there aren't A TON of things that God is still working on in me... but just that my faults weren't the issue here. I wasn't made to "fit in". He made me for Himself... for His glory and for His delight! Wow. Cool. Then add to that the fact that His own son didn't quite "fit in" the church or the world either... and that all the disciples followed in the same vein. It seems to me that our world today is so very like the world when Jesus walked the earth. Lots of buildings filled with people following their religious rules, arguing about who's right and splitting into factions that support what they believe. Judging who is and who isn't more righteous and holy all the while forgetting to LOVE God and LOVE His people. While the world is broken and searching, seeking to fill the void with whatever their hands find; trying to be a good person or to measure up to what success looks like by the worlds standards. Jesus was peculiar... not seeking for mans approval though with His wisdom and understanding surely he could have easily climbed the religious social ladder and with his ability to communicate and counsel could have easily made many friends and allies and been a success in business. But He chose to live a peculiar life of total surrender to the will of God. Living every moment to glorify and exalt the Father by walking according to the principles of the Kingdom of God which are so opposite of the way we live here on this planet. So I am at peace in my role here in between... Seeking to learn more about His Kingdom and how to really live my life as a citizen of heaven here on earth. Though I realize it will be a bit lonely and will ruffle feathers on both sides as the typical church goers are sure to think I am a heathen and heathens are sure to think I am a hypocrite.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Solid ground in a mudslide.

Sometimes life feels like you're running uphill in a mudslide. The more you try the further you slip, sink, and fall. Here is where I find my faith is tested most. Where my emotions scream for control. Here is where I have a nanosecond to choose to act according to my spirit or my flesh; to choose to see with my natural eyes or my spiritual eyes; where I can submit to, invite and proclaim the Kingdom of God and all that it holds or submit myself to the kingdom of this world and the sin that rules it. I'd like to say that I always succeed in living in the Kingdom of God, but all too often I allow how I feel to dictate what I believe. But even in this... I find Him. I am reminded of David and Noah. I think of David and his heart that was so in sync with the fathers and how God used David to reveal that deep love for us in I Samuel 17. When Saul questioned Davids ability to defend Israel against Goliath the giant Philistine David responded "“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.". When I read this I was immediately reminded that His heart is always towards me. And then I think of Noah and how God revealed again His nature and His heart in the telling of Noah after the flood. When they had again settled and planted vineyards. One night Noah, not realizing how fermented the wine had become, got drunk. When his son saw that his father was passed out naked he went to get his other brothers to show them. The other two brothers walked in backwards and COVERED their fathers nakedness. God's heart is always to rescue and to cover me. Even when I am carried off by (lions and bears) thoughts or circumstances that aren't of Him, He will come after me and destroy that which is trying to carry me off and devour me. Even when I have made bad choices, mistakes or acted foolishly... He doesn't seek to expose my sin or weakness but to cover it all and bring me back to His heart.

So even in the mudslide I still find solid ground in the lovingkindess of my Abba Father and His precious son Jesus that He sent to rescue and cover all my sin. It never ceases to cause me to well up with praise, worship and overwhelming gratefulness to Him for all He is and reminds me of how truly blessed I am despite any earthly challenges or circumstances.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Turtle No More!

Been struggling my whole life with slipping into "turtle" mode when I am hurt, vulnerable or offended. I have known it is not what God wanted for me but never realized the cost; never knew why He called it doing the "Turtle", until recently. Went from a long glorious season of serving, sowing, reaping and glory to glory, to a season of being stripped bare and isolated; knowing all along that it was my fathers hand that was doing it... Something about new wine in old wine skins ;)

Sooo anyway... 9 months later breakthrough comes and revelation begins to flow like sweet wine. He immediately begins speaking to me about His Kingdom, walking me through the armor of God in Eph 6 all over again. Like a brand new baby. It was so rich. Morning after morning hand feeding me scriptures and teaching me where I was in each passage and where He was wanting to take me. One morning I awoke after a dream about searching in a box full of crowns and crowning my husband with different crowns, but none of them were right. They were not the real crown... and I knew it. I couldn't find the real crown to place on his head. With each one he would just look at me and scrunch up his face (Kinda like Paul Rudd) as if to say "Iiiii dont think so". It was kind of funny but also frustrating as I really wanted to give him the most precious and beautiful crown I could. Anyway... (I digress) I woke up to Him speaking "Elijah, Elijah, Elijah". So I ask, as I do every morning, "What are we going to read today Lord?". I ask through the resounding "Elijah" refrain ringing in my ears. Yea.... I never said I was bright. Pretty sure He was thinking of me when He wrote 1 Cor 1:27 - 29 " But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." So when I finally clear the slumber from my head and "aha!" discover that He is saying to read about Elijah I then try to remember where Elijah's story begins. I remember my dream.. crowns.... Kings!! I open my Bible to 1 Kings 18 "Elijah on Mt Carmel". I turn back one page and it is my study BiblesPersonality Profile on Elijah. I read it, I read Elijah's story all the way through noting what God is pointing out and then go back to dig a little deeper. (Stick with me here... I promise I am going somewhere with this! We are about to get back to the turtle!)

Under Elijah's profile two things jumped off the page. One was that his most amazing and miraculous accomplishment wasn't Mt Carmel as some might think, but rather the intimate relationship that he had developed with God; and Secondly that his biggest mistakes were isolating himself from other believers & then running away in fear. I had never realized just how much Elijah and I had in common. Elijah was a turtle too!

The next night I have my dream about caring for a bunch of babies. For the sake of time I'll not go into it here. God continues to build upon yesterdays lesson taking me the next day to Matt Ch 18. Teaching me about being child-like, the responsibility of caring for the children (hello dream), and the power of forgiveness. Here's where it really starts getting good! Matt 18: 15 - 35 is all about the Forgiveness! He shows me to not run away and cut off relationships when I am hurt or offended but to instead seek to restore relationship according to the Spirit of God and so participate in the Kingdom of God. (Again reiterating to me that we are subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven and not subject to the ruler of this world) He reveals that the Spirit of this world would tempt us to walk away from difficult relationships or from confronting offenses and instead nurse our wounds in private, isolating ourselves (separating from the body... division) one relationship at a time, destroying our ability to trust and hardening our hearts.

Or perhaps we choose to lash out in anger and hurt in return for hurt, giving way to our "rights" to stand up for ourselves, feeding our pride and independence - further separating us from our dependence on Him and the humility of His Spirit - resulting in the same isolation (division), bitterness and lack of trust.

Or Maybe we choose the less dramatic but more deceptive and manipulative method of playing the victim, spreading gossip under the guise of seeking prayer and counsel while never really pursuing restoration of relationship but rather seeking justification of our offense and unforgiveness. Which not only causes the aforementioned hardening of heart, lack of trust and isolation but also contributes to feeding a Spirit of Division within the body of Christ.... causing others to participate in your sin. Eeeoouuuch!

As subjects of the Kingdom of God we are to pursue peace and unity, humbling ourselves and seeking restoration and reconciliation no matter what the offense. That we should respond from our Spirit and not react in from our flesh. Or put another way participating in the divine nature as opposed to our human (sin) nature. Respond in the power and love of the Spirit He put within us - tapping into and releasing the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. When we walk in unity, focused on His Kingdom and not ours, we create an atmosphere where He will dwell and walk with us; we invite the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven! We invite his power, healing, love, peace, joy, provision, hope, vision... Here we have unhindered access to the very throne of God to actively participate in changing our world through prayer! Forgiveness is a powerful gate to the Kingdom of God and all that it holds. Jesus knew that... What looks and feels like defeat is many times the ultimate victory!

When we behave as subjects of this world we hinder the Kingdom of God and harm those we love, even can cause some of his other children to stumble.. We create division when we are only focused on self protection. He then showed me how I personally had participated in the spirit of this world creating division and causing pain to people as I withdrew my attentions and affections in my attempts at self preservation. He broke my heart as He revealed the high price of doing the turtle! I immediately asked for forgiveness for all that He showed me and asked that He show me where I needed to seek restoration and reconciliation where I had sinned, hurt or caused broken unity. I asked for forgiveness for participating in and exalting any kingdom other than HIS!

He then showed me a visual of why He called it "Turtle". Like a turtle retreats pulling in his head... we stop interacting... we separate and keep conversations surface in an effort to prevent further injury. Pretty soon we pull in our arms completely shutting down our serving others and reaching out to others. Before you know it... you have your legs pulled in now and you are not walking at all. You are "dead in the water" so to speak. So doing the Turtle kills your walk and hinders others.

So to all my fellow Turtles out there... Let's let the Holy Spirit bring the conviction and revelation necessary to transform us into the eagles God has called us to be! Following the example of our Savior who for the joy set before him bore the sin and shame of the cross, forgiving all of our sins and opening wide that gate to the Kingdom of God that we now walk through. Let us be true to the name Christ - ians. Let us be peacemakers willing to sacrifice all of the flesh for the sake of unity & forgiveness. Peacemakers who will reap a harvest of righteousness! Let's stop being subjects of and to the kingdom of this world and begin participating in thedivine nature of God; walking in and as a blessing as Subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven; manifesting His Kingdom here on earth.

Hope this translates from my heart to yours and brings encouragement and freedom for you as it did for me. Sorry it's so long!! I tried to keep it as short as possible!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Navigation and Destination

It has been a very busy and interesting 3 months since our departure from the Santa Clarita Valley and our wonderful church, friends and community. The retreat was good, the trip to Uganda was amazing and now what... What is next Lord? I have found myself asking this question quite a bit. I am accustomed to being so much busier, so much more productive, needed (or at least the illusion of being needed), involved, connected to His body. Here in Las Vegas it is as expected; very lonely HOT, and uncomfortable. As I said, all is as expected. I have been here before, done this. We have moved and started over before. But never before have I left so much of myself behind. So many of my dreams for the future and all in good things that I was certain were God's will for my life. I am not saying that those dream, homes, plans and desires are not still part of God's plan, but that I have, with good reason, been questioning what is my will versus what is His will. So now that the agenda is clear, there are no meetings, groups to lead, leaders to help equip and encourage, no speaking or singing engagements, no church outreaches to plan or attend, no one meeting with me for counsel and prayer I have been seriously pondering my purpose and His desire for me. Am I moving away from my destiny or towards it? Because honestly Lord, this feels like we are going in the opposite direction.

Needless to say I have been fighting off the feeling of aimlessness having to trust that I am not just out here wandering in the literal and spiritual desert. I will confess, I may have been feeling a bit sorry for myself and even whining to God a little between the "What now?" prayers. Eric and I were out driving around on Sunday exploring Las Vegas to get a better feel for the different communities and to just get out of the house for a while. We decided to check out the "Miracle Mile Mall" on the Vegas Strip and entered it into his GPS Navigation system. The directions pointed us in what appeared to be the opposite direction from where we needed to be. We began questioning the accuracy of the directions and the reliability of the navigation system. Was it out dated information? Did it have all the facts? All the latest information? We zoomed out to get a better view of the road ahead and the options available. Once we did this we saw that it was indeed the best route to our destination. It was taking us in the opposite direction but it was all in all the shortest and best route to where we wanted to go. At that moment God spoke to me and said "Sometimes the best route to your destination may appear to be in the opposite direction". I immediately knew what He meant. I repeated it allowed to Eric and laughed and said "Boy, that'll preach!" So silly but just a simple word from Him can turn my questioning into a peaceful trusting. I know that I had been questioning whether or not God was aware of where I was. Had He forgotten me? Was he finished with me? Is this it? Did you lead me out into the desert to die? LOL! Okay.. maybe not quite that dramatic, but I was questioning Him. Was this really the best move for us? Am I where I am supposed to be? I did all I could to follow and had I missed the mark? Was my location registering on God's GPS? Did he have all of the current information on my situation? It made me laugh a little. How can I question God in such a way? Hasn't He always proven to be faithful even in my moments of unfaithfulness like this one? In the middle of my questioning His omniscience, omnipotence and goodness He encourages and reassures me instead of rebuking and correcting me. I will never cease to be amazed at His unrelenting mercy and grace towards me.

So I share this with you, whomever may read this.. all two of you. :O) If you feel a little lost, aimless, invisible and wondering if you are being led in the opposite direction, just trust in your maker. He has the best view of the situation and maybe a few steps in the opposite direction is the shortest and best route to your destiny.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wake Up, O Sleeper

I Sam 1:8 - And Elkanah, her husband said to "Hannah, why do you weep? and why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?"

I was reading this chapter today and the Lord stopped me cold on this verse. I felt him calling to me as my husband asking me the same questions. I have managed to dip into a bit of a reclusive slump here in Las Vegas. The searching and seeking has seemed to be fruitless so far and I have felt my heart shutting down to anesthetize the ache in my heart for home, friends, church family. I try not to look back but to pres son and look forward. It can be very challenging when there seems little to keep this over active personality busy. Praise God for the Uganda Missions Trip! I miss my daughter and my Divine by Design Diva's. My sister-friends that have been like family. It has left an enormous hole in my heart and life. I have felt the distance growing between me and my Lord and have hit periodic funks of numbness as I retreat further and further into myself. Pulling my famous "Turtle" where I become a recluse until I can find my way back to solid ground, purpose and direction. "Am I not more to you then 10 sons?" This morning this heartfelt plea from my "Husband" were as a splash of cold water to a slumbering soul. Yes Lord, you are more to me than 10 sons or daughters, you are more to me than anything. I will be satisfied in you. Help me to remember that the isolation in the desert is not punishment but discipline that will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace as I press into you and continue to seek after you relentlessly until I find you. If you are silent, if you seem distant, you have not forsaken me but are simply, lovingly, gently guiding and growing me.

Eph 5:13-14 "But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An Oldie but a Newbie...

It was the national day of prayer last week and I was on a mission to find a place to participate in corporate prayer. I searched the net and found a church I had been wanting to try out. It was a pretty big church so I was certain they would be having something or at least be able to refer me to a place to pray. I noticed that the prayer started in the afternoon and that they had a morning Womens Bible Study so I decided to give it a whirl. I arrived and immediately flashed back to my childhood of bouncing from one city to another and one school after another. It was so intimidating.

I was wanting to quietly just feel it out from the back row kind of thing, but when I arrived, they had round tables all set up and each table had someones name on it. So I was a little uncertain of where I should go. I hung out in back for a few minutes and the awkwardness of the situation was now in full bloom. I mentally put on my big girl pants and finally just asserted myself and asked for help from the first person who made eye contact with me. I asked where I could sit and they said anywhere really. The names on each table were just the table captains. She sweetly offered to introduce me to some of the ladies but I declined as I wanted to stick to my original plan of discretely observing. I surveyed the room and sat at an empty table at the very back satisfied that I could do my re-con from there.

It was an interesting twist to be the newbie coming in to an established group and gave me a fresh compassion for others in this situation. Especially those women who are new to church or who are not as bull headed as myself. There was a moment when I considered just walking out as I was feeling very emotionally fragile at this particular point in time. Still very tender due to the abrupt upheaval of the move. My heart has not quite caught up with my Faith. I just asked the Lord to help me remember. Help me remember what it is like right at this very moment, when I am the outsider looking in, so that when that new season comes and I am again planted in a church that I have great compassion and empathy for the newbies.

Moving along... my original "discrete re-con" didn't work out the way I had planned as there was a table of "mature" women to my left and they insisted I join them. Not wanting to be rude I kindly accepted. The ladies were going through a study on the basics of prophesy. This particular session had an activation exercise where we would each listen and write down what the Lord spoke. The teaching was great and reminded me of some things I had taught on and some that Pastor James had also shared. As the teacher began to explain about the activation exercise the ladies at the table began to reassure me that they weren't going to make me do anything strange, and that they were big on keeping order and that it was just listening to the Holy Spirit and that they wouldn't want ot make me do anything uncomfortable or strange... I kept trying to reassure THEM that I was really okay with it all. That I understood it and was very comfortable with it but they didnt seem to hear me. It was really comical in an very awkward kind of way. I finally realized that I just needed to smile and nod. they continued to explain about the different kinds of prophesy and how the Office of a prophet was different, etc..etc... I just continued to smile and nod. I mean, what was I supposed to say?? I wasn't about to come in to a new group of ladies and toot my own horn. No... I just tried to be a gracious student as they were all very sweet and encouraging. But again... I thought to myself... Father.... help me to remember to find out what a person knows before I offer to "teach" them. Let me give them the opportunity to be known first and then share with them.

So the group left me feeling very misunderstood to say the least. I was hoping for some kind of connection but it never manifested. I excused myself and explained that I had originally come to find a place to agree in prayer for the national day of prayer and could they give me directions to where the services were being held. They all referred me to the office. I wandered around the campus and finally found the office. The receptionist gave me the directions and I was on my way. I was so excited about coming together in corporate prayer. I am so used to being in sync with my church leaders and church family that I was longing for that sense of belonging. Ironically the receptionist had given me the wrong information so by the time I actually found the National Day of Prayer Services... they were at the ending benediction!! I just had to laugh!!!

I smiled and said "Okay Lord, You are Sovereign. I am getting the message that You are jealous for me and not ready to share yet so you are closing doors". I got in my car and worshiped and prayed alone. The time with Him was sweet. Nothing like being completely undone. I am just resting and pressing into Him believing that He will build me back up and when He is done... I will look more like His Son.