Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Season of Promises Fulfilled

I love all the different ways that God can speak. I love the adventure of hearing His voice and the absolute exhilaration that comes when I sense I have heard from Him. I love the mystery that surrounds hearing Him, and the joy of discovery that awaits us each time He leaves a message in hope that we will find and understand it.

Recently I have observed something unusual that has me taking notice and asking Father, 'What are you saying?' About 3 months ago on a Monday night I drove to our church to help with the Healing Rooms. As I walked up on the front porch of the church, I noticed a beautiful rainbow in the northern sky, and then gasped as I saw that it was actually a double rainbow! I had never seen a double rainbow before or talked with anyone who had. I took a picture with my cell phone and after that, I really didn't think much about it again.

A few weeks passed and then the unusual began to happen. Over and over again, I began to see or hear of other double rainbow sightings. One with some friends on a trip in the UK, another with a friend in New Braunfels, another was spotted in the Leander sky the night that the 90 days of continual worship ended at the HOTHOP, another friend who recently moved to Austin from California saw 6 double rainbows on her trip here. Then, just this evening at a party, a friend casually showed me a picture on her cell phone. You guessed it....a double rainbow! Scrolling through Facebook after I got home from the party, I see another friend has just posted an entirely different photo of yet another double rainbow. I've learned that when I began to hear or see the same message repeatedly, God is usually up to something and I should lean in an listen.

The obvious message is that rainbows speak of promise and covenant. It stands to reason then that double rainbows speak of double promise and double covenant. In a season when all around us is shaking and uncertainty shouts at us from every front, I believe God is heralding to us the message that He has not forgotten His people and He has not forgotten His promises. But more than that, what I'm hearing is that the double rainbow speaks of an Ephesians 3:20 kind of promise, where Paul says, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.....".

For our region here in Central Texas, we have had many promises and prophetic words given in the last few years of revival and an unprecedented outpouring of His Spirit. I believe we are already in the early stages of the fulfillment of those promises. So many that I know or meet are like myself, pregnant with promise, and it is as if we are all waiting for the birthing of this thing that God is about to do.

I'm smiling as I write this because I know that God has really good things ahead for us. Powerful things. Amazing things. We're entering a season of double blessing and double promise, a season where God honors the covenant He has made with His beloved, a season of promises fulfilled.

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Upward Call

These days it seems that all of time and life is in an accelerated mode.  Media, technology, jobs, and relationships all assail us for our time and attention, making living life well and anchored especially challenging.  But, if you are like me, I have also sensed an increased urgency in the voice of my Beloved.  This upward call is relentless and compelling.  This call is not about duty or performance, but it is about a heart to heart connection.

I feel this upward call has been turned up a notch because the stakes are high.  Many are saying that we are standing on the precipice of the great end time harvest.  Heavenly plans and strategies are no doubt underway and we, the Bride, must have ears to hear.  Yet, we are living in days where the level of information and stimulus is overwhelming.  In the Christian arena alone the amount of books, CDs, DVDs, music, etc. causes us to feel we're probably missing something really important all the time.  News and media shout at us from every possible angle and our spirits can whither under the assault. 

In all of the hubbub, there is really just one voice that is vital to our well being.  His voice.    Reading a book about Him won't suffice.  Listening to your favorite preacher on TV is also a poor substitute.  These things, though good in themselves, were never meant to replace an intimate relationship with our Creator.  Our world today wants to make it seem so complex, but it is actually blissfully simple.  He is calling.   We must answer.  The quiet alone can be amazingly refreshing, but it is His presence and His voice that sustains us.  He's been sustaining things with His word for a long time, and I need sustaining and so do you.  

Below is recorded some words I heard Him say to me recently in one of those "sustaining" sessions.  Listen for His heart:

Daughter, you say you are hungry for me and I am happy to hear these words.  How I long to be with you as well.  Blessed is the one who will make time to seek my face.  There are many things vying for your time and attention, but only one thing will satisfy....that is my life connection with you.  You must set aside the notion that everything must be done before you can indulge in your time with me.  I give you permission to indulge!

Focus your affection on me and search for me as you would for hidden treasure.  I long to be found by you and there are so many secrets that you have yet to hear.  I want to be the one to whisper them to you.  Come and know me.  Know and be known. 

I have a hunger and thirst for His voice.  Just a few words from Him can change everything.  A prayer I pray almost more than any other is, "I want to know and hear You more".  I long for a greater level of hearing Him that I know will only come as I continue to answer the upward call. 

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Phil. 3:14

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Living Intentionally

Over the last year or so, the Lord has been speaking a phrase to me over and over... live intentionally.  The whispered phrase has been like a gentle nudge on some days and a swift kick in the pants on others.  

Checking my trusty Webster's dictionary, I found that intention is defined as a determination to act in a certain way or doing something on purpose.   We often hear the phrase 'having good intentions' used in a context where the person doesn't actually follow through on their intention.  This understanding is unfortunate and so contrary to the definition.  A person with intention is determined and purposeful.

There are lots of areas of our lives where intention needs to be applied, but in this blog I want to talk about being intentional in your dreams. When it came to my own dreams or desires, I tended to procrastinate and put them on the shelf called 'Some Day'. On other occasions, I let the overwhelming nature of the dream or desire keep me from starting at all.

So, I've been opening the package of this phrase live intentionally for about a year and have learned some valuable lessons in the process.   I've learned that many have dreams, but few are living on purpose enough to actually see their dreams come to life.  I've also learned that dreams and desires may seem to float around somewhere in the creative realm, but the accomplishing of dreams is very practical.  Below are some of the practical things I've learned on this journey so far:

First, spending time in honest prayer and reflection is an essential first step in the process of realizing dreams. Sometimes our dreams are brewing beneath the surface, and He can help you define them in contemplative times.   Many of our dreams have a season and a time of release.  Only God can open the doors and release us into our giftings and dreams, but there is a preparation and cooperation part that we must play as well.  I don't want to go the route of self-promotion or presumption, but I also don't want to wake up one day to realize that I missed the opportunities and doors that He was opening for me.  Following your dreams requires relationship with the Giver of Dreams.  Follow the favor that He gives to you.

Second,  are there difficult areas of your life that need some purposeful action applied to them?   Make a list of those areas.   Realize that not taking care of unpleasant things only makes the 'unpleasantness' increase. These things tend to loom over us creating a sense of dread that impedes creativity and joy.  Many times I found that tackling the difficult thing was my chief obstacle, and once this giant was slain, other things began to easily fall into place. Get honest about how and why you are avoiding taking care of things.  For me, there was usually a lie that I was believing.  

Third, facing your dream head on,  make a list (I love lists!) of steps you feel it will take to accomplish your dream.   Then take one area and break that down into further steps if necessary.  Pray again, asking what things you should focus on right now.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Do what is in front of you and do it well, remembering that stewarding well what you have been given is a kingdom principle that leads to increase. If possible, develop some type of goal setting and accountability for your process.  I spent some time with a personal coach this year and it was great for helping me become more focused on what was really important.  Set dates that you want to have certain things finished.  Hopefully your accountability person will hold your feet to the fire and ask if you followed through on what you intended.

And last, but not least, HAVE FUN!   Accomplishing your dreams may be hard work sometimes, but a good portion of the time it should be fun.  If it is not fun, then maybe you should find another dream.  When we spend time doing what we've been created to do, it should be fulfilling, energizing and even exhilarating. Sure, there are some difficulties to overcome, but the overarching feeling generated from your dream should be one of deep satisfaction and fulfillment.

Living intentionally towards your dreams is taking personal responsibility to do everything you can to steward the gifts and potential He has placed within you.  It is a delightful cooperative process with the Holy Spirit and a journey of unfolding greatness.   Yes, He has placed greatness within you, and it's time to be intentional and live out your dreams on purpose.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cry Out!

I've always loved Psalm 107. You know the one with scenario after scenario of people who either found themselves in terrible situations, or in a mess that they helped create. In the midst of their mess, usually as a last resort it seems, they cried out to the Lord. It's His response that I like so much. Instead of ignoring them, punishing them, or condemning them for their foolishness, it says every time after they did the crying out part, then He delivered them from their distress. 

So, I've been taking some time to ponder this Psalm and reflect on my own history with God. What I began to see was that I have always prayed about difficult times and situations, but I didn't always cry out right away. Many times as we pray we think we have other options. We are giving Him a chance to work in case He wants to, but sometimes we have plan B waiting in the aisle, just in case He doesn't come through like we hope. I think the crying out that causes God to move on our behalf comes from a place deep inside. It's a place of utter humility and abandonment and yet a place of faith. It is a place of dependence and admittance that we have no other option but Him.

God has a way of reducing our options and hemming us in, even from well meaning people who might interfere with His process in our lives, and it is completely a loving act on His part. Remember, Job and his three friends? They all came with their version of what God was doing and their advice for how Job could get himself out of the place he found himself. None of their counsel revealed the heart of God for Job and prompted God to say, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." (Job 42:7) It was not until Job encountered God Himself that peace came to his heart and situation and in Job 42:5 he humbly says, My ears had heard of you but NOW my eyes have seen you.

Some of the most difficult seasons of my life have been enhanced by the fact that there was not an earthly soul who knew, or that I could run to during that time. In no way would I say that God was the author of these things, but He does promise to work ALL THINGS together for MY GOOD. So, these most difficult seasons became the meeting place for me and God, and it was my pain that pushed me into deeper places with Him. I came to know Him as Comforter, Advocate, Defender, and Deliverer during those times.

So, for those who are walking through days and situations where you find yourself hemmed in, and your options reduced, CRY OUT! If you have rebelled against Him and wonder if you will find acceptance in His eyes, CRY OUT! If you have wandered in the desert for many years and feel you have lost your way, CRY OUT! Cry out with everything within, turning your face and focus on Him. Know that He is a wonderful compassionate Father with a great big tenacious love intent on seeing the best for you His child. He can turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs. (Ps. 107:35) He longs to gather you in His arms to comfort you and share with you the secrets of His heart.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men, for He breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. - Ps. 107:13-16

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hold On!

At home this morning, I heard in my heart the Lord speak the phrase Hold On!  Immediately I saw a scene of days gone by when we would go to the ocean with our kids.  The four of us holding hands, would walk into the ocean gradually going deeper and deeper.  As the waves increased in size and strength, Richard would call out,  "Hold on! " just before the waves would hit us.  With peals of laughter in the air, our toes dug into the sand and our grips tightened. With each wave that came, holding on with all their might, our kids were able to withstand the powerful force of the waves and continue to walk with us into the sea.

The obvious message in this picture is that there IS a wave coming of His glory and power and it is about to hit.  But, the thing that I felt He was wanting to emphasize again through this urgent  Hold on! was that the arriving move is to be multi-generational. It is imperative that those who are younger in the Lord hold on to the hands of those who are older in Him.  The degree that we are linked together in strength may determine the degree that we can go deeper into the waves. 

It is a time for fathers and mothers to rise up and realize what they carry and take their place to raise up and mentor the younger generation.  They desperately need the foundation and stability that moms and dads bring as they learn to navigate through uncharted waters. The untapped well of wisdom of the older generation is crying out to be utilized and heard.   Honor for the fathers and mothers will cause the wisdom to flow freely to the sons and daughters and release life in the process.

It is just as true that the fathers and mothers need what the younger generation is carrying.  Their insistence on authenticity and what is real will pull spiritual parents into new places and deeper relationships.  Their thirst for the new and larger perspectives that have been shaped by the arts, media and technology will strengthen the older who will allow their views to be challenged.  Their distaste for anything religious will help keep us open to the new wineskins that can contain the new wine.

Revival is going on in many places around the world and is in varying stages.  We have heard many words in the last few years prophesying revival to our region (Austin area).  It seems that we are in the early stages of this move and people and ministries are being positioned for the arriving wave.

Moms and dads, grab the hand of someone younger around you.  Sons and daughters,  reach out and grab the hand of a mother or father and....

Hold on!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stay Hungry, Stay Humble

Sunday night we graduated 39 students from the Austin School of Supernatural Ministry. What a year of discovery, growth and adventure we have had together!

 In thinking of some final words to share with the students, the Lord led me to the story of Zacchaeus, the "wee little man" found in the 19th chapter of Luke. Zacchaeus is familiar to us because of the nursery school song that made him famous, but there is more that we can learn from Zacchaeus if we take a closer look.

Zacchaeus had undoubtedly heard of Jesus, but had not personally seen or encountered Him. When he heard that Jesus was passing through Jericho he made an important decision. He let his hunger take him where he needed to go.

Luke tells us that Zacchaeus was a short man and because of the crowd, he could not see. Not to be outdone and in a burst of ingenuity, Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree....for the Lord he wanted to see. We often pass over this part of the story quickly, but it is really pretty amazing that an affluent man, the Chief Tax Collector, would humble himself to climb a tree just to get a view of Jesus.   
Tree climbing is for children, or the foolish it would seem, but this did not deter him. To his credit, Zacchaeus' hunger led him into a life-changing encounter with this man called Jesus. We probably won't be given the same opportunity as Zacchaeus, but in each of our lives we are given opportunities, or 'Divine setups' where we might encounter Him in surprising ways. The choice is ours as to how we will respond to His invitations. I want to be like Zacchaeus, and let my hunger take me where I need to go to encounter Him.

When Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was perched in his tree, He called out to him to come down immediately. Jesus threw out an invitation that required obedience. Had Zacchaeus chosen to remain safely hidden in the branches of the tree, he would have never stepped into this relationship that would change the very course of his life. Obedience always leads us into greater intimacy. Zacchaeus' choice to come down from his tree preceded Jesus coming into his house.

When Jesus comes into the house, everything changes! You know something dramatic has taken place when a tax collector decides to give half of his possessions to the poor. Deliverance came to the house of Zacchaeus because he chose to lay aside his prominence and position and humbly follow his hunger into undignified places.

I pray that we would remember that we don't usually get to choose our place of encounter, but we can choose the heart position that will cause us to stand out as an easy target like the wee little man in the sycamore tree.

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 18:3-4

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rebuilding the Walls of the Church

 My husband and I just attended some meetings where pastors and leaders from all over the Austin area had come together to seek God, be refreshed, and take the first steps in developing some strategies for reaching our city as a unified force.  It is so evident that the Holy Spirit is moving and orchestrating something so much grander than anything we might have tried to dream or imagine. 

In January as I was reading in the book of Nehemiah, I was impressed that the Lord wanted to speak to me about the Body of Christ through this story.   Nehemiah carried the burden to help rebuild the wall that surrounded Jerusalem, and Neh. 1:3 describes the wall as broken down and its gates burned with fire.  I saw that this was a picture of the church not just in our city, but in many places throughout our nation.

Nehemiah must have recognized that the task was far too large for any one man and so the work was shared by officials, leaders, priests, and men from many different areas.  The work was systematically divided up so that each did their share, but it was a cooperative effort.

What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ coming together to build up the walls of the church. In the book of Nehemiah, the wall that surrounded Jerusalem was built for protection.  In the same way, the Body of Christ is to be a spiritual wall around this city.  Those who live within the walls will experience a sense of peace, prosperity and protection as the Body of Christ links arms.   The task of rebuilding the spiritual walls around our city is far too big for any one church to fulfill, and it will only be through linking arms together that we see the 'heaps of rubble' become life-giving stones chosen and selected by Him to fit perfectly into the corporate wall that surrounds our beautiful city.

 Nehemiah's work of rebuilding the wall did not happen without opposition.  In fact, as soon as Sanballat and his buddies heard about what Nehemiah intended to do, the mocking and ridiculing began.  Nehemiah's response reveals a type of resolve and confidence that we must have in order to withstand the opposition that will surely come.

Nehemiah answered his taunters by simply saying, "The God of Heaven will give us success.  We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it."

This is to be our answer to our enemy as he seeks to discourage or dissuade us from the task ahead;    "Satan, we His servants WILL start rebuilding, but as for you, YOU HAVE NO SHARE IN AUSTIN, or ANY CLAIM OR HISTORIC RIGHT TO IT!"

Jesus,  call your people everywhere to rise up with humble hearts.   Give your leaders strategies and plans that confuse the enemy and exponentially build the church.  Thank you, Jesus, that "no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ".   Let the "amen" of agreement from your people rise up to the glory of God our Father as You fulfill your promise, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it". (Matt. 16:18b) 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bottom Line Faith

Be still, and know that I am God....

Many times our faith flows out of what we know.  The 'what we know' kind of faith is how we learn to obtain our promises through His spoken word and revelation.  We hear a truth and the Holy Spirit quickens it in our spirit, and we attach our faith to claim the promise as our own.   But, the bends and turns on this faith journey will at some point likely find us in a place where the 'what we know' no longer seems to suffice.  We may have declared and claimed a particular promise to no avail.   When our hopes have been dashed and we experience firsthand the brutality of life, it is time then to hold on to the Who of our faith.

This is the bottom line of our faith, and it is the richest of places to visit in our journey with God, though you might not willingly choose this trip.  Abraham, known as the Father of Faith, made this journey, and when it seemed that all hope of seeing his promises become reality had passed, Heb. 11:11 says, "he was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise."

Too often, we only attach our faith to the promise itself, or even worse, we have faith in our faith.  But, like everything else in the kingdom, obtaining our promises should come through relationship.  We hear our promises through relationship, and we come to know the fulfillment of them through relationship as well.

There comes a crisis of our faith when it seems that there is no possibility on earth that we could see the actuality of those things spoken.   But, our faith transactions are not of this earth, in fact, they are very much a heavenly transaction as we put our hope in the God who calls things that are not as though they were.   The bottom line comes as we take our eyes off of the promise and place them fully on the the Faithful One.  This is the transaction that all of heaven must celebrate, when a child of God says, "No matter that I cannot see and no matter if I ever see, I choose to believe in You God, because You are altogether good and altogether faithful.

Consider Job, who in the midst of his suffering chose to say, 'though He slay me, yet will I trust Him' and then was blessed in the latter part of his life more than the first. Or remember, Abraham, who was willing  to lay down his son of promise, Issac,  and just in the nick of time, the angel of the Lord stopped the sacrifice and the ram in the thicket appeared.

Every person has a unique faith walk, a journey carefully mapped out with delights, discoveries, and challenges all along the way.  This walk is an ever deepening journey into our relationship with Him, filled with beauty and joy in the fulfillment of our promises, but better than that, intimate encounters with the Who of the Promise.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."   Heb. 12:2

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Traction Needed

Some time ago I went through a season in my life where I felt stuck.   By stuck, I mean that simultaneously, in several different areas of my life, I was not moving forward.   The areas were partly emotional, partly physical, and partly spiritual.  This went on for quite some time, and I experienced great frustration and periods of unpleasant introspection as I sought solutions to my predicament.

During this time the Lord kept giving me a picture of a car stuck in the mud, it's wheels spinning wildly and mud slinging everywhere as it dug itself deeper and deeper into the mire.  This was exactly how I felt!    He then began to show me that all the car needed to free itself from the muddy prison was a thing called 'traction'.   Traction defined is "the pulling or drawing of an object" or " how well something grips onto something, and moves ahead without slipping".   I was definitely in need of traction.

I can remember as a child getting stuck in the snow in our car and my Dad placing some boards underneath the tires to provide the 'traction' needed to move forward.  As I began to seek the Lord about the traction I needed, He led me into a process that would serve to provide the 'boards' that I would need to get me out of this muddy hole where I had lived. 

The first area that He showed me was that I didn't fully trust Him.  I was able to trust Him fully in some areas, but others I found were difficult for me to relinquish.  I was shocked, humbled, and heartbroken to realize how this one thing had caused so much trouble in my life and emotions.  Basically, I had believed some BIG LIES about His goodness and faithfulness in my life and this produced a fear based mentality.  I gladly repented of my choices not to trust, and then received His love into my life.  This didn't happen overnight, and this journey into His love continues as I write this blog.    I am amazed some days at just how much my thinking has changed in this area, and how much more at peace my heart feels as He continues to change my fear based mentality into a love based mentality. 

The second necessary area of traction He showed me involved my mouth.   Many years ago, He began the process of revealing to me the damaging effect of my negative words and confessions.   Ever so slowly, I began to change the way I spoke, and had prided myself on cleaning up this area of my life.  What the Holy Spirit showed me was that it was not enough just to stop speaking negative words, but I would need to begin to speak positive or 'truth based' words in order to experience the change that I so longed to see.

I would like to tell you that speaking the truth and making these confessions was easy, but for me it was like World War III had broken out in my head.  My spirit so wanted to move forward and vocalize the truth, but my soul (mind, will, and emotions) was screaming "No!" at the top of it's lungs.  For a while, it was two steps forward and one step back, but little by little, I began to notice change.  It was no longer as difficult to speak the truth.  I could say, "By His stripes I am healed" without opposition from my head, though I still had not seen the manifestation of this truth in my body.   I began to use my mouth as the traction needed to get from point A to point B in a number of different areas. 

The last area of traction involved a phrase borrowed from Nike.....Just Do It!   I became aware that the Holy Spirit was showing me the very next step to take in several different areas of my life, but for whatever reason, I had been lulled into a passive state or 'victim' like mentality.  It sort of reminded me of the cows who had been put in a pasture with electric fence.  They soon learned not to venture too close to the fence since they would be unpleasantly shocked.  But, even when the fence was removed, the cows passively remained in their little square of pasture unwilling to venture out again or take a risk.  After this realization, the Holy Spirit showed me the 'fences' were a lie in my life.  Next, He had me write down in each area of my life, the very next step He was showing me to take, and then said, "Just do it." 

I found that as I began to trust Him more fully, using my mouth to confess the truth of who He is, who I am, and where I am headed, then I could find the traction needed to make this next step and 'Just do it'.  'Just doing it' in my life involved lots of things like taking steps to forgive past hurts, restructuring my day for more time with Him, and making diet and health decisions.  I have a feeling that 'Just do it' will remain a part of my personal language with the Holy Spirit.

Even as I write, I am still very aware of other areas of my life where I long to see change and the light of God manifest.  The cool thing about walking with Him, though, is that the further down the road we go, the more we realize just how very good He is, and how faithful He is to bring about the desires of our hearts.  He doesn't leave us where we are, stuck in our places of captivity.    I am oh so grateful that I get to do life with Him.   Thanks, Holy Spirit, for gripping me, and not letting go. 

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phil. 1:6

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Standing in Graceland

One day last summer, I stood in my backyard mindlessly watering my geraniums when I felt something resembling a hot poker touch my foot.  A quick glance revealed the dreaded Texas enemy, fire ants.   After a great deal of screaming, brushing off, and hopping around, I quickly found a new place to stand.

I thought of this incident today as I read Rom. 5:1-2, "Therefore, we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

It's important to know just exactly where we are standing.  If we are born again, we are standing in grace!   Before we met Christ we were standing in the enemy's territory.  It might as well have been a bed of fire ants, because we were vulnerable there to his assault and his plan for us which was, and always has been, to kill, steal, and destroy.  Romans tells us that Jesus provided access for us into a whole new place to stand.

As believers, an unfolding revelation of this 'grace land' in which we now stand, is one of the joys of discovery that Father has set before us.  Imagine receiving a letter from a wealthy king inviting you to come and live with him in his kingdom.  With a welcoming smile and a enveloping hug, he welcomes you in with a beautiful robe, sandals, and a ring.   He tells you that everything he has is yours to enjoy.  You have access to every part of the castle, grounds, and resources.   You enjoy long walks with the king and hearing the plans on his heart.  He asks you about the dreams on your heart and even tells you to "ask, and it shall be given to you".

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it is the reality in which we now stand.    If you're like me, you probably feel as if you don't deserve such favor, and we don't.   We didn't do, and can't do, a single thing to earn our way into this grace land.   It's been paid for, and we've been given an access code.  It's a five letter word called 'faith'.    Our faith is placed solidly in Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for not only our sins, but the sins of all mankind.    We are tempted to believe that it's too good to be true.   But, no!  It is true and it is good news!   Very, very good news!

Sometimes it's so easy to only see through our natural eyes this realm in which we live every day, but we have been given eyes that can see the Kingdom according to John 3:3.   Refuse to settle for the level of revelation that you are walking in today, and press in for greater sight, clarity and understanding. Stir up the expectation within you that there is more.  We access the riches of His kingdom through the revelation given to us.  We will not look for more if we don't believe there is more.

Try asking the King to show you the grace in which you now stand.   Prepare to be amazed.

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."              Eph. 1:17-19

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Choosing Hope

"Why so downcast O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5

As 2012 made her grand entry into all of our lives, you may have heard a theme emerging in many prophetic words and messages. Hope! Funny, but the very word 'hope' conjures up different images for different people. To some, hope may be a scary thing. Those who have hoped, only to have their dreams dashed on the rocks of the very shores from which they had longed to one day set sail, no longer want to risk this elusive thing called hope. Proverbs calls this 'hope deferred' and even goes so far as to say, 'it makes the heart sick'. The word 'deferred' means 'to put off until a later time'. And this is Satan's insidious plot. He inserts himself into our circumstances and his chief goal it seems would be to remove our hope. After all, his hope has been removed and he wants us to take a ride with him on the sinking ship called 'Hopelessness'. This is a miserable place to find ourselves. I know because I have been there before, and know that I never want to go back.

Long before 2012 arrived, I was being prodded by the message of 'hope'. A certain difficult issue had crept into my world and I hate to admit it, but I felt somewhat hopeless. I'm grateful that Holy Spirit wouldn't leave me alone on this one and kept nudging me towards the truth. In a moment of insight one day, I realized that hopelessness is really just unbelief in a little nicer sounding package. In other words, when I was feeling hopeless I was basically saying that it's too late for God to work, or it's too difficult for Him or He doesn't care about this situation.

Remember how it was unbelief that kept the children of Israel from entering into the Promise Land? If we could have interviewed them as they circled the desert over and over, they would have told us that they, too, felt hopeless. Repeatedly, they were given choices throughout their journey. Each time they had to decide whether or not they would trust God (and hope) or would they grumble, complain, and feel sorry for themselves, manifesting their unbelief and hopelessness. We know how the story ends.

It is no wonder that it was Joshua and Caleb who entered the land of promise. They were two men who chose not to look at the circumstances or giants who faced them, but who chose to be men of hope and believed in a God who does what He says He will do.

Though we may not be wandering in a sandy desert, we have our own set of issues to overcome and the choices really boil down to the same choices as those of Joshua and Caleb. Will I trust God in spite of what I can see with my natural eyes? Will I choose to hope in my God and not give way to self-pity, bitterness, and defeat?
I am so aware that there are incredibly difficult circumstances that many face everyday. The temptation to give up, throw in the towel, or even settle for a lesser level of living is something that we all will face just because we live on planet Earth.

But, we as believers are called to a higher level of living. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from Francis Frangipane, " Any area of your life that does not glisten with hope is under the influence of a lie." When I first heard that I almost felt mad! How could every area of my life 'glisten' with hope?  I began to learn that my perception of God was way too small. There is no situation too far gone that He can not still redeem. Anything other than that way of thinking is under the influence of a lie.

We have been in a season of training and things that were acceptable in our thinking 10 years ago are no longer acceptable. God has his finger on hope right now and as He births this new wave of grace to hope, I pray we will become a culture of hope that is attractive like a magnet to this hurting world.

We have a choice, and we can choose hope.

"He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." Heb. 10:37-38

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Best of Times & The Worst of Times

I don't recall ever hearing more people talk about what a difficult year it has been than that of 2011.   Many said  early on that it would be a year of transition and that it was.  Change can be difficult, yet it is so very necessary if we are going to get where we need to go in the Kingdom.

Some may recall that in January of 2011 I wrote a blog where I shared my experience of sensing that God had said for me personally that it would be "the year of the Lion".   And for me it was a year of learning just exactly what that meant.  As His words to me often are, it was multi-faceted in meaning and came right in the middle of a season where I experienced "the thrill of victory" as well as "the agony of defeat".  

Getting to the bottom line, when the Lion of Judah comes into a situation He comes to make things right and set things back in order.  Like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, whose very presence began to thaw the frozen land,  He brings all of who He is which involves His love, peace, joy, and lots of other good things.  But, His nature also includes His holiness, His purifying fire and His uncompromising nature.  He stands as the plumbline by which we are to measure ourselves.  It is an intense and paradoxical mystery and to put it simply, "it hurts so good". 

So, I am thankful for the journey of 2011 and all that He has done because I know it is out of His passionate love for myself and others that He pursues so relentlessly.

I am excited about 2012 and the unfolding of another new year. As I have listened for anything He might say concerning this year, I have sensed that He is wanting to establish us in the ground that has been taken in 2011. It is not enough to be set free; we must learn how to live free. In many ways, the Church(at large), and the believers who make up the Church, have been like a city without walls.

I believe we are in a season like that of Nehemiah, who helped rebuild the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. It is a time of fortifying, building up, and establishing the work that He has done in us. Those who built the wall knew how to build, but they were prepared to do warfare at the same time. Their defeats had caused them to "wise up", yet didn't keep them from building and moving forward.

Another part of the establishing has to do with government. I have heard that the number 12 is a number of "government". We will see even more shifting in the realm of government this year not only in nations but in the church as well. I am thankful for the promise of His word, "....and of the increase of His government, there will be no end."

As we have experienced the transitional birth pains of 2011, we have learned to yield to His process and the purposes in His heart. Now it is time to nurture and steward the growth of what He has done and will continue to do in us.

Below I am including a word that I journaled on New Year's Eve during a time of worship at our church. May the fire of His love and the goodness of His nature pursue you in 2012 as never before!

Word for 2012 - Dec. 31, 2011
As 2011 has been a season of transition it is time for the birthing to be complete. You have fought and you have gained ground. It is time to plant the flag of your victories. The land is yours, but you must go in and claim it. Don't believe the taunts and lies of the enemy as you move forward. I have released to you your identity and given you the riches of your inheritance. It is my delight to watch you step into the fulness of all that I have for you.

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, no mind has conceived what I have prepared for you who love Me”, but I will reveal it to you by my Spirit. My Spirit will lead you into the deep things.(I Cor. 2:9) You can not go it alone, for you will surely fail. You must hold hands with Grace and Truth and the way will open before you.

You must change your mindset to that of an Overcomer. Call yourself by what I have said about you. Don't define yourself by your struggle or the battles that you have fought. I have spoken a new name over you and this is how you are known in heaven. It is how you are to know yourself. Rise up to take hold of your new name. It is a matter of life or death. “Do not be of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved”. (Heb. 10:19)

Rise up, rise up and step joyfully and confidently into your destiny. Trust completely and obey my voice and the zeal of the Father's love will accomplish it.