Monday, September 28, 2015

withering, fading, and remaining.

"all flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."  (Isaiah 40:6-8)

this life that we are called to, Church--
is not about comfort.
it's about
correct perspective.

and i hear the Lord saying strongly,
[be led by the eternal,
not by the temporal].

because oh how fleeting and passing and fragile this life is.
and there's a comfort and a hope that every trial and pain and struggle is momentary,

but there's also a weightiness and cause for repentance behind the reality that every fleshly ambition, accomplishment, pursuit, motive, response, and desire is vain--just as quick to fade and wither,
and even more than that-- if we're led by them, our lives will be in vain as well.

 only that which has Kingdom substance will remain.
whether that's our dreams, desires, pursuits, motives-- and more so, our souls.

and so the questions are there..
what are you going after?
what are you holding onto that He's calling you to let go of?
what is hindering your pursuit of Him?
if our trials are momentary, but our heart condition in the midst of them has eternal implications-- how should we be responding?
if every seemingly mundane task can reap everlasting fruit if done to and through and for Him-- how should we approach even the smallest work? Every late night feeding, nursing mama.. every data entry, young professional.. every handshake.. every smile.. every hug..
if this side of eternity is like a snap of the fingers compared to what is to come--what should we be focused on?
if we could really see every single piece of this life as He sees it-- how would we be living differently? 

because it's not about comfort.
it's about correct perspective.

Father, give us eyes to see.
and the obedience to follow how You lead.
because Your word will stand forever,
and this life certainly will not.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

positioning; lessons of heart soil and humility.

 [It's all about positioning]

the words He deposited into my heart this week.

for now is the time to position yourself to receive, dear one.

a simple and seemingly silly question.. how do you show you're ready to receive something?
the picture He's given me is this,
arms extended,
hands together-- open and empty.

humility and readiness.

because it can rain all day long,
but if we're not humble enough to reach out and receive,
and ready with open and empty hands when it comes--
we won't retain any of it.
the refreshment and sustenance will be only surface-level and short-lived.

and Beloved, He is calling us to more,
and He certainly has more that He desires to pour out.

but it is all about

namely-- the position of our hearts.

what's the condition of our heart soil?
is it not even compatible with growing life--like a path?
rocky and shallow?
full of thorns?
or is it good, fertile soil?

because seeds can be scattered your direction and sown day in and day out,
but if our hearts are not positioned--ready to receive--
those tiny sources full of life and fruit potential
will lay dormant.
if ever springing up and taking root,
only for a short season..
before those roots are choked out and those life-bearing buds scorched by the sun and withered. [Matthew 13:1-9]
because let's be honest,
distractions these day are quick to overtake and choke out,
and the reality of trials and circumstances beating down don't show partiality.

and it can seem overwhelming, even impossible (because it is.. on our own)..
to make our heart-soil ready, receptive, compatible with life..
but there's a call in Hosea to
break up the fallow ground of our hearts (read more from a post on this here).
and even still.. it's like..
God, how?

and the words in James 4:6 broke through.

["God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble."]

the only way we can receive anything,
even the grace that we need to change the position of our hearts,
is through

arms outstretched..
showing need, openness, desperation-- even vulnerability.

hands open..
no longer clenched-- whether out of fear, rejection, anger, bitterness, isolation..

hands empty..
free from distractions and works and everything self--
self-pity, self-hatred, self-preservation, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency.

I don't know about you,
but I am desperate for that grace that He gives.
desperate enough to do something about it.

because we're called to bear fruit,
and fruit that remains. (John 15)

and for being a culture and a generation and a church
that is saturated in teaching and studies,
with seeds scattered left and right,
we sure don't have a whole lot of fruit in our personal lives
or individual spheres of influence
to show for it.

because the only fruit that truly remains,
is the fruit that reproduces.

>>so maybe it's time to switch our focus and effort and time from saturating our soil with innumerable seeds of all shapes and sizes,
and instead examine our heart soil,
humble ourselves
and position ourselves,
so we can truly receive the Incorruptible Seed--
the only One who can reproduce His very life within us. <<

" have been born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable,
through the living and abiding Word of God." 1 Peter 1:23.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

the path of life.

 There's a simplicity in following Jesus and knowing God in this life that has been lost,
and I feel the heart of the Father so deeply calling His Bride back to that place.

and it's found in Psalm 16:11, one you're probably well acquainted with.

"You make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore".

and as I was meditating on this-- saying God.. am I missing something You're wanting to show me through this?

" Your presence there is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore"

and then He made the connection.

that is "the path of life".

that is the road He desires that we walk.

that is the journey that He's set us on.

[fullness of joy in HIS presence.
pleasures forevermore at HIS right hand--> where Jesus sits.]

that is what we are all searching out and grasping for.

that is the answer to..
what does He have for me?
what is His will for me?
what is my ultimate calling?
what is my first ministry?
what does He have in this season?
what does He want to work in me?
what is the point of my life?

every fortune teller, tarot card, horoscope, sign in the sky, coincidence, hope of providence..
a desperate attempt to find the path of life we are to walk..
to ensure that we make the right decision.

even in the Christian circles, we make our life out to be this set maze with constant crossroads and stop signs, where we have to perfectly make the right choice in seeking out God's will in order to not "miss out" on the path He has intended for us.

every futile attempt at happiness and satisfaction.
whether through human relationship or applause or addiction or money or even ministry.
because it's ingrained into our souls from creation-- we want to live life to the fullest.

but boy, do we make a mess of it.
and maybe we're still missing it.
Christian and non-Christian alike.

because He makes it clear..
He shows us "the path of life".
[in the original language, Psalm 16:11a is
You make known to me "the way of living to live fully alive,,
like the green of vegetation,
and the fresh, flowing of water
and the reviving and renewal of springtime"].

the way we all want to live, if we're honest.
and the one thing we probably all want shown to us.

and the rest of the verse simplifies what that way of living fully alive is and how to find it.
knowing and experiencing and living in this--
being filled with the fullness of joy in Him--
finding everything we desire and need in Him, not needing to look anywhere else.
Full-- FULL!!
no lack; no void.
complete in joy in His feet and in His presence.
because we are convinced that every delight and pleasure and good thing is found at His right hand-- IN JESUS.

With the original definitions in brackets, this verse I was well acquainted with took on a whole new light.

"You make known to me the path of life [the way of living to live fully alive; like the green of vegetation, the fresh, flowing of water and the reviving and renewing of spring],
in Your presence [face] there is fullness [satisfaction, abundance, fulfillment, to have one's full of, to have in excess] of joy [gladness];
at Your right hand [in Jesus] are pleasures [everything pleasant, delightful, sweet, lovely, beautiful, sweetly sounding] forevermore [ strength, enduring, everlasting, continual, perpetual, constantly]".

This is the way of living fully alive.
this is what life is really all about.
it's really not all that complicated--

the abundance of joy, gladness and satisfaction that is literally overflowing in excess;
every pleasant, delightful, sweet, lovely, beautiful, sweetly sounding thing,
found all --perpetually, constantly, without end, from everlasting to everlasting--
in face of Jesus Christ.

This is what He desires to make known to us.
This is what He has for us.

maybe it's less about right or left turns, Church..
and more about a fixed gaze on His face,
so we can be a Bride actually alive and in love-- complete in joy in our Beloved.

and as we find ourselves on "the path of life"-- we can certainly trust that our Shepherd will faithfully lead and direct and guide our every step. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

the bitter fruit of disappointments and the sweet taste of His appointments.

freshmen year of college.
one of the best years of my life.
full of life and Spirit and transformation. it's where i found wings to fly spiritually.
it's where by His power and grace-- I broke free.

the walls fell down and my heart became fully open.

fast-forward to this past season.
and here i am,
face to the ground.
crying out..

God, I need to hear Your voice on this.

because when you know how it feels to fly,
there's no mistaking when you're weighed down, held back,
with a heart no longer fully open but shut down.
even if just in a single area. 

and my heart resounded with David,
"Oh that I had wings like a dove then I would fly away and be at rest!" (Psalm 55:6).

and picture after picture would be given to me from the Lord by people,
of birds.
the one I'll always see in my mind was of a bird held in two hands.
unable to fly. held back. restrained. trapped.

and i wondered and i asked and i sought.. who do the hands belong to? What do they represent?
He showed me I was the bird.. but Lord, whose hands are they?
and then He made it clear..
the hands were mine.

I bet if I asked all of us to write down our stories,
there would be one string of commonality throughout every single one.


we live in a fractured, broken, hurting world-- that's desperate for wholeness.
and so we all have experienced it.
whether it's that loss.
of that loved one.
that relationship.
that opportunity.
that season.

whether it's that place of lack.
that unfulfilled dream.
or desire.
or promise.

for me, it was a combination of more than one.

and with each one I knew the truth in my head of His hand on my life, and I declared that I trusted Him and I'd keep walking.

but over time, it became real obvious.
that my heart was becoming more and more shut down.

And that's when He revealed to me.

I had let my disappointments become a disappointed heart.

[all because--if I'm honest,
He didn't do things the way I wanted. ]
and it's a stronghold that's heavy on our generation and our culture.
the sin of self-entitlement.

and the lie that has plagued man from the beginning..
"God is withholding from you..."

and like Eve.. i bit hard into that fruit.

and let me tell you,
I have held on to my disappointments and the way I wanted things to happen so fiercely in a desperate attempt to regain what I had lost or hoped for or envisioned,
that I didn't even realize that what my hands were really gripping were the wings with which my soul once soared.

and as i lay face to the ground,
crying out,
"God, I need to hear Your voice on this".
A picture flashed across my mind.

i scrambled to an old journal,
back from, you guessed it, freshmen year of college.
and there it still was.
a word i saved from a late night meeting at McDonalds with a girl who poured into me.

a word that I had never thought about since until that very moment.

a word that God faithfully gave me in my season of new-found freedom,
that He KNEW i would need in the years to come when that freedom was threatened.

[turn disappointments into His appointments].

and that's when revelation sank in.
and repentance came heavy.
and I made the choice to open my hands to let that bird fly.

and it wasn't just one time.
this thing is continual.

a daily exchange.

turning the sin of self-entitlement into gratitude.

and where Eve and I used to have common ground,
I'm no longer giving that deceptive voice one second thought.
i'm choosing to look at the hundreds of other trees in the garden that God graciously said, Yes! Eat! enjoy, My child.
not the measly one that was kept from me--ultimately for MY GOOD.

and in this place,
of humbling myself before His omniscience,
resting in His goodness..

[He has taught my feet to dance upon disappointment.]

"no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly" (psalm 84:11).

"those who seek the Lord lack no good thing" (Psalm 34:10)

Maybe your disappointments have become a disappointed heart,
or maybe your fears have become a fearful heart, your strivings a striving heart,  your weariness a weary heart,  your doubts a doubting heart..
whatever has caused your heart to shut down, whatever lie you have believed..

receive this word given by a dear friend of mine at church last week,
"strip off the lies.
strip off the assumptions.
I have set you free.
you are free to be what I called you to be.
free to soar.
press into Me.
only you can do what I called you to do. No one else.
so fly. fly free. "

a song that I came across just after He ministered to me through all this.. may He teach you to dance upon your disappointments, fears, doubts, weariness, striving and anything else trying to keep you held back.