Many people have traveled by this well on their journeys through life, but either didn’t notice it, decided not to check it out, or tried it but left for some reason. It doesn’t appear that the well has been used in a long time. You are not even sure if the water is good. The top of the water looks unappetizing . . . . disgusting actually – covered in dust, dirt, germs, bugs and grime. Who would even want to use this well or drink its water? You dip your finger in to just taste it anyways as you realize how thirsty you are, but you only taste the stuff on top. Yuck. You’re not drinking that! But your thirst remains.
You decide to move on. . . . to find something more appealing . . . more appetizing . . . more eye-catching and tasty. You heard there was something better down the road. So you turn your back to the well and head off.
I urge you to come back.
Things are not always what they seem.
There is more to this well than the casual observer and wanderer will ever know.
Let me help you draw up the DEEP water from the well. That is where the best water resides – where the cooler, refreshing, life-giving water is. It is not tainted by the dirt, dust, germs or bugs on top of the water. Nothing has touched this deep water except the bucket and cisterns that are allowed to draw deep into it.
Are you that kind of cistern or vessel?
Are you ready to go deep?
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I have to admit - my husband and I laughed. My daughter didn't find it funny. She also didn't see our point of view - to put herself in God's shoes . . . what if we said the same thing about her? . . . "Honey - can you please stop talking about our daughter. It's making me sick!" How would that make her feel? (To her defense - she was quite tired and cranky and needed to go to bed. She has always been our prayer warrior - the first one to always want to pray - and to pray awesome prayers for everyone she can think of!).
But it got me thinking . . .
Are you sick of hearing about God? Let me ask you again . . . are you sick of hearing "about" God?
Does your spiritual life resemble a relationship with God, or just a bunch of knowledge "about" God?
Do you wish your spiritual life was different? Do you feel like something is missing? Are you tired of hearing about God, but not really seeing, knowing or feeling God in your life?
Let me ask you this. . . . How much do you know about your dad (or mom, or husband, etc . . .someone you love and are close to)? How do you know all this information about them? Did you read some books or letters on them - what they are like - look like, feel like, smell like . . . what their hobbies are, what makes them laugh or cry, their favorite foods, music, etc. How did you attain all this information? Did someone who knows them tell you all about them? Maybe in the beginning. But to really get to know them - what did you have to do?
Yes . . . you're right . . . you had to have a relationship with them! You walked and talked with them - laughed and cried with them - ate, drank and worked alongside them. It was in all this time spent with them that you gained so much information about them. But more than that - you also gained love - a loving relationship! You knew they loved you - and you loved them. You would do anything for them out of that love - because you knew they loved you too.
God is no different. He's not a big, mean ruler off in a distant land or spiritual realm. He is here. Right beside you now. He watches all you do. He hears and knows all your thoughts. He knows every hair on your head, legs, arms and yes - even your back! He knows everything about you - even things YOU don't know about you! And best of all . . . He loves you unconditionally despite (because) of it all! :) All He really wants - is a relationship with you. That's it! And I can guarantee - when you start to enjoy that relationship, and fully accept His love for you - it will stir up a love in you that will bring about desires to please Him (through obedience, praise and worship and more) - not just because you "have" to!
So - if you are "sick of hearing 'about' God" . . . Good for you! Stop hearing about Him - and starting spending time with Him! Talk to Him - and especially, listen to Him! He's got so much to say to you . . . the most important thing is . . . . "I love YOU!"
Dive deep(er) into a relationship today!
Friday, December 4, 2009
This teaching was one that the Lord recently allowed me to do at our church's Women's Immersion Weekend - all about our Identity in Christ. I was one of 4 speakers. In preparing for this topic, the Lord showed and taught me alot - and has really opened my eyes to why so many of us struggle with our identity in Christ . . . our identity in general!
I hope you are able to take the time and listen to what God wants to say to each and every one of you! He loves you sooooo much! :) Don't doubt it! If you do . . . please listen to this teaching!! Listen to it with an open heart and mind to what God would want to say to YOU. If you do - I know you will feel the love of God . . . for you!
To download the file and put it on your ipod or mp3 player - go here.
Drink a little deeper today!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I felt like the Lord wanted me to pass on some of His words to you today. Let Him reveal the deeper things to you - the deeper love to your heart - the deeper revelations to your mind. Sit with Him and ask Him about these words today. He has alot to say - and He loves sharing it with you!
2 O LORD, be gracious to us;
we long for you.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of distress.
6 He will be the sure foundation for your times,
a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.
15 He who walks righteously
and speaks what is right,
who rejects gain from extortion
and keeps his hand from accepting bribes,
who stops his ears against plots of murder
and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-
16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
His bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail him.
17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.
Be encouraged in these challenging times (financially, relationally, spiritually, etc) - whether you are a mom with young kids struggling to just get through each day; a working man with mouths to feed at home and demands on you at work; a person who just lost their job and doesn't know how they are going to "make it"; etc. God wants to be your "sure foundation" in these times - and wants to take you to the heights - to live in the fortress He has designed just for you!
Be encouraged! Walk righteously. Fear the Lord. He will show you the way!
Dive deeper today!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Had to post this quote from a friend's Facebook page -
"The enemy wouldn't be attacking you if something very valuable wasn't inside of you. Thieves don't break in to empty houses."
So "consider it PURE JOY my brothers when you face trials of many kinds . . . " Obviously - the enemy and God think YOU are WORTH fighting over!!
Stick with GOD . . . He ALWAYS WINS! :)
Tell the enemy to TAKE A HIKE!
YOU are VALUABLE . . . because you are God's!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
"There is no peace unless we are free!"
I had never watched the Academy award winning movie Joan of Arc (with Ingrid Bergman), but felt compelled to check it out at our library the other day. Sad to say, I really didn't know much about this heroine - but felt like I should.
I cried off and on the first 30 minutes or more of the movie!
It wasn't the acting, the script, the cinematography . . . it was the eerily similar calling and revelations in her life compared to mine (except - hopefully - not to burn at the stake!). Hers was to help set the people of France free from the English who had invaded her country. Who was she? Just a young (teenage) peasant farm girl. How could SHE lead an army to fight winning battles to bring freedom to her country? Who am I - a SAHM (Stay at home mom) of 5? How can I bring freedom to my nation, the church, and people around me?
She could, because God told her to! (and I can because God told me to!)
She could, because God was on her side - leading and guiding and empowering her. (I can - and YOU can because God is on our side!)
The timing was right. The people needed someone, something fresh to lift their hopes and lead them in a new way . . . a God-centered way! Joan even told the army they had to be GOD'S ARMY - no cussing, drinking, girls, gambling, etc! Go Joan!! That's what our nation and church need as well as each of us . . .to get back to God - to live HOLY lives! No more compromise!
There is so much about the movie that I liked! If we are truly to live a FREE life, see our nation freed up from all that comes against it/us . . . then we have GOT to listen to what God has to say! We have GOT to listen to what He is telling us to do. And then we have GOT to DO IT! Whether or not we think we are qualified or trained . . . if HE thinks we can do it . . .then we CAN DO IT!
At one point in the story, the king decided to let his greed get the best of him, and instead of continuing on in fighting off the English (and the Burgundians) - he took a large sum of money in agreement to a truce. He told Joan she couldn't continue to fight in Paris, but instead, she was to come and live near him and enjoy the peace. I loved her response to him . . .
"THERE IS NO PEACE UNLESS WE ARE FREE!"
We have been tricked. We have been lied to. Some of you may know the truth, like Joan, but many, many others don't. They see peace and think "life is good". Is it really? Is this what God intended for you? For us? For this nation? For the church?
What, in your life, have you agreed to declare a truce on (spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc)? What, in your life, have you found yourself saying "well - it's not like I think it should be or want it to be . . . but it's good enough. It will have to do."? I'm not talking about decorating your house, or anything trivial . . .I'm talking about living in FREEDOM!
Are there areas of your life that you don't feel totally free, but maybe for the moment there is some illusion of peace? ie- dealing with anger, depression, financial troubles, challenges with your kids or other family members, guilt, shame, regrets, busyness, physical infirmities, and more.
Did you give up "fighting" for your freedom too soon? Did you ever start?
Is there an area that you know God has been speaking to you about - to do something, to fight against something, to allow Him to heal you, to say something He wants you to say . . . .?
Spend some time today with the person who can TRULY set you COMPLETELY and 100% FREE! He can show you the way, give you the skills, and lead you in victory! Get in His word (which is full of instructions on how to fight for and live a free life)! Spend time in prayer! Get to know this "General" that can not only lead an army and a nation into victory and freedom through a teenage girl . . .but can lead YOU into victory and freedom in ALL aspects of your life!
Declare WAR on COMPROMISE today! And start living as God wants you to live!
Because - there really is no TRUE peace unless you are FREE!
Fight Deeper today!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Jesus loves me this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes . . . Jesus loves me.
Yes . . . Jesus loves me.
Yes . . . Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.
I had an interesting conversation with one of my sisters recently. She has been struggling with severe anxiety and depression for several months now, but the Lord has been graciously healing her and is slowly bringing her out of the deepest valley she has ever experienced. She is a woman of the Word - knowing more scripture than I do or could hope to! She has always loved digging into the Word of God and getting to know what it really says and means. Part of her healing process (and just surviving some of this valley) was quoting scriptures every day . . . many times a day . . . that pertained to what she was dealing with. She came to a point where she truly understood the meaning of what Jesus said - "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).
But even though this has been a great source of strength in the past - she came to a point where she just wasn't "feeling" the same relief, peace and comfort that she used to when meditating on and quoting scripture. She wasn't "feeling" the love of God - that Jesus loved her. What happened to the "feelings" that had been associated with these and other scriptures in the past? Why wasn't she "feeling" better. Why weren't the scriptures "working" anymore?
We are "feeling" beings. God beautifully and creatively designed us to be like Him - full of feelings - through our emotions, thoughts, senses and more. These feelings are a blessing and a gift! They allow us to be passionate about things - people, hobbies, friends, spouses, animals, places, etc. They allow us to connect relationally with people - and with God - to be empathetic, to laugh together, cry together, get mad at injustice. However, we can also struggle with this blessing - this part of our created makeup. It can put us into the deepest of depression, the most bitter taste of anger and resentment, the painful place of being unjustly wounded.
So what do we do? . . . . Just stop feeling? Try to control it? How do we keep our feelings in check . . . balanced? Why wasn't my sister able to "feel" better when quoting the scriptures? Doesn't the Word of God have power?
Here's what I am learning (and yes - I am still on this journey too!). This is why I love that children's song we all know by heart.
We were created with body, soul and spirit. These are not separate parts - but are intertwined, overlapping with each other.
Our body encompasses all our physical characteristics - how we look, walk, our hormones, senses, etc. This part is easy for us to see and understand - right? (well - maybe not all of it is easy to understand! :) . . . PMS anyone?!)
Our soul is our mind, will and emotions - the thoughts we think, the internal feelings we feel, the decisions we make. If we are living by our soul - we are living by our emotions (as they go up, down and all around!)
Most of the world lives by/out of their soul. Our society is definitely soul-based. Commercials, advertisements, restaurants, politicians and more - all try to reach us on our soul level ("Buy this - it will make you happy. You need this to make you feel good. Go here . . . do this . . vote for me because . . . You can have it your way - right away - now!" etc). Our society is set up to meet our need to "feel" good . . . to help us get addicted to things that will only temporarily help us feel good. They are VERY good at knowing how to do this and wooing us into their traps. So is Satan! :)
Am I saying that we can't ever do anything that makes us feel good? NO! By no means. Let me continue . . .
The 3rd part of our makeup is our spirit. This is one of the most neglected and misunderstood aspects of our lives. This is why so many of us struggle, day in and day out, with living a peaceful, joyful, balanced life. We have been trying so hard to live just out of our body and soul, and occasionally out of our spirit. We take great care to feed our body and soul (Yes - you are feeding your soul more than you realize!) - but do we do the same with our spirit?
Our spirit is the part of us that, as a Christian, has been redeemed! When you accepted Christ into your life - accepted that free gift of salvation - your spirit was saved and redeemed! It was made pure and righteous before the Father because of what Jesus did for you! Praise the Lord for that!
Many people tell of miraculous transformations right then and there - they were set free from smoking, drugs, addictions, emotions - all sorts of soul-issues. But for many of us - that didn't happen. For many (if not most) people in the church, we have still continued to struggle with our feelings, emotions, addictions, sins, etc. Why? Because our soul was not redeemed - it was our spirit. Our soul still likes many of those things. Our soul still leans towards temptations. Our soul still has issues with emotions, thoughts, feelings, past wounds and experiences. Our soul is also never satisfied. It can be demanding, pushy, bossy, easily hurt or offended and more. It is the voice we hear in our head - loud and clear when we are faced with decisions on a daily basis. It is very self-centered! Many of us are still trying to live out of our soul. So where is our redeemed spirit in all this?
Our spirit is very different from our soul. It is gentle, tender, quiet. It doesn't demand things of us. It is not self-centered or self-demanding like our soul. It doesn't get hurt as easily. It is God-focused and is all about pleasing God! It is our spirit that connects with the Holy Spirit - that helps us to live with the fruit of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is living by our spirit that can help us have the kind of life we desire - a satisfying life - filled with decisions, actions and feelings that please God - and living in the love of God (our wonderful heavenly Daddy).
Romans 8:5&6 says - "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace"
So how do we live by the Spirit (and from our spirit)? It's a decision . . . it's an awareness. We have to have our "minds set on what the Spirit desires" and let our mind be "controlled by the Spirit" to truly have life and peace. It is a decision. It's not a feeling.
Too many people are trying to live their lives based on their feelings. We need to change the way we think and start living our lives based on a decision to live by our spirit - to connect with the Holy Spirit (who was sent here to HELP US!). How do we do this?
It's a decision. Will you CHOOSE to have an awareness of God standing right beside you all day long? Will you CHOOSE to live your life to please God and make HIM happy - or to please yourself (your spouse, your boss, your friends) happy? Will you CHOOSE to filter all your decisions in life based on that premise - that decision?
It won't be easy in the beginning - especially if you are used to living by your feelings of the day, of the moment. But it can be done. And just like any other habit we have - with time and consistency - it does get easier! :) It's also alot easier if you are feeding your spirit - "soaking" it (like a sponge) daily (possibly several times a day or throughout the whole day) with the Word of God, worship, and more!
So what does this have to do with "Jesus loves me" you are still asking?
Jesus loves me this I KNOW (not FEEL)
For the BIBLE TELLS me SO (not because I FEEL it).
Little ones to Him belong. (That's US!)
They (we) are WEAK, but HE is STRONG! (Praise the Lord!)
Yes . . . Jesus loves me! (Not because I feel it . . .)
Yes . . . Jesus loves me!
Yes . . . Jesus loves me!
The BIBLE TELLS me SO! (. . . but because it's TRUE and I CHOOSE to believe it!)
So - my challenge to you today is . . .
Live by the Spirit! Allow your spirit - your gentle, quiet, tender spirit to connect with the Holy Spirit today - and then LISTEN to it! Tell your soul to fall in line with your spirit! :) Let's be a people who are spirit-led instead of soul-led. Let's grasp hold of the truth that Jesus really did die for us to have an ABUNDANT LIFE - full of peace! Let's make a DECISION to honor what Jesus did by CHOOSING to do and believe what He said in God's Word! Let's choose to feed our spirit each and every day . . . all throughout the day!
And it's not based on feelings . . . but on choosing to believe and walk it out.
You can do it! It's an awesome adventure and journey to begin and live! Let me know how it's going for you, and let's keep encouraging each other to live by the Spirit instead of our souls!
And don't forget to have FUN doing it! :) (Trust me - there are AWESOME "feelings" and emotions to experience while living in/by the Spirit!)
As for my sister and why the scriptures didn't seem to be "working" at that time . . . she realized that God was starting to teach her this wonderful principle . . . to base her decisions on the TRUTH of the Word of God . . . not on her "feelings" associated with the Word of God! God is so good! :)
Choose to go deeper today!
Change the way you've been "swimming"!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Below is my response to her query.
Don't be afraid to go DEEP!
I've been reading the GREATEST love story ever!! I can't get enough of it! It is full of mystery, wars, lust, adultery, betrayal, miracles, death, and more! Have you read it?! . . . If not - you should!! :) It's written by the One who experienced it all Himself!! It's not even fiction (but can read like it!)!!
I have not read the Twilight books or seen the movies. I can feel the tug -the seduction - to see what "all the fuss" is about. I have felt that same tug many times in my life . . . and unfortunately -have given into those tugs one too many times . . . in many areas of life. Is Twilight evil? Is it wrong? Should we as Christians be reading/watching it? Is it ok to read fictional stories about vampires or witches?. . . . For that matter - Should we be watching The Bachelor? Grey's Anatomy? Soap Operas, murder mystery shows?
I agree - I would probably love the books and the movie. I also loved Dirty Dancing when it came out. I was wooed by Pretty Woman. I thoroughly enjoyed The Holiday. I am a sucker for romance movies and stories. We all are. But here's why . . .
God is the author of romance! This whole thing - this earth - our lives - Jesus coming to earth the first time and dying for us - and His final return to earth (hopefully soon) . . . .it's all about romance! It's all about relationship. It's all about LOVE! He put within each of us the need, the desire for romance - for love - for the most intense and personal love and romance we can imagine!
God didn't just create us FOR love . . . He created us BECAUSE of LOVE. He sent His Son to die for us - to pay for our punishment, our judgment against us - because of LOVE. He has been wooing and calling His church . . . His BRIDE . . . out of LOVE! But His bride has been seduced by another lover. His bride has thought it was ok to be "engaged" but still "just look" at other romances - other things that make us feel good - that look good - that seem good - that the world says are good. Are they good? Are they bad?
Shortly after getting engaged, I was walking with some girlfriends and we passed by some really cute guys. I made a comment about how cute one of them was. My friends were in shock - "Lori! You are engaged!! You can't be looking at other men like that!" :) Well . . . he WAS cute. But that's where it ended. I didn't continue looking. I didn't continue thinking about it. I had made a decision to marry my boyfriend - and it was a done deal in my mind. Are there still cute guys that pass my way? Yes. Are there romantic movies/tv shows that I have watched over the years and enjoyed? Yes. Is it healthy for me to watch them? . . . . hmmm . . .
Over the past couple years I have been more intentionally pursuing the one love relationship that has had the power to transform my life like no other. . . . .my relationship with Jesus, my heavenly Daddy, and the wonderful Holy Spirit. It has been INTENTIONAL! It has been with PASSION! I've made a decision. I have started to notice though, recently, that as I have tried to watch various romantic movies/shows . . . I can feel the Love of my life being sad. It's not that He thinks I won't love Him. It's that He knows that the world's version of Love is only a counterfeit for His TRUE love - His PERFECT love.
Yes - the world's love makes us feel good . . . .temporarily. But we keep seeking after the next venue to experience it again. God's love is different. Yes - His love makes us feel good - and yes - it makes us want to keep seeking after the next experience of it . . . but here's the difference. . . .
One path leads to death . . . the other leads to life! And life ABUNDANTLY!
Satan is crafty. He's not dumb. As one of the head angels in heaven - he couldn't have been dumb. He has spent decades, centuries, crafting the perfect traps - subtly seducing not just the non-Christians . . . but the Christians as well.
"It seems harmless". "What can it hurt?" "It looks/looked good." "It made me feel good." "I enjoyed it alot". "Did God really say/mean you/I can't . . . ?"
However - He really has been using the same trick since the garden of Eden. . . . . . "Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?" Satan knew he had Eve when she replied - "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and YOU MUST NOT TOUCH IT, or you will die."
In actuality . . . God never said anything about not touching it. Satan had won. He had manipulated Eve's thoughts so cleverly - to make her think it was her own - her own decision and idea.
I bet Eve thought the same things about that fruit that we have thought about many other things - otherwise I don't think she would have offered it to her husband. But when the Love of their lives came by . . . their thoughts definitely changed about the fruit! In the light of His perfect love - they knew they had been tricked - they knew they had sinned. They were ashamed.
Being close to a bright light will always cause any dirt to show up more easily. When we are further away from the light (or sitting in darkness) we don't notice any dirt on our clothes/body as much.
I agree with the one poster/blogger who said her mom's philosophy was "When in doubt - throw it out." My hubby has always said "When in doubt - say no."
There is that part of me that wants to read the books. I did read the first Harry Potter book (as i have a friend who is a huge fan). I read a good book about why Christians should read H.P. and how they can use it to witness to others. I do believe in being "in the world but not of the world". Christ spent his time in the homes of tax-collectors, prostitutes, etc. Would Jesus watch H.P. or Twilight? I don't know. But I do know this . . . He would still love all the people who do! He still does!
So - I am not in a position to judge. I am only in a position to do what is right for MY relationship with my future Groom - with my heavenly Daddy - with my Comforter and Friend. Do I always do the right things? Do I make mistakes still? Of course. :) Are there things He will allow others to do and not me? Yes. But there are things others can't do that I still can. We are all unique and different and have such a personally unique relationship with the Lord! So I definitely can't judge! (Judge not - lest ye be judged.)
We become what we think about. We are what we "soak" in. I am constantly asking my kids "what are you soaking in? Is this something you want to soak your minds in?" Because, just like a sponge - when the pressure is on us . . . whatever we have been soaking in is what will come out of us!
I want pure clean water to come out of me! It's rarely totally clean . . . but I'm working in it. Little by little. . . . . decision by decision . . . big or small. I'm getting there. And above all - I just love seeing and feeling the smile on my Savior's face when He sees that I only have eyes for Him . . . by choice! :)
God bless you all and thank you so much for sharing your opinions and insight! I truly appreciate it. I hope this didn't come across judgmental or harsh. I truly just have a passionate love for my Daddy - for Jesus - and I want everyone else to experience the same thing!! It's life-changing and gives FREEDOM!! Jesus doesn't want us to be bound by rules . . . He wants us to live in FREEDOM! Free to love - to live - to enjoy life abundantly!
Blessings to you all!
Lori West :)
Please listen and pray along for our nation! God loves us - and wants us to return to Him - to be the bride He has created us to be. He wants to hold us close - to let us not just "know" that His heart beats for us - to just "know" that He loves us ("Jesus loves me this I know - for the Bible tells me so") . . . . but He wants us to FEEL His love for us - to FEEL His heart beating for us.
Our hearts are the source of our lives. If our heart were to stop beating - we would die. When we die - we are separated from those still left here on earth -from relationships here.
God's heart (His love) is the source of life for each and every one of us. It is the source of His relationship with us. If His heart (love) stopped beating . . . . the relationship would die. Many people have thought they felt this (to a degree). They do not "feel" or have not "felt" God's heart beating for them. They have all the head knowledge about God - about His love for them - about what He has done for them . . . . but they've never ventured close enough to let God (their heavenly Daddy) HOLD them close . . .hold them close to His chest to FEEL His love for them - to hear and feel His heart beating . . . . just for them. However - His heart has never stopped beating for them. Not yet.
God doesn't need to have a heart to live. He is eternal. He is all-powerful. He doesn't need a heart to live . . . . but He chose to have a heart . . . He chose to love . . . . He chose to let His Son (Jesus) experience what it is like to have a human heart . . . and then to let that human heart die through the choice of sacrificing himself on the cross. Jesus' heart stopped beating. He died. For us. He endured the physical and spiritual separation that comes with death - that comes when a heart stops beating. He did that for us . . . . because He doesn't want us to have to endure it for eternity ourselves! . . . . . and then in His marvelous power . . . He came back to life! He overcame death . . . for us! Once and for all!!
There will come a day when people will no longer have the option of being able to feel God's heart beating for them. There will come a day when His arms will no longer be open - inviting anyone and everyone to come close - to be held by Him - to experience His love - His transforming love. That day is coming soon. God wants you to know - that day is coming soon. For some of you - it's sooner than for others. But for the whole world - it is still coming soon.
His heart's cry is for everyone to know that He is here . . . waiting . . . waiting to hold you and love you - to let you hear and feel His heart beating - to feel His transforming love that will forever change your life . . . if you let Him . . . if you let Him hold you . . . If you choose to stay close to Him - aware of Him - in relationship with Him. . . . .Not just to know "about Him".
I could know all about my husband - where he grew up, what he likes, dislikes, if he's a Republican or Democrat, if he is a morning or night person, how he treats others, etc. But unless I CHOOSE to enter into a relationship with him - a personal, close, intimate, hear-and-feel-his-heart kind of relationship . . . .I will never fully KNOW (through experience) his love - especially his love for me!
THAT is what God wants for everyone. To show them His love - experientially! He's shown it in so many ways . . . and yet we keep asking for more "proof". There comes a point when you just have to make a decision - when you have to choose. . . .
Choose to believe. Choose to get closer to our perfect heavenly Daddy today. His arms are still open . . . . wide open! It doesn't matter what you've done lately (or in the past). He's not afraid of getting dirty! :) The messier the better! :) He just loves holding His kids and loving on them!
As the Beatles put it - "All we need is Love, Love. . . . Love is ALL we need!" :)
Go closer (and deeper) today!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
My heart has been heavy for the past couple days after hearing about this. I can feel the urgency to pray. I can't sit silent.
On Friday 9/25/09 Muslims will converge on Washington DC's mall for a national day of prayer. Please pray about this. Please read what Lou Engle, Shirley Dobson, Tony Perkins and others had to say on Lou's website - The Call. Hearing what President Obama has done (in staying silent for the National Day of prayer, but being very vocal and encouraging about Ramadan) just grieves my heart. He is on my heart and in my prayers as well . . . alot.
"The Call" had a national conference call for prayer for this nation and for Muslims tonight - from 7-9:30pm. If you missed it - they will replay it at 11am on Friday morning. You can hear it on the National Day of Prayer website.
If you can - PLEASE fast and pray tomorrow (Friday) - for our nation - for all Muslims - for our President.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
But the other day, as I drove by this familiar spot, I felt a nudge to do a double take and really read the sign. “Fresh Produce . . . Now Open”. This past year, or maybe a bit longer, the older gentleman hasn’t been outside. In fact, there hasn’t even been any produce at the stand. I’ve been curious as to what happened. Did he realize that it wasn’t worth his time and money? Or did something happen to that persistent elderly gentleman? Was it that hardly anyone was stopping by anymore – not needing or wanting some delicious homegrown organic fruits and vegetables? (I know I just picked mine up at the grocery store as that was easier and more convenient.) And yet, the sign still stood, announcing they had “Fresh Produce”.
As I looked at the sign with fresh eyes that day, I felt Holy Spirit gently saying to me – “Fresh Produce . . . Now Open”. I could feel Him wooing me – reminding me that, like the steady, unwavering older gentleman, He was still waiting – day after day, all hours of the day and night, for me to come and visit – to stop by for some produce. But not just to get the produce, but to take time to sit and relax, to chat about the day, about my life, my feelings, and to find out more about Him. Unlike the sweet old man, He would never leave His post at this “produce stand”. He is always there . . . here . . . waiting. And He will always have an infinite supply of produce . . . Fruit to be specific.
I love the “fruit” that Holy Spirit has to offer me. . . .that He has to offer you . . .to everyone! Love . . . Joy . . . Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and yes . . . Self-Control. Don’t those all sound heavenly?! Don’t you just crave to take home a bundle of Love? How about a bushel of Peace? An overflowing basketful of Joy? I can just smell their sweet aroma and taste their delectable wholesomeness right now! I know we have all asked for Patience, Peace and Joy in our lives from time to time, but what about the last one . . . Self-Control? Do many people want that one or look over it with envious, craving eyes as they do with some of the other fruits? It just doesn’t sound as sweet and juicy and wonderful as the other fruits. But let me tell you – it really is!
Each and every one of these nine heaven-grown fruits is a “must have”, and Self-Control is no exception. They are all a part of God’s divine plan, purposes and promises to create healthy, whole and loving relationships. And that’s what God is all about . . . Relationship! All nine of them are needed in our relationships with our kids, our spouses, family members, friends, neighbors, at our jobs and even with the grumpy woman at the grocery store. We know we need these fruits, but keeping them in “our house” seems tricky. I know I keep running out of Patience (sometimes on a daily basis) . . . and Joy can be fleeting (especially depending on what time of the month it is!). So, how can I keep my “house” filled up with this satisfying and healthy fruit each and every day?
Galatians 5:22-25 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
“Fresh Produce . . . Now Open” the sign still reads. Are you willing to stop by? Are there some fruits you need in your life? What you may not see is the “Vacancy” sign next to the other sign. Yes – the Lord is calling you, offering you a place to reside – a chance to “live BY the Spirit”. He doesn’t just want you to stop by – He wants you to live here – right beside Him – each and every day. Can you see how beneficial it would be – to be able to keep your supply of fresh fruit at your house full to capacity – each and every day - because you live RIGHT BY the fruit stand?! He doesn’t want us to just live there though – He wants us to sit and chat, walk and talk, “keep in step” with Him – every day. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to move in next door? Or are you still only comfortable with just stopping by when you have a free moment? Are you willing to spend time with Him daily – keeping “in step with the Spirit”?
The Holy Spirit is waiting. He has plenty of produce for everyone! But not everyone is going to stop by. It breaks my heart – just as it broke my heart to see that old man sitting in his chair . . . day after day . . . hour after hour . . . waiting patiently for someone to stop by and enjoy the delicious food he had tenderly and loving planted, grown, and harvested just for them. Even if people do stop by – many will not stay . . . many will not move in next door and spend time with Holy Spirit. That puts another ache in my heart as well. There is so much more to this life – so much more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to fill our lives and enjoy . . . if only we will reside/live “by the spirit” and “keep in step” with Him. Are you up to it?
This Gentleman will be at his “stand” waiting . . . . . And yes . . . He does think this is the most profitable thing He could ever do! Even if only one person decided to come by . . . it would be worth it!! So on He waits . . . .
. . . .for you!
I hope you can stop by!
Taste and enjoy the Fruit!
- Lori :)
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Take a drink from the deep today!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While driving in the car recently, Jeremy and I were talking about the future – what God has for us, etc. I don’t really recall all of what we were saying or talking about – but Jeremy must have said something about not knowing what God’s plan was for his life, or if he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.
All of a sudden, our 11 year old son piped up and said “Dad . . . I think God procrastinated on your life plan!” :)
We busted up laughing! :)
Do you ever feel that way? That God may have “procrastinated on your life plan”? Do you feel like you don’t know WHAT God has for you? Or did you have dreams long ago, but now you wonder if they will ever turn into reality? Does God even care? Does He really have a plan for my life?
The answer is . . . Yes!
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
Psalm 139:13-18a - For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand."
God has not procrastinated on your life plan or forgotten about you! He thinks about you all the time! He has more thoughts about you than all the grains of sand on this earth! Can you imagine?! I know that my brain is constantly thinking, analyzing, planning and more . . . but I doubt I have more than 100 thoughts about someone or something in a single day (unless I am really obsessive!). But God does!! He was thinking about you way before you were born! Can you believe it? He planned out all the days of your life before you were even conceived! He does think about you and has GOOD things for you – to prosper you and not to harm you – to give you HOPE and a future! Hey – He’s OBSESSIVE about YOU! :)
If you are feeling like God has forgotten about you . . . that maybe there isn’t a “plan” for your life . . . I would encourage you to do what Jeremiah 29:11-14a says . . .
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.”
God isn’t too far away. He’s not off on some distant planet. And He has NEVER forgotten about you! He’s always been there . . . even when you didn’t know it! He’s even waiting today – to listen to you – to let you “find” Him as you seek Him “with all your heart”!
Do you want to know what His plan for your life is? I’ll tell you what it is . . .
Matthew 22:36-40 - "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
. . . . it is to Love God!! . . . To walk with Him . . talk with Him . . . live with Him. . . have a personal, intimate relationship with Him. That’s His plan! That’s why He created us! To have a relationship with the King of all Kings, the Creator of the Universe, . . . our Daddy! That’s the basis of everything in our lives! And then – out of that – we will be able to love others!
If we don’t love God – and fully know and understand HIS unconditional love for us – we can’t love ourselves! We don’t know who we really are. We don’t know that we are sons and daughters in His kingdom. We are His children – the love of His life!
If we don’t love ourselves, or know God – who IS LOVE – then how can we love others?
If we can’t love others – then how can we really do anything that is of importance or value – as our lives are so intertwined with everyone around us. We were designed and created to live in communities and in relationship with other people.
So . . . you want to know God’s plan for your life?! It’s to walk and talk and live with Him!! Sounds too simple, hunh? :) Well . . it is! Don’t make it harder than it needs to be! That’s what Satan’s been trying to do since the garden of Eden . . . making it complicated!!
Luke 12:22-31 - Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well."
Dive Deep today!
God's waiting to swim with you! :)
Monday, July 6, 2009
We were like the Israelites - we have been set free (from Egypt/bondage/saved from that which enslaved us) - and we are on our way in life. . . but we have come up against the Red Sea - an impossible situation. We feel trapped - our enemies are on our back and it seems that there is no way to go - no way out of this. What use was our salvation/freedom if this is what is going to happen?!!
When this happened to the Israelites- they wanted to just go back to Egypt - where at least they would have food, shelter and wouldn't die like this. Yes, they would be in slavery/bondage - but that would be better than being in this situation - stuck in the dessert with enemies on your back and no where to go!! It would be more comfortable (as it is all they had known for a long time).
But there was a solution. God had a solution - He had a plan! God LOVES to redeem us from impossible situations! It's His specialty! I don't think this impossible situation was an accident! God wanted to show His glory - to show His love to the Israelites - to rescue them and give them a tangible experience (experiential knowledge) of His love for them! So God told Moses to raise his staff (his hand(s)) - and let God do the work!
Exodus 14:13& 14 - "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'"
This Sunday - God was saying just that . . . we need to raise our hands (in praise! . . . and in giving our control - everything - over to Him - AND BE STILL!) - and let God do the work! He WILL provide a way . . . on dry ground. You will still see the water - high on each side - kind of scary - but you do not need to be afraid! You are on dry ground and God is in control! Praise the Lord and let God do the work to rescue you! He is the God of the impossible!!! PTL for that! :) I'm glad he is not just the God of the possible!
I pray you will go deeper with God today . . . in over your head!! :) When you feel out of control in life - that's the BEST time to let God be in control!! THAT's where revival will come! You can trust Him - His character, His plan for your life, and His power!
Please listen to this sermon podcast from my pastor - Dan Backens - at New Life Providence Church. It's all about going/being "In over our heads"!! You will be encouraged - and will want to go deeper! Don't let the enemy stop you in the middle of this journey you are on in life (the middle of the novel as Pastor Dan says . . . ). Keep going - because the best "chapter" is ALWAYS the last chapter!! God has GREAT plans for you!! Keep going!
Dive a little deeper today - and let God be in control!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sometimes you come across blogs or websites that you like - but wonder - who is this person writing all this really?
Well - there's no secrets here! Satan likes to keep us in bondage through our secrets - and I, for one, am fed up with it! I am loving the freedom that Christ died on the cross to give me -and I want more of it! I know that God LOVES to take what the enemy meant for evil, and use it for good - to change lives, to set people free, to minister to our broken hearts,and more!
You've got to read my other post called "Redesigning your Shackles and Chains"! You will see your past and the chains that have held you captive in a new light! You'll be ready to fight for your freedom and live in it!!
Drink a little deeper today!
May 20th, 2009 – MOPS Tea and Testimony day
Some of you have known me for years, and others of you I’ve just met. Either way – I have some questions for you. What do you see when you look at me? What kind of person do you think I am? Shy or Outgoing? Introverted or Extroverted? Fearful and a worrier, or a strong woman of faith? . . . . What characteristics or adjectives would you use to describe me – right now – as I am now?
I have to be honest with you and tell you . . . I don’t have it all together and I’m not perfect! :) I know . . . I know . . . I’m sorry to let you down. :)
I have to be honest about something else too. I know that none of you are perfect either. :)
I’ve never been perfect. Shocking, I know. :) (well – my mom and dad might have thought I was perfect when I was born . . . till I kept them up all night crying and pooping and wanting to eat!)
Actually, while we are alive on this earth – you and I will never be perfect! So why do we strive so hard to try and attain it? Why be a perfectionist? It’s unattainable. . . . at least while we are alive. As Christians, when we finally say goodbye to this earth and our mortal bodies, we will finally attain the perfection that is promised to us. But not until then.
However, that doesn’t mean we have the freedom to just do what we want and live haphazardly – throwing caution to the wind and living in sin (because “what’s the use in trying?” if we can’t attain it?). No. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:11 –“... Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
But it’s not by our might that we will attain perfection. It’s only through the Perfect One – Jesus – and the grace and mercy He gives that we will ever be made perfect.
I know that many of you, like myself, have struggled with this lack of perfection in your life – not sure if you are doing everything right as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, sister, daughter, etc. You have issues from your past that have repeatedly whispered to you – reminding you of your imperfection and your inability to attain that perfection. “You’ll never be good enough. Look at what you’ve done. You’ll never be as good as her. . . .” We constantly compare ourselves to others – thinking that they are much closer to that perfection that we are striving for.
But let me clue you in on another secret. . . .
Most of the people we look at and think “man – they’ve got it all together. They never had an issue in their life. I wish my life was like theirs” . . . many of them are where they are in life BECAUSE of the issues and trials they have gone through and the imperfections they have worked through in their lives.
James 1:2-4 are some of my favorite verses (in fact – I love the whole book of James!). . . . ones that we all need to not just read – but really live by – to believe and put into practice (as James even talks about later in his book).
“Consider it torture my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds? (whine and complain when it gets rough?”) Is that what it says? No . . . It says – “Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, NOT lacking anything.”
Verses 5 - 8 go on to say –
“If any of you lacks wisdom (ME!), he should ask God, who gives generously to (Just me? . . . . No . . to ) ALL without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
I started off telling you all this today because - I am who I am today because of the trials I’ve been through (not necessarily the easy times in life). I am who I am today because of the temptations I gave into and the victories the Lord gave me over those sins. I am who I am today because not only did Jesus save me – but I decided to take hold of what God promises me in the Bible – and to put it into practice! These aren’t just words to tickle our ears – but they are life-giving, transforming power to mold and shape us into the strong, Godly women, mothers, friends, sisters, and children that God wants us to be!
I grew up in a Christian home as a Pastor’s kid – the oldest of 4 kids. For most of my early years of life I was very sheltered and protected – living in a small town (less than 1900 people!) in Minnesota for 7 years, and then 2 years in Florida – where I attended a Christian school. We moved here when I was 15 and I was so naïve and shy. I had always been shy and unsure of myself. I even wrote a song once about knowing everyone by their feet – because I really did. My head was always down – sometimes looking for “treasures” (money, rocks, etc) – but in school – it was because I was shy. My parents were very loving and would “force” me to do things that they knew I would enjoy, even though I was deathly afraid (like going to camp where I didn’t know anyone, etc). I was so thankful they did that for me (and that God still does that to me!)!
I was afraid to speak my mind – even when it came to what I wanted for Christmas, sometimes. I was always second guessing myself – telling myself that it was too selfish to ask for certain things (because it would cost too much . . . we had 4 kids in the family, etc). But then I would get my feelings hurt when I saw my sister getting everything she asked for because she wasn’t afraid to ask. I was afraid that my opinion was stupid or didn’t really matter, afraid that people would laugh or make fun of me, etc. I was (and still am) very mercy-oriented, and always seemed to latch onto the underdogs, the hurting and the needy. I felt people’s pain, and took it on as my own. I was a very sensitive child and was hurt and disappointed easily and had some relationship issues with my dad that definitely affected me.
When we moved here, I went to public school. It was a shock to me and everything I had been used to coming from a Christian school. There were 2000 people in my Jr. High (more that my whole town in MN)! I wasn’t used to the cussing, the rudeness, the lack of love, the drugs and drinking, etc. However, I still had a heart for these hurting kids. One morning while waiting at the bus stop, a girl was telling me her problems with her boyfriend. My heart went out to her, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t really understand it all, and that broke my heart. I didn’t know how to help her. I got on the bus and looked out the window while I prayed “Lord – I really want to help these people – but I just don’t relate to them. I don’t understand what they are going through. Please help me to understand.”
That’s not the kind of prayer you want to pray casually! It’s kind of like praying for patience! It’s not just given to you!
From that day on – things changed. My life didn’t fall apart overnight, and I know the Lord didn’t make things happen or cause me to sin or fall into temptations. They were all my own choices. But through a series of experiences and situations – I definitely got “real life” training on how to relate to these kids in the world around me.
I spent a good portion of my 10th grade year very depressed and suicidal. Over the next couple years, I got somewhat involved in drinking and tried smoking for awhile (but decided, out of vanity – to quit because I didn’t want to ruin my “beautiful singing voice”! J). I did manage to stay away from drugs (mainly because of this one kid that always called me when he was high and telling me “man Lori – you’re so lucky . . .you have a dad who loves you!”. He just always sounded stupid on the phone and I, again out of vanity, (God will use anything!) didn’t want to kill my smart brain cells! . . . though – somehow that thinking didn’t translate over into drinking and other destructive behaviors too. Hmmm . . ).
I slowly continued down a path of discovery and self-destructive behaviors. This path wasn’t fueled by rebellion as much as it was really just a young, insecure girl looking for love and acceptance and willing to try new things. Yes, rebellion was there, but I just really wanted to feel loved and accepted more than anything (don’t we all?!). Shortly after high school, my boyfriend and I broke up for the last time. We had dated off and on for 4 years – he was my first real love, and we thought we would marry one day. That wasn’t the case. The relationship was over – but there never was really any closure to it. Because of where I was at in my life at that time (spiritually & emotionally - living a rebellious life and feeling unloved) – it just did me in and I totally gave up on life. I didn’t care what happened to me, to my body, to my life – everything. I was very good at lying (to the point I actually didn’t think there was anything wrong with what I was saying and I think I lied more than told the truth) – thus I lived a double life – a good little pastor’s kid in front of my parents and the church, but a different person internally, at work and around my “friends”. The lies and double life were killing me. Mentally I was a sliver away from heading down the path of alcoholism, and I had come to a place where I understood how someone ends up as a prostitute or living a very promiscuous life. I had so much self-hatred, low self-esteem, low self-worth, and lack of hope in my life, that I really didn’t care what happened to me, what someone did to me, and I just wanted to drown my misery away.
But . . . Even though I didn’t care . . . God did care! And He had a plan! Amazingly, He was still watching over me and had His hand on me.
Even though I was living a rebellious life, God still, somehow managed to convince me (more like – bombarded me with people all telling me the same thing!) to sign up to go to YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and do a 6 month DTS (Discipleship Training school) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Actually – I was just looking forward to escaping all my problems here and going to Europe and finding some great places to party and meet some cute boys! J That was MY plan. But . . . God had other plans!
When I was 18 and at the bottom of the pit – sliding towards what felt like Hell – I went to work one day. A quiet chef at the restaurant where I worked said hi and asked me how I was doing. I barely looked at him and said “You don’t want to know”. He continued talking to me and said “I do know Lori” and then he proceeded to tell me everything that I was struggling with and involved with that I didn’t think anyone knew about (including my involvement with a married man at that time). He then said something that opened my eyes and gave me hope – “Lori, the Lord must have some awesome plans for your life if the devil is working so hard to mess it up!” And that was all he said.
I walked away stunned. I couldn’t believe it. It was an epiphany to me. What? This wasn’t all my fault? I wasn’t so bad and such a total loser after all? I wasn’t too damaged beyond repair? Maybe God really does have something good for me. Maybe. . . . But . . . I was still just going to Europe to party. I’m not so sure about all this God stuff and living with a bunch of Christians – especially in an intense Christian “greenhouse” environment. We’ll see.
So, I left for Switzerland around Jan 1st or 2nd, 1990. But within 2 weeks - By Jan 16th – God had gotten hold of me! I was filled with the Holy Spirit and set free from so many things! I was happy, alive, free, and drunk in the love of the Lord! (and waking up happy without a hangover too!) I was a totally different girl! Many of my parent’s prayers were answered! I attribute much of my short stint in that pit of Hell to the prayers of my parents constantly being ushered up for me during my whole life! I know that is one of the main reasons I didn’t slide further down and away – and why I am still alive today! (So moms – PRAY for your kids!! It’s fighting battles in the spiritual world that we may never know about or see!)
At the end of my DTS, most everyone agreed that I had the most dramatic change in the first month from when I came. God literally saved my life – not just spiritually – but physically, mentally, emotionally, and in all ways!
That doesn’t mean I went on to live a perfect life. Not by any means. I still struggled with many of the same issues when I came back from YWAM (and even on my DTS some) – but God was and is still refining me – every day – every month – every year. I kept (and keep) holding onto the verses in Jeremiah 29:11-14a – “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity.”
Isn’t that an awesome promise?!
In YWAM, on a walk in the woods one day, God asked me, “What do you want Lori? You can have anything.” Of course – money always pops into my head. (I did always like money!) But - We had just had a wonderful woman speaker – Reona Joli – talk about her amazing adventures in faith – and I was so impressed by her strong faith – her unwavering faith – no fear – total reliance and dependence on God and His promises to her – even in the midst of danger! THAT’S what I wanted. I was tired of being so shy and unsure of myself. I was tired of not being able to fully speak my mind. I was tired of worrying about things. I wanted to be like that woman – a woman of faith. So that’s what I asked for.
And that’s what I got! J Again – watch out what you ask for! It didn’t happen overnight – but it’s been a process – a developing of perseverance – so that I may “be mature and complete – not lacking anything” as James says. I’ll be in this process my whole life. But the peace that has come, over the years, as I have trusted in the Lord and His words and promises to me – is something I would never want to lose! I can’t imagine living life without that peace! It didn’t come easy. I had many experiences that have truly tested my faith. But by “choosing” to believe in God (and not myself, my husband, my job, my circumstances, or even my feelings) – and allowing God the opportunity to “come through” and hold up His end of the deal – my faith has grown tremendously.
The last few years it seems like He’s been doing so much more in and through me– and I’ve been learning and grasping more and more of Him every day. I think I was too complacent for many years when I came back from YWAM. I kind of pulled back from God for a couple reasons – One was - that I didn’t know how to live in this world with the same passion and giftings that I had in YWAM in the midst of all the struggles and temptations here. And the secondly – I thought God was mad at me and couldn’t use me anymore (or for quite awhile) for some things I had done. I thought I had let Him down and wasn’t worthy anymore. But I’ve been learning over the last 8 years that that’s not true at all. God LOVES to use the unworthy! Look at who He used in the Bible – David (and adulterer and murderer – but he was “a man after God’s heart”), a donkey (how worthy is a donkey?), Paul (who was Saul and persecuted Christians), Moses (who was unsure about his speaking abilities and was a murderer), etc.
I am totally enjoying the journey God has me on now and I’m looking forward to what God has for me in the future with great anticipation and excitement!
So – this strong, woman of faith that you see today (or the bundle of mess you may see too) – is who I am . . . because of what I’ve been through, what God has done (and is still doing) in me, and what I have chosen to grasp hold of (and to ask for) and then put into practice!
I don’t even recognize the person I was in high school and college. I don’t even recognize the person I was 5-10 years ago. And I hope that in 5-10 years, I still don’t want to recognize this person now!
If you asked me what verse represents my life – where I came from and where I am now – it is Psalm 40:1-3
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”
Isn’t that awesome? He can take you and me out of the pit – clean us off and put us on a solid place to stand. And because of it all . . . others will “see . . . and put their trust in the Lord.” It’s by seeing where we have come from and what He has done - that they are led to Christ! How awesome is that?! God can use our JUNK for His glory and to bring others to salvation!
I love the Lord with all that is in me, because He saved me from all that was in me! I love much because I have been forgiven much. And I am continually being forgiven much!
I am not perfect. I know you are not perfect. God knows we are not perfect. And the enemy knows we are not perfect – yet he likes to try and rub it in our face! And yet, the amazing thing is . . . . God still loves us UNCONDITIONALLY!! (Just like we love our kids – even though we know they are not perfect! J ) And if we let Him, He is able to take our imperfections and refine us into something beautiful! Not just for Him to look at – but for others to see and to draw them to Him!
That’s all I want to be. A beautiful conduit for the Lord and His glory, power and love!
That’s it! That’s me! :)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
It is at the core of what God wants to say to each and every one of you! It is what this blog is all about as well . . . . helping you all to realize and grab hold of the abundant life that Christ died to give you!! I know you want it! So read this whole article that was posted on ElijahList today. Read it - and pray the prayer at the end . . . OUT LOUD! :) And then start living it . . . change your thinking . . . dig those wells back up and get to the deep pure water and drink it (I'm not the only one saying this to you! Read below!). . . . get into God's word and PUT IT INTO PRACTICE - just as James says in 1:22-25 -
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man that looks intenly into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."
Dig and drink deeper today!
It was a very short dream. As I woke up, I vividly remembered what I had seen. I was standing looking at someone. Was it the Lord? A voice said to me, "Your blood pressure is 197." I replied, "But I am not under stress." The voice responded, "It is about your thinking." I had absolutely no clarity about what that meant!
Over the next weeks, the dream often came back to my memory and I would ask those I was with, "Do you know what the dream means?" No satisfying answer came.
In October 2008, I made my third ministry trip to Australia. We were hosted by a church outside of the city of Sydney and enjoyed a wonderful two weeks of schools. This time, again, I was surprised by what transpired! Sudden impressions starting coming...
Before the school, the Lord had taught me how to stand behind a person and feel the "timeline" of the person. As I felt closer to the person's back, I could feel events early in their generational line; the further back away from the person I was, I felt further back in their generational line. There was a point behind them that I could actually feel a marked change and I realized that I was discerning the glory of the Lord and eternity; since that time, many others have confirmed that they could also feel the strong anointing of the presence of the Lord. New revelation was coming.
As I stood close to this point of eternity, I was able to discern the egg and sperm that formed the person. I could then feel the zygote, the first split into two cells and the split into four cells. Just after the feeling of "eternity," I discerned a scroll, which seemed to be the scroll written for the birthright of that person. I could also feel many spiritual beings assigned to the person. Just after the second split, I was surprised at the evil that I felt. It seemed to be some type of gate. As I discerned the gate, I asked others to describe what they saw. There was confirmation that evil had been inserted into the person's life just after conception. As we sought the Lord about this, we felt Him say that this was the insertion of the generational evil from the family line. Was I discerning "original sin"? Then I remembered my dream.
"It Is About Your Thinking"
"It is about your thinking." What thinking? My blood pressure was 197. Was there a key here? Revelation came. I thought, "Look up Job 19:7."
"If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard.
If I cry aloud, there is no justice."
Was this a clue? Then I thought, "Look up Psalm 19:7."
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;"
There it was! It is all about our thinking. What is our perspective of God? Generally, the world blames Him for all the difficulties of life. Supposedly, He is the source of all the evil in the world. "Why doesn't He intervene in my life? He is all powerful! Where is He when life goes bad? Why doesn't He help me in my need? In fact, maybe He is the one who is doing all this against me because I deserve it. But, what have I done to cause Him to hate me so much?" So, on and on our thinking goes.
We listen to others complain about God and we enter into agreement with them. Our pain is immense and we must find someone to blame. It must be God who is doing all this against me! It is a mindset established generations ago; in fact, a mindset originating in the Garden of Eden. The root is not in the Tree of Life, but in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We have "bought into" the wrong mindset! We have believed the lie that God is not good! Our presuppositions are all wrong. Our belief systems have been based on a lie! It is all about our thinking!
This is Where to Start: "He Is Good!"
Job had suffered much! Agony had overpowered him. The pain was immense. Who did he blame? Is God to be blamed for all the evil that has happened? No! It is my thinking that is all wrong. Second Chronicles 5:13 gives us the correct starting place for our thinking. This is the prerequisite to all that we believe. "...they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: 'For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.'" This is where I start! He is Good! If that is true, then the blame must go elsewhere. This is where the thinking must be corrected. It is the enemy that has deceived us into believing the lie about Who God is. It is our perverted thinking, mindset, and belief systems that have caused us to have an incorrect view of God.
During the last several years the Lord has told us, "Go back to the origin." What does that mean? The origin is the Garden of Eden. It is the place where the incorrect thinking originated. The Fall was never the Lord's intent. We have chosen the wrong way, the incorrect path. We have taken a wrong turn and gone our own way. We must go back to the origin. How? The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross has provided the only way.
Through His Blood shed on the Cross, we have the provision through acceptance in that sacrifice to return to the ancient path. "Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.'" We must take back the land, our birthright, given away to the enemy. We must come against the strongholds in the land of our inheritance and take back what the enemy has stolen.
"Return to the Ancient Pathways"
During the Sydney school, many words were received from the Lord that helped establish the foundation for this prayer. These words will be helpful in allowing you to understand the importance of this prayer.
Raylene about Australia: Right now, I feel very powerful angels all around you and us. One of them is saying: "This trip is very different than the others, Paul. Look for the differences; there will be many. They are the keys to the new path, the path in where you are to walk. I will show you the way. On this path, there is newness, more vision, more understanding, and deeper things. You will be outfitted for the warfare ahead. The battle rages, but you have the keys! We have been waiting for this time. We have been sent to help you find the path. Victorious victory! This is the time! Victory."
Andrew: "Courage, courage My son, for the times and the seasons will begin to unfold as My glory rises up from the well. You must yet mine the wells and you must get deep wells. In fact, all of you must have your wells dug. You must want the excavating work of the Spirit in your life, for at the bottom of the well there is a scroll and a path that goes deeper. Even as you would mine that well and beyond, there is another corridor and ancient path. My people have not walked this path before. You are traveling on holy ground. The ground below must be taken by you. Redeem the land."
Mimi: "Craft a prayer to set My people free. Craft a prayer to go through the grate, for the Lord is your head. The Lord goes before you. Change man's birthright for Australia. Establish God's birthright for this land, this people, for all future generations. The land was set to be desolate and forsaken. That is not My heart and not My will. Establish My will and My purpose for Australia. Call down the Kingdom for the will of God to be done."
Sally: "This is not a new plan. This plan has been on My heart since the foundation of the world. The passage of time has been moving toward this since the beginning of history. Carefully, I have placed each piece in place and I have built one thing upon another, for nothing is by accident, and I have called My people to pray. It is the prayers of My faithful ones that have laid the foundation. The ancient pathways are flowing with water. There are streams of living water following the ancient pathways. The river of God is flowing underground in the depths of the earth waiting to bubble up, bringing fresh life. The ancient pathways are pure. They carry pure water. Drink deeply of this water, the River of God that flows from My throne bringing life to everything it touches. Drink deeply from this well. Dig the wells to release the water."
Mimi: "Put on your full armor. You need protective gear to dig your wells. I will take you to areas you have never been before. You have gone up, and now you have to go down, down to the depths where you were secretly made. Go back in time to conception where you were intricately made and formed. Go there and retrieve. Retrieve what is yours; and I give you the secrets, the mysteries which are hidden in the depths. But, you must be fully armed and armored because it is a dark place, but I go with you."
Craig: "The fire must flow from the ancient pathways. Burn away to clear the chaff. The walls will crumble, and the way will be made new that My people may walk on the words of life, that they may see the glory of My sun as it rises about the land; that they may take My hand and walk with Me in the cool of day, in the rising of the sun and the coming moon.
"They will bow once again to Me, and the ground will cry out, Holy, Holy, Holy am I. All My ways are great. Who would question Me on the designs of My creation? Who will tell Me where to go and where to rest and where to rise and where to fall? For, I am the Lord; My word is forever, and I hold all things together.
"The very fabric of My thoughts, I have fashioned together that you might know Me and know yourself; that you might know love and walk without fear; and that you might break down the prison walls that life will flow from them. I have heard their cries and will answer them today. I am making a way and cutting down the tree. Step over it and come to Me."
Mimi: "Dig up the ancient wells. The ancient wells were buried treasures of Heaven. Remove the evil mindsets over the ancient wells. The ancient wells were put in place and the ancient paths have been polluted and stopped up because I was rejected. The Word of God was rejected, so these ancient wells were stopped up. Go deep, deep, deep into the ancient wells, for that is where My Glory wants to bubble up, rise up and surface."
Bruce and Irene: "The mines are Mine. Great wealth is coming. It is not man's wealth; it is His provision, His treasure. The wealth is in the people. Go low; go low; prostrate yourself before Me. Seek; seek My light, My path. Only the humble will enter, but the righteous shall live by faith. Open the eyes of your spirit. Seek Me with all your heart."
Amybeth: "Since time began, My heart has yearned for those who would seek Me for these truths. My heart has yearned for the day that I might restore to My people the intimacy of My heart. I have wept for the obstacles that remain between My heart and My children, for I am indeed your Abba Father and I long to embrace you in a way you have never known and in a way you have never come. The ancient pathways will lead you to a secret place, a place of intimacy and joy and connection. My heart grieves for My children who, although they know Me, have been kept back from Me. Break through the grate by your words, wisdom and declarations that come from the throne of God. I send My witnesses. I send My authority. I send My Son, for the words that I send forth from this day will change the pathways. It is time."
It is time to change our thinking!
Prayer to Release into Abundant Life
I repent for myself and all those in my generational line who blamed God for wronging them.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line for blaming God for bringing them into shame by stripping them of their glory and removing their crown from their head.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who blamed God for surrounding them with His net, destroying them, and demolishing them on every side, thus destroying their hope.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who blamed God for being their enemy, and blamed God for being furious with them and sending troops against them, or troops to build up pathways to attack them, and to camp all around their bodies and dwelling places. I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line for blocking and walling up their way and plunging their path into darkness.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line for having a fearful and unbelieving heart that caused us to depart from the way of holiness. I ask for the restoration of the ancient path where gladness and joy overtake me. I embrace my birthright to walk knowing the Lord.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line for using ungodly wisdom where we have been operating out of futile mindsets trying to work things out by ourselves. I choose, Lord, to work out of Your knowledge of understanding, wisdom, and discernment. I choose to work with You, Lord, to change my ways so that I can walk the ancient paths established before the Fall. I choose to walk in Your healing and allow Your strength, which flows from your life-giving water.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who used their God-given physical and spiritual senses in ungodly ways and chose to operate only from their natural mind. Lord, please break off all the iniquity that flowed from those decisions to ignore Your mind, heart, and will. Lord, please remove all iniquity from my God-given senses.
I ask You, Lord, to restore my ability to use all of my senses to discern Your mind, heart and will.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who blamed God for removing friends, family, and employees from them and for turning people against them so that they are despised and hated to the point of death.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who blamed God's hand for striking them and persecuting them.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who wished that their accusations against God and their suffering could be recorded forever in stone.
Lord, I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line for not looking for Your path and Your ways. I repent for not being willing to walk on Your path and therefore finding no rest for my soul.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who believed that God was withholding good from them and believed that they could become like God, knowing good and evil.
I repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who rejected the law of the Lord and the testimony of His Spirit, departing from His wisdom and truth and entering the kingdom of their own soul.
I renounce and repent for myself and for those who relied on the knowledge of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I repent for those who relied on their own thinking.
I renounce and repent for myself and for all those in my generational line who forsook the Lord, the Fountain of Living Water, and created for themselves broken cisterns that could hold no water.
I reject receiving by my ancestors and myself the seed of satan in our mind that began with the fall of man and believing the lie that we could become like God.
I renounce and repent for my ancestors and myself for rejecting our birthright of being children of the Most High God and relying upon Him.
I renounce and repent for my ancestors and myself for conceiving satan's evil seed, mischief, trouble, and the preparation of deception, which birthed iniquity and evil intent in our generational line.
Lord, please remove and seal the access the enemy gained in the womb to take us into ungodly heavenly places.
Lord, please remove and restore to me by the Blood of Jesus any elemental part of me, including my inheritance and birthright, that is trapped in the second heaven or heavenly places. Lord, please close the ungodly doors to the second heaven.
I repent for myself and all those in my family line who relied upon the natural wisdom of man and rejected the Spirit of God. I choose to rely on the precepts of truth and the Spirit of God to give me the mind of Christ to direct my mind on the righteous pathway.
I reject the wisdom of man, and I repent for the pride in my family line that saw the wisdom of God as foolishness. I declare that I will be born of the Spirit and of water through Jesus Christ who calls me justified and glorifies me. I declare this truth was established before the foundation of the earth and before the elemental spirits were created.
I claim my spiritual birthright of being conceived in love, of being given the Spirit of God who reveals wisdom to me, and of being given spiritual eyes in my heart to see the riches of His glorious inheritance. I claim that I am being formed in the image of His glorious Son. I reject the seed of satan and I reject my position as a child of the father of lies and murder. I ask You, Abba Father, to close the eyes that were open when Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
I renounce and reject any ungodly rights or authorities that were given to the soul to direct my mind along ungodly pathways.
I agree with God's original plan that all spiritual wisdom of good and evil originates from God's throne and is revealed to my spirit. I agree that the Holy Spirit has permission to direct my spirit and to lead my soul and body. I receive the seed of the Holy Spirit into my spirit by which power I cry Abba, Father.
Lord, on behalf of myself and my family line, I repent for questioning God's Word and therefore inviting the influence of Leviathan, the king of pride, into my life.
Lord, I choose to be directed by Your commandments so that You might enlarge my heart.
I declare that my Redeemer lives, and while I am yet alive, I will see God for myself with my own eyes.
I declare that my hope is in You, my Redeemer. I ask You now to restore the ancient pathways to me and shine Your light on me so that I can see You with my eyes. I ask You to restore my stolen birthright back to me, my glory and my crown.
Father, I thank You that before You formed me in my mother's womb, You had pre-determined my birthright, the path of glory I should walk in.
On behalf of myself and my generational line, I repent for and renounce rejecting the truth that You formed my inmost being, and You wrote all the days pre-ordained for me in Your book before they came to be.
Father, on behalf of myself and my generational line I repent for and renounce rejecting the ancient path that You have chosen for me to walk in.
Father, on behalf of myself and my generational line, I repent for and renounce listening to and aligning my thinking with the wicked. Lord, I reject them and their pursuit of bloodlust.
Father, I declare that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that You will lead me in the way everlasting. I declare that all Your works are wonderful.
Lord, I agree with Your Word, which says that the weapons of my warfare are not carnal but mighty through You to the pulling down of strongholds. I choose to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and I choose to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Lord, would You release the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit to restore me to the path of holiness. Lord, please cause Your Perfect Love to run through my entire being, casting out all fear. I ask the Lord to repair or replace any part of my brain or neural pathway required to establish attachment with My Heavenly Father and fellow man.
Lord, would You cause me to dwell in the Secret Place of the Most High. I declare my birthright is to walk with Abba Father in the garden where I hear His voice and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. I believe that Jesus Christ appropriated this intimacy for me when He ripped the veil in the Holy of Holies. Lord, I repent for my generational line that tried to earn by works that which You had given freely by grace. Lord, please now usher me into that place of rest and perfect peace.
Dr. Paul L. Cox
Scriptures to meditate on and study:
Job 19:6-26; Isaiah 35; Jeremiah 6:16; Psalm 19:7; Jeremiah 2:13; Job 15:35; 1 Corinthians 2:15; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 1:8; John 8:44; Job 41:34; Psalm 119:32; Job 19:25-26; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6