Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hate Mail (and what to do with it)

Recently, I went through a few days of being consumed with myself.  I allowed insecurity over my character, relationships and circumstances to dominate me....Jack Frost says in Experiencing Father's Embrace that our sin struggles serve as the best kind of encouragement for others when we have victory over them 51% or more of the time....how wise.  So don't worry.  I'm on the other side of this one :-)  It's always a word of the Lord and submission to His revelation that brings healing.

For those of us who want to share about God, our calling is pretty simple.  We could talk about His love and mercy over and over again using the same vocabulary, and if we are truly friends of God, the Holy Spirit will take those words and reveal a new facet of God's unfailing love every time we speak.  God always comes after us, even when we are too preoccupied with ourselves to experience our reality in the center of His love.  Anyway, God came for me in the middle of my self-focus, as He has done so often and will do again and again for me.  He interrupted that particular day's downward spiral by asking me not to read my "hate mail".  That got my attention.  Yah, God does talk to us that way, but I asked Him again just to be sure and I heard Him confirm and expand my perspective.

See, when I think about hate mail, I realize it comes in an envelope, in my heart and soul mail box every day....and then I have a choice whether or not I open it.  If I open accusation and hate, I advance it to demean my entire being: body, soul and spirit.  Mail has to be broken open, pulled out and unfolded before it can be read.  Funny thing about the thief.  He has to find an envelope, buy a stamp and go to the post office in tries to get to our spirits. God says in His word that we know the difference between His voice and incoming evil, even before we make a choice which way we're going. We've been lied into thinking that we are incompetent of making the distinction between our Shepherd and the thief.  Believers in Jesus, God speaks directly to us from His habitation in our spirit.  It can become like peaceful second nature to hear our Shepherds voice, but it will never be that way with the voice of our enemy.  When he speaks and we listen a part of us will always know that we still feel incomplete, that we are starting to feel worse, that we've compromised with a counterfeit who has no true tenderness for the vulnerability of our hearts.

God said that day to me, "Can we just not read your hate mail today....I'm coming in through the love gate." I remembered that the mail will be delivered, and it may be full of insults, punishment and offense.  Some of it may even be garbage the thief is trying to pass over on me about other believers--Members and parts of one and the same body of Christ.  God's heart in speaking this way to me was to relieve me of a burden of satanic condemnation and sorrow.  He was reminding me that there will only be one way He will ever come into my world. He will be consistently bringing life I can see worked out.  I will get used to loving His voice for the life He produces and have peace in trusting His faithful words as He works in me without betrayal.  We are never asked to turn our hearts over to robbery, but to refuge.
I threw the mail in the "trash" and decided I could do without it.....shredding works too.
Open wide the love gate.

"Truly, truly I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers....I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly...the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
John 10

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kierkegaard on God's heart at Christmas

We belong in the center of God's bigger-than-us, completely free and un-controlling love this season.

Any claim of love without the sacrifice of vulnerability--the possibility of pain and sense of reality--would be hollow and suspect, but God's love is so open hearted, so available. He is the love that is tangible and steadfastly generous when everything else in our life fails and especially when we are broken. We can be real with God's love. He has accepted us to the absolute end of all our emotions and all of our choices.

Philippians 2

"The child born in the night among beasts. The sweet breath and steaming dung of beasts. And nothing is ever the same again.
Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man...For those who believe in God, it means, this birth, that God himself is never safe from us, and maybe that is the dark side of Christmas, the terror of the silence. He comes in such a way that we can always turn him down, as we could crack the baby's skull like an eggshell or nail him up when he gets too big for that." --Kierkegaard

"Ironically, while the emptying involved much humiliation, it also involved a kind of freedom. I have spoken of the "disadvantages" of infinity. A physical body freed Christ to act on a human scale, without those "disadvantages." He could say what he wanted without his voice blasting the treetops. He could express anger by calling King Herod a fox or by reaching for a bullwhip in the temple, rather than shaking the earth with his stormy presence. And he could talk to anyone--a prostitute, a blind man, a widow, a leper--without having first to announce, "Fear not!"--Yancey

Saturday, October 29, 2011

John 9: When Jesus heard...He went and found him.

SOAK IN THE TRUTH--- Let’s just start talking about the Love of God!As we do this our hearts will be presented with the truth that we can be receiving more love…honestly, who doesn’t want more love? We all do, even if we don’t know or admit it.
We are here meeting to encounter the love of God. There’s no other reason we do anything that we do. The revelation of His love to our hearts, and our hearts in turn opening up and receiving a transformational encounter with His love is everything. I believe there is a desperation building in hearts to experience the love of God, and to live out who we are in Christ and God will honor that desperation. So we are in a good place.
The Flame of Love Picture

1.) A few weeks ago at the SLG Trev and I go to (we love to just sit in God’s presence and worship and pray together—like we are doing tonight) God was speaking word after word about His love for us. We truly had a revelatory encounter with God’s love during this meeting. With each scripture and word each person was sharing we really felt God wanting to put our attention completely on the love He has for us.
During this time I saw a picture of a fire in the middle of a pitch black night. I saw many people around the fire and they were all standing spread out in different places. Some were standing very close to the fire—even close enough to warm their hands—and some were standing far off from the fire. The Lord showed me that the fire is His love and He invites us to press in close to His love to get warm and be healed. He showed me that sometimes we are afraid to come into His love, especially when we are hurting, because we are afraid He is going to be unfaithful to us, or harsh with us, but really what He wants to do is draw us close to His heart flame of LOVE, and warm and comfort our pain.
Graham Cooke (a preacher I love to listen to): “Just in case we are not convinced that God is kind” (lets read His word on it—LOL—imagine that ;-) :
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:17-19
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
Psalm 147:2-4 (in Context)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me (Isaiah prophesying about Jesus), for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1-3
There is nothing about a broken-hearted person getting wounded more deeply for running to God’s heart.
Psalm 51: 17
The sacrifices of God (or the sacrifices that please Him) are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
This is the LOVE the Lord revealed to the blind man He healed in John 9. Jesus arranged a LOVE ENCOUNTER with him and led this man through it so beautifully and tenderly…when I saw the love and the follow-through and care of God in this passage my heart was forever changed.
Blindness was this man’s world identity—but Jesus was about to meet him and completely change his life with love.
John Chapter 9 Verse 1-end of chapter
I especially love this passage in the Message...
John 9:1
*I love the way right away God’s word exposes the influence the religious (performance) mindset had on the disciples thinking in the disciples’ question for Jesus, and we are so often effected by this same spirit and mindset even today, so it’s important that we compare religion and relationship(which is what Jesus is offering) here for a minute.
*Spirit of Religion can be described as: measuring worth by performance, having to earn God’s love, having to act out hard work and rules and regulations in order to be close to God
*Some damaging effects of religion are alienation from God’s love (because we don’t measure up) and self-emphasis and effort which ending in failure and increasing in sin and inability to receive God’s love
*Religion always will ask the questions, who’s fault is this? and where does the blame fall?
*Religion always alienates us from God and from people (because there’s no way any of us could ever be perfect) If we are always setting up that standard of self-effort and in any way not allowing God to cover us and reconcile us, we are basically making ourselves be alone in that part. Any part of us we believe can function without receiving the love of God is a place we have cut ourselves off. It’s a crazy thing, but sometimes we can actually make ourselves be alone, and it will seem like it’s everyone else’s fault.
*There's a flip side Jesus presents to the disciples...
and definitely not to be too hard on the disciples, because their questions, unlike the Pharisees, were honest, and even followers of Jesus need to ask the wrong questions sometimes, but honest questions are always safe with Jesus and always needed for growth. In essence, Jesus was working with them to shift their perspective of what His heart truly was for the situation.
*By doing this shift with them Jesus was drawing them into a a heart of relationship instead of religion, and relationship always draws us in and connects us.
*When we receive God’s love, we will find ourselves naturally flowing into deeper connection with people in the Spirit without even knowing it. That’s why we always want to look at our own relationship with God first before we look at anything else anyone is doing. It just doesn’t work the other way around. Our personal love encounter with God is our #1 priority!!!!
Let’s look at Jesus’ answer….. LOOK INSTEAD FOR WHAT GOD CAN DO!!!
this is not about accusation!!!--blame
Don’t look at sin in yourself or in the world!!! Look to the love of God!!!! In this man’s trouble….his blindness…look for God to come through! Other translations say, “this happened to him so that God’s work (and all His works are done completely in a heart of love) could be shown.”
The pool of Siloam—Siloam means SENT
* I believe God prophetically wants us to see this man’s story through the eyes of destiny and God releasing a testimony of destiny through Him,
I think it is very interesting that the pool God had Him wash to be healed in was called “Sent”.
This is a WORD for some in this room!!!:
God doesn’t deal with us in stages of arrival. He empowers us and activates us in His Kingdom through our whole life process with Him.
The man went and washed and he saw”….
“Soon the town was buzzing”
And I love John’s account, because all through this you can really feel the tension between the accusation and alienation of religion and God’s pursuit for a free love encounter with this man now healed.
We on this earth will feel that tension----BUT GUESS WHO WINS?!
Our response to that tension is what matters here.
Are we going to be looking for what God can do?
Are we going to be declaring what God can do?
Are we going to stand up to accusation and refuse to accuse and choose to be loved and love?

The stand-out response

The Man said, “It’s Me!”…
Ok, Here’s the stand-out response God is looking for.
You can always tell a person who has encountered God and truly received God’s love because one of the things that will happen in a person touched by Jesus, is that they will have no fear about standing up for the love of God and declaring what God has done!
They will literally run right over the top of pride and performance because measuring up simply doesn’t matter anymore. The testimony of their encounter will just come out! You know, God’s love poured into a person who’s receiving can’t be stopped.
That person instantly is going to say—here am I send me!!!
Jesus I owe you everything.

It’s not always easy when we stand for God’s love.
“They marched the man to the Pharisees”
(some versions say they “reviled” him because he was speaking the truth about what Jesus had done for him.)
“There was a split in their ranks”
Here we can still see that tension happening between religion and relationship.
When a love encounter with God is being made know and transformation of lives is happening, there’s always that choice: shut-down or desperation and the hope that goes with it
Remember: hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5)
“…anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place”
“They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us! (Or, how dare you teach us)
*Very often when God is doing a destiny work and healing in ourselves and the lives of loved ones and breakthrough is happening as we are catching real glimpses of what it would mean to be free to live as we were made to live and be in Christ,
*this is the time we can expect to meet with very real spiritual opposition. We can learn to recognize when God’s destiny is being released and not be surprised at attacks.
*We just continually pray the truth of God’s love over our own hearts and speak that same truth over the lives of our friends walking alongside us.
*There is an encouraging, loving and kind way to say anything to anyone, and the Word of the Lord will always be kind.
*Religion will always accuse. Recognize the condemnation of accusation as satanic (completely foreign to God's heart), refuse to speak or believe accusation towards another person (no matter who they are or what they have done) and refuse to accept accusation (condemnation) as the truth about you. "Our battle is not against flesh and blood"...


The Crux—in these 3 little words—Jesus found him.

“Jesus heard that they had thrown Him out, and went and FOUND him.”
(Let it sit…………say it again maybe…….)
Jesus follows through on the desperation in this man’s life by sealing a work of belief in Him, and the man ends the encounter confessing Christ as His Lord.
Belief and love go together. To believe in God is to receive His love.

You know, our pain is only with us until we see our need for God in those areas and we open our hearts to receive His love.

God does not have a heart to inflict pain on us to teach us a lesson
We’ve all heard and may at one point or another even bought into the Christian-ese cliché about asking God to teach us patience and then having to stand in a line at Starbucks the next day for 40 minutes….As if God would work with us in so narrow a way…..
He is longing for us to look for what He is going to do to encourage us in our struggle, and what He is going to do is always good, always loving, always kind.
2 Chronicles 16:9
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Romans 5 The Message so beautifully supports this love encounter Jesus has for us. It is precious to read!

That our hearts would be open to receive the specific and personal love encounters God is pursuing us with right now.
Heavenly Father, I pray a blessing of revelation of God’s love on us and great courage to receive God’s love even in the most dark and desperate places of hearts. I pray great hope and expectancy that God’s love began being poured out at the moment we invited Him into our hearts and continues to be poured out in us by the Holy Spirit today….
that God’s love would become the perspective through which we view our lives.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The World and Choices

Reading Disappointment With God by Philip Yancey, and being deeply mentored by the Spirit. Some things God is revealing of His heart are breaking my heart again.

In the very act of giving us choice, God sacrificed Himself. He knew He would not leave us, and the pain of our choices would be His as well. The ultimate heart of a free and loving Papa.

Isaiah 63: 4b-5
"...And My year of redemption has come. I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So my own arm brought salvation to me, And my wrath upheld me."

Isaiah 63: 7
"I will make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, According to all that the Lord has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, "Surely, they are my people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them all the days of old."

Isaiah was dreaming, seeing, asking questions of God; Israel was being taken by the Assyrians. At that time it seemed unavoidable--even logical--to blame God for physically visible destitution. Through struggle Isaiah received God's heart-dream of salvation. Instead of separating Himself from God he served the launching of God's passion and provision, making history. I read this morning that it has been recorded and accepted that Isaiah may have been the one Hebrews refers to being "sawn in two" because he would not worship idolatrously (Halley's p. 285). His vision of the love of God's heart had blinded Him to all else.

Hebrews 11:32-38
"And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground."

In this world, we can't expect to stand on a foundation of fairness, but God--alive in eternity--is kind and good, with a heart of equality, dignity and respect, so we have been given chances to make a difference here. Our focus should not be whether or not things are fair in this life, but instead how much salt and light we can spread with the mercy we are given.

Time and mercy are intrinsically linked throughout God's story of us (Yancey, p.91).

On Earth every stand for the mind-bending goodness that flows from God is a sacrifice and the Holy Spirit teaches and comforts us through our allotted surrenders. Our world is numbed in it's ability to recognize and receive true goodness. We can trust God with the balance of the universe we live in and never be surprised with difficulty here. We live powerfully with heavenly authority amidst a great resistance. One way or another, when faith is our conduit, we overcome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


God, please tell me I am getting somewhere, I am accomplishing something. If there is one thing that might fringe on making me crazy at this moment, I think it would be to realize I had accomplished nothing--wasted my life and lived for myself. Have I forsaken the Kingdom? (I spew this type of worry when I begin to let performance define me.)

As Chambers writes in "The Ministry of the Unnoticed", not all Christian disciples can be Peter or the Apostle Paul, but that in no way disqualifies their fervency or sincerity, because they were not central, not visible at the lead. (There must have been hundreds of completely sincere disciples besides the twelve.)

Over and over again I see God as a Shepherd of Shepherds, A Servant of All. I know this can mean any number of things, but most of all Jesus was a servant. He was not a gatherer of the public eye. He was not popular in the sense that we know the word.

His life was made less than anything, though He had everything. I want to learn this humility, because it means rest; the rest that will carry me through being seen and unseen, as the Lord's will takes me.

No, I do not think Jesus is sympathetic with my perceived lack of popularity, or the opportunities I want to make fit that pass by me. I think these surface quandaries lead the way to His heart, so there is no obsession or reason to live other than knowing Him. There are no eyes that must see me any certain way. Least of all my own, and what I wanted for my own life has been forgotten a long time ago (I declare what all I dream of forgetting.)...in order for His dreams to take me. What I do or do not do does not so much matter. The way I love Him matters. If I lived in a jail cell, physically doing nothing but loving Him with my whole heart, my life would still not be wasted. In fact, love within limitations all the more shows the freedom He has given me to give myself to Him.

I am not deciding today to do any certain thing or start an particular work or project. I hear from God it will be more than sufficient to love Him and see what happens.

Matthew 5:3
Blessed are the poor in Spirit/Chambers pg. 661
"Literally: Blessed are the paupers in Spirit" (A pauper is exceedingly common place.) The average type of preaching emphasizes strength of will, beauty of character--the things that can easily be noticed. The phrase "Decide for Christ" which we so often hear is too often an emphasis on the thing our Lord never trusted. Our Lord never asks us to decide for Him, He asks us to yield to Him--A very different matter. At the basis of Our Lord's Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the common place."

For those of us who look at those in the lead and wonder why we ourselves have not been placed in similar positions, we must wrestle with this ambition and jealousy, overtake it, and allow God to put into our own hands our own destiny. Truly, we would not be happy living someone else's. In short, at the root of my struggle with the mundane is my rebellion against God and my unwillingness to accept His precise goodness in His placement of the times of my life. The idea Chambers expresses is that to abort our divine pathway with God in order to steal someone else's or conjure up our own, would plunge us into un-Christlikeness, as opposed to an immersion in His presence--the cure for every antsiness known to man.

What was the last thing God asked me personally to do, no matter how "small"? He assures me,there is no lack of power in any act of love.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Risk it for Jesus

"Compassion breaks through social structure. When you stand for me (Jesus) and my heart for someone, you stand inside me. People don't see you they see me. This is why it is so important to leave self effort behind, because when you are within me you have different protection and freedom. You are operating in an uncharted range of effectiveness lifted so far beyond the way this world works. You will access in my Spirit great receptiveness to my presence as you stand with people. Religion might point and say these people will corrupt you, but when you are inside of me and allow my acceptance to be released through you, these people will be relieved by the chance to be consumed in Love. Do not be afraid to be vulnerable, to risk for my Spirit."

I was hearing this and at the same time wrestling with being a woman and being called to reach out to absolutely whomever God asks me to, regardless of any social standing. Now I'm not talking about doing stupid stuff and putting ourselves in dumb situations, obviously...common sense is a great gift from God. But there are safe, real and healthy times when God will ask me to push the envelope. To express compassion even though it seems like I shouldn't be the one doing it. Like someone else should--just to be on the safe side. Well, not everyone will have the impression of the great compassion of God all the time during prayer. What if it's me? Am I going to sit on my hands? Mary Magdalene "shouldn't" have been the one anointing Jesus' feet. Jesus "shouldn't" have been the one speaking to the woman at the well. The Samaritan "shouldn't" have helped the man on the road. The risks we take for Jesus greatly glorify Him. A God of "shouldn'ts". All our shouldn'ts are the points over which God turns on the spigot of the miraculous...the spigot of Love pouring into lives. God honestly doesn't see man or woman when He looks at us. He sees His image. He made us with our identity of course, and He planned us this way for reasons, of course. But if we always hold onto our world's standards for what our identity should look like, we don't get to soar in that place with Jesus where nothing matters but the heart and the moment. We instantly recoil from that place because it seems so vulnerable (not to mention way to easy and simple). In reality, there's so much protection for us there. We have no idea how much. A soft heart is a strong heart, an invincible heart. A heart so infused with God it becomes made up of heavenly stuff. Different cells. Crazy talk? There are people all over the world dying for Jesus, and they're not doing it because they decided to be strong enough to prove a point. They're doing it for Love, not Romeo and Juliet love. That's diminished. No this is LOVE. (Luke 7:36-50) This woman was messed up and she poured expensive, expensive perfume on Jesus and rubbed it in with her hair and mingled it with her tears. She was loved. She knew she was loved. She knew Jesus was loved by the Father. She knew He was Love in love's very essence. She and Jesus had no qualms about loving in front of Pharisees. What if this woman would have unhealthfully attached herself to Jesus? (Because isn't that what we're all so afraid of?) He's God. I'm pretty sure He would have perfectly walked her through it. Why are we embarrassed and afraid for Him? He doesn't need our guidance or help. As we take risks (in a heart of common sense) are we confident in our God? Does He know how to walk with people? If so then He knows how to walk with us, and our pure risks produce beyond measure. There are some things we don't have to always qualify.

I'm challenged to stop saying I will never know God's love...I will never get it. In my own life I see I have sometimes construed a portion of Ephesians to be a really comfy exit strategy. "I'm exempt from understanding and living out God's love because I'll never be able to know it."
The Word says more than that. God says that He can give us power to "grasp" His love, though it's beyond mental nailing down. So if I'm after the heart of God more than making sense out of Him in my head, my ideas about love will shift and I will encounter more relationship with Him.
Everything Jesus did was a revelation of God's love for people, and they got it! He went into their hearts and they were fully able to receive Him. I believe we can prepare to be surprised by the capacity for love and true compassion God will give us. If we don't have, maybe we just forgot to ask, because Jesus is willing! (Yes, it's Scriptural).

Ephesians 3:14
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives it's name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled with all the measure of all the fullness of God."

Even though we can't "ask or imagine", ALL the measure of ALL the fullness of God is ours. And we don't have to worry. Our perfect God can perfectly handle a bunch of Spirit-filled risk takers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

He Can be Trusted!

"For I tell you that Christ (the Messiah) became a servant and a minister to the circumcised (the Jews) in order to show God's truthfulness and honesty by confirming (verifying) the promises given to our fathers. And also in order that the Gentiles (nations) might glorify God for His mercy (not covenanted) to them. As it is written, Therefore I will praise You among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name. Again it is said, Rejoice (exult) O Gentiles, along with His (own) people; And again, Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise Him!"
Romans 15: 8-11 Amplified

Here is a God who gives. Knowing our history, I read this and am completely astounded again by God. He keeps His word (especially though fought against) to show Himself completely truthful, honest, faithful and committed to us. Then, as if that weren't enough, He pours out mercy even in places He never bound Himself. What a revelation that God does not feel obligated to us, nor does He move or love out of obligation,manipulation or force. He is a Lover. He doesn't deny His own perfectly holy passion. Lively committment is His entire being, and thanks to God, we get in on all the enjoyment! We enjoy Him, He enjoys us....Joy all around....and glory all around.