November 30, 2006

Your Fragrant Groom Awaits...

I don't know about you - but I am a very scent-ual person!

A mere scent of something specific can stir up memories of nostalgia or romance, or childhood in an instant! I have a Wedding Day perfume... I don't wear it often - but I do wear it on purpose... and on my Anniversary - always... Whenever I smell it, it brings me back to that day. I love to wear all kinds of perfumes... I used to have one signature perfume... but I like to mix it up! I also LOVE LOVE LOVE scented candles and lotions and potions... to me, a good scent helps to set a mood! This will all tie in nicely in the end, you will see!

Tuesday morning, on my way to Prayer - I asked the Lord why I was not really feeling 'oh so festive' yet... Normally I am nearly done with all the madness and can sit back and enjoy the season... anyway - He simply referred me to Psalm 19. the Psalms. So, when I arrived to the meeting, I opened up my Bible and read through this Psalm. Verse 7-11 really stood out to me. This is what they say:

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes. The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is Your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward."
(Ps 19:7-11 Amplified)

Isn't that good!? It is a very familiar portion of Scripture for me... but how just like my God to lead me here... when I am distracted by the ever-growing list of things that will need to get done in the next few weeks. I am a fairly laid back person. I love the ribbons and bows of the Holidays! But I do not want to feel like I HAVE to do them! I was reminded of a word of prophecy that was once spoken over me... at the time it cracked me up - but many times since then - I have relished in it! Someone once prayed over me and shared that "It came without ribbons, and it came without bows..." He went on to quote a bit more of that children's verse... and he added, "But it came! It CAME!" He went on to say that as much as I like the ribbons and bows - those are not necessary because the Glory of God is in me... what people want... what they MUST HAVE... is in me! Now - I share that humbly - knowing that what is in me, is also in you! Ah - there is such freedom in remembering that the glory of God resides in us... as my dear friend Sheri reminded us this week - God, Emmanuel, IS with us - always! Not just during the holidays - but always!

So - back to Ps 19. The law of the LORD is perfect... The testimony of the LORD is sure... The statutes of the LORD are right... The commandment of the LORD is pure... The fear of the LORD is clean... The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether... When we seek to decorate our hearts and homes with these things first... the word continues on and says that by them we are 'warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed)' ... and in keeping them - there is Great Reward! Isn't that what we truly want this time of year?! This season is not all about the gifts and the presents and the hoopla - we all tell our kids that... and we mean it! But who doesn't love that perfect, thoughtful, gift!? Who doesn't desire a Great Reward? One version says it this way, "There's more: God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure."

As I was meditating on this portion of Scripture - the Lord had me flip in my Bible to another portion of Scripture that is Oh So familiar to me! Song of Solomon 5:2-8. I love this passage and have fed upon it time after time after time! As I was reading this passage, someone else was talking about the traditions of men and how we tend to pull them out especiallyt hsi time of year, and how we tend to hold on to them. I then heard the Lord say, "Have you not seen? Do you not know? The Glory of the Lord has risen upon you!"

Immediately I saw in the spirit a Faceless Bride - no longer in a radiant white dress, but it was dingy, and looked as if the dress itself was disappointed and let down... left at the altar, yet again. The Bride looked tired... tired of waiting... tired of standing there having yet another "Groom" not Show Up, not Step Up, not Come Through...

Then I heard Jesus - her Real Bridegroom - ask her, "Why? Why do you keep seeking - when you have already found? They will ALWAYD pale in comparison to Me... They will never be all you need them to be." Then I saw her again, eyes downcast to the empty space beside her, face vacant, heart wounded, and I saw Jesus - in a Groom's attire - standing behind her, waiting. waiting for her to Look Up, Step Back, and Lay Herself on that empty altar... to lay down her own expectations and lists of requirements that she strives to find in Man. His eyes are not downcast - they are piercing to her very soul and dripping over with Love. As she crumples on the floor in despair, she sees Him, and wonders why He is not coming to her. But, He needs her to lay herself down in Surrender, not Despair! I can see His heart is aching for her... He longs to pick her up - yet again... and carry her. He will - I can see that one day - He will... but this day - He simply reaches out to her and touches her hand. As their hands touch, I can see oil dripping down their arms.

The next 'scene' is literally the Song of Solomon chapter 5:2-8.

I saw that faceless Bride - still unwed... yet longing for her groom... "I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved!"

Jesus comes to her door... "He knocks, saying, “ Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.”

The Bride sits up and answers Him, "I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again?" She had had another long and weary day - she had followed the Law and done the Works and still - went to bed lonely and alone. "I have washed my feet; How can I defile them?" she asked. She was tired... didn't He know?! Why couldn't He have come to the Altar when she was ready and waiting... She seemed to remember an urge to place herself up on the altar that day - and yet she washed that thought away and continued to wait besides the altar for her answered prayer. She then realized that, all the while, her 'answered prayer' was there - at the altar, waiting for her! Why had she gone looking for another - when He was the answer to every question? She knew better... and yet - she had fallen back into that old routine. It was not that He was not enough - it was that she was not surrended... not completely.

Her beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, And her heart yearned for him. The Bride arose to open for her beloved, And her hands dripped with myrrh, her fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the lock.

I recall studying about this and reading that, back in the day, this was like a suitors Calling Card. He would leave a scent behind. Instead of stopping in and leaving his cell number, he would drench his hands in scented oil and so whenever his beloved would return - she would smell him and know that he was there! WAY more romantic than a phone number, don't you think?

Anyway - the Bride went and opened for her beloved,

Song of Solomon goes on to say "...But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls Took my veil away from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, That you tell him I am lovesick!"

You see, in the midst of our Traditions of Man and all the lists of things to do and gifts to buy... our Fragrant Groom awaits... He is patient and loving and kind... He is with us - wherever we go and whatever we are doing. He desires US... more than anything we can do FOR Him - He calls us to Him in the midst of this season and asks not for us to do MORE... but to simply BE with Him! How often have each one of us looked for a 'Groom' to fulfill that which only Christ Himself can fill in us. We come with our list of requirements and our high expectations and we look to Man and - almost always - we are left at the altar, alone... disappointed. However, in His great mercy He is there - just standing by - waiting for sweet surrender... waiting for us to break protocol, to be willing to soil our feet and put on our robe again, and run to Him when we catch a scent of His Fragrant Love!

Great Rewards? Oh yes... Hidden treasures? I know it is so!

I pray that as you enter in to December and all that this month may hold for you - you will find joy in the truths of Psalm 19. I pray that there will be joy as you prepare your heart and your home... prepare Him room in all you do, and know that your Bridegroom rejoices over you! I pray that in the midst of all your running around, all your serving and shopping... I pray you will take a moment here and there and close your eyes, stop and pray, worship Him... O Come let us adore Him... meditate, think... I am praying that you will be able to smell His Heavenly cologne and know that He is Emmanuel - God WITH YOU.

May you enjoy the sights and sounds of the Season,
and smell the Scent of His Love that He lavishes upon you!

November 28, 2006

Welcome Christmas... and Sweet Release!

I pray you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving week - filled with good friends, good food, good times!

Normally, by this time of year, my house is decked out, my gifts are mostly wrapped, and my cards are all hand-made and addressed. I would have worked on my Family Christmas Letter over the holiday weekend, and I would be feeling - well - festive. This year, however, I am just not quite there! I love this time of year! I thrive on it! It brings me joy and peace ...all the memories made, and to be made, all the scents and sounds of the season. Normally, I relish in it all! I set a goal each year that I am completely done with all the preparations for Christmas by December 10th. All the gifts are purchased, wrapped, (shipped)... all the stocking stuffers, the letter is done and printed, the cards are made, addressed, and mailed out - all by the 10th of December. Most years, unlike this one, I am nearly done before Thanksgiving, so this is not much of a stressful 'deadline' if you will. However, this year - I barely have things crossed of teh gift list, and the cards are still not glued together... the letter is just now beginning to take up some of my thoughts... the decorations are ALL still in storage. And yet, I still intend to complete my self-appointed deadline.

Why, you may ask?! Simply because - this is WHY I began this time frame anyway... so that I CAN sit back and relax and enjoy the season! So I CAN entertain (or not), bake (or not), go caroling and party-hoping (...or not), etc.! When I am able to be done by a certain date - that frees me up for the final two weeks approaching Christmas to sit back, play with the kids, read a bit, spend some time with the Lord, light the Hanukkah candles, sing Christmas songs, reflect and remember... give thanks once again. I need that time in the midst of the chaos... I do not want to get side-tracked, or unfocused on why we celebrate in the first place!

Even the traditional rituals of gift giving, and Christmas carols, and decorating - if done in a hurry and with a stressed perspective and weary heart - can become just that... Tradition... tradition of man rather than honoring God... Whom we are desiring to honor now - in this season - probably more than any other somehow?! What if God calls us to break the mold?! What if He releases us from some of the 'works' and the expectations that we so often lay upon ourselves in this time of year - and simply calls us to His side... will we have the faith and boldness required to break free from the 'box' of Christmas and worship Him in spirit and in truth!? I wonder...

Don't get me wrong?! I still have plans to do the cards, and the gifts, and the decorating. I love to do that stuff! The Martha in me LOVES all of that... but the Mary in me desires some time set aside as well! I have gone without a tree for many years... because He asked me not to. I missed out on the memories of decorating it with my daughter while she was young... one of the few 'traditions' at Christmas time that I could pass down to her. A few years ago, however, the Lord told me I could have a tree - if I wanted one. I really didn't that year. But the year after - I decided I DID want that... I wanted to make those memories with my daughter and hear which ornaments are her favorites and why... I wanted the cocoa and the Christmas music and untangling the lights. I still do. But - if He asked me not to... I would keep it all stored away and boxed up. Because, those years that we did not have a tree - Christmas still happened. We still made memories and focused on Him and taught our daughter the meaning of Christmas. She didn't need all the lights and glitter to see the spirit of Christmas at work with our home. And in not going all out - she saw that it begins all 'in'. So - that is where we start... on Thanksgiving! We start by - in November - preparing our heart room.

This week I will find myself - unless the Lord releases me - finishing up with the Christmas cards, pulling out the decorations, and working on our Family Letter. I will do it bit by bit... a little at a time... sometimes with my little one helping... and other times in the quiet of the afternoon - on my own - just me and the Lord. I am looking forward to doing it progressively - rather than obsessively. I like to get things done... to finish a project asap. But this year - the Lord is calling me to relish in each single thing He is allowing me to do. I will go slow - and spread what I normally would do in one frantic day - over a period of days in a row. The Martha in me will be trying to hurry it up and get the finished look... but it is Jesus that I am trying to impress. I am not focused on what others will think or how I compare... I just want to honor Him and create and prepare an atmosphere that celebrates His coming. For He is always welcome!

I pray you will enjoy the season and find yourself miraculously with time to spare!
May He be welcomed into your home and your heart. May He speak to you about what He is calling you to do... and what He may be releasing you from - in this Season!


November 22, 2006

Give Thanks

Ah - yes... my favorite Holiday of the year!

I love how Thanksgiving sets the tone and mood for the coming chaos of Christmas and all that the holiday has come to involve... For me, Thanksgiving puts it all in perspective before the frenzy of gift giving and baking and entertaining and keeping up with the Joneses. The Mary and Martha within me often fight against each other the most during Christmas... but Mary wins out on Thanksgiving without a doubt!

It doesn't matter where your priorities are - at Thanksgiving time - it seems everyones' get shifted around a bit and put back in proper order! We begin to reflect on all that truly matters and we begin to see what is stealing our time and blurring our focus. It is a day set aside to spend with family and friends and to remember over the past year all things GOOD! Even when we have been dealt a hard year and had to work with tragedy and pain... unexpected hurts and betrayals... even then - we are called to focus in on blessings in our lives and as long as we draw breath - we have something to be thankful for!

At Prayer yesterday, we were encouraged to set aside not only tomorrow - but December - to enter into His rest and focus on the reasons for our thankfulness! We were encouraged to look over the past year and reflect on the blessings and the ways that God has come through for us! And oh my - how He has! How He ALWAYS will!!! I normally do this while I am preparing to write our Family Christmas Letter... I am fairly organized and - as many of my readers know - I am a schedule/routine follower - so you can image that just browsing through our family calendar - I am reminded of how God has shown up for us over and over and over again! So - I will do that over this weekend and begin to write our Holiday Letter. I encourage you to do this as well... whether at the Thanksgiving table - or on your own - alone with the Lord... it is such a powerful time of relfection and intimacy ...and it does give a freshness to our perspective and priorities before the busyness of the Season takes hold!

What I wanted to share today really - is that in the midst of the past two weeks - I have dealt with such a Heaviness... such a burden to carry that truly was not my own... I rarely deal with depression or oppression - but I can say that there has been a weariness that settled in over my heart. I believe part of it was an attack and I did what I knew to do to battle that with the Word and warfare in worship and prayer... I entered into His rest and allowed the Lord to cover me and to take most of the burden off of me. The weariness that remained however, confused me for several days. In the midst of the heaviness - the Lord gave me a Promise! I am clinging to it and believing for it... He told me of a change that is coming within my family that has been years and years of prayer in the making! He gave me a promise for the season - and even in that - my heart was heavy. I realized that I was not rejoicing at this promise like I should have been. When I would recall His words to me... I would feel faith rise up within me and I would know that it is true... and yet I felt such sadness that I was not able to really allow myself to get my hopes up. That is when I realized that I have, in the past, allowed my faith and my expectation level to rise so high - that it nearly broke my heart when I didn't see the vision or promise come to pass. I realized that recently I had a similar experience and I was searching my heart to be certain that the expectations that I had - were not unmet due to anything I myself did or did not do. Yesterday, the Lord revealed to me that what I was still feeling- the heaviness I was dealing with - was HIS heart for that situation... His expectations had been higher as well - and His heart was broken for the same reasons. In that knowledge - I felt a release!

Also - yesterday in Prayer - God gave me a new name... I heard Jesus tell me that I am like Sarah... I will have to go back and study it out again... study more about this mighty woman of the faith and see what God has for me in this name... What I do know is that her name means: Lady, or Princess. Given all that He has spoken this year - about being a Lady in waiting... about being His royal Princess.... about being a Queen, I thought that this new name was very interesting!

I pray that God will remind you this weekend - as you gather together and celebrate Thanksgiving - all the many reasons you have to be thankful! I pray that He will embrace you and whisper truths to your weary hearts, and cover you and call you by a new name!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 8, 2006

I'm like a Bird...

I'm Like a Bird...
At first I was thinking of that song "I;m Like a Bird...
I'll Fly Away" but then I read the lyrics... that is not what
I am like... nor what I want to be like! I am like a Bird in a
vision I had the other day...
I went to Prayer and on the way remembered that I had sort of asked the Lord to let someone else have a vision... Well - I do this often times after days and days of being awakened in the middle of the night to pray! I sometimes ask the Lord to let me sleep and wake someone else up!? I know it sounds horrible... but He knows my heart... and here's the thing: He is a gentleman. He and I both know that He has plenty of prayer warriors that will gladly awaken and pray through a burden. But - it sometimes takes me awhile to notice that He hasn't been waking me up for a long time! So - I go to Him in prayer and tell Him that I wouldn't mind the honor of those midnight prayer calls again... and it usually happens within days. So - I went to Prayer and prayed that if He has something to show me... I would pay attention through out
the day to 'see' it!
Wow?! He is just so good! While in worship at the meeting - I had part of a vision... and while doing errands in the afternoon - I had another part... and later that night as I was falling asleep - I had yet another piece! It did take 'through out the day' for me to get a full picture... and yet - even as we discussed at the meeting - we never really see the WHOLE picture... we all see in part! So... piecing together what I 'saw' throughout the day - here is what the Lord was saying to me this week:
In the Spirit, I saw a Bright White Dove... wings spread out - almost stretching - and a look of determination in it's eyes, just waiting for the wind. But, it required that step of faith that the wind was there ...somewhere, ...down below... After waiting for a long period of time all stretched out like that, the bird let down her wings and sulked away from the edge, disappointed. As she perched herself off in a corner, she caught a reflection of herself in a window... "Sad, sad, sad," she thought! "Ugly, dumb, bird... what makes you think the wind would show up for YOU?! You are nothing special... just an average street pigeon - nothing that the Wind would want to soar with!" You see, in her mind's eye - she saw herself not as she truly was - for truly - she was a beautiful bird - snow white - almost glowing... and she had that something special! However, all she could see was a dirty grey and brown pigeon that begged for food and rarely was ever appreciated.
As she sat there playing this soundtrack of her life over and over, something caught her attention! Below, in the distance, she heard a faint small whirling sound of wind! She couldn't see it... or feel it... but she heard SOMETHING familiar in the Voice of the Wind. Slowly, she crept up to the edge again and peered over - contemplating if she could jump off and fly! After all, she stood there waiting before - wings spread open, waiting... and no one came... nothing happened! She was tired. She couldn't fly for very long anyway, she reasoned with herself. She has been here before... gotten her hopes up... and the Wind never seemed to come.
The LORD - the Voice of the Win - appeared above her and whispered, "Once you leap off the edge - I will carry you and we will fly together!"
"But I'm already tired, Wind. I can't see a Resting Place."
"No," said the Wind, the LORD, "...there is no Resting Place - for I AM your
Resting Place! Once you leap - it won't be YOU working to keep in flight, but
it will be ME! I will carry you!"
How often, and in how many ways, has the Lord been telling us that He sees us at this edge... He has drawn us up this mountainside and He desires that we fly with Him!? I know for me... in the past several months... He has told me this over and over... we are entering a new season and it will require a new level of faith... but when we leap out in it - He will carry us on the Wind and we will FLY with Him!
I pray you find yourself teetering over that edge with a sense of boldness and purpose beneath your wings...

Let His Love lift you up and Fly with Him!


It has been a few weeks since I have written... and I am actually on my way out of town for a weekend away with some girlfriends! However, I didn't want to let another week pass without writing down a few things that the Lord has been speaking...

On my way to the weekly intercessors meeting that I attend, I was praying and talking with the Lord. I have this 'way' with Him - and often times I will feel pressure (albeit in my own mind) to 'come through' and I always know that it is the enemy at work trying to get me to fear man and work to impress and honor 'man' more so than God. So - I had been feeling this concern to come through with a vision... it HAS been a somewhat weekly event. But - in my attempt to take authority over this attack... I prayed, "Lord, can you let someone ELSE have a vision today!? Someone who maybe doesn't experience them or doesn't share often... I would like to just sit in Your presence and soak today..." Now - I KNOW He doesn't need ME to speak for Him... let me tell you - the women who attend this meeting clearly hear from Him themselves... and none of them 'pressure' me at all... I am just being transparent about what happened that day. I will say - I did NOT have a vision... and in fact, someone else that rarely shares DID have a vision. I thought that was pretty cool of God!

While I didn't have a vision... I DID get a couple of Scripture references... I went home later that day, Tuesday Oct 31st, and studied out the Scriptures He had given me. As I read through the chapter and verses I could hear the Lord speak, "Freedom!" Isn't that the cry of our hearts?! We want freedom in our own lives, freedom in our homes - our families and marriages, freedom in our churches and in our land... However, I felt a sense that this was not ONLY a Victory Cry of Freedom... but this was a cry of a Freedom He was going to allow to come upon His Bride for a short season, because it is necessary... that it would, in the end, bring about a Freedom we have not yet known.

He had me reading through Jeremiah chapter 34. In this chapter, Jeremiah has a word from the Lord for King Zedekiah... they are in the midst of war... and the Lord starts out by assuring the King that he will not die by the sword... but he will die in peace, as his ancestors before him did. This word came to Zedekiah after he had made a covenant with the people to proclaim freedom to the slaves. Many of the Israelites had Jewish slaves and they had not been practicing the 7th year release. The people had repented and decided to give Freedom to their brothers and sisters... and then apparently they changed their minds. The Lord went on to say: "You have disobeyed me by not giving your slaves their freedom. So I will give you freedom--the freedom to die in battle or from disease or hunger. I will make you disgusting to all other nations on earth." (Jer 34:17 CEV) You see - we have freedom of choice... and in our choices, there are consequences. We have prophesied a coming Shaking for some time now... Days after I prayed and studied these things... the news about Pastor Ted Haggard was reported.

I have loved this man. I have sat under his teaching. I have prayed with him and for him and I have the utmost respect for his heart for ministry and his love for the Lord. My initial response, like many, MANY peoples', was "NO! This is not true!" I was broken hearted not only for this man and his apparent struggle that has been going on for longer than anyone could have guessed, but also for his wife, his family, the church and all those he has ministered beside and to. I pray Grace and Restoration for him... I pray that we - his brothers and sisters - will not hold him captive and enslave him to his sin. We must not make him a slave and treat him as 'less than' ...the Lord has called us to forgive. Yes - he must repent and he must seek out wise counsel and he is in need of deliverance and THEN restoration. Here's the thing... God has warned us for years and years and years that He is going to SHAKE things up... starting with the church! Whatever is hidden will be made known. We have the CHOICE to deal with it now... one on one with the Lord... or deal with it later - out in the open, with others standing by! I believe, that we are now beginning the Season of "Out in the open".

We have a choice in what kind of Freedom we will walk in... For me, I want the Victory Cry of Freedom to reign over my life... when the Lord speaks Freedom over me... I do not want it to be the Freedom to die due to my own choice and consequences, but I want it to be the Freedom to truly LIVE!

I believe that now that the world has her eyes on the church and this scandal... the greatest honor and blessing and the greatest GOOD we can do with this - is to allow His abundant Grace and Mercy and forgiveness to flow through us to those who have fallen! Let us not eat our young... let us not make Slaves of our brothers and sisters in their time of need... but let us LOVE!!! They will know we are Christians by our LOVE! Let THAT be their headline news! Let us astound and confuse them... by the forgiveness and mercy we pour out on one another! Let us walk in FREEDOM, minister FREEDOM, and offer FREEDOM by walking, ministering, and offering LOVE!

I proclaim Freedom over your life today, my friend!
In Him,


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