November 25, 2008

"Are you living a Quiet Radical Life?"

This is a question that I felt the Lord ask me a couple of weeks ago. "Are you living a quiet radical life?" I had to stop and think... not because I didn't already know the answer, but because I knew that the answer was not what it should be! The answer was yes! But in my heart, I wanted it to be no! I wanted to be able to say that I live a bold, out loud radical lifestyle... I will say that I do have my moments, but I had to admit that for the most part, I am one of those quiet radicals! If you are one, you know what I mean! If you are not... then that probably sounds strange and doesn't feel quite right rolling off of your tongue!

In context, I was doing this study by Bill Johnson ("The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind") and it was all about renewing your mind and, of course, doing His will. I had just finished up with "Day 4" - which I will give a few highlights from, when I was presented with an opportunity to continue with this 'quiet radical life' or let go of my own reputation... it was a small opportunity - but leave it to God to present it to me right after I finished writing something about this very thing...

The devotion for Day 4 is taken from an excerpt of the book subtitled Renewing the Mind! Here are a few portions that really stood out to me:

"The renewed mind, then, reflects the reality of another world in the same way Jesus shone with heaven's brilliance (at the transfiguration). It's not just that our thoughts are different, but that our way of thinking is transformed because we think from a different reality - from heaven toward earth! That is the transformed perspective. The renewed mind enables His co-laborers to prove the will of God, We prove the will of God when put on display the reality of heaven."

"Every thought and action in your life speaks of allegiance to God or to satan. Both are empowered by your agreement. Renewing your minds means learning to recognize what comes from hell, and what comes from heaven, and agreeing with heaven."

We did a small word study on "Agreement" that was very good...
Then the next question dealt with Obedience... we read Romans 6:15-18,
which in The Message reads:
"So, since we're out from under the old tyranny,
does that mean we can live any old way we want?
Since we're free in the freedom of God,
can we do anything that comes to mind?
Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience
that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom.
Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act.
But offer yourselves to the ways of God
and the freedom never quits.
All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do.
But thank God you've started listening to a new master,
one whose commands set you free to live openly
in his freedom!"

Bill writes: "A worldview isn't so much WHAT you see, as it is a new way of seeing. The way you see reality is what determines what you think and how you live. In fact, you can't properly be said to believe in something unless there are behaviors in your life that reveal your dependence on that way of seeing. So in truth, agreement in our lives is established through obedience."

He goes on to ask why obedience requires trust in the person you are obeying.

When we line ourselves up in obedience, we create a bond of service to our Master. The longer (or more intense) our service is, the more like our Master we become. When we make a conscious decision to obey - trust is a huge issue because to be totally submitted and committed, we must trust that our Master is FOR us! However, in our blindness, we required little trustworthiness in our Sin-Master because the enemy so often convinces us that we can trust no one but ourselves (and we are enslaved to him - the father of lies and the one MOST untrustworthy!) We pray Blind Eyes opened, and the Fathers' heart revealed, because a conscious decision is a decision for Christ and for true freedom!

We also touched on Matthew 7:24-27 which is the parable of the wise man and the foolish man building their house. This is a wrap up of the Sermon on the Mount which is FULL of powerful teaching and it drives home the point to the whole message - which is obedience! It's not enough to HEAR these sayings (or to build our house!) but we must PUT THEM INTO ACTION through obedience by building on the Rock! The wise man Followed Through while the foolish man was a hearer only! Just as in the parable, our very Foundation should be that of Faith! Faith in His authority, faith in His ability to bring heaven to earth through us! We simply MUCH believe if we are to endure the wind and the rain! Notice, both the wise and foolish go through teh storm - but only the wise stand strong and undaunted! Is that not what our God desires and equips for us? When our way of seeing is filtered through Faith, Hope arises! And when Hope & Faith combine, Love pours out in Action! So James 2:17 rings true - faith without works is dead... 'faith without works is like the foolish man! He may LOOK wise and strong, but when the storm comes, he is on sinking sand! We must put our Faith to work compelled by Love to prove the will of God!

Looking at 2 Cor 5:17 ("Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.") Bill asks what it means to be a new creation, and I think 'new' is in regards to form, and not time! I think to be a 'new creation' means more than being redeemed. He REcreated us to be in His likeness - with Him abiding in us! We are not just redeemed to our original Adam nature, but are a new creation to our 2nd Adam nature - which is Jesus! Nothing is lacking! It definitely includes new experiences! Pastor Bill goes on to ask what we think it takes to go from "Anything can happen" to "Impossible things must take place..." My answer... I think it takes a renewing of the mind. It takes an obedience to Follow Through, and it takes a leap of faith - KNOWING His will is to move in power through us and to work WITH us to prove His will on earth to a lost and dying world!

The final question is where I began to get this 'quiet radical life' revelation... the final question of Day Four reads:
"Why do you suppose that people will admit that they experienced the supernatural power of God when they received salvation, but now, years later, they have no expectation to walk in the supernatural ministry of Christ? Do you recognize "bad teaching and disappointment" have been contributing to that mind-set? Have you experienced unmet expectations in the area of encountering God?"

Wow... so full... This is what I wrote for my answer:
I think many EXPECT the supernatural at salvation, and then either have no expectations after that, or they have had expectations unmet or unanswered and EXPERIENCE takes over EXPECTATION. Disappointment is a HUGE contributor to lack of faith and lack of follow through! It's an open door the enemy uses at every turn to hold us back from truly living! We tend to live a QUIET RADICAL LIFE, sharing our encounters only in rooms where we are all like-minded. This is great - but we hesitate to shout it from the mountains because we don't want people to think we are crazy or weird! But here's the secret that we are learning: We are NOT crazy or weird. We are ALMOST 'normal' - and well on our way to consistently living the 'normal Christian life'!

Amen?! It hit me that very few of my outer circle really know my conversations with the Lord, or the things He shows me. I suppose that could be true of many of us - but I started to wonder if I was living radically in silence, and if so - what good is that doing?! Sure - I am blessed, and I am secure in hearing His voice and in our intimacy - but is that really affecting the Kingdom!? Then - literally minutes after writing these answers and pondering this quiet radical life, my husband read an older post here and wanted to forward my blog on to some family and friends. My immediate response was no... I know this is a public blog, and anyone can read it - but my initial reaction was wanting to preserve that quiet radical life even though I know He is calling me to live out loud on a bolder level! You see, as much as I love and cherish the friends and family that he suggested sending this blog to - I don't really talk about this side of my life with them! They know I believe - uh - strangely, maybe?! But I felt that they had no idea HOW differently... of course, in the end, I gave up my reputation and thought - you know, one day this blog will be a book and they will want to read it then, if not before! Besides, why do I care?! Shouldn't I WANT to share what He is showing me?! I do - but as the Lord showed me, much of it is shared in 'safe rooms' - but in the safety of like-minded people, who am I bringing the Kingdom to? Who am I bringing revelation or challenging preconceived ideas? There is something wonderful and powerful about Agreement and of being in one accord... of being part of a remnant! However, I believe in this new season, the Lord is rising up those who are willing to lay down their own will... to lay down their own reputation - but put His on the line!

So - this is the secret for you as well as me... the secret is that no matter what others think - we have the assurance that the Lord LOVES us and He desires to move through us in power! We are NOT crazy or weird... but we are striving to be normal! What is the 'normal Christian life'? Bill says it like this: The normal Christian life is to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons! The normal Christian life is a life that walks in Power and that is able to operate from one reality to another, bringing heaven towards earth!

Rise Up... Be Bold... Step Out...
Put His reputation on the line...
He can handle the pressure!

In Him,

November 18, 2008

Encounters with God

Nice! This is where we spent our weekend and it was so relaxing!!!
Something has been stirring within me lately and I hate that it takes me so long to get back to you here... because I feel as though I should choose what to focus on and edit my thoughts so as not to bore you! I would love to go through a few key questions/comments that have come from our Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind study, and I would love to share a vision/conversation that I had with the Lord over my weekend away... I will attempt to do both and still try to keep this brief... (you can pray now, if you like!) LOL! I just wanted to share a few encounters with God that I have had lately... first, in the Word through this study, and secondly, during our weekend getaway!

So - my original plan was to just post a short little summary of what we covered for each week... obviously I have not yet done that - so I will try to catch up here and then (hopefully) post each week from here on out... I just want to give a few highlights of the past couple of weeks... of course, the best part of the study is the conversations and prayers that are shared during our meeting - but here are a few things written in my journal:

If "on earth as it is in heaven" is the will of God, how do we recognize when Heaven is coming to earth? Much has been done over the centuries and called 'God's will," but how do we know what God's will really looks like?

God's will looks like exactly what Jesus did (and still does through us - if we're willing!)

Jesus is the revelation of God's will. He showed us what Heaven (where the Father's will is perfectly expressed) looks like on earth. Since Jesus is the revelation of the Father, list some aspects of God's character that you see in Jesus.

They really ARE 3 in 1... every characteristic of the Father is seen and made known in and through Jesus! He is the glory of God, the divine & has the fullness of the Father in Him. He is Love and Mercy and Grace! He is Power and Forgiveness and Restoration. Every good thing we see in Jesus - IS the Father! (This so reminds me of The Shack!)

John 14:12 clearly links believing in Christ with doing His works, and here in this passage, as throughout the Book of John, Christ is specifically referring to the miraculous works that the Father gave Him to do as signs of His divine appointment. The promise that our faith would lead us to even greater works is huge! Why do you suppose believers have a hard time receiving this promise in faith?

Because we are not even doing the works that He did - so the idea of GREATER WORKS is impossible to grasp! However, His early ministry was limited to just Him (and then Him and His disciples) and for just 3 years... but now we DO His works on a greater scale - still, when we begin to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead, we'll begin to have faith for GREATER WORKS!

Do you think that the failure to believe what Jesus promises in these verses is the reason why many who would call themselves 'Christians' don't get commissioned to fulfill the 'primary mission' of destroying the works of the devil?

I think that we tend to make the call smaller - so we can achieve it! We make it 'doable'! I think many lose sight of the fact that we are not just saved FROM some things, but that we are saved TO some things too!

Just a few nuggets to think on...

Now - on to our weekend away! We had such an amazing time! We always do! We look forward to this trip every year! We go with two other couples that we have a long friendship with! We have been through good times and bad and have the most important things in common! It is our own little Retreat of sorts. We can count on hours of laughter, games, walking, shopping, golfing, visiting, praying, worshiping, studying, and good food - every day! So - it is no real surprise that the Lord would speak to me during these trips - because He is always invited in and given room to move! I have had what I call 'snapshot' moments all year long... those moments in time where you really just sort of freeze frame whatever is happening and on purpose drink it all in and store it away; where you give thanks right then and there for the blessings in your life! I had a few over the weekend as well, but it was specifically during a time of worship that I really felt His Presence and knew that He was with us. I closed my eyes in worship and began to see this picture unfold before me. I saw Jesus in the living room with us, and He was so excited to be there with us! He was spinning around the room, looking very much like an excited little boy - grinning from ear to ear! I said, "We've come to worship You Lord!" and He said, "and I've come to bask in your presence!" I thought, what?! That just isn't right, Lord! I have come to bask in YOUR presence!? He replied, "You heard me right... I have come to spend time with you and bask in all of your presence! Yes! This is it!!! THIS is My heart and a picture of My will and desire for you! This is My Body - My Kingdom come - this Friendship and Fellowship is SO Who I am and what I'm about!!! We went on to sing, "Who is like our God?" and He seemed almost giddy and said, "Who is like YOU?! There is no one like YOU! I created you and there is no one like you!"

This weekend was a blessing because the only expectations were for us to gather - to love, to laugh, to have fun & relax... these, too, are expectations He has of and for us! These alone! He said, "There are no expectations - but for good and simple RELATIONAL things! This is my Kingdom come - on earth, as it is in Heaven!"

He is SO FOR us!!!

November 4, 2008

Changing Atmospheres, the Kingdom at hand, and other powerful Realities!

Isn't this GORGEOUS?!
I LOVE it!
I just love Fall... and this is one of my favorite photo's I have taken this year so far,
however my most favorite 'snapshot' was stumbled upon without a camera.
As I was driving out of town to visit friends last week,
I turned the corner on the highway and was blessed with
a breathtaking view of the Yakima River, early morning -
Mist rising on the surface of the water,
with all the colors of Fall in the trees all around!
It was majestic.
How could I not praise Him as I drank that in!
I began to regret not having my camera with me!
I so wanted to capture the beauty of the season!
At that very moment, I heard the Lord whisper to me,
"This is just for you and Me!"
Nice!!! He is especially fond of me, you know?!
(Oh yes - and you too! I promise! He is especially fond of you, too!)
He went on to show me (because I am so visual)
that He desires that we be so equipped
to change the atmosphere around us
due to the Kingdom of God within us,
that we will be like the scene He placed before me!
The air and the water temperatures were creating
a mist that was visible on the surface - right in between them.
We should so affect the world around us,
that we literally bring heaven to earth
& change the atmostphere around us!
When we feel a change in the air,
when we percieve something shifting
- we should be well aware that it is the Kingdom of God within us
changing the dynamics of our physical world, in the spiritual.
It's our call and joy to pull it in to this realm
- to call forth His will on earth,
'as it is in Heaven'!
The Kingdom truly IS at hand...
It is alive and living within us!
Let's take up our Authority and pray in faith
for the Father's will ...
Thy Kingdom come,
on earth, as it is in Heaven!
On Sunday morning the Lord woke me up at 3:33 am...
Seriously, Lord?! 3:33am?!
To be honest I just laid there reluctantly...
I tried to rationalize not getting out of bed for what seemed like 5 minutes,
yet when I glanced back at the clock, it was still reading 3:33am
Now, I have had a few seasons of 3:33s so I have studied it out before.
The Number 3 represents the Kingdom of God.
Also - many major huge important things in the Bible happened 'on the third day'.
So - I did the math & realized that the third day from Sunday
- was in fact, Election Day here in America!
I looked up several '333' Scriptures and prayed through them...
(Psalms 33:3; Proverbs 3:33)
However, the verse that came to me immediately was a life verse that has been spoken over me many times and has become one of my favorites! It is found in Jeremiah 33:3 and it reads:
"Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and show you great and mighty things,
which you do not know."
Again... nice!!!
So I went on to pray the entire chapter,
which - by the way - is entitled "The Restored Nation" in my Bible!
I'm up for that!
A few other verses that stood out to me (yet again) are:
"Behold, I will bring it health and healing;
I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance
of peace and truth.
And I will cause the captives of Judah
and the captives of Israel to return,
and will rebuild those places as at the first.
I will cleanse them from all their iniquity
by which they have sinned against Me,
and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned
and by which they have transgressed against Me.
Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise,
and an honor before all nations of the earth,
who shall hear all the good that I do to them;
they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness
and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’ " (vs 6-9)
Don't you want that for our nation as well?!
I am praying and believing that for America...
Today - our Election day...
no matter what the results,
I have faith in knowing that my God
works all things together for good and
He has a plan and a purpose for this nation.
He is the One (ultimately) that raises kings and rulers,
and that causes them to fall.
I listened to Kim Clement talk last night about prophesies
he has been given about this election
and it was so interesting to hear...
but even more amazing to feel the sense of purpose and peace
that went along with knowing that no matter who you vote for...
no matter who 'wins' -
our God is in charge & is
well able and willing to
Bless America!!!
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven!

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