June 28, 2006

Jesus With Skin On...

Hey there...

Once again, I went to my Tuesday morning Prayer meeting and met with a bunch of women whom I honestly hardly know, but thoroughly love... We meet together with our Lord and spend some time just soaking in His Presence... and so what we DO know about each other is more intimate and real than a lot of other friendships that are not rooted in and based on prayer!

As I was getting ready, I felt the Lord lead me to pray Romans Chapter 8. Now - I LOVE Romans Chapter 8... it was one of the first entire chapters of scripture I memorized... I love it almost as much as Romans Chapter 12 or John 15!!!! It is great! As I was praying this chapter over myself, my family, and these ladies... I felt impressed to really focus in on what our Focus is... Is it a Restful, Trusting focus on Him, or is it a Striving, Exhausting focus on Him (and all the other stuff too!)? When we face trials or struggles - who do we see and where is Jesus in it all?

I was reading a word from Rick Joyner off of the Elijah List and a quote from him kept coming back to me during prayer: "For those who keep the High Purpose of the Kingdom in their hearts and motives, this transition will be easy." I also remembered talking to a friend and she was in the midst of transition, and we joked that what she really wanted was for the Lord to make it easy! We started singing that to the tune of "Take it Easy" by the Eagles... anyway - yes, Lord! That is what we want... Make it Easy.... and we know that with You, nothing is impossible... with You, and Your perspective - it can be easy! However, when our focus becomes strained and challenging, and our perspectives become all our own - well - we can tend to kick against the goads! ("...It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance]." Acts 26:14b Amplified)

We've all done it... we know in the back of our minds, or the base of our heart that we are just creating more friction by digging our heels in, or wanting to know MORE of the story before we are willing to step out in faith... we all - from time to time - have kicked against the goads. Our flesh rises up and we do not want those goads to keep pricking and poking at us... however - they are there to keep us on track... it is our vain and perilous resistance but in the end (Praise God) it will not stop and let us get off course!

During our prayer meeting it seemed that the Lord had us focused on the men in our church, and in our lives... we have soaked in His Presence and heard Him tell us what He thinks of us, and Whose we are... now it is time for us to begin to speak those things over our husbands, and pastors, and brothers, and sons... I believe that there is a move that is about to come upon the men in the Body of Christ that will usher in a new level of intimacy and a new level of freedom... So often, even our Godly men, will willingly take a step back and let us 'more spiritual' women do the battling in prayer and move in the Spirit. We are more in tune and in touch and they love that about us... maybe even secretly long to move and hear the same way. Well - the Father's heart longs for them to move in that as well and He is about to open up the hearts of our men... redirect their attentions and focus and begin to flow through them in intimate and powerful ways... I believe we will see Couples rise up in ministry at an even pace, with complimenting anointings that will work off of each other and flow through each of them in love... we forget that God is both male and female and He will redeem and restore His original purpose in wholeness... both male and female together! Husbands and Wives, Men and Women, Brothers and Sisters... working and ministering in unity and in one accord!

Last week the Lord spoke to me about being Ladies in Waiting... and this week I believe I got a bigger revelation of that. We serve the Lord and are called to serve one another as well! As we face trials and strain (in our marriages, children, work, etc.) we want to see His face and willingly serve Him as we take care of the situations and relationships at hand. We so often talk about wanting to BE 'Jesus with skin on' to others... but what would happen if we could learn to allow others - even the ungodly in our lives - to be Jesus with skin on for us? By that, I mean - what would happen if, when our flesh rises up against someone in the natural, we were to stop and pray and ask the Lord to allow us to see them as He sees them... as they are right now - in that situation - wounded & broken... and how He sees them when He is finished with them - healed & whole! I know that I am aware when I go out that many times people who may not 'hear' what I have to say about Jesus - will 'see' Him through me... I have prayed that prayer many times, "Lord - I want to be Jesus with Skin on to them... so they can see You and not me and know that You love them!" But - doesn't the Scripture tell us that Jesus said that whatever we have done to the least of them, we have done to Him!?

So, who is the "least of them" to you!? In all honesty - who is it that you are completely real with and often treat as the least of them - whether on purpose or unaware?! So often, the 'least of them' unfortunately are the ones we feel the safest with - the ones we feel we can be real with and not have to worry about a good impression... sadly - often times - the 'least of them' are really the ones who mean the most to us?! So - what would happen if whether it be a stranger or a soul mate - the next time your own rights want to rise up and speak out - you stopped to get a glimpse of them through the eyes of Jesus... what would happen if the next time 'they' requested something of you - you stopped and imagined it was the Lord asking... would you do it willingly for Him!? Would you gladly serve Him and meet His needs and desire to honor and bless Him!?

"...Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matt 25:34-40 NKJV

I do still want to be "Jesus with skin on" to others around me... but I am determined to discipline my flesh the next time I feel my rights being stepped on - or someone asking just one more thing from me... I will stop and pray and serve the Lord... I am His Lady in Waiting, and what He wants or needs, I will determine to do. Does this mean I am going to be a doormat?! No, that is not what the Lord asks of us... Praise God! However, He has called us to love others as we love ourselves... how much easier will that be if we can remember that maybe, just maybe, the person in front of us is 'Jesus with skin on' and they are unaware! We need to live according to the Spirit and not according to the Flesh! It is much easier to do that outside when we allow ourselves that 'down time' at home - and yet - at home is where we should love and prefer one another all the more!

So - pray through this Chapter with me today... and know that God will give us insight and the ability to allow HIS love and grace (not our own!) to flow into those situations facing us in the coming days!!!

I am claiming this chapter for myself and my family... I encourage you to pray it over your own household as well!

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren (sisters), we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “ For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

I pray you will be 'Jesus with skin on' to those around you this week... and that in the midst of trials - you will get a glimpse of 'Jesus' standing in front of you - and offer grace!


June 25, 2006

A View from the Top!

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear! My, how I know that to be true!

You see, I was raised with the spirit of fear, 'he' is very familiar to me! I feel that God has delivered me from so many ties that bind and has brought me oh so far from where I began... but isn't it just good to know that He is never satisfied with us being just a little freed?! He wants us Free - completely, utterly, entirely - Freed from all the bondage and lies of the enemy... He wants to be our only Stronghold!

"The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 NIV

I am blessed to have a husband, and a Lord (two different People) who BOTH love me unconditionally - and yet are willing to push me to step out of my comfort zone and experience a greater freedom that I have yet to know and/or walk in. Sometimes they are gentle and kind... and sometimes (BOTH of them) are easily on my nerves and find me stubborn and unwilling. You see, the enemy can trick me into thinking I have come far enough! I am more free than I was before... less afraid of things and more willing (uh... usually!) to step out than a few years ago... and yet - still - they want me to have more! See - I forget that maybe they DO know... but to me - in my own thinking - (which is heavily influenced by the one who would have me bound) I have come quite far and feel pretty good about things - just the way they are!

After all - I drive myself, I take road trips on my own, I sleep when my husband is driving on the highway, I have flown, I do public speaking, I have been on a boat, and a ferry, I married a man - trusting him with my heart... and I gave birth - and lived to tell about it... you see - these were fears I had that could have easily stopped me from truly living! Jesus told us He came that we may have Life, and Life ABUNDANTLY! When we allow ourselves to be bound by fear - we simply do not know that abundance of living that we are missing! I still battle with fear from time to time - but overall I normally feel like I know where it comes from, I know how to do battle against it, and I am good to go...

And then one of my Men (either the LORD or Dave - or both - which can be exhausting!!!) will attempt to push me to yet another cliff and see if I will trust them. How is that we can even know that our fears are not of God - and are irrational - and yet we can still hold on to them like a security blanket and not want to let them go!? I have a few biggies left... fear of heights, fear of water (actually being ON the water - or worse yet - IN it - unwillingly), and of course - that old familiar fear of man/public opinion that we all battle from time to time!

My husband decided that - as a family - we were going to go on a short weekend getaway! He had it set in his mind and would not make room for my fear to come along! He had planned the weekend, took the day off of work, and booked a hotel... we were - as a family - going to go to Seattle Center and have lunch in the Space Needle. It would be great... we'd have a blast and remember it forever. "It will be FUN!" he insisted. 'Hmmm... that's ONE word for it,' I thought.

The thing is - I knew that I would go... and as bound as I may be... I am determined not to pass on these irrational fears to my daughter! So the thought of having a Break Down in public - in front of my kid - was enough to be willing to press through it. I asked for prayer and planned on going... hoping that I would find courage to at least ride up the elevator to the Observation Deck. I still wasn't so sure about staying long enough to have lunch... but I thought if I made it up - who knows?! I was planning on living Life Abundantly - one small step at a time!

It was a gorgeous clear blue sky day in Seattle... we arrived in time to walk around and enjoy Seattle Center... I was stunned to notice that I was not even nervous... I would not allow my thoughts to give over to fear, but had little battle left to do once we were there! We checked in, and began to get on the elevator - when I began to pray in the Spirit. It was really more out of habit - trying to battle the fear, when I realized - "hmm?! I am really still not afraid!?" It was a confusing realization and I quickly stopped praying and just felt His Peace and was able - as one friend prayed - to see all of His beauty as we rode up to the top! Needless to say - we enjoyed walking around outside the O-Deck and taking a ton of pictures. Our waitress said that it hadn't been this clear for weeks! You could see forever... Lunch was indeed a family memory we will all cherish and as we took the elevator down, I was thankful for the blessing of Peace... of Perfect Love that truly did cast out Fear! (I did - however - feel a wee bit nauseous by the end of lunch - with the room spinning and all!) I made it up and back down without irrational thoughts or staggering fears to stop me from living Abundantly that day. No small steps were needed!

While I am not ignorant enough to think that the battle is over... I have yet one more testimony that I can recall and remember... one more reason to remind myself that God is for me... that He will not leave me or forsake me... and that His Perfect Love - truly can - and does - cast out all Fear! From SkyCity... to the Depths of the sea... His Love is enough!

I pray you will find Him pushing and pulling you to step out and experience more of His Love in the days to come! May He be kind, and gentle - and ever so insistent on your Freedom and your Abundant Living!


June 20, 2006

~ Ladies In Waiting ~

Ladies In Waiting...

This morning as I should have been preparing to go to my Prayer Meeting (spiritually AND physically!) I got side tracked in an online Women's Bible Study I am doing at EmergingLife.org

The study is based on "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" and this weeks lesson was based on Self Control... or more accurately - not giving way to our own emotions and feelings - but to seek out the Will and Way of the Lord! I had spent the morning reading various Scriptures in the book of Psalms, as well as Lamentations chapter 3. I realized it was time to go - with not much time for me to get ready to actually go! I normally spend some time in prayer and worship beforehand - even if it's just in the car on the way there - to ask the Lord what He has planned for us as we meet together... today - I honestly just didn't even think of it in my rush to arrive close to on time?!

I came in and the leader was sharing from Proverbs 24. Verse 5 & 6 say: "A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man, and a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power;
For by wise counsel you can wage your war, and in an abundance of counselors there is victory and safety." (Amplified) She was talking about how this verse blessed her when she read it and immediately thought of us - this little group of wise women, wise counsel, abundance of counselors... After some time in worship and talking, we began talking about how attacked many have felt the past week... how things have come at us seemingly out of nowhere and attempted to knock us off our feet! I thought again of Lamentations 3. Jeremiah starts out declaring his battered and bruised perspective based on his feelings and emotions. He goes on and on about how he feels about his situation and where he thinks God may be in it all... it does not put God in a favorable light! Then, in verse 20 and 21 he reminds himself and he has hope in God! He reminds himself of truths and testimonies he has had with the Lord!

As I read on, Lamentations says: "It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him. The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God's word]. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:22-26 Amplified)

I heard in my spirit the Lord say, "You are a Lady in Waiting... No! You are MY Lady in Waiting!" Hmmm?! OK!? I am familiar with the saying - but didn't quite know the exact meaning. I came home and looked it up... The Definition of A Lady in Waiting is: "A lady of a court appointed to serve or attend a queen, princess, or royal duchess." I am not all the way clear on this - but I believe that it ties in to what I shared toward the end of the meeting... we are called to be a Body - to be united... we are in a Season where I believe the Lord is asking us to be real with each other - no more games and masks... if you are in need of something - I need to know about it to help you out... and vice versa! We belong to a large church and it is hard to feel connected - but that is where relationships grow and faith is encouraged! We are called to come alongside each other and be honest with each other... to stand together - shoulder to shoulder and make a united front as the battle approaches!

I am sure the Lord will continue to speak to me about being HIS Lady in Waiting... I know it is all about serving Him... but I do believe it is also about serving those around us as well... as if we were serving Him! I pray that you will have a quiet moment or two this week to Wait on Him... to seek His wise counsel, and that it will bring you victory and safety!


Watch & See

I have not written in awhile... summer has officially come to our household and all my normal routines are out the window for awhile! It's a nice change and one I relish on my porch swing in the morning while the kids are still asleep, or in the afternoon when I get to play along with whatever games they are up to... there is extra laughter & cuddles & joy! (...& extra noise, & mess, & 'boredom' it seems?!)

I must confess, however, that in this Season I find I must discipline myself that much more to hear clearly from the Lord and not get caught up in all my daily living! The last time I was at Prayer, I had a vision of two angels - both standing guard inside our meeting place, one at each door... One was a Warrior Angel - in full battle wear, and the other was a Worshipper, gentle & emotional in his worship. I noticed at the time that as one would stand tall - drawing his Sword up over his head and seemingly battling in the spirit, the other would bow down in prayer. Then - the Warrior would bow down and the Worshipper would stand tall and lift his hands toward heaven, and do his warring by singing out praises to the King! I was awed to notice that at all times, the Angels had their Wings spread open, which created a covering over all of us at the meeting. I heard in my spirit the Lord's voice and He said, "I am about to Draw a Line in the Sand... watch and see..." I felt that the significance was not so much in the line drawn - as it was in the tag team efforts of the Angels at hand... moving from warring, to worshipping, and back again - mixing in prayer! Therein lies the key. I believe that there is a Shaking that is happening now - within the church... Truths we would have fought for yesterday are now being revealed to be no truth at all... beliefs we held to strongly with all of our hearts are now having light shed upon them - as well as more Grace from God... We are being tried and tested to see if what we SAY we believe, is truly what we act upon in the midst of shaking.

I honestly believe that now is the time that the enemy will attempt to sneak into your thoughts at a faster pace and try to re-enact Job over this generation! We MUST, in this hour, take up our Shield of Faith... put on the whole Armor of God - and stand firm against the spirit of fear. What Job greatly feared came upon him. Did it go through the Lord's hand? Of course! He had faith in Job's faith in Him... God knew Job would fair well in the end... but it was Job's fear that brought on the onslaught and opened the door of access to the enemies request and attacks!

Shaking is coming - yes - but do not give place for fear! When you feel shaken - Praise Him! Remind yourself of times past where God has shown up for you and proven Himself Faithful! Get into the Word of God and stir up those memory verses from long ago... read them aloud and stand firm on their foundation!

The voice of the Lord said, "Watch and See". I do not think He is simply going to be satisfied to Draw that line and see us rise up to not be pushed back... I am quite certain that within His plan - He has some 'recovering-stolen-land' in mind! I believe that once we rise up and stand firm, we will be called to not be on the defensive in this battle - but to march forward, taking back the land in an offensive battle against the devil himself!

Rise Up! Watch & See! War & Worship! ...Oh, and don't forget to PRAY!
Standing with you in Him,

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