March 21, 2012

His Furious Love overwhelms every 'less than'!

I am blessed! I realize that it often seems rather unfair that I live such a charmed life! Now - don't get me wrong... my life is not perfect... things go wrong... there are things I would like to change... not everything is easy or successful or 'charmed' - however I have learned to keep a spirit of thankfulness and I have come in direct contact with God's Furious Love. This translates in my life to mean that any issue or circumstance or problem or 'less than' that I come in contact with - I know that my God's LOVE will sweep in and overwhelm it!

I have this amazing group of women who gather in my living room every Monday... we've been meeting for over a decade and while some have moved away, some have joined in later, and we have had a few seasons where we took a break - we have created an atmosphere where we join together and live life out loud with each other.

We have gone through ups and downs and all the while - pressed in to more of what God has for us. We started as an intercessory group, moved in to worship, have gone through various books, and are right now digging in to the gospel of John.

I love that we flow from one focus to another and continue to press in and make room for others. I also love that every one of these ladies are leaders... they have read (and read and studied and read) the book of John several times and yet the excitement we all had to dig in to a book in the Bible and just see what God would show us was tangible.

It's been great... powerful... the call for the season we have found is "Come and See!" Jesus says this literally and figuratively often through out the gospel of John and He is still saying it today!

This week we went over Chapter 8... which begins with the woman caught 'in the very act' of adultery and handed (or shoved) over at Jesus' feet. I have always loved this passage for all the obvious reasons! Who doesn't love a Knight in shining armor; someone who has the ability to pass judgement but offers Mercy instead? To give just a little background on this passage - let's remember that in Ch 7, Jesus taught in the Temple that He is the Living Water. He said this quite possibly during the festivities where they pour out barrels of water that run out into the streets. Who can know if he is ankle deep, knee deep, ...and quite possibly - His listeners are picturing in their minds Ezekiel 47 as He is talking... powerful revelation unfolding there and the scripture says that many believed in Him that day. So - now - this is the next day... and He goes right back to the temple and is teaching in the area where the women gather. We don't know what He was talking with them about - but we do know that He is not surprised with the disruption. There is a commotion and all of the sudden in the midst of the women, is a crowd of Pharisees - angry, loud, threatening... and they toss this woman... (you can almost here their disdain here) she was caught 'in the very act' of adultery. They point out the obvious: according to Moses and the Law - this woman must be stoned. Now - in reality - they didn't want to stone her, they wanted to stone HIM! I love that he knew this... He knew the Law as well and knew that they were wanting to trap Him. But He is ALWAYS about bringing freedom. So He bends down and begins to write in the dirt... who can know for sure what he was doing... but Jeremiah 17:13 comes to mind! "O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.” (Remember - he JUST told them yesterday that He IS the fountain of living waters!) Maybe He was writing their names... or their sins that they thought no one else knew about... whatever He was doing - we know was not for nothing! He always had purpose and I believe that when He basically said, 'OK - whoever among you who is without sin, throw the first stone' He was writing out the very sins that they knew they had done... listen - God is gracious when He calls you out of sin... He was gracious to them in keeping it personal and quiet and not making a show of it, and He was gracious to her as well!

As we were discussing this in our small group - all of the sudden the Lord gave me this picture of the spiritual realm that was happening on that day! The Pharisees entered the arena full of anger, rage, blood-thirst... they were releasing into the atmosphere judgement, shame, & death. This woman KNEW she was being set up... she was well aware of the Law and that the man should be taken with her... injustice was rising in her and yet she knew... she deserved this. Whether the man got away or was part of the set up - it didn't matter. Either way she knew today was her end. I picture her on the ground... in the dirt... covered in judgement and shame... head down - eyes closed in self-protection, attempting with all her might to block out the world around her and trying to prepare to meet her Maker. Little did she know that as she looked up, He was peering directly into her eyes! While the spiritual realm charged the atmosphere with darkness... with shame and hate and injustice... Jesus - as always, in all that He did - is releasing Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and a chance at New Life! All the while, the war in the heavenlies was charging the air and God's Furious passionate Love was overcoming and overwhelming every 'less than' thought or emotion... there was a chance being offered to everyone present... a chance at a new life - to have a new heart... a clean slate! I see a glorious covering over the woman, protecting her from the warring in the spirit and releasing into her the hope for More instead of Less.

The silence she felt all around her was real, the only sound she heard was that of shuffling feet moving off in a distance, and rocks gently falling to the ground. Even the women there were silent - waiting and watching to see what would happen. And when she dared to peer up through her tangled hair, I can see her dirt and tear stained face, expecting to find an angry mob, but it was His eyes of Love that she found herself falling into instead! "“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11)

He - being the only sinless one - had the authority to throw the first stone, and yet He is all about releasing Freedom and offering something INSTEAD... Instead of judgement, wounding, shame, and death - His grace reaches out and he pours out Mercy, Healing, Acceptance, and Life... He offers her, this adulterous woman, Love that she has never had. He offers the same to you! His Furious Love longs to overwhelm every 'less than' that you have settled for or have been thrown at the feet of. Dare to look up and see His pierced hands and feet - reaching out to you... taking your place so that you can stand tall, start over, and walk in the Love that He so freely pours out to you!

What do you want to trade in... what has the enemy of your soul told you is 'less than' that God desires His furious love to flood in and give you an Instead in place of? Reach out... His heart is FOR you!


(I am SO not an artist... but I am stepping out in creativity and when I 'saw' this Scripture acted out - I knew I wanted to paint it!)

March 8, 2012

Experiencing the Father's Embrace (Book Review... sort of)

It's been awhile again... we are loving attending Soar (BSSM satellite school)and all that the Lord is opening up to us. If I had to sum up in one word what we have learned so far - it would be Risk... but that is another post! I simply wanted to let you know that we are still alive and kicking... pressing in to the Kingdom. We had to read Jack Frosts' "Experiencing the Father's Embrace" and write up a book report. However, after our Firestorm weekend with Kevin Dedmon it seems there is a LOT of Creativity stirred up and we were encouraged to - well - be more creative in our reports. Paint a picture... write a poem... sing a song... (or write a book report! LOL!)

Well - because I truly do love to write I thought I would write out of a time of worship. So I logged on to Mike Bickel’s International House of Prayer for some live soaking music and sat back… just breathing... waiting… being loved on.

Within minutes – they were singing about the knowing the Beauty of His heart and all of the sudden, I could ‘see’ Jesus standing before me, smiling. His eyes of love intoxicating… His smile loving and inviting… the joy on His face contagious – and somehow while He looked at peace and focused on me – I noticed that His hands were busy. I looked down and could see Him reaching in to my heart – right through this shadow of flesh. He was digging around, looking at what was in there. I could feel no pain – just shifting… He would pull something out – look at it, laugh or nod, and put it back. Other things He would pull out and stretch out His hand behind Him and hand off to the Father. I never saw exactly what those things were… so after He was seemingly elbow deep in my heart and pulled something else out and was about to hand it off, I asked what it was. He showed me a simple ring. Nothing too fancy. He could see the confusion on my face and He said, “Sometimes, my love, you make covenant with things that are not worthy of you. You come into agreement with things that are not pleasing to Us.” Up until that moment I really was not concerned that He was digging around in my heart. I was simply overjoyed to have Him so close to me. But suddenly – I was self conscious and hesitant to see what He was pulling out. He just smiled and said, “It’s ok my dear… nothing is too difficult for Us. Our covenants are forever… Our promises are Yes and Amen! Anything short of what is best for you, I will simply remove! The more you come to Me, and allow My presence to fill you, and my Love to fill you up – the less you will be tempted to make covenant with something counterfeit or less than! The power of your agreement… the power of your words… the attitude of your heart – these are vital areas to keep aware of as you fill up to pour out! Think of this as a little check up! A Well check, if you will. We want you to be filled with Our best for you – so you will pour out the best that we have for others! This is the beauty of your heart to Us – and the beauty of Our heart to you!”

This is what I learned – or was reminded of – while reading “Experiencing the Father’s Embrace” by Jack Frost. When we keep a short account with Him… His love is much more available to flow through us. When we are willing to guard our tongues and attitudes of the heart, we are more likely to be His words and His heart to others around us. The choice is ours… sometimes we make it (or make ‘covenant’) unaware and other times it is defiantly on purpose! We must learn to give up our right to be right (even when we are!) and value relationship instead! Jesus is our example… and for us – He gave His all!

In the vision, I remembered letting Jesus continue reaching into my heart… the next thing He brought out, looked at and began to put back, I asked to see. It was a gorgeous signet ring… bright and shiny with a crown above the diamond setting. “This,” He said, “is a good Covenant!” and He placed it back where He had found it!

I am once again determined to meet with Him and allow Him full access to my heart! Only He can reach in, examine the true motives and intents, and decide what can stay – and remove what needs to go! I remember a few years ago, He showed me a sheep pen and the gate around it… there was a weak spot and He was building it up – He looked right at me and said – you MUST remember, to the enemy – Access is ALWAYS denied! I began to incorporate that into my prayers and saw power released. So I love that here, He has reminded me that I have the choice… I can also deny Him access to all that is in my heart – but that is not a wise choice! To the Lord – we give FULL ACCESS – and in doing that, we get to experience the Father’s embrace!

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