Thursday, April 29, 2010

Excited Expectation

I have to say...I was probably a little too excited.
A little too excited to see a movie that I had already seen numerous times and currently own...yet, here I was going to the movie theatre to see it ahhhh-gain.
But wait, there's more.
THIS time, I was going to see the movie on...da-da-dum....(enter the big booming announcer voice).....
Gasp, awe...

Anyway, a new theatre opening locally was having their grand opening, and to celebrate was offering FREE movies of "recent Hollywood hits".
I love FREE. (Kudos to you theatre peeps for that great idea btw!)

Having realized that FREE would be the only way in which our family would be able to go all together to see a movie in...(here comes the voice again)...IMAX 3D, I quickly got on the task of gathering details about this opportunity and was determined to see it come to pass!
Movie choice: check.
Address to feed Lori(Jarrett's GPS): check.
Jacket for theatre: check.
So off we headed to see this movie we had all seen before, lots of times, and in all honesty, could have stayed home to watch.

As we rounded the corner to the theatre, I actually felt a little know that little kid excitement that rises up inside.
My expectations were off the chart!
Yes, I am willing to admit that, I, the seatbelt freak, even unbuckled as soon as Jarrett turned into the parking lot, so as to uninhibit my calculated speedy exit from the vehicle in order to out walk other patrons headed to the ticket line!
I even left my family at the car.
I mean, hey- when its time to get to business, mama don't play.
Either your daddy can hold your hand across that parking lot or you can use the brain your heavenly Father gave you!...ok relax all you horrified people, I'm kidding. No children were left unattended in the viewing of the movie.
But for real, Jarrett brought them after I had gone ahead.

And so I got in line- the shortest line- and was relieved to find out our time was NOT sold out! YES!
Having heard that lines had been horrendous at times during this grand opening promo, I felt like waving my tickets and doing the "Rocky" dance, but I restrained myself, and instead just kept asking the kids over and over, "Aren't you excited? Mommy is excited! Isn't this great? Aren't you excited? Can you believe the blessing this is for us? Isn't God good? Aren't you excited?" (I realize, at this point, that those of you who feel you were not embarrassed enough as a child, are all wishing that I, too, was your mother. ha.)

We entered the theatre, found great seats right in the center, top and I prepared myself.
Phone silenced: check.
Jacket on: check.
All children pottied: check.
3D glasses cleaned with precision: check.
Comfortable positioning of 3D glasses for myself and kids tested and memorized : check.

And then, the moment came...
Previews had come and gone...and now as the theatre began to identify itself as...(here it comes)...IMAX 3D, what was on the screen suddenly transformed and came to life!
Words that had been on the screen now danced before me, nearer than I could ever have imagined. Details jumped from the screen flooding my eyes, my mind...and I couldn't just sit and let it pass me by! I stretched my arms out to reach for what was in front of me!

The responses were so varied, but were evident across the theatre:
Caroline giggled, I said WOW, some gasped, some ooed and ahhed, jaws dropped, polite people whispered, rude, oops I mean other people talked in an outside voice...and this was not even the beginning of the movie- it was merely of taste of what was to come!
I knew this was NOT going to disappoint!

More amazing, reach-out-and-touch-the-screen moments occurred as we saw this movie we had seen so many times...but why?

Why was this time different than all the others?

Because this time, we were experiencing this movie in the fullness its creator intended it to be experienced.
The time and detail placed in this film was for movie goers to not just see the story, hear the story...but to be drawn into the story and experience it.

How often do we approach our encounters with the One True Living God this way?

When is the last time that I had such a great level of expectation that I was actually giddy just thinking about what I was going to experience by coming in to the presence of the Lord?

When is the last time I spent that much preparation to be in God's presence?

When is the last time I made sure I was sharing with others around me the greateness of the One I was expecting to experience and let them know that same encounter is available to them?

When is the last time we threw off all that hinders, stepped outside of our rituals and routines and went after the Lord...even when others choose to lag behind?

When is the last time we simply embraced being in His presence, allowing Him to make Himself evident in us, through us, with laughter, ooos, ahhs, whispers, shouts, outstretched arms, a shared word?

Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of all, longs for you experience the fullness of Who He is!

He presence is not something to be simply spoken of, heard of, or seen through the vantage point of a man-made box.

His presence is a place of TRANSFORMATION.
His presence is a place of VISION.
His presence is a place of REVELATION.

It is to be experienced.

So that you can be transformed into His image.
So that you can have the vision of His perspective.
So that you can receive the revelation of His will for your life.

We have become so content to view God through a key-hole that we randomly stumble upon when life begins to trample on us...hoping to glimpse just enough to give us a clue about the story line and fashion our lives into a faint resemblance, then tout our knowledge of Him as though we actually knew Him in an experiential way.

But the reality is, the key that fits that hole was purchased on a cross on which Jesus bled and died, and was delivered into His hands when He rose from the dead three days later.
The door of sin and death that separates us is unlocked for all who believe.

Stop being a key-hole peeker and a threshhold dweller!

Expect to experience the fullness of God.
THAT is what God created you for and that is why Jesus died for you!

Don't settle for a 2D, 7 inch screen walk with the Lord when He has made an...(enter that big voice)...IMAX 3D abundant life available to YOU!

God never disappoints.

OH!....and did I mention, just like my cinema's FREE!
I love FREE. :)

"My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen you."
Job 42:5
"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
1 Peter 2:2-3
"Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see-how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to Him"
Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Will YOU Ask?

The Holy Spirit recently impressed this question on my spirit...

Have you asked the Lord to do something IN you
have you only asked Him to do something FOR you?

To be perfectly honest, asking Him to do something FOR you, the way most people approach it, requires little more than the asking.

Asking Him to do something IN you, however, means that you are ready to hear, surrender and respond in obedience.
It means you have placed yourself on the altar and are ready for examination...willing to allow the Great Physician to diagnose the core problem, the disease at hand- rather than simply saying "mask this symptom", "get rid of this negative side affect", "anesticize the problem".

Many times, the reason we do not receive the answers to the very things we talk God's ear off about is because we have not asked the right question first: Will you do something IN me Lord?

Ultimately, faith is required of both questions...but if you do not have the faith that trusts God to prune, sculpt, shape your life first, then the faith you claim to be releasing when you ask Him FOR something is not genuine faith: it is merely a ritualistic attempt to receive a desire of the flesh through religious means.

And when that doesn't work, self-reliance steps in to create the solution you want.

When you ask Him to do a work IN you, once you have heard His heart, then you can truly understand what it is you really need to be asking FOR...we will be praying what the Spirit desires because our soul(mind/will/emotions) is aligned with HIS rather than seeking desires of the flesh.

You begin to ask from a place of relationship, rather than treating the Lord like a drive through at a fast food restaurant.

You may begin asking FOR things, but there's one thing you will ask for, CRAVE the most:

You will be hungry for who He is rather than what He can give.

I have NEVER known ONE PERSON who had a GENUINE CRAZY PASSION for Jesus that this was not the case.

When it came to what the SOLD OUT, Jesus lovers sought after, what they wanted first and foremost......
.....They didn't seek a ministry platform. They didn't seek a class to teach. They didn't seek the next best worship song to sing. They didn't seek happiness. They didn't seek to keep up with the Jones'. They didn't seek more money and things. They didn't seek the next best position or promotion. They didn't seek to fit in. They didn't seek to look hot. They didn't seek to have read all the best Christian books. They didn't seek to be right. They didn't seek the world's approval. They didn't seek to be religiously entertained. They didn't seek to excel in EVERYthing. They didn't seek to BE everything. They didn't seek to label others. They didn't seek to solve all the mysteries of God and box it up to market it for the world. They didn't seek greater intelectual knowledge of Christ to further their own aspirations. They didn't seek religious fame. They didn't seek the appearance of perfection.......
......They sought JESUS, JESUS, and MORE JESUS.
THIS is it.

Some of the above may have happened as a result of seeking Him first, but it was never what they were clamoring after and hungering for!

In Revelation 2:4 Jesus says to the church that has DONE great things, that had endured hardships and perservered, "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."

He wasn't talking to wretched people, blatant in their sin! He was talking to the ones everybody thought of as spiritual and strong. They were strong in things of God, but had stepped away from the person of God!

The interaction between the Holy Spirit and our spirit becomes so warped, distorted, clogged, mangled by all those things that we seek. We may even think that we are acting, reacting in good ways and seeking good things, but if there is ANY other motive than MORE of JESUS, we have forsaken our first love.

How do we keep this from happening?

ALWAYS ask Him to do something IN you before you ask Him to do something FOR you.

Psalm 139:23-24(The Message)
"Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about; See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong- then guide me on the road to eternal life."

I admit, I so many times let my head get before my know when the soul tries to run the show and I start operating from a "religious"place rather than a "relationship" place, with no one around me the wiser...asking FOR things- even good and noble things...but forgetting to throw it all to the side and first go after the most important thing: simply HIM.

And why? For no other reason but to know Him more. If you are "trying" to get to know God so that blah blah this or blah blah that...then you need to go back to Psalm 139 and cry out the verses above! We need to consistently be asking the Holy Spirit to assess our motives, to look in the places we have begun to overlook, ignore and tolerate.
Then LISTEN...and allow the Holy Spirit to begin a powerful and amazing transformation in you!!!

Are you willing to be BRAVE and ask Him to do a mighty work IN you?

Are you willing to lay aside pious comparisons and self righteous attitudes that keep you where you are and are offering false assurance and breeding complacency?

Are you williing to let Him INVESTIGATE your life, without locking doors of your heart?
Are you ready to give Him an ALL ACCESS pass to ALL that you are?

He already knows every seen AND HIDDEN thing! (Heb 4:13!)

He is simply waiting on you to invite Him to begin creating a masterpiece out of your mess.

Stop trying to figure it out! He already has.
Surrender and Trust.

Let Him change you from the INside out.

I long for you to experience a PASSIONATE GROWTH EXPLOSION in your intimate relationship with GOD!

The real question you?????

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Can't Sleep

I am not a troubled sleeper....usually.
Lately, I have not rested as well as usual and it is honestly getting on my nerves.
I am the one who falls asleep as my head is on the way to the pillow, or-and Jarrett will back me up on this- in the middle of a sentence that I am reading aloud to you from the computer screen!
It's not the falling asleep, but the staying there that has been hit or miss as of late.
Friday night was one of those nights.
I woke up at 3:30.
Rolled over and looked at the clock at 4:15.
Prayed some more.
Along came 4:45...
You know those times when you know it is more than yourself keeping you awake? Maybe you do, maybe you don't....but I came to the point where I knew I wasn't supposed to be lying in that bed anymore. My spirit has been roused by the Holy Spirit. Something was up and He needed me up...
Finally, I said, "Ok Lord. I get it. I am getting up. What do you want me to do?"
And so I went-you could even say somewhat begrudgingly-to mine and the Lord's meeting place in the den, Bible and journal in hand, and waited....
And as I did, I felt impressed to write.
I didn't think and write, I simply wrote and then read what came out...and it was such an amazing thing when I went back and read!
The Holy Spirit molded my spirit into His desire in a matter of lines on a page and so gently led me to a place where I could sweetly plowed the hardened ground of my lovingly tuned the ears of my spirit to His frequency...

...and nothing else mattered.

It was a refreshing like no amount of sleep could ever bring.

I love Him SO much!
I mean, I really just love that He loves that time with me and will wake me up to get it.

So, what follows here is a rare excerpt from my journal from that early morning hour that the Holy Spirit has nudged me to share, because I want you to see how precious He is and how willing He is to be the most tender of Shepherds and guide you where you need to go...if you will just be willing to follow...

I can't sleep.
I don't know why.
Any noble purpose I've let slip by.
Some other one may have known what to do
In these moments given, this morning, brand new.
I can think of millions of tasks to fill the time-
All menial and domestic-nothing sublime.
But there's a need to satisfy down in my spirit and soul,
An emptiness calling, longing to be whole!
My spirit has been awakened to commune with Your love,
To lay aside earthly burdens and focus above.
Who You are awaits to show me who I can be.
Illuminate my mind, help these blind eyes to see!
So how can I answer, more than, "Here I am!",
And position myself before the Spotless Lamb?
In this unadultered hour, all I want is YOU.
As the moon begins to hide, let Your Son rise, revealing TRUTH.
There's a thinness to the walls that have seemed to separate,
A Divine entrance fashioned, a spiritual floodgate!
Anticipation trickles into the fog of my spirit,
Burned away by expectation as Your Holiness comes near it!
So come, Holy Spirit, take me where I dare not go!
Overwhelm this earthen vessel, help me receive what You desire me to know.
And I will wait before You.........
No, I won't leave...I'll adore You.....
You are why
I won't sleep.

Ezekiel 36:25-28(The Message)
"I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

ENGAGE in Snuggle Time!

I have come to the conclusion that I turn into a kid magnet at night.
As much as my 11, 9, and 7 year olds may ignore me at times during the night everything changes.
And, of course, I LOVE IT! :)
They always want me to lay down with them, or either want to snuggle with me in my bed...and I cherish every minute.
The other night Caroline came running in my room and jumped onto Jarrett's side of the bed and said , "Mama, I want to snuggle with you! I want us to have snuggle time!"
"Sure!", I said.
So, she jumped under the covers and turned toward me, but just then, something that was on Food Network on the TV in our room caught her attention and she simply laid back on Jarrett's pillow rather than us actually snuggling.
We were close...but the snuggling just wasn't happening because you can't see how Chef Robert conquers his impossible cooking mission AND nuzzle into Mama simultaneously.
So Chef Robert won(the mission and my time slot!)
When the show ended the king of the land(Jarrett) came in and proclaimed that it was bed time which means: I want my bed and my spot...all kids to your beds, asap.

Caroline turned to me with this horrified look on her face.
"But Mama! I never got to snuggle with you! I wanted to snuggle and then I just forgot! And now I don't have time!"

It was true...I had been there beside her, turned toward her, arm extended, with a place right there for her to snuggle into me, and although she was close...she never actually snuggled in and received what her heart originally came there longing for.

What a picture for us as Believers.

Isn't that really what we all come to the Lord longing for?
Don't you want to just crawl into the arms of the Father and receive all that He has to offer you?

Ahh, to lay our head on the chest of the Father and listen to His heartbeat, to allow the rhthym of our breath, the rhythm of our LIFE to be in sync with His!

We come so close, but never quite make it to the moment that brings the nourishment our soul continually and ravenously longs for.
We may go to the right places, open the right books, even position ourselves around the right people, but we never ENGAGE.

The thing is, we can be coaxed, called upon, encouraged to, but until we choose to look away from what is distracting, turn TOWARD what God has made available and then MOVE INTO it...we will never experience what we came to the Lord to receive in the first place.

You will merely be in proximity of God, rather than IN the POWER of God.

"The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but a matter of power."
1 Corinthians 4:20

It's about choosing to dissengage from the things that are taking the time that is for you and your heavenly Father.
It's about choosing to dissengage from even the seemingly harmless, even the "religous" good things when they are not what God has specifically told you are HIS BEST for your life.

Whatever is drawing your eye away from the Lord, whatever is silently but most assuredly siffening time that is His...DISSENGAGE!

Pull the plug, and tap into the REAL source!

Stop settling for fond memories and feel good stories of God's presence! It is not something He intends us to just talk about...He made it available through the blood of Jesus so we could WALK in it-DWELL in it!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1
Sadly, we strive more than we thrive...yet, what God desires for us to do is run into His arms, find peace for our souls and power for our steps!
"Come near to God and he will come near to you..." James 4:8
I promise you will never leave the arms of the Father-the true presence of the Lord-unchanged, when you ENGAGE in HIM!

It breaks my heart to see believers possessing the gift of salvation, but then leaving it dusty on some forgotten shelf in their life and then wondering why they are dissatisfied, wandering through life with no direction, never realizing their purpose in bringing the reality of the kingdom of God here on earth!

2 Timothy 2:5 describes it as, "...having a form of godliness but denying its power...".

"The Lord says, 'These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of only rules taught by men.'" Isaiah 29:13

Ask yourself:
Am I content to just be in the vicinity of the things of God?
Am I ENGAGING in Person of God?

Let THIS moment be for you the moment that Caroline experienced when Jarrett announced bedtime!
Check into the reality of where you are or where you're not in regard to God's presence and power in your life!
To be a believer who exudes the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, is about more than good intentions!
The world has a way of making us "just forget", as Caroline did, by inundating our lives with must haves, must do's and priorites that always seem to rise above what our spirits are actually screaming for!
The Father wants you because he has so much ready and waiting to impart to you:
"No eyes have seen, no ears have heard, no mind has imagined
the things I have prepared for those who love me."
1 Corinthians 2:9

That night, after her reality check, Caroline came close, snuggling her whole body next to mine, looked into my face with those big brown eyes and said, "Mommy, pleeeeeease can I snuggle with you?"
The thing that point, she had moved herself into my arm and was already snuggling! She had chosen to move herself into the position that had been made avaible to her long before that very was just that now, she had chosen to take hold of it.


"Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not heresay, that Jesus is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it." 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 The Message