Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's been a long time.....

Just feeling the need to provide an explanation for not keeping everyone up to date~ 

We have been in a season of refining that has been consuming at times.  Jesus is always faithful.  The Holy Spirit has been faithful to reveal and expose what He is wanting to address in our lives.  It has been difficult as this season has involved our entire family.  The Lord has given us many encouraging Words.  He never leaves us to face the dark night alone.  I love Him so!!!  I don't write in seasons like this because it is as if the picture of what God is speaking comes in and out of focus.  Until I have real clarity, I choose to refrain from letting my mouth or fingers run.  I can say that we are coming up from the wilderness leaning more firmly on Jesus.  I can say that Jesus hasn't wasted a moment of confusion, pain or difficulty.  John and I are learning more than ever before about how to sustain/respond with a life devoted to Jesus and the reality of His grand plan for restoration.  The kids are truly thriving... I just need to give the experience time to digest.  Love to everyone in Oregon!  We miss you!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treasures in Jars of Clay

I am stunned to consider all that has happened since my last post. As I was reflecting on all the standing stones of our past year, I had no idea God was using that moment to prepare us for coming change.

John was offered a position at work that required a move to Kansas City, Kansas. Tears well up as I write that. I LOVE the Northwest. I am sure I am filled with a little bias, but I think it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I have taken for granted the ways the Glory of God cries out in the beauty of his creation. After much prayer, seeking God's direction and counsel; we arrived in Leawood, Kansas nearly 3 weeks ago.

This move has been one of the hardest things we have done thus far. I have laughed at myself as I have cried in my closet here. "God, I told you I would live in a hut in the middle of no where. Why am I having such a hard time sacrificing my security in feeling at home in the Northwest? I know my home is in Heaven!" I feel His gentleness and grace as I am honest with Him.

The International House of Prayer is in Kansas City and we feel part of our calling is to this place. It is when we are at The Prayer Room, or at The Daniel Academy, or sitting under the teaching of Mike Bickle during church on Sunday that I am reminded that I know that I know that we are to be here. There is a heart cry for an authentic bride readied for Christ's return like I have never seen. There is passion for Jesus, an application of intercession and adoration that challenges me in deep places.

Our kids have been sad too, but all of our perspectives change when we see the uniqueness of a community of people, in the same physical location, gladly sacrificing it all for Jesus. As we have gone to church, we are not the only ones who have a foreign license plate on our car. We marvel at all the license plates our kids have never seen before. God is clearly up to something here.

The journey here has not been easy. We have had lots of road bumps along the way and some huge caverns where the road has been washed out. But the real story is that God has been SO FAITHFUL! John was offered a job in Oregon after we knew we were called here for 3 times his current salary, the moving company we hired didn't show up to move us after we had paid in full. Stunned for a few days, we finally got to our knees and asked God to show us how to proceed. Withing 24 hours we had 2 big uhaul trucks in our driveway and 6 people to help us load them up. The following morning, my parents met us (saints that they are) to help drive us to the very place they had grieved we would be. Two and a half days later we arrived in KC; exhausted, emotional and HOT! This heat and humidity is a killer, I have no idea how so many people can jog with these conditions, but I haven't seen anyone needing my medical assistance yet.....

God gave us many Words during this storm, but "Keep your eyes on Me" was one of the biggies. I felt for those disciples in the boat with Christ in the middle of the storm like never before. I just kept saying, "He is in the boat with us! He is in the boat with us! He is in the boat with us!...."

Just this week, I heard an amazing message at The Daniel Academy (where our boys are going to school) about the heart change of choosing adoration in prayer for a season. They were encouraging the kids to get their eyes off the circumstances and praise God for His attributes that will address their circumstances. It was profound for me. So I have started using the alphabet as an acronym and praising God for all of his qualities that will be enough for my circumstances.

As I was in the Word this morning, God drew me to 2 Corinthians 4. I knew I had to post because He deserves all the glory for anything good that comes of this. He has authored it and I wait with great expectation to see how my faithful Father is going to use it!

2 Corinthians 4:6-16 (New International Version)
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Catching Up

Where does one begin when they haven't blogged for nearly a year?

Honestly, I wish God could summarize all He has done in my life for me. He is so much more succinct. He can speak a volume in a brief moment. How do you do that Lord?

My last post in April was following a Beth Moore conference in Portland. My husband had been asked to work in Bend, Oregon Monday through Friday for an extended period of time. For a variety of reasons, (mostly God's leading) we decided to come with John and leave our home vacant in Portland. The conference ended on the 18th, by the 19th we had moved enough of our belongings to live in the Bend area.

God has hi lighted this journey with many merciful exhortations.... The first came from my son, Isaiah (11 years old). We were living in Sunriver, a resort in the Bend area, homeschooling and riding the adventure. I was spending lots of time with Jesus but was feeling perplexed as I was asking Him, "What do I do now Lord? I have turned this vacation house into a home, found lots of activities for the kids, supported my husband.... But I am feeling unteathered... Lonely.... My tasks are completed but where do we go from here? I don't know what to do with this or even how long you will have us here."

I was changing the sheets at the time, my quiet mannered son walked in and said, "I think God wants me to tell you something... It keeps going over and over in my head..."

"Okay Isaiah, what is it?"

"Bloom where your planted mom."

The tears just flowed.... "Thank you Isaiah- Thank you Lord!" I had my charging orders, but I waited to see where He wanted me to engage. Lots of little things came up., I call them God moments. I was a lot more peaceful.

In June, God started laying something on my heart. Conviction about the kingdom John and I had invested in, flooded my soul. We had tithed throughout our marriage, but I was tied to a few things on Earth that I deeply loved. I am embarrassed to admit it, but one was my house in Portland. We had it built for our family and I manipulated and cojoled my way into that place. It was all I had ever wanted. Come to think of it, that sounds like a phrase in a praise song? Ouch! Anyways, God was telling me I needed to talk with John about putting our house on the market. I did and he thought I was crazy, but said he would pray about it. Within a couple of weeks our home was on the market. Even last June, nothing was moving so the realtor prepared us it could be a year. Within 30 days we had an offer on our home, lots of God details here, but for the sake of your time. Know that God lead us step by step.

The other part of this conviction about kingdom giving was that God wanted us to free up some of our finances to give to the church. Please hear me, I am not writing this to bring glory to myself or our circumstances. Glory is God's alone and I pray you see His fingerprints all over this. John, being the financial manager of our home needed to pray about this too.

Before we had gotten the offer on our home, it looked as if the company (my husband is consulting with here in Bend) would be extending the contract through the end of the year. We were listening for God's direction and John felt like we needed to find a house to live in a real town so the kids could engage in athletics, we could be near the church we were attending and open more opportunities for relationships. That created one problem for me, with what furniture? I didn't want to take all our furniture because it staged our home in Portland.

One day the kids and I went to look at rentals. I had prepared myself that this was going to be PAINFUL! The Lord had another plan. He took us to a home on a beautiful hill, with a gorgeous view and fairway for a back yard. The decor in the home matched everything I have and it had a huge garage to fit our stuff if we were to sell our home in Portland. Who says God doesn't want to delight our heart?

We are currently living in this house. It is a little smaller and we have made it work, but it is a gift from God and I am thankful for every square inch. We have commented many times that even though this is a rental it feels like our home. We don't know any different. God's presence is here. Where God is, home is.... It is His Kingdom I am after. It is His Kingdom I long for. More and more I am asking Him to share with me more details about His Kingdom that my eyes of flesh can't see.

There is much more to this story, but for now my heart says this is enough.... Bottom line is God wants each of us to prepare our hearts to believe we can hear His voice, obey to follow His lead, trust Him enough not to run ahead of Him; and allow Him to dig deep enough in our hearts and plant a root that will never be shaken. I don't want the storms, but when they come, I want to be one that never snaps! Oh God, I need YOU!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's time... Let's go

Jesus gave me these words at a conference this weekend. He alone restores our lives. He alone brings a fresh revelation of His love. On the heals of a season of desperately searching for Him, like the Shulamite maiden searched for Solomon.... He overwhelmed me with His intimacy after a time of praise and worship in our home with a few family friends Thursday evening. I wish I could describe it. I just feel the need to encourage anyone who may be pressing in. He will be found. Scripture says it and you can take Him to the bank on it. The reunion of intimacy is so sweet. Thank you Jesus. I am humbled and in awe of you! You are the lover of my soul, come in to your garden. Let your North and South wind blow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Peace that Plows on through the Storm"

It has been a while since I have posted, for a variety of reasons; vacations, summer schedules, and trials. Often, when I am in the midst of a trial or getting my heart around something God is teaching me, I can't quite put it into words.

I learned this Spring that God operates in 3 different ways during trials. (Thanks to a lady who I have never met personally, but mentors me through her bible studies. ) God rescues us completely which builds our faith, He allows us to go through the storm which purifies our faith (building stamina and character), or He perfects our faith by taking those who trust Him as Savior HOME! Home, for those who believe that Jesus is the perfect lamb slain for all our imperfections is Heaven, dwelling in the presence of God for eternity. Heaven is described throughout the Bible. For those who don't believe Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life; Earth is the closest they will ever get to Heaven. I find many like to talk about Heaven, but Hell doesn't seem to be quite as popular. For Christians Earth is the closest they will ever get to Hell. Our adversary HATES that! If you don't own a bible, please feel free to look it up online at: Many of these ideas are specifically captured in John chapters 14-17. Scripture is either entirely true or not worth the paper it is written on.

As people experience storms in their lives, the question of God's goodness often arises. How could He be good and allow this horrific experience in my life? What have I done to deserve this? Scripture says that God is unchanging. (Hebrews 6:17) It says that He is Holy (meaning set apart) and yet filled with love, justice, and compassion. (Exodus 15:7, Exodus 34:6, Psalm 45:6) Scripture assures us He can't contradict Himself. (Hebrews 6) That can be difficult to wrap our minds around, especially when it seems the world is falling apart. Children are starving, natural disasters are becoming more and more common, war abounds; people are so filled with self that personal gratification has justified hateful words, killing, affairs, divorce, and so on.... Scripture says this wasn't His intention in the book of Genesis. He loved us enough to allow the human race to make their own choices. When Adam and Eve consciously chose disobedience, Satan gained access to power on Earth. He is crafty, Satan loves to make us hurt and then points the finger at God. Scripture says this will all be redeemed one day. Satan will be held accountable. (Revelations 20: 7-10)

I believe scripture tells those who are Christians that they have the ability to affect change on Earth through prayer and intercession. (Psalm 34:1-6, Daniel 10:12-14 ) I believe the Church needs to practice this. We have to get better at this. I believe we need to teach our kids as they gain maturity in their own relationships with God. We cannot be fixed on expectations of security in what we have. We must find our security in its entirety in the Lord. As finances are changing in America, we are finding out just how tied to this stuff we are. I believe God is extending his grace to us. We may be on the precipice of trials that God uses to purify our faith. We must fix our eyes on Christ. We must remember what we are living for. We must choose to develop a deeper relationship with God, diving into His Word. We must ask Him to reveal the Truth on subjects we don't understand. He will be faithful. We must find the peace that plows on through the storm.

I found this gifted sister when my husband and I went on a date weekend. We traveled to a church in California called Bethel. She is young, but the maturity of her music overwhelms me.

The first few stanzas of: I have found

I have found a peace that plows on through the storm
I have found a joy that jumps over sadness
I have found a love that lights up every room
I have found, I found you

You are all I want
You are all I need
Everything my heart could hope for
We are longing for the glory of the Lord
'Cuz we know there is so much more

Listen for yourself!

Abundant blessings in your life-in whatever shape or form God chooses...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

God continues to blow my mind!

I just had to share a God moment with anyone who is interested. I have been feeling a burden for teaching children the meat of the Word of God. It is so rich with so many insights that we could never exhaust all God has desired to communicate to us.

I was raised in a small, conservative, community church here in Oregon. I grew up praying for parking spots and sometimes over a meal, but really didn't see God actively participating in my life until my mid 20s. It wasn't until after my 4th child was born in 2001 that I began to search for something more. I needed God to show me how strategically involved in His kids' lives he was. I needed to know He cared I was having an identity crisis (recently graduating from a MS program), operating as a Nurse Practitioner in the ED of a university hospital and changing more diapers than I would care to count. I felt stretched and torn between two jobs I loved dearly that required 100% of me. If I made a mistake in either arena, the cost was enormous. I couldn't give life or childhood back. I decided to take a break and be mom full time. My husband was going through his own set of growing pains that compounded my identity issues. Nurses are commonly co-dependant and I guess I signed up for that class without knowing it!

Jesus made a way for me to involve myself in women's bible study. I am very tender with the Lord. He can zero in to the dark places in my heart faster than a toddler focused on a candy dish. He began a process of revealing himself and healing my heart for which I will be eternally grateful and truly ties into this blog's name. I have received mercy for eternity. Over the years, as I have studied and found freedom in the Truth, expressed in the Word, and manifested in the Freedom of Christ, through His death and the power of the Spirit, I have been searching for ways to teach my children this same Truth. My heart is that they be spared some of the burdens I have carried for so long.

Our journey to home schooling was not about protecting, or taking a greater opportunity to infuse them with the Word. It was truly about watching our oldest, compliant child become disenchanted with learning in the 3rd grade. I had returned to work and we were doing a lot of parenting in the car; to and from private school, sports, play dates and parties. As they all came home in the fall of 2006, I was petrified! I was still working as an NP part-time and then taking on 4 different grade levels. God showed me a new meaning to His strength being made perfect in my weakness!

Inspite of the crazy schedule something amazing happened. He began to give me a vision for equipping the saints in the next generation. I truly think that my kids may not enjoy the same lifestyle my generation has been privy to (or distracted by). I have been sharing the content I study with them. I don't water it down, we worship and invite the presence of God and let Him take over. I have been amazed at how rivetted they are on the content. I can see the Spirit removing the scales from their eyes as they say, "Don't stop mom!!!" We have talked through how the voice of God feels in our hearts; condemnation vs conviction, and asking the Lord for discernment, as we wade through emotions that want to hear Him vs legitimate experiences with Him. COMPLEX!!! But they get it! As I have prayed about this I have felt the Lord has given me a picture of Moses and Joshua. Joshua gained so much by shadowing Moses and his growing relationship with God.

The last few weeks have been amazing. This ole conservative girl has been learning that the Spirit has a valid part in the Trinity. I don't claim to have it all figured out, but I am giving the Holy Spirit more license in my life as I agree to cooperate with Him as He carries out His role. As I learn this, I share it. A few weeks ago I asked the kids to go listen for the Lord to show them how He sees them. My kids each had a very unique experience with God. As we shared them, my oldest son had a word of knowledge about the younger son and what he was sharing while he was sharing it. Everyone was tearful about the awe of God. This past week I was relating what I was studying in Daniel. A study written by Beth Moore that I would count in my all time top 5 and highly recommend to male or female. We were discussing Satan's ploy of fear and our charge to stand firm (Chapter 10). The kids were eating it up. I am a baby in the gifts of the Spirit and believe I have been given a prayer language, but rarely pray out loud. I don't remember praying out loud in this language, but evidently I did. My oldest heard me, told me he asked the Lord for an interpretation, and then proceeded to tell me what he felt the Lord had laid on his heart in response. It was right on with what we were praying about!

I have instructed my kids that we must be discerning and write these things down. We must ask God to confirm them in our lives. We don't know our parents' voices right off the bat. We learn them. So God is teaching us His. I pray I learn it well. I pray my husband and I lead our kids in the way they should go. That we not look to the right or to the left but to the Word. Thank you for 'listening'. I would love to hear anyone's thoughts....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pressing In

Over the last month the Lord has brought about study, conversations, books and sermons on prayer. It may seem superstitious for some, but as I have watched my relationship with the Lord unfold, I am more confident than ever that He has the power to manage this world on His own, yet would love for me to join Him. He doesn't need me, He is sovereign, the Beginning and the End, The Creator, The Ancient of Days, The Redeemer, The Holy One. Scripture shows over and over that He created us for the purpose of relationship. In spite of His ability to control, He chooses not to. He chooses to give us choice. He wants the relationship to be our hearts responding to His, in a fine balance of His calling and our acceptance.

This all started with circumstances in my life that have required a lot of prayer. As I have searched the scriptures I have found more scripture than I can represent on this blog. It must be important to God for us to understand what He thinks about prayer!

Some of the scriptures that spoke deeply to my heart are:

2 Chronicles 7:14
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Isaiah 65:24
24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

Daniel 9:20-23
20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the LORD my God for his holy hill- 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision:

Daniel 10:12 12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.

Matthew 6:9-13
9"This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Luke 22:40
40On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

John 17
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."

Acts 1:4-5, 8
4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:12-14
12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Romans 8:25-27
25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Ephesians 6:18
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

These scriptures touched my heart for various reasons. I look at the landscape of this time, this season of America and I am not sure our children will enjoy the bounty that we have enjoyed. Being a home schooling mom, I am honestly internalizing some parts of their education for the first time. Last year we studied ancient history and I was appalled at how kingdom after kingdom and culture after culture was founded on the backs of sacrificial people who risked their lives for the good of the whole. The magnificent thing about that was that was the standard of the people groups for that time. Those who were mostly self serving were the few. As the culture developed, generations began to enjoy the fruits of the ancestor's labor. Time after time, when each society was at its peak, enjoying leisure and prosperity self centered behaviors became the norm. Soon after, each kingdom fell.

I know there are more books written on prayer than I could read in a year. The above scripture says that our prayers have the ability to affect change. I believe that born again Christians are viceroys of God on Earth. That He has a perfect will. We can be involved, by influencing the Spiritual Realm in the power of the Spirit; and by the blood of Christ, through faith and prayer. He says that we are His inheritance. We are children of a heavenly kingdom. We have the power to do all the miracles He did while here on this Earth and more.

My flesh wants to pray for America's future and our children's lifestyles. Moreover, my heart is growing increasingly heavy for the people of America. I am feeling burdened for our response to the sifting that will come. That hearts will turn to the One of Truth. That Christians and the following generations will rise up, demonstrate the mercy and love of Christ inspite of circumstances. We must press in to the Lord in prayer. We must not forget what a powerful tool we have in the Word and use it as we pray back the Truth to our Father. We must look at this world with eyes of faith, asking the Lord to see it as He does. We must train up our kids to digest the meat of the Word. They are more ready than we think. I watch our kids hang on every word as we study The Bible together. I am in awe at how much further along their walk of intimacy with God than I was at 30!

I leave you with this last scripture. I can't believe you have hung in with me this long... I share this because scripture says the Lord will return to a bride who is radiant. We must be discerning to know the scriptures so we will be radiant and not lead astray!

2 Thessalonians 2
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 13But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.