My (Preferred) Alter-Ego (come find me here!)

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Sunday, November 23, 2008


I’m reading through 1 Samuel now. Actually, if you want to be technical about it, I’m reading through Genesis, 1 Samuel, Job, Proverbs, Isaiah, Matthew and Ephesians now, in what could be classified quite convincingly as a mild case of spiritual A.D.D. In tonight’s sitting, Abraham rescued Lot from the four kings who went out against Sodom, Saul became king over Israel, Job told off his friends for insinuating that he was less than perfect in the sight of God, Solomon told me to quit worrying and trust in the Lord, Isaiah reminded me that the Lord is not angry forever, and John the Baptist was beheaded.

I had one of those “wow” moments in 1 Samuel tonight--the kind where the words seemed to hurtle themselves off the page and I found myself wondering who snuck into my apartment and inserted a page in my Bible with a new part of the story that I had never seen before. In 1 Samuel 12, Samuel confronts the people of Israel for their sin of rejecting the Lord as their ruler in favor of having a king (Saul) like all other nations. The power of his words brought conviction (or perhaps merely terror--although the two do seem to come together at times) to the hearts of the people, because in verse 19 they beg Samuel to pray to the Lord on their behalf that He would not kill them for their sins.

What struck me followed in verse 23 when Samuel replied,
“…far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.” (emphasis added)


In the Old Testament, Abraham prayed on behalf of Lot that God would spare the city of Sodom, and Moses prayed on behalf of the Israelites that God would spare their lives when they turned against the Lord to worship idols. In the New Testament, Jesus commanded us to pray for those who persecute us, and Scripture tells us that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding to the Father on our behalf. As a result, we have at least a vague notion that praying for other people is a good idea.

However, I wonder if we truly grasp the gravity of the role to which we are called on the earth. 1 Samuel 12:23 says to me that those of us who know the will of the Father and seek to walk in the power of spiritual leadership--whether as a forerunner like Abraham, a quasi-political leader like Moses, or a prophet like Samuel--have a divine responsibility to pray on behalf of others. With position comes responsibility. With an ear tuned and sensitive to the voice of the Lord comes a mandate to walk in humility and use the gift of hearing to serve others.

I wonder how much the face of the church would change if we all believed that we sin against God when we do not interpose ourselves between His judgment and the brokenness of our neighbors. I wonder how much He would soften our hearts toward our brothers and sisters if we truly began to grasp that He delights in mercy, that He is infinitely patient, and that He holds an inexhaustible supply of tender love for all of humanity. I wonder how much easier it would be to forgive the offenses we hold against others if we realized how serious about this He is.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"God, Where Were You?"

So I was thinking a lot about Abraham and Isaac a few months ago--specifically how at just at the right moment the Lord stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son. I think it has almost been to my detriment at times that I know the end of the story because when the Lord asks me to give Him something, there's always this sense of, "oh, I'm not really going to have to sacrifice that. I'm just showing Him that I'm willing."

The thing is, sometimes there is no voice calling out, "Stop! I've seen your heart. You don't actually have to go through with it." Samuel told Saul that obedience is better than to sacrifice, but sometimes obedience requires sacrifice. One of my amazing friends reminded me just a few days ago that the story of Abraham and Isaac contains the first mention of the word "worship" in scripture--and it was in conjunction with sacrifice. Something always dies when we worship in its truest form.

But back to the often we parade our "Isaacs" across the altar--the dream job, the relationships, the promises to which we cling--all the time waiting for the divine intervention that God chooses not to send. And when we look down and see the life-blood of what we held most dear spilling over our hands, we begin asking in a confused daze, "God, where were You?" In the clamor and the emotional turmoil, sometimes it's hard to hear His whispered response–"here."

Hebrews 4 contains such a beautiful promise to us in verse 15:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Instead, we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned.

I know that when I lose something precious to me, the temptation is there to allow myself to be swept away in a rush of emotions. I find myself doubting that I truly heard the voice of the Lord. I struggle with blaming myself and even blaming God for the discomfort that follows. I throw myself into any project I can find to avoid the phrases "it's not fair" and "I don't understand." Six little words not even used in the same sentence all the time that nip at my heels like dogs and tug at my peace of mind. Does Jesus truly understand that?

And then I think about the cross--the fulfillment of the shadow that the Lord played-out in the Abraham/Isaac sacrifice. Jesus came with a purpose and was aware of the end of His story from the beginning, but the Gospels tell us that He agonized enough to sweat blood the night before He died. I wonder if He was thinking about Abraham when they crucified Him. I wonder if perhaps part of Him was also waiting for the Father to speak up and say, "No--there's another way" as Jesus stumbled toward the cross, even though He knew there wasn't.

I think Jesus's cry--"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?"--was the ultimate expression of the "God where were You?" question. In that moment, Jesus showed us that He felt, in excruciating detail, every agonizing emotion that comes coupled with a call for sacrifice--with a call for true worship.

That is the Jesus I find myself holding onto--the one who "gets it." And He proved without question that the end result is worth it, even if God doesn't stop the process of sacrifice.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

a dream

I don't ordinarily share my dreams, but I have felt such an urgency to pray this morning and a realization that I cannot carry this burden alone. I had the third of a series of disturbing dreams last night. I dreamed that I was in a large room like a gymnasium. The walls were covered in vertical wooden slats just a few inches across. I was busy painting the room in horizontal red and white stripes, each stripe several feet tall.

While I was painting, a group of men gathered at the top of a stair-case in the gymnasium looking down at me. I believe there were others in the room with me, but I don't remember who they were. The men at the top of the stairs had a list of names and phone numbers, and they began calling the numbers on the list. The numbers matched the cell phones of the others in the room with me. Each time a call went through and a cell phone rang, the men on the stairs would arrest the owner of the cell phone and lead him/her off.

I was given a type of birds-eye view of the list of numbers, and as I watched, black lines appeared across the page redacting the names and numbers so that the men could no longer call.
Just before the list of numbers was completely blacked out, the men were able to scribble down my number. However, before they could call me, another friend of mine called me. When the "hit-men" called my number, my caller-id beeped to let me know I had an incoming call, but my phone did not ring because I was on the phone with someone else--so I escaped detection.

I went up the stairs and found myself in a room with all of the people who had been "captured." My dad was in the room with them speaking encouragement to each one. I came to an understanding that the hit-men would be flying these in the room to another country, where they would be executed.

What followed was a series of very painful goodbyes, as person after person who I knew intimately in the dream came to me. I remember weeping with them, telling some that I would gladly take their place if I could. The last two to whom I said goodbye were my dad and a man I have never seen before, but in the dream I knew him to be my fiancé. After the hit-men took everyone away, I found myself in another room with a couple of other people saying that I didn't know what to do with myself. I awakened with my heart crying for my father.

I asked the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom to understand the dream this morning, and felt that He gave me a little insight and some simple instruction.

1. Pray “hiding prayers” over yourself and your family. My parents trained me in the significance of praying hiding prayers from an early age. Psalm 17:8 and Psalm 64:2 give a good example of this type of prayer. I believe the red and white stripes of paint symbolized the blood of Jesus, which I was actively involved in applying to the “boundaries” of my environment. The hit-men came in through an opening where the blood had not been applied. There can be no room for “chinks” in our defense system.

2. Pray for others around you, especially those who you recognize to be intercessors on the “hit-list” of the enemy. I believe there is an attack that has been launched against our tools of communication (essentially, our prayer lives) to turn our greatest assets against us. I also believe that this attack primarily targets those who have dedicated their lives to prayer and pleading the blood on behalf of other people. In the dream, the call of a friend saved my life. The enemy may “have our number” but a friend who commits himself or herself to be a mediator on our behalf can subvert his plans. Definitely pray for those who are “names” on a national prayer level – Lou Engel, Mike Bickle, etc. – but also pray on a local level for your pastors, teachers, mentors, and friends.

3. Pray for leadership. The two individuals who stood out most in the dream and were being taken away to their deaths were the two men in primary spiritual leadership in my life—my father and my husband to be. I believe this applies to the political state currently in America. In the dream, I was in an engagement season where the “headship” of my home was passing from my father to my husband, but the transition had not yet taken place. I did not recognize the man I was to marry, although I knew him in the dream. In the same way, the leadership of our nation is in a time of transition with the upcoming election, going from one president to a new one (whom we don’t yet know). There is an attack formed against leadership that would endeavor to execute spiritual covering and leave us vulnerable and exposed.

4. Pray for a generation crying out for fathers—and commit to becoming a mentor. I believe the last scene of the dream gave me insight into people desperate for someone to speak life into their lives—screaming silently for a father. We must pledge our lives to showing them the Father. We must also take the challenge to become spiritual mothers and fathers to those who feel orphaned and widowed on a spiritual and emotional level. James 1 shows us that this is the kind of religion the Lord honors.

God bless you all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

i'm in love

I heard a question this week that has started changing the way I think. Very simply, someone asked me, "what do you think God feels about you?" I know the "pat" scripture answers we shoot back without really thinking, but I had to answer what I believed He thinks about me--not what I "know" He thinks.

Knowing what He feels about me changes the way I think about myself and the way I treat other people. There is great confidence that comes when I recognized that I am truly loved. Proverbs talks about how the earth shakes under the weight of a woman who is married and not loved/valued the way God created her to feel love. If we are truly to be the Bride of Christ, we must understand that He is radically, passionately, persistently, excessively in love with us, and everything else we do (even down to signs, wonders, and miracles in His name) is simply an overflow that spills over out of the excess of that love.

I'm starting to get it I think, but it's a definite process. He loves me. HE loves ME--intimately, personally, and to depths I've never recognized. It's the ultimate love story where the beloved opens her eyes and comes to the realization that everything she's ever wanted has been there waiting for her the entire time.

Who am I? I am a lover...and a the most life-changing love story ever penned. So do you know who you are?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Jude 1:22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Pulling here is the Greek word harpazō meaning "to carry off by force, to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly, to snatch out or away."

I read this verse today and it convicted me. There's urgency here. If we are "to carry off by force," it logically follows that we will face resistance. May God give us such an overwhelming compassion for people that we come back to this calling to plead with those falling away with groans and tears, not with judgment, anger, or condemnation--to love so deeply and so purely that we exhaust all areas of opportunity to call those around us back to holiness. To care less about our reputations than our relationships. To love as He loves.

My heart is too full to write more. God bless you guys.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

life in disguise

I finally went to see "The Dark Knight" last night, and have felt somewhat "haunted" ever since. Today, I feel extra observant while performing the most mundane tasks, I hear drums and trombones when I walk, and I keep waiting for the Joker to pop out of a trash can and ask, “Why so serious?”

Stories of vigilantes in disguise touch such a sympathetic chord within us. They are unlikely heroes, struggling to establish a dual identity, unrecognized for the weight of responsibility they carry. Aragons suppressing nobility to fight for a people who do not recognize their need. Frodos allowing the war raging around them to explode within in a conflict of desires as they press forward into their calling. Bruce Waynes hiding strength behind the masks of arrogant fops to better protect a people who hate them. Heroes who persist in helping even when they're not wanted. Heroes who would somehow seem less heroic if they lost their mystery.

Why does the “secret warrior” hold such a sway over our imaginations? Perhaps because it is a concept that first came to us from the heart of God Himself. Daniel 10 shows us the intensity of warfare that takes place when we pray, with the angel Gabriel breaking away from warring with the prince of Persia just long enough to deliver a message before returning to the fight. The villains in “real life” are more malicious than those in the movies; the most developed and chilling antagonist pales to two-dimensional in comparison. They have interminable resources. They do not listen to reason. They have no compassion. They touch our deepest vulnerabilities, creating confusion with glee, breaking our ranks, turning us against ourselves. They never sleep. They never stop looking for the chinks in our armor.

It’s enough to make you want to whip swords around your head and scream like a banshee while tackling every innocent bystander you see to the floor in an effort to protect them. Yet, Jesus called us to do massive exploits in private, tucked away in prayer rooms, unsung and uncelebrated. Peter was well acquainted with the concept of a double-identity when he wrote about being a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Peter, tossed into a reeking prison, beaten, crucified upside down and writing in a time where Christians regularly faced martyrdom, probably didn’t look like a royal son of the ultimate King.

But that’s the way the kingdom works, isn’t it? The last become first. The good deeds done in secret are rewarded openly. True believers esteem others as better than themselves. The King of the ages washes feet.

When I think about the person who hurt me and choose to offer up a silent prayer of blessing over their lives, I’m taking up arms. When I pay my electric bill with gratefulness that God provided the resources I needed, I’m assaulting oppression. When I pass a stranger on the sidewalk and whisper a request that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened and they would see Jesus for who He is, I’m wrestling for eternal life.

Today, I'm not simply one of millions of Americans working a nine-to-five in countless cities across the country. Nor am I "just" the damsel-in-distress waiting in peril for Batman/Superman/Spiderman to swoop in and save me just in time.

No. Today I am poised, alert, and fierce--with a touch of scorn for injustice. I am the defender. I am the warrior. You just can't see it on the outside.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

speedy justice

So I'm listening to this wonderful teaching by Dwayne Roberts about persistence in prayer and how it often seems that we pray with no results. That is where I've felt I've been lately--praying and praying with no perceptible change in my environment (although, admittedly, there have been changes in myself). It gets tiring and I often struggle with the question, "what's the use?"

One of the passages in the message is that of the unjust judge in Luke 18, and the promise the Lord gives to "avenge" his chosen ones speedily. I like the way the New Living Translation puts verse 7:
"...don't you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who plead
with him day and night?"

What I fight the most in my times of prayer is the discouragement that comes from the lie of Satan that I'm not making any difference. Jesus promises us here that if we will press on and plead with Him day and night, through His mighty power and with signs and wonders He will justify our commitment to prayer and punish the enemy for the lies he whispers.

Press on, and God bless!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

just a short thought on being grateful

Several of us at the church have been pushing for a greater awareness of what it means to be grateful lately. My brother has been especially pivotal in bringing this valuable lesson to the forefront, coupling it with the lessons on perspective that the Lord has been working in him for close to a year now.

I found a quote today, and the potential ramifications hit rather close to home. It simply states:

"No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of
night." ~Elie Wiesel

When we pray for patience, God allows us to go through trials through teach us to push through. When we ask for more faith, sometimes He hides His face so that we have to lock into the last thing He said and trust in the face of all odds.

In the quest for grattitude, the choice is simple. We can either choose to be grateful in all things....or we can ask to be more grateful without practicing it and go through trials that will teach us to be more grateful until we finally learn the lesson.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

city of refuge

there's a beast in the streets. he rushes his prey. he devours all in his path. can you feel him? the edge of his hunger is the breath on your heels as you run, and run, and run. on and on you run, heart pounding, chest aching, one step following another with nothing more than the push of your will to keep going. sprinting to survive. praying for the earth to swallow the flood spewed from the monster pursuing you.

the people are fleeing for their lives, but the city of refuge lies in ruins. where are those who will build up the wall? who will stand in the gap? the cornerstone is in place, but the peters of the kingdom quibble among themselves, striving for position in the wall, refusing the cut of the mason's tool. each stone struggles and seeks to complete the spires on the wall. who will lay down their lives to be a foundation and allow the next generation to build upon ground they'll never have to break?

the city is in ruins. rough, unhewn rocks dot the surface of the hillside, and the monster is coming, and the people are fleeing. the city has already been besieged and surrendered. where will the people go when strength is gone, if the wall is not standing?

scattered stones on the hilltop. bones bleaching in the valley sun. hear the call of the Father. urgent. desperate. build the wall. build the wall. build the wall.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Nine o’clock on Easter Sunday night saw me wandering down the aisles of WalMart. I had just driven the almost-two-hour drive from my parents’ house after a long afternoon with friends, and was mentally already ticking off the list of things to do before I could fall into bed. I stopped and began to peruse the different boxes of crackers available, and had just settled on which flavor of Triscuits I wanted when “he” came over to me.

“Hi,” he said.

I gave a polite half-smile and nodded.

“Do you need any help?”

“No thanks–I think I’m good.” Do I really look that confused? Well, there are a bunch of choices...

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I think I found what I want.” The tomato-basil looks potentially interesting.

“‘Cause I’d hate for you to need help standin’ here and lookin’ all . . .”

Ooooooh. The light dawned, and I smiled for real this time. I thanked him again for the “offer” and assured him I was just fine. He told me where he would be if I needed anything and turned to go. After a few steps, he turned back toward me, and that’s when he said it.

“Keep doing whatever you’re doing.”

Then he was gone, and I didn’t see him again for the rest of the night.

What he said has stayed with me, though. Keep doing what you’re doing. Perhaps not the way he meant it–but the message came through just the same. Just keep going. Don’t quit.

God sends us encouragement and answers to prayer in our everyday lives, but I think a lot of the time we don’t accept them because they don’t come to us with pomp, circumstance and flair that we expect from a “miracle.” In His love for us, God is constantly speaking, tugging at our attention and whispering “come away.” Too often we miss it because we’re looking for something else. Because angels don’t show up shining like neon lights and waving banners trumpeting “thus saith the Lord” in our faces. Because it comes to us through commiserating with a stranger about the price of gas while standing at the pump instead of in the middle of a church service.

I don’t know who came to speak to me on Sunday night, but I do believe God used him to get a message across, and it has served as fuel to press on after God and to continue to believe that He’s got something bigger going on than what my finite mind can see. I pray that God will shift us all to a mind set where we look at “coincidences” and see answers instead.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

my companion, my heart

A few weeks ago, Pastor said something in his sermon that has really stayed with me. He was talking about the marriage of Jacob to both Leah and Rachel in the Old Testament, and how Jacob loved Rachel more, even after seven years of marriage to Leah, because Rachel was his heart. Pastor then admonished all singles in the church to make sure that their future spouse was their heart and not just their companion.

My heart went out to the poignancy of Leah's plight, bound for the rest of her life to a man who would always love her sister more, the apparent quintessential Proverbs 30:23 woman; and then I began to think about Leah herself. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on capturing her husband's heart, Leah turned her attention to the heated rivalry with her sister and fractured their relationship.

While we know that Rachel was Jacob's heart, we have to wonder if Jacob was really Leah's heart, or if she was more interested in social status and attention. While we cannot know Leah's motives and desires, we can learn from her marriage to Jacob. How often do we allow the same thing to happen in our relationship with God? We seek the benefits of companionship with Him, often without making Him our ultimate desire. Often, when we see our brothers or sisters walking in enraptured love of Him, we grow jealous of the anointing, attack their zeal and judge their motives rather than emulate their lifestyles.

At our House of Prayer meeting on Saturday, we discussed how part of the curse on woman in Genesis 3:16 was a raging thirst for love that no broken and imperfect man can fully satisfy. Leah's story is an example of how this quest can become twisted and is fruitless. I believe that the curse can be a mixed blessing. History shows us that God allows those He considers His friends to experience His emotions. Abraham better identified with God's sorrow at sacrificing His son when he laid Isaac on the altar. Hosea experienced God's pain at a constantly unfaithful people when he married a prostitute. David felt God's heartbreak at having evil repaid for good when he spared Saul's life, only to have Saul chase him in the desert again and again.

In women, God has planted an inherent ability to understand the unspeakable longing He has to be loved. He is the master pursuer, but He longs for a people who will pursue Him with equal passion and abandon. The paradox of mature, agape love is that it expands, and the more you love, the more you realize how much more there is to love. The Psalmist asked, "what is man that Your are mindful of him?" I would ask, "What am I, that Your heart's cry is to be my heart?"

Monday, January 28, 2008

falling, face-up, and fear

I perfected the art of self-humiliation on Saturday night. Some friends and I went to hear a visiting speaker at a local church. Upon walking in the foyer doors, I noticed a dear friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a few weeks, and ran to give her a hug; unfortunately, gravity and the floor had other ideas. Just as I reached out to embrace my friend, my foot slipped out from under me and down I went, clutching madly at my purse, Bible, and notebook (all of which remained decorously in place through the thrilling ride). As I lay on the floor, one leg curled under me and the other between Leslie's, who was standing over me with a shocked expression on her face very much befitting someone who finds herself fielding first base when she didn't even know she was in the game, for a split-second I debated the feasibility of trying to play it all off. Reason won over pride, however, and we all laughed together about my "obvious" gracefulness.

The guest speaker, John King, preached an impassioned and inspiring message based on the story of the friends who dug through the roof of Peter's house to bring the paralytic to Jesus. Pastor King had so many good things to say about the order of the church based upon that story, but what stayed with me the most occurred early in the service, right after he announced his text. I was flipping frantically (and rather frustratedly) through my Bible, seemingly unable to get to Romans, and thinking that everyone else must be having the same trouble because it was taking him a long time to speak again, when I heard him say something about "the lady there in the scarf" and felt the friend sitting to my right nudging me to say he was trying to get my attention.

I don't normally broadcast prophetic words over my life in such a public fashion, but since he spoke to me with microphone in hand before the entire church, and cds of the service have been duplicated and handed out, I'm thinking any effort on my part to keep what he said private is futile. I won't go into all the details, but one thing he addressed is what God wanted to do in my life regarding what he called a "tremendous fear of men."

I was praying about that this morning, and asking God for wisdom, when He gently reminded me of Proverbs and that He'd already put wisdom at my disposal--my responsibility was to apply what He gave. So I flipped to Proverbs 28 (on January 28--original, I know) and stopped at the first verse, which reads: The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Figuring that God is a specific God, and that He has a good eye for details, I did a Hebrew word breakdown on the verse to see exactly what He was saying. I've always read it as, "a bad person's going to run away all the time even though nobody's chasing him/her, but a good person will walk into dangerous situations without being afraid." And I still think that applies to some extent...but some of the meanings of the words surprised me. Here's what I found:

The wicked -- guilty one, guilty of a crime, guilty of sin

Flee -- To cause to disappear, to hide

When no one pursues -- to be behind, to follow after, to pesecute, to harass

But the righteous -- the just, lawful, the justified and vindicated by God

Are bold -- to trust, to be confident, to be secure

As a lion -- young lion

What struck me was that the definition for boldness in this verse was less of an "I'm walking into a dangerous situation," proactive kind of word, and more of a quiet, "God's got me" kind of word. When we know that God has vindicated us, that He agrees with our decisions because we've made them according to His leading, and when we rest in His perfect will, we are automatically granted the same right to confidence and security as is given a lion cub romping near it's mother.

Fear, then, is ultimately a lack of faith in the knowledge that everything comes to us filtered through His hands. And we know that anything that is not faith is sin.


At this point, I am still working out how to apply this to my life. It's all well and good to speak of changes we need to make in ourselves. It's another thing, though, to be in that split-second of strong emotion on your backside in the church foyer trying to process what just happened and how to respond. However, if we can trust Him to protect us in the rough times, to hold us in the hard times, to vindicate us in the unfair ones, and to challenge us when it's time to grow, then we can trust Him to have the grace to lead us through every new situation; and that's an awesome arsenal against fear.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

how much do you want?

"Love is a most costly commodity. The more you are willing to pay, the more valuable the prize. The question is, are you willing to pay the price?" ~Johnny Lingo, "The Legend of Johnny Lingo." Dir. Steven Ramirez. Video. Turtles Crossing, LLC 2003

I awakened this morning with the question, "how much do you want?" spinning over in my mind. The story written by Patricia McGerr of Johnny Lingo and his 8-cow wife is one of my favorite legends (you can read a condensed version of it here. The 2003 movie adaptation strays from the original story in some areas, but the underlying theme is the same in both.

My thoughts this morning, however, were not from a standpoint of making sacrifices for love, but making sacrifices for the anointing (which, when you come down to it, ultimately is about love, but not in the romantic sense presented in the Johnny Lingo story). It is an often overwhelming paradox that the more I learn about God and the more time I spend with Him, the more I feel like I don't spend enough time with Him. Could this be a religious spirit pushing me to faith through works instead of salvation through grace? Possibly. But more likely it is simply that I just can't get enough of Him--and since Scripture shows that He can't get enough of me either, it looks like that's a good thing.

So why the question?

God requires different things from different people according to their callings and the ministry to which He's called them. Some are called to lives of fasting and prayer like Anna in Luke 2. Some are called to leave home and family to serve on a mission field. Some may have to sacrifice the good opinions of those around them. For some, it's giving up television and/or secular music. For some, it's offering their lives in the sacrifice of martyrdom.

The bottom line is that He's looking for obedience on the most basic level in our lives. There is great power that comes with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but it only comes at a great price. As He sees we are willing to do whatever it takes to be like Him, He is able to trust us with more. Anna was one of the first mouthpieces of the Gospel, a recognized prophetess, and favored with one of the earliest-recorded encounters with Jesus, but it came at a price--84 years as a widow compared to 7 years of marriage in a culture where the worth of women depended so heavily on fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, and a lifestyle of constant fasting and prayer.

If I could rewrite the quote above, I would change it to say "the anointing is a most costly commodity." God has purposes and callings for each of us, and more than anything He desires relationship with us. The more we respond to Him and the more we desire Him, the more of Himself He gives to us. The "responding" process, however, is where we face the crossroads. What price are you willing to pay?