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

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My 1000 Things (part 1)

I found this idea on my "alter ego" blogsite ( for all who are interested) and loved I'm implimenting for myself. Some of you know of the "I Choose to be Grateful" fan page I set up on facebook--but this way I can be a little more specific. I have a feeling this will be an ongoing journey. Wish me luck!

Thank You for:

1. my home. specifically that it's mine...though, perhaps that's a bad way of looking at it. i'm a steward of all You've given me, and You have the right to direct me to use those resources in any way You wish. but for the moment, anyway, i'm sole mistress of a haven to where i can retreat in any given storm.

2. a car that actually cranks every time. i've thanked You before, multiple times, but this one never gets old. the katrina-era lemon that required nights of charging the battery only to have it die again the second i parked is a distant memory, and a reminder to be grateful for reliability.

3. my college degree. the four years had their ups and downs, but the piece of paper is mine, and so is everything for which it stands.

4. my paralegal certification. it relates to the above, with the exception that i was fairly confident i'd pass college; i was beyond shocked to pass the paralegal exam. only You know the full extent of what the preparation process cost. only You got me through it. thank You.

5. gabriel's hugs. doesn't matter what the day has been like--when he throws his arms around my waist and burrows his head in my stomach, i feel alive again every time.

6. watermelon. seriously. i'd expect to be sick of it by now, but everything from the smell to the messy juice rolling down my forearms says "mom"....just like...

7. ...herbal essenses shampoo. i'm always taken back to the summer before my 16th birthday when i smell it--learning to drive adam's car, watching tyler feed the goats, pretending to "roll" aunt patsy's house with amber, teaching chris french in the hotel room before darron and becky's wedding. it's evocative.

8. and speaking of mother. she listens. always. the many hats she wears. and she's big enough to admit when God's still working on her in situations. i pray i'm that humble in thirty years.

9. my dad. his strength. his wisdom. his corny jokes. the way he preaches with passion, and isn't ashamed to cry under the anointing.

10. my incredible church family. they are "the church" more than any building. they are my family when flesh-and-blood are far away. i can't make it a week without seeing them.

11. JAMHOP. a convergence of like-minded people. i never leave without feeling refreshed and inspired. they are my unit. they are my support group.

Monday, September 28, 2009

useless fire

Pastor's sermon from yesterday about guarding our spiritual gates has continued to turn over in my mind today. It is perhaps for this reason that the following passage from Malachi 1 impacted me so much when I read it:

10 "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands. ~Malachi 1:10
The context of this verse is that the people were offering less-than-perfect sacrifices on the altar--crippled, blind, and maimed animals that were not pleasing to God. They offered Him second-best (or perhaps it wasn't even second-best) and feigned shock that He was not pleased with them.

What struck me, though, was the concept of lighting useless fires. The fire was supposed to purify and refine the people, releasing a fragrant aroma to the Lord. However, in Malachi the Lord expressed His desire to bar the people from His presence--the fire was there, but the sacrifice wasn't right.

How often can this be said of our "pentecostal, charismatic, full-gospel" churches? How often do we have the "fire" of the manifestations, but don't seek to get the sacrifice right? How often do we seek the glory and neglect communing with the Spirit?

Taking it on a more personal level--how often do I say all the right words, raise my hands at the right time, pray in the Spirit, sing at the top of my lungs....all with emotions raging in my heart that simmer beneath a church mask? Does my going-through-the-motions please Him; or does He care more about my motives and the perfection of my sacrifice?

God's not fooled by my grandiose behavior. I don't convince Him that I love my neighbor as myself just by saying all the right words. He's weighing my heart, my motives, my intentions--every thought that flits through my mind. I don't want the doors of His throne room barred to me--to weary Him by my blatant disregard for His desires.

If I am to burn, God, let my life be a pleasing sacrifice before You.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

let creation shake

everything fades in the light of Your glory.
everything burns in the fire of Your word.
creation shakes when You respond to my voice--
You've never failed a promise,
never denied Your word.
You arm me with strength
because my hands are clean.

my safe place--
i call to You
only You can save.

death comes around me
but You stand before me.

fill my mouth with the spirit of deliverance,
my hands with the tools for war.
i will speak Your liberty.

Your song is my slingshot.
Your word is my stone--
i will release the song of the Lord,
fell the giant,
cast the mountain in the sea.

i will go out with a shout,
dance with all my might,
embrace the lowest place.

my dance is a march on the neck of my enemy.
my dance is a procession on the head of captivity.

--thoughts on 2 samuel 22

Thursday, September 3, 2009

weight of the Word

Scripture is God-breathed, God-inspired, God-orchestrated. It encourages and convicts. It pierces and divides, weighing motives and analyzing intentions. The power of intercession and the glory of the intercessor comes in learning to speak the Word written on our hearts. Intercession, at its foundational level, is simply conversing with God about what He's said.

What has blessed me so much today has been thinking about the weightiness of quoting Scripture. I know sometimes I've been guilty of falling in to the glib, sing-song recital approach of, "GodsolovedtheworldthatHegave. . . ." Make time. Get through it. Say it as fast as you can so you can move on to something else. Yeah...really spiritual, I know.

God honors His Word so much that He stakes His reputation on it. Think about it. He keeps His promises for His Name's sake. He forgives our sin for His Name's sake. The nature of grace is that it's all on Him--He extends it to us because of His desire for us. The full weight of His authority is behind His word. When we quote Scripture, we are exercising His delegated authority to us.

I think about the weight of the world that rested on the shoulders of Jesus as He approached the cross. Isaiah 53 tells us that He was utterly despised and rejected, totally familiar with grief, personally acquainted with sorrow. No man has ever suffered the depth to which He went. No man ever will. Jesus not only lived a holy life--He was holiness personified. There was no justifiable reason to punish Him--no one-time mistake that made the cross make sense. He died knowing He was innocent, knowing He had both the right and the power to save Himself, and choosing not to.

By His choice, we have accepted a lighter burden--that of covenant and relationship. The weight that rests on us now is the mantel of authority in brokenness, Holy Spirit power in weakness, honor in going low. May we arise as a Bride with the words of our Beloved springing up from hearts radically in love and into mouths purified and ready to speak the truth in love.