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

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Monday, February 22, 2010

new pages

There’s a new section here at the Thoughts In the Watchtower site. A new page entitled “Scripture Thoughts” should be showing up under the link to my bio (on the wordpress site). I’m going to start keeping a journal-style, stream-of-consciousness type log of some of my journeying through the Word. I’ll mostly have word studies and rough analyses of short passages of Scripture. Please feel free to comment on anything (the more the better)–we go deeper into God when we go together, and I learn so much from discussing Scripture with other people.

Bless you!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

to the streets, i say!

Ah, February 14. It stirs up so many emotions... A few years ago when I was a first-year undergraduate, I "observed" by wearing a black shirt to classes. A year or two later, I'd progressed to wearing all black. I turned my computer settings to all black and gray (down to my instant messenger away message). My sister-in-law and brother teamed up to give me an anti-Valentine's day gift--my candy and squishy black pillow nestled safely inside a wedding gift bag from Target that spelled out "I Do" in rhinestones. My quick-witted sister-in-law grabbed a black pen and scribbled "n't" at the end so that my gift bag proudly read, "I Don't!"

Shortly after, I decided that it was better to protest the holiday by ignoring altogether. To prove I was ignoring it, I made sure to wear some random non-boycott but non-Valentine Sure! That works! Valentine's Day? Today? Oh, I hadn't noticed...

Let me hasten to say that none of this stemmed from any latent morbidity or dark fascination. It was just fun to go against tradition and roll my eyes at the "schmaltzy, couples-geared, over-commercialized Hallmark holiday."

The past couple of years have been a little different, though. I've encountered a depth in the love of God that I thought I understood--the love I would have told you at the time that I knew I had. In ten years I will probably look back on myself and say the same thing about now. But I learned some things about love that have changed my paradigm a little:

1. God is love, therefore He alone gets to define love. Anyone who tells you that love is less than "arms wide open, heart exposed, bleeding" is peddling a counterfeit version of what love is all about.

2. God's nature is to pursue. There's a whole argument about whether the girl or the guy should have to make the first move (or most of the first moves) in a romantic relationship; without going into that, let me just say that love (God) pursues....and pursues....and pursues...over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Love chases with a bruised and punched face, mocking spit running down its cheeks, blood springing from a broken heart staining its clothes.

3. God gives things just because He loves to give, not because we deserve it and not because it looks or feels good. He doesn't wait for there to be any joy in the idea of loving us. He loves because He can't not love. Love personified is chasing you down.

4. The greatest human expression of love is encountering the scent of God in the secret place and running it to the streets.

And that's my point. We live in a love-starved world of people desperate to hear that they matter to someone. As believers, we epitomize a colossal selfishness when we don't talk about love on Valentine's Day, when we have the greatest love there is.

Don't get me wrong--I will probably always be "that girl" who'd rather throw a random costume party for her single friends (or "non-observing" couple friends) on February 14th weekend. But I'm not making the mistake of ignoring or protesting anymore. The kind of love that has touched me so deeply over the past couple of years is too precious to hoard.

May the love of God be with you all.

Friday, February 5, 2010

begin with them

His sincerity made me smile, and though I could not see him through my closed eyes, I imagined him flicking back a lock of hair to expose the impassioned crease furrowing his brow. I caressed the cold carpet with my fingertips, half of me praying along and half of me troubled as he prayed, "God, send us revival and let it start right here with this group." God couldn't start revival in the city with that group, though, could He? Not when we'd prayed so long He'd start moving through us....

Conviction still floods me when I realize the selfishness of my heart that night. How much time had I wasted, waiting for the Holy Spirit to manifest in my own little pre-fabricated box--unwilling to support His working in the city outside of my own ministry bubble unless I was directly involved in leadership of that movement in some way. Sadly, that's how it is with many of us. It's a pendulum existence of either believing that God cannot possibly move in a denomination, church, ministry, etc. outside of the one in which we're directly involved, and shunning any opportunity to be planted and established in a church or ministry family. Where's the balance between the two?

For me, it came down to the question I felt God ask me tonight: "Are you desperate enough for revival that you are willing to relinquish the glory of being in the group where it breaks out initially?"

Churches in Terre Haute, Indiana and Peoria, Illinois have embraced an intensive 21-day consecration period of fasting and prayer seeking a move of God that they're calling "The Divine Experiment." They're turning away from texting, television, facebook, cell phones--all kinds of things that aren't bad, but are distractions--and meeting corporately every night to fast, pray, and cultivate a place for the Presence of God to rest. The testimonies that are coming from this are so encouraging, but the one that has stayed with me the most has been about the Baptist church in Peoria that is suddenly experiencing a move of the Holy Spirit without even being involved in The Divine Experiment.

What a beautiful example of God's heart to move on regions, not just on solitary church buildings. My prayer lately has been, "God, I want to cultivate such an atmosphere of prayer in my home that neighbors down the road or people driving by start getting filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit without knowing why. Let my life become a spiritual hot spot even without the label or fame of this."

My prayer is no longer just, "God, send revival and let it start with me." Don't get me wrong, I would be honored for Him to use my life in that capacity; however, what is more important is that He breaks in with power, regardless of where it starts. The unified bride of Jesus is not one fractured with a patent-finding heart. He will not vindicate a competitive spirit with a lasting move of His Presence.

Holy Spirit, move in power, and find in me someone who will support that move, wherever You choose to let it begin.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

God's song

I heard God singing to me in our house of prayer set tonight:


"How long? How long?
I long! I long for you!"
Hear the cry of the bridegroom God:
"How long? How long?
I long! I long for you!"

He's calling me higher still.
He's calling me deeper still.
Further up and further in.
He's making a way for me
To taste the feast of love.

But how many times I've turned away;
Denied the very tears of God.

"How long? How long?
I long! I long for you!"
Can you hear the cry of the bridegroom God?
"How long? How long?
I long! I long for you...."

Monday, February 1, 2010

eyes that burn

“…his eyes were like blazing fire…” Revelation 1:14

I long to see Your eyes, oh God--eyes pierced with fire, Israel embedded at their core, intimately focused on a single humble worshipper. You, who are both beginning and ending, yet somehow wrapped up in my concerns down in the middle. The forever-flesh yet fully-divine God. My friend.

You're so far above the plainness of our one-dimensional gaze. Your burn to the heart with a glance. Personal. Real. The only fire that brings life while it destroys. Spirit power taking precedence over my multitude of broken, useless words. Divine fire refining through years of hiding to get at the nugget of truth deep within the heart.

It is the very beauty of Your holiness that sets the seraphim on fire. It is a testimony of Your patience that You have not reduced me to ashes. You sit in the center of the whirlwind. You’re a consuming fire, and I am what You want most in the world. Yet You know that the fullness of who You are would overwhelm me, so You hold back. The more You lead us into longing, the more of You we are able to receive.

Your gaze is on the meek and lowly one. You rivet on the one whose heart is postured to devour the Words that fall from Your mouth. For what do You seek other than one who will be Your friend? This fire in Your eyes is raw passion and untouchable holiness, deserving far greater reverence than our casual concept of grace.

Let it be my cry of desperation: oh, teach me what it means to tremble at Your word, so I may draw Your eyes.