Monday, May 7, 2012

Fall to My Knees

 It’s time for worship and I am on my knees. Again. This keeps happening.

Lately, there have not been many emotions involved as I’ve bowed. I just keep feeling like I need to be on my knees. No words from God. No intense intercession. No powerful emotion. No supernatural visions and dreams. Just feeling like I need to be on my knees. I’m slowly learning what it means.

One experience during a recent trip to Mexico helped define it for me. We hiked to a cement block hut to join about 30 other believers and started out with worship like any typical service. The difference this time was that we kept worshiping… and worshiping… and worshiping… and worshiping! People were responding to the Holy Spirit. There were people dancing. There were people lying on the floor because God’s presence was so strong they couldn’t stand. There were people crying out in tongues. There were people pacing and interceding. There were people who were deciding to become Christians even with no message preached. Can you guess where I was? On my knees.

I was there with my face in the dirt, half watching the feet of the people around me in my peripheral vision and half asking God if I was just faking it. Can I get up now? Silence. Ok, I’ll stay. Am I supposed to be feeling anything? Silence. Ok, I’ll stay. Am I supposed to be having a vision? Silence. Ok, I’ll stay. Am I supposed to be praying over anyone? Silence. Ok, I’ll stay. Just me; on my knees, having a completely logical and normal train of thought. Ok, God, I don’t know why but I’m staying here until you tell me otherwise.

Then I hear one phrase: “Honor Him, for He is your King.” Alright! God’s about to speak to me! What else do you have to say? “Honor Him, for He is your King.” OK…and… “Honor Him, for He is your King.” Wait, this is might be bigger than I realize. What happens when a king enters the room? You bow down! My body was responding to the presence of God in the room even when my mind didn’t understand why! “Honor Him, for He is your King.” Yes, Lord. Here I am.

God is showing me that my need to kneel down is two-fold. One, the reason I just shared with you. He is a might, holy King who is worthy of all honor and respect! By the way, the phrase I was hearing comes from Psalm 45:11. Two, I have declared that my life is surrendered to Him. Getting on my knees is my reminder that my life is not my own. I am His servant, ready to do His bidding. (More on that in my next blog post.) Honoring him and surrendering my life go hand in hand.

I’m still in the middle of this. Each time I bow, something happens in me, something breaks inside of me. Something of my flesh breaks and is replaced with a piece of God. He isn’t done with me. Every time I bend my knee, it gets a little easier but, every time I’m also giving Him permission to go a little deeper. It hurts. But when I think about the possibility of running my own life and having things my own way, it terrifies me and I stay on my knees, surrendering to God once again. He is big. He is sovereign. He is holy. There is an awe building up inside of me. Bowing down to the living God is changing me. I don’t always understand what is happening and I don’t always understand Him, but I don’t have to understand Him to worship Him. The irony? In worshiping Him, I start to understand Him. And it makes me fall to me knees again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of Control

I am currently reading through a book called "How People Grow" by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend. It approaches counseling from a theological perspective. It may sound deep and weighty but it's really an easier read than I expected and is providing a ton of insight!

One of the big ideas that is talks about is how, at creation, we were designed to let God be responsible for controlling the world and we are responsible for self-control. A ton of problems arise when we start assuming control of situations beyond our self, one of the primary being that we loose self-control. The book says, *"When we give up what we can not control, we regain control of what we were designed to control: ourselves." (*Tense changed from original.) It makes me think of the saying, "We must loose what we can not keep, to gain what we can not loose."

As they spelled it out, I was amazed at how true it is. Trying to make sure nothing goes wrong at work? You may find yourself loosing control of your anger and yelling at your co-workers. Trying to keep your kids, your house and maybe even your husband perfect? You may find your self loosing control of your eating and binging. Those are just a couple of examples.

As I was reading, I was challenged to take a second and reflect, 'God, am I being too controlling in any areas of my life?'

While He didn't give me an immediate and direct answer, this idea popped in my head because of a song I was listening to: "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him," Psalms 37:7. (Side note, because I asked God for insight, I need to be aware of what I hear even if it doesn't seem to "fit." Because He has promised to be faithful to answer me, I can trust that what I am hearing if from Him!) Be still. Wait. That sounds passive. AND that sounds like the opposite of what a controlling nature would be comfortable with! We might be on to something here.

Another verse popped in my head: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God," Psalms 46:10. This gives us additional instruction from the first verse, "...know that I am God." Who is God? Can He be known? What is He like? If I'm not still, it would be much harder to process these questions. When I stop... wait... am still... then I start hearing that still quiet voice of my Father whispering too me. It was there all along but I was missing it. What is it I hear? I hear who He is:
He is my Provider. He is my Comforter. He is my Protector. He is my Guide. He is my Father. He is my Bridegroom. He is my Friend. He is my Answer. He is my Shield. He is my Joy. He is my Love. He is my Peace. He is my Strength. 
You fill in a couple now....

Now re-read my list and yours and think about each of these things in the context of God being in control of specific situations in your life. I understand that I am simplifying things and that each situation has hundreds of unique dynamics, but as you process this idea, try to look at your situation objectively and see if God brings some revelation.

For example:
1- He is my Provider. I don't have to control my job or "prove myself" in order to keep it. I can do my best and trust that God will provide, either through this job or He will give me another. The result may be that I am better able to focus on the tasks at hand instead of worrying about what my bosses are thinking, resulting in more productivity.

2- He is my Comforter. I don't have to put pressure on others to make me feel good. I don't have to turn to books or movies or food or ____________ (fill in the blank). I can trust the Holy Spirit to come when I ask and give me a true peace instead of just finding things to put a bandaid on the hurt.  That may help me find real joy in the presence of others because I'm not putting pressure on them that they can't live up too.

3- He is my Protector. I don't have to defend myself. When I'm wrongly accused, I don't have prove to anyone that I am in the right and put up walls as I become defensive. I can let down my guard a little, be patient and let God bring the truth to light. Then my word becomes more "hear-able" and, when the truth is revealed, those around me have more confidence than they did before the situation.

I could keep going but you get the idea. Try one from your list and apply it to your own situation.

Do you see how it is all connected? Do you see how God showed me my answer even though it didn't seem like it at first? The ideas of waiting and letting God be in control go hand-in-hand.

A final thought, a promise:
"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him," Isaiah 64:4.

When you wait on Him, God will show up. He will take control. He will act on your behalf. That's the way it was designed to be.

Now, what do you need to let go of in order for Him to take the reigns and act on your behalf?

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Sword

On a recent trip to Mexico to visit my brother, one thing I wanted to be sure to purchase was a machete. I always think they're so neat looking! I found one just the right size. The price included a nice leather case, so I snatched it up. Making sure to pack it in my check-in bag, I sat down to sharpen it myself when I got back.

When I went to show it around to my friends, they just looked at me and shook their heads. They kept asking, "What are you going to do with that?" Ok, so it's not normal to carry around machetes in the US but I like it. It reminds me of a sword. Speaking of swords, I have a small one of those too but that one is not sharpened. It's a swashbuckling-looking one with about a 12-14 in blade. I know. I'm strange. But what can I say? It's the Warrior Princess in me!

I think my fascination started a couple years ago when I started realizing what swords represented in the Bible. Ready for a quick game of connect the dots? Here we go!
  • Ephesians 6:17 "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God."
  • Revelation 19:15 "Coming out of his [Jesus'] mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations." 
  • Hebrews 4:12 "For the word fo God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword."
The Word of God. This is our sword! It's not just the word of God though. Our words are powerful too!
  • Isaiah 49:2 "He has made my mouth like a sharpened sword."
  • Proverbs 12:18 "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
My sword. God's been challenging me to use it more intentionally lately. Whether it is spoken or written, my words can bring life and healing to those around me. God gave a me a scripture a while back that always encourages me in this. 
  • Isaiah 50:4 "The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word."
Think about my machete again. I can sit around and sharpen it all day but I have to learn how to use it before it will do me any good. What am I going to use it for? It could seriously hurt some people if I'm not careful but I don't plan on being reckless with it. Maybe I'll cut down some weeds with it or something. Whatever it is, I'll need practice first! 

The same goes for my words, my sword. I need to learn how to use them. I need to practice using them. I need to spend time "sharpening" them. I need to be intentional about not letting them hurt others. I need to "know how to sustain the weary one with a word." I need to have a plan. 

Hopefully that plan will include more blogging. No promises though. Regardless, it will include me paying attention to what I'm talking about with my friends. I don't want to throw around meaningless words. That doesn't mean I'll be taking everything seriously! Joy is good for the soul! It does mean I'll be careful not to speak hurtful or degrading thing. 

Philippians 4:8 gives me some good guidelines to start with:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."

It may be talking about thoughts but "what you say flows from what is in your heart." Luke 6:45

That gives me a lot to work on! I think I'll start sharpening my sword there....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Code of Chivalry

I ran across this Code of Chivalry and loved it! I'm sure there's a scripture to support each of these principles.

Enjoy and be challenged!


TRUTH--to speak the truth, to seek the truth in every situation 
before making judgments, to value the truth over personal agendas 
or the immediate benefits which falsehoods may offer.

HONOR--to keep your word, to know yourself, to uphold your beliefs, 
to act with keen moral judgment, to maintain high standards of conduct.

JUSTICE--to defend the helpless, to challenge evil wherever you 
encounter it, and to come to the aid of those who are so doing.

VALOR--to have not the lack of fear but the ability to set aside 
self-interest when faced with evil, to be willing to fight 
for what is right, regardless of what other people may say or do to you.

PROWESS--to have the discipline to train body, mind and spirit 
for the work of God and to eschew the self-destructive behaviors 
which tear down physical and spiritual health.

LOYALTY--to choose for yourself the Worthy One or Ones, 
whether they be your God, your loved ones, your country, your leader
or your cause and to dedicate yourself to the protection and fulfillment of those Ones.

LARGESSE--to give freely of what you have without 
impoverishing yourself, to show generosity to friend and stranger alike,
to be merciful and fair in all your dealings. 

COURTESY--to be polite and mannerly in dress, speech and carriage,
to treat all people as equals, to be kind to animals, and in war
or competition to follow the rules, lose with grace 
and win with humbleness.

NOBLESSE--to be diligent in study, enhance your
knowledge of the world, practice your skills, use 
your natural gifts to generate goodness, thereby enriching your life 
and the lives of those around you.

HUMILITY--to have all the above qualities without ever proclaiming 
them, to bear the heavy burden of Chivalry without so 
much as a breath of exertion, to be a silent strength 
this supports and sustains us all.  
Humility is the most difficult principle to master.   
Only the very best do.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Everyone hears from God. Everyone.

You will not get anything from this if you just read "everyone else". I really do mean you. It is probably so comfortable and natural for you that you do not even realize that God is speaking to you. Something I have realized over the years as I have had tons of discussion about hearing God, is that many of us do not realize how unique and specialized our own way to hear from God is. We take it for granted that He tells us the things He does, or the way He tells us. I know this was me when I was younger.

Growing up, I had a very real, authentic relationship with God but I didn't know that I could expect to hear from Him. Looking back, I see that He was speaking to me all the time and giving me quite profound revelation for my age. The problem was no one ever told me to expect it and dig into what I was hearing. I did not appreciate what a unique gift God was giving me.

I have grown a lot since then and, because of my story, I am passionate about helping people learn to hear God's voice. Did you know it takes practice? Maybe that is a strange way to think about it. Intentionality might be a better word. That is why I have decided to start my Connect Group called LISTEN. It will be very simple. It is basically a time for us to set aside to intentionally listen for God's voice.

We will practice asking about the silly small things. (God, if you could play any game with me, what would it be?) We will practice asking on behalf of others. (What picture do you have for this person God?) We will have exercises that help us get past the initial walls of "I can't" or "That's just my thought".  Every once in a while we'll go out into the city to ask God to speak to us on behalf people not in His church yet.

Two books that I will be using as resources are "Eyes That See And Ears That Hear" by Jennifer Toledo and "Walking With God" by John Eldredge. These will not be required reading but they are great if you are wanting to dive in deeper for yourself.

Whether you are in Austin and can join the group or if you are in another state and would just like more information, please contact me about how you can be a part of this. It is going to be a refreshing time of being still in His presence and spending time with others who are hungry to hear God's voice.

God is speaking. We are going to take the time to LISTEN.