Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Worship Starts At Home

I was inspired to write this blog today after spending some time worshiping the Lord with my kids in my living room. I was sitting in a chair and Bret, my 2 year old was sitting in my lap. And he takes my hand and draws it to his cheek. And he says, "I love you Mommy." And he smiles with that smile that melts my heart every stinking time. And I hear my Pappa whisper to my heart, "You melt my heart like that. You draw My hand to your cheek and you smile and say 'I love You' and you melt my heart. Just. Like. That."

Of course by this time tears are streaming down my face. I breathe in the peace of the moment and this is worship. And I started to think how often this happens. My kids and I daily spend time together just listening to worship music. And we dance. And we sing. LOUD. And we are wild and we laugh. Sometimes it's quiet and we smile at each other or we snuggle under a blanket and just hold each other close. And He fills our hearts and our home and I know He breathes in the moment too, just like us. So often He speaks to me during this time, or ministers to my weary, broken soul. My house is a mess, the dishes fill the sink, the laundry goes unwashed, but what else can I do? How can I not respond to the voice of my Lover calling me to dance with Him? Everything else does eventually get done...usually.

The point is worship shouldn't just happen Sunday mornings. And it doesn't have to look like it does for us. But I promise it changes you. Every time it changes you. I never walk away the same. And worship isn't always just loving Him. I find He is loving me more then anything else. And that is worship, because as I surrender my heart to His love He is glorified. How can we pour out to Him our love if we don't know what love is? How can we wash Him with our adoration if we've never experienced what it's like to be adored and cherished? How can we bless Him when we're empty? I was always taught that worship was loving on God. And it is. But worship is also being loved by God. If you're empty, or in lack in anyway go to Him. Don't walk. Run to His arms and be filled. Throw the checklist out. 100 thank you's and hallelujah's are not required.

Worship starts at home. Where you are. Right now. So breathe deeply and drink your fill of Him. Let Him melt your heart as you seek to touch His.

Here is a little of our spontaneous snack time worship...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Abraham's Tree

I walked around a huge tree. I stretched my arm out, like I did as a child and I walked around brushing my finger tips against the bark of this massive tree. I stopped and looked around to witness a magnificent sunset. The sky was all lit up with pink and fire. Standing on a hill near this massive, ancient tree I had a beautiful panoramic view of the nearly barren land and sky. It took my breath away. Tears streamed down my face for what I saw was so achingly beautiful.

And then I felt Him behind me. And His breath on my ear, We can stay here. Or...we can keep going.

I pondered those words most of the night and most of today. Why do I feel like this is Abraham's tree? Does Abraham even have a tree? Well apparently he does.

Gen. 12:6-10
Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev. 10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Did Abraham stop by that tree and stand in awe as I did at the spectacular view? Did he breathe deeply the smell of earth and tree, and fresh air? He saw the Lord. Can you imagine? The Lord appeared to Abraham and promised him all that he could see. So why did Abraham keep going? All that he saw was good and was given to him. Why did he proceed?

We can stop here...or we can keep going.

So Abraham moved on from there, continuing toward the Negev and straight into famine. Dry. Dirty. Famine. He left what was good and entered a place of lack. And then what? Egypt? We all know the trouble he got into in Egypt. Fear led to the lie. The lie cost him his wife. He nearly lost his life, but in the end he made it out with his wife and all that belonged to him even added a new slave named Hagar to his household. Yeah that wouldn't come back to bite him.

So why did he keep going? Why did he leave that peaceful place? It was OK. It was good even. But Papa had better in mind for Abraham. We see it just one chapter over.

Gen 13:12,14-18
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan....14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Lot aka Plan B. Lot would have been Abraham's heir at this point in the story. No wonder he had to wait for Papa's best until he let go of Lot.

Sometimes we have to travel past good and through the valley of hardship, loss, and fear before we get to His best. And all we can do is hang on and trust Him along the way, repent when we're foolish, forgive when the need arises, and sometimes even back track. Often it means letting go. Letting go of loved ones. Letting go of our plans. But always, it comes down to our choice....

We can stop here...or we can keep going.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Relating to Papa

So it's been forever since I've blogged and now that I am I'm not even posting my own thoughts. But this is too good not to share. Written by my dear friend, Breaker, I hope it inspires much thought and encouragement. You can check out her blog here.

So... a topic got highlighted to me today, and it's just consuming my heart with its implications! I've heard these verses before, but wanted to explore them deeper with Papa, since I know Him better now.

I was reading a blog and the following came up--
"Ruth’s a Moabite–the text won’t let us forget that–and her ancestors refused to give hospitality in the form of bread and water to the Israelites as they left Egypt.
This insult led to a prohibition against the Moabites in Deuteronomy 23:3
“No [...] Moabite shall be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.
Even to the tenth generation [Hebrew-Bible-speak for, 'seriously, not
ever!'] none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of
the Lord.”
Complicates things a bit, no?
Boaz doesn’t say, “Oh, hey, I’m sorry for your bad situation, Ruth,
but your ancestors insulted mine, so I’m biblically required to do the
same to you.” No.
He breaks a ‘biblical’ law to fulfill a Greater Law in sharing bread with Ruth.
And then he marries her."

Breaking the biblical law to fulfill the Greater, unspoken one. Hmm! Reminds me of the White Witch's argument of legality to take Edmund because of his treachery. She knew the Deep Magic from the dawn of time. The "rules" that the Emperor Beyond the Sea wrote to govern the world. Just as real as what goes up comes down, sin begets detriment.
But what did Aslan say after the Stone Table cracked? There is an even deeper magic that the Witch knew nothing of. The law of Love.
The accuser was created as Lucifer to witness creation and all the laws written into our world. Lucifer understood earth, water, wind, fire, and spirit. But. Lucifer did not understand Love. He didn't witness it, because it always was. Love is God. God is Love. And for him to have fought with Love the way he did and does, Love is completely missing from his book. He seeks to replace it with Power, which only goes so far...
Anyhoo! We are created from Papa's spirit, and coming into relationship with Him fully, we complete His heart again. We have a unique relationship with Him! We get to co-create, like sitting on His lap steering as He pushes the pedals....(I really hope none of this is blasphemous, because these are just a lot of my little perceptions and dreams and impressions of Papa pasted together. My imaginings.=)

Related, I wanted to look up the other verses about to God "changing His mind" and humans helping do that.

This is pasted from another website.

In Exodus 32:9-10 God tells Moses, “I have seen these stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
(I think Papa said this because He was dying for Moses to do what he did next! He didn't sit down and accept the doom prophecy for what it said, he believed in Love and that Love would forgive, and even if God should smite him, he stood for those who needed forgiveness! Years before Jesus, Moses said "Father, forgive them!!")
In verse 12 Moses actually told God, “Turn from your anger and change your mind about harming your people.”The word that is translated in this verse “change your mind” is a Hebrew word meaning “to repent,” “to have pity” or “to feel sorrow or regret for something.”Verse 14 tells us, “So the Lord changed his mind about the harm which he said he would do to his people.”
Consider the following passages as well:
Jeremiah 26:3
“Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them.”
Jeremiah 26:19
“Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced
against them?”
Amos 7:2-3
“I said, ‘Lord GOD, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?’ The LORD changed His mind about this. It shall not be," said the LORD.”
Jonah 3:10
“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God repented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”
Ezekiel 18:23 tells us that, like all good parents, God “has no pleasure” in punishing his children, but rather wishes for them to turn from their evil ways and walk rightly, so that they might enjoy his life."

Ok....Then what are we supposed to make of this??!
Malachi 3:6 "For I am the Lord; I change not."
Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent."
Ezekiel 24:14 "I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent."
James 1:17 " . . . the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

HE DOES NOT CHANGE. HE. WHO HE IS. HIS NATURE, HIS ESSENCE. That is what does not change. And of all the things describing our Papa in the Bible, the one that I find to be the most resonate, the most profound, and the most biblical (really) is that He is LOVE. He has always been love, and will always be love.
I think... and think with humility... that the "Thus sayith the Lord" doom and gloom prophecies were ones which MIGHT come true if current choices did not change. It's like telling a child, "If you don't stop hitting your sibling, you will go into time-out." The unspoken there is the Love. The nature of the parent is, "My dear child, I so enjoy watching you play in the sand! Your laughter reminds me what it is to celebrate creation, to wonder at what God did, and enjoy it with all the fiber in your being! And right now, you are not choosing well.
You are not choosing to enjoy and worship as you were. You are choosing to be irritated at your younger sibling [who does not understand politeness yet] as they reach over and take sand that you were about to take. And you have let anger take hold of your heart and turned a lesson for your sibling into an offense which you are trying to handle yourself by striking out. You will remember this day much more than the handful of sand. I long for you to choose well and let this cease to have a hold on you! Rather than me helping your un-informed sibling grow, I now have to deal with your harsh and hurtful actions.
So please, lets both enjoy the day and put this behind us! If you cannot, I must remind you that willful choices of wrong-doing separate us from the goodness of God. And you will be outside of the goodness of the sandbox and the heap you were making. But if you stop now and heed me, returning to mature choices and letting Papa's grace help your sibling forget that you hurt them, we can all enjoy the day!"

I imagine that we can change Papa's mind because, in a certain sense, He's playing a game with us. He made the rules, and when the sin in the Garden gave the accuser license to exploit these rules, Papa sat back and said to us, "Your move." Would we accept things as they are, because He wrote the rules? And in our private heart of hearts we disdain Him for the rules? Or would we appeal to the part of Him that we share, Love from His heart, that is our secret with Him beyond the reach of Accusation? If your spouse puts on a pouty face and says they won't do something you know very well they will, you laugh and maybe poke them and say "I know you better than that!" And while this deals with people's fate and health and the destiny of kingdoms, maybe Papa's moves are based on the laws of the universe until a priest who knows Love whispers in His ear "I know You better than that..."

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stay in the Pain

Ever been brokenhearted? Disappointed? Betrayed? What do you do when that happens? How do you go on? When you've been dealt a crushing blow, what keeps you going? What then?

I've come to this beautiful place in my relationship with Daddy God. I used to wonder, "Where are You?" I'd call out to Him. I'd stretch my hand out into the emptiness, in the dark and fear. And He'd come. I'd find Him. I would know He was near. I thought that was wonderful but there was always a moment of despair in loneliness.

Now, I'm in a new place of knowing Him. I sort of fell into to it. Into Him. And now, I never feel alone. No matter where I am, metaphorically or matter-of-factly, I feel Him. In me. Or me in Him. I'm not sure which. Either way, as if we share a heart beat, I'm with Him.

I tell you this to explain that after recently being crushed by a mighty wave of disappointment, you would understand that I didn't need to search Him out. I felt Him with me, absorbing my tears, taking to heart my pain. Being tossed in the wave with me. And after all my tears were spent and my heart was emptied out to Him. I heard Him ask me the same question. What now?

And slowly, nearly unconsciously I began to fill my heart myself. With bitterness. With resentment. With unforgiveness. Even with revenge. I started to feel better. A crust was forming of the broken place in my heart. It dulled the ache. I had a plan and it made me feel better. I wiped the tears away.

Ever so gently, relentlessly, I heard Him break through my senses. Striking right through my defenses His breath on my soul. Stay in the pain. 

This could easily be misunderstood but I knew right away what He meant...

To lay down my right to disappointment. To see the other person as He sees them. To feel compassion when there is nothing but His well of love to draw from. To be the one to let go. To forgive. To sink deeper into Him and watch myself fade away. It. Is. Pain. A horrible, searing pain.

To say yes to Him and die to self. To keep walking in love when all you want to do is run away in anger. To never, ever be recognized for the sacrifice. It just hurts so bad. 

But in the pain He is there. In the anger His is not. In the bitterness He is not. In the resentment He is not. But as I turn, from darkness to blinding hot pain, I feel Him. And He is proud of me. And He is love. And He fills all the empty, hurting places of my heart and I know there is more where that came from. So much more. And I'm wrapped up in Him deeper then I've ever been.

And, "What now?" you ask. You do it over and over again, every time you pour out that love to the circumstance, that part of you, you can never get back. Every time you're tempted back to not love. Go back to the pain. And He is there. Endless.