This Prayer Happened to Me a Few Days Ago

This post may seem a little choppy because I just want to state how the Lord’s prayer played out in my prayer time, in terms of other scriptures that flooded my mind as I prayed through it. As this information was pouring into me, it kept flushing garbage out so to speak. Don’t know that I’ve ever experienced it quite like this. I am not attempting to teach or explain anything. Thanks for understanding. I didn’t reference the verses. If you need references, let me know, I will get them for you.

Abba in heaven, hallowed. Set apart. Transcending all created, seen and unseen. All together creation cannot display the fullness of Your beauty, majesty, glory. All we see added together are the mere fringe of You. You stand alone. None like You LORD. Even the very NAME Yod Hey Vov Hey, Yeshua. Name above all names.

Kingdom Come. Open up you heavenly gates, be lifted up everlasting doors. That the King may come in. Gateways within. The ancient path, where the good way is. The perpetual mountains. The spirit gateways, soul gateways, natural gateways. That God, who dwells in the deepest center of the heart would breakthrough the soulish realm where bitter jealousy and selfish ambition brood and percolate. Let the meditation of my heart become pleasing. I welcome healing, deliverance, restoration and reconciliation on the inside. That the natural realm would manifest His presence. Glory in my immediate world. Jerusalem (my innermost world) Judea (my soul) and the uttermost parts (my sphere of influence – the natural world around me…Let the words of my mouth become pleasing) Words lead this ship. Who can tame the tongue?

Your will be done. I surrender unconditionally. In order for the above to happen, I must decrease. Let go. All to Him. Not my will but Yours oh God.

Daily bread. I am the bread, come down from heaven. Moses gave manna but men died. I am bread of life. He who eats the bread I give. He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood has eternal life. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Communion: I have no needs, the LORD is my shepherd. I have everything I need in Him. HE is my daily bread. Sprinkling of the blood on the mercy seat not made with human hands. Take and eat, take and drink. (I took communion at this point.)

Forgive us our debts. Sins. We transgress everyday, in our meditation 1st which then proceeds to bubble out to our mouth. Our words wound. Whoever can tame the tongue becomes a perfect man. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Self centered or God centered is revealed all day long. Break downs in relationship happen based on words rooted in our meditations. Am I present for others? God centered, other centered mindfulness. Preferring one another, TRUELY. Seeing others as more important. Manifesting to others what you would want for yourself. The golden rule. Have this attitude in yourself which was also in Christ. Cover our sins Lord by the blood just taken with communion.

As we forgive. We cover over the failure of others whose sins are exactly the same as ours. He who is without this sin throw the first stone. Look diligently to find you are equally guilty. Might not look the same in your life but the the sin is the same. The grace to forgive is found in our commonality with the transgressor. All sin is COMMON to ALL men. The wicked slave who demanded repayment for much less than he had just been forgiven. 70×7 each day. The forgiveness we receive is the forgiveness we give. Symbiotic relationship.

Lead us not into temptation. The temptation to self centered, self seeking, self serving. What is the source of quarrels among us? This great temptation is directly related to all that has been prayed so far. A continuation of the theme. The greatest commandment – Love God, love others as yourself. Putting self first and loving others as yourself are 100% incompatible.  Love yourself IN THEM. Give them what YOU need. All temptation is aimed at breaking down this simple gospel. The great temptation. Lead us not here, dear Lord.

Deliver us from evil. Again this is part of the continuos theme. I will set no worthless thing before me. Bring every thought captive, every vain imagination be torn down. The meditation. A perverse heart will depart from me. I will know no evil. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Cease eating from this tree. Pass through the flaming sword in repentance and partake of the tree of life who is Jesus. A purging and negation of all appetites save for God Himself. Abandoning the self life for the superior pleasure of knowing God. That Christ be formed in me.

As this prayer was taking place in me, the Lord brought up such detail about my sins. I hid nothing. Everything He touched in me yielded unashamed, wholehearted agreement, no excuses. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as washed and clean. Not just me but cleansing generational stuff. It was amazing. Communion in the context of my Daily Bread was astounding.

Oh Wisdom

Go down this trail with me.

Proverbs 9:10 (and others) “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

I feel as though the tip of my baby toenail might just now, after 33 years seeking the Lord, be beginning to cross the threshold of, “the fear of the LORD.” Like I am finally at the beginning of wisdom. Oh please Jesus, if so please keep me here.

If it’s true, that I am tasting this, then I have something to say. (I might not have touched it yet, but drawing nearer, mistakenly think that simply moving closer is the experiencing.) Nevertheless I have something to say:

It is not enough to say, “Jesus did it all. He paid the full penalty…and I am free, Free, FREEEEE!”

Let the ALL that He did, make its way down to the very depths of your corrupted being. Yes He did it all; He made a way for you to enter the Most Holy Place.(Heb. 10:19-20) Make haste!

Consider the outer courts. All Israel could enter here. This is like unto corporate praise. We come together and thoroughly immerse ourselves in the wonderful celebration and enjoy the many manifestations of the Spirit. We have been brought into the family of God. Reason to celebrate for all eternity! Dancing in the outer courts and enjoying the amazing party going on, it’s a beautiful thing. But make haste to the fear of the Lord. This is past these outer courts, through the inner courts and into the Holy of holies. You will just then be at the beginning of wisdom. Make haste! It takes some time to get there beloved. At least for such a stubborn, proud, selfish one as myself!

Moving to the inner courts. The priestly tribe enter here, to perform the priestly service of trimming the wicks, checking the oil, providing for the bread of the presence, and attending the altar of incense. This is the cultivation of godliness through the renewing of the mind through the washing of the water of the word. It is the opening of the soul to God for healing, for deliverance. Communing, inviting the Light of His spirit to search deeper within us. This is a much smaller fellowship than the outer courts. It’s just a select tribe so to speak, i.e. the Levites. We enter here when we bond with each other in small groups, creating a safe place to open up, pray, study the word and become vulnerable to each other. Doing life together, the laughing and the weeping. Romans 12:1, offering ourselves to each other, presenting ourselves to God, weak, broken, vulnerable. This is pleasing and acceptable-our spiritual service of worship! The tending in the inner court.

Lastly, the Holy of holies. The most intimate place, only one can enter here. Only YOU can go in. This is the stripping of all things. The testing, trying, proving and refining. It is here that you come face to face with your corruption as it shines bright, illuminated by Holiness Himself. While others can love you and encourage you and hurt for you in these seasons of the terrible Presence, no one can hold your hand and go with you. (The high priest of old would have a rope tied to his ankle. If he died, the priests in the inner court could at least drag him out!) That you go in, this is the terrible. That you make it out, this is beautiful. The terrible/beautiful of God. Moses would have to wear a veil to hide the residue of glory that shone on his face. (2 Cor. 3:13)

This fear of the LORD that takes place in the Holy of holies, is just the beginning of wisdom. Make haste!

 

Joseph…

Joseph, a most beloved bible character, who doesn’t identify with his life in some shape, fashion or form? I love his life and his story. Strangely enough however, as my own stony heart is being continually transformed into a heart of flesh, biblical figures continue to become more fleshed out too.

His is a story of struggle and triumph; hope deferred and fulfillment. Here is the baby brother, dad’s fave, who dreamed a couple of dreams. (Genesis 37) Things didn’t happen the way he thought though and he ended up exiled and in prison. When he caught his lucky break, he caught it big, becoming second fiddle to Pharaoh.

After he interpreted the famous dreams of Pharaoh in Genesis 41, Joseph laid out the master plan. It was magnanimous in its scope and outreach – collecting and storing the grain so that the nation could survive. It was a great plan to be sure. This plan was conceived in purity and Joseph laid it out void of ambition, without superimposing himself as the one to carry it out. Once he came into such power over all the proceedings of food storage and such, could it be that those scorned dreams from so long ago and from so far away, that had brought so much pain and suffering, seeped into his mental processes –defiling the pure wisdom and gift of God?

Imagine seven years hearing, “Bow the knee!” from the servants employed by Pharaoh, assigned to proclaim Joseph everywhere he went. (Genesis 41:43) Seven years of egg in the face of those brothers who laughed and mocked and hated him for daring to have such audacious dreams. Their sheaves bowing down to his! Sun, moon and stars bowing down to him! He, ruling over them! (I think we might miss the undercurrents in his heart because we can so identify with the injustice in his life and we get caught up in, “Yeah! Go get ‘em Joseph!”) Seven years of plenty—plenty of time for, “If they could see me now.” His struggle with resentment, rejection and revenge grew far beyond the parameters of those boyhood dreams. His appetite now likely craved a much larger payback. Evidence of the internal struggle can be seen in the naming of his two sons. The first-born Manasseh, “For God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” It takes a little soul searching to see that he has not forgotten his trouble or his father’s household. He has just insured himself to be constantly reminded of what he longs to forget. His second Son Ephraim, aka, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction,” bears it out that he has not quite forgotten since he is still remembering his affliction one son later. His triumph and his struggle revealed simultaneously!

During these seven years of plenty, a fifth of all the produce that came forth (henceforth called corn for the fun of it) was a tax paid to Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:34) This was considered a double tax since standard tax up to that time was a tenth.

When the time to store up grain became the time to release the grain, something new gets introduced in the text. The high price of corn! Those Egyptian farmers had worked hard for seven years. They were plentiful years too. Seven years of more plowing, sowing and reaping­ than they had probably ever seen before—a massive undertaking. Corn was the cheap commodity of the day. In their wildest dreams they could not have imagined that all that corn they generously paid in as a tax, was in the course of the next seven years, going to cost them all their money, all their livestock, all their land and their freedom. Land owning farmers were soon to become tenants of Pharaohs Egypt. (Genesis 47:13-26)

Within those seven years of time, the generous nature of God was corrupted and bore the stench of a profiteering, money-mongering monopolist! (I don’t really mean this, but it is fun to say!) Could Joseph have had a chip on his shoulder? Sounds like he had a pretty big score to settle with the naysayers!

In exchange for grain, the coffers of all the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan were emptied directly into Pharaohs’ pocket. His economic policy changed the landscape of Egypt, turning it into a slave nation. As of Moses’ writing of Genesis 47:26 – 400 years later, it had still never reverted from that flip. Don’t misunderstand, Joseph is everything we’ve always believed… deliverer, hero…wonderful! He was also a living breathing broken man, susceptible to the same struggles we face. Who knows what attitudes and high self esteem issues might have been lurking in the midst of such power. On top of all that, “BOW THE KNEE!” constantly being shouted at all in his path. The Egyptians threw their freedom away as they offered the land and themselves as final payment for the last of the grain.

My Take Away: God knew the children of Israel would be enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. He told Abraham as much 200 years prior to the Joseph event. (Genesis 15:13) I guess I had always assumed He planned for them to be in slavery and He made it so. Perhaps rather, He knew they would be enslaved because He knew slavery was in the heart of every man. The more I learn of His nature, my old mindset gives way to His truth: liberty for the captives! Slavery is not who He is. He was able to factor in however, the consequences of “a score to settle,” among broken men. His brothers sowed him into slavery, Joseph in turn sowed Egypt into slavery and the whole nation of Israel, surprise surprise, reaped slavery.  The LORD knows slavery is the natural progression of our fallen nature. Perhaps if Joseph could have held on to the benevolent heart of God, the circumstances might have been different for the Hebrews, all the while still being hedged in, in Goshen. But God knew he could not. The seed, corruptible in fallen flesh, and yet in His sovereignty was able to make it work for His eternal purpose. I realize its all conjecture but it does bring out needed truths as we embrace our weakness and press into His overcoming love.

The beauty and the message here is this: Although there are sowing and reaping consequences to our choices, God is not caught up or caught off guard by our weaknesses! He is long suffering and merciful towards us even in our broken methods of executing our high calling. His purposes will not be thwarted. What He did do in the midst of these human dynamics and human choices is clear: The children of Israel had a nomadic pattern in their DNA. All anyone knew in this family lineage, was to divide and separate. (Abram separated from his father, then from his Uncle Lot. Isaac, Ishmael and the other brothers from Abraham’s second wife all separated. Jacob and Esau separated.) This would have no doubt happened to these 12 brothers, each going their separate ways had they remained in Canaan. The Lord hedged them in rather tightly in the land of Goshen for 400 years. They entered Egypt a family and exited a nation. Furthermore, in order to establish a strong lineage, there was little chance of intermarrying with the Egyptians, who had little use for sheepherders, being more culturally advanced and much more civilized.

Joseph made it into the hall of faith in Hebrews, not because of his awesome dreams or because he saved the world through his economic prowess. It was much more humble than that. He saw the vision of his father Abraham, a vision of a great nation living in the land of Canaan and he requested his bones be carried out of Egypt when his people made the exodus.

Inner Healing Moment: In spite of the triumph and glory received by Egyptian and Hebrew alike, this was not his home. He hungered for a distant land. He never settled for Egypt. The pain of his lost youth never really left him. It couldn’t. It’s not the nature of things. Even in the midst of significant healing and rejoicing in God’s goodness. Observe his claims to have forgotten the trouble and his father’s house and names his children accordingly. The next thing we know, 10 of his brothers are bowed before him with their faces to the ground. His pain met no resistance as it resurfaced. This inner conflict is real. It plays out as he purposefully torments them. It’s a big deal. (Genesis 42-44) Joseph finally breaks down; he cannot follow through with his plan, and comes out exceedingly triumphant. My point here is that he still had to walk it out. He walked to the edge of a cliff so to speak! The healing did come, forgiveness did come, reconciliation and restoration fully manifested, but he had to WALK IT OUT. Having everything going his way and simply naming his two sons did not do the job. It was a very difficult road of facing his demons straight on, when he least expected it. The tension was severe. Think of family dynamics and roles that each play and how difficult it is not to succumb to the old feelings of inferiority when such feelings once existed. Even though they did not recognize him, it all washed over him in an instant. Truly it was touch-and-go for a bit and could have gone terribly wrong. Who knows whether or not all the trials and testing Joseph endured prepared him for this one critical moment? What if his proven character insured that he did not imprison forever or put to death 10 of his brothers? We just don’t know.

These pangs we carry shape us and mold us. If we allow God into that pain, as we know Joseph did, its beauty for ashes – a shaking off of the dust. If we shut God out through bitterness, hardness of heart or even with our naive claims of healing without substantiated testimony, its simply ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Hell is Gonna Break Loose

My take away from Sunday School recently was this:  As we press on to know the Lord, hell is bound to break loose.  Oh the lesson wasn’t remotely related to this, we were studying the minor prophets!  This truth is so universal though and I need to be reminded of it continually, given the current state of the planet.

“Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence.” (Nahum 1:5)  My take away did originate with the Sunday school class, we did read over this verse.  While the class continued on looking at other nuggets of wisdom, I tripped over this verse and got lost. We want personal revival?  It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.  The more we move into Presence, the more chance a little hell could break loose from the inside. (attitudes, anger, pain etc.)

Caution: Falling Rocks Ahead!  This process can wreak havoc as it comes out– dross as it were.   It’s all good, even though it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.  We just need to keep returning to the Lord and acknowledging our need for even more Presence.

Scale it out a bit.  We want global revival?  Things might get worse before they get better.  Take the current ISIS crisis and the killing of Christians in the Middle East.  Historically, martyrdom has been a catalyst for unprecedented growth in the kingdom.  Unprecedented growth in the kingdom is called revival!  What is historically a catalyst for revival?  Martyrdom!  Try to put out the fire and you’ll only be fanning the flame.  It is a reality.  Paradoxical and yet, His ways are not our ways.

Stay steady church, you’ve been praying for revival!  A little hell is bound to break loose… in your little corner individually and in our big world collectively.

Consider the largest scale of all, the second coming.  The first words of the book of Revelation are, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”  In fact that is the traditional title of the book.  John, the author of Revelation, goes on to outline all the things that must take place (Rev.4:1) in order for Jesus to be revealed.  The short of it: seven seals, seven bowls, seven trumpets and three woes.  (Not in that order but I do love a good rhyme.)  A quick look at Rev. 5; John sees a scroll with seven seals; a cry goes forth calling for a worthy one to take the scroll and break the seals; a universal search was made and no one was found.  And John began to weep greatly.  Why did it become so important to him just then,  that he should experience such emotion when the search came up empty?  The answer, I believe, is that God strategically allowed this dramatic pause to give John’s heart a moment to realize the desperate need for the seals to be broken. Maybe he caught a glimpse of the earths future if the seals were never broken, if a worthy man was never found.  In that moment he believed that no matter what, humanity was going to be better off if the seals were broken.  Remember, he did not know what was written on the scroll and he did not know what the seals meant.  He just knew the earth needed what was written therein.  I believe it was necessary for him to connect with this reality given the severity of what he was about to see.  I can’t think of any other reason why he would become so distressed.  He already knew of the finished work of the cross.  He was the disciple Jesus loved!

Now skip to end of the book and catch the weightiness of his final prayer.  When John prayed it, I believe he felt the weight of his weeping earlier in Rev. 5.  Now at the close of this vision, reflecting on all he had seen set in motion by that scroll; to break the seals or not; to have Jesus revealed or not.   He chooses, “Amen (so be it) come Lord, Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20) Even so, come quickly.  Indeed the earth is upheaved by Your presence.

I leave you with this last encouragement.  Think of Jesus’ words in Matt 13 concerning the wheat (Sons of the Kingdom) and the tares (Sons of the evil one) (vs. 38). He clearly tells the disciples that this parable is about the end of the age. (vs. 39) The wheat and tares grow up (mature) together and then the Lord will remove the tares at the time of the wheat harvest. For the sake of the wheat, the tares are left alone, lest their uprooting inadvertently damage the root of the wheat. (vs. 29) In other words, our development may be retarded and/or damaged if the tares are removed prematurely.  Now consider this:  As you see the maturing of evil in the earth, it is a very clear indicator, according to this scripture, that the body of Christ is maturing as well! It’s like a reflection, only… opposite.  The kingdom of heaven is advancing!  The enemy’s movements to stop it are a dead giveaway to us.  These are not days for fear and angst.  Sobriety?  Definitely!  Who knows if this upheaval isn’t directly related to the advancement of the Kingdom of heaven – both from within and from without?  I believe they go hand in hand.

Trust in the sovereignty of the Captain of the armies of heaven as being the One in charge and at the helm of human history, rather than His enemy.  His enemy can only respond, forever on the defense, never on the offense. We must keep our eyes on the prize, the return of our beautiful King Jesus.  Keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem.  Weep for those who mourn. Pray strength for the persecuted, that they are able to stand firm in the face of martyrdom and that we could stand as they do.  His leadership is perfect.  Jesus wins!  Everything points to it. The world leaders can only play into the hand of the sovereign God, nothing more.  Pray for them.  The nations belong to the Lord!  The earth is the Lords.

Indeed the earth is upheaved by Your presence.  Even so, come Lord Jesus.   Let hell break loose of my heart.  Let hell break loose of this, Your beautiful planet.

A Heartache

She just packed up her room, loaded her car, and drove off.  Just like that.  Gone.  Gone on an adventure that began 19 years ago. Slipped through my longing to prolong it fingers, in the blink of an eye.

Don’t get me wrong, I encouraged her to do it, helped guide her through it, wouldn’t want to undo it, and yet could have subdued it – if only for a short time longer.

Letting go. Last one to fly now. Empty nest my plight now. Lonely days my friend now, searching, screaming for heaven to unlock to me what fate now, awaits a bleeding heart.

If I had it to redo, the beauty that would ensue, would be a family of say- five, six or ten. Enough to fill full, a larger quiver for sure, do my mommy thang a little while longer.

Last one to go has more tied to it than just moving out. She represents much more than that, lots more to it than that, will I find my way through all that, and finally find satisfaction beyond that?

A career never called to me, material things never got to me, I had a dream, that was all to me.  I fought tooth and nail to preserve a domestic, old fashioned, slower paced, forgotten in this age, kinda life.

Foolish? Some would say yay, others would say nay, jury won’t say till judgement day. Until then – steady as she goes, breath in, breath out. Trusting Him – with my longings, my pains, my losses, my gains, however great or small they may seem.

I know the worst of it will end, a heart will start to mend, my will to finally bend, to Yours oh Lord.  A time for everything, everything in time.  Steady, as she goes.

To this I will yield, You are my strength, my shield. You hold all things together somehow, oh would You do that for me now.

Off Beat Ponderings on the Christmas Story

There are so many awesome insights gleaned from the Christmas story from Luke 2.  I know you already know those ones so I wanted to share a few of my own that move me to a sense of awe at the magnanimous, fantastical nature of the God we serve.

Scandalous birth:  I haven’t done any study but I imagine that within Jewish culture there were many customs and steps to the marriage process – all to protect the fledgling couple from the temptations and weakness of the flesh and assure them of success in their quest for moral excellence.  Then there was Mary and Joseph, everything by the book and according to the customs – and along came Gabriel.  “The Nativity” movie portrays this scandal better than any I’ve seen.  Meditate on the humility of God on this scandalous path by which the Savior chose to give Himself to us – truths to deep for words.

Lowly birth:  God’s riches on display:  The manger is the perfect way to portray the indescribable God who dwells in such glorious wealth and beauty.  You see, the massive gap between the greatness of God and the fallenness of man is too great to communicate in terms of “likenesses.”  To convey His greatness He demonstrated it through “opposites.”  Think of it like this, if Jesus came as a prince in the palace of a wealthy king, even King Solomon, the comparison would be a hideous insult to God’s true beauty, wealth and glory.  All the wealth of the world cannot compare to the King of kings or His heaven, so to use similitudes was an impossibility.  The only way – go to the very lowest of lows to paint a more accurate picture as to the degree of our separation.  It is the most beautiful of all beauty.  To that thought I weep as I cry out in my own quest to be transformed into the image of Christ, “Lord, who can comprehend?  Who can enter in – to such humility?  My style is much more arrogant than that.

Lowly birth version 2.0:  Ode to David:  Imagine David as a young man on the backside of a lonely hill, outside of Bethlehem, tending sheep, singing spontaneous songs to God, being that man after God’s heart.   God’s heart was forever moved by David’s love songs.  Could it be that as a result, God identifies Himself with lowly shepherds?  It was probably due to David’s worship that He chose the stable.  FEEL His passion for ALL that moves Him!  He is not ashamed to call Himself the Good Shepherd.  He promises to raise up shepherds after His heart.  So near to His heart – this imagery, that shepherds were the audience of choice when the Royal announcement came forth.  A no brainer on His part!  He is most certainly sentimental.  Here we are, once again, The city of David, perhaps on the backside of that same hill, angels in the air, declaring the Glory, face to face with shepherds, society’s low lifes, and NO ONE else.

LB 3.0:  The exhortation to the shepherds, who were terrified, “Do not be afraid,” signals the completion of a paradigm shift to all of humanity.  The high and lofty One, who dwells in unapproachable light, has drawn very near, He has bowed low and He is very accessible to the one who will come to Him in like spirit, bowed down and lowly… “My beloved is white (dazzling: fully God) and rudy (very, very near, fully man – you can draw near to Him and He can relate to you)…”  S.S.5:10

Angels on assignment:  A multitude.  Lets not sugar coat this, it was a massive, wide scale invasion of heaven on earth.  After all, the angels did not have insider information.  The mystery of redemption was unfolding to them in real time.  There were no choir practices to attend.  There were no lyrics to memorize.  What happened here was spontaneous!  I have a hard time believing this display did NOT entail EVERY angel in existence.  The unfolding revelation of God’s plan as it was being made known to them in the moment, drew the response out of them.  I have a secret longing to be an eyewitness of this one event.  I imagine each angel proclaiming the famous words, not necessarily in unison and yet every now and again it might come together like that – some singing, some shouting, some fast, some slow, not because this was the script but because there was nothing else to say but GLORY to GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH PEACE AMONG MEN!!!  They were enraptured in the REVELATION of the God/man come to earth!   Nope, I don’t imagine any angel of heaven missed that night.

Shepherds – 15 minutes of Fame:   Picture these shepherds, in the afterglow of such mysterious happenings.  They proclaimed it, people wondered about their story, they went back to the fields in worship of it all, the end.  Seriously, I would love to read somewhere in the gospels, you know, 30 years later, “And it came about that when Jesus and his disciples came to Bethlehem, a man in his 50’s came up to Jesus and proclaimed, ‘Behold!  This is the child we found wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger!  He is the One for whom the heavens opened and were filled with angels!’  And Jesus, upon hearing his words validated the mans otherwise mundane life.”  But there is nothing, no other role to play in the story, not publicly anyway.  I wonder how those shepherds hearts fared in the years that followed?  Basking in their glory…night!  How do you top that?  How do you pick up and do business as usual for the rest of your life?  How do you carry your heart when you get news in your old age that there is a prophet on the scene and he is working crazy miracles?  How do reconcile hearing that Jesus had been crucified?  And how is it that you were a believer from his birth, and yet WE don’t get to know about it?  I imagine their journeys look strangely similar to our own.  Wrestling with pride and arrogance, wanting notoriety, disillusionment, struggling with bitterness (may it NEVER be!) at the way life turned out?  Shouldn’t such a grand encounter have translated into a better job?  More money?  People treating us differently?  Most people in scripture only got that 15 minutes of fame, never to be heard from again.  The role they played in the story was pivotal and yet, nothing else was ever recorded about them.  I LOVE this!  It’s down here where I live.  I can embrace my mundane hidden life with a happy heart knowing that any moment, past, present or future, could be or has already been that pivotal point for some story I’ve yet to read.  The beauty of those shepherds is that they didn’t seek an audience with Jesus.  Can you imagine, running up to Jesus and reminding Him of our glorious encounters – with Him?   What do we want from Him?  No, we bow down. We crown this glorious King with our mundane lives that are teaming with His goodness and light.

To Be Known

I’ve pondered on this one for several years.  Our longing to be known has taken us down a misdirected road and has fully manifested as an insatiable thirst to be famous.  The longing to be known is one of the longings every human on the planet has innately in their being.  To get straight to the point – it is a God longing.  It is legitimate.  The down side of a legitimate longing is the illegitimate way in which we seek to satisfy it.  It simply comes down to this:  Horizontal or vertical.  The desire is strong in us because we were made to know and be known by God Himself – the vertical.   Sin corrupts us into thinking we can satisfy our longing through worldly pursuits – the horizontal.

Enough background – let’s flesh it out.  I happen to know that I am great.  I am beyond great – I am amazing!  My God gifts are valuable to the kingdom.   I am a teacher, a revelator, prophetic intercessor.  I operate in words of wisdom.  I am a singer/songwriter, a writer, and poet.  I’m witty, a ton of fun to be with and passionate about a lot of things.  I have been given a great gift in understanding the Song of Solomon as it applies to God’s dealings with our hearts.   Trudat!  I am great!

The snag– I am also full of doubt and disbelief of said greatness.  An internal conflict yields constant temptation for external validation.  If I am not accepting the cross as validation of my greatness (a huge topic in itself), I am vulnerable.  When we pursue validation in the world, the greatest validation of all is renown. (or so it would seem)   I tend to want the whole world to know how great I am so I can be reassured myself!  How is that accomplished except by good, better and best?   It doesn’t just come from within either.  Since I am surrounded by a sea of humanity equally corrupt, we tend to stir it up in each other.

For example, I have heard, probably no less than 50 times, “You should write a book.”  The problem for the most part, when people say it, is I am not necessarily talking about the same subject matter.  Does that mean I should write 50 books?  How could I write a book with so many different thoughts, and how could I write a book for every different thought?  So why do I hear it so often?  How is a 20 minute conversation (10 if you consider it was a two way conversation) enough to fill a book?  Initially it energizes me and I think, “I knew it!  I knew I was somebody special!”   Eventually, however, it haunts me.  Because I still haven’t written it.  I’ve tried.  I open a new word doc and sit and stare at the page.  I say to the Lord, “Here I am.”  Nothing.  I don’t even remember what I was ever talking about when someone said to write a book.  Haunting because the world is dying and I’ve somehow deduced that they need something from me.  Kinda sick huh?

Here is my muse.  Why do we push toward bigger & better when we brush up against greatness?  Why is our current circumstance not enough?  We seem to use a sliding scale when measuring greatness.  Why is my greatness somehow needing a larger scale audience than the one I’ve been given?   If a singer has a beautiful voice, it must mean they should be competing in a talent show with superstardom, the grand prize.  I see this so much on talent shows, people aching to win so that their perceived greatness can be validated.  It is a long road that leads to nowhere.  History affirms this over and over again.  In Christendom, we are no less immune.  When a preacher is an excellent and anointed orator, or a worship leader is skilled and anointed, we automatically conclude that the 100-member church is too small for them.  I’ve heard it time and again.  We assume and communicate that they are destined for a much larger church.  This implies that the 100 only deserve mediocrity!  This is a poverty mentality.  Why do we do this!?  Maybe we haven’t accepted our own greatness.  We all lose our God focus and become easy prey at times. Hearing how great we are without really knowing it ourselves, we can become dissatisfied with our current sphere of influence.   Getting before the Lord is the only cure.  When we get there, we will discover not only how great we are, but how great we all are.   When we see that, we can rest.   There is simply no room for striving towards something we already posses.  God’s abundance is so extravagant that he hasn’t reserved greatness for a select few.  That is the world system.  We can learn contentment and go on being great, in the garden we’ve been given, knowing that Gods giftings in us are extravagantly and rightly poured out–no matter the sphere.

About that book – maybe all this randomness is that book I’ve been told I should write.   Maybe this is all it is suppose to be.    Interesting trivia, everything I write has first been spoken with a friend, where long pondered thoughts actually form into words.  This writing is a result of just such a conversation with my best friend Leigh.  If all I ever did was put to paper all the meaningful conversations I have had with other extremely great people, what a treasure trove that would be!

The next time I’m told I should write a book I can smile and let it be what it is.  MY book.  I am writing it and you should be writing YOUR book too!    There is no pressure.  Take a lifetime.  Trust me – you are amazing!