Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love that knows no bounds.

I heard Heidi Baker once say that love looks like something. If you’re thirsty, love looks like building a well to get a drink. If you’re hungry, love looks like providing food to eat. In moments of dire calamity, love looks like meeting a need. When we left Dallas for Toronto that was our mission, just to love. When you are alone in a city grieving the death of your baby, love looks like flying across the continent to be with a hurting girl. That is where our story begins.

Arriving in Toronto I had no idea what was going to be in store for Jen and I as our feet hit the ground off of that airplane. I had no idea that God was sending me there so He could speak to me… and that He was sending me there to show me how to love like His son, Jesus did. I was in store for the most intense week of my life to this point. All I knew was that I was here with Jen on a mission to rescue a young woman, named Tam that she had been ministering to for nearly a year prior to this point. As far as I was concerned I was going with Jen to make sure that she didn’t get hurt or lost… I had no idea that I was going to fall in love. Our first day was like a scavenger hunt… the young woman that we had come there to help was in great distress, and despite all of our tries at communication we could not reach her. All we knew was that she had a baby boy in a hospital somewhere in downtown Toronto… it wasn’t until we got there that we were informed of the 10 or more hospitals in the immediate downtown area. Our intention for that day was then to walk from hospital to hospital asking for a little baby, that we didn’t know a whole lot about. It was at the first hospital that we learned that the little baby boy that had been sick and struggling for some time had passed away almost immediately after our plane had landed in Toronto the previous night. I was beginning to grasp the importance of our arrival at this point… Tam needed Jen now more than ever. I knew that she had to feel like she was tangled in a web of chaos and had no idea how to get out. My heart broke for this young woman instantly.

Jen and I left the hospital and I knew that Jen had to have felt so deflated and defeated to come to another country to be there for someone and find out that the baby had passed away and now the mother was nowhere to be found. It was one of those moments when you think that nothing else could get much worse, and then it does. Jen, despite the failed attempts at communication stayed steadfast in her pursuit of this young woman, knowing full well that the pursuit was not her own, but the Father’s. I was watching something transpire in the next few days with Jen that I had been willfully blind to for nearly a year… and my ignorance had kept my heart so blinded by the reality of love and the life changing properties it carries.

Over the next few days it was like an emotional rollercoaster and game of cat and mouse as we would get into contact with Tam with hopes of meeting up, and yet she was never following through. There were moments where Jen was literally yards and feet away from her and still she could not look into her eyes and convey the love that she had for her. I was confused and almost mad at God at times because I thought “well aren’t we praying hard enough… or maybe the intercessors need to pray harder.” I figured, and maybe in ignorance, that just because we hopped on that plane to Toronto that she would have to meet us… that somehow God would see our obedience and command Tam’s steps to us. Yet it never happened, day after day. I could not comprehend how you could have someone that loved you literally around the corner at times and how you wouldn’t want to see that person, look into their eyes and see and feel love… rather than just hearing or reading the words of a long distance relationship. Love had literally jumped a plane in matter of hours to meet the needs of a broken girl… and yet it stopped at the end of a phone call every time.

The days were dwindling down before we had to go home and instead of lying around a hotel wishing for a phone call we decided to just go get in God’s presence and feel His heart on the situation at one of the local churches in the city. Sometimes I laugh at how God works, and this night He truly transformed my heart forever. Earlier that day I had been sitting with Jen in the hotel room and I was listening to her heart so full of love convey to me that she couldn’t do it any longer and that she was done with ministry… that this had been too much. I will never forget sitting on that hotel bed across from her and feeling not the same pain, but the pain of misunderstanding because I could not understand why one of the strongest people I know was hurting so badly. As we cried together in that room I realized the cost of love… I realized that the pain at times is much more than one can bear, and there is a world out there that has no idea what this love looks like so the only reaction it has is to reject it. Just like Jesus was rejected. So we go to church that night expecting to just hear God, and not much more than that. Little did we know that God was about to affirm the calling on both of our lives. Without knowing who the speaker was until the last minute we decided to go to this church… it wasn’t until merely hours before that Heidi Baker would be speaking that night at a conference. Heidi Baker is one of Jen’s heroes in the faith, and it seemed to her and I both that this was just a little gift from God for what we had experienced so far that week.

Heidi’s message that night was all about the call… and how we have to keep the dreams alive and carry the heart of the Father to the broken and the needy. It was like God had taken every word that Jen had said on the bed in the hotel and spit them out of Heidi’s mouth just to tell her that she couldn’t walk away from the calling on her life… it was her life. Both Jen and I had radical God encounters that night and we realized that there was a reason and a purpose for everything that had transpired thus far in the week. He had us on an assignment, and He knew exactly what was happening and He knew how defeated Jen felt because she still hadn’t been able to see this young woman or be able to just hold her in her arms and show her what true love is. God foreknew every plan, and the steps of His righteous He had ordered beforehand.

God was providing, even if we couldn’t see it. Through going to the service that Friday night we got connected with so many awesome people from Toronto, and they were truly God divine connections. After meeting one woman in particular named Veronique, who is the head of Bound For Life Toronto and volunteers at the Pregnancy Crisis center, Jen got the opportunity to speak at one of the campus churches for the church that we had visited on Friday. It was truly a door swinging wide open for her to share her story, and what God was doing through her to transform our city in Dallas and around the world. Jen and I both figured that this would be the last assignment that God would have us on, and we would be leaving Toronto without getting to see anyone that we had originally come there for. It was disheartening, but we knew that our steps had been ordered by God.

We had arrived at the church and were in the middle of worship when Jen looks behind me and says that she knows there is a girl there who works in the industry… I had no idea how she knew this, but I have also learned to just trust Jen. Jen goes and runs outside to see who she is, and if it was Tam whom we had come there searching for. After going outside to talk to her she realized that it wasn’t Tam, but the young woman wouldn’t talk to her… or even look her in the eyes for that matter. After a few attempted tries at other women trying to talk to her, we couldn’t get anywhere with her, we just knew she was there for a reason. I decided that I would try and go outside to talk to her to see if maybe I could get her name… or at least if she knew Tam, our original reason for coming to Toronto. I went outside almost terrified to talk to her, but I knew that God had sent her there for a very specific reason. All I could speak and convey to her was that Jen loved her very much, and that God had sent her to that church for a reason. I found out that her name is Tabitha and she had come to meet up with Tam and hear Jen speak. I realized that in this moment the love of God was already compelling this young woman closer to Himself, even if her eyes were then blinded to the reality. Tabitha agreed to come into the church with me, and little did I know that this was the beginning of a day that would truly change my life just because of this young woman’s decision to come to a church one Sunday to hear a woman speak that she had never met before, and in fact hated not many days earlier. She wouldn’t open up at much first, but I watched as she eased up the more time she spent with in sitting in the back of church that morning. Tabitha had told me from the beginning that she was going to run out at any time and that if she did I shouldn’t follow her, and all I could do was tell her that I wouldn’t go after her, but I also suggested that it would be so much better for her if she stayed and talked to Jen and got to listen to her heart. To Jen and I’s surprise, she stayed. We got to invite her out to lunch and just spend the day with her before our plane left that evening and just before we were going to leave Tam had agreed to meet up with Jen, Tabitha and myself for coffee… it was as though God had kissed the last day of our trip.

As we were having coffee with Tabitha and waiting for Tam to arrive we got a phone call that on her way to the airport she had blown a red light to get to see Jen faster and she ended up getting arrested for possession. It was like a dead weight had been thrown into the middle of everything… I remember distinctly thinking that Jen must have felt as low to the ground as possible. Oh, to love someone with all your heart and truly never get to see them. The reality of the severity of the things these girls struggle within the Sex Industry was becoming clear to me… everything is fragile because of the sin that entangles them. All we could do now was convey the love that we had for Tabitha one last time before we left and get back on the plane for Dallas with our heads held high so that the people back home didn’t think we were entirely crazy for coming here for what looked like no point.
Jen and I walked through those gates just 5 minutes too late and we ended up missing our flight, and in that moment every bit of my flesh came out and I exploded in emotion that I had been holding in for the last 5 days. So there Jen and I were at the gate crying so hard at the prospect of staying in Toronto one more night, it was as though our bodies couldn’t handle even another night in that city. Thank God for Jen in that moment… if I were alone I do believe that I would have had a mental breakdown. Immediately we got our flights fixed for the next morning and Jen had turned it around with full knowledge that God had kept us there for another night for a reason. Sure enough He had more than we had ever imagined in store for us that night.

After checking into our hotel we decided to invite Tabitha back to our hotel and see if she just wanted to hang out with us and have a girl’s night. I had already felt like God had blessed enough with a whole day with her, and I was expecting anything to happen that night. Jen and I both knew that Tabitha had to work at the club that night, and it was rare that a girl would miss a night at work because of the consequences that could take place. Tabitha surprised us both and decided to come hang out with us again. After hiding from her driver that came to pick her up at night to take her to the club, she caught a cab to our hotel. My heart jumped when I heard her knock on that door because I knew that God was certainly up to something, and He wanted to share something with His princess that night.

Tabitha walked into our room sheepishly with a bag full of goodies and some coffee joking that she never brought coffee, food and candy to a hotel, but rather only drugs. I was watching as she was being allowed to just be safe for probably the first time in her life. We expected nothing of her there in that hotel room… we just wanted to love her. For 6 hours that night we sat and talked about everything from each of our pasts, to abortion and to reading the Word over this young woman that had never heard it before. The atmosphere in that room that night was one of security and peace, and I could watch as Tabitha was being transformed by the way that one person could love her so purely, even if she didn’t understand what was going on in that room. We were offering her something more addicting than any drug she would ever try. The imagery alone of this young woman sitting in our room that night was so perfect to how I imagined she had felt. There she sat sitting in a chair with her feet hanging over the side, and although she was dressed very much so like a woman, on her feet were polka dotted socks, and I couldn’t help but imagine that this was a picture of how she was every day of her life. On the outside there was a woman who was used to using her body to earn money, and on the inside there was a young girl that never got the chance to be loved, or to enjoy life. As Jen and I were about to leave Tabitha told us that she had never felt that way before… that no one had ever sat in a room and just let her be herself for as long as we did. It was eye opening to me that every other day out of the year and the years previous to this moment, she never got to be herself. I was now aware how much love could change the heart of someone who was broken and missing one of the greatest gifts in life.

We left that next morning realizing that God had kept us there in Toronto that night for Tabitha, and despite the week’s events leading up to that point, everything had been worth it. I learned that you take one girl, treat her like she’s the only person in the world that matters to you, pour out your heart and love without expectations, and everything changes in an instant. Every young woman wants to feel like a princess and when you actually treat her like one her whole heart opens to the possibility of the fairy tale actually coming true.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To find a friend... to be a friend.

In my Christian walk I have learned something very unfortunate as of late; it is increasingly difficult to find someone in life that will walk beside you (as a friend) and be 100% completely honest in who they are.

I wonder what it was like for Jesus when he was looking those that he would call disciples, and even friends. There was something that he saw in the twelve (even Judas) that led him to believe he could trust them in their character and integrity. Yes, I realize that you might be thinking that I'm crazy for including Judas in that group, but he also walked with Jesus side by side for 3 years before he decided to turn his back on someone that he knew so well, and likewise. It is even harder in these days to find a friend that will stick around for 3 years, let alone 6 months. I wonder what it would be like to be in Jesus' shoes... looking into the eyes of his best friend John... who was THE BELOVED disciple, and say to him, "I have to go, my time here is through... I love you, and I'm going to die for you." Yes, I understood that Jesus died for the redemption of ALL mankind... but imagine John's perspective here in this moment, his BEST friend is choosing to give his life for him. Wow.

My heart is reaching out for some understanding here. I can't begin to comprehend how people can let go, or even forsake relationships in their lives. I have watched quietly as people have walked in... and just as easily walked out. In my attempt to understand this I am left empty and without answers. I honestly know the biblical perspective that there are people for a time and season that walk into your life, and are meant to be there for that long, but I am wondering... aren't there lifelong friends out there? Those that would even take it to the grave? In my heart of hearts I am crying out for Godly fellowship, and I have my one... or two at the least, but I know that there is more. Maybe the more is the relationship that I will find in my future husband... but I am desiring TRUE, REAL relationships now. Fellowship that brings life, not heartache.

I suppose that this all comes back to my thoughts on love... I am supposed to be the walking representation of Jesus on this earth, and if Jesus was fully man and fully God, then he was fully love. I do not know what it's like NOT to love people... I can, not like someone with all my might, but I know that even in my heart I still love them. I do not know how to do it otherwise. Love COVERS all... even all the dislike and feelings of hurt and pain. I am confused... I guess in my naivety, why people would choose tolerance over love. Tolerance says "I'll deal with you here"... love says "I love you too much to leave you here." Jesus, looking down from heaven, said "I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH TO LEAVE YOU HERE!!" So he left heaven. Why is it so hard as Christians to show the same love here on this earth.

Can't you see that I love you too much to leave you here?

Jesus, I'm after YOUR heart. Help me find the answers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

When love abides.

It has been quite sometime since I have set down and written a new blog... which is usually what happens when I try to maintain something like this. But, I have been thinking for awhile as to what I should write, and I do believe that last night God just showed up and wrecked my life entirely, and I want to tell the world about it.

Since I went to OneThing09 I have been living a reformed lifestyle... in the fact that I have been impressed upon by God the importance of living a consecrated life. I have been reformed. No longer is it one foot in the world and one foot in the church... I do have my slip-ups, but that is beside the point and beside the point of what I am wanting to write in here.

Last night at OneVoice, our college and career aged group, I got smacked in the face by the way God SO loves me, and the way that He would have me conduct myself so that I can look more like His Son. For the last few weeks and even months I have been hitting what has felt like a glass ceiling over my head, and I have been confused because I thought that I had been "doing" all the right things... well last night God showed me it's not what I "do" but rather what I let HIM do in my life. How I let Him love me. How I let Him handle my situations (I'm not good enough to handle them anyways). How I let Him draw me to Him, and not be striving and striving to get somewhere WITH God, I'm already there. Please understand me that when I say "already there" I do not mean to say that I have by any means "arrived", but I mean to say that all the things that God wants for me I already have, if I just let Him do what He wants to do in my life... my hands are no longer in control of this vessel.

The coolest thing about this revelation is that it all started with forgiveness. Just as Jesus started me with forgiveness. I was in the midst of worship at OneVocie and I was trying so hard to press in, and for the life of me I couldn't seem to even step one foot into the presence and glory of God. I was just hitting that ceiling over and over and over again, and I was getting so frustrated. As I was standing there attempting to worship God, because I know that's what we're "supposed" to do in church before the message starts, a friend came behind me and put her hand upon my back. Before I could even turn around and see who it was I latched onto her and just hugged with all my heart and might inside of me. I didn't realize who it was, or even why I had just decided to hug this person with everything inside of me, and then she spoke to me jokingly saying that she loved this kind of greeting... and it was like a light bulb exploded over my head, it didn't just light up. It was divine that I turned around to hug this person without even thinking... because if I would have thought about it, I wouldn't have done it. You see for the last 6 months or so I had been dealing with unforgiveness issues towards this person based upon opinions that I had listened to about her from other people. In an instant, before my head could even reason about walking this out, I immediately repented to her and asked for forgiveness... and it was in all honesty one of the most freeing moments I have ever had before in my Christian walk. She had no idea I was harboring these feelings towards her and although it was a secret to her, my heart knew that I had to walk this out. Her words were as graceful and as merciful as I could have longed to hear in that moment when she said "Krystle, I forgive you and I love you." In that instant I got a revelation of something incredible, something much larger than I could have ever imagined or thought of in my natural state. God wanted me to understand something very spiritual here.

She and I parted in restoration, and it was like heaven had opened over my head. Immediately I was experiencing true worship of the God that I serve when in minutes before I couldn't seem to press in to save my life. When things like this happen I always want to learn why and how so that I won't have to walk through the same thing again, so I asked God "why did the heavens just seem to open after that?" And after this I had a picture of Jesus and I saw him on the cross and he was saying "Father forgive them..." we know the rest of the story here, but he was showing me that it STARTS with forgiveness, and until we are forgiven, until we forgive, we are trapped. I know the obvious of how we are trapped in sin until we are forgiven by God and come to repentance, but what about when we hold unforgiveness towards each other? We too are trapped. My life the last 6 months was me trying to walk as Jesus walked, but I was missing this main factor... one of the greatest aspects to love, and that is forgiveness. I long to love people, I long to love them with a love that Jesus had, and I realize that without walking in forgiveness, even daily if need be, I cannot do a single thing with that "idea" of love.

We all know this familiar verse from 1 Corinthians 13, but last night it was put into an entirely new perspective for me... and I realize that God is love, and we are God's walking representations of that love on this earth... and there is no way that I can say that I am able to even come close to living up to this scripture at this point. God knows I have a long ways to go...

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I haveA)">(A) prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,B)">(B) so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3C)">(C) If I give away all I have, andD)">(D) if I deliver up my body to be burned,a]">[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4E)">(E) Love is patient andF)">(F) kind; loveG)">(G) does not envy or boast; itH)">(H) is not arrogant 5or rude. ItI)">(I) does not insist on its own way; itJ)">(J) is not irritable or resentful;b]">[b] 6itK)">(K) does not rejoice at wrongdoing, butL)">(L) rejoices with the truth. 7M)">(M) Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,N)">(N) endures all things.

8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9ForO)">(O) we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10butP)">(P) when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12ForQ)">(Q) now we see in a mirror dimly, butR)">(R) then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even asS)">(S) I have been fully known.

13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love

Verses 4-7 so stick out to me because how many times have I NOT walked in those things... I have CHOSEN willfully to walk in a manner that is not according to this scripture. I say that I want to know God, and I want to love God and be LOVED by God, yet I cannot master even a few of these simple pictures of love. I believe that our greatest step forward into loving as Christ loved is forgiving and being forgiven. Letting go of wrongs and improper mind sets of people and stepping into the fullness of Christ, which is His love.

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Faithful To The End

Dreams and passions are often closer than we believe... and with our eyes so focused on the "future" we miss the budding flower that has sprung up right before our eyes. In this moment, I will not be found amiss.

I feel like I have settled down with a marriage proposal, realizing the inevitable that is right before my eyes... and that the commitment that I have made will be for the rest of my life. It's like getting cold feet right before your wedding, except this isn't my wedding and my feet aren't exactly cold, because they've already gotten a little bit wet with the prospect of my future. I am realizing right here in this moment that God is bringing me full force into my destiny, and the more days that pass the closer I realize I am to what God has been speaking into me since the beginning. How did I end up here, and how did my life go from a train wreck waiting to happen to walking in the fullness of grace? How His mercy abounds so greatly in our lives!

My passion for this generation has been fueled by the hurting and the lost that are out there, and mostly for the young girls and women that are out there without a hope in the world. For the last nearly 3-4 years my venue has been a church building every Wednesday and Saturday-Sunday, and the occasional high school lunch table meeting. And although there are dark places inside of both of those walls I knew that there were darker places that God was calling me to... there were back alleys, houses and clubs where that darkness was so thick that one's eyes might not see the possibility to move in love and grace. But I know the possibilities are endless, God is just waiting for one to stand up and say "Send me, I'll go." Just as Isaiah had his experience with the glory of God in chapter 6, I knew that I wanted a similar commissioning... I just wasn't sure if I could handle the whole "near-death-I-just-saw-God" experience, after all, I am an American, and those kinds of experiences aren't really talked about in church... let alone anywhere that I know of.

So anyways, God reveals unto Isaiah how unworthy he is and that his lips are unclean and just shows him really who's Boss... and after letting Isaiah know what's up He says to him "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" and Isaiah says "Here I am! Send me." And from the temple God sends him out full of the fear and I believe, love of God. And thus began my prayer of God commissioning me to go out and do what HE wanted me to do... not of my own will, or of any of the influencer's in my life... but truly what HE wanted. It was funny that after praying that prayer he not only commissioned me, but saved me too... yes, friend you heard me right... I got saved. My life's desire has been that to show love to a lost and broken world... but before I could do that, God had to show His love to a lost and broken me.

Enter my commissioning/salvation story:
On December 27th, 2009 I left on a trip to Kansas City and IHOP (International House of Prayer) to go to the OneThing09 Conference with Jen and Jacob, two of my spiritual parents and leaders from Heartland. It was a complete God appointment that I was even able to get a week off of work with nearly no notice, but I was headed for a full-on encounter with a God that I had NEVER encountered before, even in my deliverance from drugs. I got there not expecting that God was going to do more than just let me leave with another conference "high"... He was going to make sure that I walked out of that center with a life change, and so much so that I would NEVER be going back... after all, is that not true salvation? Anyways, to make a long story short, Misty Edwards preached on December 29th, 2009 about the amazing love of the Father, something that I had never connected with. I don't remember much else from her message, but that there was a lot of love there, and that I wanted to know this God... I wanted to know the God of love that came and gave His ONLY son for me... a love that stretched out his arms and died. That night after she preached with such mercy, grace and love on her life, I went down to the altar, not knowing the deep work that God was about to do in my life. I didn't listen to the altar-call requirements, I just knew that when I went forward God was going to do something in my life that I had been searching for for a long time, but just didn't know how to access it. There at the front of that conference center I was smacked by heaven... my heart was weighed down with something entirely new, and so out of the norm for what I was used to. Love. There on that floor in front of 20,000 people God decided to do a deep heart work on me. He saved me. My relationship for the last 3 years prior to this moment had been on the basis that I "knew" Him, and I am entirely certain that He did not, in those times, know me. My works and religion had stolen me away before I could even encounter the Father. The walls came crashing down like someone had put dynamite all around my heart and scheduled to set it off right at that very moment. I was broken... with a purpose.

On December 29th, 2009 I found my purpose, and my destiny was made clear. I was made to love, and be loved by Him. My idea of evangelizing and sharing the gospel had changed, and my every moment was now consumed by the FURIOUS love that overtook my life one night in December. The gospel was no longer head knowledge or how much I could go back and forth between the unbeliever, but rather the gospel message was a message of love... a message of hope and redemption, just like he found me there on the floor of that conference center. In fact I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt it was not the scriptures that I had already memorized that saved me in that moment, but rather it was the drawing of the Spirit unto the Father, and His love that redeemed me from the place that I was in. And just like Isaiah I was picked up from the place that I was in... and commissioned with a new message to share with His children; love.

Love is the motivating force behind the commissioning upon my life. I know that in the darkest places love shines the brightest and through the fear and the doubt I will press on knowing that it's the love of Christ that redeems all from the darkness that we are all in at some point or another. This love will reach the girl that feels like she has nowhere to turn. This love will reach the girl that has never been loved by any human being before. This love will go to the alleys, houses and clubs and it will break down all walls because I know that it's this love that was the motivating force behind the Cross of Jesus.

So here I stand, in reality a newly saved person, yet not a babe in Christ... and this ocean is massive before me... and the grains of sand that are but people upon the shores need to know this love that God has ready and available for everyone. Our eyes have yet to truly see this man who is full of love that burns with fire in His eyes... and He desires us to see.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

be angry. sin not.

I am caught up by something very interesting at the very moment that has, truthfully, gotten the better of me.

At OneVoice (our college and career ministry at Heartland) last night Pastor Jeff said something very intriguing in his message that has been on my mind for the last 24hrs. He said, paraphrased of course, that our anger is a sign of our immaturity. Immediately of course I thought of how often I get angry at small things... and I was admittedly ashamed at what I thought was a sign of my immaturity, but is that right? I am not coming against my pastor by any means, but I know that we are supposed to study to show ourselves approved... and so I've been on a hunt. The verse that sticks out to me the most is Ephesians 4:26 in which Paul quotes Psalm 4:4 to the church in Ephesus.

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold."

So I get angry, and willfully, I do not sin. But I wonder how many times I have, and not even realized it... and here Paul says we are then giving the devil a foothold. Are my ankles now tied because of the anger that I have allowed to rise up on so many occasions? There are so many instances where I can literally feel the anger rise up from my feet to my head, and before I can (sometimes) stop it I realize that I am acting upon what I have been trying to stifle, and get rid of.

I get angry with customers at work for short-siding me, I get angry with my roommates when they don't take out the trash, or when our apartment is dirty. I get angry when "Christians" say one thing and do another. Sometimes I just get angry. Most people in my life are probably astonished at what I am saying right now because they don't see me get visibly angry, but there are those who have seen and heard what comes out when I do. I do not like this person, but I know that there will be a time when it is used for righteousness. Like Jesus in the temple with the change makers, he was righteously over throwing tables and literally walking around with a whip lashing things... he was ANGRY, and rightfully so. The more I desire to look like Jesus, the more I notice that he is giving me emotions that he walked out here on this earth, and anger is the only one that I am having trouble with.

So back to the footholds business... as I was reading this in Ephesians I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me about a vision that he had showed me last night. In this vision I was sitting in a beautiful garden at the base of a tree. I had this vision once before and in that vision I knew that there was someone walking close to me and I could hear footsteps beside me, crunching blades of grass as they walked. When I looked up to my left I saw Jesus standing there with open arms waiting to embrace me, but in this vision I couldn't hear the footsteps that I was longing to hear. I instantly had knowledge that Jesus was standing behind me, behind the tree, waiting for me to get up and walk to him. And although I was now aware of this knowledge I remained sitting at the base of the tree with a deep longing in my heart to get up and see my Savior, but the longing in my heart was shut up by the fact that I was just feeling too lethargic to move. In my heart I decided that despite my lack of feeling I would get up and see the man that was waiting on me to move. As I stood I realized that there were two shackles around both of my ankles, binding me to the place that I was at. In the vision I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what the shackles were for, and how I could remove them. There was no response on why they were there, but I suddenly had a red pair of scissors in my hand (sometimes I just love God's imagery) and I knew that I had to cut them off with the scissors. In my carnal mind I said out loud "scissors, really?" as though God were joking with me... I mean these were serious metal shackles here around my ankles. Instantly after my statement of doubt I heard "oh ye of little faith..." slap in the tush right? Yeah. So, red scissors in hand, I cut off the right shackle from my ankle with such ease as though the metal were paper. Then I stopped... I felt inside again that I just didn't want to do this... I did not want to cut the left one off of my ankle and inside I felt myself say "do you really want to do this? do you really want to let this go?" Stupid questions. Of course I do!! So I cut it off and I go to move... and I realize that there is another shackle tied to my waist, and I am simply going nowhere. Without giving it a second thought I cut this one off... and long story short I get to Jesus and as I am standing with him he says "it is finished..."

Amazingly moving God/Jesus moment, and I was transformed... but I still couldn't figure out why I had to cut myself free. Until I read Ephesians 4:26... my feet were being held to the place I was in and I could not move. I know that "foothold" doesn't necessarily mean "foot hold" but what the Holy Spirit spoke to me was that I was allowing my anger to hold me in the place that I was in... and agreeing with my anger in the moments that I was angry was the devil's foothold over me. My very anger and resentment over situations and events in my day to day life were keeping me from running to my Jesus, the one place that I ALWAYS want to be able to go to. I have noticed that more and more I am getting angry, and I was just allowing it to take over everything inside of me, and as I was crying out to God about how much I hate deserts He showed me how I got myself there. I had been the one to tie the very shackles around my ankles when I came into the agreement with the devil over the anger that I felt rising up. In God's mercy and grace he allowed me to see that I was keeping myself tied to one place, and although I could "feel" the very presence of Jesus, I could not turn and face him like I had desired. It's in these moments where we feel the most heart wrenched and we often don't know or understand why. But our fleshly anger keeps us from the very face of God.

So I guess that it is a sign of immaturity, and not in my physical age here on this earth, but in my walk with Jesus. I can speak of love and mercy and righteousness all day long, but if I do not know how to redirect my anger and frustrations it does me no good. My spiritual maturity got a swift kick in the tush forward, and I'm beyond thankful for it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sangre De Cristo mountain top...

If my eyes were to strain anymore I'm not sure I'd see things any more clearly than I do right now, so I need to jot this down. My vacation wasn't so much time away for rest and relaxation as much as it was a period of realization and heartbreak. My mountain top experience has shown me that something deep within has been welling up for some time now. Standing on top of that mountain at 10,680ft above sea level I realized that my God, who made this mountain, is bigger than any of these problems or issues I have. I felt like a spec in the midst of a world that continues to spin, regardless of the issues I have going on. After all, He did craft the massive piece of rock that I was standing upon. It's just hard to see when everything seems to be crashing down.

My 5 days away from church and all of my friends showed me that there is a world out there, and they don't know my Jesus. It breaks my heart when I think that there is a generation and a nation that is walking through life, in all its aches and pains, without their Savior to come and sweep them off their feet. It scares me to think that there are so many going to Hell.

And before any of you guys go off thinking I'm condemning anyone to flames, I'm not. I am in fact broken over the fact that there are those out there that don't know this LOVE, they don't know this LIFE saving power. I should have been dead folks, and I deserved every flame in Hell... that is, until Jesus came and wiped it all away! I am not perfect by any stretch of the means, but through Christ I am being perfected daily. Do I mess up? Yes, but through Jesus and his Word I am renewing my mind constantly. I just wish that people could see, I wish that this nation could know... God is real, and hell is hot.

I believe in every word of the bible, but it breaks me in a million pieces when I read that there will be those that literally hate me for His name sake, and I believe it. In fact I've seen it, and I've felt it. The unfortunate part in this is that I hate to be hated, I want to be loved, and I want everyone to love Jesus. I want everyone to know his reality and that his newness is our good! If only we would call upon him and believe. Call me naive, but I guess I don't understand why there is a world that would want to willfully walk on without him. My misunderstanding is my hindrance I suppose.

Holy are you Lord... even in my storms. Be glorified!

My heart has been set ablaze for Him. My King has set hunger pains inside me for more of Him, and I cannot be satisfied until I see him face to face! Blessed are the hungry... He said it. I believe it. I want my hunger to be so contagious though. I want my family to see me on fire for God and know that they are missing something, that there is a love they have yet to experience and there is living waters to quench a thirst this world cannot cure. I want revival. I want love. But more than anything... I want Him. Take it all away, I don't care as long as I have Jesus. Someone greater is on my side.

I'll have to update this more frequently... until then read a blog that is worthy of noting, and pray for Ben and Katie, missionaries in Haiti from Dallas.