Poem

Where am I?    Where am I going to?
    Do I really have any control over my
        altitude, speed, vector, constancy, or destination?

Hurtling end-over-end like there’s no tomorrow,
    queue up the in-flight entertainment
        as my ship careens dangerously close
            to the un-doing singularity.

Slack yoke and static-filled comms,
    littered snack wrappers, old Galaxy Mall magazines
        float about my cabin as my
            blanched face is ever lit in the embracing glow of my
                undying diversion.

                    [PLAY NEXT EPISODE]

I remember this…

I’ve been in a season of transition for the past few months (in other words, I’m trying to figure out how to make a living without hating the process), and I decided yesterday (Sunday) to spend every evening I could at my church’s prayer room, which is open on most weekday evenings. I was hoping to get some insight about my career and sort some things out “upstairs,” but I got more than I expected in the best way possible: tonight felt like waking up from a long sleep, spiritually.
I’ve been to our prayer room many times over the past couple years, though definitely not as often or as regularly as I would have liked. Every time I was there, whether during an internship or as an excursion out of my “regular life,” I either felt like I was coming up for air after holding my breath after a long time, or like I was frantically trying to take a quick sip from a well in the middle of a desert. Clumsy analogies aside, I felt I was there to get something that would help me on my life’s journey, particularly a feeling of joy and fulfillment in the midst of a life that was far too hectic, disorganized, and confused.

I entitled this post “I remember this,” because that is precisely how I felt tonight, like waking up after a years-long stupor. What I remembered was the understanding of the house of prayer as a destination, rather than a quick filling station. I remembered the calling to a life of prayer and conscious intimacy with my Savior, and for the first time in a long time, that recollection did not arouse feelings of guilt, fear, or jaded cynicism.

This blog hasn’t been updated very frequently in the past six years, and to be honest, I haven’t been able to relate to the person who wrote these first blog posts for a long time. Tonight was the first glimpse of who I was a decade ago, underneath many layers of doubt and exasperation.

I remember what it means to be called as an intercessor (a person focused on prayer). I remember what it meant to have a life that’s not just about survival and making to the weekend/payday.

Reinitialization…

Greetings, folks! I’m writing this just to announce that this blog is going to start getting regular updates again. This is primarily because I want to hone my ability write and express myself well, but also because there are occasional things that I will want to give an opinion about. Hopefully it will be a useful one.

Stay tuned!

How to be a peacemaker

I’ve just realized that I’ve been doing a lot, and I love it.
Here’s the scenario:

 

Person A: Person B is totally wrong!

Person B: Person A is totally wrong!

Me to Person A, individually: You know, I see what you’re saying, but I think you really need to think about X and Y

Me to Person B, individually: You know, I see what you’re saying, but I think you really need to consider W and Z

I don’t mean that you should be a yes-person or two-faced in any way, but trying to see both sides of the argument really can help someone see the other side indirectly, especially when they are blind to any other viewpoint.

Saying “Yes,” then, “No,” is a lot more effective than saying “No,” now and, “Yes,” later.

 

 

He’s Just So Good

I had an interesting dream last night when I was in Kansas City.

I dreamt that I was out somewhere and ran into a couple who are friends of mine, having dinner. I stood at their table conversing, and they were talking about worship songs they really liked. They mentioned a Cindy Morgan CD they really liked, and I echoed that I really liked that song too, but I realized that they were actually talking about a different song, at the end of another CD of hers I really liked.

All of a sudden, I just burst into tears (in the dream). I was weeping so hard, I covered my face with both my hands. I had realized that there was yet another song from yet another CD that was birthed in the Spirit, which had carried me through yet another awful period in my past.

My friends asked me why I was crying, and I looked up and said,

“He’s just so good!”

The interesting thing is that I only ever had one Cindy Morgan CD in reality. However, there was one song that always really ministered to me in those days (circa 1998-2001) and it was “How could I ask for more” (a.k.a. “Thank You Lord”):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTey7bi5Acg

“I am the Lord your God…”

Tonight, I was chilling out at the house of prayer with a couple friends following a birthday party for one of the children. I had been feeling really aimless and confused about life, like God was a million miles away, even though I had kinda been hearing His voice. I got home from Onething ’11 and immediately got sick for over a week, and as soon as I got back to work, my manager gave me a poor performance review. This means most likely that I will lose my job in the coming months.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my relatives for wisdom and advice, and I have felt like I’m being flooded with dozens of options, from the simple (apply for a job here) to the potentially life-altering (try this certification program at this college). They’re all good options, nobody is telling me to go jump off of a bridge. However, I have felt really lost in the sea of options, struggling to hear God’s voice, to know what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

So, tonight I was chilling out in the prayer room after the birthday party, and I began feeling this sense of rest (or I was just sleepy, but it was more than that!) After worshipping for several minutes, I just took a row of chairs and crashed. I thought I would just rest and be in a “receiving” posture in worship, but I actually fell asleep for the better part of an hour. When I woke up, Audra Lynn was on the IHOP web stream, singing Jenn Johnson’s song, “Come to me:”

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now.
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved
Ohhhh

I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way
Heyyyy
Just come to me, come to me
Cause I’m all that you need

(Youtube link)

When I awoke to that song, it was like the Lord was singing it right to me! It really filled my heart with faith, and encouraged me to seek Him out for the answers to all of the issues and questions that have been plaguing me recently.

Update: The IHOP set that contains the song I heard is now available (and may only be around for a couple weeks after this post was written). Here is the direct link, and the song starts at around 1:07:40.

TRANSLATION BY COMBUSTION

Tonight I was at a prayer meeting, and I started wondering about discerning spirits and really wondering what happens when I think I’m hearing God, but it doesn’t come to pass (very specific things). I started retreating back into a bubble of religion, and I saw myself in this little bubble, with fire all around me, but not able to penetrate my little bubble if I didn’t want it to.

I was having dinner afterwards with a friend, and I remembered what another friend of mine said concerning me many years ago, “One of these days you’ll hear a really loud ‘HALLELUJAH!!!’ followed by a flash of fire, and you won’t be able to find Ram after that.'” That memory led me to coin the phrase, “Translation by combustion.”

As I was driving home, I was pondering these things, and how I very nearly went to back to familiar old (and in my opinion, futile) religious mindsets, and nearly despised the last three years of fire and passion for God in my life because I was afraid of being misled by the enemy (retreating into “religiosity” devoid of the revelation of Jesus). As I was driving home, I was listening to Jon Thurlow’s CD, “Songs about Jesus,” and the track “Every Tear.” The song started ministering to me strongly, and I put the song on repeat. Even when I got to the area I live in, I still drove around that area for about an hour, not wanting to go home just yet.

I was reminded of the cry of my heart from years ago: “I want to see the Son of Man!!” My heart started flowing and burning again with meditations based on the scriptures in the song (Revelation 7:13-17). I started praying, singing, screaming and crying out the desires of my heart, freshly exposed by the Spirit of God, and talking to God as I drove around the area I live in.

The end (purpose) of my existence is to behold, dwell with/in, and encounter the Son of Man, and everything else in my life is either secondary, or birthed out of that encounter. I encountered God’s heart in a very real and intimate way three years ago, and that has basically ruined the rest of my life (in a good way… I think!!).

The truth and desire that I reaffirmed on my little drive around the area is that I want to see, experience and dwell in the center of God’s heart. I don’t really know what that means except in the depth of my spirit, where passion and desire for God rages like an utterly abandoned madman.

Back to the catchphrase: “Translation by Combustion.” I believe that the Apostle John was an utterly wasted man after he saw, experienced, and finally wrote the Book of Revelation. Tradition has it (I love this story), that at the end of his life, since the church expected him to live forever, they would kinda prop him up, and all he would say is, “Love Jesus, and love one another.” I do not think this was his advanced age which caused him to speak and act that way. I believe that man was burned up/consumed from the inside out! He was translated by combustion. His heart was burnt up and translated to heaven/to the reality of the Book of Revelation long before his body succumbed to age. The man was burnt out — inside out!!

I remember speaking with an older friend of mine a few years ago, and what he said really marked me. He looked at me with his eyes blazing and said (concerning the Book of Revelation): “It is coming, and it is here (at the door): but it is completely real and alive in here! (pointing to his heart).” Jesus Christ, will all of His joy, love, passion, and wrath was fully revealed in my friend’s heart — he was burning alive!

Song excerpt:

These are the ones who have –

They washed their robes in the –

they washed their robes

in the blood of the Lamb!

Bible verse:

Rev 7:13

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”

Rev 7:14

I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev 7:15

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,

and serve him day and night in his temple;

and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

Rev 7:16

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;

the sun shall not strike them,

nor any scorching heat.

Rev 7:17

“For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,

and he will guide them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

We’ll be one!

I was listening to this song from Misty Edwards’ website, and it completely plowed my heart.

Chorus:

You and me,

We’ll be

ONE!!

It’s the beginning and the end. (x3)

I was made for love!

Scriptures:

I Corinthians 2:9

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

I Corinthians 6:17

But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

John 17:24

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Matthew 22:37-40

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Revelation 21:2-3

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

I was so gripped with the reality of this, that I listened to the song about six times back to back, weeping uncontrollably as God added yet another layer of revelation and longing for the return of Christ into my being.

Understanding that the purpose of our eternal lives will be to live with God, fully engulfed in the raging torrents of His love for us. The core of God’s being is LOVE! He is a jealous fire that consumes everything around you until He has your heart. He deserves it! God made the human heart apart from all of His creation as the one created thing that could actually experience the heights of His love. We will spend all of eternity blown away by the richness, depth, intensity and passion of His love, and the incredibly high price He paid so that He could dwell with a people who shared voluntary love with Him for eternity. We are the objects of His extreme, undying affection, zeal, passion and desire, and He will be the continual fascination and desire of our hearts forever!

The primary reason for our continued existence is to bring others to this great fellowship; to ensure that no-one misses the wedding who could have been there.

The whole reason for our existence as human beings is to know and love God. To know His love, and as the overflow of that hurricane of love percolating on the inside of us, to reach out to others with that same love. Note carefully which comes first!

For untold billions and billions of years I will be gazing at the beauty of the Son of Man, and delighting in His presence as He delights in me. I cannot think of a greater end.

Lord, hasten the day when my faith becomes sight. Hasten the day that I will stand before You with nothing but LOVE to show for all of my days on earth.

After 60/70/80/90 years of earthly human existence you will be asked ONE question:

What did you do with the love of God?

Recieve it?

Squander it?

Share it?

Refuse it?

Laugh at it?

Ignore it?

Consider it a lesser thing?

Spit in His face with your words/deeds?

Did you know it?

Did you pursue it as the highest calling in existence?

Did you try to do without, settling for having an active ministry life?

What are you going to do with the love of God?

LOVE IS THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT.

Learning to lean

I got home from work tonight and immediately crashed on the couch. I was tired and extremely frustrated from work, and also starting to feel sick. I really hate feeling sick.

After I woke up from a critically-needed nap and had some chicken-noodle soup (good for what ails you, they say), I laid down on the couch, petting my cats. All of the confusion and aggravation of the day seemed to swirl around me. I felt let down (by God) because of the difficulty of the job, and because of the sickness that was beginning to manifest in my body, and I could feel my sense of hope receding.

I started playing a song on my cell phone; it was a recording of a live worship set by Laura Hackett from IHOP-KC:

There is no pit too deep

that Jesus cannot reach.

There is no sorrow so strong,

that would overtake Your beloved one.

And He’s brought me to the wilderness,

where I will learn to sing.

And He lets me know my barrenness,

so I will learn to lean.

On that very last part, the revelation and comfort of God came crashing into the room. With weeping, I came to the realization of what God was up to, yet again.

In every trial, God’s goal is not to have me grovel as a subservient creature (I am that, and less), but to have me wholly lean and depend on Him, as my Father, as my saviour, as the Lover of my soul.

He is the One who desires to walk with me in the mundaneness and barrenness of everyday life. He desires me to lean on Him and walk with Him, through all of the little hurts and aggravations. He will attack my self-conceited independence with His loving zeal, until all my heart is His, until everything in my life is in His presence, until we are one.

Lord, consume until there is nothing left of me that would choose to be apart from thee!

Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?

Sweet Detour

Tonight, after our prayer meeting, I went out for a milkshake with a dear brother from our prayer group. We talked for about an hour about what God is doing in our midst, and towards the end I shared the ache of my heart to see some of the reality of God manifest in our midst; in holiness, deliverance, healing and revival.

I shared a recording of a live Misty Edwards worship set from IHOP, where she sang:

I still believe:

In the fullness of You.

You said in the latter days —

I still believe.

No disease known to man will stand.

I still believe:

That You will set my heart on fire.

I still believe:

That You will manifest Your power.

I still believe. I still believe.

Because I’m so grateful for all that You’ve given.

And I will not despise the day of small beginnings,

But God, I’m so hungry for the more.

I still believe. I still believe.

I’m so grateful for Your hand, and I’m so grateful for all You’re moving, I’m so grateful for where You’ve brought us —

But God, but God…

I still believe:

For the greater works than these.

I still believe:

For the power on the heart and the power on the hands, I believe:

That we will be a people that love You undividedly.

I still believe.

I still believe:

That Your name will be glorified.

I still believe.

I still believe:

In the middle of worship, Your presence will show up like never before.

I believe it, I believe it!

I still believe:

The stadiums will be filled with the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord.

I believe it, I believe it!

I still believe:

That no disease known to man will stand.

I still believe in the coming rain.

And I still believe:There’ll be a place where a young man can find deliverance.

I still believe it! I still believe it! I still believe it!

And I still believe:

Many, many, many souls will come in, like the flowers of the field,

I still believe.

And I still believe:

A great awakening is coming to this land,

I still believe!

And I still believe:

The dead will rise, I believe it!

The lame will walk, I believe it, I can see it!

The deaf will hear, I believe it!

And I still believe:

That the fear of the Lord will be our portion, as the multitude see the demonstrations of power in our midst.

And I believe it.

And I still believe. I still believe:

That the dreamers will dream and the prophets will prophesy, I still believe.

And I still believe:

In that latter, latter rain. I still believe. I still believe.

So open up the heavens, just let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!

The dead will rise and testify.

I can see it and I believe it.

The blind will see and many will believe.

And I can see a great awakening, I can see a great outpouring, in the midst of a great shaking.

I believe it, I believe it.

There’ll be a sign in the heaven and a wonder in the earth, and many, many, many will see and believe and tremble, and fear You, and fear You again.

I believe, and I can see the clouds are gathering, even now, even now make us ready for the rain.

Anyway, I was sharing my heart with my brother out of this song, and when I left, I started heading back home.

Usually, I just make a beeline for the house, but I felt the Lord leading me a different way. At first I ignored it, but only a block or so into my regular (direct) route home, I took a U-turn and went back, and took the route I felt the Lord leading me on, which was totally inefficient (by my reckoning) and out of the way.

I started driving while listening to the song, and I started to really feel the Holy Spirit speak to me through the song. I really identified with His desire to manifest His power on the earth, and His desire for a resting place (Psalm 132) on the earth.

There were parts of the song while I was driving around (seemingly aimlessly, but totally in the will and plan of God) that I just sobbed openly, seeing and tasting God’s desire for planet earth — His desire to transform our lives (and our planet), hampered only by our utter contempt for His presence (I speak of Christians, not unbelievers).

At the end, when I finally started heading towards home, I could feel God’s thankfulness… that I stayed in His presence and listened to His heart concerning a matter, through a song. Friendship with God really blows my mind, especially considering what a weak and flawed vessel I am.