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How to Hit the Bull’s Eye

It was the Olympic Games, 2004, and Matt Emmons was guaranteed the gold.

With one bullet left to shoot, all he needed was a 7.2 to gain his second gold medal. He aimed…fired…BULL’S EYE!

Except he hit the wrong target. He had cross-fired, had aimed at a competitor’s target. He was awarded a score of zero.

Instead of the gold, he finished eighth.

I wonder at the story, making it my tutor. They say cross fires are mental errors. You can have the ability, the promise, the opportunity…but be confused about your target.

I know about that. I know about floundering and shooting shotgun style, spraying everything out there instead of aiming my one shot, the bullet of my life, at the right target.

People and places much nobler than I have missed it too. Jerusalem, that city of Kings, full of rich history and spiritual tradition, was wept over by the King of Kings. “If you had only known!” He lamented with tears, “the things which make for peace. But you did not recognize your day of visitation.”

How terrible that we can have Everything right there in our midst, be visited by Him, be the recipient of His favor and blessing, but miss it all… cross fire, because we didn’t recognize what our target should have been.

The warning of Jerusalem makes me weep. It makes me fall to my knees and plead for insight, for wisdom, for a pure longing for the Kingdom that outweighs all other longings in my soul. I know how close I am to Jerusalem’s history becoming my present, played out all over again.

It would help if the target was clearly defined, yes? If the mind stayed focused on the right goal. If we recognized Emmanuel in our midst and learned from Him the things that make for peace. Can we know without a shadow of a doubt what our goal should be, the one that will guarantee a win, promise success, the one that will give us the gold and everything that goes with it?

YES!  “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” Luke 12:31

The gold is won by shooting the right target and the promises of God are possessed by seeking the one thing. I don’t have to go in a hundred different directions.

I just need focus on the one thing.

How does one become an expert shot? By doing the right ”sameness” day after day after day after day. So for 2011, I will wake up and do the same thing day after day…seek His kingdom. Meditate on His words. Take no action until I have a Word to live by.

I will find my target, ensure it is the right one, and I will aim my life at it.

Sure, I might miss. Certainly I will not score 100%. But I will be defining my purpose, getting better at living this Christian life, making my bullets of days count.

Here’s the game plan:

1. Daily read (memorize, recite, review) this year’s focal passage.

2. Mutter the Words of life, those promises that speak Truth, throughout the day. Repent when I mutter words of destruction.

3. Pray the most powerful prayer I’ve ever prayed (This with this ) when I’m searching, when I’m finding, when I’m shooting, when I’m winning, when I’m losing.

4. Record, articulate, scratch down on paper how it works…or doesn’t. Leave a Book of Remembrance for others.

5. And always take in more and more of His Word, enlarging my territory, moving out in faith.

“…then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8

Instructions for hitting the bull’s eye… recognize that God is here, this is the day of my visitation, it is His good pleasure to give me the Kingdom, so learn from Him the ways of peace, wholeness, soundness, health. Seek this kingdom! Say goodbye to the past and press forward to the conquest.

On the Threshold

Take a look at your feet.

Go ahead, take a minute to stand up and look down.

Those feet are at a threshold. Do you feel it? Do you know it? Does it pump through your chest and stir your breath as it does mine?

Emmanuel has come and promises to never leave and is committed to travel with us into 2011. And everywhere Emmanuel goes is victory and liberty. 

Those feet, they stand at a threshold, to enter in and take possession.

Over the holidays I returned to my origins. There I found the hounds of hell, or they found me,  and they yapped at my heels, biting and pulling and jerking me back from pressing on. I clawed, trying to hold on. The hounds, those howling messengers of doom, asked me who I thought I was?

“You’re not good enough for that, remember?” they accused. “You will never be better than your roots.”

The words from heaven, they rescue me. They tell me I can press on. I can take new territory.

My adequacy does not come from myself. It doesn’t come from my roots. It doesn’t come from my mother.

And here is an insightful truth: it is possible for our spiritual parents to try and prevent us from entering the Promised Land. Their ancestors did not want it for them, and mine would withhold it from me.  Yet “the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” (Acts 2:39)

Just like the Israelite children left the carcasses of their parents in the wilderness to find their inheritance, God’s word gives me permission to possess land my ancestors didn’t.

WE HAVE PERMISSION!

The knowledge makes me want to shout! I can’t do anything about the past. I cannot make my parent’s choices for them. But I can press beyond their threshold.

It is the mark of nobility, to leave behind your father’s house and escape its influence, and we each are invited to become daughters of the King. Us and our children with us. 

“Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; Forget your people and your father’s house. Then the King will desire your beauty. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace. In place of your fathers will be your sons.” Psalm 45:10,11,15,16

 The promise has been given, long since, for anyone who will believe the voice of Truth. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Perhaps it is not our ancestors’ good pleasure to see me…you… possess the promised land…

But it is the Father’s good pleasure!

Which voice will we believe? Which voice will we give influence to?

My feet are awaiting my command, to press on or turn back.

With Your good pleasure, Lord…with Your favor upon me, I will press on! I will tread territory far and wide, I will traverse every inch of land You have granted to me in Christ.

I will believe Your word and my feet will cross this threshold. Me and my children after me.

The Quiet before the Conquest

I sit in quiet, rare and a bit odd after holiday flurry.

But welcomed.

I have heard the words that are to be my footing for the coming year; I’ve embraced them and pondered them and they will become my daily portion for the year ahead.

Each year around this time He gives me a focal passage for the coming year and 2011 is to be The Year of Conquest.

I wonder if this is how Joshua felt? Did he sit in stunned amazement? After waiting so long, undergoing so many years of training and preparation?

Did he give in to fear? Did he ponder the obstacles…the fact that Moses was gone and the full responsibility fell to him…or did he find his faith-footing right off? Did he wonder at the timing, trying to make sense of it? Did it seem to “fit” or was it out of place, like words on a thick tongue? 

I think when we realize God’s plan for our lives can be lived by no one but us… well, it has a way of strengthening our faith if we will let it. If we don’t turn around and run. If we don’t keep looking for our Moses to show up and realize instead that I am up to bat. Only I can carry out my portion of His story. I cannot expect Moses to do Joshua’s job.

And this… To think that we, in some way, will lead others to take possession of God’s promises…that is our calling. That is part of why we are here. That is a slice of our “good works” prepared before the foundation of the world. That is what each of us have been given the privilege of doing.

And when God speaks this to a person’s heart, courage is the command. The task will not get done by shrinking back.

All our lives we have prepared for this moment, for this coming year. We have been trained and shaped and readied for what God is going to do in us, with us, through us, and to us in 2011.

So had Joshua. He had been Moses’ assistant and now Moses was dead and Joshua’s life purpose was at hand. The very reason for his existence stared him in the face, stretched out before him in the form of vast territory stretching from ocean to mountain, and he was told to conquer it!

What must it be like, to have such a moment of clarity? To realize that this is what everything in your past has been for, this is what God had in mind when He formed you in the womb?

I believe such times come throughout our lives. When we are allowing Him to shape us, make us, hide us, create us in those secret places and seasons, there comes a time when He brings us to the brink of a vast territory and says, “Be strong and courageous, for you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to give them.”

Joshua’s success depended on one thing. One thing. So does ours.

Here is the challenge: To take everything 2011 has for us by conquest, as a possession given us from God, AND lead others in doing the same.

If we do position ourselves to take 2011 as our possession, will we do the one thing required for success? Or will we be deceived into thinking we need the Word PLUS {…fill in the blank…} until the Book becomes marginalized into nothing of real significance?

What will I do? What will this time next year say of me, of how I lived 2011?

Do I really want the conquest? Then I must center my life on the key.

His words must be my life, my breath, my thoughts, my dreams, my wisdom, my eyesight, my strategy. More than mere words, they are my bread, my sustenance, my movement, my activity. They are my all and I don’t have anything in any given situation until I have His word.

This is how I want to live 2011.

And so I sit in the quiet before the conquest, pondering His words and praying them back to Him and asking Him for the miracle of them becoming part of me. Because when the conquest begins, this mere woman needs a Book to stand on.

UPDATE **After posting this, I read of Ann Voskamp naming her year today too…read the others who are discovering what 2011 is for them?

A Christmas Gift for You

For five long years it sat on a shelf in the closet.

Amidst shoes and winter sweaters and baby clothes, its bright pieces beckoned a child, promised cheerful play.

Except the children were all gone and there was no one to notice a simple 8 piece track with matching bus the color of sunshine.

Then, Christmas 2010, the family returned! From travels and adventures spanning the world, they returned to this place for the holidays. This is the place they call “home.”

After the children are in bed, we visit the closet in Grandma’s house, sorting through stored belongings and taking out old toys that will be re-wrapped and discovered all over again this Christmas.

We find the sunshine set and I lock the pieces in place while husband finds a screwdriver to bring life to the matchbox-car sized school bus.

But when a new battery is inserted and the switch turned on…nothing.

Our hearts sink at the ending of the toy that brought firstborn son so much joy. “He played with this set for hours,” Husband says, and I nod sadly and finger the small bus.

“I wonder if they could just push the bus?” I mutter it as I place the bus on the board to see if it would work.

My fingers feel the familiar curves; my eyes imagine a little boy’s laugh as I push the bus around the track time after time. When I stop, the bus rolls just a split second…then keeps on going!

The wheels have come to life and what I thought was a thing of the past is new and moving and real and will be the joy of not one little boy on Christmas morning but 4 little ones, eager to have a turn arranging the pieces and seeing little bus go.

Something inside me awakens too.

It has been many long years since I dared to go there. It has been stored away, placed up amidst other memories and seasons gone by. It was a nice thought… once. A noble idea, a soul dream….but I moved on. I had to. Life didn’t have room for me to take it along, like an overstuffed suitcase. Dreams had to stay behind, parked on a shelf in a closet far, far from me.

And when I chanced upon the dream again, I fondly fingered its beauty, remembered with bittersweetness its joy and awe. But it doesn’t work now. It can’t. It’s a thing of the past and cannot be resurrected to fit my present.

Except suddenly, when the wheels of the sunbeam bus are nudged and encouraged, Divine fingers seem to reach down and nudge and encourage the place of dreams in me.

And just as little bus drives around track on its own, awakened again by fresh power and a little coaxing to un-freeze his wheels, so the message reaches my heart: in its time, the dead can come to life.

Isn’t this what Christmas is about?  “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son…”

Years and years of waiting…of wondering, “Is this the One?”…of longing…of finally closing the book for 400 years and placing it on a shelf in the closet of silence.

Until…

The time had come.

The darkness behind earth’s closet doors pierced through as the Light of the world opened the womb of a woman.

Hands that Created brought Life to us and what we once thought dead and hopeless and just a dream of the past became living and real and not just for us to open but for a whole world to receive and awe over and find joy in.

The time has come. For you.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.

Today is the day of the Lord’s favor. Today is the day of salvation. Today.

Heaven has come down. Life has been given. Today is the day. Rejoice!

And like the wheels on little yellow bus, we can come to life.

We can Come to Life.

 

Repost from last year, still living alive!

Love that Takes Skin Off… and Puts Skin On

“How is it that you are so crazy about me?” I ask him.

I marvel at the love of a man for a woman. He could have anyone he wanted, but he wants me.

“You’re my bride!” He exclaims. “Any man who isn’t crazy about his bride has one of two problems: He either married the wrong woman or he isn’t right with God.”

We laugh a happy laugh that we married “right” and I fall in love again with his uncomplicated outlook, his straight forward and un-reserved passion that doesn’t get tangled up in all of life’s “what if’s.” To him, a man loves his woman wild and there’s something wrong if he doesn’t.

I still wonder at this kind of love when I arrive at church and the service begins~ I’m alone this morning, my Wild husband stayed home with the sick children. I hear of the Savior who took on flesh, indwelt a body marked for death, because of crazy love for me.

I marvel still, trying to grasp it.

Then. I hear of Dr. Orlando, a man from Chicago who was in a car accident one night while with his wife. He was uninjured but his wife was severely hurt and needed an immediate skin graft in order to prevent infection.

When they arrived at the hospital, there was no skin donor available, so Dr. Orlando of course volunteered his own skin. When they got to the OR however, there was no doctor available to do the procedure…but him.

So he prepared for surgery, took the scalpel, and with no anesthesia, took graft after graft of his own skin to heal his wife’s injuries.

As his skin peeled and his blood flowed, the nurses and staff assisting him in the OR wept…but Dr. Orlando could not afford tears for his own pain. His agenda was his wife.

Why would somebody do that?

Because it’s the way a man loves his woman.

And why would God peel back the glory of heaven and put on the skin of a man? Because of love, the love of God-man for His bride. For didn’t He take on skin so that He could give it up for the healing of His bride? And didn’t it “please the Father to bruise him?” And didn’t they, for the joy set before them, endure the cross and despise the shame and reach down and peel back the flesh?

And isn’t it by His own stripes and wounds that I am healed from the curse and consequence of sin?

Redeemed. Salvaged. Restored.

LOVED.

The Lamb, slain before the foundation of the world, was given out of love…for me. For you. For us, His bride.

“How can the God be so crazy about me?” I wonder.

Then it hits me. This question assumes His love is somehow associated with my worthiness. But just as my husband’s love is no credit to me but to him…he is no boy with immature feelings…he is no half-man who loves for self-profit…he is a man who has moved beyond childishness, who knows how to love another and does it well…

So it is with God.

God’s love for us was never intended to be to our credit, but His. This wild, heart thumping love that pushes to the most drastic of measures is a reflection of the Giver, not the taker.

He is God and there is none like Him.

He loves lavish. He loves tender. He loves softly, madly. He woos and whispers. He sings and dances. He hides expressions of His love throughout our days for us to discover. He pursues and beckons, He invites and waits.

He is God and there is none that loves like Him and it is impossible for anything to separate us from His love.

His love is a credit to His God-ness and I would be a fool to persist in trying to understand why He loves someone like me.

So I’ll just believe it. Embrace it. Tell Him “YES!”

I’ll delight in waking up to His warmth each day, in finding and opening His daily gifts.

And I’ll whisper to Him, “You love me so well. Can we do that again? I think I’m learning how to love You back…Shall we practice some more?”

And I’ll love Him because He first loved me. Together, we’ll dance the dance of Lovers.

 

Repost from the archives

Between Promise and Faith

I imagine that maybe, just maybe, she was a woman like me.

Because when she first heard the news, she laughed. “Can’t happen for me,” she said.

In that, we are alike.

Not proud of the cynicism, the hard edge, the bracing against Hope. And Yet…. if it could be part of her redemptive story, it’s okay for it to be part of mine. There is hope.

It tells us that she believed God, but we know that for some time she didn’t. First the laughter, the unbelief. Then the scheming, taking matters into her own hands.

Then the abuse.

The worst part is that she wasn’t the abused but the abuser. She mistreated. Not just mildly, either, but to the point of Hagar”running away.”

In this again, we are alike.

Between the promise given and the blossoming of faith lies dark territory, the howls of the soul, the dry barren ground that we each have to face in ourselves. The wretchedness of self that we want to hide, cover up, deny, busy away with meaningless activity. We wonder why, Lord, why? Why does the promise delay?

And I wonder if Sarah, the princess, the mother of nations, wept at her own darkness like I have mine?

His words came so strong that day, compelling me to write them down as a memorial. “I’ve needed to let you understand something for when I do the miraculous. I’ve needed you to understand that there is nothing in you I could work with.”

Perhaps this is where real faith is birthed. Not silly self talk that tells us WE can do better and WE can try harder and WE can get it right next time. No, like they did, I have to see the deadness of my womb, the sheer impossibility, be broken completely of self effort and self reliance before I can raise in faith and truly embrace the Promise. It is when the deadness of self seeps in that the possibility for faith…life… grows.

Their example helps me understand how to do this.

It cannot be any other way. My “deadness” gives way to life only to the extent I “contemplate it”, accept it, and start looking for another Way. Oh, blessed sight! Here is the way out: as the deadness is revealed, faith in God is given the chance to “grow strong.”

Travelers who have heard the promise but not yet fully embraced it… those who are traversing the dark shadow lands of the soul… there is hope. Our spiritual mother walked these grounds and she made it out to stand beneficiary of all His promises. Not only that, she made it to the Hall of Faith and shines a beacon for us to light our way.

The path will expose us and our deadness. Be assured. It makes one demand: that we contemplate the impossibility of self and lay. it. down. Take up the Way offered in its stead. 

It must be faith alone. Faith in Him and His Goodwill towards us.

In this, I trust we will be alike.

“Faithful is He who has promised, and He also will bring it to pass.” I Thessalonians 5:24

*Traversing long miles over these holidays; if I don’t get a chance, may I wish you a Merry Christmas now? Lord willing, I’ll be back soon.

Calm. Confident. Committed. (Words to Live By)

Kind Words and Warm Welcomes from the community of sisters take me aback this week.

I understand my girl’s tendency to withdraw better than ever… When you’re not used to a warm, welcoming table…

And I fight a wild urge in me, to get up at the table and act the clown, thinking I’ve got to impress, to prove my right to be here, to make you like me.

Raw honesty.

Insecurity breeds strange behavior, this I know.

I’ve been the outsider most of my life, grown comfortable with it. Perhaps this has served me well in living overseas for years as the “foreigner.”

Except that now I’m in the states on furlough and now you all have noticed me in my corner and you invite me to the table and extend warm welcomes.

“Don’t take counsel with insecurity.” Loving husband has said it to me and I’ve said it to him and we’ve learned how to recognize it and how to help each other fight it.

For doesn’t this tell us not to be ignorant of predator’s schemes and surely Insecurity is a well used, finely tuned tool in his hands.

Insecurity that tells us we have to run and hide. Or to act… the clown, the fake, the reflection of the world around us, the whatever… in order to be welcomed.

Insecurity that tells us we aren’t good enough.

Insecurity that tells us we can’t do THATWho do we think we are?

It is insecurity that tells me I must be a task-master, that the shepherd’s staff holds no power. It is insecurity that tells me I can’t expect truly noble things of myself because I’m just ordinary. It is insecurity that blinds my eyes to what true dignity, true nobility, true strength really is. It is insecurity that tells me I must eat crumbs from the world’s table because I can’t have what God’s special people have.

It is insecurity, the scheme of Satan, that deceives me to what I can truly be. Who I really am. It tells me to act the clown. Be somebody. Prove something.

But like the Babe in the manger, significance has no pretenses. Influence needs no platform. Importance requires no self-promotion.

Will I believe it? Will I believe that I am significant, influential, important?

It is not people who make me so. It is not me myself that makes me so. { I don’t have to make me important! Blessed truth! Freedom! }

It is the precious, priceless blood of Christ that has covered me, stained me with priceless significance and nothing can ever, ever change that.

So the predator uses the only tool He has- deception- and how blind to his ways I have been!

How I furrowed out patterns of insecurity in my responses to little ones… to the opportunities that came my way… to  people and life and to the Voice that kept whispering nobility to me.

No. More.

No more will I settle for the world’s glitz when I can have His Wholeness. No more will I take riches from king’s hands when He can be my portion. No more will I feast on spiritually packaged, man-made food when the Bread of Life can be mine. No more scheming for ways I can make promises come true when the One who promised is Faithful.

No More.

Lord Jesus, I’m not going to get this perfect, but by Your grace I’m not going to take counsel with insecurity. I’m neither going to retreat nor push ahead.  I’m going to keep in step with the Spirit for the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come” and I take my place amidst family and don’t need to act something because I already am. I’m going to embrace this new day as the chance to furrow new habits, forge new patterns, respond in fresh ways. And tomorrow; and the day after that, and the day after…

Today I will live:

Calm. Because I don’t have to “do” it.

Confident. Because the Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”

Committed. Because this isn’t about me. The Person and the cause is beyond myself.

When Your Eyes Can’t See What They Need To

“Look Mom!” he cried. “Heaven’s coming down!”

I looked in my rear-view mirror to see all four kids peering out the window at the sight, the excitement so great I wondered if Jesus Himself was coming through the clouds.

As carefully as I could,  I leaned over to look out the passenger side window.

Sure enough, heaven was coming down. Rays splintered through the clouds in streams, and in the middle… one big ball of yellow.

We slowed and breathed our compliments to Maker God and wondered how something so wondrous could ever be considered ordinary.

I wondered if any one else had the eyes to see what little ones saw. I wondered if the other travelers even noticed the display of glory or if they were rushing, pushing, consumed by the meaningless. I was startled by how many times I surely missed heaven coming down.

How many times I missed His expressions of love in a wind’s whisper? A bird’s flight? The night moon?

Have my eyes become so accustomed to the frills and fluff of economic prosperity- slick brochures, fancy wrappings, well-dressed presentations- that I’ve lost the eyesight for real beauty?

Have I lost the eyes to perceive His mercies that are new every day?

Have I lost the ability to SEE His glory that fills the whole earth and His loving-kindness towards me that stretches to the skies?

If Jesus had come on white steed as King, we would have had the eyes for Him. But as a babe? In a manger?

Who had eyes for that?

And today, if we’ve got fancy marketing techniques and web designs and skilled orators and classy presentations, we can garner the attention, gain their eyes. But what if He comes in the ordinary?…the babes…the birds… the seeds that break open to give forth life? The chance to love the least of these, to smile, to hope?

What if…ahem… What if He only whispers His invitation? What if day after day, heaven comes down?

And what if I live my life missing it?

The thought grabs me, shakes me, awakens me to train my eyesight. To see Him in the toothless grin of an old Asian man; to feel His love in the perfect poinsettia that sits atop my ledge; to sense His belief in me every time my babe runs to me for comfort.

The Christ Child shows me the way. Forget the malls and the fancy packaging and the slick sales pitches, even the Christian ones I have grown accustomed to, accept as norm. My eyes have been trained in their ways far, far too long.

The Babe trains different senses, spiritual eyes and ears if I will but listen, if I will gather around Him in stillness.

He teaches me that the most significant gifts come with skin on.

Expect treasure amidst the hay. {Who said significant had to look a certain way?}

Find the last place people go and linger there.

Look to the heavens. {Even now, night after night they pour forth speech, yes?}

And expect Him! Expect Him! Expect Him! Emmanuel has come!

It takes some practice, living this way. It means being desperate enough to take off the old, rip the dark eyes right out.  It means taking Grace at His word, no room for unbelief or pride. But the wondrous truth spurs on:

Heaven has come down, God is with us, and all I need do is behold.

***Join me in 2011 for an ongoing series in developing our spiritual senses? I’m writing a Bible study for our ladies at church and I’d like to record it here in my journal as we go…

The Answer is Yes!

I’m clothed in drab, human skin and feel every inch of humanity as I get on my knees before Him.

“Lord. You have laid hold of me…let me now lay hold of You. Both hands, Lord, both hands.”

“Jesus, show me how to do this!”

“As the Father loved You, so You have loved me, Jesus. Help me abide in Your love.”

“Jesus, I call on You! Imperfectly and in only partial belief, but it is all I know to do. Save me from this pride and control and self reliance. I am a woman of unclean hands, lips, and heart, and I need Your fire of cleansing to purify me. Will You do this?”

“Will You let me know You? Really GET You, God? Oh, how I want to understand You, know Your ways!”

Throughout the days I keep finding my knees, keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Until I realize…it is becoming a way of life for me.

Then. Today. Little one tells me her cup is out of water. “Okay, what do you do?” I prompt her.

“May I have some more water please?”

“The answer is YES!” I tell her.

We have done this particular little exercise hundreds of times, me trying to teach her to ask and she will receive… Her asking time and time again, and me saying “YES!” And I wonder, when will she really get it? When will her relationship with me reflect a deep, abiding trust? When will she KNOW that she is part of me, of us, and when will she not hesitate to put me out for her sake?

But this time the words come back at me, a response from Him spoken from my own lips: “The answer is YES!”

“All those requests you are making…all those desires for righteousness and truth and love and grace you are pouring out before Me…all those tears that have no words… the answer is YES!”

“And when will you finally get it, that you are part of Me, of US, and when will you not hesitate to put Us out on your behalf? You know you have the entire throne room of Grace at your disposal… you know I say ask and you will receive…”

Right there at the lunch table I jump up and leap for joy! “The answer is YES!” I say again and again and they laugh at their crazy momma.

And I know something new today: Some prayers are best made on bended knees. Others, on leaping legs.


“For no matter how many promises God has made, they

are YES in Christ.” II Corinthians 1:20

Mouth on Fire

I feel the Rock beneath my feet and drink in His fresh waters. I sense His confidence becoming mine. I’m sure of the path I take.

Then I open my big mouth and suddenly the waters are muddied.

Time after time of doing this makes one reticent to speak at all. Especially when others are listening.

Oh how I long to speak as the mouthpiece of God. Why is it so hard, this taming of the tongue?

And yet does He not ask, “Who will go for us and Whom shall we send?”

He is looking for mouthpieces.

And so it is back to the Presence of the Holy One I go, because it is in encountering Him that Isaiah’s lips were purified. Mine need it too, which means I need to see the Lord High and Lifted up. I need to linger longer in His presence, instead of getting my confidence and rushing away before the purification is complete.

Will I rush out trying to be His mouthpiece, attempting to speak His oracles without first bending the knee and submitting the mouth to His fire?

It is only after the purification that Isaiah received the message to speak.

So be it for me. So be it.

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