February 21, 2011
OK, so the Lord is speaking me through song right now. (He often does.) I was in the prayer room Thursday all ready for a Misty Edward's set. I had missed her 4pm and so I was really looking forward to the 8pm. When I walked in, Brandon Hampton was leading the set. Hum, I must say I was initially disappointed. But God hijacked me, one of God's names I know best - El Hijacker)
The lyrics to the song which are from Rev. 4 are below. You know, I had never really asked myself what it is that they see that makes the elders and angels in heaven do what they are doing and will continue to do for eternity. Do I have a knowledge of God that elicits the same response in me? Sadly, no, but I want it. And I want it enough to spend time getting to know Him in that way. It is a costly desire, anything is that requires time, our one limited resource. To say yes to one thing is to say no to another. But, I have to know, so I say yes.
You can click HERE to hear the song. Scroll over to 1:16 to get to the beginning of it. Warning: for those of you who do not like repeating songs, this one repeats for approximately 30 minutes, but then again, so does the song being sung by the angels in heaven, theirs lasting forever. Play the music in the background and meditate on the words as they come. I think you will enjoy.
"There He sits, upon the throne,
Sustainer of all things.
The elders bow,
And angels sing, their song forevermore.
How can I comprehend the beauty that has no end?
You have beckoned us to come and see
For every nation testifies the majesty
they can't deny the Son has made a way for them to come.
There is only one, there is only one, there is only one
What do the elders see that makes them all fall down?
What do the angels see that makes them all cry holy?
We have to know ,
We have to know ,
We have to know ,
What makes them cry holy?
There is only one, there is only one, there is only one,
To Him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns forever
To Him who sits on the throne
To him who reigns on high
Be blessing and honor and glory and power" (Rev 4:11)
February 20, 2011
I hope that you have been doing well lately. I sure have. At dance we have started learning our pieces for the performance, Firstborn From the Dead. So far it looks as if I will be in three pieces. In the piece that is for my jazz class I have a solo which I am super elated for, yet also terrified in the same breath. Before I do my part (as the mute) I have to stand frozen in position for a long time that seems like a perennial. :) This performance is basically an excerpt from the New Testament as the life of Christ.
We have gotten a bunch of snow. Our trampoline had icicles hanging from the bottom of the mesh and a block of ice on top which I had to devise how to get off. I will infer that the block of ice was two to three inches thick.
Have you ever thought about how no matter what people do, God still wants them for himself? God wants His people which is why He sent his son to die on the cross. It is so amazing that God would send his only son to go to the cross, die, and resurrect just so that when you sin you can be forgiven. I mean you naturally would assume that you have to work hard or do something. But no, you just have to say God or Jesus or Holy Spirit I have sinned and I ask for forgiveness and you will be made completely and utterly clean. It is so cool!!! And God does not defer in forgiving us. All that is needed is a subservient heart. This is not a tortuous walk at all and it exonerates you.
I also love the fact that Jesus knows everything that you have ever done and He still wants you. He is the perfect Bridegroom and He is waiting to come back for His people until they are ready for His return; ready to love Him whole heartily. Jesus is intent on contending for our hearts. We don't have to contort to be someone we are not for Him. He really wants a people that fully want Him. Not just to fix problems but to talk to and to spend time with.
Well this is what I have been thinking about in the prayer room. Hope it is some food for thought for you too and I have not expounded too much.
February 18, 2011
"You guide me through the dark,
You calm my fearful heart.
and I will rest in you.
You give me perfect peace.
You fulfill my deepest needs
and I will rest in you.
Shining like the sun
Oh, let your kingdom come
Cause I want to be with you,
In your presence.
And I'm here to give you praise
cause you take my breath away.
And now I'm here to be with you.
I 'm in your presence.
Your kindness draws me in.
I am with you once again,
And I will rest in you.
My god you reign on high
To you alone I cry,
And I will rest in you."
Audra Lynn was singing this chorus in the prayer room the other night. I began to meditate on the truths it contained because we all walk through seasons of darkness, some of which are deeper than others. The chorus reminds us of the promises of God: He will guide us through the dark, He will calm our fearful heart, He will give us perfect peace. That is what He does because that is who He is. We have but one responsibility in the darkness - to rest in Him. Not to fix anything, not to find a way out. We may not initially see the way out, feel calmness of heart, or have any peace, let alone perfect peace. But in faith we, "call those things that be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17) and rest in Him.
Learning to give Him praise in all situations,
Click HERE to hear the song; scroll over to the 1:32 mark. The song was 1 hour and 32 minutes into the set.)
February 17, 2011
Often Christians do not know how to define "blessing." A blessing is not always easy, painless, simple, comfortable or expected. A blessing often comes, wrapped in the mystery of darkness. But, in reality anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God,and He comes! Just as it was with the disciples.
The disciples had personally witnessed God's willingness to save His children. Yet, in Matthew 14, we find them in a boat, caught in a storm, afraid and still questioning God's willingness to rescue them. Did they cry out in fear? Yes! Did He come? Yes!
Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water, between three and six o'clock in the morning, THE DARKEST TIME OF THE NIGHT.
Father, I come to You today with a faith that seems so small. I want to believe You, Lord. I want to walk by faith, knowing that You will keep every promise You have ever made. Help my unbelief, Lord.
February 12, 2011
Eyes never cease to amaze me. I love looking at people's eyes. Ever heard that phrase, "The eyes are the window to the soul"? Well, it's very true.....at least for me. I can tell a million things about a person just by looking at their eyes or a photo of their eyes. I can read how they are doing in an instant. Whether its been a rough day, if they are excited, tired, genuinely telling you the truth how they are doing, whether they have something on their mind, their personality, something exciting just happened to them.......anything and everything is expressed through the eyes. =) Eyes have an indescribable depth. Some are cloudy, some are clear, some are vibrant, some have a soft warm feel.....they are all mystifying.
I was thinking about the different color of eyes. Green, blue, grey, brown, chocolate swirl color, yellow, hazel, mixtures.......all different, incredibly unique designs by God. What color do you think Jesus' eyes were? Knowing He was from Jewish descent, I've often pondered if they were brown or had a color swirl in them. The Bible tells us what they look like. Revelation 1:14 says His eyes are like flames of fire. What does this mean? Do they look yellow/orange/bronze-ish or are they constantly moving and changing like a fire is? I'm not sure of the answer but I do know His gaze is probably intense!
And God obviously cares about our eyes because He put so much detail into creating them, making them one of our 5 senses, and talking a lot about how to guard our eyes. So what do you think? Why is it that God made our eyes to show how we are doing and to be the window of our souls? What is it about eyes that God has so highly valued them? It says in Psalms that we were created to gaze on beauty. Our job for eternity is to gaze at God in his indescribable holiness. The seraphim were created with eyes all around to gaze at God. As were the four living creatures around the throne who never cease to cry out "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come." since they were created. That is their job description.....how awesome is that? =) Eyes are so small, yet so important!
So my question to you.....what do your eyes say about who you are? What are your eyes fixed on?
February 11, 2011
There is a spirit of holy fear as well as excitement in our hearts concerning the outlook of 2011. We believe that this will be a year of significant transition as echoed by a number of men and women of God that we have come in contact with over the years. There is an inward witness of the Holy Spirit that says there will be significant waves of genuine spiritual renewal and revival in various pockets in America as well as around the world in the midst of shifts, confusion, turmoil, and judgment.
More than ever, we need to know and partner with the heart of Jesus. Therefore, with an open Bible and on our knees, we need to watch and pray as commanded by Jesus for such a time as this. God will pour out abundant joy, peace, and revelation as we seek Him!
February 10, 2011
What's in a name? Identity for one. They don't even have to be full names. All sports fans know Herschel, Hank, Michael, Bird, Magic, Gretzky, and Pele. The entertainment world is the same - Cher, Elton, Bing, Elvis, Lucy, Oprah. We even identify them as well by nicknames - the Babe, Old Blue Eyes, the Great One, Sweetness, The King, and Broadway Joe. Or initials - JFK, FDR, LBJ, and MLK
In Scripture, a person’s name identified them and stood for something specific. This is especially true of God. Naming carried special significance. It was a sign of authority and power. This is evident in the fact that God revealed His names to His people rather than allowing them to choose their names for Him. This is also seen in the fact that God often changed the names of His people: Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, Saul to Paul.
Some of my favorite names of God are El Shaddai - "God all sufficient" (no explanation needed there), Jehovah-Jireh - "the Lord will provide" (amen!), Jehovah-Rophe - "the Lord Who heals" (always fun!), and Jehovah-Sabaoth - "the Lord of Hosts", the Commander of the angelic hosts and the armies God (just cool to think about.)
Well, God has just revealed another of His names to me: Jehovah Heehee - "the Lord Who laughs at me, the jokester God." Yes, as I was in the middle of my 3 hour labor of love known as shoveling 14" of snow from my driveway and listening to various teachings on a local christian station, God made this revelation to me (sidenote - I spared my beautiful ladies the chore since they had actually shoveled after the 8" storm about a week prior).
Back to Jehovah-Heehee. Think about it. First, there's Adam and Eve. Really now, did you think you could hide from God in that little garden? Later, we see Joseph's brothers deciding enough's enough and selling their youngest brother to slave traders so that they are finally rid of him. God has the last laugh as they come to beg for food from Joseph years later. Then, we have Goliath blaspheming God and mocking the Israelites. So, God sends David, " a youth and ruddy with handsome appearance", out to conquer the warrior giant with a stick, 5 stones, and a sling. Down goes Goliath at the hands of Mr. GQ. Then we have grumpy ol' Jonah. First, he runs the other way when God tells him to go to Nineveh. Then, he gets thrown overboard, swallowed by some kind of swimming creature, the fish/whale vomits him up on shore, and Jonah gets mad at God. One because God eventually uses him to spare the sinners in Nineveh, and secondly because God caused the plant that was shading Jonah to die to prove a point to him. And then there's Saul who had been persecuting the followers of Jesus. One of the most feared men in his community. The Lord basically says to him, "Dude, what's your your problem? Why are you persecuting me?" God opens his eyes. Saul gets a name change to Paul and ends up giving his life serving the Jesus whom he had persecuted.
And then there's me. The one who hated the cold. The one who always joked about escaping from the frigid north as a child. So, how's the snow, cold, and wind working for me? Just laughing with God and learning to love it. Well, the snow anyway! Still praying for and asking Him for IHOP-Roatan, Honduras.
I have really enjoyed revisiting many of the teachings as well as the worship sets from the onething 2010 conference held here in Kansas City December 28-31. Click the picture for the link to the free video archives. You can choose which session you want to watch and even fast forward through the worship to the teaching.
February 9, 2011
Mallory is ill, and has been since Saturday evening. She came down with a fever, headache and sore throat. Since then she has become congested and developed a cough. Mostly she has felt terrible and lacks energy. She is in the bed by night and on the lying on the couch by day. Trying to most anything else leaves her dizzy and unable to sit or stand. Pray with us that she be healed and regain her strength. The only one that has enjoyed these days is the cat who loves having someone to lay around with. He has been her constant companion and bed warmer.
Most of you know the burden the Lord continually places upon my heart is to pray that the church in America would awaken from her slumber, awaken to who she is in Christ, and be who she should be to an unbelieving world - through her words and her actions. With that forever in the forefront of my mind, I ran across a quote from Abraham Lincoln that in my opinion basically sums up the state of America yet today. I share it with you calling you to pray with me for the Church in the west. Pray that she will wake up and then become a sounding alarm in America to all Americans.
"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
February 8, 2011
January is a busy month for us! We already shared pictures from Ashton's birthday and so here are a few from Jeff's.
Mallory, the chef, made Jeff's red velvet cake this year.
She wrote, 'Happy B-Day Dad' in the icing.
Daddy with his two girls.
February 4, 2011
Just before the blizzard our goldfish pond thawed just enough around the edges that we were able to catch a glimpse of some of our fish. I could not believe they were still alive! We saw all 4 orange ones and one of the white and gold. We felt sorry for them and so we ran inside and got some food for them. Unbeknownst to us, you are not supposed to feed goldfish once the temp drops below 50 (40 minimum) because you can cause algae to grow in the pond and you can kill your fish because their metabolism has slowed down for surviving the winter. Hum....oops! Well, when the snow is gone and the ice begins to thaw again, we will have another head count. Now we know.
Sorry but I do not have as many pictures of the blizzard as I would like. Basically, it was too cold to have my hand out of the gloves (Yes, I had two pair on at the same time.)
Here are Jeff, Mallory and Ashton as we left the house on Tuesday about noon. It was still in the 20's with small winds (20mph) and regular snow showers. (not blizzard conditions yet)
This is Mallory, Val, and Ashton. The snow hurt as it was pelting our faces. It felt like daggers going into our eyes. Behind us is Main St./Highgrove which is a 5 lane road on normal days.
Val, Mallory, Ashton, and Jeff....with everyone trying to shield their faces from the wind.
Snow and wind picking up as we photograph.
The snow was getting heavier.
By afternoon, we could not see beyond our property lines. It was as if we were the only house in the neighborhood.
All said and done we got 14.5 inches in 24 hours. The temperature dropped to -8 and when Ashton went to work on Thursday AM the wind chill was -25degrees. Our sustained winds were 30mph with gusts of 40mph. Not like Chicago had, but cold for this southern family!!
By Wednesday mid-morning, it was beautiful sunny. (But frigid!) Jeff began the task of clearing the snow from the front door, porch, steps, then driveway. We have tried to take some photos to show the depth and volume of snow, but as with photographing the Grand Canyon, it is impossible to capture true depth perception on my camera.
Piles of dug out snow everywhere.
Piles of snow everywhere.
The corner of our yard where our two streets come together.
The left side of our driveway out near the street. The pile 'groweth'. Just wait until the plow comes to our street and adds to it.
Same pile, more inclusive angle. You can see that it is really a row-pile, not just a single pile at the end.
Mailman tracks where the postman steps off our porch and heads over to the neighbors house. Tuesday they had to halt delivery in the mid afternoon, so we did not get mail. Wednesday the post office was closed so he didn't get 'fresh' mail but finished delivering to the houses he couldn't get to on Tuesday. By Thursday, delivery had resumed but occurs much later in the day. It just takes the postman a lot longer to walk his route in the deep snow.
Honestly, this picture isn't that impressive, but this is a lot of deep snow!
This morning I staggered to the kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee when I glanced out the window onto our back patio and could not believe my eyes. Perched on the back of our chair was a beautiful brown hawk. As is typical when it snows or gets extremely cold, we have had our doves coming and resting on the trashcans, chairs, steps, anywhere they can be out of the wind, and able to stand on something other than snow. Usually they are as close to the house as possible, I guess taking advantage of the heat that escapes through the walls and windows.
Also, some smaller birds have joined the doves with this last more extreme storm. It is funny to see how the puff out their feathers trying to stay warm. Having put out some birdseed we enjoy watching them move about picking their favorite from the spilled mess.
Well today, this young hawk was seeking refuge. He was beautiful and all alone. Needless to say, no doves or small yard birds were anywhere to be seen. I apologize for the picture quality, we didn't have the camera upstairs. So, par for the course, Mallory whips out her handy cell phone, takes the photo, sends it to my email, and one Picasa edited, zip file photo later, we have the picture uploaded to Blogger from being exported to My Pictures. (surely there is a more direct way!)
The chair is on our patio right up next to the house although it looks like it is out in the snow in the yard. We just still have snow drifts all the the way to walls of the house on all four sides.