I don’t know about you but lately prayer has been different, and in a good way. We know most of this can be attributed to the season we are in. We are close, very, very close! The Bible says “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
This is exciting to read! A rich prayer life is full of encounters with Him. But may I humbly draw your attention back a few verses.
This promise is preceded by something….A Call to Repentance.
Joel 2: “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. 14 Who knows if He will turn and relent, And leave a blessing behind Him—A grain offering and a drink offering For the Lord your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; 16 Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, Gather the children and nursing babes; Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, And the bride from her dressing room. 17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, Weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
Joel is a prophet. He is a forerunner, a seeker of truth, a declarer of things to come, one with the gift of seeing and knowing. John the Baptist was too, and the cry of his heart was “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” but he was known as John the Baptist. Why? Because he preached repentance.
Every great revival in history has been birthed in prayer first. Prayer to our God & King, prayer bathed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We pray with our understanding, we pray with the wisdom, and we pray with the guidance of Heaven. We can pray anywhere, anytime and in every tongue. We can pray the Word, and in prophetic utterance, and we must do these things.…BUT….until we preach repentance the revival; the anticipated End Time Harvest will not come.
In the book of Matthew chapter 4 The Bible tells us Jesus spent 40 days praying and fasting in the wilderness and afterwards He begins His ministry. Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
If you are hungry for revival as I am, fast and pray. Prepare yourself spirit, soul, and body. Then go and tell the nations to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Back in December my son began having some health challenges. After a few weeks and a few tests, we were informed that he had four leaky heart valves, an irregular heartbeat had been detected in the top and bottom of his heart, there were some spots on his lungs, the bilirubin levels in his kidneys were more than double that of normal levels, and his liver levels were elevated. Not the best news to hear.
We immediately began speaking the Word over him, and while we listened to what the doctors said, and made the necessary adjustments to his life, we never let go of the Word. 1 Peter 2:24 By His stripes ye were healed. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Yesterday my son came to me and said he was having chest pains. Unusual and sever chest pains. We got in the car and started heading to his doctor. En-route to the doctor’s office the pains became so sever that he began having trouble breathing, and was getting nauseous. I quickly changed direction and headed to the ER. When we arrived Larz was having trouble walking. I helped him out of the car and began praying earnestly as we entered the hospital. The triage nurse was wonderful and swift. Within a few minutes Larz was on a gurney and hooked up to a monitor…this is where it gets good.
The first few beats on the screen were a mess. And then suddenly everything leveled out. I looked over at Larz and the pale, clammy grimace which was his face a few minutes earlier, was replaced by pink lips and a peaceful expression. The nurse continued about her duties, and continued hooking Lars up to a barrage of lead and monitors. By the time she was done he looked more like a video game than a human.
I asked Larz how he was feeling and he sheepishly said better and smiled. The doctor soon entered and we relayed the recent events with our primary physician, who he had happened to go through medical school with. He listened and after hearing what his fellow Dr. had told us, Dr. Grey, the ER doctor, ordered a complete round of tests, X-rays, blood work, MRI, urine analysis, etc, and we waited….five hours we waited. We laughed, we prayed, we visited, but mostly we talked about the goodness of a faithful God.
After what felt like an eternity Dr. Grey entered the room with a HUGE smile on his face and a sticky note in his hand which read:
He is FAITHFUL! Don’t let the enemy have even an inch of room in your life. God is more than able, He is also willing and never, never, never, never settle for anything less!
In some ways I am not qualified to address the topic of missions, and yet my very heartbeat quickens when I think about the mission field. It is a strange dichotomy to have a passion for something, yet know you are perfectly planted where you currently are. Missions work is not for sissies, truthfully no ministry work is. There is no role or office that is harder than the other. Every office takes everything you have, and yet understanding even that is not enough. It is a daily surrender of yourself and putting on Christ. His kingdom not yours, His plan not yours, His way not yours. Sacrifice to truly gain.
As I pondered this heart of a missionary, what it takes to leave and cleave. To marry yourself to another culture, people, nation, land etc. I am struck with excitement of the prospect. There must be such a passion dwelling in the hearts of these men and women of God; such a deep knowing of the Father and His heart for the world. It propels them to cross oceans, climb mountains and surrender any desire for normalcy.
What is it that drives them? I believe Paul touches on it in Philippians 1:8-11. 8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you with all the affection of Christ Jesus. 9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
I refer to
it as The Mission’s Cry. It is more
than a desire, it is a holy yearning.
There is no getting away from it or soothing it. You are born to be “there” and peace will
only be found by going. I love the
mission trips I have been blessed to take, and look forward to the ones to
come. To sew the Word into hearts and watch it grow, and to see His people come
to a deeper relationship with their Lord.
There is nothing like it! Loving someone with the “Affection of Christ”
is an honor and a privilege. My prayers go out to the many amazing
missionaries I know. You are a blessing to the body of Christ, and your efforts
do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
you follow that Mission’s Cry, may
the Lord continue to bless the work of your hands and hearts.
These words have been tumbling around inside me for over a week now. Being someone who not only embraces change, but enjoys it, I was intrigued. As I contemplated the words I began to look at my life and recognize if there were places I had not “Let Go”.
At first I couldn’t locate an anything. I looked through my past. Was there someone I had un-forgiveness in my heart for, was I holding on to some event, something I was not truly over? I searched and walked through some unpleasant memories, and yet sincerely could not locate anything.
I checked my heart one more time, and could not locate what it was He was after. I asked the Lord to show me, help me, lead me. He spoke gently, “I did not say anything about past hurts or unpleasantries”. Now I was perplexed again I heard “Let Go”. I sat quietly, closed my eyes and began again to meditate on the words “Let Go”. The first thing I saw was a loading my car as a teenager when I left my parents home to live in my first apartment. The next was the sight of my son when he was toddler letting go of the coffee table to take his first steps. The moving van we rented for the drive west, a flood of visions of letting go began to flood me.
These were not the pictures of releasing the toxic things that hurt us, but the letting go of the safe harbor and reaching out for what is ahead.
I have been spending a lot of time in the book of Philippians this month. It is deep and rich for a believer, and deeper still for those who truly wish to follow the Master. As the Word has brought me comfort it has also challenged me. With the phrase “Let Go” the gauntlet has been thrown. Let Go…come out into the deep with Me. Let Go….that safe harbor is just an illusion. Let Go….I can sustain you. Let Go….I love you more than you know. Let Go…and just come. Let Go…I am worthy of your trust. Let Go.
Lord help us to Let Go of those ties that bind. You are the only thing I desire to be tethered to. Lead me out into the deep where my only option is You. For there I dwell in the truth, only there I am truly safe, the very essence of love encompasses me, and I am sustained by Your power and might.
I am sincerely looking forward this journey across "the pond" in March. The city of Stirling is a beautiful place. It is known as the “Gateway to the Highlands” and has been a strategic location for the country over the centuries. The town surrounds Stirling Castle, which sits high upon a hill of volcanic rock. The castle is visible from all areas of Stirling, and serves as a testament to Scotland's rich heritage.
A few weeks back as we were praying. I saw myself walking through the halls, grounds and rooms of Stirling Castle. It is a beautiful place full of rich tapestries and antiques. As I continued to walk through the castle I was struck by its vastness and just how empty it was. I could hear the echo of my footsteps off of the stone floors and walls. It was a cold, lonely echo of a time gone by. After a few minutes I asked the Lord why he was showing me this. In my spirit I heard him say "The castle is empty", I agreed. Then He said to me, "Tell them the castle will not be empty much longer, the King is coming back.” In a moment I understood. This is the message I take in my heart to the land of my forefathers. “The King is coming!”
As the years went by and my life progressed from child to young adult: the glitter and glam of the holidays began. As a young professional in New York City, December was full of Christmas parties and trips to the Met and Radio City Music Hall for those wonderful shows, followed by skating in Rockefeller Center and drinks in the Oak Room at the Plaza. The festivities were top notch, and full of creativity and style.
Life moved on and transitioned into motherhood. The glitz and glam made way for the boys Christmas Musicals at school, and trips to see Santa at the local mall. We began our own traditions which happily included “7:00 pm Christmas in Scotland”. As soon as my kids were old enough to navigate the stairs by themselves, I began sleeping on the couch in the living room so I could see their little faces, as they rushed in to see what Santa had brought them. I loved every minute of it.
Then in August of 2000 tragedy stuck our family. My mother, who had suffered through a brain tumor and ensuing surgery, had succumbed to illness and the side effects of the medicines, which were required because of the damage done by the tumor. In reality she was a walking miracle and far exceeded any of the doctors’ prognoses. They said she would have at best, five years, and our Mom, full of grace and strength, tripled that to fifteen. She was grateful for everyday, and approached life as the gift it is.
For the first time, instead of the joyful anticipation of the soon coming Christmas Season, there was anxiety and sadness. Things had irrevocably changed, and life was never going to be the same again. I tried talking my Father into coming up to Connecticut to spend Christmas with me and the boys, but understandably, he just wasn’t up for it. He didn’t want to leave his home, the home he and my mother had built together.
I decided instead to pack up the boys and head down to Long Island; I just couldn’t bare the thought of my Dad waking up to an empty home on Christmas morning. We arrived late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve to find my Dad had pulled out the Christmas tree and decorated it for his grandsons. I was so touched at his thoughtfulness, even through his own pain he was still thinking of his family. We enjoyed “7:00 pm Christmas in Scotland” and opened one gift together. After a few Christmas movies, and a short lived protest from the boys, I tucked them into to bed, and said goodnight to my Dad as he too headed off to bed.
With everyone off to slumber, I headed out to my car to empty the trunk of the hidden presents. After a few trips back and forth between the trunk and the tree, I sat down in the car to take a break. In all honesty I was exhausted. I was tired from the long day, tired from trying to hide the pain of losing my mother, and tired of the non-stop days and nights of a single parent. Most of all I was tired of me! Tired of life on my terms, and tired of the chaos and heartache it had created. I was tired from the inside out!
I turned on the car radio to try and find some music to help shift my mood and put at bay, the tears I felt welling up. I clicked the radio on and the song “Believer” by Jake came on. I had heard this song in the movie “Left Behind” and loved it. It plays in the background of a pivotal scene when the character “Buck” comes to the end of himself, and realizes it’s going to take more than he has to walk the walk that has been placed before him. The tears flowed freely now…
As I listened to the lyrics and opened my heart for the first time in along time, I realized what I truly needed was Him. So right there and then, on that most Holy of nights, I asked Jesus to make me a believer. In His infinite love and mercy, His presence and peace settled in that car, and in my heart, and I was forever changed. The chaos and doubt that was life, had given way to serenity and joy.
Thirteen years later as I reflect on the Christmas gift I received all those years ago, I am once again fighting back tears. Except this time they are tears of joy and gratefulness. I would be lying if I said life got easier, but the truth is, since that time, life is better. It is richer and fuller; it has eternal meaning, and is drenched in love.
My prayer for you and yours is that you too find this gift. The gift of salvation and this life full of joy, peace, love, grace and mercy.