It’s a Friday night and I’m sitting at home listening to the Women in the Prophetic Conference on MP3. There was a time in my life that I would have felt like a loser for spending my Friday night like this but after hearing Julie’s sermon… I think I finally have figured out why I’m in the season that I’m in.
Like Julie, I think my identity was wrapped up in the things that I do and with me, even the people I rolled with. I don’t really feel important right now. The Lord asked me to lay everything down for a season. I have been sort of feeling a little naked and vulnerable and maybe asking myself what the point was to my life. Yes, I’ve been getting into the secret place but then coming out of it thinking… well what’s the point if I’m not doing anything afterward? But some things Julie said tonight really got to me:
1. Whether you’re planting a church or taking a nap, if God told you to do it, then embrace it.
2. The place of encounter is in the wilderness, it’s in the place of going low.
3. What a better time, when you’re doing NOTHING to fall more in love with Jesus?
It’s hard to stay empty and sit there and wait for God to fill you. It’s hard to not want to run back out and fill yourself up with false comfort. It’s a painful place. I just have to believe that God is doing something in the midst of it. I know He is. I have to keep telling Him I believe Him even when I don’t feel like I believe Him… maybe some of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Wow. This is a big deal.
1. I don’t want to remain apathetic. I don’t want to disbelieve the promises of God. I want my heart to stay awake. I don’t want compromise and I want to believe that choosing Jesus is better than choosing this world.
2. I think we have discussed Stacey’s hair for 3 hours today.
3. I’m going home for Thanksgiving. Onething is coming up and I’m about to hit an incredibly busy season here at the store. It will good to see my family again though disconcerting with the situation my parents are in right now. Jesus, give me wisdom.
4. Someone in the office who shall remain nameless wonders what would happen if she called Mike “Bickle-pants”. I think this would be funny and I’m sure he would laugh. I think she should do it. I vote YES!
5. Party at my house for real this weekend. Though last party was fun, it was also a little pathetic. I’m expecting many many more this weekend. If you want to come, e-mail me or something.
Upon first reading the writings of St. John of the Cross… I thought the dude was crazy. I didn’t agree with most of what he wrote and it really irritated me that anyone could possibly believe that God would work like this.
Ahhh… but now I feel I am embarking on what he describes as the “dark night of the soul”. Nothing could be more painful. God is stripping me down to the bare minimum. He’s burning all the bridges for me… He’s taking away all of my crutches…
This is a good season. It’s challenging, it’s agonizing, it’s lonely but I know beyond know that God is going to do something in the midst of it.
Last spring, before I came to Fire in the Night, I was on my bed talking to the Lord. I had been battling some major areas of unbelief in my life. I was filling my life up with all kinds of things to distract me from the truth… in case I was finally aware that I didn’t trust the Lord. He spoke to me one word so clearly that it honestly put chills up and down my spine. He said to me “wilderness”. I was a little taken aback and asked Him what He meant by this. He said to me “the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they didn’t believe me. Do you want to do the same thing?” About two months later I learned one of the hardest and most painful lessons I have ever experienced. I went through a major wilderness season but it was really because of my disobedience.
This time it’s about refining. It’s about really getting to know Jesus. To REALLY know Him and encounter Him. It’s about healing. It’s about testing.
I want to know what He thinks about things, not what other people tell me He thinks. I want to know who He is… not what other people tell me He is. But I want to love Him the best way that I know how. I want to love Him from my heart not just appear to love Him through legalism or because someone else told me that this was how I was to love Him.
I don’t know if I’m making sense or not.
I’m currently reading Bill Johnson’s When Heaven Invades Earth. The STI leaders were given it as an assignment to read and I am so glad they assigned it! It is so full of wisdom. We can’t compare it to the Bible, of course, but it is one of the best books I have read on faith and moving in signs and wonders. It has already radically shifted some of my paradigms on prayer. For example:
“Travailing in prayer is not always a sign of true intercession. Many are not able to distinguish between the burden of their own unbelief and the burden of the Lord. I now pray until I come into a place of faith for that situation. When that happens, my perspective on the problem changes. I begin to see it from heavens view.”
This has caused me to second-guess how I view prayer. As he speaks about our authority in Christ and God’s own desire to see heavenly things on earth, I can’t help but be filled with faith. When we were praying for Iraq today (which by the way excited me so much because one of my best friends is a missionary there), I couldn’t help but know that Jesus was working. Like Johnson says, we have to move from a place of knowing He can to knowing He will.
I’ve had a lot of outward change happening in my life in the course of a few months. Trying to put it into words will not do it justice but I am on the edge of my seat while learning new dimensions of trusting the Lord. Nothing important has come to fruition yet, just a lot of things appearing on the surface that are about to bust loose. They are all exciting and scary changes and I am holding fast to the edge of my seat and in my weakness, clinging to Jesus in the best way I know how.
It has been very very hard.
I had coffee with a very wise, prophetic woman about a month ago and she gave me some words that there would be drastic change in my life in the next 3-6 months. She also said something else that has been on my mind all day: “you can’t say the things in the prayer room that you would say to your Husband on your pillow every night.” The secret place with Him is vital right now… especially in light of the obvious changes taking place in the prayer room. Now that we have cameras zeroing in on our every move, it is much more difficult to have your private prayer time at IHOP. We are all in a season of repentance here and though public repentance is so important… so is private repentance and rending our hearts in the secret place. For me, the prayer room is more about corporate prayer and creating a furnace-like atmosphere where the presence of God is readily available.
While Jesus is stirring up all of these outward changes, He also reminded me today that there are so many inward changes that I have to sort out with Him. It’s this crazy, two-fold swirl that I have to figure out how to balance. Things like repentance and the need for purification in my heart, healing that needs to take place and a plethera of other things He’s doing within me… I must not get distracted by all of the overwhelming circumstances, however exciting they may be.
It is difficult to articulate the things Jesus has been doing. He is so good though. So so so so good. I just want to be His friend. I want to hear His heart. I want to do what He says. I want to go where He goes. I want to be with Him where He is.
I’ve been making some radical decisions in my life but to act upon them I have to be obedient in other areas and continue to listen to His voice. He’s told me many times, since the beginning of FITN to ask him for outrageous, extravagant things and so in order for me to make these radical decisions, I have to ask Him to break in, in outrageous ways… I’ve discovered that we need Him just to believe Him… or at least I do. Faith doesn’t come so easily to me for my own life but I want to have that kind of faith. I want to believe that He wants to love me and bless me and serve me. He’s made it so clear that I am to be completley dependent on Him as my daddy.
1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
I need to keep reminding myself of that….
I went to the Farnham’s for dinner last night. It felt like one of those divine set-ups. I’ve heard some of the stories of how God has been orchestrating the House of Prayer in England but it felt like last night as Paul was sharing some encounters with God that I haven’t heard before, that this was the beginning of the Prophetic History of the Joel House of Prayer in Polzeath.
EDIT: 2:00 pm
I had a wonderful conversation with a woman on leadership today and she spoke some amazing words of wisdom to me about waiting on God and learning to be totally seperated unto Him, to not make decision based on emotions (she was prophesying, I did tell her at all what was going on with England) but that He was bringing me into a hidden place with Him. I’ve kind of been sensing this but I’ve started to panic about some areas and feeling desperation (which she also had a word of knowledge about) but that God was just hiding me right now and filling me with Him. She is actually one of the most prophetic people I know here at IHOP and everything that came out of her mouth was spoken with so much grace and wisdom. I feel like I have just entered this calm in the storm… or I’m about to enter it. Give me grace, Jesus, to do the hard thing and be patient with You.