I sat in a sideroom of the prayer room one Tuesday afternoon during a fasting meeting and listened as one of my prophetic mentors explained to me that I was about to enter one of the most pivotal, horrific, and beautiful seasons of my life. That was in November of 2008 and on the previous day I had an absolutely disrupting encounter with the Lord. Today I remembered a part of that conversation. She explained a similar encounter and journey she had years before.
“It was the most difficult season of my life. It had a lot to do with love. A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff.”
A lot of ‘Sermon on the Mount’ type stuff. That sounds nice. That doesn’t sound too bad.
Boy, was I wrong.
I don’t care who you think you are, but if you think you are good at the Sermon on the Mount, you are delusional and probably arrogant. I’m pulling no punches here. I love Jesus, but this Sermon is absolutely the most flesh-killing tool He operates with not to mention the fact that it is completely offensive… in a good way :/.
This weekend I was driving down the road with my new friend Rachel who was visiting for our Winter Gathering. She told me she felt the Lord wanted to free me from the bondage of worry (ahem) and that He wanted to free me from the bondage of the ‘need to be right.’ Oh yes. That’s what she said. And the problem with this is that Rachel happens to be the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life so I couldn’t accuse her of impure motives.
But here, I realized what the Lord was saying was that that all of this really wasn’t about who is right or wrong… it was about self-preservation. Do I care more about preserving my reputation or do I care more about pleasing Him and becoming a humble peacemaker? It’s not the question that is so humiliating but the fact that my answer is so obvious when I allow the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. It is moments like these that I don’t want to waste. Moments that I know the Father is doing something so beyond the actual circumstance I’m in. He sees so far ahead and we stand there, grasping for control when we will never really have it. We really think we’re ‘big stuff’ and then we realize that we have no idea what we’re doing. We’re idiots. Idiots with a great inheritance. Sometimes God doesn’t actually care if we’re right or not. Sometimes He just wants to show us the idol of approval in our lives.
It makes me feel like a child. Like a two year old being potty-trained.
Oh yeah. That’s how I’m suppose to feel.
Which brings me back to another incredible vision I had this weekend.
Dancing. Dancing in my pink bedroom with the ruffled canopy bed in the background. I was eight. And I was worshipping. And He was dancing too.
And then we were in a field of flowers, dancing wildly, spinning and spinning and spinning. Then a drastic change in scenery.
Suit of armor, like Joan of Arc. Swinging my sword, cutting off the heads of demons, challenging the forces of darkness.
Back the camera up. I’m not Joan of Arc. I’m a child. I’m a little child wearing a miniature suit of Armor and the Father is standing right beside me and He’s huge. HUGE.
A massive dragon flies toward me. It was not nearly as big as the Father but it was A LOT bigger than me. I thrust my sword through it’s belly and it was forced backward with ease. I threw that silly creature back so effortlessly as the Father looked on in pride… even though I knew He was giving me all of the power to do it in the first place. It was more like He enjoyed the very sight of me… not so much that I was some crazy, skilled warrior.
There happens to be more to what I saw but I’ll keep it to myself for now.
The point is this– He’s God. I’m man (lady). Whether you’re a retired 78 year old worldwide evangelist or a four year old child, we are children of God and children have a very limited understanding of what our Dads are up to; why they do the things they do. We just go with the flow and let Him handle it, knowing that whatever happens it is for our good…
A few weeks ago I scribbled down the last entry on a journal I’ve had for the last three years. I’ve kept a journal since I was nine years old. I have quite a few of them, however, many of them are lost which is a little frightening considering how the journals contain deeply personal information. I remember buying this specific journal and I remember God telling me that once I started writing in this journal, it would mark a new journey in my life. I knew the journal itself had to be a really cool one. It was covered in shiny, purple fabric and had a cool Indian beaded design on it. I started the journal in late January of 2006 when I first decided to head to IHOP and become an intern at FITN. I knew my life was going to be a little different after I came back after the first 3 month track but what I didn’t know at the time was how drastically my life would be altered by my experience in the nightwatch and how in fact I knew I would never be coming back to Dallas again (except maybe to visit). Well I am still here, 3 years later and there have been moments where I have pleaded with God to let me go back to D-Town but over and over he has made it perfectly clear I am suppose to stay here. Though it is still a painful experience being here, I am realizing more and more how much I love this place.
A new journal always means transition with me. I’m excited to see what happens in this next phase of my life.
On Fridays I have been taking a class at FSM, taught by Shelley Hundley called “Prophesying in the End-Times”. I, unfortunately, had to skip class last week because of sickness but the week before Shelley shared a word that she felt for the class. We were to be Hannah’s and intercede for the Samuels, the prophets to come forth at IHOP. She shared how there should be a groan in our spirits for others to surpass us in our prophetic giftings. I realized after Shelley’s talk that I didn’t have that groan but the conviction didn’t come right away.
My apartment has been pretty silent lately. I’ve gotten rid of most electronic equipment that can “noise-up” my apartment. I didn’t get rid of it because I thought it was evil or because I was being legalistic… I have been desparate to hear from God. I’ve been desperate to encounter Him. I’ve also realized why I went to movies, TV and the surfing the net way more often than I should. What God had to say to me in the silence was uncomfortable.
After Shelley’s class, I went back home to my noiseless apartment. It’s funny how God speaks to us while we’re making dinner or doing something totally mundane… as long as it’s done in silence. Well, I was in my kitchen, fixing a salad when the Lord started to speak to me about a specific person here at IHOP… and about my own heart. The Lord spoke to me about praying for this person to grow in the prophetic gift and to be an intercessor for them. I felt a grumble in my spirit and that is when God started to show me, layer by layer areas of pride in my heart. The Lord began showing me how I had a competitive spirit with this person in the area of the prophetic. He showed me how He had intentionally recognized this person in my presence many times and had not recognized me to expose pride and envy in my heart. Jesus help me to take the lowest seat so that You can be made first.
A few days after this I was riding in a car with another friend when she asked me if I would share a dream I had recently. So I began sharing it with her and was hurt by her reaction to the dream. The dream was about my destiny and the promises of God in my life and she reacted as if she couldn’t believe anyone like me could ever be used of God in this way. So how did I respond? I argued with her about this. I showed her the many other confirmations the Lord had given me about this. I was deeply offended in my heart that she felt this way about me.
Again, the next day, I was in my kitchen when the Lord brought that scenario up. Ugggghhhhh…. here we go again. Why did I feel the need to argue about this with someone? The Lord was again exposing pride and arrogance in my heart. Not only that, but He began showing me that I needed to be very careful about who I shared His secrets with and the motivations behind sharing them in the first place.
So I’m buckling my seatbelt and allowing Holy Spirit to “catch the foxes that ruin the vines” but learning to do this while leaning in love.
Cheers to the new journal phase.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.–Isaiah 58
This coincides with the whole “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” deal. We can strive to make ourselves feel holy when we go without food but at the same time are we gossiping and bickering with others in the body of Christ? Are we being selfish and careless about other’s feelings? Are we giving generously? These are the things that the Lord desires from us.
So this is what I get for trying to come to work. My van is now stuck at the bottom of the hill on Cleveland and I had to WALK the rest of the way home which is hazardous in itself.
Oh well. So I woke up in the middle of the night and heard the Lord clearly say “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”… Matthew 6:19-21. It was so clear and loud in my Spirit that it startled me a bit.
Last night, I had my first class of “Foundations of Healing the Heart” at FSM. We were asked to let the Holy Spirit examine our hearts and reveal hidden weaknesses. I have never thought that materialsm was one of my weaknesses. Yes, I like nice stuff just like every other girl in the universe but I never thought that it was out of control. Last night as I prayed that prayer, I didn’t think that “stuff” was an issue with me. But as I was thinking about it this morning, I realized that I do place too much value on all of my things when in reality… it’s all going to burn some day. None of it matters even though I think I place high value on it because it satisfies me temporarily or I think it gives me a higher level of social status.
This is not a Godly mindset. Several months ago, I was at FCF and I saw a group of FSM/FMA students. I felt like I was looking into the window of a high school, not a group of college-age students who are suppose to be practicing the Sermon on the Mount. Some really trendy, cute girls were sitting. They were clad in their urban outfitters ware and had cute, indie-rock haircuts. A couple of other girls came up to them and appeared to be attempting to have a conversation with the trendy girls. The new girls were dressed in what the world would consider a little dowdy and generic-looking. They might have also possibly seemed a little socially inept but that’s really not the point either. The trendy girls (that’s what I will call them in this context) simply rolled their eyes at eachother and then moved to another side of FSM where they wouldn’t have to sit next to the less-than-cool girls.
WHAT THE CRAP. This actually caused pain to rise up in my heart as I watched it happen. This has been an issue my prayer room team has been discussing a lot. Yes, we may study the Sermon on the Mount a lot here but I think there’s one verse that we fail to remember to actually practice “you ought to treat others how you yourselves would like to be treated.” Compassion. Sincerity. We are the body of Christ… this is not a popularity contest… this is the kingdom of God. Let’s get over ourselves… please.
The issue I see with myself is this… I really am just like these girls in some ways. I equate my own appearance and possessions with high social status when Jesus equates the purity of my heart, meekness, and humility with high status. We can talk all day long about how much we know about the Word and how we should be practicing the sermon on the mount but if we really aren’t practicing the second commandment ALONG with the first then it’s really completely POINTLESS to have knowledge about any of it.