Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Okay breathe deeply now.....

I'm heading out of town for a little while. It's spring break and we are making the pilgrimage to the land of Disney with the girls for the first time.

I'm anticipating blog withdrawl

Maybe I'll find a computer somewhere

....okay, breathe deeply now

Saturday, March 15, 2008

operator....information....give me Jesus on the line

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3

Brad Jersak, author of “Can you hear me? Tuning into a God who speaks” says that Jeremiah 33:3 is God’s phone number. He tells us that we can call on our Shepherd and we, the sheep, can hear his voice. He talks about real conversational prayers with the Lord, rather than the phone messages we are used to leaving on God’s answering machine.

The first time I heard him speak in 2002, I was totally mesmerized. (I’m listening to it right now and it’s still great!) It was the refreshment to my soul that I had been searching for all my life. It seemed too good to be true. “Am I aloud to believe this?” I thought. Until this point in my spiritual life, I had never heard that I could expect the Lord to talk to me on an intimate level. Oh, I had heard it theologically speaking in a “don’t try this at home” kind of way, but this was real and it made sense.

The seminar was two days and it was sooooo juicy! Brad gave us exercises to do and they worked! It was really faith building. For instance, he had us get a partner, someone we didn’t know, and ask the Lord “if that person had a banner over them, what would it say?” Well the woman who prayed for me reported that my banner said “Joy”.

This was a deeply personnel message because the Lord had been speaking to me about joy for a few years. A scripture about joy would pop out, or a person praying for me would sense something to do with joy. This had happened enough that I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. In subsequent years, God has still been speaking joy over me. He has specifically told me that I am “a faithful servant marked by joy”. In my life, this joy was elusive at first. Years went by where I had pockets of joy but it was not in abundant supply as the Lord had promised. However, I can testify that in the past couple of years I have realized much joy as I have walked in greater freedom and I am sure there is more to come. However, I digress……

The next exercise was to ask Jesus what He would say to us if we met Him in heaven. I found this to be a bit of a stretch as I sat, eyes closed, straining my brain to hear something. But then I decided to relax and just go with it. I imagined myself walking into the throne room, and saw Jesus standing in a white robe. This is where my imagination stopped and the vision kept going. Jesus was really tall, almost twice my size. He came over to me and hugged me with a warm embrace. In surprise, I exclaimed, “You know me!” And He replied “Oh, I know you very well”.

This encounter touched me deep in my spirit. It was like I was waiting to hear those words. To know that he had heard all those answering machine messages I had left and he really did know me! He met me in a place in my heart where I had always felt lost in the crowd…..overlooked… unmemorable plain jane. As a single tear streamed down my cheek, Brad looked at me from the front and asked if I would share what I got since it was obvious that it had been meaningful. When I shared, he said that Jesus often tells us something that we need to hear now. I think that’s true.

Over the past few years, I have learned to hear God’s voice in a greater measure. It’s not quite as conversational as Brad reports but it’s definitely there. I have learned to recognize how God speaks to me.

I share these stories out of the abundance of my heart. It is my desire to encourage you in your faith not to brag or be all pie in the sky. God doesn’t play favorites. He knows us all intimately and longs to let each of us know what is special about us and who he has made us to be.

Try it………..ask Jesus what He would say to you if you met Him in heaven today. Let me know what happens.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This is me in grade nine, baby....

This is me in grade nine, baby, this is me in grade nine.
This is me in grade nine, baby, this is me in grade nine.
I've got a blue-and-red Adidas bag and a humongous binder,
I'm trying my best not to look like a minor niner. - The Barenaked Ladies

Yes - this is me in grade 9. It looks like I was too cool to smile. I think I was just worried about having a dorky smile and I was trying to be cool.....we all were.

My Adidas bag was two tone brown. I had Nike swoosh runners and French Jeans. And the perm of course.

Last night we had a blast at the Bearnaked Ladies concert. It was a small venue with only 1000 seats. My only disappointment was that they didn't play "Grade 9"'s my favorite.

We purchased the tickets to the sold out show back in December. Some friends managed to get only 8 tickets and before my hubby and I heard about it they were all snapped up. We still wanted to go so we got some tickets a few rows over. At the time, I was deeply disappointed to be left out and wrote about it here.

It seems silly now.....everything worked out. We still had a great time with our friends. We met for dinner, enjoyed the show and hung out after. However, I'm glad I recorded my initial reaction of being in the depths of despair. It helps me to see where I've come from......and where I am now.

What colour was your Adidas bag?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beth was here!!

Beth Moore was at the Pacific Coliseum this weekend with her Living Proof tour. This is the second time I have had the privilege of seeing her live. I think this is the first time she officially came to Canada. A few years ago she came to a local church in Surrey for a women's leadership conference partnered by Lifeway. It was a treat and a huge privilege to have her and all those southern ladies building into us.

There were about 4000 in attendance, a small crowd compared to her U.S. appearances. I heard that about 1/3 were from the States. Canadians just don't know what they are missing!

Beth, with her southern drawl, perfectly quaffed appearance and outlandish speaking style, stands out in our reserved Canadian culture. She joked with us about her accent and exclaimed "Elly May and Jethro have come to Canada!" And she extolled the delights of Miss Vickie's Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar Potato Chips, a Canadian delicacy that she discovered on her first visit here.

We absolutely loved her!

And it was evident that she loved us. She got down on the floor, touching women, looking them in the eye, loving on us. I felt such a presence of unity in the Lord. This is the first time I have been to such a large Christian event and it had the feeling of a tent revival meeting.

The worship by Travis Cottrell and his worship team was awesome. It was a perfect balance of worship and performance. His sensitivity to the crowd and the HS was evident. He often silenced the band allowing the voices of 4000 women to resonate accapella to old favorites like "Amazing Grace" and "Then Sings My Soul".

Beth spoke to us solely from Hebrews 4: 12-16. In the next two days we dissected it and memorized it in Beth- Moore- Index- Card fashion.

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The focus was on "our time of need" and how Jesus can sympathize with us, providing grace and mercy. Beth taught us that our temptations are related to our needs. When we are tempted to fill our needs with the wrong thing we need mercy to turn away from it and grace to turn to the right thing.

I was interested to find out that in Exodus 34:6, when God announces his name as he shows himself to Moses, he uses the words Gracious and Merciful to describe himself. We throw those words around a lot in spiritual talk and they have become common to me. But hearing that they are the words that God chose to describe himself when he announced his name makes me take note.

Beth went on to explain that mercy is the alleviation of deserved consequences, as described in .Psalm 103:10-11. Whereas grace is an undeserved gift bestowed as described in Acts 4:33. Mercy is about a pardon and grace is about power.

In closing, Beth asked us to write down something that we need to loose (turn away from ) and something we need gain (turn to). I started to mentally list off the attitudes in my heart that I know God has been dislodging - resentment, impatience, discontent, fear of rejection. I knew it had something to do with dieing to self. Then it came to me.

self-preservation ........all those reactions that surface when I need to protect myself


self-generosity ....... the ability to give freely of myself without my own wants getting in the way.

Father - I come boldly to your throne of grace, asking for your mercy for relying on my own methods of protecting myself. I ask you for the grace to give freely of myself to others, not counting the costs, not withholding in fear.