Overflowing Presence

IMG_1163-imp

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ Acts 2:28 (NIV)

The “presence of God” is not just a nice sounding phrase but is a place of great honor, a place of great surrender, a place of ultimate experience, where in humility we are ushered into a physical encounter with God. Here, at the feet of Jesus we meet Him and nothing else matters. Here, the Holy Spirit draws us into the very presence of God. Here, all that life has thrown at us and all that we have become, what we have done and achieved, all disappears.

We have often been told that finding that place of presence is something we need to “chase” after, yet that is not who Jesus is. His love is great and beyond measure.  He continually pours that love out to us free of charge – we don’t have to “try” or “chase” after it. We need only to hunger, desire and ask.

In your everyday life and in nature, the heart of the Father is shown all around you. His desire is to pour out His presence beyond what you can contain, to bring you joy unimaginable, to saturate you with His love so that the river within you will flow out and bring life in every direction that your daily life takes you.

Let’s look at a couple of examples of His abundance found in the natural which will give you just a taste of who He is:

His little hands expectantly hold out his glass while daddy begins to pour the refreshing liquid. Soon it reaches the top and flows unchecked over the edge yet continues to pour out with no end. The joy in the face of his son stirs his heart to continue the deluge of refreshment, knowing the child can’t contain its entirety.

The awe-inspiring sight and sound of the waterfall stuns her into silence. Its unreachable height, its mighty power, its thundering plunge over the edge, its refreshing spray as it splashes all around her brings a deep feeling of joy. The river that flows from its base, moves in many directions as the thundering fall reaches its destination only to cycle on and on, bringing life everywhere it touches.

As you step into the supernatural presence of God, come expecting a presence that is beyond the natural. You will encounter a God who loves you and desires your presence. He is calling you to come away with Him, to just sit and be with Him.

Be like those little hands holding out the glass with expectation. Be awe-struck by the enormity of His very presence. Jesus has given us access to the presence of the Holy Spirit who is waiting to not just fill your glass but to continually keep it overflowing with Gods very presence. Just hold it out and step under the unending flow.

We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18 (TPT)

 

Does Your Barrel Leak?

dsc00364-imp

The oak barrel sits, ready to receive its prize. No thought is given to what it has endured to get to this place. Once it was carefully constructed, the real preparation began; boiling, flushing, toasting and more, all awaited this single barrel. The importance of each step will make the difference in its ability to keep the prize – one that is full of life, rich, and desirable. The prize – New Wine!

Spiritually we talk of New Wine and with excitement and anticipation begin a frenzied chase to find it – conferences and concerts abound – though will you find it there? You may experience a manifested encounter with the presence of God and be stirred for “more”, but will it stay when you get home?

New Wine poured into an unprepared vessel leaks out.

Just as the oak barrel is prepared for its prize, we, too, are prepared.  However, it is not about “doing” things to get ready – trying to pull it down from heaven – it is about “being” made ready. Preparation for us looks similar to the barrel – we will go through the boiling, flushing, and toasting as we surrender to the loving hand of our Heavenly Father.

As we hunger for the presence of God – that hunger stirs a deep love within – that love turns to desire – that desire erupts into a longing, and that longing pushes us to the feet of Jesus.

As we spend time in silent adoration at His feet, a mindset of yielding to only what is Him, solidifies in our heart – something changes; the vessel is prepared. As we chose to lay aside all the distractions, choose to step into worship, into reading the word, into prayer, and into fasting – suddenly, we are there. All of these choices are not about coercing Gods hand, but about a love that is growing – a love that desires His presence above everything else – a love to see His face. In that place of passionate pursuit, we find His presence; there we begin to experience and hear Him – right there in our own living room His presence manifests. We become a vessel that He has prepared to carry and distribute His New Wine. We will no longer leak!

As we wait at His feet, He pours a continual flow of New Wine into and through us. Then, as we walk into a gathering of passionate pursuers’ – we will enter into an atmosphere that has been saturated in worship, word, and prayer. The love, excitement, and joy will pulse as a single heart-beat from the Father and we will find ourselves in the presence of an explosion of Glory.

Every part of our lives will begin to have one central focus – Jesus! Our alignment to the Father’s voice, His plans and purposes will stir a passion – passion to say YES, LORD as we live a lifestyle full of New Wine from heaven.  We will see others drawn to us by the intoxication we are now walking under – they will ask, “Where have you been? Why does your face shine? How can I get what you have?” – sharing the gospel will be easy. Our prayers will change as we hear and do as Holy Spirit directs. We will see His answers and miracles abounding all around us. Our faith will be WHO we are, not something we do.

Join me as we fight off the distractions, begin to walk a lifestyle of passion, and choose to daily sit at the feet of Jesus!

Be ready to say YES, LORD as He directs you to pour out New Wine to those around you.

Matt. 9:17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved. (ESV)

 

 

 

 

 

Into the Wine-Press

3d36dedb4c2e26d80406f3baf2fa5e2a

The scent of fermentation is distinctly nauseating. The process can’t be rushed. Days pass as you find yourself periodically retching as a whiff catches you off guard. Finally, at just the right time, you can bring out the wine-press. Its brutal archaic feel is needed to exert continuous force on this batch of crushed, fermented grapes. The pressing process now removes all the solid bits and from it begins to flow pure rich wine.

We don’t think of the pressing process often; we take it for granted. We press many things without a second thought; juicing a lemon, rolling out cookie dough, ironing out wrinkles – all are a form of pressing. Applying pressure always changes the original form. A solid lemon becomes juice, a bowl-full of dough becomes a tasty well-formed cookie, your just-out-of-the-dryer shirt changes from “a mess” to a smooth presentable clothing item – all from that process.

When Holy Spirit works the pressing process in your life, you must remember that His plan is always to change you, transform you into new wine. He works on one batch at a time and the process must be yielded into and walked through. How you chose to walk through it is the key – eyes on Jesus, trusting that He is in control and laying down your “fix it” mentality.

You have made it through the crushing and fermenting of this batch but the pressing now begins. Yielding your heart, mind, body and spirit to the loving hand of the Father will allow this process to bring forth a sweet wine.

Leaving behind all that was you to become what you were planned for is the ultimate process of pressing. Holy Spirit’s desire is to move you into a position of contact with the face of Jesus. The pressing will release a free-flowing wine and here you are changed. The pure rich wine that flows sends an aroma of worship to the Father that is intoxicating. It is a worship not made from man, not a music or performance but a purity of true worship that can only be found as you yield to the wine-press.

II Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

 

Ready to Stomp Grapes?

Lucy

Making a good wine requires time, energy and a lot of science. The process from start to finish can take years. The planting, tending, and harvesting of the grapes is just the beginning; the chemistry kicks in later as the crushing, pressing and fermenting is launched.

Whenever we hear the word “crushing” it invokes a negative response. Anything that endures “crushing” will never be the same. But this process is necessary to make a good wine.

We have all laughed hilariously as we watched Lucy in the grape vat stomping the grapes but that process is real. To get to the good stuff – the grapes must be crushed. The skins must be burst, the flesh must be mashed and the stems dislodged. This whole process doesn’t sound funny but rather brutal. Once the crushing has occurred there is a time of waiting that allows all those parts to mingle, creating a unique complex flavor.

A number of years ago we endeavored to make our own wine; making many mistakes and learning what and when to do each step (as well as many “opps, we won’t do that next time’s”).  In our memories one of the best, though difficult, processes was the crushing. The sweet aroma that enveloped us that day as we watched our fruity jewels be transformed into a messy mush, stirred anticipation of the ultimate outcome.

We often pray for “new wine” and ask for “new wineskins” from the Lord but when the process begins we pull away, run away, or cry out “why me God”. Understanding the process of making natural wine gives us a little insight into the spiritual process that “our winemaker” undertakes in our lives in order to produce the very best wine from us.

Once the grapes – all of our natural spiritual maturing – is complete; the process is just beginning. Our yielding to the process requires a deep trust that He is in control of every aspect of our lives.

The crushing breaks the skin – the “me” – and allows the yeast of the Holy Spirit unrestricted access to the good stuff inside. The crushing breaks up all the “all about me” thinking, changing us to look outside of ourselves to see a bigger picture then us alone. In the crushing process, all of the stems – the unimportant hooks of life – are pulled away. Then comes a waiting time, a mingling of all of the parts. A unique complex flavor will ultimately arise, moving us to the pressing phase.

What does the “crushing” look like and feel like? You may already find yourself there If you are in the middle of life’s struggles; physical, emotional, mental or financial. Not the everyday ones but those that take everything out of you. Those times where you can only look up, focus on Jesus and trust that He loves you and has the best for you. It’s a time where you know you have nothing you can do yourself; it’s here that you surrender, yielding into the “crushing” process.

There is nothing fun or funny when you find yourself in these difficult places of life. It is a brutal time. However, you are not alone – Jesus is there to pour out His love, encourage and strengthen you. So be courageous, look up – fix your eyes on the one who loves you and remember the outcome will be the very best wine possible as you chose to yield to the hand of your wine maker.

Romans 5:2-5 We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (HCSB)

 

The Moles Won’t Win!

Mole holes

The weather is warming and my eyes have begun to see all that needs to be cared for in my large backyard. To my horror – it appears that the moles won! My lawn looks like a war was waged and definitely lost. My looming decision is: do I allow it – covering it up, leveling the mounds and top seeding? The result to the eye, will be nice and clean. But, walking across that lawn come July, the truth of uneven “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels will be very obvious.

The best choice requires preparation – tearing up the old. The best choice also requires a dying process – a good seed!

The best fix begins with a choice, works through the preparation (cost and effort) and ultimately requires the re-seeding of new grass. However, if that new grass doesn’t germinate (having good soil, water, and warmth) its outside hull will not burst – it will not DIE – therefore, it will not bring forth new life.

We are rather like my lawn, spiritually speaking.

When we desire more of the presence of God – we want that, but do we really want Him? The best requires a choice, preparation and a dying – both in my holey lawn, as well as in our desire for more of His presence.

How you step into that desire is the question. Do you just apply the top seeding method – keeping those “bumpy” “ankle twisting” under-tunnels hidden? It may look good but the result is not the same. However, the complete fix – the fix that gives you a life of abundance at His feet, requires much more from you. So, making a choice is your first step.

Then the preparation begins – how much time do you want to devote? In our society we run at a chaotic speed – we are inundated with constant urgent demands. Here is where you will need to count the cost. Slowing down to sit and wait at His feet; to read, study and listen to His voice; and to set aside consistent prayer time will cost you something. You will need to make choices everyday – somethings will need to be laid aside. But here is where you will find Him! He is waiting for you to enter this place.

It is in that preparation time that you will find a seed within that is ready to germinate – but one more step will be required. It is a letting go of everything, a place of release, a place of repentance, a dying to liveAn abundant life where His presence is priority in all you say and do is where you find this process – a dying to live process. It is here that new life springs forth, free from hidden, under-tunnels. In this new life you will begin to be transformed into all that He has for you, you will find joy at His feet, you will find LIFE in His presence.

Let’s make the choice – the choice to do the complete fix – the fix that will allow us to step into the process of dying to live.

John 12:24 Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

ALL Glory to the King!

OMGKickOffFINAL

Countdown officially begins. I am honored to announce this coming book. It is Fantabulous – that is a fantastic fabulous word – to describe this wonderfully inspiring book. LOOK for more info to come in the next couple of weeks.

A Lifetime of Chocolates

Chocolates

I love a new box of chocolates – surprise waits in every bite. When I was a child it took a long time to decide which was the very best one and that choice would bring delight to my taste buds – most of the time. My mom’s rule was “if you take it – you eat it.” When it was that “gooey” Caramel I was in heaven but then there were those ones – you know those ones that ruin the whole chocolate experience. The only name I had was “nastiness.” When I was the unfortunate recipient of that choice, my only focus had to be on the fact that it was wrapped in chocolate and I would will my mind to think of that. Soon I found a trick – at least until I was found out – if I stuck my fingernail in the bottom I could know what was inside, and avoid a “nastiness” experience.

Well, “life is like a box of chocolates” and we wish we could use that fingernail trick to check inside. However, just like my moms response to my great idea; life’s response is the same – “no peeking allowed”.

We receive those “yummy gooey” Caramel’s, those “ok” cream centers and those “nastiness” unknowns – in our lifetime box of chocolates. Each filling is wrapped in chocolate. The chocolate is the ultimate focus. When we get the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” ones we often miss the chocolate so lovingly covering it. But, without that covering layer those “nastiness” ones just wouldn’t make it down.

Jesus has lovingly covered each of life’s fillings with chocolate – giving us a gift of the Holy Spirit. He is always there covering us with that sweet layer as we enjoy the “yummy gooey” and the “ok” fillings of life. But when we get a bite of the “nastiness” fillings, the reality of His presence – His very taste – is our comfort and focus to get us through.

Our box of chocolates comes pre-sorted just for us from the Father’s hand and we don’t get to peek. Whatever each piece brings into our lives, we can depend on that sweet chocolate taste to get us through. As we focus on the chocolate, not the filling, we will find the surprises He has planned for us – even in the midst of the “nastiness”. Our box takes a lifetime to complete so allow each piece to produce its effect in your life – and don’t forget the chocolate.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness, have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (ESV)