Whose Got Your Back?

Version 2

Our lives are filled with battles – from within and without – the physical, emotional and almost always, the spiritual. As independent people we usually choose to handle them alone, “I’ve got this, no need to bother anyone else.” When we live – or try to live – our life in this fashion, we are ultimately giving-in to a life lived in a form of isolation. We are not meant to handle life alone, we need others.

We all need that friend – you know the one – the friend that sticks closer than a brother. Do you have one, maybe two or three? Ones that no matter when, where, how, or what you need them for – they will be there for you. If not, now is the time to look around and begin that scary relationship that just might lead to that friend. If you have been a Christian for long, you will have picked up some hesitancy here! I know, me too. But in faith, step out and spend some time asking God to direct you to those people.

In biblical times, Kings and Princes had armor-bearers and even today, pastors establish those who they trust to stand in prayer, listen and to be that friend. We have inherited a place of prince or princess – a child of the King – in the Kingdom of God. The need for each of us to walk side-by-side with at least one armor-bearer is imperative. For us to walk with a different spirit as Caleb and Joshua did – one who hears, obeys and battles for the promised land – will require us to gird ourselves with the prayers of those walking this same journey.

As the body of Christ – the church – we hold one another up in prayer consistently, and that is necessary for a healthy church. As individuals we need to go one step deeper – one step of vulnerability – one step of trusting another with our “stuff” that we keep hidden. The days of “I’ve got this, no need to bother anyone else,” are gone. Having a trusted armor-bearer for yourself is much safer than doing it on your own. Being one and having one are two different things – you may be one for one individual yet need a different one for yourself.

If we want to see and walk in a new place of awakening in the body of Christ then we MUST lay down our pride, pick up our swords, fight forward and depend on our trusted armor-bearer to stand and fight with us. So, who is yours?

Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.

I Samuel 16:21 When David came to Saul and entered his service, Saul loved him very much, and David became his armor-bearer.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 

Does Your Barrel Leak?

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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)

 

 

 

 

 

Flaming Warriors

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     Flames shooting 200ft in the air as billows of grey smoke darken the sky. Trees burst into flames due to the close proximity of this intense heat – spreading  un-containable -the fires grow – consuming everything in their path. Fires stretching down the entire west coast and moving east ………

     The natural often seems to signal that which follows in the spiritual.

     Complacent “life is wonderful-just enjoy it” lifestyle has consumed us, leaving our thoughts far from God, far from the clarion call to intercede in prayer, far from the Heavenly agenda, purpose and call “to stand guard on the wall”. Our armors have been left rusting in the ash as life has gotten in the way of many of His warriors – the flaming swords have been extinguished and lay on the sidelines. We are far from flaming warriors.

     It is time to put on those armors, pick up those swords and accept the call – not to devastate those around us but to cover them with the love of Christ; To bring hope where there is none, to bring peace where chaos reigns.

     It is time for us to be the flaming warriors that walk in boldness, that are seen from a distance for who we are. Flaming warriors filled with His love that spontaneously ignites those in close proximity. It is time to pour out the gospel of LOVE. It is time to intercede, break the chains, free the oppressed and declare the love of Christ to the broken. It is time to stand up and spread the un-containable fire of the gospel as it consumes the despondent hopelessness, fear and hate that has consumed everything in its’ path. It is time for the fire of God – His presence, His love to heat up and stretch from coast to coast breaking the chains that engulf this nation.

II Timothy 1:6-8 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God (ESV)

Free Access to the Throne

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“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? ” Esther 4:14 (ESV)

We read this passage and picture a confident bold woman marching into the King, ready to challenge the unjust decree against her nation. This is far from the truth that is found in the full story.

Esther was a young, vulnerable woman – armed with a few attributes that ultimately became weapons through the hand of God and brought deliverance. No foot stomping, no raised voice, no screaming demands or threats were needed. Trust, humility, obedience and the wisdom of God were carried on her head and shoulders as she entered the throne room.

Esther trusted her uncle’s advice and trusted that God was in charge of the situation. Armed with that trust she stepped under a mantle of humility as she accepted the presented task.  With that spirit of humility, she requested help. It was time to pray! She entrusted this time of prayer and fasting to those that she was willingly stepping in the gap to save. It was this designated time in the presence of God that brought his intervention.

I don’t believe that the three days of prayer and fasting were easy for her. Just as Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane asked for a way out “if it be possible let this cup pass from me”; she also, had to come to a place of obedience at all cost. Esther’s obedience- her YES Lord – came during that time of prayer, waiting, listening, and trusting in a God who is good ALL the time – “even if” the answer might be NO.

The wisdom of God began to seep into her quieted mind sometime during those days of waiting in His presence. It was here that she was given very specific plans; and the only agenda she went into the throne room with, was God’s. Following those plans – doing it God’s way, turned the tables of history.  Most of us would NOT have invited the King and our enemy over for dinner.

Esther came before the king – confident – but confident that God was in control.

She glided into that room with humility and the favor of God that stirred the King; not only did he hold the scepter out to her, invite her to him, deliver her from the law of death but he also offered her the ability to ask for whatever she desired. Now that is FAVOR! That favor delivered an entire nation from death.

This is a great inspiring story, but what does it have to do with us – now – today?

This story shows us our place in prayer. Our ability to step into the gap – to go into the throne room – to carry requests for deliverance to Our King, and it is a choice set before each of us. We have been gifted, free of charge, great-unlimited access! When we obediently enter His presence with complete trust and humility, our Father always listens. Wisdom, direction, freedom and deliverance are only a breath away.

Don’t step back, wait or think you will stand in prayer for that person, that situation, that illness, that event – next time or “maybe tomorrow”. Take your place on the wall – stand in the gap between the broken and the needy; be willingly to lay down your agenda and with trust and obedience boldly go to the throne room of our Father – for it is TIME to pray.

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Face to Face – Heart to Heart

No hurried “hello, have a great day” quick kiss on your way out the door will work.

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I go to sleep and wake up to a handsome face that has been next to me for over 40 years. I know his eyes, his mouth, his smile, his hands, his voice and even his growing wrinkles; the interesting part is that this man looks the same to me now as he did in his 20’s. I know him face to face; heart to heart, for we have become one.

Jesus knows us the same and he calls us to that type of relationship and communication. He knows every hair, every wrinkle, even every thought – he knows us intimately and asks us -desires for us – to come close and know him face to face, heart to heart.

Intimacy comes from knowing, and knowing takes time; time at His feet, time in quiet stillness, in a face to face; heart to heart connection and we call this prayer. No hurried “hello, have a great day” quick kiss on your way out the door will work.  No relationship is built on fast pace connection, it is all about spending time.

“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

This type of face to face, heart to heart adoration changes you at your very core. All the worries of the day, fears of the night – life’s craziness, falls away and peace rushes in.

As my husband’s presence brings me overwhelming love and joy just because he is who he is; so does a face to face, heart to heart walk with Jesus bring an abundant life filled with joy – deep down joy.

What does it take? How do you get there?

Desire it! Ask for it!

Take TIME! SLOW down!

Wait silently! Sit and LISTEN!

And extravagantly ENJOY it!

The best part of your day will be waking up to HIM; for you will walk face to face, heart to heart, with your savior.

Artwork courtesy of: Dennis L. Sanchez

“Pass the Potatoes”

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At our holiday meals the presence of mashed potatoes is required. With a minimum of 16 present at any one time the familiar phrase “pass the potatoes” is heard every couple of minutes throughout our meal.

One day as I was praying intently, I heard a little whisper from the Holy Spirit that said, “Pass the potatoes”. It was so out of place that I had to open my eyes, stop and audibly say “Huh?” This encounter and its revelation has changed my prayer life.

As I listened, He instructed, “I haven’t asked you to till the ground, plant the potatoes, water them, harvest them, clean them, peel them, boil them, mash them, and serve them; ONLY to pass the potatoes. I have done, and do all the rest”.

WOW – it is simply our joy to PRAY (“pass the potatoes”).

As we receive prayer requests, even those that are heavy and painful, it is only our place to take the bowl from those weak shaking hands into our own, and simply pass those requests (pass the potatoes) to the waiting hands of Jesus.

We are sitting with HIM at the table; we are placed in the gap between the need and our Lord. It is our privilege, our honor, our calling – to say YES and pass them to HIM.

We need not till the ground – preparing it for him. We need not plant the request. We need not water with continual begging. We need not clean, peel, boil and mash it into a correctly sounding request. We need not serve it to those around us – we simply need to receive it into our hands and move it with intent into HIS hands. Then our part is done.

The simplicity of this concept lifted self-induced pressure from my prayer life and brought freedom that allows me to continually lift requests to the throne – day and night.

WOW – it is simply our joy to PRAY (“pass the potatoes”).

I Thess 5:17. Pray without ceasing

 

Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

“You Better Soak That”

As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

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Today words that I have spoken probably a hundred times in my lifetime – “You better soak that” – jumped out at me as a source of pondering.

To soak something means that it becomes saturated for a purpose. We soak a grim covered pan, a stained piece of cloth, and even a dried up pot of soil. The purpose is to change it – remove the grim, the stain or, in the case of soil to till it – prepare it for something new to take root.

In the Christian church culture the word “soak” has run its course of the “in thing” – but in reality it is where we are changed. As we wait at the feet of Jesus, as we are still in his presence, as we listen in our prayer closets – we are “soaking” in the very present environment of a life giving, life changing, life speaking Holy Spirit that loves to speak. In this place we receive the peace that passes all understanding.

Our busy lives find it difficult to slow down and take that time to be still but if we don’t, we live in a constant spin of chaos. Peace comes from that quiet place of trusting our Jesus.   It is during these times that we allow our grim and stains to be removed and our dried up soil to be saturated and tilled; then we are ready to receive something new that will take root and bloom in our lives.

Take time to “soak” – sit, be still, listen and receive – you will be amazed how his presence will refresh you, give you strength for the day ahead, and transform all areas of your life.

Ps. 46:10a “ Be still, and know that I am God.” (ESV)
Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

Training For Battle

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     This week was full of military training maneuvers that made themselves known in my home. Hour after hour the floor shook, my dishes rattled and my anxious dachshunds barked – and more then once did my own gasp escape and heart rate jump. But, today I was pondering the natural and spiritual of the training process; the training is necessary in both arenas.

     Training for battle is required for a positive outcome!

   In the natural, our military must be prepared at all times, willing and ready to obey a call in an instant as well as prepared for the job at hand. Each has a place to strategically move to and work from. Without training maneuvers the ability to instantly produce a needed outcome would not occur.

     In the spiritual it is similar. We are encouraged to be ready in season and out, to put on the armor of God, to keep alert and be watchful for the enemy’s tactics. The difference? We are not to fight under another mans armor, to fight on our own behalf, to even use our own words in the warfare. BUT – to know that the battle’s outcome belongs to the Lord. We are to stand, stand firm in faith! We are to pray in the spirit at all times – not using our own words to accomplish the battle but knowing HIS words will deliver.  Our aim in all areas of the conflict is to bring restoration and peace – and this aim must come from a place of love.

     The battle is not our own but HIS!

      HOWEVER – we must fight!

     We fight against the spiritual forces that surround, infiltrate and overcome our minds, our environment, our physical bodies and our daily lives. So how do we do that? It is all about being trained and ready for battle – knowing the place to move to and work from at the right time, and that training is found as we wait in HIS presence. When we are trained for battle the outcome is one of victory!