My Avatar Explains: This Is Me

November 20, 2008 at 12:04 am (Insights)

Orchid Praying Mantis

Orchid Praying Mantis

This awesome little creature does a fantastic job of exemplifying some of the characteristics of my time in The Pursuit, Fall 2008.  So, as a moment of belated closure, I share them with you:

  • Bold: I took the Lord up on His offer.  He offered me the zeal to do an internship, to be violent with my time and my money, to interrupt my education and be still.  And, I did.  I suspended my psuedo-normality for a taste of reality: the eternal pleasures of God.  I moved out of my home into a townhouse with seven other girls.  I didn’t watch any films or TV–basically kept my eyes away from moving images.  I stayed away from my favorite escape with friends, The Shakespeare Tavern.  And I sat in a room waiting on God.
  • Beautiful: The Lord gently answered my decision with a beautiful three months.  When I reached the end–and only then, haha–I turned and saw a stunning array of His beauty.  The beauty of His love.  The beauty of my own heart.  The beauty of consecration.  Most importantly, throughout the internship, I was arrested with the beauty of the throne of God Himself.  I could pass delicious hours imagining the swirling emerald rainbow (greens of every hue? different enough to look like a rainbow? the covenant of Noah? mercy!); the pulsing carnelian of His pure spiritual desire for us (God is passionate? No way!…wow…); and the crystal clarity and radiance of His person (justice, the rays of light, splitting down to the molecular level, the motives of the human heart…).
  • Beggarly: Who was I apart from Him?!  I had nothing to offer.  Time?  I got bored.  Passion?  I got exhausted.  Devotion?  I cut corners on the commandments.  Repentance?  I needed His kindness to lead me.  Beauty?  I corrupted it with sin.  What could I do?  Son of David!  Don’t pass me by!  For…I am naked.  Poor.  Blind.  All at the same time.  Don’t pass me by…like the mantid, I could but hold my hands before my eyes and beg.  And, He–glorious truth!–actually answered!  He counts my acknowledged nakedness as intimacy.  He counts my acknowledged poverty as humility.  He counts my acknowledged blindness as faith to be given eternal eyes.  *listen to Closer by John Mark McMillan*
  • Belligerent: inclined to or exhibiting assertiveness, hostility, or combativeness. Praying mantids actually eat each other.  It’s quite a terrifying demonstration…and I was a terrifying demonstration of the darkness of my own heart during my internship.  Not that I ate anyone, haha 😛  But, when I was wounded, I found hatred in my heart.  I was angry.  I was protective of my soul.  Perhaps I relate here more to a hermit crab: I withdrew my attention, affection, affectedness.  But, true to Himself, when I turned this belligerence to beggarlyness before God, He answered with beauty.  He set it up so that my roommates would push all my buttons; and when I was pressed on every side, I yielded to the Sermon on the Mount–gentleness, meekness, peacemaking, patience, mercy…and I became BEAUTIFUL
  • Distinct: I couldn’t find a word that was similar in meaning and started with a ‘b’…but I suppose that the ‘d’ emphasizes the point 😉  Through these three months of delving deep into my heart, deep into the heart of God, I became distinct.  I was no longer ‘Jessica’ defined by her talents, defined by her relationships, defined by her performance.  Although I spoke, wrote, danced, and drew, it was not a reflexive motion but rather an expression independent of people’s expectations and usually for my own eyes and heart before God.  Although I never ceased to be the daughter of my mother and the sister of my siblings, I lived apart from their tempering influence and found the way I really felt about things.  Although I participated in classes, meditations, and devotions, I no longer performed.  I did not do anything, in fact, simply because it was expected of me, by God or humans.  I did things because I found them put in my own heart to give to God.  And, just as a tree that falls in the forest still makes a sound even if no one hears it, just as a mantid arrays itself in wild colors even if no one ever sees it (sometimes, especially so that they won’t see it)–I, I will still give my spirit, my personality, my soul, my self to God even if no one else witnesses it outside of my skin.

This is me: And, just as a tree that falls in the forest still makes a sound even if no one hears it, just as a mantid arrays itself in wild colors even if no one ever sees it (sometimes, especially so that they won’t see it)–I, I will still give my spirit, my personality, my soul, my self to God even if no one else witnesses it outside of my skin.

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A Life of Prayer Is Full…

October 23, 2008 at 2:37 pm (Insights, Jessica's Life) (, )

Yes, I sit still for hours on end.

But then the weekend comes, and we do all kinds of cool stuff to keep our prayer life vibrant before the Lord.  Here are a few pictures of the last weeks’ activities…

1. Tour of Atlanta’s Spiritual History

Understanding the spiritual history of a city is very important to orient you in the place of prayer.  Without knowing where the city has been, you can labor under the weight of wrong thinking that maybe got passed down through that area generationally.  Also, if you are not a native of the city (like myself) it can be difficult to connect your emotions to your spiritual investment in intercession.  Touring some historical sites and learning about where the city came from can definitely help you discern the Lord’s plans for restoration in the future.

slavery

Sweetwater Creek Mill: slavery

This cotton mill was constructed by slaves during the 1800s.  The governor of GA himself invested in the project, and by the forced labor, this mill became the largest building in Atlanta at the time.  Its five stories were filled with hired labor from the surrounding rural area, and its cotton products served the Atlanta area.  Human slavery was responsible for digging out the millrace; lining it with heavy stones; making bricks; building a support wall for the millrace; and constructing the mill itself.  The burden of Atlanta’s history of human subjugation and indignity is far heavier than any of the stones its victims unearthed and carried.

Cyclorama's Battle for ATL (courtesy Erik S. Lesser for The New York Times)

Cyclorama

Next, we stopped at the Cyclorama.  It is the world’s largest oil painting on canvas, and one of only three cycloramas remaining in the United States.  The Battle for Atlanta is depicted in a 360-degree perspective, complete with three-dimensional figures displayed before it so that you can’t tell where space stops and canvas begins.  I marveled at the weight of defeat carried by the South.  From the under-funded presentation of the painting to the story behind its acquisition to the events which it depicts, the whole experience made me feel how confused and consequently listless the South really is.  Of course the Civil War is over, but think of how many brothers fought brothers!  How many young men lost the chance to be a hero.  How many women shed tears that were never comforted.  How many men were deceived into giving their life on the battlefield to defend the right to take another’s life in slavery.  I conclude that many of the ‘good ol’ Southern boys’ here in Georgia are so susceptible to religiosity because they carry tremendous guilt and frustrated longings that they don’t even understand.  Georgia was founded  as a colony in which debtors could attempt to work themselves free, and we still haven’t learned to trust to mercy…

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum

I AM A MAN: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Museum

We closed the day with a tour of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s museum and memorial.  Wow.  Even after the Civil War…such hatred and unrest.  I could hardly believe the newsreels I watched, the speeches I listened to, the letters and placards and signs and protests and arrests I read.  I felt so proud of the Civil Rights movement and so disappointed that so much more was to be done.  I was thrilled to learn about the thriving community of Sweet Auburn…and then sorrowful to discover that the highway system had sawed it in half.  Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled came to mind as I considered the current state of affairs.  The anger, the treachery, the twisted relationships…by the end of this long day I could only say one thing: Lord Jesus come back and be our King!  Nothing will ever be right until He comes.  No injustice will be satisfied.  No freedom will be secured.  No fellowship truly achieved until the Lamb that was slain for the world’s sake comes back to reign for the world’s sake.  It is His absolute glory to rescue humanity from itself, to call us into the greatness for which He always intended us.

2. Wellspring for Girls Workday

Atlanta is the number one hub of human trafficking in the United States, and possibly the world.

When I heard that fact, and realized that it was true, my heart almost fell out through my toes. I could hardly believe that this center of commerce, this great cultural hub of the South, this gem of the Bible Belt housed the most heinous scourge of our world.

one of the beautiful cottages

Wellspring for Girls: one of the beautiful cottages

IHOP-ATL was given a strong heartbeat of compassion for this issue and a great responsibility toward seeing its destruction accomplished through a release of the light of Christ Jesus.  One of the remarkable women previously on staff here at the House of Prayer now orchestrates the development of the only faith-based program for rehabilitating victims of human trafficking in the United States.  This program takes girls that our social system rejects and builds them into vibrant, free young women.  Often when rescued, the victims have so many issues that they get put in the psyche ward–although they are not crazy; or, since they were caught in prostitution, they get put in the jail for lack of a better way to process drug-induced sexual slavery.  Wellspring Living takes these girls to a home in a safe place far from the city; they get their own bedroom, in-home education and life skills classes, and professional counseling from people that know eternal life is only found in the knowledge of the Father’s heart and the Bridegroom’s love.  And so far, they are the only rehabilitation program to have any success.  Its not surprising but it’s still discouraging to think about how many girls have missed this opportunity…

We can do it!

We can do it!

We want to help make restoration a real option for these girls, so we volunteered some work hours to help prepare another house for them.  We girls did gardening, and the guys did some interior work, like caulking and hauling and carpet-prep.  I can hardly express how privileged I felt even to paint flower pots for these girls! I could really touch their lives and help pull them into beauty and light again. =)

3. Sukkot Shake

Did you know that God has a calendar?  Like, for real.  He has appointed times, certain moments that He has set aside to do stuff with people.  Most of these times can be found on the Jewish calendar; His people have been keeping His feasts for…well, a really long time, haha.

The idea of knowing when God Himself is celebrating, remembering, or toasting is new to me.  I just figured that He fit Himself into our schedules, I guess 😛 I am really excited to discover what He put in place though.  The past week or so was the Feast of Tabernacles, my first real experience with keeping a feast; and it was awesome!

yes, there are fifteen people and a feast in there!

the Sukkah: yes, there are fifteen people and a feast in there!

This Feast is amazing!  I had no idea that it looks behind you, in front of you, and in your face at the same time:

  • We remember that we were taken out of bondage.  The Israelites lived in tents for forty years during their Exodus from 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
  • We look forward to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb at the End of the Age.  During a Jewish wedding, there are so many friends and family celebrating together, that they often have to build a huge tent addition to the side of the father’s (and bridegroom’s) house!
  • We marvel at the fact that God tabernacles with men: the Holy Spirit dwells inside us!  And Jesus left His heaven to take on human flesh.  And we are just traveling through this earth, waiting for the establishment of a better country and city than this…
The Feast Inside

The Feast Inside

So, we build a sukkah, or a big tent in the back yard.  The guys from IHOP did a fabulous job; this thing fit fifteen people, two tables, and a truck-load of food and drink in it 😉  The top is made of branches so we can see the stars and moon and sky while we celebrate and look up to the heavens, awaiting the meeting of heaven and earth again…

We toasted to the Age to Come:

…what we most look forward in the Millennial Kingdom

…what we are grateful for deliverance from

…and we started dancing ^_^

It is so fitting to live our lives out of this place of joy.  Even with all the heaviness of the exploration of the history of this city and the burden of wickedness and darkness in our generation, there is a light yoke: Jesus Christ. He saved us, purchased us for God the Father, and He fellowships with us.  He invites us into intimacy.  It is knowing the love of Christ that passes all understanding, all knowledge: this is the stuff of eternal life.  This is what sustains us for the rest of time–knowing that the Father is delighting and the Son is rejoicing.

Rejoice! (jump up and spin around) And again, I say, Rejoice!

Rejoice! (jump up and spin around) And again, I say, Rejoice!

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My Soul’s Love

October 8, 2008 at 2:23 pm (Insights) ()

My Soul's Love (photo courtesy of Lumendipity Photography Blog)

Like incense can burn without flame from an ember alive with fire on the inside
So satisfaction with God (praise) arises from my soul in silence.
A roaring of words can drown out love
And bind affection within a chain of Performance
Like an over-zealous flame can out-burn its wick before the fresh one
To which it can leap and live
Is yet
Wound.
But the slow meditation of a grateful heart sustains a hidden flame
Safe from the tumult of spiritual traffic surrounding
Safe from the temptation of exalting its own beauty
Safe from the flaunting that attracts unwanted attention
It steps with ease from
Wick
To
Wick
An eternal flame of love
Fed hand-over-hand with Heavenly revelation.
Therefore:
No flame announces the combustion of my soul.
No flowery wreath of wailing rests as a garland on my brow.
But my heart is set on God
Like an ember buried in the heart of a furnace never waxes cool,
So my affections are sealed up in the locked garden of my skin:
The All-Consuming Fire sealing my spirit and soul.

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Rumbling in the Heart

September 26, 2008 at 9:51 pm (Insights, Prayer Room Experiences) (, )

Fluorescent lights really don’t make it easy to intercede.  Somehow their glare dulls the senses and annoys the eyes.  And a multi-purpose room with a low, pre-fab platform doesn’t really exude ‘coolness’ and ‘urgency’ and ‘intensity’.  But, gosh, when something is on the Lord’s heart, His grace is abundant, and you could be standing in the middle of Walmart’s Home Storage aisle and be as engaged as you are standing in a multi-million dollar venue with strobe lights and throbbing bass.  IHOP’s multi-purpose room served just fine.

Kathy Coburn, the director of Bound for Life ATL, led about eighty-or-so people in intercession for:

  • preservation of the mystery of Christ and the Church as exemplified through marriage between a man and a woman–specifically for the passing of Proposition 8 in the upcoming vote in California
  • ending of abortion across the nation–specifically for a third pro-life seat in the Supreme Court (fulfilling a prophecy given over sixteen years ago)
  • mercy on Atlanta, the city that proposed the bill that eventually legalized abortion all over the nation
  • release of the spirit of adoption–specifically that the Church would step in to adopt unwanted children, as the answer to her own prayer with Jesus to raise up a generation of worshipers and forerunners for Christ’s second return

One of the most precious aspects of these two hours was an abundance of little children running through the congregation the entire time.  I am sure the parents felt like they needed to keep their children under control a little better, but I was so grateful to see their little ones joyfully parading their beautiful life before me.  It tenderized my heart to the message of the Lord and His invitation to receive the Spirit of the Son that cries “Abba!”.

You are a Father to the fatherless

You are a Lover to the desolate

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Ok, no—what we REALLY do ;-)

September 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm (Jessica's Life) ()

Kiki the Avacado and Kayla praying

Kiki the Avacado and Kayla praying

Kristin, Martha, Gonzalo, and Jonathan after foozball fun

Kristin, Martha, Gonzalo, and Jonathan after foozball fun

Kayla, Jonathan, Derrick, and Daniel chatting and snacking

Kayla, Jonathan, Derrick, and Daniel chatting and snacking

Alex brings an American rock wall to its knees

Alex brings an American rock wall to its knees

Gonzalo, me, David, Kayla, and Alex think no one is ever too old to play on the swingset

Gonzalo, me, David, Kayla, and Alex think no one is ever too old to play on the swingset

But every day we love to sit and wait upon the Lord

But every day we love to sit and wait upon the Lord

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What I Really Do

September 20, 2008 at 10:20 pm (Jessica's Life, Prayer Room Experiences) (, )

So, the way I live my life now is more different than I ever have before.  Since I was four years old I have always been studying.  Elementary school.  Middle school.  High school.  College…read textbooks, listen to teachers, do homework, study, and take tests to prove that I did all those other things.

Now, I sit in a single room for eight hours a day talking to God.  And some other stuff.  So here’s a sample day out of the crazy life I’m living 🙂

——————————————————-

6:15 a.m. I wake up.  I live with three other girls in a big basement bedroom of a duplex.  I am the ‘first’ shower, so I get up before anyone else.  We have to rotate because we all share the same bathroom.  Then I eat breakfast and pack a sack lunch for the day.  Usually it’s a bagel with ham and cheese, haha. 😉  I always try to fill a water bottle and drink a lot because we fast (eat nothing) every Tuesday, and it’s really important to stay hydrated.

8:00 a.m. Practising piano is one of my new favorite things to do.  My piano is by a window, so I look out into trees and birds in the new morning light.  I love playing songs I already know and then taking their sounds and making them different or new to express how I feel.  There’s something really lovely about making your own music 🙂

8:15 a.m. Martha, Kayla, Kristin, and I jump in the car to leave.  Sometimes we have to rearrange the entire drive-way beacuse there are eight girls living in the house; six of us have cars to park in the driveway.  I have gotten pretty good at moving cars that aren’t mine without getting a scratch on them, haha.  We love rolling down the windows on our way to the International House of Prayer: we spend hours in the same room that has two little windows that don’t even open.  I love air-conditioning, but one can only take so much ‘processed’ air.

8:45 a.m. We put our lunches in the community fridge and hurry to sign-in to the Prayer Room.  It is a big room full of rows and rows of chairs and a few tables.  I like sitting in the front row near the musicians because it is easier to focus.  I bring my Bible, a journal, colored pencils, my laptop, lots of different flavors of chewing gum, a bottle of water, plenty of pens, and a few books to study (Knowledge of the Holy, Seven Longings of the Human Heart, etc.).

10 a.m. This is the first intercession set of the day.  A full team of musicians come onstage and lead the whole room in several worship songs.  Then people in the Prayer Room take turns praying on a mic next to the platform.  After each prayer, the singers create a spontaneous chorus using phrases from the prayer, and the whole room joins in.  This way everybody gets a chance to intercede on the same page for current events like the hurricanes and upcoming election or the Church around the world or the local community, etc.

12 p.m. We break for lunch.  I get thirty minutes to eat, check emails, and make phone calls.  Usually, lunch is a lot of fun because everyone is eating and talking together.  We tell lots of stories and trade lots of strange foods.  One day another intern was running late and only grabbed a raw red pepper for his lunch; he ate it bite-by-bite like an apple!

12:30 p.m. Most days we all go back into the prayer room.  Usually in the afternoon, there is one musician on stage for two hours at a time.  They play quietly on their instrument–guitar or piano usually.  Everyone in the room reads or studies quietly. I like to pace in the open space at the back of the room while I think so that I can stay awake.  The music and singing is so peaceful and relaxing, that if I have been up late the night before, I could fall asleep, haha!  These afternoon sessions are some of my favorite times to sing quietly to myself.  I love making up new songs using verses from Scripture.  It helps me think about all the different meanings in each verse and allow the music to help the truth encounter my heart.  Often I will get an idea and sit down and draw pictures representing the relationship between my feelings and my new revelation about the heart of God, etc.  I have almost a fourth of my journal filled already 🙂

4 p.m. Everyday there is another intercession set at this time, but some days I help take care of the little kids while their parents are in the prayer room.  Last week I got to take care of the 1 to 2 year olds–they are so precious!  I am not really good at interacting with babies, and this is a chance for me to allow God to enjoy me in a setting that I feel really weak in.  It is so humbling to be prayed for by a little child!

6 p.m. Two days out of the week, I take a class in the multi-purpose room at this time.  We are taking Life of David and Sermon on the Mount as an internship.  These classes are fascinating and challenging; I always have tons of notes in the margins of the outlines they hand out.  My heart comes alive to see the Scriptures woven into a well-taught idea that I can take back to the prayer room and talk out with the Lord. 🙂  We are really tired by this point in the day, but there are other people from the community (not in an internship or on-staff at the Prayer Room) in the class, and the presence of new people helps bring energy to the room again.

8:30 p.m. We ladies go home and cook dinner together usually.  We talk about our day, experiences we had in the prayer room or class, and joke and laugh.  🙂 I can’t cook, but Martha and Melissa are excellent cooks, and sometimes they will treat us to dinner.  Usually we are really, really talkative because we have been quiet all day in the prayer room.  We all firmly believe that females have a certain quota of words to speak everyday before they feel satisfied, lol 😛

11 p.m. By now we have cleaned up and moved downstairs, talked and joked and shared about our lives before and after this internship, planned the next day, done some laundry, played on the exercise ball, rolled around in the desk chair, rearranged our notes, listened to some new music or teaching from IHOP, and repeatedly complained about how tired we are.  At least we don’t stay up until 3 a.m. like the guys 😉

11:15 p.m. I love reading a little bit of Les Miserables before I got to bed every night.  I love the story and characters.  Often I find in each section something related to what I was thinking about in the prayer room that day.  I am reading it slowly, but I don’t think it will take me six years to finish like the first time I read it, lol!

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A Simple Plan

September 18, 2008 at 11:10 pm (Prayer Room Experiences) (, )

me in the Prayer Room during a 10 am set

me in the Prayer Room during a 10 am set

This morning I woke up from an anxious dream, and the first thing that popped into my head was this refrain from a song I heard recently in the Prayer Room:

Let this truth sink (grow) deep inside of me

I was made for You

And You delight in me

And we will be together forever

It resounded through my brain incessantly as I got ready for my day.  While I was eating breakfast.  Doing my make-up.  Packing my lunch.  Finally, I decided that it must be pretty important, haha.  As I considered it further during my first few minutes in the prayer room, I realized that it was just what I had asked the Lord for: direction for meditation.

When you spend six to eight hours a day sitting in one room, you get bored regardless of what’s going on.  When you add to that intensity the fact that what is going on in that room is coming out of your own focused attention…you realize (a) that you have nothing to offer in and of yourself–you run out of ‘you’ a lot faster than you think you will and (b) if you keep focusing anyway, God delights in your desire.

But, what exactly do you do?

You think thoughts in the direction of God, addressed to Him so-to-speak.  You sing songs other people thought of.  You sing Scripture verses other people wrote.  You sit and listen.  You copy Scripture down in your natural handwriting.  Then you write it again in your ‘cool’ handwriting.  You dance a little so you don’t get stiff.  Then you pace up and down reading your Scripture again and again and again…

God loves this!  It’s so weak!  It’s so opens up your soul and spirit to truth–which is weird, but true: I have done it.

It’s comforting to have a plan going in, to keep your mind focused.  That’s why I just love that the Lord gave me that song: it’s a game plan.  So I’ve put together a sheet of Scriptures on which to meditate or to consider my way through the points in the song.  Enjoy!  And let me know what you think, how you encounter God’s heart.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I Was Made For You

  • Psalm 139:13 : For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
  • Ephesians 2:10 : For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

And You Delight In Me

  • Isaiah 62: 4, 5b : It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called, “My delight is in her”…So your God will rejoice over you.
  • Psalm 16:3 : As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
  • majestic : gloriously grow up, increase, be risen, triumph; excellent, famous, gallant, glorious, lordly, mighty principal, worthy
  • delight : satisfaction, gratification, joy, pleasure
  • joy : prospect of possessing what one desires

And We Will Be Together Forever

  • Hosea 2:19 : I will betroth you to me forever.
  • John 17:24 : Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given me, be with Me where I am.
  • Psalm 16:11 : You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

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Ten-Minute Tozer

September 12, 2008 at 5:49 pm (Insights) ()

This is my first read-through of Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer.  To facilitate my effot to wrap my bubble-gum-ball-sized brain around the blimp of revelation in this book, I have summarized it for your convenient perusal.  Ok, not so much ‘convenient’ as…’illuminating’: to provide, cover, or fill with light.

So feast your mind on our incredible God and a new way of thinking about Him.

Chapter 1: We must know God as He is, not as our mind construct Him to be.

Chapter 2: We can’t know God because He is God; but He told us a few things that are true, good descriptions of Himself: attributes.

Chapter 3: Attributes of God are not parts of a whole, like they are with us; they are His way, the ‘how’ He is His unified, undivided self.

Chapter 4: The Trinity is not ‘confusion’ but ‘mystery’; but three are are indeed one.  Love and Faith go in and gaze; Reason kneels in reverence.  For all three act in one throughout creation, incarnation, baptism, atonement, resurrection, salvation, and indwelling.  (See the book for a cool list of Scripture references–or if you’re really interested, ask and I’ll post them 🙂

Chapter 5: As God Uncreated, He must give account of Himself to no one.  He is.  The essence of sin is ‘I am’.–yet it is our echo of His image.  Thus, our life is redeemed, raised in Christ.  Self-awareness separate from God-awareness is the essence of sin.

Chapter 6: God can desire but He cannot need.

(To be continued…)

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Fast-Frame

September 4, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Insights) (, )

I used to be afraid of fasting. Then I fasted and was proud of myself. Yesterday I broke my fast.

I take delight in the fact that me simply not eating brings pleasure to the Lord’s heart. I can sit there and not do anything—study, sing, pray, etc.—and His heart is affectionate towards me. Of course, it is like that all the time, but the hunger pains of fasting make it really obvious to my blind and stupid heart, haha.

But this fast, I woke up the first night at two a.m. with a massive migraine. The I-can’t-roll-over-in-bed kind of migraine. Like, the stumble-out-of-bed-and-hope-you-hit-the-Advil®-bottle kind of migraine.

So, I tried to pray it through and away. Then, I tried to pray it through and away. Finally, I tried to grit my teeth and bear it. But I couldn’t.

So I trudged (perfect word!) upstairs and tried to find my whole wheat Chex® in my new closet. Groggy-eyed as I was, I did not succeed. But Kristin’s Triscuits® were doing a little dance right under my nose. So, I threw myself on her mercy (which was sufficient in this case) and opened up her crackers. Three triscuits later, I took two Advil® with a sip of water. As I lay down in bed, my migraine slowly receded and sleep took over. But I had broken my fast. I was defeated. My weak love had failed…

But, no! says the Lord. You have simply done something to help yourself get through the fast. You have not disqualified yourself from pleasing My heart. Continue! I am not looking for perfection in weakness, for I am the only One perfect in weakness. I will make you strong if you lay yourself before Me. I long to know you in your weakness, to be let into the place of failure in your life. For there, My strong love will be made perfect in you. There My love will cast out the last iota of fear—fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of rejection. And I will give to you a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. You will not be confused about My love, for you will have laid yourself bear and discovered that My feelings towards you never change. They rest on the strength of Christ’s love as poured out in blood over the mercy seat, the delight of My heart. Your heart will be awakened in love, tenderized and vulnerable because you have laid down the defenses of your own righteousness. And I will give you the oil of gladness to anoint your head and beautify your weakness. For all My delight is in you.

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Through the Eye of the Needle

September 2, 2008 at 12:23 am (Prayer Room Experiences) (, )

the Grand Canyon of my soul

the Grand Canyon of my soul

This summer I have been quiet and confident.  Two weeks of anxiety and grinding my teeth—yeah, gross but totally real, haha.  Then deep and steady rhythms of receiving my Beloved’s love.

I was determined going into this internship that I wouldn’t be ‘wrecked’.  I have heard from intern after intern (including my own brother) that you are ruined in the internship.  I.e. that you loose your self-concept and are torn apart by a realization of who you are in the light of God–usually not very pretty or becoming or lovely.

That didn’t jive with the concept that the Lord had been feeding this whole summer, though.  And I didn’t know what to embrace: what people said or what I thought God was saying.  The answer seems obvious, but I am still new and young in this way of relating to God.  So, perhaps I should listen to people that had done it before.  After all, isn’t wisdom a thing to be desired?  Experience a thing to be honored?

Well, I decided to listen to the Lord instead.  I was beautiful, and every morning I sat and repeated to myself over and over that I was lovely in His eyes.  And, indeed, it healed my soul of the self-inflicted wounds of self-righteousness, trying to carve a perfect marble sculpture out of living flesh.  But today, He ushered in a new idea.

Reaching the end of myself and laying prostrate before Him would invite a revelation of who He was.

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