I moved. On the winds of books and furniture, pots and clothing, I was swept from a house to an apartment. On Friday, in a series of many back-and-forths, I moved. Now, I am unpacking. Today my books came out to play.
Despite the fact that I sold about one hundred books when I moved to Redding almost two years ago, I still have hundreds of books. I love them. Like some people love eye crinkles because they are distinguishing, or my seminary friend Lizzie loves scar stories because they are, in a sense, personally historic; I love books because they held my hand through valleys, across rivers, and around tight bends. In the dark of night we’ve talked: conversations which shaped me significantly. And now, I am asking my books to inhale deeply so I can squeeze them onto a tall bookshelf a friend gave me a few days ago.
I was thinking while situating my booklings. I was thinking about education, about the foundations God builds in our lives, and particularly about my own education. Here I am nearly done with my third Master’s Degree; living in Northern California; financially stretched; doing a research job part-time; applying and waiting for more jobs; and preparing to semi-move to Baghdad, Iraq after May 2012. There is a lot of mystery, but today I laughed remembering a prophetic word I received when I was 18 years old, “You will get countless degrees.” At the time I had taken a year off between high school and university, a decision I got an overwhelming amount of flak for. I have always heard God’s leading clearly with regard to education. There has been no uncertainty in where I went to school or when I went there. And so, today, I’m 31, and my black bookshelf, a plump Santa Claus whose tummy of books jiggles when he laughs, is testimony to my journey past and my journey future. God and I have built a foundation, through countless hours immersed in theology in the seminary library basement to long nights grueling over Palestinian political parties in my tiny Jerusalem bedroom, through cold winters in Massachusetts to hot summers in Israel, we have built, and built, and built.
The last floor we’ve completed, but certainly not the last one to be built, is the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry floor. Two years of studying revivalists and revivals, experiencing more and more of the Holy Spirit, and daring to think world-changing thoughts with world-changing people.
Revelation in many aspects is the crown of my education. And this gives me a freedom and a power far beyond academia.
This uses the fuel in my tank and adds 200 mile per hour driving skills. This makes me ready.
Madeleine L’Engle articulates the relationship between the intellect and revelation in her book “Walking on Water”
“not to set aside or discard the intellect, but to understand that it is not to become a dictator,
“THE WAY OF TRUST IS A MOVEMENT INTO OBSCURITY,
INTO THE UNDEFINED,
THE REALITY OF NAKED TRUST IS THE LIFE OF THE PILGRIM
WHO LEAVES WHAT IS NAILED DOWN, OBVIOUS, AND SECURE,
AND WALKS INTO THE UNKNOWN
WITHOUT ANY RATIONAL EXPLANATION TO JUSTIFY THE DECISION
OR GUARANTEE THE FUTURE.
BECAUSE GOD HAS SIGNALED THE MOVEMENT
AND OFFERED IT HIS PRESENCE AND HIS PROMISE.”
|“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”|
– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spanish writer, author of the masterwork ‘El quijote’, 1547-1616)
“Love feels no burden,
thinks nothing of trouble,
attempts what is above its strength,
pleads no excuse of impossibility;
for it thinks all things lawful for itself,
– Thomas Kempis
My friend and Central Asia travel partner, Laura, assembled a DREAM BOOK consisting of the dreams of students at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, where I am currently finishing my second year. I suggest browsing our dreams here:
Be inspired. Write out your own dreams. Smash boxes. Dream the “impossible” dream. : )
I was innocently reading the books of Hebrews and James in the New Testament today and I came across several stunning somethings. One day I will sit with the writers of those books, drink some heavenly tea, and laugh really outlandishly. They pitched a fast ball with a lot of their sentences and I can still hear the “SMACK” as the Holy Spirit hits it out of the park. HOME RUN.
“We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised.”
(Hebrew 10:23 ERV)
“All of them had great faith. And with that faith they defeated kingdoms. They did what was right, and God helped them in the ways He promised. With their faith some people closed the mouths of lions. And some were able to stop blazing fires. Others escaped from being killed with swords. Some who were weak were made strong. They became powerful in battle and defeated other armies.”
(Hebrews 11:33-35 ERV)
“You must be patient too. NEVER STOP HOPING.”
(James 5:8 ERV)
Some of the most defining and determining moments in our lives are the moments when we decide how to deal with disappointment. We either get weary and leave open the doors of our souls for dissatisfaction and unbelief to come in OR we resolutely shake off the experience, close the doors, and move forward DARING to hold on to hope.
In these pivot points we set the tone for the rest of our lives.
Onward and upward is the choice of brave hearts.
Sometimes the discipline of choosing belief is excruciatingly painful. Eustace says in the latest Chronicles of Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when describing how Aslan (the God-figure) brought him in an instant from the transition of a dragon-body back to his human state, “It was really painful, but in a good way – like having a thorn removed from your foot.” It is in the choosing, despite the cost of comfort, that the great sloughing off occurs. It is in the yanking through a narrow spot that the refining happens.
It is in the conviction toward joy when it is expensive, that heavenly habits are formed.
I like heavenly habits. And really, I’m much too smitten with the Holy Spirit to hop out of the reformation-mobile and establish a “healthy” distance from the Holy Spirit. Yuck. That sounds entirely horrible.
The last few months ripe in growth, have also contained backroads of *ouch* and *aaaaaaaargh!* I’ve had thyroid disease since I was seven and though it is normally stable with medication there have been times – like when I moved to Israel in 2006 – that my body goes out of whack. I’ve been prayed for dozens and dozens of times. I know God heals. I know healing is easy from heaven’s perspective and healing is our inheritance on earth. In the journey of the last few years I’ve seen hundreds of people healed through my own hands. I rarely felt bitter that my own healing hadn’t come. I just love seeing people healed and happy; and I know my own healing is en route. Well, in the last several months I have really focused on healing for my thyroid and I’ve seen measures of breakthrough. I’ve also had powerful encounters with God: I’ve been tackled in my bedroom; I’ve spent hours on the floor outside the healing rooms at church after going out in the Spirit; I’ve had people approach me with profound words of knowledge and pray for me; I’ve collapsed under the power of His Presence here and there and everywhere. And the healing has yet to show up on earth. In the interim I’ve walked through lethargy, facial swelling, intestinal issues, slow metabolism, and a litany of other not-so-pretty symptoms. In time a doctor’s appointment, a blood test, and a fresh prescription have brought balance and removed most symptoms, but I am still really excited to be healed one day soon.
I’m not sharing any of that for pity. I hate pity. Compassion is fine, but pity is unhelpful. I prefer advocacy and a heavenly perspective. I’m sharing because there is a long-held awareness in my life that in my honesty others find strength and inspiration. I’m sharing because as the New Year pokes through the sky tonight, we need to choose to let GO of the old and grab a hold of the new. We need to issue a rally cry to everyone that JESUS IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!! And we will flourish as we let go of unanswered questions, confusion, and fear; and dive into the syrupy Presence of the One who understands ALL. What an honor to have a best friend who knows everything, sees outside of time, and LOVES beyond measure!
Right now we could choose to focus on what is not. We could stare at lack. We could grumble. We could be self-focused. We could be fearful that we will be terminally disappointed. And we could miss the opportunities to love and transform the world around us. We could miss out on the great masterpiece our beautiful Creator is making.
Or we could celebrate every victory, no matter how small. We could fast negativity (as in commit to not say and think negative things). We could speak the truth of God over our lives daily: I am powerful, I am seated with Christ in heavenly places, circumstances are under my feet, sickness flees in my presence. We could make every day a party. We could let loose the shoelaces of our love, toss off our hindrances and dance barefoot!
I have to choose the latter. My heart must have closeness with God. Nothing else will ever persuade me of a greater worth. He’s it. haha. No need to search for the next best thing. He is the always best thing.
So, whoever you are, wherever you are. Shake it off. Whatever you negatively fixate on about 2010, blink it away. Stop thinking about changing your ways and just change them. Be YOU. You can do it. You were born to succeed! You were designed to live an outrageously wonderful life so full of love and power that the whole universe awakens in awe to your beauty.
Ezekiel 16:9-14 paints a gorgeous image of us redeemed and beautified by our Husband,
“I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
We have been lavished with salvation and beauty – so much beauty the nations are in awe. We have a choice of what to do with that beauty. In Ezekiel, the woman ( Jerusalem), squanders the love by throwing her attentions and her affections other places. Let’s be the woman who shows the nations their own beauty and lavishes them with the same love that brought us into salvation and wholeness.
Let’s stretch. Let’s grow.
2011, HERE WE GROW!!!!!!!
I love all of you (even the internet wanderers who followed the yellow brick road here that I don’t know personally)!
I recommend listening to two teachings in the box.net on the left side bar of my blog: parts 1 & 2 of “Living Un-Offended at God” by Bill Johnson. ENJOY!!! Get radical with HOPE!
Happy NEW-EST YEAR!!!
You have a destiny and a purpose!
p.s. As my sister Dori is going to India in 4 days to work in a restoration house with survivors of the sex trade for 3 months, this form of slavery is on the forefront of my mind.
(Her blog: http://pinkdor.wordpress.com/ )
We must be courageous and set the captives free. How about Isaiah 61 as a New Year’s Resolution!?! Let’s eradicate disease, slavery, and darkness from the planet! As you link with heaven’s faith, here’s music to believe by: http://www.exoduscry.com/ I especially like tracks 3 & 10. )
In 1 Kings 18, the land was in its third year without rain. The people were waiting.
Elijah comes out of hiding east of the Jordan, speaks to King Ahab, and calls the people to come up on Mount Carmel for a display of authority over the god Baal and the prophets of Baal.
The God of Elijah, the GOD of ALL, shows up. Fire consumes water on the wet altar and the promise of rain is released.
This display of God’s power is a call to repentance for the nation and one of Elijah’s greatest moments as a prophet.
After this breakthrough, Elijah says RAIN is coming. And he is looking to the sky for a marker. He is about to do something else absolutely incredible. He is about to be overtaken by the spirit of might and outrun a chariot!
And so he gets ready for this incredible “physical” feat by
WAITING and WATCHING THE SKY.
He doesn’t do leg stretches or run laps around Mount Carmel. He doesn’t occupy his mind with plans for his run or anxiously pace back and forth. From what scripture says, it seems like Elijah was practicing the fine art of “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) He was waiting and watching the sky.
He had already displayed that God’s ways are not man’s ways by releasing fire over a wet bunch of rocks and a bull. He had already trumped the “natural” idea of reality.
Now, it is not indicated that Elijah knows he is about to run faster than a chariot, but it is indicated how Elijah waits and watches God for a sign: he sends his servant to look toward the sea seven times. Finally, a cloud AS SMALL AS A MAN’S HAND rises from the sea! He then sends man, in the form of King Ahab, in his chariot toward home because THE RAINS ARE A’COMIN!
That is all it took – a cloud the size of a man’s hand. In the natural that might not have seemed an indicator of an incoming deluge, but Elijah knew it was the sign he was waiting for. He knew it was the promise fulfilled.
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ “
Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Part of what I adore about this story is how Elijah sent his servant SEVEN times to look at the sky. I have stood on Mount Carmel in Israel and looked out toward that same sea. I imagined a cloud the size of a man’s hand appearing in an otherwise cloudless sky. I imagined the feelings of that servant, “what exactly am I looking for?” and the thoughts of Elijah after he came back to him with “nothing” the first six times. I have felt that same prophetic unction rise up in me, as I hear the story, “Go back! Look again! It’s almost here!” And my heart leaped at the mental image of Elijah throwing up his cloak and taking off like a man on a mission across the Jezreel Valley. Elijah knew what was up.
Those who purpose HOPE in their hearts will gain strength while waiting. It is guaranteed.
“Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”
They will walk to the edge of a mountain seven times expecting their breakthrough,
and they will not be discouraged when they don’t see it the first six times.
They will prepare themselves by watching the sky.
When I look back at my journey to Israel, I laugh. I knew I was called to the Middle East when I was 16, and every January first (post high school) I would ask God, “Is this the year? Is this the year I visit or move to the Middle East?”
And it wasn’t and it wasn’t and it wasn’t … for ten years. And then IT WAS.
In February 2006, God said it was.
And I began to prepare myself. I saw the cloud in the sky. The RAINS were a’ comin!
A lot of people asked me if I was taking Hebrew or Arabic classes or hanging out at a local mosque.
“No,” I would answer, “I don’t feel like I am supposed to be doing that kind of preparation.”
My preparation was more about watching the sky: learning the signs of God, training my heart to follow Him better, praying into the months ahead, and many long walks and bike rides spent talking things over with God. And standing on the promises of God through the breakthroughs I needed between February and August: new jobs, new house mates in our ministry house, raising support, miracles in our neighborhood, etc.
Whenever people ask me what I did to prepare for such a move and then ask me what they should do as they prepare to move overseas, I emphasize spiritual preparation: inner healing, developing a support group who will pray for you and encourage you once overseas, learning healthy communication with people, reading books like “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend, and growing the garden of His Presence and His peace in your life. Train yourself to strengthen yourself in the Lord.
Don’t run laps around Mount Carmel. Look at the sky.
And whatever you do, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED
and DO NOT BE AFRAID.
Joshua 1:6 is one of my favorite passages,
“Be strong and courageous,
because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”
God says in Deuteronomy 7:17-19:
You may say to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?” But DO NOT BE AFRAID of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.
I think this passage is hilarious: “Dawn, you may think you are looking at something bigger than you, that you can not topple, but DO NOT BE AFRAID. Remember my provision. Remember my words. I am 100% faithful. And I always will be. I will push the enemy out of your land.”
David walked out courage in 1 Samuel 30. His own men spoke of killing him. His wives and children were taken. Their homes were burnt. 13 years after being anointed to be king, he was still waiting.
In 1 Samuel 30:6 David is shown to make a decision out of line with the “look of things” but IN LINE with God’s perspective.
“David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters.
But David found strength in the LORD his God.“
He defeats the Amalekites, Saul dies, and three chapters later in 2 Samuel 2, a matter of mere DAYS has passed and DAVID IS MADE KING OF JUDAH.
Good thing David kept walking to the mountain’s edge and looking at the sky. Good thing he didn’t give up or give in. He stood until the promise was fulfilled. And that is what it is to stand in faith: to keep standing. How long? Until the promise is fulfilled. Not just until the third time you are tired and your car breaks down, yet again; not until your next vacation; not just until something happens, but until the PROMISE is fulfilled. And the secret is: there is happy rest in the waiting when you wait with HOPE. The secret is: it’s joyful to walk to the mountain’s edge seven times when you are delighting in the Lord. The secret is: it’s always fun to be with Jesus, even alone on a mountain waiting for rain – when you are lovesick, you’re crazy in a GOOD way.
The secret is: faith is powerful. And it often wears the clothes of perseverance.
So, be encouraged today. You are victorious. The word of God to you WILL HOLD. You have a part to play in seeing its fulfillment though. You must stand firm. You must keep walking to look toward the sea. Five times, six times, seven times. Hold on. Absorb the gorgeous view. Absorb the Presence of God in this moment, today is the only “today” you have to drink up His Presence and His fullness in this moment.
The cloud the size of a man’s hand will appear. The RAINS ARE COMING!