On Soft, Tender KNEES: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

knees

Photo by grace1221 at CanStockPhoto

 

Not used to bending,
kneeling,
succumbing,
I come to You.

I cast my eyes downward,
unwilling to see Your magnificent
presence,
for shame riddles my body,
and the devil
whispers his wants to me,
taunts my weaknesses,
tells me You could never love me
now that I’m
stained.

To think that I, a mere
human,
could singlehandedly control
fate,
destiny,
the world.

I think You must hate me
for walking in rebellion,
but I’ve been told You’re a
loving father,
an all-knowing father,
a forgiving father,

and so I come to You
with a heavy heart,
a heavy mind, and
a heavy body
in the attempt to
lift my eyes,
lift my soul,
lift my voice
in prayer.

I try to open my mouth
in askance,
in prayer,
but life’s problems spill
from my mouth to the ground,
making a puddle
of pain,
of hurt,
of disgrace.

They fill me so completely
that I know I will die in this
spot
if I must eat
one more bill,
one more death,
one more loss.

The dis-ease that consumes me
rushes to the ground as I heave
it all out,
from my big toe,
to my index finger,
to the dark recesses of my mind.

Every place dank darkness can hide,
I clean, purging myself before You,
allowing You to see everything
I’ve done,
I’ve known,
I’ve been.

But You know all of this,
have always known all of this,
so You hover above me,
softly,
gently,
lovingly,

Letting me release the burden
that’s weighed heavily on me
for so long; You let me reveal
myself in the real,
in the raw,
in the naked.

And when I do,
I’m lighter,
I’m shinier,
I’m made new

Because You are with me,
because You were always with me,
because You would never leave
Your child to perish alone.

I lay before You,
naked, my waste
around me,
sticking on me,
clinging to me,

but I do not stink,
for You make dirty clean,
You make wrong right,
You make old new.

Finally, I lift my eyes,
and I see the brightness of You,
Your glory,
Your righteousness,
Your omnipresence,

And I know that everything You are
I am because I am Your child.

And I know that all I desire
I shall have because
I am Your child.

And I know that life’s going to happen,
but I will be fine because
I am Your child.

And I know that some days
I’ll want the world to end, but
I will come through better than ever
because I am Your child,
and You will not forsake me.

JONAH Can’t Run-Neither Can You: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

You can’t run.

And no one knows this better than Jonah. God told him to go east to Nineveh and announce His word, and Jonah hightailed it as far west as he could because he thought he could run from God.

Excuse me a moment while I laugh.

So, Jonah hops on a ship, on his way to Tarshish, and wouldn’t you know it, a powerful wind appeared and a hellacious storm rocked the ship, causing everyone on it to fear for their lives.

And Jonah knew it was God, and when the other men learned it was Jonah who caused this calamity, they all immediately stopped worshiping their gods and prayed to God. When they eventually tossed Jonah overboard and the winds and the storm stopped, they knew that there was only the One True God.

jonah

So, overboard, underwater, Jonah lived inside a fish for three days and nights. There, he prayed fervently, and God finally let him out and made him go to Nineveh.

What made Jonah run?

Could have been fear…after all, the people of Nineveh were a vicious, angry, violent lot. Maybe he didn’t want to die by the hands of these people.

Could have been acknowledgment; after all, at the end of the book, Jonah is upset when he goes to Nineveh, spreads God’s word, and all of Nineveh fall to the ground in fasting and prayer to God. He knew God would save them if they repented and returned to him…perhaps he believed that if you did the “crime” you needed to truly to do the “time” (read: perish) for your actions, but God is all about saving ALL – not just one small lot of people.

Sometimes, we don’t like the direction God wants us to move in – and anger and fear can force out to not move or to run away from God.

Sometimes, we think we know more than God. “I can’t even see him,” some might say, “so what does he know about me?”

Doesn’t the notion that you can’t see Him only make Him that much more powerful? After all, He’s everywhere, watching everything. He knows. Don’t doubt it.

Jonah suffered, and he didn’t have to.

Even when what God says to us sounds ludicrous, crazy, and impossible, we need to stop, breathe, think, and ask God to imbue us with strength to understand that we may not know anything, but our God knows everything and that’s all we need to move into our destiny.

If you look back on your life, a lot of things you’ve done are laughable now. You cannot believe you actually did them, let alone made it through them. Those moments reflect times where you “let go and let God” and you were able to move a mountain.

It can happen again. And again. Again. Moving insurmountable mountains.

It comes from not running.

It comes from standing still.

It comes from believing and listening.

It comes from putting ACTION into your FAITH and BELIEF that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now is not the time to run.

Intercessors: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

Andrew Murray’s book The Secret of Intercession is small but powerful. Murray structures the book with 31 days of “lessons,” and as you go through each day, you learn how to develop your prayer life so that you can follow God’s will.

intercession

Prayer is very important to me, and being an intercessor is just as important. In Day 7 of the book, Murray talks about the intercessors God seeks; he compares watchmen to intercessors.

The watchmen warn men of impending danger… and call to God when they need his help with a threatening enemy. In tying the watchmen to the intercessor, he says, “The great mark of the intercessors is that they are not to hold their peace day or night, are to take no rest, and are to give God no rest, until the deliverance comes” (29).

“Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him” (Luke 18:7).

After a short commentary about the need for more intercessors, the need to have a united, fervent community of intercessors to ignite the power of the Holy Spirit, Murray asks, “Will you not, dear reader, offer yourself to God for this blessed work of intercession and learn to count it as the highest privilege of your life to be a channel through whose prayers God’s blessing can be brought down to earth?” (30)

With every “day,” Murray concludes with a question to journal on. This day’s question is How is being an intercessor similar to being a watchman?

Watchmen, day and night, watch over their appointed city and warn of danger and seek God’s help when danger approaches.

Intercessors do the same. They are forever diligent and on watch to warn others of dangers and to seek God when danger approaches. Murray states, “Watchmen are ordinarily placed on the walls of a city to give notice to the rulers of coming danger” (29). Notice, it doesn’t say these watchmen are placed outside their own homes. No, they are at the walls of the city, a city occupied by many people, so they are not only looking out for their own welfare but also the welfare of the city’s people.

This is how intercessory works, too. Intercessors are on the lookout for danger that affects people, not just self. They lift their voices to God to aid in helping people when danger approaches them. They do this without ceasing. They do this with the same passion, conviction that they would do if the danger was approaching them.

And in a way, the danger is approaching them: their blood, the blood of one of God’s children, one of their brothers… or sisters.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe it takes a village of fervent, dedicated prayer warriors, staunched in their faith, to raise ALL OF US to the supernatural blessings and gifts that the Father has for us.

And these are the types of intercessors God seeks.

Start Your Morning with a HALLELUJAH: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

One song that I tend to listen to in the morning is Karen Clark Sheard’s “Hallelujah.” If you need a spark, if you need to be shaken, if you need that holy ghost dance… this is the song for you.

In this video below, KCS gives a good preach and delivers a rousing performance of “Hallelujah.”

For me (and I know for others), it is so important to wake up and say… and declare positives for the day. To thank the Father for allowing us to live to see another day, to thank him for giving us another opportunity to shine in our lives for his benefit and our testimony.

This song will usher you into those moments of thankfulness.

Hallelujah!

Get Up: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

hbfs-me

Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Then GET UP.

Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Then GET UP.

I know about the past that clothes you
I know about everything that consumes you
I know about how life battered and bruised you
I know about the baby brother that died before you
I know about the uncle that wouldn’t stop touching you
I know about the parents who divorced and split you in two
I know about the date who raped you, taking your soul from you
I know about the list of men that you went through just to find you

And despite all that baggage and drama, yes,
I have the nerve to say

Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Do you want to change,
Then GET UP.

Get up and
disrobe from the past
remove the stench of your hurt
exorcise all negative thought from your mind
and turn a blind eye to all that has brought you pain

And regain your ability
to change
to move forward
to take one more step
to pursue life with your all
to see the light at the end of a dark path

Forgive: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

I really want to learn to forgive.

forgive

Photo by Stuart Miles [FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

 

I was reading Matthew 18:21-35 (NKJV), where Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus replies, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I always felt that I had to forget in order to forgive, and because I knew that forgetting would never happen, I thought I could never be a true forgiver.

But I realize that as long as there is memory, you will remember those times that people hurt you, crushed your spirit, slandered your name, stolen your glory.

Forgiving is not about forgetting, wiping your mind clean of all transgressions; it is about eliminating the power these painful moments have over your life.

There are things that happened years ago, decades ago that still churn bitterly in my heart and mind. Whenever I think of them, I instantly rankle, cry, wonder why that had to happen to me, and start to feel something close to hatred for those who hurt me.

This isn’t a part of God’s plan for me. God does not want me to have a heavy burden of past pain. He doesn’t want my heart to be so heavy that I can’t move forward in my destiny. He doesn’t want my heart to be so heavy that I can’t receive the blessings He doesn’t want me standing stock still in the middle of my path, not sure where to move next because my inability to forgive has blinded me.

He wants me to be let loose from the things that bind me. He wants me – if I can’t do it myself – to come to Him, to receive His strength so that I can truly forgive, so that I can truly remove the power of those pains, so that I can truly take a clear, clean breath removed of bitterness and heartache.

And He wants the same for all of you.

I pray that whatever hurts are on your heart today, whatever past events that have lay burden on your life are removed today so that you can continue to walk into your destiny – with your eyes bright, focused, and full of positive knowing.

Encourage (Yourself): A-to-Z Blog Challenge

As a teacher, I think being an “encourager” is part of my DNA. The job is not about only lecturing, passing out assignments, grading them, and ushering students into their next set of classes. I spend a great deal of time in my office with tissues and hugs at hand for students who just need to unload some of life struggles so that they can make it through the rest of the day, the rest of the semester. I often share with them some of my own trials so that they can see that despite trials, we can overcome. I always work to highlight to them what they do WELL so that they remember these good things and build upon them. I go about my day, for the most part, thinking, What if I’m the only voice in their lives that says “You can do this”? I want to encourage, and I love seeing the results that occur because someone was encouraged enough to take that one step, then another… until she crosses the goal line.

ID-100240994

Photo by Stuart Miles [FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

 

The problem for me arises when I don’t take the same initiative to encourage myself. And I know that many of my friends, who are a lot like me – taking on 50-11 jobs, making sure everyone else in their lives is OK, not sleeping until all jobs are done – hardly ever take the time to pause and say to themselves, “Hey you. How are YOU doing? What do YOU need?”

When I find my encouragement tank low, I am always reminded of the song “Encourage Yourself” by Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers. It is a song that allows me for those 5:35 minutes to sit and minister to myself, to fortify myself so that I can be that encourager for others.

 

Dying: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

It’s not something we typically like to talk about: dying, that is.

The loss of a loved one can be crippling.

The loss of our very self can be even more so.

But we are to die if we’re to live the lives that Jesus died for.

dying

And it’s not easy.

We live in a world that makes it hard sometimes to remember that we’re more than the world. We see the ignorance and pain and heartache and lack and senseless killings around us, and we might often time say, “Where are you, Lord? All this devastation. What am I to learn from it?”

We might even see the flip side of that misery and live a life that is full of earthly possessions and be so full of ourselves and our things that we think, Lord who?

It doesn’t matter what side of that fence we dwell in, or if we straddle the fence, we have to diligently, second by every second of the day, keep our eyes on the Father so that we can constantly be reminding of who we truly are so that we can die from what we are not.

Calling: A-to-Z Blog Challenge

We all want to know WHY we’re here and WHAT we are to do while we are here.

We want to know our CALLING.

calling

As I write that word, I smile. For the first time, I’m listening to the sound of that word — calling — and I can hear a deep, strong, sure voice in my ear, beckoning me to that alluring voice.

For me, that’s what our “purpose”… our “calling” should do to us; it should lure us to it, have us anxious, yet excited to finally reach it so that we can pursue it with a vengeance.

The key to reaching that calling is to be quiet and listen for the call of it in your ear, the tug of it in your gut, giving you that sense of “truth” that you know that you know that you know… that you are called to pursue it.