Friday, November 28, 2014

This Wilderness

And now
I will allure her
Lead her off into this desert place
Speak softly toward her
She will respond as in the day
When she was fresh out of bondage
The chains they fell
Freed her hands 
With Me she came
And said...

I will meet You in this wilderness
See You through all of my pain and my distress
The confusion and hunger
I won't be crushed under
For You my rock supply me with a life giving water
And I will meet You in this wilderness

And now
She'll call Me husband
She will no longer be called slave
I will betroth her
To Me forever and always
In deepest love and compassion
See through her flesh 
And past her stains
Call forth this daughter
And she'll say...

I will meet You in this wilderness
See You through all of my trials and all my tests
All the doubts and the fear
Will not cover the real
For You oh Lord my manna 
Spread and cover this field
And I will meet You in this wilderness 

And now
You've called me higher
Shown me glimpses of promised lands to come
Flowing with milk and honey
I won't believe the reports that say there's none
Just one foot forward
The water's gone 
Ground is dry
And I'll walk on
And say...

I have met You in the wilderness 
Saw You in and through every single step
In wanting and plenty
In all seen and unseen
My heart it trusts Your heart
You've put Yourself right into me
And it is time to leave this wilderness

Thursday, November 13, 2014

until it was completed.

(This is literally just scripture folks.  A few add-ins here or there.  Not each chapter in it's entirety. Just the parts that stood out to me.  Choppy excerpts and highlights of a powerful story.)  

Numbers 13-14; Deuteronomy 1,3, & 31; Joshua 1-8

Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the people of Israel.
We went to the land to which you sent us.
And, oh!
It does flow with milk and honey!
Just look at this fruit!
The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce.
Their cities are huge and well fortified.
Worse yet, we saw the descendants of the giant Anak.

Caleb interrupted,
called for silence before Moses and said,
"Let's go up and take the land-now, 
we can do it!"

But the others said,
"We can't attack those people.
They're way stronger than we are.
--it's a land that swallows people whole.
Everybody we saw was huge.

Joshua and Caleb ripped their clothes and addressed and assembled the people of Israel.
"The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land
--very good indeed.
He will lead us into that land,
a land that flows,
as they say,
with milk and honey.
And He'll give it to us.
Just don't be afraid of those people.
Why, we'll have them for lunch!
They have no protection and God is on our side.
Don't be afraid of them."

God said to Moses:
"How long will they refuse to trust me?"

Joshua will go in.
Build up his courage.
He's the one who will claim the inheritance for Israel.
Give him courage.
Give him strenth.
Single-handed he will lead this people across the river.

Don't be afraid of them.
God, your God,
He's fighting for you.
Be strong.
Take courage.
And I'll be right there with you.

Get ready to cross the Jordan River.
Into the land I am about to give to THEM.
[Yes, Joshua, this is for you.
And yes, Joshua, this is not just for you; It is for them]. 
I will give you [you singular and you plural]
every place where you SET. YOUR. FOOT.
[You must set your foot; You must claim it].
Your territory will extend.
No one will be able to stand against you.

Get going.
Cross this Jordan River.
You and all the people.
Cross to the country I'm giving to the people of Israel.
I'm giving you every square inch of land you SET. YOUR. FOOT. ON.
It's ALL yours [yours singular and yours plural].
You are going to lead these people to inherit the land that I promised to give to their ancestors.
Give it EVERYthing you have [all in].
Heart and soul [all in].
[This is not just for you.  It is for all my people].
[If you claim this land, they too will claim it].

But you, tough soldiers, all must cross the river in battle formation.
Leading your brothers.
Helping them until God,
your God,
gives your brothers a place of rest.
Just as He has done for you.
[Milk. Honey. Rest.  These await you].

He arrived at the Jordan and camped before crossing over.
When you see the covenant-chest of God,
your God,
--start moving.
--follow it.
[Follow Him].
And you'll see clearly the route to take.
You've never been on this road before.

This is how you will know that God is alive among you
--He will completely dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, etc.
When the soles of the feet,
of the priests carrying the chest of God,
touch the Jordan's water,
the flow of water will be stopped,
the water coming from upstream will pile up in a heap.

And that's what happened.
The people left their tents to cross the Jordan.
Carrying the chest of the covenant.
And people crossed,
facing Jericho.
Finally the whole nation was across the Jordan,
and not one wet foot.

When the WHOLE nation was finally across, God spoke to Joshua.
From right here,
the middle of the Jordan,
where the feet of the priests are standing firm,
take 12 stones.
Carry them across with you and set them down in the place where you camp tonight.
Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder.
So you'll have something later to mark the occasion.
When your children ask you,
"What are these stones to you?"
You'll say,
the flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the chest of the covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan
--stopped in its tracks.
These stones are a permanent memorial for the people of Israel.
All told,
about forty thousand armed soldiers crossed over before God to the plains of Jericho,
ready for battle.
Yes, God, your God,
dried up the Jordan's waters for you until you had crossed.

When all the kings heard how God had stopped the Jordan River
before the people of Israel until they had crossed over,
their hearts sank;
the courage drained out of them,
just thinking about the people of Israel.

At that time, God said to Joshua,
circumcise the people of Israel a second time.

A land flowing with milk and honey.
Right away,
the day after Passover,
they started eating the produce of that country.
As soon as they started eating food grown in the land,
there was no more manna for the people of Israel.

And then this,
while Joshua was near Jericho,
he looked up and saw right in front of him,
a man standing,
holding his drawn sword.
Joshua stepped up to him and said,
"Whose side are you on--
ours or our enemies?"
He said,
I'm commander of God's army.
I've just arrived."
Joshua fell,
face to the ground,
and worshipped.
He asked,
"What orders does my Master have for His servant?"
God's army commander ordered Joshua,
"Take your sandals off your feet.
The place you are standing is holy."
Joshua did it.

Jericho was shut up tight as a drum,
because of the people of Israel;
no one going in,
no one coming out.
God spoke to Joshua.
I've already given Jericho to you.

And then,
a long blast on the ram's horn--
when you hear that,
all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs.
The city wall will collapse at once.
All the people are to enter,
every man straight on in.
Shout!--God has given you this city!

As for you,
watch over yourselves in the city under holy curse.
Be careful that you don't covet anything in it and take something that's cursed,
encouraging the camp of Israel with the curse and making trouble for everyone.
All silver and gold,
all vessels of bronze and iron,
are holy to God.
Put them in God's treasury.

When the people heard the blast of the trumpets,
they gave a thunder clap shout.
The wall fell at once.
The people rushed straight into the city and took it.

Joshua said,
"Oh, oh, oh... Master, God.
Why did you insist on brining this people across the Jordan?
To make us victims of the Amorites?
To wipe us out?"
God said to Joshua,
"Get up.
I can't continue with you if you don't rid yourselves of the cursed things."

God said to Joshua,
"Don't be timid and don't so much as hesitate.
I have turned the king over to you."

Joshua didn't lower his outstretched javelin until the sacred destruction of Ai,
and all it's people,
was completed.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I AM full of Him and ice-cream.

I asked the Lord to show me my heart.

So He took my hand and began to lead me down the hallway of the house of my heart.

And as we are walking, I notice that all of the rooms are empty.
And I immediately start feeling...ashamed?  Guilty?  Disappointed?
Why were all the rooms empty?
Why is there nothing in here?
What had I done wrong?

And the Lord keeps leading me.
With a spring in His step.
He loudly and excitedly says, "Look at ALL this SPACE! I've got SO much room!"
He keeps saying this as we pass empty room after empty room.
We enter a room and before He flips the light switch, I expect to find something in this room.
And He says again, "Look at ALL this SPACE! I've got SO much space!"
"Look how BIG this space is!"
I continue following.
Trying to understand.
Trying to see what He's seeing.

And all along, I feel as though there has got to be a room somewhere with something in it.
Wondering, when we get to the far back depths of the house, what we'd find there.
He had just recently shown me someone else's heart.
The most amazing room in them was way in the back.
I knew something was far back in mine.

The Lord spoke to my spirit.
There was a room.
Did I want to see it?
I did.
But I was held back.
Almost not wanting to look.
I knew it was good.
But would I trust what I would see?
I didn't look that day.
That day, I just trusted the Lord's excitement about my abundance of empty space.
Not understanding it.
But knowing that it must be good.

The next day He took me into the house of my heart again.
He took me through the empty rooms like the day before.
And I longed to see the room in the back.
We were further back than the day before; the Lord still flipping light switches and revealing empty rooms.
And my eye caught the end of the hall.

A single door at the very end.
A solid gold door.

The Lord noticed my distraction from the empty rooms.
He shifted.
He was still excited. But.. it was a more gentle, restful, savory, inwardly full and satisfied kind of excitement.
"That room is SO valuable," He said softly.
"That's my inner sanctuary."
"Do you want to go inside?" He asked.
 I wanted to, but I was overwhelmed.
The. Door. Was. GOLD.
Solid. Gold.
Nothing was going to get through that door.
Nothing was going to destroy that space with this door.
That space was safe.

"Do you want to go inside?" He asked.
"Yes," I said.
I grabbed the doorknob.
It was gold too.
The door opened and the lights were off.
Another moment of doubt came upon me.
Would I trust what I saw?
I almost turned around.

He flipped the light switch.
And I saw a trampoline.
I chuckled to myself.
There would be a trampoline in this room.
I began to look around some more.
And there was candy EVERYwhere.
It basically looked like a carnival.
And I immediately said, "is there an ice-cream stand?"
(I love me some ice-cream).
And then His exuberant excitement like before rose up in Him again.
"YES!"  "It's over here!"
And He took me over to the stand, "There is EVERY flavor.  EVERY flavor."
And then He noted, "EVEN those flavors you knew should exist but never have before.  SEE-- Dark Chocolate Oreo!" "It's all here!  EVERY flavor!"

Not long after this, He grabbed the ice-cream stand and started running out the back room and down the hall.  Shouting to me, "Let's go handout ice-cream!"
I was a bit hesitant.
This room was nice.
Full of ice-cream.
I didn't really want to leave.

But I followed.
And the Lord went the whole way out to the door of my heart, at the front of my chest.
And He swung the door opened and screamed, "FREE ICE-CREAM!"
People began to come to get icecream.
And they came right into my heart and sat in the empty rooms (at tables that weren't previously there) and started eating.
And everyone was satisfied.
Everyone had a different flavor.
And I asked the Lord, "What if we run out?"
"Oh NO --we won't run out!" He said, "There is PLENTY more in the back!"

I think I was empty for two reasons:
1.  So that He could be the only thing in those rooms.  Lots of space for Him alone.
2.  So that I could bring others into those rooms with He and I.  And bring them in with my "ice-cream."

I am full of Him and ice-cream.