Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baby Bailey

This is our new kitten, Bailey. She is super snuggly and sweet and we love her! I hope you all get an opportunity to meet her sometime soon (while she is still teeny tiny!). 

She has developed a funny habit of wanting to sit on my back when i bend over, or wanting to climb up my shoulders and sit between my shoulder blades while I am standing. The first picture is of me bending over on the computer and Bailey sitting on my back watching me over my shoulder. She couldn't be cuter!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Culture of Honor

This is my response to a blog about Todd Bentley to the author, he asked for our thoughts so I thought I'd post mine:

This is a link to a response that I like very much regarding Todd Bentley. I think it's important for us to develop and keep a culture of honor. This church in Redding, California has found a way to recognize different anointings when they see them, and look past the things that they might not agree with. Whenever someone speaks at Bethel Church in Redding, the pastor will never tell you what he didn't agree with. He wants to train the church to recognize different anointings and different moves of God in different people. And sometimes those come in unlikely and maybe even uncomfortable forms. The important thing is to learn to see God, instead of the human. To recognize the "Truth" wherever it is. If we focus on the good, and learn to honor fellow believers even if we have small differences in doctrine, we get closer to understanding the heart of the Father. Just like the dad in the Prodigal Son, he did not care about the mess his son had gotten into. He loved his son and wanted to honor him and bless him just for being his son.

As believers we are going to keep being divided as long as we remain critical, and see the human error rather than the potentially mighty move of God in someone. Todd needed believers to support him (by supporting you don't have to agree with every last stroke of the pen), to love him, to honor him, and to pray for him. I believe that Todd has an amazing anointing to heal the sick and raise the dead. I know several people personally who encountered God in ways they never had before in Lakeland. Todd ushered in God's presence no matter how you look at it.

If you look at the history of revivals and revivalists, you'll notice that at the end, the "main player" usually gets burnt out, tired, and broken. Moves of God can happen quickly, and when someone is pushed ahead of the group to lead, they rarely have an opportunity to build in extra accountability, prayer support, and to get friends alongside them to help them lead. Without those things, anyone would burn out and get tired and feel lonely. Believers are meant to be honored and supported by each other, without being divisive about every detail. I think in times like this, we need to storm the gates of heaven on behalf of our brother in Christ, rather than sitting at the dinner table picking him apart. We need to show honor and love to all believers. If we can't love the Body, how can we love the lost? the homeless? the poor?

We have to first know and feel the love of God for us, before we can unconditionally give it. We should work from love not for love. from victory not for victory. and from a place of rest rather than for a place of rest. We have been fully equipped with everything we need, we just have to believe we have it, and then act on it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Necessity of the Spirit

God has been putting some thoughts on my heart recently that I have loved. Each thought is unique, and might appear somewhat scattered, but it will make sense in the end.  :) 

In old Jewish traditions, a man would propose to a woman. He would then leave to go and  "prepare a place" for her. He would build a house, or add a room onto the house he already had for he and his bride to live in. The girl would continue about her business for months or even years, waiting on her groom to finish their place. But she would always leave a light on in the room she was in, so that when her groom would come back to get her, he would know where to find her and know that she was ready. She wouldn't know if he'd come for her during the day or at night, so leaving a lamp lit was a necessity. 

We have to be ready for Jesus' return. Being ready for Him to come in the middle of the night and find us still waiting patiently for Him. I want Him to come back and find me faithfully waiting.  Letting my light shine all the time so that He'll know where to find me and know that I am ready for Him to take me away. I want Him to see my white garments and know that I am for Him only. 

* * * *

John the Baptist was someone in the Bible who embraced his calling to the fullest extent. He existed to pave the way for Jesus. To prepare the way for Him. To prepare people for His coming. All He did was announce the coming Messiah. He proclaimed His goal and His power. Not only did He announce the coming of Jesus, but also the fact that Jesus was going to baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire. John the Baptist lived completely yielded to his calling. Everything about him pointed to Jesus. He waited actively, fervently, and passionately  for Him. 

John the Baptist announced Jesus' first coming. And he did that well. But we're here to announce Jesus' second coming. To help prepare ourselves and everyone else around us for the Bridegroom's return for us. We are the John the Baptists of today. We're meant to prepare the way for Jesus to come. We are brightly lit lovers of God, shining so that not only will everyone else see the light, but Jesus will know right where to find us when He returns.

* * * *

After Jesus was crucified, He came back and appeared to over 500 people, telling them not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came upon them.  However, only 120 were still there to receive the Spirit when it actually came time for the outpouring. This small group was fervently awaiting the Holy Spirit, spending time in prayer and worship until the Spirit came upon them. They had a unity of heart and really went after what Jesus had promised. And they were the ones who received the gift of the Spirit and the anointing and power to move and walk in the same power that Jesus had.

 In the same way that a bride would wait years for her groom, and John the Baptist fervently waited and announced the coming Lord, people were called to passionately wait on the Spirit's arrival. It was those who were completely yielded to the coming Jesus that received the outpouring of the Spirit. People who were so wrapped up in everything about Jesus. Wrapped up in God's purposes for them. I want to be completely wrapped up in and engulfed by Jesus and His love and purposes. Fully empowered by the Spirit. 

But we have to seek out the deeper things of God, passionately and fervently praying for them and awaiting their arrival...but those who seek find. People had to wait on the Spirit, but were blessed immensely for not losing focus and not forgetting that the Spirit was coming. That there was more to be had. It was only the 120 faithful that received the overflow of the Spirit and were able to fully walk in the power that Jesus had. I want to shine. To glow with the radiance of God's presence. To walk in power that comes from above. That changes atmospheres. That makes heaven invade earth. I want to proudly receive Jesus and His entering in to my life. I'm ready for His return. And He will find me patiently, actively, and zealously waiting for Him.