Monday, January 26, 2009

Wondrous Things

Two mornings ago, I was reading Psalm 72: 17-19. Check it out.

"His name shall endure forever,
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him.
All nations shall call Him blessed.

Blessed be the Lord God,
the God of Israel,
who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth
be filled with His glory.
Amen and amen."

The phrases "wondrous things" jumped off the page and into my journal. ;) Not only does God do wondrous things, even better than that is, he only does wondrous things. How amazing that the God we have the opportunity to come to, and to lay down our lives daily before, is a God of only miracles. God is not in the business of blessings that are...kinda good, kinda positive, will kinda make this day better. Wondrous is remarkably extraordinary. I want that.

Our God is able.
Our God is miraculous.
Our God is good.
Our God gives life.
Our God releases.
Our God only does Wondrous Things.

Take the promise from His Word and come to Him expecting to receive. He loves it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Night Drives

God meets me a lot in the car. It seems to be "our" place. It's a time where I'm alone, with nothing to do except for keeping my eyes on the road. 80% of the time I'm listening to worship music and just enjoying soaking up the words and the scripture that's sung. One of my favourite things to do: driving with worship music. More times than I can count, certain songs will come on my Ipod and I will just be overwhelmed and start to cry. Sometimes it'll be quiet tears, sometimes I'll be smiling while I'm crying, sometimes I'll be laughing that I am crying.

Tonight I just began to sob.

The song was "Holy Spirit Come" by Planetshakers. I can't find a video, but the lyrics are below:

Take me to the place Lord
Where there’s nothing else but me and You
Longing for Your presence
I know that You are calling me to You

Here I stand
And long for Your embrace
Nothing else
Could ever take Your place

Come Holy Spirit
Fall in this place
I need more and more of You
Fill me again with the power of Your Spirit
Lord I’m crying out for
More and more of You

Lord I’m crying out for
More and more of You (oh)

I had just spent the evening with a group of beautiful fourteen and fifteen year old girls; a youth lifegroup I've begun to help out at as a leader-in-training at my church. I have such a heart for this age. I was talking with the two leaders tonight about how my (and their) early teen years were such a time of spiritual highs and lows, ups and downs, belief and doubt, all this back and forth questioning and desiring something real but not "feeling" it. I remember so many dry spots in my life. So many. There was an altar call at our Friday night youth service last week. Our youth pastor called upon those that felt dry, that needed a real touch from God. About 80% of the kids went to the front. Amazing to see. As we discussed the previous week, us three women were reflecting back on those early teen years and remarking how beautiful it is to know and grow deeper with God. To just come to that place where you've built the foundation, as a friend put it, and even though there are highs and lows there aren't huge valleys of doubt--because it's just real. Though life can fall apart, God is SO real. I want everybody I meet to feel that; I want every girl I talk to to know His joy and His love and His peace.

I think it was just a combination of things that made me weep. I literally started to sob and tears were streaming down my face as I prayed for God's Holy Spirit to come to these girls. To fall in their lives. To guide their days. To speak to them in a real way. To show them that Jesus is relevant, Jesus is for today, Jesus is life. I cried for Him to come to me again and again and again and again. Everyday. Everyday I want more. I cried for those years: the years of discovery and of wanting to fit in and of self-loathing and of desiring to be what those around you want you to be, not what you actually are called to be by your personal Saviour. I cried in thankfulness that God brought me through that and calls me His child and desires me to be in communication with Him and for me to rest in Him.

Crying feels so good. Release.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Psalm 119

Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Bible, but for some reason, it's always been my favourite! I usually had a goal to read 5 Psalms a Day, but on the days I read Psalm 119 it was the only psalm I read because it was so long--maybe that's why I've always loved it. ;) In Grade 9, I set out to memorize it because I liked it so much. I remember I had the first twenty-five verses or so, all written out on cue cards and then it was so overwhelming that I stopped trying. How's that for perserverence? Sheesh. It's written in such a simple way, which I love and for some reason I turned to it again this morning and read all 170 verses.

At my church, we're in the middle of a week of "7 Nights of Prayer" from January 1st to January 7th. It's an awesome way to start off the new year and this is the third year in a row our church has had this week of prayer. Yesterday morning our pastor preached an awesome, awesome sermon--just really stirring up the church about the message of God and his power! Do we believe that God can do the things He did in the early church in our churches right now? Because, honestly, if we don't, why are we here? Why do we go to church if it's not to get inspired and filled up and refreshed so we can then go out and change lives and impact hearts and see people healed and blessed and made whole? The Holy Spirit has done such an incredible work in me even in the last ten weeks or so and my faith has been stirred to a place where I know, in my heart of hearts, that God wants to heal. He wants to heal lives, bodies, minds, self-esteems, broken marriages and relationships, friendships. He wants to move in a big way. God is the same, all the time; He doesn't change. What is the variable then between some of the miracles the early church saw and churches today? US! We are the variable! We are the ones that need to stand up and faith and know so assuredly that He is able to do all things. We need to seek His face early in the morning, read His word and rest in His presence and hear the things He would speak to us! We need to get plugged into a church and have fellowship with other believers. (Luke 4:8) We are the ones who need to draw near to God, and He will Draw near to us!

I saw this amazing desperation in the psalmist in Psalm 119. The writer talks a lot about God's commands and demands and how he loves to follow God's heart in his life. One of my favourite parts was in verse 131 when the author writes, "I am nearly out of breath. I really want to learn your commands." As someone who talks a lot, and talks at a pretty fast rate, I know this feeling! I get out of breath when I am talking about something I am SO excited about, SO anticipating, or SO desiring to see! This is what the Psalmist is talking about! 130 verses after he begins, he's talking so fast and so desperate for an encounter with God that he's out of breath. This desire to see his generation follow God with all of their hearts overwhelsm him in verse 136 as "Tears stream from [his] eyes, because people do not obey Your teachings."

How I would love to be so moved and captured by the heart of God that it would move me to tears when I think about our generation.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Theme Verse of 2009

I grew up in a private Christian school, and every new school year they'd have a "theme verse." One year it was something about building foundations, so then all the announcement boards and the cover of the yearbook would have a building theme with hammers and nails and saws. I used to roll my eyes--rolling your eyes at things when you are in a Christian school is really popular. ;) I've never had a verse for the year before--however, I feel like God has given me a life verse, which is Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I loved this verse since it was first brought to my attention when I was about 13 or 14. Being the Dreamer that I am, it amazed me that Jesus really desired to give us the desires of our heart and I'm seeing that more and more! I desired to be in a creative career (turns out it was photography!), I desired to learn (I got to attend University and I learn continually through other photographers as well as my own personal library of business books!), I desired a family (this isn't here yet, but hey, I'm in no rush, I got things to accomplish before I have four kids climbing all over me and a husband to cook for!), and I desired a job that I could handle while raising kids (photography is mainly at home in my office; perfect.) Jesus saw all these things I needed and wanted and had them in His plan. I love that.

I started 2009 by praying early in the morning on January 1st. I wrote down a bunch of things, including my "prayer list" for 2009, a dream list and some goals. While I was reading in 1 Thessalonians I came across this passage, and I knew this would be my theme for 2009.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
"Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit."

Then God just gave me this prayer from these four verses, which perfectly sums up what I desire this year: God, I pray that I experience great joy. I desire to continually be in a state of prayer and to worship You throughout my day, for this is what You desire. I pray that the Holy Spirit will work in me freely, for the glory of your name.

If you haven't found a verse for your 2009, pray about it! He'll answer.