Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Encounter: Part 1

 1 I am a rose of Sharon, 
      a lily of the valleys.
     2 Like a lily among thorns, 
      So is my love among the daughters.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, 
      So is my beloved among the sons. 
      I sat down in his shade with great delight, 
      And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
    4 He brought me to the banqueting house, 
      And his banner over me was love. 
    5 Sustain me with cakes of raisins, 
      Refresh me with apples, 
      For I am lovesick. 
    6 His left hand is under my head, 
      And his right hand embraces me. 
    7 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, 
      By the gazelles or by the does of the field, 
      Do not stir up nor awaken love 
      Until it pleases.

So the last couple weeks it has been almost comical to me as I have been able to literally find myself in the scriptures.  If you have ever done this, it's quite amusing.  It's just like, "Hey, if I would known you were where I was at 3 days ago I would have never have..." well you get the point.  Song of Songs really has been like a roadmap to me since my time here at IHOP, and I think it is something that everyone should take the time to study.  Really the song has become one of my good friends, it's like, "Oh, you feel like crap today, let's see what Mr. Song has to say about that.  Or, you don't feel like Jesus likes you, oh, what does 4 verse 1 say again?  Behold you are fair, what?"  Really, there is some good stuff in there, you just gotta look at the song rightly to get it.

Upon arriving here I was definitely in these first 7 verses of chapter 2.  Chapter 2 verses 1-7 speak of the bride's identity and life purpose.  As I studied these verses closer, they grabbed my heart in a way that I have never experienced before.  Mike Bickle's notes give a great outline of what each verse means, and even some of the nitty gritty details of some of the vernacular used.  But what was so good to me was the fact of finding my value and identity in Jesus.  That my efforts and work in this life mean nothing compared to what I have in Christ.  The concept of being lovesick for Jesus finally became a reality after observing these verses.

Verses 1-2 are talking about our identity and life purpose being, being Jesus' inheritance.  The bride is pictured as a beautiful rose and a pure lily whose primary life purpose and identity is found in seeking to fully love (rose) and obey (lily) Jesus.  In verse 2 Jesus is describing the woman as a lily (obedient) in the midst of sin, and trials.  We are the rose and lily whose love and obedience arises as fragrance that intoxicates Jesus' heart.  We are the only prize that Jesus longs for.  I was made to obey Jesus as His promised inheritance, and in doing this I bring joy to the heart of Jesus.  When you start to understand the Jesus has an inheritance waiting for Him at the end of the age, and it's you, it's a fearful feeling, but at the same time glorious!  Because it's not like Jesus is disappointed!  He is so excited to receive us as His!  "Our primary identity is not what we do with our hands but what we pursue with our hearts."

In 2:3a "Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons." It is talking about how Jesus alone can satisfy our hearts.  There is only one who refreshes the human spirit at the highest level.  When we receive the revelation of Jesus as an apple tree or as the primary source that satisfies our heart, then we seek Him with all our heart.

Verses 2:3b-4 is enjoying the presence of Jesus.  "I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste 4 He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love."  One of the greatest pleasures available to the human spirit comes as we feed on His Word and feel His presence.  The Word brings delight and is sweet to all who will continually feast on Jesus.  "We only enjoy the shade of God's Word by resting in the shade of Jesus' cross....We will never experience the delight and refreshing of Jesus as the apple tree without sitting long hours in the shade of the apple tree by feeding on His Word by the help of the Holy Spirit."

I love that in 2:4 that He displays His leadership over our lives by displaying a banner of love over us.  His leadership is perfect, wise, and good in every way.  What a great message to have spoken over us, that He is in control, and He knows just what we need when we need it.  "First, His banner over us is His lovingkindness (mercy). When we fail, the banner over our life is confidence in His mercy not the fear of being rejected by God.  We confess, "His banner over me is love even when I fail."  Second, His banner over us speaks of His ability to overrule the negative circumstances in our life by causing everything for our good (Romans 8:28)."  I love that!

Two verse five is really what messed me up last night.  As apples speak of the refreshing of Jesus, so the raisins speak of the ministry of the Spirit since they are died grapes.  Which grapes represent the wine of the Spirit.  "In other words, she cries, "Sustain me with more of the SPirit and refresh me with more of Jesus."'  But what really got me was the fact that we are called to live lovesick for God.  That when we walk in true communion with Jesus it causes such deep and even painful feeling of love and longing for more of Jesus.  "Lovesickness will not be satisfied with anything less than persevering.  These desperate hunger pains are proof that we have been touched by God."  After reading this, more than any other time in my life, I had a deep pain over loving Jesus.  But this left me so fulfilled it was the weirdest thing in the world!  My heart was experiencing Jesus in a way it never had before, which was very painful, but at the same time the most glorious feeling I have ever experienced!  It's almost like riding the most insane roller coaster, it drives this thrill of fear in us.  We genuinely have a fear of our life, but the pleasure of it is so good, we go back for more.

Quickly in 2:6 the left hand speaks of all the work that He is doing in our lives that we cannot see.  His right hand is the guidance and embrace that we know is working in our life.

And 2:7 finally makes sense to me now.  Do not arouse or awaken this love for Christ until you are ready for the trials that come with it!  When you truly seek after Jesus with all your heart, you better be ready because the true lovesickness you experience in your heart is truly painful.  But if you persevere and continue, it is truly worth every bit of it!

Strength & Honor,
Grace and Peace.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You Light up the Room

Something that has perplexed me since being here at IHOP, every night I am in the prayer room from midnight to 6 a.m, and since being here getting to know quite a few people here that I have gotten to know and have a pretty good relationship with, I always wondered why I would just get this lifted spirit when they would walk by while pacing, or I would see them in the hallway when I would get water.  Or by some random chance I end up sitting next to them through the whole night.  I always thought it was something weird, but it turns out that the familiarity of someone, and the safeness that we feel when being around someone we know, is just a natural reaction after spending hours on end engaging spiritually with a bunch of people that I haven't a clue about.

A few days ago it was about 4 a.m and I was just absolutely getting to a point of exhaustion from the day past, and didn't see how I was going to make it the last 2 hours of the night.  I was pacing up and down the aisle in the back pondering these thoughts when Mark walks in the door after coming back from the restroom and walk right by me.  In that moment there wasn't a person that I would have rather seen.  All of a sudden my spirits were lifted, I was energized, and ready to finish out the night.  I don't know what it was, but my spirit get like this shot of adrenaline after he walked by me.  Just having the simple thought in my head that, "Oh, I know you, I like you a lot, I know that you know, that you know what is going through my head and it gives me encouragement to know that you know this!"  Lou Engle said something in one of his sermons that has stuck with me, there's something about confessing your sins to one another, and helping each other by praying for one another, and then seeing him later outside of that environment and knowing that you are clean to the max!  Just knowing that Mark is human, and he has struggles, and I have struggles, yet we are both in this thing together, running sprinting, kicking, and crawling our way towards the intimacy of Jesus with every night we spend in the prayer room.

Sunday night we had our song of solomon class taught by Sada, which I always thoroughly enjoy.  She talked briefly about this feeling of seeing someone in the prayer room that we know and being encouraged by it, and it was just funny because it spoke directly to me.  Her point in sharing about this was that she had a tip for us.  The tip was that as we pace through the nights that we would be praying that Jesus, because a real man, that we would walk into Him.  That we would be just pacing back and forth and all of a sudden Jesus walks in the room and lifts our heart to a deeper desire to search after Him as He so intrigues us.  I loved this concept so last night and tonight I have been praying that I would encounter Jesus in a real way.  That He would speak to me when I go out to get some water, that he would walk by me as I pace reading His Word.  That as Mark lifts my heart when he walks by, so would Jesus enlarge my love for Him as He encounters me in some way, whatever it may be.

Even as I was writing this Mark walked by and seriously without even thinking there was just a, "Oh, I like that guy alot." Going on in my head.  I could actually feel a comfort in just seeing him.  I'm gonna go pray some more that Jesus would lift my heart in the same way.

Strength & Honor,
Grace & Peace.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

I WIll Waste My Life

Not to say that I didn't know what I was getting myself into when coming here to KC, I guess I didn't realize how much of my life would be consumed by this lifestyle. Obviously the internship life is a little more intense than if I were just attending the music school, but still! I was laying on my bed tonight relaxing for a half hour before coming to the prayer room, and I was listening to Misty Edwards song "I WIll Waste My Life." As I let the words of that song seep into my spirit I started to understand more and more the lifestyle in Christ we have been called to.

I will waste my life,
I'll be tested and tried.
With no regrets inside of me,
Just to find I'm at your feet,
Let me find I'm at your feet.

I leave my father's house, and
I leave my Mother.
I leave all I have known, and
I'll have no other.

For I am in love with you,
and there is no cost.
I am in love with you,
and there is no loss.
I am in love with you,
I want to take your name.
I am in love with you,
I want to cling to you, Jesus,
Just let me cling to you, Jesus.

I say goodbye to my father, my mother,
I turn my back on every other lover, and I
Press on, yes I press on.
I say goodbye to my father, my mother,
I turn my back on every other lover, and I press on, yes I press on.

For I am in love with you,
and there is no cost.
I am in love with you,
and there is no loss.
I am in love with you,
I want to take your name.
I am in love with you,
I want to cling to you, Jesus,
just let me cling to you, Jesus,
I want to cling to you...

Really this a pretty intense song to sing if you think about it.  But it really has been the song I've been singing the last 4 months of my life.  There is something about moving on to the calling of Yahweh in your life where nothing else matters.  You get to the point of surrendering all and saying, "Lord, I just want to be found faithful at the end of the age."  In this internship I have surrendered all my desires, laid down all the things that "Isaac wants to do" and said, "Lord, what do you have me in this season for?  What is your heart in this matter?"

I have been averaging about 6ish hours of sleep a night since I've been here, and that could be stretching it.  Going full blast class, prayer room hours, EGS services on the weekend, and random events scheduled in, six days a week will just wear a person out.  But it has been so worth it.  The last couple days I have been about ready to fall out tired.  Prayer room hours seem long, days seem longer, and everything just has been dragging.  But even through all of my complaining about how tired I am, and how I wish we didn't have to do this event so that I could sit down and think to myself for a minute, God has continued to reveal Himself in new ways.  It seems like in the moments that I am most tired, and the most worn out, when I choose to still open up the Word and study the emotions of God, is when He chooses to reveal the most about Himself.

So I have officially decided that living a lifestyle of being worn out, exhausted, going to bed at 7 a.m and waking up around 1 p.m everyday, all for the sake of getting to know Jesus better, isn't such a bad thing after all.  If it takes me to a place where I can get to know Jesus more intimately then it's worth it.

Having the option to waste my life on any one thing, I think that I have made the right decision in wasting it on Christ and getting a eternal reward over the reward of 8 hours of sleep a night.  It is completely worth it to me to walk around half asleep during the mid-afternoon hours of the day, so that I can be engaging in spiritual warfare through the nights to bring restoration to my own life, and shift things in the spiritual realms for others.  I am willing to answer the calling of Ezekiel 22:30 and stand in the gap for those that cannot fend for themselves.

So I say goodbye to comfortable living, I forsake all other lovers and turn to my beloved one Jesus.  I choose the pleasures of God over all the temporary pleasures of this world.  I choose, to waste my life on Christ!

Strength & Honor,
Grace & Peace.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Season

Today I feel very strongly that I was ushered into a new season of my life. I feel like I found myself finally in the story of the Song of Solomon as I have been studying it so closely the last month. At some points I thought I would find myself in chapter 4:9 where Jesus is speaking words of life over me, and He truly was, but I don't think that is really where I am.

"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love." Song of Solomon 2:3-5

This is the stage that I feel like I have just left. Since being here in KC my answer has been, "Yes Lord, I want to come with you, I want to get to know you, I want to experience your love better than wine, (vs. 1:2) I want to encounter You!" The good news is that I really have grown so much in my relationship with my beloved. But a reality that really did hit me today is how immature in my love toward Him I am. I guess I always knew that, but today it hit me more than ever before. In verses 8-13 of chapter 2 the woman is seeing who this man Jesus really is. That He is no longer this calm relaxing guy that sits under the shade of the apple tree for all eternity. Sitting under the tree experiencing the love of Christ is good, but that is only a season. This speaks of the finished work of the cross that Jesus did for us. We can rest in His presence because of what He did for us, we can enjoy the pleasures of the Father because of His sacrifice. But we can't stay there. Jesus is now in seen leaping across the mountains, the trials in our life, and skipping on the hills. This is a pretty scary thought to the woman, and had been a pretty scary idea in my own head. Jesus was calling me and beckoning me to follow Him through and across the mountains. To arise and face the sin issues in my past. Which to a point I have done, but to totally conquer them there has been a small amount of me that has said, "Uhh, Lord, I love you, but I just can't jump over this one." In essence I was saying 2:16. "Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills." Out of my immature love, without even realizing it, I was telling Jesus, I want to be with you where you are, but I just can't get there yet. Which is okay. I mean, it's something everyone has to face at one point or another. However there is a big difference between in immaturity saying turn, and in rebellion saying no. My saying no in immaturity is my lack of intimacy with Jesus therefore I still struggle with sin, but am striving to overcome it. A rebellious spirit is saying go ahead and go on without me, I'm just going to stay here because I am tired of trying to get past this issue in my life, and I think I'll just let this area in my life be, because it causes me to much pain to try and overcome it.

Well I finally realize that the last week I have been really experiencing the discipline of the Lord of chapter 3, verses 1-5. In my immaturity I told Jesus to go on without me, so he withdrew His presence from me to get my attention, to see how I would respond to the trial. My response the last week has been, "Why can't I feel your presence? Lord I don't know what You are doing right now, but I still want to get to know you even in this dry season, so I'm going to seek You out." Funny how I didn't just turn to Song of Songs 3:1-5 and realize what was going on. Of course it's always in hindsight that we see what's going on. Regardless, it was such an incredible feeling today to truly feel the presence of the Lord restored as I passed this trial. I began to see things in my heart that I didn't even know where there. A confidence to now want to follow after Jesus to go where He goes, to follow wherever He leads. To finish it off, tonight we were in our Sermon on the Mount class talking about getting to a place of 100% pursuit. How Jesus says, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect." Calling us to that place of never getting satisfied with the place we find ourselves. If we are not in 100% pursuit then we are not found in the favor of His eyes. He still loves us, but he can't enjoy us and delight in us if we haven't surrendered every area of our life and given ourself to the pursuance of holiness. So it was so encouraging to know that I was being enjoyed by the Father as I had this past couple days really just devoted myself to laying everything area of my life down before Lord. I walked out of class feeling so enjoyed by the Father. How my heart lifted in joy, happiness, and a peace that was so comforting.

I believe that Jesus has started revealing himself to me now as He is in verses 6-11 in chapter 3. The "Safe Savior." He holds the keys to death and hell, and we are scared of what? We should fear the Lord alone, and forsake all other things for the pursuit of His holy name! My heart has been encouraged, and I am excited to be living before the eyes of my maker, as I have found myself in the scriptures.

Strength & Honor,
Grace & Peace.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pretty Crazy Really

I found myself laying on my bed last night, errr, this morning rather, thinking about what an incredible month and a half it has been so far here in Kansas City. Everytime I get the chance to share with someone how I got here, and why I chose to be here rather than anywhere else, it just stirs my heart in remembrance of why I truly am here. How weird, obscure, and abnormal this must look to everyone around me. "Ok, you went to Kansas City to do what now?" How weird people must think I am to give up everything, move to Kansas City, away from family and friends, to sit in a room with 150 other people from midnight to 6 a.m everynight and pray. Once again, why? I'm so glad that I can answer that question with a confident and shameless, "Because the creator of the world has chosen to call me by name and is interested in me. How could I say no!" I really believe that what is going on here at the International House of Prayer will play a huge part in the end time harvest of believers. God is going to honor every commitment from people that gave up luxuries of life to live here on a non-existent salary praying 30-50 hours a week! Another aspect of this community that I have loved since the moment of arriving here is just the warmness and friendship of it all. Walking down the sidewalk to see someone sitting at a picnic table totally lost in the presence of the Lord as they sit there playing their guitar and singing at the top of their voice (which sounds terrible) but they don't give a hoot because they are doing it unto the Lord! How many times a week I still hear, "Where are you from? Oh cool why'd you come here?" As that question does get a little old, the part where I get to share how incredible God was in His faithfulness to getting me here, I still enjoy telling.

Something else that has birthed out of being here is this awesome partnership with my brother Mark. I have shared about him in entries past, but the more time I get to spend with him, and the more we get to encourage and rebuke one another in the Lord. The more I want to just spend every-minute of every-day with him! I was sitting on my bed last night as well thinking about an unfortunate event that will happen in a month and a half when we part ways and say, "Until the next time our God makes our paths cross!" How my heart ached at the thought of this. Now truly, I've never been in a relationship with a woman, but, truly this most be a part of the feeling of loving someone. As we share a passion in the Lord so deeply, and both have such an earnest desire to commit all we have and more for the purpose of the Lord, my heart screams, "You can't ever let this guy leave!" But the Lord's leadership and timing is perfect in everything. So I trust that this season that me and Mark share together will be exactly what we needed, for the exact right amount of time. But the thought right now truly is unbearable. So Mark, I say what a blessing to my heart, and encouragement to my faith you are! God is using you and will continue to use you, in great and marvelous ways beyond what you or me could ever imagine!

Strength & Honor,
Grace & Peace.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

I can blog from my phone, SWEET!!!

A New Home

I guess you could call it a new beginning, or just continuing with what I was doing, only now I'm on a different website. My other blog site at web.mac will no longer be getting updated as of July 7th as my year long subscription will expire, and I'm broke as a mug, so I'm not going to renew it. So I'm going to try this blogger deal and see if it works out for me.

So it is quite unfortunate that once again I'm starting over and will have that boring first month where there is nothing on this blog, well, stay with me, I'll do my best to keep you intrigued and updated on my life!

Be Blessed!