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Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Easter Hunt

When I was a kid, one of my fondest memories of Easter was the game of hidden notes in my grandparents' mansion.  At the start of the game, my siblings and I would be given the first index card with a riddle on it.  The riddle was a clue to help us find the next index card somewhere in the house-- which contained another riddle that lead to the next riddle, and so on.  What absolute fun and excitement as we ran through the house, up and down the stairs, room to room, closet to closet to find our hidden clues.  At the end of the riddle trail was our Easter Treasure -- huge Easter baskets filled with candy and often times a huge toy.  One year, my sister and I were given a Cabbage Patch Doll!  (I'm dating myself now! ;)

What I loved most about this game is the effort that went into it by my grandparents and aunt who created it for us.  They could have very easily just handed our gifts to us and said, "Happy Easter!"  It would have still been a treasure to us and we would have still greatly appreciated it, but they chose to create an adventure for us as well.  They knew that the grand prize would be worth that much more and received with an even greater excitement if we had the opportunity to seek it out.  And, boy, am I glad they did. 

What's interesting, too, is that when I remember those Easters, I don't think about what I received at the end as much as I remember enjoying the journey to get to the end.  It was the journey that made the end that much sweeter.  It was the journey that I tell people about the most.

And, what a cool Dad we have in heaven who understands this concept.  He doesn't save us and then zap us to heaven instantaneously. (Though, for some people, I'm sure He has!)  For most of us, He gives us the joy of experiencing a Journey before we receive our Grand Prize.  He leads us with 'clues' and 'playful riddles'.  And, if we are childlike and have eyes to see, we will know that this Journey is part of the Gift itself.  The seeking and finding builds our excitement.  It fills us with pure laughter as we discover Him along the way.  It gives us a chance to find Him in places we'd never thought to look before.  It gives us a chance to feel the wonder and ever-growing anticipation that, though we haven't yet received it, the end is going to be amazing!  It is the Journey that makes the end that much sweeter.
 

Friday, March 29, 2013



The cross will always produce a reaction in a human being. 
We will either be like the ones who wept at the foot of the cross
or like the ones who mocked and rejected.

His Love is so intense and so pure toward us that whether we realize it or not,
we will respond to it -- whether with acceptance or rejection.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Unplanned

Us planners.  We've got it together.  We've worked it out.  We've thought it through.  We are ready.  We are confident.  We are sure.  We have mentally walked through the process and have seen ourselves through it even before we took the first step. 
 
Commendable, I'd say.  Not everyone has the ability to do that.

How tricky it gets, though, when Unplanned enters stage left into your perfectly planned out scene. 

Unplanned baby.
Unplanned job relocation.
Unplanned/Sudden loss of a loved one.
Unplanned divorce.
Unplanned health issues.

Unplanned.  Unplanned!  UNPLANNED!!

Who invited them??  Certainly not you.  And, they are most certainly not part of your plan or found anywhere near your day planner!  Suddenly, you find yourself catching your plans in mid-air as if they have just been tossed like cards in front of you.

But, here is the beauty to your drama. 

God knows.  Period. 

No, maybe you didn't.  But, He did.  He knew Unplanned was going to show up.  He knew before time even began.  And, if you stop for a moment in your panic and look up, you'll find that God is not shaken one bit about it.  He's not shocked.  He's not anxious.  He's not overwhelmed.  He's not because He knows that everything in life, whether good or bad, planned or unplanned is all being woven together for our good.  It doesn't mean He necessarily made Unplanned walk in on your script, but it does mean He is able to fit Unplanned perfectly into His Script and bring it to a beautiful ending.

Question is:  Will you trust Him as He weaves?
 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

willingly

 
 
When someone is precious to you, and I mean precious, the last thing you want to see happen is for them to get hurt or suffer.  You love them more than anything in the world.  I love my children with my whole heart.  It would be agonizing to ever have to see them suffer in profound ways.

I can only imagine then, the amount of pain our Heavenly Father felt when He sent His Son and watched Him die on that tree.  What a ripping and tearing of His Heart! 

Sacrifice was felt across the board.  The Father giving His Only Son.  His Son sacrificing and being sacrificed for us. 

Sacrifice is a word that speaks the highest level of LOVE.  It is a word that does not always look pretty.  But, it is the kind of Love where the rubber meets the road.  Where the giver willingly takes the hit -- no matter how agonizing the pain and the loss. 

Our Father.  Our Brother.  This is how much they love us.  Neither one of them held back.  They willingly gave.  They willingly sacrificed. 

This is how much we are worth to them. 

http://youtu.be/12MKToWNb8Q
 
 



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Same Love - Paul Baloche

http://youtu.be/xAK3t6uG58Q

The Wrecking Ball

If you've ever been to a carnival, you've probably seen this game.  Bottles or cups are stacked on top of each other like a pyramid.  The player's goal is to throw a ball and knock them all down.  They get three chances. 

Very fun as a carnival game, but, if we are not careful, we may end up playing this game in real life. 

Maybe it's because we are insecure.  We need to pump ourselves up and make ourselves feel better about who we are.  Maybe we just think it's funny and it gives us the attention from others we've been craving.

Whatever the reason, we find ourselves being a human wrecking ball.

We see the 'pyramids' that others are building around us as targets.  Instead of finding ways to encourage and hold up, we look around for the nearest 'ball' that we can throw at it.

Ball #1:   Our Words.  We demean the work of others' hands.  We criticize.

Ball #2:  Our Response.  We counteract just for the sake of counteracting-- not for any benefit.

Ball #3:  Our UNresponsiveness.  The child that needs her father to say 'good job' and he won't.  The wife that feels emotionally abandoned because her husband refuses to give of himself.  Refusal to love and refusal to build is equal to tearing down.


We either build or tear down.  Which one will you choose today?
 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Be prepared.
 
Be prepared to feel unprepared.
Be prepared to feel out of your element.
 
Be prepared to let go of your outlines and all you think should be said.
Be prepared to speak a timely word that overflows from the Fountain within.
Be prepared to speak things you didn't expect to say.
 
Be prepared to know things you didn't know before arriving.
Be prepared to wonder why you're even saying it.
 
Be prepared to feel Power.
Be prepared to feel a release of it through you.
Be prepared to even be surprised.
 
Be prepared to feel like you've just jumped into the Book.
Be prepared to realize all your head knowledge is a Reality.
Be prepared to watch it play out before your eyes.
 
Be prepared to see the unbelievable.
The unimaginable.
The impossible and moments of pure Glory.
 
Be prepared for more.
For, there is more.
 
Be prepared for anything.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Falling

"Daddy, why do they say you're falling when people talk about being in love?"  my younger daughter asked with curiosity.

"That's a good question, baby." my husband answered.  "I don't know."

"Maybe it's because you're letting go so you can grab hold of someone special."  I chimed in from the kitchen.  
 
 
***************


 
Falling is definitely not a comfortable word for me.  It's something that happens in dreams and jerks me awake as I try catching myself.   It brings back memories of sprained ankles and a broken arm. It is not a good word in my vocabulary, to say the least.  

But, when it comes to loving God, 'falling' is one of the most beautiful words you can use, I think.  When I think of falling in love with God, I think of the game that people play called 'trust fall'.  You let yourself fall backward and fully trust that the person behind you will catch you.  

This is the kind of love and trust He is working us toward in our relationship with Him.  He wants us to know Him so well and feel so comfortable with Him that we are willing to let ourselves completely go into His arms, His will, and His leading.  A full surrender.  A reckless trust.  A faith so strong and a love so pure that there is no part of us that is held back.  We willingly fall and know without a doubt that He will catch us every time.

One of the best examples of this to me is when I'm at the pool with my kids.  I watch as very young children stand at the edge of the pool looking at their dad's wide open arms and smiling faces.  

"If those kids only knew what could happen to them if they fell in without help!" I would say to myself. 

But, their eyes aren't full of fear.  Their eyes are full of trust.  They smile and giggle with their dads and, without a thought, leap joyously into their arms!  Then, they get out and do it again and again and again!  Never once do the children question their father's ability.  They love their dads and know their dads love them.  So they trust.  They jump.  And, they let themselves fall.





 

Monday, March 11, 2013

between the ROCK and a hard place

This past weekend my husband, my personal handyman, ;) put in a new fence for our backyard.  Took him all weekend, bless his little heart.  How happy he was when he was close to being done.  He only had one more post to put in which he said wouldn't take long.  Awhile later, I came out to check on him and he was still working on that same post. 

"You're still trying to put the post in?"  I asked.

He rolled his eyes.  It was supposed to be an easy one-two thing.  Dig the hole, pour the concrete. 

"You're not going to believe this, but I hit old blacktop right where the hole needs to be!"  he said.

I looked over and, sure enough, there was the pile of headache that blocked him from getting through.  Yesterday's rocks.  Forgotten and covered. 

We've lived in this house for 10 years.  Only now are we discovering it.  And, my husband had no choice.  If this was going to be a successful project, he had to deal with it.

Sometimes, it feels like that in our hearts.  God hits a hard place.  I mean like a solid, unmovable place.  Maybe everywhere else He's able to push down on, move around like soft soil -- even places he has planted a garden.  But, His goal is to have our whole hearts.  He doesn't stop at the surface of things.  He desires to go deep, deep down.

And, sometimes he hits blacktop.  Stuff you thought would never have to be dealt with.  Stuff that is buried so deep that you forgot was even there.  Emotions and memories you suppressed.  Anger, like lava, that runs deep underground.  Maybe abuse from your childhood.  Maybe guilt and shame for something you did well before God came in, but you still feel the weight of it.  Maybe a phobia.  Maybe a betrayal.  Maybe a distorted way of seeing yourself.

And, the Master's Hand has found it.  Indeed, He always knew it was there.  He's just clueing you in on it and asking you to be willing to trust Him with even that.

He's not asking you to dig it up.  He simply asking you to release it to Him.  To trust Him enough with even the deeper more sensitive areas.

By the way, my husband finished the fence.  He didn't give up until every last hard rock was moved.
 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Self Improvement

 Self Improvement.

How much money and time is spent on such an endeavor?  From physical, to emotional, to mental and spiritual, we can find books, videos, classes, private sessions and exotic getaways to make a better you.

We invest in it because we realize that our current condition (whether it is physical, emotional, mental or spiritual) could be better.  For some, it's just a tune up and tweak.  For others who are near hopeless, it's a last resort to saving themselves.  Whatever the level of improvement, the key word in this process is 'self'.  Self trying to change self. 

The trouble with self changing self, though, is that most of the time self doesn't know what self really needs.  Self looks at self in the mirror, makes an assessment, and gets busy changing itself based on its perception of itself.  As most of us know, though, a mirror's reflection gives us the opposite of what we put before it.  If I look in the mirror and raise my right hand, the reflection raises its left.  And, if I tilt my head to the left, the reflection tilts its head to the right.  We do not see ourselves rightly.  How hard, then, is it for us to properly change ourselves?

For example, I've put myself on diets to get healthy.  I self-assessed what I should do for myself, and based on my own knowledge and research, I loaded up on whole wheat as part of my self improvement diet -- only later to find out that I'm gluten intolerant!  I thought I was helping myself.  It appeared I was helping myself.  But, the irony of it all was that I was hurting myself. 

The truth is, we can't do it ourselves.  Just as a broken car can't fix itself, neither can we.  We need the Mechanic of our hearts to step in.  Only He sees us clearly and has the Wisdom to know the steps of how to change us and help us physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, relationally, and in every other way.  And, most importantly, only He has the power to do it. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Arise my love.
The sunlight is hitting the window.
The darkness is subsiding.
You have nursed your wounds for way too long.
Sorrow turns to gladness.
Defeat to Victory.
The sound of many sing.
And, you will go out in Triumph!

Yes, you will lead in Triumph
and your enemies will be bewildered.
God's sneak attack will ravage them all.

And He will be Great to big and small.
He will be Great to all.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Pool

Some wade in the shallow end.  Some do laps.  Others are bold and throw themselves in as human cannon balls.

So many ways to enjoy a Pool. 

And, the great part about Recreational Swim is that there is no pressure.  No one greets you at the door and says, "Welcome! Now, we expect a certain kind of participation in the Water today... Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.  We are trying to run a good-looking Pool scene here."

None of that.  It's understood that though there are rules to keep things in order, how each Swimmer chooses to enjoy the Pool is up to them.  That is the beauty of it. That is part of why so many love it and why they keep wanting to come back.  They love the Water.  They all do.  And, they all have different ways of expressing themselves in their enjoyment.

And, there is no condemnation for those that come to the Pool and decide that they don't want to swim at all.  Maybe they are new to the Pool.  Maybe they have never even been to a Pool.  They are fascinated by it and love watching others in the Water, but they are not ready to get wet themselves.  They feel more comfortable hanging back and taking it all in for now. 

Some come tired.  The Pool is a place of Rest. 

Some come excited and full of energy.  The highlight of their day!

Some come angry.  A bad week or a frustrating day.  But, their anger doesn't stop them from coming. 

They all come. 

And, they all come expecting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Farmer's Crops

A farmer went out to check his crops.  Some crops had grown high, some were still very low. 

When the time of harvest came, he went to check his crops again.  This time, the plants that had grown so high had not grown much more, but the small crops grew up tall and towered over all the other crops.

The farmer went to his servants and said, "Pay attention, friends.  See how the crops that had started off so small and humble, are the ones that dominate the field of crops now?  I am Master of all that grows and I am careful to tend to it all.  Do not lose heart when you are brought low and humbled.  Submit yourself, instead, to the season you are in and trust the hand of your Caregiver.  For, at the right time, He will raise you up and you will bear much fruit."

 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

NO TRESPASSING!

There are plenty that want to come in.

Those thoughts that wait at the door of your mind.  They come with their trickery and deception.  They come wearing white, but are ready to consume you the moment you crack the door for them.

They entice.  They tempt our fleshly desires.  They have the aroma of some kind of goodness, but are poisonous at the first morsel. 

  • Seeds of bitterness.  Thoughts that give us reason to hold on to unforgiveness. 
  • Lust.  "Why not just take a tiny taste?"
  • Discouragement.  These can be the toughest to fight against.  They may mix in some facts that are true, but they have no regard to Life, Grace, Mercy and Kingdom Agenda. 

They are to be silenced.  Silenced and blocked at the entrance.  Thoughts that do not lead us to Life have no business in our Home.  Just as we would never allow an intruder to come in and ravage our physical house, we have every right to lock our doors to such thoughts.  And, if they do get in, we have every right to look them in the eye and command them to leave, without apology.

Do not tidy up a guest room for them.  Do not invite them in for just a chat.  Do not even peek through the blinds.  They are as evil as Evil himself. 

They have no agenda but to kill, steal, and destroy you.