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Showing posts from 2012

Immanuel – God is with us

This is the season where we anticipate God's coming to live with men through the birth of Jesus.

From the beginning of creation, God has desired intimate relationship with man and woman. He walked with them and talked with them in the cool of the day in Genesis 3.

At the end of time, the events of this present age will culminate in God coming to dwell with us on the earth.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them. Revelation 21:3

I have been thinking about what it means to live as though I believe that God is with me. This seems especially important given events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and people experiencing terror and the devastation of grief. It feels important as I talk with people in my office about their pain and suffering and how they can connect with God when their feelings are so intense and ugly.…

Messy People

I spend a lot of time with messy people. After all, helping messy people is what I do. But recently, God has been sending me some people who are even messier than usual. And, I haven't responded very well.


I don't like being screamed at in my office. I don't really like when other people scream at each other in my office. I don't like hostile clients who insist that they have no problems and everyone else is to blame. I don't like injustice or when people sin against my clients in a gross and habitual manner and they hurt. Mostly, I don't like when these things are happening and I start to feel powerless and completely unable to do anything that will help bring about change.

I tell God that I feel overwhelmed and I do not think that I am equipped to handle these kinds of clients.

I hear Him respond, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call …

Holy Days Instead of Holidays

I just listened to an excellent teaching by Mike Bickle from the Zechariah conference at IHOP-KC in September. I strongly encourage you to take an hour and listen to this teaching.

http://mikebickle.org/resources/resource/3373?return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fmikebickle.org%2Fresources%2Fseries%2Fzechariah

I want to share a few of the words that really impacted me.

5Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: "When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? 6When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? 7Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous?" (Zech. 7:4-7)

Eat and drink: In both their fasts and feasts they focused on themselves without regard for their relationship with the Lord or His larger purposes for their nation. Whether in times of fasting with…

When I overdo it

I had a pounding headache by lunchtime. I ate lunch, took Advil and waited for it to pass. I kept going, going, going, as I have been since the beginning of November. Finally, around 2 PM, I closed the shades in my office, put on the little heater for background noise, turned out the lights and curled up on my couch with my down jacket as a blanket. I gave in to sleep for about an hour and woke up feeling much better. I have been overdoing it recently. I think that my body had finally had enough by today and the headache insisted that I stop and rest. Being full-time at work is amazing, but it means that I am there working, a lot. I’m still carving out time at the house of prayer, but it means putting it in my schedule and forcing other things out. I’m trying to sleep, exercise, connect with friends, respond to emails, pick up dry cleaning, fill my tank with gas, cook delicious things, watch Once upon a time with Karyn and Downton Abbey with my mom, read and so many more things that I …

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 31

Well, I did it. I blogged for 31 days on one topic. I was reminded of last fall when I blogged almost every day during Fire in the Night. I find that having a challenge to write daily helps me to write more. But, I also tend to put pressure on myself to do it perfectly, which means that I have to post every day. I intentionally chose not to blog on Sundays, to give myself a day of rest, and I took a few more days when I didn’t have anything to write. This protected me from the pressure of perfection because I started with an imperfect goal. I hope that my heart is tenderer today, October 31, than it was on October 1. But, I am realizing more and more that I have to fight to keep a tender heart. Pursuing the goal to write about having a tender heart almost daily helped me to do more heart checks and take action when I discovered hardened places. I haven’t had any big discoveries or significant insights. The only thing that felt really different was that I was inviting others into what …

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 30

I was counseling a person who is suffering great despair over painful life circumstances. They told me that they were hanging on to their faith by a thread and that they were afraid it would break at any moment. They said that their joy had been taken away and that they were not sure that they would be able to get it back. They said that they were having a hard time locating hope because they cannot see how God is working in their impossible situation. I was reminded of this as I was reading Lamentations 3 tonight. He (God) has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains. And though I cry and shout, he shuts out my prayers. He has blocked my path with a high stone wall. He has twisted the road before me with many detours. (7-9) He has made me grind my teeth on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!” The thought …

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 27

I think I’ve fallen sick with rule-following again. I hesitated to put lotion on my face this afternoon because I had already done it this morning. My rule is lotion twice a day, once in the morning and once at bed-time. Lotion in the middle of the day, even if my skin feels really dry, is against that rule. I almost didn’t put it on and was about to let my skin suffer until I realized that I was being ridiculous and I am free to put on as much lotion as I want. I’m here at the House of Prayer for our 12 hour burn and I have hardly said two words to God. I have been too busy serving as a prophetic singer, catching up on my one-year Bible readings, taking care of administrative tasks, reading my next section of Grace for the Good Girl and now, writing. I have been really busy doing things for God, instead of enjoying His sweet presence. I should have recognized my symptoms when I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I was sure that I am a terrible person. I felt so awful that I started trying to…

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 25

I feel sad for trees losing their leaves. They look so exposed and vulnerable with their bare branches. I felt a bit like that the other day. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, but every once and a while I will look at other people’s pages. A few days ago, I was looking at a friend’s page and I started having some insecure feelings. We graduated high school in the same year and she is only a few months older than me. But, she, unlike me, has been married for a few years and now has a baby.

I was looking at some of her pictures and I started feeling exposed. The questions that I try to avoid asking myself started coming. Why is everyone my age married? Why do so many of my friends have children already? Why am I so different from all these people? Is my life less than those of people who are married and have kids?

My singleness and my childlessness felt like bare branches whose leaf covering had fallen away. I wondered what people my age think when they look at my Facebook page. I t…

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 24

When I go out to the waiting room to get a client, I try to always greet them by name and with a smile. As we cover the short distance from the waiting room to my office, I usually ask, “How are you today?” Almost always, my client will respond, “Fine.” Once we are safely inside my office with the door shut, I will ask this question again and my clients are almost never “fine”. They are angry, sad, depressed, terribly anxious, disappointed and uncertain of how to handle all of their “un-fine” feelings. I really appreciate this exchange with my clients. I have laughed with several of them over how they really aren’t “fine” and why do they say this when it’s not true? But, I understand the problem because I have it too. Chances are, if you have ever asked me how I am doing, then I probably responded with, “Fine.” And I can guarantee that some of those times, I really was not fine in that moment. Why do we do this? Why this obsession with being “fine” all the time? Why not share how we are …

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 23

Have you ever been afraid to hope? I have. I imagine hope like a little plant with bright flowers that wants to grow in the soil of my heart. I’m afraid to let this little plant bloom and grow because it can open the door to disappointment. Disappointment, when it encounters hope in my heart, rushes in like the secret police discovering a fugitive. Cruel disappointment crushes hope and forcibly removes it from my heart. This leaves a gaping hole that hurts. I can feel where hope used to be and how it was torn away. As a result, I am extremely cautious about letting hope grow in certain areas of my heart. In areas like work, where I perform well and disappointment only visits rarely, I actually enjoy when hope blooms and grows. I will even pitch in and help to cultivate it. But, in other areas, like in the area of hoping to be married, I almost never let it grow. A good friend from church pointed this out to me the other day. She said that I can feel hopeful every day because any day ca…

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 22

Yesterday, my sister and I had one of those rare moments where it’s just the two of us and we get to talk for an uninterrupted period of time. It was wonderful and I delighted in every second of it. Karyn is one of my best and safest friends, but I still get nervous when I want to be real with her. I was telling her some of my thoughts and feelings that have been provoked by reading Grace for the Good Girl. I started telling her about some of the terrible things my “good girl” says to me when I’ve done something that I should not do. She looked at me with a mixture of surprise and compassion as she said, “Wow, that’s what it’s like in your brain?” It was interesting and helpful for me to see how my perspective looks to her and to hear her perspective on me. Karyn went on to share with me some of what she is struggling with and I got to share my perspective with her. Somewhere in this refreshing and authentic exchange, I told Karyn that I really want to offer what we were experiencing to…

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 19

I’ve been fighting a cold this week. There, I finally admitted it. A few people have asked me if this was the case over the past few days and I repeatedly said, “No.” I blamed allergies and changing temperatures initially. And, I’m sure those things contributed to my sore sinuses, my tender and tickling throat and the choking cough that gets provoked. (Those of you at church last weekend will remember what that is.) Still Counting Gifts: ·#569: I am thankful for this cold. ·#570: This is the first time that I have been sick since June 2011! ·#571: I’m not sick with a sinus infection or bronchitis as I used to be 4 to 5 times a year. ·#572: I’m not confined to my bed or forced to sleep all day long because I’m so miserable. ·#573: I’m actually very functional, just a little tired and dragging. ·#574: This is just the thing that I need to give myself permission to say No to being overly active this weekend. ·#575: This is a great excuse to spend my time in my pj’s reading my Bible, reading …

31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 18

Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Ann Voskamp quoted this passage in her blog recently. Then, I read it in my one-year Bible for October 12. Seeing it twice within a week caught my attention. Verse 16 is: Always be joyful. This sounds like a command to me and I don’t think God would command us to do something we can’t do. If He tells me to always be joyful, then I believe that it is always possible for me to be joyful and that this is what God desires for me. Verse 17 is: Keep on praying. I hear another command. And, it follows the first one, which I understand to mean that prayer is related to being joyful. The joy provokes the prayer; the prayer sustains the joy, or both. Either way, I like how God has placed these two directives right next to each other. Verse 18: No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Je…