Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beloved Son III

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

When my husband did our tax return for the last financial year this week, he discovered that our combined income from July 2013 to June 2014 has been significantly lesser than the previous year. What astounded both of us is that we did not feel the lack or the decrease one bit. In fact, we felt quite wealthy; we lived not having to skimp or scrounge. On top of that, we felt we had more than we needed. What we had given out as love offerings has all returned to us bit by bit, in all sorts of unexpected and unsuspecting ways. Suddenly, we have now come to the end of this financial year in awe of how we have travelled here without worry or striving, and discover a marked change in our perspective on this area of our lives. Something has shifted profoundly and supernaturally within us; a lid or a limitation has been lifted off over us in this area. This has been the most restful year we have had in our marriage. Despite the circumstances, we have been privileged to experience what being a Beloved Son feels like. We have experienced a breakthrough without realizing it.

It confirms who He is and what He is like - He is superior in every way; He is above all. The good news is: The Bible says we live where He lives. This morning, i confirm this truth.

Life as a Beloved Son, i have learned and am privileged to continue to learn is a journey where we continuously live in a place of discovering how He delights in us. In other words, life with Jesus is about learning or living out a life of God's delight and affirmation. Life with Him, therefore, is joyful, restful. Abundantly supplied. Being Beloved is about worshipping a God we know and continue to know. It is about reinventing our lives in Him and before Him or realigning or renewing our spirits and minds in Him. Being Beloved is staying loved and delighted in, staying steadfast in this love. It is about being stubbornly fixed on who He is, what He says and who we are in Him. In other words, it is a continuous and giant realigning of our central attention or fixation. And suddenly, we discover being Beloved is about discovering our story is about Him.  And that is true freedom. This morning, i confirm this truth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beloved Son II

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"I have been confirmed," he said, dropping his lunchbox, car key and wallet on the kitchen bench. Standing at the stove, stir-frying a meat dish, i turned around to look at him. And smiled. It was not a surprise. In all the places he had worked as a casual worker in the last months since he lost his job, every one of them had asked if he would like to work full-time for them. Each one looked good to me. In the natural, that was. Only he was stubbornly not convinced in his spirit that these places of employment were what God wanted for him. i was only surprised that the offer for full-time employment at this current place had come way earlier than i expected. He was on a three-month probation period, and he had only worked for them for less than a month.

"The big boss said he is very pleased with my work," he said. Laughing he continued, " Funny thing is, he has been away for his holidays for the last two weeks."
"So," i said, "people have been talking about you then."
"Yes, people have been talking about me."

People often ask what were my thought processes, or what things inspire my art. In other words, what was i thinking when i was painting a particular work. When i was younger, full of zeal, completely idealistic, and self-righteous, my art was heavily laden with convictions. i was a young person suddenly thrust into an environment where i was encouraged to discover my voice, and how to exert that voice. i was very much like those around me in that era at art school; we were encouraged to be self appointed prophets preaching through our art what we thought were society's ills. i completely love and appreciate those gung-ho, courageous days. i love the bigness of our dreams, and our grand ideals to bring change, to start a sort of revolution. We were taught or given the impression that good art, or great art to that circle of people, led by a teacher who had been to America, was that Art had to say something very important. Something deep and profound. Preferably something that targeted great human injustice, even better if there was a lot of pain and gory details. There was nothing wrong with art like that. i had made them in those days. Now, i view them as embarrassingly judgemental. Embarrassingly one dimensional. Heavy. Scary.  Only later, i discovered that this perspective was such a small, insignificant and narrow way to learn and explore (and enjoy) something as complex, multi-dimensional, beautiful, life giving and powerful as Art. There is so much more to what Art is, and what Art can be.

Thank God some of us have grown up since; praise God some of us have matured to a bigger and wider point of view. Praise God that He has uncovered for me how warped and out of context most of my preaching were in those days! Thank God He did not allow me to stay young; or stay in my delusional naiveté and childish zeal. Thank God He did not let me stay self-righteous or stay consumed by a one dimensional and one-sided point of view. Thank God He grew me, and continuously grows me.
 
Now i paint from the pure need of putting paint onto canvas. Having put paint on canvas, to then stand back to see the painting take shape, and in turn speak to me. Not that it is a mindless activity. In fact, a lot of thought and art making processes go into every piece of work. Only, i have learned to take a different approach to say what my heart is saying. So, the greatest satisfaction comes when someone looks at my work, and get that heart message. It is a magical connection that is rare and incredible. Like the joining of two souls in a single moment.

In our journey through what had happened in the last year, from receiving the news of the impending lose of our source of income to where we are now back on track in a happy and secure place, we have changed and transformed. We have gathered much wisdom; we have had our eyes opened to much that we did not see before. We have been privileged to see what a friend looks like. We learned it from the people who came and encircled us; people who simply loved us, and walked with us every step of the way. We discovered suddenly, this is what true riches is; this is what true wealth is - people who love us purely. Simply.

Conversely, along this journey, we have also encountered people who were like Job's friends; people who were waiting and looking to prove themselves right; people who believed what had happened to us was punishment from God; people waiting for our situation to turn from wrong to worst, to prove their suspicion that we did not deserve what we had lost in the first place. We encountered people who tried to read and speak into our seeming misfortune, later changing their language as according to the changing circumstances, appointing themselves as our prophets. Bringing a sense of condemnation instead of support. Thank God for them because i learned to discern what He is like; i learned how to press into who He is, and search out His heart for us. i learned to wait, and listen for Him. God does not condemn; He does not punish. He does not use people as examples to teach others how to obey or how to be compliant.

i started writing this blog very much like my need to put paint on canvas. A way to express myself, and to stand back and look at what my writing would speak to me. Just as i have come to a place where i am painting for me, i write for me. Thanks to the person who encouraged me to start blogging (you know who you are!), this journey of fumbling and stumbling with writing my thoughts has been the greatest and most enriching adventure so far. My intention of writing has always been to tell the story (even if it is to me alone) of how a very ordinary, fully human person who is a wife, a mum, a daughter, a friend, an intercessor, an artist, an office girl lives her life with an all powerful, indescribable, unseen, both knowable and unknowable, awesome, supernatural God. Because for me, life is all about living with Jesus. For me, life with Jesus is not a set of principles or believe system, not a job, not a career, not a business, not a ministry, not a calling, not therapy, not a way to super spirituality, not a means to the admiration or adulation of others, not to be famous. Not about me. Life with Jesus is simply a life lived out fully human with Jesus, walking with Him.    

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beloved Son

Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things might be. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' But he became angry, and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began entreating him. But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For many years I have been serving you, and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid, that I might be merry with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.' And he said to him, 'My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.' (Luke 15:25-32)
 
That's a big brother, i heard the Holy Spirit whispered. i was standing at the back of the auditorium as Host this morning, just looking out at the congregation. A post i love. i love the bigger and wider view i get standing here. i love watching the congregation, looking at the different families, and their friends. i love surveying the relational landscape and assessing the overall feel of a morning service. i cannot explain it, but i love watching the people we are so privileged to host, so privileged to now own as friends and family. i love watching out for them. i am drawn to some; i can feel what they need. i am Guard, not just Host when i stand at this post on the Sundays i am on duty.
 
Suddenly, when i was observing a behaviour, this was what He said. i was then drawn to another, and He said, That's a beloved son. To say i completely understood or even now understand what He said/is saying is not true. i have heard brilliant messages on this subject, sometimes titled Sons and Servants, sometimes titled Little Brother Big Brother. But to actually visually see, alerts me to take note. Perhaps, there is more to what i had heard or known before. Perhaps, there is another dimension to what is surface. Perhaps this is, for me, part of being in a season of preparation, a season of learning, a season of growing in capacity, in ability. Perhaps this is what expansion looks like. Perhaps i am in a season of being trained. To become sharper, more accurate in my discerning; to learn more and more the language of the Spirit. When i typed i heard the Holy Spirit, it was more like the slightest body language that i picked up from the Holy Spirit. In other words, He communicates not through complete sentences. At least with me. A lot of times, i catch or capture what He is saying without words. i just know. More than a feeling, like a brilliant idea or an inspiration, many times, a verse or a principle in the Bible would accompany the download. i guess it is kinda like reading someone after we have known them for a considerable time. We can kinda read them, we can tell by their body language what they are saying or feeling. Perhaps, this is where i am; i am in a season of preparation, of training, of becoming more sensitive to become not only stronger and sharper in character but, to be polished in my gifting as well. Perhaps i am in a season of picking useable tools and keys, and learning to hide them, keep them and steward them well within me; to treasure and handle with great care all that is and will be given me. To take note; to be watchful. To have both character and gift mingled and weaved together in my growth. One cannot be independent of the other. And i love the learning; i love being fathered by God. It cements who i am. i am Beloved Son. Being Beloved is restful.  
 
So the difference, for me, between the Big Brother and the Beloved Son is that one is fully at rest in the Father's love, while the other has no idea how indescribable, and beyond comprehension he is loved by the Father.     

Saturday, August 9, 2014

(Increasing) Capacity

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

She was led to the front by a friend. When i asked how may i pray with her, she informed me that her friend had insisted that she should come forth for prayer. When i looked at her friend questioning, her friend said she felt something, but did not know what it was. The girl shrugged her shoulders, unconvinced that there was anything wrong with her, or was there anything major where she needed a word from heaven. Neither did i. 

So, i placed my hand on her left shoulder and felt the Father's immense pride of her. i prophesied of how much more God has for her; more than more than what she has planned or has mapped out for herself. She received the word even though her face showed no emotions. He is like that; He is very much about what He has for us, His concentration is on what He is for us, not what is lacking or wrong in us. While i was speaking over her, another of her friend had come along and was standing on her left. She placed her hand on her back. As soon as i finished speaking she stepped in front of the girl, and spoke over her. A little surprised by the intrusion, i stepped away. i could not help but wonder if her friends had something they wanted to say to her. i could not help but wonder if her friends was hoping that i would tell her off in the Father's name. 

Another highlighted word on the Saturday i received prayer was capacity, which i have been thinking deeply on as well. i think, to increase in the capacity to serve Him is an increment in knowing who He is and what He is like. In other words, to increase in our capacity to carry His heart is to expand in our ability to be like Him. That we represent Him more sufficiently, and more correctly. We grow in our ability to be Him to those around us. And He models who He is perfectly in scripture. He is humble. He is obedient. He is submissive. He does not push His own opinions, or exert His own observations, or speak His own mind. He is brilliant at war; He only battles the spirits that deceive people. He emptied Himself, and perfected obedience so we who follow after Him are now able to perfect obedience, are now able to fully submit and receive the authority He won. He has fore-ran ahead, and broken through so we may enjoy what His obedience has now forever opened up for us to win and receive. 

So, when i stand in the privileged place of ministry, it is the heart of this Lord that i seek to represent, or re-produce. In other words, i seek to minister in obedience to the Holy Spirit like Jesus who was always obedient to the Father's voice when He ministered on earth. The privilege to see or discern the weaknesses of others is not the privilege to bring correction to them. If this was the case, Jesus would still be telling me off, or pointing out all my faults. Instead, He extends grace over and over again, and points to what interest Him more - me. Am i saying that i cannot receive correction from fellow followers of Christ? Certainly not! i am saying when God does it, He is extremely kind, gentle and gracious. When He does it, His words cut, but do not wound. When He does it, He has our highest good in His heart, not a point of view. When He does it, i am restored to Himself. Because relationship is at the centre of His heart. 

So, i have been thinking. Perhaps, the expansion of my capacity to serve Him, or the capability to carry His assignments is not only an increment in my supernatural gifts, but so much more a stretching or expansion of my heart into largeness. Perhaps it is an invitation to become as big as Him; to search out and catch all the traits that made Him large, made Him big. 




Thursday, August 7, 2014

Promotion

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
 
i sat in total shock, my heart slashed and was bleeding profusely. Completely caught off guard, and ambushed, i scrambled to comprehend what was happening. From the physical manifestation i was experiencing, an actual turmoil and pain on my chest, the tightening of muscles, and the sensation of having my hair set on fire, i knew i was up against something spiritual. i had been here before; that was how i could recognize it. It was an attack to the core of who i am. The last time i fell into such a confrontation, i was crushed and defeated.
 
The good news is: This time, i overcame quickly. This time, i have grown in wisdom, in strength and in the knowledge of the grace available to me to overpower the attack almost instantly. i came low; i wore meekness and humbled myself. It did not mean i became a stepping rug, to allow untruth to be spoken over me, or allow it to shape me. It meant, i was quick to recognize the ploy of the enemy and did not give in to his bait. i turned the other way. But i gave no agreement to what was proclaimed. The next day when my heart was still encased in a dull pain, i gave myself to the Holy Spirit. i gave Him full permission to my heart; i asked Him to search me and root out anything unwholesome. He filled me with strength to refute the spirit behind the words. Later, i gave myself into the care of those who loves me, and asked them to come alongside me to pray for me without sharing any details of what had happened. i did not have to because they are people who trust me to steward information well; these are people who know i am always about protecting people. They know i am not one to give any opportunity for wandering minds nor unhealthy talk. i asked to be ministered to. What was spoken was exactly what i needed to hear; i was affirmed by words from people who had not a single hint of what had happened. God is good like that.

This time the wounds closed up almost immediately. And strength returned to me quickly. Without realizing it, i have come a long way from where i was not too long ago. It speaks volumes to me about a God who always turn the works of the enemy against him; He turned something meant to eliminate me into something that has more than empowered me. God is amazing like that.
 
A word i received on the Saturday i was prayed over was the word promotion. i have kept it carefully concealed within. This is a thinking quietly post as i now ponder or i take this little word out of concealment to muse at. i know what immediate picture a word like that can conjure up. And i have purposed within myself to not jump to that quick conclusion because i have learned and continue to learn to give in to His interpretation or explanation; to wait for the picture in His heart. i have learned to not assume, or run ahead of Him. i have learned too many times that His thoughts are not my thoughts, His ways higher. i have decided to live in His Kingdom, to forsake life in all other kingdoms, to no longer follow or give myself to the influence of the cultures of this world. Or allow these foreign cultures to define a word from Him for me.
 
This is what i have been thinking: What if this word promotion in the Kingdom of God is completely different to what it is in the world. That promotion in the Kingdom is an elevation to a place where we get to or are privileged to go lower, to perfect humility and meekness. What if in the Kingdom of God, to be promoted is an upgrade to another level of learning and growing this excellent characteristic that so portrays Jesus; that promotion is a gift to become the servant of servants just like Him. Could it be that just as the definition of promotion in the Kingdom is unlike the world's definition, to go lower is different to how the world sees going lower. What if going lower is actually great strength in the Kingdom; to be trained and achieve the ability to humble (which is strength under control) oneself, is actually great gain in the spirit realm. If this is true, would not true humility be a powerful spiritual weapon. And what if humility and meekness leads us to where we become excellent at overcoming; a place where we become conquerors. What if the gift to come lower, to perfect humility and meekness, this promotion - the arrival to the next level of our journey with Jesus are opportunities to develop self-control not only over our weaknesses but over the power and strength we possess; so we become overcomers not of what is without us, but what is within us as well. And suddenly, we find ourselves upgraded, or promoted to another level in our walk with Jesus.  
 
What if the greatest treasures in the Kingdom is not the ability to speak in the languages of men and angels, not the ability to prophesy, not the accumulation of great mysteries and knowledge, not the ability to move mountains and feed thousands, or the great demonstration of how awesome we are, but the greatest treasure in the Kingdom is that which is eternal. What if the greatest treasure in the Kingdom is true relationships. Excellent relationships. Because God is a God of relationships. If we think about it, why would God give us love, or why would He extol us to love if we have no where to use this love, to express this love or to enjoy this love? If this is true, then the definition of the word promotion suddenly is starting to look a whole lot different to how the world defines it. To be upgraded, or promoted to a place where my relationships are not becoming richer, robust and more excellent suddenly does not sound or feel like Him any more. It means, promotion in His Kingdom is an upgrade where i live in families with people, where i learn to love more and more.     

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Language of Promise II

And Jesus increased in wisdom (in broad and full understanding) and in stature and years, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

One by one, the people came to the front for prayer. i waited as the ministering team stepped up and paired themselves with the people. i wondered if i was needed. Then i saw her come up to the front. And i quickly went forth to stand with her before anyone could. 

Years ago, fresh from taking over the intercessory prayer team, because of my immaturity, of my own unredeemed fear, my complete lack of experience and my being poor in wisdom, at the very beginning of my journey as Head Intercessor, i led a closed group. It meant that if anyone felt to join the intercessory team, they were encouraged to approach me, and speak with me first. At that time, at the centre of my heart for this rule that i had set was a fierce and intense urge to protect the leadership and the church. Totally new to me, with no prior experience at all, i handled this urge fearfully, clumsily, and childishly. This weight, a sense of urgency or a serious protectiveness is still here, but i have grown to a place where i am able to better manage it, or steward it. i have travelled to a place where i have learned and continue to learn there are varied, better and more excellent ways to protect the leadership and the church then from carefully screening the people who wanted to join us. This lady was one of those who were expressively offended by the rule i had set then. i know this because one of my leaders during those early days informed me of what she had said. Till this day, five years later, she does not attend church regularly, always sits afar, and eyes me suspiciously. This morning, i purposely chose to come alongside her when she came to the front. 

She was a little surprised when she opened her eyes to find me standing before her as i asked her how may i pray with her. She shared the reason she was at the front. i could smell the hidden motive for the request. i cannot explain it, but i could sense the motivation of her request, or the ruling desire behind the decisions she (and her husband) makes for their lives.

And i know Him (and continue to be overwhelmed by Him); i have worked with Him all these years. He does not address these things; they are hidden for good reasons. He blesses regardless; He is big like that. It was again true this morning. The words that came out of my mouth completely astounded me. And her. He spoke to the potential, the opposite of what was lacking; He spoke of what is strongest in Himself for them. He spoke of hope. He always lifts, and encourages. He is indeed the God who knows the plans that He has for us; plans to prosper us, to give us a future and a hope. Regardless of what He can see hiding within us. Regardless of how far short we are still from being pure or whole. He loves us extravagantly. 

Later, after the service, when i was chatting with some ladies having coffee, introducing a new person to people closer to her age, she came up to tell me that the word was prophetic. It was exactly what she needed to hear; that i made her cry. i politely said it was the Holy Spirit that made her cry. Little did she know that my own motivation was to win her to myself after what happened years ago; i had hidden motives myself when i chose her this morning. i found how gracious He is to me that He should count me worthy to speak for Him, even when He could see so clearly what i hid in my heart. 

i have been thinking deeply on the above verse this past week because of that highlighted word stature. Have you, like me, ever wonder why Jesus had to grow in wisdom, and stature? Does that not come automatically since He is the Son of God? And why did He need to increase favour with Daddy God? Was He not the Beloved, the Apple of His Father's eye? Or. Could it be? Perhaps. i have misunderstood, or assumed something that is not in accordance to who He is. i have made presumptions on the word wisdom, the word stature, the word favour. Perhaps, the Father does not require of us what He Himself does not do; that even Jesus had to grow in wisdom, in stature, in favour. With God and man.

Perhaps, all these years, i have been looking at many areas of my life, many incidences, many circumstances, even this thing called my-journey-in-leading-the-intercessory-team one dimensionally or in a fixed, pre-determined, presumptuous, unredeemed and religious way. Suddenly, now, i discover that when He looks at me (or others), He sees me as multifaceted. And His choice of what He looks at or what He highlights or what He places His attention on is not of this world. Perhaps the renewing of my mind is just this: To open me up to, or to introduce me to, or to lead me to that multifaceted, multi-dimensional, brilliant, and life-giving way of seeing, like Him. Big. Gracious. Generous. Loving. Always uplifting. Always encouraging. Joyous. To present to me the power to choose as He does. It means for me suddenly, such words like wisdom, like stature, like favour continues to be defined, and redefined. The language that He uses continues to show themselves so much richer, so much more encompassing. In giving into the language He uses, i find myself transformed by the renewing of my mind. Suddenly, i discover the levels of freedom available to me are so much richer and so much more encompassing. And everything changes. Warfare is now opened to be defined in many other ways and redefined as i am transformed and continue to be transformed.  


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Language of Promise

This charge and admonition I commit in trust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with prophetic intimations which I formerly received concerning you, so that inspired and aided by them you may wage the good war. (1 Timothy 1:18)
 
We live in a war. We live right in the middle of a hostile struggle between the Kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of darkness. There is always a contending against the intentions of God; there is always a resistance against the move of God. And Paul knows it well. He seeks to prepare, train, build up or equip his son, Timothy for this war. Paul wants Timothy to examine the substance of his prophecies and to clothe himself in them. Literally, he wants Timothy to put those words on and wear them as armour in the battle against the enemy of darkness. The prophesies are weapons to shatter the lies of the kingdom of darkness. Therefore, the language that we choose to flavour our lives, flavour those in our spheres of influence, and set the atmosphere where we are privileged to invade is vital. We are empowered as His children with this potent weapon to either speak the language of the Kingdom of Heaven or aid the advancement of the enemies' crusade.
 
i know whose army i am in. i know who i am representing. It will mean for me to take up, and put on His language, wear this privilege like an armour and echo what He says, to reflect who He is. There is a time coming and it has already arrived that we gird ourselves with great wisdom in a war that is coming and is already here.