Sunday, January 25, 2015

Deeper Higher IV

But the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My Place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. (John 14:26)
 
Have you, sitting in the dark of a movie theatre, suddenly have the distinct feeling that the Holy Spirit had just highlighted something to you. A sentence uttered by a character on the giant screen that speaks directly into your situation. Piercing deep into your heart. As if He came along to a most unlikely place, to speak at the most unlikely moment, using a most unlikely medium. He is unpredictable like that. He is good like that. He is a True Friend like that. That same sentence had just been uttered in your heart the same morning. As if this was His way of affirming, and strengthening you; to encourage and lift you even when you were not looking nor expecting Him to back you up. It was as if He answered the possible discouragement that might come when you happen to speak with the wrong people. He likes to come alongside us like that because it is His nature to be a Supporter. A Lifter-upper. He likes to live with us. Everyday. Everywhere. 
 
Consider it all joy, brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4) 
 
Could it be that when we categorized situations into bad ones, good ones or the daily mundane ones, we have not truly come to a place of living with Him. We are still leaning on ourselves to make life work. Could it be that when we are still self-conscious of our wants, desiring only situations that we categorize as those that would benefit us, striving to avoid any situation that we deem as bad, we are still living in fear, we are still treating the Holy Spirit as a spiritual force, as a spiritual tool we use to make life work for us as we planned it. Could it be that when we treat Him as a power, we are still equating speaking in tongues the only evidence of His presence in our lives; we have no real understanding Who we have inherited. We have yet to know Him as a Person. What if He is more? What if life with Him is much deeper than being able to speak in another tongue; life with Him richer than physical manifestations that we think are confined to a place, a conference, a song? Could it be that life with Him is like walking with Wisdom Himself; having a Counsellor right beside us when we need some sound advice. Could it be that living life with Him is like walking from maturity to maturity and we find ourselves transforming into His image; without really trying, Who He is rubs on us. Could it be that when we wallow in the perceived injustice in our lives, our ills and wrongs, or flaunt our successes; when we delve into how woeful life have been to us, or becoming prideful of our achievements, we have not yet experience Him. We have not experienced Him as our Comforter, our constant Companion. We do not yet know Him as Our Helper, our Friend. We have not encounter Him as our Strengthener, our Supporter. Our relationship with Him is still surface, superficial; our understanding of who we are becoming in Him still babyish. And our love still immature, not yet deep nor high.
 
He saw your heart to the bottom, and loved you to the skies. - Timothy Keller
 
The good news is: He loves us more than we dare to hope; He is here to upgrade us. The good news is: To love deeply is more than being friendly; we can only love as deeply as we ourselves are loved. Love in Jesus is more than being nice; He laid down His life for us. If we truly understand the power of this love, we would perhaps change our language to reflex His.
 
  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Deeper Higher III

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

In reply to my confession of my placement in Christ, a declaration of my faith in who i am in Him for this season that i am walking in, he wrote: I like what you wrote about what HE says and believes about you in Christ. But, permit me to be a big *** here... have you ever wondered if He thinks and feels so affectionately about you without Christ? That as a Good Father, He loves you soooo much already... BEFORE Christ came to the scene, as it were? It's just that I've been wondering for years now that the teachings on our Identity in Christ are also a tad misguided if they are still under-girded with Doubt or Shame or Self-Hatred. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." He loved you, He loved me already. Finding His love for me in His love for the Son almost gives me YET another reason to believe that He doesn't really love me that much. I don't know if you can relate... but this stuff plays with my head... I am wondering if He so DESPERATELY wants me to know that He loves me that I must focus ever more deeply on Him and Him alone. Does that make sense? I get that I am covered in Christ's Blood... made new & righteous... but these are still different things than knowing I am LOVED by the Lord. 

i immediately took note, because i heard this not too long ago. Not in the same words, but it was the same longing, the same deep cry within that not many will have a true friend to share with: Is it possible that there is a Person, an All-Powerful, All-Mighty Person who simply loves me for all that I am? Who simply loves me? Period. The piercing, even excruciating cry brought to my face now a second time, jolted me to re-evaluate my own understanding, my own believes. My self. Do i truly believe that God loves us all as deeply and unconditionally even before we come into relationship with Him, even before we are graced to live a life of obedience? Had i in  my religious understanding categorized people into groups and sub-groups; herding some into the good, the beautiful, the talented - the Blessed model people, separating them from those who are the bad, the ugly, the unlovely - the Cursed, those disqualified to count and be loved by such an amazing God. Could it be that a very well concealed religious spirit has once again slipped and showed the tips of its tail. And i caught a glimpse of it when i was not even looking for it. i know this friend. He was not discounting the truths i was sharing; my own journey and what truths about who i am in Jesus that hold me up. He was just being comfortable in our friendship to be transparent. This is the beauty of an authentic friendship, where there is no fear of being found out; there is no fear of being not enough, not measuring up to one another's standard. As the true friend that i long to have and long to be for both individuals, as one who is equally longing for the reality of this kind of Love from that All-Powerful, All-Mighty Person, i say yes to them. i say it with my actions more than with my words because that is how these two men hear. i say to them that i love them now just as they are even before they are whole or complete, before they measure up to my expectations of them. i love them now as broken, as wounded, as flawed, as tattered as they are now. Because i believe He loved me already and He loves me now. He will love me still. He does not change. 

The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hoped. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God's saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling and rest in God's mercy and grace. - Timothy Keller.

i choose to love them because perhaps, maybe, both individuals are really crying out for this Love to be demonstrated in just one person; perhaps, both men are longing for this Love to be made real, brought into the real world where they live and battle, so it is no longer a beautiful ideal. No longer a nice thought that has no power to do anything. i am privileged to hear that call; i am honoured now to answer the call. i need nothing but Him to succeed in this mission.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Deeper Higher II

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17)

i remember my friend was sitting on a swing made for two under a shady mango tree in the backyard of the church building. Back in my home country, the church i grew up in was a house on a piece of land right in the middle of a housing estate. This meant the church had neighbours on all sides. This meant the church had a garden, and looked like the other houses on the street. Only this house had a cross erected on its roof, and it had a sign with the name of the church at the front gate. Perhaps it was the house the missionary pastor lived in. Perhaps his home became the place for converts of a non-Christian community to congregate. A place where believers gathered to be nurtured. And over the years, became a church.

Another friend was sitting on the grass at the foot of the swing, while our teacher was leaning against the frame of the swing. Earlier the week, i had approached our teacher, completely undone by the task of having to prepare a sermon to preach to the class. A class that consisted only three of us. As if flipping through the Bible randomly, picking a place where his finger fell onto, he suggested i spoke from that passage. Start here, he casually said. i remember it was no easy task for someone who was plagued with all sorts of insecurities. The boy sitting on the swing had always exhibited a firm knowledge of the Bible, while the girl sitting on the grass was an A's student in her studies. Both were from Christian families, while i was a baby Christian, the first in my family to know Jesus. The passage allocated to me was titled The Prodigal Son.

i do not remember what words i used, or what was the central theme of my sermon. However, i remember all three responded to my message. Since then, this passage has always played a significant role in my heart. Over the years, at different seasons, the Holy Spirit has highlighted the story many times, but each time the theme or the message had been different, to speak to different issues in different contexts. He is good like that; He is alive and His word is fresh always like that. His word is rich, multi-dimensional like that.

i know exactly what He is doing now; i know what He is up to at the moment. i know the pressure of His hand; i can see the evidence of His work. And i trust Him completely. It is a privilege to live with the Most High, to have God lead us, to usher us into this place where He again brings a familiar story to speak something new. To not only encourage us, but to make actual, or make concrete what is unseen; to construct what was an abstract concept into reality. In other words, to grant us the privilege to make something that is unseen into something seen. He gives us this tremendous honour to exercise His nature, to come in line with His heart. He is about granting us opportunity upon opportunity to be like Him.

Consider this, Friend: i may be a kind, loving and gracious person. But unless i am given the privileges to give love, show kindness and extend grace, all that good within me remains but an ideal - an unseen, powerless saying. Or, consider this: Unless we are tossed tumbling into temptations; unless we are awaken rudely and pushed involuntarily into great battles fierce and real, and we overcome phenomenally, we conquer overwhelmingly, the concept of being an overcomer, a conqueror is just that - an abstract ideal. A mere saying that sounds really good, but powerless. Unreal.

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 so 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 hos been found.' (Luke 15:25-32)

This is the heart of the Father - He does not see nor does He concentrate on the wrong, or the past. He sees only the coming home of His beloved kids. He lavishes on His Beloved everything that we do not deserve and more. He is extravagant. He is joyful; He is not caught surprised by our behaviour or our weaknesses. He is not fazed by how we cannot live up to the standard of goodness and godliness. He has already made provision for that - He gave us Jesus. And the work of Christ is finished and sufficient. He is not a miserly, stingy and poorly spirit; He is unlike the religious spirit - the older son - who makes a list of where his brother has fallen short. The older brother's complaint reveals a lack of relationship he has with the Father; it testifies how little he knows of the Father's heart; it betrays a lack of understanding of what being a Beloved Son is. He lived a narrow life in the home of the father with a humongous heart. In so many ways, the son who came home surpassed the older brother. The son who devoured the wealth of the father received more than more than because the story is not about the sons, but about the Father. Not one of us can boast; everyone of us fall way short. And God likes it like that. He likes to challenge the way the world has taught us to see things, how the world has shaped our perspective. He has come to wage war on the religious and the worldly.

This is the power God has granted us: Everyone of us has been granted choices. We get to choose who we belong to. We get to choose who we are to partner with. We get to choose sides. i choose the Father. i choose to be like Him. i choose to be on His side; i choose to fight with Him, alongside Him. i choose to celebrate the home coming of His Beloved. i choose to practice His nature, to be generous and big hearted like Him; i embrace the privilege and the honour to represent Him. i choose to use my inheritance for His glory; i choose my heritage as a Beloved Child of God. i choose who He chooses.

i know a quality man whose core is good, strong, and phenomenal; an overcomer and conqueror in the making. He is rare; one in a million. Only he is flawed like me. i choose him because God has chosen him. i see of many whose cores are good, strong, and phenomenal; men with huge potential. Only they are flawed like me. And God likes it like that. He chooses us because we are all flawed and insufficient in ourselves. Not that He has a huge ego, but because He is good, He loves us and has upgrades for us. The journey to our upgrades is designed to shake everything that can be shaken; to challenge every perspective hostile to the Kingdom, to ready us to come in line with Him. It is an exciting time for those who sees as He does. It is an amazing time for those who catches His heart. He waits to uncover to us realms deeper and higher. He waits to share bigger plans for those who dream God dreams. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Deeper Higher

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrew 11:1-3)

I'm not here to fix anything, He said, I am here to upgrade what you already have. These were the words He said to me when i was holed up in my closet. Literally. With so many living in our house at the moment, that was the only room i could find when i felt an intense need to speak to the Father. To reach out for Him; to see things His way, to take my seat where He sits high above all other realms. To strengthen myself in the Lord has now a different edge to it; to make strong myself in the Lord is now not an exercise, but a lifestyle. It is a privilege and the highest honour when God captures us and takes us to this place, not of our own doing but purely because He delights in leading us here. To train us, to shape us and prepare us for the place He is leading us next. What He meant was that He is not interested in fixing what i perceived as broken, or lacking or imperfect or lesser. His intention is to take what i already own and give me more. Upgrade what is already mine. He has come not to refurbish or to do a patch up work. As the world does. He is not of the world, who is all about fixing what is broken, what is lacking, imperfect or lesser. He has come to call up, to add to, to strengthen, to upgrade what we already own, to ready us for the next height. In other words, His concentration or what He focuses on is not what is broken or imperfect. His concentration is on what He sees; He calls up the future, not the past. He is about calling out our actual possession - things hoped for, things not yet seen. Hope has a very different meaning in the Kingdom, hugely unlike the word we casually use in our daily life. Hope in the Kingdom is liken to my kids already knowing the gifts that await them under the Christmas tree. Faith is not wishful thinking; faith has substance.

What if this is what He is saying: Child, I need you to go through this season, to pick up the tools, the weapons, the wisdom; to study, to give in, to corporate and allow My work in you for where I am taking you. What if He is saying: Child, I need you to become the person I already sees you as; the person wholly Mine. What if He is after us becoming Christ-like; He is more intent in the development of Jesus in us than all that we think we are doing for Him. What if we are on a journey to become people who pursues the Lord; people who press into Him; chase after His presence. What if we become people who hunger and thirst for Him, no longer for what He can do for us. No longer living for ourselves. Suddenly, we discover keys to the Kingdom; suddenly we understand the power that God has given us - the freedom to choose.

What if to go higher, we must first go deeper. What if there are levels of growth, not just in our gifts and talents. What if there are heights and greater heights in the transformation of our character. And what if these heights are achieved in deep places, in hidden places. In places where our selves die. Where we recognise who our true enemies are and we come into an understanding of what vengeance looks like for the Lord. What if this is what promotion looks like; what if our hearts and motives are tested and weighed repeatedly. What if acceleration in spiritual things comes not from hours in prayer and fasting or from dissecting scripture. What if being propelled in spirituality comes from the very hand of God. What if advancement in our walk with Him comes only from His hand. Then, we who walk by the Spirit, who walk not by sight, we who walk by faith would be wise to bend and kiss the Hand that loves and hurts. What if He is seeking those whom He can fully trust, those who can stomach the deeper work of the Lord. What if the Kingdom of God is all about our relationship with this terrible fearful and powerful Love.

What if the highest honour in life is to become a bond slave of the Most High God. And the journey to be one will cost us our lives and everything.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Abundant Life III

The Spirit of God, the Master is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken.
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of His grace -
a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies - and to comfort all who mourn.
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes.
Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness" planted by God to display His glory.
They will rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of wreckage.
They'll start over on the ruined cities, take rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God", honoured as ministers of God.
You'll feast on the bounty of nations, you'll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt.
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.
 
"Because I, God love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime,
I'll pay your wages on time and in full, and establish My eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over.
Your children in foreign countries
Will be recognized at once as the people I have blessed."
 
I will sing for joy in God, explode in praise deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jewelled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers,
and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God brings righteousness into full bloom
and puts praise on display before the nations.
(Isaiah 61) 
 
i love the word of God. i am never tire of reading the word of God. i love the poetry, i love the wealth. i love that His word is not one dimensional; His word is alive, multi-dimensional and full of surprises. i love that He hides treasures in His word for us to hunt down, to seek out. Only recently have i discovered that there is more. Is it possible that the spoken now word of God is not only to encourage us, or lift our sight to where He is, or what He is doing. Is it possible that the spoken now word of God is not given just only to strengthen us, to give us great hope. Could it be that the now word of the Lord is released to train us, to prepare us, to mould us or shape us. The now word of God is not about us; it is about Him. Therefore, could it be that the spoken now word of God will be tested; that depending on the call and the level of influence we will be privileged to yield, His word spoken over us will be tested over and over again. His word will challenge repeatedly and test continuously the very core of who we are. Could it be that He is after those whom He can trust completely. Is it possible that even as all things in the Kingdom of God is relational - the Kingdom of God is about learning to trust God, it is also about coming to a place where God can trust us with what He longs to give us. And He desires to give us His Kingdom.
 
What if, the moment a now word is released, it goes immediately into action to establish the identity needed for the fulfilment of the word. What if a now word has the power to plunge us into the making or shaping or establishing of our true identity of who He already sees us as. What if this means He will come in His might, He will rush in with His terrible love to challenge everything that does not belong to this identity. He will not relent; He demands the absolute death of all such things. If so, this is the highest honour, a great privilege to have God pursue us, to have Him chase us, and hunt us down. It is a place where we come face to face with His intention, and find that we have no where to hide. And we learn the true power of Love. Believe me, Love is not fairy-floss nor is it blue skies and butterflies. The word of God plunges us into sometimes a place that looks utterly different from our pre-conceived ideals. And we learn to trust Him, and become trustworthy ourselves. Suddenly, we find the depths He is leading us into; and we are privileged to learn that there is so much more depth to our faith, to our life with Him. The word Depth becomes more than going deeper into theology, or going into greater knowledge of His written word. It becomes a journey into the depth of who He is, into a deeper relationship with Him. Suddenly, our perspective changes and we hunger for more; we thirst for more of Him. Less of us. As we journey deeper into Him, we discover He is after everything. Nothing less will do.  
 
Perhaps, some people seek prophetic word for the great and mighty things that they can do for Him. Maybe secretly, they are seeking the admiration of their peers; they are seeking to boast and flaunt how significant their place is in His Kingdom. Perhaps they are competitive; they seek to compare their great and mighty deeds, or their calling with their brothers. It is not new, for even the disciples debated who was greater, and jostled to sit on His left and right. Jesus only hinted at what was required to sit at such places. Little do we understand that even these privileges to "do great and mighty things for Him" is not about us, it is truly about Him. How na├»ve we have been to proudly announce our passion for Him, and bravely proclaim our love for Him. Just like Peter. If we are truly honest, we will find that we are still bent on our efforts and our own strength, our own righteousness, our own works, our programmes to live the Life that He has given us. Friend, i have learned and continue to learn that even to have zeal and passion for Him, to have great ambition to live for Him is a gift. Is not of myself; it comes from Him. The journey to that place is His to orchestrate. i who walk by the Spirit, will be wise to give my full submission, my complete cooperation. And find joy as He deals with me first.   

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Abundant Life II

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12-14)

She liked to corner me into deep discussions of what she thought God had said to her. She liked to jot them in poems. Beautifully crafted, nicely typed out to be handed out to people like me. She liked to sign at the bottom of the page: Word received by her on such a such a date.

One Sunday morning, when my son was perhaps eight or nine years old, she again cornered me to share something profound. To a child of eight or nine, the world of adult chit chat was boring and arduous. For a child who had behaved excellently for a good length of time, my son came while she was caught up in sharing this wondrous revelation, basking in the attention i was giving her. He tugged at the corner of my dress, pestering to leave. He was hungry, ready for lunch. Unwilling to distract her, i placed my hand on his shoulder to calm him, to acknowledge him and to assure him that i would end this conversation soon. When he persisted in his tugging, the lady's face changed a different colour, turned to my son and sharply rebuked him, completely ignoring the fact that i was standing right next to him. i was alarmed. i held on tighter to my son, and wanted to take him out of that poisonous place immediately. Suddenly, a lot of things made perfect sense. Suddenly, i saw why such beautifully crafted poems of His love always felt empty; carefully chosen words, gorgeously arranged were all void of His life and power. Void of His love. Having a form of godliness, but lifeless and powerless.

Have you the opportunity to chance upon criticism that slipped from the lips of respected Christians, people who looked godly. In a split second, their faces turned a different colour to reveal what hides snugly within. A carefully concealed religious spirit slipped to uncover its tail. Suddenly, a lot made much sense. Could it be just as we would not entrust our kids to be torn down like this, God will not trust His kids to them. Even though they may wear titles and hold positions in an organization, even though their gifts evident, there is no life nor power in what they do. Could it be that God has not trusted them with His power and authority because He does not want them to pronounce judgement, to tear down, to speak death, or place accusations and condemnation on His kids. Could it be that such work is the work of the Accuser. Could it be that any spirit not of God is of the enemy. Could it be that just as we are protective of our children, God is highly protective of His kids, His greatest love. Could it be that there is a marked difference between the strength of our gifts and the strength of our character. There is a huge difference between the strength of our actions and the strength of our love. And i am starting to see what impresses Him; what gets Him excited; what gives Him great delight. i am beginning to see scriptures come to live like never before. He is so much more than a religion.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

The good news is: Christ has not died in vain. My faith is not vain. The greater news is: He has risen from the dead; He overcame sin and death. He is alive. He has bought for us the full right to choose Him; He has foreran before us to pave a life that we can now live as ours. He has made a way for us to live with Him; to think like Him, to speak what He says. To see people as He sees them. Friend, this is Abundant Life, this is power. It is more than the accumulation of material things, or the pursuits of titles or accolade, or the acquisition of temporal achievements. It is life and power to transform, to change, to buy back. It is the privilege to do what He is doing. Love is stronger. Mercy triumphs over judgement. Grace carries us. Hope is more than a beautiful word. Faith has substance.

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Abundant Life

Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:28)
 
She introduced herself, and in the same breath, in the same sentence conveyed to me the medical condition that she was suffering from. At this point both my arms were already wrapped around her as i came very close to her, positioning my ear near to her lips so that i can clearly hear her every word. i have learned that ministering is very much about embracing the person we pray with, about extending care and attention to them. It is about being sensitive, to handle delicately what they share. What we do by our actions often speaks louder than the beautifully crafted prayers that we pray over them. Believe it or that, most people can tell if we truly love them. i have also learned that we will never go wrong when the first thing we say is that God loves them.
 
And that was the first thing He did. He embraced her. He told her how much He loves her, and esteems her; the plans and purposes He has for her still very much intact. The new season that is coming will come. i have learned and continue to learn that most times, He surprises us; what we find most important and pressing, He finds minor. And if we lean in to hear Him, and seek out what He is currently interested in, what His attention is focused on, we will be astounded that He targets a whole different area in our lives. He sees differently to us. He speaks to the plans He has for us. He lifts our eyes to where He is, joyfully anticipating all that He has prepared for us; excitedly enthusiastic about what we get to do with Him. He speaks to what He is doing, not what we would like Him to do for us. After all, He is God, not us.
 
Later after the service while we were standing next to the coffee counter, she confirmed others had said what i said. At that point, i truly did not remember what words came out of my mouth. But i remember the strength that came from my belly. i remember the confidence and the authority that held me up. i remember it was warfare. And i remember her prayer at the end; she came in agreement, and in acceptance of what God did for her.  
 
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (1 Corinthians 4:7-10)
 
This is what an upgrade looks like. This is promotion in the Kingdom of God: We get to go lower; we get to follow His footsteps to see what death looks like; we get to learn true intercession with He who lives to intercede for us. We get to bear His name; to see and experience first hand the depth of a life with Jesus. And we are privileged to experience the height of a life with Him. We become forever changed; never turning back. The definition of Abundant Life changes; our priorities, our pursuits, our focus forever different. We become completely His.