The Lord has been speaking to me about resisting the religious mindsets that I so easily fall into. It is easy to get into the daily routine of praying, studying the Bible and worshiping but the difficult thing is to remember why I am doing these things. It seems like the more I do the disciplines the more I become familiar with God and the more I assume I know about Him. I’ve been seeking the Lord with all of my heart for the past 8 years and I know more bible verses than I ever have before but the temptation to become familiar with God is harder than ever. The temptation to go through the routines for routine sake or the temptation to assume I know deep things about God because I know the verses is harder than ever.
We were made to encounter God and the disciplines were given by the Lord as ways of positioning ourselves before Him. The Lord is reminding me again to humble myself before every verse as if I knew nothing about it. He called it a poor spirit in the sermon on the mount. But even more specifically He wants to encounter me with His desire and affections. He knows the greatest way to awaken my heart from a religious mindset is to reveal His desires, affections and emotions to me. We were made to encounter God’s desire for us so that our desire for Him could be awakened and set ablaze.
In Matthew 9:15-17, Jesus revealed a new type of fasting. He introduced a fast that would be birthed and motivated by longing and desire for God. It would not be a fast for revival or a fast to turn back judgment. It would be a fast that would grow the capacity of the human heart so that it could experience more of God. Jesus declared Himself to be a God of desire in the same passage. He connected fasting with experiencing Him as a Bridegroom God of desire.
He is reminding me of this fast because it shatters every religious thing. Experiencing His desire for me causes the disciplines of the faith to be fueled by desire instead of daily routine.
I invite you to fast this next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to experience more of God’s desire for you. Many people around the world have said yes to fasting the first Mon-Wed of every month and have called it the Global Bridegroom Fast. It is a lifestyle of fasting that cries out for intimacy with God and results in a heart that is plumb lined to the Psalm 27:4 destiny.
(check out the teaching section if you are interested in the Bridegroom Fast of Matthew 9:15)
Thoughts: Lately Jeff and I have been talking a lot about the fear of man and also my desire to be free from all the grasps it has on my life. I just found this verse the other day in Galatians 1, “For if I still pleased men, i would not be a bondservant of Christ.” and that is a serious statement. I cannot believe that’s in the Bible actually. You cannot be a bondservant of Christ when you are a slave to someone else’s opinions.
So I have been asking the Lord to root out the fear of man: fear of people’s opinions and their thoughts, fear of rejection, disproval, or even fear of being wrong or looked at funny. I have realized after searching through some Bible verses that I am not worthy of being a leader if i fall to the fear of man, because if I cannot tell someone the truth (whether they are in serious sin or even if they just have a little speck in their eye) because I’m afraid of what they are going to say or think of me! That’s not a leader. A leader is someone with biblical truth and able to say hard things. I want to say hard things.
So I want to encourage you, if you fall into this catagory, come along in the journey with me, and ATTACK fear of man in your daily prayers. (That’s what my pastor Jeff says, he is a good man. He also said i should write a book) So pray that you are led by the fear of the Lord, and declare your identity (who you are) before the Lord, who HE says you are, no matter what people’s opinions say. I’ll warn you that as soon as you start praying for the Lord to root it out of you, that He’ll begin to bring it up in your life, and put the people that will need to hear truth RIGHT in front of your face… 🙂 keep perservering. You are called to be a leader!
I have been inspired recently to go through the lives of prophetic people in the bible. I’m asking the Lord to show me the lives of His friends in the Bible so that I can glean from them and grow in my friendship with the Lord. There is so much wisdom for us in the areas of friendship, prophecy and Gods’ heart towards the nations. The Lord is raising up friends all over the world to share His heart and to reveal Him to the nations. His preparation process for His friends is intense but His desire to reveal His mercy through them is even more intense. The study of these individuals gives us confidence that they too were normal people that went through tremendous struggles.
Joseph is only the second person I have studied but I have been absorbed his story for a couple weeks. The majority of his story is centered around the betrayal he experienced with his brothers and the mercy he cultivated towards them over 13 years in slavery. His brothers pre-meditated his murder when he was only 17 but by the end of the story he wept over them and prophesied to them that God meant it all for their good. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers into a foreign land and went through the most intense inner healing season of his life in that place. God used it all to form mercy and humility in Joseph’s life so that he could rightly lead the nation of Egypt in crisis and provide for the nation of Israel at the same time.
(check out Teaching Section for full notes on this topic)
I have been moved lately with the depth of intimacy with Jesus we can experience in intercession. Hebrews details the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, His ascension into the Heavenly Temple and His entrance as our Eternal High Priest. He has made a way for us to stand in that very temple and He forever lives to make intercession for us in that place. Jesus is in the Temple even now, praying for us and the nations. In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord said He was looking for somebody to stand in the gap between Him and created order as a priest. The Lord was looking for friends that would pray with Him to the Father to see the desires of God’s heart manifested on the earth. I have been setting my heart to kneel at the altar of the Heavenly Temple next to Jesus to feel what He feels. Jesus feels the large gap between the current reality and the fullness of where He wants things to go. He feels the pain of knowing what should be but seeing what currently exists. He sees everything and feels everything and He has made a way for us to share this with Him. He brought His close friends to the garden to share in His struggle before the cross and is calling for friends to do the same even now. Pain is only present in His heart because desire and longing are present within His heart. He would not feel pain or weep over the nations if He did not desire greater intimacy and nearness with them. I want to weep with Jesus and share in the deepest places of His heart as a friend. For this reason Jesus had made us priests forever (Rev 1:6). I have pulled back from that place of pain but I am setting myself to know His heart and to pray with Him again as a place of intimacy until His 2nd coming and the restoration of all things.
Jeff and I were privileged to take part in the “Freshman and Sophomore” Chapel here at the International House of Prayer University. There were probably about 400 students stuffed into one room for a time of worship, testimony, ministry time, and then an exhortation from a fellow student. We were so provoked to hear these ones encourage each other in intercession and desperate pursuit of God. A sophomore shared a story about his father’s ability to sustain love for God for thirty years. After the student asked his dad how he did it, the father’s reply was: “DESPERATION” – I am desperate for more of God and I cannot be satisfied with anything less.” THIS is how we as human beings can remain in the posture of humility and hunger for God- desperation!!!
Enjoy the photos of this amazing time!
We got to sit in the sound booth and give some leadership to the students planning the event. It was a blast.