Don’t Lose the Fire

Fireball over here has a confession: my Fire started to wane.

Blame it on Ministry School being done for now. Blame it on life transitions eating up my time. Blame it on me not getting any new leaders for Phylla House and feeling like a plastic bag about that… I understood the Katy Perry song lyric for the first time.

Do you ever feel… like a plastic bag… ?

Yep.

Fireball felt like a plastic bag. It doesn’t take long to drift. And I praise God, it doesn’t take long to anchor, either.

Today I woke up determined to be a super productive adult who follows through. Follows through with people, emails, banks, and laundry. And in it, I prayed. I got excited. I had setbacks but it all got done today. And then I had one phone call scheduled for 6pm, with an OUTSTANDING woman of God.

Charity is her name. And today she sharpened me. She reminded me of what Phylla House is about, as I heard her little kids’ voices in the background, as she raises them bravely as a widow, and as she reminds me that we need people who have been through the fire, and we need structure. Structure! Ahh. The thing I’ve been fighting. The thing that I always think would hinder the spontaneous growth of Holy Spirit work. But it’s needed. We set deadlines. She brought her fire over to mine and it sparked brighter.

Sometimes it’s easier to go where the fruit is, and I’ve been taught this, too. Go where the fruit is! But sometimes we have to stick it out, and fast, and endure. We have to hold tight to dormant dreams, to the ideas that don’t seem to be catching as quickly as we’d hoped. And we hold them, even then. Even still. We take them to the Lord, sometimes in our frustration, and He passes by in a quiet whisper to remind us He is still very much Sovereign.

Multiply the crumbs, Lord. Nourish the sparks into a mighty flame for You. Don’t let us give up on dreams that You put in our hearts.

All in all to say, the #ATLdevo is coming back. It might be a little different, too. I get to dream again, and ask the Lord just how He wants His fire disbursed.

Fight to keep your fire. What’s the dream in your heart that tends to wane in times of hardship? That. I pray a blessing over what that is for you. All to Jesus we surrender, and yes, that includes our doubts, our timing, our expectations, our judgments, and our past frustrations. And we exchange those for a fresh fire and a fresh hope, with a double scoop of unrealistic, and sprinkles of the impossible.

This song says it all: You’re unrelenting, with passion and mercy. Unstoppable love that never ends.

If Love is for us, who can be against us?

Asking for the Best

In the past, when asking God for something, I had a tendency of asking for what I thought was feasible. I’d ask in the realm of possible. I don’t think I doubted God’s ability to give, but I lacked the faith to ask.

Along with asking small, I wasn’t picky. I thought generic could work for me. Take for example a laptop. I asked God for “a” laptop, and it was any laptop. Old, new, whatever, anything. My old one had died, and I needed something.

I walked around Best Buy and Walmart, and I browsed and looked at prices. I looked to see if the cheapest computer was any good. And can I just say it bluntly? What junk. What junk pattern of thinking is that?! Who taught me this? Not Jesus. Not Jesus at all.

As I sat in ministry class, we talked about the poverty spirit, the orphan spirit, etc, and all the ways of thinking that are really spirits, that influence the way we make decisions. I felt called out. I thought I somehow deserved the crappiest computer on the shelf, that it was all I could afford, and that it would do for me.

Untrue. And if you go through your whole life choosing the stuff with the least quality, you’ll realize that this decision-making is contagious. You pick a crappy job, crappy relationships, crappy food, crappy habits, crappy friends, and just everything is CRAPPY. I’M SAYING CRAPPY A LOT! SORRY! BUT ALSO NOT SORRY! Soon enough you’ll look around and see that you don’t like anything you have, but that you make these choices.

If you went to a new restaurant and you go through the menu, how many of you look at the prices instead of the food? Then you choose from the prices what you will eat? Sometimes you’ll order something just because it’s the cheapest thing. Same with clothing, going straight to the sales rack. I am all for a good bargain, but there is something to be said about the inherent quality of a thing that makes it worth its cost.

Look at your life and look at what is leading your decisions. By all means, live within your means, but watch the patterns and don’t strip everything of what it’s worth.

I’m a writer. I’m working on a book right now. I’m making huge plans and directing a ministry. I needed a computer that could keep up with what I’m doing. I had received a great little laptop from one of the kindest people on the planet, but it was password-protected and I was waiting to take it to my brother so he could try to hack into it. I still had no means to write aside from my tablet. It was frustrating.

I decided to ask Kevin for his opinion, if he could have any laptop, regardless of cost, what he’d choose. He said a MacBook Pro.

What did I do? I said a crazy prayer! I asked Jesus for a MacBook Pro. Which is crazy, because I don’t even use Apple computers, much less have it in the bank to go for one of those.

If you venture one wild guess as to what computer I am using now and calling my own: a MacBook Pro.

God provided one through one of my besties. And now I have one.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!

 

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So ask for good things. Ask for good things. ASK FOR THE BEST. Ask for what the quality of the things you need.

Don’t ask from a materialistic heart. Don’t ask and then doubt it. And don’t forget to be surrounded by prayer, asking others in the Body of Christ to be in prayer with you… odds are they might be the vessels of your blessing. No kidding.

God was faithful to meet my needs, and He did it in an extravagant way, rather than the generic way I was used to binding Him into with my shallow prayers.

That’s just a small tiny sliver of how He’s going above and beyond for me. By no means a prosperity gospel, just a shocking glimpse of a Generous King who calls Himself my Father.

I pray it encourages you to push into an ‘above and beyond’ relationship with God, asking Him for what He wants to give you instead of what you may think you deserve.

May He do exceedingly more than you asked for or imagined, which is His nature.

May He guide your dreams with the royal quality of His affirmation and provision.

Frolicking: Level Expert

But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.  {Malachi 4:2}

I love this verse. I always think the calf analogy kinda ruins it, but I’m sure that calves do frolic appropriately when they’re well-fed, and that it does compare to the joy that I feel when that lovely sun of righteousness rises and healing comes in its rays. I know that part is true and sweet. It makes me want to jump around, so I guess that’s my verse right now.

I am frolicking in my heart and soul, like the cows in the verse… and this dolphin.

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I’ve been asking God for some bold things in Jesus’ name, and setting bigger goals. With the end of the year, it always makes me a little bit gutsy… and I’m not talking about my waist here!

I finally started my new part-time job. I knew it was the right place, but then God gave me a sign as well…

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lost my composure when I saw this on the lab fridge

But seriously, this blog is about BOLDNESS. And with the courage to ask, I had to summon up the strength to extend my hands, open and empty and vulnerable… and receive.

And I received. I got what I needed, what I hoped, and maybe even more. We’ll see how it all goes, but I’m in love as it is.

This year is pretty much over. Maybe you don’t feel like you got what you wanted. But did you ask? Did you truly ask the Lord?

My encouragement to you {whoever you are reading this} is to ask.

Ask boldly. Ask specifically. Ask over and over. And ask to be aligned with God’s will for you. Ask for His goodness, His best, His rest, His eyes, His ears. Ask for His love and His peace to end confusion. Ask for His reasoning, His timing, His joy to endure, His patience to hold still, and His courage to take action.

ASK FOR HIS HEART!

Soon enough, you’ll find yourself no longer wincing, no longer hiding, no longer avoiding, or coping. You’ll be soaring and not growing faint. He’ll meet you right where you are and carry you where He needs you to be.

Ask Him what He needs you to be doing right now… and for goodness sakes, obey Him. Obey Him. Obeeeeyyyy Himmmmmm. Don’t let up. Don’t back out. Don’t stand Him up. Don’t lie and stay home. Push forward. Show up. Speak up.

He’ll make everything else make sense. Even the unexpected disasters. Yeah, those. He can make those arrange in a way so that good comes from it… it’s miraculous, and it takes time, and it takes open eyes to see it.

Good coming from brokenness and suffering?

Yeah, I can testify to that.
I can look back now and say it was well worth it, because I got to practice being who God made me to be in the midst of tough circumstances. I know who I am a little better… better yet, I know who Jesus is a little better.

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2014 is coming, and I can hardly wait.
The release has come like the sun of righteousness, with healing in its rays.