Break Our Walls Down

Well there is no denying it! It’s been a long time since I’ve written, let alone shared, anything on the blog. Life has been crazy. To catch you up, things are pretty much the same in our lives, however….we are expecting our first little one in December! Little Lewis will be here soon and it has put a lot of things into perspective. But, that’s a blog post for another day!

I’m finally here today though because I was so super convicted this weekend over my lack of writing. This weekend at our church, The Church of Eleven22, we had Elder Led Prayer and 24 Hours of Preaching. Both events kicked off our twenty-one day fast in preparation for a special event we have every year called Saturated. Saturated is basically Jesus camp for adults and it’s awesome! But alas, I’m getting ahead of myself…

The 24 Hours of Preaching was a call to revival; revival in our hearts, our church, our community, our world. So through the prayers of the elders and the preaching from pastors, staff, and leaders in our church, revival, a call to faith, was proclaimed. I could go on and on about each sermon and how the Holy Spirit infused them with His power and grace, but I don’t have the time to do that! I just want to share what’s on my heart right now from my soaking and reflection of the weekend. This weekend, the Holy Spirit brought me so much encouragement and so much conviction. Conviction to write again, to proclaim truth when the enemy keeps shouting lies at me/us/the world, and encouragement to truly believe Him when He says He is all for me! So here goes…

One of the quotes (there were SO MANY!) that stuck out to me the most over the weekend was from Pastor Trey Curry. He said, “Revival can only happen if the Holy Spirit moves because the Holy Spirit alone can revive the dead.”

So. Good.

And so true! Yet how often do we forget about this pivotal truth? We go about our days, thinking about what we need to do, how we are going to make it happen, and then the outcome we will reach. We think about ourselves the majority of the day. We try to accomplish tasks all on our own without a thought to God. I’ll go throughout my day worrying about things, things that do and don’t matter, but things that God has/can/will take care of. But I’m too busy worrying about those things that I never actually sit down, pray, and have a conversation with my Creator.

We have a Creator who created life! We have a Savior who conquered death! We have a Holy Spirit who sanctifies! Yet we are too easily swayed away from our God.

I was just washing the dishes and I love listening to worship music when I do household tasks. One of my favorite artists, Kim Walker-Smith, came on and her song “Spirit Break Out” saturated our kitchen. Over and over she sings,

“King Jesus, You’re the name we’re lifting high
Your glory, shaking up the earth and skies
Revival, we wanna see Your kingdom here
We wanna see Your kingdom here

Spirit break out
Break our walls down
Spirit break out
Heaven come down.”
Over and over she begs Holy Spirit to “break our walls down”! I never really paid attention to those words before. However, revival is on my heart right now and what must take place for revival to happen.

I’ve been hurt and I’ve become too guarded. I’ve neglected the need for transparency. I’ve been blinded by the day to day and forgotten “the sound of Heaven touching earth.”

Revival starts with me. It starts with you. It starts with our own walks with the Lord. We can’t have revival if we don’t break down our walls and let Him saturate our hearts with His life.

God brings forth life, raises the dead, and yet He longs to see us filled with abundant life.

Let’s break our walls down. Let’s pray bold prayers and have deep conversations with our Maker. Let’s earnestly desire revival, for heaven to come down, and for those dead to be brought to life!

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” – Titus 3:3-7

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10

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All Things New

 ‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”’ – Revelation 21:3-5.

 

I don’t understand tragedy. I don’t understand why it happens other than the fact that we live in a sinful world. But even that makes it hard for me to grasp. But do I even want to grasp it? Do I want to hold tragedy in my hand and dissect it to know more about it? Not really, but sometimes life makes us.

I don’t understand why there is such hate in the world. I don’t understand why people can be so filled with hate other than the fact that we live in a sinful world. But even that makes it hard for me to think. How can so much evil, so much hate, so much violence be real? Is it really our reality, is evil a truth? Yes, it is real. Something we feel so deeply, it is real.

I don’t understand so many things. I don’t understand. But all I know is….from everything I’ve experienced, every book I’ve read, every moment of breath I’ve breathed, every piece of earth I’ve seen, every sunrise I’ve felt, every newborn baby I’ve held…all I know is, there is a God. A high God above all of this chaos. Not a god who demands death as a payment of devotion. No. A God who loves the earth and all who are in it, so much so, that He gave His life to rescue us from tragedy, from evil, from sin.

There is a God so high above all this mess that rushed down, conquered death and evil, and says, “Come, with Me there is peace. With Me violence must cease, with Me evil is nameless, with Me death has died, with Me sin is no more! With Me life is in abundance!”

This God, this infinite name, Jesus. Just His name silences storms. His name brings mountains to valleys. His name brings creation into being. This name brings peace because this one true real God, Jesus, He is peace. We may not understand tragedy, we may not understand evil, we may not understand sin, but we can understand that there is one God above it all who calls us out of this darkness, beckoning us, begging us, to walk with Him in His light and love.

Oh Jesus, You are the only constant. You are the only light. You are the only love. You are the only Savior of this world! My heart is wrecked within me but then my eyes turn to the words, “Behold, I am making all things new!” Oh Lord, You will wash this hatred away and bring new life! We wait for You, Jesus! We wait for You and Your love to pour out upon us! Because right now, our hearts, our souls, our minds, we can’t handle this hurt….but You can. So we give this pain to You, please fill us with You peace. Your love.

Behold, He will make all things new.

 

The Stormy Story of My Heart

Here is another old piece I wrote on August 26, 2009. It seems to be what I needed to hear today! Praise God!

___________________________

I’ve come to a point where everything I see brings me to my knees.
The breath a small baby breathes to the breath that breathes through the trees.
Tears from a father’s face to tears called the pouring rain.
But this is no story. This is the truth. This rainy storm reminds me of how You brought me to You.

As the lightening flashed I ran to the door to witness Your glory. I wanted to see it once more.
The prickling of cold ran down my cheek as I ventured to the wetness of tears from the deep.
Deep recesses of Your heart. Oh how it aches for Your people to return to Your mercy and grace. To walk with You face to face.
The coolness of the wind wraps me in its arms. A perfect picture of how You keep me from harm.

I sit on this porch trying to take it all in. Would I wish to hear such things when I once lived in sin?
The thought of greater glory makes me lose me breath. I can’t believe we turn from this and live our lives a mess.

The rumble of the earth I love. My heart races when I think of Your chasing me. Chasing me to join You above.
Desire I will never know is all You hold deep below in Your purest heart I know wishes me with You alone.
That I would know the Maker of sound, even seem to hear the greatness that abounds.
Plop, plip, plop. Thump, thump, thump. The echo of my heart sings along with this rainy song.

Jeans pulled high, shoes in hand, at the brink of Your greatness I humbly stand.
My soul falls to the ground, my body follows. Down, down, down.
Down to the ground, submitting to You. Only You. This is what You love for me to do.

A broken heart You do not despise. You’re eager to bring me close. I long to see the love beckoning in Thine eyes.

The thunder still roars a majestic rumble. Oh how the greatness brings me to my knees. Make me humble.
In the distance I see the lake. Steady drops touching the lake. Stillness moves to a dance, as You waken them from their trance.
Numbness, frozen, and dull. Move our hearts and liven our souls.
Crystal clear transparency. As Your tears wash over me, transparency is what You’ll make me.

A faint echo is all I hear. The fierceness has passed. Only the memory of tears and growth will last.
The ground will sprout, the trees will sing. All because of the rain that You do bring.

This too is the story of my heart. The storm broke my numbness and played the largest part.
I’m only who I am because a hurricane raged. Raged on my heart and soul. Never rested a day.
Brokenness brings healing. Fierceness brings grace. All the pain made me get to the point where I stand in Your face.

My heart has sprouted kindness and longing for much more. The rain is just a step to a life filled with kneeling on the floor.

Longing Heart

So I’ve decided to go back to my roots when it comes to writing and look at some of my past work, mainly poetry. For the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing pieces I wrote several years ago. Here’s hoping they bless you as they have me in rereading them.


Longing Heart – written August 23, 2009

If You’re all my heart longs for.
Fill me to the brim.
Drench me with Yourself.
Come and live within.

Make me thirst no longer.
I shall crave nothing more.
Your cup makes me stronger.
I’m satisfied to the core.

But once I’ve tasted Your sweetness.
I can never get enough.
Nothing in this world can meet this.
It’s all but empty stuff.

Lord, I cry to be fed.
By Your only true food.
It’s by Your word that I’ll be led.
In every single mood.

My longing for Your love.
Overwhelms my soul.
Rain down on me from above.
Fill this thirsty soul.

Secret Place

Psalm 84

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!”

 

This post has been contemplated for some time but the content is so personal to my spiritual walk with the Lord that I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to share. But then Phil Wickham’s new album came out and his song “Secret Place” (GO LISTEN TO IT! That’s an order!) inspired me with the words. So now I can’t help but write and share, in hopes that your walk with the Lord will be encouraged and deepened…

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a second prayer conference at our church. It was a powerful weekend for everyone, one filled with deliverance, encouragement, and growth! But not until the last day did I receive what I needed from the Lord. All day I asked the Lord for a word, a picture, something I could hold onto when the evenings grew dark and my heart might be tempted to fear. I asked because I desired a special moment with the Lord that I could cherish. Something that would be personal to Him and me. Something I could cling to at all times.

He heard my prayer.

During the last service of the day, where we were all receiving prayer and worshipping in song, He answered me. He spoke to me saying,

“I call you Esther. For such a time as this. But I have invited you into My chamber and into my throne room. You do not have to enter unwelcomed. You are welcome here. You are welcomed to sit at My feet, to dance around My throne. I watch you with joy, pleasure, delight and love. So much joy fills Me as I watch you dance! You are Mine! Let your banners dance. You are free with Me!”

“Really, Lord? You mean those words for me?” I remember thinking. And He did.

So I leaned in with as much strength as I could and soaked up this vision. As worship was sung all around, my spirit danced in His throne room as He smiled and blew kisses my way. I was poured into by the Father of all fathers. And yet, His love did not end there…

The boldness in which my spirit danced around His throne and rejoiced in His freedom was new to me. For a moment my joy was almost stolen for fear and worry of not bowing low in His presence.

He spoke again, “You can lift your head. My light shines on your face. I love you. I am safe. No darkness is in My presence. Only My light. My lap is reserved for you to sit in. It’s for you. Never hesitate to come to Me.”

Oh, Lord! How You see my heart and read my thoughts!

The words of worship sung around, “We love You, and we’ll never stop. We can’t get enough of You, Jesus.” I was proclaiming them to the Lord when He took one more chance to speak truth to me…

“I love you, Leah. I’ll never stop loving you. I can’t get enough of you!”

“Seriously, Lord? You feel that way about me?” Oh, the tears! The tears came pouring down my cheeks. He heard my prayer for a special moment/picture with Him, and He gave exceedingly more. What a loving Father!

As I returned home from the conference, as I fall asleep every night since, this vision of His throne room is burned into my heart. As I come to pray at His feet, I know my spirit is there and He with me. Nothing can keep me from Him. He has invited me in, thrown open the doors, and welcomed me! I have come running into His chambers, into His arm so many days since! And each time, He greets me with a hug and a kiss on my forehead, saying He loves me!

Guys, this is the Father. This is the God of the universe, the one who created the stars, planets, galaxies from naught but His own words. This God, the one true God, loves us so deeply and tenderly that He invites us into His throne room freely. He calls out to us, saying, “Come to Me! Lay your burdens at My feet and rest.”

He longs to spend time with us.

This vision has become my secret place with the Lord. The place I run to when I’m afraid, depressed, needing love, or in worship! He gave me this special vision and it’s something I will never forget! Because of His goodness, my walk has been strengthened and my trust in Him is growing all the more! So I encourage you, ask Him for your own secret place. It may be a vision, a closet, the long commutes in your car. Whatever it may be, know that He hears you and He longs to spend time with you. He is waiting for you. Let Him love on you. Run to the secret place.

Unsatisfied

I want to live in a world where the word of God, the Bible, is taken seriously and not distorted for personal gain or sinful preference. I want to live in a world where the cross of Jesus Christ causes us to shutter in shock over the utter, unthinkable torture inflicted upon the King of kings. I want to live in a world where Holy Spirit is the only spirit allowed in our homes and in our hearts. I want to live in a world where those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ will stop sugar coating the truth, holding onto their sin, but would instead lay bare before the feet of Jesus in surrender! Where Christians would love the Lord and all His precepts, hate sin and reach out to help the sinner, and strive only to bless His name! Oh Lord, bring us back to You! Do not forsake us in our sin! May we see the goodness of Your righteousness and may we seek it with every ounce of our being! Lord, You are the only thing that satisfies! May we be unsatisfied in all our ways, until we see You face to face and are surrendered to You!!
“But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” – Psalm 40:16-17.

The Love of a Husband

 

Some nights I have terrible dreams and wake uneasy, upset, and stressed. Other nights the weight of the day may sit heavy on my chest and I struggle to find rest. In all of these scenarios, I reach over to my husband and ask him to pray for me. He then scoots over, holds me tight and brings me before the Father in prayer. Sometimes even multiple times in the night! There have been times when he is fast asleep, I’ll wake him and with tender love he never pushes me away but always prays. Last night even, he offered to stay awake until I fell asleep just to make sure I was all right. This man, his humble prayers, and the Spirit’s comfort give me peace at night.

A few weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that these scenarios come to play and Matthew prays for me. She told me she was touched that he would do so and that I am so blessed to have a husband who prays for me. At the time, I never really thought twice about Matthew’s prayers for me. I have come accustomed to them. I’m always thankful but I never thought it was out of place for them to happen. But after my friend expressed her surprise/joy in this news, I began to think more about it…

Matthew prays for me because he loves me. When we were married we made a covenant to be there for each other in all circumstances and seasons of life. He made a promise to protect and love me no matter what. No matter if it’s two o’clock in the morning and I wake him from deep sleep for prayer, he will still love me and protect me by bringing me before the throne of God. This is sacrificial love.

This is the love Christ has for us, His church, His bride. This past weekend we celebrated the ultimate sacrifice: the sacrifice of the Son of God in His crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. He came into a sinful world to seek and save the lost, to draw them close to Himself, to make them His bride, and then to wait patiently for the marriage supper of the Lamb.

A simple sacrifice of being woken in the night is nothing to my husband because he loves me and calls me his own.

The most horrific death in human history, crucifixion, is nothing to Christ! He bore this sacrifice because He loves us and desires to call us His own!

My husband loves me so much but Jesus Christ loves me so much more! Yes, Matthew wakes in the night to pray for me, but Jesus was praying for me long before Matthew was! Jesus intercedes for me daily, hourly, all the time! He has me at the forefront of His mind every waking hour!! Long before I have need, He is holding me close and tenderly whispering His love for me. The true love Jesus has for His bride: you and me. And Christ has done everything to prove His love for us, that while we hated Him, He died for us in order to bring us close to Him! This is the love of a husband!