Thursday, December 22, 2011

These past few days have been very precious to me. I feel like God is doing something in my heart and life, and I'm not exactly sure WHAT.... where it's all headed. As I was talking to my friend Danelle a few days ago and she was describing happenings in her life I said "It seems as if God's playing Connect The Dots in your life and you sense it happening but don't quite see the whole picture He's drawing." (I know, isn't it tacky that I just quoted myself? On my own blog?) ...But, it's what's happening.
I feel like God is desiring to do a great work in our country--perhaps even the entire world-- and that I must somehow prepare my heart to join Him in some small corner, some tiny, personal part of that work. He said that if HIS PEOPLE (not the unbelievers but HIS people) would humble themselves, pray, and seek His face, and repent, He would move. Since there's nothing particularly special about ME, I think that maybe God is doing the same work in the hearts of believers all over the world. I think maybe He's beginning a work of great grace: to stir us to long for revival.

I'm going to share with you some of the dots I believe God is connecting. Who knows; maybe the big picture will emerge sooner rather than later! (Heh! Doubtful though.) :)

First of all: I have been reading a book called My Heart In His Hands, the biography of Ann Judson of Burma. Not going to write a book report about it now, but I will say this: it's a fantastic, challenging, extra-ordinary biography. As I was reading it one morning, I was actually stirred to tears; tears of longing. I want to be used of God like she was. To the best of my shamming mind's ability to feel this way, I don't think I care if it's a remote, inglorious, and even terribly hard field as long as I sense that God is using me as His servant to fulfill His purposes and spread His glory. I guess the reason I was filled with longing to the point of tears is because I realize in reading Ann Judson's biography that in order to be used as Ann was I must walk in the fellowship with God that Ann did. And I am far, far from that. I long to be there, but there is so much distracting me and I want to somehow learn how to extricate myself from the world. Things that are very commonplace in my life are things that Ann did without (internet, movies, TV, etc.) and I sense that I must drastically reduce the input of these things and drastically increase the input of what she spent her time on: the Word of God and prayer. Normally I try not to be too personal on here, and I hesitate to reveal these inner workings of my heart so publicly, but I'm writing this here on my blog partly to encourage my brothers and sisters to do the same, and partly to set forced accountability. I've typed it for you to see, now, and I encourage my friends or family to ask me upon seeing me if I actually DOING what I've written here. Please; love me enough to challenge me.

So that was one of the first "dots"-- a desire for something greater. Greater dedication of myself for God's purposes and God's work, and a greater sanctification of myself in holiness for preparation to that work.

The second "dot"-- a trip to Pennsylvania with dear friends. What a fantastic few days it was. These are some of my dearest sisters in Christ and I see them too rarely. These are people I look up to and admire as those I know who are walking in close fellowship with Jesus. We talk, literally, for hours about nothing but God and what He's doing in our lives. And it's lively, exciting, animating, stirring discussion. Whew!!!!!!! :) In the course of our conversation we began to discuss a book called "Red Moon Rising." I haven't read it yet but am about to, now. it's about prayer movements that are springing up across the world. Prayer ALWAYS, ALWAYS seems to proceed revival. And it looks like God is beginning to move His people to prayer. I got goose-bumps (or "goose-pimples," or whatever you call them, though I think "goose-bump" is a much more palatable term) when we were talking about these prayer rooms that are popping up around the country. And my friend Esther and her husband William are involved in one in their own city!! They are seeing God move in beautiful, amazing and unprecedented ways in the hearts of people in their region and they believe that it is in DIRECT result of prayer! Churches of completely different theological persuasions are coming together to agree in prayer. Unbelievers are hungry and open. God's doing amazing "coincidence" type of miracles to bring people closer to Him. I got to visit the prayer fascility, called a "CPR" or "Community Prayer Room" and was blown away by it. An entire place, dedicated to nothing but interceding for God's will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. (Goose-bumps, anyone!?)

The next "dot" is that I am in Chicago right now. Visited with my dear friend (and now a wife and soon-to-be-mamma!) Kendalyn and am staying at Jane Hawthorn's home with The Grens. (She is the younger sister of Jim Elliot; a dear, dear woman!) It's been so special to be back with Elisabeth, and Lars too. I missed them a lot; especially caring for Elisabeth. The reason I mention it though is that Jane recommended that we visit the Wheaton Archives and Billy Graham Museum at Wheaton College which is literally just down the street. My mom and I went first (she spent the first coupled days in Chicago and we had a beautiful time! Which I'll describe later in a 'nuther post!) Then the next day, Lars, Elisabeth and I went. I was glad to have a look at the museum twice because it hugely, HUGELY stirred my heart. The Billy Graham Museum was never anything I particularly wanted to visit, but I was SO glad I did. The emphasis of it was on revival. (Just me or is that word seeming to pop up a lot?) And, of course, they mentioned that the key to revival was prayer. It would take many more paragraphs to explain the further workings of my heart from this trip to Chicago. So I won't bother because this post is already interminably long.

Is God stirring your heart in any ways? If he is, I encourage you to take time to respond to Him. ask Him to further reveal what He wants to do IN you and THROUGH you. I think we are all just one tiny piece of the puzzle.... one tiny dot among the millions He is connecting, and if we His people will readily say "here am I, send me," He will take us up on it. He will move us. Maybe not to the ends of the earth, but perhaps across the street or to our own family or in some way, to have an impact on OUR sphere of influence. But first of all, I think He wants to move us to pray. And that's the hardest move of all, I think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just decorated my Grandpa's side of the house for Christmas, and am sitting with him watching White Christmas. He interrupts the show with his silly comments or random stories. (One such comment just popped out a second ago when a very lithe, very young Betty Haynes comes out in her dazzlingly white outfit for one of the shows. "Why, she looks just like my mother." Then he smirks, (his mother never looked like that) and looks at me for my response.
I love this...
Our Christmas tradition. :)

I want to learn to better cherish moments with those around me. To live fully in those moments; to delight in the sweetness of relationships and the joy of being with people I love with all my heart... and even--dare I say--their quirks. I've been praying recently that God will fill my heart with greater love for people. Great Source of Love, infuse me with it!

Dickens on Christmas:

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on their journeys."

-CHARLES DICKENS, A Christmas Carol

Friday, December 02, 2011

My Life Goal

I was reading in one of my favorite little books today, "My Utmost For His Highest". It is a compilation of sermon excerpts from Oswald Chambers. Sounds dreadfully dull but it's actually incredibly heart stimulating and mind exercising. I read this, and was stirred!
"I am called to live in perfect relation to God so that my life produces a longing after God in other lives, not admiration for myself. Thoughts about myself hinder my usefulness for God."
Yes, yes, YES! I am leading a young girl's discipleship group called "Bright Lights" right now, and I can't even tell you how much I enjoy each of my little 14 girlies! I keep on praying, fervently, that they would love me-- but NOT for my own sake: it's because I want to point them to Jesus. I think back on the people in my life who I've greatly admired, and was drawn through them to the Christ they were consumed by. I want to be that to my Bright Lights girls. I was talking with a friend the other day who mentioned that we are to be like the moon: just a dull piece of dust-covered rock, in and of itself... but because it simply reflects the sun's brilliance, it is luminous and breathtakingly beautiful. May God take this dull piece of flesh which is me, and make it breathtakingly beautiful by the radiance of HIS presence. I LONG for my life to be this (I know I've quoted it here before but here it is again!):

"Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me."
And if by my life I cannot accomplish it, let me do it by death!
God alone sees that these aren't just words. By His grace, this is my heart-cry.