Sunday, November 30, 2008
Back in April of 2001 I went to a Women's Retreat with about 200 women. I literally didn't know half of them, because two churches had joined in the event. The number of women attending made it necessary to sometimes have four women to a room. When one or more is a good snorer, it does not make for a good night's sleep. However, the time spent with the Lord in prayer for the retreat proved to be fertile ground around 5:00 a.m. when God gave me a vision of four women:
The women were individually searching through thick brush with a yearning to find the door and the voice that beckoned each one. The first one that found the door was crying. When she knocked, the door was opened and she saw a deep lake. She entered, dove into the deep water, and swam with strength and great joy.
The second woman arrived and knocked on the door. When it opened, she saw Jesus standing on the water calling to her. She walked out to him.
The third one discovered the door, knocked and was let in. Her shoulders began to reform into wings. She stretched them out and took flight.
The fourth one came to the door and knocked as well. When she entered, she crossed the threshold and turned around to extend her hand to help the next one in search of the door.
That morning as the retreat began I went up to teach the retreat song to the ladies, but first shared the vision I had been given for them. I also knew I would get a song in a few days about the vision. At the break a woman approached me from the other church and told me she had drawn my vision of 'The Door' a few months before. As I had shared it that morning, she added the women. Her name is Cathy Quest, and she is a gifted Christian artist. This drawing is linked to my vision, but please respect her copyright as an artist of this beautiful piece.
A few days later I began getting the words to the vision:
THERE ARE FOUR WOMEN HERE, LORD.
THEY ARE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.
THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE HUNGRY
AND THEY NEED TO KNOW YOU MORE.
THEY SAY IT HAS BEEN SO LONG
THEY'VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR THIS PLACE;
AND THEY COME BOLDLY ASKING, LORD,
TO LOOK UPON YOUR FACE!
THE FIRST ONE IS SO DESPERATE
THAT ALL SHE DOES IS WEEP.
SHE WANTS TO DIVE IN, LORD;
SHE WANTS TO SWIM DEEP.
THE SECOND HAS GREAT FAITH, LORD;
SHE KNOWS THE PRICE THAT BOUGHT HER.
CALL TO HER, LORD;
AND SHE'LL WALK UPON THE WATER.
THE THIRD ONE HAS BEEN IN A BOX;
SHE'S STRETCHING TO DRAW NIGH.
TAKE HER UNDERNEATH YOUR WING
AND TEACH HER HOW TO FLY!
THE FOURTH ONE KNOWS THAT IN YOU, LORD,
SHE TRULY IS ALIVE!
SHE WALKS ACROSS,
EXTENDS HER HAND
TO WELCOME NUMBER FIVE.
WE ARE HERE
AT THE DOOR.
TAKE US IN...
SHOW US WHAT YOU MADE US FOR!
Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door
will be opened to you.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
At the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where these pictures were taken, one gets the sense of the immense depth and width of this beautiful park. When standing there, and remembering the words from Mark as I blessed a bird in a tree and the elk walking with us along the path at sunrise, I was overcome with the love of the Father:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature.
Jesus gives us the mission to be light of the world and the salt of the earth, so that others might see and believe. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.
'People' and 'everyone' seem to me to be inclusive words in the above commission to us by Christ himself. Shining my light everywhere I go in every circumstance, whether on a canyon rim or inside a church building, increases the exposure that might result in souls being exposed to the light, coming to praise the Father in heaven and know the love of the Savior.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I get so excited every time I get to see an egret or heron around water. This gorgeous fellow was across the road from our hotel in Fountain Hills, Arizona. At the dawn of the new day he was out fishing and taking graceful flight as he lifted and spread his wings to glide across the surface of the lake. His profile in the morning shadows made me hold me breath to not frighten him away. But he was quite happy to stay close as he busied himself with breakfast. I heard the variety of birds at sunrise sing their individual songs and spread their wings at the beginning of the new day.
I pray that those weeping tonight, sowing in tears, will reap with songs of joy, spread their wings, with the knowledge that the Lord is their strength and song.
He is my God, and I will praise him. He sings over me. He gives me songs in the night, and joy comes in the morning.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Jerome, Arizona has gone through a transition since its founding in 1876 as a mining town into a cool tourist attraction. It has lots of artists and restaurants, as well as jewelry and clothing shops. But the thing that caught my attention more than anything was this wrought iron fence. It spoke to me of ancient truths. If you will look closely at the third picture, you will see a crack in the wall extending down from the cross. It gave me shivers.
When Jesus cried and gave up his Spirit on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks split. Something big happened. I know from the New Covenant many things:
If the Son has set you free, you will be free indeed.
Jesus has set before me an open door, and no man can shut it...
The Holy Spirit lives in me, and the inward woman is renewed day by day. (Proof tonight!!!)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
Each one should use whatever gift he/she has received to serve others.
The Holy Spirit has ministered to me this evening after a tough couple of days. He has told me, and to remind you as well not believe lies that you are not good enough, that you are too old or two young or the wrong gender or (fill in the blank!) to go forth and accomplish anything in Christ Jesus that He had planned.
He has said he will pour out his Spirit on all people. Sons and daughters will prophesy, old men will dream dreams, young men will see visions. Even servants, both men and women, He will pour out his Spirit in those days. He will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth.
Jesus is my liberty...the quaked earth was filled up with it. The veil was torn and it flooded out.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I saw birds and nests in new places Arizona. My mind questioned what I was seeing because it was so different visually to see a birds nest in a cactus, or birds roosting in a palm tree. Then, to see a bird at the very top of a tree along the rim of the Grand Canyon, seemingly without a branch to stand on, made a crazy photo that seemed to look like a giant bird hiding behind the tree. Later I got a picture of a roadrunner quite happy to be still and very close. I have seen this bird before, but never slow or close enough to capture on camera.
I think my mind was stretched to see birds and nests in a new way. You can count on God to show you something in a new way, to get you out on a limb, just trusting and seeing things with a new pair of glasses.
These ancient rocks in the Sedona area brought to mind some lyrics from one of my favorite songs:
When we've been there
ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less ways
to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.
Amazing Grace/John Newton
The ancient rocks symbolize an unfathomable time of existence in contrast to the season of a human life. Yet, the Ancient of Days, God himself, formed us in our mothers' wombs just as he formed the rocks that cry out his existence as well.
'Grace will lead me home' to the maker of these rock cathedrals that draw out praise. Over and over again, coming upon yet another outcropping of rocks, I would hear myself say, "OH GOD!" The heart behind those spoken words is not taking the Lord's name in vane, but an appropriate expression of AWE to the Author of Creation. Like Christmas morning, opening a package from your parent, and exclaiming in glee, "OH PAPA, THANK YOU!"
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I was captivated watching the lioness and her cubs at the Ft. Worth Zoo yesterday. When we first came around the corner all the cubs were playing. After awhile momma came bounding up the embankment and was soon followed proudly by a young one following in sync behind, almost mimicking momma. Then the lioness settled down for the cubs to nurse. One precious cub kept nuzzling her neck and licking her face. She seemed at one point to be giving some stern rebuke or instruction to another of her babes. Yes, we know raising babies is not all hugs and kisses.
I can tell you that each unsolicited hug or kiss my children gave me when they were tiny ones was more precious than gold and silver. The job of a momma to nourish, teach, and get her children ready to let them go out into the world is perhaps the hardest one ever. The best gift other than those kisses and hugs from new babies is when the grown ones call you blessed. The one after that is when your baby's babies bring unsolicited hugs and kisses.
Her children arise and call her blessed.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I was amazed on this trip some of the treacherous places I saw people standing. Then I realized I had been standing in quite a few myself. I was delighted to have some victories in being able to step out on glorious, ginormous croppings of rocks to raise my hands and give thanks for freedom in Christ. My and others' prayers on my behalf helped me to realize some desires of my heart.
A few years ago you would not have found me close to edges of deep canyons, let alone walking steep trails. But God rescued me from those fears, and I was able to walk in those high places. I did not throw away common sense or respect for where I was stepping, but was able to move with the help of the Holy Spirit to some places I wanted to go, but could not have done before. Can we really walk in high places without His help to not let our feet slip?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like
the feet of a deer;
he enables me
to stand in high places.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Hiking down Bright Angel trail into the Grand Canyon was, at first, breathtaking in just trying to get footing while taking in the incredible size of the rock formations and depth of the rim down to the Colorado River. At first, as so often the case, everything seemed very quiet. The only sounds seemed to be my labored breathing, heartbeat, and careful stepping so as not to slip and take the big slide over the edge.
Then, as I began to get my stride and relax enough to look up and down, I began to have eyes to see the life on the trail. A hawk flew overhead, scouting the massive and varied crannies for some breakfast. A squirrel popped over the edge, surely not understanding, or perhaps totally understanding just how big his home was.
A mule tethered to the tree waited for the trail guide to finish instructions to the riders. He was surefooted, and had carried thousands safely in and out of the canyon. We overheard the guide instructing the riders to trust their mules, and let them lead. They had carried many, and never had an accident. Hmmmm. They could probably do it in their sleep.
Then a spirited, fearless bluebird landed on the path right in front of me. I don't know if he was used to hikers sharing a little snack, or why he was so brave. But seeing him was delightful.
Finally, turning around and starting the demanding climb out of the canyon, we came to a treacherous switchback. A young man was down on his knees taking a picture of something rather small. As we approached, someone told us it was a tarantula. It was actually quite small compared to the palm sized fellows I have seen in Texas.
Life was abounding, and as my eyes could focus on life and not fear, I was able to see it abounding all around me.
For you, O Lord, have delivered my
soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
My girls wonder, seeing that I walked a major part of a steep trail down into the Grand Canyon and later took a helicopter ride over it, just what I did with their mother. Having to walk on the outside edge as we met other hikers, or sharing a narrow path with mules and riders was quite a thrill. Believe me, this is new territory for me. I have been delivered from so many of my fears of heights and flying. I approached such opportunities being prepared in body, mind, and Spirit. I have been working out with a goal of increasing muscle strength and cardio stamina. It paid off, and I was able to get on the trail and into the helicopter.
I think, while exercising was important, that listening to the Holy Spirit was the most important ingredient in these victories. Some tough life stuff got me to the place of stepping out in freedom offered for the TAKING. Interesting word, 'TAKE' . I found it in scripture in a way that really tuned me in a new direction concerning the things that invite me to be afraid. God will make His Word fresh to move us to new life, new trails, for His glory and to fulfill our hearts' desires.
BE of good COURAGE..., all you who hope in the Lord.
...he THANKED God, and TOOK courage...
What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Who do I want to spend time with? It TAKES courage to step away from things or people in obedience to what God is telling you to do or not do. It takes courage to try scary, new things; especially when you are older. But I am young compared to when some of the Bible personalities took on assignments given to them by God. But wisdom, preparation, and gratitude paved the way to walk and fly some new ground. The enemy invites us to BE AFRAID, so that our testimonies and victories will be stolen. God invites us to TAKE COURAGE. Prepare yourself in prayer, mind, and body, and go forth!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I wrote the words to this song back in 2003, but they seem very appropriate to the Grand Canyon and Sedona pictures of the huge mountains and canyon walls carved and painted by The Master...
Let Me Draw It In
You weighed the mountains in a balance;
and the hills in a pair of scales.
You made the clouds that float above their peaks
with the hands that took the nails.
You made the tree
that made the cross
you hung upon for all of us.
Oh, this beauty!
Let me draw it in;
so that You may draw it out again
That I may boast of You!
You made each 'blue' that paints the sky,
the wild aster, and the lake.
Your canyon walls and waterfalls
have made my spirit quake.
You made the tree
that made the cross
You hung upon for all of us.
Oh, this beauty!
Let me draw it in;
so that You may draw it out again
that I may boast of You!
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand...
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?