Thursday, May 31, 2012

How THORNY are you????

 Our yard has bougainvillea, it is full of blossoms, beautiful and brightly colored. 

 Each blossom is several parts with a distinct 3 blossom white center.  The leaves are larger than the blossoms, shiny green and cover long thorns. The trunk is stout with vines shooting out many directions in their waving display of foliage, flower and thorn. These bushes can grow in pots and cascade down entire buildings. They can be grown in the ground and rise for several stories up a building or fall over like a firework gone off. 
 As Christians we are connected to the “true vine” Jesus Christ. He supports us in who we are. We shoot out in all our various aspects of color, adventure, personality, dimension, giftings and experiences--just an amazing view for those whose lives we come pass by in life.

 Did you see the 3 little white flowers in the center of the blossoms? The trinity stamped within the center of your life, your heart. That whiteness against the vivid color of the flowers and the leaves remind us of our sins removed and washed clean. The power of His accomplishment evident to anyone who looks our way.

In case you missed it, I mentioned thorns.  

They are long, sharp and hidden. What thorns are you hiding amongst the beauty of who Christ created you to be? Hurt feelings that have become bitterness. Sharp word to defend our position. Selfishness that demeans friends and family. Superiority that is condescending. How many other thorns are there? Which ones do you hide under the foliage that enhances your flowers? When someone reaches towards your beauty do they bring back a bloody wound from the thorns you use to protect yourself?

I love plants and have a green thumb that I inherited both from my nturall father and my heavenly father.  I understand John 15 where it says: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches ar picked up and thrown into the fire and burned, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples....This is my command: Love each other."

This is one of the first chapters I memorized. I understand a plant never pruned gets all wild on its own. It is gangly—there are very few flowers, no fruit. I want the unproductive areas removed from my life, cut off burned up, gone. Do you? Realtionships that are not profitable. Are you willing to remove them from your life? Attitudes that make you less than Godly? Actions that cause others to stumble? Words that do not line up with His word? Thoughts that run amuk? How gangly is your life? If you are saved, He said you are already clean—are you staying that way? Are you memorizing the word? Are you living the word?

We had a mini-typhoon last week—probably my definition nothing official. Lots of wind and rain.

It blew most of the leaves and blossoms off my bougainvillea leaving all these gangly thorn covered shoots sticking out everywhere. Ugly is a pretty accurate term to describe it right now.

Nothing beautiful to look at—yet when I was walking I noticed that every place that the leaves were blown away have clusters of new leaves sprouting in their place. In a very short time it will be fuller, more beautiful than ever!

What storms are you going through? What is being removed from your life?  At some point this needs to be a lifestyle. Look around do you see storms raging against someone else’s “tree planted by living water”? Are you praying for them? As intercessors are we so consumed with all our own “issues” that we are not praying for the ones the Lord brings us?  Are we so busy “laying again the foundations” that we cannot get to the warfare we are called to do? 

Recently I had 6 ministries ask for prayer in one day because they were under such a strong attack. 
These attacks are taking a LOT of forms—physical, financial, spiritual, emotional. Maybe you have experienced the same things? Press in—get into attack mode. The fact that the onslaught is increasing tells me we should be doing the same. Did you see all those new shoots on those branches? The storms are done, the Son is out, the growth has begun.

Clean up, suit up, line up, gear up…we are moving up into a new realm. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


What brought this up was moving into our new house in Guam. As you probably know I have lived in tropical climates before so I have dealt with the roaches, rats and ants. But I have not dealt with these little things.

At first I thought it was dust. But when the dust started moving I thought maybe I should look closer—yep ants, tiny, tiny ants. They are everywhere. They get in everything. Right now everything not in a can is in the fridge.

I was told—everyone has them like that was supposed to make it better.

I can handle the big ants. You know the ones outside that eat concrete. You see then in their busy little black trails going back and forth without stopping except to pick up food or help a wounded ant.

These are different and there are thousands! When I had the insurance agency there were some ants that got into everything. The exterminator told me about this gel stuff that you dot on with a syringe. It worked on the big ones so I thought I would try it on the little ones. I dotted it all over there was no danger of food contact. They really liked it!

As they walk in it, taste it, track it back to the nest, den—whatever you call it and voila! No one can reproduce; it dries them out and at least diminishes the population.

I went on a mission to find some here. I did and it worked! Twenty four hours later and there are very few around. I actually cooked and did not have to battle them while doing so!

I am sure many of you were called pests as small children—OK some of you never out grew it. We all know someone who is a pest. Someone who bothers us at inconvenient times. Someone who makes us want to scream until we realize sometimes we are the pest and sometimes we are pestered!

We should be pests to the enemy. We should invade their camps by the thousands. We should be IN their business. We should be inconvenient. We should be a nuisance. We should be annoying. We should destroy every seed they plant. Everything they try to grow in a person’s life. (see the intercession here?) We should be a Godly plague to them bring the blood of Jesus with us and contaminating their camp with the blood and watch them run.

The problem comes in when we are interceding, getting battle plans, battling over others, working in several arenas at one time concentrating on the magnificence of God, dancing the victory dance, moving in the praise realm, worshiping before the throne and battling. In the meantime, the enemy is dotting poison all over—it smells attractive—it is everywhere we walk (think). We drag it back to our homes and meditate on it. Eventually it dries up our spirits, poisons everyone we come in contact with, destroys our routine, and keeps us from our battles. If you are in intercession for someone it is your responsibility to hold your position and fight until that person is in victory. Otherwise you put the burden on the ones fighting with you.

It is time for us to grow up and take responsibility for what we are called to do.
Time to stand firm.
Time to avoid the poison in our paths. Water washes it off in the natural so what do you think continuous washing of the water of the word will do?
Time to be aware of our surroundings.
Time to stop blaming God for every difficult situation in your life.
Time to add discipline to our lives.
Time to seek wisdom.
Time to operate in the gifts.
Time to set the captives free.
Time to set our faces like a flint and win this thing

I am ready to see the return of Christ—how about you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Salsa Verde

I made Salsa Verde one weekend. If you are on my Facebook you already knew that. I actually posted a picture because of the volume….

The funny thing is though, that, like so many things I do, it started out so simple. 

At the time Mike and I were volunteering on Thursday afternoons to pick up food at the food bank delivery site. We would take it to the church and unload it. Our church would distribute it to the people who needed it on Sundays. Simple process, right? It really is (for us anyway) and fun!

One week however, there was a case of tomatillos. No one knew what to do with them so I said, “I will take it home and make Salsa Verde then bring it back to the church and whoever wants some can take it.”

Now, to be honest I have a tendency to do things to the fullest…you can interpret that however you want as long as you are nice. Mike and I took it home and Mike put the case into the garage. Early Friday morning I moved it to the kitchen. I started husking the tomatillos.

I had forgotten how sticky they were. I had also forgotten that a lot of the donations to the food banks are “less than stellar quality”. There were lots of bad spots to cut out and lots of really sticky stuff to wash off. It didn’t matter. I prayed and sang and watched movies and got a routine going to conquer this continuously-increasing-amount of tomatillos. I also had a few pounds of onions to chop some garlic to mince, Serrano peppers to mince. Fun stuff. I love to cook--most of the time anyway. I find it relaxing, therapeutic in fact. I got out my biggest pot to sweat the onions. On a side note: Do you ever feel chopped up and put into a pot to sweat? Makes you sweeter you know!

I soaked the tomatillos and began to think about how similar our lives are to these tomatillos. We were created a sweet, juicy “full of seeds” fruit. We have several layers of protection too and the longer we wait to come to God and to submit the areas He is talking to us about the more layers there are to remove.

We end up a mess: sticky, husk-covered, bad spots, rotten areas and dumped in a box called life. Often it is a box of rejection, despair, insecurity, fear of man, fear of failure, fear of everything, addictions, promiscuity, failure, pride and a plethora of other choices.  

To keep these tomatillos from wasting someone needs to take the time to husk them and clean them. This is not a job for wimps—it took me 3 days. God has been peeling off my outside coverings for 37 years—makes my 3 days look like a vacation! Sometimes we need someone to help us remove the husks of our lives, the bad spots from sin, the sticky stuff that clings to us from the world. Then they were clean—the fruit like it was meant to be used. Have you removed all the things that keep you from being used like you were meant to be used? ­­ Do you allow others to help you clean what the world has done to you?

Next, I had to plunge the tomatillos into hot water; it was the only way I could find to get the sticky sap off the fruit. Did it hurt the fruit? No. I said plunge, not throw in and cook, not leave it to stay as a punishment because it had sticky junk all over it. It made it useable.

Do you find yourself in hot water? Is it profitable or do you stay there and cook? Notice I said plunge. A lot of times when we feel like we are in hot water we whine, complain, hide from God, blame God and do everything possible to prolong our stay. It is hot water for Pete’s sake. Get in, get the sticky junk from the world off you and get out!

Why do we do that? Why did the Pharaoh keep those frogs just one more day?  

Exodus 8:8-10 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”  9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” 10”Tomorrow,“ Pharaoh said.

Have you ever wondered that? Why did Pharaoh wait another day? Did he like the frogs? Apparently there were so many frogs that when they did die there were PILES of them stinking up the land. That, my friends, is a LOT of frogs. 

What frogs are in your life? What sticky junk from the world is clinging to you, keeping you from becoming who God wanted, creating areas for rot and decay in your life? Why keep it one more day? Plunge into that hot water and get it rinsed off.

One reason the Bible says that Pharaoh delayed was that he had a hard heart. How is your heart?

Another thing I see that happens is that when we are in the hot water and refusing to allow God to do what he wants—hiding in the water--it cools off. We do not feel the heat anymore so we claim we did what we were supposed to do. Then we rename it. We call it swimming.

We go swimming and call it pleasurable. The difference is, when we are swimming we think we are in control. We picked the place. We picked the time. We picked the situation. When God is cleaning something out of our life we didn’t pick any of it and we are uncomfortable.

After I got everything cut and cooking I realized I had more tomatillos than pots and burners so I began the process of cooking it all “down”. Most of the fruit is water and it needs to thicken to pulp. Isn’t it the same with us? By the time we come to God aren’t we full of little of substance? That process took me 2 full days and most of a night. (It is taking God a lot longer with me) I began adding more of this and that, onions, peppers, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and salt. I continued to cook it all together to meld the favors into something new and more unique than any one of the ingredients individually. Isn’t it the same with God? Doesn’t He add gifts and fruit? Don’t we become more than we ever could have been alone?

The next step was blending it all together for a smoother consistency, testing it to make sure it had the correct amount of salt, herbs, and spices. Do you have the right blend or are you lumpy? Do people choke on your words? Do people try to taste your life only to find out you are too spicy? Too salty? Too bland? Or, are you the right blend to add value to other’s lives? Do you bring additional flavor? Can you take a piece of bland chicken (a situation in someone else’s life that is tasteless to them) and make others want to not only taste and see that the Lord is good but maybe add to their own lives?

The cooking process was tedious. I had to continuously check on it. Stirring, scraping the bottom, making sure the burner was low so I did not burn it. When you are going through a “process” do you acknowledge how attentive God is? Or, do you just blame Him? He is putting you through this. He is “teaching” you something. He is “testing” you.Craziness. He loves you. He wants the best for you. There is no shadow of turning in Him.

Maybe it is just a different way of explaining what is happening. One is negative. One is the journey of an awesome and loving God. One is a loving parent holding a child’s hand and teaching them to cross the street. The other is throwing them into traffic so they can learn.

Believe it however you want just walk through the process. Allow it to take the time needed to bring out the richness of what He is doing. I could have taken it off the stove earlier but it would not have been as rich. I could have cooked it faster and scorched it ruining the taste of the entire batch.  He could rush for you but you would not be as rich, as tasteful or as mature as you and He wants…..

What does this have to do with intercession?

Moses interceded for his people, over and over. He saw their plight. He stood up to the evil of the day. That is pretty simple—cut and dried so they say.


If you are not in a relationship with God that refines you how can you bless others? 

If you are not becoming…how can you recognize others need your prayers, your help? 

If you are negative about everything people go through then how can you possible pray them through? 

If you think God “does” things to us then how can we pray then THROUGH a situation.

Food for thought….in this instance salsa verde.

Monday, May 14, 2012

What is the condition of your armor today?

I had a vision of David fighting battle after battle. He was dirty, bloody, beat up, hot and tired but he WON. The Lord was with him. The Lord guided his battle. He proved victorious over and over.

We forget the important things in a battle:

  1. Battles are meant to be fought with others. Ever seen an army of one?
  2. Battles are not fought in a sterile environment. Ever seen a war in a hospital operating room?
  3. Battles cause you to be in vulnerable positions. Ever see a war movie? Someone has to raise their head to shoot.
  4. Battles create friendships with people you might never have known otherwise. Ever heard about the reunions of old army buddies after dozens of years?
  5. Battles cause you to watch out for the people around you. Ever pay attention to who is praying beside you and holding YOU up?
  6. Battles cause you to learn to watch for orders. Ever forget that Christ is your guide and you are not alone?
  7. Battles cause you to become disciplined. Ever get attacked and walk away from God because it was easier to feel sorry for yourself?
  8. Battles may be for someone else. Ever heard the saying, "Its not all about you?"
  9. Battles can be for a person or a cause. Every studied any famous battles either real or fictional?
  10. Battles wreck your clothing. Ever seen a clean soldier coming in from a battle?
  11. Battles wreck your armor. Ever seen a tank hit by the enemy?
  12. Battles can make you bleed. ever seen a soldier who was wounded?
  13. Battles are lonely. Ever write to a loved one away at war?
  14. Battles are hard to talk about. Ever hear of PTSD?
  15. Battles bring out the most judgmental people. Ever see a protester who forgot they were protesting a way not the people?
  16. Battles are expensive. Ever look at a military budget?
  17. Battles cause lives to be lost. Ever see someone walk away from an intercession and leave a hole for others to fill?
So many times we expect the Lord to give us something without cost. We think if we have to extend any effort something is wrong. We forget there is an enemy who goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 

The battle may be long, it may be hot, it may be bloody but don’t get weary, don’t give up. 

Seek the Lord:
  • His wisdom 
  • His plan 
  • His guidance
and then fight like it is for your life—because it is. 

If the enemy can detour you, defeat you, destroy you, he will. 

Don’t let him.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Been to the Rodeo lately? Yee Haw!!!

There are so many myths and questions out there about intercession. What is it? How does it work? When do you pray? When do you intercede? Does it work?

When I was a new Christian I had so many things I worried about. My husband left us. He took all of our things and had them shipped to his next duty station. I had the two kids and no car in a town with no public transportation. I hadn’t worked while we were married so minimum wage was going to be it for me. I was fighting fear which was getting worse and worse daily. I finally ended up so scared of everything that I was afraid to leave the house. I would leave the house, try to buy groceries and panic. I would end up having to go home. I would panic when I tried to go out the front door. 

I found the scripture:

II Timothy 1:17 KJV For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This scripture totally changed my life. Every time I realized I was afraid I would quote this scripture to myself until I was past the fear and back into the “sound mind” realm.

Worry is a type of fear. If I wasn’t fighting fear I worried. Then I found this scripture:

Matthew 6:34 NIV Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Boy was that an understatement. I had already made a deal with God that I would believe the Bible in its entirety until I found an error and then I would give up the whole thing.  (Hasn’t happened so far and not going to happen) so I knew I had to stop worrying. Then I found this verse:

II Corinthians 10:5 NIV We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When I found that scripture I asked God how to do that. Have you ever tried to take every thought captive? About 90 seconds into it I was totally exhausted. There had to be a key to this, so I asked. “God how does this work?” 

I immediately had a vision of a rodeo. The horse was in the chute. That unmistakable sound of the chute opening was loud in my ears. That sound of wood on wood. The whosh of the chute opening, I could smell the dust, the leather, the sweat, the horses and it brought back every rodeo I have ever been to. I saw the horse jump out of the chute and head for the calf at break neck speed. I saw the rider start the lasso into motion. That dance of horse, rider, the arm twirling with the lasso enlarging as it twirled and swooshing forward to the calf and sliding around its neck. The horse stopped, the rope grew taught while the rider was off the horse and running towards the calf who was down. The dust was rising in a cloud. The sun hot. The rider moved in a glide, rope in his gloved hands, reaching for the calf. The 3 legs wrapped in seconds. The rider’s hands up in the air—done. Very few seconds had passed. My heart pounded. 

What did this mean God? I love the rodeo and appreciated the vision but had no idea what it meant. In His tender way of instruction I heard the explanation:

“When a thought takes off I want you to race after it, be ready. Capture and conquer it. Eventually it will become more automatic.”

My ever so spiritual response was, “How?”

He went into more detail, “When a thought is running away with you I will sound the chute. You take off after that thought and capture it.”

“Ok," I responded. Maybe I should interject here that my relationship with God is just like that--simple, open, straightforward. Why pretend to be something I am not--He already knows me.

After that, as I learned to take my thoughts captive, I would hear the sound of the chute and immediately go after my errant thought. When I caught the thought I would compare it to the Word of God. If it was not in agreement with the scriptures then it was not truth and I would discard it. This is not a short process. Still working on it though I hear the chute less and less often.

Getting these thoughts, fears, worries under control were essential in allowing me to grow, to learn who I was in Christ and to understand He loved me before and after I was saved and I NEVER had to work for it. He just does.

Knowing that love has set me free to love others and intercede for them. Are you dealing with what He shows you or are you “working” for that love? Are you fighting for others to walk in the freedom He has for them?

Been to the rodeo lately?