Tuesday, May 13, 2014

a little 7 experiment of my own...

Have you heard of Jen Hatmaker?  She's a blogger and an author.  I read her book Interrupted and loved it.  Totally recommend it.  And then I read her book 7.  She's speaking at Windy Gap this September and some of us decided to take on a 7 challenge of our own.  We started in February.  The first month Jen only ate 7 foods.

Yes, you read that right: 7 foods.  I didn't feel called want to go that extreme, so I cut out all beverages but water and desserts.

You know what I learned?  I depend on food to bring my comfort and happiness way more than I thought.  I'm feeling down...I'll find a sweet.  I need a boost?  I'll run to Starbucks for a refresher.  Something to celebrate?  Bad day at work?  Let's have a glass of red wine!  I saw how dependent I was on food to satisfy the immediate ups and downs.  Which really, those things are indicators of something deeper - deeper longings that food cannot satisfy.

If you're interested, our pastor spoke on this a while back; one of my favorite sermons:

The other thing I learned is that life goes on if you end up quitting a few days early.  :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

flashes of lightning; rolls of thunder

Have you ever heard this song?

I found out that it comes from Revelation 4:1-6

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

(It continues to mention praising the Lord as holy, holy, holy...)

I'm still reading through Exodus, and was in Chapter 19 yesterday.  Verse 16:

On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

Today, I'm in Chapter 20 and after the 10 commandments are given, the people responded:

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.” (vs 18-20)

I love seeing patterns in scripture! More so, I hope that my response to the Lord is holy, holy, holy! You are worthy! He may still be seen and operate in thunder and lightning and to the sound of trumpets. He certainly works in other ways. But, every time I see the hand and heart of the Father, I want my response to be one of praise. I have a long way to go with that...but, I can say, when I choose to worship, it's good for my heart and good for my perspective.


In reading Exodus 19 yesterday, I was struck at how the wilderness is for the GOOD of the chosen.  Verses 1-4:

On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.

I love the idea of God carrying his people on eagles' wings to get out of captivity and into the presence of the Lord. I had a vision of something really similar this past Saturday.

I typically think of Hosea 2:14-15 when I need to be comforted about the wilderness. However, a cross referece for verse 4 is Revelation 12:14. Verses 13-17 say,

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

I love thinking about the wilderness as a place of nourishment.  Often times, I see so much of the enemy's attacks in the wilderness and it's harder to see the nourishment.  But, it's there.  It's for our good.

Looking up the word wilderness, it is uncultivated.  That resonated with my spirit. The Lord has to till and break up our hearts.  That process is healing, but painful. And the result is a more cultivated heart, one that is cultivated for the Lord.  A heart that is specially bred just for him.  Wow.

The Lord brings us into the wild to bring us out of captivity and into freedom.  Like Hosea says, he allures us there; he brings us there to restore our vineyards.  We can see how he did this with the Israelites in Exodus.  

Do we see it in our own lives?