Friday, July 24, 2015

Oh Poop!

So I here I am at the cusp of something really profound, something meaningful and something lovely. I have this idea that I am meant to speak flowery, poetry like words that will awaken the dead and open the eyes of the blind. Words that will instill passion in the hearts of those who have fallen asleep and will spark a fire inside those who have not felt the Spirit’s flame. … And he gives me this: A story about chicken poop. Isn’t that just the way it is? He just wants to get real with us. A verse out of 1 Corinthians 13 says paraphrased, “if I speak with all eloquence, with the words and tongues of angels but have not love, it is of no value.”

You see God doesn’t care if I am politically correct or use proper punctuation. He doesn’t care that I have a bachelor’s degree or what my qualifications are. I said, “God, speak to me, use me, put your words in my mouth, put your life in my body, put your "Will" so deep within my soul that I can’t find the place that it stops and I start.”  And he answers, not with lofty lovely words but a story about poop.

It’s because we know poop. We know the smell of things that are very unpleasant. We can relate to poop no matter who we are. Every person and animal knows what poop is. And no station of life, be it wealthy or poor has escaped its necessity. No difference in race, gender or age can claim the status of achieving a life that is absent from poop. No one can deny the fact that we are designed to consume and then refuse the waste that is created.

So my story begins with me in my back yard. For those of you who do not know I have recently discovered the joys of urban chicken farming. I have ten “lovely ladies” (as I call them) in my back yard. Now it would be incorrect for you to imagine a spacious backyard of grass because I live in a town home with just a small little patio attached to the back of our home. So as you can imagine, ten chickens can make quite a mess of things as they are known for how often they poop. Every night I put them in the coop and then grab a garden hose and spray off every square inch of my concrete yard. I was picking up a pile of wet straw and waste and placing it around my shrubs and trees and then finished up hosing off the patio. I came inside, washed up and then continued on with my night.

Later on I asked my husband to change our youngest child because it was really obvious to me that he had a poopy diaper. I even left the room so I wouldn’t have to smell it because it was a bad one. About twenty minutes later I smelled it again, and then again and then again. At this point I knew that it wasn’t him so then I started investigating. I am looking all over the place for this smell. Out of complete frustration I take my hands and cover my face. Instantly, I realize the smell is coming from me; from under my fingernails. I had washed up but had not taken the time to really scrub my hands. The smell is chicken poop!

 Now I realize this analogy could be used for many different things, “don’t judge lest ye be judged” or “don’t try to remove the twig from someone else’s eye till you remove the log from your own.” But the word God gave me was dealing with something else.

We live in a world where poop happens. Let’s face it, there is physical poop, emotional poop, mental poop and even spiritual poop. It isn’t meant to be something we continue to live with but rather something that is disposed of properly. In some circumstances it can be utilized as fertilizer if we dispose of it properly but if we don’t recognize it and deal with it, it can become toxic.

God used the chicken poop story to show me that I was dealing with a spiritual poop problem improperly. Recently I had been wrestling with some demons. I had been going head to head in prayer over some demonic strongholds that had been plaguing loved ones. At one point in time God asked me to deal with a poop problem in the spiritual realm and I did. Afterward I went on with life and washed myself in him and continued on only to find myself dealing with issues that I normally don’t struggle with, specifically a spirit of defeat. I just felt so defeated in so many areas and hope was hard to find, soon my joy was being taken and then my faith was starting to crumble. I kept looking for the poop so to speak. I wanted to find the stinky thing and it was keeping me so distracted.

 Just like when I was so frustrated with not knowing what was smelling up my house and blamed the baby, I began to be frustrated not knowing what was stinking up my heart. In a state of abandonment to the search I spiritually put my hand to head and there it was. Like I did when I realized it was right underneath my fingernails I went to the throne, not the bathroom throne but the throne room of God and allowed the Holy Spirit to cleanse me from the filth of the enemy. In one simple moment of thankfulness to God, of worship and acknowledgement of his great power, I was clean.

I had been wrestling with issues in the Spirit that I saw as enormous, I saw them out of context. I thought the world was covered in poop and all along it was only a little leftover stench from a cleanup project. I had asked God for a bazooka to deal with my struggle when instead he handed me a bar of soap. We don’t always know what it is that is plaguing us or where the smell is coming from. Sometimes in these moments of mystery and of crisis we begin to doubt God, to blame, to think that he is absent from the fight. The enemy capitalizes on our lack of understanding and counts on us to look for the smell rather than to cleanse ourselves fully in the presence of God.

I don’t know the struggles that you face but I do know the God who desires to face those struggles with you. He is perfect in his love for you which means that no matter the poop that comes your way his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control is enough to wash the smell off. We all have our own poop to dispose of but that doesn’t mean we have to smell bad.

I know it isn’t a flowery message about roses and sunshine, and that many people would rather ignore the reality of poop than address it. I am here to say that poop happens, and instead of me trying to take your poop away for you, how about I just encourage you in the truth that we are meant and equipped, each of us individually, to face it, dispose of it and then wash ourselves in him to be clean from it.

I might be talking about your depression, about your disease, about your broken heart. I might be talking about your grief, or your disappointment, or your fear. I might be talking about your anger, or about your sadness. I might be talking about your loneliness, or your poverty. I might be talking about your inability to move forward as though you are frozen in time. I might be talking about your eating disorder or your addiction. Whatever it is that has become that festering smell in your life, that is now not just repulsing you but is starting to drive away others, It is time to dispose of it and wash yourself in him.  God will let us smell like poop for as long as we refuse to cleanse ourselves of it. Instead of cursing him for creating the smell I have begun to thank him for it because without its repulsive fragrance I think I would disregard the need to be clean from it.

"Father, we come now and we ask for your cleansing water, we have chosen to remove the waste maybe it has been gone for a long time but there is just this lingering smell. We worship you and we dispel the grime beneath our nails, the thoughts within our minds the pain inside our heart that speaks lies to who you are. We trust you. We worship you because you are a righteous, and loving God who does not desire for us to be stuck in a place of stench and filth from past refuse. God please wash us and give us the capability to walk a clean and pure life with you as we allow your spirit to wash us daily. Cleanse my tongue that I may speak love and light, truth and worship to you. Cleanse my heart that I may know only your righteousness and love as my foundation for all truth. I love you so completely and yet I am so broken so I ask you in your goodness to make me whole once again and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. To you be all the glory and honor and worship forever, amen."

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Little Seed; A Little Spark

I believe that God delights in small things; it was from nothing that he spoke life and the creation of all that we know was birthed. Why does he enjoy taking nothing and making something? The manna from heaven that fed the Israelites, the loaves and the fish that fed the five thousand as Jesus preached were both examples of our human reasoning failing and God providing. Our Lord takes something small and makes something great. I recently found myself very troubled by my inadequacy and I felt small. It was a moment of discouragement and I found myself very troubled when God spoke to me these words: "All it takes is a single match to set a field on fire." When my small self is struck up against the plans of God, I know that I can set the world on fire. Sometimes we dwell a little too long on what we "are not" and it overshadows what "we are".

Why does God enjoy using such little instruments for his big plans? I believe it is so that we will know beyond all our doubts, the truth of his glory, majesty and power. If we know that by creation we were made for a purpose (like a cup made for drinking) and see the impossibility of us fulfilling any purpose without God then we have solved the great mystery of life. The enemy would say, you are just a small tin can, what can you do? And we know as the word says that apart from God we can do no good thing. But when tethered with God's plans we begin to see the usefulness of a cup as it is filled with living water. There is a time coming of great thirst and of great famine in the Spirit and it will be the flourishing, faithful, few that will be given a purpose to be poured out over and over and over again upon the children of God. A harvest so great and yet so few to bring it in. To be of purpose and to be used by the great God of all, is what every man secretly longs for. To be loved, needed, important and to find the reason for why.

My name means my little one. I have always loved it and felt very much like it is a term of endearment. I see my Father God calling to me using those words when he is reassuring me of his great affection for me. Sometimes though being so small brings out the inadequacies that the world and the prince of darkness are all too quick to capitalize on. I find myself questioning God in the midst of my small moments and soon I am in the corner of self doubt because my faith in God has been challenged.

 Christ gave us a parable that speaks to God's opinion on our size. Mark 4:30 is the Parable of the Mustard seed. "Again he said, What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."   

When God knit you together in your mothers womb, he knew the value and importance of what he was doing. He gave us each a special and unique set of gifts and in that moment that he designed you, he was naming you, and speaking the truth of your worth into the world. You and I are the reason that he sent his son to die. He had so much love for his creation that he was willing to give up his live for the revelation we needed to see our value to him.

He could have stopped with telling us about his love but instead he went and showed it so that there would be no reason to question it. But then why are we still questioning it? The disciples did the same thing when Christ was crucified. Even though they had seen him raise the dead and heal the sick and cast out demons they questioned his ability to use them. You find in the scriptures of Luke after the crucifixion, when Christ returns his disciples were not out preaching about a man who just gave his live for them, but that even though they knew he was risen they went back to what they did before Christ had come to them, they went back to being fishermen. Christ said you will be fishers of men yet in their crises of faith, they became aware of how small they were. It is what happens next that gives me great cause for celebration!! He comes to them, he even appears to them in ways that are undeniable miracles and he says that he is sending them a helper. I think that was a bit of an understatement. He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit, and when the Holy Spirit comes upon them the will be his witnesses.

Finally they will have, not just the creation to be what they are, nor the calling to be what they are, but they will have the empowerment to be what they are!!!! What great news! We are not expected to be something we are not, we are merely expected to be filled with what it is that we lack, in order to be everything that we were created to be.

So here we are being asked to allow this amazing Spirit of God to fill us, to free us, to move through us, to change us more into his likeness. Will we go back to what we knew before Christ? I love that he doesn't tell his fishermen disciples not to fish, for he knows that they are fisherman, he just says that they are fishing in the wrong place and for the wrong thing! He doesn't dislike who we are, nor does he want to change who he created us to be. He merely wants to complete our purpose and fill us, so that every empty part of us can stop searching and start proclaiming; life to dead, healing to the sick, and sight to the blind.

We need a spirit of boldness to manifest in the hearts of God's people. What would that look like if we all knew who we were, and we all became aware of our strengths and abilities, how would we walk out our faith with this revelation that: WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US.

It takes one little spark to set the whole world on fire for Jesus. It takes one spark!

Thank you Holy Spirit that you are the fire in me that can set hearts a flame with desire for you. You are the wind that blows this fire to every heart that is searching and you are the living water that cools us, and brings us the refreshing truth that we need in order to be alive in Christ. Thank you Holy Spirit that you waited patiently for me to finally allow you to burn inside of me with an eternal flame that can not be put out but only grows the more I spend time in you. Teach me how to be the fullness of who I was created to be in you. Amen