Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Carpenter's Cry

Have you ever been in a church service or meeting of believers engaged in worship where everyone is singing in unified song, something about asking God to come and meet with us?

I have been involved in some of the most utterly amazing meetings like that.  A thousand voices lifted in song, dozens of drums beating in varied unison.  We cry out to God, "Let it rain! Let it rain! Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain!"

The other day, I was listening to that very song.  It was a live recording, and I was moved to tears listening to the multitude of voices bellowing out this prayer.  My heart lifted and swelled in agreement.

And then the strangest vision came to mind.  I saw Him.  The Carpenter.  He stood on the earth, His face raised, eyes closed, and arms stretched out to His heavens. And He cried out, "Let it rain!  Let it rain!  Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain!"

"This was My prayer first," He said.  "This is My intercession.  You have heard My cry and have come into agreement with Me."

Sometimes I think we think we are stretching and trying to reach God, who we believe is just out of reach.  We couldn't be more wrong.  We are crying out and fasting and praying for Him to move.  For Him to visit us.  For Him to heal us.

The truth is, He is closer than our skin, and this was all His idea to begin with.  He came to us before we ever asked.  He suffered and bled for us when we had abandoned Him.  And He is our Intercessor.  He cries out to the heavens and - every now and then - we come into a place where we can hear His prayer and we join in.  We lift our hands to His heavens and invite the rest of the story right along side Him.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I spent five weeks in a third-world country without a mirror once.  It was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had.  It's funny how your perspective changes when you don't have one of those reflective surfaces staring you down at every turn.  It's funny how you are suddenly able to think about things that matter infinitely more.

You are beautiful.  Just as you are.  Can you hear me?  You have devoted too much of your time thinking of ways to better your physical appearance.  You have reserved a large part of your conscious mind to being conscious of yourself.  You have believed a lie.

How do I know this?  Because I too have believed a lie.  It is devious in it's play.  It hides itself by making itself obvious.  Books, magazine articles, talk shows; they have all talked about the lie so much that we think we understand it.  But we don't.

We have over-talked and over-analyzed the concept of "inner beauty" and "social stereotypes".  They are such common topics that we no longer see them as relevant.  But they are relevant, aren't they?

We justify crash-dieting and starvation, eating disorders and obsession, by saying we are "just concerned with our health."  But that is a lie.  And as long as we are selling that lie, we will be in the dark.

The truth is, none of it will ever make a difference.  You will be a slave to a mould that was fashioned by someone who hates you violently.  Do you hear me?  There is an enemy who hates you and he is the one who has fashioned the mould for you and deceived you into believing that the only way for you to be beautiful - the only way for you to be happy - the only way for you to be of value - is to squeeze yourself into it.

But he doesn't play fair.  He shrinks the mould and distorts your view.  It won't work.

You feed the lie when you believe it and play by it's rules.  It's time to lay down your game pieces.  It's time to get up from the table and walk out of the room.  It's time to walk outside into the light and the clean air and find out who you really are.

And the truth is, the only way you will ever know just how precious - just how radiant and lovely you are - is by looking in the face of the One who created you and loves you more passionately than you could imagine.  Go ahead.  I dare you.  Imagine.

Try to imagine, just for a moment, that there really is a God who made you, who is close to you, pursuing your heart.  Try to imagine that He loves you with such furious passion that He would do anything to rescue you from your pain.

Even the most wild imagination can't touch the intensity of His love.  You can't conceive of it.  But you can taste it.  And it will forever change you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So many stories have been told of the damsel in distress ~ the princess being rescued ~ the bride and the bridegroom.  Often I wonder, how on earth are the Sons of Adam meant to relate to this great love story?  I get how they can relate to the rescuer at times ~ how they can embrace their Godliness and His likeness and begin to see themselves as the warrior ~ as the knight.  But how can they possibly become the Bride? How can they embrace this story of the prince rescuing the princess as though they are the ones in need of rescuing?

It is a difficult thing to conceive of God not being a man, particularly when the most trusted source we have for His description refers to Him as a Him and as a Father.  I think most of us accept that God is genderless and that He indeed did make both Adam and Eve in His image.  So then, it is logical to conclude that a woman equally reflects the nature of the Creator as does a man.

So if our Maker and Saviour and the Lover of our souls is revealed to us in both Adam and in Eve, then would it be possible to accept that a man could have a relationship with the Maker and relate to God at times as though He is a She?

I look around at the religion we have formed to contain our Maker and I see that we have been afraid of this idea.  Mystics and non-Christian spiritualists don't seem to have a problem with it all and, in fact, that may well be one of the reasons that the notion has been shunned by the organized church we have today.

The reality is that God has created woman in "His" image as well and there is a great mystery that lies in that fact.  That God is fierce and yet gentle ~ a warrior and kind ~ valiant and soft.  God is Nurturer ~ El Shaddai ("many breasted one").  Deeply passionate and intuitive ~ affectionate and inviting.

Some of the great worship leaders of our generation have written about the great romance between God and the sons of Adam.  David Ruis wrote, reflecting on King Solomon's words, "Let me know the kisses of Your mouth, let me feel Your embrace, let me smell the fragrance of Your touch, let me see Your lovely face." Kevin Prosch quotes King David when he writes, "I bow down and kiss the Son."

There is an intimacy and abandonment which I believe will come as the Sons of Zion begin to realize that their Maker ~ the Lover of their souls ~ the One who calls to them in the midnight hour and from the depths ~ is the Beautiful One ~ the fulfillment of their hearts' cry.  The one to nurture their broken bodies and souls.  The one to ravish them and love them back to life.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Place at the King's Table

Did you ever reach a point in your life when you realized you might never have it all together?  For some of us, we reach that point on a daily basis.  Others may not have reached it.  Or you have, but you've ignored it.  Because who has time to consider such things?

The reality is that most of us have constructed a socially acceptable persona that moves in and out of relationships, grocery stores, church meetings, and bank line-ups every day for most of our lives.  He or she is the one that most people see and love, and whom we to some degree despise.  Because others have loved him or her but not our true selves.  And God forbid they should ever meet that wretch.

Okay, so it might not be that dramatic.  Not for all of us.  But the point is, all of us have an inherent need to be loved, understood, and accepted.  Yes, by others around us but, I believe, primarily by our Maker.

So that's where it can get tricky.  Because we come to Him hiding inside of our persona and try to present the most acceptable version of ourselves.  We know that He can see all the rest but we just don't really want to go there.  If we do, it's at a scheduled time and place where we bare our soul, admit to our weakness, and pray that He would rescue us from our wretchedness.  If we have realized that we are wretched, that is.

You see, the more I live, and the more people I meet and really get to know, the more I realize that all of us are deformed in some way.  Neglected as children, abandoned by friends, abused, forsaken, betrayed . . . these experiences mess up the physical development of our minds, and we end up operating out of a place of mental and emotional dysfunction without really even understanding why.  We just try to cope.

Sooner or later, we decide that we do want to meet the Healer and we do want to spend the rest of our lives finally resting in His presence.  So we go about the business of getting ourselves fixed.  Presentable.  Some of us even realize that He alone can heal us and so we ask for His mercy and trudge along, hoping that one day we will finally arrive and earn a place at His table.

What we don't realize, though, is that He loves us just as we are, in all of our brokenness and dysfunction.  He doesn't love us for who we should be but exactly as we are.

There is a story in the book of Samuel about a man named Mephibosheth.  He was the son of Jonathan, and grandson of the late King Saul.  David had defeated Saul and was now king.  In the old days, if someone was de-throned, their family would normally be killed off in order to prevent any kind of uprising.  When the news arrived that David was coming back to take the throne, Saul's family split, including Mephibosheth, who was just a boy at the time.  In her haste to escape, his nurse dropped him and both of his feet were crippled.

Years later, King David inquires as to whether there are any remaining relatives of Jonathan (with whom he had been close friends.)  He is told that Jonathan's crippled son still lives.  David calls for Mephibosheth who, upon his arrival, prostrates himself before the king and begs for mercy.

Rather than have Saul's remaining descendant killed, David gives him land, a home, and, believe it or not, a place at his table.

From that day on, Mephibosheth eats at the King's table regularly, along with David's own sons, as a guest of honour.

In many ways, we are like Mephibosheth.  We have been broken from when we were young.  Oftentimes, because of the choices of others and at no fault of our own.  We spend so much time trying to make ourselves worthy of His love while the whole time, He is offering us a place at His table just as we are.

I believe that true healing comes only after we have not only accepted but embraced the love which our Father has freely given us.  It is only once we have risen to our feet before Him and followed Him to take our place as His sons and daughters, crippled feet and all, that we will be in a position to receive the true healing of our hearts and minds.

This is a difficult thing to do, and perhaps even more difficult than it sounds.  For to rise and take a seat as the guest of honour at the table of the King of all kings requires humility.  Our carefully crafted persona has no place here.  Only our true selves are invited.  The broken one.  The shameful one.  The one we have hidden for our whole lives.

The beautiful one.  The chosen one.  The one for whom He has died.

He calls, "Come.  Dine with me.  I have prepared a place for you.  Your time to rest has finally come."


Monday, July 25, 2011

Saying Goodbye

A band called Nickelback wrote a song called "Photograph" a few years back that talks about, essentially, letting go of the past.  For some of us, this is an easy task because our pasts are things we'd prefer to forget anyway.  Although I suspect often we are not really forgetting but simply stuffing those memories somewhere into our subconscious where they only affect us when we experience similar circumstances in the present.

Others of us cannot let go of our past - whether it be past relationships or past experiences - no matter how hard we try.  Even the good memories seem to be so painful to let go of.  We are so frightened that things can never be that good again.

Either way, often the sentimental idea of "leaving the past in the past" is appealing and yet nearly impossible to do.  Particularly when a certain scent or scene or ballad meets our senses and brings us back, in a second.

I was reading a scripture verse the other day on a little daily scripture calendar a good friend of mine gave me years ago.  It read:

"To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, 
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke . . . 
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear."

It occurred to me that often we are actually chained to our pasts.  Whether an injustice has been done to us or others have responded unjustly to something bad happening to us, that injustice ties us to the past.  We spend years, and even lifetimes seeking vindication.  Searching for someone to make it right; for someone to validate our pain and tell us what happened to us was utterly wrong.

I wonder if that quest for justice ties us to our pasts, just like the Hebrews were many centuries ago when Isaiah prophesied their freedom.

I believe we are in a season and are being presented with an opportunity NOW to be freed from our pasts.  To be set free from the chains of injustice that have bound us to them.  If we are willing.  Often we choose for the chains to remain; we are so determined to await our vindication.  But it never works that way.  Ever.  Refusal to let go of the past does not bring about healing.  It only holds us captive.

Your healing comes.  It is on the horizon my friend.

Every memory of looking out the back door
I have the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor
It's hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye

Every memory of walking out the front door
I found the photo of the friend that I was looking for
It's hard to say it, time to say it
Goodbye, goodbye


Thursday, May 19, 2011


Did you ever notice that everything God has created is always moving?  I was just thinking that this morning.  If you want to take a photograph with an insanely slow shutter speed, and you want the background image not to change, that background image will probably have to be man-made. I suppose you could go to the Grand Canyon and hope for no plant or animal life - because the Grand Canyon's movements for the most part take even longer than your insanely slow shutter speed - but I think I've made my point ;)

I like as many things to be stationary as possible.  That way everything's predictable and under my control. Funny.  God moves.  I hold on to the nearest swaying tree.

Interestingly enough, I think I enjoy life better when I let go of control.  For those brief moments, it's as though I've jumped from my proverbial cliff and I'm free-falling into clear blue water.  My heart picks up its pace, my lungs take in more air (once I start breathing again), and I start to see what it's like to truly be the divine creature that I am.  That we all are.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Safer Place

I had a dream a little while ago that I thought I'd share with you all.  It has no tidy ending.  Well, not yet anyways, but I thought some of the imagery was quite potent . . . 

The young girl seemed tentative as she slowly prodded her meager vessel through the misty fog. She used a long stick, about two inches in diameter, to half paddle, half push her boat through the still, silver water. The light seemed to be coming from an opening several hundred feet ahead if her, and at present it only dimly lit the huge cave she found herself in. She couldn't remember how she got here, or where she found her wooden stick - or the boat for that matter. All she knew was that she was alone - for the most part - and that she felt a knotting tension in her middle that seemed to be intensifying as she got closer to the opening.

As she came closer, within fifty feet of the opening, she became aware that she actually was not alone at all. She was being watched, quite closely in fact, by a myriad of beings that seemed to line the walls of the cave. The lake in which she paddled had widened as she approached the opening, the sides curving outward and almost forming a circle around her. The creatures were brown and looked a lot like living roots with hands, although she could see when she studied them more closely that they actually had faces. And menacing ones at that. The fatter roots formed something like bodies, while the narrow ones were like ling, spindly arms with almost talon-like hands. They seemed to be reaching for her, clutching at the air, drawing her nearer.

She looked again to the opening, which now was ahead and to the right as she seemed to be unconsciously succumbing to the drawing of the creatures. It seemed odd to her that, although the creatures themselves looked sinister, and the opening good, she was far more frightened of approaching the light than of folding herself into the dark embrace of the cavern's living walls.

Even as her boat now drifted to the left of the opening, she felt her heart quickening and the fear intensifying at the prospect of exposure. The root-beings became more and more agitated, now reaching out their talon hands, beckoning her to come closer. She reached her stick down low to the bottom and shoved her way all the way to the left where she could safely tuck herself into the arms of the creatures.

She felt the fear subsiding as they drew their hard, sinewy arms around her. She closed her eyes and let them hold her close, easing her anxiety. The arms stopped their flailing and seemed to reach together to hold her tightly, creating a dark shield around her. They seemed content for her to simply go to sleep, as long as she never considered the light again.

The girl was settling quickly and may also have fallen asleep, except that she decided to take one last glimpse of the opening and its brilliant light.  In that moment, she realized that, even though it felt much safer hiding behind the arms of the dark, it seemed silly to do so.  The fear still gripped her chest as she considered, in a split second, the possibility that the light was good and current company was not.

She pulled away from the root-like arms and stepped back into her boat.  The creatures began to reach for her again, inviting her back into their safety.  She looked back at the twisted faces almost defiantly as she realized that she would rather risk inevitable peril at the hands of the light than to spend all her days in the arms of these evil entities.

With that she pushed herself onward and toward the opening of light.  As she came closer, she realized it was a low and narrow opening.  She had to bend low, as low as possible, and the small boat just barely squeezed through.  As she exited the cave, the thundering sound of a waterfall met her ears.  It had been silent in the cave, strangely, since the waterfall was only just ahead and she knew there was no escaping it.

She tossed her stick aside and now held on to the sides of her boat, eyes clenched shut, waiting for an imminent plunge to her death.

The boat fell gracefully over the edge of the waterfall and there were several seconds of near silence as she was airborne, waiting for the crash landing in the river below.

The boat hit the water and went under, before turning upside down and resurfacing.  The girl let go of the sides and thought to herself it was quite amazing that she was still alive, and then quickly realized she had better abandon her life-raft, which didn't seem to be turning right-side up any time soon, and try swimming to the surface.

She found the surface and could then see that she was being carried downstream quickly by a fast current.  The bottom had become more shallow, maybe only three feet or so, and was covered in jagged rocks.  The water moved so quickly and the bottom was so treacherous that she dare not kick or attempt to plant her feet to stop her carriage.

She soon realized that, if she did not flail or attempt to even swim or walk, she could actually spread her arms a little ahead, almost as though she was flying, and the water would just carry her.  She was incredibly boyant in this water, and floating atop the current was surprisingly quite effortless.

The jagged rocks just below were easy to decipher, since the water was crystal clear.  She watched them as she passed by them, and saw that, as the brilliant sun would cast its light upon them, they would sparkle like they were covered in gold dust.  Or perhaps they were not rocks at all.  Perhaps they were a million pieces of broken gold.  And perhaps they were not a hindrance but rather a blessing to coax her into surrendering to the will of the water . . .