"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor for your body, as to what ye shall put on--" Matthew 6:25 KJV
No thought. NO thought? NO THOUGHT?
I was supposed to be packing for a 3-day women's retreat--my first with Cornerstone Church where I knew almost no one. I was taking thought about clothes for hot days, clothes for chilly nights, clothes for the hotel, the pool, for walks on the beach, clothes that make pleasing color and fabric combinations--clothes which would match Jerry's, even on Saturday when we wouldn't see each other. How could I take NO thought about any of that? Was I just to reach my hand into a dark closet and pull things out at random? Because if that's what it meant, that's what I would do. The "lillies of the field" analogy didn't seem to wash. Yes, God clothes flowers--but He does it by having them be "born" wearing one perfect outfit that lasts their entire life. No, they don't have to toil and spin but their "clothes" never need to be laundered either, never have to be mended, never wear out. I don't think God mean we are to wear nothing but our birthday suits all our lives. Anyway I did a quick word study on μεριμνάω (merimnao), the word used for "thought" in the Matthew passage above. It comes from a root word meaning "a part, as opposed to the whole. . . drawn in opposite directions, to go to pieces because pulled apart, like the force exerted by anxiety, worry" Strong's Concordancehttp://biblehub.com/greek/3309.htm. In every translation but the King James, the word merimnao in Matthew 6:25 reads as a phrase: Don't worry, don't be anxious, don't take pains for yourselves, be not solicitous. http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-25.htm
In our vernacular, it's talking about being over-anxious, about excessive concern, not total lack of awareness. That was a relief. Still, I was over-anxious for some reason. So I refused to "take thought" about the clothes I would pack. Every time I started to stress about it, feeling divided, I blocked the thought with "Lord, You know what I will be doing at the retreat and what the weather will be. You let me know what to take." It came right down to the minute where something had to go into the tote bag but I was no longer concerned about it. And one by one specific items came to my mind. This pair of capris, that top, this pair of shoes, that jacket. I packed as led, letting go of the questions that rose when I felt directed to take two jackets and not to take a certain pair of sandals I'd considered essential.
At the end of the weekend I marveled that what I took was exactly what I needed--and I had packed far less than anyone else sharing the car ride down to Laguna Woods.
In the back of my mind I had even been afraid God had no fashion sense. What odd combinations would He stick me with? When I confided my concerns after the fact, my roommates exchanged a look, rolling their eyes, and one of them said, "He designed the universe. I think He can put together a wardrobe."
"One day, He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them,
'Let us go across to the other side of the lake.' So, they set out and,
as they sailed, He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake,
and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and
woke Him, saying, 'Master, Master, we are perishing!' And He awoke and
rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased and there was a
calm. He said to them, 'Where is your faith?' And they were afraid and
they marveled, saying to one another, 'Who, then, is this, that He
commands even winds and water, and they obey Him?'" (Luke 8.22-25)
Jesus didn't say, "Let's go sailing."
He didn't say, "Let's cast off and see what happens."
He didn't say, "Let's go out to the middle of the lake and drown."
He said, "Let us go across to the other side of the lake."
Listening to the end of what He does say--and believing it--might save us unnecessary drama.
Jesus said, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give" Matthew 10:8, and "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" John 14:12.
"Truly the gods, which I worship, are idols of stone that do not speak nor feel. . . Some very powerful, hidden and unknown god is the creator of the entire universe. He is the only one that can console me in my affliction and help me in such anguish as my heart feels; I want him to be my helper and protection."
--Nezahualcoyotl, literally "Coyote Who Fasts" or "Hungry Coyote" - philosopher, warrior, architect, poet and ruler in pre-Columbian Mexico. (1402-1472).
He is best remembered for his poetry, but according to accounts by his descendants and biographers, he had an experience of an "Unknown, Unknowable Lord of Everywhere" to
whom he built an entirely empty temple in which no blood sacrifices of
any kind were allowed — not even those of animals.
One of his poems appears in tiny print on the face of the 100 peso note:
"Shooting a documentary on a move of the Holy Spirit is like trying to harness the wind." Clay Banks (So is writing about it!)
Two days ago, for a magical 20 hours, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum overflowed with over 120,000 Christians from 900 churches. It was the Great Awakening of 2016. (Within the first hour, stadium parking lots were full and every space on adjacent streets taken--and still the cars kept coming. After circling several times, Jerry and I drove home and watched the live stream!)
Great Awakening 2016, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, April 9, 2016
Great Awakenings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Awakening
On stage, ceremonies of confession, repentance, and forgiveness included
covenants of unity between native American chiefs in full headdress and non-native Americans, between African-Americans and non-African-Americans, between
Jews and gentiles. On stage, native Americans in elaborate and colorful costume danced in worship of
Jesus. At one point 120 shofars were blown and then 120 drums of all
nations. One rabbi, in symbolic token of a new covenant
of unity, gave his show to Lou Engle. Roman
Catholics, Orthodox, and assorted brands of Protestants were reconciled. One Roman Catholic leader kissed
Engle's feet--and Engle returned the honor.
Charismatic and Pentecostal leaders extended God's call for Christians of all kinds to "fly united," committing themselves to fulfilling the Great Commission
to share the gospel of salvation with the world and to complete the translation of God's Word into the language of "every tongue and nation."
In the stands and on the playing field, there was spontaneous singing, dancing, hugging, praying, and instances of salvation and physical healing. Massive spiritual power (God's promised "latter rain") was being released to such a degree that people
were being delivered by the thousands all over the
stadium from things as varied as stomach ailments, broken bones, cancer, alcoholism, suicidal depression and insanity.
Later, a row of Afghanistan and
other veterans lined up onstage to share how they had lost
their hearing in separate incidents from IED explosions overseas and had regained it when strangers in the stands around
them prayed for them. A Latino man who had had a brain tumor and been unable to talk until the day before described about his healing. There were even experiences of "collateral healing"--people being prayed for healing of one ailment being delivered from others also and people nearby those being prayed for receiving healing of a similar issue.
The event was scheduled to run 15-1/2 hours (from 7 AM until 10:30 PM Pacific) but until at least 4 AM, after the Coliseum gates were closed, there were still 20,000 standing on the sidewalks and in the streets, peacefully rejoicing, marveling, and comparing stories.
Around the country there were related events. In Washington DC some 32,000 pastors gathered at the Washington Monument to confess disunity
through arrogance, resentments, jealousies and competition between each
other and to forgive one another, committing to unity in reaching America for Jesus Christ.
This was the long-awaited, continuously prayed-for Great Awakening prophesied 110 years ago at the Azusa
St. Revival in Los Angeles, led by black pastor William Seymour. (See previous post.)
"Azusa Now," it was both the culmination and the beginning of a
movement of the Holy Spirit of God like only a few in history. It is
prophesied in books of the Hebrew Scriptures like Joel and books of the
New Testament like Revelation. It has also been prophesied in God-given
words of knowledge since 1906. At the Azusa Street Revival it was
prophesied that an even bigger revival would come to Los Angeles in
about 100 years.
Since the turn of this century, national prayer
leader Lou Engle, co-founder of "TheCall," had visions of stadiums full
of Americans willing to "humble themselves and pray and seek [God's
face] and turn from their wicked way" in order to receive the promise of
2 Chronicles 7:14 that God would "hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."
One friend of Engle's got a word that revival would come in 1,080 days. Engle figured
out the date: April 9, 2016, the 110th anniversary of the Azusa Street
revival. Then a woman phoned Engle to tell him she was having dreams of a huge sports stadium which hosted both football and baseball teams. On the internet she found there was only one such stadium, the L.A. Coliseum.
that God had now revealed both the time and the place, Engle sold his
house and bought the Coliseum for the day of April 9, 2016. He and the
hundreds of thousands praying with him across the country planned a
15-1/2 hour day of prayer, praise, worship, repentance, and
reconciliation, a day which they acknowledged belonged to God with an agenda they gave Him permission to override and restructure. The Lord fulfilled and exceeded their expectations, extending the revival on through the night and, as of this writing, into the indefinite future, surely until He comes again.
Join the thousands hitting "Azusa Now" and "The Call (Lou Engle)" on YouTube and Facebook sites for video clips. Read
articles about "The Call" and "Lou Engle" for the prophecies leading up
to this literally miraculous revival, the one so many of us have been
praying for for so long.
Lou Engleis a revivalist, visionary,
and co-founder of TheCall Inc. For more than three decades, Lou's
passion has been to call believers into radical consecration through
prayer, fasting and acts of justice. Lou has been involved in church
planting, establishing prayer movements and strategic houses of prayer.
He is the founder of the pro-life ministry, Bound4Life, and has inspired
other justice movements. http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/56172-lou-engle-in-prophetic-whirlwind-around-azusa-now
Livestreaming at www.GOD.TV from 7am to 10:30pm PDT today:
What Is Azusa Now?
There are times which Scripture describes as "full" — periods of
unusual ripeness in which God unleashes His prophetic purpose across the
earth. Such days of faith and expectation often come during periods of
crisis or widespread uncertainty. For 15 years, amidst massive cultural
decay, Lou Engle and TheCall have sought to proclaim the bold,
uncompromising message of consecration to Jesus. Like John the Baptist,
we have cried out, "Prepare the way of the Lord!"
Yet the last statement of John was not "Prepare the way," but "Behold
the Lamb!" If there was truly a John Movement, then a Jesus Movement is
surely coming! Believing that decades of globe-spanning prayer have
saturated the heavens, we will boldly ask God for the rain of revival on
April 9th, 2016. We will consecrate an entire day — 15 hours — for the
purpose of unity, miracles, healing, and the proclamation of the gospel.
Our rally cry: Come, Holy Spirit! Instead of 120 in the Upper Room, we
seek to gather as many as 120,000 in one place and one accord to simply
exalt Jesus. And for inspiration, we turn to the most powerful
expression of revival in modern times: the historic Azusa Street Revival
Azusa Street, Los Angeles, CA
What made the 1906 Azusa Street Revival so special? Three key factors
at Azusa mirrored the reality of the formation of the church in Acts 2.
Firstly, there was a multi-ethnic gathering of unity in Christ (Acts
2:1-11). Secondly, the miraculous, attesting ministry of the Holy Spirit
was enjoyed in a unique way (Acts 2:2-4). Finally, there was a clear
presentation of the Gospel leading many to salvation (Acts 2:37-41).
This outpouring of Heaven descended on the poor districts of Los
Angeles during an incredibly dangerous, volatile and prejudiced period
of American history. God used an African American named William Seymour
to launch this modern Acts 2 movement. Black, White, Asian and Hispanic
came together in bonds of love, unity and prayer. It came to be said,
“the color line was washed away” at Azusa.
This is the legacy — the well of revival — we seek to reclaim: Unity. Prayer. Miracles. Healing. Salvation.
Billy Graham Crusade - September 8, 1963
TheCall Nashville - July 7, 2007
In our deeply divided world, perhaps the greatest miracle is love.
Sadly, by 1916, the original Azusa Street Revival had officially
ended. Segregation once again fractured the fragile unity of the Church,
dividing God's children along the very same color lines previously and
gloriously erased by the Holy Spirit. Even so, the flames of Azusa led
to various renewal movements that spread like wildfire across the U.S.
and abroad. Over the last 110 years, these movements have helped to
produce more salvations than the previous 19 centuries combined! If the
kingdom has expanded in spite of our division, how much more could it
achieve in unity?
Azusa Now is built on the great hope that this can happen again. In
1913, both William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter separately
proclaimed that in 100 years, the Holy Spirit would be poured out again,
even stronger this time. History attests this pattern. Martin Luther's
Reformation was prophesied 100 years prior by the martyr Jan Huss. God
loves to "proclaim that which is not as though it were" (Rom. 4:7). We
are contending in faith for the 100-Year Promise.
We need a true jubilee of love and mercy to sweep our land. A dark
question looms over our children's future: riots or revival? The only
answer is to be found in Christ. Prayer, love and unity remain the Acts 2
template for breakthrough. On April 9, 2016, join a great multi-ethnic,
multi-denominational, multi-generational assembly as we strike a match
for awakening in our day. It's not just Azusa then. It's Azusa Now.
Hans Conrad Schumann (March 28, 1942 – June 20, 1998) was an East German soldier who famously defected to West Germany during the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Born in Zschochau, Saxony during the middle of World War II, Schumann enlisted in the East German Bereitschaftspolizei (state police) following his 18th birthday. After three months' training in Dresden, he was posted to a non-commissioned officers' college in Potsdam, after which he volunteered for service in Berlin.
Defection to West Germany
On 15 August 1961, the 19-year-old Schumann was sent to the corner of Ruppiner Straße and Bernauer Straße to guard the Berlin Wall on its third day of construction. At that time and place, the wall was only a single coil of concertina wire. From the other side, West Germans shouted to him, "Komm' rüber!" ("Come over!"), and a police car pulled up to wait for him. Schumann jumped over the barbed wire while dropping his PPSh-41 submachine gun and was promptly driven away from the scene by the West Berlin police. West German photographer Peter Leibing photographed Schumann's escape. His picture has since become an iconic image of the Cold War era and featured at the beginning of the 1982 Disney film Night Crossing. The scene, including Schumann's preparations, has also been filmed on 16-mm film from the same perspective. Schumann was later permitted to travel from West Berlin to the main territory of West Germany, where he settled in Bavaria. He met his wife Kunigunde in the town of Günzburg.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall he said, "Only since 9 November 1989 [the date of the fall] have I felt truly free" . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Schumann
Tricia Lott Williford is a blogger I have been following since her husband died suddenly in her arms five Christmas Eves ago. I wanted to introduce her to you with something substantial which captures who she is, where she's been, who she is about to become. I thought at first this wasn't it--but keep reading.
I am reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s
a revolutionary approach to decluttering where instead of clearing one
room or one space at a time, you choose a category to sort and purge.
Like all of the shirts or jeans or boots or socks or beach towels. You
bring them all to one place, mostly for the embarrassing shock of seeing
the mound of excess, I’m pretty sure. You mound them on the floor, and
then pick them up one at a time, and ask yourself if it brings you joy.
If it brings you joy, then you keep it. If it doesn’t, then you set it
it free” can look like one of several options. For me it’s largely
about putting things in giant trash bags, and arranging an appointment
with ScheduleAPickUp.com which is second only to Walmart.com. I love
people who let me beckon them online, those who will come to my doorstep
and either deliver the things I need or take away the things I’m
finished with. This is perhaps a love language of mine: make it easy for
me to either give away or get.
Anyway, stay with me. Because this isn’t about cleaning out my house. Except that it kind of is. In a much bigger way.
you have a hard time parting with something that no longer brings you
joy, so says the author of this book, then you are supposed to hold it
in your hands and consider carefully why you have the item in the first
place. When did you get it, and why did it matter to you then? Then
you’re supposed to reassess its role in your life, and if it has already
fulfilled its purpose in your life, then you—get this—say,
“Thank you for your service.” The author says that by acknowledging
their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you can truly put
the things you own, and ultimately your entire life, in order.
I read that, and I was like, “Um, no.”
won’t be saying goodbye to things, and I’m not thanking things. That’s a
little bit hippie-dippy and not me, I feel ridiculous talking to
t-shirts, and I’m not doing that. Just give me the list of what to sort
and purge, and I’ll begin to make room for Peter to live in this home
when we are married.
so I began with the sweaters, which was easy since it’s 72 degrees
right now in Denver. More than anything, I found myself thinking ‘no
thanks’ about one sweater after another, which is likely something I
will regret in the fall. But whatevs. Then I purged the jeans and then
the t-shirts and then the blouses. I was on a roll.
then I came to the dresses. A bridesmaid’s dress (no joy), a sweater
dress (no thanks), and a collection of ill fitting purchases from
StitchFix with the tags still on them (no go). Easy as pie. Bagged them
right up, setting them free for someone shaped like me who will be
thrilled to bring them into her home. I felt no need to talk to any
single one of them, thank you very much.
then I found the little black dress with the scoop neck, the size-four
style with a narrow, shiny black belt that fit perfectly around the
smallest part of my waist. Robb bought it for me the summer of our tenth
anniversary, and I wore it to his funeral six months later.
I wore that dress as I greeted more than 400 people who came to honor
the life and death of the man I had married. I wore that dress when I
held my brother’s arm as I took the stage to deliver the eulogy.
Somehow, there’s a whole marriage hidden in the creases and seams of
been hanging in my closet for five and a half years. It’s actually
dusty. As I’ve moved from one house to another, I moved the dress. I’ve
cleaned out my closet only-God-knows-how-many times, but each time I’ve
kept the dress. I’ve never worn it again. Let’s be honest, I’m not a
size four anymore. But it doesn’t matter what size I am or was or would
ever be. I’m not wearing that dress again, not ever, to save my life or
I am learning that a "widowed wedding" is a whole different ball game. There are so many emotions in play, and I'm crying a lot.
Or it feels like a lot. I might be able to tell you what I'm
learning, if I can ever find words for this process. I don't know how to
articulate the sweeping emotions I'm living in, but let's just say I'm
back to seeing my therapist on a fulltime basis. Because this is too
much for a girl to process on her own.
a grand, large, overwhelming scale, I think this all has something to
do with making space. Space for the man I love to move in, space for
the man I loved to move out.
I held the dress on her hanger. And, so help me, I talked to her.
“Thank you, little black dress. You were everything I needed you to be.
You were a gift in every way. Thank you for being perfect from the
moment I saw you, until the last moment I wore you. Thank you.”
And then I put her in the pile with the sweaters and jeans and t-shirts and stories and memories and good or bad decisions.