Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fill Me Up...

Being in God's presence is my favorite thing about this journey of walking the earth.  Nothing on the earth compares with times of being still before my Maker and allowing myself to be fully and completely loved, transformed, and empowered.  I absolutely adore the intimate, soul-to-soul connectedness I experience when I take time to seek and encounter His presence.  There is no sweeter place to be on the planet than to be bowed in spirit, soul, heart, and mind upon the altar of His heart.  Tuly, it is the central source of my entire existence.  To have my heart so passionately pursued is the life-blood that fuels my devotion and commitment to confidently believing in and becoming the woman He has created, called, and desitined me to be.  As you spend time in His presence, you will see that it begins to color overtake every area of of your life.  Once you experience the reality of His presence, you will be hooked.  I promise.  Try it once.  I dare you.

You may be asking yourself, "How do I begin to experience time in God's presence?" The answer is to invite Him to abide and inhabit wherever you are.  He is wild about you.  He cannot wait to connect heart-to-heart with you.  Just ask Him to come and invade your space.  The completely awesome and totally astounding thing is: He will!  The way I seek time in His presence is through  times of soaking (and no, it is NOT in a bathtub).  Soaking is positioning yourself to love on God and to allow Holy Spirit to come and love on you.  It's really simple. Get in a really comfy place and just say something like, "God, I come into this time to experience your love.  Come and have your way.  Fill me up."  It may sound kooky or weird at first, but TRUST me, it will completely revolutionize your life.  Another thing, remember the really comfy place I told you to find? I'ts totally OK to get in that place and find that you may fall asleep.  The first time I soaked, a lady fell asleep so hard she snored really loud.  God knows what you need to receive.  Soaking really is coming to a place where your soul can rest.

I look at soaking as a radical weapon of warefare.  I believe it is an essential tool to have in any believer's arsenal.  It infuriates the enemy and totally annihilates any power he holds.  As you spend time in God's presence, you are completely untouchable to the enemy.  He cannot be anywhere that God inhabits.  I love that.  One of my favorite things about soaking is that in these uninterrupted, unhurried times of intimacy, God and His Spirit will talk to you, friend-to-friend.  Like anything else, it takes time to create a continual, reciprocal, relationship.  I promise you, once an intimate atmosphere is established, you will be given access into the heavenly realms and the heart beat of the supernatural like never before.  God's presence brings me extravagant joy.  It is the place where I am filled up in order to have something to pour out for the sake of the world. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An Invitation To Go Deeper...

This week is Summit (formerly known as Lectureship) at ACU.  I went to my first Summit lecture of 2012 tonight.  Chris Goldman of Northwest Church of Christ in Seattle, Washington was the keynote speaker.  His text was Hosea 4:1-12.  His theme was the difference between knowing about God and intimately knowing of God.  The entire time Chris was speaking the Lord kept whispering, "I want you to know me deeply and intimately, Lauren." Throughout the lecture I could hear my spirit responding, "I say yes to your invitation to go deeper, Lord."  One of my very favorite things about God is that He desires to be intimately known by His sons and daughters.

The question I've been asking myself tonight is this: What does it tangibly look like to go deeper with God? I think He's revealed the heart of His answer.  I love that when I ask God a very specific question, He delivers a very specific answer. The answer to my specific question was really simple.  He said, "Spend time with me.  Spend time in my Word.  Meditate on and respond to what I say.  Don't make me an afterthought bringing only the leftovers of your energy, passion, and attention."  As I reflect on those words, I am reminded of the importance of making my pursuit of God my highest priority and my highest pleasure.  I want to create space so that He can reveal anything He wants me to know.  I want to live in a posture of constantly seeking Him.  I want to live a life that is completely lived around His agendas, timetables, and activities.  I want to be interruptible.  I want to go into deeper realms with God.  What specific things has He revealed to you lately?   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Overtaken by Joy...

Here's something you my not know about me.  I adore joy.  It is my very favorite fruit of the Spirit.  If my existence could be summed up in one sentence I pray that it is this, "Lauren was a woman who pursued and lived in joy no matter the circumsance."  I have a friend who has talked time and time again about a "no-matter-what kind of faith" and while I want that as well, I want to spread a "no-matter-what kind of joy" in the world.  In fact, more than that, I yearn to be overtaken by joy.  I pray that it defines every single fiber of my existence on the earth and in heaven.  Here are some things I've learned about joy:

Living in joy is so much fun.  The posture of joy invites fun into every area of life.  It lessens the pressures of life.  Part of the fun of joy is learning to let it spill out of you and onto everything you do.  It has the power to change circumstances, people, and atmoshperes.  That's fun.  My favorite fun part of joy is that it partners with heaven.  Every day is different and full of ways to trust, rely on, and place confidence in God.  To me, that is fun.

As a believer, I am made to abide in joy.  I love that pursuing joy is not supposed to be a passive activity.  I am supposed to dwell in it and its power.  God wants me to learn to stay in posture of joy through all that life throws at me.  As I choose to abide in joy, He supernaturally equips me to gain more territory in Him.  Abiding in joy ensures that I go to a deeper, richer, level of fullness.  I want that so badly.  Choosing joy allows me to saturate myself in the goodness and kindness of God.  I love that.  My prayer every day is that I will abide in a posture of joy.

Joy is meant to be spread and shared.  I want to be a woman who allows the joy of Jesus and life in the Holy Spirit to spill into the lives of everyone I come in contact with.  God created joy to be spread in everything we do.  He created it to be contagious.  That fact ignites a fire deep in my bones.  It gives me purpose every day.  All people deserve joy.  Life is so hard without it.  Joy adds vibrancy and life to the world.  Knowing that, why wouldn't we be looking for ways to spread it?  I found this little treasure today as I began a word study on joy:

"The ransomed of the Lord will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.  Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away." -- Isaiah 35:10


Monday, September 10, 2012

Lessons in Intentionality...

I love being in the classroom of God.  I love the process of learning.  I love how things tend to settle into my soul as I'm being taught by God.  He is my favorite Teacher.  Every time I am invited into His classroom, I feel giddy because it is a phenominal experience to go beyond the veil of everything that I know and discover a new facet of His character and majesty.  The fact that He longs to teach me anything just gives me goosebumps.  I love that I serve a God who longs to be known and experienced by His kids.  What a treasure it is to be taught by and loved on by the King of Kings!

The most current lesson He's teaching me is intentionality.  I love how He times everything perfectly.  Just today I read a blog post about the importance of being picky and intentional.  It seems that the refrain to be intentional in every area of my life is constant.  I'm loving it.  I'm learning that intentionality takes time.  One of my favorite things about that is that God isn't in a hurry to teach this lesson.  He wants to be fully invested in this one so that the fruit that is born of it is beautiful.  A person learning to be intentional must take time to weigh the decisions and choices they make.  I really like that.  I don't want to live a passive life where I settle for second best.  I want God's best the first time.  Taking time to learn about intentionality will have big rewards later.

I loved this piece of wisdom from Holley Gerth in her post about intentionality: "Take time to look at the character of the people you trust in life."  I believe it is crucial to surround yourself with community that live lives that are full of the character that you are partnering with God to cultivate.  I want to be a woman who is first of all humble.  I want my heart constantly bowed upon the altar of God's throne.  I want to be a bold encourager.  I want to be fiercely committed to every bit of God's fullness for me.  I want to exercise the authority God has given me effectively to plunder the camps of the enemy.  I want to be wise.  I want to love people as fully as Jesus did.  I want to live in unapologetic passion and pursuit of God's heart.  I want to be a woman who knows and follows the coice of the Holy Spirit.  I want to remain teachable.  All of these are areas that God and I are working on and they are all opportunities to grow in intentionality.  For that I am immensely grateful.  Have a wonderful Monday, blogworld.       

Friday, September 07, 2012

Thoughts Change With The Seasons...

Hello friends.  It's Friday and its the beginning of September.  I don't know about you, but those facts make me giddy.  Remember, I'm a cold weather, autumn-and-winter-loving woman all the way.  Knowing that it is September and inching closer to fall just does something to me.  I love knowing that my favorite season is well on its way. Here are some places my head starts to go anticipating getting cozy for Fall:

Baking: I absolutely love baking.  Seeing as I don't cook at all, (the microwave is this girl's best friendas well as my handy-dandy toaster oven), I don't really know how to bake.  So, I guess you could say I love the idea of baking.  There's something immensely satisfying about the combination of autumn and baking.  I also adore the smell of anything baking away in the kitchen.  It is so welcoming. 

Crafting: Confession time.  There is not a crafty bone in my body (I need to spend time with my sweet friend, Ashley in the hopes that some of her phenominal creativity and inner craft goddess will rub off on me).  The closest I come to exercising my craft muscles is bringing out my knitting needles.  Is that an OK admission to make as an almost 30-year-old?  I have been browsing different colors of yarn and I've let out many a happily delighted gasp the last few days.  I don't have any shame in the fact that I'm a knitter.  I love it.  It brings me peace and the needles feel really good in my hands.

Candles: Every day during Fall and Winter you can find me burning a candle in my home.  I absolutely adore being welcomed by the wonderful smells candles bring into the atmosphere!  Candles burning make me feel embraced and at home wherever I am.  Smelling candles in a home also lets me in on a tiny peice of the favorite things of the homeowner might be.  Candles also signigy hospitality to me.  I love hospitality.  I need to get better at inviting people into my home.  I think hospitality is really important in getting a new friendship growing.  The Lord is talking to me as I type these things about hospitality.  It's about inviting people into your heart and life. 

I've enjoyed giving you this little glimpse into my brain during my favorite season.  Where do your thoughts turn during Fall?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

I'm a Fall Girl...

Hi my dear readers.  I'm so excited.  The calendar has turned to September, and for that I'm grateful.  I'm an Autumn girl to the core.  I love high school football, I love college football, I love the holidays that hit during the fall months, I love candles burning, I love the cool crispness that somehow is ushered in during the fall. I love the beautiful clothes, and accessories.  Fall could be a year-round season and I would be totally in heaven.  In my mind, Fall is the perfect mix of all the seasons.  It can be warm, but the crispness is a lovely touch.

I also love Fall because it holds my birthday month.  October is the best month if you ask me.  This year is very special.  I turn 30.  I am excited about that.  I'm really thankful that I was born during the Fall.  I absolutely love the coziness of my favorite season.  Wrapping up in a blanket, while burning a candle, getting lost in a good book, while drinking my favorite Earl Grey is just my definition of Fall perfection. 

I also love traveling in the Fall.  I'm thinking a birthday celebration trip is in the works.  Going on roadrips with my family is so much fun.  We love visiting Fredricksburg during the Fall.  Of course, we go to all the away football games on Friday nights and that is fun too.  One of the things I love is bringing the cold weather bag to football games on these trips.  It means my very favorite weather is upon us.  What are some of your favorite things about Fall? Where do you love to travel to in Texas?