My Life Verse

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, May 19, 2012

6 weeks down in YWAM!

It is so hard to believe, but I have been living in Kona for 6 weeks already! Time is really flying by so fast. I am officially done with half of the Lecture Phase of DTS. That means, I only have 6 weeks left in Hawaii and then I’m off to Europe for Outreach! (Outreach is the Missions part of YWAM and I will be going to London in July and Berlin in August. I will return to Hawaii the first week of September and back to California on September 8th. *I need $3500.00 for the rest of my Outreach Fees, which is due June 1st, so please ask God how you can support me- through prayer and/or finances) I’m not sure where to begin about summarizing what has happened in the last 6 weeks and what God has been teaching me, but I will do the best I can and then expand on each week more in depth as time permits and I’m able to catch up on blogging.

When I first arrived in Kona, I was very excited. I knew that I was supposed to be here and I was ready for the change. God prepared my heart to come here, but I wasn’t prepared for all the heart surgery that was to come during the last six weeks. Pride told me that this was only going to be a season of refreshing and equipping without any challenges. Little did I know there were plenty of things in my heart that I didn’t even realize needed to change and things regarding my identity in Christ that weren’t grounded and have come to the surface since I arrived. God has been especially teaching me the following things: I am a striver, and always do do do. He wants me to break that and trust Him to guide me with my time and teach me to hear His voice and obey that so that I am not overwhelmed by all the things I want to do. God has shown me that I depend on others so much and I need to depend on Him. He’s convicting me when I’m using my cell phone or updating facebook too often and has been helping me communicate less with people so that I can focus on the present, which is being in YWAM, building relationships with those in my dts, and especially investing in my relationship with Him. God is teaching me that I need to make Him my top priority. God is teaching me that each day is different and won’t look the same, so I can’t plan out my days or expect the following day to be the same as the previous day. He’s teaching me to lay down my expectations of how my days will go and stay connected to Him so that I can be attentive to His voice and act on it. He’s teaching me how valuable the Word of God is and imprinting a desire like never before to memorize scripture so that it is planted in my heart. He’s teaching me how to fight in a spiritual battle by no longer being passive. He’s teaching me to pick up the only offensive weapon, which is the Word of God (the sword of the Spirit) and also use my shield of faith which is able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy. He’s teaching me to put on the armor or God daily so I can stand in the battle. (See Ephesians 6) He’s teaching me that life isn’t easy and won’t always be, but He is always with me and by my side, helping me through the challenges. He’s teaching me to renew my mind and speak truth over the lies. He’s teaching me to memorize scripture and believe it in my heart, not just memorize it. He’s teaching me that all I need is Him, nothing else is sufficient. Nobody and nothing can meet my needs in the way that Jesus can. I’m learning to turn to Him and not others or things that might temporarily bring satisfaction. I’m learning to focus on today and today alone. I’m learning that God is able to do big things and He has incredibly big plans for me in the future, but that doesn’t make me any different than anyone else. I need to be humble and recognize pride when it creeps in and seek forgiveness. I’m learning that I need to enjoy the process of being refined into who God created me to be to the best of my ability. I’m learning to be content where I’m at and enjoy where God has me right now. I’m learning to be present in every single moment and not miss out by focusing on something else or doing something else. I’m learning to give my burdens to God and literally leave them in His hands. I’m learning to pray more because that is all I have and can do in certain moments. I’m learning to trust God. I’m learning more about God’s character.  I’m learning how to live with seven other girls. I’m learning to make sure I get myself right with God daily so that I can be a blessing to those around me. I’m learning to be disciplined with my quiet time every morning. I’m learning that I need a lot of quiet time with Jesus. I’m learning to be disciplined to be active and go jogging a few days a week. I’m learning to love people where they are at and not expect them to be where I want them to be or do what I want them to do.

Week 1 we had Andy Byrd speak to us. He is the founder of my dts, Fire & Fragrance and he has such a radical passion and fire for Jesus. He empowered us to rise up. His theme was a radical pursuit of Jesus through a revelation of His love which leads to a revival of the heart, reformation of life, and reformation of the church. Week 2, Rhonda Barker was our guest speaker. Her husband is my school leader, Aaron Barker. She is a first grade teacher on campus at the Learning Center and super sweet. She taught us how to hear God’s voice and the prophetic. She shared with us ways that God speaks to us, steps to prepare our hearts to hear from God, purposes of the prophetic, ways we can protect from deception and error with the prophetic, and etiquette when hearing from God and praying for others. Aaron spoke to us on the last day of class regarding Intercession by defining intercession and sharing with us the qualities of an effective intercessor as well as the ten steps of intercession by Joy Dawson. Week 3 was Corporate week so we had class in Ohana Court and heard from various speakers but mostly the founders of YWAM, Loren and Darlene Cunningham. The main theme of the week was empowering us to pursue our dreams and believe God for the more that He has for us. They shared many testimonies about God’s faithfulness in their lives to do many supernatural things throughout as they pursued God and His plan for their lives. Week 4 was Pure Heart week. Tom and Donna Cole who wrote the book Pure Heart- Restoration of the Heart through the Beatitudes were our guest speakers. They encouraged us not to take notes, so I did my best not to, but from what I can recall, each day we focused on something different. Each day we covered something different but the themes were Mother Wound, Father Wound, Feminity and Masculinity (healing from past relationships), and Forgiveness. Week 5 was Holy Spirit Week with Amy Sollars. Amy is a prophet and highly anointed in the prophetic, but prefers to be called a lover of Jesus and people. She shared her testimony and then taught on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, the prophetic, and how to use these gifts in an appropriate and effective manner. Each day we had time for ministry where we worshipped and she prayed over us and on the last day she spent the afternoon teaching the women about envy and comparison. During week 6 and our guest speaker was Scotty Kessler and the main theme was studying the Bible. He gave us many tools to add to our toolbox for evangelism, ways/plans in which we can study the Bible, and how to have a well-rounded prayer life. The most important thing that I learned through Scotty’s teaching was the stand on the promises of God (the Word of God) and how valuable the Bible truly is. I learned the importance of memorizing scripture and planting it in your heart so that you can use it as an offensive weapon against spiritual attack as well as to defend your faith and what you believe.

Although this experience thus far has been different than I ever imagined, I am so thankful for all that God is teaching me and how much I am growing through it all. I know that it has had its ups and downs and I’ve experienced daily battles, I am being strengthened through it and I am grateful. I don’t want to go home the same person that I was when I came out here. I want to be changed. I want to be transformed. I want to be stronger. I want to be confident. I want to be bold. I want to be courageous. But I also know I can’t be perfect. So I’m praying that I am able to learn everything God is teaching me and bring it home with me and out into the mission field in the future. I know that this season is intended to be a season of intimacy with me and Jesus and I want to make the most of it. I want to enjoy this season with Him and embrace every moment that is before me. My prayer is that I can continue to be thankful for the things God is teaching me despite the challenges and painful they might be. I know that life is not going to be easy and to be honest; my life hasn’t been that hard. I have been so blessed growing up in a loving home with parents who have been married for 31 years and not any financial struggles. I am thankful for this blessing but now I am learning how to work through challenges in life by leaning on my true comforter and rock, Jesus Christ. This is the best lesson I can learn and I know it will totally benefit me in the long run.

Thank you to all my supporters. I am able to be here and grow in God and learn all of the above because of YOU. Praying the Lord blesses you for your obedience to Him and support to me.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Gentle Giant and a Sweet Lion

The Lord has spoken to me recently about being a gentle giant and a sweet lion. It sounds strange, I know, but it will make sense if you continue to read this.

During worship or prayer at some point in time during my dts thus far, I remember seeing a picture in my mind of a lion laying down. The lion was at rest and looked sweet. Then the lion got up slowly and gave a loud and fierce roar. I believe the Lord was speaking to me about being a sweet lion. I felt as though He was telling me that I am a sweet lion, who can be sweet yet fierce. I can rest in His presence and be sweet yet when needed I can stand up and be fierce. I can defeat the enemy with my "loud roar" that comes out of nowhere because I am most often resting sweetly. I believe God is going to give me wisdom and an ability to know when I need to be that fierce lion and attack the enemy or go fiercely after something that is not of God, whether it be in prayer for someone or simply a tactic to resist the enemy. *I have noticed this in myself recently. I'm not a loud person, but a few times when I've prayed for people, I have felt an authority and fierceness in my tone and manner of praying for them and it's the lion coming out in me. I'm angry that the enemy is attacking them or myself and I speak with authority in my voice instructing anything not of God to flee. It's righteous anger, like Jesus had in the Bible. It's different than a gentle tender prayer but it's not a yelling or screaming prayer.

Today my small group was praying for me. During this time, a woman said that she felt the Lord was telling her that I am a gentle giant. I immediately thought of David in the Bible, who has been close to my heart, too. David and I are similar (hence the blog a girl after God's own heart...just like David was a man after God's own heart) I am gentle but I have a giant heart. This heart is full of compassion for others and out of it love overflows. That's right on target if you know me. Another person said that I am a safe place for people to come and tell me anything. I'm trustworthy and people are drawn to me because God has given me an ability to be a safety net for people. As I was receieving these prayers and listening, God gave me a further reminder and revelation of something He's spoken to me about before that might be of encouragement to those of you who have a heart similar to mine that loves to give and pour out onto others any chance you get.

In order to pour out onto others, I need to be filled first with Jesus. He needs to be my top priority. This might mean waking up earlier than everyone else and refueling in the evenings. It may mean listening to worship music in the middle of the day. It may mean I'm praying often. Whatever it looks like, it means that I make time at the start of my day, preferably, to fill up on Jesus. I need to get in the Word, pray, and listen to worship music to be filled up. What you need might look different, but as long as you keep Jesus as number one you will be filled. This attitude enables us to have a heart that is blessed so that we can be a blessing. It gives us the ability to be interrupted by people throughout the day and willingness to listen and be engaged in whatever you discuss with them. It gives us the opportunity to pray for others. It is the others oriented attitude and focus. This is so important for those of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus Christ because if we are not filled we cannot pour out onto others. We cannot give away what we do not have.

For me, this past week and maybe even longer, I have been dwelling on my sin, my struggles, what I want to accomplish and what I want to do with my time here in Kona. Me, me, me. I've been texting people to pray for me. I've been focused on my circumstances and challenges that are going on in my life. I have been discouraged and down. I've felt crappy. I've focused on my sin and struggles which causes me to feel like a failure. And last night, I was so sick of it! I told God I'm tired on dwelling on all of the discouragement. He didn't bring me out here to Kona to go through YWAM and be discouraged. He brought me out to teach me how to turn to Him in the midst of my struggles and challenges and be an overcomer. He's teaching me how to depend on Him and Him alone. So, I realized that I am the only one who can change this cycle of sin dwelling on my discouragements. I am responsible for my thoughts and what I focus on. I am responsible for how I respond to difficult circumstances. I am responsible for making Jesus a priority. Nobody else can pray for me to change, nobody else can do anything to make me change. It has to be me. So, I sat down with God and said I'm tired of failing and feeling like a failure. I asked Him to help me set goals that I can achieve for the week. I asked Him to help me be others oriented and take the focus off of myself. I committed to being others focused not me focused this week! I am going to be looking for opportunities to bless people around me, whether it be encouraging words, prophecy, buying them a coffee, praying for them, or letting them have my time that I would rather use to read or something. In doing so, I know that God will multiply my time by giving me time to accomplish the things I desire, after I bless others. I need to trust Him to meet all of my needs. And I've seen Him do that. Today has been a successful day. I've been able to bless others with words, prayers, and encouragement. I've been filled with imeasureable joy. I woke up early and filled up on Jesus and I had the energy I needed throughout the day to be present in every moment. I have fixed my eyes and thoughts on Jesus and rebuked Satan. I've renewed my mind. I've been obedient to His voice and feel confident that I've made the most of my time. And because of all of the above, those around me were able to be blessed who might have missed out on that encouragement or prayer they needed had I been focused on myself.

My prayer is that I can keep this up every day and make it my lifestyle. It takes discipline to wake up early and fill up on Jesus. It is a daily decision to put others before myself. It is a daily battle for me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and not my problems, but I'm trusting that I can do all things through Christ. I'm taking it one day at a time as God teaches me how to live a life attentive to His voice and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I'm believing that every day can be like it has been today because God is good and He desires that I have a good attitude and His heart is to encourage and bless others. Keep your focus in the right place so that you can be a blessing to those around you. :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Israel- The Jordan River

Last Thursday night, I came to the Prayer Room on campus and there was a group of people worshipping who felt the Lord lead them to designate their set to intercession for Israel. Having recently traveled there, I don't think it is ironic that I was there at this exact time but I believe it was God stirring a passion in my heart for Israel and the people of Israel and a desire to intercede for them. After talking with one of the girls in the group, she informed me that they strongly felt God wanted them to intercede for Israel and asked that He bring people who have a heart for Israel and/or those who would receive a desire to have a heart for Israel into the prayer room at this time every week. So, here I am, ready to Intercede (yes, as I am on my laptop writing this blog) and reflect back on my time there in March. Women can multi-task, right? :)

This week our Bible reading for class is Joshua. I found myself reading about when God miraculously parted the Jordan River for the Israelites as they were crossing it. This story is found in Joshua 3.

"So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them. It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing it's banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying te Ark touched the water at the river's edge, the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD's Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground." Joshua 3:14-17

My study notes further discuss this story of Jesus parting the Jordan River for the Israelites in this way: The Israelites were eager to enter the Promised Land, conquer nations, and live peacefully. But first they had to cross the flood-level waters of the Jordan River. God gave them specific instructions: In order to cross, the priests had to step into the water. What if these priests had been afraid to take the first step? Often God provides no solution to our problems until we trust Him and move ahead with what we know we should do. What are your rivers, or obstacles, in your life? In obedience to God, take that first step. God parted the waters of the Red Sea to let people out of Egypt (Exodus 14) and here he parted the Jordan River to let them enter Canaan. These miracles showed Israel that God keeps his promises. God's presence among his people and his faithfulness to them made the entire journey from Egypt to the Promised Land possible. He was with them at the end of their wanderings just as he was with them in the beginning. This Israelites crossed the Jordan River in the spring, when it was overflowing its banks. God chose the time when the river was at its highest to demonstrate his power- parting the waters so that the entire nation could cross on dry ground. Some say that God used a natural occurrence (such as a landslide) to stop the waters of the Jordan; others say he did it by a direct act. In either case, God showed his great power by working a miracle of timing and location to allow his people to cross the river on dry ground. This testimony of God's supernatural power served to build the Israelite's hope in God and to give them a great reputation with their enemies, who greatly outnumbered them.

We made it to the site where Jesus was baptized by John!

Thankful I'm not getting baptized in this water


Amy and roomie :)

Amy and I standing in the Jordan River!!!

I love her...can you tell? :)

My pastor and his wife :) Love and respect them so much. They are amazing!

Dirty feet...apparently the Jordan River is muddy

The story of the baptism of Jesus can be found in Matthew 3:13-7, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-22) This is the story where Jesus came and was baptized by John. We didn't spend very much time at this location, but I heard through another friend that there is a different site for tourists to visit the Jordan River that is not muddy.