Courageous Hope

Any area of your life that does not glisten with hope is under the influence of a lie.

Perspective April 21, 2011

Filed under: Hope,Supernatural Living — Shayla @ Courageous Hope @ 10:34 pm
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Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus endured the cross for the Joy set before him.

2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus knew what his sacrifice was going to cover, what it was going to accomplish, what it was going to redeem. Jesus knew that his blood would bring freedom to the captives, healing for the sick, restoration to the broken, and beauty for all the ashes. It was such joy he saw ahead of him.  He had joyful anticipation of what was before him. Of the love that was getting ready to tear the veil between God and his people, of the love that was going to restore relationship and bring justice.  He never lost sight of where he was headed, or what he was accomplishing. He clearly saw his seat at the right hand of the Father. This is what it looks like to have heavenly perspective. Heavenly perspective in the midst of violent torture, flesh ripping, gut wrenching pain… is joy.

JOY!

We learn from Jesus how to walk as one in human flesh with the Spirit of the Living God inside of us. Here we see how we too can have heavenly perspective… JOY before us.  I heard Bill Johson say, “We will always reflect the nature of the world we are most aware of.” Jesus was most aware of heaven and heaven’s kingdom and that is reflected in everything he did. When we are most aware of heaven we reflect heaven.  The perspective of heaven always sees the redemption, the love, the JOY. One who reflects heaven knows their identity, their purpose and their destination. Being most aware of heaven is looking beyond the earthly perspective to live from a place of hope, faith, power,  love, peace and joy!

Oh Jesus impart to us your heavenly perspective! Rend the heavens and rain down your JOY!

 

powerless prayer April 4, 2011

A little over 3 years ago I began a prayer journey. Weary of praying wimpy, powerless prayers, I decided to start praying as if I actually believed what I was praying and furthermore, to pray for things that were big. Miracles really. The kinds of things that only God could do and then to actually believe He would do them.  Either I believe the Bible or I don’t, and if I do, then I need to start praying like I do.

 

Really God was wooing me, because of his great love for me, drawing me out of a powerless faith one prayer at a time.

 

During that time I heard it argued that one should not pray and believe for things that seem impossible because then we might get our hopes up.  And oh what a shame it would be if we got our hopes up?! Isn’t hope the point? It is our hope (eager expectation for a future good) that fuels powerful prayers that become prayers of faith (sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see).  God responds to faith.

 

Along this journey I came to see something that brought light to how to pray powerful prayers.

 

When Jesus tells us how to pray He says to pray:

“…Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

This implies some things that I think many Christians often overlook.

  1. God’s will is not always being done on earth.
  2. We have a role to play in Gods will and kingdom coming from Heaven to earth.

 

In other words, our prayers can move heaven to earth. Our prayers for God’s will to be done can cause His will to be done.

 

God’s will is always being done in heaven. However, everything that happens in this life on earth is not God’s will. We can partner with God to see His Kingdom come and His will be done. Which is what Jesus asked us to do when He told us how to pray. I once heard John Eldredge say something to the effect that Jesus did not say, “pray that the sun will rise”, or “pray that I will always love you”, because those things are a given. Obviously if we have been told by Jesus pray for God’s will to be done and pray for His kingdom to come then those are not givens, those require our prayers.

 

I don’t want to limit God with weak, powerless prayers and living. I want to see Heaven come to earth through our prayers that are full of hope, faith and power.

 

I dare you, stop praying wimpy prayers and start praying powerful prayers.

 

Because there is hope!

 

Pray for the impossible!

 

I know a man who just got healed of lung & pancreatic cancer, the kind that is terminal and he is alive and well and cancer free!!!

 

I know of marriages on the brink of divorce that have been restored!

 

I’ve seen friends in pits of depression and addiction be set free and get their lives back!

 

There is hope for whatever situation surrounds you and those you love.

 

Forsaking wimpy, complaining, begging prayers for powerful, full of faith, hope and confidence in God’s goodness prayers will change you from the inside out. It will also change the world around you and beyond as you see heaven come to earth in response to your prayers.

 

Ok, so you might be asking yourself what are powerful prayers, what does that look and sound like?

 

Powerful prayers are not yelling, running around spitting at something until it lines up with some weird idea you have. Powerful prayers are not long whining sessions where we list our complaints to God. They don’t come from knowing some formula or specific words, but from knowing who we are.

 

We pray powerful prayers when we know who we are in Christ and we understand the authority He has given us. It is when we posture ourselves as a child of the King and when we begin to walk as royalty we pray as royalty.

 

Powerful prayers are praying for things that we know line up with God’s will and the kingdom of heaven and then declaring them to be so and believing they will be.  (This requires a deeper understanding of what God’s will is which would be another post, but I can tell you without question a few things; that it is always God’s will to heal the sick, restore relationships, and provide for His children).

 

It’s just so often we have good hearts and good intentions but we pray wimpy prayers. But you know what is amazing? God in his amazing grace still hears all the prayers whether they are powerful or not. Sometimes whining is all we’ve got and God hears that. Because He loves his children and so He will listen, but there is a shift in the atmosphere when we pray with the authority Jesus gave us.

 

So like I said, I dare you to pray powerful prayers and see how it changes you and the world around you!

 

 

To become known March 26, 2011

Filed under: Supernatural Living — Shayla @ Courageous Hope @ 11:12 pm
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Something I’ve been thinking about lately is the name of God. It occurred to me that “god” is used in a variety of religions to refer to different deities. I think I would prefer to be more specific when I pray or speak of God, calling Him by His specific name. He does after all know my name, shouldn’t I know His? Of course I do know of the names of God, but rarely use them in general conversation or writing.

(I would also like to avoid any confusion. For example, when people carry signs that say things like “god hates gays”, I would prefer them to use whatever specific god they are referring to, because I know for certain they are not talking about my God, the one true God who is love. And…. Well that could be another whole blog post….)

As I begin to chew this over I begin to see and hear of others talking about the same thing, and maybe it’s the same phenomenon that happens when you get a new car you start seeing the exact same car everywhere, but I think there is more to it.  God wants to make His name known and so He is tugging on hearts to know His name.

I want to know His name and there is much I would like to share about it but one of the first things I read as I began a journey to dive into the names of God caused me to pause, as I read on one of the names of God- Jehovah:

“Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” or “Lord.” The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” – this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.” (source here)

This struck me, first because names have so much meaning, what we call something, or someone, so often reveals what it is or who they are.  The name of God is no different, it is not haphazard, His name(s) reveal more of who He is. It also struck me how very true this is, that God reveals Himself unceasingly. I’ve been walking with Jehovah my entire life and I am always learning more about Him.  He is always revealing Himself, making Himself known in new ways. I do not know Jehovah, but I am constantly knowing Him more. There are layers and layers of Jehovah that we have not even touched yet. He is ALWAYS revealing himself.

But often we want to put an Infinitely Large God in a box small enough to wrap our heads around to think that we know Him. But He will not be boxed in. Jehovah will not be defined by our finite minds. We will not fully comprehend Him, because He will constantly be revealing more and more of Himself for all eternity.

Those who rely on doctrine and theology to understand God, might think they have it figured out. The Bible says “this”, which means “this” and therefore God is like “this” end of story. Oh but it is not! He is always revealing more. But if we think we understand or have it figured out we might stop pursuing Him further because we think we have found Him, we stop praying for more veils to be lifted, we stop going deeper because with think “this” is what it is to walk with God, “this” is who He is.

All our studying of God and scripture should always lead us to Jehovah Himself, His very presence and encounters with Him that give us fresh revelation of Him. Otherwise we are just seeking more knowledge. (You know like the tree of knowledge? The one in the Garden, the one that when they ate from it led to death and the fall of all mankind?) Knowledge, without the Life of Holy Spirit breathing on it to give us revelation that leads us deeper into the heart of Jehovah, is just……death.

I want to choose Life, I want to eat from the Tree of Life. So I am on a journey asking Jehovah to open my eyes to see, my ears to hear and my heart to receive Him in His fullness, as He constantly reveals Himself.

Jehovah, take me deeper, peel back the layers of my own heart and reveal more of your heart to me.

Jehovah wants to reveal more of Himself to you today….just ask Him…

 

An Invitation To Courageous Hope February 26, 2011

Right now there is a song wearing a deep groove on my ipod as it repeats throughout my days. It moves me from deep within with lyrics like:
Your face is what I long to see…
Show me Your face
No more veils covering me
Burn me with pure love
So I can see

Gorgeous Face by Rick Pino is piercing the depths of me right now. It is the beat of my heart. I long to see, truly see His face. I desire for all the veils to be lifted that block my heart from seeing the real and true God. The veils of my own brokenness, the veils of religion, the veils of false assumptions, the veils of my own pain.

I am done with just talking about God and His face. I want to experience Him in all His fullness, truth and power. I am done with clichés and trite religion, done with to-do lists and programs, done with worshipping a god that looks like me.

I am undone.

His face is all that matters. His gorgeous face.
I want to be consumed by His love and the fullness of His heart.

As I pray for eyes to see, I wonder if I can see His face in all this mess?
In the dirty dishes, the teething toddler, the mountain of laundry, the piles of bills, the world gone mad and hopeless.

Can I find him here? See his face?

And I look up; cry out for the veil to be lifted.

And hope rises.

Eyes open.

Ears hear.

That is what brings me to this space here. I need an outlet to process through the written word my journey to His face.

Will you join me here?

Let’s walk together down the long aisle…..
With courageous hope.
Removing the veils as we walk

I see Him waiting for us at the end of the aisle with His all-consuming love, His gorgeous face.

Full lyrics of Gorgeous Face by Rick Pino

Your face
Is what I long to see
Your eyes
Piercing the depths of me

Come quickly, my Father
Your child is here waiting
Show me Your face
No more veils covering me
Burn me with pure love
So I can see
My Lord, my Lord

Awesome splendor
Glorious majesty
Faithful Father
Gorgeous face

 

Religion Kills October 19, 2010

Lately my heart has been breaking over all the ways in which we have ruined the Gospel. Just.Plain.Ruined.It. In general the church in American has bought and sold a gospel that is a far cry from the one Jesus died for. How have we done that?

I stumbled upon these words from Max Lucado which put words to some of my thoughts on the subject:

“We prefer to get salvation the old-fashioned way: We earn it. To accept grace is to admit failure, a step we are hesitant to take. We opt to impress God with how good we are rather than confessing how great He is. We dizzy ourselves with doctrine. Burden ourselves with rules. Think that God will smile on our efforts.
He doesn’t.
God’s smile is not for the healthy hiker who boasts that he made the journey alone. It is, instead, for the crippled lepar who begs God for a back on which to ride.”

It is so much easier to shrink following God down to that we can wrap our head around and control, tasks we can achieve and cross off our list to give us some assurance that we have attained and earned the right to be called God’s sons and daughters. But reducing God to religion, to traditions, rules, doctrine and “acceptable Christian behavior” squeezes Him completely out of the picture. We completely miss the point. Just like the pharisees that Jesus directed all of his rebukes to.  God is not religious. Religion kills our hearts, it kills the Gospel. For years I’ve heard people say “It’s not about religion it’s about relationship”. Yet for years I’ve seen a lot of “relationships” with thoughts and ideas about God rather than with God himself.

Bill Johnson said

“Revelation from scripture must take us to an encounter with God or it will only serve to make us more religious.”

We can manipulate scripture to fit any agenda we want or we can allow it to penetrate to our hearts and lead us into an encounter with a living breathing God who speaks to us now. What does this mean… “an encounter with God”?   God must be experienced with our senses because we cannot possibly understand Him with our minds.  Encountering God is a sensory experience that leads us into intimacy and relationship. An encounter with God is an encounter with LOVE. After a Love encounter you are never the same.  Encounters with the living God change our hearts, renew our minds, heal our disease, deliver us from bondage into freedom, and give us joy – the strength for living. It is eating from the Tree of Life!

Jesus says to us,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message )

 

 
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