Open Your Mouth

During a Sunday morning prayer service, the leader shared imagery of a river overflowing with life. We are rivers of life, she said. The implication is that we have great opportunity — perhaps responsibility — to offer abundant life from the depths of Christ’s love within us. That love enables us to influence situations and circumstances. To bring light into darkness. Life from death.

As we began to pray and worship, my ears started to tickle and I found myself metaphorically thumbing through scripture on my iPhone.  I was searching for Isaiah 43:19, where God says

“”Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”

My focus and ensuing meditation was of God making rivers in the desert, in the dry places. Dry places may refer to the heart, the mind, or the natural and created world. Yet, I kept hearing the words, “open your mouth.” What does that mean? I wondered. My conversation with Father God continued in this fashion: “Open your mouth,” He’d say. I hear you, Father God, but I have know idea how this relates to rivers in the desert! Oh, how God must chuckle with me!

Open your mouth!With a little time, a little patience, a little more worship, and a lot of listening, His Word became clear.

I forget sometimes how God has blessed me to see and experience His presence around the world. Not just in my home, my church, or in my neighborhood, but around the world. In my young 11 years as a disciple of Jesus, I have compiled a chest full of stories and experiences of God’s transforming power. My chest is overflowing and God continues to fill it. I forget sometimes the gift I have in these stories. I didn’t play any significant part in transformation, but I am and have been strategically placed to collect stories. Though I marvel and share my collection with close friends, I forget to open my mouth to wider circles and share the majesty and wonder of God’s transforming work in the world. To share the new things, the new creations; the roadways He makes and the rivers He flows through dry places.

I have met Josephs and Daniels who were persecuted for their faith. Sometimes beaten and imprisoned. By grace, they found themselves in the audience of the king and other high ranking government officials planting seed for Christ.

I have met men and women who broke their bindings to other gods and “religions” after dreaming of Jesus or after a supernatural experience of His love.

I have visited some of the darkest places on earth and found the Light of Jesus present and available. In these places, God is transforming lives. He is breaking the influence of anger, murder, rape, violence (despite what we see in the news). He is raising up outcasts named ‘criminal’ and ‘convict’ as light bearers to influence the darkness. Yes, God still uses the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the base and despised things so that no one may boast (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

Open your mouth…and share with the world the new things I am doing. Share the new life I am creating. See and tell of the roadways in the wilderness and the rivers in the desert. I am building a garden of life and light; rivers are flowing. Do you see? Will you share?

What the world needs to know — is desperate to know— is that new things and new life outnumber old things. I believe the word God spoke to me is not for me alone. It is for all who know and taste the goodness of God. We have a voice greater than any government, news outlet, or angry mob. And we have the technology to share it around the world. What if we opened our mouths and saturated social media with praise for our great God instead of hatred for humankind?  What if we shared stories of transformation in Christ instead of our woes? Could we influence the media, the nation, the world? Could we influence our neighbors?

God has “given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to [His] chosen people” ( Isaiah 43:20). Why? So we will declare His praise! (Isaiah 43:21)

Open your mouth. Share of the good news and the new things God is doing.

Morning Serenade

Awake, My child, My love.
I have sustained you through the night.
Look! The dawn is breaking and full of new mercies.
Sing and rejoice with Me for your life.
What joy I have in you!

Awake and bathe in My unfailing love.
Soak in it!
Let me shower you in My grace, O little one, and wrap you in My righteousness.
I have exchanged your rags for fine linens.
You are beautiful to Me!

Awake, apple of My eye, and behold what I have for you.
There is much I desire to give.
I offer you My strength and peace for the day.
My hand is open to you as the satisfier of all your needs; the answer to the desires of Your heart.
Seek Me. Ask Me. Depend on Me.

Awake to the fragrance of My love.
Draw near to Me.
Dwell in My safety.
Walk in the Light of My presence.
Dance in My freedom.

Awake! Rise!
Come to life!
I breathe My Spirit, the most intimate part of Me, into you.
I am with you, now and forever.
With long life I will satisfy you and show you My salvation!
Awake, My child, My love.

For My Brother’s Wedding

Last week, I had the great honor of reading the below untitled exploration of Love at my brother’s wedding. I’m so proud of the man he is becoming! When my brother first asked me to read something at his wedding, I felt a near panic!! As a single woman who has never been married, I cannot know personally the ins and outs of marriage. What would I read?! After weeks of procrastination, it occurred to me that though I may not have personal experience with marriage and intimate relationship, I have personal experience and intimacy with God, who is my Husband and Lover, as the Scriptures describe. I began to jot down notes based on my knowledge of Him, who is Love. What you read below is the result of those notes. I know God has oceans more of Himself to share with me. May He always find me willing to seek out the depths of His majesty and grace. And may He bless my brother and his new wife through the revelation of Himself in their relationship.

In the beginning, there was Love.

Love transcends time and conquers death. It was the beginning.

Love is more than a moment, a passing feeling of passion. It extends to the depths of our souls; the foundation of our being.
It is life.
It is eternity.
The reason we were made; the reason we live.

By design, we long for the intimacy of another. After all, “It is not good for humankind to be alone.” We were created for partnership. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one. . .Naked and unashamed.” Two, intertwined. Inseparable. No longer “I” or “You”. Only “We” and “Our”.
Love is relationship.
Love is together.
Love is unity.

Love is purposed for expression. Not restraint or confinement. Love soars on the wings of freedom. It is to be given and received simultaneously. Not earned or bought or paid back, but lived.
A choice.
A commitment.
A promise.

Love raises a white flag to let go of pride.
It stands at the door and asks you to stay.
It surrenders,
Yet fights for the other.
Love gives itself away.

Love is arms wide open, never closing. Never turning away. Love whispers in your ear, “You are mine. I am yours. I am here. I will be your shield in time of need. I will be your armor-bearer. I will lift you above the crowd so you can see. I will support your arms when they become heavy. I will carry your burdens. I will be your companion. I will protect you from the storms. I will walk with you through the fires. I will catch your tears and lead you to safety. I will live so you can shine.”

When all else fails, when all others disappoint, when the grave beckons, Love will remain.

In the end, there is only Love.