Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What Do You Want?


I haven’t written a new post for a couple of weeks but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. I’ve been at my computer a lot, a blank screen staring back, trying to formulate my million thoughts into something profound and life changing. I have about 25 half-starts - ideas that will eventually turn into posts and/or messages because I firmly believe if it’s good for me, it’s good for others. But through all the ideas I have to write about, I am stuck on the one thing I want – more than anything.

It’s especially front and centre in mind because as we approach the Christmas season, I’ve been asked by family to formulate my Christmas wish list. I love everything about Christmas and I especially love Christmas presents (heck, one of my love languages is gifts) but what I want can’t be bought by anyone and it can’t be given by anyone either.

All I want is his Presence. I don’t mean his abiding presence, but his manifest Presence. The Presence which is also his power, you can’t separate the two. I want his manifest Presence to be demonstrated in my life in a tangible way. I want to know it in greater measure and I want to expand my capacity to perceive and receive it.

My desire for his Presence is central to everything I do. Even mundane household chores are opportunities to bask and soak in his Presence. I am not a fan of cleaning but my cleaning day (Wednesday, if you want to know) is sacred time with Him, and I look forward to it every week. When my headphones are in, my family know to leave me alone because I’m communing with God.

For every conversation I have with people, I’m having a 2nd one in my spirit with God, asking him, “How can I reveal your Presence in this situation, right now?”

Some people have never experienced his Presence and think it is an urban legend or empty, vain words but I’ve watched “first-timers” experience his Presence and I know they’re wrecked for any counterfeit experience. Other people have experienced it and can give a testimony but they aren’t aware it isn’t meant to be a one-off experience. Jesus left us his peace (John 14:27), and gave us his joy (John 15:11); without either, it’s impossible to live according to the kingdom of heaven.

His Presence is not intended to get us only to the perimeter of the Promised Land (the Kingdom of Heaven) but as Moses prayed, if his Presence didn’t go with him, he would not, could not go on. What did Moses know about God that we need to learn? The Promised Land was occupied by the enemy and the Israelites still had to fight for what God had already promised them.
The kingdom of heaven (our Promised Land) is occupied by an enemy, but Jesus paid for it with his death and secured the victory in his resurrection. If Moses could not perceive of moving into the Promised Land without the Presence, how can we be foolish to think we don’t need it also. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of the darkness and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12) and our weapons are supernatural (2 Corinthians 10:4), i.e., His Presence.

Jesus lived as a man, always in the Presence. He is our example and it’s what I want. What do you want?

********

My weekly writing (Tuesday, Friday and Sundays) have been sporadic and random in recent months. I hate breaking commitments, even if the commitment is to me. My real life commitments are increasing (with joy), but I have to prioritize a bit more, which means I will be cutting back my writing posts to once a week, plus a Psalms for Sunday post on Sundays. I will no longer commit to a specific day for writing but will do my best to have a new post every week, at least by Thursday.

Thank you for being faithful to my blog, for reading what I write, and for taking the time to leave comments.

Be abundantly blessed, Andrea York

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Psalms for Sunday, LXVII


All around me, people profane the name of the Lord. They curse and do not bless. They seek their own fortune; they are prideful, saying to themselves, “See, I have amassed this wealth. I am my own god.” They chase after pleasure, wanting the fountain of youth. I see their faces, although we have the same number of years, they are old beyond their age.

The Lord renews the strength of his righteous; time is in your hands.

I watch and have pity. Their ways seem right to them; they have no other choice. Because of your great love, my pity turns to compassion and I am like a voice calling in the wilderness, making a path for true Light to come. Your light shines bright; like a moth to a flame, they come to your Presence because in it is true Light and in it is true Love. You love them and I am sent; even the dimmest light shines bright in darkness.

Bondage and freedom are side by side. Hope is powerful; it leads to righteousness. Send me, o Lord, to proclaim your hope, as a light that shines in the dark.

How great is your love, O God, whose name is Love. I will sing of your love forever.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Psalms for Sunday, LXVI


We sang songs together. We sang new songs of your goodness, of your mercy and of your grace. We sang songs together, and it was good.

The angel of the Lord was with us, exalting the name of the Lord and together we sang and played music. Let all who are able, come and make music with us and sing to the Lord new songs.

Some danced in your presence and you said it was beautiful. It is good for us to give you praise and glory and honour for you are our joy. We laughed and sang songs with gladness because you are good, you are good to us. So we sing, and we dance and we shout because you are good.

Come again, and sing songs with me. Come again, and make music together. Let’s sing together until we see him face to face. Let us be glad in Him and rejoice with one another. Let us share in his fellowship and eat, drink and be merry together.

Make our house a home of worship. Let us rightly see the goodness of the Lord in all things. Let us be joyful, offering thanksgiving in every circumstance. In you, we have the victory; nothing shall overshadow us, save the shadow of the Almighty. Only you, will we fear.

Come again, let’s sing and make music to our God. Let us worship him, who gives life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Psalms for Sunday, LXV


Your revelation is hidden among the stars, to gain understanding I must go to the heights. You are higher still, drawing me. My eyes are locked on you, you are beautiful and your face shines. Turn your face towards me and shine on me.

                Turn your face and shine on me.
                                Turn your face and shine on me.

The impossible dream is nothing if you are not in it, but you make all things possible. If only you would turn your face and shine on me.

Your Presence is the fire that burns inside me. You light me up from the inside. I am a fire that does not burn up. Let all who see and turn aside encounter your glory, the doxa, the weight of your beauty. If only you would turn your face and shine on me.

                Turn your face and shine on me.
                                Turn your face and shine on me.

Turn your face, O Lord, that I might behold your glory.

                Turn your face and shine on me.
                                Turn your face and shine on me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lessons from the Glory


It happened. I’ve been asking the Lord for more than a year, and it happened. I saw a glory cloud. I’ve just returned from more than a week in Redding, CA where I attended a Leaders Advance conference at Bethel Church – 800 leaders and pastors from 37 countries. I stayed a few extra days to spend time with friends.

All week, the Presence of God almost felt tangible. It’s why I love going to Bethel. During the conference, the hunger and single-minded focus on Jesus of everyone there was inspiring, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if a glory cloud showed up at any one of those meetings – even if we were talking about strategic parking plans or discussing the coffee shop offerings – everything was focused on Jesus. Everything in heaven centres on Jesus, so if I had been heaven’s stage director, I would definitely have chosen one of those high points to introduce the glory cloud.

But it didn’t happen during the conference; it happened during the Friday evening service. There were some remnants leftover from the conference (like me), a few Bethel leaders, but not many of their highest level of leaders and all the high-profile worship bands were taking the night off because they had been worshipping with us during the conference, so the band was made up of interns. Mostly, we were everyday people, worshipping and loving Jesus.

We had been worshipping for about an hour and the worship time was coming to a close; we were directed to pray for one another and then the band would play another song before transitioning into the message portion but God decided to show up in the glory cloud. I had my eyes closed in worship and my friend nudged me and told me to look up. Above our heads was a swirling cloud of gold sparkles – it was amazing.

The most radical part was I didn’t feel any different. Prior to this experience, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to experience a glory cloud – would I sing? Would I jump up and down? Would I fall down? None of those things happened – I simply looked and cried tears of happiness because God chose to reveal himself so my eyes could see it but I didn’t feel a rush of heat, or any other kind of sensation on my skin. I didn’t feel any more or less peace or joy or love. We continued to worship for another hour or more, all the while the glory would hover over, seeming to fall upward. It stayed over our heads but also went towards the stage, over the musicians.

This is what I learned from the glory cloud: whether we see God physically manifested in a glory cloud or not is not indicative of whether or not he is present. I loved the gold sparkles in the cloud and it was an incredible gift from a loving daddy but God was already there and I was already enjoying his Presence whether I could see it or not.

Bethel church is an awesome place to encounter God. I’ve been to Bethel four times in the last year (it’s about a 12 hour drive each way) because I want to be anywhere I can experience God like that. Does God love Bethel more than my church, or your church? No, I don’t believe so but Bethel has been fostering the Presence for years; there is maturity.

If we want to experience what Bethel experiences personally and corporately in our churches, we must get out of the mindset that we have be somewhere special and know, just as Jacob discovered in Genesis 28:16, God was already there, he just didn’t know it. Jesus lived under an open heaven, and Jesus’ life is resurrected in us. Therefore, we live under an open heaven.

If I really believed it, how would my life look different? How would your life look different, if you fully grasped the revelation that we host the Presence all the time?


 This is some video footage I took with my iPhone, just after people started noticing it. It was hard to get a good shot but you can see the sparkles - that's the glory cloud.
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