Wonderful Counselor

I’ve received professional counseling, sat under pastoral care, processed things with friends, threw stuff into journals, bounced stuff off the mirror, held stuff in silence, filtered stuff through books, and at times … fought to forget.

It all has a role: a time, a place, a season, a reason – for being. But there is nothing – not a thing – that compares to hearing directly from The Wonderful Counselor: Holy Spirit.

That still small voice, that inner compass of peace, that divine thought, that internal impression, that grace-filled sense of direction… however it comes … one word from Him can:

Instill purpose

Shift perspectives

Shatter impossibilities

Motivate the soul

Revive the heart

Create solutions

Embody love

And navigate me through

ANYTHING.

For Christmas: Free advice from the Wonderful Counselor. Consider it. Find some quiet. Tune in. Choose a topic. Start a conversation. Listen. Receive. He’s the best.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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Integrity

Integrity = Having consistency of character no matter where you are or who you are with.

Mitch. He sings love songs to God in closets. He sings love songs to God in front of crowds. He sings love songs to God when life kisses. He sings love songs to God when life bites. He sings love songs to God when no one sees … and then he sings them the same exact way when the world looks on.

The other night we sat in a new house with new people in a new community. Mitch led worship. He shut his eyes and his love songs spilled out.  I sat next to him on my knees and thought, “This is integrity. He is the same everywhere he goes.”

Heaven drew near and the slew of us enjoyed hours of deep fellowship. What a gift.

Question: What is it that you bring into a room that is unique to you? What would it look like for you to embrace that quality no matter where you are? No matter who you’re with?

When you are free to be yourself, you are also then free to release the gift of who you are. The world awaits that gift – the gift of you.

Integrity = Having consistency of character no matter where you are or who you are with.

Ahithophel

Ahithophel was a wise counselor during the time of King David. His advice was so good that talking with him was considered to be like inquiring of God himself (2 Samuel 16:23).

Some stuff went down, and Ahithophel had an instance where his advice was not taken. His counsel was rejected while a colleague’s was recieved. His response to this rejection was to saddle up, clean up his house, and take his own life.

Seriously?!?! After years of glorified advising, one instance of rejection sent this man to the grave?

I read this story last week and got to thinking … it is so important that our self-worth is rooted in what God thinks of us. If it is rooted in how others respond to us, it could get dangerous.

Ask God, “What do you think of me?” Let truth permeate. It could save your life.

Free to Grieve

Two years ago we lost our daughter to a terminal disease. I’m a Mom. I live with loss. Early in my grief journey a trusted friend looked me straight in the eye and said, “I am so sorry, Katie, but you cannot run from this, you must go through it.” I knew she was right and I have chosen to embrace the grief process.

Weird idea. Who wants to embrace pain?

No one. But when you discover that the deepest love, most profound comfort, and invaluable teaching happen in the crux of pain … you stop fearing it.

Last week I spent time grieving. I was at a meeting and sat on the floor crying for a long time. Deep expression tumbled out of my broken heart. I let the tears fall and fall hard. I wept and didn’t try to stop it. I held Holy Spirit’s hand and poured out my heart without reservation. I was a mess on the floor in a public space and did not care because I have learned that my heart honestly expressed is of value to the Father.

Hear me.

Three hours later a series of events occurred that caused me to feel a height of joy that I’ve not known in a long time. It was so encouraging it took me off guard. It wasn’t long before I realized that the joy I was experiencing was connected to my tears that had just hit the floor. It was coming as a response. And then I remembered …

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

To those who grieve in Zion, I will bestow beauty for ashes …

Have you ever noticed that Isaiah 61 (beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, praise for despair) is allocated specifically to those who grieve? Isn’t that amazing?

What if weeping is a passageway to joy? What if mourning sets the stage for comfort? What if ashes are the prime materials needed to create beauty?

Friends, it is in the tears, the groans, the raw outpouring of our hearts before God that we encounter the God who heals. People get over stuff all the time without healing from it. I believe that healing happens when we courageously face the reality of our pain and encounter who God is for us in it.

There’s something about the freedom to weep, mourn, and grieve that sets the stage for joy, comfort and beauty. God attaches provision to grief, which is why it is not okay to deny each other access to it. Too often we fear what we cannot fix and therefore short-circuit each other’s process through not giving each other permission to grieve. In that resistance, we also resist the God-given provision to those who grieve.

The holidays have a strange way of exposing our losses; big and small. What you feel in this season matters. It matters to God. Talk to Him about it. He’s not tired of hearing from you. You don’t have to shove it down. He cares. You are free to grieve. There’s a love encounter waiting for you in the midst of what you fear to face.

How do I know?

Two and a half years of steady grief and I’ve learned to dive into Him without fear. He has only ever responded to me with love.

I can’t fix your hurt, but I can tell you that it matters to God. In that validation I hope your hands will be untied to face what you feel and pour your heart out to Him.

Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him; for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)

The Paradox of Spiritual Hunger

I’ve heard people talk about the importance of being “hungry for God.” I’ve seen spiritual leaders stand before large crowds and gaze into the audience, “How hungry are you for a move of the Spirit?” I’ve heard stories of people who have fasted and prayed for “More!” of God. Honestly, I have not understood it.

Not until now. This week. This moment. Tonight.

Tonight I feel hungrier for God than I’ve ever been. Deep in my spirit there is a desperate longing, a thirst, an unsatisfied, unbridled, desire for more of Him. The other wants in my life are growing dim as I catch a glimpse of what I am designed to pursue with everything. A spiritual hunger is rattling in the bottom of my gut with an intense and joyous focus that makes me feel awake to Life. It feels insatiable and I’m desperate for more.

What happened?

Well … its really quite simple. I’ve been eating, eating, eating, and eating some more. The more I eat, the hungrier I become. I heard one pastor put it this way, “In the natural we eat to get full, but in the Spirit we eat to become hungry.” This is the paradox of spiritual hunger.

Selah.

For the practical crew, the key word is “EAT.” Read the Word. Get unglued in worship. Listen to an inspiring teaching. Pray for longer than ten minutes. Read a book on revival. Do something, and then do it again and again and again. Feed your spirit. As you eat, your hunger will increase.

Why bother?

You and I are not designed to live in spiritual dullness.

We are designed to live FILLED.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matt 5:6)

Autumn Moments

Morning Meditation: Dec. 1

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. Psalm 57: 7-8


Heart, stop rambling.

Heart, rest assured.

Soul, its your moment to be productive.

You are most productive when you do what you made for.

Worship.

Dust, get off my worship tools.

Sleep, get off my spirit.

I am not going to be a spiritual sluggard anymore.

I take responsibility for the change I need.

I am going to wake up this dawn.


Good morning, Spiritual Activist! You are more powerful than you think.