Jesus, Thank You for Grace and Wonder [Poem]

Woman Praising

Thank you Jesus for Grace and Wonder

I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
for You saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place. – Psalm 31:7-8 NIV

Jesus, we praise you for Your grace and the wonder You place within our souls
when all is still dark and the glimmers of light have yet to shine

Lord, we thank you for the good things that You have planned
Even before we see them and receive them

Lover of our Souls, we know Your love is true
Even when the tears flow steadily
And our hearts are wounded and empty

Faithful Father, Friend, and Guide
You will never leave us or forsake us
It is under Your wings we hide

Loving Shepherd thank you that You hear every cry
You bind up all our wounds
You carry us close to Your heart

Almighty Healer, we thank you that You are working in ways we don’t even see
But we know that in that day we will say,
“Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.
This is the Lord, we trusted in him;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9 NIV)

So as we climb towards the spacious place You have made for us
Even as we walk through this space of suffering and trial
We will sing praises even as it is still dark
For we know that You have power to do what you have promised in our lives.

Additional verses used: Isa 50:10, Jer 29:11, 1 Jo 4:18, Heb 13:5, Psa 34:18, Rom 4:17, 20-21

For more: Download a free copy of His Comfort poems

Anticipating Resurrection

Knight Kneeling

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)

I lived the first 32 years of my life with a substantial amount of spiritual oppression. In 2007, Father miraculously set me free.

As I have helped people deal with long-term spiritual oppression in their lives, I have seen the truth of John 9:3 play out — the work of God is displayed in their lives.

Again and again, I have seen Father miraculously transform the deadened spaces of their hearts and lives — that used to be thwarted and emasculated (to deprive of strength or vigor, weaken) into bridges of freedom and healing that in turn open up a new and greater capacity to minister to others in ways that they weren’t capable of as long as the enemy was exerting the weight and pressure of spiritual oppression on their lives.

As they are freed, a sort of resurrection of the deadened parts of their spirit and heart takes place. During the 40 day journey of prayer I go through with couples in ministry, my favorite excerpt from the daily guide we use is below:

Anticipating Resurrection

How do you anticipate well?

Unlike Lazarus, you are not physically dead
Unlike the paralyzed man on his mat who didn’t know of his resurrection until the moment Jesus told him to get up, pick up his mat, and walk (John 5:8-9)
Unlike Daniel, you know beforehand that the “lions” will be definitively slayed and sent forever away
Unlike Saul/Paul, you see the more your heart has always known there was and your spirit’s eyes will see your Father as He truly is . . . up until now your ears have only heard about (Job 42:5)

So how will you prepare?
Jesus knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He would be resurrected
What kind of faith and what kind of perspective will honor and worship your Father and King as you prepare for Him to resurrect the deadened parts of your spirit and heart?
It will be a holy moment between you and Him.

No one will see grave wrappings falling off
No visible mat will be tossed aside
No one will pull you out of the lions’ den
Ananias won’t come and lay his hands on your eyes . . . Father will.

He rescues me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. Psalm 55:18

Excerpt taken from 40 Day Prayer Focus Guide, originally written in April 2010

For More:

40 Day Prayer Focuses for Churches and Ministries: Targeting Spiritual Warfare

He Overcomes! . . . The Promise of Luke 10:19

Does Your Calling Compel You to Live with Urgency

Pastors, Has the Enemy Come in Like a Flood?

10 Ways to Keep Going When You’re Taking Spiritual Ground

photo credit: Tididi via photopin cc

Intercessors: Why Intercede? [Poem]

Angela Interceding in IndiaEarly on in my ministry as a prophetic intercessor, I wanted to put the calling God had given me on the shelf. If you’ve ever asked the same question of your calling as His intercessor, I pray this dialogue between Father and myself encourages you.

Why Intercede?
Originally written January 2008 

Sleepless nights, weird interactions, people leaning on you when they’re weak
Being weighed down by emotions that belong to the one you’re called to intercede for
Being drawn into situations that aren’t yours
Being praised when things go well and blamed when they don’t

Why Intercede?

Recipients who are thankful and warm
Then distant and cold
It seems like a personal invitation to being ill-treated and misunderstood

Why Intercede?

People want one-sided prayer
People want someone who will listen and say a verse or two
That reminds them God is around and aware
But are easily scared by
Specific direction, prophetic words, and explanation of future happenings in their lives

Why Intercede?

“HOW CAN YOU KNOW?” they scream

The messages God gives me to share
Are often unwanted things that recipients find suspect and want me to explain

Why intercede Father?

One day, My dearly beloved, you will see all the ways
I worked through you as you obeyed and interceded and spoke My messages
To brothers and sisters who were trapped, hurt, alone, sad and afraid

You keep strengthening, encouraging, and comforting them with My words of truth (1 Cor 14:3)

And when they call it “sweet-smelling crap”
Remember you’re the messenger and I AM the Message Giver

You’re responsible for sharing; I AM in charge of bringing about
And doing what I said I would do (Is 46:9-11)

I’ve got your back, My dearly beloved
You won’t be disgraced or put to shame (Is 50:7) even when they say to you
“This is 99% through and what you told me didn’t come true.”

Give My gifts and translate My truth to My daughters and sons
You’re perfectly who I made you to be and I enable you to do what I’ve called you to do

In eternity you will see how I honored your sacrifice and your willingness to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)
And that’s why you intercede My dearly Beloved

For More:
Prophecy Isn’t a Formula
When Father Speaks  (see “Receiving and Testing a Word of Prophecy” section)
Obey or Disobey 

 

Princess of the Most High King

Freedom DanceIn my own life as well as in my ministry to women, I have been struck again and again by how often our view of Jesus mirrors our experience with the people in our lives rather than who Jesus truly is and for who He longs for us to experience Him as.

I wrote Princess of the Most High King  in October of 2006.

She was His princess from before the foundations of time (Ephesians 1:4). Yet as a little girl, words said and actions taken by others towards her quickly made her forget what He had written on her heart. Instead she received lies as her crown and loathing as her gown.

Yet the King persisted every morning as she would awake. He would gently brush the hair from out of her face and tenderly whisper, “Arise, My Love, My beauty, and come along with Me. Let Me hear your voice; let Me see your face, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely” (Song of Songs 2:13-14). Sometimes she faintly heard Him speak while other times the loathing won and the words she heard were none.

Roses and Red DoorYet the King was mightier than the loathing and anything else that tried to destroy His princesses’ identities. One of His favorite ways of breaking through was by giving them roses. Sometimes He gave actual roses through family or friends. Other times the roses figuratively came through a worship song or Bible verse or the gentle touch of a stranger. And many a day, they came in the most unexpected ways. Ahhh, the one thing loathing hates is roses. For roses replace the lies with a princess’ crown if only for a short time.

Never satisfied until His princesses are completely free, the King persists. He brings them together with other believers who can love, and pray, and speak truth on those especially lie-filled days. Little by little, He frees His princesses from the lies they believe and little by little they see the loathing decrease. Most times the journey is long and many days the loathing clings so tenaciously that hope fades that it will ever be any other way.

In their anguish, His princesses often blindly choose the things that only make the loathing increase: speaking in hurtful, angry ways, hating the way they look and who they are, feeding their ego or stomach instead of their soul, using things that harm to make the hurt go away only for it to return with great ferocity and when it wears off they are once again left with their poor choices and the loathing that clings like a leach.

And even as she makes these choices that hurt and harm, the King with tear-filled eyes gently pulls His princess onto His lap and says, “My precious daughter, you are loved by Me. I am with you and I am mighty to save. I will take great delight in you, I will quiet you with My love, I will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17, Isaiah 30:18).

Princess of the KingAs she cries, He holds her close to his chest and says, “My darling, take My hand and trust My heart. I long to be gracious to you; I rise to show you compassion. My precious princess, accept every gift I long to lavish on you and stop receiving the lies as your crown and the loathing as your gown. Our journey is not complete until you are completely free to dance in My light and love with ecstasy.

The battle is not yours but Mine. Take up your position, stand firm and see the deliverance I will bring (2 Chronicles 20:12-17). My lovely one, never settle for less than all that I have for you. I will bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of loathing and despair (Isaiah 61:1-3).

My precious daughter, I promise in that day you will say, “Surely this is My King, I trusted in Him and He saved me” (Isaiah 25:9). Believe it even when you can’t see it. Embrace it even when your feelings scream it isn’t true.

My beautiful bride, adorned in the crown of My love and the gown of My grace, dance the freedom dance with Me. You are and always will be loved by Me, Your victorious Savior and King” (Isaiah 54:5, 62:5).

We are extravagantly loved by the King, may that be the reason we sing!

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Excellent resources to help with combatting the lies we believe:

Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer

Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore

1st photo credit: Pensiero via photopin cc; 2nd photo credit: UGArdener via photopin cc; 3rd photo credit: bernat… via photopin cc

Only His Love Gives Life to Ours [Poem]

togetherA seed does not grow
unless the Lord says so

A babe isn’t born
unless the Father makes it so

And the sun doesn’t shine
unless the Creator says it’s time

so it is with love 

For human love lasts
only as long as our fickle hearts
stay warm and hear a song
so love often breaks the ties
we make without Him

For the Promise-Keeper and Lover True
can bind two hearts through the storm, through the wind
through the desert, and back again
to the waterfall of His perfect love

enduring loveSo love not with your eyes
or your unsteady heart
for they won’t get you far

Until the Promise-Keeper is your Heart-Taker
and the Lover of your Soul has control
of all your dreams
all your hopes
and all of your love

 

Only He can bind two hearts together that only death can part
cause Love True can keep the two close Him and close at heart

A ring’s never-ending circle
is only a symbol of His love
that enables us to say,
“I won’t leave you, babe
because it’s not just our love
but a cord of three strands that enables us to stand”

He will enable us to hold His hand
as we walk together hand-in-hand

Poem originally written August 18th, 1999

photo credit: mohammadali via photo pin cc

photo credit: TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³ via photo pin cc

His Comfort: Poems for the Hurting, Healing, & Hopeful

Father’s comfort brings healing in the midst of your hurt, giving you hope. Through our sufferings, He brings us comfort. In many different ways.

In 2001 my life, health, and teaching career were forever altered by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Journaling was my primary way of processing through all the losses and changes.

My journaling was often in the form of poetry, pouring out my heart to God in a Psalm 62:8 way. One result was a poem book, His Comfort, which several years ago was compiled in a stapled booklet. And now, His Comfort is available in digital form.

As a 26-year-old, I moved back in with my parents to rest, heal, and wait on God’s next direction for my life. In my anguish and pain, I sensed the comfort God had given me through the poems He had written through me were His gift for me to share with others who were also hurting and devastated by loss in their own lives.

In the 11 years since I photocopied my first batch of poem books, I have had the privilege of sharing His Comfort with over 400 people worldwide — one photocopy at a time.

I have been amazed and truly comforted again and again by the reactions and responses I have His Comfort Poetry: Originalseen to the words and promises I clung to and still cling too, touching life after life and heart after heart. It has been an experience of seeing the truth and promise of 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 play out all around me:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

There have been many instances at gas stations, restaurants,  church, on airplanes, and in my daily interactions when Father has prompted me to give a poem book to a stranger or a new acquaintance. Each act of obedience in these instances have taken courage, and many times I have been told later by these recipients of my poetry — how they were at a time in their life where they had been crying out to God for a greater experience of His comfort and presence in their lives.

One of my favorite recounting of these instances took place in January 2011. My rest that weekend had been short and as I sat working in my classroom late on Saturday afternoon, I asked Father if I could sleep in on Sunday morning.

Father was insistent that I could not, because He wanted His dearly Beloved son Mike to have one of my poem books. I barely knew Mike — a man who had been assigned to usher at the same door I ushered at on Sunday mornings. From all I had briefly observed of him, he didn’t seem in immediate need of a copy of His Comfort.

I asked Father if the giving of this poem book to Mike could possibly wait until the following Sunday. Father continued to say with joy and excitement, “We have a gift for my dearly Beloved son Mike which you will give him tomorrow.”

And with that, it was settled . . . I could obey or disobey. So I guessed at the spelling of Mike’s last name and put a poem book in an envelope.

Mike seemed to be both jovial and joyful as we ushered together on Sunday. I wondered what the significance of giving him a poem book today was. When the church service was beginning, I handed Mike the envelope with his last name misspelled. Somewhat unemotionally I abruptly explained, “I sense Father wanted you to have this.” And with that, I went into the service.

Later on, Mike told me of his own struggles on Saturday – that very same Saturday I had been arguing with Father as to if I truly needed to give him a poem book the next day. He had been crying out to Father to comfort him in the deep pain he was going through as a result of great losses he’d experienced in every area of his life. Father knew he needed this poem book.

That Sunday exchange was the beginning of a friendship that led to a romance and then a Mike & Angela Usheringlife-long partnership. On our wedding day we took a picture at the same doors we ushered together at and had our poem book exchange that January day eight months earlier.

In His amazing ways, Father continues to use our lives and testimonies to minister His comfort to others. In doing so, we sensed Father wanted us to make His Comfort accessible to a broader audience by making it into a downloadable e-book.

Eleven years ago, I obeyed and put together a collection of poems I had no idea who they would touch and reach. Over the last 11 years, I have continued to obey and share these poems with who I sensed Father wanted me to give them to.

We all have people in our lives who are in desperate need of experiencing His comfort in the midst of the pain, suffering, or loss they are going through.  I pray that you would use His Comfort as a way to minister to others around you who are hurting. I pray if the hurting person is you, that you would be comforted deeply by reading His Comfort.

You can download your free copy of His Comfort e-book.

His Comfort Poetry: Digital Copy

 

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Focus Lies [Poem]

 

standing on the edge

He had been sick for thirty-eight years

He laid in crowds of the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed
Someone always got to the water ahead of him
His life was a loss because of what he could not do

Jesus came to him one day and asked, “Would you like to get well?”
It must’ve almost seemed like mockery to be asked such a thing
But with one glance into Jesus’ eyes
The man knew His love was true
Yet his focus was not on the Savior but rather the pool
He told the One who works miracles, “I can’t because. . .”

How many of us also spend our lives by the pool
losing hope each time someone else gets there ahead of us
We wonder why our limitations and suffering go on and on
And why after all the tears we’ve cried
Jesus still asks us the question of
“Would you like to get well?”
As we gutturally reply, “Yes!. . .a million times yes!”

So often we’re so focused on the pool that we don’t see our Healer
Yet Jesus comes to us anyway
and quietly reminds us that it’s our fears that hold us captive
our bodies can be sick
but our spirits can be free
when we take our focus off of the pool and fix our eyes on our Savior
who inwardly renews us day by day
even as our bodies waste away (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

“Where does your focus lie?” He asks with a twinkle in His eye
Would you like to get well?
Would you like to be free regardless of the limitations and suffering that seem to weigh you down and hold you back?
My strength is limitless, My grace is fathomless,
My love is unfailing and My faithfulness is unending
My power enables you to be alive and even to thrive
Whether you’re laying by the pool or taking up your mat and walking away
Let your focus be on Me and I will use you mightily
And one day you will see how I redeemed every moment you laid by the pool

Originally published in August 2007 and later added to my poem book, His ComfortBased on John 5:1-9

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For more encouragement, Rest Ministries is a great resource for those who live with chronic illness or pain.

My Journey: I developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 2000. In November 2007, Father miraculously healed me of it. I continue to walk in His strength even as I daily deal with the effects of a weakened immune system — prone to fatigue and infection – 2 Cor 12:9-10.

photo credit: selkovjr via photopin cc

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