An intercessor’s life is peculiar. We require a lot of quiet and reflective time, praying, fasting, pushing aside things—sometimes important things—in a moment’s notice when the Holy Spirit prompts. We are dedicated, reliable, sensitive, sacrificial, and disciplined. Some of the requests, places in the spirit world the Lord wants us to stand-in-the-gap over, can be wild stuff. We are enabled to see through God’s eyes regarding particular details. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the fruit of our labors, oft times we don’t, but we do this thing called intercession anyway. I love my life of intercessory prayer because it’s more time spent with the Lord. The process heightens how we hear his voice; it expands how we depend on him. And it’s for the sake of others. Heart for God; heart for his people. But we’ve all had our struggles with the calling.
The hardest part for me is finding balance… the fine line between being empathetic while you’re pouring yourself out over an assignment and investing in someone else’s spiritual journey, and remaining objective so that the process doesn’t consume you. Intercessors often operate under a sense of need to help others. It gets heated, intense sometimes, especially when coming against principalities and demonic warfare. It’s emotional. I am an all-or-nothing person. This makes me a committed and fervent prayer warrior; also, a basket-case when an assignment lifts or concludes, where I’m wandering about without aim or inspiration. We have to learn how to trust in between commitments, stay prayed up and not let our guard down, and be obedient in letting go. For it all belongs to the Lord, from the beginning to the end. Occasionally I’ve had assignments I wish I hadn’t, with awful warfare, and felt relieved to get through them. Yet the biggie for me more often is letting go. Because I still feel tied to circumstances and people I’ve prayed for, in a personal way—especially if it lasts for months or years.
An example of this is when, not that long ago, a maritime assignment lifted. My spiritual obligation over this one lasted quite a while, and it was a journey, as some of you might already know. It began with the Holy Spirit alerting me to specific seaports, then ships and crewmembers. And I prayed over a whole gamut of conditions and seafarers (also floating church planting and port outreaches). Near the end of this task, the Holy Spirit would give me the name of a ship and where geographically it was positioned. Found these nifty little apps that can track ships, so discovering each of these named vessels was like a treasure hunt, and a joyous confirmation of the Lord’s lead. Each called out ship was exactly as the Lord said it was and where. He also gave me Words of Knowledge to understand what the vibe was on board, the spirits, the challenges, the sailors… and sometimes who might the Lord want covered in a specific way. I knew via the Holy Spirit when he gave me the name of the latest vessel, that it would be my last—at least within this format at this time. Understood that my prayer voyage here would lift at this ship’s next port. It was so very sweet when I discovered my last port of call would be Seattle. My hometown. I’ve lived in East Tennessee for so long it’s home to me now, too. But I grew up in Seattle. It’s still my home. I prayed, and watched via satellite in real time, as the tugboats came along and assisted this vessel into the Port of Seattle—arrived! It felt like a homecoming party. I celebrated. And these people, this crew, had no idea a crazy intercessor was praying for them, watching them, fasting on their behalf (or maybe they did, as the Lord told me there were firm believers on board). I always wonder, does somebody sense it when a prayer warrior across the oceans has gone up to bat for them? Fasting and praying, fighting and rejoicing? Probably many someone’s, as I’m not the only spiritual-crazy out there. But… then it was sad for me to let go. I felt invested in the task. I also stretch and grow during these times. The Lord takes me through a journey, asking if I’d do this or that, how much am I willing to commit, how far will I follow his lead? I also have to press in sometimes for clarity, just to understand if I’d heard God correctly. By the way, the Lord has a very special love for seafarers. They were his first choice as his disciples.
Well, another commission came fast on the heels (stern) of that last ship. For the Lord clarified that many in my missionary/ministry circle were in or are walking into a new season. We are all in different seasons; rather, varying places within the same season I’m inclined to think. But it seems almost everybody I know has been in a series of whirlwinds to prepare, get ready, and launch or expand into something greater, different, or newer. I’ve been watching and interceding over these launches, committed to holding their arms up like Aaron to Moses and prayed as the Spirit guided. I get to pray often for those beginning new ministries—and I love that. While praying on the phone with somebody recently who was experiencing frustrating hindrances, I got a vision, and in fact had the same vision for a handful of people. We prayed it through, knocking down the demonic gatekeepers and obstacles, and asked for an angels’ charge to carry them onward. We received instant results. Thank you, victorious and glorious God!
Now, many of those I know who are being sent have begun, are all set; at least for now. And I rejoiced. I also grieved. I spend much of my time uplifting others, interceding for others, watching them go, and celebrating with them. And I’ll be there for them when they need a supportive, praying sister. But sometimes, the lowly human in me gets caught up in the flurry and then feels left behind. I wish I was the one going. I wish I was commissioned to go out in the field. I’d had that calling once. Perceived God’s call into ministry when I was a young child. Later answered the call and went into full-time ministry through Christian performing arts and worldwide missions. I really enjoyed the field, thrived in challenging environments and all. It was a good fit for my fundamental nature of yearning to absorb adventure, travel, and that deep love for different peoples and cultures. I flubbed up when I stepped away from that path, when I never should have—and God didn’t ask me to. Rather, I didn’t seek him, just did my own thing.
I’ve since come to terms with my decisions/mistakes that put a cement stop to all the “moving around” kind of ministry. Repented. Made good with serving the Lord in the best way that I can under my circumstances. I’ve sought his face, pursued his heart. I’ve been obedient. Have written a lot. Realized that I’d learned things I wouldn’t have had I not gone through the erring and wandering ways. Found humility in a place of despair, among a myriad of better things from a firmer Biblical perspective. The entire development has made me stronger. For that, I’m grateful. And I feel called again. Actually, I’m not sure the calling ever left… even if one walks away from it for a time (a long time) in life. For in Romans 11:29, it says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Irrevocable: “not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final”
So, no, maybe I’m not picking up on somebody else’s radio frequencies. They’re my signals, intended for me. If the Almighty called me once, the call is still there. And stirring. One of these days, it will be my turn to go, to embark again on a very real-life, real-time, hands-on way, and he’s going to blow my mind when he does it. And instead of my saying with spiritual eyes, “He’s doing that thing over there.” It will be with both spiritual and natural eyes, “He’s doing this thing over here,” and I’ll be reporting about it from somewhere online. When my confession grows into my testimony.
Last Thursday, another call-to-prayer over someone lifted. Right after, a cloud of oppression dropped over me. It was heavy, thick crud, and I couldn’t shake the rot off. And that’s just like the creepoid enemy; when the devil sees a vulnerability, he’ll seize the opportunity. Lasted for several hours. It was all I could do to listen to worship music and utter (even when I didn’t feel like it) “Thank you, Jesus.” Then the attack cleared with a snap (hey, maybe someone from afar was praying for me! Sure felt like I had help, and if so, thank you…) and I praised the Lord freely. But I did ask then of my savior, “Lord, what’s next for me?” And I didn’t mean a prayer assignment from my confined seat or closet.
He gave me a vision. I saw a fortified, thick-beamed entranceway. I’d been in a dark space, and this large, bold door appeared. It was holy. I think it was already there, but it only just became visible to me. There were two tubular neon-ish lights, each distinct, yet wrapped around the door and pulsating together like the aurora borealis. I could also hear and feel the pulsating energy. The one in front was rich red, the one behind was sapphire blue; the thick frame between was white. So it appeared like a living triplet of stripes… two separate and distinct colors welded together and supported by this strong inner/middle white frame. Through to the other side, steps away, was bright, beaming, living light; fluctuating and revolving as if a hundred lighthouses of holy fire. It sliced darkness. Took my breath away, especially with the sense of purpose and joy that came with this powerful vision. I wanted more, to learn more. In one word, I asked him, “Lord?” And he gave me one word for now: “Apostolic.”
And so there it is. You’ve heard it from me here. You’ll hear again from me from there. One day.
The title of this post is a headline that moves me, for it is something of which I’ve had visions. Amid unforeseen yet increasing disasters, part of the future of the church might be to go increasingly mobile. As in, able to move freely or easily between places (insertion because I’m such a definitions geek). Equipped to respond to calamities—and here’s a cool thought: spiritually instructed to move out beforehand via servants’ prophetic gifts. To arrive at a pre-designated position with an outpouring of the Lord’s spirit, and be of service to others, to help and to rescue. Spontaneous pockets of human-related holy transports, bringing safety, peace, revival and deliverance. Less a church to go to and be fed (or as often is the case in complacent places, sitting and being a spectator), more a church to go out and feed.
What if persecution, deception, and darkness worsen? If things get rockier, more chaotic, be it with wars, antichrist, politics, economies, viruses, and plagues; or if natural disasters increase in size and frequency? Might the handwriting be on the wall (expression from Daniel 5:5-31)? The Bible speaks of the earth, having once been destroyed by water because of sin, will be again destroyed by fire (Malachi 4:1, 2 Peter 3:5-7, 2 Peter 3:10, Isaiah 24:6). Seems fires and heat have cranked up in the world.
My sister, as well as another gal who is a longtime friend and fellow missionary (we served together in Brazil), and I have all had a very similar—almost the same—dream, wherein we’re once again serving together. But the scenarios are different than the mission field we’d once known. Our dreams have us in disaster-like conditions. It’s night. A volcano has erupted; glowing lava is pouring into the sea. The three of us are navigating over wet rocks raised from the seabed and pulling terror-struck people out of the burning and churning water to safety—and as in my dream, into a lifeboat; then onto a bigger boat, a ship, really, with the words True North on its bow.
These calamitous themes have been heavy on my heart lately, especially as global wildfires have spread out of control. But when I watched the news coverage of the disaster in Lahaina, and learned that people had jumped into the ocean to escape the engulfing flames, it triggered words that kept coming out of my mouth, “I wish I had a boat, I wish I had a boat, I wish I had a boat!” Drove me, feeling helpless, to pray. Prayed for the precious people of Lahaina, then I focused in on who had boats and could get there, to go and help transport the displaced, or to deliver necessities. Not to impede Coast Guard or FEMA (or any proper red tape), but to be the Jesus present, to be a spiritual voice of peace and love to those who have lost everything and are suffering. When I’d heard that some people drowned, bodies swept up on the seawall in Lahaina, I wept. That’s all I could do is intercede for those left there. Then my prayer language shifted to the implementation of more ministries, non-profits, foundations—people through whom the Lord is bringing visions that are mobile-in-nature to life. This is a vein in which the Lord often instructs me to pray.
So my abovementioned missionary friend, who is also giftedly bilingual (English/Spanish), and who served with Floating Doctors as well, heads overseas in two weeks to work on obtaining her master’s degree with a focus on disaster relief management. For decades, she’s yearned to go through this specialized one-year program and decided she’d give up all, risk all, and just do it. It’s time. This is her seasonal shift; what her changing-of-the-guard looks like, a new chapter. This incredible gal with a servant’s heart has always said, “I just want to hand a cup of water to someone who is thirsty.” And away she goes.
Mobile can also mean a fluidity in different ways than actual mobilization. Some believers are called to steward land to grow organic and sustainable crops to feed others with untainted harvests; Bible-centric therapeutic farms and/or rehab ranches where Christian healers utilize service animals of every kind and breed are under development. So are new blueprints for Messianic temples and other Jewish-flavored ministries with fresh vision and sacred worship. There are spirit-filled medical students and scientists furthering education and doing vital research on viruses, water purification, etc. And then divinely appointed unions seem to be at the heart of what God is doing right now, as well. New engagements are popping up that have “kingdom spouse” written all over them. This is all love on the move. Executed in different ways than just actual mobilization, but they all seem to have the same swift spiritual current: end times anointed ministries, and end times anointed marriages… for the glory of God. By the way, since I kept hearing “love on the move,” I Googled the phrase out of curiosity and highlighted was a Native American ministry. Which doesn’t surprise me, as this is another part in which the Lord has directed my intercession. Love on the move. I dig those words. Wow, wow, and wow, Lord! Amazing; you are amazing, God. Wow!
Within dreams and visions—and current affairs—revealing growing darkness, I also see an end times church that carries the greatest joy and brightest light—like fluid lighthouses. His light and Spirit unleashed in unprecedented ways at unprecedented times. Where glory and worship break out on the spot, or might then pick up and move to the next destination, and repeat—however the Lord wants to show up! Totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. We’d have to know the Lord’s voice and word so well! Intimately. Thus, the required time in his presence, our waiting in the wilderness, our shedding process, our journey to purity that Yeshua has been leading a lot of us through. Many are called at this hour.
Instead of, “Look out, it’s a disaster!” It’s, “Look, there’s the mobile church!” How about, “See, we’re the mobile church come to help in Jesus’ mighty name.”?
Fluid in a lot of ways, no bounds. It’s love on the move.
I love to laugh, but look for places where I can find comedy clean. Discovered a family-oriented channel on YouTube called Dry Bar Comedy. I enjoy countless comedians there who I don’t have to worry about dropping the f-bomb or telling off-color jokes… because the Lord has been taking me through a refining process. Convicting me of what I watch, listen to, read, etc. I’ve become more aware that I might be exposing my spirit to things, images, messages, sounds I probably shouldn’t. This is true for me, especially with music. I am swayed by music and I love certain bands, especially nu-metal bands, but the language, topics, veins, have come to the forefront. Holy Spirit is tapping me on the shoulder, saying, “maybe it’s time to clean this up.” It’s a bit painful, but I don’t want to leave any doors or windows open for the enemy to get a foot in or influence me in any way that is away from Jesus. Don’t want to saturate my spirit with anything but him and the renderings of people who also call him theirs (Christian metal bands, for instance). As I’ve scrutinized the things that I subject myself to, Dry Bar Comedy has made the cut.
But even on Dry Bar Comedy, I’ve noticed an awful lot of deprecating comparisons between men and women. Maybe this has always been a go-to spiel for a lot of comedians; I’ve just grown more sensitive to the contrasts which also feel like judgements. Bits on the male/female relational differences occur often, and they’re making me uncomfortable. They have me wondering why men and women even hook up if they so viciously misunderstand each other. Then I heard someone (not on Dry Bar) the other day say, “If men didn’t need sex, and didn’t find women so rrrr” (insert tongue-rolling purr), “I don’t think men would hang out with women.” My jaw dropped. I shook my head and was like: Did you really just say that?
I like motorcycles. They’re cool. I’ve ridden my own bikes; have maintained my endorsement since the 1990s. To be honest, though, I best enjoy riding in tandem. Haven’t in a long time, but that’s another story that will beg to be told one day. Anyway, I often have viewed riding in tandem, pillion, two-up, whichever term you prefer, as a light and lovely analogy of a male/female relationship. A dictionary term describes tandem as “two people or pieces of equipment that work together to achieve a result.” Here is where I envision the man's role as initiator, leader of church and family—and bikes (or trikes, which are way growing on me). A protector, provider, defender, driver. He’s a skilled rider, will assure safety to the best of his ability. And I see the woman’s role as supportive, affirming, responding. She’s a good passenger, balanced and upright. Wherever they go, the adventures they seek, the language (and prayer—spoken or unspoken) between the two, strives to be harmonious and kind, validating. To love and to cherish, to have and to hold. Together, they are on a mission to ride with purpose into the God-gifted horizon with the joy of freedom. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
The origin of the term tandem came from a two-seated carriage (1785) drawn by harnessed horses, one in front of the other, or alongside each other. Together, in partnership or conjunction. You hear of the occasional happy couple who have it all together; partners in conjunction who praise each other and are careful not to criticize. Kind of seems rarer these days.
Have women turned to criticizing men, even their own partners, because of disappointment or rejection? And have men done the same? Are we so hurt that we can’t speak of the opposite sex as anything but complex trash? Is it really for the sake of a laugh when a comic throws his/her spouse under the bus? I don’t know, but lately I’ve been feeling how harmful this is—especially when gender roles are in crisis. With women trying to be men, and men trying to be women, or either treating the other like a burden, nuisance, or object. Maybe we just haven’t learned each other’s love language?
When I flew back home to Washington State, where I grew up, to visit my sister, we had a lot of healing hikes and talks about ministry, life, and relationships. I love her so much; she’s my tribe—and hey, my tribe might be small, but it’s big in love and support. We all need that; we need at least one person who feeds into us encouraging words and vice versa. On a whim, for fun, she insisted I take a What is Your Love Language test that suggests what your most compatible/favorable expression/response is out of five possibilities. Turns out that my love language is Words of Affirmation. But of course it is! Word. I didn’t quite realize that about myself. *shrug* This helps, I guess, to understand some things in my life.
I believe that men and women are disparate… unlike but not opposed. This is how I believe God intended it: two distinct parts, yet counterparts, genuine partners. Men are to be men in strength and leadership, and women are to be women in support and contribution. In tandem. A team. An alignment with each other because you’re aligned with the One Who Sits on the Throne before you. A relationship that says, “I get you,” and “I got you,” to your person. Whether it’s through Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, or Receiving Gifts, as outlined in the 5-love-languages test. It’s respect and a desire to understand the other’s role, mutuality, and with a level of authenticity that you don’t have with anyone else. To pray for and with each other, too—sounds like bliss! To focus on the good things within each other. And if that’s not what you’ve experienced or are living and receiving (believe me, I know about this), trust God. He can make a way—somehow, someway, someday—where there is no way (Isaiah 43:19).
Live for the Lord, not for man. The world can do what it does at its best, the common tear-down, but that doesn’t mean you have to roll with it. Dare to roll on your very own in the name of Providence. Exhibit love, honor, respect, kind treatment, compassion one to the other, male or female, in our words and deeds. Work to say, “I get you,” and “I got you.” And if you don’t receive the same, or you truly don’t understand something, or no matter how hard you try, you remain severely incompatible, continue to seek the Lord, worship him, and pray unceasingly. Just this morning during my devotional time, a daily word from Prophet Russ reminded me of following the Lord through difficult circumstances, situations, or people: “Keep trusting. Stay sweet in your soul. Refuse to become bitter or contentious.” Not always easy, but possible.
Yeshua has got to be first in everything, the number one. He can heal and transform; he can and may also realign you with other people who are better suited teammates, helpers and supporters. Next time I watch Dry Bar Comedy, if a comic starts ragging their spouse or the typical men vs women gig (the historical definition of gig is “a light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one [lonely] horse.” Just sayin’), I’m turning it off and walking away. Listening to that negative material doesn’t do me any good.
My love language actually begins with Creator, the creator of man and woman—all of whom he loves. His words are nothing but affirming.
Living in tandem with the lover of my soul,
The farm where I keep my horse raises sheep. This has given me a firsthand opportunity to contemplate comparisons between sheep and people I read about in the Bible. Sometimes observations have brought me laughter. Sometimes reflections are sobering; other times, downright pensive and dreadful. Is this really how God sees us, as sheep?
*Sheep flock together, yet are prone to wander.
*When scared, they have no defense except to run. Also have no sense of direction, and so run wherever—and not always toward the best place, putting them in deeper trouble.
*If they get tangled up, then freed, they tend to get tangled up in the same place in the same way as before.
*They are easily persuaded; if one jumps off a ridge, the rest will follow without a glance at the precarious scenario.
*They are skittish, yet the one or two that are most distrustful seem bullish and pick on the weakest. These are also those that stand out and might spring to break your nose or kick when you try to wrangle them.
*You might provide a vat of fresh feed ten feet away, plenty for all, yet they’ll only perceive the crumbs left in your hand and will clamber for that as if the last bits of food on a dying earth—raid!
*When lifting their heads taking notice of you, they look guilty and act paranoid as if caught doing something wrong (because Big Sister has been watching).
*They can ignore danger, and sometimes… sometimes when they fear something, in their denial they will all simply turn around. Because if they can’t see you, then you (big mean bear) aren’t actually there. And all you view is several dirty back-ends a swipe away.
*They are inherently filthy and cannot care for themselves; they need their shepherd to clean and care for them.
*When a sheep is cast down, it needs the shepherd to pick it up and set it on its feet, right-side up again. And so they learn their shepherd’s voice, and this is the voice they will trust.
*With offspring, nothing seems as pure and innocent as a lamb. You celebrate and recognize the value in such creatures, in the evidence of the first breath of life on its own, and also in the hope and provision of more endless wool and milk.
*They are not pack animals, not meant to carry burdens.
*No two bleats are alike; their voices are distinct. Some baas are even comical. While some sheep are louder than others, some make little to no sound and seem to just stare or observe rather than vocalize.
And this next one especially fascinates me…
*The one that strays from the 99 tends to be the same one, and it is often the one rejected by its mother and picked on by the rest of the flock. You don’t know why, but that one is just different. It’s an outcast, a loner. Yet, has the biggest emotion toward its shepherd or person it trusts. It loves to be around that human more than the flock and almost smiles when found, and enjoys the caretaker’s arms, its legs dangling in complete trust; will even remain like that, content, going for a piggyback walk or car ride back to the barn. The shepherd recognizes the specialness and doesn’t mind at all going out again and again to rescue it, just to spend time together. The peculiar one with the big heart after its caretaker seems to make the most difference, beautifying the day with warmer memories and richer stories.
I could go on and on. And a lot of these comparative observations are humbling to me. What stands out the most is our need, as people, for the Good and Great Shepherd and how the Shepherd knows us and our behaviors so well. He sees our filth, weaknesses, and tendencies, our vulnerabilities and fear, yet loves us so much! When we learn our Shepherd’s voice, we follow, and the Shepherd takes care of our every necessity and more. We are valuable to him. He cleans us, guides us, feeds us, clothes us, rescues us, carries us, and gives our distinct voices purpose. I guess I don’t mind being compared to a sheep. I will trust my Shepherd.
Love is patient; it is kind. If what you have is neither patient nor kind, it is not love. It is something else.
Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. If what you experience envies, boasts, and is proudful, such competitiveness in all its shallow forms is not love. It is something else.
Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. If what you endure is critical, selfish, rash, begrudging, disrespectful or devalues your worth or honor, it is not love. It is something else.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. The truth is found in the Lord Jesus alone and must be held in the highest esteem. Pray with concern for one another to build each other up. Pray with each other. This is love, not something else.
Love protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. So support and encourage one another. Have each other’s backs at all times. This is love, not something else.
If you’re looking for love, witness the traits to build upon. If these characteristics are missing, then it’s not love. It’s something else.
Love is not a feeling, infatuation, attraction, even a connection. Love is a distinguishing trait of the godly. A quality of the righteous, and an integral ingredient for any kind of relationship. A bond outside of this kind of love presents structural holes, even gaping ones. Make Jesus your first love, the lover of your soul, to fill you up with his agape love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things… HIS perfect love makes us whole.