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.
A return of my Hearts in Africa series is here with installment #3 in a four-book sequence. Can also be read as a standalone. I’d written and completed this book years ago. Advice from an earlier publisher I had contracted with, to drop the romances and focus on their forte of suspense and thriller, had me file the manuscript away. I thought for good. But I’ve determined recently to resurrect this novel, along with others I’d completed and/or started yet never launched. In hindsight, I should have published this work back then and in order. Not that the advice given to me was off beam. I understand the marketing incentive, and also avoiding possibly polarizing my readers. The focus on one style or genre works well and for many people. However, I’ve felt hemmed in when I’m inspired to create in a variety of genres and voices (even POVs) yet have believed I can’t or shouldn't. I started wondering why I have to stick to a specific style. If God plants ideas and inspirations in your heart and soul, they need to be able to grow; not kept buried underground. Sometimes it’s a timing issue; sometimes it’s a choice. Maybe sometimes it’s both. Be faithful in the things over which you can choose. I’ve not allowed some of my works to grow much. If I’m compelled to write, finish, and edit a book, I ought to bring it to completion and release it, too--even if it's ten years later (knock on wood). Maybe that book is not for everybody, but it’s for somebody. So I’m following through by reassessing my stash of romance titles and more. Still working on my latest speculative fiction books, as well. They’ll all make their way down the pike, by God’s grace.
If you’ve held back on some once-upon-a-time creative pursuit, maybe it’s your time to take another look at the possibilities, too.
Without further ado, please welcome, Return My Heart, made available at online bookstores worldwide. If you don’t see your favorite bookstore listed after you click the button below, my distributor is working on it. The launch is that fresh. More outlets are being added each day, so be sure to check back.
About the story:
Lorelei moved to Kenya when she married Hugh Berrand, an animal behavioral scientist at Tsavo West National Park. After a year of marriage, she feels abandoned when she takes a backseat to her husband’s first passion, the maneless lions. Rejected by the field’s family of researchers, she suffers from loneliness and discord, especially when her husband is never there to support or defend her.
After Lorelei is assaulted and left for dead at Shetani, the devil’s lava, she struggles to put the pieces of her existence back together; namely, the fragments of her fragile marriage. But her effort proves futile with a man who seems to prefer an independent lifestyle. When an unwanted child enters the equation, the Berrand’s separate. Each tries to rebuild life from broken strands apart from each other. However, God has something else in mind and works on the hearts of Lorelei and Hugh for restoration and love anew.
Love, adventure, tragedy, redemption—all is at stake in the inspirational romance series, Hearts in Africa.
Have you been stranded in the wilderness, figuratively speaking? Dwelling in dehydration, exposed to the discomforts of harsh elements, drained of healthy energy by the rationing of pure sustenance? Enduring aloneness, lacking encouragement, affirmation, or positive feedback? Are you a spiritual outcast? Do you have gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been by-and-large choked by mainstream corporate church and you don’t quite fit in because how the Lord gifted you and/or how you should operate is not supported, stimulated, or even accepted? A believing, faith-filled outcast wondering what the point is and where your purpose rests? Do you live or serve in an environment where you have little emotional joy?
The wilderness experience is often referenced as a time of spiritual dryness. But often it’s in the wilderness that we establish our identity, who we are in God. We exercise our faith. We face our fears. The Lord in his grace provides for us and we end up pressing in to him as our compass. Focusing on him, our guide, to lead us out, where we are stronger, fitter than when we first entered hauling in the messy landscape of our lives (everything but the kitchen sink). We enter weighed down and heavy. But we leave with nothing but Jesus, whose yoke is easy and burden light.
For some, the wilderness season has lasted decades, and you’ve pursued the Lord with your whole heart. But now you’ve made it through, you survived. You’re at the last line of trees before the clearance to move on out. And you’re waiting for his “Go” command, because you’ve grown to know only HIS voice in the wilderness, and you respect it, revere it, trust him implicitly. At the appointed time, you expect to take his promised hand that leads you fearlessly to what he has “out there” for you, the promised land.
The wilderness was a necessary course of training. You learn about the only map that matters, the Word, and that serves as divine navigation. For us, and for others. The wilderness provokes us to speak and share of our experiences.
I am a wild one. I know spiritual wilderness. So when I found a contemporary book calling out to me, I both rejoiced and mentally recapitulated my journeying up to now. I must have dogeared every other page, top and bottom. I know there are leagues of others for who this book was intended and written.
Freedom to exercise gifts of the Spirit, and creative and unusual ideas at last put to use. The hidden, marginalized, voiceless, quieted ones; outcasts on the fringe. The ones who haven’t quite fit into institutionalized church protocols, or have been tamped by the tight structure of its programs, yet have gifts of the Spirit burning to be activated; the ones who wish to seek the will of the Father regardless of what it looks or sounds like to man… This book is for you:
The Wild Ones: Prophetic Survival Guide (The pioneer call of emerging voices from the wilderness to the frontlines)
The chapters, like rites of passage, each finish with “Prophetic Survival Keys” and a “Campfire Prayer” to keep us revving and warm. Ripe for the time, I highly, highly recommend this book! I pray the Lord increases your spiritual territory and magnifies your divine giftings as you read this book. And I pray the Lord multiply blessings to the author, prophet, and worship leader, Nate Johnston, for blessing, confirming, affirming, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating what has felt like the lost and forgotten remnant of Jesus followers. Here we go, into the next great roiling wave of revival, church reformation, and outreach of prophetic voices the world has ever seen. Are you ready, fellow wild one?
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve that purpose for which I sent it.”—Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV)
Sometimes, we need to step out of our own peripheries to see that there are other things that matter and other people who matter more. It’s estimated that 90% of global goods are transported by sea. I was one of those who relied on the shipping industry for just about everything, yet hadn’t considered the human beings behind the vital vein we all depend on; the largely unseen individuals who toil hard and sacrifice greatly at mentally and physically taxing, and often spiritually challenging, high-risk jobs on ships at sea.
When this book, The Seafarer’s Mind: The Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask, popped up out of nowhere as I was busy doing something else, I glimpsed at the cover and knew I was meant to read it before understanding the context. Then I found the words inside gave deeper insight, as well as affirmed what the Lord had already spoken to me.
I am not a seafarer, but I am an intercessor, and many months ago, the Lord asked me to commit to praying and fasting for seafarers, as one part of a three-strand cord of intercession. At first, it seemed like a strange request from the Lord for little ole me in landlocked Tennessee, who has always feared water, to venture into my “prayer closet” for seafarers. But I didn’t question the assignment for long; the persuasion was strong. Besides, the Lord asks for obedience often when the big picture is not clear or understood. At the surface, with human eyes, my prayer cord doesn’t look as if the strands are related, and yet the Lord keeps assuring that they are connected, and I have to trust.
The aforementioned book is expertly crafted for the sake of seafarers. The impassioned testimonies are inspiring, the resources offer help and support for various challenges that many seafarers face. So if you work in the maritime industry, The Seafarer’s Mind is truly an anointed aid for thriving in your environment. And if you’re in a landbound profession, this is an expander of knowledge and understanding; should be read by all lest we forget the largely unseen individuals on whom we depend.
I’ve found that there is very little literature in the way of ministry to seafarers, and I appreciate this author, Rev. Martin Otto, who helped fill a gap. So I went on a recent binge-reading journey, as I felt like I was meant to read all of the following titles. The Lord asked me to be still, draw in, and absorb highlights of the seafaring world. I gained some clarity into visions I’d seen and dreams through which the Lord had already spoken. Sometimes what doesn’t have shape, form, or sense in the beginning, if you focus on God, filling your mind on things above, and with a heart full of lovingkindness and thanksgiving, eventually the fog will dissipate and you see what you before couldn’t; and comprehend what made little sense. And then sometimes, it’s a crash-course in faith-building, to believe though we can’t see.
As I am learning about and appreciating the crucial international community of mariners and their families, praying for their spiritual edification and encouragement, I’m also praying for those serving at ports in missions to seafarers, an area of ministry that still needs expanded.
Back at the start of this segment of my intercession, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that there are individuals who the Lord has planted a seed for specific ministry that is emerging from the oceans. Where cultural background, work experiences, and particular exposures lend to a uniqueness of testimony only God could orchestrate and use—for all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). But the devil has been especially hard on these ones in the past season, trying to trip up and discourage to thwart the call and birthing of ministry in service to others upon and between the waters. In some cases, mistakes in the flesh-vs-spirit barrages have almost caused a giving-up, a falsity propounding disqualification. The only perfection any of us has is Jesus’ perfection within us; we are holy as he is holy within us. Works and/or clean behavior can’t save us, but Jesus, who unconditionally loves us and by his grace forgives seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22), each day renewed, can. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We fall down; we get back up. Even when circumstances feel overwhelming, there are people who are praying, lifting weary arms like Aaron and Hur to Moses (Exodus 17:10-13). Appointed to pray healing and strengthening words, to intercede, instill hope and encouragement, stand as watchmen on the walls, and help battle principalities and strongholds. A company of Christians you’ve never met are called to your cause; I’m only one in the appointed mix. And an invisible force of angels has been assigned to your spiritual welfare to help carry you through your life’s purpose.
So this blog today is more than another book review, but these titles are spurring standouts. There is much to embrace within the pages. I highly recommend each one.