The Parable of the Girl and the King

Nearly four years ago, during my first few months at IHOPKC, God was taking me on a journey of looking at the story of my life through His eyes. I began to see how faithful and gentle He had been in bringing me to Himself, even though I grew up in the church. One Wednesday night in the prayer room, on August 12, 2012, I wrote a little parable of my story. I was reminded again of it tonight, and decided to share it with you.
castle

Once there was a young girl who lived in the kingdom of a great King. From her infancy she grew up knowing of the King and hearing his power and goodness praised. When she was only three years old she decided to become a citizen of his kingdom, for this was a great privilege available to anyone, young or old, from any way of life, who would choose to live under the rulership of the King. For the King had paid a great price for anyone to receive citizenship freely, and from a young age the girl accepted this gift gladly.

As she grew, though, daily surrounded by reminders of the King’s rule, the girl’s heart began to grow distant. She was still young and glad of her citizenship, but she began to resent the constant symbols of the kingdom. She began to wish she could taste life in the exotic lands outside the kingdom. For all the world she still looked and acted like a citizen, but she knew that her heart did not rejoice in it. She continued on, though, because she knew it was right, and besides, it was the only way she knew.

Still, she always knew that the King was good, and as she watched others celebrating him and their citizenship in his kingdom, she wished for that same joy. She didn’t know how to get it, so she occasionally petitioned the King for such understanding and joy in her most secret moments, but continued to live as though she wished she could escape. The girl was very confused, frustrated, and lonely.

The King heard her petition, and because of his goodness, began to answer it, as though he had only been waiting to be asked. He assigned her to a local community that knew and loved him well, and with them as her guides, she began to know him better too. Bit by bit, the King slowly began to show her what being a citizen meant. The girl discovered that the King heard every petition and always gave an answer. She discovered that the King wanted her not only to be a citizen who would obey his laws and enjoy his blessings, but to be his friend.

So, very slowly, the girl who had always known and respected the King grew to know and love him as a friend. She would occasionally drop by his palace and have talks with him—often with her friends, but also sometimes alone. They were awkward conversations at first, but they gradually grew more natural and trusting. The King decided to show the girl what kind of friend he could be, so he invited her on trips to distant cities. The girl loved these trips, and they would spend entire weeks constantly in each other’s company. The girl learned how the King ruled his kingdom, and he let her help him bring justice and mercy to those who needed him. The girl was delighted to have a friend as good and powerful as this King.

But after every trip, the closeness they had built would eventually fade away. The girl was at first very excited to visit the King every day to talk, but then she came every other day, and then only once a week. She still loved and missed him, but she didn’t know how to maintain a friendship without the excitement of the trips. The King missed the girl as well, and he decided it was time to show her something new.

So over many days, the King began to tell the girl a story. It began as an epic story in three parts, but he was always adding new bits to it, and every other story he told always ended up being part of the same story. The story told of a mighty warrior in a coloured forest who was tenderly pursuing a maiden who didn’t want him. He fiercely wooed her and lavished love on her, even to the point of laying down his life to rescue her, until she finally yielded to him and he claimed her as his bride for all eternity.

The girl was moved to tears by the story, and even more so when the King knelt before her and confessed that the story was about him. He told her that he didn’t only want her as a citizen, or a friend, or even a daughter. He wanted her to be his bride.

The girl couldn’t believe it. This great King, so powerful and kind and beautiful, wanted her to be his bride? She who had pushed him away for so long and still barely knew how to love him?

But it was true, and the girl watched through tears as the kneeling King slipped a gold ring on her finger and tenderly kissed her hand. In that moment, the girl’s love began to blossom in earnest, and she realised that nothing she had ever wanted compared to this King, this man, who held such power in every flash of his eyes and every passion of his heart. He had chosen her and she had chosen him, and she vowed to live the rest of her life letting him love her and learning to love him as he deserved.

Their engagement was very long, because the King could not marry until his rule over the land was made complete. So through the long days of waiting the King continued wooing her heart and she fell more in love with the man she realised she barely knew. He took her on many more adventures, and each one revealed more of who he was and who he had chosen her to be. And with every revelation the girl loved him more.

Download: Priesthood Teaching

priesthood instagram 2Yesterday I had the opportunity to present a short teaching to a few of the staff at The Prayer Room. This was one of my externship requirements, and I had a lot of fun studying and praying through my chosen topic, putting together notes, and then preaching for twenty minutes! I introduced my teaching with a short spoken word piece called Priest Forever that I wrote almost two years ago and have had the opportunity to perform in a couple different IHOPU venues in the past.

I spoke on the priesthood, specifically four aspects of what it means that we as modern believers are priests before God. As priests, we 1) stand before God on behalf of man and 2) stand before man on behalf of God. We do this in four specific ways:

  1. Adoration
  2. Intercession
  3. Proclamation
  4. Preparation

As I did with my previous Mary of Bethany teaching, I have both the audio and the notes available for download! The notes include the full text of the spoken word piece complete with Scripture references.

MP3 audio – Four Functions of the Priesthood teaching 11-3-15

PDF notes – Four Functions of the Priesthood with bonus Priest Forever poem

Loving God Through the Trials

I’m going to be really honest right now. Much of this past year has been really difficult for me. I’ve had a lot of disappointment and confusion and hurt to work through, and I’ve cried more this year than I ever have in one concentrated period in my life.

God has been so, so generous and faithful to my heart through it all. He hasn’t given very many specific answers to my questions, but sometimes, when I get really quiet, He will share with me how He feels about how I’m handling this season.

Today, as I was once again reflecting with Him about how I’ve grown through all of this, I said, “At least I love You more now… I think. Do I really? I don’t even know how to measure that, but that’s all I really want. Do I really love You more now?”

In the next few moments of quiet, as I offered Him that question and listened, He began quoting to me the words of a scene I wrote last year sometime, before any of this happened. It’s a story about Miriam of Bethany and Yeshua of Nazareth, and this conversation takes place soon after Yeshua raises Miriam’s brother from the dead.

“Do you understand now why I had to wait?”

I nodded. “Some. You said it was for the glory of God, that the Son of God would be glorified.”

Yeshua nodded. “Yes. God was glorified today, and he will be glorified so much more because of this. I’m only sorry it caused you so much pain in the waiting. But Miriam—I am so proud of the way you refused to stay offended! You felt the doubt and fear and anger, but time and time again during those four days you pressed through and chose trust over offence. That delights my Father and me so much.

My stomach fluttered, and I looked down, then back up at Yeshua’s twinkling eyes. “I would have given up so many times, but I guess I’m just too stubborn.”

Yeshua threw back his head and laughed. “That’s okay,” he said. “Stubborn love is my favourite kind, because that’s what it becomes when it has an obstacle to overcome. The obstacles prove your love is real.”

“They prove my love to God? Doesn’t he know all things?”

“Yes, of course. But don’t you love me more now than you did before? Your love has been tested and strengthened and refined because we’ve been through something together. So it proves your love to you, and also to the world, because loving God through the trials is declaring that he is worthy of it.”

“And God is glorified.”

“And God is glorified.”

In the midst of the trial, when every circumstance is screaming that God let you down and that He doesn’t know what He’s doing, your stubborn, weak prayers of “God, I love You and I trust You,” are so powerful. They declare to you and to the world that even this valley cannot make God less than who He is.

Love in the midst of hardship carries a very unique kind of fragrance to God. I believe that’s why the blood of the martyrs is so precious to Him. What else can bring Him glory and touch His heart like one who chooses to love Him in a moment when they are given every reason not to?

I discovered that I do love Him more now, because my love has been tested and strengthened. I have walked through the wilderness and I have come up leaning on Him. (Song 8:5)

And God is glorified.

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
Psalm 13:5-6

Worthy in the wilderness

Snippets

Hello again, everyone! I was realising it’s been way too long since I blogged, so here we go. Sorry Testimony Thursday hasn’t happened in a while, but I haven’t actually gone out on outreach since UMKC two weeks ago. On-base testimonies lately include a girl at IHOPU who’d been suffering from a nervous system disorder for two years get out of her wheelchair two weeks ago!!

I served again in CEC on Friday night, and it was awesome as per usual. We talked about Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks. I feel like I got some really good clarity right alongside the kids!

I spent last weekend in North Carolina for a friend’s wedding. It was absolutely beautiful to see these two wonderful people join their lives together before God. And since I’ve actually never met the bride, I spent the hours leading up to the wedding hanging out with the groom and his groomsmen. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to be sure!

This weekend has been consumed with the Zechariah conference Mike Bickle did at IHOPKC. Twelve sessions in three days going through Zechariah and its end times prophecies verse by verse. It was intensely amazing. I’ve never really studied that book before, so I am so excited to take my notes back to the prayer room and pore over them again! You can get mp3s and notes of the whole conference at www.mikebickle.org.

I’ve been studying Mary of Bethany a lot recently, and I’ve started writing a first person story of her relationship with Jesus. It’s very much still in first draft mode, and there’s a ton of historical info I want to research and add, but here’s a taste:

By this time I had worked my way around the table and was standing almost right behind the rabbi. After he finished his story, he turned around and looked at me. I realized he had been watching me out of the corner of his eye the whole time.

“Hi, I’m Yeshua,” he said. “What’s your name?”

It was probably the last thing I expected him to say, so it took me a second to respond.

“I’m Miriam,” I said.

“Thank you for having us in your home, Miriam,” he said. “What did you think of the stories?”

“I thought they were beautiful,” I answered. “They really sounded like the same story, though—giving up everything for the one thing that is most valuable.”

“Exactly,” he said with a smile. “Those who really want the kingdom will be willing to surrender everything for it.”

I didn’t even know what to say, the way the rabbi – Yeshua – was looking at me. His eyes were really quite ordinary, but something about them was completely un-ordinary. I felt like he was really seeing me, not just looking at me. It should have been awkward, but it wasn’t.

“Would you like to sit down?” he asked.

“May I?” I asked, but even as I said it, I was already setting the pitcher down and moving to sit, right next to his feet. He smiled even bigger. And I smiled back at him.

I suddenly decided I didn’t care if the disciples were giving me funny looks, or if Martha was still waiting for me to bring back the pitcher. Yeshua had smiled at me and invited me to sit with him. And so sit I would.

He kept talking, telling many more stories about the kingdom of God. Eleazar peppered him with questions. Yeshua answered with things like, “I know you’ve heard the saying, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But this is what I say: Don’t resist evil. If someone hits you on the right cheek, turn your left check to him also.” “You’re blessed when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, because you will be filled.” “You are the light of the world. If a city is set on a hill, it can’t be hidden.”

We had never heard anything like it before. Yeshua wasn’t teaching straight out of the Law, or Greek philosophy, or the Zealots’ dreams of uprising. This was something completely new. And yet it wasn’t like he was disregarding the Law. It felt like he was taking it a step beyond the Law, but also at the same time a step back. I can’t explain it. All I know is that I lost all track of time, and I felt like I belonged in this picture he was painting. I have never felt more at home in my life than sitting there at his feet.

God’s been stirring so many things up in me, and writing is just a piece of it. I’m so excited to see where this journey takes me.

I’ll leave you today with one of my new favourite passages from Zechariah:

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And the LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.”

Zechariah 2:10-12