Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Shepherd's Longing

More of this story will be recorded here at a later time. But for now, this:

Mumbai. Night. Spirit in me was jumping and urging me to go out. I didn't know where He would take me; I just knew I was going somewhere. He filled me with joy.

"By faith Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going..." Hebrews 11.

I had a small bag with me. I stepped out. The elevator took me down six levels.

"Take nothing with you..." Matthew 9.

I took a walk back upstairs. Giddy. Empty hands now. Full heart of Abba's love that was begging to be expressed.

"Having nothing yet possessing all things." 2 Corinthians 6.

A walk down six flights of stairs. A step out into the night. One foot in front of the other. Confidence; thoughts of mighty protection invisible to me becoming visible to those who would harm me. A quiet smile. Papa's got me. He's leading me. I'm excited.

A road. A rickshaw. A bhaiya.

"Carter Road?"

He didn't understand what I said.

"I'm sorry ma'am..."

Sovereignty. Guess I'm not going there tonight. I laughed to myself and thought of the next place I knew.

"Linking Road?"

I said it before I thought it through. Sovereignty.

"Yes ma'am."

Ahh...yes. That was where I met those kids and adults who live and sleep outside of McDonald's and KFC.

Here we go.

Twenty minutes. Maybe thirty. Bathed in rest as I rode through the ridiculously overcrowded streets between Santacruz and Bandra. Wind in my face; a view from the highway of the Arabian Sea. Breathtaking every time. I wondered, "Is this really my life right now?"

"Bas," I said to the bhaiya, letting him know that he had taken me far enough. Forty-five Rupees. He was kind.

Stepping out again, I went looking for them, and sought them before they could seek me. Perhaps the first time that has happened to them. Christ in me? SO excited to be around them. He loves.

They begged. I smiled. I told them to follow me. Other onlookers thought something was wrong and were harsh with them. They asked me if there was a problem. I wanted to say, "They live on the street and are treated like the dirt that cakes their skin. Don't you think that is a problem?" But instead I smiled and told them that I came to have dinner with my friends. I wanted them to follow me. It threw the onlookers off-guard to see me enjoying them so much.

I gathered a few kids. For a few hours I was the mother of six young, energetic, feisty, and beautiful kids. We crossed the street. Human Frogger. I held them back when something with wheels comes racing our way, even though I knew they have done this for far longer than I have. I loved them. I loved that night. I loved Him. I was Beaming.

We walked. Words were lost in translation. I wanted them to choose their favorite place to eat. I asked those who walk by to translate words to and from them. Most were eager to help, but thought I was foolish. "They are just taking advantage of you, you know. Don't buy them anything."

But grace makes no distinction.

No one took His life; He gave it up on His own accord.

Big. Astronomical. Difference.

We walked some more. I looked back to make sure all six were with me. Something happened that I knew would affect me for the rest of my life. I saw one of my boys turn to beg someone else.

I heard the heart of the Shepherd in that moment...I wanted to say, "Child! If you just follow me, you won't have to beg anyone else. You don't even have to beg me because I am giving to you freely. Follow Me; right now I am leading you to food for your body and love for your soul. Come!"

I said, "Ey! Chullo! Aja!"

In English: "Hey! Let's go! Come!"

He looked at me, snapped out of his begging mode, smiled, and did something that resembled an Irish jig. Then he followed me.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but a matter of righteousness, faith and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I have eaten with the poor who could not repay me. It has never been about food. It is always about dispersing grace; the lifeblood of the kingdom. And dispersing it and receiving it are usually done in the same motion. There is one Giver. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Warriors of Grace

Grace. Grace upon this. Grace for that and that and that. The real thing -- not just truth about grace, which is no substitute.

There is a movement and a revival stirring and reaching higher momentum now...indeed it is already here. It is about grace.

But be careful, Church.

Do not despise those who would put you under a yoke of slavery.

Instead be a warrior of grace to them.

Look to the rock from which you were hewn.

Do not forget that you, too, were rescued from the slavery that you see them in.

If you are disgusted with false religion, good. You're on the right road.

But it gets narrower yet.

There will be those who tell you that you are completely wrong.

They will tell you that you are lazy.

They will tell you that you are taking the easy way out.

They will tell you that you are a part of a feel-good cult.

They will tell you many things.

Yet not even Christ answered the fool according to his folly.

And believe me, they do not know His heart. They need to be rescued by this grace that you celebrate!

He stirred the waters AS A RESULT OF heeding the will of His Father.

He stirred the waters, but He did not argue.

Zeal for His Father's house consumed Him, but He HUMBLED Himself.

Seek the ones who are caught in religion.

There is an easy yoke with their name on it.

Do not be afraid to be criticized. Fear of man will prove to be a snare. The spotless Lamb was accused by those who were dead in their own sin. To think of it -- the blameless one pronounced guilty by those born of the seed of Adam! And yet there was justice.

Let yourself be vulnerable, speak the truth in love, and expect to be wounded.

He showed us how, didn't He?

Grace goes there.

It goes anywhere.

If you clog the flow of grace, withholding it from those who withhold it from you because "they just don't deserve it," you have forgotten the reason it came. And yes, that can hurt. But there is grace for your pain. To withhold it from others is ultimately to withhold yourself from experiencing its riches.

Do not be afraid of those who don't understand you.

Your Father who is in heaven sees you, and He is your judge.

The verdict on your soul is righteous and blameless in Christ.

Let His verdict be enough for you, though an army besiege you and accuse this grace.

Isn't that interesting -- grace under accusation?

Walk by faith and not by the sound of accusations that point to your behavior, which has been atoned for. And keep in mind that some of these accusations will be solely based on man's unfulfilled expectation. To dust it shall return, but the Word of the Lord will stand forever.

There is rest and joy to be had even in the midst of accusation.

And OH how I long for us to take hold of it!

The one who accuses has been disarmed.

The One Who shares His joy with us is for us, and who could be against us?

Let there be no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

Let those who condemn others, and therefore themselves, in the pride of their own religiosity -- let them know this:

They don't have to fear.

Everything is paid for.


We're free. Really.


Spread the word.