Author: Amy

what is justice?

What is Justice?

Justice is My Truth made manifest. It is My Kingship made manifest.

All around us, we see things of injustice. We see people who have their lives stolen, we see people who have their belongings, their dignity, their hope, stolen. Our reaction to injustice is often: how unfair! How unfair that a life was stolen, how our friends were deported.

And indeed, the enemy is unfair, and it is right that we be angry. But in the midst of this, the Lord keeps reminding me that our ideas of justice in these situations always come down to how to right the wrongs. In human definitions, justice is: paying reparations (paying back), balancing the scales, bring the wrongdoer to account and punishing him. In its worst cases justice is vengeance. And most of all, justice is being fair.

But while God’s justice can encompasses all these things, justice is much bigger and far more loving than simply “bringing fairness”. His justice may not even appear fair, at first. He is not merely trying to right the wrongs and drop the gavel on the oppressor. He wants to manifest His Kingship. His true justice brings glory to His Name, so that all bow and see the King.

The Lord took me to Isaiah 59, which is a massive confession of our own sins. As I read this I was overwhelmed by my own sinfulness, by the areas where I have judged others. How deeply I do not deserve justice.

For our offenses are many in your sight,

and our sins testify against us.

Our offenses are ever with us,

and we acknowledge our iniquities:

Lord, I acknowledge the sinfulness in my own heart. I know that my sins grieve you.

So justice is driven back—

and righteousness stands at a distance.

As I continued to read the passage, I saw how justice–true justice–is not something we know about. When justice reveals itself, it reveals one of the foundations of His throne! It reveals the nature of who God is, His Lordship, His authority over all creation and men. True justice reveals that men are not in charge. It reveals far more than rightness, but truth, love, compassion for all involved, dignity, power, transformation and wisdom. It reveals that Christ alone is the one who works justice, that He is king.

The Lord looked and was displeased

that there was no justice.

He saw that there was no one,

he was appalled that there was no one to intervene

so his OWN ARM worked salvation for him.

He put righteousness on as a breastplate,

and the helmet of salvation on his head;

he put on the garments of vengeance

and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

Jesus, we know that you are working tirelessly on our behalf; we know that we have tried and failed and bringing about justice. You saw and see that no one can intervene, so you alone are bringing salvation. You yourself will get the credit, will get the glory. Our own fairness, rightness, stance before you, our cleanliness are totally dependent on your blood, that you have done this for us, that you are the worker of justice. We are nothing without it.

From the west, men will fear the name of the Lord,

and from the rising of the sun, they will revere His glory.

For he will come like a pent-up flood

that the breath of the Lord drives along.

Justice is the revealing of the Lord’s own name, Savior, Redeemer. Today He kept asking me to expand my definition of justice. Justice is how He wants to reveal His name and His lordship through every situation. We have to learn this, that it may not look fair on the surface, but that justice itself is an act of revealing. It will always reveal Him, and Him alone as the true redeemer. And it will certainly come. He will ALWAYS bring justice for his chosen ones (Luke 18:7).

When Solomon was forced to judge between the two women and the baby, he asked for his assistants to “bring me a sword”. He was not going to use it to divide babies or kill people. He was going to reveal the nature of God’s truth and justice. With one simple act, the woman confessed. No one had to guess who was wrong. No one had to be manipulated or threatened. And in the end, there was fairness but most of all there was an awe that fell over the entire kingdom over this simple judgment–an awe of the Lordship and wisdom and love that Solomon had.

Jesus, we pray for your complete and total revelation of yourself in areas where we have been mistreated or have been stolen from. We confess that we have nothing to offer to justice; our hearts are only clean through you. We cannot demand reparations or vengeance or even fairness. Have mercy on us. We pray that in these situations, you would manifest your kingship, the greatest revelation of yourself that we may worship and marvel at your majesty. Even now, as we have friends who have been rejected, persecuted and even recently, killed, we want your truth revealed in the greatest possible way so that people are saved, people are thrown aback by who you are, people are drawn into your kingdom in greater ways… that we will experience you coming like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along!

suffering and redemption

Last year we went on a road trip with a bunch of friends to California, and we felt like there were specific things that needed to happen, connections to be made–and especially on a road trip, especially when you have about 15 people to consider, there are always blunders, mishaps, bad timings, etc. Derek is all about timing too–knowing the right time for the right thing, but not everyone has this same sense of timing and choreography.

We got really frustrated at one point with the direction things were taking, and were trying to figure out ‘how to get back on track’ with what we thought was supposed to happen, when God gave us a funny word: “commit your way and keep moving forward, even if it seems like it’s not the way it was supposed to be…. get to know me in redemption”.

We sat in the car and thought of all the friends we were on the way to visit, the stories they had–most of them are real leaders in their communities but all of them have really hard stories, stories of imperfection and weakness… and all of them limping in one way or another. But all of them have a kind of humility I admire, where there is a willingness to accept suffering and walk through it with dignity.

And the redemptive story he is telling through them is really sweet and beautiful. That trip taught us so much about redemption… obviously it was not the perfect plan that we kicked ourselves out of the garden, but even in that moment, there was a backup, a plan B, so to speak, that would end up becoming and still is becoming, the entire story of his creation. The remaking of all things new.

I started to learn that trip about the place of suffering is really the place from which we reach the most amazing heights… I think about the 2nd temple… its glory was greater not because it looked better but because it had been built with ‘burnt stones’…. and so the rejoicing and gratefulness was far more spectacular than had ever been seen in the bajillion-dollar temple that Solomon built.

Obviously when we’re in it, when we’re in the suffering parts, it’s so hard to see the other side of things. How to be grateful at all is beyond me, let alone how not to get bitter. But I am seeing it, even now, in some of my friends–the fight not to get depressed or lonely or anxious. And that fight is so worth it, because when they get to the other side of things, or even from the midst, they have so much to teach us about beauty and hope.

This past weekend I visited the Ground Zero site in New York. I have never felt the presence of God so strongly as I did at that place. It was almost as if the Holy Spirit was hovering or brooding over it, almost like he did at the beginning of creation. There is a not-yet in that space, where cranes, drill and concrete trucks are beginning to complete the foundation of what will be there. There was something in there that had hope but also an intense suffering, and Jesus loves to dwell in those places. His presence is actually thick in suffering places. It reminded me of what David wrote– ‘even if I make my bed in hell, you are there’

He is so present in your suffering… there is no place he hasn’t been. You may not feel his presence but he fills those places with himself, and He will resurrect from your devastation. He will come up out of his own grave, and so will you.

a memory from the pilgrimage trail

A few summers ago a bunch of our tribe went on “pilgrimage”. Which basically started out like a lot of our traveling trips: We’re all sitting around the table having tea or coffee, someone mentions a place they’ve never been, then someone throws in another place, and pretty soon we have a map sprawled out on the floor and we’re figuring out how to get from point A to point B… and in the middle of this Andrew will be talking about going to Istanbul just to try out the outdoor spa baths, and Derek is figuring out how to get to a remote cafe for the best coffee in the whole world, and Debbie is already packing her blankets.

The summer of our Spain pilgrimage, Derek was telling us about the beauty of Santiago de Compostela, a small Catholic coastal town rumored to house the bones of St. James, a town which he visited in his early 20s. I think he was living in Israel at the time but I can’t say–even as his wife I can’t keep up with all the places he’s lived.

And someone was saying about how this town was the final destination of an actual medieval Catholic pilgrimage trail that thousands of people walk every year. And pretty soon we were researching the pilgrimage route online, and figuring out all the places we would stop along the way. As anyone can tell you that summer was a bit crazy. Some of us ended up in Paris, others in Milan–Derek and I even squeezed in a trip to Krakow somewhere in there. But we all ended up on the Spanish pilgrimage trail, miraculously, at the same time, for about 8 days. It felt like a month, it was so hot. Only Jessica walked the entire pilgrimage trail.

We all had something we took home with us; for some of us it was the friends and the adventure of it all. For me, I keep going back to this one memory. After those 8 exhausting, heat-filled days, a few of us pulled off the road and went to Bilbao, where we knew the fantastical Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum was. And we weren’t disappointed. It is really an amazing museum. And Bilbao is one of those gems of a town… like Krakow… or Antwerp… or, um, Tulsa (where I haven’t been yet but would like to)… something like that. Not obvious, not a place you read about, but a hidden gem.

And specifically, what I remember about the museum was this entire room of Alexander Calder mobiles. I don’t think I would ever want to see them anywhere else, because that experience is perfectly etched in my mind as one of the most magical displays.

It was a big, tall white room, and so quiet–and not a museum quiet but the kind of quiet you hear in a playlot before children arrive. Where the sound of what-will-happen is already in the air. And these mobiles are the most delicately machinated things, each hinge and color so intricate and light. To watch them was like hearing music without sound. I had never “heard” music before by looking at sculpture or painting, but these sculptures were so happy, so musical–in my mind, I could hear fingernails tapping, harpsichords, chimes, laughter. And I wanted to stand there forever, because they had so much joy in them.

And yet they weren’t silly; they were designed by a mathematical genius, anyone can see that. They were mysterious in how they balanced because as you stepped close to them you felt as if they would topple over under the weight of the metals and seeming imbalance of their limbs.

Even as I write this, I feel like I’m standing in that big room. It was a moment alone, just me and these silent things that wanted to chime but only in my mind.

my christmas saga

I am, at times, somewhat of an extremist. When I was a child my parents always told me I should be a lawyer because I was always arguing for some cause. At least when I get a new revelation about something, I become very passionate about it and I also want other people to be passionate about it. I remember when I first became a vegetarian at 21 years old, I knew about 3 other people in my city that were vegetarians (this was 1991, before half the population became vegetarian). I had read a book on the unethical practices of the cattle industry and it rocked my thinking. And I took my new beliefs like weapons to all my friends and family. I had once a long argument with my father (who grew up on a farm raising cattle), about his “terrible diet”. Looking back, I know now how ridiculously immature I was about presenting my new thoughts.

But the older I’ve gotten the more aware I’ve become of how my viewpoints actually affect people–I know they do because I have a strong voice–and especially if something is worth teaching, then it is worth being patient with some things. So I have learned to keep a lot of things quiet until they mature in me, and then share them with the right people at the right time.

I know I am not alone in this. There are a lot of us out there, when we get free in some way, or liberated from something, we want to tear the ceilings off of people. That’s a good thing, but there are times when you shepherd people, and guide them into finding it themselves. And especially guide them into finding their own expression of it which may look radically different from yours or mine.

One subject that is very near to my heart and informs a lot of my thoughts is, for example, the reconnecting of Christianity with its Jewish roots. Derek and I have many Jewish friends and feel strongly about the need for reconnection. But there are many things that still have yet to be revealed in this area and sometimes Christians do get legalistic about this stuff, so I know not to get preachy about it. But we feel strongly enough about that we personally are tuned in to Jewish cycles, teachings, and spirituality. We are tuned in quite organically to this, in some ways more organically than we are tuned into some of the Christian cycles.

For example, I really understand, physically and spiritually, why the Jewish New Year begins in autumn and not in the dead of winter. I understand this in part because I am a gardener and now know the cycles of seasons and how autumn is a time of harvest and looking forward. However, I still feel like the January New Year is still important because people make decisions and it is a changeover in many people’s calendars, and cultural, governmental and economic shifts happen at this time.

Same goes for Christmas, and even more so because at Christmas there is a focus on Jesus–at least for some. Two years ago Derek and I decided to not celebrate Christmas because we were genuinely wondering whether or not we would feel it if we didn’t. I wondered that, since Christmas was a rather arbitrarily settled holiday and not a holiday that the early Christians celebrated, if it was something that God celebrated. Now regardless of what you think here, hear me out. We were just trying to decide this for ourselves.

I do not want to be a person who preaches Jewishness, even though as a prophetic person I see the connections and look forward to the day when Christians and Jews will become the “one new man” that has been spoken about. I don’t want to do that because the early Jewish fathers of the church already struggled with what to do, and made their decision on it–by giving the gentile nations freedom in most areas of religious practice, so that nations would be free to express Jesus in their identity. Even though we’ve come a long way from them, to the point of the church’s center leaving its Jewish roots altogether, it will one day return there, in a surprisingly beautiful organic way we aren’t expecting.

Personally, Christmas has been a difficult holiday for me. From the time I was about 12 years old I had “split” Christmases–one with dad, one with mom. Or if the Christmas was together, it was always kind of awkward. Then as I grew older and other adults divorced among friends and aunts and uncles, there were new husbands and new celebrations. Something about these adjusted families always felt unstable to me, and rightfully so. So I honestly never looked forward to Christmas.

Personal experiences aside, I had to decide whether or not Christmas was right for me. I do not think it is a non-negotiable–i.e., I don’t think Christmas is a doctrine that we’re all going to get judged on. But I don’t believe in the other extreme, either–that it’s something to do away with either because of the commercialism it has been steeped in, or because it was some arbitrarily reconstituted pagan holiday.

But the last 2 years, I have genuinely wondered: God, do you celebrate Christmas? And then I read something yesterday by a respected Christian worship leader, and it really struck my heart:

Thinking of the Christmas season, I’ve heard all about the pagan origins and that we shouldn’t celebrate it because of them. I really feel that Satan would love nothing better than for the church to disengage from Christmas, and let the world just celebrate Santa Claus and the “magic” of Christmas. Every year he tries to kill the growth of anything to do with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. If you are going to celebrate Jesus’ birthday at all, no matter when you did it, I can guarantee you it would be some sort of pagan holiday somewhere. Since it’s been picked as December 25, let’s celebrate Him then.

To me, one day is no different than any other day, but to other people it is. My plan is to take advantage of the heightened awareness that Jesus’ birth is being celebrated, even if it is the wrong day. I am going to worship Him and not be scared off by some winter celebration of some stupid ice god or solstice or whatever they celebrated at the same time.

I think he’s right. I think we can find just about anything that’s Christian and find some pagan root to it. We can take just about any Christian symbol and make a cheap product out if it, too. But I think Jesus is bigger than that and He can handle it. Jesus is lord over the creation, the seasons and the holidays, including all the symbols. He is lord over the trees, even the ones pagans used. Why don’t we proclaim it? As well, He is Lord over gift-giving. I just don’t think He’s going to wipe away the Roman-ness of the church. He used it and will use it. He is not going to turn the whole church into Jewish cycles. He made that clear in Scriptures. I think we will be celebrating some of their holidays more, but if that is true to us. (The Feast of Tabernacles is the only requirement that scriptures say all nations will celebrate).

So, last year we went to visit both of our families and did a proper Christmas. We tried the no-Christmas the year before, so the next year we made the family Christmas. Christmas Sunday we went to Derek’s parents church, and listened to a beautiful sermon and the huge choir singing Handel’s Messiah. I wept as I always do when I hear this–what a bone-chilling song announcing the birth of the true king. This year Christmas is going to be about my spiritual family and friends.

I look forward to seeing Brian and Whitney’s new baby. A boy!

Mark and Hannah just had their baby. A boy!

A new friend has moved to Austin. Shannon is finally back in England. Another new beginning for her. Other friends are stepping out and starting businesses, moving to new cities, new countries, taking new risks. It is new, new new.

So many beginnings happening right now, I guess this year is really about birth! Jesus birthing himself, more incarnation of him, more new lives, more new ground being taken, more and more of his skin, blood, love, mind coming into the world and taking form.

ruthless exposure: i.e., confession

Last week I had a dream, and it was not so nice. It had things in it, that five years ago, I would have been ashamed to tell anyone. When I woke up, I knew that this particular dream was not the substance of some kind of inner conflict but what I call a “warfare” or “warning” dream. I told Derek about it, because I’m starting to learn that bringing weird things into the light forces you to get past shame or embarrassment, and exposes it out to the light so it can be seen for what it is. There is much more safety in this than hiding something, which can fester and fracture us.

Whether it’s something we struggle with, or an area that the enemy of our souls is trying to insinuate something in a subtle way (which was the case with my dream), there is within us a constant tendency to hide what is dark. But we are really going to have to learn to be ruthless about exposing ourselves to each other–and likewise more merciful in our responses to those that exposure–if we are going to overcome the dark.

This is why we confess! Last week, after reading about Ted Haggard, I wondered how many of my male friends struggle with secret thoughts, images, dreams–many of them not from their own pursuing of it, but the enemy’s temptation. For women, I wondered how many of us struggled with secret lust or desire to be looked at, that caused us to hide our true intentions. How many women also keep their hurts toward others unexposed and instead reiterated in gossip. All of these things will end up kicking us in the butt if we are not ruthless in exposing them.

We need to welcome this exposure. The nature of darkness is that it works to create shame and then an endless cycle of trying to suppress those desires with religious actions or just plain busy-ness, instead of letting the simple blood of Jesus forgive us. How different things would have been if Adam and Eve didn’t hide! Yes, they sinned, but then they hid from grace. Men for example feel ashamed if they are even tempted to look at pornography, and this is where things start to get trapped. I personally believe that the temptation is not a sin, because pornography has what I consider a “demonic anointing” that pulls people to look at it, even if they didn’t intend to. The minute most people look at it, they feel slightly guilty, shameful, lustful, and then this causes them to hide it, and that’s where the inner conflict (sin) begins. A wife might feel threatened if her man exposes this but women need to welcome the exposure, because it stops the cycle of shame and guilt.

Likewise, Christians need to welcome confessions from even their most visible leaders, or else the person is going to get subject to the ruthless mocking of the world, which is what happened with Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, etc. We still are shocked and surprised that people struggle with things, but why? The temptations are only going to increase, and we can’t hide from them anymore, but we must keep exposing them to the light.

I keep coming back to Ephesians 5–

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

I never read this as a command to expose others. It’s shameful to mention even what *we* think in secret, and we have to be gutsy enough to expose what *we* do or think in secret. We are going to have to be very, very wise–innocent as doves, but clever as snakes. There will be times that you are innocently going about, and some image will present itself without your looking for it. It may come in a dream, as mine did, or come as a person, and you suddenly shameful or icky. You must get very discerning and wise as a snake about the insinuations of guilt. I have learned that any time I feel the slightest amount of shame or guilt about something, it is time to expose. We are not supposed to live in shame, even about our own flaws and sins.

Anyhow, as I was thinking about all this stuff, I read an amazing piece by the founder of Desert Stream Ministries about this very topic. I think it is the best response I’ve read so far on the Ted Haggard subject: the haggard truth. As some of you may know, Desert Stream is a ministry to people coming out of sexual brokenness. These people have learned how to be ruthless confessors, and I feel they will have much to say to us in the coming times about what we hide.

We are going to get exposed one way or another. Do we want it to be public and abused by the rest of the world? The courts of the world will never forgive us, they will perpetually wave our flaws in front of us. Or do we want to practice it with each other so that the enemy has no room to wreak havoc? One thing I am learning, if you expose something hurtful to people, it may hurt, and it may even wreck a relationship. But the healing and forgiveness will happen a lot faster–lightning surgery–than if we are exposed by others.

one from the vaults

(Derek wrote this piece 4 years ago, and it’s still there hidden among articles, but even I like to read it again and again… this is where the idea for “the bearable light” came from. And not just because we were watching The Unbearable Lightness of Being.)

Trees today seem far between lands. I am coming to Him on an airplane from a park bench. I am awake and ready. Time seems endless and alive. We will dance before Him-the celebrators–all of us, together entertaining the King. I see the ones who on earth, got lost in dance clubs, gay districts, gallery openings, and mixing world beats..all of us here together giving our funky glory to The King, knowing, finally what all these creative giftings were for other than mirroring doom or our own pleasure-knowing as if for the first time, all our creative undulations were to delight The King-like court jestures gesturing with all our celebratory might to honor and bring delight to Him-this one who loves so meticulously. This one whose face is shining between trees of a city park I am in.

His Face is like bread to us. We see Him in each person we meet along the way. Today, in city park Prague; tomorrow in New Mexico we see Him as sunburst melon colored cresting on Sandia mountains. The places we have walked. His fragrance left where we traveled. And tabernacles-places He dwelt within. We ourselves as place of indwelling-as sanctum for His Spirit. But also the potatoes we hand picked from open market in Sante Fe.

We wanted to be His Wind where we went. When I started it was on floor seated with seekers and pilgrims in graduate programs up North. Something/ someone pulling calling-a song on the edge of awareness-a chiming. Taking me to California to study scriptures and work with homeless trying to be more of His Light to others who needed it as bad as I.

We started houses of Peace along the way: San Fransisco, New Mexico, Austin, Texas-then on the road in RV picking up dreamers and seekers of The Way-wanting to know Him as a daily reality, we rambled in and under His Blessings. Some called us missionaries, others poets, irresponsible dreamers, deniers of reality, when all we sought was the True Core of Reality-this approachable King. This bearable Light. Christ.

Christ in us. Christ among the nations. Christ in reststops, restaurants, pubs, county lines. Christ in homeless, downtrodden-this endless loving of more and other. Christ as Kindness to clerks, singers and sages. Christ over and through the ages. Christ in us loving the nations. Christ through us building and adorning. Christ using us broken melodies to sing His Atrributes. Christ ruler of every dimension.

This journey is into Him. My journey is themed in His Grace. For I kept turning away, and each time somehow towards This Light He is. My journey took place in the orchard between building and silence; between those who wanted to taste and see, and those who were asleep in The Light. I wanted to get near to this one called Jesus. Sometimes this led me to monasteries along the roads; othertimes to brothels. I wanted to go where He was, and to start to actually know Him. His Face.

His Face is where I come to, and His Feet. To kiss the Son. To bow down, to serve Him in order to know Him. To enter His essence by proximity. Oh One above all others-one who rightfully rules.Oh gentle wise passionate sufferer make me a room for you to dwell within. Amen.

a word for NYC and America

I tend to have dull spiritual senses when it comes to interpreting the world around me, how every leaf and animal and earthly thing is connecting to something spiritual. The natural and the spiritual are not disconnected, but our vision of them is. Among other tribes, the Celts, the Native Americans and the pre-Greek Hebrews were famously observant of their world as daily interactions with the supernatural. They understood earthly symbols as being on a direct continuum with higher things. There was no Greek division between the higher regions of symbols and their material counterparts. And eventually humankind is going to reclaim that Celtic experience, a full restoration of the world of the symbolic.

In the meantime, there are some events which are so charged with symbolism they are hard to ignore. For example, the whale that floated into the Thames of London last year, was a massive symbol for London. But I don’t go into that here. Yesterday the star pitcher of the New York Yankees crashed his plane into a Manhattan building. Pictures of two high-rise buildings, one on fire, are circulating around the news, eerily bringing back the unforgettable symbols of 9/11. While this is genuinely a horrific event, affecting a family and friends, and God grieves the smallest life, there is also simultaneously a symbol and a message that we shouldn’t miss. Even in deaths, God uses many things to warn, instruct, encourage and speak of greater promises…

The word that I am getting from this is not only for New York but the nation. The times of man’s leadership from his own efforts are coming to an end. Cory Lidle was the star pitcher of the most famous baseball team in America. The pitcher has arguably the most influence over a game. He supervises the whole field, makes important calls without the rest of the team, and must know the style of each player that comes up to bat, so that he can throw the right pitches. He represents the best strengths in leadership.

It’s important to note that Lidle’s son is 6, which is the number of man, the day on which man was created. Even among the best of America’s stars, all of our hopes and dreams politically and spiritually (no matter what side of the political fence we are on), leadership has fathered and brought forth only the best in human ideas. And as great as that can be in our own minds, this time is coming to its end.

In fact, the apex of human leadership no longer knows how to drive the plane. I am not speaking here of our current government, but all those who aspire to leadership in this time, both in government and the church. It’s also significant that America is going into a major election period in which many are raising their banners for or against the war, and it will surely be an influential election. But God himself is saying, man’s best intentions, the time of man’s leadership, is ending.

And America is about to enter a new stage where she begins to rely on the wisdom of the Creator. The number 7 is not only the number of rest, but it also of completion and oneness with God.

for America

Lidle circled the Statue of Liberty before crashing into the building in Manhattan. This too is symbolic for America. Those who are still hopeful for the War in Iraq know that deep down inside what America really wants is liberty for nations, even if she screwed up how to do it, and even though her motivations have been challenged and judged and falsely interpreted. However, even as we have used liberty as our banner for the nations, but we have worshiped freedom itself without worshiping the Creator of Freedom. We are entering a time when America will more than ever not be thanked for the abundance of resources she pours out on the world, and she needs to be changed internally in order to live our her destiny as freedom-bringer without defending herself.

I say changed internally, because this plane crash was an internal one, coming from internal leadership, rather than an external one as 9/11 was. This crash is prophetic of America’s own divisions and false strivings driving her own plane into her own buildings. Beginning with the New Orleans disaster, God has been emphasizing to America that it is time to treat her internal wounds or she will be crippled by the fact that her arms are so constantly extended out into the world.

God does not judge America as the world judges her. He loves her and treats her as a precious diamond. She is so young, but he loves to get up in the morning and hear all the silly ways she thinks up to thank him. In the American church, he loves all the fresh worship and vision and our constant joy and youthful freedom. He loves this! But she needs a season of wisdom.

New York

New York is going to be a beacon of spiritual change. There is some fat hope for New York, which is under a seasonal leadership shift, but God is going to establish spiritual and political leaders who are tuned into His thoughts and ways.

New York, and America, has repeatedly forgotten the message of 9/11, and he does not want her to forget. But he also wants her to remember without moving forward in fear. The “pride of New York” is about to change, and its pride will be in new “stars”. What is attempting to change New York or use New York as its platform will be shifted as God is no longer going to let human plans and thoughts be the vision of New York City, but his vision–to let her be a beacon once again of light and hope to the world.

The building didn’t fall

The building didn’t crumble as it did during 9/11. God is not judging America as the world judges her, and he is not destroying her institutions, and he is going to build a new leadership that does not crush the old leadership. This is a word for the government too! God is not going to crush the current government and establish a new one. The leadership to come will have different emphases but they will be ones who are tuned into the internal state of America and who will build on previous foundations rather than tear them down. We must hear this word, as the elections and all the accusations begin to swirl in our news. (Hear this too, England!)

God is saying, do not listen to the voice of the accuser. There has been a demonic unleashing of the spirit of accusation in world governments in the last two months. The “accuser of the brethren” as mentioned in scripture stakes its authority on the crushing of all other authorities. It has nothing but judgment in its mouth, and actually hates all human authority because it hates mankind. So even those who win by the power of the accuser will eventually be humiliated by its self-hatred, and I pray for all leaders that they are spared from humiliation. It is a shameful state of politics and seems to be boiling now more than ever that leaders must use their platforms to bash their opponents. And it is also a sign what happens when human leadership reaches its apex: even the best of our ideas necessarily get desperate because we are no longer able to do things in our own strength! In fact this is now the primary way that leaders build their platforms–as an “I’m not this, I’m not that!” In the midst of this swirl, only God knows the hearts of men, and He will take note of those who withhold their tongues. They will not be obvious but the men and women who resist accusing their opposition in every political party will be honored by the Lord.

God first is going to change our nation, and we must be prepared for this. He knows the plans he has for her, not to harm her but to prosper her, and she is no longer able to drive her nation with even her best. This is good news! It is time we listen to him, to what he is saying for our government. What we have in mind may be very different than what he has in mind–so we should not be led by even our brightest stars or our brightest ideas. We should not be led by reaction, or by our human judgments of the current leaders. All of our political philosophies and social reforms and best ideas are really good but not always God’s. Let God shake us and surprise us–let Him lead! Let it blow our minds and be hopeful!

laws for the fashion world

Very good news indeed.

If you follow fashion at all… (and I love to!), we are in the midst of all the fall fashion weeks. The major ones are New York, Paris, Milan and London. But there are other significant fashion weeks in major cities happening at the same time.

Madrid sparked an international fashion controversy this week by banning models who have less than an 18 Body Mass Index (which is calculated by your height and weight). Someone that’s 5’ 6” and 120 pounds has a 19.5 BMI. Already this is thin. Some of the world’s most famous models have as little as a 15 BMI. Most nutritionists recommend nothing less than 20, less than that and you are short on fat AND muscle, and prone to all sorts of diseases—heart failure, osteoporosis, liver failure.

The mayor of Milan was inspired by Madrid’s move, and decided she is considering pushing a similar law into effect for Milan fashion week catwalks. This would have a major impact on the fashion world, as Milan hosts not only some of the world’s most influential designers (Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Versace, to name a few) but also would turn away the top models, unless they put on weight.

Now Edinburgh, which is a rising fashion city, decided to follow suit and this week put a similar ban into effect.

I am praying that this helps stir up deeper conversation and some new directions for modeling agencies—and above all helps transform the beauty ideals, especially for young women. It’s just a beginning but I am so happy.

“Super-skinny models to be banned from Edinburgh catwalks” in The Scotsman

“Skinniest Models are banned from catwalk” (about Madrid)

“Milan fashionistas fear Spanish skinny model ban” from Milan

a prayer and word for russia

I thought about blogging this, but then on second thought I don’t often blog about immediate needs for prayer. However, here I go. This is for anyone who might feel the need to pray for Russia.

I had the strangest experience today. Yesterday I had read briefly about the Russian airplane which crashed and killed all passengers. All I read was the headline; I didn’t know more details. Then last night I had a dream where an intense cloud, a storm, surrounded this Russian airplane as it flew in the sky and crushed it. Lightning struck.

When I looked at the news again today, I wasn’t even thinking about the plane, had forgotten about my dream until I saw the headlines: storm had caused the crash. Possible lightning striking. Then the dream came flooding back to me. I remembered that when I saw the storm in the dream, it was demonic. There was no doubt about it. The storm was very dark and very oppressive and had an intent. The people on the plane could not see through it. it sought to trap this plane and crush it in the middle of the sky.

I am not sure why I dreamed this or why He drew my attention to it. I confess that I don’t often pray for Russia, or have felt led to. I did feel an intense sadness–around the passengers, their families and also for Russia. I felt weeping, many many people weeping. I looked again at the news and could see that no one yet knows totally the cause.

I feel God’s intense sadness over them and His anger at the enemy for stealing life. Also I pray that he would not stir up conspiracy theories, an attempt to blame someone for this. The enemy would like to misinterpret this. Pray that truth would come, and mercy and grace to cover the minds and hearts of the victims’ families. I pray that he releases his mighty truth into the heart of Russia. There were many children killed on this plane, and I hear him saying that “the thief will have to pay back 7 times the life he stole from these people”.

This plane is a symbol of what the thief has stolen from Russia. He has stolen their children and stolen them violently when they have been the most vulnerable. Does this mean a generation? Or years from their lives? Whatever he stole from their life as a nation will be repaid and repaid 7 times over.