Welcome to Part 7 of Arise and Shine. Today, Bettie and Anna are together introducing the final part of this book that God has been writing on our hearts. In these final weeks, we look forward to sharing the final 5 free will offerings with you all.
Sharing this book with you all has been an adventure in trust and surrender, as God has continually led us to lay down our plans to pick up His. He has changed the order of posts, the content of posts and the direction of posts as we prayed our way through sharing this book with you. Beautifully, He continues to awe us with His leading, as He establishes our steps.
As Anna asked Bettie to sit with a string of words she and Anna had written in the past year, and to pen a free will offering for ram skins dyed red, God stopped us in our tracks. He turned Anna’s eyes to what she had only just been reading:
It’s then, Bettie and Anna surrendered to God’s plans – to present this now joint post as an introduction for Part 7. As we gather here together in these final weeks- may God carry us all over the threshold of His doorway into His heart of love for us all – His beloved Body. May we die to ourselves and arise in our LORD Jesus Christ. May we, His Body, shine brightly in the night sky, by the power of His might, until every last star of His choosing is revealed.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 (KJV)
There are many doorways in the lives of each one of us. Some doors we (Bettie and Anna) have run to with great expectation, and other doors we have slunk from, dreading the outcome. Some doors we have clearly seen God’s touch upon.
But other doors have seemed hazy and unclear. And then there were the doors that were clearly of God’s leading, and yet we hesitated and felt as if we were malingering at the threshold.
The doorways that are chosen by God lead us to places new and unknown. We find ourselves looking and listening. But are we ready to WAIT when the doorway feels dark and forbidding?
Recently both Bettie and Anna found themselves at yet another doorway with chronic illness. One we would rather not have stood next to: another Doctor, for another consultation/procedure. It felt to us like the doors were being thrust upon us, with no real remedy in sight.
And yet, if God is the Captain of our Journey, then He has something to say about this place of our landing. The doorways are not beyond HIS vision for us. And there must be a WORD that He has for us here:
Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. Proverbs 8:34 (NIV)
Isn’t it all too easy to become focused on the room beyond? Do our eyes strain to see what lies in the dim recesses? What if we paused to see God’s movement instead? And what if we could listen for His voice at the doorway? Could it be that the doorway is precisely where God’s blessing is being accomplished?
Our mind was drawn yet again to those early Israelites, and the symbols that were stamped upon their hearts. The stroke of every blood-dipped hyssop branch was their covering. The red-marked doorway was where their sentence of death was lifted.
Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. Exodus 12:7
Is it possible that HE will transform this doorway, even today, if I choose to watch for Him there?
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 (NIV)
The Psalmist found a beauty in longing to be a doorkeeper. We know that we have run from staying in that in-between place. But what if we paused instead? What if God is asking us to experience the weight of His love not just for us here, but also for our brothers and sisters in Him? What if He is longing to awaken His heart of intercession for His Body inside of us in new ways? What if He is inviting us to join Him in His suffering, that He might call us all – His Body- home to Him?
Several years ago, God gave Bettie a dream. In this dream she was in a large house with two adjoining front rooms. In the first room there was a women’s Bible Study, and she was participating. She got up to move to the adjoining room, where another women’s Bible Study was happening. In the doorway between she started sobbing and almost collapsed, but the Pastor’s wife jumped up to catch her. Bettie was crying and kept repeating the words, ‘the young ones, oh the young ones!’
And then she woke up (she thought, but she was still dreaming) and told her husband about her dream. He said ‘you were interceding, just like Ruth.’ And then she actually did wake up, to find that there were real tears running down her cheeks.
What if that doorway is the place God invites us to collapse at His feet, just as Ruth did before her Kinsman Redeemer, that He might deliver us and those we are interceding for. What if we let Him support and confirm us that we may bear fruit IN HIM, rather than in our own strength?
In the previous part of this book that the Lord gave to us, we referred to the beauty of Ruth, the foreign-gleaner, and how her beloved Boaz became her Kinsman Redeemer. He redeemed her life, her inheritance, and the inheritance of Naomi, her mother-in-law. As Ruth passed through the entrance to that threshing floor, the doorway, she was a picture of true intercession. She joined with her Kinsman Redeemer as He interceded for the love of another, for Naomi.
The burden was too great for Ruth and Naomi to bear alone. So God sent the Kinsman Redeemer for them. And He has sent the chiefest among men to be our Kinsman Redeemer. Jesus’ blood is our covering, His life was given as a Ransom for ours. And at those doorways where we collapse, in the night of our weariness, if we still to listen, we will hear His song arise in us:
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. I remember your name in the night, O Lord , and keep your law. Psalm 119:54-55 ESV
“In the night” can also mean God’s protective covering. We are at His safe doorposts, where He is uncovering His ways, His precepts, His truth for us, as He speaks His Name over us. It is HE who has led us to this doorway of intercession, where the only way through for us is to collapse at His feet.
For, Jesus is the only One who can turn our lament into praise in this doorway of His choosing for us. He is the One calling out to us here, through our laments, to lean all our weight upon Him, just as Bettie experienced afresh, recently:
Longing to be restored I
Feeling cut-off and rejected I
Ugliness is what I feel
As I look back
Years that led me here
Generations passed down these
I carry the markers for
But don’t we all carry
Aren’t we all children
Trailing behind our days
Burdens we bear together
Agonies we passed on
And out of the darkness a voice speaks
Woe to you who seek after other
Unable to carry the burdens
You yourselves go off into captivity
I am the Lord your God Your only Life
I have made
And I will carry
Even to your hoary head
There is no healing apart from You
There is no freedom from chains except
Without the blood that was poured
Without the blood on the doorpost
The destroyer continues
His work of shame and despair
But under your blood we are released
The curse cannot be passed down
There is beauty here for us
There is Life to be tasted by all
I come into Your Deliverance
I collapse into Your love poured over Your Body here.
Sweeter than honey is
Your love for us.
Inside the doorway of
Where all our freedom is leaning on you
And all our living is
Your fruit in us.
God speaks LIFE in the midst of death–but He takes us into those places of death, so that His life can be made all the more glorious.
It is His song of victory at the Cross that bursts forth in us, every time we collapse at His feet, as He lays His heart in us bare. For, it is He who carries us, His Body, over the threshold into His heart, through that very blood on the doorposts. No longer the blood of the sacrificial lamb of old, but His blood – the blood of the Lamb of God – that was shed for us all at the Cross: once and for all.
“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. . . When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.” Exodus 12:11,23
“Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden.The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary.They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. ‘Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.’” Isaiah 46:1-4
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7
Are you waiting at a doorway, collapsed and leaning on the doorpost? Can you listen for the voice of Your beloved intercessor? Will you join Anna and I in our own collapsed leaning at the doorway of Christ’s heart for us today? Come let’s lay our burdens bare before Him. Oh may Jesus – our door – be the One who lifts us up and carries us over the threshold into His heart. His are the arms stained blood-red for the gift of our deliverance.
We are sitting under your doorposts. You see our trembling. You see our waning strength. You see our yearning for Your truth but You also see how weak our flesh is and how we long to run and hide from what we see set before us.
Father, we confess we can’t take even one step forward without You. The accusations of the enemy are weighing so heavily upon us. But oh LORD this is where we ask YOU to arise to avenge us, and all those You have called us to intercede for, before the enemy.
Be our strength. Be our source. Be the One through whom we arise in the authority of the truth – the truth that You love us, declare us Yours and protect us from all that stands in the way of Your purposes for us.
Thank You that as our flesh and our hearts fail us here, Your soft heart of flesh shall become our strength afresh. Thank You that You are ever leading us into Your death and resurrection. Thank You that as we die to our strength here, Your life will become more and more visible and more and more palpable, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to those You have placed around us for such a time as this.
Arise oh LORD within us today and let Your enemies be scattered. Show us – Your Body – Your salvation, oh Lord. Reveal to us how Your blood has become the covering that lifts the curse of death that we were once marked with.
Wash our lips with hyssop and purify our prayers, oh LORD. Let lovingkindness and truth meet and righteousness and peace kiss. Let us see who You are FOR us. Let us stand in awe of who You are in us.
Let us, we pray, know the sweetness of Your love poured out over our collapsing souls. Let us taste the freedom You have secured for us all at the Cross.
We praise You for leading us to the Cross in this place of waiting, to the doorway of Your heart for us all – Your beloved Body.
In Your name we pray,