The Pirate Bride (or how I pray part 2)

I think my favorite movies of late have been the Pirates of the Caribbean series…loved the first one, enjoyed the second, loved the third…

The word pirate comes from the greek word “pirata” meaning “one who attacks”…so there is a reason I have titled this post “the Pirate Bride”…one of my favorite stories is about Ní Mháille, a legendary Irish Pirate who is rumored to have captured Doona Castle in Ballycrow for herself after her lover was killed by the former owners, she captured all their boats and then stormed the castle taking it for herself once her revenge was meted out for her slain lover.

Anyway my fascination with the story is that this Irish Lady becomes a pirate after her lover is slain, man what a tragic yet romantic idea, she goes on a rampage and not only avenges his death, but then proceeds to occupy the very stronghold where he was killed.

When we go to pray, it should be obvious to anyone that we have serious needs and issues that must be resolved, yet one thing I find is that God never seems to be in a rush about that stuff, really at times it seems like He’s just ignoring my crisis and talking about the weather with me.

I have had some heavy stuff dumped on my doorstep recently…big and intimidating stuff…and my immediate reaction was to question what I had done to get here, why was I unaware and not paying attention and then I kind of slide into a “regret” stage where I pondered what a jerk I had been and why had I not been more loving etc…when the opportunity existed in the past…

So as I got up to pray, the Lord spoke to me “You can look for sympathy (and look is all you will do) or you can find Majesty in this…so I simply replied “majesty”…

I may be crazy about God, but I’m not crazy…I know that if God gives you alternatives always take the better one…majesty trumps sympathy any day…

So I said “majesty”…out loud…where I could hear it myself…within a few minutes…I had a mental picture, a vision if you will, in my head of my hand holding a sword…

Ok, thats pretty obvious I thought, I am in a battle for life in this situation…a sword in my hand…that seems appropriate…and as I focused on the mental image in my mind,( that was really sustained without any effort on my part), I noticed my hand had all kinds of rings on it…which is really wierd since I don’t think I even own one ring…

So get the picture…I am under a very heavy responsibility for life in several situations, I feel completely inadequate for the task and in my prayer time God has suggested I find “Majesty” and the next thing I imagine, without any effort, is my hand with lots of rings holding a sword for battle…and I don’t own one ring…actually have no desire for rings, truth be told I don’t own or wear ANY jewelry, just never went down that road in personal design…

So if you extract me from the equation and look at what is happening in prayer…not much in way of spoken language, not a lot of words going back and forth, more of a “showing” than anything else…its as if someone is showing me something by way of mental pictures as I APPROACH God…

Mind you I have not even really prayed about the crisis yet, I’ve just gotten over some very mopey attitude (thanks to some inspiration from God) and all I’ve prayed so far is the word “Majesty”…

Now here’s where the mental side of the equation goes off the rails…logic at this point would dictate that I ask what the rings were about…problem is…I already knew…

And this is one of the features that distinguishes a vision/mental interaction with God, from a general imagination or thought…in a “God imagining” you instantly know things that would take a paragraph or two to explain, or would require some kind of extended explanation for your comprehension, yet they are immediatly dropped into your spirit and you instantly “know” what you know…the information becomes something that would normally require history but in this moment it becomes complete without the normal path of time.

And in this vision I knew the rings were wedding rings, even though they looked nothing like wedding rings from my cultural perspective. One of the rings had a big black piece of Obsidian, another had a blood red stone, yet another had a white stone with an engraving on it, none of them were gold, or diamonds or really all that beautiful they were…I dunno…Pirates rings.

They reminded me of the rings Johnny Depp wore in the Pirate Movies…

And this is what the Lord said to me…”You should ask me for wedding rings…”

…Meaning I was seeing something that God wanted me to have and yet He was requiring that I still ask Him for it…and it made absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially in context of the difficulties that were weighing on my heart…

This is where it began to make sense…when I looked at the ring with Obsidian in it, I was reminded of a specific enemy in the demonic realm I had encountered in the past…and I realized that the ring was the equivalent of taking that demonic head off and storming its castle and keeping its territory for my Lover, Jesus…obsidian is an old arch enemy of mine (for lack of a better name)…and by asking for wedding rings I was asking for specific victories and triumphs over the demonic in the areas that I was currently being intimidated in…

…here’s where I am at in the story…I am facing some serious life threatening issues in my family and God has told me to ask Him for wedding rings…and as I posture myself to frame the question He drops this gem into my spirit, “Your greatest weapon in this fight is your intimacy with me…”

Let me get this straight…I am in a life crisis, been kinda whiny about it, God tells me to find Majesty, then tells me I need to ask for wedding rings, next thing I know I am understanding that my greatest weapon is not “harder prayer, more faith, greater faith, stronger words, or any of the things we tend to think it will be…my greatest weapon is my intimacy with Jesus…something I COMPLETELY LOVE TO DO….worship and adoration and kisses to heaven, (even unrestrained dancing when nobody is looking)…

Now I have a way to pray, and have learned a thing or two about Gods tenderness and His perspective on the battle, and I am no longer intimidated I am excited to pray and ready for victory…

I kinda like this idea…the idea of a Pirate Bride, “one who attacks” especially now that I know loving Jesus and drawing as close to Him as possible is in fact the best way to storm the castle and take territory for Him…

I should ask Him for wedding rings…

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The Funny Book of Love…

The Book of Love

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing

It’s full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing

But I….I love it when you read to me
And you…You can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from

Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb

But I…I love it when you sing to me
And you…You can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago

It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we’re all too young to know

But I…I love it when you give me things
And you…You ought to give me wedding rings

And I…I love it when you give me things
And you…You ought to give me wedding rings

And I…I love it when you give me things
And you…You ought to give me wedding rings

You ought to give me wedding rings

-Steven Merrit (The Magnetic Fields)

One of my favorite songs, you may remember it from the closing episode of Scrubs…Peter Gabriel did a cover version of it that he sings with his daughter Melanie…great song, youtube it…

Anyway…why would I post a song like this?

Because I think it highlights one of the more obscure aspects of God almost no one talks about…

His sense of humor…

The song is really kind of sarcastic…which is a fun kind of humor, its actually one I really enjoy.

So yes I am suggesting that God is quite sarcastic…

I believe that every kind of humor there is… finds its origin in God…

Sarcasm, slapstick, puns, riddles, jokes and just plain ol’ goofiness…

I think Gods humor is always wrapped in love, which is kind of the way I feel about this song, it comes across with a bit of an acid tongue, describing loves book as so damn heavy no one can pick it up…but then the song goes on to call out for love in every verse…”you can read me anything”…

If you look at the story where God has lunch with Abraham and tells him that the promised son will be here next year, and Sarah laughs there is a cool play on what happens….God says “Why did you laugh Sarah?”…She says “I did not laugh…” and God says “Oh but you did!”….

…you did laugh at my joke didn’t you?…

“No I did not laugh”….

“Sure you did…” and I think as God tells her this that God himself is laughing…

It really is kind of an amazing joke…a woman well past menopause is now going to have a baby…

I wonder if she had to go through menopause again?…I wonder how Abraham handled it?

…really when you think about it, it is kind of hilarious…but here’s the punch line…

They named the promised son “laughter”…

I am discovering this incredible tension of Gods abundant amazing love wrapped up in laughter and joy and the burden of the human heart as I come in contact with Him.

Of late I have been praying a lot…many hours at a time…and God is ALWAYS in a good mood when I meet with Him…

But my heart is heavy…

So heavy…

Even in His Presence where there is fullness of joy, I am experiencing a heaviness that is partnered with laughter…its kind of freakin me out…

Its funny and tearful all at once…

I have no model or template for this…

I am completely at rest in His Presence, I am completely at home there…it is my greatest addiction right now…I long for His Presence and run to pray at the end of every work day…

…but when I get there…it is so heavy…maybe its the weight of Glory I have no idea…

Maybe its transformation…

Whatever it is…its funny…and heavy at the same time…

It’s showing me Gods incredible sense of humor, its funny and serious, hilarious and heavy, beautiful and bold, all at the same time…

God has a divine sense of humor…and He wants you to laugh with Him so He can tell you the punch line…which is your greatest desire He will fulfill…but ya gotta laugh at His jokes…

I’m laughing and crying all the time now…

“But I…I love it when you give me things”

Where’s the love?

It is getting near Valentines day, probably one of my (if not the) favorite holidays in the entire year…yeah I know guys are not supposed to be so mushy…whatever.

Being a divorced single Valentines Day always carried a little bit of pain with it, since our primary emphasis is on romantic love, but several years ago I adjusted the way i thought about it.

My primary paradigm about the holiday now is that it is about love…and even a little bit of culturally warped love is better than no love at all…

Where would we be without love?

Truly none of us could function even a little bit.

Fish need water to swim, birds need sky to fly, and people need love to live.

We were made to love and to be loved.

So if you take out all the love then you take out all the life.

I’ve had fish tanks where due to neglect the water got cloudy, tropical fish are extremely beautiful but the balance of the eco-system is very fragile and it doesn’t take much for the water to fall below optimum opacity and chemical balance…but just because the water was cloudy I never once thought about getting rid of all water and expecting the fish to survive.

Sometimes our relational life gets a little cloudy, especially in a world where people are paired up like animals heading to the ark, many times being single feels like you are gonna get stuck outside the ark when the flood comes and there is a quiet desperation that wants to dominate your emotions…

…still…I would rather see and observe a romantic holiday that celebrates the intent of loves design than live in a world devoid of all love because I am now single.

Even observing love is better than living in a love void.

What is better than love for us?

And just because you may not be in a “romantic” relationship does not mean that you are not living in a love aquarium where the Father is closely watching your emotional eco-system…He knows exactly what you need and it always starts in His love, so really…we always have love.

So I rejoice in any celebration of love, I am a hopeless romantic and will remain such until I breathe my last…I still listen to Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr. and Nat King Cole and any others who “love” love…

The Bible declares that the greatest force of action that we can move in is love…and love will remain…we are continually called to love and to grow in our love and to be lovers of God and to receive His love and well….there’s a lot of love in the Bible.

It really is quite simple…we should never be afraid to love, we should never apologize for loving, we should never be embarrassed because we are romantics and enjoy the idea of love…we should never feel ashamed that we need love…

We all need love…

Let me say it again…

We…

All…

Need…

Love…

Every person you know needs to be loved…and you need to be loved…so whats the big deal in talking about it, celebrating it, focusing on it?

Really when you think about it, who benefits if we abandon love?…Only hell…there is no love in hell…

…and really that is the best definition of hell I can think of, its like forcing a fish to exist outside of water, hell is the only place in the universe where there is no love…think about it.

So really…

Even celebrating broken and mangled human love kinda guarantees we are at minimum providing something that keeps the atmosphere of hell at bay…see hell cannot exist in love anymore than love can exist in hell.

So I ask…where’s the love?

Because once you find it…you’ve found a safe place, an “anti-hell zone” so to speak…

The good news is we get to practice being people who love, it is our heritage, it is the atmosphere we were meant to thrive in…so go ahead…celebrate romantic love…enjoy the environment that your very nature requires to exist…

You were meant for love…and love was meant for you…love is, after all Gods idea…He invented it…He is it…(God is Love)…and even romantic love shows us the way to God…

What a cool way to live and thrive and what an exciting journey we are on…we get to learn about love all the while being loved by a God who is in His very nature love…

Even the Beatles knew…all you need is love.