Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Deeper Still: The Event - Priscilla Shirer

I had never heard Priscilla Shirer speak/teach before, but after hearing her at Deeper Still in Atlanta, I know that she has an anointing and she is a teacher that I will be listening to again and again. You should too!

This weekend was packed with insight and teaching and a LOT OF IT! It has taken me a few days to digest it all, going over my notes and sharing with my friend to keep things fresh. Unfortunately some of this may seem all over the place, but I'm going to share it anyway, so bear with me. There is good stuff here and somebody may just need to hear/read it!

Shirer's message on Friday night was from Exodus 19 as she explained that God personally invites us to HEAR and SEE Him. It is a Divine Personal Invitation, a "divine treasure" and it is one we already have so we should celebrate it!

She divided her talk into two sections: Context of Divine Invitation and Preparation of the Invitation

Context - God calls us into the wilderness

The context of the invitation as Shirer explained is the desert, the wilderness, that God calls us into. This spoke volumes to me because I myself have recently emerged from a desert experience and could relate to much of what she was saying. "God leads you into the desert when He is ready to reveal Himself" she said and it is in the desert that "intimacy is ignited"! How do we know it was God sending us into the desert, that God chose the wilderness for us? We know it when we get through to the other side! When we camp at the foot of the mountain! Exodus 3:12 says:
And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."
She also pointed out that Job was able to really see God AFTER his desert experience, the experience of losing his family, friends, wealth and health. It was only after all that Job said "now my eyes have seen Him." God will choose the wilderness for you (Exodus 13:17-18) as He did for the Israelites when He led them around the long way toward the Red Sea.

The Blessing of Pain

At one point in her talk, Shirer told the story of a child who was born without the sensation of touch, her nerve endings were deadened. She had heard the parents of this child talk about how they thought this was a good thing because their child would not ever experience physical pain. What they learned as the child grew was drastically different than their original thinking.

Their young girl suffered severe burns on her arm when coffee on the table she was lying beneath spilled and began to trickle down the girl's arm. Feeling nothing, the child didn't move away, or cry for help. The scars of that trickle remain. Later as the girl started learning to use her hands, she became enamored with her eye and started playing with it, so much so that she scratched at it and dug it out of its socket. A patch now covers her eye. Her teeth have been removed because she would chew her tongue and bite her lips so that they bled and were being destroyed. The child's parents now say that they wish their child had the blessing of pain.

Ever notice that when we are down flat on our back the only place we can look is up to Him?

So when we are feeling the most pain in our lives, suffering through our desert, the wilderness, Shirer was quick to point out that Mt. Sinai was the furthest possible place from the Promised Land, but it led the Israelites to the biggest internal blessing they would experience. "Everything is not always as it seems" she said.

It is in the desert of Sinai that you find the mountain of God.

At one point Shirer also had us consider something. She observed "what is our first reaction when it starts to rain?" Do we run for cover? She had us think about how we often ask God to show Himself and "rain" down on us. She wondered if our reaction to God when He starts "raining" on us is the same as when the sky opens and the downpour begins. Do we run for cover?

Preparation - How God gets us ready to experience Him

1. God calls us to remember - We need to remind ourselves what He has already done for us
  • Remember what He delivered us from
  • Remember that He has lifted us up "on eagles wings”
  • Remember that He drew us to Himself, that He knows how we really are and still wants to be our friend.
2. God calls us to recognize our spiritual identity – God is the only one Who has the credentials and the authority to name us. They can call us whatever they want, but only God can name us.
  • We are His people
  • We are a Holy nation
  • We are a Kingdom of Priests
  • We are Proclaimers of Jesus
Also during this section Shirer named each book of the Bible and shared the name of God from each book according to His Character as revealed in that book. It was profound to hear her quote the words to a song called, "He Is" and you can find them here, or watch/listen to the video below.

3. God calls us to submit to new levels of surrender – To experience God, we must be willing to surrender to His Will. When God takes up residence in you, He empowers you to surrender.

Shirer ties it all together and reminds us again of the context in which God calls us into the desert, and the preparation through the desert and then gets us to the final result which is that God makes Himself able to be heard and seen by us!

She had some final thoughts and one that stuck out to me was what keeps us from going to God for ourselves? The Israelites in Exodus 20:18-19 chickened out and just wanted to send "Moe" to God to hear Him, and "get a Word". Do we depend too much on our Bible teachers, our pastors, our parents/spouses/friends, Beth Moore, Kay Arthur or Priscilla Shirer to go to God for us?

Are we sending others to "get the Word" for us?


For more info:

Deeper Still Blog
Priscilla Shirer: Going Beyond Ministries

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