A Glimpse of Glory at the IF Gathering

10:16 AMHeather


"So, how was the IF Gathering?" several people asked me at church yesterday.  Gee, no surprise they knew what I've been up to over the weekend as I've posted ad nauseum on social media about my participation in co-hosting an IF Gathering Local with my dear friend Haley.

How was the IF Gathering?  

It's a loaded question.  It's hard to answer.  It's hard to describe.  It's an experience worth every second of your time and every bit of your effort.  And, no, I'm not some paid advertiser of the IF Gathering.

But I am a Jesus girl.  

I am a girl who grew up in church, learning about Jesus.  I'm a girl who's never really strayed from Jesus.  I'm a girl who has done the Beth Moore studies, the Priscilla Shirers, the Kelly Minters, the Jennie Allens.

And, I'm a Jesus girl.  

Listen, the IF Gathering is not about any of the speakers or the worship leaders or the cute printables or decor.  

It's just about Jesus.  

And when people ask me how was the IF Gathering, it feels like when the Israelites might have asked Moses how it was meeting with God as his face shone so bright from encountering God's glory that he had to wear a veil over it lest he blind his people.

Because I feel like I got a glimpse of glory.  I feel, as one of the speakers said, like I touched the hem of his robe. Like the woman who had bled for years and she touched the hem of Jesus' robe and she was healed.  When she touched his hem, Jesus felt the power go out of him.  Because it was powerful.  It wasn't just an encounter with Jesus--it was an exchange.

It was a glimpse of his glory.  Just a tiny glimpse.  During the IF Gathering, the veil between heaven and earth felt as though it thinned, and the shadow of what's to come took shape.  Just a little.

And it was indescribable.

But you know I'm going to try.

If you missed it, the IF Gathering this year was centered on the story of Joshua and the Israelites entering the Promised Land.  His people who decided to take God at his word.  Much of the weekend was spent in Numbers 13 and 14 and in the book of Joshua.

So I turned this morning to Numbers 13.  And couldn't get past verse 2.

The Lord said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites."
Numbers 13:1-2

That's what we did through the IF Gathering.  

We explored the Land of Canaan.  We took a look at the Promised Land.  

We remembered who said it.  We considered what the Lord says and taking him at his word.  We quit living by sight and looked instead through faith.  At what we cannot yet experience.  What is not yet ours.  But what is promised to us.  

When I say "we," yes, I mean the 20 plus women who gathered with me.  But I also mean the 2,000 gathered in Austin.  And I mean the estimated 60,000 live simulcast streams being watched world wide.  WORLD WIDE.  

Around the globe an unknown number of women gathered because they are Jesus girls. Or because they are considering Jesus. And they took a tiny step of faith to check this thing out.  To see what it was all about.  

60,000 livestreams.  Some watched by one woman in her own home.  Some watched by hundreds of women gathered at a church. Some watched in homes with dozens of women.

And it hit me.  As I heard the numbers and we started the third session in worship.

I wondered.

How much were the gates of hell shaking when thousands of women, all around the world, raised their voices in unison praising the King of Kings?  How much does our enemy tremble?  When we unite and look upward and offer ourselves to hear fresh words of truth and ask ourselves hard questions and dare to believe that he means what he says?

When we, the daughters of the King, open our Bibles and listen to what he says and explore the land that he is giving us?

How--I wondered--when the IF Gathering was over and I went back home, exhausted and happy and awed and overwhelmed...how do I move forward?  What do I do with all this truth about the land I've explored?  With this glimpse of glory?

What do I do when the daily stresses and burdens come crashing in on my little happy mountaintop experience?  When the most horrible news and circumstances slay you, such as one sweet friend who I know was dealt a hard blow this weekend.

Here's what I think we all must do, whether you went to IF, watched IF, or have no idea what I'm talking about.

We look at Numbers 13:1-2.

And we are careful to do these things.  

We do not forget who said it.  You see, the Lord said to Moses. And likewise, the Lord of all Creation is speaking to us.  Through his written word.  Through our prayers.  Through a million other ways that he is speaking.  But we cannot forget who is speaking.

It's not some impotent and weak somebody who doesn't keep his word.  It's not some flighty friend who says one thing and does another.  It's not someone who talks big and never delivers.

It's the Alpha and Omega.  It's the omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign Almighty God who sits on his throne and has conquered sin and death. 

That's who is speaking to us.

And we cannot forget what he says.  We must be mindful of his promises and his words. Not as some rote and ritual which bores us because we are so familiar.  Or some magic word that we must recite a certain way to glean the power.  

But these are the very words of the God who made us and loves us and is for us and is faithful and has much to say to us. 

Powerful words.

With the power of life and death. 

The power to become a foothold of faith to dispel the fears and attacks of the enemy. 

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Deuteronomy 11:18

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29

They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Deuteronomy 32:47

Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:9

Yes, Numbers 13:1-2 reminds us that we must remember who is speaking to us and what he is saying.  And we are told to explore the land.  To consider his callings for us.  To consider what the Promised Land is.  To dwell on it, taste it, feel it, look closely at it. To dream big with God.  To let our mind, emotions, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes explore and consider all the things.  All the big things.  All the God things.  To demolish the boxes we put God in...the boxes of what has always been or of what is happening now to us.  And to smash these boxes with the truth that he is a God of what has never before happened.  

He is the God of new things.

And that is the land we must explore.  To quit dwelling on the former things and to forget the past.  Instead, we are to explore the new things he is doing and wants to do.  The streams in the wasteland and the way in the desert that he is giving us (Isaiah 43:17-18).  And to remember, beyond our past and our current circumstances--he is a God who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

And here's what else we must do. 

We must hang every hope, direct every emotion, tell every feeling what's boss--that HE IS GIVING US THE LAND.  He is giving you the land.  He is giving me the land.

I'm not preaching a prosperity gospel here.

I'm saying that God promises and assures us that he is giving us the Promised Land.  We will live in and fully experience HIS GLORY. We will dwell forever in what is currently veiled to us.  What is only a dim shadow.  What is only the tiniest mirage far off in the distance.

We will be victorious forever.

We will win the game and the war.

We will be co-heirs with Christ.

And ALL that defeats us, plagues us, grieves us, destroys us...it will be forever conquered and cured.

And between here and there, God will faithfully give us glimpses of his glory.  When we ask him.  When we ask him to help us think the truest things about him.  When we ask him to help us, through the power of the Spirit, to grasp how deep and wide his love is for us.  When we hungry and thirst and seek and dig for his glory. 

A glory that reveals the purposes and things which God has for us to do here and now.  The Promised Lands of this world that we are told to enter by faith as we live out his calling on us.  Taking one tiny step at a time.

Knowing that our God reigns.  And he is far more powerful and wonderful and perfect and sufficient than we can hardly grasp.

So no matter what you are facing today, this Mighty God is with you.  He is whispering in your ear and singing songs over you. 

He is telling you to explore his goodness.  To consider his work for you and in you.  And to know that the tiniest glimpse of his glory will fulfill your soul like nothing else.

Because it's what we were made for.

His glory.

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