Dear Friends of Iris,
The Lord has been speaking to me about the process we are in as a movement. I feel that many in the Body of Christ are going through similar things. Because the Lord values intimacy with him above any other thing and longs for us to bear much fruit, He prunes us.
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”.
In love, Father God cuts away every branch that does not bear fruit in us. It is an excruciatingly painful process. It hurts, and at times we feel like there is nothing left of us. It is, however, the only way we will ever get to the place of supernatural fruitfulness that flows from intimacy. I feel the Lord calling us to a more intense place of clinging to Him, to remaining in His love and to a radical obedience. He longs for His joy to be made complete in and through us. Again He calls us to an unending and unstoppable love. The kind of love that calls us to lay down our lives for Him and those around us. He is calling us to a deeper friendship with Him. In the midst of global crisis and intense shaking there is only one place we can run to: The deepest place of His heart.
Again, I feel the Lord shifting my schedule; reminding me of what the most important things are: Deeper intimacy with Him and with those he has called me to serve. He is reminding me of how all this began and where I need to remain. First, we are called to love God powerfully, deeply and intensely. Secondly, we are called to love our neighbors in the same way. Relationship is of critical importance to God. His main concern is neither what we do for Him, nor how much we do every day. Rather, he asks the question: “Have we done what we have done in love, through love, and for love?”.
We have just had the incredible joy of seeing a new life birthed in to our Iris family. Jacinto, my Mozambican spiritual son who has grown up with us for the last 14 years, and his wife Katie, a missionary and spiritual daughter of mine, gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy yesterday. His name is Micah Samuel. This child was born out of their loving union. Both Jacinto and Katie were needed to bring forth this beautiful child. The labor was long and hard but seeing a healthy child born is, with out a doubt, one of the most profoundly beautiful experiences on earth.
John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
I believe Iris and much of the body of Christ is in a time of labor. The presence of God is with us in the midst of our toiling and pain. He never leaves us for a moment. It’s time to push. It’s time to breathe. It’s time to push. It’s time to bring forth a a spiritual child. In the end the joy of birthing spiritual children will be greater than anything we have ever hoped for or imagined. The miracle of new life.
Phil. 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.