strongholds vs Strong Tower

Many times we think we know what it is we need to pray for, we pray for it and pray for it, and then we might walk back and mess up and think we need to pray for it again, because we opened that door again, or walked down that path again, or whatever.  We can hold ourselves under such condemnation and self anger because we believe we undid all the growing and maturing in the Lord by going back to that mistake. So, not only do we feel bad because we missed the goals we had for ourselves, we beat ourselves up for doing it, and that is the opposite of receiving God’s grace and love for us.  But why do we mess up? or turn back to look once again behind us, longing for the life we before, the simplification, the ease, the joy, those are clouded memories.  Not the warm fuzzies.

I have a friend that has asked me several times to pray to break a soul tie they believe they have with another person.  One of the times, I knew that it was broken, and I didn’t need to break it again, they just needed to stop running back to that situation.

I was speaking with that friend later and again, they talked about the pull being so strong, I still didn’t see a soul tie, I wondered if because they imagined that was it, it lured them back, and that could be part of it; however, I was praying for family, and friends, and I suppose it was just time for Holy Spirit to show me what it really was.

He told me it wasn’t a soul tie, it is a strong hold.  And, it made so much sense to me at the time.  Both are powerful.  Both have to be addressed by the blood of Jesus.  Both give a sense of belonging, safety, and peace; but it’s all counterfeit.

Years ago, I was working through many things with God.  I was learning a lot about Holy Spirit, and Jesus and the Father, things that had never really been taught to me as a child.  I was raised in a Christian household, and the Church we went to emphasized knowing scripture, and reading the word. So I don’t get upset that it took me until I was almost 30 to learn about some of these things.  Some never get to go that deep. Some never even realize on this side of glory just how real and present God is in there life.  So I have no regrets about that.

I was having some issues trusting God though, other stuff that happened as a child were directly responsible, for me feeling unworthy and unprotected.  Anyway, I had a vision/dream, I don’t remember how, because a lot of times I would fall asleep praying, or talking to God.  It doesn’t matter how it was, it was in color, so either way I knew it was God talking to me.

I was on the top of a huge tower.  It felt like the tower was more than a football field wide, and the stones were huge, and we were higher than any arrow could get, and the land around us was green and lush.  It was a beautiful place, and I was safer than any royal could ever hope to be.  And then I saw Jesus looking down at me. He said, “you see all I have done for you, do you think you could trust me and step out of your fortress now?”  I looked down, and here at the top of this massive Strong Tower, I was in a cardboard box, hiding behind inside the walls.

That was a shocker, and as His way, the more I thought and dwelt on the vision, the more He spoke to me about it.  Cardboard won’t stop arrows.  Cardboard gets wet and disintegrates, and holds the water in and destroys what is inside. Cardboard is flammable. We can go on and on about the things cardboard is and isn’t, but we can all agree, it only makes a fantastic play fort for kids.

I bring up this image of the Strong Tower for a couple of reasons.  Psalms 91 gives us some great visions of fortresses and High places. I don’t think I really have to at this point go into the significance of high places for tactical superiority.

So, as is our fashion, God and I, He shows me something, and then we chew on it for a while.  Other aspects of it come to light.  It makes it easier to see why they are so difficult to remove (I know you think with a name like stronghold would be a clue).

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

Strong holds are so difficult because they are strong, they are places of refuge we created in our lives either in error or in rebellion.  Remember, we have an enemy that just loves to counterfeit and deceive others into believing they are following God, and while sometimes it is blatant, other times, it is so subtle, that unless we are daily tapped into the Father we might never truly see the deception, and might never understand why we aren’t seeing the victory we know in our hearts we are supposed to walk in.

So, in the same vein as God showing me all those years ago my own Strong Tower that He had built to protect me, He showed me a vast field.  In the distance I could see the majestic tower.  In the foreground, I could see a smaller tower.  I actually could see several smaller towers.  As I came closer to the nearest one, I noticed that there was no mortar between the stones.  The stones were haphazardly placed in the tower formation as well.  One good shaking, and the person taking refuge there would be crushed, it was that precarious.

So I pondered why we would run to this obvious counterfeit and dangerous structure for safety, and then He showed me.  We don’t run to the stronghold when it is sunny and easy and we can clearly see.  We run for safety when our eyes are scaled over with fear, loneliness, despair, anger, sadness.  A gloom clouds our vision, and in that mist, that fog, it looks strong, and sturdy.  It is a dangerous counterfeit meant for our destruction.

And that is why we must pull them down.  They exalt themselves to be protection, to be God’s will, to be His promises, when they are nothing but lies. The only way to be done with it is to tear that puppy down.  Then, when you have made that tower rubble, do like the Israelites do, and use those stones to erect a memorial for what God has done and His faithfulness in your life.

Don’t be surprised to find several strongholds either, we are constantly assaulted in our daily lives with images that are not God, but try to pass themselves as the Father. In many cases, it has taken years for these to build up, BUT God can help us with our spiritual weapons to pull down every strong hold, every thought that exalts itself against  the knowledge of our loving Father.

And remember above all things, His love for you is more powerful than any weapon the enemy might take against us.  Please do not be bogged down by feelings of shame or condemnation, for He doesn’t condemn us…. He made us, and when He saw us, He said “It is good.”  Because you are part of Him, you are good.  And because He lives, we move from Glory to Glory, we grow, we mature in the light of his love and the water of his Spirit.

 

Love you.

Knots

I have been working on a baby afghan for the new daughter of mother’s physical therapist.  I have this beautiful variegated thread, and I bought enough to probably make a king sized blanket.. lol.. I digress.  I made a fatal mistake, I followed the instructions on the binding on how to use the thread.  It said to squish down the tubular skein into a big ball looking configuration.  And, the knots.. oh my word the knots… I finally just had to stop and try to pull out all the knots and roll up the thread myself. It has been tedious work, and many times, men have come and offered scissors to cut it to make it easier.  That isn’t what I want. Those of you that crochet know that a knot in the middle of a dainty piece is difficult to hide.

Anyway, as I have been working on the thread, I heard, or I thought, or.. I don’t know, I realized that I was taking one knotted thing with no discernible design into a knotted something created for beauty and a purpose.

When people talk about how difficult crochet or knitting are, I always just say its just a series of knots you are making, actually, depending on the type of afghan you are making, it is really just one long knot built up upon itself to create.

So, I’m working on staying patient and sometimes making it, other times getting a bit frustrated because just when you get started it snares up again.

And since God usually does speak to me in these types of object lessons I suppose… it has really clarified some things I want to share with you.

Sometimes, doing what the “instructions” that are supposed to help aren’t very helpful at all.  They can cause a larger problem than you ever intended. which can be irritating especially when you followed those “instructions” to avoid such issues, and they just exacerbated the situation.

Then I began to see, how, I had to work the knots.  Sometimes, I’m pulling right at the beginning, but other times, I am having to attack the knot way back in the body of the thread, to loosen up and allow the thread to move.  I think we see God do that with us too.  We might not even realize why we are told to deal with something totally unrelated to what we are asking for, or working towards, because we are the knot. and we can’t always see what the obstacles are, but He does.

I also see that again at the point of the knot (the part that holds the thread too tight to move) in the beginning, sometimes we get going really good and then its a complete stop.  Sometimes, it’s the same part of thread that chokes the flow, and other times, it’s a new part.  The end is the same, our progress is choked off, stifled, stopped, until we take the time to unknot that part.  I think it’s why we can get so frustrated with ourselves thinking… “I conquered this already… why am I facing it again?” The simple fact, this is a new level of the knot, and you haven’t gone as backwards as you think you have, and you need to give God the credit and see your knotted self the way He does, beautiful thread that is worth the work, to make into an even more beautiful piece used for His glory and purpose.

I sit here amazed at thinking about that, I know how stubborn I have been insisting on unraveling this knot, and not just moving on to another skein of thread, because I see the worth and value and challenge of this skein.  This skein I chose to make a beautiful blanket for a beautiful child to honor a family that we love not only for the way he is so gentle and loving with mom, but also just because they are.

How much more stubborn, (steadfast) is our Father, he never gives up on getting the knots out that the world, and we ourselves have put in our lives, to weave us into something amazingly beautiful.

Love you.

Mother

My mother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. through the journey of the past several years, we have chosen a non medical approach to her life.  It isn’t that we are against medicine, it is that the medicine was making her miserable and catatonic and aggressive because she couldn’t communicate how miserable she truly was.

She almost always has a smile for me now when I see her.  And the other night, we were at a fast food joint and she saw my niece coming up to meet us.  She recognized her and even called out a version of her name.  Wow, that was amazing.  I spent 2 1/2 years not being able to work, because every time I started even looking for a position, we had a hospital stay.  She would fall.  It took about 7 months before we actually got to a neurologist and then she had seizures diagnosed.  The funny thing is, she never had seizures before she had the medicine for her heart.  Those medicines made mealtime a hit or miss with mom.  with most of the time it being a miss.  She just wasn’t hungry, and wouldn’t drink anything of consequence and would become dehydrated and pass out, which actually was a seizure. At the time that we had our first EEG, she had little almost constant seizures.

She had a big one on June 5th of last year.  I know what day it was because we were going to see dad’s urologist and she had the seizure in the car.  She was so lifeless, it was terrifying.  They doubled her seizure medicine, and wanted us to see our neurologist, slight problem, our old one had changed practices and our new one didn’t have an opening till about 6 weeks later, that was our appt.  I tried to call to see if I could get any help before that, but I think the doctor was out of country.

Those weeks were the worst we have ever had.  I can’t even remember how bad things were, really dad and I both have forgotten the past to focus on the positive and the future.  But when I spoke with dad and we both determined, although I told him I wasn’t going to subject mom to all that medication anymore, he agreed.

That was the hardest decision I have ever made.  I had to trust God that this was the right thing to do, it was like, even though, I hadn’t really been involved with Him at all for several years, He expected my faith to be at the level it was years before.  I’m sure if I really look at it too, part of it was, I had started talking to Him again anyway because I needed help with mom.  I wanted to do what was best for her and would make her the happiest and most whole.

The medicine was the key.  I had gone over to make a shake for mom with the medicine in it, and ended up tasting it thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.  It was horrible, the most bitter thing imaginable, and she had been trying to drink it.  The taste of it stayed in my mouth for hours.  I felt so bad that mom had been trying so diligently to eat the stuff we had been giving her and it had been so rank.

That night I just told dad, if she drinks it she does, if she doesn’t that is ok too.

The next day was my day to stay with her so dad could have some time off. Dad tried to give her some of the medicine, but she didn’t take much of it, if any. But she started to come back from the catatonic abyss.  She started responding.  The longer she went with out the medicine, the more she was engaging to the world around her.

And that was the night I had the most difficult decision; keep the medicine or ditch it all together? I struggled all night over it.  Asked God for an answer, and heard nothing.  I wanted a huge booming voice, the dog to suddenly talk, or the cat, a squirrel.. something on facebook or Yahoo that spoke to the truth I needed right then to make the right decision concerning mother’s care.  All I could feel was Him looking at me, asking me to trust Him. and by asking I mean with the look.

So I spoke with dad that evening when he got back and I was about to go home.  He was ok with it.  I told him that medical science had no cure for anything that mom had been diagnosed with.  And they were not helping her to be happy.  And I thought we should stop the medicine.   And then I told him about how mom was talking and seemed happier and I think I even got her to eat that night.

36 hours after ceasing all medications for mother and we went for breakfast at a place where we know the waitresses and they know mom and dad, and the plate of food I would get for her that was a bit of everything just to get her to eat one thing…. and she ate the entire plate.

As a matter of fact most meals she eats everything made for her.  There are a few exceptions, if she drinks too much tea, she might not be as hungry, but we just take it home and she consumes it the next day, instead of making lunch.

Mom lost her words a while back.  Some words she can still pronounce, but sometimes not in a complete sentence. When she asks me a question, sometimes by context I can figure out what she is asking and answer. Other times I just answer and either way she seems satisfied.

I was speaking with one of the waitresses actually earlier this week about care for mom. She knows that dad is a veteran and is trying to help us make sure we have all his benefits he is due.  One of the things she was talking about was dad being disabled and thereby impaired to totally assist mom.  Dad does a great job with mom; however he did suffer hearing loss in the service and it has never gotten better, and it makes it difficult to hear her or me sometimes.

When she brought that up, it was a very valid point.  There has been a time or two that she has fallen in the bathroom and he didn’t hear her and she was there until he got up to look for her in the middle of the night.  She wasn’t injured, and seemed ok, but that can be a bit scary as well.

So, maybe we can get that looked at and then, the VA will help with hearing aids and we can get our ducks in a row so that everything is as simple and easy as it can be in the further transitions of our lives.

Something else I’ve noticed with mom, she tripped last week, Dad had his hands full and wasn’t holding hers and she lost her footing.  She is unable to catch herself with her hands anymore, but she’s been like that for a while I think. Anyway, she must have just missed her eye, because her nose was scraped and right under her right eye and above the eyebrow and temple. Literally all around her right eye.  I spoke with dad about she has to have help, or, walking right beside her, on level ground.  My brother was there, he should have helped as well.  But you know guys don’t always think like that, maybe they aren’t as overprotective as I am (lol). Anyway, what normally would have taken weeks to clear up, I barely saw any damage to her face by Monday, that was from Tuesday of the week before to Monday, and her face was clear.  That is God my friends, supernatural recovery.  That is the exact opposite of when we had to have surgery in 2014 to repair 10 hernias and then had to go to the wound clinic, because she wasn’t healing.

I honestly can’t say that much has even changed in anything that we are doing other than she is not on any of the medication, and she is eating.

A friend from church that I used to attend used to post all these great things her mom would say and do. Although she had this horrid diagnosis as well, it hadn’t stolen her spunk.  Her Mother passed away recently, and I realized, I hadn’t been celebrating the life we still have with mom.  That’s why if you are on my facebook, you will see those now.  Going to eat, or even the doctor’s office (if it’s a dr she likes).

And sometimes, I realize, I am very much my mother’s daughter.  I like things in a particular place, you can mostly see that either on my desk, or work space, or at the dinner table.  Sometimes it’s because if I don’t mom will confiscate my food as her own.  She did that one time, picked over the smaller biscuit and took my big biscuit along with her big breakfast she had already had.. lol Dad and I kinda just looked at each other.  I’m not sure how much more she would have eaten if I had let her.

Mom’s Birthday is Saturday and she will be 71.  And although her doctor wants her on medication, she is the happiest and healthiest I have seen her in at least 4 years.  And although I am not ready by any means for her to leave us, as long as she goes in peace, and knowing we love her, I can live with that.

 

 

 

Ishmael and Isaac

I was spending some time today thinking about my past mistakes, and past in general.  What I learned about God and Holy Spirit in both waiting and listening to Him, and the failures I had when I let someone that claimed to be His voice mucked up what God and I had hashed out.

I am thinking about a specific period in my life.  I think I have alluded to it a few times before, but now we can almost get down to almost the nitty gritty, I won’t be naming names or anything.

The first time I met this person, I really didn’t care for them.  I found their attitude and mannerisms overbearing I guess.  And actually, I had no further contact with them for a few years I guess.

Until the time they renovated the Christian book store I worked at and then hired new people to work in it.  They had added a coffee shop in the back of the property, but it never really took off, probably due to the location and that none of the big traffic departments were near it.

This person was initially hired to run that space.  I don’t remember how we began to get together, maybe she was less the know it all or something.  Perhaps it was God having mercy on her so that I would feel like talking to her, who knows.

We became fast friends, thinking about it now, I think it had to do with the fact that we could talk about the same things spiritually, because she supposedly believed as I did, and you know that is always so nice to find.  Like minds, that you think are on the same level.

There were signs all along, but I didn’t discern them or some of them I didn’t see until much later.  I think a big part of it was she was planning a wedding on her own, and I stepped in to help.

This was the kind of person that just seemed to have some sort of story about somebody that was somebody that she knew.  She had a lot of trials, but you know the vast majority of them were directly related to the decisions she had made in her life.  We are talking doozies of bad decisions after bad. And you know what, if I knew then what I know now, well sometimes the only way you know is to walk it.

Anyway in the midst of all this, I had met this guy, dude, such a crush, I thought he was the one. There was a pastor one time that was talking about making a list of the attributes you desired in your mate, give them to God and then let it go. (something to that effect).  This was going on nearly 15 – 20 years ago so forgive me if I first come out of shock with how time moves, and wow am I old.

Anyway, there was such a tension within me, was he, could he be? should I? I’m thinking it might have gone on for possibly a month, I doubt it was really that long, I just remember, not being able to sleep, so I got out of bed and went into the den of my grandmother’s house and set there and was going to settle once and for all was he or wasn’t he.

So we sitting there, Holy Spirit and I, and He tells me to go over my list.  I only had one physical attribute, the others were spiritual and more to do with character.

One by one we went over the list, until we got to the one thing, can he sing.  I can still remember sitting there, that realization coming over me, and I can feel Holy Spirit looking at me with that “well?” look.  And I knew. I knew he wasn’t the one, and I felt good about it. I could be friends with him, and he was a great guy, but I wasn’t going to fret over anything anymore. And I went back to bed and

The next morning I was feeling good, I had my answer from God and was ready to run with it.  I stopped by the café to tell my friend what God and I had decided the night before, and she stopped me and said “Hold on, just because… doesn’t mean…” I was too naïve and too unsure of myself, instead of saying no.. now I know what we said, I wasted almost 2 years of heartache and turmoil.

Her life was in heartache and turmoil and she was determined that mine would be as well I suppose.  I can remember her not having money to eat food and I offering to take her out, but that I didn’t have a lot of money and it would have to be cheap fast food, and instead of being gracious about it, she drove us to a sit down restaurant and said she just couldn’t eat that unhealthy.  There were so many clues that she really didn’t care about me and was sent to confuse me in what I was learning about the prophetic and hearing and doing.  I remember another time, that I was so happy, God and I had had this marvelous time together and nothing else mattered, and she whispered that she had a word for me.

That “word” made me cry, not in the good way, it syphoned off the joy I had, it cloaked me with a garment of mourning.  It was a false word.  Things I can see now, that I couldn’t see in the middle of it.

There was even this time of a spiritual retreat designed to lose all the negative forces that we can be open to unknowingly, that she had done a couple of months before, that I gave her her space about, but when I went and was leaving, turned around and she was standing there behind me “praying”.  I was not happy, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to have anything of my own without her trying to be a part of it.  And you know what? I was right.

I think that was sort of the beginning.  At this point, all I can really remember, is all the time I was trying to spend with God, she either wanted that time, or it still left me feeling empty.  And if she was involved in it, can I hear Him? no.  I can remember talking to another friend of mine, Tracy, I’ve mentioned her before she’s a great woman of God, I’ve seen her fruit.  I told Tracy I was so empty, and she said you just need to get that bucket under the spout.  I told her it doesn’t matter how much goes into the bucket if someone else has punched a spigot in the bottom of it and is draining it as it goes in.

That Sunday afternoon, in the church parking lot, God and I had a long talk. And He told me that He had sent me to her for a time so that she could see what it is supposed to be like, but she had rejected it, and now I needed to move on.  You see the grace that He had extended over me for that period was gone, and it was time to cut ties. Which I did.  Never spoke to her again.  You may think that sounds harsh, but in actuality, she would have just tried to confuse the situation again and again and I would have been stuck in that spiral for even longer.

Look, I had already brought major hardship into my life when I let her confuse me about that guy, I can remember later talking to God about it, not understanding how He had let it be so messed up. and then I remembered, like the scales coming off my eyes, I remembered. It was me, it was me not being strong enough to say, NO, that’s not what we discussed and that isn’t true for me.  I think I am now though. I am definitely careful with whom I let into my inner circle.

Now there are times that we need to hear words of admonition, words of correction, and those can break our hearts and are meant to draw us back to the Father, look at all the old testament prophets and you will see that.

But what I have seen in true prophetic words today is this:

They are specific, they are not the run of the mill, vague horoscope type words to people.

They resonate with your heart, with what God has already been saying to you.  It is a confirmation not only of the Word of God, but also His direct dealings with you.

And they always follow in line with the Written Word of God.  They will never contradict it.

And if you get one of these very specific words of prophecy, be ready, because they are to strengthen you in the coming times when the battle will be getting deep. They speak of your destiny in Him, and every demonic force will come to try to stop that if they can.

More on that later.

Love y’all

Sobering

So, I know I write sporadically.  Not that anyone really reads with regularity anything I write…. but there are times that things strike me.  Things that need to be said, but not really anyone wanting to hear.  It becomes… I suppose like Jeremiah said this is like a fire shut up in my bones… it just has to come out.

I saw a posting on faceb today, and it didn’t alarm me, but it was sobering.  It was about men of God that have gone on to be with the Lord, that are men I trust their teachings, warning about a coming storm… and so many Christians being swept away because they aren’t tethered to the Rock.  Instead of examining their lives and really putting aside the foolish, instead of crucifying the flesh, they are listening to preachers and pastors that are telling them everything is ok and they don’t have to change.  That we won’t face any hardships.

I think you can look at the world outside the US and see that isn’t true.  We are still so isolated, insulated, coddled, and like little babies when the grown ups disappear, in very big trouble.

We are so easily offended by trivial things.  We expect others to do the worst to us, but the worst is a walk in the park compared to homicide bombings, being stoned or beheaded, or singled out because you know whom you have believed.

We have spurned suffering for the cross and traded it (depending on your faith or your beliefs) maybe for 40 days of not eating a certain food or drinking something to “remind us of Jesus’s suffering” but do we really know his suffering?

I am not advocating going and sitting on a pole in the desert to get closer to God, or prove how holy you are, or to go live in a cave or beating yourself with a whip. I think those are extreme and unnecessary not to mention entirely impractical.

We are called, however to crucify the flesh. If we want great faith, we have to fast and pray to get the flesh under and out of the way to let God flow.  We need to live the fasted life. That doesn’t mean necessarily food either.  I am really bad about needing noise constantly in my apartment, so that means the tv is on nearly 24/7.  Way too often that also entails my fat behind sitting there watching some nonsense that I really could care less about.  Or going to my animated movies because there is no violence or nastiness there just to have the company.

Kinda funny for a firstborn that likes her alone time and quiet, huh? I suppose it boils down to if I control the volume, then it’s all good.

So I wouldn’t really say that I have done a stellar job of crucifying the flesh, especially recently, but these blogs are always as much for me as for anyone else.

Sometimes I need to teach or write or preach just to open that flow to hear what God is telling all of us.  Talk about a crutch, right? but it’s true.  No one is perfected, yet. We all see through a dark mirror, and if I haven’t been in the flow for a bit, I need the outlet to prime the pumps so to speak and move.  Thank you Holy Spirit for bringing everything to my remembrance and helping to remember things I had ever forgotten I ever knew.

So I’m going to study more on the coming storm, although I really don’t like thinking about those things, but I think we are seeing manifestations of them coming in the natural of the spiritual storms that are raging around us. We must be tethered to the rock if we ever hope to be safe and not swept away.

Love y’all

Danger, Danger Wil Robertson

The other day I saw a fb post from a ministry talking about many of the prophetic voices of the last century warning about the coming war on Christians and that actually it will involve mass parts of the Body falling away, or swept away rather by teaching that seems to be that feel good preaching.  And it really struck me hard.  I don’t want anyone to fall away, or be swept away by doctrines that are incomplete? is that a correct way to put it?

So, I’ve been mulling it for a while then, and that was where the first post today came from, how can people that believe they are following God, be swept away? I understand laying down your life for what you believe, but if we read the Word, can we then be swept away?

No, I haven’t revisited those prophetic utterances, I’ve more been mulling it all over in my own heart.  And I guess that’s where it affects me most.  I can remember people wanting to be prophets running up to others, or sometimes just sidling up to them and giving them “words” and I can remember someone that was close to me, telling me they had a word from the Lord, and instead of it giving me strength, it deflated me. That same person that one time when we were driving suddenly “felt” something was up with the person in the car in front of us.  And then spent time with their hand extended towards the car trying to suss out what it was.  Where, when they said something was up… I just quietly pled the Blood of Jesus over them as a prayer of protection and I was done.  Nothing is more powerful than the Blood.

So maybe my own approach would leave me swept away too?

I know that there still hasn’t been the feeling of closeness that I once had with God, and I know that’s my fault.  I also know that there are places that I must repent and turn to get back on the path.

I also know that while God has already done everything that pertains to our healing, there are people around me that are not walking in the full manifestation of that truth.

If we let things get in the way, then we will miss it.  I mean, Esau sold his birthright…. his birthright for a bowl of stew.

Sarah gave her husband her handmaiden to have a kid, and then when God fulfilled His promise, the mocking and disrespect of Hagar and Ishmael got them kicked out of a rather cushy place.  Hagar was told to go and humble herself to her mistress and that God had a place for Ishmael.

How different would Cain and Abel’s lives been if their parents had made the right decisions, or even them, if Cain hadn’t been so full of pride and then anger and then self righteousness that he took out his own brother.

How different would the exodus been if Moses hadn’t killed the Egyptian because he was trying to make his destiny happen?

What about when Miriam and Aaron thought they were just as qualified as Moses and Miriam was struck with leprosy?

What about Elisha’s servant that went after Naaman to get some of those riches that Elisha had rejected? I’m thinking he was a servant not unlike Elisha was to Elijah, he not only gained Naaman’s leprosy, but he also lost the mantle of a prophet.

And what about Samson? In Sunday school we are taught that it was just the hair being cut that caused him to lose the anointing of strength, when that was just the last thing of the Nazarite vow that he defiled himself that lost it.  It took him being at rock bottom and brought out for humiliation that he finally humbled himself and God was able to use him mightily to destroy the Philistines.

So what are we missing then? What teaching are we exchanging for real discipleship and true fellowship? Tell me, I want to know.  I do know this, it doesn’t matter one bit what we think or what we believe, it matters what God said. It doesn’t matter what we think is obedient, it matters what God says is obedience.  It doesn’t matter what we anything, it only matters what God everything.

I used to have this friend. I was in love with him.  He never felt the same way, and that was good. He was an absolute obsession for me, and in that, I can remember one time he actually said. “God accepts me the way I am, he knows me, and he doesn’t expect me to change.” And my stupid obsessed self was yeah that makes sense….. it was months later, as a matter of fact I think I had moved home and that statement hit me, and I wondered what I had been thinking to entertain that notion.  How counterproductive to everything God says about being sanctified and holy and called apart and separated for His purpose. And how gullible was I? I learned though, to really listen, to really seek to understand and be steadfast in what I believe.

A couple of years later I had a friend that I reconnected with, and in the years that we were living separate lives, he had chosen to become Buddhist.  And he asked me if I thought he was going to hell.  I am not the type of person that will tell anyone they are going to hell.  I might wish some people would get away from me, but I would never willingly say or send anyone to that place.  But, he put me on the spot, and I had to tell him, that Jesus said He is the Way, that no one comes to the Father but through Him, and if he had chosen a different path than Jesus, then his decision had a consequence of being separated from God forever.

I can remember him taking a deep breath and saying “Wow”, no one had ever told him that.  His Christian friends hadn’t told him that. Is that the storm surge that is going to sweep so many away?

I need to stop only mulling it over and start studying that.

Anyway, Love you, Bless you. I’m going to bed.

 

 

Potpourri

I have so much that needs to be said, but I’m not sure where to start or to go with it all.  Mostly it needs to be said because we all have issues with it.

We think that if we serve God, even when we openly disobey or disregard something He has told us that we are walking the path.

Let me caution us all… The way to heaven is NARROW… but the way to hell is WIDE.  meaning, it is much easier to be fooled into thinking you can sidestep something you KNOW God had told you, because you don’t think you need it, or, you think you’ve conquered it, or your flesh just cries out for it, and yet even though you still seem a king, you still have the title (as far as man is concerned) your disobedience has stripped you of your anointing.  If you have any success, it is minimal, and you no longer walk in the power you once did.  Samuel told Saul… Samuel spent years listening to God, when God said go, he went. When he said wait, he waited.  Saul, not so much, he looked for the praise of men before the praise of God.  And made serious mistakes because of it.

1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel told Saul, “Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better then offering the fat of rams.”

Here’s the thing… when we take one step out of the obedience of Christ, for whatever reason, we are off the path.  Even if we strive to walk the walk, we’ve stepped off the path and remain going contrary to the will of God, because we have failed to repent.

Remember, repent just means to stop and turn back the other direction. It is acknowledging that you missed the mark, you sinned, it is humbling yourself and turning back to that point and honoring the Creator by submitting to His word and His call and His will.

I think that’s why so many of us are still sick, or financially strapped or any other struggle, because at the point that God said DO and we didn’t, we walked off the path.

We open the door to struggle, attack, discouragement, sickness, all those things, and let’s face it, we have enough of those attacks when we are all in with God and the enemy just wants to mess with us.

Maybe part of it is spending enough time alone with Him so that we can hear His voice when other’s are talking to us.  I wouldn’t consider my dad a uber spiritual man, however, there have been watershed moments in my life where he has said something to me about what he wanted me to see in my father, that I heard the Voice of Eternity telling me.

Here’s the scary thing until we go back to THAT time and repent, we are off the path. We may be walking near the path, even parallel to the path, but we are off the path.  We have traded our security and our righteousness for pale illusions of them, and then we can lose faith when the storms come.

Now am I saying that all trials are because of disobedience, but we certainly don’t make it any easier on us or those around us when we are.  Look at Jonah, and what he suffered and the men on that ship because he chose to run the opposite direction.

And look at Saul, he not only lost the anointing to be king, he lost his mind, because the anointing was gone. And he not only lost the crown, his son lost his life.

David tried to pull a fast one, and look at the havoc his shenanigans reeked on his children.

The point to all of this is… you can’t fool God, and if someone who walks in the prophetic tells you something, you don’t get to decide the timeline on the instructions, God does, because he has a greater reason for it than you know.  And your disobedience doesn’t affect you, it affects all those around you, and even people you have never even met before.  We are a part of the body of Christ, that means we are all interconnected every wrong decision, every right decision affects not only us, but the whole body as well.

I guess that is why this has been weighing on me so much the past few days.

Love you, Bless you.

 

Kintsugi

We are an earthen vessel, easily damaged, easily broken, and sometimes easily thrown away by those that were supposed to love us most.

There are times our damage, our brokenness comes from our own failings, our missteps, and we allow condemnation to keep us broken and dysfunctional. Other times the damage comes from things out of our control; however if you are anything like me you still think we should have been able to stop it, or fix it, or change it,  and we still sit under condemnation because we only see our shortcomings, our failures, our brokenness and not the one that hurt us so.

I was reading this lovely blog by a Beautiful young lady the other day.  She was speaking of her brokenness and how step by step, Jesus was putting her back together. And it reminded me of the Kintsugi pottery. I could see piece by piece Our Father taking each part and binding it back together and then highlighting our brokenness and his wholeness by precious gold. I love this Japanese tradition that doesn’t allow a broken thing to just be tossed out like trash.  Those artists see the beauty in creation, even in the midst of destruction, they still find beauty.

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They weave gold in between the cracks to highlight the scars, to bring beauty and awe to the once destroyed object.

Psalms 147:3 “He heals he brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Jesus came. He came for us. He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted and to set us free. Far too often, we are ashamed of our past our failings.  I admit there are lots of things about me that I just don’t want people to know.  Things I only share when necessary, but the scars can still be visible in the reaction I have to something.

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Change is difficult. Healing is so difficult because usually it involves cleaning out the old wound which is painful, and letting it breath, and then packing it so that it can heal from the inside out so that infection doesn’t take over the whole body.

Just when we think we’ve healed from a hurt, something comes up and we doubt ourselves because we are still affected by a word, a look, a slight.  But I see it like this.

I walk through a valley. Valleys are wide when you are far from the mountains and we can carry lots of  bags with us.  Perhaps even multiple bags from years of brokenness of the same hurt. We lay some of the burden down, Jesus takes it and we walk on. As we near the mountain, the valley becomes less wide.  I can’t drag as many bags through, they keep getting snagged on rocks.  I recognize I still hurt over that issue.  I give it to Jesus. He takes it, we move on.  Did I not heal the first time? Did I take the burden back? Sometimes yes, most times no, it’s a new level of healing.  Our Father loves us so much that he is so patient with us. He knows wounds do not heal overnight, they take time, they have to heal layer by layer, and sometimes they have to be cut open a little more to make proper room to heal.

He is ever at our side, binding our hearts back together bit by bit, sliver by sliver, and then covering that with precious gold. The gold brings honor to where condemnation once sat. Makes beautiful what was once so horrendous we weren’t sure we would ever truly recover.

His love for us is so real and massive right now I can’t even find the words to say what I want to say about that. I am again filled with awe at what a wonder savior Jesus is.  I am dumbstruck at a Father that would move heaven and earth for me, send His son to die in my place, to be broken and destroyed to pay my debts and the debts of those that I hurt, or that hurt me.  And then would raise up His son so that we could be a part of the fellowship again.

I am amazed that His grace abounds to us in such a measure, favor that we don’t deserve, peace we haven’t earned. And the gift of the friendship and companionship of Holy Spirit. He is ever with us. guiding, loving and holding us.

He gives us beauty for ashes, he redeems us.  He calls out to us like when he sent Hosea to bring his wife home telling us, no matter what you’ve done, or what’s been done. He is quick to welcome us back home. He sanctifies us for Him and His purpose.  He uses those scars that he has glorified with his Blood and gold from the refiner’s fire to draw others home.

Never think for one moment that anything you have done or gone through is a wasted step or opportunity.  He is the Great Redeemer for a reason, and even if we were out of step, even if it was our fault, even if it was something so heinous that it breaks our hearts, He is the one holding us together patiently, painstakingly binding us and setting us free.

YOU ARE FREE.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND YOU ARE FREE.

Love you, may the peace of the Lord that passes all understanding sing to your heart today, His song of love.

 

 

 

 

I am sure that I didn’t post these pictures where you can see the person that actually took them, sorry I am still learning. These images are from a google search of Kintsugi.  There are so many examples of this art form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Word

You know sometimes it is so difficult to find something to write about, but really it isn’t if I just expand on something I’ve already spoken about.  Not spoken publicly, but in private conversations. Whether they are with my dear friend that keeps encouraging me to step out and write, teach, or seek God, how to use this whole thing as the gift she sees, or my nephew that is so hungry, he just draws this out of me, or even my coworkers in the middle of the night during our shift, when it is quiet, and really I am just mulling things over trying to get a handle on things, or to articulate what I am sensing.

Two things have really been on my mind, and they really aren’t two things but one.  Several years ago, I was developing a spectacular life of Jesus musical… in my heart I could see it, taking praise and worship songs of today and intertwining them with the word, and with Jesus.

The opening scene was this: 2 narrators on either side of the staging area, elevated, illuminated by a single spotlight each.

N1 “In the beginning was the Word”

N2 “Jesus”

N1 “and the Word was with God”

N2 “Jesus”

N1 “and the Word was God”

N2 “Jesus”

He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made.” and so on until a lone figure in the middle of the stage dressed in white with a white veil covering her face and chains around her wrists as she holds a single candle, singing “O come, O come Emmanuel”

It still affects me when I think about how I saw the beginning and also the end.  Which actually is amazing, since I have the most difficult time ending any piece of work, I had this one ended.

That was one thing, the other thing is: several years ago, I was involved with someone I thought God had put in my life and I thought we would be married, quite honestly.  Didn’t work out that way, and I learned a lot of things the hard way because of it, but those were also very important things to learn. (one very quick thing: if you and God settle something, a decision or course of action, whatever, DO NOT LET ANYONE CONFUSE YOU WITH THEIR TAKE ON THE SITUATION.  You and God settled it, you had peace, you slept because you have peace, don’t ever let someone’s supposed words of wisdom go against that.)

Anyway, this guy, it was his birthday and  after church, I was taking him out for lunch for his birthday.  Even though it was still a bit cool we were sitting outside in the sun. The waiter came up and knelt down at our table to talk to us face to face. During that initial time of chit chat, he said he had a bit of a headache, and the guy with me asked if he wanted us to pray for him. That poor waiter literally took 2 steps back, like he was contagious.  My guy didn’t notice or care to notice enough to stop there though, he then  asked if the waiter was saved and on and on, which is why as soon as we had our food, he was out of there.

I tried to talk to him about being a steamroller over the waiter.  And his response was that he didn’t want anyone’s blood on his hands because he didn’t talk to them about Jesus.

While I can understand that mentality, Jesus never ran to people to tell them about him, at least that isn’t how I read it. He was followed, he was sought. The people saw and experienced the miracles and heard his teaching, teaching to love and that the heart matters, showing Our Father’s great compassion on us. Does this make sense?

All I have ever wanted was to make a difference, but not in the way that makes others uncomfortable.  Don’t get me wrong, I do talk about Jesus, and Our Father, I use the only wisdom I have ever known, the wisdom that comes from the Author. Many years ago I had a friend that didn’t like to argue with me because he said I always used the Bible.  My response was basically, that’s what I know.  But his life had been turned upside down by people that said they were “Christian” and they let him down. and because his relationship with God was non existent, and he only saw God through those people, he had rejected God.

Look, I am flawed.  I still walk around in this flesh.  My flesh still cries out, my flesh is lazy, gets tired, gets frustrated, gets angry.  Flesh is like wearing new stiff oversized leather work gloves while performing surgery with a scalpel.  The Spirit is bringing peace and love and joy and fellowship, but our flesh mangles the words and the deeds.

We all have those new gloves that we have to weather and break in so that they become supple and like a second skin. Those are the people you see that walk in true joy, the peace that passes our understanding, and can walk on water.

The only way that I can see us effectively breaking in those gloves is by opening our hearts to the One that created us.  To immersing ourselves in His love and light and word, in short, immersing ourselves in Jesus.

Outreach is awesome. Evangelism is amazing; they definitely have their place in our lives. So does being salt and light to your world. Those deal with the senses, taste (Taste and see that the Lord is Good. Ps 34:8) and sight (Thy word ‘Jesus’ is a lamp unto my soul and a light unto my path. Ps 119: 105).

It all boils down to relationship. It is an integral part of discipleship, without it there are empty hearts struggling to find the anchor they need.  They still look for solid ground, They are tossed about on every wave of doctrine that comes along.

The only way to disciple is to immerse yourself into the first born of many brothers, He knows you, and is desiring you to know Him.

Keep reading John, notice how much love that flows from every word into your heart.

Love you. grace and peace to you.

 

 

 

 

 

A Deeper Look at the Fall

I had intended to continue through to Cain and Abel, and how rejection caused issues, and we will, but I just can’t let go of the Garden yet.

I think it’s very important to see how the serpent, the most cunning being deceived Eve.  How did he build trust? How did he infiltrate the relationship between the Creator and those created in his image?  What very important lessons must we learn to safeguard ourselves from this very attack?

Let’s look at his methods.  He was knowledgeable.  Sure did seem to know what was happening, didn’t he? He sure did have a plan too.  He knew the word, knew what God had said, and he knew how to play to the crowd.  Now, Adam and Eve are not exempt from this either.

Just look at what God said, Do not eat of the tree… and what she said, we can’t even touch it or we will die…..who added? Adam because he just didn’t want to explain it? Or Eve in her comfort of letting the relationship be more Adam and God.  I can’t really tell, there are convincing arguments for both actually. Also, we have this tendency to add to stories, don’t we? Fishes get bigger, our reactions get broader to offenses, on and on. So really no telling, however….

By adding to what God the Creator had said, a door was opened.  Instead of obedience, discussion of what He meant and His motives came into play, all because addition was made to the Word spoken.

So what does that teach us?

When we add to the word, we open doors. We invite rejection into our lives because we open the door to sin, and sin brings rejection, separation from the presence of God.

Blood is the only thing that obliterates that sin. The Blood of Jesus to be exact.  One drop of that precious man’s sacrifice brings us home. Are we perfect? of course not. Are we redeemed? most assuredly, yes.

I suppose the reason why I started this whole thing about rejection is because we all sit under such condemnation.  Let me be completely clear, that condemnation is NOT from God, Holy Spirit does not condemn us, Jesus did not condemn us, Our Father does not condemn us.

We condemn ourselves because we question our salvation, we put chains around us making all those things that brings us life a chore and a to do list something to shout at us when we fail to hold up our standard that we raised against ourselves, not standards that the Father set for us.

I feel compelled to exhort you to read, to immerse yourself in the biographies of Jesus.  See that the only ones that were rejected were those who felt they had all the answers and rejected the one and only savior.

Read of his love for us when he took on our infirmities and carried our diseases, when he willingly went to the cross because he wanted us home.

I have a nephew that is serving Our Father and our country in the USAF right now.  He is several states away.  I have a family member that is far away from home.  If he needed me, I would move heaven and earth to get to him and bring him home to safety.  How much more did our creator? I have a mother that we are fighting health issues, I have done everything in my power to make her life as easy for her and dad as possible, how much more our creator?

I know I was going to show how rejection was dealt with all through the books of the Bible, but, now I feel so compelled to strengthen our most holy faith in the lover of our soul.  Compelled to immerse myself instead in the one that came to obliterate rejection, that destroyed condemnation, that propels us to victory.

Love you, God bless you, and may today be a day you experience a new extraordinary wave of the love of God for you.