Thursday, December 22, 2011

A taste of evil

My post today will be a somber one.  Because my heart is grieving.  Not because of anything going on in my own life but because of something I saw today that I still cannot wrap my brain around.......and I sincerely hope I never do.

I have spoke often here of the Joy of Truth.  And I will continue to speak of this Truth till the day I go Home.  But today, I experienced the Pain of Truth.  The Truth that this really is a fallen world and it is increasingly becoming more and more broken, twisted and insane.

As a family, we have decided to discontinue mainstream TV and satellite services.  Instead, we have chosen to hook up a computer to our flat screen TV in order to choose more freely the things we want to watch/listen to.  As Jerry was setting up some desktop icons for our most frequented "stations" on the internet, he ran across an international one (can't remember the name of it now).  They were airing a portion of a Dutch TV talk show.  I read the headline that was scrolling down below, but I could not process what it said.  Because what it said and what I was seeing were completely incongruous.   They were showing 3 normal, everyday looking men, in suits, on a normal looking stage, with a small kitchen setup (think Rachel Ray) in the center.  There was a table set out in front of this countertop/stove setup and it had a white linen tablecloth on it complete with place settings and a beautifully lit candelabra in the center.   The talk show host was behind the kitchen counter thing talking to 2 other men who were preparing things with the stove and a frying pan.

Then the camera panned over to the left, and there were 3 more men and a long table draped in white sheets.   One man was lying upon it, on his stomach, his head covered in a hairnet and body mostly covered with a white sheet.  He was talking to the two other men were standing on either side of him in doctors garb complete with face masks and latex gloves.

I read the headline again and my skin started to crawl and my stomach churned acid.   I quickly pushed it away and went back to the video, desperately seeking some sort of normal explanation.  They zoomed in on the frying pan and you could see that the small amount of cooking oil that was in it was beginning to sizzle.  They panned back to the man on the table and zoomed in on where the surgeons were focusing.

At this same moment, I heard the talk show host say something about "I was just curious....."

Once more, I read the headline scrolling below.  It said:

"TV show host curious about the taste of human flesh"

And then the full Truth of what was happening hit me and I burst into sobbing tears of shock and grief.

The man on the table was donating a piece of his flesh (an audience member?), from his buttocks, to be fried in the now sizzling pan because the talk show host was curious about how it tasted.

His reason?   (do not expect a true "reasoned" answer.....)

Because he had heard a story of some plane crash survivors that lived because they had eaten the flesh of the other passengers who had died.  And he wanted to know what it tasted like.

And all of this was being shown on live TV.  

I watched as the doctor sliced a piece of the man's flesh, picked it up with a tweezers and carried it over and, with camera zoomed in, dropped it into the sizzling pan.  Then the camera zoomed out and showed the serenely smiling face of the host as he watched it cook.

These were not raving lunatics, drooling with insane eyes and babbling incoherently.

No.  These were coherent, professionally dressed men, casually discussing the process they were going through to prepare this flesh for the host to satisfy his curiosity.

On live TV.

All of this occurred in about a minute's time (before Jerry blessedly turned it off) but I think it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

I cannot even fathom the level of desensitization one must be at to even be present as an audience member or to watch something like that on TV and not be affected.   Nor the particular state of insanity one must be in, in order to plan, air and be a part of such a show.

And I sincerely hope I never do.

Dear Heavenly Father,

My heart grieves today.   And I need your comforting Presence around me.  It's one thing to know of the fallen nature of this world, but quite another to experience it so starkly.  Please do not ever let me become desensitized to such things as I fear much of the world is now becoming.  It's inconceivable to me how I used to believe this world was moving to a better place, rising to a higher state of being.  I was so, so wrong.  And so I cry tears of shock and grief at the depths that sin can twist the human nature.  It also causes me to wonder in awe at your long-suffering nature. You, who is perfect and righteous and just, to patiently wait for Your plan to come to fullness while sin/evil appears to gain the upper hand.  And also knowing that without Your restraining hand, what I saw today would be but a fraction of what fully unleashed evil would look like.

Thank You Father for your plan of redemption through your Son Jesus to save us from the inevitable dark death that sin leads to.   I am forever, and eternally grateful for this precious, precious gift.

In Jesus's Holy Name,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm back!

Well hello there again!  It's been awhile, hasn't it.  6 months, I believe.   Well, my summer happened to take off about that time and I found myself immersed in new activities I would have never dreamed I could do. I grew a garden for the first time in my life, (and was apparently quite successful according to other seasoned gardeners).  As a result, I also spent much time learning to can as well!  I actually have a pantry now stocked with home grown food!

I also spent an inordinate amount of time on my hands and knees plucking creeping charlie out of our lawn.  

 Yea, I know.  It probably began because we had one section of our yard relandscaped in order to shore up a side of our house that was vulnerable to rain water leaking in. Our yard always became a running river whenever it would rain and run right up against the house.

Well, after they relandscaped and reseeded with grass, I was amazed at the plush new carpet that grew where before it had just been scattered weeds and depleted soil.  But then I saw the remaining yard still in it's sickly looking state mostly overtaken by creeping charlie and thus began the plucking.

You may ask why I did not just napalm it all with various chemicals.  I considered it.  But after plopping down one budding warm day in June and gently prying my fingers underneath the vast network of shallow vines these ivy creepers propagate through and found how easy it was to pull them up in clumps, I decided that it was good therapy and made it a daily endeavor.  So each morning, I'd go out, attend to my garden, grapevine and other flowering beds, then I would load up my MP3 player with some inspiring sermons from pastors such as Ed Young,  Jack Graham, or Ravi Zacharius, grabbed my bucket and began plucking.

Thus ensued the BEST. SUMMER. EVER.

Prior to this, you could not find me outside doing "yardwork" for NOTHIN.  Never did a groove on my hand contain a stain of dirt nor a bead of sweat moisten my brow.   But by the end of this summer, I had permanent callouses on every pad of my palms, a tan to beat the band and muscles popping up where I didn't know I had any!   Once the plucking was complete, I realized that the soil itself (due to erosion from water runoff) was basically dead.  I needed a bunch of new dirt before I could reseed with grass.   Here again, I could have just called a contractor to haul out a bunch of it and spread it out for me. 
But instead, I found out that we had a compost place right in town (2 minute drive) where I could take all the black dirt I wanted, for free.  So pickup truck load by pickup truck load I hauled the dirt and spread it over my yard, one section at a time.  It took several weeks to complete.  I then reseeded it and spent then next 2 weeks or so after that perfecting a watering routine that allowed all areas to be covered every 36 hours.  (we had NO rain to speak of from about the 2nd week of Aug. until early Oct).  And by mid Sept. I had a lush green lawn where I had never had one before.   (sorry no pictures as I totally didn't even think about it!  And now there's snow covering it).

Depending on one's viewpoint, some may see this as just a yuppie homeowner with nothing better to do than to "Jonesy up" their property.  If you saw the state of other aspects of my home, you would definitely know this was NOT the case!  LOL!  No, this whole experience goes much deeper.  It was never about the grass, or the yard or the soil or even the weeds (although I do definitely enjoy the soft, green, weed-free blanket of plush that is now my yard).   No, what happend was from the moment I bent down to pluck that first chunk of charlie, I felt an immediate deeper connection to the Creator of those weeds than I had had up to that point.  And I wanted more of it.

The plucking became like a one long unending, joyous, intimate, very, very intimate conversation with God.  There were times when I would just stop and weep, tender tears of intimacy, as He would surround me with His presence. 
Then other times when I would be filled with awe as I pushed myself physically past where I thought I was capable, knowing that it was HIS strength that coursed through me.  He was both my cheerleader AND the adrenaline in my veins.  But mostly, it was simply an ongoing exchange where He taught me.  He would bring scripture to mind that I recently read and I would meditate on it while He revealed its meaning to me.  I learned to become oh so still inside as I asked questions and then waited for His response.  I would burst out verbally in amazement when a new revelation would come upon me. I experienced God as my Sovereign Creator and my Loving Father.  I experienced Jesus as my awesome Redeeming Savior and also my Best. Friend.  I experienced the Holy Spirit as my true Guide and source of unexplainable Joy.

And yet I know I have only begun to experience but a nano-fraction of a drop of who He really is.

What I do know is this:   He is REAL.  He is TRUE.  He is Alive!   He loves me.  He is faithful.  And He can be fully trusted.

The summer has ended, (frown) but my deepening relationship with Him has not.  And for one who usually grits her teeth through winter, this year, I'm excited to see what kinds of new things He will bring my way for us to connect through.  

Dear Father,  I pray fervently that others discover this kind of intimate relationship with You.  I pray that you illuminate their minds and hearts with the Truth of who You are.  That You would part the veil and give them even a glimpse of Your awesomeness, knowing that this one glimpse can change them for the rest of their lives and fill them with an aching desire to know You more and more.  I know so well how foreign these kinds of words felt to me before, they made no sense.  They sounded silly and cheesy when I would read or hear them.  I am still so amazed at your ability to completely awash someone with your Presence and open their eyes and ears to full understanding.  And I know it is ONLY by your revealing Presence, through the Holy Spirit, that this is accomplished.  So I pray for tender, open hearts, who may say that Your way is not theirs, but deep down, they ache for just this kind of Love.  The kind of Love only YOU can give.  The kind that says, "you do not have to do anything to earn this Love, and once you choose it, you can do NOTHING to lose it.  I give it to you freely, as a gift."   Father, I thank You deeply for Your son, Jesus, who died on the cross and made it possible for us to receive this gift.  Without this act of Love, our relationship would not be possible as you have said in Your word regarding Jesus:  I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6) and I pray that you touch the hearts of all who read these words with this Truth.

In Jesus's sweet, holy name,  Amen

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spirit vs Law

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)

Wow, it's been awhile since I posted last.  Didn't realize THAT much time had gone by.  There's been several reasons though, number one is that I was thick into getting ready for my firstborn daughter Sarah's graduation.  (tears!).  She just graduated and had her open house last weekend.  And just as she is about to discover her own experience of new freedom, I have been experiencing my own.

I have found that this journey has become so intensely personal and as wordy as I am, I really am at a loss on how to convey it.  To sum it up as succinctly as I can, I am discovering in a profound way just how free I am in Christ and what it truly means to be RELEASED from bondage, from the law (as in old testament), from this world, from sin and even from myself.   

"For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."  Romans 8:2

One of the things that this discovery came through is in my search to get baptized.  I felt the strong nudge to do so not long after my conversion but we were knee deep into winter at the time and most churches only do baptisms once or twice a year (really?????).  That surprises me actually because from my bible reading and research it seems clear that conversion and baptism go hand in hand as close together as possible.  Paul speaks with an urgency about it in his letters to the churches and John the Baptist sure had an assembly line of people parading through that river too!

Well, this spring the nudge came back with an urgency again and I called around to some churches who mostly said, in effect, here's our schedule, here's the hoops you gotta jump through and we'll get ya on the list.  Uh Uhhh.....not for me.  

So I did some deep praying and through that it was shown to me that yes, baptism is important, but it is more important to do so within the spirit of the act, not the "law" of the act.  Baptism is for the person being baptized and is not an "obligation" that is "owed" to God or an act that must be crossed off the checklist of things "good Christians must do."  It is not the act itself that does anything, rather the act is done in RESPONSE to what has already occurred.  It is an outward expression of an inward change and is done with a genuine desire to demonstrate a commitment to turn away from my old life and begin fresh and anew in a new life in Christ.  If it's done for any other reason, it means nothing.  It is also not necessary for a "professional" to baptize.  Any solid, mature Christian can baptize someone.

So once the weather FINALLY warms up consistently, I will be going down to the river we have running through our park in town and Jerry and my mother will baptize me.  My 2 girls will be present as well.  It's important to me also that it be "living waters" and not a pool or tub.

Another circumstance that further revealed to me the true meaning of being free in Christ came through some intense research I did into the Jewish/Hebrew roots of the Old Testament.  I was studying the Feasts of the Lord (also known as the "Jewish feasts") and coming to find how all of the feasts were prophetic pictures of things that were going to occur.  They were rehearsals for the eventual coming of the Messiah.  The spring feasts, right down to the minutest detail all foreshadow the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And the fall feasts are foreshadows of His second coming yet to occur.   I found this guy (Michael Rood) who had a ton of videos detailing not only the feasts but many other revelations about the old testament and also about how pagan beliefs/rituals became so entwined with Jewish/Christian ones.   For 2 weeks I was absorbed in it.  I found myself feeling like I had to make all of these big changes in my life in response to the new information I was receiving. 

Here's a link to an article that gives a very good and easy to read description of how the feasts all point to Christ.

Until one day, in one of his videos he said something that sent a shockwave through me.  He said that belief in the messiah (he never called him Christ or Savior) was not enough, one MUST follow the old testament law as well or one is not saved.  At that point, everything I had been studying from him came into question.  At the same time (like literally within an hour of me seeing this video), my sweetie Jerry sent me several links in an email that exposed Michael Rood for who he really is.  A false prophet.   I won't go into the details of all this other than to say I am now aware of a big movement where there is a push to "homogenize" all of the various religions into one. One element of this is to convince Christians to "get back to their Hebrew roots."  It's a movement that seems focused on putting the Torah (old covenant) into a more prominent position than what Christ did on the cross (new covenant).  There's a LOT I'd like to write about this whole thing but I will save it for another post.

For me, this experience showed me how EASY it is to fall out of the Spirit and start following man/the world instead of Him.  At the same time, I know He led me through all of that to find the gem that was meant just for me.  And that gem was really GETTING now what Grace really means.  How, through Christ, I am saved by GRACE and NOT works/acts or ANYTHING that I do.  It is ALL about what HE has done FOR me.   And in accepting this, I am no longer bound by ANY laws or rules or obligations.  It's not about mechanically keeping commandments etc. (although these are important, if not done in the Spirit, they mean nothing). 

Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit sayeth the Lord of Hosts."  Zach. 4:6

It is solely and completely about where HE desires to take me, no matter how kaddywompus the path looks.  I really GOT how I am FREE in this way.  So much of religion is all about the rituals and about the do's and don'ts as well as the man made traditions that become obligations on how to be a "good Christian" or "acceptable to God."  But when we are IN CHRIST (oh how I wish I could convey what I now understand this to mean) none of those things are needed.  As I follow HIM, I am fully and completely accepted BY and THROUGH Him. 

Ok, I like pictorals.  I'm going to try and create one now.

Imagine a path, with curves and bends but always moving forward in one direction.
Along this path on either side are all these tents and booths like at a carnival. 

At the head of the path is the gate where Jesus met me at my conversion.  We began to walk along this path, dancing actually, twirling and hugging and totally focused on one another.  Sometimes we will sit facing one another, foreheads touching and He reads to me from the bible.  Sometimes we stand, hugging so closely that sometimes you can't tell where one ends and the other begins.  But mostly, He takes me by the hand and we walk down the path.

At one point, I notice the tents and booths and I am curious.  I go over to one and there is a very articulate speaker speaking his wisdom of the bible and of God.  I learn a lot, but not much really "sinks in" as it is all head knowledge.  I turn to see Jesus who's patiently waiting for me back on the path.  So I go back and join Him and we continue on.

Further up the path, I spot another area that is all lit up and people are singing praises and dancing.  I rush over and join them dancing and singing and praising.   I feel so high and lifted up!   But as soon as they stop singing, I feel deflated and alone.  I look back over on the path and there is Jesus smiling at me.  I run back to join Him and immediately feel fulfilled. 

A little further on, I find a huge ornate building.  It's absolutely breathtaking.  

I find myself drawn to go inside.  There are lots of people and a huge platform at the front with ornate tables and altars.  I hear a soft humming of a choir in the background.  There is a solemness to the room.  They are doing some sort of ritual which I join them in.  I feel like I am doing something very important but am not sure what.  When it's over, they put the candles out, the choir stops humming and people leave the building.  And once again, I feel empty.

With head hanging low, I leave the building.  As I look down, I notice my own shadow.  Seeing it makes me intensely aware of myself and I sit down in it and find myself getting depressed.  

I forget all about the path and Jesus who is still standing there waiting for me to rejoin Him.   I ponder why it is I cannot seem to retain the joy I feel when I am worshiping or learning about the Word or when I am giving thanks to Him through established rituals. I'm "doing everything right" but yet I still feel empty. Further and further I sink into despair.

After an unknown amount of time, I feel someone lifting my chin up.  I look up and my eyes meet with His and instantly I am reminded of who I really am and where it is I am to go.  I cry tears of relief as He takes my hand and leads me back to the path and we begin our dance once again.  

As we are moving, I look down and realize I no longer cast a shadow, even though I am in bright light.  I look back to Him and from then on, that's all that exists.

As we continue on the path, I still see the booths and tents, however now, I look to Him to see if it is where He will have me go and if so, we go there TOGETHER, hand in hand.  And it doesn't matter if the people in the tents are whacky or if the speakers are interspersing their own idea of truth in the midst of the real Truth.  With Him at my side, I am safe and He will show me all that I need from it.  And when we go into the solemn buildings I am free to participate, or to simply observe.  I am not obligated to do ANYTHING unless His spirit fills me with a desire to do so.  

And as I walk in this way with Christ, IN Christ, I am seen by the Father at all times as acceptable to Him. 

I'm aware this is a simplified allegory.  I know there are other aspects of the walk I have not focused on here but I tell it the way I did to emphasize how keeping my focus on HIM and abiding IN HIM completely frees me to walk into any situation or through any circumstance without doubt or fear or any sense of obligation or requirements.    It is through intimacy and communion with Him that my life is immeasurably enriched and becomes immeasurably pleasing to Him.

Abba (daddy), may my life always reflect your Joy, your delight and your blessings.  I love you.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

This is what God feels like

I get so busy/obsessed sometimes trying to describe the things I've learned and been experiencing these past 5 months but words just often don't convey well at all.  I know that it is the Holy Spirit that does the true talking and I'd like to invite you to hear Him speak today.   So sit back, relax, turn up your speakers and see if you can feel the moment that His Holy Presence fills this arena. (hint, it is not necessarily when things are loud)!

I am also including another video that comes right after this one in the concert.  This is Michael W. Smith.

I'd like to include one more video in honor of the people I have treasured who have moved on from my life.  You will always be in my heart and my door will always be open. I love you.

Father, I pray that you pour your Spirit over all who view these videos so that they can feel your Loving Presence.  I pray that there is an openness for You to be revealed and to speak directly to their heart.  Words alone are not enough, it is Your convicting touch that changes lives.  It did mine and I pray for the same to all those I have called friend.  Thanks be to You dear Lord for all that You have done, are doing and will do. 
In Your Holy name I pray,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Grand Lie

All iniquity against the Sovereign God in all of history, even back to the beginning, can be brought down to one statement:

"I can be like God."

Consider this statement:

"For you have said to yourself, I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars (angels).  I will preside on the mountain (kingdom)of the (lesser) gods (rulers of Earth) far away in the north.  I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High."  Isaiah 14: 13-14
At the beginning of time, this statement was uttered by one of most beautiful, most radiant of all God's created beings.  He was called "light bearer."  

His name, was Lucifer.

Exalting and glorifying self, even unto the likes of God IS the origins of all iniquity in the world.  All throughout history and even into today, this rebellion/turning away can be seen, where humanity has decided that he/she alone is the determiner of his/her destiny, he/she alone is the source of his/her own power.  And that he/she alone can resolve their own dualistic conflicts and move beyond their own limited state of being.

It is a lie.  A grand lie.  THE grand lie. 

Free will is an immeasurably awesome gift, but one that must be treated with the utmost of respect and used with the utmost of wisdom. 

It behooves us to choose wisely.

Father, I pray that those who read this come to the realization that self and You are not one and the same.  And that they cannot elevate themselves unto You. Over and over, from the beginning of time, You have shown us that climbing the stairway to Heaven on our own efforts leads to nothing but destruction and failure. Lucifer’s proclamations of “I will” says it all.  It is not possible to will ourselves into Your Peace, Your Joy and Your Love.  And it is certainly not possible for us to become those things ourselves.  Choosing YOU as God keeps one in communion with You forever and ever.  Choosing self as god keeps one separated from You forever and ever.  I pray all who read this choose You.

In Your most Holy name I pray,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Time out to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Oh today is just one of those days I wanna sing a little ditty and dance a little goofy because I so love the Lord!!!  Oh how different was my sight before He came to me.  Oh how much more I understand and see now that He has!   It is so, so true that He cannot be fully understood without the touch of His Spirit.  Words are just words until they are brought to life by His illuminating Presence.  So so so so different than who I thought He was before!!!  I was so limited in my understanding, in my mind, trying to figure it all out, thinking I knew.  Being a Christian, SO not about religion, not a set of rules, and sooooo not mundane or dire or limiting!!!   It is all about the RELATIONSHIP!   Deep, intimate, solid, abiding, continuously revealing, amazingly awe inspiring, JOYFUL, reverent (OH so reverent), gentle, overflowing and oh so sosososososososoosos Loving.  Like nothing else!!!!   It is in the relationship that I am renewed, retooled, given a new mind and a new heart, no longer relying on my own understanding but rather am able to see from His perspective. My will IS His will simply by the abiding nature of the relationship!!  My desire to praise Him, to be close to Him, to know Him is what brings it all into alignment.  I simply Love and worship Him and He does the rest!!   PURE HEAVEN!!!!! 

And it is this that has me dancing with utter joy today.  It's just so so so so wonderful, everything He has done, everything He is doing and everything He will do.  AMEN!!!!!!

So I dance on my tippy toes, and hum and whistle a little tune and shake my head about in a silly goofy way because I feel FREE and LIGHT and FULFILLED!!!  I shall not want, indeed!!!! 

Oh sweet, loving, complete, unchangeable, reliable, intimately personal Lord I pray that your Spirit pour out to overflowing on all who are seeking You, who don't know your purifying and clarifying touch, who crave it but don't know what it is they are truly craving.  Find those doors that you have knocked on that have opened even the SLIGHTEST crack and SHOWER the annointing oil of Your blessed Presence from the top of their head to the tips of their toes and let them SEEEEEE  just how free they can be in Your Light, Your Truth and Your Love. 

Hallelujahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!  Hallelujahhhhhhhhhhh!!!   Holy Holy Holy is Your Name!!!!  I praise You, I praise You today and for all of eternity.  AMEN!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A time of reflection and a declaration

When I began this blog, it was because I wanted to shout to the world about this fantastically wonderful thing that has happened to me.  I've always been this way.   Whenever I discover something new, a new understanding, a new insight, I want to tell everyone and I usually do so, quite enthusiastically.  My friends have been such a blessing to me over the years for putting up with my many exhuberant (and usually long winded) expressions.

However, besides just wanting to express my passion, part of my (at first unconscious) motivation in doing so was because I also wanted to find validation from others in how I felt.  It wasn't enough that I felt the way I did, I needed others to do so as well. I wanted to be accepted and having others agree with me is how I measured that acceptance. Many times, others did agree as I was often told I am a convincing speaker, however,  if others didn't agree with my view, I would begin to doubt myself and I would find myself modifying my perceptions to more closely match theirs.  

But when this revelation to beat all revelations happened last November, I was so profoundly affected that I could hardly speak at all, at least not in a way that I could coherently and accurately convey what was happening to me.  I'm not used to that and it was frustrating! I tripped over my own tongue a lot in the few conversations I had with friends at that time.  So when God encouraged me to write it out in the form of this blog, I didn't hesitate to put my fingers to this keyboard and just start typing and typing and I didn't pick them up until I had gotten it all out. 

In doing so, what came out was raw and unedited and unfortunately, upset several people in my life who most decidely did not agree with what I have shared here.  Part of what was objected to is the WAY in which I refer to my previous beliefs (their beliefs) which was seen as negative and dismissive.  In a few instances, I agree. It is one thing for me to no longer agree with those beliefs, but another for me to belittle them.  I feel that there were several posts where I crossed that line and for that, I publically apologize. 

But in the rest of the posts, my expressions of disagreement simply come from the fact that what I believed before is fundamentally at odds with what I now hold to be true.  By their very nature, they cannot both be true at the same time. I thought that this would be self evident but maybe it's not.  And now I find myself in a position where I am challenged to stand firm without compromise on what I know to be true, even if it means I will not be accepted or validated.  To proclaim and declare this wonderful revelation even if nobody else is there to listen.  This is definitely new territory for me.

But because of my profound love for God and what He Himself, by His Grace, has so amazingly revealed to me, I declare, without hesitation and with a commitment I have never before had, the following statements of what I hold to be Truth:

1. There is one Supreme God who is much greater than I. 

2. I was separated from God because of sin.  And I could not, in my own power, rectify this separation.

3. There is an eternal heaven and hell and the sole/soul purpose of free will is to choose one or the other (my will vs His will).  

4.  It is ONLY through acknowledging the work that Jesus did on the cross, His death and ressurection that paid the price for my sin, that I am able to be reconciled with God.

5.  The bible is the complete Word of God and contains the absolute Truth.

Before Nov 11th, 2010, these words felt repulsive and cold to me.  I rejected them because of their seemingly narrow, conditional and limited nature as well as the fact that it would mean that I was not at all in control of my own life.  In addition, it meant that I was not actually connected with God and I certainly felt I had had experiences up to that point that told me I was.

I was SO wrong......

It was not until this experience and in the days since, that I realized the VAST difference between what I thought being connected was and what it truly is.  There is simply no comparison.  And now, I see these statements above as some of the most beautiful, unconditionally loving and grace-filled words I could ever, ever hear. 

In the next few blog posts, I would like to express why I feel this is so. 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you.  Thank you for opening my eyes and ears to the Truth of your words.  Thank you for the Grace of your Presence that illuminated my heart and soul with their full meaning.  You are a most amazing, awesome, loving, caring Father who took care of every single detail in my life so that I would be guided to the moment that I surrendered to your most perfect Love.  Your Loving Presence not only convicted me of my true nature without you, in sin, but poured out the Truth to me of your most wonderous and loving solution, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that I could truly be connected with You.  A gift that even a lifetime of contemplating could never be fully understood.   And for as long as I live, I will speak of this Gift and the unfathomable Love you demonstrate through the giving of it.  With every breath I take, I will exhale praises to You as it is my Joy to do so.  Even unto my last day, in my last breath, as I transition into your full Presence, I will sigh... "I Love You."   Amen.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I SHALL be moved

It is no small thing when the Creator of all things moves through your soul.  

He, that created every star in every galaxy in every corner of the unfathomable universe.  He that spoke the world we live in into existence.  He that formed the ant and the elephant, the grain of sand and the tallest mountain, the cloverleaf and the redwood tree.  

He that did all of these magnificent and incomprehensible things......

Is the same One who comes upon me now like the force of a mighty wind, yet with the gentlest of sighs as He whispers His Love through my being.  

This God who commands all of Creation with just the sound of His mighty voice, is the same Who caresses me softly in the enveloping arms of His graceful Presence.

And when in pain, confusion, and feeling loss as I was today, He came to me, in a way that He knew I could not  He came on the lilting voices of the singers I happened to flip the channel to on TV.   It was a replay of an unforgettable moment in the history of these 2 singers on stage.  One of those moments where what would normally have been just another performance of singing praise to God, turned into a very real and powerful movement of the Holy Spirit through them and everyone in the room.  I was transfixed, but closed.  Tears taunted the corners of my eyes but I would not let them out.   I was too deep in the confusion over the dichotomy of this profound conviction I have experienced and the pain of how it is changing relationships in my life.

But God pursued me anyway.  He came before me, and gently uncrossed my arms, He enveloped me in His Presence which felt like He was cradling my soul. 

WHAT IS THIS LOVE that I can hardly fathom!  That can so easily soften the porcupine prickles I erect around my heart when I am feeling hurt.  No one or thing has EVER been able to affect me so!  I have no defense from this Love.  He knows me so well and knows exactly what to do and what to say so that I will let down my walls and let Him in. 

I never knew that profound peace could co-exist with pain.  That in that pain, I could have perfect clarity that all was well.  And not just BELIEVE that it is well, but KNOW so because in His Grace, He shows me plainly why it is so.  

It is through this experience that I see the Truth of how His Glory is revealed through our trials and struggles.  And in doing so, it draws me ever closer to Him and reminds me that this Omniscient mighty God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, is also a personal God who is intimately in relationship with me.  

I am moved.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A spontaneous prayer

Dear Jesus,

I love you so much.  So, so much.  And I've hardly even begun to know who You are!  It still feels a bit awkward praying to You because I'm such a perfectionist with my words.  And I don't want to say the wrong thing.  But I keep getting the message that I can just spill it out like You are my bro or a friend whom I've known all my life.  So here it goes.....

I keep thinking about how much things have changed in the last 2 months.  It still blows me away, how complete this conviction is.   How real it is.  More real than anything I have ever, ever experienced in my life.  How easy it is for me to think of You, to speak Your name, to feel Your presence, to know with absolute certainty that You are who the bible says You are.  Even when my mind gets going and I'm off in a hamster wheel of questions and judgments and frustrations, the conviction remains, and when I stop, for just a moment to remember that, everything else falls away.  I feel like I am home. 

I think one thing I have underestimated though, is the impact that this would all have on the people around me.  The change within me is so complete, that I cannot even remember thinking/feeling the way I did before.  So when I express from this new place, I find that others are surprised and sometimes downright shocked and I don't blame them.  I am not who they knew me to be.   And I don't know what to do with that.  I don't know what to say other than what I have already said in the previous pages of this blog.  I have to admit, Jesus, this part of the change really sucks.  :(

However, my desire to grow in You is powerful and immense.  I've never known a desire so strong nor a commitment so deep.  Even when I am feeling weak, sad or just plain distracted, it is there, burning deep within me.  It overwhelms me sometimes because when I pause long enough to really focus on You, it grows and grows and grows and I am filled and filled and filled until I think I am going to explode.  It spills over in my tears of gratitude and joy at just Your presence, so full and alive and real!  I have so longed for this all my life and looked for it in so many ways that I still find myself flabbergasted that I have found it, in YOU!   It is so freeing and exhilarating and such a RELIEF to know that I no longer have to drift on the winds of uncertainty and the empty illusions of the world but instead, I can plant my roots firmly in the rock solid foundation of your Love and Truth and grow as You have always meant for me to. 

But as You have said, it will not always be easy.  You have asked me to trust and become more vulnerable than I ever have in my life.  Writing this blog, letting go of very special relationships, facing longstanding intimacy issues that scare the dickens out of me, learning to remain quiet when everything in me wants to scream out my defense/excuse/justification,  and don't even get me started on learning patience.  :smile:   Let's just say, I wouldn't do all this for just anyone!  :silly grin: 

But I know it's worth it.  You are worth every heartache, every loss, and every challenge I experience.  Because I trust You.  I trust You to fulfill the promises You have made.  And because I love You.  I love You so much, I ache.  I have never felt a Love like that ever.  So it's all worth it. 

If I have one prayer, it is that the Love I have found in You be made visible to everyone around me.  That your Love would shine so brightly through me that they, too, would know who You are, or if they have forgotten You, that they remember once again, and come home to You.  More than anything else, I pray for this.

Dear Jesus, personal friend, most Glorious Lord, Wonderful Counselor, You hold the reins to my life, and I remain, perpetually surrendered to Your will.

In Your most holy name, I pray.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Create in me a new heart

I think I now know why non-Christians sometimes get disillusioned with what it means to be a Christian.  The way it is so often portrayed is a person who has been filled with the Holy Spirit and saved by God's grace then goes on to have "all of their cares taken away" and their life becomes a happily ever after.  This is most often not true.

The reality is (and many true Christians know this) is that after the initial "glow" of conversion fades, life, in fact, can get much more difficult.  The biggest difference is, I know this difficulty has purpose and that I am NOT alone in it, even if I feel alone.

This is what I have been going through lately.  And today, I feel led to put it into words.     

Some of the difficulty has been from external things:  car and house maintenance issues, issues with my boss/job, old friends continuing to leave,  not being able to find a suitable new connection for fellowship (reached out to two house churches in my area with no response).  But most of the difficulty has been internal.   

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to be in control, to micromanage, to orchestrate my desired outcome for a situation.  My way is usually the "only right way."  And when I perceive being wronged, I generally let people know in no uncertain terms how I feel about that.  I'm also a perfectionist intent on doing something right the FIRST time.   And when virtues were being passed out, patience was NOT the one that was handed to me.

I thought that, over the years, I had learned to overcome, or at least, manage um....traits.  But given my experiences of the last month or so, you sure wouldn't know it.  Those dragons have blazed their way through the flimsy artificial covering I had on them to let me know they are most definitely still alive and well.  And I have been feeling incredibly helpless in the midst of it all.

So this is what the crazy wheel I've been spinning on looks like: 

I have an overwhelming desire to love and serve God, to get to know Jesus personally more and more.  I have these dragons that rear up and shred any attempts I make to demonstrate (both in my thinking and in my actions) this desire in my life,  I feel like crap for letting God/Jesus down, I double up my efforts/resolve to "do things right", I fail miserably once again (usually within 5 minutes of renewing my resolve) and then I throw my hands up in frustration and despair.   I then remind myself how the whole point is that I CAN'T do it myself and to surrender my will and let God do it, but then I feel so incredibly unworthy of letting Him in and then I realize that by feeling that, I am denying the work that Jesus did on the cross and so I redouble my efforts to fight the lies going through my head by countering it with Truth and then my mind retaliates and I fail miserably again and fall into despair.......and........

Yea, you get the idea.

I feel humbled, hollowed out, and like I'm being broken like a wild stallion.  Every time I want to get up and run away, or look aside or cover my eyes, I'm brought right back around told to be still.  And in the process, I am reminded over and over and over again why I need Him. 

Surrendering one's will to God is an every moment of the day act.  

And it can't be done perfectly.  (hmmff)
And it can't be done on my terms. (grrr)
And I can not just rush through the process (argh)
And it does not mean that those old traits just magically disappear (sigh...).

And I think the hardest one of all for me to truly and fully accept is that He absolutely loves me and there is not one darned thing I can do to either earn that Love.......or lose it.  (tears.......)

God promised to create in me a new spirit and a new heart. 

I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.                 Ezekiel 36:26 

It appears He's most definitely in the process of doing just that.