Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity...

There are many in the church who exclude seekers outside of their personal denominations. God came to set the captives free and bind the broken hearted. The Word was made flesh and is The Truth. When we allow the spirit of religion to make Jesus Christ a "members only" club we are following the enemy and not Christ's example. He sought out the lost (in and out of the church) and taught them the Truth regardless of their current belief system. We limit our God and His love for His people when we call anyone who teaches to those who are lost (in and out of the church) false teachers. 
We must be discerning but not blinded by the enemy. We must listen to the Spirit's prompting and obey Him even when it is to teach or (oh my word perform a miracle/healing etc) to a or on a "heathen". Christ's love is not exclusive. He died and was resurrected that NONE should perish. Our bible studies and churches should be clear in their teaching of the Gospel but be teaching it to ALL people. The Word will not go void. If a teacher is teaching His Word and The Gospel as the only way to the One True God then The WORD and the HOLY SPIRIT will do the work and move those who have been misled or misinformed and/or blinded into TRUTH.
So often we operate out of fear that somehow these outsiders will infect our churches and we will be overtaken and destroyed. Our God is bigger than that and we do NOT have to operate out of fear. Christ wasn't scared (even as a child) to walk into the temple and teach. He didn't tell those seeking truth that because they were misinformed and lied to that they were not welcome to sit at His feet. 
Yes- we must be pressing into the Holy Spirit for guidance and direction. Yes- we must guard against false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing but, we must do so with His heart and His love for His people not out of the spirit of fear and religion. Those spirits would have us believe that God isn't wise enough or strong enough to move those hearts without us actively pointing out their sin and making them "see" the light first before inviting them into our house. Those spirits cause disunity.
We have been given a trust to guard and He will guard it through us as we do our job. If we are armed with His Word (sword), pray without ceasing for wisdom, look for His fruit and consistency of His character in the teaching, be mindful that we fight against powers and principalities not flesh and blood and hold fast to the Truth that He is fully capable of revealing Himself to ALL people; we can rest in His perfect love and embrace the fact that He will not fail us or lead us astray.
"Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:14-17

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Come Forth

So much has happened since I last took the time to write here.  I would love to write all about it but that's not what God has put on my heart today (maybe another time).
I have been learning so much and I still have so much more to learn.  It is amazing how Jesus continues to sanctify and refine us!  His love is unending and all encompassing! Christ's heart is that we communicate with Him and allow Him to communicate with us.  He speaks today just as He has spoken since the beginning of time.  He wants a relationship!  That's a two way street- a ping pong game - a dance that requires a partner. Listening and speaking back and forth, back and forth. 
As I sat and stared at Mt. Adams this weekend, I listened to the wind moving through the tree tops and a thought came to me.  The roar of that wind, that bellowing sound, was Christ's Mercy and Grace for His people!  I desperately want to stay in that roar and feel that wind move around me and through me.  I want to let that power remove the shackles on my soul and heal my brokenness. My Savior yearns to heal me, to bind my broken heart and free me from captivity.  He delights in saving me from the schemes of the Enemy!  He is my Warrior King!  He is my Playful and All Knowing Father!  He is my Forever Friend and my One True Love!
I asked Him in that moment of inspiration, "What do you say about me Lord? About us-Your Beloved Bride? How do you see us? Me?"
His answer was gentle but truthful and a story started to unfold in my mind. 
Jesus is standing at the tomb of His dear friend Lazarus.  Tears and wailing all around Him.  His heart breaking for His friends and the pain of death.  In that moment of suffering, He speaks- "Open the tomb."  Shocked that He would open a grave with a rotting and stinking corpse lying in it, the people balked.  They could not understand it.  They didn't want to be forced to come face to face with that stench of death!  That rot and decay! 
"Do you want to see the glory of God?", He said.  They acquiesced. 
More Words were spoken- "Lazarus, come forth." 
A man bound up with his burial clothes stumbles out of the darkness,  he can not believe it!  He is ALIVE!  He feels the sun on his wrappings and he heard his name called out by his good friend.  His friend is the One!  Messiah!  Glory! Glory!  But he is still bound.  He can not see clearly, speak freely, hear easily.  He shuffles about as he tries to walk toward his Liberator. He is desperate to run to His Friend and hold Him tightly but he is restrained by the bindings of death. 
As I watched this story play, I heard Christ gently say- "That is my Bride.  Alive in Me but still hanging on to her burial clothes.  Still clinging to what she is familiar with and not allowing the story to finish.  She wants to see me, speak with me, hear me, run to me and hold on to me but she can't fully because she is bound up by what I wanted to remove."
Then another story began. 
Another tomb appeared but this one was already opened and empty.  It was used but only for a short time.  In it were burial clothes however, these were neatly folded on the slab.  These were removed and left in the grave.  They were not needed anymore because Life had found a way from the grave.
Again I heard Him speak, "The end of the story with Lazarus was me saying unbind him and let him go!  Just as I left Death's burial clothes in my tomb- my Bride must leave her bindings behind as well.  She will finally see, speak, hear, run and hold me unencumbered if she follows my command to unbind herself and let herself go.  I AM a Safe Refuge. I AM a Good Father!  I AM her Liberator!"
Rise up Church and Unbind Yourself from the wrappings of death!  Your Father, Your Bridegroom waits to speak with you. To dance with You. To sing over and with you.  His embrace waits for you.  His heart breaks for you as you stumble in the darkness. As you act as though you are still a slave to death when He has redeemed you and given you His victorious Spirit to live in you.  You still believe the lies of the Enemy instead of your Messiah's Truth! You still wear your burial clothes- rotten and stinky clothes.  You call yourselves "only human". That is not the attire of a Bride.  That is not the new name He has given you.  That is a lie of the Enemy! 
Come Forth. Unbind and let go!  You are forgiven!  You are loved! You are infused with life giving power! You are chosen!  You are enough just how I created you!  You are ALIVE! You are MINE!  I AM my beloved's and my desire is for you, my Bride! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012- Amazing or Insane?

Wow! It has been a long time since I have had time to sit and write. As I pondered this, I realized just how busy 2012 was for me. So, I thought I would make a list of all my "jobs" for the year and when I begin to wonder why my head is spinning (because 2013 looks to be just as amazing) I can re-read this post and remind myself of what it is I actually do.

Here it goes- I was a mother to 9, Nana to 1 and wife to 1. I grew a baby, pushed him out in February and nursed him exclusively until September. I couponed, planned deals, shopped the deals and shopped for the normal food and household needs weekly. I planned the meals and helped cook them. I learned more about nutrition and how to feed us cheaper and healthier. I prayed. I planned the lessons, field trips and taught the lessons for children PreK through Sophmore in high school. I doctored the sick. I juggled the budget and paid the bills. I dealt with insurance companies and filed the claims. I ran the kids to church outings, appointments and play dates. I scheduled and planned all the birthdays and holidays (gifts, parties, dinners and all). I scheduled and dressed everyone for family photos and got them to the shoot on time (and only cried twice). I ordered and sent the Christmas cards. I co-taught High School Sunday School and made sure donuts were there every week. I led a High School Girls Bible Study of Esther. I organized and purchased the food for our Youth group. I co-led the JR/SR High Girls Youth group. I sang at a church on Easter. I counseled and mediated many squabbles and arguments. I talked late into the night with my teen girls in angst and for fun. I cared for my mother after 2 different surgeries. I committed to be part of a new church start and started meeting weekly to prepare for that in 2014. I trained and prepared for my husband and oldest daughter to go to Mexico for 2 weeks during which I cared for a friend after his hospital stay for 3 weeks. I watched my loved ones crash and burn and praised the Lord when they started in the right direction. I prayed without ceasing. I cleaned the house and did the laundry. I trained our children some more and prayed again. I planned and packed for a family vacation in Redmond. I played with my kids and went to dinner with my husband. I slept sometimes. I prayed a lot and I LOVED my family.

I am sure some things are missing but for the most part that sums it up. I have great helpers and I could not do anything without my husband and our children acting as a team. It was an exciting year with many ups and downs. Heartaches and joys. A year that was, as usual, busy but BLESSED.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Infectious Joy!

Can joy ever be an infectious virus with no known cure- an infection that draws the lost and hurting to a Savior who wants to fill them with His joy and also renews the discouraged Believer? Can we as a broken sinful people ever hope to be so full of joy that we could be that vessel. That Patient Zero?

The Bible states that our joy can be made full in Him when we abide in Him (John 15:11). The Greek word used for "made full " is pleroo which means: to render full, i.e. to complete. Its further definition is even more enlightening: to fill to the top; so that nothing shall be wanting, to full measure, fill to the brim, to receive fulfilment. God wants us to be in perfect unity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in order to experience the same joy They experience as They abide in eachother as One. Christ said that since His joy is in us that our joy will be made full. I am not saying we are God or could ever be God. We are still that broken, sinful people in need of salvation and renewal. But we do have the ability to live lifes in victory through His joy. Our joy is found in Him, in His Word, in His commands, in His people, in His Holy Spirit. As our character grows and we reflect Him, regardless of our circumstances, our joy becomes infectious.

I want Christ to make my joy pleroo. When I imagine what that looks like I am forced to think outside of the box of the natural. I have to look outside of myself and the mundane. I am forced to think of the amazing! I have to focus on Jesus Christ and His promises and of my eternal home with Him in Heaven. Now if that doesn't get your "joyful" juices flowing! So let's be JoyFULL together! Let's be that Infection of the Holy Spirit! Let's share our experience, Strength and Hope who is our Messiah!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello God- You there?

Do you ever feel like God is just not quite all the way there? Like you are on the outside of His plan looking in and just can't quite get there? Or maybe you know He's there but feel like you are not?  That describes me lately.

It's not that I don't know He is real and that He is involved in my life. I know all that- I have experienced it first hand but, sometimes I am just not on the inside of the "God circle". I hate it!  What have I done to get there? I know it's not God's problem. So here comes the evaluation of my spiritual state - the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, am I doing the basics? Reading my Bible, praying daily, confessing known sin, worshipping in all circumstances and gathering with other believers. Usually I can see that one of these disciplines have slipped. But what if I check them all off?  What if I am doing all these things but its still Dry Gulch City?  Am I just a loser? Has God had enough of me? Get behind me Satan! No way! So now what?

Well, I have learned that life is life and sometimes it is just a plain desert. It's like driving through Oregon really. You leave the beautiful coastline and you drive over that awesome coast range to reach a lush valley. You want to rest there and soak in the green fields with their rich bounty but you see those majestic Cascades and you have a destination to arrive at so you keep moving. You go over those mountains and you find an almost immediate change in the terrain with sage brush and dry grass. Its different but just as striking. However, it's a desert. A place that can be unforgiving and scary if you are not prepared. You persevere and drive on towards your final destination and slowly the trees change, the grasses get a little greener and the animals seem friendlier. All this time the desert seemed endless but you knew that if you kept on going and didn't quit it would get greener.  I don't know about you but I love to visit the desert country if I am well stocked in the vitals. I would hate to be stuck out there unprepared and vulnerable.

I guess that is the difference between my deserts of old and my new deserts today. When I reach my dry spells I am better prepared. I am doing my disciplines and I don't quit  - I am prepared and not as vulnerable to the wiles of the Enemy.  That's not to say I have it down. I still have a lot to learn but what I do have is a faithful God that has given me all I need to be prepared to follow His road map through mountain ranges, lush valleys and dry deserts. I will get to my final destination and it will be Heaven and I will be more like my Savior and less like myself! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jesus Christ - Our Messiah - Has Risen!

As Spring approaches, creation begins to show us how to cry "Hallelujah!" to our Creator! The flowers bloom, the birds sing, the breezes turn warmer and the sun shines a little more often.  It is a glorious time! How divine that God set it up that His Son would show all His glory at that same time of year.

Jesus Christ died a horrific death on the cross as a final sacrifice for our sins. His death, His blood on that cross, paid our debt so that we could live in Heaven forever with Him. As Christ shared the Passover meal with His disciples, He paints an amazing picture of salvation through blood and freedom for the captives. Just as the Israelites were prisoners in Egypt, we are prisoners held captive by our sin. Just as God provided Israel protection from the Spirit of Death on Passover through the spilling of a spotless, unbroken lamb's blood; so we are provided that same gift- death has no sting- because of Christ's blood shed for us. No bone was broken, no sin ever committed- He was/is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What an incredible gift! A mind blowing free gift!

Who is this amazing Savior? This Redeemer who loves His people even when they rebel and reject The One who created them? This is OUR God! This is our Passover Lamb. He is our Messiah! He is risen from the dead and He is LORD!

This Easter, this Resurrection Sunday, we are able to celebrate the fulfillment of the Passover through Christ's death and resurrection. We get to share with all those hungry, Spirit-starved people about the freedom that Christ has given each one of us! By His power and His Holy Spirit we can show His passion for His people through our love for His people! We have been given an incredible undeserved gift! We have the Holy Spirit residing in us - a power that defeats ALL sin, ALL pain, ALL bondage! How can we not share that freedom with this enslaved world? It is selfish, self-absorbed and disobedient to keep this miracle to ourselves.

This Passover and Resurrection Sunday we have the opportunity to share the Good News to the lost (they are dying to hear about and experience this Furious Love). These are special days where we can encourage the Believer to keep the faith and continue to follow where the Holy Spirit leads. Yes, all days should be used for this- it is our job as Believers to share Messiah and His love with the world- but on these days, during this season, people expect it. The Enemy will do anything to stop us from praying to, sharing about, loving through and obeying our King but we are more than overcomers and we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. We can because Christ did it all on the cross and rose from the dead to prove it to us.

I'm feeling a serious "Hallelujah!" coming on. Knowing that I serve THE Risen Lord, that I am redeemed in spite of my failures, knowing that He loves me more than I will ever comprehend on this planet. Wow! Now, guess what? He feels the same way about you too! Say Hallelujah with me and go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ, The Messiah, has risen from the dead for you and me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enlightment Beyond the Confines of Scripture

Enlightenment beyond the confines of Scripture. These words buzz in my ear. I can't seem to shake them out. They are like that annoying mosquito that you keep swatting at but it never really goes away. We hear them from those "enlightened" prophets that espouse to "know" more than the average religious schmuck, from the world that has many "ways" to a god and heaven and from those who don't like the alternative.  Well, is this true? Is there "enlightenment" beyond what Jehovah and Messiah have inspired in Scripture? Can we know "more"? Does scripture really mean what we think, or are told, it means?

There are many buzz words that are batted around; many truths, many paths, freedom from judgement, spirituality vs religion. So, I decided to become "enlightened". I googled "many paths" and this is what I found in a nut shell:

            *All people should be allowed to walk their own path without control or judgement
            *Paths change and grow
            *You must open your mind to the limitless possibilities of your full potential and what the Universe is waiting to tell you
            *Everything you need to know is within yourself - you just need to let go and listen
            *If it feels good- go with it, allow yourself (the inner you) to flow
            *It doesn't matter what others think- this is Your path
            *Awakenings will occur when you reach a certain level in your spiritual development
            *There is no right or wrong and it varies from person to person
            *Heaven is what we create here and beyond
            *Hell is not a real place- it is a state of mind

This certainly sounds "enlightened".  If you listen to many folks in the spotlight (Oprah, Dr. Oz and even some Christian leaders) you will hear many of these same ideas. These basic tenants can be found throughout the Universalist's Creed- although they go by many names. I was raised singing a song called I am Good to Me.  When I met my husband he sang a song with the same tune called the Johnny Appleseed song.
My song:                                                                           
          I am good to me                                                            
          And so I thank myself                                                  
          For giving me the opportunity                                      
          To be myself and feel so free                                       
          Oh I am good to me                                                      
I was taught that I am the center of the universe and that my happiness was the priority. I was to help others because it felt good and that was the way that the Universe spoke to us- through our feelings. I was the one who controlled my destiny by my thought life and what I put out in the Universe was what I would receive.  True freedom was to be at one with the Universe and allow others to find their own path as they saw fit. All paths lead to the same Awakening.

This way of living is pointless. It is void of meaning, significance and direction. It teaches selfishness. it teaches you to rely on feelings instead of a constant set of absolutes to guide your behavior. Its reasoning is circular.  Its premise is that we are born basically good and that our initial desire is to do good. That it is the opposite of the observable evidence of human nature. How long do you have to watch a child before you realize that their first instinct is not concerned with the greater good?

Why should enlightenment stay within the confines of Scripture? Because, unlike an impersonal Universe, Jehovah (a very personal Creator) inspired the Scriptures to teach the opposite. The Scriptures were created to rid us of the chains of selfishness and embrace a yolk of righteousness. Scripture is NEVER about self it is ALWAYS about Him. It is NEVER about slavery but ALWAYS about freedom. It is NEVER about feeling good it is ALWAYS about doing good regardless of how we feel. It is NEVER about being me it is ALWAYS about becoming more like Him. Within these confines is true freedom.

Finally, I wanted to look up the Greek of John 14:6. I have heard many say that Christ never claimed to be the Only Way and that John 14:6 is misunderstood. So, let us look at how the Greeks translated this verse from the Hebrew.
                  I am the way (way is a verb that means a properly travelled way like a path) and the truth (truth is a noun that means in reality, in fact, the truth) and the life (life is a noun that means life); no one (no one means no one, not one) comes (comes is a verb that means to come) to the Father (Father is a masculine noun which means Father God) but through (through is a preposition that denotes an act of going through) me. In short, it means exactly what it says.

Jehovah is purposeful in His choice of words. He has a very personal message for each of us. His Way is the only Way and His Way is the best Way. I have lived on both sides and the joy I experience within the confines of Scripture is sustainable and immeasurable. It agrees with the natural and produces the supernatural. Messiah said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. Messiah never lies.