Exposed

Have you ever felt … exposed?  I’m talking where your conscience is screaming at you and it feels like your flaws are simply … out there … as though everyone else can see your flaws too?  Of course, I attribute much of this to having the Holy Spirit which is like having a conscience that is magnified 100x.  Having been through some things, I’ve learned to appreciate that hypersensitivity, but other times, it leaves me feeling pretty … vulnerable.

There’s always those times when we mess up, right?  Oddly, those are the moments where it’s easier to just shoo the voice away.  You simply fess up, repent, and move on.  But then there’s those other times.  Those other times when maybe stress has been mounting and time and time again, you have really done your best to do it God’s way and you’ve done pretty well, but are getting pretty fatigued from the battle.  It seems as though there is no end in sight to the endless barrage.

Then … BAM!  It happens.  The straw that broke the camels back.  You find yourself in a situation where you just give in to the battle.  These are the moments where you are tired of trying to do it right.  The moments where you are tired of the fight.  The moments you are tired of missing the victory.  The moments where you are tired of taking the short end of the stick and giving in and seeing the enemy win.  The moment where you are just tired of being tired.  So you cave.  You cave to the anger, the hurt, the pity … to all the ugly emotions that have been pounding to get into your dwelling place.

Ugh!  I hate these moments.  These are the moments that sneak up on you and make you deal with stuff that you have been doing a pretty good job at dodging.  These are the moments that make you … gulp … fess up and confront how you really feel about stuff.  The anger, the resentment, the mounting bitterness .. it’s all swimming around in your head now.  If you are one of the lucky ones, Jesus keeps you from acting out on those feelings.  This is the very place that Satan has been trying to take you and now, you’re there.

I’d love to tell you that there is a magic formula to get out of these situations, but unfortunately, there isn’t.  All I know is that when God has gotten me in these moments, I can’t always say that I’m proud of how I respond.  It’s in those moments where I feel like Paul … ‘oh wretched man that I am.’  It’s like being in a current of ugliness that even though I know I’m wrong, there’s no simple switch to flip and turn it off .

Up until that time, I felt like, ‘Cool!  I got this.  I’m good.  I know God’s brought me through some things, but that’s okay … it’s all good.  I know it’s gonna’ be okay.’  But now, it’s like, ‘This sucks.  I was trying to do it HIS way and now THIS?’  I could go on, but if you’ve had any Christian walk at all, you get what I’m talking about.  And the worst part is that you feel like you can’t say anything because you KNOW you are in the wrong spirit.  UGH!!!  The insanity of walking the walk!

For me, this wrestling continues until finally, I break and begin to puke all over God.  NOOOO!!  This isn’t what I wanted to do!  But out it comes … all the hurt, the anger, the mounting bitterness, and list of unfair things you’ve been dealing with.  Some people feel better after puking.  Not me.  I feel sick for the next 3 days.  Man.  I just gave a bunch of crap to God.  I don’t think I blamed Him, but honestly, I was angry with Him and I’m not even sure that’s allowed and now .. Great!!  I’ve messed up again.  Sigh …. ever feel like you just aren’t going to get it right?

My  husband, he’s different.  He can get mad, blow up, then 5 minutes later he has a smile on his face like nothing ever happened.  Me?  I’m a woman.  If you know anything about women, we just don’t work that way.  Ugh!  So I walk around humbled and pretty quiet for the next several days.  I know Jesus’ blood covers my sins, but this is different.  I’m not always the best at just picking up and getting back to ‘happy’ so quickly.  I feel like a jerk and I wouldn’t blame Jesus if He lightning bolted me for my behavior.  ….. But He doesn’t.

Somehow, He just lets me be and then, slowly, He gently finds a way to let me know He still loves me.  How could He do that?  I mean .. after all I said and did, He’s taking time to minister to me?  He’s taking the time to let me know that no matter how mad, angry, and ugly I felt that I was, He STILL thinks I’m worth something?  Okay, it’s all over ….  I’m undone.

Only God!  Only God can do this.  Only God can allow us to be such jerks and then take the time to not only allow us to pound on, scream, and even blame Him and THEN take the time to whisper …. I still love you.

When this is the God we serve, how can we not be totally devoted to Him?

And we think we have this figured out?  Ha!  We haven’t even scratched the surface of what He has planned for us!

Yep … that’s right … exposed.  And still … Satan can’t snatch me out of God’s hand.

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Difference between a vision and a dream

I just awoke from a dream.  I must have been standing in a dark corridor because I couldn’t see anything but blackness as night.  Then I heard the voice of a woman who was crying out to God.  However, she only knew to call Him ‘Alla.’  Her voice had an element of fearful distress … I knew in my spirit that she was seeking a confrontation with a living God.  Before I awoke, I had the impression that I was somehow witness to this as though this were a private place.  I was also aware that I wasn’t the only witness, that there were others that had access to this private place.

When I awoke, I had the distinct feeling that the private place was somewhere in the body of Christ.  I can liken it to the brain in that, we perceive many things from our senses, and our brain then decipher them, however I would say that it felt more like the heart because it was more than just mere perception I was experiencing.  I’d like to believe that this was the place of Christ’s heart.  It was as if He was revealing to me that there is a place where we can only get to when we truly seek Him with all our heart and once we get there, it’s a place where true ministry takes place.

However, my message isn’t so much a heart message.  I prayed for the unseen woman and by faith, I know that Christ will reveal Himself to her.  After all, it is only by personal revelation that you can gain a proper understanding of who God is.  I trust that Jesus will give this woman a correct understanding of who He is in a way that she will understand that she needed a course correction.

My message is more so about the dream itself.  I felt impressed to look up the story in Acts 16:9-15 where Paul had a vision in the night of a man beckoning him to come to Macedonia.  The next day he went that way and lo and behold, the man turned out to be a woman named Lydia.  Not only Lydia, but her household, were baptized.  What a work of ministry!

I know we are in the days of apostolic revival and just like in those days, we are seeing things like this happen today.  The cool part is that we have the benefit of learning from those that have gone before us and we have tools like the internet, books, sermons online, and other media that make it so very easy for us to get the proper training and knowledge to be truly effective in building God’s kingdom.

Let me share with you something I just learned that may perhaps help you.  In looking up this scripture, I found that there was a distinct difference in vision vs. dream.  A vision comes from a root word meaning to discern clearly, to attend to, to behold.  According to Webster, ‘vision’ in scripture is a revelation from God whereas a dream is a series of thoughts not under the command of reason and hence, wild and irregular.

Whether the vision comes in the night as Paul’s did, or during the day, the beauty is, the men in the bible knew without a shadow of a doubt where the message came from, even if the details of direction weren’t completely spelled out.

Back to my vision in the night … I wonder, why would God show me a secret place and give me indication that others are witness’ there as well?  I’m certain the answer will become clearer as God leads and guides my steps, but for now, I walk away with a strong feeling that God is revealing just how connected in the spirit we really are.  I felt He was showing me the importance of the body being in one mind and one accord.

I believe this is the place He is taking us too, a place of unity and understanding.  A place where our attention isn’t so much on the other workers in the secret place, but the voices of those that He is wanting to bring into His kingdom.  While He will do the work of revealing Himself, He will need us, His body, to attend to, teach, support, encourage, and love those spiritual babies that He is scooping up in His arms.  How blessed are we to be a privy to a time when it’s all ‘coming together!’

Wow!  How exciting it is to be a part of Christ’s kingdom!  Apostolic revival, here we come!

You’re probably wondering .. who is this girl anyway?

You probably don’t know me.  In the grand scheme of things, I’m not anyone special.  Just some Christian girl from a small town in Wisconsin.  I hold no official church position.  I’m just a girl who feels an overwhelming presence inside of me to share the glorious things God has shown me.  Things that He is already putting in place!

Last night, our town hosted a Gospel night.  This is an annual event where a handful of Christian worship teams get together and give a concert to glorify Christ.  The teams consist of people from all different denominations and backgrounds.  The beauty of it was that for one night, we all put aside our swords and united together for the sole purpose of worshipping and glorifying Christ.  No one got caught up in nit-picking the organizations we belonged to, the beliefs we hold, and no one poked fun at the difference in how some worshipped quietly while others were more exuberant in their worship.  We were truly one body .. the body of Christ.

It never ceases to amaze me how when we focus on finding Christ in the situation, we can really see Him.  I seen Him last night.  Not just in the group as a whole, but in individuals.  The teenager playing guitar as his grandfather sang gave me hope for my own wayward teen.  Jesus was there!  And  Jesus peeked His head out in the little woman who stood behind a wall of stern insecurity telling us, the audience, that she would remind us to stand for the last verse.  I smiled as she then bravely squeezed her accordion to the glory of Christ!  I saw Jesus again as a group of woman wrestled with a faulty sound system having to start over and over again and finally, observably nervous, moved forward belting out their best voices all for the sake of honoring Jesus.

I don’t know what your conversion was, but mine was similar to what Saul had.  While many had told me about Christ throughout my years, it was a personal encounter with Jesus that stopped me in my tracks and changed my direction forever.  Despite my need to know, ‘who was right,’ Jesus put a man and woman in my path who would teach me that it was Jesus I needed to focus on listening to.  I am so thankful for that!  I feel grateful that I was allowed to grow and not just learn about, but truly experience Christ.  I feel grateful that God put people in my path that took the time to not only teach and nurture me about the importance of knowing Christ’s ways, but also allowed me the room to grow, make mistakes, and the grace to recover from my many falls.

I’m grateful for the voices that God has put on the pulpits I have sat before.  I’m thankful for the men and women of God who have spent personal time seeking the Lord because I have always come with a spirit of expectation to hear from God and I have never been let down!  I am thankful that God has used not just those on stage, but those in the audience to speak to me.  I am thankful that God has shown me the miraculous.  I’m thankful that He has taken the time to show me that the same miracles that happened in apostolic times are happening now!  I’m thankful that I was witness to my father getting delivered from drinking and smoking and coming out of a coma speaking of how he had been talking with Jesus!  I’m thankful that my little brother, who was skeptical of tongues being from the devil, called me and excitedly told me how not only did he speak in tongues, but that he prophesied!

I’m thankful that Jesus approaches people today just like He did back then … on an individual basis.  Yet, at the same time, He’s able to reach all of us simultaneously through the same message.  How does He do that??  He amazes me!  I’m thankful that He has shown me that He is orchestrating a beautiful symphony and drawing His church together.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in my path.  I’m thankful for the godly husband God put in path to lead, guide, and protect me from mostly, myself.  I’m thankful for my Pastor and his wife and their faithfulness to follow Christ’s ways.  I’m thankful for their willingness to step in and offer a course correction only when it’s necessary, instead of trying to control my every move.  I’m thankful for the organization I’m a part of.  Not because I feel we are the only ones with truth, but because I recognize a group of men and women who understand that organizations are created to support Christ’s church.

I’m thankful for the voices of authority that have spoken from their pulpits.  I’m thankful that the messages I keep hearing are consistent with exactly what I saw last night!  A message of grace, mercy, and unity in the body of Christ!  A message of letting Christ take the lead.  A message that God is raising up individuals and giving them the strength, wisdom, and boldness to step out and act on the very gift that Christ has put in them!  A message that we as a church, are being drawn together in unity and that Jesus is the focus!

Jesus is coming!  There is no doubt in my mind!  Right now, He is drawing us.  He is raising us up … we, His bride.  He is tearing down strong holds and breaking down barriers that have prevented us from truly being one up to this point.  He IS raising up the five-fold ministry.  He is raising up intercessors and laying on the hearts prayers that will be prayed … and answered.  He is giving out visions and dreams of meetings that will take place, just like in apostolic times.  He is preparing hearts to receive messages of understanding and opening doors that before, seemed impenetrable.   His spirit is being poured out and people are experiencing miracles, signs, and wonders just like in apostolic days!  He is sending forth men and women of God and giving messages that will be heeded.  His message is being heard.  His message is being acted on.  His bride is being raised up and the gates of Hell will NOT prevail against her.

Last night was just a glimpse of what is to come!  I have to laugh a little because maybe you don’t do this, but I know I do.  I’ll put all this pressure on myself to ‘build the kingdom of God’ and to ‘get it just right.’  It’s times like this when I have to just smile and shake my head because I realize, Jesus really is pretty good at putting things together .. even above all my silly pressures and attempts to help Him.  Ha!  Oh, that’s right!  Almost forgot for a second … He is God!  🙂

Be blessed!

The Healing Place

A couple of years ago, I attended a ladies retreat where there was a tongues and interpretation.  The room was filled with 2000 ladies.  I recall that despite that there were so many women in that room, I knew in my heart of hearts, that the message spoken was for ME.  Of course, when God speaks to the body, the message is for everyone.  Maybe its pride, maybe it’s arrogance, or maybe it was really just something that spoke in my soul that said .. I want this.  I want this message to be mine.  The message spoke of listening, really listening, to the ladies on the stage because God said … they had been to the healing place.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t really know what that meant.  What exactly was the healing place?  Was it a specific location?  Could anyone go there?  Was there a cost to go there?  Where do you even begin? …. So many questions and not many answers left me with a deep-seated desire to get to this place.  Despite that I was Holy Ghost filled and blood bought … despite that I had spent many hours at several alters pouring my heart out to God … despite that I had spent hundreds of hours in prayer … there were still things inside of me that I just couldn’t get away from.  I’m not even sure I can accurately put my finger on it other than to say that there were holes in my heart that hurt.  Things in my life that haunted me that while God knew, I somehow didn’t know how to let go of.  Some people put up walls and call it being free, others put on a smile and hide the hurt, I seemed to be plagued with my hurts seeping through at the altar behind unspoken words and sobs as my soul begged for mercy.  This was a couple of years ago.

I sought pretty hard for God after that.  I wanted the healing place.  I wanted to know what true freedom really is.  I found out that healing and freedom were none of the things I thought they were.  I thought that once I had reached that place, that it would be nirvana.  I thought that I would finally be able to walk around and not feel insecure.  I thought that I would finally be able to feel the joy non-stop instead of continuously having life frustrate me with challenges.  I thought I would always be able to handle every situation with a smile and calm and know that it was real instead of feeling that I was hiding behind a wall of pretense.  Nope … the healing place was none of those things.  Neither is freedom.

We had a guest preacher in today that spoke of the healing place.  He didn’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it was.  I’ve been there now, so I know.  He was talking about the healing place.  It’s the place where we are confronted with all kinds things that we never expected.  It’s the place where we are forced to face some of the most dreaded things in our lives.   It’s the place where you life seems to be falling apart.  It’s the place where you are certain, you can relate with Job.  It’s the place where you find out people will fail you .. even family.  It’s the place where you find the world will fail you.  It’s the place where you find out that yes, the church too will fail you.  It’s the place where you learn …. complete dependence on Jesus.

But it’s not just learning about being let down.  It’s also learning about trust and confidence in God.  Not just in God, but His ability to restore.  His ability to rebuild what He had just torn down.  His ability to work in others and regain your trust in those who may have let you down.  It’s about learning to depend on God for finances and health and trusting that even if it doesn’t look like you thought it should, God’s got it all under His control.  It’s about learning to fear the power of God and not take it for granted.  And somehow, through all of this, at the same time, He pulls you in closer and lets you see HIS heart.  I’m sorry, but if you want to be close to God, there is absolutely no way to do it without jumping in the fire.  You can get close and feel His heat, but until you allow the fire to consume you .. you will never get to the place where you see Him standing in the flames with you.

Please don’t be afraid of the healing place.  Please don’t be afraid or refuse to go through the valley.  If you look at your circumstances and think you might be there, please be encouraged.  It’s a frightening place but this is the place where you learn to discern the hand of God.  This is the place where you learn to discern God’s touch.  If you are looking at the fire and have been afraid to jump, be encouraged, He’s at the door waiting for you to ask Him to lead you through.

This is the place where you learn that God will truly never leave you nor forsake you.  There is so much beauty there!  There is so much that God wants to salvage from that place!  But He will only salvage those that want to be salvaged.  He will only rebuild those that choose to go through this process.  We, the church, have been blessed so much.  It’s time for more of us to be willing to enter in to the healing place.  There is a world out there crying out to God to show them just how real He is.  There is a world out there crying to see Him alive in others.  There is a world that wants to know the true blessing of serving a God that is alive and holy.  And there is a God who wants to guide you through this place to show you just how beautiful it really is … just how MUCH there is to salvage!

The healing place is where God teaches you to close your eyes and listen with your heart …… it’s only then that you hear the lost souls crying out.