As the body becomes united as One …

I think that Preacher’s have a pretty cool position.  I’m not talking about the fact that they get to stand on the platform and do all the talking while everyone else does the listening.  Neither am I talking about the fact that they hold the power in the room.  I had an experience that showed me something entirely different!  I invite you to take a peek from my perspective ….

It was the end of May.  I was on my son’s last field trip that I would ever have the chance to be a part of.  We were at a local state park doing lots of hiking, exploring, swimming, boating, and all kinds of cool outdoor things.  The temperature was perfect!  The bugs weren’t too bad and the sky held a deep blue with a hint of storm clouds that were running to catch up with us.

The winds blew and without us even noticing,  the clouds snuck up on us and now dark grays loomed over us, doing their best to let us know … the storm was coming.  The teachers sent the kids to the bus and tried to delay in hopes that the storm would move on without us.  The delay went from 5 to 10 to 15 minutes and soon, those 60+ fifth graders were beginning to take on a life of their own … one that was rather cranky and annoyed to be sitting on a hot stinky bus.

I decided to check on my boy.  He was of course, in the back.  I took a couple of snap shots of him then headed back to the front.  I turn around and look at these kids and a few heads look my way.  That’s when one little guy looked me right in the eye, started motioning, and singing ‘YMCA.’  I was intrigued by his beckoning to interact, so I did the best thing I knew how … I did the YMCA with him.  Next thing I know, the WHOLE bus (except my son who is now shrinking in embarrassment) joins in!

I was a bit overwhelmed, nervous, and completely engaged at the same time!  While there were 60+ individual children on this bus, I was watching as they all had united as one … literally one mind and in one accord!  After YMCA, it was my turn to take the lead.  I began with ‘The wheels of the bus.’  Once again, we became one voice.  Truthfully, I was shaking in my boots, but this was truly a blast!  After this song, they once again took the lead and began to sing out and pound on the seats, ‘We will, we will, Rock you!’    I got that one on video!  These children were truly delightful!

Wow!  What a blessing this was from God!  I imagined that this MUST be what it is like for a preacher when he truly allows God to lead the service.  Sure, he comes prepared with a sermon.  However, as the hearts and minds of the believers begin to become united and the spirit sweeps in, the preacher then begins to interact with the Body of Christ with Jesus taking the lead!

I can only imagine how the preacher gets a glimpse of Jesus’ hands reaching in and caressing a heart here, or uplifting a spirit there.  I have witnessed my own Pastor as he is heading one direction and suddenly, he begins down a different path as though Jesus had just tapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear.  What an incredible blessing it must be to witness this!

I am so enamored by God!  He truly amazes me!  We think so much of what we do is because of our own efforts.  Hah!  Boy have we got a lot to learn!  I think it is really cool that we have a God that is so interactive and truly teaches us how to live and enjoy the many blessings He provides!  We haven’t even scratched the surface to all that He has prepared for us!  WOW!

 

 

Advertisements

What’s a vision for anyway?

Have you ever had a vision from God that left you with a boost of enthusiasm that a situation would change?  Or what about a word of faith from someone else delivered with such confidence that surely you thought, it was going to happen?  Then, despite these prophetic moments, circumstances seem to reveal a slightly different path?

Maybe it left you thinking … just what was the vision for anyway?  Was this God’s way of teasing you?  Dangling a carrot out that you could never quite grasp?  Satan is surely there to point out all the depressing realities of the lack of prophetic fulfillment, isn’t he?  Or worse, he widdles his way into your psyche making you believe that somehow you’re responsible for the success or failure of the vision.

So what is the vision for anyway?  Having had a few myself of late and living out some of the thoughts above, admittedly, I have wondered myself.  I took these visions pretty seriously, so was God just teasing me, making me look the fool, or was there something more God had in store?  Today, I had a thought that perhaps the visions are more like seeds.

The intention of the seed is to produce something.  In fact, it’s intention is to produce something very specific.  If I’m the one receiving that seed, I suppose I feel I have a responsibility to do something with it.  I really have a choice to either toss it or plant it.  However, irregardless or what I do with it, God is still in control of what happens to that seed.

If I never do anything with it, that doesn’t mean that seed won’t germinate.  As a matter of fact, things may seem to get radical before that vision ever takes on the appearance of looking anything like what it was designed to, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening.

I could toss it out the window and some bird gobbles it up, poops it out, and BAM!  It falls into a nice pit of soil complete with fertilizer becoming a 200 year old solid Oak Tree.  The point being, if God’s intention is to produce, nothing I can do will stop that seed from producing exactly what God intended it to be.

Interestingly, in botony the ‘radicle’ is the first part of the seedling to emerge during the process of germination.  The ‘radicle’ is the embryonic root of the plant.  So, in my effort to play on words, there really is a place for all this seeming ‘radicle’ behaviour of this seed.

But what is our part?  What do we do with this seed?  Our part is to treat that seed just as God intended .. to plant it in good soil, to water it, to protect it from weeds, and to make sure it’s getting plenty of sunshine.  And when all else fails because maybe we never really got the hang of gardening or simply found that the cares of life kept us from keeping up on the weeds, we trust that God really is in control of the end result of that seed.  Trust that God doesn’t give seeds to just anyone and if He’s giving me one, He will follow through on His intention of producing exactly what He intended for that seed.

And when things get a little radical, instead of freaking out that the vision won’t happen, trust that maybe, God’s working His magic in the embryo of the seed.

Why do we always expect these things to happen over night?  Sheesh!  Give growth a little time for heavens sake!  Will ya?  After all, if it were to happen too quickly, we might just start taking more credit for the result of that seed than we should and then we are in for an entirely different problem!

God’s got this, remember?  😉

So caught up in the why, never considered who …

I’ve been studied the Holocaust for some time now.  I wanted to know how one man could lead an entire country to destroy human lives as though they were cattle getting ready for the slaughter.  I also wanted to know how so many people could just turn their head to such disaster.  So I started reading Mein Kampf.

Perhaps you’re thinking that wasn’t such a good idea, and I was a bit hesitant myself knowing that the government probably now has me on some black list because I got it from the public library.  However, I felt a strong urging in my spirit to move forward.

I heard a sermon recently that told me the Jewish people face East and facing East meant facing backward.  So they move forward, facing the past, knowing where they’ve been, just like in a row-boat.  I happen to agree with this.  It’s not only been Hitler that slaughtered millions of people at a time and got others to turn their head, there’s been others.  At some point in time, we need to start asking ourselves, how did this happen and how can we prevent it?  I’m beginning to find out that, unfortunately, the only way to understand madness is to take a really good look at it and pray that God leads you to His understanding.

While Hitler’s book wasn’t an autobiography, there was enough personal information in the book to get an idea of who he was.  I was quite surprised to find that this ‘madman’ had many traits that were desirable, that he was intelligent, artistic, empathetic, and loyal to his country to a fault.  I was also surprised to read that in his own words, he tells how in the beginning, he wasn’t against the Jews.  He was a man of keen observation and not just of events, but of the effects of those events on people.  He seemed to be caught up in how he was responding to events around him and was unafraid to openly show his struggle with his internal man.  He was unafraid to show how quickly he could be persuaded to ‘change opinions.’

Despite these findings tho, there were some marked events in his life that gave me a better understanding of how he perhaps started on the path he ended up on.  From my perspective, I could see a determined arrogance that was fueled by a hate of those he felt repressed the German people and he seemed to take this battle very personally.

After getting to page 65, the last page of chapter 2, I’ve decided that regardless of what the rest of the book says, I got the answer I was looking for.  There it was, in his own words, ‘And so I believe to-day that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.’  He honestly thought he was in God’s will.

So how does an atrocity like the Holocaust happen?  Hitler was so caught up in the whys of his day that he never stopped to consider who he was following.  There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that this was a spiritual battle where Satan merely needed an outlet to gain power.  Unfortunately, he found it at the expense of millions of lives.

While some may balk that I could see any positive in a man such as Hitler, I honestly believe that he had a greatness in him that was designed to be used in a positive way.  Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way.

How careful we need to be to search our hearts!  This man claimed to be doing ‘the work of the Lord.’  Yet, clearly, it wasn’t.  We don’t hear of him having conversations or thoughts asking God what God thought.  We don’t hear of him having thoughts of praying about it and seeking God’s face.  Nor do we hear of him addressing the hypocrisy of his own thoughts and actions.  Instead, he very plainly points out his faults with every intention to correct everyone except himself.

He never stopped to listen to the small still voice inside telling him, ‘this is wrong.’  Instead, he kept barreling ahead towards the voice that fed his pride, his self-righteousness, his hatred, and ultimately, his insanity.  What I get out of all of this, is that it only takes 1 human vessel for Satan to get his hands on to mess up a whole lot of other people’s lives.

And while the good news is that it only took 1 human vessel to die on a cross and save our souls, we still have to live this life out.  We still have to face the evil present in the world and we still have to face the fact that, we could be persuaded to partake in that evil just as easily as this man was.

How we need Jesus!  Not just as a Saviour for eternal salvation, but we need His leading and guiding every day!  While this study hasn’t been easy, I walk away understanding now, more than ever, just what Christ did for us and how we need Him.  Fact is, we can’t do this alone and even if we think we are, Hitler’s actions remind us very clearly, there is a spiritual entity that understands our power more than we understand it ourselves.  If we don’t use it for God’s glory, he’s more than willing to use it for his.

God help us.  I’m sorry this has such a downer tone, but the promise and hope comes in mourning and remembering those who were a part of this and other atrocities.  That their lives weren’t lost in vain.  There are very real people effected by this garbage.  But we can’t just pick up the book and hate back.  We have to stop and say … WAIT!  That’s how he ended up down that path.  Yes!  I know his soul may be in hell; me pointing out the goodness that God put in him doesn’t change his soul status.  What it does is show that if we don’t take time to see ourselves in men like this, we might just find ourselves being led to be the monster he became.

If we aren’t careful, we might just find our own selves getting caught up in the why and never consider who we are following.

Jesus went to Hell so we didn’t have to!

There is nothing like the infusion of fresh joy, excitement, and anticipation from missionaries coming in to visit your local church!  Wow!  Like John the Baptist being in prison, sometimes we need to be reminded that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light .. that people are being healed! .. eyes are being opened! .. and that revival has come!

As I listened to his stories, the message I felt so compelled by was an unspoken message.  He never said these words, but it hit my heart like brick .. Jesus went to Hell so we didn’t have to!  The Bible is clear, Jesus died and went to Hell .. stayed there for 3 days .. He took the keys .. then He came back!   He came back and showed us how it is HE who gives life.  It is HE who revives the soul!  It is HE who looks at the roster of Hell and decides who makes the list and who doesn’t.

How many times have we allowed our spirits to be vexed?  How many times have we allowed Satan to take our focus off of the path of Life and pull us into the drudgery of  anger, wrath, apathy, loneliness, bitterness, and all kinds of other ugliness?  Remember the fiery furnace?

Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were sent to the fiery furnace because they REFUSED to worship anyone other than Almighty God Himself.  The God who delivers!  The God who saves!  So King Nebuchandnezzar not only heats up the fire, but has it heated seven times hotter than normal!  So hot that it burned up the very men who brought them there.  In goes the 3 men and this is my favorite part, check this out …

Daniel 3:27 ‘And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.’

Not only that, but the King saw a 4th, ‘like as the son of the gods.’  Who was it that was there with these men, but Almighty God Himself!

Jesus really did do it all!  It is my belief that His revelation is simply this .. Jesus wants us to LIVE!  When we are cast into the fire, we are NOT in Hell!  He may use those situations to help rid us of sins, transgressions, or wrong thought processes that have attempted to attach themselves to us, but we don’t have to go to Hell!  It is our job to LIVE!

I can’t help but think that this must be what people see in a Holy Ghost, Blood bought, Redeemed soul!  They look at us and they see us, consumed by fire, yet untouched by the flames!  They look at us and they may see our faults,  our flaws, and our struggles, yet they are literally perplexed as they see our overwhelming joy!  And if they aren’t perplexed, then perhaps it’s because YOU haven’t gotten the revelation yet … Jesus died so YOU didn’t have to!

We are consumed by fire, but you know what, God promises LIFE!  JOY!  PEACE!  Yes!  We have things that need to change!  But the beauty of the fire is that God will perfect us.  When we get focused on the dead stuff God is burning off us, we lose sight of the LIFE that we have been granted!  Check your eyesight and if you need glasses, let my words be your lens!

We have God’s resurrection Spirit inside of us and the best part is that when we fulfill the prophesy of joy and focus our intentions on life, we begin to help other people realize, they were never intended for Hell either!  Step up into Life!

Jesus IS the way!  The truth!  AND the Light!

When you fully realize the Power you have in Christ, He leads you into ALL truth.  He will provide what you need.  If you haven’t seen that you need water baptism in Jesus name, He will reveal it.  If you haven’t seen the importance of receiving HIS Spirit, He will show you and provide it for you.  Your job .. turn towards Him with all your heart and be determined to not let anyone or anything get in your way from trusting that it is He who really is God.

Oh Glory!  Jesus, I know that you hear me, but I write this prayer out for the sake of those who are reading these words.  I pray that those that read these words would feel conviction in their Spirit and allow you to revive and refresh their soul!  I pray that my words would resonate within their souls and help them see, you desire LIFE for them.  I pray that you would distinguish for them the difference between their actions that cause death and those that give life!  I pray that you deliver them from the oppressive spirit of unworthiness and any other unclean thought of death that has plagued them.  I pray that you provide what they need and empower them to live in the resurrecting Spirit that you have so freely, and graciously shared with us that they might be a light to others around them.  In Jesus name, AMEN!!

Walking down memory lane

I love to read the scriptures!  Especially the book of Acts where you see the apostles doing all these amazing things .. healings, casting out of demons, eyes opened, lame walk, etc.  What an exciting thing to read about!  What’s even greater though, is experiencing these things yourself!

Witnessing and seeing lives changed!  Watching as the spiritual eyes of someone you love go from darkness to light!  Watching the miraculous power of God take a dead sinful human and bring them into a life full of joy!  To see the language and actions changed and watch a miraculous cleansing occur in a life that had been previously filled with drugs, addiction, alcohol and all sorts of corruption.  It is no wonder  to me that there is a miraculous joy that comes from those who have experienced this!

Or what about the other miracles that we may not always recognize, but are just as glorious?  For instance, the baby Christian who walked with frailty and fear taking step and after step towards Christ, despite the overwhelming odds against her.  Watching these baby Christians overcome struggle after struggle and grow up to be confident, bold Christians facing challenges that would turn our tummy all with a smile and twinkle in their eye.  Not with pride, but a confidence that says, ‘I know my God!  I know what He is capable of!  I am not afraid!  I am saved!  I am sanctified for HIS purpose!  And I am loved!  Oh GLORY!  I AM LOVED!  What an AMAZING feeling!’

What a glorious thing to see!  What a glorious thing to experience!  When I think of all the great things God has done in my life and the lives of those around me, I literally feel like jumping up and down because I think .. if this is only just a glimpse of what He’s done, I can’t wait to see what more He’s going to do!!  Seriously, the excitement can NOT be contained in this human shell!!   Oh my goooooooooddddddddddnnnnnnnnneeeeeeeeesssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh how we need to encourage and share our testimony with others!  Not just to those that aren’t saved, but to those that have begun the journey … to those who have stumbled .. to those who have fallen and lie stagnant .. to those who have forgotten the joy because they got caught up in the pit.  Especially in those moments where our fruit of joy is so fresh!  That juice of joy can be spilled over and shared with those who have become dry and thirst for God’s glory!

Please share you testimony with someone!  Remember what God has done for you!  Remember how amazed you were when the miracle was performed!  Allow your heart to re-experience the moment you caught His gaze and realized He had been looking at you the whole time .. He was just waiting, patiently for you to recognize Him there with a smile on His face, arms open wide!  Remember the moment where you realized .. maybe … just maybe … it was intended for YOU too!  Because it is!  This glorious joy … this AMAZING love … was meant for YOU too.

Do you remember?  He’s there .. waiting to take you down memory lane .. only these memories are the ones to treasure and cling to.  The building blocks of a foundation that started all with HIM.

Jesus loves YOU.  THIS, I know.

 

Satan doesn’t know you …

I had an experience recently that gave me a revelation .. Satan doesn’t know you.  I had an encounter with someone who was severely under the influence.  This person has no recollect of the conversation, and I was certain, the words spoken, were entirely led by a demonic presence.  (They don’t call it ‘spirits’ for nothing!)  The profound thing to me was being witness to this and being able to clearly discern what was happening.  In the past, have I not had some personal experiences in my life with demonic presence already, I might have been freaked out.  However, in this instance, I really seen a person who wouldn’t remember anything, so the only person that could be effected by the words spoken was the other person in the room .. i.e. me.

As I’m listening to the words of this individual, I’m hearing that my loved ones are being followed by Satan and all kinds of other strange things.  I disregard the comments and speak to the person directly, by name.  Again with the strange comments.  Then they start in on me.  ‘Dionne.  I remember you.  From before.’  This is the part where, had I not been privy to this strangeness from the past, I might have been freaked out.

It was then that I had the revelation.  The statement was made almost like an attempt to engage me, or trick me into saying or doing something that would somehow trip me up.  I imagine it was much like this for Jesus when the Pharisees kept trying to trip Him up back in the day.  Now, I’m not Jesus, but I do have His Holy Spirit in me, and I am thankful to say, He gave me the ability to see things from an entirely different perspective that day.  Have you seen the movie based off the ‘Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?’  It’s the one where the girl on the beach is captured by these invisible creatures that appear to be giants?  Turns out that when the facade is over, the creatures are really just silly looking creatures with one big foot that have no capacity to do much of anything once they are seen.  This is how I see Satan and his band of demons.  He has no control over our lives unless we turn it over to him.  There, the secrets out.  He doesn’t know me, and neither does he know you.  I imagine he walks around with some sort of spiritual notebook taking notes on how you respond to his attempts to get your attention, but once you get an understanding of this, the gig’s up.

On the other hand, God knows you.  God doesn’t trick, seduce, or play on your emotions to get you to follow Him.  He allows you to explore for yourself who He is.  Go ahead and go where He doesn’t want you to go.  He won’t stop you, especially if you are adamant about going there.  But He’ll be patiently waiting for you when you finally realize that all those things you have been following were not Him.  He’ll be patiently waiting to pick up the pieces and help you rebuild what you were so hell-bent on destroying trying to prove your point that it was your life.  He never argued once with you about it.

I am in awe of God!  What does He want?  He wants us to be willing to let Him see Us for who we really are.  Here’s another little secret, He knows all this already.  After all, He is God.  Not to scare you or anything, but His word tells us that, “They were not faithful to the covenant I made with them, so I paid no attention to them.” Hebrews 7:9  All that craziness where you thought you were getting God’s attention … ummm .. He wasn’t even looking.  The only attention you were getting was from the demonic presence God allowed.  I’m sorry, but you were neglected.  You made your point, you wanted it your way, so God gave you what you wanted.  He wants us to be willing to show Him our sins and take accountability for it.  Yes, yes, you’ll have to pay the consequences of your actions in this world, but the good news is, He isn’t going to banish you to hell for those actions.  He already took care of that price by dying on the cross, but it’s not yours unless you choose to take it.  By taking accountability, it allows Him to help you stop doing things that are hurtful to yourself, harmful to others, and displeasing to God.

Repentance .. it’s not only the first step, it’s the most important.

See?  Satan doesn’t know you.  He’s just a tool God allows until you realize, it’s the attention of God that matters.

Happy day!  🙂

Jesus Wept: A love story

The deeper my relationship with Christ gets, the more I appreciate what He’s done and IS doing for me.  This weekend, I was reminded of how there are times, I don’t always respond in a way that is pleasing to Him. It’s interesting because when I mess up, I know it.  If it’s a mistake, I fess up, clean up, and move on.  I take responsibility and understand that mistakes will happen.  Jesus still loves me.

Well, there are other times when, it isn’t so much a mistake that I make; I would categorize it more as negligence.  Admittedly, I am at times negligent to my responsibilities as Christ’s bride.  Times when I get caught up in my own selfish reaction or feelings.  Kind of like Mary and Martha did in John 11, when they lacked faith and blamed Jesus for Lazarus’ death.

Ugh … not an easy thing to admit .. but there are times when perhaps, I react selfishly .. when I feel my needs aren’t being met by a loved one .. or overreact to something that really isn’t that big of a deal .. maybe not watching my tongue because I’m ‘having a bad day’ .. or perhaps even not being careful of what or whom I share with.  Sigh .. there really is no justification for my behavior in those moments.  I’ve literally just given over to my flesh and am creating a mess.  A mess that literally, only Jesus can clean up.  Often, I’m not even aware of the damage I’m doing because I’m too focused on ME.  After reading this particular passage this weekend, I have a better understanding that Jesus really does get upset with us when we do things like this.  It’s something that I have to come to grips with, I’m not always at a place where I am going to be pleasing to my bride-groom.

Oh how I realize my need for Him!  How did Jesus react to the unbelief He encountered?  The Word tells us He was troubled in His spirit and groaned within Himself .. but how He chose to handle it … He Wept.  I can only imagine how it must feel for Him to not have His disciples on the same page.  Here, He spends time loving, healing, sharing, caring, and even letting these ladies in on what He has in store and how do they react?  Disbelief .. lack of faith .. negligent .. completely contrary to what He’s trying to accomplish .. yep .. we do a pretty good job of mucking up His plans.  Yet still, He loves us.

What amazes me …  He doesn’t freak out on Mary, Martha, and the Jews that lacked faith.  He dealt with His spirit by weeping .. showing us how to seek His face in times of trouble or frustration .. then He continued on His path and completed the miracle.  His reaction was nothing but pure love!  He gave Mary and Martha room to grow.  The good news is, He really is all about mercy and grace.

I can’t help but feel that the stories we read are constantly Him talking to His bride trying to get her to see that He really is all about mercy, if she would only look in the mirror and realize just how much room He gives her to grow.  If we could just realize that He would like us to give the same in return, to others.  If we could just realize how much He withholds His wrath from ALL of us because He wants to include ALL of us!  Will He have to draw the line some day?  You bet.  But today, it’s mercy .. it’s grace .. it’s Love.

And even when we don’t ‘get it’ … still, Christ loves us.  He continues to draw, continues to gently correct, continues to withhold His wrath, continues to teach, continues to lead .. continues to love.

If only we truly understood how much He really loves us ..  All of us.  The Bible .. it really is the greatest Love Story ever written.  The best part, you and I both play an important role .. and Jesus is going to show us each how to play our part.  He really is an awesome God!