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!




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?  😉

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!  🙂

Maturing in Christ

My little boy told me the other day … ‘I grew last night, Mom.’  I said, ‘You did?  How do you know?’  His reply, ‘My knees hurt.’  Of course, being the youngest, he’s heard his brother and sister speak of growing pains, so he assumes that the pain he feels is just that .. he grew.  I’ve been feeling that way of late too, only it’s not been my stature, it’s been my spiritual growth.

Unlike my son, I didn’t necessarily recognize that some of the small pains I’ve been experiencing was me growing, but now, just a few short days afterwards, I can honestly say, I feel taller.  I feel as though I’ve grown.

One of the lessons that Jesus has been working on me of late is my responsibility to others.  I’m pretty certain that this is something, like children, that we don’t fully understand until we’ve grown and matured a bit.

I can only speak from my frame of reference; the things I’ve experienced and that have been revealed to me.  However, it seems that Christ has first really taken time to work on me.  As much as I was ready to jump in and help others, truth-be-told, He’s constantly spent most of the time healing my wounds, revealing my insecurities and flaws, and helping me to see where I need growth.  Somehow, despite my driven focus to live and do according to what I think is right, He has slowly and methodically changed my way of thinking.  The best part, He has done it at His pace and in His timing and somehow, it has always come in Love.  Wow!  What an amazing God I serve!

As I mentioned though, as of late, God has been opening my eyes to a new lesson of being responsible towards one another.  It’s easy to look around and see how society and the World, and Christians too, tend to have a ‘I’ll live my life the way I want without regard to others’ attitude.  This attitude doesn’t focus on anyone other than ourselves, but really, it doesn’t change our responsibility towards others.

‘The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.’ Deut 29:29 KJV

I’m so thankful today that God has taken the approach with me that He has.  He has allowed me the room to make some mistakes.  The more I get to know Him, the more I realize that He really does have expectations for us and how we are to live our lives.  I’m certain I haven’t got it all figured out yet, but today, I am most thankful for all the ‘growing pains’ I’ve experienced.  I can honestly look back now and see how each and every trial He has brought me through helped me to gain a better understanding of His love, mercy, and grace.

He really does have a handle on all the things we think we need to know or need to understand but simply don’t yet.  What a blessed assurance I have in Christ!

‘For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.’  1 Phil 1:6 NAS

Like my son, I can honestly say with a big confident grin, ‘Yep.  I grew.’

Praise God!

This is Your Life

It’s strange how hearing a comment directed to someone else can hit you like a brick.  In this new year, I started with a promise to myself to press on, challenge myself, and move onto whatever it is that God wants and expects of me.  So when I heard my husband make a comment to one of his children, it side-swiped me in a way I didn’t expect.  The comment was, ‘This is your life.’

Of course, he was pointing his child towards Jesus and his point was simply to say .. what you see is what you get.  You can’t do this alone.  You need God.

For me, it meant something completely different.

I already have God.  I already have a strong relationship with Him.  Not that we can’t all stand to have a reminder or two to get back on track, but it would be just that, a little reminder.  Forgive me for being real here, but it turns out, life isn’t much different with God as it was without God.

I’m referring to the problems and challenges that I had before.  I still wrestle with insecurities and I find that I still have a list of faults that I’m working on improving.  My children are still rebellious at times, I still have debts, arguments, get mad a time or two, and well … life still happens.

I’m not really sure what I expected.  However, admittedly, I often find myself seeking inside wondering when I will have that big God moment where He speaks audibly telling me exactly what it is I’m supposed to be doing.  My husband’s comment was like that voice telling me to simply … live your life.

I can only imagine that it had to be similar for the Israelites in the Wilderness.  God rescued them and performed miraculously wonders proving that He was for them only to put them … in the wilderness for 40 years.  Sure, God was still caring for their needs, but boy, life sure was different.  They were rescued to wander around aimlessly?  We look from the outside and say they brought it on themselves, but if you think about it, we do the same thing.  At least I know I do.

I’ve got all my needs met.  God constantly provides me with manna from Heaven.  I always have just the right word when I need it and it never comes from a source I would have expected.  And what’s my response?  To complain that I’m wondering around in circles waiting for some direction to the supposed ‘promised land.’

After my husband’s comment, I thought, what if this is it?  What if there is never any BIG call other than to simply do what I can where I am at?  To simply move forward?  What if nothing out of the ordinary happens?  What if I am expected to simply ‘live my life for God?’  What if there is never any ‘Moses’ moment for me?  What if I was called to be one of the unmentioned disciples?

Wow!  Talk about a reflection!  I had to confront that Passion I feel inside and truly face  … dare I say it … pride.  Do I chase God’s work for His glory or mine?  Not to say that I don’t think we should do great things for God.  However, I honestly believe that we neglect the bigness of simply being a reflection for God.  The bigness of being one of the unmentionables.

I also think we forget that living life is a miracle itself.  How difficult it is to live life and NOT focus on the problems?  With God, we have a new perspective and living daily, being content with where He has put me, with a smile on my face, or getting back up each time I fall is a BIG deal.  This IS being a light.  It does make a difference because those around me who don’t know God have a reference point to see, the right way IS towards God.

I don’t think it means that I have to give up on the Passion that I feel to do something great for God.  I think it means facing up to just how big that job really is.  A kingdom isn’t built on just a few souls, it’s built on a whole lot of people doing little things daily which amounts to a whole lot of light reflecting God’s glory.  Not my glory .. God’s glory.

So this is my life.  Turns out I’m okay with simply living it.  If I never get to be a Moses, a Mary, Ruth, Paul, or David, well … that’s okay.  I’m a Dionne.  My part is not mentioned at all in the Book on your shelf, but it turns out, there’s another book that I am found in and well … that’s the one that really matters.

I’ve got Big things to accomplish.  Love that needs to be given.  Laughs that need to be had.  Fights that need to be fought.  Tears that need to be shed.  Struggles that need to be faced.  Faith that needs to be shared.  I’ve got a life that needs to be lived!

Turns out, the promised land is     ….    Life.

The other side of Christ’s Love …

It seems that we all know about how we are supposed to turn the other cheek, give up our coat, and forgive seventy times seven.  However, there is another side to Christ’s love that we don’t hear as much about … I’m referring to the tough side of love.

Believe it or not, I’m not talking about my children .. although as a parent, these things certainly apply.  I’m actually talking about people who Christ has put in our path that need not just another hand out or just another body to enable their dysfunction, but rather, they need a hand to help hold them accountable.

I had a situation recently that I had to be one of those hands.  At first, my attempts to assist were eagerly accepted and there seemed to be a direct change for the better.  However, the change was short-lived.  As I began to hold this person accountable, the scenario began to reveal a self-defeating ‘victim’ status that seemed to plague this person.  This was the hard part for me.  Certainly I wanted to help this person .. I wanted to see this person succeed .. however as time continued, it seemed that rather than climbing out of the hole, it was just getting deeper.  It got to the point where I had to make a choice.  I could either continue to enable defeat or do my duty and say .. enough.  How do you help someone who is simply not willing to help themselves?

Forgive me for saying so, but I don’t like this part of being a Christian.  Truthfully, I’m a sap for someone who has a ‘bad’ story.  I literally feel their pain and can understand why they are the way they are.  But this situation really made me understand the importance of doing my part to stop enabling the ‘I’m a victim’ cycle.

So the other side of love is this .. sometimes we have to be ‘tough’ with people.  Not mean .. tough.  The difference is all in the heart.  I really did feel for and understand how this person had gotten in the pit.  However, I also realized that victory would never be achieved until this person looks in the mirror and stops blaming today’s problems on yesterday.  Can I tell you?  I hate being the one to say that.  I know it’s supposed to be a blessing, but it doesn’t feel like much of one.  At least not yet because I don’t see any change.

Maybe that’s the reason it’s so hard for me.  Despite all MY efforts, I didn’t see anything change.  At least not yet.  I’m just another random hand reaching out to someone who’s not quite ready to climb out of the pit.

Sigh …

Not that I’m going to stop being compassionate, because if anything, this situation just increases my desire to help others.  I just feel like I had a visit from a vagabond and really really thought … there would be change.

I guess the tough side of love is realizing that not all the people Christ puts in your path are at a point where they are ready to change.

Ugh … what a different world it would be if they were.