Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Season, Out of Season

The doorbell rang so I headed for the front foyer. My grandson was already there to get the door, though, for he was expecting the neighbor to come over. He let his friend in and then scrunching his face up and nodding towards the candelabrum sitting nearby blurted, “What’s that for?” It was the holiday season and I had decked the halls with Christmas decorations and also with a nine-branched menorah associated with the festival of Hanukkah.

Instantly I knew what this ten-going-on-twenty-year older was up to.
It grieved my heart that my own grandson, who was temporarily living with us, despised our beliefs. He had spent other Christmases with us and already knew why I included this special candlestick in my holiday d├ęcor. He purposely asked me this question in front of the neighbor boy hoping to catch me off guard. But I was ready*.

“That is a menorah used for the Festival of Light. It is to celebrate Jesus Christ who is The Light of the World.” Before I could finish my sentence, the boys were gone.

Despite his scornful attitude, I will continue to give an answer to his questions in the hope that one day he will remember and believe.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort
with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2 KJV

We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are to be ready at any time to speak the Word of Truth. This I am usually prepared for, but please pray for me as I am challenged when it comes to the “longsuffering” part.

*Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Should We Celebrate Christmas?

My husband and I believed we were in God’s will when we moved to a small city further south in the state. Before moving, we had been part of a Messianic home fellowship where we had learned the significance of Jesus Christ, Yahshua Ha Moshiach, fulfilling the Old Testament prophecies including the seven feasts of the Lord. We were looking forward to being a part of our new church family, for we had already met some of the brethren before relocating and knew they shared a similar background.

One Sunday in late autumn, the children’s pastor stood up to make an announcement. She invited the children and their parents to become involved in a Christmas program she was planning.

This puzzled me, because in my Messianic fellowship we had been taught that Christmas was of pagan origin and not a holiday instituted by God. We had relinquished many old traditions, including the Christmas tree, for we had learned of its idolatrous roots. Instead, my family embraced the winter feast of Hanukkah, The Festival of Light, and celebrated Jesus fulfilling it as The Light of the World. As she spoke, I went to the Lord in prayer.

“Why are they doing a Christmas program, Lord? Shouldn’t they be celebrating Hanukkah instead?”

His reply was immediate. “Both Hanukkah and Christmas honor Me.”

Like the Grinch who stole Christmas, a warm revelation filled me. What was in our hearts was all our Heavenly Father cared about. It did not matter to the Lord whether I put up a Christmas tree or not. What mattered was why I placed one in my home. Because of my mother’s teaching, to me the evergreen tree was a symbol of eternal life available through our Savior.
This was good news indeed, for I missed the traditions of my childhood. I felt…free!

Now at wintertime my family and I fill the house with decorations, including a brightly lit Christmas tree. We sing Christmas songs and bake Christmas cookies.

Should we celebrate Christmas? Yes! Yes! Emphatically, YES! With our whole being let us celebrate and honor the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What Does Hanukkah Have to Do With Jesus?

This year Hanukkah began at sunset on December 1. Were you aware that the Lord is mentioned in the New Testament regarding Hanukkah?

It was winter and Jesus was in the Temple in Jerusalem for Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication. John 10:22-23 KJV

This feast is also called ‘The Festival of Light’. It is not one of the seven major festivals as named in the Old Testament; nonetheless, we should be aware of its significance. (For more information on the seven festivals, see my blog posting in September 2010 titled ‘Remember I Love You’.)

Just as Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Feasts of the Lord, He is THE FULFILLMENT OF THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHT—HE IS ‘The Light of the World’!

Another wonderful truth about Hanukkah is that it is the time of year when Mary conceived Jesus, Our Savior. Yes, The Light of the World came to earth during The Festival of Light. For greater understanding of how this could be true, follow this link to The Messianic Center's site and read the article 'Dreaming of an Autumnal Christmas': http://www.themessianiccenter.com/2009/10/1/dreaming-of-an-autumnal-christmas

Hanukkah is a special celebration begun many years ago to remember when God’s people were victorious over darkness. Let us celebrate Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! (I Peter 2:9)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amazing Grace

While in prayer this morning, I was inspired to go to the book shelf to find William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation. The example of the Pilgrims as recorded in this book is very inspiring to me, and with it being our season of Thanksgiving I wanted to read again of them.

I was in wonder at how the healthy ones served those who were close to death:
...There was but six or seven sound persons who to their great commendations, be it spoken, spared no pains night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood, made them fires, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them. In a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any gruding in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren; a rare example and worthy to be remembered. (p. 77)
A footnote on page 132 mentions that the Pilgrims never had a regular fall Thanksgiving Day. However, a law written on November 1, 1636, allowed the Governor and Assistants "to command solemn days of humiliation by fasting, etc., and also for thanksgiving as occasion shall be offered."

One of these particularly solemn days is recorded in a section entitled "More Semi-Starvation".
It records their pains to put in a great crop of corn only to see it wither in drought:
Yet at length it began to languish sore, and some of the drier grounds were parched like withered hay, part whereof was never recovered. Upon which they set apart a solemn day of humiliation, to seek the Lord by humble and fervent prayer, in this great distress. And He was pleased to give them a gracious and speedy answer...It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked...which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold.

And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving. (pp. 131-132)

Oh God! How amazing is Your grace! That You heard the humble prayers of our forefathers and sent the rain. Without You we are nothing!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Confess

The other day I was confessing to the Lord a list of things I was worried about including family members who have been unemployed for over a year. I received a holy tongue lashing as a result.

“Why would He do that?” you might ask. In this blog I have shared several accounts of God’s goodness to me (which is only the tip of the iceberg), but I must confess that I succumb to worry, doubt, and fear from time to time. This is, of course, NOT pleasing to the Almighty (see Romans 8:5-9).

I do not want to be like those of the children of Israel who saw miracle after miracle yet did not enter their promised land due to UNBELIEF (see Hebrews 3). Fortunately, Christ Jesus our Lord understands our weakness—“For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.” Psalm 103:14 KJV
While in the secret place, He exhorted me to rise above my mortal frame and doubt no more.

When I first confessed Christ as my Lord, I saw God do amazing things to provide for us. We needed an additional $200 to pay our rent one month. My husband Tom and I prayed and believed God would provide. We received a check for $200 for taxes I had supposedly over-paid the year before!?! Another time we found a bag of groceries in front of our apartment door, yet only our Heavenly Father knew our need.

QUESTION: Is there anybody else out there who feels as though they had more faith when they were first born again than they do now?

In Mark 9:23 KJV Jesus said to the father of the boy tormented with a spirit, “If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.” Let us—like the father of this child—cry out, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!”

This reminds me of when I was sitting in an auditorium listening to a physically-handicapped man of God teach on 2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV - And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work.

The voice of the Lord came to me giving me a personal teaching within a teaching—“I am your sufficiency in your identity as well, Daughter.”

At this time in my life I doubted (ugh! there’s that word again) who I was in Christ. I had stepped out in what He had called me to do only to be bashed down by brethren. His words melted away my unbelief.

If it feels as though this post is a writing assignment via the Holy Spirit, perhaps it is. I find that I remember things if I write them down, so what better way to retain God’s promises than to highlight them here.

HE IS our sufficiency in~

PROVIDING OUR FOOD~ I have been young, and [now] am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:25 KJV

PROVIDING OUR CLOTHING~ And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Luke 12:22 and 31 KJV

PROVIDING EVERYTHING!~ But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 KJV

Thank you Heavenly Father for being My Sufficiency no matter what the circumstances look like!

P.S. Readers, I seriously would like to hear from you about the above question:)

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Might Be a Writer IF...

You might be a writer if…someone asks you to explain what your day was like and you actually tell the person—in the long, drawn-out version instead of the condensed short story.

To the best of my recollection, this is how I began. It started with that first writing assignment in school and then progressed to the high school newsletter. My writing pen lost its shine a bit during my college years and was promptly replaced by an electric typewriter and a desk job in Washington, D.C.

In 1978 I was born again of God’s Holy Spirit and married the following year. I began to experience the reality of the spiritual realm and learn to know His voice. My husband Tom and I had three children together with out-of-the-ordinary circumstances surrounding each of my pregnancies.

As I shared these stories with family and friends, almost every one of them would say, “You should write that down,” or “You should write a book.” I liked the idea of picking up a pen once again, so I did as they suggested.

One day I pondered the possibility of having my multitude of notes compiled and published. “Lord, I will only do this if it is Your will.” I had recently written a letter to the editor of a Christian magazine, so I prayed, “Lord, if you want me to pursue publishing, let this letter be printed in the next issue.” (I was really into asking God for signs back then.)

Well, wouldn’t you know it—the letter was in the next issue of that magazine! Not that I would call it a miracle, but I believed it was my Heavenly Father’s go-ahead signal. I submitted my manuscript to only one publishing house whose representative sent me a rejection letter—a very kind one—I should mention.

I thought perhaps I had ‘missed’ God and the book was to be a manuscript I would hand down to my children. So I dismissed it.

One morning not many days later, Tom and I were just waking up and he blurted out, “The Lord gave me a dream last night. I am supposed to publish your book.” And that is how The Mommy Manual (With Notes for Daddy Too) came into existence. (See the “Published Work” section of my blog for more information.)

Life with a husband who worked at home, three children, a cat, and a turtle kept me busy, but I did squeak out a couple of articles that were published. Still I did not think of myself as a ‘writer’.

I have learned, however, that the people of God go through seasons. Women especially go through defined periods of time when they marry and have children. We choose to set aside aspirations only to pick them up again later.

Being an author was never a goal of mine, but lately more ideas for books have sprung up within my mind. Having gone through the arduous process of self-publication, I shoved them to the files in the back of my brain. “No way am I going to go through that process again, Lord,” I told Him. "Not unless You show me in a BIG way." I prayed this even though several years ago, He spoke clearly to my spirit that I should not be asking for signs for every situation; BUT:

You might be a writer if…the Lord Jesus Christ sends a stranger to confirm it to you. But that’s another story…

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Open Thy Mouth Wide

For years now I have been keeping a chronicle of my reflections while in the secret place. I have stacks of journals of all sizes and colors where I recorded these sacred moments. I spent almost an hour today trying to find a particular journal so as to recount the details of something fantastic Father God did for me and my family. Although I did not find it, I believe I can remember most of that day in 1999.

Now a month or so prior to this wonderful day, one of our old friends shared how the Lord had given her gold fillings. I had noticed that the amalgam in my aging fillings had turned black and that soon I would have to have them all replaced—something I truly dreaded. So I decided that I would pray and ask the Lord to do for me what He had done for her. Whenever I thought of it, I prayed for this miracle and reminded my Heavenly Father that He was no respecter of persons.

During the week of Pentecost, we invited some friends to come and worship with us and have a picnic. Later that week, I saw Tom off to work; and, as my manner was, went to the little room we used as a library/guest room and sought the Lord. Soon I heard the familiar small still voice within my spirit. “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it.”

I did not understand why He was telling me to open my mouth; but I did as He commanded, not wanting to miss out on any good thing. I opened my mouth wide and as I breathed in deeply, I saw a brilliant gold throne high above me. I saw it in the spirit realm even though my physical eyes were open. A great golden ray emanated from the throne towards me. I knew something had happened, but what?

I found and read Psalm 81:10 KJV~I am the LORD thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide and I will fill it. Then I heard in my spirit, “Go to the mirror and look at your teeth.”

As I ran to the bathroom, I grabbed a flashlight because I was finally realizing what had happened. I shone the light on my bottom teeth and the fillings were no longer black but were shimmering with new fillings. They weren’t the yellow gold but were silvery gold!

I started to scream with joy and jump up and down. I had to tell somebody about it! I ran upstairs and pounced on my sleeping daughter Rachel. "Look at my teeth--what do you notice?!" I shrilled into her droopy face. "They'r-r-re shiny?" she sleepily answered for she was barely awake. "I have to call your father and tell him!" While I was downstairs on the phone, Rachel thought within herself, "It would be cool to have a gold filling.”

When Tom came home, the first thing he did was shine the flashlight into my mouth and rejoice with me. Rachel greeted her Dad and then reported to us that her one little filling had also changed to gold! “Well, I want gold fillings, too,” Tom said to himself.

After taking a much-needed nap, Tom came to me in the kitchen where I was preparing dinner. “Guess what, Honey?” he grinned. “YOU TOO?!” I squealed. Sure enough, the glorious Hand of the Lord had touched each one of us that day!

What caused me to recall this special time in our lives, was an email I received recently from Kathie Walters (kathiewaltersministry.com). She wanted to share what happened while ministering at a seminar recently:

Several people in the last couple of weeks have written to me or spoken to me about TURKEY. They smelled turkey cooking, or had a dream about roast turkey or a vision or felt they had the taste of turkey in their mouth.

I know Thanksgiving is coming but it's not entirely to do with that holiday. On Saturday I had a need in our ministry and I had a vision of myself and I was holding up an empty plate to the Lord and asking Him to give me something. Now the plate I had was an English blue and white china plate - it was pretty ( I have those plates) but it was small like a tea plate. The Lord said to me " That's a small plate" and right away I had a bigger dinner sized plate I was holding up to him. Next minute the plate was filled with a turkey ( roasty potatoes, carrots etc). Then the Lord filled the turkey with this wonderful smelling stuffing.

God said this to me: "If you keep a spirit of Thanksgiving in your mouth I will fill the turkey." So of course I started praising the Lord and thanking Him for everything I could think of, including all my wonderful friends He has put in my life.

During the break in the Saturday seminar a friend came up and said the Lord had told her to give me a chunk of $$ to help meet this need we had. We still have some needs but I am going to keep thanking Him. We have so much to be grateful for don't we? We just sometimes forget all His benefits. But thanksgiving is a key to release God's blessings in your life.

Let us all open our mouths wide! Not with worry, fear, and complaining, but WITH PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING trusting that He is the God who supplies all our needs and does exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!

Phl 4:19 KJV - But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Eph 3:20-21 KJV - Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Real Butterfly Effect

“Look, Mimi!” my four-year-old grandson trumped as he and his dad marched into the kitchen. My son Matt held a large pickle jar stuffed with milkweed leaves up to my face so that I could peer in. “Oh! Did you find a Monarch caterpillar?” I asked trying to match his enthusiasm. In truth I was probably as excited as he was for indeed there was not just one but two of the black and yellow striped crawlers.

It had been many years since I had shared in the wonderment of the metamorphosis stages of this beautiful butterfly. When my children were little, every autumn we would hunt for a Monarch caterpillar. It was a family tradition. Even today the process continues to amaze me. As many believers probably do upon finding one, I automatically think of Romans 12:1-2 KJV~ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [metamorphoo-to change into another form; transform] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The entire family was enthralled with the new crawler-vision displayed on the kitchen counter. Munch, munch, munch. The two creepers seemed to be in a race to see who could eat the most. The smaller caterpillar (I’ll call Beta) went into chrysalis mode overnight attaching itself to one of the leaves. “Why did she stop eating so soon?” I wondered to myself, for she was almost half the size of her jar mate. As Alpha (my name for the bigger worm) continued to devour another entire stem of milkweed greenery, I could not help but be concerned about Beta. A lesson was forming in my spirit and mind. You know—one of those old teachings that the Spirit of the Lord desires to re-instill, but somehow it goes deeper than when you first learned it.

Finally, Alpha did her magic and hung upside down onto a horizontal stick and formed her chrysalis.

My family and I were surprised when a few days later Alpha’s gold-speckled celadon case became transparent revealing the trademark black markings of the Monarch.
Although Beta had cocooned first, Alpha was transforming sooner. Beta’s tiny chrysalis remained pale green with only a smudge of grey showing. I wondered if she was going to live or not.

Matt took the marvelous pickle jar display out to the back deck with the rest of the crew following. He wanted to let the morning sun welcome Alpha into the great outdoors. The chill of the morning ushered us back into the house. At lunchtime we were happy to see Alpha had broken through the chrysalis shell and was hanging upside down showing off her new wings. She didn’t move much, though, for it was too cold to flap her wings; so she remained in the jar to allow the sun to dry them. Beta looked the same. Would she ever emerge?

The next day I peeked out the window just at the right time. “Alpha is spreading her wings!” I announced. We tumbled out the back door. Matt slipped his finger under Alpha and lifted her up out of the jar. She had truly transformed into the largest most magnificent Monarch butterfly I had ever seen.

Immediately she stretched her wings and fluttered to the nearby ornamental pear tree. Beta, I was glad to see, had made progress showing the black and orange through her pupa. Maybe she would make it, I hoped.

When Beta did finally hatch, her wings were crumpled. They never straightened out.

Matt tenderly placed her onto one of the blossoms of the butterfly bush that grew tall enough to overhang our back deck. I checked on her a couple of hours later and she was gone. Did a bird find her? Did a breeze cause her to fall to the ground?

Our Creator makes lessons evident in that which He created all around us.
For what can be known about God is plain to them [men], because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Rom 1:19-20 ESV

The transforming stages of the butterfly reminded me of how we need to hungrily pursue renewing our mind—putting on the mind of Christ everyday. It is only as we diligently seek Him that we are transformed. When the enemy comes at us, the battle always begins in our minds.

Without taking every thought captive to Christ, as it says in 2 Corinthians 10:5, our fleshly thoughts take precedence and we falter. When we walk by the flesh, it is like being bound to the earth with crumpled wings.

Rom 8:11 KJV - But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12 KJV - Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 KJV - For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 KJV - For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Rom 8:15 KJV - For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

As we walk by the Spirit, we glorify God. We FLY! Rom 8:18 KJV - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

There are many lessons He teaches through the life of this majestic butterfly. Too many for one posting. From this let us learn we should not hesitate to bask in the loving presence of the Son in the secret place, and as the wind of the Spirit lifts us ~

Let us not be afraid to FLY!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I’m not one for worshipping anyone or anything except the One True God. I do, however, believe there is a spiritual realm that will manifest on our physical plane. God’s angels will do this.

Have I seen an angel? I believe I have. One day I was out and about with my two sons when they were only little boys—Matthew was five and Jonah was three. I wanted to drive the car from the parking lot we were in to an adjacent lot. There was what looked like a speed bump between the two lots, so I proceeded to drive over it. Bad move. My station wagon got hung up on the so-called speed bump.

“Oh no, God, Tom is gonna kill me!” I cried out in prayer. There was no way I was going to get out of this mess without some help. Suddenly, a group of boys of staggered height walked up to us. They looked sort of like a teen rock band because every one of them had bright blonde hair.

“Is there something we can do to help you?” the tallest one asked. “Oh, yes. Could you give us a push over this hump I’m caught on?”

After we were all buckled in again, the boys gave the car a good heave and it was free. “Oh thank you so much!” I paused to show my appreciation and said I wished I could reward them monetarily, but the tall boy told me not to worry about it. Happy to be on my way again, I slowly drove to find a parking place. When I stopped I noticed Matthew had twisted out of his seat belt and was looking out the back window.

“They're gone,” Matt stated with a sense of amazement. “Yes, they’re gone,” I agreed looking in the same direction. “No, Mommy, they dis’ppeared. They walked ‘cross the road and then they were gone!” This time I took a hard look. There was no sign of the tow-headed youths anywhere. Then I got to thinking. It was a school day. What were these adolescents doing here on a school morning? Playing hooky waiting for me to make my dumb move? I don’t think so. It wasn’t a teen rock band, I believe it was a band of angels my Lord sent to rescue me. Y’know, so that my husband Tom wouldn’t kill me:)

Hebrews 13:2 KJV - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

What inspired me to share this is a friend just sent me an angel story along with a video link:

Hi family, this video is of a guy who had been spending time worshipping Jesus for 10 hrs a day for quite some time. He had committed to doing this for a few months or something. Anyways, his wife began coming in the room and worshipping with him. One day while they were doing this they began to hear angels singing with them. He decided to invest money to go into a professional recording studio and record him worshipping. Just him and his acoustic guitar and see if he would hear the angels again and be able to record it. He planned to go in there and do 4 songs. On the last song he heard them. You can hear it about 5 mins or so into the song. He is from Johnny Enlow's church in GA. He is singing in spanish.

Not only is it amazing when you start to hear the angels, but this guys voice is beautiful. When you listen to it, listen to it from a place of worship. People have really been encountering the presence of Jesus when hearing this.

Psalms 148:2 KJV - Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something About the Ocean

"Something about the ocean makes me rise up and praise," choruses Ten Shekel Shirt in their song entitled Ocean.

At a beach early one morning I watched my husband as he held the camera up to take a picture of the blazing sun peeking over the ridge of clouds. "It just doesn't look as beautiful on camera as the real thing," he commented.

The prophetic in me rose up. "It's like when we show forth the love of God. People see Him in us but we are not, nor can we ever be, as brilliant and beautiful as He is."

There was a time in my life that I felt defeated because I could not love my Yah enough. I would come before Him daily striving to love Him more. But one morning He spoke clearly to me.

"Daughter, it is not possible for you to love Me as I love you."

A great weight lifted off me then. His love truly surpasses our understanding. Our job is simply to show and tell God's love. This will cause us to emit the incense of Heaven. It will rise up like fragrant fingers pointing to the Lord of Glory.

Something about the heavens, continues Ten Shekel Shirt,

Makes me stand in awe again
Something about the sunrise
Reminds me of Your faithfulness
Something about the ocean

And I'm lost in love again...

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Vine

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

My husband Tom and I went to a winery recently. The day was perfect. We had a simple picnic in the shade near the grapevines which were still bearing their deep purple fruit. There is something about the setting of a vineyard that is so satisfying.

As our Messiah walked and talked with the people of His time, He used many agricultural analogies such as this one from John chapter 15 because Israel was an agrarian society. One does not need to be a farmer, however, to understand that a branch of a plant or tree must remain connected with the main stem or trunk in order to survive. If we as God's people could only grasp this truth and retain it!
One morning after moving into a new house I was in the bedroom praying. I felt the pressure to hurry, but pushed it aside as I knelt down among the stacks of still unpacked boxes surrounding me.

My manner is to simply take time to be with Him in the morning. To seek the Lord's face. Sometimes the Spirit of the Lord will lead me to read a specific section of scripture or to intercede for a certain person or situation. Or we simply love on one another heart to heart. I never know what will happen.

"Lord, here I am."
Almost immediately I heard, "Daughter, I want you to go see Carol this morning."

I popped my head up above the boxes and said out loud, "Really?!" I was so delighted with my 'assignment' that I didn't ask why I was to see this new friend. I simply went. It turned out that my new neighbor was badly in need of encouragement and I had the privilege of ministering to her.
Just as the children of Israel were to follow the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, we are today to follow the Spirit of God in all we do. As we continue to take every thought captive to Christ, we abide in His presence--we are allowing Him to be the vine.
Abiding in His presence--now that is satisfying--and fulfilling. The promise that goes along with this is amazing~~
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Remember I Love You

Everyone has a favorite holiday or season of the year. Our Creator was the originator of that idea, of course. He outlined several special occasions beginning in Leviticus 23 with the major festivals. Each one has historical, Messianic, and spiritual significance, but for simplicity I will list only the Messianic fulfillment of each:

Passover (Pesach) Death of The Lamb of God
Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzah) Burial of Yeshua, our Jesus
First Fruits (Bikkurim) Resurrection of Jesus
Pentecost (Shavuot) Pouring out of the Holy Spirit
Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah/Yom Teruah) Resurrection of the believers
Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) The day of the Messiah's second coming
Tabernacles (Sukkot) The Messianic Era/Millennium

Above information taken from The Seven Festivals of the Lord by Edward Chumney. His excellent website can be found at http://www.hebroots.org/

Why are these important? Why is your favorite holiday important? These are special occasions where we want to REMEMBER SOMETHING GOOD and CELEBRATE IT! The festivals of the Lord were given to us to understand the coming of the Messiah and His role in redeeming man back to God following the fall of man in Genesis. Our Heavenly Father wants us to remember how much He loves us. His love is so immense that He set forth a plan of redemption and restoration giving the precious life of His only begotten Son.

I'm not going to go into depth regarding all the feasts in one post, but I did want to share my thoughts on The Feast of Trumpets which, according to my calendar, begins tonight. At this season I find myself thinking of those who have gone before me--those in my family who are asleep in death awaiting the trumpet blast of I Thessalonians 4:16--

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first...

The youngest of these is my nephew DJ who died just before turning five years old. I would like to acknowledge him today by telling you of the book his mother Linda Blechinger wrote regarding this time in her and her family's life, Mourning to Morning. Linda at first self published the book but now is in the process of having an expanded version coming out through a publishing house. Linda gives a Godly perspective to grieving and is a wise counselor to those who are mourning. If you would like to get in touch with her, she can be reached through her site at http://mourn2morn.blogspot.com/

Where would we be without Jesus? I shudder to think. But during this Feast of Trumpets, I'm going to celebrate that He gave me hope of eternal life! 1 Corinthians 15:55 KJV - O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Inner Chamber

Many of you reading this will know what I am referring to when I write of the inner chamber and many will not. What I am referring to is the secret place in the spiritual plane reserved for you and your Heavenly Father through Christ Jesus, Yahshua, by way of the Holy Spirit.

You might call it the prayer closet. But prayer is only a part of our worship to the Almighty. Just when I believe I have ‘worship’ defined, He reveals more to me. I believe when I write as led by the Spirit of God that that is worship. Does it take the place of communion in the inner chamber? At this point in my life, I cannot be sure. I simply know He wants that exchange of intimacy. When I go to that trysting place seeking Him, many times writing ideas manifest. He is my inspiration. He is my guide, comforter, healer, and lover of my soul.

Not that a believer has to be in a particular physical location to experience a holy encounter. I remember the first time I saw the Lord Jesus. I had been praying for a few days asking to see Him because a friend of mine had told me that this was available—to see into the spiritual realm. I had gone to bed before my husband one night. Although my eyes were closed as I lay there, I sensed that someone had entered the room. I sat up and in the bedroom corner I saw a figure of light. “Lord, is that You?” I whispered with trembling lips. He did not speak, but I had a knowing within that it was Him and tears coursed down my face. Suddenly the door opened causing me to turn and see that it was Tom coming to bed. When I quickly turned back to look upon the Lord, He was gone.

It was the beginning of many more adventures in the spirit. Sometimes I recognized whether it was the Father (as I related in my recent blog entry titled Mental Illness--Hope and Forgiveness) or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and sometimes I did not. My manner is to converse with the Lord throughout the day. One particular day as I was putting laundry into the washer, I was apologizing to the Holy Spirit for something and was surprised when I was suddenly overwhelmed by a wave of love. Oh, there is nothing like it!

One of my favorite movies is Amazing Grace. It’s the story of William Wilberforce who was the leading abolitionist in Britain who persuaded Parliament to ban the slave trade in 1807. In one scene a servant finds this man of faith sitting in the middle of a meadow disheveled and with a silly grin on his face. Wilberforce shares with him how God has moved upon him and caused him to come undone.

Like William Wilberforce, I am thrilled, undone and truly humbled by these encounters. I simply live for those waves of love! You probably see my point in writing all this. I want to encourage you to seek His face. Whether it is by going outside, in a private room, or in your car, just do it. Go to the secret place--He is waiting for you.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe...Ephesians 1:18-19 in part

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mental Illness--Hope and Forgiveness

As is true for everyone, there are so many aspects to my life that require me to depend on the Spirit of Christ in order to endure. When I was a child and not yet born again of God's Spirit, my parents divorced due to my father suffering with mental illness. This left my mother with five children to care for--I was the eldest daughter. From time to time we would visit with our Dad. As you can imagine, I did not have a close relationship with him. I loved him, but I did not really know him. So when he died I did not know whether he was saved or not.

Several years later, I had an encounter with Father God. I was in my hidden place worshipping and I heard Him say, "Soon it will be Father's Day."

"Yes, Lord, I know." In truth I was relieved that I no longer had to go to the store to try and find the 'right' Father's Day card. Of course, my Heavenly Father knew my thoughts, but I was not prepared for what my loving God then said.

"Your Dad wants you to know that he is sorry that he could not be the father you deserved."

I broke into tears and cried out, "I forgive you, Dad. Be released! Be released in Jesus' name! I love you!" In the spirit, I could see a balloon rising up to the heavenlies as though Yahweh wanted me to see that my words went up to my Dad and were received. I received much release within myself as well. Not only did this encounter heal me of much childhood wounding, but I realized that my Dad had made Jesus Lord and was with Him in Heaven.

This experience came at a much-needed time for me, because my husband Tom and I had been taking care of one of our teenaged children who had also been diagnosed with mental illness. We have endured much hardship because of this, but our child has endured even more.

My husband and I believe mental illness can be healed through Christ Jesus, our Yahshua. Two summers ago we heard the testimony of a man who was healed from schizophrenia by the sovereign Hand of God. One morning as I was working as a temporary receptionist at a nearby firm, the Spirit of the Lord dropped hope into my spirit. He told me that my child would be healed but that it was not yet time.

I praise God for His mercies are new every day! And I praise Him for the sure hope we have in the return of Jesus Christ when the ultimate healing occurs as we are clothed with our new bodies.

How has the Lord upgirded you through a troubled time in your life? Please feel free to comment or ask me about enduring through difficulties.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Singing By The Spirit

Woven into the mundane everyday chores of my life as a handmaiden of the Lord, who happens to also be a wife/mother/grandmother/homemaker/writer, is a time when I get to exercise my wings as a prophetic singer. One night a week my husband and I minister with an intercessory worship team. Tom plays the drums and percussion and I sing alongside two other women and the male worship leader who plays the keyboard.

What makes this type of worship different is that we pray and sing the scriptures as the Spirit of God leads us. This is where the prophetic comes in. As we sing, the Holy Spirit gives us other related scripture verses to sing or words of proclamation, repentance or encouragement--whatever is His desire. We become guided missiles of intercession at the hands of The Great Intercessor. (For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 1 Cor 14:31)

There is also a prayer leader who reads and prays the focal verses. This past Tuesday, as the prayer leader began, she went to the Lord with such a contrite heart that we easily entered into that same place with her. This caused the heavens to rend and the atmosphere of the Throne of Heaven invaded our earthly atmosphere. I wept with the realization of what was happening. In the Spirit I saw wings upon wings filling the room and I began to sing what I was envisioning~

Do you see them?
They are here to worship Him with us~
Their wings fill the room!
Do you see them?

A cacophany of praise and worship erupted. The sound was loud and full and I knew the angels were singing with us for there was only a handful of saints gathered with us.

THIS is what I live for. To experientially KNOW HIM~The Lover of My Soul. I seek to encounter Him in my prayer closet and I seek to encounter Him corporately with the Body of Believers. Hallelu-Jah!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How Can Marriages Survive?

As my manner is, I checked my email before going to my blog site. This led to me signing yet another petition in the defense of marriage to be emailed to my representatives. One of our spiritual enemy's main attacks is on marriage, so today I am fighting back.

How can marriages survive this attack? The answer is simple, but not easy. Our Heavenly Father designed marriage to be a COVENANT NOT A CONTRACT. Webster's Dictionary uses the term 'covenant' to define what a contract is, but a covenant is a much more solemn compact than a mere contract.

When my husband and I were married over 31 years ago, we chose to share in the covenant of salt as part of our ceremony. We each partook of the salt by licking our finger and dipping it in a small dish of salt to signify that our words were salted (see Col. 4:6). Salt is rich in natural and spiritual significance. The biblical lore of salt begins in Leviticus 2:13 where Yahweh instructed the Israelites that every sacrifice was to be seasoned with salt and in Numbers 18:19 it became part of Yahweh's covenant with humanity. Entering into a covenant of salt means binding oneself to another in utmost loyalty and truthfulness, even suffering death rather than breaking the covenant.

Have we ever been tempted to break this solemn promise? Every couple has arguments, but the first time either one of us spoke 'divorce' also became our last time. That word hits the spirit and soul like a ton of bricks, so my husband and I agreed many years ago that we would never use the 'D' word. And I am so grateful to God that we have kept that promise. What I am sharing is NOT to slap a judgment on anyone who is divorced. I want to exhort those who are married to do spiritual battle against the enemy of our souls--by standing together. And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone... (Gen. 2:18). We live in a place and time where we need one another more than ever. After the Lord, our spouses should be our best friends.

And so, Beloved, don't let finances, children, relatives, or well-meaning so-called friends cause you to give up on your marriage. Fight spiritual darkness the way Jesus, our Y'shua, taught us--LOVE ONE ANOTHER--and let your speech be seasoned with salt~

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Col. 4:6

Have you an edifying story for those struggling in their marriages? Please write a comment so that we may encourage one another.

Friday, July 30, 2010

To Eat or NOT to Eat

Have you ever done a fast? I know it is tempting at this point to ask me, "Ever done a fast what? A fast walk? A fast drive to the store?" But I am talking about not eating anything for a period of time with the purpose being to seek God's face.

First, let me explain that I like to eat. I don't particularly like to cook, although I have been told I am a good cook. I do enjoy baking, especially when the peach trees and later the apple trees begin providing fresh fruit for pies. At my last physical I asked the doctor if I was overweight. "You're borderline," was her reply. That answer was given to me a year and several baking episodes ago!

I believe we are to be good stewards and that includes our physical health. I had to re-learn this the hard way, however, the year I turned 41. I awoke in the middle of the night because electrical charges were surging through my entire body. I was paralyzed and could hardly speak as I struggled to get my husband's attention. "Tom, pray for me!" I managed to eke out. I was feeling better after he prayed but felt claustrophobic under the heavy blankets, so I slept in my winter bathrobe the rest of the night.

In the morning I was still so shaken that I crawled--not walked--but crawled my way into the bathroom. As I slowly made my way along the carpet, I cried out to the Lord to help me. He spoke so clearly to me that even today I remember what He said. "Daughter, I will carry you through this phase of your life to the other side. Read Leviticus 17:11. Remember to eat a green salad every day and call Becky.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood...the first part of Leviticus 17:11 read. I was homeschooling my daughter at this time and had studied and learned much about the human body. We are only as healthy as our blood is and what we eat greatly affects our blood. When I contacted my friend Becky, a nutritionist, I learned that almost all diseases (something like 98%) stem from poor nutrition. I reached out to other brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me and I realized a couple of things--1) We are called the Body because we need every member; and 2) My body was entering what is called 'peri-menopause' (the bumpy ride before you hit menopause).

It was during this period of concentrating on my health that I decided to give fasting a whirl. I had heard that fasting helped believers strip away the physical realm so that they can experience the spiritual realm more deeply. I already had known times of wonderful intimacy while communing with the Lord, but I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to go deeper through fasting. So I told the Lord that I would do it for Him. After going without food and allowing myself to drink only water for a day, I arose early the next morning to seek His face. As I entered the small library room I used as my prayer closet, I saw the Lord. It was not that He had physically manifested, but I saw Him with my spiritual eyes as He stood there apparently waiting for me. It is difficult to put into words that type of encounter. I believe He always is ready to meet with us. Somehow fasting stripped away the veil of the flesh so that I could see Him more clearly.

It has been many years since that euphoric experience and I have not ever fasted (from food that is) since then. Well, there was a couple of times I had to refrain from food because of some blood work, but that doesn't count. Anyway, you can see that I mean what I say (er, write). I do enjoy discussing many subjects and have gone from early marriage and parenting to the other end of the spectrum with peri-menopause in just two postings--HA! So do feel free to jump in and drop me a line.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Despise Not Small Beginnings

Writing is one of the main passions poured into me by the Lord. Most any subject interests me, but the things of the Spirit of God intrigue me the most. I am a grandmother now but began journaling my thoughts and experiences when I was a young mother and then published them in 1991 in a book entitled The Mommy Manual (With Notes for Daddy Too). While working recently on a new book project, I stumbled across a copy of my first publication. Nostalgia swept over me and I began to think about when my kids were first born and remember how in the midst of the hustle and bustle of motherhood the Holy Spirit was there helping me. I flipped open the pages and began reading one of the many stories...

One day as I was bathing my newborn son, he seemed unusually fussy and wouldn't stop crying. Thanks to God, I noticed that there was a clear plastic thread wrapped around one of his toes which was cutting off the circulation. His toe was very red but had not turned blue yet.

Later on as I shared with my husband what had happened I realized it was the Holy Spirit who spoke to my spirit to check the baby's toes! Because of incidents like this I learned that I served a practical God--one that cared about everyday quandaries. Not an unfeeling, uncaring deity but the epitome of LOVE!

It is stories such as this I would like for you to share with me--everyday situations (big or small) where God showed up. Perhaps He spoke to you and gave you enlightenment of a scripture or understanding as to why someone spoke to you the way they did. My purpose in blogging and my prayer for the Body of Christ is Ephesians 1:4-23 which states (in part):

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ...

The computer is not a whole new world to me, but blogging is. Sometimes I think too much about what I am to write because I don't want to dishonor the Lord in any way. I was even obsessing over what I should use as a title for this first post when I heard that still small voice say, "Despise not small beginnings".