Category Archives: Pleasant
Jesus said, “Give Me back My stuff!” He looked annoyed.
I said, “Excuse me?” and took a step back.
“Give Me back My stuff!” He said again, with determination in His eyes.
I replied, “I don’t know what you mean, Lord.”
Jesus said, “Yes you do. Don’t mess around with me. Give Me back My stuff! I want it and I want it RIGHT NOW!”
“But Lord, everything I’ve got – You gave me,” I replied. I was starting to sweat.
He said, “Part of that is true, but you took some stuff that belongs to Me that I don’t want you to have. Give it back. NOW!”
At this point, I’m on my knees and I’m crying. I’m saying, “I don’t know what you mean, I don’t know what you mean.”
Jesus points at me and says, “That worry. That anger. That resentment. That bitterness. That fear. I died for it. I paid a price for it. It belongs to ME – it doesn’t belong to you. Give Me back My stuff!”
Suddenly I understood and I could see it. All those different things He died for, He took them to the cross and I’ve been resurrecting them. I was absolutely, utterly appalled. I started crying again and said, “I’m so sorry. You’re right, Lord. You’re right.”
Then He smiled at me, reached down and pulled me up. He kissed me on both cheeks and then He looked right into my eyes and said, “Have you any idea how utterly delighted I was to die for all those things? When I was on the cross, the joy that was set before me was that I KNEW I was robbing you of the ability to experience all that negativity. I was taking all those things away from you that you would NEVER have to experience them or encounter them ever again. I could give you a whole new life where those things would be absent and you could learn a different way of being. Do you have any idea how excited I was to be able to take all those things away from you? You’d never be fearful again, you’d never be anxious or worried or panicked. You’d never have to be angry or bitter or resentful. You’d never have to do any of that stuff. You could be FREE.”
He paused, then continued.
“Here you are, taking it all back like it belongs to you. It DOESN’T belong to you. I died for it. I paid a price for it. It’s Mine. You can’t have it because all the time you are taking hold of those things, you can’t see who you really are. When you focus on those things, there is a disconnect between you and heaven. I died so that you could stay connected. As long as you are holding onto that stuff, you can’t receive all that I want to give you.
“Give Me back that stuff. I’ve got things to give you. We can’t be messing around with this baby stuff anymore. We have things to do.”
We sat down and I wrote down all the stuff I had stolen back. Then I wrote down what was the opposite of that because that’s what I’m taking in exchange.
– Graham Cooke, paraphrased from this video:
So, are you ready to give to Jesus the stuff you took back from Him? 🙂
Or maybe, if this is your first time, you need to make a list of things to give Him and then turn them over. He paid for them with His death on the cross. Why are you holding on to it? Give Him back His stuff!!
Have you ever thought of the difference between introverts and extroverts when it comes to sharing the love of God with others?
Since many of my readers are introverts (introverts love to read blogs and make up 50% of the general population), I’d like to explore this topic with you.
What does it look like when an introvert shares God’s love with his neighbors?
It might look like stopping to pet a neighbor’s dog when you encounter them on the sidewalk outside your house. Asking how their day went and then asking good questions because you really are listening and you care.
It might look like patiently listening to a friend vent, without criticizing them for their feelings and thoughts. You are a “safe” person they can be open with.
It might look like giving money to a street beggar or a musician playing on the corner. You make eye contact, smile at them with compassion and drop something in their cup. You acknowledge their existence without saying a word. Maybe you nod along to the music to let them know you “hear” them.
It might look like talking to your waitress at the restaurant. Not just giving her your order, but also asking how her day is going and then really listening to the answer. Or when you get your hair cut, remembering what your hairstylist or barber told you last time about their family and asking about them.
Introverts are not likely to be found standing out in a crowd. They are not big and flashy like extroverts. They don’t “share the gospel” by passing out tracks, preaching or asking people to listen to them as they share the four spiritual laws. In fact, the very thought of imposing their opinion on someone else makes them feel sick.
I am an introvert (mostly). My passion is to love others by “hearing” them and “seeing” them for who they really are. To acknowledge them, just as they are, and to accept them as God would. To tell them, “You matter.” whether or not I use words to do this.
“Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” I’m guessing this originated from a Christian introvert. Words can be so empty and unfeeling. I have had many people “preach” at me with lots of words, but I didn’t feel God’s love from them or what they were saying.
The extroverts tend to have a lot of stories to tell of how God used them to talk to a stranger about His love. I like to hear those – I’m glad people are reaching out. But sometimes it can feel like that is the “standard” and if you don’t do it that way, you are somehow “missing it”.
So, this post is to expose this lie and acknowledge all my introvert readers and bloggers who make the world a better place – quietly, often silently, and yet their impact is deeply felt by those who are privileged to know them.
Thanks for listening. That’s what we introverts do best, isn’t it? 🙂
Hey, Movie Watchers, have you seen the new film “Holy Ghost”? It’s pretty “out there” for most people. It’s definitely challenging – most people don’t know how to describe the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost) much less make a movie about Him. If this topic intrigues you, you might enjoy this film. It’s not a dry documentary. It’s one man’s passion to find God actually engaging with everyday people. It’s worth watching, in my opinion.
And the best part? It’s free to watch today and tomorrow if you go to this link: http://holyghost.wpfilm.com/
Offer expires Monday night, 9/8/2014 at 5pm PST or 8pm CST.
The Path: Fire on the Mountain, Book One by Rick Joyner
Wow! I LOVED this book. It was so incredibly refreshing to me. So many books I read are just the same stuff, in a slightly different format or from a different author’s perspective.
THIS IS FRESH!
When I was in college, I used to take notes if a book was good. I haven’t done that in many, many years. I took 12 pages of notes on this little book of 200 pages. That should tell you something.
Normally, I like to highlight in a book when something “speaks” to me. This was different. I wanted to write down the statements or concepts that really jumped out at me. I wanted to be able to meditate on them later and share them with others. That’s why I ended up with 12 pages of notes. Then I typed them into my computer for safekeeping because who keeps handwritten notes anymore? And how will I find them when I am looking for them next year? 🙂
Anyway, I’ll give you a synopsis of the book and then some special highlights that I liked. The story is written like an allegory or a parable. There’s no introduction explaining whether this is fiction or whether Rick Joyner experienced this story as a vision. In the Final Quest series (which this book mimics), he said in the intro that those books came as a series of visions he received from the Lord. But this book is silent as to the source. Was it a vision or did Rick write it in story form to illustrate the truths he wanted to convey? No idea. But either way, it’s pretty well written as a story.
It starts with the main character trudging through a dreary wilderness thinking that every step will be his last. He comes across of pool of living water. He drinks some water and suddenly his senses are sharp and clear, he feels rejuvenated and “alive” like he hasn’t felt in years. A man comes and speaks to him. His dialog with this man continues throughout the book and he later refers to him as Elijah, as in the prophet Elijah from the Old Testament of the Bible. Later he also meets someone referred to as Enoch, as in “Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24, The Bible).
Elijah tells him to follow him. They walk for a while and arrive on a beach with a large cruise ship in the water nearby. There are a group of people who ask the main character to lead them through the wilderness. He agrees and off they go. The rest of the book is the story of their journey through the wilderness & their interaction with Elijah and Enoch.
The story line is meant to convey not only their journey, but the spiritual truths they need to “stay on the right path” in following the Lord. The story focuses mostly on their conversations along the way. There are a few areas of tension in the story – they run into lions a few times and then later there is possible division brewing in the group and they have to resolve that. Other than that, it’s mainly a lot of dialog meant to convey spiritual truths.
What I loved about it was that many of the truths presented are not your typical “Sunday school curriculum”. They are MUCH DEEPER than that. They are things I have discovered in my own walk with God, but have rarely if ever heard anyone talk about. I appreciated that Rick was willing to go out on a limb and deal with some tough issues that most people in the Christian faith ignore or deny. He did it in a respectful manner, but he was direct and firm. I like that. I am hoping that since Rick is well-known in the Christian world his book will be read by many. Perhaps it will inspire others to take the trek into the wilderness of true intimacy with Christ.
Here are some quotes or concepts from the book that impacted me – I hope something here will inspire you as well.
In general, leaders have given themselves to building organizations more than building PEOPLE. Great saints are becoming rare. (p. 9)
Your guidance must come from your heart, your spirit. You must see with the eyes of your heart more clearly than you see with your natural eyes or you will not stay on the right path. (p. 13)
You must drink from the living water as soon as you begin to thirst. Even drink when you are not thirsty. Staying close to it will keep you alive and on the path. When you are on the right path, it will always be close to you, so find it, drink it often and never go far from it. This is the MOST BASIC LESSON! (p. 8 & 13)
People are being led to the things of the Lord, but not to the Lord Himself. Many are lukewarm because they have so many distractions. Others are lukewarm because they are worn out from all the hype. Those who repent will be given the grace to change. (p. 19)
It is not just love or just power, but it is the power of love you must have. (p. 25)
To get the full benefit of the wilderness, you need to experience it with others. The purpose of the wilderness is to forge “koinonia”, a bonding together into a single unit that is inseparable, like a human body is inseparable. We will perish in the wilderness without it. It is forged by experience in the wilderness together. It is formed through love for Jesus that causes us to treat each other as we would treat Him (with respect). We must have koinonia for the life of Christ to flow through His body (like blood flowing through a human body). We need each other. I (the leader) may need you more than you need me. Those who have never tasted of this fellowship cannot understand it. To experience His glory and presence together is the greatest bond of all. (p. 52-55, 61, 69)
On this path, we earn to live in two worlds – spiritual and natural. The two worlds were meant to be connected by man. To live in both worlds is the natural state of man. Man is both spirit and flesh. The more you can do this, the more you will become who you were created to be. (p. 66)
We must not allow fear to control us, guide us or influence our decisions. Every day that we stay on course, resisting fear, we will become stronger in the Lord. There are many paths and almost all are very inviting. There is no formula – we follow a Person, not a formula. The right path seems to look harder and may be harder for a time. It is NOT the most inviting. We must have faith to see it, follow the Lord and not our own reasoning. The wrong path looks easier, tempts you to escape your difficulties. It leads to entanglements that few ever get free of. (p. 67-68)
If you see the Lion who lives in you, you will not be afraid of anything else. (p. 79)
The life of a disciple is to be taught by the Master (Jesus). The Lord has a special delight in teaching His people. God does not hide things from us, He hides them FOR us. I learned to hear the Word Himself through whomever He chose to speak or by whatever means. (p. 85-86)
Self-focus and self-centeredness are the nature of the immature. It is hard to find those who care about the deeper things of the Lord. Of those who DO care, few are able to resist worldly distractions to actually pursue a deeper relationship with the Lord – to be taught by Him. (p. 92)
For a truth to become life, it must be applied to our life. As you live what you learn, your words will have the power of life. You will not just teach the truth, but you will impart a love for the truth when it is your life. (p. 93, 102)
There is a lot of teaching today that keeps people self-centered rather than Christ-centered. This keeps them in immaturity. You must come to know the Teacher’s voice, regardless of how He speaks or who He speaks through. You must also learn to obey Him. To obey Him almost always requires risk and disregard for self-interest. When you seek the interests of Christ, then your own selfish interests will begin to seem as small and petty as they really are. (p. 94)
Seal these three things in your heart – to know His voice, to do His will and to abide in Him. These will keep you and they will lead you to the kingdom. (p. 97)
The result of experiencing the manifest presence of God is an insatiable desire for more of Him and a special fellowship (koinonia) with all who experience it. (p. 107)
Many people gave their lives to Christ but were then taught to follow people, movements or certain doctrines and were never led to Him. This leads to disappointment and a shallow, frustrating life – not the abundant life He promises. (p. 120)
We must get so close to Him that we are following HIM, not just principles. We often miss Him because we are looking for Him as we expect Him to be, rather than as He is. (p. 123, 147)
We cannot think of ourselves as better than others, but as servants of those who may not have had our experiences. Do not become proud of the grace you have been given! (p. 149)
The main purpose of the true church is to BE the temple – so we should look for the presence of the Lord. The way we find the true church is not by looking for a church, but by looking for the Lord. It is one thing to be in a place with good teaching, worship and ministry. It is something else when He is the true focus of attention. (p. 152)
Nothing else on earth can ever satisfy you like being in the manifest presence of the Lord. Because we were created to have fellowship with God, this is the deepest yearning of the human heart and nothing else can ever compare to it. (p. 160)
Thank you, Rick Joyner, for writing this book. It was like water in the desert to this thirsty soul. I am so eager for more people to “get” this – to realize that it’s all about HIM! Our focus is not supposed to be on church attendance, programs, good sermons, etc. There is no formula or principles – it’s about following a Person: JESUS. I wish, oh how I wish, more churches would focus on the manifest presence of the Lord because that is what we need more than anything. Why don’t more leaders realize that? Why is there such a drought of the manifest presence of God in our meetings and why doesn’t anyone say anything? It’s like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes – everyone was afraid to tell the Emperor that he was naked. It’s time for something to change. I hope this new book can start a movement of believers who are not willing to settle for the same old thing in church anymore. We need HIM and only HIM.
Here’s the link to Amazon – you can preview some of the chapters before purchasing the book, if you like.
If you’re interested in the Final Quest series, here is a link to the Final Quest, Book One – free PDF online. Sometimes authors release the first book for free so that you (the reader) can decide whether the series is for you. This one is definitely worth reading. 🙂
You can also purchase the entire Final Quest series on Amazon – Amazon link
Have you ever contemplated the feminine side of God? I have often heard of the “Father heart of God”. There are many Bible verses that refer to God being a Father, especially the words of Jesus in the book of John. But not many direct references to God’s Mother heart. I’ve never heard anyone teach on this, have you?
But it is obviously part of God’s nature.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27 NKJV
We see the image of God reflected in both genders – male and female. So who is the Mother heart of God? What is the “Holy She” like?
There’s a lot of discussion on the “Divine Mother”. Some refer to Her by different names. I see Her most closely reflected in the description of the Holy Spirit. It was She who inspired Jesus to say,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Matt 23:37 NKJV
A hen is a female chicken and gathering chicks is definitely a motherly thing to do.
In the Old Testament scriptures, the word for the Holy Spirit is Ruach. 90% of the times this word is used in scripture, it is used in the feminine form. Did the Old Testament writers have an intuitive sense of God’s Mother nature that we have somehow lost in modern times?
The most common symbol for the Holy Spirit is a dove. A dove is a feminine symbol. (I don’t know too many men who would choose the dove as the symbol of their masculinity!) A dove is gentle. King Solomon refered to his beloved in the Song of Solomon as a dove (SS 2:4). The Holy Spirit was seen descending on Jesus as a dove (Matt 3:16).
The Holy Spirit is described as a helper, a teacher, someone who guides us into all truth and one who comforts us. Those are all descriptions of the typical job of a mother with her young. She also teaches them right from wrong – as the Holy Spirit does when convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 14 & 16).
I recently had an encounter with this Holy She. It blew my mind. I had never really thought about the Mother Heart of God. But SHE wanted me to know Her. And I am so glad She came to me and showed me Her heart for me.
It was very deep and very personal. It healed my heart in places I’d never been able to discover before. I knew something was missing. I knew my heart felt heavy. But I had no idea what was missing. I didn’t know I needed a revelation of the Mother Heart of God.
There were areas in my heart and soul where I had not received the gentleness and kindness that only a mother can give to a child. I did not realize how much this had affected my perspective of life. I was radically changed, permanently changed, after this encounter with Her. It was simply amazing. I don’t even know how to describe what it was like other than to say I encountered my Heavenly Mother and She loves me! ♥ She welcomed me to the family. 🙂
So I’m posting this in hopes that if anyone else has this experience and doesn’t know how to fit it into their spiritual understanding, perhaps my testimony will light their way. It is NOT sacrilegious to recognize God’s feminine side (though I’m sure there are male ministers who would be offended or befuddled by referring to God as She).
God is recognized as the Giver of Life. On the earth, that is the job of women – they are the ones who bring forth new life from their wombs.
The name God gave to Abraham when He first revealed Himself and told Abraham he would become a great nation is the name El Shaddai. There are various discussion as to the meaning of this name. One is this:
El – might, strength, power; it was the common term for “God” in that culture
Shad – breast, nourisher, sustainer
dai – enough, sufficient, supply
So it could be that when God revealed Him/Herself to Abraham, He/She said, “You will become a great nation (i.e. you will have a lot of children & grandchildren) and I will be the Powerful Breasted-One who will supply all your needs.” Kind of makes sense – the feminine side of God proclaiming a promise of many children and grandchildren and presenting the image of a breast that will nourish and sustain the children who are coming.
What do you think? Have you experienced this Holy She? I think many people long for a sympathetic Mother who will comfort them. Someone who will heal their hearts with Her Love and guide them in the way they should go. I know I certainly need that. Don’t you?
Rating: Inspirational, pleasant
Humility attracts the Holy Spirit. – Mickey Robinson
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. – Solomon, James & Peter (Prov 3:34, James 4:6, I Peter 5:5)
What is grace? One definition I like is “God’s enabling power”. So how does this power come to us? By the Holy Spirit. “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you …” (Acts 1:8)
Recognizing your dependence upon God and your need of Him makes you humble. That draws the Holy Spirit TO YOU.
When you feel confident you can “handle” life on your own, God will resist you. His Spirit won’t help you because you don’t seem to need Him.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 19:14) Little children are humble and dependent. They know they need help – tying their shoes, getting a drink, feeding themselves, getting dressed, etc. So they ask, every time they need something. Admitting their weakness allows someone with strength to help them.
Most of us, as adults, want to show we are strong, that we can “handle” whatever life throws at us. But the opposite attitude is needed if we wish to receive God’s enabling power by His Holy Spirit. We must humble ourselves every day, saying, like Moses did, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)
Admitting that we don’t “have it all together” is a vulnerable place for us. We’ve been told to “grow up” and be responsible for our lives. Yet, it seems to me that the complexities of life are meant to drive us to this place of vulnerability and trust in His grace.
So, here’s some questions to ponder :
How much do you want to do on your own?
How desperate are you for His help?
The choice is yours.
I’d rather choose vulnerability, grace and humility daily. I don’t want to do this on my own. I want more of the Holy Spirit’s help and enabling power. The world is too big and scary – just look at the news each day. We need help. Our planet desperately needs His grace.
Make us humble, Lord, that we might receive Your enabling power by Your Spirit. Without it, we’re lost. ♥
When I woke up this morning, I felt the presence of God in my room. It was a soft feeling – like a warm cloud of love and attention. I was alone in the room. I became aware of it even before I opened my eyes. It was almost as if it was this presence that awakened me. Like God wanted me to wake up so I could enjoy His presence and spend some time with Him.
How cool is that?! 🙂
Have you ever experienced that presence? Some people say they have experienced the “awe” of God when looking at the majesty of the mountains. Some have told me they feel the “peace” of God when walking deep in the forest with no other human beings nearby.
For some reason, it is easier to experience the presence of God when you are alone, I think. For me, I become more aware of it when I’m alone. If my husband had been in the room this morning, my attention might have been on him when I awakened. But since I was alone, the only thing I was aware of was this cloud of Love. It was sooo cool.
There was a time in my life when I really, really wanted to experience the presence of God. It seemed like such a struggle to tune everything else out and just feel His nearness. But then something changed in me a few years ago and now I feel His presence almost every day. It’s absolutely wonderful.
I remember one time I visited a very large historic church in Europe. The stillness inside this huge monument had a feeling to it – I’m not sure how to describe it. Kind of like a deep peacefulness. I sat down and soaked up this feeling for a few minutes. But that feeling does not compare with the close, personal feeling of God’s presence that I had when I woke up this morning.
I thought of this scripture verse, “When I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:18
It is the culmination of a meditation about God’s Presence that starts with these words:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (139:7-8)
So, if God’s Spirit is everywhere, then why do I notice it more at some times than at other times?
I think because He wants me to know He is there. And maybe first thing in the morning there is nothing competing for my attention – so it’s easier for me to notice His presence. At other times, I might feel it but in the busyness of life, I don’t always take the time to pay attention, slow down and acknowledge Him. I’d like to pay attention more because His presence is really wonderful, you know? 🙂
What do you think? When do YOU notice the presence of God?
There was a short season in my life when I was fascinated with angels. I knew they were available to assist us – but I had never experienced that personally. I came across a couple of books by Roland Buck in the library at a YWAM base where I was in school. I also read a few other books on angels which I don’t recall the names of. All in all, I learned a few things about angels and their interaction with people.
One of the primary things that people reported were that angels did not make their presence known. Either the angel appeared as a regular human being and the person figured it out later, or they saw no one, but had supernatural help. In fact, I read many stories of people who were rescued by angels and saw no human being nearby. For instance, I remember a story of two children who were crossing a street and a bystander saw the children lifted up in the air and then placed on the opposite curb just as a car sped around the corner. Had the children still been in the street, they would have been killed. The bystander rushed to the children to make sure they were okay – the children had no idea what had just happened. They “blanked out” and had no memory other than starting to cross the street. They didn’t recall the speeding car or how they ended up on the other side of the street. (They didn’t “black out” or they would have fainted and fallen over. “Blanked out” means there’s simply a complete blank in your memory – you have no recall whatsoever.)
A few months after all this reading I did on angels, I had my own experience with them – or at least, I think I did. I had moved to another YWAM base and was living in a trailer. The back of the trailer had rickety wood steps that led up to a short porch which gave you access to the door near the kitchen. One morning as I was getting ready to leave for church, I decided to make two glasses of instant breakfast – the chocolate kind that you mix into a glass of milk. I walked out on that little porch with my purse over my shoulder and a full glass of milk in each hand.
My husband had gone ahead of me to warm up the car. I stood on the porch and looked out to see if he had pulled up yet. He was not there so I intended to carefully descend the steps and walk out to meet him. Except that I never made it. My last memory is of standing on the porch looking for him. The next thing I know I am lying in the grass, face down, with my head tilted to one side. Each hand was still wrapped around the glasses of milk on either side of me.
I opened my eyes and sat up. My pretty green dress was now covered with chocolate milk. My hair was also wet from the milk. I stood up, trying to get my bearings. I felt no pain. Just then, my husband pulled up in the car. I waved at him and turned and went up the stairs. I knew I needed to get cleaned up so we could leave for church.
I have replayed this scene in my mind many times trying to figure out what happened. If I had fallen, I expect I would have felt some pain in my body from the impact. The porch was at least 2-3 feet off the ground. If I had lost my balance trying to descend, then I would have put my hands out to catch myself from falling. It seems I would have dropped at least one of the glasses of milk. But I was completely unharmed and the milk glasses were still in my hands. They were made of glass and neither one was broken.
The only explanation I could find was that two angels must have caught me and laid me gently in the grass so that I wouldn’t get hurt. I have no memory of putting my foot on the first step – maybe that’s when they caught me, maybe I missed the step or the step tilted suddenly as it sometimes did and I would have fallen.
The fact that I had no pain at all is what convinced me I was helped by angels – and that I had no memory of how I got in the grass. That same “blanked out” experience that so many people reported.
Have you had a similar “unexplainable” experience that could only be explained by some kind of divine intervention? If so, feel free to share it below.