Season of Preparation

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In 1991, just before I headed off to College, the Lord gave me an open vision.  As I was driving my car, suddenly in my mind’s eye, I saw a huge movie screen open before my eyes and there it was.  The events of my past!  My heart was filled with remorse, as I uttered, “oops, sorry Father.”  It was clear that I had been steering my life in the wrong direction.  In the most gentle and gracious way, He said, “This is what you have done, I want you to see what I can do.”  His timing was perfect because I was ready for a change of lifestyle.   At that time, I was working the evening shift at the most popular bar in my hometown.   I was living my life selfishly and doing as I pleased without regard for anyone else.  Instantly, I knew that the way I had been living was unacceptable to my loving Saviour.   The one who had been with me the whole time. The one who died so that I could live.   Watching and allowing my very poor choices, Jesus loved me too much not to intervene.  He knew that the path I was on would lead to death.  He came so that I could have an abundant life of peace and joy.   So, He used the consequences of my bad behaviour to draw me to Himself.

Even though, I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 8 years old, my Holy Spirit education began when I was 21.  Looking back, I should have gone to Bible College instead of taking two years to become a travel consultant.  I’ve been toying with the idea of going to Bible College now, just to satisfy man, not that I think it wouldn’t be great fun. I do!!  But the Lord reminds me that He has prepared me exactly the way I am for His purpose and He doesn’t want me to be concerned about a title or a position.  The door He opens no man can shut.    1 John 2:27 says, “You have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true.  For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true – it is not a lie.  (The Message Bible version adds, “uncontaminated by a single lie”)  The Holy Spirit’s teachings are uncontaminated by man’s imposed ideas.   As well, Jesus said, “As it is written in the scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.”   Is it possible to be prepared by God to do His work without Bible College?  HE seems to think so!

While in college, I worked my way through a twelve step program.  The program encouraged us to, “take what we like and leave the rest.”   We choose what makes sense to us and mold our belief system around our own thoughts and feelings.  However, God wants us to build our belief system on His Word.   I’ve decided to soar like an Eagle in this life by basking in the amazing events, that Ephesians 2:10 tells us, He has planned for us to do.   Experiences that He promises are beyond my best imaginings.  He will satisfy my soul and the desires of my heart.

While homeschooling my son, pre-planning the lessons was important but I learned to be flexible because Holy Spirit reserved the right to change my plans at any given moment.   His memorable lessons always last a lifetime.   I want the only Father that I’ve ever had, to be proud of me and I know He is.  The one thing in this life I am secure in, is “His Love for Me.”   Sometimes, I worry that I’m too much like Moses and instead of speaking to the rock, I will become angry and have to face the consequences.  What I mean is, that my hasty behavior will set me off the best destiny path the Lord has for me.  Regardless, I know that nothing can make My Father love me any less.  However, I prefer the speed of the Holy Highway rather than the bumpy wayward ditch.

Since the experience of my open vision, I’ve pursued intimacy with God passionately so that my life can be a living testament to Him.  In the same way that Jesus did many other things while he was here.   If those events were all written down, the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.  Our lives would produce many books as well.   No one knows what you are capable of.  Only He knows.   My Holy Spirit education will never be complete and I CAN do all things with Christ, who strengthens me.   I wouldn’t want to do it any other way!

WORLDVIEW

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I want to share with the world one of my many theories. I encourage you not to spend much time being offended with my theory. Whether you agree or disagree, I value your perspective, if you want to share it with me. I don’t have everything all figured out and that is why I am in search of answers. God requires us to have answers for our beliefs. And frankly, it’s embarrassing having no answers or having an answer that clearly reveals you don’t know God’s character and promises. However, I reserve the right to revise my theory upon revealed truth. God is still God and Judy is a work in progress where His Holy Spirit resides.

In this week’s sermon, the pastor professed that sickness is not necessarily the result of sin.   In my heart, I strongly disagree. Did I stand up in the service and declare my opposition. No, because I want to be a vessel that encourages unity and harmony. I think, he believes that some sickness is the result of sin, like maybe sexual sin can produce diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV but mostly, it’s just your unfortunate luck.   He stated that God may or may not heal you, that it is in God’s control, not yours.

So here’s my theory. In the beginning was God.  Then He created man and after that He created woman for man, not as a lesser being but as a suitable companion, his equal.   In the Garden of Eden, life was perfect.   The only time, perfection existed on the earth! No sin, no sickness, no sorrow and no pain.   Then one day the serpent came along to beguile Eve.  She was persuaded to do something God asked her not to do.   On the upside…….she shared with her husband?  Regardless, disobedience became an earthly reality.   Disobedience was the first sin. As a direct result of Sin, sickness also became an earthly reality.

At the mention of obedience, I’ve noticed that people get their undies in a knot. Obey God? Obeying the law is negotiable. Just don’t get caught. Disobedience is considered a minor sin compared to Murder.   Truth is, Murder is disobedience to God. The earth groans, as if in pain, waiting for God to fix the faux pas that took place in the Garden.   Jesus died for the Sin of the World and then went around healing everyone that was sick.   He healed ALL that came to Him.   God’s will is for us to live in Health. He wants His temple/church to be without blemish. God wants His people, not only individuals but also the collective to be healed and healers.  Firmly established in the Truth of His Word and completing the work Jesus started.

When you pray for your healing or someone else’s, stand firm and don’t doubt. Encourage those who are waiting for their healing and build up their faith. Don’t try to explain why they aren’t healed yet. God holds all the answers to our problems. He knows why you are sick and He always wants to heal you. On the other hand, the devil wants to steal your health and your healing.

In the mind of a desperate but courageous woman, there was a knowing that if only she touched Jesus robe, she would be healed. Why would she think that? Weaving her way through the heavy crowd, she achieved her goal. Having felt power go out of him and after finding the culprit, Jesus praised her by saying, “Daughter, YOUR FAITH has healed you.” Yes the power went out of Jesus but she had the audacious faith to touch his robe directly resulting in her healing.   God gave us the power to create. It starts in our heart and comes out our mouth but all too often we declare our healing and ten minutes later say something completely contrary and out of faith which disqualifies us from receiving our healing.

If you want someone to blame for sin and sickness, it is Man and the devil.   Although, blame is ineffective and irrelevant, as Jesus pointed out before He healed the blind man.   The disciples wanted to know who was to blame for the man’s blindness but Jesus redirected them to the “solution.”

Another example of man trying to understand the events rather than trying to achieve the solution was in the story of Job.  Job’s friends were focused on blaming him for his misfortune.   Angry about the accusations, Job complained to God. With patience and kindness, God had some questions for Job, one of which was, “who was the one who created the heavens and the earth, Job? Was it you?” (I’m paraphrasing of course.)   God allowed Job’s suffering at the enemy’s request but once Job had been tested and found faithful, God restored him to more than he was before.   I do not believe that it was ever an option for God to leave Job in his misery.

Point being, we need to focus on God, who holds all the answers to man’s problems and direct other’s focus to the creator, who has a plan to fix it all.   God’s plan of repairing the world includes No more sickness, disease, sorrow or pain and just because the world has not been healed yet does not mean it won’t be healed. God is patient and does not want one of his created to perish so He is giving us time to get it right. DWJD (Do what Jesus did)

PRACTICE

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Hmmm?   Love is like playing the piano?

When I turned 40, I realized that time was flying by. The reality that I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I want to, set in. However, I am going it give it a good effort anyway.   First, I decided to ride a street bike.   Very quickly, I went from a baby bike to a big girl bike.   I haven’t mastered her yet but I’m ready to check off another goal from my very long bucket list during the winter months.

My next endeavour has been to take piano lessons. Whether it’s playing the piano or practicing love, it is best when you follow the example and advice of a good teacher. It is great to have good role models but what happens when you don’t?   There is hope. Jesus is your role model for love.   It doesn’t matter that he was never married because he treated everyone with dignity and respect and we are to love everyone.  Although someone else said these words, you can accept them as Jesus speaking directly to you.   “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training in godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.   Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”   PURITY!? Now that’s a challenge because although we show everyone how good we are on the outside, God knows what we look like on the inside.   By the grace of God, go I. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect but in the time being, I know that it is only because of Jesus’ righteousness that I am able to come boldly into God’s gracious presence.

For years, I’ve been practicing love but in that time my heart has been broken into itty bitty pieces and I’ve learned to guard my heart against loved ones who hurt without remorse or sneak in a bit of revenge. As I commit myself to prayer for not only the ones I love but my enemies too, I choose to trust God to fight my battles in the spiritual realm in the same ways He did for King David. What God has done for one, when asked, He will do for another. Often, the argument, “that God expects me to do for myself” has been brought up by Christians who don’t mind living on the beach with God’s palace overlooking their little tent but I want to live in His home with Him.   My interpretation of God’s Word entails a lot more intimacy and dependency than these advisors suggest. So, I choose to always put love first and to sacrifice myself for the sake of the greater good so that I will dwell with the most High forever.

Many people have confided in me about their failed marriages. Often, I’ve wondered, if they had let God help, how would the circumstances have been different? There are four marriages, that I’ve seen where God has helped and completely released a spouse from another because of the other half’s outrageous behaviour. Yes, you heard me correctly. The marriage dissolved with God’s intervention. Clearly, the one spouse was favoured by God and blessed by being severed from a highly dysfunctional relationship.   Sometimes God requires us to let go of friends that have bad influence over us, as well. Considering that there may be an idealist reading this blog, I will say that my grandpa and grandma on my father’s side lasted happily until death did them part. Years ago, I witnessed a christian couple that submitted themselves to God for the healing of their marriage.  He was faithful and they were blissfully surprise how amazing God is. From where I stand, I want my life to be completely directed by God.   I am certain that His way is leap years ahead of what I could do for myself. I still want what I want and am willing to practice love and patience in order to achieve the end result.   God promises that He will give me anything I ask for.

A common benefit of playing the piano and practicing love is reduced stress.   Also, research has shown that older men and women who take up the piano as a hobby generally have an increased sex drive and better cognitive functions which is absolutely a perk when practicing love WITH YOUR SPOUSE!!

TRANSFORMATION

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Before we were born, God knew us and determined what talents He would give each individual.   In my opinion, a good example would be Elvis Presley’s voice. It was a built-in ability from the Lord and as a result he became the King of Rock and Roll. God is the potter and we are the clay.   Whether we are raised by parent’s who teach us about God or not, God is always beckoning us unto Himself from the moment we are conceived. His workmanship within us will not cease until we are promoted to the ever after. This week, I want to share with you a bird’s eye view into a life that I am especially thankful that God created and chose to cross my path with some 37 years ago.   My lovely lady friend, Michelle has graciously given me permission to write a blog about her.

Michelle and I both accepted Christ in our early years.   We went to church together because her family chose to include me.   Truth be told, we have always been more like sisters and like a true sister, she never neglected to remind me that she was the older and wiser one of the two.

The DNA information that was given to Michelle includes special ability for comedy, writing poetry and leadership.   I am privileged to have been at the receiving end of all 3 of these gifts. Not at the time but now, in hindsight, it was humorous being left on the side of a long, deserted, backwoods road half asleep, having been jolted awake, as the result of a practical joke. Years later, she presented me with a beautiful personal poem as a wedding gift and after another 15 years, she invited me to be a part of her prayer team.

We choose, if we will use our talents for or against God and often our choices change with life experience.  Michelle married her high school sweetheart and had two wonderful children. As she walked through her journey of life, she would sometimes include God, however her first husband was more interested in living life for himself. After raising her children, Michelle went into business and quickly climbed the corporate ladder. The company she was in business with may have helped her sharpen her skills but her ability in leadership was given by God and became very evident to me.   I would not say her skill was being used for the glory of God but rather for personal gain.   When her marriage ended, Michelle recommitted her life to the Lord and her passion for Him ignited. God continued to bless Michelle with a godly second husband.   After being presented with the idea of a prayer box, Michelle started using her God given ability to enhance and grow God’s kingdom.   It started small with a few friends who committed to praying for the names that were chosen from the box each day.   The conditions of being a prayer warrior were:

  1. To ask people if they wanted to be prayed for sporadically,
  2. Put names into the box,
  3. Once the name was chosen, call the person and ask them for their prayer request,
  4. Report requests back to the prayer chain, and
  5. Pray intermittently for that person throughout the day.

This initiative grew very quickly. People loved the idea and those of us praying saw God’s hand at work. It was exciting. The prayer box consisted of prayer warriors from different parts of the world and we communicated via texting and email. The prayer box even made the national news.

Observing her life for this many years has brought me to the conclusion that God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable; can never be withdrawn; and are without repentance. Of course, His word is always true but I like seeing the evidence displayed for me. I believe Michelle would agree that experiencing God allows us to realize how satisfying our God given purposes are.  While drawing close to Him makes us realize how wonderful and needed His presence is.

LISTENING

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God is continuously trying to communicate with his children every day, all day long. Shown in the illustration above, His children choose to respond differently.   While some want to hear his every word and listen with every part of their body as well as tuning in with the spiritual part of themselves, others refuse to even acknowledge that he exists and others listen only to what they want to hear, when they choose.   Imagine how these last two types of listeners’ behaviour must hurt His feelings.   Yet He chooses never to give up on them.

How does He communicate with us?   First and foremost, to hear God, you need to know the Bible, which is His written Word, from cover to cover with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as well as His living Word, which is Jesus. As you read through the bible, you need to ask God questions and allow Him time to show you the answers. The bible doesn’t tell the whole story. There are gaps that the Lord wants to fill in for you but it’s a mystery and that’s why He tells us to seek His kingdom. His kingdom operates differently than this world.   For example; in heaven, you don’t need the promise of protection because you are always safe there.  I hear that an orange that you pick from the tree is fully ready to eat.  On earth, the reason for the peel is to protect the fruit. In heaven, there is nothing to damage the orange’s flesh. This analogy shows how His kingdom is contrary to the world’s system.

Knowing God’s written Word will also help you differentiate between the truth and a lie so that you can discern between the voices that are speaking. In your mind, you hear your own thoughts, the voice of the enemy disguised by your voice and the Holy Spirit as a still small voice. The enemy wants to confuse and deceive you. God promises that the mind that is focused on Him will be in perfect peace.

Other ways you hear His messages “in part” are through other people, repetition, nature, dreams and visions, art and music, in prayer and through circumstances.   Keeping your heart open and uncluttered will allow you to hear Him better.   Often He gives us one revelation at a time so it is easier to digest and will establish a firm root in our souls.

Sometimes He is silent but even in His silence, He’s communicating.   He likes listening to you so in those times of His silence, keep expressing yourself to Him.   Being the awesome Father, He models the behaviour He wants us to have. He beckons us to “Do as He does!”   The more we get to know God, the more we become like him.   Remember, we were made in his image but by choosing sin, we choose to oppose that image. Be deliberate in setting aside time each day to practice listening. As you learn to address Him as your constant companion, you will begin experiencing two-way communication.   In my experience, my desire to hear His voice has increased and as a result, I speak less and listen more.   God encourages us not to give up lest we lose our hope. God loves you with an everlasting love!!

FAVORITISM

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Sunday’s sermon subject was in regards to favoritism.   As I pondered how this sermon related to me, I recollected a weekend I spent in the city anticipating a visit to one of the big anointed “on fire for God” churches, like Beulah Alliance Church.   One with excellent worship music and an engaging sermon, maybe even some prophetic words.   When I heard the Lord say, “Have you asked Me where I want you to attend?”   Suddenly my countenance was downcast, not only was I being reprimanded but I knew our visions for this weekend would be extremely different.   Maybe that’s why I had conveniently and subconsciously forgotten to ask Him. He spoke again, “Open the yellow pages.”    Arriving at the churches page, the three microscopic words, “Promised Land Ministries” seemed to shine like the sun.   With much skepticism, I acknowledged that the name of the church sounded great but considering its address and the size of the letters in the phone book only increased my hesitation.

Shortly after arriving and choosing a seat, I realized this was going to be an unforgettable experience.   Sitting beside a fella named Vincent from Valleyview, who was not a member of this congregation either, was comforting. However he had brought a friend who sat two rows ahead and to the left of Vince.  Thank goodness because he was determined to keep the Pastor entertained with his drunken mischief.   The church was small because it was new to the area so there were no musicians. We sang acappella. My voice requires instruments so I mouthed the words until the Lord reprimanded me about that too.

The church specialized in deliverance ministry which was probably another reason for its size.   Often the body is used as a metaphor for the church.  Deliverance ministries are like the parts of the body that always need to be covered.   Exposure could be deemed inappropriate and cause embarrassment.

Having come from poverty, I’ve never been racist or esteemed myself greater than I am so I didn’t think the favoritism sermon really applied to me.   However my choice between a large flamboyant, beautified church versus a modest humble, even poor congregation showed my error. I realized I was no different than the apostles asking to sit beside the Lord in His kingdom. To be a part of something greater was important to me.   God’s idea of greater was my idea of lesser.   I’ve since changed my point of view. I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be and I’ve learned to expect with excitement what experiences the Lord has planned.

JUBILEE

A few months ago, I woke up singing “The Days of Elijah”, when suddenly the words stopped me in my tracks. Literally, I was stunned with the possibility.   The question that popped into my mind was, “Is this song prophetic?” so I went on a quest to find its origin.   According to the Jewish calendar, September 2015 just ended the seventh Shemitah. which adds up to 49 years. The fiftieth year is the year of Jubilee. This year will have two very distinct and opposite effects.   For those who are walking with God, they will experience blessing, deliverance, redemption, release, liberty, and rest.  Those walking away from God will experience judgement and sorrow from loss.   I believe this will affect both nations and as a result, individual citizens of the nations of the world.

My shock came as I sang the lyrics “Behold He (Jesus) comes riding on the clouds, shining like the sun at the trumpet call, lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee.”   Sometimes I have bad days and I sadly ask the Lord to take me home (to heaven) but I realized at that moment, I’m not ready for the Lord to return this year.   I respectfully and humbly requested another fifty years, if it is true that He is coming in a Jubilee year.   All along considering that Jesus requested that His Father take His cup (meaning death on the cross) from Him and we know how that went.   Your will be done, Lord, not mine.

So what is it going to take for me to be ready? What do I need to do on earth that I haven’t done yet that heaven won’t more than make up for?   How do I fulfill my destiny?

I’m going to start with a public confession.   At a low point in my life when I was feeling sorrow and remorse for the sin I’d committed against God for not asking Him who He wanted me to marry and taking it upon myself to enter into an unequally yoked marriage, the Lord told me that my life was likened unto Hosea’s. Not the same message but still a prophetic act lived out.   Back in Hosea’s day, I’m certain the people who examined his life probably thought he was crazy.  Most people would not believe that God would instruct him to marry a prostitute.  Hosea’s marriage illustrated to the Israelites how unfaithful they were being to God.

Before I chose to marry, God gave me ample warning but I did not know Him well enough to trust him.   What I did was wrong.  However, God never leaves us without hope.   Romans 8:28 says that God will make everything work together for the good of those who love Him. And I love him. And He has made my life good with the one exception.   After twenty years of marriage, my husband still refuses to acknowledge God. I’ve grown in relationship with the Holy Spirit and have learned to trust Him.   Therefore, I believe that I will see clearly both sides of the Jubilee. The good and the bad. God allowed my choice for His purposes. Although, I’m not yet sure of the message of my life to the world.

God is crying out, trying to warn us of the pending disasters ahead.   We need to listen very closely because those who hear and heed his instructions, will be given greater understanding and protection. Those who do not listen and obey, protection and understanding will be taken away. Without understanding, confusion and insanity will set in.   Not a pretty picture.   Many have turned away from God to various lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life; but in spite of all this God remains faithful and patient, giving grace and mercy.