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!

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DELIVERANCE

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Every time, I say the word “Deliverance,” my atheist husband smirks and I know what he is thinking.   I pray the day will come when his deliverance from the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of addiction will supersede and replace the most heinous scene, from the 1972 movie “Deliverance” starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight, in his mind.   One of the jobs, Jesus left for us to do, as his representatives on earth, was to cast out evil spirits and while Hollywood’s version of exorcism seems to entertain the world, they aren’t entirely truthful.

At the age of 21, I had the desire to become spiritually clean so that I would not pass on my garbage to my children. So I decided to seek professional help from a counselling pastor. From the time of our births, we, human beings accumulate a lot sin in our souls unless we are dealing with it regularly. Often our ancestors pass down their sins from generation to generation until it resides with us.    God is our deliverer but we must play an active part in acquiring freedom from the spirits that wage war against God within us.   If we choose not to reconcile our sins with God, it just sits and rots our souls and our mortal bodies are eventually physically affected.

After a couple sessions with my therapist, he handed me the number of a deliverance pastor and suggested that there was probably more spiritually at work in my life than he could handle on his own. So I called the number and scheduled an appointment for us to meet.   The day of the big “D” was hairy scary.   I barely escaped 2 potential car accidents trying to get to the appointment and the second one was in the church parking lot.   After entering the church, my body was suffering discomfort as I waited for the pastors to plan their strategy of attack.   When they finally invited me into the office, my body temperature skyrocketed. I started peeling off articles of clothing without revealing it all. Noticing my beet-red face, the pastor remarked that he could see my discomfort, so he prayed and bound that spirit’s power over me.  As we continued the questions and answers period, that would determine why the spirit(s) have legal right to reside with me, suddenly, my body’s thermostat went in the opposite direction.   I was freezing. My hair stood on end, my teeth chattered and I started putting on the clothes, I had previously removed.   Again he prayed and I was comfortable for a little while. I could feel the spirits’ within me getting antsy and their grip getting tighter.   In fear and desperation, I grabbed onto the imaginary noose around my neck.   I cried because I didn’t know at that time they only have the power we give them.  The feeling of my life, being squeezed from my body, was very real but entirely invisible. As we prayed and I agreed with the truth, being spoken over me, finally, all at once, they were gone.   I felt free and a lot lighter!   From that time to this, deliverance has come in many different ways, at different times and with a lot less drama. The experience of releasing the enemy’s grip is unforgettable and life changing.      Like housework, the work of forgiveness, repentance and cleansing the soul, needs to be done often.

I am certain however that I do not want to let them come back in.   Some people do though. Some people have lived with their demons for so long, it’s as if they can’t live without them.   Still, other Christians fear deliverance ministries and speak against them. Which I must warn against.   Do Not Speak Against the Lord’s Anointed & Do Not Lean on your Own Understanding!!!  If you are feeling angry and rebellious about this warning, consider getting exorcised.   Accept and embrace the experiences that God gives, that lead to complete freedom, no matter how bizarre they might seem to your logical brain.

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TRINITY?

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Like the author of the novel, “The Shack”, I am going to give my personal account of the personalities of God.   After my curiosity got the best of me, I simply asked the Lord, “Why did you present yourself to us in three persons? In so far as I can see, it just confuses people?”   His reply, although not an all-inclusive answer, was the answer that I needed at the time.   He said, “We are the perfect family for you.  Where your father has been less than perfect, I Am the perfect Father.  Where your brother or sister or even your friend has hurt you, I Am the most excellent sibling who can heal your broken heart.  Where your earthly mother was unable, I Am the ideal comforter, counsellor and teacher who will never leave you.  I want to re-parent and raise you up to be all that I made you to be.”
I was not raised in a Christian home.  For a long time, I wondered who must have been praying for me because I had no blood relatives that were Christian either.   Since accepting Jesus into my heart when I was eight years old, I have experienced God’s omnipresence.   He has proven Himself faithful in his promise to never leave me.   Although Father God is Holy and unable to have any contact with Sin, His plan of salvation accommodates for His promises.   Jesus, as the Lamb who was slain for the sin of the world, bridges the gap between us and the Father.   Jesus, truly is the best brother.   His sacrifice made it possible for the Holy Spirit to remain with us always.   There have been times when my ignorant sin has created a feeling of having a thick fog between Him and I, but He never went anywhere.
From a young age, I was keenly interested in the prophetic and the church hasn’t always taught about that important subject.   As a teenager dabbling in the occult, God was faithful to show up and lure me away from Satan’s counterfeiting.   He lead me to my own deliverance and taught me how He wants to deliver others.   As soon as I request forgiveness and repent, He is there in a fraction of a second to cleanse me and work his mighty power in and through me for His purposes.   He wipes away that which separated us and lavishes me with His comfort.   The bible compares God the Father to an earthly father who gives good gifts to his children.   Like earthly parents, who allow their children to go their own way and make mistakes, God the Father is always watching over us, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, uses circumstances to draw us back home into His loving arms, where we come boldly before the throne of grace wearing the white Robe of Righteousness we purchased from Jesus as it says in Revelation 3:18.
In the same way as He lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, Holy Spirit is able to go with us into dark places and will use all events in our lives for the good of His Kingdom.   Thankfully, God looks at the heart of man. He sees my stupid naïve innocent heart and is constantly saving me from myself.   Praise God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for His auspicious plan!

IMAGINATIONS

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God is showing me how to make my prayer life more effective. He says that I must pray out of the spirit realm, not from my soul. At first, I did not understand what He was saying. First, I need to explain the differences and similarities between the two. My soul consists of my mind, will, and emotions (those components that make me different from anyone else) and my spirit is that part of me that connects with God directly, however we use our soul to make the connection. Like the mind is part of the brain: the brain is the physical part while the mind is the soul part but still connected. Likewise, the soul and spirit are connected and when John, the apostle said, “I become less and Jesus becomes more,” He was referring to the inmost parts of himself. By denying ourselves and choosing what God wants, we become closer to holiness and perfection. God says, “Be Holy as I am Holy.” When we are given new indestructible bodies, we will finally be perfected body, soul and spirit.
After asking the Lord to explain to me the difference between praying from my soul and praying from my spirit, He started showing me how to differentiate. On Sunday morning, as I was worshipping Him at church, I closed my eyes and imagined walking up the staircase to Heaven where I met Jesus. We started to dance to the music that played in the church. I was very aware that my feet were touching the floor. Then, in my imagination Jesus and I started ascending higher and higher as we danced. In my mind’s eye, I could see us above where I knew my physical body was. My body and soul were planted in the church but my spirit was in the air with Jesus. I felt jealous. I wanted my whole self to be up there with Him.
Just so you don’t think I’m off my rocker, Paul, another apostle had an experience from 2 Corinthians 12:3, where he said, “whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows”, it was so real to him that he could not differentiate. It seems to me that God had temporarily transported Paul’s body, soul and spirit in a vision or revelatory experience.
As our model, Jesus said, “I do only what I see the Father doing.” Some believe that in his private prayer times, He would visit with the Father and receive revelation for the work that He would do in that day. We are to do the same.
It’s been said that our minds do not differentiate between our thoughts/imaginations and real life. Our minds perceive both as equally real. So seeing a healing in your imagination gives it power to manifest in the natural. Last weekend, I was with the Senior High Boys Volleyball team at a tournament. On the second day, one of our players woke up very sick, unable to play. As I prayed for him, I saw in my imagination the Finger of God touch the back at his lower abdomen. Then awhile later, he allowed me to lay hands on him and pray and I visualized the same image I saw previously. Since we only had six players to start off with, his illness could have been a major setback for our team instead we won first place in the “B” pool. Praise God. I say, “It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me!” Oh wait, that was Paul, the apostle (one of the authors of the Bible) that said that.

Oh, I almost forgot. God does not want us to use our imagination for selfish ambition or personal gain which means that each thought we have needs to be obedient to Christ. It is very important that our thoughts line up to Jesus’ teachings for the purpose of God’s kingdom. Amen?

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!!

REPENTANCE

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Recently, I forewarned my friends, family and co-workers that I am in the midst of making some adjustments in the way I speak.  Taking every thought and every word captive and bringing it into obedience has been interesting.   As I often get carried away in a story I am telling, I may need to ask the Lord for forgiveness right in mid-sentence.

In January, I felt the Lord impressing upon me to revisit the book “30 days to Taming your Tongue” as a New Year’s Resolution.   At the time, my thinking was that my tongue wasn’t that bad and with my sister-in-law, her 2 sons and her 3 dogs living with us, I had a lot on my plate. In truth, I felt the purpose of my unbridled tongue was stress relief.   As the year wore on, I could see that this place of discontentment that I had arrived at was a world created by the power of my tongue.

As I listened to a teaching on the effects cursing, which can be as simple as calling someone an idiot, has on one’s life, I started to realize that I had become angry, although it seemed justifiably so, the anger was creating negative circumstances.   So I quickly got out my prayer book and one by one started to renounce and rebuke or call back or put to flames the words I had used against people who had harmed me and started to pray for each person the way I pray for myself.

Adam F. Thompson, author of “The Supernatural Man” said that if you want to see your life change quickly and drastically for the better and if you want to walk in your destiny, then you must pray in tongues continuously. I started praying in and out of the Spirit as much as it came to my mind to pray.   I’ve been told and am aware that many people feel very uncomfortable with tongues as I did when the Lord encouraged me to start.   Some people think that tongues is a gift that is only given to some.   Speaking is a gift to us all. Communicating without the gift of speaking can be very difficult. Learning a new language or even sign language is a very challenging but rewarding skill.   God asks us to trust Him in the ability of acquiring a prayer language and we must step out of our comfort zone. We enter into it realizing that 97% of the things we say, we may never understand.  However our faith is built up as a result.   We gain greater understanding when the Spirit is communicating with our spirit.   My prayer language is a private and intimate undertaking but has been rewarding beyond my understanding.   God in His mercy allows us revelation and insight into how our faithfulness to our prayer language is being realized in our sphere of influence. The enemy (aka the devil) absolutely hates those who trust God at this level and frankly anything he hates I’m willing to undertake.   I definitely want the strongest weapons in my arsenal.

With repentance and constant prayer, it’s like jet fuel has been added to my walk with God.   In 6 short months, I have been used by God to produce miracles and I am excited for the next 6 months.

BROKEN-HEARTED

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God calls his children to heal the broken-hearted.  However, we must be healed so that we have the tools to help others get well. We must do the work it takes and be practicing the disciplines of prayer, praise, devotion and repentance which will keep us in close communion with the Lord. Experiencing God’s ever-present companionship every day gives us the ability to lead others in keeping their hearts healthy. Jesus wept and had compassion on others. This proves that there is a time to grieve and cry. We must be vulnerable and empathetic but strong in the Lord to lead people out of dark places.

I think understanding this world and how it works is important so we don’t fall prey to self-pitying depression that imprisons us.  Understand that this world is an imperfect place. Everyone has choices and often we don’t make good choices for ourselves or others. Sins are simply bad choices. However, making the decision to live our lives for His purpose will change our course and open us up to start reaping his goodness as well as it spilling onto those within our influence.

We must revisit those traumatic memories that are keeping us captive today. We go back there only with Jesus because we need Him to lead us through while giving us his perspective and understanding so we can come out free. By seeing how Jesus interprets the circumstance, our view changes and we let go of our negative perceptions which allows for forgiveness and reconciliation.  For example, there was an old lady that would go on her roof and talk on the phone at midnight. She also had some other behaviours that at first appearance seemed odd. Most of her neighbors thought she was crazy. After becoming acquainted with the lady, one young boy discovered that she had very good reasons for doing the things she does. Midnight was the only time the telephone reception was clear enough to talk to her daughter who lived around the world. Do you see how when our perception changes our judgment changes as well?

Letting the Holy Spirit comfort us in times of grief and trouble is a preservation of the soul and a mending of the broken heart.