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)

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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REWARD!?

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The words of my mother that still ring in my ears are, “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all!” So today’s blog is about finding some encouragement for me because I’m sad and discouraged. If you were speaking to me face to face generally I’m humorously sarcastic. So far my blogs have not really expressed that side of my personality. Maybe by talking about Samson, I will lift my spirit and even be able to convey a moral in this story.
In the book of Judges, chapter 13, after the Angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife, she becomes pregnant with Samson. She is instructed not to drink alcohol or eat any forbidden food because her child will be dedicated to the Lord and will begin an important work. Not only does the Lord appear to her once but He returns to her after Manoah prays for Him to reappear. Showing Himself the second time, she runs to fetch her husband. Why didn’t the Lord appear to Manoah personally? After all, he has a name. And why is her name unimportant? She is forever known as Manoah’s wife and Samson’s mother. To this, I can relate. As I go about my daily activities, I run across many children who emphatically express their happiness in seeing me by yelling, “Hi Kaleb’s mom or Terran’s mom or Sasha’s mom.” Often my eldest son’s friends walk in our home and declare, “Hey Mom, is Dean home?” What an honor!
Before having any children, often couples have grandiose plans of having many children. Well, at least we did. When we got to four, I started questioning my mothering skills. I did not think I was equipped. It’s only the really brave that go through with those plans. The typical status quo of 2 children thinks parents of large families are crazy and I’ve even heard “irresponsible” because some think they become a burden on society. Nothing could be further from the truth. I met a lady who had twelve children. She has one husband and all twelve children are his and God provides for them all without the help of social services. In my opinion, families like hers add much value to any community. She is a strong amazing woman and she is my hero. She has a name but I did not get her permission to publish it.
It’s interesting to me that God includes so many stories about women that are barren, in the bible. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, also mother of many nations was once infertile. Elkanah’s wife, Hannah’s womb was closed before God gave her the desire of her heart, which was Samuel. When God wanted to punish a people he would shut the wombs of their women. Is it because being able to birth and raise children is the best gift a couple can be granted? God says that children are a reward from the Lord. A reward? Yes, a reward!

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!!

SONS

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In the story of the prodigal son, there are two sons.   For the sake of this article, I am going to call the older son, “the frugal son”.   It’s important to note that in old testament times, the first born was entitled to the whole inheritance.   Usually the sense of entitlement comes from the first born child.   In this story it shows up in the younger son.   This is significant to show how far the Father is willing to go to prove His love toward all His children.   Simply agreeing to divide and share His wealth is an extremely loving act.   The wealth belongs solely to the Father.   If the father had nothing to give, the sons would be entitled to nothing.   However, our Heavenly Father, owns everything and we who love Him have been accepted by Jesus to share in that inheritance because of our Eldest Brother’s generosity.

Let’s compare the two. The prodigal son is the one who feels entitled to something that he doesn’t deserve and asks for what is not his to receive. His attitude is wasteful and selfish.   Very often, the frugal son doesn’t understand what he has access to, which is necessary to explore. The Father expects us to put to good use all the excellent things He has provided.

Prodigals allow the Lord partial access into their lives but maintain an “You can come in but don’t touch anything” attitude.   These ones want God to give them things and their only part in the relationship is receiving.   Often getting angry with God when life doesn’t work out in their favour and lacking responsibility for their actions are common traits of a prodigal. They do not let go of the steering wheel of their lives until the school of hard knocks has taught them painful lessons.   Blind to their Father’s teachings and the benefits of obeying his ways, they find themselves in disaster.   His truths are learned when trust is exercised, by obeying long enough, to experience the benefits. This relationship is shallow and one sided.

Frugals choose to give the Father complete control.   They want to stay close to Him because home is where their heart is and they quickly learn that Father knows best.   This relationship is give and take with both parties giving and receiving.   Working with their Father is a great honor. These sons invite the good and learn to deal with the bad, always challenging the bad while walking as graceful as possible through it.   This relationship is deep, intimate, constant companionship.   Although the frugal son questions the Father about throwing the prodigal son a party, it’s important to recognize that his relationship with the Father is safe.   Frugals enter into their Father’s presence to propose any objections. In that specific conversation, the frugal son finds out that the Father celebrates him every day.

The prodigal son is lost and dead until he comes home where he finds his true identity as a frugal son.   A lot of us are prodigal children at some point in our lives.   Ultimately, it’s important that we find our destined position hand in hand with our loving Father.

TRUTH

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Albert Einstein, said, “The truth is like a lion.  It doesn’t need defending.  Let it loose.  It will defend itself.”  Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  The truth is refreshing no matter how hard it might be to tell, especially when setting it straight.  Deceptions create distance and disrespect within relationships.   Not feeling at liberty to trust someone’s words is painful.   Giving false witness hurts the person who has been deceived more than the liar.  One feels like a fool for believing a false friend’s dishonesty.  It’s been said that a half truth is still a whole lie.   A true friend tells the truth.    There is never a good reason to lie and this is why.  You are a treasured possession to God.  He made you the way you are.  He loves you more than the universe He created.  Actually, He made the world for you.  So saying or believing fictious things is an abomination toward Him.  You spit on God when you distort and fabricate information.  The message is that what God made wasn’t great enough so it needs to be embellished upon.  The bible says that our eyes have been blinded from the beginning by the devil’s temptations that led to the act of human disobedience.  So if our eyes are shut until the Lord reveals the truth, does it mean that we don’t have to come clean once we’ve become aware?  If the Truth sets you free, should you do the same for those that you’ve lied to?  The honest answer is “Yes.”