Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Love Being God's Child

I love the closeness God and I have.
I love our long walks and talks.
I love His strong arms around me when we dance to praise music in my living room.
I love His strong embrace when I am crying.
He pays attention to my every sigh and looks deep into my eyes when I share my heart with Him.
I love our very own unique language of love.
I love God's gentle correction and His wise council.
I love God's fierce terrible oblideration of the enemy in His protection of me.
He is alpha and omega and I am His daughter.
When I see the wonders of the world I can say my dad made that.
He made the universe and He is even bigger than what He has made!
The sun and moon are mine because my father owns them.
The wild flowers bow when I walk by because I am my fathers daughter.
I fear nothing, not peoverty, darkness nor death because my daddy said...So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. isaiah 41:10
It may look like the wind to the unfamiliar, but God whispers "I love you" to me everyday and the trees celebrate and dance and praise His name in the breath of his love for me.
I cherish His surprises for me everyday. When the clouds are traveling low, He lifts up my spirit and swings me around, I can almost touch them.
When the sun dips behind the mountains and the sky fills with color, I know He is giving me a sweet love note that says I'm thinking of you.
I love being my father's daughter.
I love being God's child.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wow! I Didn't know Before.

last summer at the cabin

I have to say, being a Christian actually made me more naive to the intense pain of loosing a loved one.
I thought that when a loved one dies but goes home to be with the Lord, it would be painful but more relieving that they would now be in eternity with God. I didn't know the truth before. Jakey is no doubt with the Lord in glory now, but we are left here to daily, hourly, surrender the thousands of broken pieces of our demolished soul. I will forever understand this as others around me loose people in their lives. 

I grappled for air as I sobbed these words out to Dave 3 months ago on a short car drive to get me away from the "depressing cave" as I called our home.
"I couldn't be any deeper in pain than I am now. I can't grasp onto the finality of Jake's death. I'm burnt out emotionally, physically exhausted. I'm vomiting anywhere between 12-20 times a day because of our newly conceived baby, DONE with living in a creaky, leaking, drafty, tiny old duplex, DONE with paying off debts, DONE seeing our poor 2 year old pretending to cry and vomit all day because that is what he sees mommy doing" 

We positively lost Jake. Not just until we learned something, and not just for a period of painful mourning, but positively.. yes, Jake was not coming back. We had the hope to some day be with him again when we died too. This was not comforting to me at all and survival mode was becoming ~ just feed oscar today mode.

After the reality hits and the fog clears, after the shock wears off, you are left with a thousand broken pieces. I was in colorado 2,000. miles away from the rest of my grieving family. Holding onto any moment in the day was impossible with a broken shredded heart and memories of Jake following me into every room.
Oscar yanked the corner of my shirt for me to pick him up as I crawled from living room to kitchen when the nausea wouldn't let up and I had to make oscar something to eat.
I looked out the kitchen window and the wave of grief that is inescapable rushed over me like a crashing wave. I stood there and sobbed uncontrolably.
Oscar seeing me in this state ran to a vase of roses in the living room (Dave brought home for me) and tore off the head of one rose and brought it to me. He handed it to me and said "momma".
My precious Oscar, I scooped him up, he normally squirms when I want to cuddle, but this time he put his head on my shoulder for a long time.

Well, God said that He gives us a peace that passes understanding.
Even as my body shook with grief and anger in the kitchen that day, I can say I had a peace. A peace that passes all understanding comes from the Lord  yet He didn't say here's my peace and here is a blind fold for you to ignore the truth.
The truth for me that day in the kitchen was, 'I trust you Lord, but this murder, Jake's death is so painful, I can't get through a single hour of my day with a sane mind.'
the day in the car getting away from "the cave" dave said to me.
"there's no pretending on this one."
Instead of the word pretend, I heard ignore.
I've realized in what seems to me the worst of timing that God was awakening me to something about myself.
I ignored a lot of things in my life that were either hard to face or challenging to understand or that was painful. In this time of mourning Jake's death I couldn't ignore any part of it. The pain, the confusion, he being so young, the torture of anger at the shooter, the tearing of my heart each day is all in my face all very much un-ignorable and with the added bonus of being severely pregnant-sick and a house that was literally falling apart around us I couldn't ignore this one.

I remember holding my stomach sort of protecting the baby from my grief while Oscar napped and walking from kitchen to bedroom back to kitchen repeating Jakey, Jakey, Jakey, and the Lord spoke to me. He said "now say this, I trust you."
Now as the grief strikes me down during the day, I just say "I trust you Lord, I trust you Lord," and that is all I can get out right now.
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Our Very Own Unique Glimpse of God

Revelation 21:9 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’”
I was moved when reading an article by Mike Wells. I pasted the article below. It has given me a new perspective on the many different children of God. 
Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus (1818), is a combination of Gothic horror story and science fiction. The book tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss student of natural science who created an artificial man from pieces of corpses and brought his creature to life. Though it initially seeks affection, the monster inspires loathing in everyone who meets it. Lonely and miserable, the monster turns upon its creator, who eventually loses his life. I think that Shelley was on to something as a low, worldly contrast to the picture of a spiritual reality. God at this very moment is putting together the Bride of Christ. It will be a beautiful combination of all the believers from around the world. It will not resemble the hodgepodge Frankenstein but a beautiful Bride that needed every believer to make it the most beautiful bride ever. You are needed! Period! One day I was talking to the Lord and made a request (remember, all of His sheep hear His voice, and one day we discover that our thoughts of Light and Life actually came from Him). “I want to know all there is to know about Jesus in this life. I want to know all that a man can know.” He spoke, and at first I was not happy with His remarks. “In My house there are many treasure chests; none of them are exclusive to one man. There is a chest with your name on it, which you will open, but you will not open all the others. I am too big for one man, and each man will have his own chest. My treasure is too much for one man to describe, so it will take millions to do that. My bride is not made up of one but of many, and it will take all of those that love me to describe Me.” Well, I was discouraged; I wanted everything for myself. Yet, I could see that He is bigger than what I could describe, and we needed every member of the body of Christ to begin to express Him. There are not great men of God, but only weak men and women with a great God. There is something about Jesus that can only be expressed through you. Beautiful! Press on, for the rest of us desperately need to know what you know of Jesus in heaven.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reeling it in (Here We Go part 3)

1 cor 2:9
However, as it is written: 
   "No eye has seen, 
      no ear has heard, 
   no mind has conceived 
   what God has prepared for those who love him"

I like one of Mike Well's explanations of being made in God's image.
I'm paraphrasing:
One day God created an angel.
The angel looked in the mirror and saw his beauty and all the remarkable things he could do.
He said to the other angels, "Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? We are glorious."
And that day satan and his angels were cast out of heaven because they thought the glory was theirs and not the Lord's.
God does not share His glory. We are given a reflection of His glory we only possess His glory through the Father.
How much more would we as God's children and made in His image look in the mirror and think we are beautiful and glorious. We would all the more than the angels because we were made in His likeness...

So when I was sitting on the couch that day, I saw those things I've already shared in parts 1 and 2 but there was more.
I saw that spending time on earth experiencing trials and hardships and our own sin results in us loosing our identity and loosing our righteousness and glory we recognize after time on earth that we are not priveledged heirs and co-rulers with Christ given gifts and crowns and royalty and robes because we deserve it but only because of God's goodness and righteousness and glory ~ (not ours, we have none).

In Heaven we are given authority, rulership, strength, righteousness, royal robes and honor...
When our loved ones that have died before us walk through the gates of Heaven and the beauty of God's creatures and creation and dominions and powers see a son of God walk by, as they bow down in understanding the magnitude of the child of God's existence, the child will know, 'glory to God in the highest.' and He seeing Jesus bows before him. Now using my baby brother as an example of what I'm trying to say, Jesus in the presence of all the roaring crowd places a crown on Jakes head. Jake has nothing to give. God has forgiven Jake for all of his sins, given him all of Heaven and eternity and creation itself as Jake's inheritance and all Jake can do is take the crown off lay it at Jesus feet and praise God in awe of God's awesomeness.

All we can give back is what God has already given us. We are nothing without Jesus in us and we know this after time spent on earth.

Just Jake's image and presence alone gives God glory because God made him in His image and His glory and those that look upon Jake praise God and marvel at God's goodness. Seeing Jake, a former sinner, forgiven by God and paid by Christ's sacrifice and blood all the more glory is given to God and those that look upon the children of God cannot help but bow before the Prince's and princesses of God and see the reflection of God's amazing love in these prodigal children.

ANOTHER THING :)  (Hope you are still with me) when the movie avatar came out it was a perfect example in my eyes of what I had recently learned about God's huge creation.

James Cameron came up with an imaginative world full of wonder and beautiful creatures and intelligent life. We watch that movie and think what an amazing place and wish possibly that there were creatures and a place that beautiful out there somewhere.
Well, I couldn't help but see some truth in the movie.
As God told me (as explained in part 2) "what if I didn't mean just the creation you can see" I knew as I was watching that colorful movie that God is bigger than His creation, and He is bigger than our imaginations! He may have given James a glimpse a small glimpse of His creativity that God is bigger and His creation is bigger than we know. It's not just what we see in our universe or know of, He's a whole lot huger than that.
So as an example of God's unseen creation we may be able to look at avatar and think wow, there may be creatures out there and in Heaven ultimately that are blue? and stand taller than us, and are beautiful but are not made in God's image yet STILL bring God glory.
We (pretending avatar is real) look in the face of these magnificent beings and think WOW god you are amazing! Look at what you created! and look at what beauty you have portrayed in them, and they looking at us made in their own creators likeness say WOW god you are amazing! Look at your glory, look at what beauty you have given your children.

I John 3:2 & 3, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
 It may not be those specific beings but there will be plenty of creatures that we will marvel and say wow this creature brings God glory as we look upon them and bow before God at the awesome creativity and beauty He has placed in them and they will look at us and marvel at God for His beauty in us.

The glory that God is preparing us for now for an eternity with Him, the position and jobs we are being fashioned for now are beyond our comprehension. We will be warriors and rulers and we wouldn't be given all of these powerful gifts if we thought we deserved it. 
As many children of God that are out there in existence, there are trillions more creatures and worlds and dominions and mights that are not made in His image. We are the heirs with Christ. His children.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Here We Go Part 2!

Above is a picture from Hubble space telescope.
It's a picture of an entire galaxy 28 million light years away!!!
(And you know how big a galaxy is) Basically in front of us is a whole other universe. Here is just one of millions of these galaxies that we know of.

I sat blankly watching Jake's favorite t.v. program when the Lord poured a pitcher of knowledge over my head, the awareness of things completely unknown to me before began to unfold into my soul. I jolted off the couch and headed straight for my parents room. I barged in, sat on their bed and exclaimed "You will not BELIEVE what the Lord just told me!" I didn't really know how else to put it.

It was so unexpected, I wasn't praying, I wasn't thinking about anything when the Lord said in my heart...  "what if when I said ~The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed, all of creation has been groaning as in the pains of child birth...what if I didn't mean just the creation that you can see."             (romans 8:19 and 22)
I heard it just like that.
You would think that would be really confusing and it's two separate versus put together and how would I get anything from it out of the blue and with no reference. BUT God did the talking and the Holy Spirit did the explaining in me. I had the knowledge or the discernment of what it meant and all the neat aspects in a second flash! It was the Holy Spirit that explained it to my spirit!

HOBOY! I'll try to explain! (I say it like that because my lack of writing skills can really get in the way of the truth)
(Lord your words not mine. Your son glorified.)

Weeks before Jake was killed the Lord told me "Jake does not know the magnitude of his existence." At the time I took that as a really neat encouragement from the Lord to share with Jake during a time that he needed to know his importance and his place in the world because of Jesus and Jesus glory and Jesus life in him.
Well, God was telling me on that couch that, YES, the earth is in travail and the animals and mammals of the sea and creatures He has created are all moaning and groaning (under the weight of our sin) and waiting for us the sons of God to finally be revealed as God's children, for us to be taken up with Christ given our glorified bodies, sitting with Christ with our enemies under our feet. 
BUT - NOT ONLY is the earth obviously in pain waiting for the curse to be lifted, but ALL of creation or as the bible says "The whole of creation" is waiting.
In other words, all the creating God has been doing from times past, present and future...
How long has God been creating? 
All the creation He has fashioned is eagerly waiting.      FOR US!

First of all, what an honor to be the children and not mere beautiful glorifying massive and strong principalities and powers... but the children..we are the children out of all all the millions of years of creating -  we are it, we are the big deal in Christ.

How long has He been around creating? AND we are His "sons"?!! We are His children?!! Not the massive and impressive angels that give Him glory every moment of their existence, but we were chosen to be His heirs and co rulers and children?  WE don't even know the creatures and principalities and mights He has fashioned. 
The glory that His creation gives is more than just what we see. Think of what is out there in our own universe that we can't even understand or get close to let alone the worlds and universes and creatures that are in existence, that are His creation out there somewhere in His created glory, and yet WE are His children. We as He told us are royalty and all the creation knows it and is in "labor pains" waiting for the curse to be lifted and for us to be robed and crowned and given rewards and honor because of Jesus. 
God gave His son us, as a love gift. We are the main course. Jesus and the Father's love has produced US His children. (of course I know we are the main course and royalty and anything special because of Jesus life in us:)

(this will be explained further in part 3 but think of the "magnitude" now.)

God wasn't sitting around doing nothing before our earth and universe were created... He created other "things?" to give Him glory but we are His only children..
As it is written in Ephesians 1:18-23 
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

I would say read that again and again surrendering to God's out of the box hugeness to open your heart to the fullness of the meaning in those versus!  AAAAAMAZING! GOD IS AWESOME!

When picturing our loved ones in Heaven we can imagine the millions of years of creation and creatures and "powers etc.. bowing down as our loved one walks by, the crowds of God's many creatures some so big you cannot see their face some with 4 heads as the angels in revelation, some we cannot imagine all bowing down before the heir, the co-ruler with Christ that walks by, and our loved one doesn't say, yes I deserve it, NO, they point to Jesus and say "it is not me it's JESUS, you have no idea what a sinner I am" on earth has given us the deeper understanding of God's goodness for all of eternity. My Jake is all the more eager to praise Jesus and not take the glory because he recognizes that he is not a child and heir because he deserves it, but rather because of God's goodness, Jesus love for him and Jesus blood shed for him.... Can you picture the mass, the crowd the trillions of cheering fans for the saints? ALL THIS in part 3 too long to go into now but just a glimpse here.

I have a few more spots of the revelation that need to be written in a part 3.
Praise God! I pray some of that made sense. Give me one more part to get it all out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here We Go!

magnitude: great importance or consequence

The Lord spoke a truth into my heart a few months ago that encouraged me more than anything else I've ever understood in my life. My desire has been to share it with you but the thought of typing it all out in a legible way seems almost impossible for me. I've kept myself from even attempting it yet here I am starting the process already. I'll break it up into a couple parts. 

Part 1

Last year I prayed and fasted earnestly for two things.
1. My three brothers
2. for the revelation of Christ and His truth in me, and through me.

About two weeks before Jake was shot I was praying for him while Dave was at school. My heart was heavy, I was on my knees, face to the floor when I heard the Lord say "Jake does not know the magnitude of his existence."
I sat up excited about what I just heard and immediately wrote it down in my journal.
I thought "wow that is so neat!" I couldn't wait to tell Jake the next day. He needed the encouragement.
I left a message for him on the answering machine at home and I texted him saying we needed to talk as soon as he could get away. My parents had a ton of family in town and Jake was consumed with cousins so we played phone tag a few times but I wasn't too worried since I would get to tell him as soon as our family left. The very night our family left for their long drive back home Jake went out with some friends, it was January 1st, 2010 and he was shot and killed that very night.
I was never able to tell him.
A few days after the funeral I asked the Lord why He would tell me something so special for Jake knowing I would never be able to tell him.
He said "Jake now knows. The truth was given for you."
So..Jake is right in the middle of it, learning the truths of God and seeing the very magnitude of his own existence in the glory of God, and God told me so that we could hold on to that truth after Jake's death? God knew this would be a comfort to me. 
Well that was enough for me.
Weeks later I was still with my parent's in FL. I was sitting on their sofa watching t.v. My mind completely blank, I wasn't praying or thinking. I was just numb and watching one of Jake's favorite programs, C.O.P.S. 
As I watched police chasing the bad guys on t.v. the only way I can describe what happened is that God took a full pitcher overflowing with "a knowledge" and poured it over my head. I saw flashes of a beautiful truth unfold in my mind.

God began to open my eyes to an even deeper meaning to His statement to me about Jake weeks before.
The beautiful revelation that God gave me about Jake weeks before suddenly became an immeasurably deeper description of Heaven and God's love for us.

I will continue in part 2 as this next part of the revelation takes a lot of energy and time to type out.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Practicing the Presence of Christ

THis was so good I had to pass it along:
 Exactly how do we "turn on" our receivers and "tune in" to God? The answer is what the ancients, and specifically Brother Lawrence, referred to as "practicing the presence of Christ." That is, developing a conscious and habitual communion with the person of Christ in such a way that we slowly drop the habit of merely talking to him and slowly embrace the habit of being with him. Over time our relationship with him begins to take on the dynamic language of intimacy: we share a meal at a table for just two, we exchange glances and secret expressions of love, we return each embrace with one of our own, we dance the night away in each others' arms, we take turns playing the roles of pursuer and pursued, for we both love to find the other and to be found by the other.
I'm convinced that it is possible to practice the presence of God in all facets of life, even in the most routine and mundane moments. Once our spiritual sense organs begin to function in a robust manner, everything we encounter becomes spiritual. No longer is there a sacred-secular dichotomy. Christ is present with us when we pull an all-nighter preparing for an important presentation, or when we clean our kitchen floors for the third time that day, or when we cool down from our physical workout, or when we throw our graduation caps in the air, or when we cut our wedding cake, or when we cut the umbilical chord in the delivery room, or when we pace the floor through a sleepless night, or when we grimace at the number of gray hairs going down the shower drain, or when we exhale our final breath. The merely secular becomes the profoundly spiritual when the focus of our heart becomes essentially eternal. Tozer sums it up nicely, "A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting for our response to His presence."  
He gets practical about practicing the presence of Christ when he says that, "This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality." But first he wants us to understand what he means by reckon and reality. He begins with the word reality. Reality as Tozer defines it is "that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mind anywhere to entertain a thought of it. That which is real has being in itself. It does not depend upon the observer for its validity."  
It is obvious that in this day and age, that definition has become the minority view. We can observe the denial of objective reality in the Pantheistic foundations of Buddhism, or in the philosophical underpinnings of the Enlightenment, or in the various New Age pseudo-religions, as well as in the current postmodern trends. It no longer elicits a raised eyebrow when someone declares that something is real only as it exists in the mind of someone. Having removed all the absolute points in the universe, the relativists are free to arbitrarily pick any point from which to start, and from which the relative truth of anything can be determined. 
And what do these relativists think of us Christians? Tozer describes them as those who, ". . . smile down upon us from their lofty intellectual peaks and settle us to their own satisfaction by fastening upon us the reproachful term ‘absolutist.'" By that term they mean to convey contempt toward our na├»ve commitment to something that doesn't change. They loathe our prehistoric view that truth claims must be either right or wrong. But the ultimate insult for them is not just that we believe that something is absolute, but that we believe that Someone is absolute - that God is the unchanging center of all that is real and from which everything and everyone derives meaning and reality.  
Ultimately for the Christian, all things that we see are anchored in the unchanging character and nature of God. He is not relative to us (i.e., open to being defined any way we choose), and he is not a relativist (i.e., arbitrarily defining his universe anyway he chooses). That which God is, he is absolutely. He is absolutely good. He is absolutely beautiful. He is absolutely holy. And therefore, what God created is absolutely defined by him. That is, because he is absolutely good, that which he creates derives its goodness from him. And because he is absolutely beautiful, that which he creates derives its beauty from him. And because he is absolutely holy, that which he creates must derive its standard of right and wrong behavior from him. 
In fact, the absolute nature of reality is so deeply built into the universe that no one can consistently live without acknowledging it. To hold a view which says, "What is true for you is not true for me" may sound appealing in the abstract, but when your banker tells you that your checking account is overdrawn by thirty thousand dollars, try convincing her that, "That's true for you but not for me." The patent absurdity of the view becomes obvious to all. The God of the universe does not change and therefore has ordered reality in such a way that no one can escape its gravitational pull. Therefore, in God's world we find that every heart seeking to worship him does not begin by creating the object of its worship. Rather God begins by creating us as objects of his affection and then seeks us out and bids us come and worship him. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the present past and present future of this moment. And only when we submit to that reality do we discover the truth concerning ourselves, our world, and him.
After nailing down the meaning of reality, Tozer proceeds to define the word reckon. The word comes from the field of accounting and means to "regard something as true." Having laid a foundation that sees reality as absolute, you are ready to begin ordering your behavior around that reality. In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul uses the word reckon in telling every Christian to, " . . . reckon yourself to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus." That is, you begin to order your mind around the fact that you are no longer held captive by sin, but are now free to pursue God and his righteousness. The act of reckoning is totally independent of how you feel, or what your immediate or past circumstances tell you, or what you hope will become true for you if you just act. Thus we see that its meaning is light-years away from the notion of pretending as if something were true so that you can make it true for you. Rather, it is intentionally embracing a truth that you know to be actually true. Reckoning is related to faith in that faith creates nothing; it simply reckons upon that which is already there.