Category Archives: encounters

When God seems silent in tradgedy

We are ever discovering who God is. Sometimes He may seem silent when we feel like we most need to hear Him speak.

We might react in feeling abandoned, interpret the sense of void as rejection, or indifference on His part. Feelings influence our sense of interpretation, and schema we develop our world view around. They can be highly effective, or disruptive, and therefore need to be processed through discernment.

One of the reasons I love the written word (scriptures) is that I can go search Him out even when He seems MIA, and  be reminded of the truth of who He is even when feelings and thoughts contradict. And I love the rhema word- the “right now” spirit to spirit communication that comes through relationship with Him and gives knowledge and instruction in a moment.

When my brother (in law) died in March I was in utter shock– my expectation was a physical miracle. The shock that accompanied his death carried a sort of numbing quality with it.

In the days that followed, I came to sit in God’s presence. I didn’t have a lot to say, some things seemed futile to ask or say,  sometimes I just wept–my words forming in tears and deep sighs. At some point I began to think on how I wasn’t hearing Him say anything to me, yet I knew He was actively present.

Still I took time specifically to come sit in His presence. During one of these times, I suddenly understood–

He was sitting in mine.

He didn’t immediately start filling up the air space with words as we often do in an effort to comfort either ourselves or the one’s whose loss is so deep. Just as for seven days Job’s friends had the sense and wisdom to simply sit with Job in his pain and misery without explanation or instruction, just to be with Job in stillness and presence, HE came and sat in mine.

When we experience a deep sense of loss and pain, He doesn’t fill the air with platitudes, and cliches as people often feel compelled to do. He draws us into His arms and rests his kiss on our heads. Lets us soak in His strength, comfort and healing. He prepares our hearts to be able to listen and receive. He gently ministers the salve and healing oil, so that numbness abates and our hearts can hear.

And when we are able and ready to hear Him speak, then He does. The sensitivity of God makes Him the greatest friend anyone can hope for.

When He begins to speak, He doesn’t always speak to the things we are wanting to know. He speaks to who we are. Identity is something we may begin to forget when we don’t see the kingdom and words of God manifest as we desire and expect to. The rawness of pain and loss can cloud “truth reality” with “experiential factuality,” and so He speaks to our identity and reveals again why we believed as we did to begin with. And He speaks of who He is. Still. Even if…

Sometimes God sits with us in silence. He is not withholding, He is not rejecting or disciplining. He is presenting us with His presence, His person. In tender wisdom, He lets us express ourselves and He listens, holding us close, lending His strength.

I began to realize the wisdom He acted in by sitting with me in silence. Silence is powerful. We are often to tempted to fill it all up with words, especially in Western culture. But it has its own purpose and wisdom. It leads us into stillness. In stillness, we find understanding, and renewal. We begin to know what He knows.

When God seems silent, lean in and see if He is really sitting in your presence, drawing you into His arms, placing his lips on your head, letting you pour out your heart, adding the salve and the oil, readying you to be able to hear. Know He is present, even if you can’t yet perceive Him. By faith, you will.

Be still, and Know,– I Am God. [j]Cease striving and know that I am God;

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
[b]A very present help in [c]trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the [d]sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. [e]Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her [f]when morning dawns.

10 [j]Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the [k]nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. NASB

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The Hall of Justice: ordering, judging, cursing  

There’s a still a great deal of talk about the Courts of Heaven in some church circles. To be honest I haven’t paid much attention for a couple of reasons. One being my unfolding understanding of the work of Christ and the function of the believer in the new covenant. I’m not knocking other’s understanding or revelation about such matters, because honestly I have mostly glossed over comments and teaching about it; however, I have noticed a general theme. This particular aspect is addressed in the following.

The frequently quoted basis of going to the courts of heaven is Matthew 5:25; “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.” WEB

One of the basic concepts of this teaching seems to be: when the devil confronts you with your failings, its best to agree with him before you get reach the judge (to avoid judgment), or just agree because you both know the accusation is true and he’s going to hammer your conscience until you admit your failing. Then he’ll gloat before the judge and do his best to see you imprisoned. Ready on your defense is your advocate and lawyer Jesus, and the Father holds the gavel.The end goal is freedom.

This agreement between two is true in its proper context. The context here is in reference to disputes between people–not with the devil. Agreeing with him could lead to all kinds of deception. It’s wisdom to try to come to an mutual agreement with someone who has a dispute with you- before it becomes entangled into a legal matter in the earthly courts. What you don’t know can hurt you- see Hosea 4.6 Misunderstanding this scripture’s context seems to have a number of people agreeing with the devil and feeling like they are being drug to or needing to go to heaven’s courts over it.

(See Zechariah 3:1-10 and Job 29: 14 for OT dealings with law and devil accusations)

Here’s what I’ve come to understand. In the new testament, Revelations 12:9-10 says that the accuser and those who joined satan in anarchy  have been cast down from the heavens to the lower airways and earth realm. He no longer is entertained in heaven due to my trespasses. God has clothed me in His own righteousness and I have been justified by Him. Therefore, when it comes to the accuser I turn a deaf ear because he no longer has any input as to my standing before the Lord, nor any space between The Lord and I. That space is now occupied by the fiery Love of God’s indwelling. We are joined as one spirit.

If I need correction or conviction- it is going to come through Holy spirit ‘convicting’ me to my righteousness, new nature, and through love, not by a created, fallen angel who left his post and function of being a covering protector  (note the function of a cherubim, of which he was beforehand).  These fallen beings get no opportunity to accuse me when I understand I have an intercessor who in a continuous manner declares me justified, the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and free from accusation  and condemnation from satan and his cronies. He gets no part of the conversations. Neither does he get the same awe and equality of standing that Jesus has, before the Father, nor us.  He was conquered and paraded, stripped of any authority he had vicariously gained. “No place was found for them (him or his minions) in heaven…” Revelations 12.8

I do not entertain him, his input, etc. He was a liar from the beginning, his native tongue is lying–why would I agree with him at all? Even when he can manage to say something factual, it has a twist in it because he became twisted through his vanity and power seeking.

In fact, the tables have turned. Now through Jesus, I’m a judge. This was what I was reminded of in a time of prayer. I could see (as in a vision) a walkway that I was traveling on which eventually led me to the steps of a court building, yet it was obviously not completely earthly–it had the appearance of two realms overlaid- heaven and earth. Given my present knowledge about my standing in Christ, I was surprised. I asked Holy Spirit what is this place? Hall of Justice. I wondered at it; why I would He show me this? As I thought about it more I began to realize that He was reminding me of a function of believers–to see earth look like heaven through enacting the dominion and authority that was returned to us through Jesus.

I had gotten to a place of feeling like next to nothing I was saying or doing was affecting power to change things. It’s been a couple of years of heavy stuff and being in a university program that demanded a lot of time, focus and effort. Sadly I had let that diminish time I spent in The Lord’s presence and had lost focus on my ability, responsibility and purpose to judge (affect change) aspects of this realm. Paul says do you not realize we (those united with Jesus) will the world and judge angels, I was being reminded to believe in the authority and dominion through Jesus, not judge by sight or senses of how things seemed.

We are given authority to forbid and allow, to uproot and plant, but we must use intent as we speak and pray. We are given the ability to create order and arrange things in this world from a position of authority and dominion. We are also given the ability to curse-to cause to recoil- things that do not belong, such as disease.

I had forgotten the the power and purpose of when He’d said, through a visiting prophet, I am a Deborah. She was a judge, a counselor, mother, warrior and more. Deborah or devorah means in part to order and arrange. We decide what we will allow or forbid in our world. God gave the job of managing the earth and ordering to us, his children. We are responsible for causing the earth and all that is in it to be as it is in heaven, and He partners with us to cause it to be so.

All of creation groans for the revealing of the sons of God acting in full maturity, loosing it from its subjugation and pains. Our judging, ordering, or cursing is all for the purpose of liberation and good- when we see something out of place, we speak a judgement and a reordering of how it should be. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (intent, words and voice), therefore we need to have a right heart attitude and take responsibility for what we speak or enact. This comes through practice and maturing. We can also judge out of a wrong spirit and add to the havoc in lives in a unintended or wrong manner. It takes maturity to judge correctly, yet we are entrusted with this responsibility.

Looking at scripture, we can see we don’t need to agree with the devil/satan (adversary), In fact we might seriously want to rethink that practice. We do need to agree with God about our standing, identity and all things. I’m convinced through the scriptures and through people’s experiences that agreeing with the devil simply gives opportunity for a foothold to be gained in one’s conscience by the adversary. He’s wily and looking for ways to input into our lives and bring condemnation.

We can simply trust the Word and works of Jesus that remove the input of that adversary from our lives and turn the tables so we are the ones directing and subduing, not submitting to input from fallen beings we shouldn’t be heeding. Let’s agree with God, for His mercy triumphs over judgement and He has promised to correct us as His children, in love and compassion. Take up your place as a son (daughter), priest and king– turn the tables and make things –as above, so below–

Devorah: the judge, counselor, mother, and proclaimer of victory.

 

PEOPLE WHO HOLD SPACE WILL HEAL THE CHURCH

I love this- may we all be so…

When I married my husband, he’d just cut off his dreads and was an avid rock climber. He married me– a girl from a small town, comfortable in everything that I knew, in everything that I’d been and was going to be.
As Johnny Cash says, we got married in a fever, and before we knew exactly what we’d done, we were home from our honeymoon, beginning the long journey toward figuring out who we were–together.
When he married me, he loved who I was, but also saw who I could one day become, and he held that vision steady. And it wasn’t a vision for what he thought I was supposed to be, but a vision still unknown to him, held by the mystery of God…continued below

Source: PEOPLE WHO HOLD SPACE WILL HEAL THE CHURCH

The Word Opens Up Encounters

By faith we inherit…Therefore inheriting the promises is the outcome of faith and depends entirely on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace, to make it stable and valid and guarenteed to all his descendants… Romans 4 (Amplified).

Grace, Faith and Promise

By grace through a promise we receive. Takes a load of performance pressure off doesn’t it? Whatever point of our journey, God is anticipating using our experiences as opportunities to reveal Himself to us that we might know Him- not just doctrinally, but experientially. One of my favorite things is noticing a verse or paragraph and then experientially understanding it, or having some encounter with God and then finding a verse that affirms it. This is a story about that. Encountering God experientially after meditating on a passage of scripture for a time- Romans 4.

Singing a Love Song

I love to sing. More to the point I love to worship through song. Since I was a child, who discovered she could carry a tune and do a half decent rendition of Dolly Parton’s Jolleen, I have sung my way through life’s joys and sorrows. I grew up on Country and later imagined myself singing Jazz and Blues in the nightclubs (it was the only place I knew where crooners would be welcome).

To hone my craft, I joined school and church choirs, moved on to duets and finally “solos” then on to weddings, christian ladies brunches, and funerals. For a very short stint, I was the singer for a band called Sweet and Nasty– I was the sweet, and other members were the nasty. We had one gig at Klondike Days (K-Days) in the Christian Motorcycle Group’s tent and then I faded into obscurity. I was later invited to join another band that had some small time tour plans but by that time I had a beautiful 5 month old son, and my priorities had shifted. My band days were behind me.

At some point I decided my voice had been given by God and belonged to purposes that put the spotlight on Him alone, so I never did croon the jazz and blues as I had dreamed. But He was attentive to my heart desires and opened up a place for me to lead worship in the church, something that I had prayed secretly for but had not voiced. I was delighted! This is the background upon which my personal encounter with Him became staged…

Trial and Pain

Somewhere between singing and diapers I began to experience pain on the right side of my jaw. I ignored it as long as possible until I began getting headaches as well and sharp biting pains that would move from my jaw up the side to the top of my head, and my jaw began to click when it opened and closed. A little trauma at the dentist as a child made me anxious-avoidant but the pain became too frequent to ignore, so I made an appointment. The x-rays showed my wisdom teeth on both sides were turned and impacted. One tooth kept trying to move up into place but because of its orientation it was pushing against the molar in front of it instead. This was what caused the jaw and headache issues.

At the time I didn’t know much about the authority and power given to believers for intervention or how miracles came about, so I made my next appointment with the specialist, and began scrimping to save the cost of the surgery, around $1500 dollars. The day arrived and the doctor came out to speak to me as a preview to surgery. He asked a number of medical questions and what I did for hobbies. I shared with them that I was a singer, I sang in the church and a few other places.

He left and returned after a short examination of the x-rays with some unhappy news. One of the teeth was oriented in such a way that it appeared to go through the nasal cavity. This would mean that when they removed it, it would change my airways and my sound when I sang. Basically it might ruin my singing. Further, because it was an awkward surgery, it would be about $300 more than they had quoted me. I’ve heard this is the same reason Barbara Streisand chose to leave her nose as it was, the nose or the song. If it’s true, I’d say she chose well. Wind Beneath My Wings is a great song.

Laying it Down, Choosing Faith, Believing

This became a hard decision to make in a matter of minutes. I didn’t have more money- not in paper or plastic. And I loved to sing- I couldn’t imagine not singing. But this pain was becoming somewhat debilitating and I couldn’t see myself trying to live with it any longer. As I sat in the waiting room I turned to the Lord and offered Him back His gift I had used for His glory, as best I knew how. I said simply, “You gave me this ability to sing, and I really don’t want to lose it–but this pain is too much. I’m going to have the surgery and I’ll leave it to you whether I can still sing or not when I wake up.” I had an expectancy, and I was willing to entrust it all to Him.

An Encounter with my Beloved

I remember waking up from my own cry feeling drugged and nauseous, the nurse assuring me of where I was, that I was okay, but I must “breathe deeper”. Others had come after me and left before me, and I was having a difficult time waking up from the anesthetic. Yet before the fog lifted from me and consciousness returned, I experienced something that feels just as profound to me now as it did in that moment. It’s a little hard to describe, but I’ll attempt it and hope you can imagine how it would feel to you.

The thick cloaking presence of God was moving over and around me- I imagine like in Genesis, where it says the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep. Simultaneously I heard the most masculine, deep, strong with authority, voice speaking to me saying, “Abraham believed God”. Then I woke with a start by my own cry of pain. Please, close your eyes for a moment and imagine the sense of God’s spirit hovering and moving over you and hearing a deep voice speak the Word you have been studying back to you. It is a sense of sacred, of holy, and of power. I was in wonder and awe. I still am.

The Word Is Reality

I no longer would merely muse about Romans 4, and what that might look like in my life. I had a living encounter with my Lord, who using a short phrase and a foreknowing of circumstance chose to personally reveal Himself and His word to me in a deeper way. When I was conscious enough, the dentist informed me that although it had been scrupulously close to the nasal cavity, the tooth was not through it; I could continue to sing to, and about, the one I love. As an odd sort of bonus, a cyst was found on one of the teeth which would allow them to file a type of claim and reduce the cost of the surgery back to the original amount. I was given more than I thought to ask for.

Mediating on the Word sets us up for personal encounters with Him. Believing Him is our most basic need, and our glory. Years later I’m still singing, sharing how faithful He is to watch over His word to perform it, and that He is no respecter of persons. He will meet with each of us and perform His word.

Father, You are amazingly Good. We anticipate meeting you in both typical and unusual places and circumstances. The everyday life is a doorway to encountering your loving kindness. Thank you that your written words are gateways to meeting You, the living Word. Help us to honor your Word, make it alive to each of us, that we may intimately know you, and love you more.