Category Archives: Experiencing Oneness

Demystifying the Third Eye for Seers

To see or not to see… My friend Aspen Morrow discusses the genuine vs counterfeit ways of spiritual seeing

Third Eye Sight vs the Eyes of Your Heart

(Excerpt from upcoming book: Demystifying the Seer by Aspen Morrow)

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5 (NIV, emphasis mine)

The third eye is also called the mind’s eye, eye of time, or the inner eye. It is a mystical, esoteric ‘invisible’ eye which is said to provide vision, sight, and perception beyond ordinary sight. It is claimed that you can open your third eye by focusing on your third eye chakra, meditating, choosing the right surroundings, flooding it with light, emptying your mind or focusing only on a meditation object, picking a mantra like “um”, and repeating until you “see something”. A list of reputed benefits to opening the…

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Power in the Stay

lori suiter

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I was a classic runner when I was a teen. Now before you think that means sports…stop. What I mean is that I was a runaway. If things got intense at home, I ran. It was never for long but it was definitely my initial reaction to stress. Now you can only imagine what that turned into as I went through high school. I ran to relationships, drinking, drugs, entertainment, adventure, etc. Thank God at twenty I ran into God!

I have found that runner in me still has a small voice in my thoughts at times.  Thoughts of being harmed by others if I don’t get out of intense situations….right now.  Thoughts of being overwhelmed or caught in a situation that I won’t be able to handle (rooted in childhood). I also battle thoughts that bad things will happen to me if I’m alone (also rooted in childhood). …

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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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Are Those Joined to Jesus “Prone” to sin? “Prone” to Wander?

Prone: Predisposed. Likely to or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something, typically something regrettable or unwelcome. (Google)

Sin: To fall shy of the perfect and complete; to act apart from the original union, holiness and glory God created us to dwell in with Him.

Worship lyrics, spiritual teaching, preaching…I frequently hear a theme within these, in somewhat varied presentations, that we are prone to sin, prone to wander away from the Lord. I understand the sentiment. It seems humble…admitting our need for God.

Yet, is this proneness to sin and wander theme doctrinally and biblically sound truth for new covenant believers in Jesus? Or a misguided trope that weakens the conscience of believers and causes a sense of vulnerability to sin and a falling away?

Let’s look at just a few verses.

2 Corinthians 5:14-17 Weust version For the love which Christ has [for me] presses on me from all sides, holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other, wrapping itself around me in tenderness, giving me an impelling motive, having brought me to this conclusion, namely, that One died on behalf of all in order that those who are living no longer are living for themselves but for the One who died on their behalf and instead of them, and was raised.

So that, as for us, from this particular time onward, not even one individual do we know as judged upon the basis of human standard. Even though we [Paul in his unsaved state] have known Christ as judged by human standard, yet now no longer do we know Him as such. So that, assuming that anyone is in Christ, he is a creation new in quality. The antiquated, out-of-date things [which do not belong to the new life in Christ Jesus] have passed away. Behold, all things have become new in quality.

This scripture reveals that our whole person is radically changed when we join ourselves to Jesus, the Christ. Our nature becomes new, the old ways have died, and like dead, injured flesh, has been cut, and cast away.

When we have only partial understanding about being unified with Jesus, we may think because we are tempted, or because we still have old habits, that we have a dual nature. I’m convinced this skewed belief is what keeps many from walking as new beings.

Many people think Romans chapter seven explains that we have a dual nature, but Paul is truly talking there about his old nature, not the new. This is why reading on to Romans 8-the redemptive chapter- is so necessary.

For instance, if in receiving Jesus Christ we continued in an old nature, Christ’s work is, at least partially, in vain. Or, if we were given a new nature, but retained the old nature as well (dual nature), then we would live in limbo-sinning one time, and standing strong resisting sin another. Though this may seem to be our experience, and a dual nature is often taught as being true, it is not accurate either.

If we believe, after joining ourselves to Christ that our whole nature hasn’t changed, then we will likely believe that we have no power over sin, that we can’t help but sin, that it’s normal to sin, and expect to sin. This belief acts as type of self-fulfilling prophecy, by which we might then fall into a cycle of false profession, and confession of habitual sins.

The old nature is prone to sin; the new nature is not.

Are we still able to sin? Unfortunately-yes. I’m not proposing we are all completely sinless, but that we will sin less. Just as Adam & Eve were created pure, and good, and had ability to choose, we also have this ability (power) to choose now, to sin, or not sin, having died to sin and being raised again as a new being. Reborn or born again.

Our new and present reality is greater than what Adam and Eve knew, having been made living souls of and in the earth; the new birth conjoins us to Jesus, the life giving spirit, and seats us with Him above all things. (See 1Corinthians 15:45, Ephesians 2:4-10.)

Paul shares the antithesis to a cycle of sin in Romans 8.

Romans 8:1-4 Therefore, now, there is not even one bit of condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit, that of the life in Christ Jesus, freed you once for all from the law of the sinful nature and of death. For that which is an impossibility for the law, because it was weak through the sinful nature, God having sent His Son in likeness of flesh of sin, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the sinful nature, in order that the righteous requirement of the law may be brought to completion in us who, not as dominated by the sinful nature are ordering our behavior but as dominated by the Spirit.

In Jesus, we have been given a new nature in place of the old. This means we are no longer “sinners.” It is no longer our nature to sin. We have been transformed into a new identity- partaking of the very nature of God Himself. We are living, Being, in the dominion and power of the Holy Spirit, our own spirit made right(eous). If this is true, why does sin still seem to be a problem? And why do so many struggle greatly with sin patterns?

Most of us have yet to grasp the full reality of the work of Jesus and what it literally means to us and our transformation. This realization is continuously unfolding in our understanding.

We are called to renew our mind (restructure our thinking) to the truth of what Jesus has done for us and the righteousness, holiness and justification He’s placed us into by our faith in Him. By agreeing with Him, about ourselves, our mind, beliefs and ways begin to change into His likeness; as the image in a mirror. When Christ is fully formed in us, we look like Him. Like twins.

Romans 6:18+ And having been set free once for all from the sinful nature, you were constituted slaves to righteousness…But now, having been set free from the sinful nature and having been made bondslaves of God, you are having your fruit resulting in holiness, and the consummation, life eternal.

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, meekness, self-control. Against such things as these there is no law. And they who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the evil nature with its dispositions and cravings once for all. In view of the fact that we are being sustained in spiritual life by the Spirit, by means of the Spirit let us go on ordering our conduct.

2 Corinthians 3: 12-18 Now, as for us, we all, with uncovered face, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are having our outward expressions changed into the same image from one degree of glory to another according as this change of expression proceeds from the Lord, the Spirit, this outward expression coming from and being truly representative of our Lord.

Examining these verses and many verses like them, we see that though it’s true we were once prone to sin, weakness, rage, lust, deceit etc., in the old nature, but we are now new and prone to righteousness via our new nature-God’s nature! Our spirit DNA that was fallen, has be upgraded, once we join in union with Jesus. We become one–one spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17.

What then, happens when we do sin?

Romans 8:27 Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints.

What does this mean?

Jesus (and through his blood and body) is continuously active, present on our behalf, intervening to make us continually clean and righteous before Him. And, the Holy Spirit of God, makes us conscious of righteousness and holiness, drawing us to that mindfulness.

Hebrews 10:21-23…and having a Priest, a Great One, over the house of God, let us keep on drawing near with a genuinely true heart in full assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and having had our body washed with pure water.

1 John 1:7 But if within the sphere of the light we are habitually ordering our behavior as He himself is in the light, things in common and thus fellowship we [the believer and God] are having with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son keeps continually cleansing us from every sin.

1 John 2:1 My little children [born-ones, bairns], these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin. And if anyone commits an act of sin, One who pleads our cause we constantly have facing the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One.

In truth, He is focussing on our new nature now; whether we are being corrected or celebrated, He is drawing attention to our new nature, not the old (it’s dead). Since His focus is on the new, our’s ought to be too. God is not stuck in sin consciousness and neither should we be. We are to be love, righteousness, and holiness focused. What we focus on amplifies and expands.

It it also necessary to understand, that if we say and believe we are unified with Jesus, then our overall actions will become a proof of this union. We will not want to do the things that seemed natural when we lived in an old nature. We will desire and delight to live out of our new nature.

Though for a time, while we are growing up out of our newborn birth, the old nature may still seem familiar, yet, eventually the more intimate we grow with God, and the more we renew our minds to the truth, the old will seem foreign and unusual, so that IF we sin (not when), we will want to change our stance immediately and turn back to moving out of our new nature, which affects peace and joy.

Gods grace empowers us to say, “No,”to sin (Titus 2:12). People who keep on deliberately living the same old way as before, have not understood the reality of joining to Jesus.

John 14:20-21 In that day you shall know experientially that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. He who has my commandments and habitually keeps them, that one is he who is loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love. And he who is loving me thus, shall be loved with this same kind of love by my Father, and I shall love him with a divine and self-sacrificial love, and I shall disclose myself to him.

1 John 2:6 He who is constantly saying that he as a habit of life is living in close fellowship with dependence upon Him is morally obligated just as that One conducted himself, also himself in the manner spoken of to be conducting himself.

This action isn’t gritting our teeth, in self effort and reliance. The Holy Spirit, our helper, partners with us and compels our hearts and minds to act and Be in our new nature. In time, experientially as well as literally, it doesn’t become second nature to us, but First nature.

1Corinthians 2:9-12 But as for us, not the spirit of the world system did we receive but the Spirit who is of God in order that we might come to know the things which by God have been in grace bestowed upon us, which things also we put into words, not in words taught by human philosophy but in words taught by the Spirit, fitly joining together Spirit-revealed truths with Spirit-taught words.

Romans 8:26+ But if that which we do not see, we hope for, through patience we expectantly wait for it. And in like manner also the Spirit lends us a helping hand with reference to our weakness, for the particular thing that we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know with an absolute knowledge; but the Spirit himself comes to our rescue by interceding with unutterable groanings.

Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints. And we know with an absolute knowledge that for those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good, for those who are divinely-summoned ones according to His purpose.

By examining the inspired scriptures we can be assured that we no longer have a sin nature, nor a dual nature if we have been joined to God. The old died and was cut away. Upon our union of spirit and new birth (reborn/born again) and have a new nature, the nature of God.

We are also given the Holy Spirit who teaches and empowers us how to live out of it, and to reject past sinful ways. If we do sin, we can come to Him, dialogue about how we and others have been effected, and know that He faithfully cleanses us, including our conscience.

Go on out there with Godfidence! You are Prone to the persuasion of God’s Spirit and your new nature in Christ Jesus, not to sin or wandering. Check out the books of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and 1rst 2nd & 3rd books of John for more clarity. Study it out and see for yourself.

*If you stumbled on this post, and have not made your peace and union with God, through Jesus Christ, the invitation to do so is open for every single person. He’s waiting to make you new- into a son, daughter, new being- just reach out to him from your heart. He hears and He rushes to you.

Please let me know if you’ve made this choice and/or if you feel you need further understanding or help: connect at liifetree12@gmail.com

Unmarked photos–Photo credits to Panoramio.com and mzayat.com respectively.

I Have Loved You to Piece/Peace.

It was as a dream. The exception is that it was more than a mere dream. Not even a vision of the night, but an encounter. For those who can believe, I am certain some aspect of me truly was there, even if only in spirit.

Sitting close to the centre in the second row, the speaker was central to my view. One person to my left in the group was debating the truth of the speaker’s words–not to be difficult, but because they didn’t yet know the truth experientially. As for me I sat transfixed, smiling at him as warmth filled my being and nodding my assent.

“I have Loved you to Pie/ace.”

To One Piece, and to Peace. A play on words. The content was about becoming whole, as one piece rather than broken or fragmented, and to peace versus anxiety and fear. I knew it in every way it could be known–I felt whole. This was my reason for smiling and nodding. I am whole. By His constant abiding Love.

Some find it difficult to believe they can ever be whole, they don’t feel whole,

therefore how can they be whole?

Sometimes we are hearing messages that promote this very idea. An idea can be the most dangerous thing if its not true, yet we believe it. If Jesus is telling us that we’re whole, we should question the other information we are receiving; that which is exalting itself against the knowledge of God.

The other person was having a hard time believing his wholeness because his feelings or knowledge were in contradiction to Jesus. It wasn’t Jesus he should have been questioning. Rather that which was contending the truth which would allow him to simply believe Jesus.

I remember a time in my life I felt if one more ounce of pressure was laid on me, I would shatter into millions of pieces. Like glass. Tiny shards and splinters, flying every direction. Trying to hold it all together was an extreme mental and emotional exercise of will and spirit.

Healing wasn’t instant (though for some it is). There was years of injury and malformation, like others born to this planet. It took perseverance and various forms of healing, integrated through various people over time, those with Jesus dwelling in and amongst us.

I began to change, transforming by Love, Truth & Grace…Then came the day, or night, maybe outside of time even, I had been loved to Pie/ace, by Jesus. And as I sat under his teaching, I knew there was even greater things in store.

For every one who is crushed in spirit, for every broken heart or mind, for every one who feels fragmented or even dissociated, Jesus is present to heal you, to make you whole in his love. He is trustworthy, and full of mercy and power. Come sit with him, and he’ll love you to piece/peace.

Today, now, is your healing.

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent. Psalm 34: 18

Measurement & Evaluation

Not that we have the audacity to

venture to class or even to compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.

2 Corinthians 10:12

I’ve, perhaps, never been so acutely aware of how measurement obsessed our Western society has become (perhaps the East is just the same). We exist in a continual process of being measured and measuring. Evaluating, judging, weighing. Is it any wonder that safety and trust are major tropes in personal and corporate coping?

Two of the courses I’m currently taking are Measurement and Evaluation, and Famous Feminists in Humanities/History-this is what I notice most. We measure Everything!

Implicitly and explicitly, unawares and aware we are calculating, weighing and judging ourselves, each other, and all we come into contact with. For better or for worse.

It should be no surprise that people daily expend copious amounts of energy in emotional labour the moment, or before, their eyes open each morning. Measuring and being measured in multiple manners daily, year upon year, context to context wears.

Frankly, it can be exhausting. It adds to our sense of condemnation and creates insidious drive to try to present ourselves in some perfect facade.

Where did this less than plucky vein of thought flow from? All of this because of red ink and a B grade with comments that didn’t stroke my sense of accomplishment, (not to mention it’s only one of many “first” assignments and in a course with content and documentation I’m unfamiliar with, and have some regrets toward).

Somehow, momentarily, her red ink and not one positive remark fairly shouted from the page, “Welcome back to being average.” Self translation: I’m a B. Internal mood scale: dropping.

I’m surprised, because identity has been a specific focus for me for a couple years or more, and Ive changed tremendously; so even though I’m sporting a 3.7 GPA and have been on the honors list several times in my education journey, it’s odd how receiving a B can still change my countenance and mood. Even briefly. It makes me aware of implicit standards I have set for myself. Non failure=A, preferably A+.

Oh the dread power of a symbol and color! I’m reevaluating. No, the power is in the inference. That is a primary theme in my measurements course.

We can never really measure a person. We can only attempt to measure very small aspects of their behavior at a certain moment in time. Then we make many inferences through our own lenses and based out of our own learning history. The rest is illusionary.

So this is what I want to say:

Don’t let yourselves feel vulnerable based on a world system that has confounded the variables and added error into the measurement instruments, before you even showed up on the scene. They’re not reliable, nor valid for measuring you as a person.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t grow, or reach for goals. It just means we can let some pressure off ourselves and others. It means we need to realize we are inferring from often inadequate and only partial information. We never have the whole picture or person in our view.

Our evaluations are a drop in the ocean of reality. But we have been programmed from birth, so, it’s going to take some mindfulness to reboot to the new system.

In Christ we function according to a new operating system; it takes us time to learn these new commands and key functions so it runs smoothly in our day to day realities. But as we learn, everything begins to function better, and we experience Freedom from incessantly measuring and comparing.

That’s why I love the opening verse of this post; I’m reminded that perfect performance is not my call, it’s not the highest gain and I can treat failures and less than perfection as learning instead of my identity. In this I am learning what true wisdom is. Being accepted in the beloved is where we find our life and being. The rest is a mere fiction.

Tightrope

Many of us are experiencing a similar scenario-it takes One to set thousands to flight, but a village surrounds the one- we are one. I’m currently believing with 6 friends for total healing- here’s a snippet of a reality walk with my friend Charispsallo.me below…

Charis: Subject to Change

painting on desk ch IMG_8390Can’t pretend that I am blind
Can’t go back and erase the mind
Naivety and wide-eyed wonder are far from me
But at least now I see
It’s like I’m walking on a tightrope
Stretched across the universe
Way too high to go back from where I came
Overwhelmed at the miles I’ve yet to tame

-from Tightrope by Misty Edwards

When I started writing this blog I thought it was about having an outlet for creative expression and sharing, in a grandmotherly way, how the Lord has enabled me to grow and change. I didn’t know it would be about the faith walk in real time. I’m not done yet. I’ve got a long way to go.

I was happy to share insights and personal victories – after I could see the outcome when the mess was tidied up and the embarrassing trip through doubt and emotional upheaval faded…

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waking up

My heart lurched from still to tears and prayer in .5 seconds… here is Hope for our slumberers,our sons and daughters waking up, by Laurie from the Jane Doe Chronicles

thejanedoechroniclesdotcom

it was a saturday morning. her son slept in while she rose early to have coffee and time with father god. it was her usual routine nearly every day, coffee and worship before anything else.

she went into the kitchen to make breakfast for the two of them. buster the cat took his place on a stool opposite her across the counter. he liked to observe what his ‘mummy’ did in the kitchen. she was the only mum he’d ever known, the first living creature he saw when he opened his eyes as a kitten.

with breakfast going on the stove, she called to her growing teenager to come downstairs. it wasn’t long after her call she heard his footsteps on the stair treads. his face was ashen when he got to the main floor. he was upset, nearly in tears.

“honey, whatever is the matter?” “mom, i had two dreams…

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God Speaks: Perspectives on Hearing God’s Voice – Now Available by Praying Medic

My generous friends, Praying Medic and his wife Denise, have collaborated on abook project with 27 writers. I’m blessed and fortunate to have been included in the project! Here’s Praying Medic….

“For the last 2 years, I’ve been collaborating with 27 of by closest friends on a project. The idea was to put together a book showcasing the many different ways in which God speaks. I’m happy to announce that the book God Speaks is now available. Here’s an excerpt from the book that was written by Matt Hallock.”

“God’s voice is near. It is accessible. It is ready. It is intimate.

The first time I remember hearing God speak to me was during the summer before my senior year of high school. It had been about six years since I had last seen my dad, and I was depressed, feeling alone in my struggle to become a man. Without my dad, I was afraid of life, afraid of failing, afraid of being found out as a phony Christian. I was under so much accusation from the enemy, and I believed most of it.

But I had made a habit of spending time seeking God. Granted, I did so out of desperation, trying to earn my sonship. I hoped that if I asked enough, He would take the time to invest in me the way my dad had not. But God, not caring as much about me getting it right as He did about being close with me, met me there…”

Read more here and find the link to the book! prayingmedic.com

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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.