Category Archives: Great Grace

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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The Lie Behind All Sexual Brokenness: part 2 

Part 2 of Secret Longings, Confusing Feelings, and Paths to Healing

My guest post today is by my friend Jonathan Brenneman, Missionary to Brazil, and blogger and author of several books. Jonathan shares some historical origins that have influenced our views on sexuality, and reveals the source of our healing. As promised there are resources; check out the links and Jonathan’s book which goes into much more detail on this subject.

  The Lie Behind All Sexual Brokenness

      Antichrists And The Body-Spirit Dichotomy         

 One of my favorite books of the Bible is First John. I’ve read it more times than I know, and I’ve used it to study several languages.

First John teaches us that we can trace every ungodly spirit back to one lie—the denial that Jesus came as God incarnate, in a human body. We can test any spirit by understanding the truth that Jesus came in the flesh. (1 John 4:1-6) John says that any spirit denying that truth is “antichrist.”

What does this have to do with sex? Scholars believe the apostle John wrote this epistle in opposition to the Gnostics. The Gnostics were an early religious sect whose teaching involved a strict dichotomy between the physical world and the spiritual world. They saw the physical world as evil, and the spiritual world as good.

This worldview was the reason they denied that Jesus had come in the flesh. If the physical world was evil and the spiritual world was good, how could a good and holy God have come to dwell in a human body? This was an impossibility to the Gnostic worldview.

We can conclude that an antichrist spirit teaches a strict separation between the body and spirit, and teaches that the body is evil. These lies are at the root of sexual immorality and also of every major problem in today’s societies. Every ungodly spirit denies that Jesus came in the flesh, and thus denies the sanctity of the body.

 How Does This Lie Affect Our View Of Sexuality?

Two different twisted views of sex arose from the Gnostic’s thinking. The first said “My body and spirit are separate. What I do with my body doesn’t affect my spirit, because my body is base anyways, but my spirit is good. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what I do with my body.” This thinking resulted in orgies and gross sexual immorality.

The other twisted view of sex was cloaked in religion. It said “The body is bad, and the spirit is good, therefore sex is bad. If I want to be holy, I must abstain from all sex.” This lie heavily influenced the early church fathers. Through their teaching, it has influenced all of church history. St. Augustine was a Gnostic for almost ten years before becoming a Christian. Although he broke away from Gnosticism in many ways, it continued to influence his thinking. Augustine believed that Adam impregnated his wife by an act of the will alone, with no passion. Although he eventually rejected the view that sex itself was evil, he believed it was sinful for a married couple to experience passion in their sexual relations.

Yet Augustine’s views were moderate compared to many other “church fathers.” St. Jerome had an extreme anti-sexual obsession, claiming that no man who loved his wife would ever have sex with her, and saying stupid things like “Woman is the root of all evil.”

Jerome had a heated conflict with a monk named Jovinius. I like the name Jovinius. I reminds me of the word “Jovial.” What did Jerome think was jovial Jovinius’ big error? Jovinius believed that a married Christian woman was just as holy before God as an unmarried woman. To Jerome, that was heresy, and he blasted Jovinius for it!

Yet whose name do we most often hear in the study of church history? Everyone who knows anything about church history knows the name “Jerome.” He influenced the course of the church for thousands of years. We hear much less about Jovinius!

Just like the first lie, the error of men like Augustine and Jerome resulted in bondage and eventual sexual immorality. Vilifying that which is holy doesn’t produce purity. Vilifying the body (and sex) produces immorality.

The false body/spirit dichotomy that’s behind sexual immorality is the very lie that separates physical healing from Christ’s atonement and applies salvation only to the soul but not to the body. Have you ever wondered why pornography addiction is so rampant in the church? It’s rooted in the spiritualized view of Christianity that Augustine, Jerome, and other early church fathers propogated.

Jesus didn’t just come as a spirit. He came in a human body. He didn’t only heal people’s souls. He healed their bodies. He didn’t only suffer spiritually to save our souls. He suffered physically, carrying our pains and sicknesses, and was physically bruised for the healing of our physical bodies. He doesn’t only live in our hearts. He lives in our bodies. It’s time for us to embrace the gospel that touches the whole person and reject the Gnostic’s spiritualized perversion of truth. Doing so will be a big step towards dealing with the problem of sexual addiction.

Thank God that the church has recently come a long way in breaking away from Jerome’s radical views! But we still tend to see a proliferation of sexual scandals and immorality within religious groups that put a negative slant on sex. I’ve seen it again and again.

People who once bought the lie that sex is evil change over to the lie that it doesn’t matter what you do with your body. They are two sides of the same coin. My grandparents went to a Christian college in NY. It had an “18-inch rule.” Male and female students were forbidden from getting closer than 18 inches away from each other. Hand-holding was definitely out of the question! Today, that college has a reputation as a hotbed of promiscuity.

 The Body-Soul-Spirit Connection

Error in the church was a set-up for many societies to buy the lie that “it doesn’t matter what you do with your body.” Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Modern science shows that the body is closely connected to the mind and soul. Many scientists now state that most disease is primarily caused by emotions and thinking patterns. There’s too much research to refer to in a short article, but Dr. Carolyn Leaf is one of them. If you’re interested in learning more, Dr. Leaf’s book Who Switched Off My Brain? is a good place to start. Emotions and thought patterns affect our bodies by physical processes through the nervous and endocrine systems. The nervous system and the endocrine system link our bodies and our souls.

It works the other way too. What we do with our bodies affects our mental and emotional well-beings. Hormones involved in sex play other roles in our bodies. They are also important in our ability to bond in a healthy way with other people. Porn use and sexual immorality deteriorate that ability. We have plenty of research that backs that up. Science shows that we are biologically wired for sexual monogamy.

In my book, Jesus Has Come In The Flesh, I presented statistics showing that the consequences of sexual promiscuity link closely to every major problem in today’s societies. These include physical health problems, mental health problems, divorce, fatherlessness, violence, substance abuse, incarceration, poverty, early death, behavioural disorders, homelessness, suicide, children’s poor school grades, and more.

Some continue to dispute the facts, against all reason. However, there’s a growing “no-fap” movement of people seeking to abstain from porn and solo-sex. The unique thing about this movement is that it’s not primarily religious. Many participants are atheists. The main motivator for these people to stop porn and solo-sex is that they feel bad with these activities, and they feel so much better without them.

Why? Because sexual morality isn’t just some meaningless religious code. It’s what humans are biologically wired for, and even atheists can feel it. As Rui Miguel Costa noted, “The only sexual behaviour consistently related to better psychological and physical health is PVI.” (Penile-Vaginal Intercourse) A healthy sex life between spouses befits their well-being and helps to hold together healthy relationships.

The Good News!

The good news is redemption! Jesus came in the flesh. He came to redeem you body, soul, and spirit. He is the truth. He’s able and willing to free you from the lies of an antichrist spirit which result in sexual bondage and brokenness. He is life, and he wants to restore you to the abundant life that he created you for.

The scriptural basis for sexual purity is that Jesus has come in the flesh. He didn’t only come in a human body two-thousand years ago, but his spirit dwells in our bodies if we have received him. When we put our faith in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and receive his life within, our bodies become his temple. This is the biblical basis for sexual purity. Your body is holy, and Jesus has come in your flesh!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

My body is holy. It’s the temple of the Holy Spirit. My body is connected to my soul and spirit. These seem like such simple truths, but it’s amazing how understanding them helps people to get free from sexual bondage and torment. I know several guys who had heard the church teach against sexual immorality for years yet were still hooked on porn. One of the main things that finally helped them get free was reading up on the science of sexual addiction and breaking this false body/spirit dichotomy.

Here are some good websites that include research on effects of porn use and sexual addiction. You can also check out my book Jesus Has Come In The Flesh, which highlights the correlations between sexual immorality and other major problem of society. It then continues as a manifesto for re-sensitizing society and undoing the devil’s works by demonstrating that Jesus has come in the flesh.

www.yourbrainonporn.com
www.fightthenewdrug.org
www.pornharmsresearch.com
www.socialcostsofpornography.com
www.nofap.com

SSA: Secret Longings, Confusing Feelings & Paths to Healing Part 1

I’m a bit behind on posting; a new semester has begun with the subject matter of Senior Counseling; Women’s Studies & Feminism; and Human Sexuality. The latter two courses especially have got me thinking–those along with some conversations I’ve had over time with “church people” about confusing feelings and what they often identify as lust, particularly as related to authority figures or leaders. Given those conversations, it’s evident sexuality has become (or always has been) a topic too important to remain completely private within the church or elsewhere.

Now is as good a time as any to move past our blushes, bring it into the open, and do a miniseries on this topic. To start it off, I’ve asked my friend John Spencer to guest post. I  appreciate and thank him for his transparency and courage as he shares his experiences and perspective. I hope you will too. While readers may or may not agree, I  ask that we respect his journey and beliefs. Our hope is by bringing some of these issues to light, that some might benefit. Here’s John.

**Content warning: this will be an honest account of some of my sexual struggles during my life and may not be appropriate for minors nor for those of a sensitive nature**

I never felt affirmed as a man.  I felt that I was a disappointment to my father and didn’t measure up.  My father-in-law also didn’t see me as a man and whilst I remember joking in my wedding speech that “it’s not so much losing a daughter but gaining a womanly-bloke” the truth is I didn’t feel like a “proper” man.  Getting married didn’t fix that.  Nor did becoming a father.  I felt the constant need for approval of a father-figure that I never received growing up.

During my early marriage I acted out by looking at pornographic images of women. I knew it was wrong and I hated myself for it.  I used to take out my anger on my wife.  Often as a defensive mechanism because if she got too close she would expose who I really was and I didn’t want that.  So I’d make out that it was her fault. However, whilst early exposure to pornography and subsequent masturbation had hardwired my brain to women, the yearning for manly approval grew and became more sexual.

I started fantasizing about kissing certain men when I was talking to them.  I needed to feel loved and wanted by these men.  But I knew that this was wrong too*.  And I hated myself for it.  I tried to suppress it but it kept coming back.  Just like the way I projected my self-loathing onto my wife due to my pornographic addiction, I projected my self-loathing about my same-sex attraction onto gays.  I would see homosexuality as the unforgivable sin and loathe them in my heart.

Some will interject now and say “you need to accept these desires as natural and reject this outdated religious bigotry”.  However, to quote CS Lewis:
“He (Satan) always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites.  And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse.  You see why of course?  He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.  But do not let us be fooled.  We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both ‘errors’.”

Instead of denying my desires or just accepting and acting on them, I expressed them to Jesus.

I honestly told Him about my struggles.  As I admitted the truth, I brought these desires into the light and that was when the transformation began.  He opened my eyes to the fact that it was only men in authority that I wanted to kiss.  It was because of my feeling so unmanly, so unworthy, so useless that was the root of my desire to be accepted and loved by authority figures.

Jesus has all authority (Mt 28:18), he is above every power and authority (Eph 1:20-22; Phil 2:9-10) and he loves me (Jn 15:9,12).  As I have been receiving the approval of the ultimate authority I have become more whole.  As I have drunk deep of Christ’s masculinity I have become more manly.  As I have received the Father’s love and approval my desires for men have simply faded away.  I have become complete and whole in Him who is my all in all (1 Cor 15:28).

GK Chesterton said “Everyone who knocks on the door of a brothel is searching for God”. God has made us creatures of desire and Jesus is the “desire of the nations” (Hag 2:7) – the only one who can truly satisfy our longings whether they be same sex attraction, pornography addiction, paedophilia, food, smoking or simply the desire to be famous or rich. No finite thing can satisfy our longing for the infinite. Stop drinking out of broken cisterns (Jer 2:13), and return to the source of living water (Jn 4:13-14).

* It’s not the purpose of this article to defend the traditional Christian view of homosexuality.  Others have done that adequately elsewhere.  Any plain sense reading of passages such as Rom 1:26-27 and a correct understanding of hermeneutics will support this.  However, we mustn’t get pushed into the false dichotomy of if I don’t agree I must hate gays.

John Spencer is a child of God, a husband and a father of six children (four on earth and two in heaven). He writes about his journey into wholeness and how parents can communicate a godly vision of sexuality to their children at godlysexuality.org.

NOTE from LifeTree: all comments are moderated but please, do add to the conversation, even anonymously. Discussion helps others come out of hiding and heal.  John was kind enough to revise his original article which you can find here:

https://godlysexualityblog.com/2016/06/17/an-alternative-ending-to-the-orlando-shooting/

Gold Dust, Wonder, and Healing

Gold dust, Wonder & Healing

  The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!  Lamentations 4:2

I saw him glance at me out of the corner of his eye when I passed by; as I returned the look he glanced away. I perceived he “knew something” about me in that moment. He had “the look” people have when they get a word of knowledge (a supernatural insight or knowledge about a person that couldn’t otherwise be known). 
Looking ahead I searched for my friend who had invited me. I hadn’t been sure I would come, but curiosity and maybe even indignant rebellion against  intimidation and bad memories rose up in me. So I went. But with a mixed jumble of ambivalence. 
This was the church I’d grown up in, that had been home. It was also the church of my suffering and shame. 

Bittersweet

Coming back again was challenging; even though I had grown so much, it was difficult crossing the threshold through the doors, and greeting the old saints and new people as I passed by. 

I didn’t know much about the guest speaker either, only that my friend seemed excited and she was leading worship, so heck ya, that was reason enough.   
The service closed with an invitation for prayer and to receive from God. I was so eager to “get some” that I jumped up before most of the people who regularly attended there and inadvertently half stepped on the gal’s foot I had to cross over to get out of the pew. 

The microphone was left on so everyone heard what was said, but it didn’t matter because whatever men can be to one another, God had been more than faithful to me… I trusted Him. And I couldn’t have imagined what was about to occur. 

“Put your hands out.” I did as he said thinking he’d take my hands to pray. “Turn them palms up.” I did. Curious. 

“Do you see that little bit of gold on your hands?” My eyes flicked to my palms and back again, searching his face uncertainly. Did he mean my gold wedding band? That little bit of gold? 

I looked at him intently. He looked back just so.  I looked at my hands again. 

Then he began to tell of my pain and shame I had experienced through the religiosity of the leaders and some of saints there, more than once, past and still fairly recent. He began to speak of the value I had, of the wealth and worth God placed in me, of identity and honor. 

I looked again at my hands-I could see faint sparkles on both palms where I hadn’t seen anything moments before. I drank in all that was being spoken, a bit dazzled that Dad would choose to redeem the damning experiences and my self worth in this manner. 



Wonderstruck, I returned to my seat to soak it in and listen for God to expound on what He’d just done. The lady whose foot I’d stepped on grabbed my closest hand and pressed it to her cheek, eyes closed,  a raptured look on her face. Then she released it and quickly apologized. I smiled and assured her I understood completely! This was not something any of us had experienced, and only few had even heard of. 

There was this one niggling nagging thing though. I had worn a glittering gold powder on my cheeks that night and I knew I had touched my face with my palms. So… was it makeup on my hands or real glory and gold dust from heavenly realms?  It bothered me because I’m a truth seeker. Just give me the truth- beautiful, plain, raw or ugly-just don’t lie or trick me. Here lay an opportunity both men and devils seek-the kind that lead to faith or disbelief. 

I didn’t want to doubt, or have this blessing fade from my mind as it would from my hands, so I whispered to Father, “You know I just want truth- is this gold dust or makeup? At tomorrow night’s meeting, I’ll wear powder that’s matte, no hint of sparkle anywhere, and if this is really gold dust, would you do it again Dad? Let my palms be misted with gold again tomorrow night.” 
I made extra sure to wear matte make up and washed my hands doubly well. No trace of sparkle anywhere-checked and double checked. Standing in the worship time I glanced at my hands. Nothing. Disappointment edged closer, looking for a little place to call home again. Hope deferred had too often visited my heart.

A little bit later I looked again and my heart leapt! My palms glinted and twinkled just as they had the night before. Gold dust! Every word that had been spoken to me the previous night was established even deeper. Words of worth, words of love, faith and hope. 

What is better,  is time and time again Dad has affirmed me with love and honor where men and women have maimed, blamed, or shamed. He knows who we really are, and He loves to tell us. 

I’ve read somewhere that man was originally made of gold particles, rather than dust; gold dust, if you will. I’ve done word searches and haven’t found that exact interpretation; it appears to render as clay. A wonderful thing about clay is it’s re-moldable. If it becomes marred, it can be refashioned by the potter’s hands, even remade into more noble vessel for honorable use. 

Whether the material He used was common clay or gold dust, everything Dad touches turns to Gold and He declares several times in His love letter to man kind that we are precious, worth more than gold, and He has promised every testing will bring out the gold in us. 

If you’ve been marred in identity and purpose, know that Dad sees the value in you, He fashioned you in His heart before He knit your soul and spirit to your body in the womb. Whatever your life experiences, your life is of great worth. He will reveal the truth of this to you again and again. Jesus came because you have value, you are priceless to him. And given your “yes” He will renew  your whole being-spirit, soul, and body. Transfiguration is awaiting you…

Turns out, we are fashioned with gold…

http://www.gold-traders.co.uk/gold-information/how-much-gold-is-found-in-the-human-body.asp

And on an interesting side note: Until very recent times gold was used as a heart remedy, … Homeopathic doctors still use it in this manner in high dilutions and regard it as a remedy for depressive or suicidal conditions: a ‘total eclipse of the heart’. Its distribution within the human organism reaches its highest concentration in the region of the heart. Gold is used by doctors to diagnose heart problems. As the highest concentrations of gold in the human body occur around the heart, a radio-isotope of gold has been developed (the Au-195 isotope), which can give an image of the blood-containing structures within the heart, a process called ‘heart-imaging’. Gold gives a heart image! In Britain this new technology has been developed in St. Bartholomew’s hospital, London. One expert described the gold used in this way as ‘a very convenient medium for rapid assessment of changes in cardiac function’ (3,4). ~Nick Kollerstrom
Image credits to Pinterest and Megapixel

Graced to Fully Know

Graced to Fully Know, Even As We Are Fully Known

“I desire to Be Fully Known”.

It gave me pause. Fully? Would The God of All be Fully Known?

Yet my heart followed after Him, His spirit drawing me.(Song of Songs 1:4)

It had started out a mere single word, FULLNESS, and became a poetic theme, softly echoing and resounding through the chambers of my heart, contracting and expanding, filling my understanding until it found release through my voice,

“I want to Know you Even As I am fully Known!!”

Then He unveiled to my mind what my heart already believed.

‘I Desire to Be Fully Known’

The Lover Unveils for the Beloved

Love unwraps and lays open the inmost secrets of the heart; the hidden becomes the revealed.

Marriage is the imagery He created for us to understand how we are to know Him and whereby we understand that “the one who joins oneself to the Lord is One Spirit” (with Him). 1 Corinthians 6:17

The Two shall become One

I’d known of the word Epignosis, meaning ‘intercourse’-not simply verbal communications, but a communing of heart, an entwining together through the experience of one another. Now another aspect was this reality was being unveiled. His desire is that we continue to know Him more fully in the sense of shared intimacies. Oneness.

What does Being One Spirit reveal to us?iphone 009

Intimate Knowing

In the same way one’s spouse or child could be not be counterfeited, little intimate details known only to the beloved are discernible-a scar, a quirk, a birthmark… the eyes-the soul’s mirrors truth tell, so it is in our union with God.

“Does not a son know the father’s heart? Does not a bride know her husband’s eyes? And don’t best friends tell each other secrets? This is why I am alive…. I want to Know You Lord” Rick Pino

Then He brought into my view another word: Kenosis -from the great kenosis passage, meaning in it’s verb form to empty- “to give outward expression of one’s inner intrinsic nature.”* (Philippians 2)

It refers to the Union of Divine Love and Glory expressed between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each giving into the complete, beneficial experience of the other, and expressed to us through the Spirit of The Son, Jesus.

Love relinquishes Self: Emanuel, God with us

The Philippians 2  passage reads in part:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. 6 He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. 7 Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a servant, became human! 8 Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death– even death on a cross. (Message)

Jesus further reveals the intent of this word Kenosis in his prayer for us to the Father.

John 17:21….in order that all might be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you, in order that they themselves also might be in us,…

22 And as for myself, the glory which you have given me, I have given them, in order that they might be one even as we are one,

23 I in them and you in me, in order that they, having been brought to the complete state with respect to oneness, may persist in that state of completeness, to the end that the world might be understanding that you sent me on a mission and that you loved them even as you loved me. (my emphasis)

“Even As”   

Love in its true and fullest form, is always Reciprocal.

As if this weren’t enough for us to be certain that He desires to be fully known, co-joined to Him, we were caught up in spirit into the existence and experience of this Kenosis-caught up into Christ, into God, seated in heavenly places.   Ephesians 2:6, Col. 3:3 & 10

We are placed into the most secure place, directly into the receivership of the kenosis of God. The heart space of His fullness-His very bosom.

For out of His fullness (abundance) we have All received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one Grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favorand gift [heaped] upon gift. (Amplified)     John 1:16

The fullness o His heart is emptied into the earth, into us; Holy Spirit abiding and indwelling us, gracing us and enabling us to explore the heights and widths and depths and breadths of this vast boundlessness

                           Love revolutions (cycles).

                                                       bring resolutions (clarity)

1Corinthians 2: 10…as the scripture says: “What no one ever saw or heard what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him.”

tig, longboards 070To us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through HisSpirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]…….

12 Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered:

Christ knows, and We Have Christ’s Spirit.”

Being secure within the fullness of Divine Kenosis, we understand how it can be true, that there is no room for fear in Love and no withholding. Kenosis, its perfected state, displaces all fear.    1John 4:18 & 19

First we were fully loved; now we may fully love.

As He is, so We Are.

Before the foundations of the world, with great detail and care, He planned to share the grace of kenosis with mankind-

In the face of mankind’s self love, He self-emptied.

Page after page of God’s journal reveals it was always His intent to fulfill our desire above all we would ask or think. How Adam and Eve “knew” each other and how they knew God was a mere “image” of the union He planned with us-the Indwelling Presence joined with ours.

So you also are complete through your union with Christ who is the head over every ruler and authority.  Colossians 2:9

“What do you think the scriptures mean when they say God longs jealously for the human spirit He has placed within us?    James 4:5-6&8

(Greek 1971 ἐπιποθέω from 1909 and potheo (to yearn); to dote upon, i.e. intensely crave possession (lawfully or wrongfully):–(earnestly) desire (greatly), (greatly) long (after), lust.   Strongs concordance.

Or that Holy Spirit placed within us, opposes our envy? (Greek 1971)But He gives us more Grace, (to be satiated; satisfied by Him, (Greek 5485)

Come close to God and He will come close to You

 He’s longing to be Known

Fully

Prophetic Word: Living Unsettled

Prophetic word:

Earlier a friend posted a quote on growth happening when we getting out of our comfort zone- I replied, “What about living in the ‘discomfort’ zone?” She replied, “Lots of growth!!!” And it’s true. 
Then this comes in my email: 

“Cyndi, 

Can you get comfortable with being uncomfortable?

Because if you can, you’ll be right in the sweet spot of personal growth. The times when you’re getting stretched, pushing through the pain, or feeling out of your element — that’s when the magic happens. It doesn’t happen when you sit back on your heels and start getting complacent…” -Michael Hyatt

Then another friend sent a similar insight… Repeats are cues and clues to listen and engage…

The reality is, I’ve felt and heard the Lord say over a long period, more than a year now, 

“My people need to learn to live “unsettled”. 

The meaning is that we are creatures of habit and routine, and while to some degree we need structure, we can also become dependent on our ‘familiar’ circumstances rather than Him as our anchor and stability. 

It’s interesting that without pruning, grape vines (and other plants) will choose spreading leaf and runners over producing fruit. Pruning is essential. It may seem a bit of a shock to the system, but it’s part of Life. 

Likewise we tend to get rattled and sometimes even frantic when our comfort zones get challenged. We pray for change and yet become highly resistant to it at the same time. Resistance can hinder or help, it depends on the application.
In these globally troubled days, we are being taught how to thrive in the midst of turmoil, upheaval, and distress by learning to live and move and have our being in Him, not in our circumstances, not in our familiar routines, or our sometimes entrenched expectations of how life must go. Sometimes we may feel like we’ll only be okay when everything settles. If this becomes our expectation, we may long feel upended and as though life feels out of control. We are being taugh to live in the flux. 

Much of our anxiety, pain and discomfort is in our resistance. We need to discern when resistance is helpful and when it is actually in our way. In the big picture, we are foreigners and aliens transversing this life, we are unsettled, moving through, by an internal map and compass of the spirit. 
Will the upheaval settle? Not permanently, every shaking causes us to inherit the unshakable, if we are willing. The shaking and displacing of our comfort isn’t going to stop in some permanent manner in which we can “settle”, but if we learn to move along, living “unsettled”, if we can learn to get comfortable being uncomfortable, then we won’t as likely go into shock when the dismantling of our familiar occurs. 

Sure, it takes a bit to find our feet in it all, but this is why we are given a Comforter-to help us get comfortable in the uncomfortable. 
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” Isaiah 41:10

No Hold On You

I became aware…

Not aware of dreaming, but of being carried by eight or more beings who walked side by side in rows of two or three, assigned to each of my appendages. 
Their appearance was, head to foot, as though they were garbed in silhouettes, even their faces seemed clothed in black; they didn’t seem to be men exactly. I heard no sounds, not even footfalls, nor felt their grasp. 
The area was already shadows but an eye mask was swiftly put over my eyes, like they had become attuned to my becoming conscious and that I was searching my surroundings. 

Then darkness and only the sense of movement, of being carried. I began to thrash, attempting to loose myself from their nexus. 
Then I simply cried loudly from my inner being, “Daddy! Daddy!”

As the whoosh of a door, I was sucked out of their midst, as if I had become intangible…then I woke. Saved. And grateful, because dream or not, it felt intensely real. 

[For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself]...   2 Corithians 1:10

This season I’ve been focussing on greater intimacy with God as DAD. Abba, daddy.

 I’ve determined in my heart for some time now, to feel vulnerable to nothing but the goodness of God because in the past, feeling vulnerable to the inner and the outer was my greatest awareness and suffering. 

Our soul enemy desires to intimidate and make us feel vulnerable to life and to death, to feel overwhelmed and powerless, captive to the unseen and the seen. Producing fear and trauma by sidelining us through the unexpected, are a favorite M.O. 

I believe this experience/dream is really about Dad reminding He is present in all things and if we are overwhelmed in our own capacity, beyond what we presently are or feel equipped for, He hears our cries and saves us. He really does hear, He really does come through, though we may not see Him, though we may only see the enemy.

We play many roles and functions as we mature. We may get used to being toughened soldiers and taking care of business. We may even try to “fake it til we make it” but Dad remembers what we may forget-the warrior is a child; His child. He is always present and ready to help. He attends to the voice of our cry. What we believe and feel about Dad, what we believe He thinks and feels about us is our tipping point, yet He is ever faithful.

“…and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way.”            Luke 4:29, 30

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”                John 10:27-30

There’s no hold on you except His. Feelings and appearances matter not, he’s a good, good father and He is mighty to save.

What Kind of Spirit Have You Been Given?

Running several leg lengths would allow me to vault myself past the first couple stairs so that “it” would have less chance to grab my ankles and pull me into the black abyss. Such was my strategizing after about 7 years on semi-hostile planet earth. 

Of course my burgeoning rational capabilities argued The Boogeyman didn’t exist and couldn’t possibly live under the basement stairs in a space of 4h x 3w, but my older brother was quite convincing. He had the ability to authentically mimic a police car siren so that my parents pulled off to the side of the road, looking for the flashing red and blues more than once. He could imitate several of The Muppets, like Gonzo and the Swedish Chef and other TV/movie characters. I was convinced a job was waiting for him in Walt Disney’s studios, so you can see why I might have been inclined to give him the benefit of “possible” when he told me to be sure the boogeyman didn’t grab me from under the stairs. Oddly enough (sarcasm), the boogeyman never entered my conscious consideration prior to his suggestion.

My bother seemed to have early natural insights into Pavlov’s classical training and “little sister” was a quick learner, making associations and being affected by something akin to B.F. Skinner’s operant concept of shaping and chaining. Hence, a long period of leaping to skip stairs and avoid capture when I ascended from the basement of our family home, began. Somehow this “act” would supersede the long armed mystical reach of the boogeyman. I mentally calculated risk probabilities. “If I jump and land on that stair, that one, not the lower one, I’m safe.” Since I could only leap so far, I had to settle for the third step as safe, rather than the tenth. Can you relate on some level? 

This “act of faith” (more aptly named superstition) caused me to become a leaping lannie as a child. I leapt the stairs and bolted the rest of the way to the top each time. I also ran down the hall and leapt into my bed; then the creatures who hid beneath and in my closet couldn’t get me-especially once the covers were pulled over my head, even the one at the foot of the bed had to obey “the rules”! 

As a preteen, I would regularly return late from a long day’s ride, as dusk would fade to black. One night I’d had enough, I leapt through the house door from the dark of night, demanding the barn be burned down! (The barn was actually an old 2-story house drug over from the neighbors, which appeared haunted in particular times of day or night.) Logic: a new, real barn wasn’t a bad idea after all, and the sense of being watched from the second level windows was bad enough, but those creeps in it were creeping me out!

I was also a strong perceiver from a very young age, so I “felt” a lot of things, including in the “barn”. Fortunately my mother’s wisdom and knowledge of the bible exceeded mine and she opted to go pray in the barn instead of striking a match. It was peaceful after that; I’d been convinced it was now unoccupied except for flies, horse dung, and swishing tails in the heat of the day. It would do.

But then there were the Christian ghost tales, the stories of various demons showing up in places they shouldn’t- like the church. Isn’t that a sacred place off limits to devils and vampires alike?! And the pastor seemed a little afraid, or something… Then there were the people who felt like something was sitting on their chest making it hard to breathe-more than one story snuck in my earshot. I decided in my first decade plus that I didn’t want to “see” spiritual things and be further terrorized. For a long while I shut my eyes but I still felt so much. 

There were also the kind of creeps like lust, who often stood behind me or across the room- their watching eyes seeming to bore into me. As time passed, I felt other people’s oppression, depression, and other “-pressions”. Restaurants and crowded places came to feel like a big jangle of sensory stimuli, until I wanted to leave. Hospitals-I felt ill within minutes of entering them. 

Over the years I was undulated with fearful stories, and little evidence of God’s great powers, until even into my twenties I felt like fear was my stalker, encroaching my every aspect of life, backing me into a corner, stealing my confidence and sharing it’s many disappointments. A generalized anxiety became my “mostly normal”, and I felt hyper-sensitized to the awareness of “the darkness” in its various forms.

It’s partly why I liked to be alone on the back of a horse. There, was freedom. There, was an awareness outside of fear and intimidation. Nature, animals and especially horses were where I felt God most, where I came to know his presence best, and where many first lessons about peace, healing, and wonder were learned. It’s the place I first began to sing, and his presence is where I learned the truth about what kind of spirit I was given. 
Had I heard and known these things first, and only, it would have changed the way I had been shaped. Thank God, I learned the truth, and I was reshaped in love. I didn’t need to unlearn the old, rather new learning overwrote the old code I’d been programmed or conditioned to respond to. 

When I understood the kind of spirit I’ve been given*, I stopped being afraid. I began to know confidence. It took a little time to learn who He really is, but I’ve been persuaded. As for fear, fear is at least twofold. 

1) We’ve learned fear through associations, experiences, and pain.

2) Fear is a fearful spirit which counsels out of its own fears, making it the worst kind of counselor.

So what makes us so afraid? The problem is never the problem. We’re most afraid when we feel powerless. Something or someone in creation feels bigger and more powerful than we do, in a threatening manner. It’s also something we learned. We have been full of childlike faith, believed the “impossible”, and we have cowered at mere suggestion, because we learned pain, and we learned fear and we learned so many things from the knowledge of good and evil. We weren’t meant to. We were meant to learn Him- this spirit of love, peace and joy.

We were meant to be powerful, to feel confident, to know our dominion. We were intended for power, love and soundness. 

We’ve been given a spirit. Deliberately. On purpose. But this spirit is different. This spirit is holy, a spirit of counsel and of might, who is wonderful, wise and understanding, just and true. The spirit we’ve been given is one of power, love and soundness. One who acts as our advocate, our strengthener, our teacher and leader into all truth. We’ve been given the spirit of comfort and reconciliation. The spirit who reveals the deep mysteries of God and creation, filling us with knowledge too wonderful to know on our own, a spirit of revelation, a spirit who distinguishes between truth and lies, and brings freedom from the slavish bonds of fear. A spirit who echoes our adoption as children of God. 

Because we’ve been given this kind of spirit, our own spirit becomes just as He is. We are joined as one and we receive His love, his soundness, his wisdom, his fearlessness, his courage, his strength, his truth, his thoughts, his power and might. 

This last year has been something rather special. Before 2015 began I received two themes from the Lord: Grace, Grace and Rest. These were not predictive of an easy, simple year; rather they were words to live by, words to anchor in, words to meditate on, to reassure, to empower. Prior to that the theme had been on how to stand. 

2015 was the year my family would hear frightful things, things meant to make our hearts believe and feel the worst kinds of fear-fear inducing words and phrases like:

He has cancer, numbered days, it’s matasticized, here are some options-what do you want to do? radiation, chemo…

We don’t know- you can try this, okay, try that, ultrasound, google that,some people never get better, this test, CT scan, okay more tests, heart monitor, cardiologist. We can’t help you more, eventually you’ll be better.

Your mom’s had a stroke, can you come (to the other side of the country)? and upon arrival- You need to decide, your dad isn’t able to. What do you want to do?
I’ll probably be gone a month, sorry about Christmas, I really wish I could be home with you and the boys but … 

They stopped life support, she’s gone; dementia…He can’t live alone, what do you want to do?

We’re sorry to hear about your loss. Let us know what you would like to do. 

We have received your withdrawal letter for your program. If you want to enroll in the future, let us know. 

What do you want to do? What do you want to do? What anyone wants to do- rewind, fast forward, delete, delete, delete.
I felt a lot of things this year. I’m saying, a lot of things. But fear? No. Not fear. Fear is unwelcome. It’s foe not friend. And something else…
I’ve been persuaded by love. 

Perfect, complete love casts out all fear because love is power. Love empowers us to believe that the spirit we’ve been given is powerful and sound, and a stronger strongman than the one who’s been made so popular by fear. 

Oh sure, fear hoped I’d take it back, we were codependent for so long! But it’s foreign enough now, when it’s sneaks around I sense it immediately. It feels like a stranger instead of my old counselor. It tried, but I knew it wasn’t mine. It made suggestions, it offered advice as it came within earshot through the words of people it influenced. I stared at them at times; taken aback by their expectations. I realized they knew fear, but not Love. 

But I’d already been persuaded. And I still am. I can’t always know what today will hold, what may come tomorrow. Sometimes Holy Spirit (or Homy Spirit as my fingers often accidentally type- ya He’s my Homy too!) gives me a heads up- a brief preview of the future. And other times I’m caught by surprise like any other.

But this one thing I’ve concluded. I refuse to allow fear to steal my peace for now and tomorrow. I won’t be robbed of today, I won’t live in fear of tomorrow. I learned when anxiety or some other form of fear comes knocking, to bring myself to a place of peace within seconds. My feelings cannot rule; my spirit must, led by the spirit I’ve been given. 

Maybe you’re facing a difficult situation right now, or maybe one is coming and in this moment, you are blissfully unaware. We may face many dangers, but fear is optional. We don’t usually think so, but we can choose to be afraid, or not. Love is a choice as well. You’ve been given a spirit, but He is Good; receive Him in all his goodness and benefits. As He is, so we are in this world.

A few key verses that helped reshape my thinking and being:

2Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Romans 8:15
For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!

John 14:26
But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

1 Corinthians 2: 10-12
Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the [Holy] Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God [the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man’s scrutiny]…

Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed.

But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].
Isaiah 11: 2-4
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord—

And shall make Him of quick understanding, and His delight shall be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, neither decide by the hearing of His ears;

But with righteousness and justice shall He judge the poor and decide with fairness for the meek, the poor, and the downtrodden of the earth…