Tag Archives: faith

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.

 

The Difference Between Lack of Faith and Unbelief

My guest post today is by my beloved friend Yvette Dempster of The Adoption Ministries. I know you will benefit tremendously! That’s why I’m sharing. 

Have you ever heard someone say they needed to increase their faith? Or have you ever said–when you didn’t see an answer to prayer– that something must be wrong with your faith? Have you ever thought you had a lack of faith? If so, I have good news! You don’t have a faith problem!

http://the-adoption.org/the-difference-between-lack-of-faith-and-unbelief/

The Glory Doorway

I reached to access a storage container and stopped still, staring. Brilliant sparkles winked and twinked in the air before me. There was nothing special about this corner of the room, or the room itself. I hadn’t stood up too fast, I hadn’t bent over; I wasn’t “seeing stars” but I was seeing … Starry lights. Then they disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.
I was left in wonder…

They next time they appeared, I was telling my son something about Jesus. I was multitasking and in next room as we dialogued, but as I walked into the same room as he, I stopped abruptly. Dancing before my eyes, and in a cloud like cluster about a 1×2 feet in depth and breadth were these effervescent diamonds. Slowly turning my gaze, I sized up the cloud.

I asked if my son saw them. “No.”  

But I saw them, as clearly as I was seeing anything else in the room. 

Filled with wonder…Awestruck wonder. 

This must be glory

Now, hope rose in place of surprise. 

This. Was. Real.

Scientific training has had its use; considering correlations, one was definitive. I had been shifting my focus considerably- it was all on HIM: Jesus, Dad, and the Holy Ghost. Something was changing. Joy was becoming a constant companion. Praise and worship came in bursts and raptures. It felt like a endorphin high only better and longer lasting. And then…the glory began to appear. It. Was. Beautiful! 

This encouraged me to engage with Him even more. I was dazzled. This was how things were meant to be! Heaven in Earth; as above, so below. 
I often listen to messages as I fall asleep at night. I like the first and last of my day specifically centered on the Giver and the good news of the kingdom. Following the treasure clues, I often stumble upon Gold. Around that time I discovered a Joshua Mills podcast- it was truly the title that caught my eye. 

      JESUS IS THE GLORY DOORWAY.

I listened attentively, absorbing the beauty of Jesus. Then my prophetess friend asked the next day if I knew anything about Jesus & a glory door, because Holy Spirit mentioned it- I shared the link and happily went on to part 2.

However, this particular night, the glory doorway appeared differently in my dreams. 
Glory spilled out, it’s golden luminescence beautiful, but inaccessible except for the sliver of beauty I could see from the crack beneath the door. The door was shut tight, leaving me in outer darkness. I could only stare at the door with a sense of loss.

Consciousness began its work, and with it came a sense as though joy had dropped through the bottom of a trap door. It felt sucked away and in its place was an adipose, nauseous sensation. 
Feeling drugged, I realized I’d been “slimed” by an enemy. It was the best my mind could offer at the moment. For several days afterward I felt that spiritual residue I had encountered in spirit via night vision, affecting me inwardly and outwardly. I couldn’t seem to shake the sense of gross residue.
 My thoughts often returned to that crack beneath the door where glory awaited me on the other side. Worse, a void replaced the joy and passion building in momentum beforehand. Everything I had been experiencing now seemed inaccessible and far removed. I didn’t know how to get back to where I’d been. It all felt so real, so affective, and so continuous.

Days passed and with them the slimed sense. Still, I felt rather defeated somehow, and I didn’t understand how this had occurred. I wanted the glory back! The union I’d been experiencing with God was the best sense of life I’d had yet, I knew it was supposed to be my everyday normal, and somehow…I’d lost it. 
Soon, as the Lord taught me, I came to realize that I’d fallen for an old trick. Perception is a powerful sensory experience! The defeated enemy has limited strategies to work with but they’re not going to just go quietly into the night without a final last attempt to influence our beliefs. They know how reliant we can become on our senses and feelings, and they will manipulate our perception if they can. They will try what they can to distract us from engaging with God to the fullness- good thing they’re no match for us and the Giver of good gifts.

It was partly through this experience I began to learn to walk more by faith than my senses, or lack of. Because my senses felt locked out of the glory, and the gross residue felt so tangible, I behaved as though it was true. My feelings led the way. In reality it was nothing more than illusion. A magic man’s trick. We don’t have to be poisoned by a negative experience. 

As I learned about truth trumping feelings, and sense, I began to stand in the knowledge of Him. Jesus Is the Glory Doorway. Jesus is the Door (John 10:7) What He opens cannot be shut and what He shuts cannot be opened (Revelations 3:7) especially by a defeated enemy. The door stands open for all who are willing to enter. (Revelations 4:1)
For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38,39)

I paid less attention to how things felt or seemed, and studied about our union with Christ, our oneness. I chose truth; truth trumps feelings, senses, and experiences.

In that manner I learned strategy: to know the enemy was still beneath my feet, even if he managed to lob a smoke bomb,  and my emotions are subject to the spirit of Truth. The schemes of the enemy backfired. 

As this became my greater reality, I briefly caught a sparkle again, and realized they have been there all along. It was only my awareness that changed. Now, I often see them, without thinking about it. They are part of us.

“I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one…”             (John 17:22)

Being one spirit means we won’t be separated. We have an all access pass- His name is Jesus. When we know the truth, we know we are free. Free to live in the Glory and majesty of God all all times.