Saturday, July 3, 2021

A Faith that Endures

 Psalm 23 is a scripture passage most Christians are familiar with. For myself, it took on a whole new meaning in the last few years as they have been the most challenging and painful years of my life. I know I am not alone. I have heard many say they have been tried and tested the last couple years like never before and it was not just because of Covid. I realize also, that what I have gone through pales in comparison to what others have experienced. 

Hopefully, sharing my experience and what I have learned from it will help others.

Psalm 23:5 says, "You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows."

In the past I interpreted the word "enemies" to mean people who were against me or the devil that wanted to destroy me. I have since learned that it encompasses so much more. I believe it also has to do with the storms of life and negative situations we find ourselves in.

The Lord desires to get us to the place where we can rise above our circumstances. He wants to get us to the place where our soul is calm and at peace even when there is a whirlwind swirling around us. He wants us to enjoy the intimacy of being in his presence and not even noticing when evil is knocking at our door. He is our feast. He is our banquet. He wants to be our all in all, free from all distractions.

The trials that we go through can become a gift that strengthens our faith, which is more precious than gold, if we will let it and we don't give up. Also, through our sufferings we can come to know aspects of God's nature that we wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to discover. One question we can even ask the Lord when we are suffering is, "Who do you want to be for me during this season of my life that you couldn't be in any other time?"

You are probably curious about what I have endured in the last 3 years. Many of you know that in 2019, my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma that manifested in a grapefruit size tumor on his arm. He went through chemo, surgery and radiation. Praise God, we can say he is now cancer free.

If my trials had just stopped there, I wouldn't have risen to the heights the Lord wanted to take me to. Instead the pressure continued like grapes in a wine press.  One of our daughters suddenly became bedridden in January of 2020. She spent nearly a year in bed, unable to function, with me as her nurse, bringing food to her bed so she would eat and stay alive. I took her to every doctor imaginable, plus a week in the hospital and a multitude of tests, trying to get to the bottom of what was going on, with little to no answers. Needless to say, she was not able to even go to school or do school work, increasingly falling behind.

In January of 2021, I had another daughter fall ill. It started off with what seemed like a virus but she wasn't getting better. She even had several Covid tests but they were all negative. After a couple months of not being able to get out of bed, I finally had to withdraw her from school too. She also was not well enough to do school at home and again I was a nurse to another child, bringing her 3 meals a day in bed to keep her alive. Again, we lived at the doctors, negatively affecting the ability to homeschool another daughter that needed one on one instruction and still not getting any answers.

I spent nearly every day crying tears of desperation. I would wake up in the middle of the night crying and praying desperate prayers. I would spontaneously start crying in the grocery store or other public places. I was definitely grieving the life I dreamed I was supposed to have and as a mom I felt completely helpless because I didn't know what was wrong with my children.

To add insult to injury, in the middle of it all, Tom lost his job at the church and was initially given 2 weeks notice to find another job. We felt rejected and hurt by leadership.

In prayer, however, the Lord had a different perspective. He kept telling me to come up higher. I wasn't sure what that meant or what it looked like. I didn't know how I could ascend the heights and have joy when my children were suffering. He asked me if I thought the saints in Heaven were sad because of their loved ones on earth who are suffering. I realized they probably were not sad because they were enjoying the beatific vision.

I asked him what he thought of the situation with my daughters. He actually got excited and told me this was going to propel us into our destiny. I asked him what lie I bought into. He said, "That you are alone in this." I asked him what was the truth. He showed me my daughters in the palm of his hands.

It still took many more months of tears before I figured out how to come up higher and ascend the heights. I felt that could only happen if he healed my daughters and if my husband got a good job that paid well.

Neither of those things happened and I continued in my pain until one day I was drawn to John 15. This is the parable of the vine and the branches. I've always wondered what Jesus meant when he said "abide in me as I abide in you." 

I often reflect on the fact that Christ lives in me but what did it mean to abide in him. I tend to be a very imaginative person so I thought I would try to imagine myself actually in Christ's body, looking out of his eyes and seeing things from his perspective. 

What I began to realize as I did this was if we are to remain or abide in Christ, there are things in our life we need to be willing to let go of. In Him there is no fear. In Him there is no worry. In Him there is no anxiety. In Him there is no depression. In Him there is no shame. In Him there is no bitterness. In Him there is no resentment. In Him there is no anger. 

As I spiritually began to place myself in Christ, these other things began to fall away. I suddenly felt a new freedom and peace I hadn't felt in a long time. I realized this was what the Lord meant when he said, "Come up higher!"

The interesting thing is, coming up higher wasn't dependent on my circumstances. It wasn't dependent on everything in my life going well. It was dependent on coming to a deeper level of surrender and trust in the God who holds the whole world in his hands.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Resurrecting the Titanic May not be a Good Idea!

I had a dream last week about the Titanic. In my dream, the Titanic had been recovered and brought to the surface. It was about to be restored and people were going to be given the opportunity to live on it. I was touring the wreckage and as I was touring it I was thinking, "I'm not sure this is a good idea." The first reason I was thinking this is because, if we are aware of history, we know that part of the reason the Titanic sank is because of arrogant people that thought it was unsinkable. In my opinion, it didn't seem like something that should be resurrected and reused. The second reason I didn't think it would be a good idea to live on the Titanic is because, even if it was restored, it would still contain the memories of all the innocent people that had died.

I also had a vision that I feel goes along with that dream. In the vision, I saw "kings of the earth" seated high up in a circle on thrones that looked like hands. Unaware to them, these throne hands were sitting on one giant hand. I then saw the giant hand close into a fist.

When I had the vision, a couple scriptures also came to my mind. The first scripture comes from 2Cor.10:5 (paraphrased). I heard, "Every high and lofty thought that has exalted itself above the knowledge of God is going to be brought low." 

Isaiah 40 also came to me - "Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low, the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

So, what does all this mean? I believe the Lord is showing me, there are leaders on the earth who have exalted themselves above the knowledge of God. They do not realize that the only way they are in the positions they are in is because God has allowed it. They also have not learned from history. Feeling comfortable in their positions, they are going to become lax. They are going to over play their hand and their true colors are going to be revealed. The Lord is only going to tolerate this for so long and then will enact judgement because of the innocent that would suffer due to their arrogant and tyrannical leadership.

As I did back in June, I again heard the Lord laugh and quote Psalm 2:1 - "Why do the nations rage and why do the people plot in vain?"

I also heard him say, "Do they not realize that all their efforts are going to be brought to nothing because I am about to move!"

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Glory Train

I am in tears as I am sitting down to write this blog post.  A couple months ago, I had a vision of people that looked lost and/or homeless waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. The following scripture was and is so strong on my heart as I believe the Lord is also revealing his heart to me.
Romans 8:19 - For all of creation waits with eager expectation for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The Lord's heart is for ALL to be saved and set free - 1 Tim. 2:4. In order to reach the lost, the Lord is looking for Glory carriers; people who can display his Glory and reveal the true nature of who He is on the earth. In order for his people to be able to do this, they need to first know who they are in Him. 

For those who have fully surrendered their lives to the Lord, he has been able to transform them and get them ready to carry his Glory. They have been learning who they are and whose they are. They have been learning their authority in Christ and their true identity. Hence, they have been able to be formed into a very strategic army like the one described in Joel 2.

This is a remnant army and the first to be invited on the "Glory Train" of the Lord. These are going to be burning out of love of Christ and carriers of his Glory. They are going to go into barren and desolate places with great displays of glory rooted in love and rescue those who are lost and bound by the enemy. Those who were once lost will then be invited onto the "Glory Train" to then rescue others and invite them on this fast moving train.

A great harvest of souls coming to the Lord will be one of the main signature marks of the next move of God. Many others have also prophesied a great move of God that is coming. There have been many moves of God in the past but many have been short lived and scattered. This move is going to be different than other moves. The reason it is going to be different is because, like a well thought out bonfire, the Lord is being really strategic.

My husband is an Eagle Scout. He knows how to make a good fire that will be big and last a long time. When he prepares for a bonfire, he is real strategic in how he lays the sticks and logs and what kind of kindling he uses.

Likewise, the Lord is being real strategic. He has been working in the hearts of his people for a while now; humbling, transforming and calling people to partner with Him by first being willing to take up His cross. People laying their lives down in humble obedience and surrender, people choosing the narrow, less traveled road are like the logs that are going to cultivate the right atmosphere for the fire of the Spirit to burn bright, long and far.

This next move of God's Spirit is also going to be marked by a high level of personal holiness, uncompromising surrender and passion for the Lord. They loved not their lives even unto death - Revelations 12:11. 

Like the wise virgins (Matthew 5), they will have extra oil for their lamps. Through a shared love for Christ, the extra oil will be oil that has been pressed from the lives of the saints that have gone before them. They will also drink deeply from barrels of ancient wine of the Holy Spirit that has been fermenting for over 2000 years and carries the Glory and fear of the Lord.

The ones that are going to be ripe and ready to be initial carriers of God's Glory are those who are able to remain in faith, hope and love even during times of great trial. The fruit of the Spirit will marry the gifts of the Spirit in their lives and great displays of God's Glory; signs, wonders and miracles are what are going to greatly attract those who are hungry for a living, all powerful and loving God!

I believe with all my heart that this move of God is around the corner. The Glory Train is starting to appear from the tunnel with its headlights blaring!

A couple decades ago the Lord told me, "A new day is dawning! What you are about to see is a privilege and others in the past longed to see!