When I commented on a post earlier today it made me realize a few things about what I said and it also made me see how much I had changed over the last few years.
I honor people not because they deserve it; I honor people because I’m honorable.
I got to thinking about this statement and what it was really saying. It said, I’m honorable, and can now extend honor because of it. Hmmm
I also thought of loving my neighbors as I love myself. We all know this is one of the major commands of Jesus – Love God and love your neighbor, as you love yourself. But what if I don’t love my neighbor? What if I don’t even like my neighbor? If I find it this command impossible to do, the lack is mine, not theirs.
If I take the honor principle above and apply it to loving my neighbors it must mean that if I don’t love them it’s because I don’t love me – and I can’t give what I don’t have. That being the case, I should back up and find out why I can’t love them. Obviously, there is something that feels unworthy of love in me. This is what needs dealing with before I can love them.
Love is a Fruit of the Spirit and is something that takes a time to grow. If there is no love growing, I need to find out why and get healed.
Walking in the Fruit of the Spirit is healing and allows the (Holy) Spirit to do a work in me. It usually doesn’t happen overnight, it’s often a process. The Spirit will send in others to walk alongside to help you with getting healed. Sometimes it’s a full-on healing session but other times it’s more talking about and processing things to see them in a new light over a conversation, in the midst of a relationship/friendship.
Fruit takes time; it doesn’t simply appear on the branches. Flowers have to come forth and they have to be pollinated before any fruit will set. After that, the fruit will begin to grow but will still have to weather storms and hang on to that branch for what may seem like a long time before the fruit is ready to harvest. Once the fruit is harvested I now have something I can give away – I can now extend love or peace, for example.
Then I get to grow more fruit.
It works this way with all the Fruit of the Spirit. When I find that I’m being impatient and letting situations frustrate me, I’ve prematurely gotten knocked off that tree branch! The fruit of patience wasn’t fully developed in me.
The more I get healed, the more I learn about my identity – my true identity. When I feel unworthy of love because of something in my past that either I did or someone did to me I really can’t love anyone else because I don’t have any to give. But when I get all that stuff healed and dealt with, I have room in my heart to love others the way they deserve to be loved.
I’m not fruitful in all areas of my life but I have come a long way. You too can measure your own progress simply looking at how you love people who are not like you or how you honor people. This was a little eye-opening to me. I realized the places I couldn’t “do” something were the places I needed to improve on in myself. (Or get healed)
As I begin to walk more and more in my true identity I can become an honorable person, full of love and happiness. It’s a process but progress is good!
We honor because we are honorable
We extend love because we are loved
We cry because we now can see the broken ones
We laugh because we have joy
We are kind because we know what mean-spiritedness is
We treat people and situations with gentleness because we have peace
We sing because He sings over us
We give hope to the hopeless because He gave it to us first
We are patient because we trust in Him
We are peacemakers because we have the Prince of Peace living in us
We are alive because He lives
The Fruit of the Spirit is – unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays
Bear with me a moment while I get to the point of this blog….
In some Christian circles, it’s popular to be offended at people who don’t say Merry Christmas but instead say Happy Holidays to them. They seem to feel this is an affront to Jesus and His Holy birth and also themselves personally – which makes them stand up in “holy vigor” and rage about it in defense of Jesus. (Because Jesus is sitting up there on His itty bitty throne, helpless while He waits on us. NOT)
And yes it’s true that when political correctness was adopted by corporate America, there were many people who were told they could no longer tell everyone Merry Christmas anymore because, “not everyone was Christian, and we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.” Some of those people who were told not to say Merry Christmas anymore just happened to BE Christians and rebellion began to stir against their company’s policies, albeit mostly covertly. There was smugness at secretly saying, “Merry Christmas”, as if to say, “take that, corporate America!”
Why? Why do we fall for these things?
Political correctness was and is simply a ploy to level the playing field and make everyone the same – no one special, no one celebrated and no one left out. Political Correctness wasn’t dreamed up by politics or corporate America. No, there is only one who kills, steals and destroys. He’s the force behind this and yes, he uses people to do his work. Don’t be one of them.
Back to Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays …
I must be honest here. I have to fight not to be offended when people get upset at someone when they say Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas. Yes, that the opposite spirit of those Christians listed above – but let me tell you why.
Religion! That’s why.
And ignorance, that’s also why.
Holiday is simply a word derived from the word Holy. Yes, it’s true.
So when someone comes along and tells you Happy Holidays, they are simply telling you Happy Holy days – whether they know it or not. See how cool that really is? There’s nothing to be offended about at all. Something the enemy chose to offend has really backfired if we will be educated and get over ourselves. Can’t we have the discernment to SEE that this is exactly the thing that is used to divide us?
I’m not so naïve to think this is the only thing being skewed by political correctness – it’s not. But this particular “thing” is directly aimed at us as Believing Christians. Can we not let it have its way with us this year?
You know, and I know you do, when we look at or focus on what is wrong and not what is right we WILL get offended. Let’s look at the Answer and see what He would have us do. I’m pretty sure it will have nothing to do with rebellion (offense) or wrath.
So, with all that being said – I’ll be the first to breakthrough this lie and tell you all, I hope you have the Merriest and Happiest Holidays ever!
…Because no matter how you say it, it’s all about Jesus! He is the one I celebrate and no one or their choice of words will ever change that – Period. I honestly think it’s a better way of representing Him. We know who this “Holy Day” is all about. Others may come to find out if we can simply be kind, thankful and full of blessings and grace throughout this season and beyond. Maybe…
Let’s represent well.
And I also want to say: Merry Christmas to you!
As I was reading Jonathan Welton’s blog on Thanksgiving the other day, I came to the end of it and saw his suggestion to write out 50 things or people I was thankful for. It sounded like a wonderful idea!
I thought about what I would put on the list, and who I was thankful for all day long, but never put pen to paper. Instead, I waited until yesterday morning to sit down and start compiling.
It wasn’t as easy as I supposed.
Sure, Paul was first on my list and next came my relationship with Papa and His mighty abundance in my life – soon to be followed by children and family members.
Next I wrote down how thankful I was for my kitchen and all the equipment I am blessed to have – it is my place of solace after all, (smile).I was sure to include all the material blessings I have; my kitties and my neighbor’s kitty too!
…Speaking of neighbors, they were included also.
As I kept adding things to my list, I realized that I needed to stop and begin adding names of the people who I am so overwhelmingly blessed to have speak into my life
I began writing.
Name after name was added to the list. As soon as someone was added another name would come up in my heart and I added them to the list.
On and on it went.
Before I knew it, I had well exceeded the suggested 50 items or people.
And I wasn’t finished!
More names and faces appeared before me and a smile would blossom on my face at the remembrance of their love, their kind and encouraging words.
Once I began being thankful for what I have and for the people I surround myself with, I realized there was no room for complaining anymore. And even though I hadn’t been complaining really, I hadn’t been actively conscious of how much I have to be thankful for.
I find it interesting how simply reading a blog post of someone I have never even met can set me on a course of remembering how much I am loved and blessed! And the really great thing is, it happens almost every time I read something that YOU have written from your heart. It speaks loudly in my life.
When I left Facebook for a season, I deleted everything. That means, when I returned I started completely over with my friends and contacts. It also means most of you have been hand-picked to speak into my life and can I say: You rock!! You are amazing! Many of you I have not had the chance to meet face to face yet. But that doesn’t even matter really – I get love you and appreciate you every time we connect. It’s one of the most wonderful things in the world.
Oh, I just thought of one more name! I can’t forget to add you to the list!
Jesus said that, “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Mt 12:34)”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your heart be overflowing this day. May the words of your mouth only speak life!
I have had one vision of Jesus. It is a treasure I hold dearly because I realize that many people haven’t even had that. For many years, I was the same. When I had my experience, I was receiving prayer in a healing room setting.
Paul and I had been teaching and training some staff for this new ministry in our church. The lessons were all complete, homework finished and now it was time to let the rubber meet the road. I decided we needed to do a mock-up of praying for someone so they could see how a typical session flowed. (Sort of, Holy Spirit likes to mix things up all the time). We were all standing in our places, setting order in the room, praying about who would lead and who would be the intercessors, etc. when I decided we needed a patient – someone who actually needed prayer – that someone was me. The funny thing was, God doesn’t do mock ups! Jehovah sneaky walked right in and it and before I knew it, this mock-up became a full on deliverance session for ME! (I Love Him so much,…Sneaky Guy).
When all the issues were taken care of, and after I finished repenting and forgiving, etc., I saw myself standing in a blind canyon that had a waterfall cascading down with a shallow pool collecting at the base. Mist was rising up from the pool of water, making it hard to make out any surrounding details. As I was trying to see what was around me, suddenly Jesus appeared. Out of the mist, he rode, riding on a white horse. Yes, He did have blue eyes and His hair was long and dark. His beard was fairly long but well kept. He extended His hand to me, reaching down to give me an arm up so I could climb up behind Him. I’m so glad He did, my knees were about to buckle. I was a little overwhelmed.
Do you know how awesome it is to ride a horse with Jesus with your arms wrapped around his waist? I can’t even describe in words what that meant to me. He came to tell me that He would always be there for me, anytime I needed Him. He would rescue me every time – and He has.
This was my only* face to face with Jesus; but when I close my eyes now I can see Him right before me sitting on His white horse, waiting on me to call upon His Name.
*I have since had another encounter with Jesus. Back in July of this year, I went to The Courts of Heaven on behalf of a family member. He met me there.
(photo credit ~ Lars Justinen)
Want to experience or hear God more?
It starts by seeking Him and expecting that He wants this as much as you do. He is already pursuing you more than you even know. His thoughts are ever for you. So, if you want to crash into Him…
Narrow your focus on Him. Take all those cares and worries and set them aside for now and just breathe. See all the things that are good and lovely in your life. Set your heart toward those things.
If you have trouble being still, put on some worship music. It doesn’t even have to be slow; it’s whatever will cause you peace and the ability to relax. You might even want to sing or hum along just to settle your thoughts and still you soul.
Once you are in a place of rest, consider:
What do you see or imagine that you are both doing together?
Peer into that a little more.
Let that vision expand – dwell there for a while.
Catch those almost fleeting thoughts and images…blow on them.
Once you do, they will grow and become real conversations and experiences with God; He’s the one sending them after all.
Once you and He have spent some time together doing whatever it is you both want to do, go give it away to someone else – they need Him as much as you do.
(Note: inspired in part by some notes I took while listening to David Joseph and Jeremy Mangerchine doing a podcast a while back.)
We went to Toronto Airport Fellowship in January 2007 with a group of people from the Healing Rooms here in Nashville. We were there for a week during the leadership conference. What a blessing it was and what an eye-opening experience too.
But that is an entirely different story – I want to tell you about soaking instead.
While we were there in Toronto, Paul joined Catch the Fire Soaking Prayer Rooms so we could have an affiliate here in Nashville. It was a big deal in those days. We would have soaking sessions once a week at the healing rooms on Sunday evenings. We would all bring our blankets, pillows or whatever else we felt was needed to relax so we could soak in God’s presence and experience Him.
Paul (or I) would get a playlist of soaking music that would last an hour or so to help usher us into a place where we could be attuned to what God wanted to say to us. When the “session” was over and the music had come to an end, everyone would share what they encountered or what they saw, etc.
It was always very interesting what other people shared. Many went to heaven and received revelation about things going on in their lives. Others would have angels or even Jesus Himself minister to them. Everyone experienced something. That is except me; I never saw or experienced anything. I couldn’t even be still without fidgeting and changing positions a dozen times or so.
After several weeks of trying to still my thoughts or even my physical body without any actual results, I gave up – I was done trying. Instead of lying down with my eyes closed, I started sitting up with my back against the wall on my blankets and read my Bible. Sometimes I would be so frustrated I would only pretend to read, those were the times I would get angry and wonder what was wrong with me, why couldn’t I be like the others and see God or have some heavenly experience?
During these frustration times I wanted to quit going altogether but it wasn’t possible. I had to be there because it was mostly women who went to the soaking sessions and Paul needed me there for accountability sake, etc. which didn’t give me much of a choice about whether to attend and didn’t help my grumpy disposition very much – actually it only made me grumpier! Yes I know I was being ridiculous and not exactly helping my “lack of encounter” situation.
About four or five weeks into these soaking sessions, I remember putting my blankets as far away from everyone as I could possibly get. I wanted to have my pity party all by myself, thank you. Once everyone was settled and Paul had put the CD on, I picked up my Bible and tried to read, having no plan to soak at all. After a few minutes of being so distracted that I couldn’t read, I began to cry – I couldn’t stop. I tried taking deep breaths and physically willing myself to stop but, to no avail. I must have cried silently, with tears pouring down my face for at least twenty minutes or so when suddenly, I wasn’t on my blanket anymore.
I kept blinking away the remains of tears from my eyes, trying to figure out where I was. And then I saw Him. He was standing with His back to me. I didn’t see His face but I knew it was Jesus. I began looking around the room and I saw that I was in a large silver and white ballroom with soft, peaceful lighting. Large columns were space throughout the enormous room but I wasn’t looking around too much because my eyes were glued on the scene in front of me…
I saw a small girl – she was dancing with Jesus. She was wearing a pale blue dress with black Patent-leather shoes and was about 2 or 3 years old. She looked familiar somehow but I didn’t know how that could be. As I said, I didn’t see Jesus’ face but I did see Him from about the neck down. He too was wearing black dress shoes and very formal attire. He had the little girl’s feet on top of his like I’d seen before with daddies and daughters. As they twirled past me, I realized the little girl was me and I suddenly remember a picture of me at that age wearing the same outfit.
Once I realized the girl was me, I was suddenly on my blanket again – back at the soaking session. I then heard the Lord tell me, “See I was with you then, just like I am now. We danced together in heaven and can do it again.”
He had taken my present self to see something that had occurred many years before. Whether it was a vision or I really went to heaven to see Him dancing with me as a little girl, I can’t really say. And it doesn’t matter which it was to me. What mattered was that I finally had an experience!!! I was suddenly crying again but this time, it was out of joy, not sadness. I didn’t share this experience with everyone even though I had been longing to share something but this was too special. I needed to cherish this by myself for a while.
After that experience, I didn’t have trouble soaking anymore or experiencing heavenly encounters. I think maybe I had to get over “me” and simply trust Him and His timing. I needed to not compare or measure my experiences, (or lack of them), with others. He has plenty of experiences waiting just for me.
(Photo found here – https://stocksnap.io/photo/0LKVSMU3AF)
This is the picture of me I remembered while I was in heaven. Every time I see this now I think of dancing with my King.
I wanted to share something I wrote in my journal a couple of days ago about an experience I had.
July 4, 2016 (Freedom – Independence Day)
Courts of Heaven
Sue offered to take us to the Courts of Heaven on behalf of my sister in law to get a ruling in her case on the issue of cancer.
I had only gone to the courts a couple of times before this and to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was actually there or if it was my imagination. My previous trips had been a fairly large corporate thing and I was more of a bystander instead of an actual participant. Because of being unsure, I was a little nervous about doing it again; not because I didn’t think it was a “real” thing but more so because I didn’t want to screw it up! I didn’t want to be found lacking and somehow disappoint anyone. Intellectually I know that’s crazy and it’s the enemy whispering his lies again but for some reason in my heart, I was still having some concerns. Fear! I hate it. Approval of men and the fear of disappointment – I hate that too.
I prayed about the upcoming session for a bit but didn’t “hear” anything, so when the time came for us to meet on Google Hangout, I just put on a brave face and went with it. Or as I like to say, I jumped!
Sue was leading the thing so I just stopped worrying about myself and let her lead. Paul also was in on the call and since he had gone to the courts more times than I had, I was starting to be at peace. Jesus was there and I kept getting distracted by Him – my heart kept leaping. Since I was getting a little emotional I discovered that I wasn’t “hearing” some things I probably should have. It didn’t matter, thankfully Paul was listening! Father was there too but Jesus had my attention. He took my breath away…
Without going into details, the enemy was bound and taken from the court room. We were given two different scrolls by Father. When we turned to leave, Jesus turned and followed us out the door. Sue mentioned to us that He doesn’t do that very often. When I saw Him coming with us, I heard in my heart, “I’m coming for you, Ginny. You were very brave to do this and I’m so proud of you.”
I hadn’t shared my fears with either Paul or Sue but Jesus knew of them and spoke to me in love. He never once condemned me for being afraid. Instead, He banished those fears and encouraged me with His words to simply trust or jump for he will always be there to catch me every time. I ended up getting a little emotional again… (He’ll do that to you!)
I belong to a writing group on Facebook; several actually. In one of the groups, a writing prompt was given asking us to name five fears we had and write about it. That is the reason for a writing prompt after all.
I saw the post the first day it was posted but didn’t respond or leave any comments because, to be honest, I didn’t want to think about fears or the fact that I might have any. As if!!
Today as I was “scrolling by” I actually felt a response rise up in me as I read the prompt again. I remembered an incident that had happened in the recent past and that lead me to other realizations.
Isn’t that always the case? What you may have been avoiding or at least avoid admitting, is something that needs facing so we can get healed. And as is the case many times, someone else has experienced this same thing. When we have the courage to share and be transparent, it has the potential to bless and encourage many.
What I realized while reading the prompt was that I sometimes have a fear of being found out. What I mean by that is when someone encourages me or blesses me or even compliments me, I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve it. I feel like they don’t really know who I am. There’s a fear that they may find out who I am and be disappointed or repulsed by me. Or they may discover I’m not at all who they thought I was.
Those voices can be so convincing!
Of course, it’s absolutely irrational to listen to lies and base who I am on those things but there is nothing rational about fear! Fear is on the outside and when I listen to its whisperings or agree with the lies it speaks, I have allowed it inside.
Fear will lie to me about my identity every single time. And actually, that’s a really important key to overcoming this. When I’m firmly grounded in who I am, fear can’t touch me.
I know that I know, I am worthy and I am who HE says I am…and how can that be anything but awesome? But fear can somehow make me forget all the things I know and convinces me that I need to fear man, to even crave the approval of man – while at the same time telling me that I’m not worthy of even that approval.
Fear whispers that it is man’s approval we need and perverts any affirmations and encouragement we receive from others. We all need affirmation and encouragement and it’s not the same thing as approval, not at all.
When I was planning the trip to NC to go see Praying Medic on the Sid Roth show I had a really hard time with this fear issue. I kept hearing these whispers in my head saying, “What if they find out you’re not who they thought you were? What if they don’t like you? What if they think you’re a fake?” All these things began to swirl around in my thoughts and at times were almost overwhelming to the point I wanted to cancel the trip.
Fortunately, God is bigger than fear. I began to still myself and hear His still small voice wooing me back from the brink of depression (or whatever it was). He began singing over me and reminding me who I am. It was an intervention just in time. I was then able to pull myself up by my bootstraps and ignore those lies. I was able to confess the truth about myself. And I was able to go to NC and celebrate a great friend being celebrated!
I have since discovered that as long as I’m being authentically me, warts and all, I will be fine. People will love me or even like me according to their own will, not mine. And it was a great lesson to learn, and sometimes, re-learn.
When we are able to walk in our true identities, we can allow others to love us and even like us. And we are also able to love others right where they are. None of us are perfect but another thing I’ve realized is this: We tend to show more love and encouragement to others than we do towards ourselves. That’s really skewed because the scripture tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves and that means if we can’t love and encourage us, how can we do the same to them – we can’t. It’s that simple.
The lesson learned is that if we don’t feel good enough, pretty enough, smart enough or whatever enough, we need to tell those voices to depart. Turn around and listen to what God says about you. Quiet those voices and be still. I promise you, you will hear Him singing over you…right, where you are.
Today, fear is far from me.
If you find that this resonates with you, know that you are an amazing person! Are you perfect? Heck no, who is? But you are loved and needed and you have things to contribute that will be missing if you don’t escape those lies. Freedom to be who you are is your inheritance. Let’s walk in that. Hey, better yet; let’s DANCE in that! Come on, be encouraged, and be awesome!