The Lord has taken me through a heavy process lately, comprising three topics.
Topic one: Tying up loose ends. Part of this is following through with written works I’d finished or have partially completed in the past and to get them released (another book is coming out in the next few days).
I’m tidying up and getting rid of the excess of things of which I have full ownership. An urge has come over me, that if it’s not nailed down, or if it’s surplus to my daily needs/use, it’s gone (not including books or art). This act has hogged my spiritual life as well.
I noticed that occasionally a recollection of something I’d said or done in the past—sometimes years past—that I wish I hadn’t would pop into my head. It’d make me cringe with shame or embarrassment, and I’d push it down, away, and go about my business. Out of sight, out of mind means gone, right? Not really. Because it was still there and would keep resurfacing until I dealt with it. The Holy Spirit was bringing it up and again because I needed to repent. I had loose ends needing tied; unfinished business to address, excess to purge.
So it came to a place that whenever a cringeworthy memory struck a nerve, I would say, “Oh gosh, Lord, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you, my redeemer, for who you are, for forgiving my sin. And now I ask that you forever remove that sin, along with the shame and embarrassment in the memory of it, and throw it all into the sea of forgetfulness. With your holy blood covering, it will never haunt me again. Gone! In Jesus’ mighty name!” I can almost hear a set of hands brushing together after handling something dirty.
This was happening a lot, because it was a shedding process. Layers removed that freed me from not just the big things, but itty-bitty things that I had no idea that what I’d flippantly said about this thing, or had done, grieved the Holy Spirit. I wanted to be free of it all. I asked God to do a work in me. If it took an overhaul, go right ahead. I asked for it. Because I wanted less of me and more of him. I want to move forward in his kingdom. So stuff was coming up a lot. I had to make room.
Over two specific nights, all night long, I was in what I like to call the “half-state”. This is that place between wakefulness and sleep. To an observer, you’re asleep and aren’t moving, yet your level of awareness is sharp. You can try to call out, but your body doesn’t respond. It used to be the place where demons would torment me; now it’s the place where Yeshua sits with me, and I listen (or I pray while wrestling snakes off of people—but that’s another story or more). Anyway, during these two nights, the Lord sat with me while in the half-state and he brought up one thing after another, and I was in a constant place of repentance for every single thing he wanted me to address. One might think this would be dreadful, and expect to wake up exhausted and feeling terrible. But this was not so. The Lord is so gentle, and kind, and loving, and merciful. As soon as a memory of something came to my conscience, the moment dread filled me over an issue or incident, the Holy Spirit was right there, instantaneously removing it and filling that void with volumes of his holy love and forgiveness—to overflowing! It was both a shedding process and a filling up of the goodness of God. I woke up refreshed and high on the buoyancy of joy! He is so good.
Topic two: Making amends. To be free in the Lord is not necessarily to be free in circumstances if you are in a situation that’s choking, difficult, or proves a constant trial. While I believe that if the Lord said to you he’s going to do a thing, deliver you from said situation, then he will. He fulfills his promises. He can change a nation’s position and outlook and deliver. Just look at how he delivered the Israelites from Pharoah. He can do the same for you, because don’t we all have pharaohs in our lives? But what if he hasn’t delivered yet? Or he has and yet you wander the desert for forty years before you are able to cross over to the promised land? Do we hold on to resentment, complain, or keep a string of bitterness in our hearts? Maybe we’ve done a pretty good job forgiving others who have done us wrong, such as a pharaoh in life, yet it’s a constant battle, a daily struggle to push down resentment, or keep bitterness from growing, and it lashes out sometimes.
I think of people such as Corrie ten Boom, or Eva Mozes Kor, who had a lot to forgive, having been under the cruel hands and unthinkable conditions during the holocaust. They came to a place of peace, healing, love, and genuine forgiveness toward their perpetrators.
My parents were stunning examples to me of having lived under unfair, unjust, cruel conditions, and not allowing it to fester or deepen. They shucked the damage as they could, allowing Yeshua to do his will to help and keep them. Their love and forgiveness toward those who hurt them was a great example for me. Damage is not irreparable. God can take it all and put something remarkable and beautiful in its place.
AND YET, I’ve had my own difficulties with coming to forgive the persecutor or pharaoh, if you will, in my life. I’ve exhibited anger and frustration. But my desire is to have a supple, mendable heart with which the Lord can use to help others. So I strive to make amends. And the Lord has been bringing things and people to my awareness that/who I have needed to make amends with. We aren’t to push down resentment (hidden but not gone), but to give it over; release it for good. Which leads me to the next topic.
Topic three: Cutting the line. Last night I had a dream where a pharaoh in my life sat on the ground and said, “I owe you an apology. I’m sorry for ___________.” And the blank was filled with an entire issue, a disappointment that has hurt me, that has held me back; had become a hindrance without my understanding that it was a hindrance. I thought I’d forgiven, yet here it was before me last night. And I said, “That makes all the difference. I forgive you.” And it wasn’t that the pharaoh in the situation (for lack of a better way to call this) in waking life had apologized or ever would. I realized you can’t expect apologies from people even if they’re deserved. Again, look at survivors of genocide who have found the path of freedom to forgive. We can’t control or change people (or the spirits within or beasts that drive them). We can pray, but their conviction comes only from the Holy Spirit. We are accountable for our own reaction, our response. In my dream, Yeshua, the Waymaker, became the one sitting on the ground. Not the one who apologized, but the One who now sat in pharaoh’s place, so to speak, and said, “Will you forgive? Will you do this for me?” And this is when I said “Yes.” The Lord made all the difference. And when I forgave, I saw in my spirit what was like a blimp or a hot-air balloon. It had been tethered down. And all the tethers had been released, except for one. The airship was so buoyant and ready to fly, but this caused that one remaining line to get so taut, pressure so tense, that it couldn’t be released. There was no give or slack in order to do so. I had to sever the last line in order to let the thing fly.
Cut the line, the remaining little or big thing you hang onto, that you think you need to keep because someone’s hurt you and owes you an apology, or you have a single strand of resentment or bitterness hidden deep in your heart. May your prayer be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Cut that line, and fly the way you’re meant to fly.
Weighty topics for sure. Yet the love language from the Lord has been sweet. A few incidents I felt compelled to share, and so I wrote updates at the end of a couple of blog posts I did last month (June 10 and June 15) because they’re connected. Check them out if you have a chance.
Your wilderness journey led you straight through a desert, taking years to cross. Your provisions dwindled; toes worn down to nubs. Bone-dry thirsty, malnourished, desperate for replenishing and decent covering from the scorch. You need a complete change of environment and nutritive balance. And here, you’ve not crossed the desert at all; you’ve only gone in circles. Rearranging the same old nest conditions in different patterns, just to survive—or give the appearance of survival; a place to tuck and rest your weary head. Around and round you go in the barren land of choked streams, stuck in a wash-n-dry cycle called The Agitator. The thorns of the desert cacti have shredded you, making the agitating stings more abrasive. Fear you carry isn’t that something bad will happen; it’s the dread that things will stay the same, that nothing will change.
“God, are you even there?” you ask.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Have I not said, ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world?’”
“God, what do I do?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Be still, and know that I am God.’ Just be in me.”
“God, do you still care?”
“My Sparrow, I love you.
Has it not been written, ‘Give all your worries and cares to me, for I care about you?’
I care so much that ‘I’ve kept track of all your sorrows. I’ve collected all your tears in my bottle. I’ve recorded each one in my book.’ Not one will be forgotten. Not one goes unnoticed. Trust me to handle your life in the best way, my way. I will carry you with my wings.”
“I feel forgotten, useless—” You think you hear a faint melody.
“My Sparrow, I love you.
‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.’”
There’s a pause.
“My Child, I Love You. Isn’t that enough?”
🎶 His Eye is on the Sparrow… 🎶
There’s something about the holiday season that amplifies feelings of loneliness. Even if you aren’t a lonely person, you can miss those who you wish you could visit, yet logistically can’t. There are some who don’t have anybody at all. You might be yearning for a companion. Genesis 2:18 tells us it’s not good for man to be alone. Yet, meeting a person doesn’t fix things. Unless we’re already happy, and know who we are in Christ, another person could be double the trouble. We aren’t meant to be or to have human crutches, but be filled with purpose, glorifying God equally together, being fruitful, strengthening each other so that nobody needs crutches. Which leads me to the thought that maybe you have someone, but in that covenant, you’ve suffered. You can be right beside somebody, or in a crowded room, and yet feel like the loneliest person on earth. Observers might even believe you have the perfect situation, but you’re far from it. Or maybe you have a partner who is the epitome of a true helpmate from the Lord, and a blessing. But the truth is that even your closest can let you down at times. And then maybe you've lost someone, and loneliness is amplified by grief. All kinds of scenarios and relationships I could paint here. Whatever your picture, if (when) you find yourself alone, when everybody else from that crowded event is gone (Elvis has left the building), the only one still there is the Lord. The only one who was forever there, and will always be. He’s Number One.
*When you’re longing and reminiscing, the Lord is there.
*If you’re yearning and dreaming, the Lord cares, so tell him how you feel. Tell him your story. He already knows your heart’s desires but wants to listen anyway, and he’ll listen most attentively.
*When others make you feel singled out and crappy by unkind or ugly remarks, the Lord won’t judge, only accept. While we’re at it, he doesn’t mind the added lines on your face, blemishes, or pudginess in your middle; he won’t see the way you’re wired as wrong or weird—because he created you! In fact, he made you in his image, and he loves unconditionally. Glance in a mirror. If you see somebody unlovable or hosting imperfections, consider saying to the reflection, “Well, Jesus loves me unconditionally. Thank you, Lord, for loving me like you do.”
*If frail and imperfect human nature has caused you to feel lonely and invisible… Really, the only one who is perfect is Jesus. And Perfection considers You the Apple of His Eye. Shouldn’t it matter most what HE thinks of you?
*When you're in sorrow, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and will not forsake you.
Only the Lord knows the inner workings of our hearts, our essences; he knows us inside out, yet loves us wholly, completely, perfectly. If you don’t have him, find him. He’s right there beside you and has been there all along. He’ll always make you feel like the most precious cargo, always. He will build up, never tear down. The truth is, he intended to be our closest friend. He’s the most beautiful truth. He eases loneliness and hurt like no other. Whatever your situation (there are so many), seek him, seek your Creator. He’ll not only comfort; he’ll delight in you. He’s eager for your company.
I find the song posted below brilliantly relatable. It can apply to all kinds of relationships and situations. It’s relative. So for me right now, it’s a love song to the Lord. The only one who was with me from the beginning is with me always, no matter what! My constant companion. To him who sees all, knows all, takes it all, and ever loves. I think this just might be my new personal theme song.
The dictionaries will tell us that purity, a noun, means “not dirty” or “free from contamination”; unadulterated, uncompromised; faultless, moral, and chaste.
With people, who then is pure? Absolutely nobody.
We are veined with darkness, born into sin with selfish natures. Disobedient as sheep gone astray, each turning to his own iniquity. Even the Apostle Paul said he was unspiritual, carnal, and sold to sin (Romans 7:14).
Often, I hear how a person admits to having done too much wrong for the Lord to want them. Bad history or choices, afflictions, keeping us from serving the One True God of purity and goodness. Maybe regrets of a tainted past keep regurgitating like wounds, sharp thorns that won’t go away. Living in a fallen world means there is a division between soul and spirit. Yet it’s the Word of God—which is Spirit and alive—that is our source for clean-living (Hebrews 4:12). We can’t do it on our own. And the living Word doesn’t just sit there… it moves, breathes, transforms; therefore, requires our active pursuit and absorption.
It’s an old and effective ploy of the enemy to keep us stagnant. Prohibit us from moving forward into freedom by flinging at us hisses of guilting, shaming, and regret. Nagging that we are weak in the body or corrupt at the heart, and it’s pointless to fight the next dirty urge.
I would suggest viewing purity as an action verb and not a noun. Purify: “To cleanse, or rid of impurities. To free from guilt or sin.” We grow in purity.
Go to the source, the Word of God. That’s our aim. For “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6). “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3). “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9). How about, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22).
That’s something to savor, isn’t it? Obedience. Obedience to the truth, to the only unblemished one, Jesus, who fills us with himself, making us pure, for the Lord surely wants us, his precious ones, close to him. This includes those who already made a commitment to faith in him. We don’t accept forgiveness for our sins then just sit there. Life is hard and we all still falter, so it takes a daily renewal of mind. I would suggest the verb form of obedience here. Obey: “an act or instance of obeying.” Just as we deliberately fall into an immorality (it’s a choice, always a choice), we can be deliberate about reading/viewing the Word. “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).
In this age of instant gratification, and where immodest boastfulness and temptation come at us in bombarding fashion, the struggle is strong for anyone who wants to live a clean life. But the same troubles have existed in every generation. It’s tough, the pressure, especially if one has succumbed to a form of enticement often, that it’s become a persistent pattern or addiction. But it’s not impossible to overcome, not when we have the miracle-worker manifesting in our lives.
The Word is also our shield, our protector. Through the Word, we find sanctity. It is our cleanser and healer. Here is a helpful link I found providing an array of scriptures on Being Pure.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). I want to be that person. I want to see God.
His Word, beginning with His Word…
Imagine you’re in a long, dark tunnel and the only sound you hear are the arrows of the enemy whizzing past your head. You search for light at the end that you have trouble distinguishing and stumble while groping for some semblance of deliverance—because surely there has got to be a ceasefire to this relentless onslaught. But what if the light isn’t at the end of the tunnel? Instead, you are the light—the only light some will ever see. If Yeshua/Jesus is in you and you are in Yeshua and clothed with the mantle of the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit, then you are not only protected, but you have the radiance to illuminate the darkness no matter how offensive the corridor appears.
I have a lot of snake-handling dreams. And no, I don’t condone real-life snake-handling—unless you enjoy that kind of hobby. My dreams are symbolic, and they almost always represent healing and/or deliverance. The other night I dreamed of a long dark tunnel full of swift-flying arrows; there was also a large menacing rattlesnake seeking to do damage and immobilize. Just before its fangs struck me, I stomped on its head, holding it in place. While it hissed and tried to bite my foot, I grabbed it at the base of its head, lifted its thrashing body and flung it back where it came. I admit, I was panting from the turmoil in wrestling this strong and venomous serpent, but the snake fearfully disappeared (as did the arrows) in a snap like a yelping coyote pup. There are other elements to this dream, including people, and I owe a lot of light-expanding insight to my sister/bff here, but the gist of the message was straight out of Luke 10:19: “I have given you power to tread serpents and scorpions underfoot, and to trample on all the power of the Enemy; and in no case shall anything do you harm.”
Did you know that even in the darkest hour and the vilest place, you have the power to shift the atmosphere by your presence if you have the Lord in you? Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. It can calm storms.
No matter how life looks, how crazy and chaotic the days are; if despair overwhelms you, just remember that we win. And God’s divine alignments, timetables, and promises WILL COME. But we also have to take care by not getting so shaken up that we give up. Rise up, rise up, rise up! Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice! Nurture, nurture, nurture. Even if you’re battle weary, clap your hands to dispel the clouds of discouragement. Shout or whisper (whichever your style) a favorite verse, sing an uplifting song, and yeah… go ahead and do a “shake-off” dance even if someone’s watching; I mean, at this point, who cares, right? What have you got to lose other than the dregs of the enemy’s jump-scares?
“The seed of faith is planted in the inner man to care for, nurture, and grow where the enemy cannot touch it except to upset the outer man to the degree that we might be shaken and abort it prematurely.”—Heidi Hayes
Don’t let it happen; don’t give up. Trample the devil and his underlings underfoot where they belong. Recapture the sense of what’s ahead… nothing but guarantee, gain, and goodness… and a wide-open horizon of boundless possibilities.