19 July 2017

Fortunate, Indeed.

“David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man: Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off, whose sins are wiped clean from the slate. Fortunate the person against whom the Lord does not keep score. Do you think for a minute that this blessing is only pronounced over those of us who keep our religious ways and are circumcised? Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God? We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God?”
Romans 4:6-9 MSG
The parallels between Paul's story and mine are not lost on me. I find it even more interesting that he points out that Abraham--the professed father of salvation for the Jews--didn't have all of their disciplines and religious practices.
I've found developing a relationship with Jesus Christ to be far more challenging than hyper-disciplined rule keeping ever was. And yet, pursuing that relationship has produced the blessings that I was promised as a rule keeper, but never received before. Do I still honor God's law? Absolutely! But it is the natural result of the loving relationship I have with God because of what Christ won for me, not because I managed to be good enough, worthy enough, to qualify.
I had to come to Christ as though he was the Lion of Judah--not a tame lion. No cage to keep him comfortably controlled for the sake of my flesh's craving for a predictable God, no leash or muzzle to guard against the raw power inherent in omnipotence. 
I had to trust that his nature--Love itself--would be all the protection I would ever need. That I could come before him, heart completely vulnerable, and believe I would be safe. As Lucy said to Aslan: "I'd rather be eaten by you than fed by anyone else."

You can chase righteousness through a thousand intricate trails, but without coming to Christ, learning about him and actually listening to what he has to say to you, personally, you will never, ever find righteousness. You will never find salvation. You must KNOW God, like you know a person. And getting to know someone is an age-old, established ritual.  We ask around to learn what the people we love or respect most think or know about that person. If it's a person of note, we read up on them. And we observe who they are in daily interaction, listening to what they say and gauging their character by their behavior.

The same is true for Jesus. We ask others about him. Read his word. Listen for his voice to us, and talk to him.

He knows you already. Sees everything you'd like to think is discreetly hidden. The only thing self protection gets you is isolation from the One who is Love. So come to know him, for he is knowable. Read the things he said, because they will show you who he is. And then trust that you can come to him without being afraid. You can. Because of Jesus Christ.

Father, I pray every heart will hunger for your presence, that every thirsty soul will come and drink and eat without money and without price, because that's what your son, gentle and not puffed up in his heart, invited them to do. I pray we will all take you at your Word, in Jesus' name, amen.

18 March 2017

Community: one of the greatest gifts from God.

(This post came in response to one sentence I recently read online: "We probably shouldn't be listening to any pastors, ministers, prophets or any man".)

We do not need anyone to stand between us and Jesus Christ. But we ABSOLUTELY need pastors to reach out and bridge the gap that opens so easily between us and Jesus on a regular basis. We need ministers who are passionately on fire to preach the good news that JESUS WON, and what that really means for us right here, right now. We need prophets to declare how God sees the circumstance, and to call out the things we can't see with our own wisdom. We need those with greater experience and wisdom and knowledge and testimony so we don't have to forge the path entirely on our own, but can stand on the shoulders of others so we can do greater things and go farther in the work of saving souls than they did. And we need other people. Oh, how we need one another!

If we don't need anyone else, then "meeting together oft" wouldn't be in scripture. Yet the scriptures state that the believers met together oft to have the sacrament and to talk together about the welfare of their souls. In Ephesians 5 it talks about how prophets, pastors, evangelists, teachers and apostles are given to the church--the ekklesia/assembly/ones called out--for the equipping of the saints and for the work of the ministry. Joseph Smith talked about how, once a man is truly saved, he can't rest, but is driven to leave his loved ones at times to roam the earth in search of souls to save. The scriptures are here because people heard God and they wrote it down-that is listening to men/prophets/etc. Listening to others isn't making them our saviors. It's allowing them to bless and strengthen us so we can get a leg up on our climb to the mountain top.

The sacrament was instituted at a communal dinner: the Passover feast. And at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gathered a group of others around himself--even *he* ministered in community. He taught his disciples so they could become apostles and then teach and disciple and impart to others.

Even in the very beginning of scripture, we have in the story of creation the fact that God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. And Adam knew it wasn't good for Eve to be alone, so he ate the fruit also.

However, the adversary prowls like a young lion, looking for those whom he might devour. Who are the ones picked off by lions? The ones isolated from the community, unprotected and alone. You know when I have the hardest time with accurate discernment? When I'm "in my head" because I'm alone. When am I most likely to be decieved? My experience shows, hands down: when I am trying to do things on my own.

From the beginning of time, God has touched human hearts, spoken to his children, and those children have written and spoken and served and loved those who haven't yet heard, or who aren't hearing in that moment. I hear from God a lot. I've healed, had visions and dreams, spoken words I've heard in the spirit that have changed people's lives. I've also had times of desperate lonliness and misery--and the ONLY thing that pulled me out of those was community. Community in the Body of Christ that included people who heard the Holy Spirit speaking and could tell me what God spoke to them for my benefit. People who could let the love of God flow through them to fill me when I was weak and broken and cut off from that love because of my own false conceptions of the nature of God.

We NEED one another. Always. God gives gifts, not for the edification of the individual, but for the blessing and comfort and exhoration and encouragement of others. I find it interesting that communities of believers are such a deeply-grounded part of the history of God's people that the scriptures don't really say "Be sure to get together with other believers, because it's really important". It's more like the idea we have today of individuals forging their own paths into heaven was so foreign to the authors of scripture that it would have never occurred to them to address it.

There is not one of us who is perfected enough to avoid gross error while in isolation. There is not one of us who is perfected enough to avoid erring while in community. BUT: the function of healthy community is to nurture the injured, strenghten the weak, and BLESS BLESS BLESS one another. To offer perspective outside of the emotion of the moment, or the emotion of the circumstance, and help keep one another from going off the rails. Our individual weaknesses are opportunities for others to bless us. And those weaknesses and blessings knit us all together in an incredible network of love and service that teaches us who God is and how he loves.

Do I believe scritupre necessary to healthy belief? ABSOLUTELY. And community is every bit as important. The Holy Spirit must speak through both in order for a believer to have a healthy and fruitful spiritual life.

28 February 2017

His Beloved

Filling the reservoir of my coffee maker just now, I looked down at the inside of the lid, and saw this. The odds on this are so long, I know my moderate math skills can't notate them.

Our God is speaking ALL THE TIME. He's leaving love notes for you everywhere your eyes land--motivated by a love so deep and so strong and so passionate for connection with you that it was worth the priceless blood of deity to make it possible. Do you see them? Do you recognize them? They are there. And he'll never stop, because love never fails, never runs out, never grows weary, never gives up on his beloved. 

And his beloved is YOU.

10 February 2017

Revelation = VICTORY

What's on my mind today? The fact that God reveals for the purpose of VICTORY. That when my own limitations come up before my face, I recognize it as the gift of seeing them clearly for the purpose of receiving guidance on how to allow the strength of God to come in and make me stronger in that arena.

So, when life gets tough, know that you have to see your lack before you can receive His abundant solution--and God has amazing things in store for you!

09 February 2017

God Sees Through the Lens of Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is a selective remembering that is not based on our selection but His. To forgive is to remember only the loving thoughts we gave in the past and the rest are forgotten.

Forgiveness transforms our vision. It is here we can see the world clearly as illusions that had twisted our perception and fixed it on the unloving past are removed.

We must get to the place where we love to forgive and not become unloving as a result of unforgiveness. The supply we draw from comes from the Source of forgiveness. 

Forgive and see the world through the lens of beauty."

~Brian Orme
Originally posted on Facebook here:

#theascendedlife #mindsetlegacy

08 February 2017

The Word Discerns

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

The word of God is a powerful and precise tool.

Feeling confused? Not sure how to look at a situation? Struggling in a situation? The word of God can discern--can show you the difference between right and wrong, light and dark--in the way you're thinking, can show you how to change your thinking so you can receive what God has for each and every one of us, beginning immediately with the fruit of the spirit.

Father, thank you for your word. Thank you for the written word, thank you for the spoken word, and thank you most of all for Jesus: the Word made flesh. The guidance you have provided and continue to provide bless me, daily, beyond what I can say. You know, Father. You know. Thank you. In Jesus' name, amen.

05 February 2017


“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” ~Philippians 4:4 NKJV

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him . . .” ~Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Praise offered from times of struggle and pain brings strength and blessing like no other. The injunction to rejoice ALWAYS is a power-packed secret weapon against the enemy of our souls, and a game changer for anyone in a difficult time. Faith pleases God so much--and rejoicing in him while we aren't having an easy time of it is profound faith.

Father, thank you for this key to freedom from the tyranny my circumstance. Thank you for rewarding my faith as I have come to know who you are and have chosen to believe in times when I couldn't see. Bless me and my family and loved ones this day, in Jesus' name. Amen.

04 February 2017

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
      ~Matthew 5:3 NKJV
The poor in spirit will see God because they recognize their need. Those who believe they've got it all figured out walk through life in a self-satisfaction that prevents God from getting any closer to them; these operate in poverty and an orphan spirit. But I can't imagine anything further from the heart of Jesus than the idea that we need to operate in poverty in order to receive more of him. We are children of the King--heirs to all that the father in with Christ Jesus. Our inheritance is vast, and one of the most miraculous aspects of the gift Jesus offers us is to begin to receive that inheritance NOW--not in the hereafter. When we recognize our need and ask God to fill it (which is his longing!), we begin to walk in the abundant life that was one of the main reasons Jesus came and conquered sin and death.

Like so many other areas, spiritual hunger is the opposite of physical hunger. Physically, you have to go without eating in order to be hungry. But spiritually, the more you receive, the hungrier you get. Not because you lack, but because you begin to see the limitless nature of God and the unending potential we each have in the Holy Spirit.

Our walk with our infinite God has no end--so our hunger for more of him can be continuous even though we may have received so much already that we overflow in an abundance that blesses others. When we cry out in worship, "We want more, Lord! More, Lord! More!" he rejoices greatly that we are giving him permission to satisfy the longing of his heart, and he and pours out more for anyone ready to receive. Being poor in spirit is an attitude of recognizing our need for God and being willing to receive. It's not about lack or poverty, but about awareness and humility.

God does not want us to go hungry spiritually in order to be hungrier for him--just the opposite. He wants us to be so full and so ready to keep on receiving that he can pour through us like a raging river and transform the world around us. I can't tell you how EXCITED I am to see that happen more and more in my community!

Father God, thank you so much for your unending love for your children. Jesus, thank you for the love that motivated you to so what you have done--just so we can draw close to you once again. Thank you for abolishing everything that stood between God and man, and for sticking closer than a brother. And thank you for your spirit that connects us to you and blesses and guides and empowers us as we pursue relationship with you. You are so good! Amen.

09 January 2017

Bring him to Me

“He replied, “O unbelieving (faithless) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!””
~MARK 9:19 AMP

Yesterday morning the text for the service really hit me between the eyes. The disciples who couldn't do what Jesus said they could do. That's me, in a lot of instances. And the question rung in my mind: "How do I change that?" When my faith is insufficient to carry out the instructions Jesus gave to all believers, what then?

The verse of the day in my Bible app couldn't have been chosen better:

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”
~JOHN 15:7 AMP

It is heart breaking to me when healing doesn't happen. And now, more than ever, my response is going to be to dive deeper into Jesus, to seek his heart and his mind and his eyes and his ears. To be more transformed into his image, discarding conformity with the wisdom of the flesh.

Thank you, Father, for the way you work in my life--dropping scripture right in my lap if I'll just pay attention and see it. Thank you for rest, and thank you for the amazing continuing journey this life is. Bless us all to seek you more, to know you better, and to harvest radical increases in our faith. In Jesus' name, amen.