He WILL


Jesus didn't say, "Ask, and if I feel like it, I'll give", or "Seek, and if I'm in the mood, you'll find".

He spoke in the declarative. This is not about a fickle God, playing favorites. This is a powerful reassurance to those who petition Father God . . . assurance that when they pray, when they seek, when they knock, He responds. And responds with good things. Always.

It's me, with my expectations and limitations, that doesn't see, doesn't recognize, doesn't follow God's leading into the amazing things that He has planned for me. He gives. Good things.

Father God, help me believe You more, open my heart and show me any strongholds, any stakes, any areas where I'm not willing to simply believe what You have said, and trust You. I want to be Yours, to follow what You say, and to live in Your presence. In Jesus' name, amen.

Baptism Day


So much JOY.

So much.

Choosing to dig into and adhere to the words of Jesus Christ is the best decision I've ever made.

There is a movement, within the membership of the LDS Church (and increasingly outside of it, as members otherwise in full good standing are excommunicated for "apostasy"), to once again rely on the scriptures as the definitive Word of God. To trust the words of Jesus Christ over anything contradictory spoken by man. Thousands have been baptized according to the Doctrine of Christ, and it's not slowing down, despite heavy-handed disciplinary actions and top-down ordered excommunications by LDS leadership, in direct contradiction to their own press releases and scripture. (There's a whole rat's nest of plausible deniability, due to Area Authority 70's not necessarily being considered "general authorities", but I won't go into that here.)

This is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands . . . all believers, everywhere, seeking God on His terms, and seeking to do His will. It is happening in all denominations, all over the world. The LDS Church is no exception.

Yesterday was an incredible day . . . and I will treat it as the celebratory occasion it was. Hallelujah for Jesus Christ, our Lord, and His wonder, glory, and love for us!

I welcome questions, concerns, and freak-outs . . . once again, this blog is a platform for open discussion, and an earnest and simple offer to seek understanding, instead of take refuge in gossip and hearsay.

Peace be to you Reader, whoever you are, in Jesus' name, so be it.

God IS Good, and He will draw us to Him

Journal entry of 25 August 2014

So, I've been saying all day today that I'm going to write this. So, I'm writing it. (Happy, God? . . . Good. lol)

Last night, I attended the first night of the Kingdom Culture event at Hidden Valley Worship Center. HVWC is the laboratory where the Lord taught me who He truly is . . . the things I've read so far in the first four Lectures on Faith are all familiar to me because of what I've heard preached in this place. This is the church where I received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, when a visiting pastor laid hands on me, prayed over me (including putting into words some things I was experiencing at that very time that I hadn't yet been able to put into words) and then said, "Be filled!" This church has been the place where I can come before the Lord and pray and worship without thought for what anyone will think, where I have been prayed over and healed, where I have been snatched from severe depression through the prayer of three incredible prayer warrior women. I've had experience after experience that has shown me that they operate in the Holy Spirit, according to the mind and will of God.

The worship portion of their services has always been super powerful in my life. From the very first service I attended, coming up on three years now, I have been filled with the Holy Ghost over and over as I've worshipped with them, in music, prayer and shouting praise. (Psalm 100)

Just over a week ago, I mentioned to some friends online I was feeling heavy-hearted. Well, you could definitely call it that. I had been brought down to absolute desperation, feeling so overwhelmed and powerless, so distant from my Lord. The love of my husband couldn't pull me out of it. During two of the days at the end of week before last, I cried out in desperation over and over, "Jesus, where is Your comfort? Where is the comfort You said You would send? Jesus . . . please . . . "

And I heard no answer.

Nothing.

So I held on, because that's all I could do . . . just hold on through the incredible darkness of that time. Too many little people depend on me for me to do anything else. I KNEW Jesus heard me. I had so much evidence, such an overwhelming preponderance of experience that He hears me. Always. I just didn't know why I was feeling the way I was, why the depression had come back with such a vicious vengeance, and why He wasn't banishing it when I cried out for relief, why I couldn't hear His answer.

A week ago yesterday (which was two Sundays ago), I went to the morning service at HVWC. It was the first time I had seen any of that part of my church family in more than two months, between my own LDS leadership calling me in, family visiting, our trip to Utah and further south for Denver's talks, etc., and oh, how I had missed the strengthening, the invigoration, the refreshing in the spirit I receive when I'm able to go and worship there. I got there late, missing every last bit of worship. But the sermon was like it was designed wholly for me--even down to one point where Pastor Chris really got his preach on, leaving his notes, preaching according to the spirit for a few minutes, detailing exactly what I had been struggling with over the last few days, what had been running through my mind as recently as the early morning hours that very day as I struggled and journaled and wept.

After the service was over, I said hello to a couple of people, chatted for a minute, gathered my things up, and as I made my way down the aisle, I stopped to say hello to Sharlene, who has been such a blessing and good friend to me. Then Naomi walked over and said hello. We were joined by Donna, and as we stood there, Naomi looked at me and said,

"Would you like to pray with us for our county?"

I said, "Sure."

Then the four of us, Naomi on my right, Donna across from me, and Sharlene on my left, began to pray.

Naomi led, praying first. Then Sharlene. Then Donna. I knew I was there to add my faith and agreement to what they said, but wasn't moved to pray at all. It was beautiful prayer, and I felt so grateful to be part of it. When Donna finished, there was a pause, and then Naomi began praying again. For me. Totally unexpected. As Naomi began her prayer, she said "God, I just pray protection over Annalea," and I felt incredible heat on the crown of my head, as if a high-wattage heat lamp had been turned onto me, as though Jesus came and laid His hands on my head, the strength of His presence radiating steadily down throughout me as the praying continued.

Naomi reached out and put her hand on my right shoulder, continuing to pray. She declared peace and healing and strength, and so many other things. The Holy Spirit grew and grew, and the love of Christ filled me and overflowed. I began to tremble, first my throat, then my hands, then my legs, as Naomi continued to pray healing and restoration over things that I had been struggling with, things she had absolutely no way of knowing anything about. (I hadn't seen or talked to her in two months--nor with with Sharlene and Donna.) Sharlene reached out and put her hand on my left shoulder, praying next. She prayed over different aspects of my struggle, releasing in my heart healing and forgiveness and so much more that the Spirit placed on her heart to pray for me. And the love of the Lord grew and grew within me and my own gratitude grew exponentially. My bff LeAnne came up behind me and put both hands on my back. Donna reached out and put her hand on the top of my bowed head as she then prayed in turn, again, praying words that she had no way of knowing I needed, but that addressed yet more aspects of my struggle, and that ushered in yet more of the healing and comfort for which I had cried out in the depth of my despair.

The desire to fall to my knees, and then upon my face, was nearly overwhelming. I was kept standing only because I was circled about by these women, whose hands supported and steadied me. I was so full . . . and I was healed. The darkness, gone. I was once again filled with the presence of my Jesus, and I knew that He answered my cries as soon as He could; that for whatever reason, my body and spirit had been weakened to the point where I couldn't receive on my own what He needed to give me, and so He gathered these women together to do the work I needed mortals to do, to bridge the gap I was too weak to cross, to be His hands and His mouth for me. And I broke down completely, sobbing at the incomprehensible mercy and grace and love that Jesus extends to us . . . that He extends to me. That He would save me, who am so miserably error-prone. Who would let my own devotions slide, amongst the busyness and demands of life, to the point where the enemy could isolate me, and, like a circling lion, prepare to devour me. I had been encircled about with the chains of hell--of separation from God--and I was set free, covered instead in His loving presence.

Yesterday evening, a week later, I worshipped in that same sanctuary. I was having a wonderful worship experience, full of so much joy and rejoicing. Then they began to sing "I'm a Lover of Your Presence," and LeAnne (who was on the worship team) began to sing. (If you can, go start that playing while you read the rest of this.)

"Let this be a sacrifice
let me dedicate my life
to worship You

Let this be a sacrifice
let me dedicate my life
to worship You"

Suddenly something broke open in my chest, and I started to sob. The song went on:

"I'm a lover of Your presence
I'm a lover of Your presence
I'm a lover of Your presence"

The feelings of gratitude, humility, of utter helplessness in the face of my situation, and then being snatched from it by the Lord's own good pleasure came rushing back, and I could finally fall to my knees for that, and pray. And the song continued:

"A passion's stirring deep inside,
You're all that really satisfies;
we worship You"

"We're lovers of Your presence
We're lovers of Your presence
We're lovers of Your presence
And it's all we want to be,
it's all we want to be"

And then kneeling wasn't enough. The enormity of what Jesus had done for me, of the price He paid to gain the victory He had won, the sweetness of fruit of it in my life, a sweetness above all that is sweet, sent me to my face, once again crying out, but this time in love and praise and utter amazement at the extravagant riches of His love poured out for me.

"I was made for love,
I was made for love,
I was made for loving You
I know that I was made for love,
I was made for love,
and I was made for
Loving You"

I don't think I've ever been more vulnerable, or more safe, than I was in those minutes, as I sobbed out my gratitude and my love for Yeshua, my Jesus, my Beloved God. It wasn't a performance, a demonstration for anyone to see. I wasn't doing anything that isn't well-known in that place during worship. That sanctuary truly IS a sanctuary, where the Holy Spirit directs all things.

Today, I now know just a little of what Denver feels like when he says, "I'd really rather NOT be doing this." I'd never consider sharing something like this in a forum as public as this. One-on-one, when prompted, no problem. But this honestly makes me (the written word over-sharer) a little antsy. I'm sharing these things with the desire in my heart that it will touch someone, and open a heart to be touched by the Living God more than ever before. The things that happen in the scriptures when the presence of an omnipotent God collides with mortal flesh are accurate. It's not an overly dramatic culture, or a different cultural expression of spiritual experiences. The Lamanites weren't a more sensitive genetic strain, prone to to fainting spells.

When God shows up, people fall down.

They pass out.

They speak in tongues and prophesy.

Injuries--physical and spiritual--are healed.

People fall to their knees, or upon their faces, and rise up new creatures.

Our bodies are marvelous instruments. When we use them in our worship, it allows the Lord to reach us in ways He simply cannot if we're sitting passively, just listening, or singing half-heartedly, or singing to anyone else besides Him. Our bodies are not only megaphones for the Holy Ghost, but they amplify our own ability to express ourselves before Jesus and reach out for Him.

God bless you all, as He has blessed me, a stubborn and prideful, lazy and foolish girl.

What Will I Choose?

Earlier yesterday evening, I thought over how I had let the day get away from me early on, not staking out time to spend in the Word of God. And I regretted it. I had needed the strength that comes from time spent in scripture, as had my family, and yet I didn't have that strength to offer, that day.

In discussing a few things with Vern shortly thereafter, I shared that I felt like I lived some kind of strange, dual life; that half of the time I felt capable and confident, that I could handle whatever came my way, and things would be all right; but the other half, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, utterly incapable and full of despair. It seemed surreal, to me, that I could alternately experience such totally different states of mind, and that whichever one I was in seemed just as real as the other did when I was in it.

Not long after that, Holy Spirit brought to mind a little grain of knowledge I had tucked away: the word "psychology" comes from the Greek word psycho.
Origin
from Greek psukhē ‘breath, soul, mind.’
Current practitioners call psychology the study of the human mind, but as the Lectures on Faith explain:
"And he [Jesus] being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, . . . "
 I continued to think on that little revelation into the evening, meditating on how it applied to my earlier heart cry. How could I experience two such totally different states of mind, states of spirit, and have them both feel like actual reality? Then this came to mind:
And so now we find ourselves having to choose. It's a healthy thing. You ought to have to choose. You ought to have your salvation at peril on how you choose. . . . You should have to choose. And your eternal peril should hang in the balance as you make that choice. That is a perfect conundrum, in my view. Grow up. Accept the burden. Find out. Learn about God. Or be damned by your carelessness, by your indifference, by your refusal to go forward. It ought to be so. And it ought to be put to you plainly. And you ought to have to choose. And you ought to have to choose every time you hear [the enemy] offer something to you. . . . Because [he is] either offering you something . . . that will save you, or [he is] offering something that [he] hope[s] will damn you, because [he's] signing you up on the wrong team. It ought to be so. Everlastingly, it ought to be so" (Denver Snuffer, Lecture 2, "Faith", September 28th 2013, Idaho Falls, ID).
It's a choice.

Which do I want?

Do I want to exist in the reality of damnation?

Or thrive in the reality of salvation . . . the reality determined by the wishes of the enemy of my soul, or the brilliantly-lit and deeply powerful reality framed by the words of the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One who gave His all for me, the perfectly loving, perfectly just and astoundingly generous Jehovah?
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. 

Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  


(Jeremiah 29:11-13, AMP)
Who do I choose to believe?

To whose words do I give power?

I've spent years and years under the rule of the lies of the enemy . . . lies of defeat, of believing I had to give my all first, and then hope for salvation at the judgement day. That I had to laboriously trudge through life, hungering for the occasional crumb from the Lord's hand to palliate the desperate nature of my existence. And the crumbs would always come . . . God gave them to me as soon and as often as I would accept them. But I didn't look for His grace, I didn't understand His love or His extravagant generosity, and so I lived the life of a spiritual pauper while the riches of Heaven lay strewn all around me.

I think you can guess Whom I choose to believe, now.

Image found here.


Which "reality" I choose is up to me. God has said a LOT about my life, about all of our lives. In Him we WILL overcome. He hasn't abandoned us. He won't abandon us.

We can't do it on our own, but with Him, we can do ALL things.
And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. (Moroni 7:33)
Jesus said, "If ye will".

It's a choice.

And I choose FAITH. I choose LIFE. I choose Jesus Christ.



When confusion's my companion
And despair holds me for ransom
I will feel no fear
I know that You are near

When I'm caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I'll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near

My help comes from You
You're right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness
all on Your shoulders
Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don't have to see to believe
that You're lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders

You mend what once was shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

My help is from You
Don't have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don't have to see it, ‘cause I know,
‘cause I know it's true

~For King & Country, "Shoulders"

God is Perfect

God is good. Good is God.

God is love. Love is God. Love is of God: it is a part of, an element of, a natural fruit springing from Him.

If something not-good happens, it's a product of the fall, and the sin and death that exist in this world. It's not God's will. It's His will that we humble ourselves and come unto Him. Bad stuff does happen. Often. But it's not God's will. He doesn't speak, and give someone a dreadful disease, or destroy a family through addiction. He does not mete out harsh punishments to "teach us a lesson". That's what an abusive parent would do . . . and we simply don't have an abusive God. We also don't have to "get it right on our own" before we can turn to Him.

Hello . . . His strength is made perfect in our weakness! We don't see it until we run into our weaknesses, and turn to Him!

His grace is sufficient for ALL.

So, remember. God IS good.