Friday, October 25, 2013

Time for a Train Change

Dream:  A woman was riding an old train used to transport goods from place to place.  This train was controlled by personnel of advanced age.  She knew her destination, but the train stopped short of it.  She disembarked into the train yard, not sure of how she would reach her final destination.  As she walked away from the train which had transported her as far as it could, she noticed the tracks it was on had just stopped. No new tracks had been laid.  The train stopped because it was unable to move farther; there was no tracks for it to move upon.

As she walked across the train yard, she noticed a beautiful blue passenger train. She climbed the steps onto the train to be met by a man who informed her that the train could indeed take her to the appointed destination, but that not enough workers had been assigned to the train.  The train could not move without the appropriate personnel.  

The woman disembarked the train and proceeded into the yard a second time, where she came upon two gorillas.  Their only motive was to fight the other. The woman watched as each gorilla worked on their car engines, each preparing their car for a head on collision with the other.  The woman found herself between the two warring gorillas.  She knew if she stayed between them she would be injured or even killed as an innocent bystander in the gorillas warfare!  Then she heard the Conductor call her.  

The passenger train had been made ready with workers.  As the woman climbed onto the train a second time, she was greeted by the train personnel.  They all had on the line's uniforms and hats. These people were multi-generational.  Young children would be working along side of those advanced in age.  The woman knew in her heart that she would reach her destination.

I am the woman.  You are the woman.

Life's journey leads us on paths, which guide us to our ultimate destination.  As the train's path stops short of the intended destination, we may need to change trains (paths).  Disembark from one train (path) in order to board the next.  Never despise the old train (path).  It did its part in getting you to the place where the new path (train) awaits.  The transition from the old to the new can be dangerous, but the Conductor (Jesus) will call us, thereby removing us from the position between those in conflict, a place of danger.  We are safe because we heeded His call and boarded the new train, which will transport us to the new destination.  All the workers come together because the Conductor called, and they responded.  They did it for the Conductor, but to also to serve the woman.  Each was happy to assist the woman get back on the path that the Conductor had set for her.

Listen for His call, friends.  Your path is changing.  Don't stay on a path because it is familiar or comfortable.  Paths end, new ones begin.  This is life.  Be flexible, hear His Spirit.  Don't shrink back from the change.  The path set before you is life and health and peace.  He is conducting you on the path set before you.  Your destiny lies along this path.  Your ultimate destination, the arriving point only occurs when you step onto the golden streets of holy city Jerusalem and behold His face for eternity.  Receive courage!  Don't listen to the naysayers!  Listen only to Him!!!  He is calling you!!!  He longs for you to receive His direction.   In the name of Jesus, AMEN!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trust That Love is More Powerful

Courage and Love are a tree with Hope as the trunk.  
This symbolic mural had me on the verge of tears as a patient described 
her vision of those who climb the mountain of breast cancer.

As a child, I remember being drawn to the underdog, the one who didn't fit with the crowd.  My heart would ache for one being mistreated or for the person cast aside by society, locked away by the labels others had placed on them.

About a dozen years ago, I met a woman who was most probably schizophrenic.  She had a language that sounded prophetic, but the more I conversed with her the more I realized that her mind had been assaulted to the point where reality no longer reigned.  I remember others being afraid of this woman.  I was frightened too.  We often fear what we don't understand, people and situations, but meeting that woman caused me to understand my life's calling...

Love the unlovely.  Trust that love is more powerful than evil.  Don't just talk about love, walk it out.

I remember this woman sitting by herself in a room full of people.  My heart was drawn to her.  I could sense her confusion and isolation.  Sitting by her, I noticed that when we sang worship songs, she began to weep.  Again, I could feel the intensity of her loneliness and her inability to truly connect with her surroundings.  As I moved to put my arm around her in order to comfort her I heard,

"If you touch her, you'll get the demon that's on her."  

Immediately the Holy Spirit rose up in my spirit distinctly directing, 

"Love is more powerful than evil."

I overcame fear that day with the love God had placed in me.  I'd like to say that from that point, I walked through life fearlessly loving everyone in every situation, but I cannot.  However, I do know that the path set before me is directed towards fearless love.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].

This past Tuesday, I was able to take the love of Jesus to a group of people literally locked away in a state mental hospital.  I had been invited to share my story at a breast cancer awareness event being held by the hospital.

One of the many things I love about the Lord is His specificity.  There was no doubt in my mind that I needed to accept the offer.  Abba was so good to show me His will ahead of time.

On September 20th, I received a prophetic word from a total stranger at "The Pursuit" conference.  She said, "You have a heart for the outcast.  God has anointed you to speak a word and people with schizophrenia and bipolar will be healed."  Amazing enough because I am a psychiatric nurse, but even more incredible when considering I checked my email to find that I had been invited to tell my story at the breast cancer awareness event at Danville State Hospital!!!

I really didn't have a story without speaking about Jesus.  It turns out that the administration contact person was in charge of the hospital's chaplaincy, and that's why she invited me!!!

The Christian music singer, Mandisa, gave permission for me to play her music video, "Overcomer!"

My manager at work gave me the night off so I could speak!

However, I am a story teller, not a speech maker.  It's difficult for me to get up in front of people. Even as I approach my 50th year of life, fear of man still grips me at times.  I knew I needed to ask several people to cover me in prayer.  Thank you to all who prayed!

I spoke without fear!!!

God's love prevailed and I encouraged approximately 50 patients and staff to be overcomers!!!

I spoke about overcoming mountains of adversity, whether that mountain is named breast cancer, financial difficulties, relational difficulties or mental illness.

I received many hugs and thanks on Tuesday night!  

One man said,  "I'm a Christian too.  I can't believe your boldness, coming to a secular place like this and talking about Jesus."

Another man said, "Thank you for coming to us.  You came to a mental hospital to speak to us."

One of the staff had recently had a mastectomy and hugged me tightly as I spoke blessing over her.

A young man spoke about his aunt dying from breast cancer.  He thanked me for encouraging everyone.

Another young woman hugged me multiple times.  This woman told me of her dream to go to college, get her counseling degree and open a home for children.  This woman is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital this weekend!!!  Oh, how I love the way Abba loves!!!

I hadn't been afraid to go into a psychiatric hospital, but I had been concerned about speaking in front of people...go figure.

As I spoke, the Lord encouraged me to again face the mountains in my life with the same tenacity as I faced and climbed the mountain of breast cancer. 

I have a hope, an expectation that the current mountains in my life will be overcome as well.  I don't know how God will empower me to climb them, but I know as I submit myself to Him, He will guide me.  

If those of you reading have a mountain to climb, be assured that God is with you.  He will teach you how to be an overcomer!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34-35: Each One Decides

King Josiah was so distraught after learning how he and his fathers had disobeyed God that he "rent" (tore) his clothes, but he didn't stop there.  He did something about the wrongful worship of idols.  He cleared idolatry from his kingdom and passed laws for the people to worship only the One True God. 

2 Kings 23:3-4
Amplified Bible (AMP)
The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord—to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began].
Josiah commanded the people to worship God by keeping the Passover celebration. 

2 Kings 23:21-23
Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.
22 Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel’s judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah.
23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.

King Josiah was pure and passionate in his pursuit of the Lord, and he desired that his subjects would feel the same.  He did everything in his power to make things right between his people and the God he loved, but no matter how good his intentions, each person must decide for themselves whether they will submit their heart to the Lord.
Josiah's successor, Jehoiakim, immediately turned back to performing evil in God's sight!

2 Kings 23:36 & 37
Amplified Bible (AMP)
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began his eleven-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like all his [forefathers] had done.

Josiah's good intentions had fallen away, because the next King had to decide for himself to serve the Lord.  The people of the kingdom had to decide to serve the Lord.
I believe the most effective way to lead people to the Lord is through a life lived well before the Lord in the presence of those around us.  
When stress comes through a personal attack, do we react by raising our voice in defense or do we take the high road of forgiveness?  When an angry person gets in our face, do we respond with a "soft answer?"
Proverbs 15:1
Amplified Bible (AMP) 

A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.

When society's norms turn against God's commands, do we bend to fit in or do we stand firm against all forms of idolatry?

Do we love the sinner by our actions or do we pridefully ostracize him/her?

Friends, people are looking for truth.  Does our walk match up to our talk?

Just the other night at work, my co-worker identified that "something was off" in my behavior.  I wasn't my "normal" self.  Friends, people watch us!  They see how we react to circumstances.   Do we actually walk, what we preach?

In this particular instance, I discerned fatigue and overwhelm in myself, which apparently was discernible to my friend/co-worker.  I apologized and asked for forgiveness.  I thanked her for calling out my behavior. 

I think about the times in which I have not walked out the things, which I know to be true.  How many people were negatively impacted by my hypocrisy? How many times have people (non-Christians and Christians alike) been affected negatively by Christians' hypocrisy?

No one can consistently live well before God and others without the empowering of His Spirit.  We ALL mess up at times.  In those times, we must seek forgiveness, and we must forgive.  Sometimes the most powerful, enduring message is a Christian asking for forgiveness from a non-Christian.  It reveals that we don't have it all together all of the time, and that we are humble enough to admit that undoneness.  Humility allows God's power to flow through us!

Josiah wanted to legislate love for God, as well as, live it out, but we can't force someone to accept Jesus.  Each one decides!

What do you decide?