OUT with the OLD. IN With the NEW.
“Then YeHoVaH answered me and said,
“Record the vision, make it plain,
And inscribe it on tablets,
That the one who reads it may run.
For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”
Today I've had so many encouraging words and confirmations - to reinforce the Faith that The Holy Spirit has been building in me – for DECADES – but He's been especially fine tuning the faith dreams & visions lately!
This particular Scripture has been a mainstay for me, for eons as I've come through obstacle, after obstacle, in trying to get to what God has promised. The story of Joseph always speaks to me of the legitimacy of dreams in our lives, and of God's Faithfulness in pulling those dreams out the most impossible circumstances! Honestly, my own journey so far has been one of living the impossible dream.
The fact that I am married, for example, since even my own mother firmly insisted THAT couldn't happen, and, therefore, I'd better get a career!!! lol And, even MORE impossible, the fact that I have children is an even bigger deal. Especially since I not only do I HAVE children, but eight of them came through this vessel. One went on to glory from the womb, but seven have survived, and even thrived, despite the mess life heaves at us!!!
Family was a dream of mine that I began writing in my diary about when I was 7, but which came cruelly crashing in on me at the age of 15. Then, the facts confirming the death of that dream/vision were reiterated, again, at the age of 20. The devil didn't want me getting my hopes up!
However, something else happened that same year. Something profoundly miraculous, which turned it all around. Through a *“series of unfortunate events”; which gave way to ONE very fortunate event - (in which I finally surrendered to The Holy Spirit, and asked Him to fill me & He did and when He did) - everything reset, and began to transform, practically over night!
It HAS been a very LONG night in some ways mind you. But looking back (that hindsight advantage), I can see that there were a series of Grace seasons – all five years apart.
First I was told at 15 that my best dream of family was impossible. Dead. I mourned it. I sought my comfort and refuge in God, as always, deciding that I would just do His work and be happy, alone with Him. Like one of my heroes of the faith, Eugenia Price. I would move to a quaint island and just write inspiring works, and maybe travel, meet sister Theresa, help orphans with the money I made from my books, etc.
Five years later, at the age of 20, my Mother died, which sent me plummeting into a cycle of depression, triggering seeking help, and ending in a suicide attempt ( *s.o.u.e.) . Obviously it was unsuccessful, by the Grace of God! But as I came out of the stupor, which was caused by the drugs I'd taken to relieve myself of a life that was way beyond mere medication, I had a “Prodigal Moment”. Meaning that I suddenly had a moment in which clarity happened in a way that hadn't before, in which I “came to myself”, and I was suddenly aware that I couldn't even die without God, much less live without Him! Not that I'd spent a lot of time trying to! But I was frustrated at my failures in the faith too! I had been pounding on every door for help. Every door, I realized, but the ONE that GOD had been pointing to!
Not coincidentally, for the two years prior to this happening, a dear friend of mine, a fellow I did projects with in Community College, had been talking to me about The Holy Spirit, and the need to be filled with The Presence of God. I was dubious (due to a bad experience I'd had at a “Pentecostal Church” in my home town – plus the warnings of the false doctrines in the denomination I was in!) but that day, in desperation, I surrendered, I decided to ask God to do that for me. At that point, I mean, really, what did I have to lose?! And as I opened Scripture, God miraculously answered me with Ezekiel 36:22-25; which read like He just wrote it to me in that moment!
He answered that desperate prayer the very next night, through my friend inviting me to a “Full Gospel Business Men's Meeting” in our community. This was a gathering of Godly men, business men, from all the denominations in our small town, had taken Jesus out of the “Church” setting, serving dinner, and having charismatic speakers, and they worked to apply Him to their lives in a real way. And then offer that possibility to others, as we are commanded to do!).
Surrendering to His tug on that stubborn issue totally turned my life upside down. I was kicked out of my church, broke up with the guy I was dating, and wound up at my good-friend's church. Where I eventually wound up in a coffee house band that he was in – in which one of his best friends was the band manager and lead guitarist.
Five years later, after lots of ministry together in music, and a word from God to each of us, (given five years apart), that band leader proposed to me (in a very unusual way) and we were married.
Five years after that, I had our firstborn child, a son whom we named Samuel Jonathan (Sh'muel - God has heard; Y'onaton - Gift from God). My dream of family and children were totally resurrected! And how!!! Following that Birth, I was either pregnant or nursing for the next 14 years, producing a total of seven blessings! Four girls and Three boys. Well, actually, there were four of each, but I miscarried one of the boys. Seven is the number of completion, and eight is new beginnings. So both are at work in our lives, through the blessing of Almighty God!
Fast forward to today. The seven were home educated K-12. They helped take care of grandparents as they aged, and then transcended. Now they have all now grown up and have their own lives. We have four grandchildren among them, three girls and one boy. And life is … strange – in that, though it is increasingly fuller, it often feels very empty. We are, as everyone is probably tired of hearing, EMPTY NESTING, and the flippin' NEST is in RENOVATION!
In fact that applies to both our home and our marriage, business, faith, pretty much everything!! God is in the renovation, restoration mode. His Spirit keeps saying “Out with the OLD, In with the NEW”!!!
Progress is steady! I am thankful for that! But, it has been going MUCH slower than we'd like. Yet we are in this surreal cloud of anticipation for the first time in … well … for the first time since our first anniversary!!! Proving, yet again, that God is faithful and WILL bring about what He has promised – however long it takes! No matter how many times it is put off through the enemy's determination; or our stubborn, mistaken, fleshly cooperation with the enemy instead of God!!!! Because the enemy can not thwart God's work in our lives without us giving him the power to do so!
YET! In spite of literal witch-craft spawned word curses, bad mentoring, misguided, uninvolved leadership, complex; often evil, generational family influences, and the delays produced by our own stupid, stubborn, self-reliant flesh, we are IN breakthrough! And the fact that it has taken decades longer than I ever thought possible makes it more precious now that it is finally here!
Though, seriously, ALL THINGS are in “renovation”! In the heat of raising a significant family, honoring our parents in their last years, and trying to “Do Church” to the satisfaction of rather greedy, and again, misdirected (often exhibiting no real discernment) “spiritual leadership”, we have neglected our own health, our home, and most importantly, the eternal parts of the deal, our own spiritual growth to the detriment and destruction of our marriage and near destruction of everything else God has given us!
Our children are thriving in some ways, but sort of staggering on unsteady ground when it comes to matters of the Faith. Thankfully they haven't just chucked it and ran screaming into the world! But they stagger in and out of it! And WE also struggle. “Church”, The way it has been done, is anathema to us, and we believe, to GOD also.
It needs to be more organic. More real – HE needs to be more sought after – HIS WORD made to be a more effusive part of our lives - from the individual believer, to the believing couples, to believing Family, to Believing Community.... until the nation is once again - “ONE NATION UNDER GOD” …. not many ethnicities under idols! Until we get it right, “With liberty and justice for ALL”. Not just for people of one color or another, not just for people with money, not just for men, or just for women, or people who can't decide what or who they are!
As I am seeing the transformation of God in OUR lives, however, it gives me a burst of real HOPE for the rest of the nation! If He can get hold of us two jugheads and work unity in US, then truly, nothing is impossible!
I think it is ironic how we all want to sort of look askance at the people in the Bible, whose stories also sort of staggered in and out of God's will for them! How we sort of snicker, or even judge, as if we are any better!
Well, the time frame for Moses finally being called, after his assumptive failure at his own idea of how his people should be delivered from slavery, there was a 40 year gap. He had the right idea, generally. He had heard all the prophecies about how it would be him who would become the instrument in God's hand to deliver them! He wasn't wrong. But his time was!!!! And perhaps his motivation. In that 40 years though, with just sheep and God, on the back side of the desert, he grew humility. And it took a considerable amount of that for him to ride the ride that GOD took him on! With the plagues, and the cheek it took to just keep getting in the face of an powerful, extremely annoyed, Pharoah!
When God says that His ways are NOT our ways, He is not just “whistlin' dixie”! Which is a southernism for “HE AIN'T PLAYIN!” The last 40+ years of my own life has proven that to me, in spades! So. What is the point of all this palaver?
TRUST GOD!!!! No matter how hard it seems, dark it gets, stormy and wild the circumstances that come to rock your world! Because, no matter how far off it feels it is always getting closer – and no matter how impossible it seems it can never get too big for Him to overcome - if WE just don't give up!
Turns out my mom was wrong about the marriage thing, but right after all on another issue, I AM a “stubborn little so and so”. Good thing. It has really paid off in my life. But what she didn't see is that undergirding this insignificant “little so & so” is a really BIG God, who, once He has set His mind toward us NEVER GIVES UP ON US, and His Spirit will not let us give up on ourselves!
That is why we are all still here. Still plugging away. Still swinging at the enemy. Still getting out of the bed every day to just do what is in front of us. But here's the thing that needs to CHANGE going into this New Season – WE MUST SEEK HIM ABOVE ALL. Not just along with everything else. He must become THE PRIORITY, not just “a” priority! WE MUST REPENT OF ALL OUR IDOLS (including, but not limited to, “church leadership”, doctors, government leaders, entertainment preferences, avoidance mechanisms and medications.... etc...) and cling to the ONE TRUE GOD.
It is THE TIME that HIS PEOPLE stopped just quoting II Chronicles 7:14 and actually began LIVING IT! That is the only way to MOVE from II Chronicles 7:13 to God's conclusion in verse 15-18!
The whole Chapter of II Chronicles 7, is Chronicling the Dedication of the Place of Worship, the Temple, which David longed to build for God's worship, but which God ordained for David's son Solomon, whose name means Peace, his Hebrew name being Sh'lomo, a derivative of Shalom. And the point that God is making in this chapter is that HIS BLESSING IS ON OBEDIENCE AND NOT ON SELECTIVE HYPOCRISY. WORSHIP is the theme of MANY Victory over impossible odds stories!
It is time that WE, who call on the Name of God, took a giant step UP to actually LIVE what we CLAIM to believe. It is time that our OBEDIENCE became a JOYFUL RESPONSE to a LOVING GOD! It is time that WE return His LOVE, and ACT LIKE WE BELIEVE THAT HE IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS, and WILL DO WHAT HE's PROMISED! Because, as it was with His people all down through History, we should not fail to do our part because HIS part doesn't look or feel like WE thought it should! That is putting ourselves above Him! That is the ultimate in pride. We need to, as this portion of Scripture indicates, HUMBLE OURSELVES....
So, again, as we enter in this new season, which actually, other than changing the dates on our manmade calendars, changes little to nothing in our realm – after all, it still looks darker than we'd like; the businesses are still fluctuating in their products and profits; the “Church”, as we've known it, is still reeling from the blows she has taken – which our negligence has allowed; and Family is experiencing an all time level of devastation, with more and more grandparents raising their grandchildren, due to parents just checking out to drug-abuse!
BUT. The Just Shall LIVE by FAITH, NOT by SIGHT! So what we see, though fact it be, is not the end for you or me!
Do we believe? Can we receive? Can we catch hold of HIS vision to rise above the storms that have catapulted our little boats? Can we TRUST and OBEY, finally, completely, in a way that will permit Him to deliver us?
He is waiting on US, WE are NOT waiting on HIM. If we are waiting, and it is not our own stupid flesh which has prolonged our blessing, then HE has a supreme timing for our function – as He did with Moses and that pharoah, and Joseph with his pharoah! So GOD has a plan to raise US, HIS PEOPLE above the current “pharoahs” who have, again, taken His people into bondage due to our disobedience. GET THIS – OBEDIENCE (from the motivation of love, not manipulation) = FREEDOM; Disobedience, or selective, ambivalent, wishy-washy, double-minded foolishness and negligence = BONDAGE.
Want 2022 to be different? As my first crush, Michael Jackson, put it,
“I'm looking at the man in the mirror! I'm asking him to make a change! This message doesn't get any clearer, if you want to make the world a better place, then look in your heart and make that CHANGE!”
I don't know if he was aware or not, but that is the ultimate musical definition of what God calls REPENTANCE!
Selah, Shalom, L'Chaim and L'Shana Tovah!
Selah - Pause and calmly consider that! Shalom - PEACE which surpasses all comprehension;
L'Chaim, TO LIFE (CHOOSE LIFE), and L'Shana Tovah – To a GOOD (which must include God since HE is the source of all Good) YEAR!
B'Shem Yeshua, Ha Meshiach!
In The Name of Yeshua (a.k.a. Jesus) The Anointed One!
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