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All posts for the month May, 2013

The Mud Pit

Published May 31, 2013 by Dawn

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Isn’t that just the cutest picture ever?! I’m not one to post pictures of my kids on the internet because, well, I value my privacy. But I had to share this picture because it is by far one of my favorites. It also illustrates my latest revelation quite nicely. You see, the past couple months for me have been hellish, to say the least. I am admittedly quite spoiled by God most of the time, and I do believe that I dodge the bullet when it comes to spiritual attacks more often than not. God has been good to me and I have noticed that over the past few years as I have drawn closer to Him, He has been my shield. Lord knows what all Satan has thrown at me that because of the Lord, I never even knew about. I can honestly say that everything I have gone through over the past few years has had a definite purpose and lasted no longer than it needed to for something heavenly to be accomplished in me. With that said, the pit the Lord allowed me to be thrown into recently was one of the hardest things I have endured in the past eight years or so, and seemed to last way past the point of breaking me. To family and friends, I owe the biggest apology because although I have not altogether abandoned my relationships, I have in the least ignored most of them.

Tonight, with a clear mind and heart, I can finally look at the past few months and venture to speak about them. I cannot pinpoint the moment darkness descended on me. I know that the Lord was showing me some things about the church and people that really hurt my heart and what began as genuine intercession for the body of Christ became quickly a judgment seat that I climbed up into and began pointing fingers from. And it seems that the moment Satan got a foothold in my heart and mind through my ugly self-righteousness, he began to warp my perception of God with subtle lies that seemed to be worth my anxiety and before I knew it, I was confused and afraid. I became desperate for truth but unable to relinquish the lies. During this time, my schedule was so full that I hardly had time to juggle it all and of course, I sacrificed my quiet time with God to do all the other things that seemed so pressing and necessary. Satan hit me with trick after trick, causing me to question things I previously knew that God had spoken. He sent person after person to attack me verbally and emotionally until I was numb. The torment of my mind was unbearable on days to the point that death sounded like a sweet relief. I did my best to act as normal as possible when I had to be around people, but I would come home and fall apart. Day after day I would tell my kids, “I have to have a moment to myself or I will not be pleasant to be around.” But that moment would last for hours, and they would tiptoe around me shooting worried glances between the three of us while I did all the mom-things in silence. I was on a precipice of despair and dangerously close to falling off.

I can look back at the past few months now and see that it was a pit. Not unlike a mud puddle. Seemed to be really deep while I was in it, but now it all looks so shallow. Just a trick of the mind Satan used to keep me there, I guess.

It reminds me of the prodigal son. You know, the guy who ran away from his father and squandered the gift. He then refused to come home because he knew he had blown it, and chose to wallow in the mud instead of asking for his father’s forgiveness. That was me. This time was really a grand display of God’s mercy and grace. He showed me the depth of my humanity and the strength of the weaknesses in me during this time. He allowed me for a time to walk without the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that I could see the ability within me to be holy. He humbled me by allowing me to see clearly my need for Him. But instead standing up and walking away once I was good and muddied, instead of allowing myself to be cleansed, I stayed there. Not with a smile on my face, but with deep conviction in my heart and gross condemnation in my mind. It was awful the things I believed about myself and the things I entertained about God during this time. It was a definite crisis of faith for me, which I humbly admit that it might possibly speak to someone else. I despise this truth, really.

I know that His Spirit is the only thing that saved me from myself during this time. There was a faint cry in my heart for Him in the beginning, but it wasn’t loud enough to shake me from my stupor. Over the course of weeks, however, it built into a roar that shook my entire being. I needed Him! I longed for Him with every fiber of my being. Still numb, I did all the things I knew to do to battle the enemy: I prayed without feeling anything. I sang without feeling anything. I read the Bible without feeling anything. Little by little, my senses were awakened to atleast my desire for The Lord. I reached for Him, but His rescue was not immediate. I knew once again that He was there, but I also knew that I was still in the mud and mire. I was still in the pit. I had to reach up to Him, but before I could, I had to release the mud and agree to be cleansed. That’s the part I was having such a hard time with. I looked at God and tried to reason in my own mind, “How can you cleanse me knowing I will probably just get right back in? I may as well just stay here.” I know now the danger of living in my own strength. Without Him, I can do nothing. My righteousness is as filthy rags. I know, because I have seen the mud I tend to wallow in. How thankful I am that we are invited to put on the righteousness of Christ!

Finally, I accepted that to be with Him again, to enjoy fellowship in His presence, letting go of my limited understanding of things and the sin that so easily entangled me was a must. I had to do it. I had to desire Him more than I desired things to make sense, more than I desired to understand Him. More than I desired anything else, really. And finally, I did reach that point, and I readily accepted His forgiveness as I was desperate to know His Comfort once again. And it was sweet! So sweet to be held by My Father, to be enveloped in His arms and assured of His love. So sweet to feel His Spirit embracing my heart, cleansing me of the dirt and restoring me to the shelter of His wings. Bless you, Lord, you are wonderful indeed!

Father, I pray for all those who are feeling hopelessly far from you. I pray for all those who are under intense spiritual attack by the enemy. Lord, you are our example and you are the most patient Father. You know what it is to be longsuffering toward your children. Though we cannot fathom the depths of your love, it does not change the way you feel about us. Father, even while my kids wallowed in the mud, I looked on them with love and compassion though I did not necessarily like what they were doing. I did not approve, but I did not condemn them for it. I pulled them out and cleaned them up because that’s what a parent does. How much better than me are You?! Lord, I pray that you would restore the fellowship of your saints, the yearning for You that draws us back to your heart. Encourage the weary. Restore to us the joy of our salvation. Release your light in the darkness, and allow us to be free in our minds from the attack of the enemy. I pray for a reprieve in the battle, that the thirsty may be quenched, the hungry may be fed and the tired may have rest. Father, you alone know what we can handle. Be our strength and show Yourself faithful for your own names’ sake. We adore you. Bless your holy name, Jesus. Amen!!

Lessons in the Lawn: Loving Doses of Reality

Published May 21, 2013 by Dawn

I don’t know why it is but it seems conversations with the Lord are very rich when I’m mowing the lawn. Though not always what I want to hear, He speaks to me clearly in those times. Take last week, for instance.

It had rained most of the previous two weeks, and the yard was a veritable wilderness. Mind you, I am also mowing with a rotary mower now, which makes cutting through wilderness especially difficult. Finally, a weekend without rain came and I knew the mess had to be dealt with. After half an hour or so of mowing just the front yard, which isn’t very big, I was getting really frustrated. My yard was full of dandelions to the degree that it looked like a white field of poppies, and my mower blade was just scattering spores and leaving stalks. They were everywhere! By the time I made it around to my back yard, I was thoroughly discouraged. My time spent mowing seemed absolutely fruitless and I had a lot left to do. To top it off, there was so many weeds and not enough grass to make the job even remotely manageable. I tried to be optimistic: I began picking out my favorite weeds and telling the Lord that if the whole yard could just be this weed or that kind of grass, it would be so much easier to deal with, which would make me tons happier about mowing it. Toward the back of the yard, I noticed small sections of nothing but thick, luscious grass and I literally began thanking God for it! At this point, the Lord must have been done with my whining because He finally spoke. He said, “Even if the whole yard was that kind of grass, you’d still find a reason to complain about it.”

Ouch. His blunt response to me shut me up real quick and gave the Holy Spirit time to explain to me that it is the weeds that cause me to joy in the simplistic beauty of grass. Just like it’s the weeds in life that cause us to take pleasure in the simple things. The weeds help us to appreciate the simple things we would otherwise overlook. The obstacles in our lives give us perspective, and cause us to well up with appreciation in the quieter, more peaceful moments.

This week, my son was supposed to mow the yard. It was a deal. I bought something for him with the stipulation that he do a chore to pay me back for it. He also owed me a chore for losing a bet over whether or not it was going to rain one day. I gave him the yard because not only did it need done, I didn’t want to do it. I was really looking forward to not doing it, and so you can imagine my anger and frustration when Saturday came and after he mowed for about ten minutes, he came in the house and had a meltdown because he didn’t want to finish it. I went through every emotion in me, vented my frustration and then went out to finish the yard. Every emotion I’ve ever had regarding disappointment began flooding me, and while I mowed, I stewed in bitterness. I knew it was wrong, and after a while of feeling it all, I began to pray. “Lord, I am so sorry I feel this way. I know this is displeasing to you. I know this attitude is not your will for me, but I don’t know how to let go of it. How do you continue to look at me when I am so absolutely repulsive inside? And very gently He said, “You forget … I look past the fault and see the need.”

I really wasn’t expecting that from God. I mean, of course I know what the Bible says. I know the scriptures that are full of love and mercy, but I guess I just don’t understand the parental patience of God. I was expecting Him to be disgusted with me, sick of hearing my complaints and hurts. I expected Him to be weary of my prideful self-pity and my tendency to nurse the memory of wounds that should be healed by now. What surprised me the most was that He didn’t minimize my sin in the matter, He both acknowledged it and disregarded it. He didn’t say there was no fault. But He did say He looks past the fault. Looks past the fault and sees my need. And with that realization, I was flooded with this amazing peace. God knows my needs. He knows why I keep reliving this pain. He understands all the areas in my life I still need deliverance in. Therefore, He understands my sin, my reactions to other people, my tears. He understands me. And what’s more: His grace abounds.

Thank you, Father, for looking past my faults to see my need. Fill me with your grace and peace and love, and I pray most humbly for the deliverance in my heart from the pain of my past. I love and adore you. Love, Dawn

Fear of Heights

Published May 17, 2013 by Dawn

Today, I had the privilege of watching all the seniors assemble in the football bleachers for their final class picture. I was escorting/supervising a few of my guys who are graduating this year, and I was really excited to be the only one with the flexibility in my schedule to go outside with them.

As I was standing there watching them find seats, I noticed one student, Ben, who was sitting wrong on the bleachers. He was hunkered down behind the seat, sitting next to other students’ feet and his eyes were closed very tightly. I walked over to him to see what was wrong and he told me, with eyes still tightly shut, that he was scared of heights and didn’t want to be up there. This came as a total shock to me … all year, I and my coworkers have coaxed Ben off of many ledges outside. He seemed to have this obsession with climbing on things and then jumping off. Typical boy, I thought. Yet here he was literally paralyzed in fear three rows up from the ground. It made absolutely no sense to me!

Naturally, I pounded out the situation in my head until it made some kind of sense to me. There were only two logical explanations for the contrasting information. I reasoned that possibly, this fear of heights was a new thing, brought on by years of consistently being told in a very panicked voice ( … I’m so guilty here), “Ben, get down! You’re going to fall!” If not, it could be that this fear of heights always existed, in which case Ben’s constantly jumping off of things is his way of defying the fear in him.

The first possibility seems so plausible. I feel like we all have a tendency to develop fears based on things that we hear over and over again. Eventually, we internalize that fear until it becomes our own and we are no longer thinking rationally about things. We are believing everything we’ve heard to deter us from taking the leap of faith, so to speak. Oh, the guilt in me if this is the reason Ben couldn’t even participate in his senior picture. I mean, I know I’m not the only one who’s said that to him, but I hate that I might have been a part of this fear developing in him.

The second possibility also seems plausible. And even worthy of applause! My heart soars thinking of Ben facing his fears in his own way, climbing up on three-feet ledges and jumping off of them every time we went outside. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been his biggest cheerleader! Think of it: a student with disabilities defying his own limitations. I love it! I took a hard look at every limitation I have accepted in my life and wonder, “Do you have what it takes to climb up on the ledge anyway and just jump? Furthermore, are you willing to do it over and over until that fear no longer binds you to limitations?”

When I think about it, both of these situations occur in our lives. The devil tells us over and over that we can’t or won’t ever attain the heights we aspire to reach. We hear it over and over until we believe it and then we sit on the ground staring at the sky watching those who are brave enough soar to the highest heights. They are the ones who dared to climb up on the ledge and jump off, over and over again. Daring one height after another, they eventually overcame the fear and took to the skies! Father, I want to be one of them. I want to defy the fear in me. I want to believe you and trust you, and I want to take leap after leap of faith until I reach the summit and spread my wings. I want to be one who soars above the heights, completely free of earth’s limitations. Father, drown out the fear and encourage me with your spirit until I too am soaring above the clouds!

Liebster Award

Published May 16, 2013 by Dawn

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Thanks to a fellow blogger, http://www.hopebloomsindarkness.wordpress.com, I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, and I heartily accept! I appreciate the nomination very much! I also appreciate all the people who spend time on my blog. You encourage me to write as the Holy Spirit leads, and I pray you come away from this blog time after time with a fresh awareness of the Father’s love.

I have to follow some rules governing this blog award. Those who will be nominated must also follow such rules.
Here they are:
First is to accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of post and say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site.
Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.
Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blogsites.
Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.
Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.
Rule number 5 is to answer the questions left for me by the blogger

To fulfill the requirements of the award, here’s some random facts about me:

1. My favorite color is green.
2. I sleep better when it’s storming outside.
3. I have a pet bunny named Monsieur Moustache (to be said with a French accent).
4. I actually enjoy my children, and hardly mind being a single mother, most of the time.
5. I happen to believe I am a princess and am raising a prince and princess who also believe this about themselves.
6. This is not cliché: My favorite thing to read is the Bible, and believe what I read is God actually speaking to me.
7. I’m going to start a revolution for Christ!
8. I hate public swimming pools, but have a hard time swimming in lakes and rivers too because of the things in the water. I only go in either when it’s too hot to stay dry.
9. I hate texting. I would correspond solely through letters if I could find enough willing participants.
10. Hanging my laundry is more of a hobby than a chore.

Here are my answers to the questions set for me….
1. What is the most memorable event in your life?
The night The Lord quieted my broken heart with a promise of everlasting love.

2. Why did you join WordPress?
I love to write and just wanted to use my talents to honor God’s will, which is to be a beacon. Blogging is atleast an avenue to reach people that’s immediately available to me. WordPress got the highest ratings…

3. What is your main Goal in Life?
To make much of Christ, to start a revolution back to the Father’s heart and to spend myself for the Gospel

4. Where would you want to travel the most in the world and why?
Jerusalem … I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk in the path Christ walked literally.

5. What is one of the worst experiences you’ve ever undergone and how did you learn from it?
The worst experience ever was the moment I realized I hated life enough to die. The only thing that kept me here was the guilt of doing harm to myself while pregnant, even though I didn’t want the baby. Her first cry was my redemption. I realized then that sometimes, God uses even our sin to redeem us. I learned not to judge people or their circumstances based on my own knowledge, and to love them enough to reach out in any way I can to demonstrate God’s love, which is ever-present. I also learned that God will put a love in us that we are incapable of if we will let Him.

6. If you had 3 wishes that you could get answered instantly what would you wish for and why?
Spiritual security for my children, ears that only hear God’s voice all the time, and healing for my family

7. Do you believe in God?
I not only believe in the existence of God, I believe in the ability of God.

8. What leisure do you enjoy most?
Sitting next to a river with nothing to do

9. If you could teach me one life lesson, what would it be?
Reading the Bible secures the heart into Someone stable and true.

10. Name one thing you do everyday that without it your day would feel incomplete.
One thing? I would say reading. I just can’t not do it. I’d rather not eat than not read.

11. What one thing you would change about/in the world if you had the power to do it.
I would want the whole world to know the love of God.

Below is a list of bloggers I nominated for the Liebster Award, who will all be notified shortly!

Happy blogging all!

http://www.verticallivingministries.com
http://www.raisingloveblog.wordpress.com
http://www.onethousandsingledays.com
http://www.thebettermanprojects
http://www.youthinrevoltnow.wordpress.com
http://www.findinginnerbeauty.wordpress.com
http://www.colormeabeauty.wordpress.com
http://www.youcanbesaved.wordpress.com
http://www.cristianmihai.net
http://www.brandonandress.com

Setting Things Straight…

Published May 7, 2013 by Dawn

I’ve been meaning to write all this for some time. Well, since Pastor Rob Bell came out that he supports gay marriages. It wasn’t just his support that bothered me so much as the things he said about the church. I’ve been praying about the topic since then, which is I guess my official reason for not putting this out there before. I want to be firm on where I stand and I want to, above all else, represent the Gospel to the best of my ability. I find need to finally write it because I need to clarify things for myself and for anyone who cares to hear me out. I make no apologies.

Let me begin by saying I believe in love. I believe that we are capable of loving all types of people, and I believe you can love someone God did not intend for you to love just as easily as you can love someone God did intend for you to love. Love is an abused emotion, quite superficial and self-seeking this side of Heaven. And because it’s more of a self-serving thing, it’s easy to love almost anyone, because the love is mostly directed toward yourself. Who doesn’t love their own self?

I also believe in love in the sense that God is Love. I believe as equally in unconditional love as I do in the conditional love we tend to serve up. God’s love is unconditional and unquenchable. And I believe that we are capable of this kind of love as well, with the Holy Spirit residing in us. This is the kind of love that possessed Jesus to live 33 years enduring intense trials here on earth, culminating in a criminal’s death on a cross, to ransom the whole of humanity back to God. Dying for people who have always, and still tend to, reject you? That’s some intense love.

Just as surely as God is love, God is also righteousness. This is the part that hurts our carnal selves, because God has standards, and people do not. God did not say to us, “If it feels good, do it. It must be right.” He said, “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. (Genesis 4:7)” That means we are responsible to recognize sin and refuse to let it overcome us. Romans 8:21 puts us all on level ground by saying that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace.” But even that does not give us the license to continue in our sin, because Paul goes on to say that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment…” In other words, Jesus died for your sins, so you are free to admit them, accept His sacrifice and forgiveness, and walk in a newness of life. But if you reject that newness and continue in your sin, you have pridefully rejected God’s will for you.

If I could, I’d reprint the Bible in its entirety so I don’t have to express my thoughts in the absence of God’s whole Word. But since people are more willing to read my little blurb than the Bible, I chose to use the verses I have used to discuss the ongoing conversation surrounding homosexuality and the crisis it brings to the church. While “crisis” may seem like a strong word, I can call this present situation nothing less than that. Homosexuality and how Christians should or should not react became front page news not too long ago, when mega-church Pastor Rob Bell came out in support of gay marriage. Since then, there’s been a firestorm. The LGBT community expects Christians to decide for or against them, and staunchly opposes all those who are against them. But even then, I think that wording is wrong. You see, as a Christian who believes that “all scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)” I have to accept the good, the bad and the ugly. To me, it’s all beautiful because if I let the scripture have it’s way in me, I become more like Christ every day. I believe it’s only bad and ugly when we refuse to let it change us, but then, it’s really not the scripture that’s ugly … it’s us. Therefore, I am not against anyone. The Bible is against sin, and offends those who refuse to submit to the dealings of the Holy Spirit. I must agree with the word of God, whether it is accepted or rejected. If upholding God’s values makes me unpopular, that’s okay. I’ve been unpopular for lesser things. I’m no longer living to please anyone else but my Audience of One, the Lord.

I don’t think anyone who cares to know how God feels about the matter can deny having read Romans 1:26-27, in which Paul distinguishes between natural relationships and unnatural relationships between men and women, and he calls unnatural relationships “shameful lusts.” Of course, I don’t have to do an extensive elaboration on what the Bible says about homosexuality. We all know God does not condone it. Did He tell us to avoid those who practice it like the plague? No. This is where the church is wrong. Did He tell us to rejoice in their lifestyle? No. This is also where the church is wrong. How do we reconcile these two things? By accepting the person without accepting the sin. Which means Christians can love people who sin just as Christ did, without condoning the sin. He didn’t shame the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t condemn her. But he didn’t approve of her sin, and she knew that. He didn’t shove it down her throat. He just let her know where he stood on the matter and he didn’t change his mind to make her happy. It was up to her to accept that in her relationship with Christ.

With all of that being said, let me now remark on the article that came out in the Huffington Post regarding Bell’s recent comments on homosexuality and the church:

“In response to a question regarding same-sex marriage, Bell said, ‘I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.’”

Jesus didn’t affirm people wherever they were. He said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, “ … Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more. (John 8:11)” Not “go and continue on in whatever you think is right, or whatever works for you.” He wasn’t afraid to call her actions sin, and he made no apologies for speaking truth to her. He left her with a pretty heavy decision. For her to “go and sin no more,” she was going to have to walk away from a relationship that didn’t please the Lord. Surely this hurt her, and my heart aches for her pain. I too have been confronted by God about things in my life that displease Him, and have been torn away from things I would have liked to hold on to. But the decision to become closer to Him meant I had to let go of the sin that separates me from Him.

“[Bell] said, ‘I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told “we’re gonna change the thing” and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people.’”

The Bible says, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that lead to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)” Mr. Bell, I don’t think it has anything to do with politics. Jesus created that subculture, and even turned away a lot of people by saying things that made people uncomfortable and challenged their way of living. And I don’t think that subculture is dying. It’s been around for over two thousand years. It may be quiet right now, but just as fervently as some pray that it dies out all together, I am praying that those following the narrow path will rise up to challenge this false word that’s going out.

“’…And i think that when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or you adapt. And if you adapt, it means you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.’”

Frankly, I don’t think there’s been enough noise. I think those who know the truth that sets men free have been way quieter than they should have been, and that’s how the world got in this present mess. Contrary to popular belief, Jesus himself said he didn’t come to bring peace. “For I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)” Jesus wasn’t willing to leave people in their sin. He loves everyone, but His love is so great that He’s not willing to appease the masses by saying that sin is okay. Some things displease God and those things, if we desire salvation, must be acknowledged and submitted to God. God wasn’t looking for superficial “loving and compassionate people,” because the kind of love you are talking about hinges on whether or not God approves, or His bride (the church) approves people. That’s conditional. If love and compassion have to be bought, what kind of love and compassion can it possibly be and how much worth my returned affection is it? I love people, regardless of their sin. The Bible approves this, because the Lord did this also, remember? “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)” But Christ didn’t die to leave us in our sin, but to bring us up out of it, if we will let Him. I love people, regardless of their sin, but I love people way too much to waiver in my faith for their vanity. I love people to the extent that I am willing to lose their goodwill by being honest with them.

*scriptures taken from the New International Version

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-carey/rob-bell-comes-gay-marriage_b_2898394.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false 3-18-13 By Greg Carey

Some Christians Have Absolutely No Common Sense!

Published May 4, 2013 by Dawn

We’ve been hearing it for months. As one man in our congregation appears to suffer more and more each week from the effects of cancer, he continues to proclaim his healing. God spoke it, he keeps saying, and he and his family keep talking about this healing even though you can obviously tell that cancer is winning inside of him. I felt led to take the day off work today, and shortly after waking up, got a text that he was in the hospital and the doctors had given him his death sentence: he has days to live. Immediately, I knew why I had taken the day off work. I had to be there for the family, to pray with and encourage my sisters and brothers in Christ through this horrible trying of their faith.

My prayer was that God would help them to have a whole faith. A faith that acknowledges God’s sovereignty regardless of the outcome. A faith that acknowledges His divine will in the face of desperate circumstances. I know that they had received a promise from God. I had no doubt of it. But professing it with your mouth is one thing; believing it in your heart is quite another.

When I arrived, I spent time with the family, being careful to speak softly as he drifted in and out of sleep. He was heavily medicated and I didn’t want to disturb him. I was also careful to only encourage with the help of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t want to say anything that I was not led to say for fear that I would instill hope in a hopeless situation. Not that I felt the situation was hopeless. I just had yet to hear God speak definitely to me regarding his situation. It was painful to stand there and listen to his family speak with such surety of his divine healing when inside me was so much uncertainty. I believed God was able and even willing. It just hadn’t come and this faithful man was on his deathbed.

Over the course of the next hour, his situation got worse quickly, until his wife was told to decide how to proceed should he be put on dialysis and not regain consciousness. As my pastor did his best to discuss the situation and the impending decision, I watched his son and daughter, and his wife, wrestle with the pain of facing death with him. And when my pastor said to him, “Of course, we believe that God can heal. If the time comes when the doctors say there is truly nothing more that can be done, what do you want to do? Do you want to be put on dialysis and risk your wife having to make the decision to take you off if you don’t recover, or do you want them to let you go without further resuscitative measures?” The man was silent, and his wife stood next to him gripping his hand and kissing it, tears streaming down her face. His son sat beside him overwhelmed with emotion, and his daughter cried silently while holding on to his arm. Then he looked at his wife and said, “You know what I would want, but it’s not going to come to that.” And he looked my pastor right in the eye and told him, “I will be healed.”

It was at that moment that I recognized the battle taking place. This family had stood solidly on this promise for so long, proclaiming his healing even when all evidence pointed to the contrary. It reminded me of Abraham, who walked up Mount Moriah holding the hand of a curious Isaac and then proceeded to bind him and place him on the altar, still holding out hope that God would provide the ram. He was brought to the point of almost driving the knife before God came through. Abraham stood on a promise that he would become the father of many through this son, even though his immediate situation spoke death for Isaac. When I watched this man, through short painstaking breaths, proclaim again his healing even while the nurses prepped him for what seemed inevitable, I was so encouraged. I was witnessing a show-down between he and Satan, and he adamantly refused to even entertain the thought that he might die. He was very convinced of his healing. And when he said it, I felt in my spirit the “I know.” What he had been saying all along finally bore witness in my spirit. Not that he needed it or that my witness had any bearings on his healing. He was going to receive it whether anyone else believed or not. It’s just nice to feel confident about God’s will when you are praying, I guess. Especially in such seeming direness.

After this amazing fight of faith, in which God brought this man to the ultimate point of either belief or surrender, those of us in the room were moved by the spirit to pray and so, in the middle of a busy and very full MICU, we rushed the throne room of God to plead for his restoration. Then, those but the immediate family left the room, and I had to head back home. All the way home, this thought tumbled around in my head: Some Christians have no common sense.

It’s a family trait, I think. I mean, Jesus had no common sense either. Common sense would have told him that you can’t walk on water. Common sense would have told him not to spit in someone’s eye to heal them of blindness. Common sense would have said that Lazarus had been dead way too long to experience any type of healing. Common sense would have said water does not just turn into wine. Common sense would have told him not to speak to crazy men in a graveyard as if they were demon-possessed. Common sense would have said that paralyzed men don’t just get up and carry their mats home. Common sense would have said that leprosy is an incurable and deadly disease. Common sense would have scoffed at the idea of being put through such horrific beatings, being nailed to a cross and thinking that a couple days later, you’d walk out in a new body. Common sense would vehemently opposed the idea of resurrection and eternal life. And I know it’s a family trait because even before Christ, common sense was missing. Common sense would have told Abraham that there’s no way God would test his faith by telling him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Common sense would have told Moses raging rivers do not part, and water does not come from rocks, nor does manna rain from the sky. Common sense would have told Joshua that walls do not fall by walking around them for a week. Common sense would have told Ruth there was no hope for a happily ever after, and Esther would not have dared hope that the king would notice her, a Jewish teenager. Common sense would have told David there was no way a couple stones would be able to beat the champion giant of the Philistines. And I can just imagine what common sense would have said to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego … or Daniel, who faced a den of hungry lions for defying the king’s edict. Yes, as I read through the scriptures it is quite evident that some believers lack common sense. And thank God for that!

It seems that sometimes, the greatest enemy of a promise from God is common sense. Thank you, Father, for giving us faith to defy what is common, and thank you that when we do, you work amazing miracles among us.

I called someone who was still at the hospital a few hours later and was told that he is doing much better than they expected. The nurses can’t explain it. But while many there are baffled, there’s a few that simply expected this all along. I can’t wait until he comes home with a complete healing, a wonderful anointing for the calling God has placed on him, and faith that defies logic and common sense!

Instant in Season and Out

Published May 3, 2013 by Dawn

Today was National Day of Prayer, and so, after working my ten hours, I hurriedly picked up the kids and headed back to Farmington so we could participate in the corporate worship and prayer that took place all across the United States. Even though rain rolled in about an hour before, I was determined to go. I felt like if the devil was going to such lengths to keep people away, then the Spirit of God had a master plan for the night and I wanted to be a part of it. Little did I realize just how much a part of it I was going to be …

Because of the rain, they held the prayer inside the Annex building across from the courthouse. Usually, it’s out front of the courthouse lawn. I took my umbrella, so I was completely undeterred either way. We were directed to the third floor, whereupon I found my pastor. After greeting me he told me that the man assigned specifically to pray for the youth, schools and teachers across America wasn’t able to make it and would I be willing to fill in? I had just prayed this morning and committed to God that I would confidently walk through whatever doors he opened for me, and seeing an open door, I had to be obedient. My pastor then jokingly reminded me that we are called to be instant in season and out of season. I immediately thought about my hair …

You see, I just got my hair cut last weekend, and I really do not know exactly how to fix this hair or what I want it to look like. I’m not hair-savvy, and even if I was, I didn’t have time to be this morning. I went to work today with the worst possible hair-do on the face of the earth and I only did it because I really did not have time to mess with it. Of course, I was ashamed of myself, but what could I do? I couldn’t be late for work over my hair, so I threw it up into two small pony tails, one right behind each ear and accentuated the look with my cutest pair of earrings. It worked because I took the time to apply mascara and eyeliner, so I didn’t look half bad. But ten hours of work later, I wasn’t looking as wonderful as I did this morning. I was looking tired and my eyeliner had faded and the rain had caused my hair to have more body than I intended it to have. It was looking exceptionally awful. And the Lord used this opportunity to teach me this lesson: be instant in season and out of season.

How? Because although I neglected my hair today and stood up before a crowd of strangers looking the worst I possibly could, I have not been neglecting my spirit. God used my obedience in fasting to prepare me spiritually for this opportunity. Most immediately, I noticed that I was confident that The Holy Spirit would speak through me. I was already yielded to Him. And when I stood up there looking so horrible in front of all those people, I wasn’t even remotely afraid of their opinions, which I normally would have been, because I just knew I was about my Father’s business. I had a confidence in Him too. And then, we I began to pray, I was for once, so unaware of the audience around me because I was already in communion with the Lord. We were simply continuing a conversation we’ve been having for a while. I was prepared because I had prepared my spirit by deepening my communion with God over the past few weeks. And now I realize that it’s not about knowing more things, this being “instant”, it’s about knowing God more. There is no reason to fear God’s will and what it may require of you of you are walking next to Him. Thank you, Lord, for preparing me and using me tonight. I am honored to be your vessel … please just next time tell me to fix my hair nice beforehand!