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All posts for the month June, 2014

And Don’t Forget the Door Frames!

Published June 30, 2014 by Dawn

When the kids are away, I do things I wouldn’t normally do. Like clean the window frames. And the door frames.

It all started in the bathroom. I was scrubbing the bathroom floor and when I got done, I was still in a cleaning mood. So I poured out the nasty water, refilled the bowl with water and cleaner, and moved to the window in the kitchen. There was really no thought process going on. I was just bored and with nothing better to do, I decided to deep clean my house. So I washed the window frame, and when I saw how spectacularly white the frame looked when I was finished, I was compelled to move to the window in the laundry room. And so on throughout the house I went, cleaning the window frames until all but the ones in my kids’ rooms were spotless. But still, I was in that mood and the frames were done. So I decided to wash the door frames. Emptied the dirty water, filled up with fresh and moved back to the kitchen to wash the door frame. It amazed me at how much dirt and grime there was, and how easily it came off with a little elbow grease (Hey Mom, I finally found the elbow grease!). I was halfway through with the doorframes when this thought hit me: “Why do the door frames? It’s not like anyone walks in to a house and says, “Wow! Your doorframes are magnificently clean!” After much thought, I answered that stupid question with this: “it matters to me that I clean my house entirely this week, and so, that includes the window and door frames. And after that, I will even clean the walls and baseboards. Because I want my house to be thoroughly clean.”

In the same sense, there are places in our lives that don’t necessarily have to be cleaned in order for us to convince people that we have become new creations in Christ. A little dirt here and there simply shows that we are living human beings, right? I mean, that’s my justification for a little mess in my home; we live here! But there is something intrinsically satisfying about cleaning all those places anyway. First, there is the pleasure of a Husband who sees our window frames more often than others, and appreciates that we love our house enough to clean them. There is also the deep satisfaction of knowing we have cleaned the WHOLE house, not just fooled our guests into believing it is clean. And then there’s this new smell that cleaning leaves behind. It’s a freshness that is so enjoyable. All because we decided to clean up in places we don’t normally touch.

Like cleaning house, we sometimes have to through out dirty water and renew it for the job to be worthwhile and complete. So it’s okay to take a break in life, soak up some Holy Spirit and be renewed, and allow His fresh water to fill you up and cleanse you. Remind Him of His access into the deep, dark, dirty places in your heart and mind and ask Him to clean up the places as you surrender to Him. And don’t forget the window and door frames!

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What Manner of Love is This?

Published June 30, 2014 by Dawn

I’m … ashamed. And appalled. I’m … speechless. I don’t belong here. This dress. This white. This isn’t me. This is not me. I don’t deserve this dress. This beauty. Your attention and affection. I don’t deserve to be here. I have – don’t you know what I’ve done? Don’t you remember where you found me? What I was doing? You caught me in the act! How can you love me still? How can you bring me home again? How can you dress me like this, when I have trampled on the covenant between us? I’m so unworthy. I can’t – I can’t accept your forgiveness and love. I don’t deserve it. I’m so unworthy.

I was sitting at the foot of my Lord. My Husband. My king. Pouring out my heart. My guilt. Dressed in a beautiful white gown that covered me completely. I was dressed in white. I looked stunning. And he was sitting next to me, looking at me with such compassion, watching my tears fall and listening to my anguished cries. His eyes penetrated me. I felt bare before him, and oh so vulnerable. And so filthy. Wearing white. My eyes were on the floor, unable to look up into the face of the man I had betrayed. I loved him still. More, I think, than I had ever before. Relieved to see him again, but very aware that I didn’t deserve him. He is so much better than I am. I was so broken before him.

Then, I felt him gently touch my chin and lift my face to his. He said, “Sing to me.” He’d always loved to hear me sing. So I began to sing. I sang so fervently, willing my words to embrace him the way I wished I could just reach out and embrace him. I missed him in all my wanderings. I missed him severely. Now unworthy to love him, I yearned for him, and sang from a place of grief and desire I’d never known. As I sang, His eyes held my face. He’s so gorgeous. My heart leapt. Then he stood, and reaching out his hand, gently helped me to my feet. And began to softly sway. My heart raced. We were dancing again. Oh, how I love to dance with him! I sang another song, and he held me tenderly while we danced. I nuzzled my face into the crook of his neck and breathed him in. My love! This man! Lord, you are so delightful.

It occurred to me as I sang and he held me and we danced, that he never once mentioned my adulterous idolatry. What manner of love is this?!

5 Theological Errors Made in the “Prosperity Gospel”

Published June 12, 2014 by Dawn

LifeCoach4God

Unknown

Errors of the Prosperity Gospel by David W. Jones

A century ago, speaking to the then-largest congregation in all Christendom, Charles Spurgeon said,

I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, “Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?” You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.[1]

Over the years, however, the message being preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed—indeed, a new gospel is being taught to many congregations today. This gospel has been ascribed many names, such as the “name it and claim it” gospel, the “blab it and grab it” gospel, the…

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Another Pentecost

Published June 8, 2014 by Dawn

Peter walked briskly through the dusty road, his hands loosely swinging by his sides. His pace let everyone around him know his was on a mission and soon, there were several following his lead. They’d seen the look of determination on his face before and knew exactly where he was going: the upper room.

Peter swatted at the fly darting annoyingly at his face, and whispered to himself, “Jesus.” He immediately felt the aggravation melt away, but his attention caught the edge of Mary’s flitting skirt and his muscles tensed with that familiar ache. He forced his face forward and whispered again, “Jesus.” He walked faster, watching his feet move through the street to avoid the constant distractions. Then a scream pulled him from his concentration and he looked up just in time to avoid the donkey barreling toward him, dragging its harried owner. Peter breathed hugely and whispered, “Jesus.”

By the time Peter made it to the upper room, he’d endured a solid hour of temptation and distraction. The name of Jesus had become like the pulse of his heart, gushing from his lips. Never had he felt so attacked … or determined. He settled himself near the window in the upper room and closed his eyes as others trickled in. They whispered in wonder, and he continued to press in despite the hissing noise that was trying to tear him away. “Jesus.”

He’d been up for hours now, unable to sleep. Finally, he responded to the Spirit calling him and he went to the upper room. Although everyone was wondering why he was there and if he had something to share, he kept his eyes closed and his mind on Christ. Eventually, they all followed suit and began to pray with him. Their eyes were no longer on Peter, no longer on each other. Like a mantra, they whispered throughout the room, “Jesus.” Time lost all meaning, and Jesus was now on their lips, now on their hearts and minds. Then suddenly, Peter felt the wind began to blow gently and peace descended on him. As the breeze picked up, he felt the strangest mixture of heaviness and lightness all at once. He opened his mouth to breathe deeply, and after one huge inhale, words began to spill forth. Strange words. Words he had never heard before, but felt from the depths of his stomach came rushing out of his mouth, accompanied by the greatest power he’d ever felt. It reminded him of Jesus.

The room erupted. Noise came from every corner. Peter opened his eyes to see fire hovering above the heads of his friends and family, and incoherence spilling from their mouths. Still the power coursed through him and he lifted his hands and refocused his mind on Jesus. Before long, he heard a huge commotion in the streets below. He looked out the window and was greeted by a thousand astonished faces. Some were snickering, some snarling, but many were simply perplexed. He heard one say, “They’re all drunk!” And those around him laughed. Suddenly, fire filled Peter’s heart and a flame touched his lips, and he leaned out the window and said loudly, “Men and women of Jerusalem! These men are not drunk as you suppose! They are filled with the Spirit of God!” The crowd instantly fell silent, listening intently to the melodic sounds coming from the upper chamber. Then one shouted jubilantly in Greek, “I know that language! It is my own!” And others throughout the crowd, who’d only journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, shouted in their language as they recognized their words spilling forth from men and women of Galilee and Nazareth. And within minutes, a great throng of people heard about Christ for the first time, in their own language and from the mouths of everyday townspeople! Peter, pulsing with the power of the Holy Spirit, became animated and began to describe emphatically the life and death of Jesus, refute the accusations and lies of the Pharisees, and proclaim Christ to the multitude. When he was finished, many walked away with something to think about. But three thousand gave their hearts to Christ, repented of their sins and were headed for the Jordan to be baptized!

**************

This is fiction, I know, but it’s on my heart today. Today is the anniversary of Pentecost. Happy birthday, church!

One thing I noticed about the church, though, is the way it’s changed over the years. It all started out as a gathering of prayer. Check out Acts. It was all about gathering with fellow believers and praying. The evangelism was a small part of the church. The prayer was as common as breathing itself. The men and women who began what we call church today were men and women without titles, without degrees, and without any other motive in gathering but to pray, exhort and encourage one another. They weren’t the most prestigious in the community, and they weren’t the pageant winners. They were the hungry, yearning for something more than what the Pharisees were doing in the synagogues.

Poor Jesus. He used to be the focus. He used to be the purpose of the church. Without realizing it, church has become so much more than it’s humble beginnings, and because of that, so much less. Miracles are no longer common occurrences, the anointing is so faint we can barely recognize it, and when we do get a healthy dose of the Spirit, we are so uncomfortable, we shut Him down and toss Him out quick so we don’t lose anyone. It seems we’d rather come in and go through the motions than wait on him in a very vulnerable, humble atmosphere of prayer. Are you still wondering why the church is incredibly ineffective in today’s society? Could it possibly be that instead of pressing in to know God and hear His heart for the world, we push in to the pews, settle our bums there and listen for the “in closing …” announcement of the pastor. Do you really think Satan would have a fighting chance in a society that has decided to pursue Christ alone? Peter saw three thousand saved one day and five thousand the next. We aren’t lacking the numbers, church. There are just as many unsaved sitting in our churches, and billions more who don’t bother with church at all. If this is war, we are the laziest, most selfish soldiers who ever enlisted.

Oh, the truth hurts so much. I’m not pointing fingers, for sure. I’m just as guilty. But for once, I’m suffering from some major motion sickness. As much as I love the gathering, the praise and worship, and the encouraging and uplifting message, I’d trade it all for some heavy anointing and glory to the degree that the only thing I can do is lay prostrate at His feet while He cleanses me, restores me and fills me up to overflowing. I’d like to be so full of the Spirit, I change the world without saying much of anything. Simply being here, walking among the hurt and the lost, and dripping the condensed power of God all over their circumstances. Not because of who I am, but because of who He is in me. Peter’s shadow healed people! Renew your works in our days, Lord!

What’s it going to take? I could be wrong, and realize an opinion isn’t worth much, but here’s mine: It’s going to take some people who are willing to admit that what we are doing isn’t working all that well. Sure, it’s cool, and it’s good for us. The Pharisees thought what they were doing was also cool and good for everyone. But was it powerful?

In closing, I’d like to say this: we all keep talking about revival and we are yearning for something more. I just wonder, what will it take for us to humble ourselves? Will it really take catastrophic events, or is it as simple as the church coming together to seek His face. Not just talk about how it’s the best thing we can do, but really doing it. Calling off the masquerade, dropping our masks and getting real with God. Losing our self-righteous veneer and getting real with each other. Humbling ourselves, repenting and turning away from the sin that we are steeped in, and seeking His face. This is how we take America back, church. Not with another program, but with another Pentecost.

The Faith of a Woman

Published June 6, 2014 by Dawn

Faith in your Husband – my latest lesson from the Holy Spirit. I know, it seems weird that a young single woman is delving into marital discussions, but bear with me. This is, in fact, the truth lately revealed to me. Although I have never been married in this realm, I am spiritually wed to the Lord, and learn more of marriage with Him everyday. When I quieted myself with Him this evening, He spoke to me concerning the faith of a wife in her Husband, and how that affects a relationship.

A man goes to great lengths for the woman he loves. Adam subjugated his authority for Eve. Jacob worked 14 years for Rachel. Abraham sent away his firstborn for Sarah. David committed murder for Bathsheba. Joseph lost his reputation for Mary. Good or bad, men do crazy things for love. Men love to prove themselves to women. And after the marriage, there’s plenty of ways to continue proving himself. There’s fatherhood, where he becomes the hero to his son and the love of his daughter’s life. There’s daily needs requiring sustenance and finances. There’s the need for strength when loved ones are feeling weak. A man has many roles to fill within a family, and he is up to the task … as long as he has one thing: the faith of a woman.

When needs arise in a family, there are two components that must go hand-in-hand: the confident strength of a man and the faith of a woman. You see, a man can do anything with a woman behind him who believes in him. He will try harder than ever to not fail, when his wife believes in him. He will rise to any occasion, as Proverbs tell us, “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” Usually, what a man thinks in his heart is what a woman has professed with her mouth. So it is important that a woman professes her belief in his ability and strength to conquer. Because in the deepest part of his heart, he is Superman and he’s got this! And with her faith behind him, he is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and all that jazz.

In reality, we know that sometimes, failing still happens, but it isn’t for lack of trying. When the woman he loves believes in him, a man will do whatever he can to succeed for her.

I learned all this in conversation with God tonight because this is something of the Father. We are made in His image and His likeness and this is a characteristic He purposefully put into the heart of man. This truth is also a spiritual reality. God, as our Husband, will rise to the occasion of our faith. Jesus tells us if we would just believe, the Father will give us what we ask for in prayer. Now, I don’t fully understand this truth, because I have seen people with immense faith not receive healings, and I have seen people struggle with need in spite of their prayers. I think God is doing something greater than what we understand with our finite minds. But I do believe that this evening, the Lord spoke to me of faith, and how powerful it is in moving the heart of God and creating an atmosphere of miracles. When the roar of our faith reaches His ears and He looks down to see our expectant faces, something rises up in Him and He becomes a warrior on our behalf. He desires to be the hero we know in our hearts He is. He becomes crazy in love with us in turn, and does His best just because we know He can. He’s a husband, after all. Conversely, when we struggle to believe in His ability and willingness to provide and support us, we hinder His work on our behalf. It is important that we believe in Him and His ability, and tell Him so. He loves to hear it, after all.

A godly wife believes in her husband, and spurs him on by her faith in him. The bride of Christ believes in her Husband and spurs Him on by her faith in Him. Oh the blessed marriage we find ourselves in!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Published June 4, 2014 by Dawn

I have been working with a nonverbal autistic student for two years, and the experience has been quite the enigma. Some days were the hardest days of my life, while others were rewarding and deeply satisfying, both spiritually and emotionally. I have also learned some of my greatest lessons while working with her. Such as how to love someone who attacks you everyday, how to hold in things and hold back when you’d rather respond or react. I have learned how to act in wisdom instead of in the flesh. All of these truths are priceless to me in my walk with the Lord as He molds me, and I feel very blessed to have learned them, even though they came at a high price. A painful price. A terrible price. But a necessary cost to become more like Christ.

The lesson that has been heavily on my heart the last few days, however, is one I learned within my first six months working with her. A violent six months; she literally beat me up everyday. When I took over as her para because she was moving up into the high school, I was introduced to her and given the practical instructions of working with her. Mind you, I don’t have experience in special education. It was just my job. You know, the necessary thing you only do because you feel the need to eat. In truth, this job is so far from the dreams in my heart, being there is a constant act of submission. I know God put me there. I struggle most days.

Anyway, back to the lesson. She was beating me up everyday, and I couldn’t for the life of my figure out why. Then it happened one day: someone asked me how my day was going, seeing my haggard look, and I began to tell them how awful she was being and I looked over at her to relay my exasperation, only to catch her rolling her eyes and snarling at me. And like a fist to the face, it hit me: I have disrespected her everyday since the beginning by talking about her like she’s not even there.

I had taken the cue from her former para, been told her mentality was that of a toddler, and completely disregarded the person stuck inside her disorder. I had discussed her dysfunction everyday with coworkers like we were sharing recipes, right in front of her with no regard to her feelings. No wonder she was beating me up everyday! She couldn’t stand me! If someone was walking on my heart everyday, I’d react in much the same way.

From the day on, I have kept a proverbial hand over my mouth and treated this girl like a person capable of understanding and feelings, and the behaviors have become so minimal, when they happen, I am completely caught off guard. Not to mention that the really extreme behaviors such as head butting and screaming have stopped completely. This poor girl has put up with rude people her entire life acting like she’s stupid. Clearly, she is anything but.

I’ve been thinking about this life lesson in relation to how we treat God. How we talk about Him like He’s not in the room. How we disrespect Him like we disrespect others when we talk behind their backs, hoping they never find out. I’m so convicted. How about the mockery we make of His timing when we’re unhappy with the way He’s handling things? Or the hateful things we say when we don’t understand what He’s doing? Or the way we question His authority in the affairs of this life? I’m not too proud to admit I’m guilty. In fact, I’m not proud at all. I’m deeply ashamed at the way I treat my Father. The way I treat my Husband. The way I treat my Best Friend. I’ve spent the last year of my life straining to hear His voice and I wonder, would I hear more of Him if I disrespected Him less? If I held my tongue and loved Him enough to trust Him with my life?

Jesus, I’m sorry.