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Archive for May, 2013

I’ve always assumed that anything I learned or otherwise experienced of a Divine nature was from God.  I keep reading people’s descriptions of feeling or knowing things via the Holy Spirit, though…  but how can they, or anyone, tell which facet of the Divine they’re encountering?  I haven’t seen anything that demonstrates to me that the Holy Spirit even exists, so the jury is still out on that one as far as I’m concerned, but let’s say it DOES exist;  what is its nature?  How does it feel or sound different than God?  Do the Holy Spirit and God divide up tasks in a consistent way?  I ask God to bring me some enlightenment in this area.

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I’ve been certain for ages that God wants me to go to seminary, and to minister in prisons.  As I’m sure is the case for most people, I didn’t know anyone with any connection to these things…  or so I thought.  I mentioned to the N-friend about seminary, and she told me that she has a niece who went to a seminary that she really loved in a neighboring state!!  I’ve asked her to get me some info about that so I can make a contact that will help me get local “spiritual help.”  That felt like a confirmation of what God wanted.  And then on 5-24 I got an email back from the K-friend, who I’d just told about the prison ministry thing, in which she said:

“I used to teach meditation at a men’s prison. I also used to bring 12 step meetings into the women’s prison and even sponsored a woman for a couple years behind bars. There’s nothing quite like being shut up in a room, alone, with a bunch of felons for the first time. Then it becomes perfectly natural. Some of my most gratifying experiences have been with prisoners. I’ve also been working on a creative writing program for prisoners; I just haven’t had time to launch it yet. I think you will love this work.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No one can tell me that people in my life (and I don’t have a big group of intimates) having a connection to seminary and experience working with PRISONERS, and never mentioning it until *I* needed guidance to pursue these things, can be accidental or coincidental;  this is God showing me how to start moving towards my goal by giving me people to talk to who can help me.

What prompted me to tell the N-friend about seminary (on 2-7-13)?  Feeling the first need to reach out to others when it looked like the D-friend might be pulling a disappearing act. What prompted me to contact the K-friend, who I hadn’t been corresponding with in a while, and try to draw her back into the meaningful zone of my life?  The D-friend sending me a kiss-off email.  This also led to me emailing some other friends that I’d stopped struggling to keep in contact with, and we’ve had some amazing “reunions” (in quotes because we haven’t seen each other, just talked on the phone, as they don’t live nearby).  I’ll need these friends restored to closeness for support for seminary and beyond, and to help me with all areas of my personal relations so I won’t get too dependent on 1-2 people again.

And, it has led to my roommate and I having another big leap towards recovering the fullness of our relationship, because he was so disgusted with her behavior that he felt some actual sympathy (of which he frankly has very little in his personality) and reached out enough to meet me almost halfway…  AND, he has now declared his intention to get my mother’s house ready for rental once the school year is over, which will certainly be nice after how long I’ve been waiting.

And…  this “severance” will also benefit me on several levels with the most important person in my life, whose return is feeling closer all the time.  In fact, my biggest concern about how we’d ever be back together was how SHE would react, and how I could make it ok for HER.

AND, it’s made me aware of how the D-friend was, as described non-coincidentally in JO’s sermon from 4-22, “Taking control of your happiness,” which was the last one broadcast before that kiss-off email came, a controller, a manipulator, someone who could not be made happy no matter how much I did for her, unless I was also giving her total control of my life.  When I saw that sermon, I immediately saw that it was a message about her, and I tried to talk myself out of it, because I was still hoping for things to work out the easy way…  but God doesn’t do things the easy way, He does them the RIGHT way, and for me to be emotionally dependent and yanked around by someone like that when I’m meant to LEAD, not follow, and when He simply does not want me to be treated with contempt, would keep me in a subservient, noxious situation which would prevent me from being and giving my best.  I had long since been pondering how I’d have to keep my seminary and ministry involvement, by far the biggest things I’ll ever do, SECRET from her to keep her from trying to dictate how I do them;  this should have been a BIG CLUE to me, and seen as part of the overall pattern of having to tailor my life to suit her as described in the previous paragraph, but since it wasn’t God stepped in to fix it.

That’s a ton of major benefits from ONE kiss-off letter!!  God is very efficient;  I’ve seen over and over how He tends to take a small action that creates ripples like a stone thrown into a pond, becoming a far bigger effect than one would have imagined.  And there may be more to come.  What’s certain is that this will cause me to end up far beyond where I’d have been had it not happened;  God’s blessings are astonishing.

Edit early 5-26:  Something I’ve loved the thought of for a long time is having a little herd of goats.  I had the urge to track down another long-lost friend, and discovered that she has…  guess what?!!  There’s ZERO doubt that God has arranged for me to get back together with these people!!

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(A sign is a clue about what God is doing or, much more commonly, intends to do, and a message is information that He gives us to teach or guide us.)

God DOES give us messages and signs;  JO always says so, and besides that it’s always been overwhelmingly obvious to me.  What’s less obvious is where that line is between a clear sign and wishful thinking, between a message and a random oddity or a coincidence. Here’s are 2 such gray areas for the past few days.

1)  I have had several comments from a visitor who has been falsely accused and is enduring great pain and distress from it.  I have been falsely accused recently too, so I have felt great empathy as well as sympathy;  it had a faint feeling of connection, too.  My new friend posted today that 5-23 is for some reason the date by which something needs to be done.  I will be seeing the primary people who MIGHT assist me today, 5-22, and I don’t know how long it will be before I see them again;  so, in my case, my “justice,” if it’s to come any time in the forseeable future, will also have to come by the 23rd.  Is this a sign that God will be settling this now, a message that I need to wait in faith as I have advised the commenter to do, or a coincidence?  I’m not much of a believer in coincidence.  This is the sort of thing that SEEMS like a sign, but I have to leave room for it to be a message, too;  I’ll know more later today.  Edit early 5-23:  neither one of us got our solution within the “deadline.”  So, it was a message, then, and our parallel situations still feel like a sign for the future;  time will tell.

2)  JO’s most recent sermon (I’m still working on it as I type this) was about keeping something in front of you to encourage your faith in the things you’re hoping for.  Many New Age and metaphysical paths advise keeping an image of what you want where you’ll keep seeing it (aka vision boards) to draw it into your life.  I have a stack of images in a place where I see them a bunch of times each day.  The topmost images for months now has been one of an outdoor furniture set made of ornately formed metal, which I saved because of the unusual color of the cushions;  I never had any thought of or desire to get this sort of furniture…  until a few days ago when my next-door neighbor put a set out on their front lawn with a “FREE” sign on it.  It was good-looking, and it’s pricey stuff, so we grabbed it.  Is this a sign that something that I’m strongly hoping for, that I already have a visual aid in place for, will come to me, or is more likely to do so, because of that visual aid?  Or a message that the New Agers are right, and that looking at images can draw things to you?  Or is it totally unrelated, just with odd timing?

And finally, something that God handled for me:  I’ve been having trouble for many months getting my account working on a site I get work from;  I’d used every trick I know to get around their efforts to prevent anyone from actually contacting them, used every email addy and phone # I could find to try to get help, but no dice.  And then, an hour ago, I suddenly got a boilerplate “we haven’t seen you in a while, come back” email from them, with a link to click to verify that I still want to do their work!!  This was certainly not the path back to functionality that I’d envisioned, but that’s how God works;  He always has another way, an unimagined, unexpected way.  I’m so grateful to have this handled!!

And is this a sign of other long-standing issues getting ready to be handled by God?  Time will tell.

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In “Pink cross, prisoner of hope” from 11-25-12, I described finding this image:

This is SO me!!

and wishing that my 1st cross would look like this one.  I eventually found it here:

amazon.com/Pendant-Necklace-Designer-Fashion-Jewelry/dp/B009V6103A/

and today it arrived.  It’s MUCH smaller than the pic, of course, but the idea was to have a cross that was very pretty and totally “me” but appropriate for something OTHER than a Vegas show, so the “real deal” is just perfect.

I don’t know if God was involved in that one, although He might well have been, by prompting me to seek it out rather than just thinking about it, but I credit Him fully with THIS one:  I sign up for a ton of contests and giveaways, so I get a ton of goodies.  One thing that has consistently eluded me is nail polish.  Every time it was offered, it was at the wrong time and I missed it, the site crashed and I never got through, SOMETHING, and we’re talking about YEARS of trying.  Once, I thought I had it, an allegedly pomegranate red shade from the company that makes that juice…  but when the package came they had substituted a plastic bracelet in that color instead.  Then there was the time I actually GOT a bottle of polish…  that was the exact color of a chocolate milkshake, so hideous as a nail accent (or for anything else on a human body) that only the goth teen I know would take it, and then she never used it.  So, I don’t count that one.  I don’t usually do the “come look at our ad ideas and answer questions for a 1 in a million chance at a prize” things, but I’ll do the occasional fast one for the magazines that send me stuff… and the 1st thing I saw when I hit my inbox Monday was an email informing me that from one of those very questionnaires I’d won a **$100**  gift pack from a major nail products company!!  (And, literally just this second, I refreshed my inbox and got another email from them confirming that they got my address confirmation!!  She gets to work early.)  I don’t know what all will be in this package, I’m sure they’ll feel obligated to send me their latest goofy product, whatever that is, but one thing it’s guaranteed to contain…  NAIL POLISH!!

Edit 6-5:  I got the goodies on 5-31.  It was mostly goofy stuff for much younger women, with ONE bottle of polish…  in a garish orange color I could never use, LOL!!  But THEN, God steered me to a nail polish giveaway yesterday, at a weird time that I normally wouldn’t be able to do, where the shades offered are classics that would all be good, no matter which one they send me, and I’m confirmed to get one…  so the “curse” WILL finally end.

Edit 6-13:  I got it today.  I opened the box…  and there was by far the best of the available polishes!!  No surprise there;  God brought me to a flourishing finish.  Look how hot this polish is (all the spots are because it’s shimmery/sparkly):

 

OPI-Jinx

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from JO’s sermon tonight:

studies tell us that we move toward what we consistently see.  you need to keep something in front of you, even if it’s symbolic, that reminds you of what God has promised.  if you’re single, and have a desire to get married, put an empty photo album on your table at home;  that’s where you’re going to put your wedding pictures.  when you see it, you’re moving toward it.  some of you are not seeing God’s best, not because you don’t have the faith, talent, determination, but because you’re not keeping the right things in front of you.  if you can’t see your vision, you’re not moving toward it. all over your house, you should have pictures up that inspire you, scripture verses that encourage you, mementos that strengthen your faith.  maybe it’s a key on your keyring for the new house you’re going to buy.  somebody asks you, “what’s this extra key for?” “that’s for the house that’s on it’s way.”  whatever you’re believing for, dreaming about, keep something in front of you that reminds you of what God has promised.  when Zerubbabel wanted to rebuild the temple, he laid the foundation, but people came against him and forced him to stop.  the prophet Zechariah said, “go get the headstone (aka capstone),” which was reserved as the final piece of stone for the building. it was symbolic;  it represented the finished product.

why was it important that he keep the headstone in front of him?  because every time he looked at it, it reminded him that God would finish what He started.  do you have your headstone in front of you, something that represents the final piece to your dreams?  when you see something long enough, it gets into your subconscious mind, and eventually drops down into your spirit, where you know that you know it’s going to happen.  maybe you’re believing to have a baby;  why don’t you go buy a baby’s outfit and put it in your closet where you can see it all through the day?  keep your vision in front of you.  you are moving toward what you consistently see.  is there anything that you see every day that reminds you of what you’re believing for, something that inspires you, ignites your faith?

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish

with no vision, you’ll get stuck;  this is the reason many people have lost their passion, they don’t have anything in front of them that reminds them of what God has promised.  if you’re believing to move into a nicer house, find a picture of the house you really want and put it on your bathroom mirror;  let that seed take root.  if you’re believing to go to a certain college, buy the t-shirt and wear it around, get the coffee mug with their logo, put it on the counter.  every time you wear the shirt, see the picture, the baby’s outfit, say, “God, I want to thank You that You’re bringing my dreams to pass.”  let that be a reminder of what God has promised you.  what you keep in front of you, you are moving toward.  don’t have a small vision for your life, you are not inconveniencing God by believing big;  when you believe to do something great, set a new standard for your family, when you take the limits off of God, and say, “I don’t see a way, but I know You have a way, so I’m gonna believe to have these twins, my business, my charity will impact the world, I’m gonna believe to be totally healthy and whole”;  when you believe big like that, you please God.  it doesn’t matter what it looks like in the natural, we serve a supernatural God;  He is not limited by your resources, education, background, nationality.  if you will keep a big vision in front of you, God will not only do what you’re dreaming about, He’ll supersize it;  He’ll do more than you can ask or think.  the way our God is, His dream for your life is bigger than your own dream.

if you will stay in faith, God is going to supersize what you’re believing for.  if you will keep your vision in front of you, a big vision, and not talk yourself out of it, but just keep honoring God, being your best, God is going to supersize what you’re dreaming about.  He’s going to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond.  if you can accomplish your dreams in your own strength, talent, resources, your dreams are too small;  you’ve gotta enlarge your vision.  your destiny is too great, assignment too important, to have little dreams, goals, plans;  keep something big in front of you.  “I can’t even imagine ever doing that, being that blessed”;  don’t worry, you won’t be.  if you don’t have a vision for it, it’s not going to come to pass. some things seem far out, very unlikely;  but don’t ever say, “I can’t imagine that.” you see somebody that’s really fit, energetic, you’re trying to lose some weight, “I can’t even imagine looking like them.”   drive through a nice neighborhood, a beautiful house, “I can’t imagine living in a house like that, owning my own business, publishing a book”;  you are being limited by your own imagination.  you’ve gotta change what you’re seeing, do not let the enemy paint the pictures in your mind, use your imagination to see yourself rising higher, accomplishing your dreams, overcoming obstacles, blessed, prosperous, healthy, strong, redeemed, forgiven, well able.  don’t only have it in your imagination, but keep something in front of you that reminds you of what God has promised.

sometimes your family won’t be your biggest cheerleaders.  they may not encourage you;  you’ve gotta listen to what God’s telling you, and not what people are telling you. people may try to talk you out of what God put in your heart.  when you keep your vision in front of you, that is your faith being released, that’s why the scripture uses such strong language, “where there’s no vision, people perish, your dreams will die.”  if you can’t see what God’s promised you, you will miss the incredible things God wants to do.  maybe you need to lose 30 pounds;  put a picture up on your bathroom mirror of you 30 pounds lighter.  every day when you see it, don’t get depressed, and think, “I wish I still looked like that,” no, “Father I want to thank you that I’m losing this weight, that I’m healthy, fit, in shape, energetic, well-able, attractive.”  let a new image take root.  you may not be healthy right now, but you’ve gotta keep something in front of you that says you will be healthy; put pictures of you up in your house  from a time when you were healthy, scripture verses that encourage you, call your family in another state, tell them you’re planing on coming to see them.  don’t you dare plan on dying, we need you, your family needs you, this world needs you, make plans to live, keep the right vision in front of you.

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

one translation indicates, “they are subject to change”;  anything that doesn’t line up with the vision God placed in your heart, you need to see that as being temporary;  it is subject to change. you may be facing an illness right now;  the good news is, it is subject to change.  God says, “I’m restoring health unto you, the # of your days I will fulfill.”  let that vision take root.  you may be struggling in your finances, in debt, barely making ends meet;  that is subject to change.  God says, “you will lend and not borrow, whatever you touch will prosper and succeed.”   it may look like your dreams could never come to pass, all the odds are against you;  the odds are subject to change.  one touch of God’s favor, and He can take you from the back to the front, from working at the business, to owning your own business, from being given up on by medicine like my mother to being healthy and whole 30 years later.  everything that doesn’t line up with what God put in your heart, see it as subject to change.  that child that’s off course, he’s subject to change.  being lonely is subject to change.  not getting any good breaks, that’s subject to change.  people trying to pull you down, that is subject to change.  see it as temporary.  keep what God has promised you in front of you.  this is what Abraham had to do;  he had to start over, he lost everything he had worked for.  his nephew Lot chose the best part of the land, and he had to move on.  and then:

Genesis 13:14-15 (NIV)

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.

notice the principle;  whatever you can see, God will give it to you.  the reason some people are stuck is that they’ve got their head down, focused on their problems, what didn’t work out, who hurt them;  God is saying, “look up from where you are, don’t sit around depressed, discouraged, get a new vision for your life.”  put some new pictures in front of you.  all that you can see, God says He’ll give it to you.  some of you think that your dream is too big, your difficulties are too great, it’s been too long;  but God is saying, “I’m still on the throne, I’m still going to bring it to pass.”  if you will keep a big vision in front of you, God is going to do something big in your life;  He is gong to release His favor like you’ve never seen before.  what you thought was over and done, God is still going to do.  what looked impossible, like it was over your head, God is going to suddenly cause things to fall into place, giving you the influence, connections, favor, wisdom.  don’t stop believing;  every time you see your vision, you keep thanking God that it’s on its way.  if you will do this, God is going to supersize whatever you’re dreaming about;  it’s going to be bigger than you imagine, He’s gonna take you places you could not go on your own, opening doors that no man can shut.  He’s going to do what medicine cannot do.  you need to get ready;  every dream, promise, goal God’s placed in your heart, it will come to pass, in Jesus’ name.

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Another poem

I heard this one for the first time today, and liked it immediately… and not just because I’ve been waiting in faith for a while now for my dream to come to pass.

 

Not Yet

Sometimes I ask the question,
“My Lord, is this your will?”
It’s then I hear You answer me,
“My anxious Child… be still.”

Sometimes I feel frustrated,
’cause I think I know what’s best.
It’s then I hear you say to me,
“My busy Child… just rest!”

Sometimes I feel so lonely and
I think I’d like a mate.
Your voice comes loud and clear and says,
“My precious Child… please wait!”

“I know the plans I have for you,
The wondrous things you’ll see;
If you can just be patient, Child,
and put your trust in Me.

I’ve plans to draw you closer.
I’ve plans to help your grow.
There’s much I do you cannot see
and much you do not know.

But know this, Child… I LOVE YOU.
You are precious unto Me.
Before I formed you in the womb,
I planned your destiny.

I’ve something very special
I hope for you to learn.
The gifts I wish to give to you
are gifts you cannot earn.

They come without a price tag,
but are not without a cost;
at Calvary, I gave My Son,
so you would not be lost.

Rest, Child, and don’t grow weary
of doing what is good.
I promise I’ll come back for you
just like I said I would.

Your name is written on My palm,
I never could forget;
Therefore, don’t be discouraged
when my answer is… “Not Yet!”

Author Unknown

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A poem from an old book that went back to my mother’s childhood and maybe further kept coming to my mind;  I remembered it as a woman being comforted after her baby dies by realizing that instead of having a sinful life he was safely with God.  I did a search using the bits I remembered, and DID find the poem.  I have no children, and can’t imagine what losing a child feels like.  I hope that anyone who is grieving and finds this post will feel comforted by this:

 

The dead babe

by Eugene Field

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
In agony I knelt and said:
“0 God! what have I done,
Or in what wise offended Thee,
That Thou should’st take away from me
My little son?

“Upon the thousand useless lives,
Upon the guilt that vaunting thrives,
Thy wrath were better spent!
Why should’st Thou take my little son –
Why should’st Thou vent Thy wrath upon
This innocent?”

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
Before mine eyes the vision spread
Of things that might have been:
Licentious riot, cruel strife,
Forgotten prayers, a wasted life
Dark red with sin!

Then, with sweet music in the air,
I saw another vision there:
A Shepherd in whose keep
A little lamb – my little child!
Of worldly wisdom undefiled,
Lay fast asleep!

Last night, as my dear babe lay dead,
In those two messages I read
A wisdom manifest;
And though my arms be childless now,
I am content – to Him I bow
Who knoweth best.

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