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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Does God want us to be rich? Thoughts on the "prosperity gospel", and 7 Days of Heaven Day 2

Tonight, my heart has been a little heavy.  Not much, but I can't help but feel a slight twinge of fear.

I don't like to discuss religious differences. I have found that people often believe things that have been ingrained in them since childhood, and to attempt to tell someone that i don't agree is often futile.

I don't believe in stirring up strife, but I do believe in presenting ideas that make sense to me in a spirit of love.

I see denominations arguing all the time. This one is right. This one is wrong. Fingers point. Hateful words are sputtered. The gospel is largely ignored in the process.

Today, I was thinking of how Jesus dined with sinners. The Pharisees called Him a glutton and tried to use it against Him to make Him look weak.

But He wasn't weak. He knew how souls could come into the His Truth - with simply loving them and taking the time with them.
Jesus did not condone sin. Neither should we. If we see a brother in Christ sinning, it is our responsiblity to pull up a chair and dine with the same spirit of love as Christ and offer them the most brilliant light ever known to man.

I guess the fear part, for me, comes in, when I begin to express what I believe God is showing me...
But, I know that if I can speak what I believe in a spirit of love, then I may have helped someone who has questions....
I once read a phrase....Great people talk about ideas.
Average people talk about things.
Small people talk about other people.

So, today..I want to talk about an idea.....
Feel free to disagree with me....pull up a chair and let's eat....

Let me start off by saying... I have a good job. I worked hard to get it. Hard. Grueling hours of school. Long nights. I get a decent paycheck. I'm grateful. I have the ability to pay off student loans. God gives me the ability to give to those in need. I don't own a whole lot. I have a nice car. I'm grateful.  I don't own a home. I'm grateful. I get to go out to eat sometimes with my children. I'm grateful. Sometimes I even go on vacations. I try not to be self indulgent, but maybe to some degree I still can be. I'm grateful for what I have. I wonder, however, what if one day God would call me to give up my decent job to follow Him in a way that would touch more lives?  What if He required me to give up a very good salary to meet the needs of others in ways that money simply could not?   What if it would mean enduring hardship, financial uncertainty, and even luxury and comfort?
Could we do it? Could each of us, if we examined our hearts, give up a life of comfort for the sake of the gospel? I think we should all strive to come to the place where we know in our hearts that we could answer any call that  He puts upon our lives. ............We should all strive to know Him in such a way as to know that our treasures are in Heaven, He will never leave us, nor forsake us, and He will clothe us as the lilies in the field.......

                                                             THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL
There are preachers that are teaching that God wants us to be prosperous and rich. It is a concept that, may seem harmless, but  is dangerous because it forces us to focus on what God can do for us, rather than cause us to ask the question, God, what can I do for you?
Does God want us to be rich?
The prosperity gospel teaches us that being rich is God's will for our life and anything else is foolishly "not tapping into His storehouse for our lives"

I believe that God provides for us, but I believe that His provisions come when we are in His will.
Recently, I read about the lives of two very inspiring men.
Hudson Taylor is a man who explemplies a true disciple of Christ. He faced hardship, poverty, and dangerous circumstances to bring the gospel to millions of people in China. His work opened the door to the gospel being spread in a country that would have otherwise not known about Jesus.
He lived a life of humility and the result of thousands, if not millions of people coming to know Christ.
If Hudson Taylor had fallen for the lie that God wanted him to be rich, then would he endured such misery for the sake of the gospel? I highly doubt it.
As I was reading the book, I could see the hand of God at work in Hudson's life. I saw how God provided the things he needed to accomplish his mission. There were days when food would run out. Hudson would pray and then you are allowed to see God's supernatural provision for Hudson. Food would show up minutes after praying. Supplies would come when they were needed most.  This happened time and time again.
I know of a family who has opened thier home to strangers. They allow strangers to come and stay with them so that they can receive and the healing hand of Christ. They take food to thier neighbors. They even drive an old car as an act of humility. And they are full of the the Lord's joy. I respect them deeply.

The other day I was surfing the web and I came across a website that was in favor of the prosperity gospel.
On the website they actually made the assertion that they thought it was silly and stupid for people to feel like they had to drive in an old car. The website boasted. God wants you to have new things, fine things, expensive things.. I became angry when I read the lie.
The fact is: I don't think that God faults us when we buy new cars, but I think that He greatly honors  humility and to insult someone for making the choice to be humble is unChristlike. Humilty is an act of love so that others can have more. We have to come to place such that we are ready to lay down our life for our brothers. If we haven't reached a place where we can share our things with them, can we say we have love in our hearts?

If the disciples had fallen into the lie that God wants to make us rich, where would Christianity be today?
Would the discliples have spent less time delivering the gospel,enduring hardship and suffering or would they be too busy worrying about how to tap into God's riches for themselves? Just some food for thought.

At large, the prosperity gospel has reduced the nature of God to a genie whose sole purpose is to make us prosperous. This is the opposite of who God is...God wants us to be humble, like His son.
I'm not saying it's not ok to have things..I think the danger is when having things leads to greed.
God said in His word that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter Heaven. Is it becaue the pursuit of wealth leads to greed and God knew that very few people could handle it?
I'm not saying that wealth is wrong. I  simply think it requires a lot of responsibility.

The prosperity gospel teaches that poor people are not in God's favor. This can be deceptive.
I want to include an excerpt from a book called If God is Good, by Randy Alcorn. He briefly touches on the subject of the wealth.

In America, a sharp-looking businessman stands up at a luncheon to give his testimony: "Before I met Christ, I had nothing. My business was in bankruptcy, my health was bad, I'd nearly lost my family. Then I accepted Christ. He took me out of bankruptcy, and my business doubled its profits. My blood pressure has dropped to normal, and I feel great. Best of all, my wife and children have come back, and we're a family. God is good-praise the Lord!

In China, a disheveled former university professor gives his testimony: Before I met Christ, I had everything. Then I came to Jesus as my Savior and Lord. As a result, I lost my post at the university, lost my house, and now work for a subsistence wage at a factory. My wife rejected me because of my conversion. She took my son away and I haven't seen him for five years. I live in constant pain from the injuries when police dragged me away from our unregistered church service. But God is good, and I praise Him for His faithfulness."

Both men are sincere Christians. One gives thanks for what he has gained. One gives thanks despite what he has lost. We should give thanks for material blessings and restored families. The brother in China would enthusiastically thank God to have them again; indeed, he gives thanks each day for what little he does have. And while the American brother certainly should give thanks, he and the rest of us must carefully sort out how much of what he has is part of the gospel and how much is not.

Any gospel that is more true in America than China is not the true gospel.

This post isn't meant to offend anyone. I just want people to see the dangers of the prosperity gospel. It places the promise of wealth above the ultimate will of God. God's will is ultimately the salvation of souls for His glorification.
The prosperity gospel causes us to focus on self rather than seek out the true will of God for our lives. If we automatically assume that God's will is to make us all rich...then why do anything at all? God may want us enduring difficulty and poverty to save a lost nation. ....if we think that God's will is to make us all  rich, then who is going to be willing to do the hard things?
Jesus told us to daily pick up our walk the hard walk of faith, ministering to those around us, giving to those in need....He didn't tell us to concern ourselves with riches.
He tells us to ask for our "daily bread", that sustaining nourishment that only He can give.
He wants us to rely on Him to provide what we need...not necessarily what we want. or what we think we want.
God wants us to kill our flesh because when we kill our flesh, we learn to operate in His Spirit..where there is peace and joy.  I don't think He wants us to cater to our flesh, storing up earthly treasures.
He repeatedly tells us that we are not of this world..nor should we strive for the things of this world...we should store up our treasures in Heaven.  If we have two coats, give one away. That is His commandment...He doesn't say...stand in front of your closet with your wardrobe of twenty coats and thank me for the blessing of abundance. He says to carry your cross, do the hard thing, and give some of them away.

Yesterday, I walked into the Potter's house. It is a homeless shelter for women and children. My grandfather told me that they are in desperate need of blankets. I called and talked to the coordinator and she confimed this....I asked her how many women are in her shelter...She told me that there are 25 women and 4 children and about 50 men in thier various shelters.

I went in the following day carrying a couple of blankets and journals for each of the women. When i entered, I saw the cutest little boy. He had the most gorgous blue eyes. He was sitting on the couch. I didn't see his mother anywhere around, but I learned from the shelter coordinator that he is three years old.

I was humbled that a three year old would have to live in a shelter for any amount of time. I was even more humbled when I began to think of children all around the world that are meting out thier days in trash dumps.
Children all around the world live in trash dumps.
Children go hungry every day.
Children die of starvation every day.
They die.

The other day I spoke with a girl who had never been to Starbucks and I selfishly thought that was a travesty.
We take so much for granted.
We call our wealth, "prosperity" and blessings....but on some level, if we look deep down....
can we call any of it greed?

I have a heart for people. God has given me a true love for all of His children.
There have been days when i have felt led to give away more than I was comfortable with. Bonus money has been reliquinshed. And, a few times, once my bills were caught up, I have felt led by God to give away entire paychecks..buying blankets, teddy bears for kids in hospitals, food to charities, etc, etc....I have felt led to often forego things I want, things I worked for, in order to do something for someone else.
I'm not bragging! God asked me to do it. I listened. He showed me that  I don't live for this world. We don't live to store up treasures for ourself on earth.  In asking me to give, He revealed His very nature to me...
Humilty. It's humbling being asked to give up... but it taught me what love truly is..He taught me love.

We live to store up treasures where one day they will matter and then we trust His Word that He will give us our daily  bread and because He clothes the flowers of the field, He will surely clothe us...
He will take care of us, when we heed His precious voice to give.

Giving is liberating. It's His healing love sprung into action.
It is being a Doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
It is how we grow roots.

I don't want to point fingers...but I can't help but question the authenticity of pastors, preachers, or people of God who live in mulitmillion dollar homes....
I know of several highly popular and touted evangelists who brag about, not one, but several mulit million dollar homes. I've heard tales of a very popular female evanglist that has a million dollar toilet in her home, private jets, swimming pools, several mansions, and the list  goes on......
"these are my blessings," they say...

I want to shout out..This can't be right. I want to tell them....My blessings...are in Heaven..where they belong.
And that is where I want to keep them. 
I think back on the experience at the Potter's House. They are begging for blankets. It's sad when we live in a world where people have to beg for blankets. I don't think too many people donate to the Potter's house, and I can't help but wonder what all of the rich Christians are doing. Why should this little three year old boy spend his nights in the shivering cold? Are we too busy counting our blessings to hand out blankets?
It's a sad thought, but it's true. Nothing has turned more people away from Christ than Christians, self loving, Cross denying Christians. We live in the richest country in Ameria. We proclaim that we are Christians but when we see a suffering person, we often turn a blind eye...It's not our responsiblity, we say.... "They brought it upon themselves" We point fingers of condemnation and ignore the teachings of Christ in the process.

The beauty of the Cross is the sacrifice. It's where the joy lies. You would think that one would be miserable carrying a cross. Sure, it's hard work...but the beauty is that, when you carry the Cross, you carry pure love on your back...and it doesn't even feel like a burden...It feels like a purpose.

The other day I imagined Jesus walking to Calvary. He is gushing blood out of his temples. He has lashes from last night's beating..and yet, as He is walking...even though He knows He is about to experience pain in the worst possible way...I can almost see Him admiring the flowers along the way..thankful for the beauty around Him, confident in His purpose and His mission. He is walking humbly towards death. He could've chosen to be on a private yacht in the middle of the Red Sea somewhere. He could've gone to his nice, lavish home and his expensive things. He could've slept in a nice warm bed that night.
But He didn't. He could've claimed whatever eartly treasure God had in store for Him. But He didn't.
He knew that the beauty in the walk towards His death was in the sacrificial nature of it all.
He knew that beauty emerges with the giving up....
He knew that...why is it such a hard concept for His children to grasp?

His mission wasn't to make us rich.
His mission was to make us lowly. Like Him.
Because when we are lowly, we can look up...
We can look up into His loving eyes, ask Him for our daily bread, and KNOW that He is God, when He provides it....

It is my experience that the more we give to Him, the lower we go, and the lower we go, the more we can see.
When you are lying on the ground, your eyes can see the sky in it's entirety.

These are my thoughts on the prosperity gospel for what it is worth...God doesn't want to make us rich. He wants to mold us to be more like Him, through the sacrifice of giving.
He will take care of us..
I'm not perfect. None of us are. My purpose isn't to offend. I just want people to understand what Jesus meant when He said to carry the cross and realize that our comfort and luxury is not what God is really about.
He tells us in His Word that our wealth will count against us on the day of judgement. in James Chapter 5.
Read the next verse, IT is a call to be humble.

"Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. 4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every whim. Now your hearts are nice and fat, ready for the slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed good people who had no power to defend themselves against you. 7 Dear brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who eagerly look for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They patiently wait for the precious harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don't grumble about each other, my brothers and sisters, or God will judge you. For look! The great Judge is coming. He is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering.

Well, these are my thoughts on the prosperity gospel for what it is worth....what do you think? We are dining together after all...and meals are a place for conversation ...

We we stoop low, we become love...and bring a little heaven to this dark earth.  We can't pick up a cross if we are standing too proud amongst our things....we have to stoop to pick up the cross....



After dinner thought:

I read something the other night that I thought was a very interesing thought.
The night before Jesus died, He wasn't out searching for the ultimate experience.
The King of Kings was washing the grime from the feet of His disciples.

another after dinner thought:

reflecting on Steve Jobs..
Steve jobs was a self professed agnostic or athiest..can't remember which ..
He said that when he was a child, he went to a Sunday school meeting.
He was shown pictures of children from all over the world who were hungry.
Steve said that he thought..How can there be a God with all of those hungry children?
The gospel of Jesus calls Christians to feed the hungry.
The problem isn't with the gospel.
It's with Christians who don't take it seriously.
How can we gloat over blessings when there are children living in dumpsters?
We are called to be the blessings.
Blessings are in the sacrifice.
Sacrifice is shaped like a cross.

“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
Mother Teresa

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.

Some links on the dangers of the prosperity gospel:

If we all took God's commands seriously, there wouldn't be hungry people.

The point of this simply to tell others to be the will of God above all else.
Just because someone tells you that God wants you to be rich..doesn't mean that it is in line with His will. The disciples weren't rich. Jesus wasn't rich.
Jesus said the path was narrow....
are we in line with His will?

It's strange, but the more humble I become..the more I feel as if I am...
It's a difficult process. It's a painful process. It's a stripping away of self.
It hurts deeply. But during the process, things begin to make sense.
Love makes sense.
Love is humble.
Giving up more and gaining less should be our goal....
more time, more resources, more love...
more obedience to God..

Saturday, January 21, 2012

beauty for ashes

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach the good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garmet of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.

Isaiah 61: 1-3


Monday, January 16, 2012

I'll stand by you

Secular music is one of my past loves...
I don't listen to it much anymore.
I try to fill my heart with Godly things...

I try to fill my mind with Godly things..

If you want to look at where you heart is...look to your mind when it wanders...
I have heard that expression before..
so i try to continually keep my thoughts upon God..

One day I was driving home from a road trip.
I was driving with my cousin and a song came on the radio..

I'll Stand By the Pretenders...

This may seem strange...
I know that this song wasn't intented to be written for God.

But as I listened, I felt as if Jesus was saying,

this is how I feel about you.
I'll stand by you.....

As you read the lyrics,
remember that He will stand by you...

I hope this post doesn't offend anyone.
Truthfully, I have no idea how God feels about the Pretenders or
about the song, I'll Stand by you.
but I do know that He will stand by us,
even in our darkest hour
and nothing we confess,
could make Him love us less...

I'll stand by you..

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now
Don't be ashamed to cry
Let me see you through
'Cause I've seen the dark side too

When the night falls on you
You don't know what to do
Nothin' you confess, could make me love you less

I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

So, if you're mad, get mad
Don't hold it all inside
Come on and talk to me now

Hey, what you got to hide?
I get angry too
Well I'm a lot like you

When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along
'Cause even if you're wrong

I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you

And when, when the night falls on you, baby
You're feelin' all alone
You won't be on your own

I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you

I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you

Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you

I'll stand by you
No, no, no, no, no
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you

I Will Never Leave You nor Forsake You

Hebrews 13:5-6

He will stand by you.

Won't let nobody hurt you.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

7 days of heaven, Day 1, a God dream about ants, how I ended up in the yard of an Asian lady, why you should put your toes in the water, and you really need to read this post :)

Childlike faith

The other day I decided to write some more letters to random strangers. I found myself scrawling little hearts on the pages.

After I realized what I was doing, I thought..."this is so juvenille. A 35  year old woman scrawling hearts on letters to random strangers."
I started to think it silly...

The beauty of faith is that it brings the return of a childlike innocence.

As I was perched over parchment I couldn't help but remember the verses that tell us that we should become as little children if we are to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Trusting. Innocent.
Suddenly, those little hearts didn't seem so silly anymore.

I remember a time in the not too distant past when I craved anything other than the life I had.

I pined away in self pity, guilt, and regret. I ate the bitter fruit of condemnation daily.  Bitterness seeped out of my core. 

Life had killed my inner child.
 Being hurt too many times by too many people.
Lies. Lies. More vicious lies.
I had seen too many things. The child was dead.

I walked in anger. I was anything but childlike. Two years ago the scrawling or scribbling of a heart would have been unheard of....and I was too lost in my own despair to even think of writing a letter to a random stranger.

I remember, about a year ago, I was at work. I was watching the sun go down while sitting near a railcar. All of sudden, it came back. It was like a flood of awareness returned. I was just sitting there and this immense joy breathed life back in me...and I knew what it was it be a child again.

This happened during a time of prayer and truly leaning on the Creator. He gave it back.In an instant, the chid returned. 
He wants us all to have the freedom of childhood again.
He wants us to play in the sand and laugh.
He wants us to find wonder in the mundane. Blowing bubbles. Eating ice cream. Getting our toes wet.

Playing in the rain.

He wants us to live as little children. Trusting. Innocent.
Seeing life's cup as always full, even when you are staring into the glass bottom.

Tonight my heart is breaking.
I read a story about a little baby boy named Tripp.

He was diagnosed with a rare skin disease. His mom wrote tonight on her blog that he died in her arms last night. I can't imagine her anguish. I can't imagine caring and investing in a tiny life with every ounce of love you have only to come up empty. I can't imagine a life of dreams, shattered.

Childlike. Childlike is trusting God that His word is true and believing that this woman will see her son again someday. Childlike is believing in something even though you cannot see it...

Childlike is denying every evil so the spirt has room to see and grow.
Childlike is having no expectations of love other than to freely give it...
and when it is returned..sitting in wonderous awe at the vastness of it all...

What are we doing with our lives?
Every day I read the news, I see evil swells into something huge. I see evil looming into lives. I hear the same complaints day in and day out.

No one dares to do anything different. We give little to God. We expect little.
Many of us have forgetten what it means to be childlike.
We have forgotten that God has created the entire universe and He can surely take our cares and turn them into naught. He can roll them down the hill of questioning if we would only embrace the childlike faith that we are called to have.

The other night I was driving in my car and I felt myself wanting to reach out to touch the hem of His garmet. Do you remember the story in the Bible about the woman with the chronic blood disease?

She suffered for over a decade. Jesus came into her town and she ran to Him and touched the hem of His garmet. She fought her way to see Him. She fought the massive crowds. she pushed in, she reached forward. She had the pure, innocent belief that she would be healed. And she was.

I wonder if she woke up that morning and thought..."Why would God heal me?"
I wonder if she woke up and listen to the lies that said a decade of disease can't be healed.
She was childlike.
She believed.
"Go woman, your faith has made you well"

Do you know why the enemy fights so hard?
Do you know why when you truly start moving somewhere, everything seems to go wrong, fall apart?
I know why.
God showed me.

To truly know God, To truly truly know to know love.
To know and understand the depth of the truest and purest form of love.
God changes us into love.
He changes us.
The potter. The clay.
The transforming.
And when we are changed, we move, through His Spirit, To change others.

Order amongst chaos.
The enemy is afraid of our love. He is afraid of the healing, loving Hand of God.
We become the healing, loving Hands of God when we allow Him to work through us...

This past year I have been fought tooth and nail.
I have experienced evil in unimaginable ways, but I have experienced God in even greater ways.
I see God.
This week I have been fought.

This week, I pulled into the yard of an Asian family. I got out of my car to be greeted by a total stranger.
I gave her a gift card to buy steaks for her family. I told her how much God loves her family, her children.  I wrote a note telling her that she is not defined how others have made her feel. She is beautiful. She is loved. God's thoughts  toward her as countless as sands.
I saw her smiling. A huge smile. Broad beamed, radiating smile and I  thought, "ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT!"    ....bring smiles to random strangers on days that are should be ordinary but because of LOVE, they are anything but.

I drove away and I thought, "LOVE"


The power of God's love threads together when the enemy seeks to pull apart.
That is why we are fought.
Love, God is the force that heals.
God is Love.

Love is humble. Love was born in a manger. Love is lowly because it has learned to place others first.
Humility is the very nature of love.

This week I delivered teddy bears to abused and neglected children at Harbor House.  The teddy bear has a personalized t-shirt.

"It only takes one spark to light one thousand lives"
That is something else God showed me.


We can carry the flame of God if we humble ourselves and be childlike.
Stoop low and become love.

Galatians 5:13  For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Freedom. Love. Childlike.
Children are free. Become like little children.
Be free.

It's no wonder we are fought. The enemy wants us tethered.
To our problems. To our daily struggles. To despair. To hopelessness.
But God.
God wants us to trust. He wants us to be free.
To trust. To be like little children with childlike faith,
that even thought the storm rages, there is still something left fighting for.
There is still LOVE.
He wants us to soar on the very wings of Love...
and He breathes it into our breath and renews our strength
and we are eagles with eyes that see things for what they are, not how we percieve them to be...

He gives us eyes to see the love.

My marital situation has been a living hell. It has been a nightmare of gut wrenching hurt, bitter disappointment, and blantant injustice...

But one day God allowed me to see my husband as He sees him.
I was looking at my husband and God showed me in my spirit.
God showed me a vision of what he would look like in Heaven, if he surrendered his life and embraced the childlike...
He was laughing. I never see my husband laugh. Not from the heart. Not the pure laugh.
He was laughing.
And I knew that God's love is endless.
God loves the man who ripped my heart open every day and served it back to me on a platter as cake.
And God gave me a love for him too.

Yes, He showed me that while I don't have to put up with the nonsense, I can still love.
Love hopes all things, endures all things, believes all things...
and even though my marriage has been ripped open by lies and infidelity.
Even though the guts are exposed..
I still believe and I still hope that I see him laughing someday.

Laughing. Childlike.
Heaven is filled with childlike laughter.
God is Love.

When I was about fifteen years old I had a dream.
I woke up and I knew the dream was from God.

It was so detailed and amazing.  Though the details are gone, I still remember the message.

The first part is very hazy..all I remember is a very small room in the middle of the desert...
But the part that I remember most is the part about the ants.

Yes, ants.

Ants are very structred creatures. They follow the leader. They are organized.
They epitomize routine. They are group-think creatures.

In the dream, I was trapped in a huge auditorium with hundreds of people.
We couldn't escape. We were confined for days.
In the midst of the turmoil, many of the people became like ants.
As a group, they began doing things that went against the very nature of God.
Everyone conformed...

A few of us,
very few, decided to go against the group. We refused to take part in the things they were doing.

At the end of the dream, I remember standing on a huge cliff overlooking a vast expanse.
I was staring into the face of beauty. Everything around me was so beautiful.

We were there. The few of us who went against the grain and refused to do what the others were doing.

I remember being so happy, staring into the face of beauty and vastness that went on forever...
happy that I chose to do right when succumbing to temptation would have been the easy path.  Resisting the ways that feel right but lead to death...
and the reward was worth it...
beauty and peace were the reward.

Immense beauty and the childlike quality of being able to see it and appreciate it for what it is and what it represents..
God is the Creator. He is the source of all that is beautiful.

He is the one who gives life to the rose that grows in the desert.

That single solitary flower that stands as a spark, daring to love childlike,
carrying the light and fire of a Living God, believing ,childlike, that love conquers all. Love hopes all things.
And daring to take the light to thousands, even daring, with childlike faith, to go against the grain.

To be childlike.

In this life where we read about mothers killing thier children..where we read about hatred and violence, In this world where babies dies in the arms of moms, we need to be childlike.
It is the only way to survive.
Love is the only way.
God is the only way.
To be childlike.
May we each come to a place where scrawling hearts to random strangers doesn't seem so silly.
May we come to a place where tiny hearts comprised of ink make sense.

1 Corinthians 13

The Greatest Gift
 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

~"You can be childlike without
being childish."
- Christopher Meloni

~"An honest man is always a child."- Socrates~

~"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a
sphere of activity in which we are
permitted to remain children
all our lives."
- Albert Einstein

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Mark 10:15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Today, my prayer is for you...
That God would scrawl His love ink on your heart.  And you will recognize the words.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Won't you Dance with me in Heaven someday?

Every day is a struggle to find Beauty.
Every day is a struggle to hear the voice of God.
We need not look far to find joy.
We simply need to know in Whose Hands it can be found.

If you have cried out to God,
then you are in the race that leads to eternity.
Do not believe the lies that you have failed.
You are a warrior in the greatest army ever known.
You battle for souls.

Speak like a champion.
Speak like you are at the finish line and Christ is right in front of you.
He is.
He holds bread to your lips and He speaks, Well done.
See it. Attain it.
You know you are a Spirit. So fight for the things of the Spirit.
Throw off the dead flesh blanket.
Flesh rots.
Spirit is eternal.
God is waiting for you, child.

Are you standing waiting to touch the hem of His garmet so that you can be healed?
Are you believing that your healing will help to close the wounds in the lives of others thru agape love?
or are you sitting in front of the television, meting away time with things that will have no eternal significance?
If he passes by, will you take notice?
Do you see the plan and the beauty that He has laid out for you?

IF you have called out to Him, then you are already in the race.
Don't listen to the lies that you are not.

He has come that you might have life and have it in abundance.
The full life is the life of joy.
Fight the lies with truth.
The joy life..
It's for you.
It's yours.
Call out to Him.
Join this race.

Won't you dance with me in Heaven someday?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

7 Days of Heaven, Day 7


My boys are sleeping soundly in a warm bed. I tickled bear before he went to sleep and all is well.
My life to this point has had so many ups and downs. I can't say that I've had it easy...but I had it easier than many.
All in all, I have learned to count my blessings.
IF there is one thing that God has taught me this is to be grateful. To count my blessings.
There have been days when I have felt like he was leading me to fast. But that has only made me that much more grateful for every piece of food I eat and every sip I take.
There have been times when I felt Him leading to work harder...but that has only made me appreciate moments of sweet rest.
There have been times when I have felt led to pray for people in the middle of the night. And thus, I appreciate sleep.
I am thankful that He hears us.

When we adopt a spirit of thanksgiving and truly learn to thank Him, even for the small things...a little bit of Heaven is brought to this dark earth.
People become inspired and the glory of God is revealed.

I watched the movie Soul Surfer several months back. Bethany Hamilton had her arm bitten off by a shark.
She questioned God, but she found that the experience brought her closer to God. She got back in the water.
She inspired thousands of people through her bravery. What is even more inspiring is that through it all, she thanked God.

Today, thank God. Find those beautiful pieces of life and thank Him for them.
Watch the world come alive.

 THere have been times that I have praised Him with song and I could feel the darkness literally fall away.
Darkness cannot live in light. Darkness is real and tanglible. We live in a world of the unseen. The enemy hates praise and thanksgiving because it is during those moments when we receive clarity. It is during those moments that we receive all that we need from God.

There have been times throughout the year when I have truly not felt like thanking God. There have been moments and days when it seemed as if life itself was falling apart. There have been days when I could feel the infamous vortex of despair whirling up inside me. But I did what I have learned to do: Pray..Give it to God. There have been times when I felt Him asking me to thank Him anyway. When my grandmother died, I thanked Him for the time spent with her. I thanked Him for the place He has prepared for us. When I discovered infidelity in my marriage, I thanked Him for the choices that we have. I thanked Him for freedom. I prayed for the one who hurt me.
When we thank God even in dire circumstances, He answers. He changes our perspective and forces us to look at the beauty around us instead of dwelling on our woe and misery.
The result is peace. The beautiful peace from feeling the very presence of God in your life.
Peace. . God has a way of healing. Sometimes He uses gratitude.

Last week I asked God for a special favor. "Dear God," I prayed, "remind me that you love me."
I need to hear it. "Dear God, remind us all how much you love us."
As soon as I prayed this prayer, I felt His immense love for me. His love has changed me.
His love gives me the strength to love back. His love is like a fresh breath, breathed into our lungs that propels us forward.
His love is real.

Today, something special happened in church. Our preacher dedicated his entire sermon to reminding us of the special love that God has for us. He answered my prayer, yet again. He reminded us.

His thoughts toward us are as countless as the sand in every part of the world.
Dear reader, His thoughts toward you are as countless as the sand.

Today, you need to be reminded how much He loves you.
He does. He loves you. No matter what you have done. He is standing there telling you, "It's ok. I love you."

Thank Him.

  1. Psalm 136:1 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it..Psalm 118:24

Thursday, January 5, 2012

7 Days of Heaven, Day 6

Anonymous Giving

God has given me a heart for the people of Orange,Texas.

I often drive through a very poor, poverty stricken, parts of town. Often, I see children walking up and down the streets, unsupervised.

Some look downcast. They always seem to be looking down, never looking up at the beauty around them.

I wonder if they notice beauty. I wonder if thier lives are submerged with drugs.

I wonder.

Lately, I have been praying for them. Everytime I pass through the neighborhood I ask God to shine His light in the area. "Let them see you, O God."

Yesterday, I was driving to work and I noticed a few kids sitting on a porch.

God spoke to me. He allowed me to feel His love for those beautiful kids.

I have had a gift card for steaks sitting in my glove compartment for the past six months. I have wanted to use it, but I haven't really had the chance.

The truth is, I can afford to buy steaks anytime I want.

I wanted to bless this family anonymously.

So, I wrote them a letter.

I told them of God's great love for them. I told them how I could feel His love for the children I saw sitting on the porch. I told them that He sets the captives free. I told them that they deserve to eat steaks. I am giving them my gift card.

Sometimes, God will move in an area. But sometimes we have to be the one to initiate the change. God desires to work through us. We are His hands of healing on earth. Prayers are powerful, but prayer, when combined with action is unstoppable.

God, send us your Holy Spirit so that lives can be changed and your glory can be known.
God, you are mighty and powerful. Move in Orange, Texas. Set the captives free!

God, lavish your love upon us and teach us to love.
Today, give anonymously...

Expecting nothing in return.

Our faith grows when we excerise it. It is like a muscle.

We have been created for greater things. Not just to be a number in the world, not just to go for diplomas and degrees, this work and that work. We have been created in order to love and be loved. ~Mother Teresa