Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nothing to Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Long ramblings continue on...

Not Real:
Tis the season. Horror films. Headless Horseman. Haunted Houses. All filled with every gruesome fear imaginable for one purpose – to heighten and surface absolute terror and fear. FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTO IT (that would not be me), it's all for “fun” and pure “entertainment” as long as it happens to someone else. Tell, not touch. It’s staged. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s all timed for a split second to make us think that it’s not safe and secure, thus the rush, but somewhere deep within, we know it’s all an act so we’re ok. We chose to feel this way. In fact, we paid money to feel this way. We can’t understand it or explain it, we just like it and are drawn to the rush. For one night, or a couple of hours, we can heighten the fear, then turn back to our “real lives” and think “better them than me."

Then, it REALLY happens to you. Your worst nightmare not only comes true – it’s nothing like the movies and it doesn’t end when you walk out. There is no walking out. No door. No window. No end. Nothing ever compares to our own nightmares playing again and again and again.

Home loss, job loss, parent loss, child loss, spouse loss, health loss, sanity loss, divorce, bankruptcy, disease, abuse, abandonment, rejection, death, depression, or any other personal torture of body, heart, spirit or mind…or at the very least, fear of any one of these becoming a reality in our lives. We keep telling ourselves "credits roll, this too shall pass, etc." but it never ends. It is complete torture and you'd almost rather be one of those horror victims just to escape your living nightmare. If you don’t live it in the day, you dream about it in the night. No one escapes fear at any point – it’s part of the human condition that we both run from and run into, are repulsed by and drawn to. The thoughts may depress, the reality may destroy.

Fear Freedom:
Fear is very, very real, I don’t contend otherwise. What I do contend is that we’re often looking at it from the wrong perspective – again from man’s view (results) instead of God’s view (conquered). Famously, Roosevelt said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. I don’t think we even have fear itself to fear – because it’s not just mental (we more fear what we can't understand or control, which includes the supernatural side of life), it’s spiritual – when did we forget that? Oh, the lie we have been fed and swallow whole – that our God is not greater! We KNOW in our head that He is, but don't completely abandon to the TRUTH that He is greater. Fear tactics are only a vehicle to get our sights off of faith and into flight – to run FROM the dark, instead of run INTO the Light. Fight the good fight instead – but only in the Holy Spirit: the ONLY one who can conquer all fears of all people at all times.

I went from watching a Program on Horror to the Psalms of Honor. Literally, 2 minutes later I was listening to the Psalms. David spoke of both his fears, then almost immediately of his praise. Again and again and again, back and forth: it was a constant reckoning of humanity to Holiness, spoken in truth. This is it - spoken prayer of praise is the conquering weapon against fear! WHAT IS THE FEAR THAT YOU HAVE BEEN FREED FROM: either has happened, is happening or you fear will happen? IF YOU HAVE FREEDOM, YOU HAVE A CONSTANT REMINDER OF YOUR WEAPON OF PRAISE - not comdemnation of nightmare, praise!

I also found it interesting that a number of these “houses of horror” seemed to focus in three things (not exclusively, but generally): complete loss of control (vulnerability), torture and death. I think that the cross was carefully chosen to be a way of taking on every possible fear known to man, absorbing it into the Son of Man in the most tortuous death process in the history of man, and conquering it completely in man for all Eternity – all at the exact same time in this Sacrifice of God’s Son. Believing that the Cross did exactly as God said that it did will never mean that we will never again know fear in our lives, for again, it’s a human condition and emotion. But a relationship with Jesus though the way of His Cross – gives us somewhere to claim VICTORY over our fears when they do arise. Fear is the vehicle for separation; Jesus is the victory through restoration. Holiness became horror to bring us from horror to Holiness. Life to death to Life. Truth remains Truth regardless; Truth is only known and lived in us when we believe.

On this week when we’d rather ignore fear or condemn fear – why not fight fire with Fire? Perfect love drives out all fear. Praise shuts the mouth of the enemy (the fire of fear that spreads and abounds). Instead of running from one fear right into another one, why not bring it right back into the face of the father of lies and LIVING PROOF of VICTORY over the fear. Use the opportunities that come up to PRAISE the God who IS perfect love and the Savior Who drives us to “be not afraid.” This is not a week to “fear” in anyway – not any part of it. This is a week to PRAISE and let God be God over all. The only way to “be not afraid” is to “be abandoned” to Him. All of me to all of Him in all ways and at all times; nothing out of His Sovereignty, Love, and Truth.

Enjoy Him, Michelle

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Choose Life

Ramblings begin...
I was reading again today of how "The Spirit of God witnesses to the Redemption of Our Lord, He does not witness to anything else; He cannot witness to our reason." (Oswald Chambers). I am reminded that we may love Him with our heart, mind and soul, but we worship Him in the Spirit. This is how He speaks to us, how He loves us, how He lives in us. when we abandon our lives to Him, it is through His Spirit that we know agape love and how He lives His love through us. It is His Spirit that reveals to us His View of Perfect Perspective - how He longs for us to see from Heaven's view through this glass darkly, not wasting a moment in ourselves but to revel in His constant flow of Grace, Love, Joy, and Holiness. This is our Reality, not dream or hope, but the fullness of our lives realized when we believe and abandon to Him.

How much we struggle with ourselves to simply rest and come; to just be and receive; all because we insist on seeing from our own controlled and comfortable viewpoints of pride and reason - which turns to waste and regret of time lost without completion of Christ which turns to guilt and a downward spiral is...worst of all, downward instead of upward: "to come to Me." Regret and guilt are not the devastation, it's the spirit's separation. As with the Israelite at the base of the mountain, our greatest deception of idolatry is that we are in control and comfort of something that we can see and touch, but which cannot see or touch us - only hold us to death. How much we miss in our pride in neglect of the only One who truly sees us and holds onto us for dear Life. Little by little by little we either fade into death or into Life - blinded by self or seeing by Light - all in our consistent choice of abandonment to the only One who can give us all that we could ever ask or imagine, certainly all that we, or anyone or anything, can never give ourselves.

I am so humbled by His Grace and His Love. I am in such need of discipline to hear Him and to draw closer to Him and to hear Him as he truly is. He gives me so much opportunity that I squander away on distraction and selfishness. There is never enough than can be received and so much that I can abandon to Him. Everyday is decision after decision of devotion and worship: to bow to Him or to anything or anyone else. Because mine eyes have seen a love greater than life itself, I am moved to believe, abandon, trust, love and obey.

Enjoy Him, Michelle

Monday, October 20, 2008

One in a Million

For a full weekend recently, I was blessed to be a part of a spiritual retreat where I was humbly and powerfully in the Presence of God. I cannot describe such beautiful prayer that lifted me up to the Throne room of the King of kings. But even in this setting of wonder in His Presence, I still wondered about life at the base of the mountain. I don't trust experiences, I want His Eternal Presence. One week later after the retreat, I still wondered and just wanted to wait for Him. Knowing that I can't conjure up "feeling His Presence" and still distracted by life, I simply prayed for His Spirit to quiet my mind to just be with Him and His Word. True encounter enveloping experience.

It astounds me how God moves in from left field, especially when we are gazing so intensely to see Him arrive from different direction. I had been reading Beth Moore's book, Jesus the One and Only. As I struggled with diversions and distractions, Beth reminded me to continue reading from GOD's Word. I have the time to read; I also have the distraction to divert my attention and affections. Not my will, but Yours, my true Rabbai, Master and Lord.

So, in a quiet prayer surrendering my distraction and submitting my desire for His Spirit's supply of wisdom and understanding, I read the passage in Luke 8:1-11 - the parable of the sower and the seed.

I remembered that Beth's simulcast message was on these verses, so I search for my notes. Oh, how her sweet words moved me to fall before the feet of Jesus...but oddly, so did one photo, among the dozens. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands attend Beth's conferences. Thousands. This photo was in one of those settings. Quite simply, Beth is looking straight into the eyes of a young girl and holding her "sweet head," as Beth would say.

I closed my eyes, and felt Christ doing just the same for me. I just wept in His gaze and His embrace. His Words were flooding over me, just me, as He always intended. This is what I really want - He comes as He is, far more than I could imagine or hope for my human expectations. Just to trust and to be. Oh, how He moves to just be with me...He is One to hold this one, among the millions.

Experiences and moments are only gateways to His Beautiful Presence. I know this, yet I still tend to seek them as an "end" and not a "path." Blessings here and there are revealed as markers to show the way and shower us with His love. When we seek Him first and only, the rest is certainly revealed, only to show us another way to His Presence. Seek Him and He will reveal Himself - expect the unexpected - He is not a tame lion.

Glorify Adonai