The Day Sanity Called to Bury Faith

Last night, the pall bearers were banging on my door…along with the spiritual health authorities. They were urging me to open my door…the door to my soul, the door to God’s Hiding place within me so they could carry away the dead thing I was anxiously willing to live. I don’t know if you can call something that has never lived, a dead thing, but what else can I call it…the unborn? the undead? I have no idea. But the pall bearers and spiritual health authorities seemed convinced that I was harboring a vile thing. So along with their gadgets hanging ready to bury away my thing, they had experts, new counselors here to convince me that I was out of my mind believing I could do anything to change my status and the status of the vile thing I was harboring in my house.

I was not alone in the house. In fact, there was a group of old friends, leaning against the locked door, busy doing their thing. Looking at us, one would actually wonder about the wisdom in the methods of the health and sanitation experts outside my door…I will come back to this later. If you don’t get it. You see, my geriatric friends Abraham with his wife Sarah he had a knife in his hand and she was knitting booties in her old age; Isaac and his wife Rebecca – he was on his knees praying for God to open his wife’s womb and she was knitting two sets of booties;  Hannah the wife of Elkanah – on her knees tear rolling down her face and mumbling on mute  in the temple; Elizabeth the wife of Zechariah – she was knitting booties and encouraging the young that God’s unusual Word was true and that the blessing was in the believing, Mary the wife of Joseph – who was risking  death row because an angel had brought her news that contradicted the law and traditions of her people ; Job suddenly childless, poor, sick and brokenhearted saying again “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him – Naked I came into this world and naked will I return, blessed be The Name of The Lord;  Elijah pouring water on an altar he was expecting God to light, Elisha sending Naaman away to dip himself on dirty in Jordan river to be cleansed of a deadly skin disease…there were many – Bartemeus calling out to Jesus to make him see much to the annoyance of the crowd that had more important issues to present before Him…and  the widow – a mother whose only son had once been carried off by pall bearers. actually those were the ones I could see from my bowed position and who made the greatest commotion shouting back at the the health officials outside my window. If the said officials were wise, they should have just gotten a court order to declare my house a mental hospital of the ‘foolish’. And barred us in from outside…but they not really thinking…

Peninah my rival was outside …I think her laughter at my acts of prayer and devotion is what drew the attention of the health officials. And there was beloved Elkanah, wise in his own way, perplexed that I would dare ask for more since God has already blessed me with one thing or another. He called me ungrateful. But he was not inside me…he did not know that the desire within me was like the fire that God sent to Elijah once a long time ago…or the fiery chariots that lifted him from the vision of mere men. The pall bearers wanted me back in their camp, my stand was making them uncomfortable, they looked bad. People knew they were associated with me – closely so. And my insistence on this pathway would not possibly do them justice at the high end of society’s’ balance. Not as the foolish woman’s relative or friend. It was matter of urgency for them to inject some sense into my foolish head…not caring if it killed me. They just wanted the stain of my uncommon act deleted from everyone’s memory. So they banged, begged, they cajoled, they threatened, and they tried to convince my companions in the room to step aside and leave me with ‘that thing I was holding onto so it would kill me’.  The crowd outside seemed bigger than the one inside.

As my frustration gave vent to piteous wailing from the very depth of my being, Elisha whispered to me “Take heart Vip. Open your eyes and see. There are more on our side, on the inside than those on the outside. And then Jeremiah and Bartemeus called to me from the door, “Vip! CALL ON HIM! SHOUT VIP! DONT GIVE UP! IGNORE THE NOISE AND MAKE NOISE!!”. They startled me. Elizabeth came and told me “Vip, you will be blessed abundantly just for believing that what He told you is true”. Peter, James and John were tugging their nets as though something heavy was inside. They called out, “Do it again Vip, He is not lying to you! Do it again just because He has asked you to. What could you possibly have to loose.” They spoke the truth…there was nothing left, except a dying ember of hope and a weak will for which I may as well use to believe Him with. And suddenly Jesus was there in the room with us. He turned to me, looked at me with such love and compassion and stretched His nail-scared hands my way “Favored one, daughter of my favor, Vip, do not sorrow any more: I am here, I never left you. I am willing. Ask Me, that I may answer you beyond all you could imagine, so that your joy may be full.”

I could no longer hear the spiritual health workers. The room was full of testimonies and their bearers, and yet there was just Jesus and I in that whole room. I was on my knees before Him, still crying, and the words came “Favor of my heart, my Joy Eternal, yes, You are Able; Yes You want to bless me. And because You have asked me to, I am praying one more prayer, one more prayer, one more prayer….for I now believe, and my joy is full. As I prayed…Peninah still laughed and Elkanah still gently continued his insults to my need…but inside, there was joy. I added…”My life is already Yours, and what I need is already Yours for Your Pleasure and mine…whatever that means to you Lord of my life.” And suddenly Abraham was there in my line of vision, smiling understanding…but it was the smile in the Face of God that held my gaze. As the ‘foolishness mental hospital’ was instantly turned into ‘The House of God; The Place of Worship”. No one and nothing is being buried here today…

shalom…

vipslit@yahoo.ca

 

 

 

Speaking Perfectly on Pause

This week, the week just ended, has been ‘spiritually traumatizing’ for me. In a good way. Good trauma. But still as shattering as all trauma can be. I will share more on why, when God blesses me with the words to, either sooner or later. But let me give this particular one a try.

Leroy, Shukri and I are studying the life of Moses as a family…the journey that defined his answer to God’s call to Leadership. One that justified in so many ways, the forty years he spent in the dessert of Midian, taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep. Thinking about those frightening [my perspective alright?] wooly creatures that he had to adapt to after 40 indulgent years as a prince in Egypt, first of all makes me wonder about the apparent extremes that is usual in God’s Purpose Training School. That shift must have hurt Moses physically, emotionally, spiritually even in a very physical feeling way. I hope you understood that last sentence, because as of now, I don’t have any other way of putting it. If I were Moses, I would have had to get past my job description which would include watching over animals in a manner that keeps them close to me [in my world so far, I have finally acceded to the fact that human beings often are absolutely frightening and inconsistence and only sometimes, due to good things like ‘growth’… But in my book, I would still rather hold the hand of a frightening human being than the paw of a tame – ‘anything else alive that is not human’. Just in case you wondered…] So I would have had to learn to hold these wooly creatures and risk having them move as I held them, protect them maybe from other pawed creature…sometimes the clawed ones as well, in other words, get past myself and learn to love  from close up and care for them. Then, being employed by your father in law….even if he is absolutely nice, like Jethro seemed to be. That broke me too. Then one day, after 40 years of getting used to sheep moving helter-skelter in every direction possibly, apart from the one you want them to be headed or standing in; God appears to you!  As a FIRE that burns while not burning. Then speaks to you. Okay slow down and let this sink in…

It is possible that not many people had the patience to speak to you before then [which probably explains why you were given the animals to keep track of] because then you would have to respond to them. And that stammer…not to mention you are 80 years old, Hebrew-Egyptian…meaning you are probably slower of speech, retaining a foreign twang and stammering valiantly through all that. So they probably said ‘hi’ to you as they walked rapidly past you. You got used to the loneliness…then God, Who is fluent in this thing called Speech not only stops by, but seems to have been around all the time watching you and seeking your audience. And He says more than a quick ‘hi’ which would have been enough to make your whole year! You would have used that story to hold the sheep’s attention – “God stopped by and said ‘hi’ to me!”. And it did not matter if the other humans did not stop a little longer to hear you out…it would probably take too much of their time…and just so they would confirm that there was something else ‘wrong‘ with you that ‘justified’ your stammer. No, God, The Almighty, Who made all those peoples and animals and their world etc, spoke sentences and sentences to you! He had seen and favored you and was trusting you with the one thing that had made you want to disappear from the earth in the first place – to lead His chosen people out of captivity. They were not a few tens of people, but thousands of them, and they were slaves to one of the most sophisticated and powerful civilizations of the day. A civilization in which you were a Wanted Man for the murder of a kingdom official. And more than that, He is actually asking you to expose your weakness to the leader of that civilization Pharaoh: He is sending you, yes YOU the lonely-stammering- refuge- shepherd, to…SPEAK with you faithful pauses, to Pharaoh on behalf of His People! Now you probably ‘understand’ why He would stop by and talk to you when most people would not…the ‘home-time‘ bell was ringing…it was time for you to go home…to die.

So you stammer your challenges framed as polite questions back at God. He answers and sends you help. And your heart begins to trust Him again…you take to heart all He has done for you. God has shown Himself to you, and spoken to you, and given you a task that if successful would liberate a whole nation that had been slaves for 400+ years, and additionally, you would from time to time need to speak to them, to tell them what God has said. But God has sent you the best help He has. Your very own BIG BROTHER! Aaron is a big brother and would stand up for you and by you if anyone dared make fun of his kid bro. Besides, he is blessed with what you weren’t – he can speak fluently. I don’t know…but maybe he did not as a baby, have to float around a crocodile teeming river like you did, but we will understand the whole story in all Truth when we see God face to face. You feel much better about this. God and Aaron with you are the best you could hope for in this world. And it is.  What a team!  God, speaks, you stammer, Aaron translates, Pharaoh listens, pharaoh’s heart hardens, Hebrews cry out, Egyptians cry out, Pharaoh says sorry, you speak to God, God hears and brings relief, and Pharaoh changes his mind. This is repeated 9 times with increasingly devastating effects…for everyone, even the slaves hoping for redemption…and most times, you have just God and Aaron on your side. But you keep going back to the ring so to speak, for Your Master is unrelenting in His Purpose now that His Time has come. And then one day, a terrible thing happens, first-borns die. And then a terrific thing happens, Pharaoh says to you and all those slaves “GO AWAY!!!!!” And finds you all enthusiastically compliant.

There is more drama, as Pharaoh changes his mind, and dies for it. And waters open to let you through…then you are in a wilderness…leading a human species of sheep, who are given to going anywhere else than the place you are leading them to. You see, adapting from always being slaves to being free men, naturally means going to another extreme – rebellion, before they are tamed into knowing that freedom, not unlike slavery, is sustained and governed by that concept that is sometimes painful – Rules and Ethics. But not all are that way given to rebellion. For some like big brother Aaron, the issue is fear of the crowd they lead. But others like Joshua, learn courage by making it their lives’ priority, to remain God’s Presence. And God’s Glory and Grace, keeps you and all of them on His route.

Then one day He, God, speaks on your behalf, when your big brother and big sister have slandered your role as Speaker of the Nation of Israel. He says of you”

“Listen carefully to what I’m telling you.
If there is a prophet of God among you,
I make myself known to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.
But I don’t do it that way with my servant Moses;
he has the run of my entire house;
I speak to him intimately, in person,
in plain talk without riddles:
He ponders the very form of God.
So why did you show no reverence or respect
in speaking against my servant, against Moses?”

God for Whom you had spoken, stammered more accurately, heard the gossip on you, and summoned the culprits into His Presence, and being very angry, SPOKE on your behalf, telling the world so to speak, that He, God, trusted you as His friend!

Let me leave you with this first part of my learning in trauma… I ask you to ponder on this a while. While I while away some time, and ask God for words to speak of the rest on. Shalom.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Sneaky Visitors in God’s Temple

1 Corinthians 3:16” Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s Temple and God’s Spirit lives in you?”

 

It hit me this morning that whenever I sin, no matter the nature of the sin, that I am actually entertaining demons in the sanctuary of The Most High and Holy God. I was horrified at the thought and was brought down to my knees on the song ‘You are Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, how Awesome is Your Name!” from deep within my being.

 

In explaining this verse (Leroy’s memory verse for today) to my children during our devotions, God gave me the idea of teenagers in their parents’ home. Their parents have noticed the neighbors’ children, about their own children’s ages and have been privy to some of the unsavory activities they blatantly get up to. Some steal, others kill, and most of them are just plain destructive. No one’s virtue or treasure is safe near them. The parents have been explicit in their warning their children never to associate with them, and never to let them into their own house. You see, they  are also aware that their children have not stabilized enough in their own characters to be able to influence these neighbors positively, and perhaps, never would.  Any association with them would definitely be a loss for their children especially if their parents, or other appointed caring and able adult, are not around to keep them safe.

 

So the parents take a trip and the children are home alone. They look outside the window and the neighbors’ children seem to be having so much fun. They seem to laugh a lot, and it must be ‘powerful’ to carry around such crude weapons and scare away even the stoutest adults. It must be something else to be able to intimidate someone into dropping what they have so it can be yours- without having to explain to Dad and especially Mom why you ‘must’ have it. Besides they are lonely and what’s the point of having all these treasure indoors if they are never shown to those who don’t and can’t have them?

 

So a plan is construed and lunch and drinks are arranged. One child is sent out to get the crowd in, and as soon as they step into the house the mistake is evident. Even the scent of the house is different…changes remarkably. And the ‘visitors’ have no respect for boundaries set by the hosts. Their crude weapons seem to seek out and find the most vulnerable, yet precious treasures in the house and run over these without thinking. The hosts can’t keep up with the crashing and banging and the guests seem to have taken over the entire house. They leave eventually having utterly degraded and defiled the houses in ways previously unimaginable to the ‘nice hosts’. They promise not to let the children’s parent know that they have been indoors, only if they are allowed to ‘visit ‘ from time to time. The terrified children agree. They have after all experienced the cruelty of their guest, and have a lot of cleaning and masking to get into.

 

So the cycle begins, the cleaning and masking, the visits, the destruction, the stealing, the violation of private space, nothing is too sacred for them to defecate. Eventually, the parents notice that their children are distant, and that the house has changed. They actually knew from the beginning what had happened and have been waiting for the children to come clean and seek their support. In one scenario, the parents confront the children with the truth, in another the threat to their actual person and the person of their parents force the children to confess: in others they deny the reality of the problem and blame the servants for the missing items and the destruction within the Mansion. In another, the ‘visitors’ have so convinced them that their parents don’t love them enough or are unable to help them out, or simply unwilling to do so that the children submit to violations of a sexual kind and then to death rather than seek the parents’ help.

 

Do I need to go on….well let me; for the sake of that one who has not yet understood what am on about. God’s Word makes it very clear what our boundaries are. When we stay within His Temple and acknowledge Him as Lord – key, title deed and all- of our lives, we remain safe. No matter what we face. He is explicit about who the enemy is, He has pointed it out, He has taught us to recognize it and to call out for help when we are tempted to open doors to that enemy. God has made it clear, that the devil might not seem evil, it might even seem more humane, liberal and understanding than God, but that it is evil, through and through. Satan’s mission is simple, to steal, to kill, to destroy…who…you and I. It does not relent in that mission, not even for a second. Its camouflage is clever, geared at enticing you, to let it in. Once in, everything changes.

 

It comes in when you succumb to temptation and ignore God’s decree about something. Most times the thing does not seem significant. It is probably going to a place you have been told not to go, sometimes not because it’s bad, but because you need to be somewhere else. Sometimes it’s sharing that story, a ‘tiny fact’ that would spice up the story…or increase interaction with someone previously inaccessible. Whatever it is, the effects are the same. The permeation into all other areas of your life, the convincing even while you hurt that its because God has so destroyed your freedom and that He is not able or willing to help you out. God knows what is going on. He prefers that you come to Him in repentance, and seek His help. After all, isn’t He the One that says that the battle is won not by power or might but by His Spirit? Sometimes He will confront us and some of us will confess and get right with Him. Much of the times anyway. Sometimes we do a lot of masking and whitewashing, thinking we are fooling Him as much as we are any and everyone else. But the saddest thing is that we are often so forgetful of God’s Character, His Truth, His Light, and Omniscience that many of us ‘die’ either literally or spiritually in our attempts not to be found vulnerable by Him.

 

Your life, is God’s Temple, the Temple of The Holy Spirit. It is His business, His territory. It is Holy ground…and there are no secrets…there are angels and heavenly hosts watching everything you and I do, think, say or intend. WE are known thoroughly, perhaps even better than we know ourselves, because we are not our own, we are His. He loves us, but hates our sin. He hates it when we rebel. When we are either presumptuous or disdainful of His Mercies, He eventually gives us up to our sins…to our willful ways and vacates the temple. This is so sad…so sad, I need to stop here and make sure, that He remains Lord of my Life. So my sister, my brother, who did you show around, who knows about the temple treasures, who did you let into The Lord’s Sanctuary that He told you not to? Call for help: Jeremiah 33:3, Your Father and Friend and Lord, WANTS to help evict the intruder.

 

Shalom

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Additional Scripture Reading: Proverbs 10:3-9; 14:2; Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 14; John 4:21-24; John 14:12-27; John 15:5-8; Revelations 2:12-29; Revelations 7:9-17

 

Smelling Like a Sacrifice

Today was an interesting day. O pardon me, ‘today’ is already yesterday: and the day before that was also interesting. It was a day of smells. Not always pleasant. A day to again consider the anointing, oil and Spirit. It was both joyful and traumatizing. I am hedging…not really wanting to get into it; so here goes.

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
         The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
         Keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
         To practice wicked works
         With men who work iniquity;
         And do not let me eat of their delicacies.” Psalm 141

In order to get to yesterday, let me start with last Friday. I had come from town, a very late lunch with an old friend after a meeting with an excellent lawyer. I get home and I can’t shake off a heavy feeling. I talk to two of my neighbors and discover why…then decide not to dwell on it. And actually manage to ask them to stop quite early in their attempts to tell me about their day in order for each to put the other in bad light.  I love them both and apart from the very important fact that I know God hates slander, I just did not have the grace to listen to them tear at each other. Anyway, my little one and a half year old neighbor sees me walking back to the apartment area and flies into my arms…Baby Beko is the miracle I needed that instant. And as I cradle him, marveling at the beauty of him, I notice a white car approaching. It passes in front of us. No one needs to tell me that the four occupants are armed and dangerous, but my eyes find and lingers on each other their faces as they pass by. They try to scare me but am equally defiant silently saying in my head “O no, you are not going to intimidate me in my neighborhood. “ This takes five to ten seconds at most and then I turn my attention to Beko and his giggling as I toss him into the air and catch him. I then linger a little bit with the caretaker and one neighbor at the gate then decide that 6:15 pm is too late for me to be standing and chatting idly outside. Besides, Leroy, my son, is threatening to bring me a cup of tea out there and his sister Shukurani is standing barefoot too close to the puddle of seeping sewage from one of the septic tanks. So into the house I go. And all is well again.

Saturday is a beautiful day. Full of fellowship, God’s Word and meeting new and old friends. Then I go home. Late. The fellowship is at Homecare Spiritual Fellowship Premises off Kabarnet Road in Nairobi Ngong Road. Remember my vision about the crows? If you didn’t read it, this would be a good time to go back to it and do so. It’s definitely going to be quicker than this one. And you will catch up with me at this exact spot. So again I come back home, praying for me, for my children, for my family, for my neighbors and for my loved ones. Delivered, motivated, but again heavy hearted.  I skip over the still puddle of sewage right under the gate and try not to breath in before I get to my door. Sunday, I receive two old friends at my flat Anne and Carole. Fellowship is nice. I see them off at around 3:30, making sure their sandaled feet do not come into contact with the standing sewage at the gate. I almost don’t smell it at all, but I notice all my visitors tense up at the gate…and hardly smile…so I know the stench must be terrible. Beko is again with me…happy, reaching for my arms, waiting for me to throw him into the air. So I straddle him on my hip and see my friends off. And then indulge him.

 

So yesterday, I try to open the windows in the morning and my hands rebel. The stuffiness in my bedroom cum living room is easier to take in, by far than the stale early morning evidence  that the world does indeed use their bathrooms. It’s an otherwise blessed day. And in the evening, the worship on Hope fm, keeps me on my knees for long. Leroy, Shukri and I complete our devotions and then I get into some time with God, doing some thorough spiritual bathing. And as I worship and pray, I get images in my mind of three women bending over in an unsightly manner towards my house, so I increase the intensity of my prayers. I pray until I sense a release. I try to get back to my computer afterwards but I hear The Father gently say “No, go to sleep”. I raise the volume of the radio overnight worship a little higher and comply. And sleep like a baby. I dream that I am still looking for home, and keep shuttling between my old neighborhood and God’s  promised neighborhood, with Leroy, Shukri and twin sons in my arms. I am still serving God and my twins are good babies in my dream, but all the drama of the actual rejection in my life replays in my dream. It’s a calm dream, with a pain so dull I can almost ignore it. And yet it lives on even as the joy of my walk and service to God flows over. Twin boys?

So I wake up this morning and still on my knees I call the management of the plot on which I live in; a library call. “Pole [sorry] about the ‘visitors’ you had last night” he says. Not really curious, I ask him “we had visitors?” suspecting we have new tenants. “Yes, the bad kind. I heard they stole a carpet from one of your neighbors” I immediately know which one but ask him still “which of my neighbors?” and he confirms it. “I have not stepped out of the house but will go out and check. My house is still dark, curtains tightly drawn. It’s a day of contemplating on God’s love and Grace and I was doing business with Him and did not want to be distracted by the smells again…still I find myself on my feet and outside. I confirm that the ‘electrical fencing’ above the wall was badly torn off and that a robbery did occur. I am amazed I slept through it! I am such a light sleeper. And my flat is closest to the breached wall, after Beko and his Mom’s. As my neighbors and I engage in some talk about it we are joined by another one. “Mami, do you remember a white car that passed us last week on Friday? Apparently they were armed gangsters going into our next door neighbors house to rob them. They got into the compound, but the maid acted quickly and they were not able to get into the house and they actually left in a hurry. We were right in front of the plot Mami! Do you remember them?” My brain freezes. Then my landlord’s son walks in with a new tenant and we hug, and get talking. I tell him about the break in and then he gets close to me and asks ‘Auntie Vip, what is that smell?” Hmmm I had not yet showered but there was no way he could smell that with the sewage frothing right behind him. “Sewage” I respond as gently as I can. “Why?” I shrug. “I have no idea, it’s been flowing for a while [since beginning of December actually] and it’s supposed to be sorted sometime but not yet.” And we go back to talking about the robbery and the need for guards…and with a promise to urgently sort out all the issues he has witnessed he leaves. He calls me about ten minutes later to say “Auntie Vip, thank you”

Then tonight, Leroy Shukri and I go through Leviticus 8 for our devotions. The story of one sacrifice that Moses made with Aaron and his sons. A key verse stands out for us. ‘After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded him.’ and again Romans 12:1 ‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him‘ Our Devotional Bible asks “So how do you smell before God?” We giggle about it. We talk about our lives and walks in the pattern of the sacrifice of Moses in this passage, which I will explain to you in another blog. We conclude, that we don’t want to be the ones to cause God to clench His Face at the gate, while we are presenting our sacrifices. We would hope that He judges our sacrifices as having a ‘pleasing aroma’, because we did everything ‘just as The LORD has commanded us to’.

So tell me beloved of The LORD, how do you smell? How does the living sacrifice that is your life. smell to God and Heaven’s witnesses?

 

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Large Black Crows in The Wilderness

Worship this morning was extra sacrificial and after much battle. I had woken up to Pastor Jon Courson’s exposition on Romans 7:15-24[see full text below]. What caught my attention was his definition of what a carnal Christian is – as opposed to a real or Holy Spirit led Christian. He said that whenever many Christians thought about a carnal Christian, they immediately perceived someone who was still doing things that were considered un-Christ like. He said this was only partly true. He said that if the energy of living our lives was derived from the flesh, then we were unfortunately, still carnal. In other words, if my obedience to the call to follow Christ depended on my feelings, then I was unfortunately still carnal. I hope this helps someone…it certainly did me.

Anyway, am there on my knees, journal, Bible, prayer books and the books am reading all around me, ready to worship and what is hindering me? The offences of the saints. So I keep repenting. And forgiving. And I begin to focus on God’s Person, then another offence drops into my spirit. Eventually I stop singing and am like “God, I surely cannot go this way without You. You must help me.” And then worship begins. And with the breakthrough, The Creator of the Universe takes on my thoughts and I break into vision. I see myself walking towards the gate of Homecare Fellowship Premises, for a prayer meeting, that turns out to be a Transform Kenya prayer meeting [I am just now, at 6:30pm noticing on Facebook, that it is Transform Kenya’s Birthday]. I hesitate at the gate, for a second wondering if they will receive me, but then I am urged through by unseen Hands. In my vision, the meeting flows long and the prayer room is bright. Like someone put on floodlights. Then there is fellowship after the prayers, and I start leaving the room, because I hate travelling at night, and I need to walk some dark paths and transit at least thrice, to get home safely. But God reminds me in the vision, that I now have faith to believe Him to get home without making one single step. Amazing! So I fellowship some more and then I hear my thoughts say to me ‘I wish I was home already’. And I disappear from the midst of God’s people but when I get to my neighborhood, it is dark in a bizarre way. Like at the beginning of those horror movies I have always hated. None of my neighbors’ lights are on. And I search frantically for just one light in the place I now live in. I try to enter it and be the light but God keeps me out saying “It has been decided”

  I turn as though to go away. Understanding in a way, that I no longer live there. Then I notice the many Large Crows pecking at the walls and windows of what used to be my apartment block [in the natural, it still is]. And a voice challenges me, a whisper that I almost miss in that terrible darkness “How do you just walk away and leave the place as it is”. I begin to intercede, God please change Your Mind about this place, let there be Light Lord please! Have Mercy Lord.” Then I hear the voice say again, ‘It has been decided!”. In my heart of hearts, I just know that this is judgment, and that this place has worked hard to earn it, but, I KNOW my God! I KNOW His Heart! So again still hanging suspended above it all, and not even able to see my own body, I cry out “Lord, You Yourself brought me here. I did not even know it existed before. Remember how I obeyed you and prayed over the building when it was just my children and I living there. I obeyed you back then for three months! Then you brought these people and caused my heart to love each one of them. And though they have often stabbed me, though I know their ways, that they are not really my true friends, my heart still loves them God. You led me to them, to show them You. Have I failed You? Did I fail in my ministry to them?” And I hear The Voice say to me “Remember My Ministry to you and to them? What did I hold back from you and them? And yet you know how often I Am rejected by them. So, No, you have not failed Me in your service to Me. They have refused to receive Me and rejected you my friend as well. Let it be. It has been decided.”

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.” Romans 8:7

At this point, I still don’t understand what ‘had been decided’, I just knew it was not something good. So I asked again “Is there a limit to Your Grace Lord? Why would You give up on these? I have always known that Your Grace is infinite as is Your love for us. Do You not love them anymore? Is there actually an end to Your Love and Grace?” And suddenly there is a ‘lifting’. I sense my tent is folded. That God is leading me on. But that He has not left them. I feel His Smile as He in turn challenges me gently, “Vip, you fight with so much faith for these, for all broken and dead relationships no matter how long they have been buried, for your nation. You fight for these believing that My Love and Grace is more than sufficient. You fight for those you do not know. Knowing that I Am God both nearby and far away. How come then, you absolutely do not believe that my grace is sufficient for your own blood family and those you have loved like they were your own blood?”

Technical knock-out I tell you!!! God absolutely knows how to take one’s breath away! I remain kneeling there on the floor leaning on my bed. Silenced. And my mind goes on to expound for me, how I rarely give up on those who I have loved, except if they are family. I do not understand the pain that family inflicts, it’s too much. They should know you best, but often they know you least. And when they hurt you, they use their dirtiest and meanest weapons, AND THEN expect you to forgive and completely forget. And for some reason, they never quite seem to live up to your expectations of their roles in your life hmmmmm…You know that don’t you, you are family or part of one? Just like me…  I realized that I process all other pain, no matter what it has involved, but when family hurt me, I dropped it and walked on. Not willing to fight battles I was never able to understand in the first place. I remember too that I made this resolution after I magnificently rose up to battle many, many, times and ended up wounding myself more deeply than the one I was trying to defend myself before. I was no longer fit enough to survive their wounds so I had chosen the best way – in my mind – barricade myself in a place where it no longer mattered: None of it. I watched renewed attempts to irk me, harm me, agitate me like a distant spectator, checking that my armor, particularly my shield and breastplate were in place.  And then I wondered at God’s punch here…hadn’t He been with me the last 42 years that are my time here on earth so far? Aiii…then His peace settled over me. He was calling me beyond the veil, where my feelings were of little consequence – beyond carnality. Where I may or may never be able to appear and disappear at will, but where I lived His greatest miracle of all: The miracle of fearless purity of love and forgiveness. Would I follow Him here too?

Flash-forward, later in the day, I am still trying to find out what the spiritual meaning of crows in the Bible is. I share my concerns eventually with my close friend Martha. She listens to me and then says to me “Vip, we have paid the price we have been called to, in order to take this journey. To follow God. 2012 I believe is going to be a good year simply because of the terror that was 2011. We will review this on December 31st this year. You are my second friend to dream of crows. My friend dreamt that there were crows in our parking lot here, where we live. I will find out what they symbolize according God’s Mind, but I want you to remember how far God has brought you. That you are close to the end. And that the enemy wants to make sure that you do not receive yours by scattering you with the spirit of offence. Guard against this. It works most of the time amongst us Christians and keeps many Christians from finishing their race. We are victorious, so guard your heart against the spirit of offense.” She was going into a meeting so we could not finish this phone conversation. She left me with scripture to ponder on.

And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of  the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved.”  Jesus Christ in Mathew 24:10-13

And I wrote my covenant down on my journal. “LORD, I KNOW You are Right, and I am wrong. Your grace is limitless for my family too, as is Your love for each one of us. And I will stand in the gap. I will follow You even here.” This day…God has lit a His Light. And nothing hides in the dark…even the huge black crows. It has been decided.

vipslit@yahoo.ca

Romans 7:15-24 “For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns]. Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

For I fail to practice the good deeds I desire to do, but the evil deeds that I do not desire to do are what I am [ever] doing. Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [fixed and operating in my soul].So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands.

For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. But I discern in my bodily members [in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs []in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh]. O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? Amplified Bible

 2 Corinthians 2:3 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.”

Romans 1: 18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Author and Sustainer :Vows to Live By

God has called me to listen to Him; to listen to the disappointments of His people in each other, and sometimes in Him, and to represent the Truth, of His Faithfulness – in word, in action and in the posture of my faith in Him. So many times I hear myself and others speak about our frustrated expectations in relationships we are in. We have pre-conceived ideals as to how others need to handle their roles as our relationship partners: our parents, spouses, lovers, children, betrothed, pastors, work colleagues, workmates, the bus driver, the police, the army, our political, corporate, church leaders….but primarily how we feel God has let us down by NOT MAKING THEM CONFORM to OUR ideals. The truth is that, we are our own worst let-downs…I am just saying. Anyway let’s go back to the main stream of my thoughts this afternoon.

Many relationships, God ordained relationships are on their death bed or have been buried because one person [or more accurately, both] is not excellently living up to standards, as well as continual and increasingly sometimes complex of expectations collected from other sources along our pilgrim.  These may be  inspirational, often even powerful, but sadly and on the  most part,  un-communicated to the person who is expected to live up to them. Often the first they hear about is when they are drawn into the courts where reputations die, by advocates other than the relationship partner. If the relationship partner does bring it up, it is often in a sentence that begins with something like “why are you not like….” Many times though, we silently and resolutely move from that relationship, by refusing to live up to our own expectations in it, citing as an excuse for our execution – ‘insufficient resourcing‘ from the ‘errant partner‘. In other words, ‘it doesn’t matter really what I did or am doing now to harm the relationship we are both responsible to God for nurturing, JUST  what YOU are not doing right.’ The ‘more humble’ amongst us, judge ourselves against the same cruel standards…for being a certain way and lacking something that heaven has not given us, and perhaps, never will. You know what am talking about…it’s that thing that just popped into your mind.

So this morning I am again before My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, repenting for not measuring up…and I hear the smile in His voice, a somewhat sad smile as He tells me “I am going to teach you to lay down your harmful standards, and take on Mine, Vip. Who went and lied to you by telling that I need those things from you? You are already giving Me back the fullness of what I have given to you, and you have pleased Me.” I get this vision of a majestic but tired eagle about to fall off a precariously small, jagged mountain-ledge. It is too tired to fly off this place that it, itself flew into and can’t exactly walk off. The only way off that place seems to fall off and crash into the rocky jagged bottom of the mountain – and there surrender to death brought about by its injuries, and despair. I hear my own spirit whisper, tired ‘that’s me over there’. And then suddenly a huge man looking Spirit being appears next to the eagle. The Being is bigger than all mountains  put together, standing tall above the clouds with His Feet upon the earth; but beautiful, gentle and terrible to look at. The Eagle is not frightened of Him. And when He extends His fore-finger and the Eagle trustingly grasps onto it and The Being Walks away beyond my vision. The message is clear…you just need to Trust in Him and He will take you where He is taking you, to Heaven’s Table land, beyond carnal vision. Indeed, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.’ 1 Corinthians 2:9

And later in the afternoon, I am chatting with one of my oldest and dearest friends and we begin to praise The God of our journey and something falls into place for me. In spite of what your carnal state looks like to you and to others, God through Jesus Christ and the Trinity has committed to put in the work to make sure that your and I make it to heaven. We must however do something, we must Trust Him. Trust that God’s Hand WILL NOT drop you off the heights or bury us in the valleys we may have found ourselves in. And my standards and yours are pretty filthy and shabby to hope to impress Him by. For me that settles all my lofty debates…The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, The Almighty God, HAS committed to doing all to make sure, I am among the number of triumphant saints worshiping before The Heavenly Throne someday soon. What is keeping you away?

    “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, THE AUTHOR AND PERFECTOR of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“come to Me ALL YOU who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I WILL give you rest” Jesus Christ in Mathew 11:28

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
   that the mountains would tremble before You!

...When You did awesome things for which we did not look,
      You came down,
      The mountains shook at Your presence.
       For since the beginning of the world
      Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
      Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
      Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
       You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
      Who remembers You in Your ways. ” Isaiah 64

vipslit@yahoo.ca

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