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Archive for September, 2006

Week four

                                                                 Week Four

Sometimes it seems that there are recurring cycles in our spiritual life- from active phases to periods of reflecting and being still. Sometimes you’re kept waiting and anticipating to hear from the Lord (and that may seem to last forever!). During such times you’re often tested and reminded of your specific vulnerabilities. God probably uses them to teach our spirit perseverance.

I’m going through a time of testing right now. Disappointed and frustrated by the lack of closeness to the Lord! Tempted to try some of those old fleshly pleasures I thought I had gotten rid of, for good! Daddy, where are you?!!!! I don’t mean to be too busy to be in your presence, for You know I’d like to stay in it 24/7… It’s just that this dumb world, with it’s complications, gets in the way.

I’m worried about expecting too much and then having those expectations crushed. Wondering whether I rely on "the experience" and the "thrill of feeling the spirit" too much, instead of the solid rock of faith (believing in things not seen nor proven by the methods of men).

Perhaps it’s time for me to go back to picking up the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table…

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The week is almost over, what a rough week it has been indeed, especially at work. Shelter filled to capacity with troublemakers. Though some of them are pretty amusing. I haven’t slept enough. Tired. Back with my face against the floor, repenting. Why do I always feel like I’ve betrayed my Lord? Maybe it’s because I’ve been secretly desiring to re-live some past experiences that are probably wrong, such as leaving one’s physical body. I used to be pretty good at it. Frequent flyer. I even kept a journal. To what extent it was real (aside from those experiences that may have arised out of the imagery of one’s soul), I cannot say for sure. I had only one out-of-body experience since being baptized in Jesus’ name. During it I met a man (whatever spirit/entity it was) in a rather ticked-off mode. I asked what his problem was and he answered me with one simple word:"Immersion."

I’m pretty sure God will prevent such activities from taking place in the future. Yet I worry… I don’t trust myself. What if one day Holy Spirit won’t be enough for me and I fall into spiritual adultery. What an ugly, ugly word… I’d just like to know WHY do I have to deal with this stuff? Why Daddy why? I know, (my own fault). But the Blood covered that too, thank you Jesus! I have a hard time letting go of it though. Lord help me. Pleeeeease. I’m grateful that (at least) the temptation to drink alcohol has left me. I hope, completely. No more witnessing to drunks at the bars?

(I considered deleting the above text, but decided to leave it in the journal).

Mark 4:22 "For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.

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Last night, J. came back to the shelter. B. and I put our job positions in jeopardy, took him in, allowed him to shower, gave him clean clothes and some food. Fixed a temporary bed in the back office (he hadn’t slept much lately) and he slept there for 5 hours, then took off again.

I remember how urgently I prayed for him during the spring of 2004, after he was Baker Acted. I had been working at the shelter for less than two weeks when he was brought in that day. He did not want to stay at the shelter, and I had followed him outside, trying to talk him out of running away. He was 15, a habitual runner, depressed and disappointed with life. We talked about God, circumstances, relationships. And suicide. He wanted to kill himself. Threatened to run in front of the traffic, made a few attempts in front of me. Probably just for a show. Playing a pretty dangerous game. Anyway, we finally made it back indoors, then the cops came and the rest is history.

Curiously, more than two years later J. came back and recognized me right away. "You freaked me out, man!" I told him as we reflected on that day long ago. He said things had actually worked out well, the stay at S.P. had turned out to be a good thing. He had even found a temporary job. He almost cried as he said how hard he had tried to do good. But things just didn’t work out… Gotta pray for him some more I guess.

Tonight we have a gathering at Upper Room. Too bad B. can’t make it, due to being out of town this weekend… She’s such a blessing, and so is M, who always has her arms open for our children, for times of fun and play!!! I hope they will be blessed as well, as we are working and living so close together. Naturally, I trust that Daddy will make everything work out just fine, for sure!!!

I’m gonna go ahead and give this "updated and corrected edition" to both J & S, if they’re interested in reading it. At least it’s in a better form now and I feel more comfortable letting other people read it, too. (You’ve got to bounce things back-and-forth a couple of times before they develop into their final form). Yet -I’m forever frustrated (in fact, I feel it’s a handicap) having to express my thoughts and ideas in English, my second language. grrr.

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A few final thoughts before I finish off this week’s portion. I made a few changes to the journal, took out a thought or two that did not seem right or fair -I bless you Father for Your correcting!!!

Last night at The Upper Room was a blessing, as always. After such difficult and trying week in both spiritual and carnal sense, I entered with an expectation to be refreshed in the spirit. God heard the prayers and comforted his child once again, through His anointed servants. The same way precious baby E. lifts up his little arms, reaching out for his parents to be picked up -I lift up my hands toward Daddy, to be picked up, nurtured and comforted in His lap.

I went to sleep without taking sleeping pills (can’t remember the last time I had a night’s sleep without one). Woke up to pray around 3:30 and then again at 5am with a song of praise playing in my head. Lord put quite a few strong prayers in my heart for people both near and far away from me. I was blessed, and once again convicted about the need of trusting both my waking and resting hours to His care only.

Week three

                                                              Week Three

Once again, I’ve been "pondering" so here we go…

Last Sunday was interesting. Two services, two different places. During the first one I felt something holding back God’s Holy Spirit. I felt extremely agitated in the spirit, there was a presence that usually isn’t there. Something binding the spirit.

Could it have been someone who attended that morning, I wondered, as I felt this strange presence all during the service, and not too far from where I sat. I was too proper to check out "what" was causing it, but I felt where it was coming from. I recognized the feeling as similar to one I get around some of the teens that come from families in such bondages as drugs, violence, sexual sins, witchcraft, you name it…

Discerning the spirits is one of the gifts I feel God has been developing within me for a long time. Having witnessed "the supernatural" for a long time, makes it also one of my biggest temptations. It’s always my urgent prayer that Lord would keep me from dabbling with things that are an absolute abomination in the eyes of Lord God Almighty. I have received so much mercy and forgiveness from Him through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Precious Blood of the Lamb, to save a sinner such as I, unworthy and rebellious child. I do not discuss the supernatural very often (because most people are blissfully unaware of such) but sometimes I wonder whether God sees it necessary to reveal secrets of darkness to His children, in order for us to see things clearly and stand fast in the truth and the light.

The evening service at the Upper room was just magnificent, so uplifting! God’s word was spoken true and uncompromised, I was inspired! And praising God in such a powerful way, it felt like the the gates of heaven were opened wide !!! Can’t get enough of you Lord! Praising You, standing in awe at the powerful presence of Your Holy Spirit!

Week two

                                                                 Week Two

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease.

Once again, I cried out in distress:"Lord, how much further are You going to reduce me?" You see that I’m hurting, and I see no reason why…

But I just couldn’t help it. The power forced me down to the floor, pressing my face agaist its unyielding coldness while the sorrows washed over me like the crushing waves of the sea. I had repented plenty, I thought. Those days of spiritual agony were long gone. In my walk of faith I had experienced wonderful renewing of the spirit and discovered the mystery and power of a spirit-filled life.

Yet this was something very different -something I wasn’t used to, and so I cried. And then I cried some more. A dear sister asked me if I was depressed. Me? Never been this happy and excited and eager to serve my Lord and Savior!!! Such thirst and hunger for His word, such ever growing need to dwell in the presence of His Holy Spirit. Words could not explain the gratitude and awe I felt deep inside, as the fountain flowed and overflowed, filling me with abundant grace, peace and joy. Still, I felt smaller than ever, despite those "mountaintop" experiences that lifted my spirit to new heigths, combined with the thrill of an artistic awakening after a period of uncreativity. I had even received praise for the work Lord had inspired me to do, from different sources.

Sure there were troubles and trials in my busy life of working full time while also taking care of family of six. But there was also extra strength that, at times, seemed almost supernatural. I often lacked rest due to working the night shift and used most of my waking hours "catching up" with house cleaning, laundry and home improvement projects. But in the midst of the busy week I also received special treats from God, especially during times of fellowship with a group of newfound friends. I loved to to praise and worship the Lord with them. Bringing us together is surely one of many examples of how Lord is preparing the bride for His coming. He is worthy to be praised!!!

Those three days of inexplainable sorrow and repenting humbled my spirit. I felt empty and drained. I did not make it to church that one Sunday morning. Instead, I stayed in bed while my dear husband got the kids dressed and ready to go to the service.

In the quiet of an empty house Lord gave me two visions. In the first one I saw a large sharpened sword. It was long and wide and glistened very bright. Then the words appeared to me: The people. In a second vision I saw an olive tree and the words: The church. These visions were unexpected and surprised me. They seemed clear and simple, though. In a prayer I asked Lord to explain them. Then while searching the bible I found some passages, which I bookmarked to write down later.

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The sword in several places describes God’s unfolding judgment toward people and nations. In others, it describes people turning their swords against each other, or their companions (Judg. 22:7)

Ezekiel 21;

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; 3 "and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I [am] against you, and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off both righteous and wicked from you.

"Because I will cut off both righteous and wicked from you, therefore My sword shall go out of its sheath against all flesh from south [to] north, "that all flesh may know that I, the LORD, have drawn My sword out of its sheath; it shall not return anymore." ‘ "Sigh therefore, son of man, with a breaking heart, and sigh with bitterness before their eyes.

"And it shall be when they say to you, ‘Why are you sighing?’ that you shall answer, ‘Because of the news; when it comes, every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak [as] water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord GOD."

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD!’ Say: ‘A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished! Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning!

Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My Son, [As it does] all wood. And He has given it to be polished, That it may be handled; This sword is sharpened, and it is polished To be given into the hand of the slayer.’

"Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike [your] thigh. "Because [it is] a testing, And what if [the sword] despises even the scepter? [The scepter] shall be no [more,"] says the Lord GOD.

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(The scepter stands for the rulers of the nation Israel). It also says in Ephesians 6:17 that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God.

It surprised me to find out that, in many bible verses the olive tree and God’s church/kingdom have similar descriptions.

This is what I found concerning the olive tree:

(Romans 11:16-25)

For if the firstfruit [is] holy, the lump [is] also [holy;] and if the root [is] holy, so [are] the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, [remember that] you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." Well [said.] Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in [His] goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who [are] natural [branches,] be grafted into their own olive tree?

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

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I then found a passage in revelation that surely excited me! What if the two witnesses (olive trees) actually mean the end time churches witnessing to the world, with signs and wonders.

(Revelation 11:1-13)

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, "Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. "But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot [for] forty-two months.

"And I will give [power] to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.

And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies [will lie] in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then [those] from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

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Olive trees were also used as symbols of God’s promises to provide for His people, giving His people abundant riches (such as olive groves they had not planted etc.)

Also, olive tree branches were used during the feast of Tabernacles, as people remembered their days in captivity and celebrated their freedom, reminding themselves how God punishes sin and blesses obedience (Neh. 9:13-18).

It may also point to the time of the great end-time harvest or the siege of Jerusalem (I forget where I read that, but it mentioned the olive tree there too, I think…) Prophet Isaiah describes harvesting of an olive tree.

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(Is 17:4-8).

In that day it shall come to pass [That] the glory of Jacob will wane, And the fatness of his flesh grow lean. It shall be as when the harvester gathers the grain, And reaps the heads with his arm; It shall be as he who gathers heads of grain In the Valley of Rephaim. Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, Like the shaking of an olive tree, Two [or] three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, Four [or] five in its most fruitful branches," Says the LORD God of Israel. In that day a man will look to his Maker, And his eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, The work of his hands; He will not respect what his fingers have made, Nor the wooden images nor the incense altars.

(Is 24:12-23)

In the city desolation is left, And the gate is stricken with destruction. When it shall be thus in the midst of the land among the people, [It shall be] like the shaking of an olive tree, Like the gleaning of grapes when the vintage is done.

They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing; For the majesty of the LORD They shall cry aloud from the sea. Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, The name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: "Glory to the righteous!" But I said, "I am ruined, ruined! Woe to me! The treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously, Indeed, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously."

Fear and the pit and the snare [Are] upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall be [That] he who flees from the noise of the fear Shall fall into the pit, And he who comes up from the midst of the pit Shall be caught in the snare; For the windows from on high are open, And the foundations of the earth are shaken.

The earth is violently broken, The earth is split open, The earth is shaken exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again. It shall come to pass in that day [That] the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones*, And on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, [As] prisoners are gathered in the pit, And will be shut up in the prison; After many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced And the sun ashamed; For the LORD of hosts will reign On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem And before His elders, gloriously.

*Is this why in the new testament (Matthew 24:29 and Mark 13:25) it says, heavens will also be shaken- 

 -Did these visions really come from God- and why on earth would someone like me receive such… I don’t  have that much knowledge of the Holy Bible, although I love to meditate in the Word. It’s exciting to think that maybe Lord is "just checking out" to see if it’s a good idea to give me visions such as those I mentioned. I guess I will continue writing, should any reasons arise…

Week one

Walking With Christ

My Journal of Faith

 Week One

(This journal begins about one month after I was convicted to be buried and raised with my Lord and Savior, that is; baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. I had been baptized by The Lutheran Church of Finland as a baby, and have been a believer since early childhood).

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Shortly before receiving full baptism and finding the Upper Room fellowship, God gave me a vision concerning the religious bondage involved in following the traditions of men. I had been in such bondage most of my life. Praise God for showing me the way out!

Recently, I was wondering whether I was having a two-way conversation with myself as I was praying and seeking God’s guidance. The answers (often in full sentences) kept popping into my head, and I started to wonder whether I was simply developing a clever way of answering my own questions (as kind of a comfort-measure type of behavior). I’m forever analyzing this and that… Mercy!

Lord gave me a very clear answer within a day or two, as sister S. got a word, saying "God wants to tell someone who’s not sure, that -yes, it is me who’s talking to you!" Wow… I received that answer quietly, but later wondered if I should have said something.

Well, I’ve always minded my own business, maybe Lord will change all that one day. Maybe it’s just a feeling of unworthiness, I don’t know… But I know that Lord, through some close friends has been reassuring me about my standing as His child for some time. I’m always amazed how Lord talks to me through people. Precious friends. Thank you Daddy for such blessings!

He has so many wonderful surprises in store for His children… Usually it’s only afterwards, that our "hindsight" reveals how He used our circumstances and acquintances to unfold His masterplan for each person’s life. One of the more important lessons He has taught me is this: By Not letting my own first impressions "influence" or "rule" how I treat others, allows God to use me to a greater extent, to His purpose and glory!

It is so like God to use our weaknesses (such as my own feelings of unworthiness) to His glory. Perhaps it’s because He chooses imperfect vessels to reach the ones that the rest of the world would rather ignore. As an example, I’ll describe what happened to me just this past week.

I was going to Save-a-lot to buy discount groceries (they’ve got great deals on eggs, oj and milk). I had prayed earlier; please Lord let me be helpful to someone today. He provided exactly what I asked.

At the store, I didn’t have very much time, as my kids needed to be picked up from school. Glancing at my watch in the check-out lane, I had about 5 minutes. As I was bagging my groceries, a lady with a couple of large bags suddenly came to ask me if I could help bringing them to her home. Remembering my earlier prayer, I couldn’t say no. She lived in a dangerous part of the city, and while driving there, I saw several police cars patrolling the area. Was I foolish to go there? Maybe. But I’ve always been "stupid" like that, ever since my teenage years. (I used to hitch-hike around the "old country" and keep company with the homeless and hobos etc). I never experienced fear in those situations, nor did I feel that these people were worth anything less than myself. When I had my first major spiritual awakening at age 13, I often prayed God to find me people to love. And He did.

This lady shared the groceries with her neighbor. I had twenty bucks left, so I gave it to her for the next shopping trip. I finally picked up my kids more than a half hour late, but they were still there, waiting happily, no harm done! And within a week, when money once again was tight, I received rent money from friends who moved into our trailer (of which I had $200 left over after taking care of the necessities). Yup, that’s my daddy! He is awesome!!!

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