Setting the Atmosphere


fforgiveness

Your Influence on the World,
Journal Entry Monday, July 31, 2017

Today, I awoke to thoughts about mercy. A myriad whirlwind of thoughts about various scenarios and their results. swirled around my mind.  I remembered a moving testimony on Lynn Leahz program. A man wrote in to share his testimony of encountering Jesus. As a young boy, his parents raised him to be a Christian and he accepted Jesus as His Savior. As he got older, His love for Jesus diminished and he joined his friends in partying and revelry. He became promiscuous and lost all interest in the things of God.

Suddenly one night, he felt a strange disorientation and a forbidding. He felt his body separating and was taken across the universe. Then he found himself standing before Jesus. Jesus exuded indescribable love, yet also great disappointment. Then Jesus gazed deeply into his eyes and soul.  “I’m going to show you different scenes from your life..” Steven’s whole life then appeared before him as on a screen. One scenario in particular is familiar to me.

Waiting in a long line at a grocery store used to be one of my pet peeves and even more so as I’ve had to deal with incredibly, painful spasms from the fluorescent lights and stimuli of the sprawling grocery.  I used to grumble and complain, but now, I’ve disciplined myself to try my best to be gracious and smile as often as I can. I’ve heard many testimonies from devoted Christians who say that a smile, a kind word or action changes the whole atmosphere of a person’s demeanor and day.

In Steven’s case, an old lady kept bumping her cart into his lags and he was blasting her. As Steven watched himself in the film before him, he was aware of everyone’s thoughts. He could hear the old lady worry., “I don’t feel well. Am I having a heart attack? ”Did I take my medication today? “Lord I had no idea” Of course you didn’t Steven because you were not in me. Jesus said, Son, you had sinned on may levels. You were rude and thoughtless to her. You cursed her and finally and most importantly, you didn’t tell her about me.”

Fresh revelation came to me this morning, as I prepared myself to await Father’s instructions “Father, what would you like to show me today and what is your pan for me today?” This quiet mediation and devotion time has not always been this way for me. Even in my early years as a Christian, the habit would be to wake up, have my coffee and rush forward towards the day.  Mostly, this manner  led endless days of mediocrity . Something was missing, but I could not see what.  Even though these past ten years of suffering this TMJ-Dystonia has been difficult and draining beyond belief, I tell Father, “I trust You!” Some days I can barely stand the pulling  of my throat muscles which pull at my jaw joints and which sometimes strangles me and cuts off the oxygen.  Father will never exempt any fragile and weak moment or circumstance to yield good fruit!  As I cry for relief  and to be released from this season of partial disablement, I marvel in expectation to see how He will bring all this suffering and loss of my time, (in evangelizing).. for His great Glory.

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Oh…the beauty of being still…and knowing He is God.  Many of us don’t realize how priceless our listening time with God is and how few of us realize the necessity to be still and listen. Many of us piously grab our bibles and commentaries and study..but not necessarily about searching our heart for His purity and childlikeness. . We are too busy disguising our minds from the reality of the subtle, yet ugly hidden sins we deem insignificant. As in Steven’s video we saw how his anger  and cursing the old lady was indeed sinning.  Many of us are unaware of sudden manifestations of our sin nature and strongholds of our minds. We think  resentment, lack of mercy, exactingness, ( insisting others live up to our expectations and in our timberline) fits of anger, self righteousness, need for controlling others,  pride, (refusing to say I’m sorry)  and hatred.

As I listened to Steven”s story,  I recalled  times, not too many years ago, when en route and late to a gig, I would go ballistic because a driver’s speed was not to my satisfaction. I would get angry if his slow speed would get me stopped at a red light, while he drove forward. Sometimes, I’d yell, “You, idiot! Get out of my way”. I am ashamed to admit it, but my transparency is your gain! Recently,  I remember as recently as last year, blurting out, “BIRD BRAIN!”  Oops. Immediately felt convicted. “I’m SO sorry, Father” Forgive me and I bless that person”

Complaining is sin. We can bend over backwards and drive our best buddy anywhere despite our exhaustion of a long week of grueling overtime, yet if our wives need to be driven to the doctor, we let her know we despise it! We wonder why our co-workers seem repulsed by our preaching, yet we continue to scrutinize, (while disdaining) the quality of their work or their inability adapt to our idea of excellence. How about wives who spend hours going to get their nails done or shop, spending hundreds of dollars on each spree, yet can barely sacrifice and make their husband a wonderful home cooked meal? How about parents whose lives revolve around working  countless hours of overtime to buy new toys and gadget, yet neglect nurturing and listening to their children. Life seems a breeding ground of dysfunction and no one really understands why relationship are amiss and disappointing..

How blessed we are when Holy Spirit lovingly convicts us. Truly. blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. As I continued thinking about Steven’s story,  I thanked Father for His mercy to me regarding all my self-righteous and pious demeanor at times. I’m grateful when I get that little nudge that a spirit of pride has taken residence in my heart.  Time to kick him out. I know I could never be righteous apart from Jesus and can never live up to His perfection and mercy.

Let’s talk about anger now.  Anger is rooted in some kind of fear. Anger shows his face in many ways and circumstances, (rooted very deep since childhood and even as far back as  in infancy and a fetus). There are may manifestations of anger.  During a conversation, when we feel intimidated, we react with a posture of defensiveness or vindictiveness. We get angry and take it personally when a co-worker messes up a project or schedules. We respond to the problem with sarcasm and  disdain, rather than asking God to intervene and help vindicate. Sometimes we are so arrogant that we blame everyone who makes a mistake as planning trouble. Here is a spirit of fear, (of losing the job, being demoted or being written up by a supervisor). We all have our excuses for  blasting people, but in God’s eyes, there is no excuse. Did we ever think that others have days were they are slow, confused, overwhelmed, by lack of sleep or troubled? When we think we can read people’s minds and judge their motives, we need to address this attitude as arrogance and renounce it. Oh, how we are so led astray by our hearts. The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

The bottom line is, I’m sorry, is the answer for ll our sins. Not I’m sorry to relieve our consciences, but repentance that a relationship was breached and tainted by our own selfishness, pride and/or fear. Even if we feel we are innocent, there is nothing more healing to the spirit of a offended child, spouse, friend, co-worker and God. I’m sorry humbly said after a disagreement of mistake can mean the difference between a chaotic and miserable day or one that is covered with mercy and love.

Rob Morrissette, in hi insightful deliverance book,  Pray Through It, says it is not so much our reactions and feelings which are sinful, but our response to the wrong. Do we fight fire with fire, tit for tat?. Are we vindictive and harbor a deep anger, erupting in a fit of rage? If we are to engage our culture in a Christ manner, we will understand the significance of setting an atmosphere of mercy and grace to others when they make mistakes.  I’ve had days when I was cursed, harshly criticized or condemned and my whole week was ruined. It can be hard to rise up out of someone’s curse. I’ve also encountered making mistakes and being responded to with great kindness and mercy. This gave me a attitude of gratitude and i was able to pray for all involved and saw God’ work miraculously! Everyone was blessed!

We are as the pebble thrown into a still pond. Our responses to painful or negative events undulate outward into humanity, changing the very timberline of life!

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I ask you to help me be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Help me, Holy Spirit, to have the mind of Christ. Help me to respond patiently  and with mercy those who are having a bad day, not doing their job properly or are constantly in physical pain. Let us imagine that that slow driver may have lost their loved one or had to put their pet to sleep today. They shouldn’t be driving, but they are. Maybe they received a bad doctors report about their tests. They have Cancer and have eight months to live. Perhaps, someone’s house burned down or they were fired from their job. I do not know what a person is going through or grappling with, so help me to be merciful, gracious and have an attitude of healing grace.  Help me to be sensitive and ready when there is an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and His love for them.  Help me to be so in You, that I am sensitively intune to react as Jesus would.  Help me to catch myself when I suddenly react with defensiveness, fear or self-defense,  rather  than being humble and eager to quickly restore peace and lightness and peace in a conversation or relationship. With your help, I can reverse the negative emotional stronghold which have  hindered my joy and peace for many years and even many decades. With God…all things are possible.If I am willing, Father, You are able! Two special words, “I’m sorry” will bring  true repentance and healing to the one I unintentionally hurt. Help me to be led by  Holy Spirit and especially Lord, help me to learn to Be Still and know you are God…so I can hear your small voice which  gently convicts and corrects me so I can truly radiate the love and mercy of Christ, In Jesus precious name I pray, amen!

 

PEOPLE 101


I’ve finished reading “My Time In Heaven, A True Story of Dying and Coming Back” by Richard Sigmund. It is inspirational. timely and healing after having a major falling out with a person who I thought was a confidant. Betrayal, being misunderstand and falsely accused is never a pleasant experience, but I know that the sooner I “get over it,” the sooner I move forward in my life.I’m always refreshed after I’ve poured out my honest feelings to the Lord, forgiven and prayed for the person who hurt me.

From chapter to chapter, Richard shares his experiences in heaven and in the presence of God. There are unimaginable treasures in Heaven that God has meticulously crafted just for us. According to his book, nothing on earth could compare to such amazing perfection and joy! As a “people” person, I wished that everyone could read this book and feel compelled to reach out to Jesus Christ and to enjoy their eternal destiny with Him I

I came to Chapter 19, “The Other Place.” Jesus took Richard to hell. I couldn’t imagine the horrific demons, their torturing methods and the stench that would await those who have rejected the great sacrifice Jesus gave us on the cross. I stared to weep as he focused on a poor soul and his torment. I had to put the book down for a while, I wept so hard. It was difficult reading and even more painful to imagine torment was forever. I asked God to allow me to be share the Gospel salvation message with as many as I could. I also thanked Him allotted us a yet another tiny window of time to accomplish the urgent task of evangelizing more souls. I wondered why anyone wouldn’t do anything possible to avoid going there.The enormity of this reality and the after life continued to move my spirit to weeping. I know it breaks God’s heart to see so many of His precious creation go to a place never meant for them.

I took a break from reading the book, but continued pondering the afterlife. Jesus said, “Many or called, but few chosen.” I sadly marveled about evil, hatred and calamity enveloping America and the world. God reminded me that His people were to be the shining lights that bring healing to the nations! Many of His people are mean and condemning. Many have also back-slidden and left the fold because of brutish pastors and elders who spiritually abused or misunderstood them.

Jesus is the gentle shepherd who says, “Come to me, Ye who are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” He was the greatest teacher, soul-sculptor and counselor. He hand-picked his disciples, patiently grooming them in His own special way. Do you want to know the secrets of “soul-sculpting”? Sit and listen at Jesus feet. Are you a pastor, an elder, a husband or father? Sit quietly at Jesus feet and learn of Him, for He is lowly and humble. Every servant-leader realizes that if he wants people to receive of him, He must be willing to be as a servant first!

Jesus hated hypocrisy and venomously rebuked the Pharisees. They loved to scrutinize and condemn…thus their tactics brought few into the kingdom. He scolded,

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
Mat 23 2-4

The amazing thing about the Jewish leaders were that they highly educated and memorized even the smallest issues of the law. They were intoxicated by their own self-importance and intellect. So are many modern Christians today. Instead of the lost being attracted to the Gospel, they are repelled. Many of today’s pastors, priests and Rabbi’s are no different that the Pharisees of old, who loved to control their converts. Their hearts were closed to what Holy Spirit has to say. When loves is omitted, the letter of the law kills…but the Spirit brings life. 2 Cor 3:6.

Follower or Christ, I’d run in the opposite direction if your pastor hammered you with restrictions of his own making and limitations not in the Bible. God allow you to think for yourself and question. Test the spirits. 1 Jn 4:1

Recently, the Lord allowed me to learn a new lesson. My health had taken a dive and I was desperate for relief. I was introduced to a highly skilled christian health practitioner who was adamant about 100% committment to her strict protocol. I was sent long letters with long lists of supplements and healing machines and costly herbs. I was already grappling with strained family relationships, caring for my house and husband. Our budget was strained with the cost of the ladies’ protocol. On list of my protocol had 29 things to do and eat! I felt very weighed down. progress was slow, but I felt better as the weeks went by. A few months later, she mailed me a ten-paged letter blasted me as being rebellious, disobedient and unthankful! I was so shocked, I had to fall on my face in deep prayer and seeking wisdom from the harsh words.

It took me about a week to address all the emotion in that letter. I took it to prayer and asked Father God what the lesson was. This Sunday, my pastor preached about what true freedom in christ was and the light came on! God was giving me a taste of what it’s like to be under spiritual bondage. I was depressed and entrapped by the law and walking under condemnation. Continuing in prayer and sharing the contents of the letter with other godly, wise women, I realized my relationship with this woman was not communicated in love, for Christ always calls us into loving correction and restoration.

This lesson was needful and worthy to be included with my other my other areas of expertise. I’ve mentored people from all walks of life. I’ve learned that people have deeply ingrained patterns of thinking, habits and mindsets modeled by dysfunctional parents, teachers, relatives and pastors. During Jesus’ ministry, he met many wounded and misunderstood people. Encountering them face to face, His goal was to set them at ease. He instantly knew their struggles, shame and hopelessness.

As we follow Jesus last directing to make disciples of all men, Are we attracting the lost to Father? I’ve heard many non believers say that Christians are mean. They preach one thing, yet do the opposite. In general, the unsaved are repelled by condemnation. Jesus said, “I’ve not come to condemn the world but to save it.”

Peter is our example of Jesus’ loving discipleship. Jesus responded to Peter’s impulsiveness and zeal with patience and guidance. As I recall the Peter/Jesus discourses. In one episode Jesus marvels at Peter’s willingness to step out of the boat and walk on water. In another, He rebuked Peter for wielding the sword to cut off the high priest’s servants ear.
The Lord reminds me of His patience with me as I minister to people He’s brought my way and will bring my way in the future.

As a youth counselor for Youth Advocate Program in Eatontown, NJ from 1989 to 1992, I mentored up to seven kids, (aged 8 to 17) from a variety of family crisis situations. One seventeen year old was Hispanic and lived at home with his mother, (who spoke no English) and his two younger sisters. Both of the girls were clinically depressed and their father was incarcerated. There was a great stronghold of depression in that house. Under my mentoring, this young man’s demeanor changed. I asked him to help me keep the kids in line and he flourished in that leadership capacity! I also remember God’s faithfulness with all seven kids kids safety and welfare while they rode with me. I gained great understanding and compassion and learned much about family dynamics and relationship order. The kids learned to honor, respect and help each other and it was amazing to see them connect regarding all the activities and workshops I planned for them. They knew I cared for them and I could feel their love for me! Looking back, I marvel gratefully, for God gifting me with the ability to so potential and greatness in all the kids.

Around the same time, I enjoyed a six month stint as a Behavior Modification counselor for Nutri-System Weight Loss centers. My clients were professional adults: policemen, professors, judges and CEOs who clamored to enroll in my crowded classes. My reputation preceded me. They’d heard the testimonies of previous clients’ weight-loss and lifestyle successes. I remember the passion and excitement I had each morning, getting ready for work. It was amazing that God gave me such a platform having just graduated from Brookdale Community College! I was humbled to positively influence, these financially successful, but unhealthy people. After only several weeks, our regional supervisor came from out-of-state to sit in on one of classes to see what the ado was about!
Though I wasn’t allowed to preach or mention Jesus, I was allowed freedom to bring my own creativity and victory stories to support the curriculum. The client was attentive and felt my interest and concern as they sought my guidance for their new, healthy lifestyle. I asked God everyday to bless my work and He answered many prayers. My main tool was connection by looking each person in the eye with love, gave many hugs and listened with my heart.

My boot camp of PEOPLE 101 continued several years later. Executive Director, Carolyn Eyerman and project Coordinator, Joan Hodum faced me during my interview for the position of Program Coordinator of a new ministry, (Love In the Name of Christ). The program would prepare single moms, dislocated and poor women returning to the work force from the welfare rolls. I’d also oversee a business clothing boutique and business mentoring outreach. I didn’t feel ready, (just coming out of another long illness) but obediently followed God’s leading to apply and accept the position. My six years at Love Inc, fine-tuned my people/mentoring skills for my present responsibilities as a an ordained minister/hospice councilor and worship leader. I also learned so much from the supportive staff members at Love Inc. They were always there for me and taught me all about walking in God’s love, power and guidance.

I don’t believe any pastor, leader or teacher should be in a position of leadership unless they have extensive experience with (“soul sculpting).” How can one truly mete out the divine love, patience and counseling Jesus gave unless one has truly spent time in the Lord’s presence and quality one on one time with people God sends? Sometimes broken hearts can be so deep, they have to be excavated.

Jesus said, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefor and repent” Rev 3:19 True discipleship must be balanced by Holy Spirit compassion and the discipline of guidance and correction. Jesus never beat his disciples as many pastor beat their sheep too harshly. We know the necessity discipline, for it’s no different from our earthly parents and teachers. This grooms us for the partaking of His holiness, Heb 12:3-11.

The best servant/leader straddles successfully nurturing with discipline. Under these conditions, a person will be whole, full of joy, peace, purpose and the Holy Spirit. They do great exploits. Dan 11:32

Until the non believers see Christians loving each other in America, they will scorn and laugh at our powerlessness and disunity. They’ll also be mesmerized by the occult, witchcraft and New Age gurus.

On thing is most needful. Near the end of Richard Sigmund’s book, Jesus said,

" My people have lost their compassion, I highly desire compassion in my children. In this they show my Father's love"

I pray that we all look in the mirror and ask ourselves, do we truly have the Father's compassion. Are we more concerned about our Facebook social status, designing and maintaining our websites and soliciting funds for our new building or soup kitchen. God is not concerned about any of that. He is concerned about the condition of broken souls. He is seeking willing and compassionate servants to heal, transform and restore. He has a plan for everyone. Jer 29, 11

Are you listening and acting with love in your heart today?