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!

 

THE FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING


DSCN3556 John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Journal Entry, March3, 2017

My quest to find answers to the tormenting mystery of the JAW-mouth Dystonia continues. Each hour, I continue to rely heavily on Father giving me the strength to endure, uncomplainingly. My seasonal job, delivering telephone books door-to-door, started last week and my body is weary. from the windy-cold and the physical exertion.  Unlike  several years ago, when I bitterly complained to Father that I should be on tour with my incredible band. I told him, how hard it was to have do such humbling work when He had blessed me with such talent. And then the added grief of being misunderstood, alienated from wonderful fellowship and dealing with a tormentically distracting movement disorder was more than any human to bear. Even now, the pain in my (now also)  left jaw is painful and  I can barely stand to do anything. The past nine years of this  horrendous disorder (and the thought that there is no reversal for the damaged joints should cause me to sink into utter depression). Honestly, it has been lonely beyond belief and at times, I deem my small music-compassionate outreach, Brave Flame Productions-Outreach a thankless job, (at times). I am a very social person and  cherish the camaraderie of friends and loved ones being emotionally and spiritually connected with me.

Nevertheless, I realize that this ongoing suffering has brought about great change in my spiritual outlook and Father’s glorious workmanship in my life. This realization had brought me to create my 5 part-series journalism-color photographs and devotional series, ARISE FROM YOUR GRAVE. It has also compelled me to record and produce songs for two concurrent albums, a prophetic rock , Mod Prophet and a worship album, The Anointing, (His presence). One would expect that the result would be a publishing book deal and distribution or at least interest in the recorded works.  My book series still await  publication and my albums are still incomplete.

I wait upon the Lord, for He will renew my strength. What strength? For any passionately creative person in the midst of projects, there’s always the hope of success and renown. For the child of God, renown would be being sought after for the expertise of the skill. There is dealing with the disappointment of struggling financially and/or having few customers-patrons. So, I tell Father, more than anything… I wish to be in His perfect will.

This prayer brought me to place and realization of the precious treasure of His presence and company. In this quiet place of seeking Him above even success in my creative endeavors, He shows me what he truly values as spiritual wealth and abundance.

Each morning, as I arise to consciousness, I’ve disciplined my spirit to mediate on several verses. I have had to train myself because the left jaw is so violently  spastic that I awoke several times during the night in great pain. I didn’t want to succumb to anger or bitterness as I had with my past Lyme Disease battle in 1992.

Psalm 19:14

14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Once awake, I ask Holy Spirit to order my steps and  focus me on what scripture He wants me to meditate on.  During the next hour, He will show me someone who needs a prayerful phone call, a hand-made card or care package. Yesterday, a Christian sister’s name popped into my spirit. I said, “Okay Abba, I will call Jackie, (not her real name)”

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When .I called Jackie, she replied, “That is amazing, Anita. I was thinking of you just yesterday and i was going to call you.” She asked me how I was doing with my jaw-mouth situation and I immediately gave her details of how I thought I was stopping my own healing. I slipped more often than I’d liked, saying  things like, day , “I can’t do that because of this disabling TMJ-Dystionia.” Lately, I was at least catching myself in mid sentence and repenting and saying, I am healed.” Jackie  admitted she was also speaking sickness over herself., her lungs and poor breathing. Jackie’s lungs had deteriorated so bad in the past year that she was on oxygen all day! I was thankful, that though my jaw-throat situation was very painful and distracting, at least I could drive and walk around freely. Jackie then confessed that during her seeking prayer to God about her suffering, she had deep, unresolved grief about her childhood and past.

I was astounded hen she mentioned her deep grief because i  was presently getting victory over my own many losses by reading a wonderful deliverance book, Pray Through It  by Rob Morrisette. The author was very detailed about the traumas and strongholds of his counselees and I was getting freer and freer reading about the victorious testimonies of the people.  Rob’s counseling manner was very detailed and he stressed bringing every painful incident to God in prayer and asking for healing. Jackie was very excited and wrote down the name of the book. I also shared with her about my joy of participating on the conference telephone line several hours each day with passionate prayer warriors across our nation. I told her how strengthened I was in their company and the powerful anointing of their prayers. She admitted to feeling judged around other brethren  and I felt she was constrained by a spirit of unworthiness. Jackie also took down the conference prayer call number and I prayed with her.

At the end of our discourse, Jackie was in tears and prayed for me. She thanked God for me being obedient God had put me on her heart the day before, but she didn’t call and was grateful that I was spiritually sensitive. I was deeply humbled and broken that Father was so gracious to even use me in such a way..to build up and strengthen my precious sister who  said she felt she was backslidden!

This call was a confirmation that I was  right where Father wanted me to be, sitting in his love and waiting for direction. My direction happens to be the gift of edifying, building up my brothers and sisters who feel broken  weak and unworthy.  Father is not so concerned about my creative endeavors, (however God-inspired they are) but about developing intuitiveness to the needs and brokenness of my brethren. In order to have sensitivity to ascertain that my brother and sister needs tenderness, encouragement or a tangible need, (such as rent money or groceries), I need to stay deeply connected and deeply compassionate, however rough or irresponsible they may seem. I’ve desperately longed for patience, long-suffering and understanding about my weird  movement (with loud voice) disorder and have often been judged harshly and misunderstood. But Father has used these painful times so I can learn long-suffering and kindness.  Separating myself unto Him and worshiping with a thankful heart has borough me to precious places of surrender, where I can give out of a pure heart. Though my physical reserves, (my energy) seem limited, my capacity to  love has so increased. Father is nurturing my capacity to love deeper than a surface level. If I encounter relationships were a brethren seems difficult, a nuisance or unpleasant to be around, I ask Father to remind me that there may be deeply-rooted generational issues or traumas from childhood and up.

The Pray It Through, book  has been eye-opening resource to delve deeply into the hearts of my brothers and sisters and where Father can groom me to love, not just in word and deed, but true empathy! I believe this is what causes strife and rejection in the body. We say we love  (and pray for) our brother or sister from afar, yet we will not come forth in honesty and reason at the table with them and our Heavenly Father.

I pray that my brothers and sisters take a deeper look at their season of suffering and submit it to our Abba. He will show us how he is breaking down ideologies of tradition, religion and even relationships, (as the secular arena perceives them). Our ways are not God’s ways and our thoughts are not His. He uses the weak, broken , ugly things, and even small, insignificant (according to the world’s standards) ministries.

He has made everything beautiful in His time. Ecc 3:11

When mega-churches and mega-ministries crumble at His glorious appearance because they did not minister to the orphans, widows and  foreigner, those ministries build on His compassion will thrive and be the lighthouse to the nations!

Let us remember that the temporary sufferings and lacks are not worthy to be compared with the glories which await us in heaven! be encouraged my brother and sister! God sees and he is pleased.