Posts Tagged "Jesus"

A Holy Visitation: I Promised Never to Tell It

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in Being Saved, The Best Of CTheLily, Uncategorized | 0 comments

A Holy Visitation: I Promised Never to Tell It

But He’s making me do it because truly– no one would tell a story like this to people who don’t believe in spiritual things.

This is not a story of tormenting secrets or even of travail and disappointment. This is a story of blissful rest and comfort with a moderate amount of (good) spiritual spookiness.

If you’re a nonbeliever, skeptic, or critic, this story is (not) for you!

 

Two years ago in October I traveled to Cardiff, Wales for business. I’m an educator, but I had been selected as the US representative for a very prestigious educational organization. At the time, I was reading a book about a very famous minister, Rees Howells, who was actually from Wales. I’d also been praying for an encounter with the Lord, and by encounter, I mean that I wanted to SEE HIM! I’d heard so many stories about people seeing Jesus and how His eyes are like oceans. I was literally provoked to jealousy and began to plead for my own opportunity.

So to Cardiff I went praying all the while.

And home I returned praying all the while.

No Jesus. Not even a glimmer that He heard my prayer.

Glad to finally make it home after 17 hours of travel, I snuggled up in my pillow top king-sized bed. I must have passed out because I wasn’t even IN the bed. I remember lying sideways with my head close to the side pleasantly bundled up in my beige foamy blanket. I. Was. Tired.

And in my sleep I heard voices. Now I’m one heck of a lucid dreamer, but this was no dream. I couldn’t have made this up if I wanted to. These voices were unfamiliar, but friendly. I could feel the speakers perched at the head of my bed. There were three. Two of the three inquired about my whereabouts while the third answered. I remember thinking “He sure does know a lot about me. He must be my guardian angel. But who are the other two?” I didn’t feel any danger, so I made a mental note to ask someone who knows more about these sorts of things.

The voices chatted it up to the point where I wished they’d be quiet so I could rest. Then I felt another Presence at my bedroom door. And what do charismatic Christ-followers do when they feel something unusual going on? They get to binding and rebuking! But this Presence didn’t go. It kept moving toward me. I struggled in my sleep to wake up, but was caught in that place between. I knew it couldn’t have been my mother. The Presence was far too tall… and quiet. The footsteps were heavy to the point where I could “see” footprints left in my carpet. And as this Presence came closer to my bed, I heard the voices halt into a holy hush and my spirit began to stir. I wanted to jump out of my skin and clutch my eyes closed all at once.

He stood at the side of my bed over my head, and my being felt as if it were about to explode. It was as if light beams were shooting from my belly. The angels must have felt the same because I could feel light emanating from them as well, and I heard a “whoosh” as their wings extended from their bodies. I was terrified and in awe at the same time.

Then I felt my bed lean on that one side, and thus my head with it. As His nail-pierced hands pressed down against my mattress, He leaned into my face close enough to kiss me. Those few seconds of closeness were far more than my soul could bear, and I was enraptured by a force of love that weakened me to the point of… I don’t have a word for it. Then the pressure lifted, and I felt Him walk out.

I wanted Him to stay, but I knew the intensity was greater than what my sinful soul could bear. I wanted to open my eyes to SEE Him, but I was far too afraid the holiness in Him and the lack thereof in me would send me to an early grave.

I’m not sure how long I slept after that, but when I awoke, I was eager to seek out what had happened. So to my Bible I went. Undoubtedly He who entered my room was the Lord. Who else would elevate my being to such a high and intense place of worship? And who else would silence those voices commanding them also to worship Him? Angels don’t worship devils.

But I began to question things. Nothing wrong with questions as far as the Lord is concerned. He gives us mysteries to uncover!

Two days later, walking through the house, I saw a printed copy of an ebook about hearing in the spirit. And there it was… Several stories from believers who had heard angels speaking in their sleep. And confirmation, that angels, powerful as they might be, have information on a need-to-know basis. Two of the angels stood watch at the window over my bed. I was doing a lot of warfare at the time so I was grateful to know that they protected me and my children as we rested. The third angel, in fact, was my guardian angel. In his voice I could hear that he was proud to be released and that I was moving into my destiny. Our angels WANT to work for us, but often they cannot because of our lack of faith in God’s Word.

So while I didn’t SEE Jesus, I know beyond a doubt that He came to see about me.

Can you imagine, my friend, being in a place of such intense fellowship with Him? I could not then, and even now, the thought of looking into His eyes brings a reasonable amount of fear. But He loves me. Enough to answer my prayer. Enough to just gaze at me lovingly. Enough to make everything that had ever happened before that day seem totally and completely insignificant.

I don’t have a moral for this happening, nor do I have a thought-provoking rhetorical question. I won’t dare exaggerate or romanticize or even try to add anything to it by making points. Take this for what it is…

Should the Lord visit me again, I pray that my spirit will be ready to gaze upon Him just as He did me. Maybe next time I’ll remember to give him the kiss He came for.

 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your own encounter with Christ whether you believe in Him or NOT,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: John “Jay” Glenn via Compfight

 

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Five Things Kids Can Teach You About __________

Posted by on Jul 17, 2012 in Being Saved, Family, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Five Things Kids Can Teach You About __________


God’s love? Greatness? Living? I don’t know how to finish the title, so I thought I’d give YOU the chance to fill in the blank.

I had a rough upbringing… not bad, just bumpy. I always thought of God as He who sat on the throne pointing his long judgmental finger in my face about the one pan I left soaking in the kitchen sink. I thought that if I didn’t do things juuuuust right, I’d be doomed to live in misery until I died and barely made it to Heaven. But when I had children, I didn’t feel that way about their shortcomings, and so it didn’t make sense that God would feel that way about me. So as I’ve loved my children, I’ve learned some things about God’s love for me. And as I’ve watched them grow, I’ve learned about faith and humility and forgiveness and loving. What I did not learn as a child, I am re-learning and re-experiencing as a mother.

So here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from my children about how I should interact with my Heavenly Father on a daily basis. It may be something different for you.

 

Stay hungry knowing you’re going to be fed.

Every hour or so it feels like B&B are begging for a snack. They’re always digging in the fruit bowl or snack jar looking for something to fill their bellies until they are content. Last week when I sprained my thumb, they demanded to know who was going to cook for them if I couldn’t. How hungry are we for God’s presence? Do we inquire of Him daily? Do we spend time with Him knowing He will respond and waiting for it? The Word says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” God’s very words are sustenance for us. They are strength for our day. And like our children, we should want to feast at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and enjoy snacks in between. Being spiritually hungry is a sign of spiritual health. Keep reading, keep praying, keep seeking until you are filled and able to pour out to others!

Rest when you need it.

Briana’s not much of a napper, but if Brandon’s tired, he’ll make himself a spot anywhere (usually my bed) and go right to sleep. As adults we run circles around ourselves thinking that if we don’t take care of every single item on the list, our entire world will crumble. My friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned about God in this year, it’s that He moves most when I’m at rest. I’m not saying kick your feet up every time you feel stressed. I’m saying we must work hard to find the place of rest in Him where we need not stress or feel condemned over things that won’t matter in the long run. Our God is not a hard taskmaster. Take a note from your children. Grab a pillow and blanket, and rest your head on the Father’s chest. Speak to Him about your cares, and watch things miraculously get checked off your list.

 

Ask for what you want expecting to receive.

Mommy, can I…? But mommy, it only costs… Mommy… Mommy… Mommy… pleeeeeaaaassseee!

They ask for any and everything that they want, and who am I to stop them from asking? Even if they can’t have it at the time, it is my desire as a mother to know what things interest them. I want to bless them when the time is right because I love them, and not because they necessarily deserve it. Why would God be any different? Old religious folk used to tell me not to bother God with small things, but how wrong were they!!! I believe that anything that matters to us, matters to God. I pray about my weight, my skin, my hair… things some would say are superficial. But if it matters to me, be it in my control or not, I talk to God about it. There’s nothing He desires more than our companionship. Our prayers do not make Him weary.

 

Remind God of what He promised you…. often.

When my kids ask to do something I’m uncertain about I say “We’ll see.” They cheer knowing there’s a chance of a positive outcome. If for some reason, we can’t bake cookies or go to Busch Gardens or wherever else they want, they say “But you promiiiiised…” Of course, I didn’t, but still there’s a lesson to be learned. God tells us to remind Him of His word. Children have no problem reminding of you what you said, did, thought, the face you made, et al. When you don’t see the outcome, remind God, in faith, of what He promised. The act of reminding Him shows that you believe His word is true and that He is able and willing to perform it. Leave the whiny bit off though… No one likes whining.

 

Make friends!

When Briana was a mere 19 months, she would squeak out simple phrases to let me know what she wanted. Well one day, I took the children to an indoor playground, and she walked her short diaper-laden self up to a toy car, climbed in next to another kid, and said “Do you watch Caillou?” I. Was. Floored. I had no idea my baby could speak in complete sentences, use vocal inflection, and communicate her personal interests. Even now, I watch B&B walk up to other kids in the grocery store and carry on complete conversations about where they attend school, etc. I’m 30. I can’t do that. But my children understand something that I’m still learning. We cannot complete this walk alone, and to make friends we must first be friendly. B&B force me to come out of my introverted self, smile, and show kindness to others. After all, God uses people to show His love for us.

 

At that time the disciples came up and asked Jesus, Who then is really the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And He called a little child to Himself and put him in the midst of them, And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven at all. (Matthew 18:1-3)

 

What lessons have you learned from your children?
And how did you fill in the blank?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

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The Art of Forgiveness: One Step Solution

Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Art of Forgiveness: One Step Solution

Thanks to those who contacted me regarding The Art of Forgivness: But Do I Have To?  The needs of my readers really drives what I write, so I must continue on this course. If there are any other concerns for matters of life that you have, please send me an email or leave a comment below. If I can help, I most certainly will!

Everything you need to know about forgiving someone is embedded inside of you. Your will controls every action and decision you make, so forgiving someone is a matter of will. Not emotion, not logic, not obligation… There truly is just one step.

 You must CHOOSE to forgive.

Now I know this is opposite of how we’ve been trained to live (i.e., let your feelings be your guide), but truly, forgiveness is a matter of choice. Here’s an example.

When I was married, I suspected my trust had been been betrayed, then the evidence came forward. I would be taking care of daily matters when the weight of the world would just fall on me. My chest would would cave in, and my head would spin. My heart would literally ache inside of my chest. Several times a day for months I’d go through this emotional and physical torment because I was reliving that moment of discovery. And my mind would wander into a thousand-and-one questions, suppositions, and what-if’s. Then, one day… I don’t even recall when it happened… all the bad feelings went away. Because at some point in time I decided that I would choose to forgive.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive his brother, then he offers an answer of “seven times”. In other words, Peter is saying “Look here, Jesus. John is driving me nuts. He keeps talking out of the side of his mouth, and I’m trying to be gracious, but I wanna let him know some things. This morning was the sixth time… He’s got one mo’ time to cross me. So yeah, seven times is good… right, Lord?”

Jesus then responds to Peter, revealing the content of his heart. He tells Peter that he must forgive “seventy times seven”. In other words, let’s not be so concerned by the details of what happened nor the number of times it happened nor how wrong they really were. Let’s just get in the practice of forgiving.

What I believe this “seventy times seven” really means (because none of us would really allow someone to wrong us this  many times, and rightfully so) is that every time the matter comes to mind we must choose to forgive.

Every time you think about her touching another man…

Every time you think about him hitting your child…

Every time you flip through his phone and find those outgoing texts….

Every time you’ve been cursed by someone who should have protected you….

Forgive… and to reiterate a point I made last blog, forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting what’s happened, nor does it always mean reconciliation. For now, you just worry about setting yourself free from being tormented. And IF that means, you must get away from the person who caused the hurt to allow forgiveness to flow, DO IT!!!

I speak peace, in Jesus’ name, over every one of you who is struggling with unforgiveness. I bind any demonic force that is controlling your will and I loose peace and love upon you now, in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, let them find immediate joy and deep rest as they forgive every wrong that revisits them through bad memories, negative thoughts, and other daily triggers. No more torment, no more pain for these people, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Will you set yourself free today??
CHOOSE to forgive, and the feelings will follow.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for YOUR future,

Alana

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by C. G. P. Grey

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Goosebump Christianity

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Being Saved, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Goosebump Christianity

“See that your believing is right, and if it is, you have no reason to doubt.”     -Rees Howells

Welcome to the Belief System Checkpoint. Warning! Your toes will be stepped on. Please remove your Steve Maddens and secure your feet with a pair of steel-toed boots. Go ahead… I’ll wait. Actually I need to find my own because I’m going to need them as much as you.

Now I am not pretending to be a theologist, minister, or even a philosopher. I am simply an imperfect woman who is madly and desperately in love with Jesus. Does that qualify me to make some of the statements I’m about to make? Pretty much, because I’m tired of all the foolishness we do in Jesus’ name that has nothing to do with Him or His Word. Don’t like it? Get your own blog, talk bad about me, and redirect the traffic to me so others can follow me too. (I said all that with a smile.)

I read my Bible pretty often, not always everyday, but at least several times a week. I don’t just read the verses and keep it moving. I meditate on them… talk about it… ask questions… wait for the answers… on and on. Being a critical thinker means I have to verify that the Word someone is teaching me is the truth. Not to mention, God has blessed me with an AWESOME mentor… shoutout to Apostle Demontae… that promptly and sometimes painfully whips me into shape. He’s a very patient man. :)

Over the years I’ve heard some krazy stuff… and the only reason I can think people would say any of it is to give folks goosebumps. I like a good goosebump and spine chill as much as the next person, but is that really evidence that GOD is in it? Too often we get caught up and sensationalize a matter and miss the point. 

So here are my top seven favorite goosebump-giving LIES that have been told to churchfolk that need to be EVICTED from our doctrine…

  1. God knows my heart, so if I do this He’ll forgive me. I’ve said this so many times… and even now I catch myself. But if I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, that means something bad is in my heart. And, yes, God knows that. Does it exonerate me from the consequences? Nope. Does it mean God is tolerable of my sinful nature? Absolutely not! God’s grace is not a license to sin, but it will change our sinful nature to a righteous one. In the meantime, let’s just call sin what it is and repent. There’s provision through repentance, but not through manipulation and deceit. And the heart, above all, is deceitful. Yeah, that’s Bible. 
  2. If you don’t tithe, you’ll lose your job. I heard this when I was church-hunting a few years ago, and I was tempted to stand up and shout “The devil is a liar!” That would’ve been wrong of me, so I waited until things were settled in the service and grabbed my children and our coats and rolled out. What the preacher really meant was that if the people didn’t pay their tithes, he wouldn’t be able to put the four-dollar-per-gallon gas in his Escalade. Other than that, I will refrain from making commentary on tithing other than to say that what I tithe is between me and God. No one needs to know how much I make per year, so that part of the envelope is left ____________. (I just lost a lot of readers.)
  3. The “RAPTURE” in general. I have always been taught that there was a rapture and one day Jesus would crack the sky and all his people would be taken out of here. About three years ago, I heard for the first time that this doctrine is questionable at best. I debated with some folks until they finally helped me understand that the word “rapture” is NOwhere in the Bible. Yes, Jesus will return but we don’t know for certain if that’s before or after the tribulation. The problem with this doctrine is that it makes for lazy Christians. What reason do we have to war against the kingdom of darkness if the Lord is going to show up and zap us out of here in a blink of an eye? Why would he tell us to fight? “Peter, go buy a sword so you can hold it on your big comfy sofa and watch TBN til I come and rescue you from the world the devil’s made a mess of.” Nope… that’s not what He said. Granted, I don’t want to be here when all the water turns to blood either… but if I have to, then I need to be prepared.
  4. You’re not supposed to judge. I hear this so much because, yes, I’m a little judgmental. It seems the only people that know this verse are the people who don’t want to do right. Yeah, I said it! Stop quoting this one Scripture if you don’t believe the rest of Bible. And the Bible does say not to judge or you will bring judgment upon yourself, and, boy, is that true! But the Bible also says that we know each other by the fruits of the spirit that are produced in our lives AND one day we will judge the angels. So for me, I’m careful to pronounce my opinion as to whether a person is right or wrong, but I do speak to their actions. Simply put, some things are wrong, and I’d rather someone tell me and save my soul from hellfire than to turn their head and let me fall. Then there are folks who feel like you’re judging them just simply because you want to do what’s right. That’s THEIR problem!
  5. A prophet’s words will always confirm what God already told you. Again, I was raised to believe this, but the more I grow in the Lord, the more I discover that it isn’t always true. Then again, I’m not getting words from a parking lot prophet. Sometimes when I get a word through a prophet it does confirm what God has told me. Other times it’s something I’ve never even considered. Why would God do that? Because I’m a person that’s imperfect and may miss it unless my mentor tells me… I’m not looking for God to match what I already think and make me feel all gooey inside. I’m listening for guidance and direction to make the right choices in life so I can fulfill His destiny for me. And honestly, if someone tells me what I already know, they’re not much of a prophet anyway. JMHO…
  6. Name it! Claim it! Word of Faith has made this euphemism (in)famous. I grew up in a Word of Faith church. “If you want that car, go put some oil on it. Demand it from the Heavens!” But who are we to demand anything? Jesus didn’t respond to the rich man who demanded He perform a miracle. He responds to those who inquire of Him in sincerity, humility, and faith. When the Lord Himself needed a divine intervention, He gave thanksgiving to the Father Who opened the Heavens, and then Jesus made a request that was within God’s will. I can’t imagine anything stinking more in the nostrils of the Almighty than our self-serving sense of entitlement.
  7. God, give me a sign! Oh, I know… we ALL get weak. I would looooooooove a sign right now, but signs are for nonbelievers. You do believe right? Then walk by faith! Walk in the spirit, not the flesh. He is faithful to direct and guide. Just obey each baby step… (personal rebuke embedded here). You will find confirmation as you go, but there’s no sense in being a Gideon in every life situation. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for asking for a sign. Again, we’re demanding God to appeal to our insecurities when He’s asking us to grow up. If I asked my son to take out the trash, and he didn’t do it but told me he was waiting on a sign to see if I really meant what I’d said… You get my point.

I don’t mean to take your goosebumps away, but bad doctrine is a faith-breaker. If you think that God is one day going to do something that His Word never promised He would do, then you will lose faith in Him. And really, the problem is your (my) belief system. Not God.

Goosebumps are often a by-product of feeling God’s presence, and the only way to guarantee that you feel it more (which is the only thing in this world that is ultimately satisfying) is to obey Him. Sometimes I don’t feel Him right away when I pray for others, but once I start, He’s there. He’s looking for growth and initiative… much like your boss. But God pays better!

So how can we fool-proof our faith? First, read your Bible and meditate on the Word. Second, become Spirit-filled if you haven’t already, and pray in the Spirit if you have. The Holy Spirit will trigger us to seek for truth when you hear something that’s not quite right. Third, trust the Lord to keep you. He is able to keep us from falling.

I know I’ve said a lot, and some of it may have hurt. I’m sorry… really I am. But the wounds of a friend are valuable. I don’t want you going through life believing a bunch of lies, then get to Heaven and see what could have been. No more kraziness, people… only the truth should reign in our hearts.

I’m coming out of krazy, and I’m bringing all the religious, uptight, stiff-necked, blessed and highly-favored, folks with me…. ya’ll pray for me! This might be my most difficult battle yet.

Your cybersister,

Alana
Photo by Glen Van Etten
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