The Veil

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
So all of us who have had that veil removed
can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—
makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Have you ever wondered what “the veil” is?  I have.  Just what veil is big enough to be able to prevent us from seeing the Lord and to rob us of freedom?

One word answer:  Fear.

Maybe I’m a slower learner, but it’s taken me a long time to put all the pieces together.

You find the background to the veil in 2 Corinthians 3 verses 7 and 14.

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death,
though it began with such glory that the people of Israel
could not bear to look at Moses’ face
.
For his face shone with the glory of God,
even though the brightness was already fading away.

But the people’s minds were hardened,
and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read,
the same veil covers their minds
so they cannot understand the truth.
And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ
.

From some reason I always thought the veil was God’s idea to protect the Israelites.  Not so.  Did you catch it in verse 7 “it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face”?  Out of fear of the glory they were seeing the people asked Moses to cover his face.  Out of fear of God’s presence when Mt. Sinai trembled with the power of God and lightning flashed around it – the people basically told Moses “very dangerous – you go first, we’ll stay here” rather than follow the instructions God provided for how they could approach safely. (Exodus 20:18-19)

Their fear was bigger than their faith and from that they created their belief system, i.e., their box, that the presence of God is dangerous, too many unknowns and therefore unmanageable.  They only wanted to be as close and see as much as fit within their comfort level.

That veil still exists today in many of our lives and it is a 2-edged sword.  We want to box God into a definition we can understand so that He is “safe” and even “proper”.  Yet we very much need the fullness of His power which is beyond what we can comprehend  to permeate us and our world in order to experience the freedom from fear He has for us and the supply for all our needs (Phiippians 4:19).

It’s pretty hard to have hope when you’ve boxed God into a nice set of parameters that make Him “safe and proper” and don’t stretch your comfort zone, rather than accepting that God, the Creator of the Universe that is still expanding, is exceedingly, abundantly above all we can dare to dream to ask.  So much so that allowing Him to remove the veil and to reveal Himself to us can feel like “the edge of all the light we know” as we are required to step by faith into the darkness of the yet unknown.

Go ahead.  Take the step.  Why?  Because Jesus was and is the exact representation of God (Colossians 1:5).  Jesus even said, if you have seen Me you have seen the Father. (John 14:9).

Everyone around Jesus had lots of questions, but to those that chose to believe in Him and to get close to Him … they were undone by His kindness, His love, His healing power.  Those that chose to stick with “their box of what they understood God to be” — the Pharisees who were the religious leaders of the day — missed what was right in front of them.  Jesus did not fit in their box so everything for which they had longed and waited, they missed receiving.

It’s the same for us you know if we choose to be afraid of being close to God.  If we believe we must “understand everything about Him” before we can trust Him – we are cutting ourselves off from the very One who has exactly what we long for, exactly what we need.

How do I know there is no reason to fear?  God only revealed to Moses what He knew Moses would be able to withstand.  He passed by telling Moses “I am Merciful, Gracious, Slow to Anger, Abounding in Loving Kindness and Truth”.  But, He only allowed Moses to see a portion of Him, enough to change Moses so that Moses glowed with God’s glory, but no more for Moses did not have the capacity to contain it.  (Exodus 33:21-23, Exodus 34:6)

If you are feeling hopeless, filled with despair and at the end of your rope — I have VERY good news.  There is more rope! An endless supply of rope actually :) .

The catch is you must make the choice to believe God is actually as Jesus revealed Him — kind, merciful, loving, healing while at the same time powerful enough:

  • to feed five thousand with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes (Matthew 14:17-20)
  • to cause blind men to see, lame men to walk, deaf to hear, sick to be healed, and the dead to be raised (Matt 10:7-8)
  • to cause the earth to darken and shake and to tear the veil from top to bottom that had separated us from our Heavenly Father (Matt 27:45 & 51)
  • to raise Jesus from the dead (Mark 16:6).

That’s quite a combination.

Torn Veil.001
Photo courtesy of From The Heart

Jesus glory definitely did not fit into “Saul’s box”.  It actually blinded him at first until Saul accepted that which he did not have any frame of reference to understand, Jesus being the Messiah.  Saul letting go of “his box” changed Saul’s very identity to Paul, the instrument God used to write the majority of the new testament.  (Acts 9:1-17)

The choice is yours, the veil of fear to keep God “manageable” or allow Jesus to remove the veil to bring you intimately into the indescribable fullness of God’s presence where God’s purposes to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future will be fulfilled (Jeremiah 29:11) as His glory fills you and transforms you.

Now that is unconditional, limitless hope!

Journey Of The Heart

What is your immediate reaction when I ask what is the condition of your heart?

For those who feel their hearts are trapped or even dead, God has not given up.  Don’t you give up.  In the “trenches” that is hard to see sometimes.  But I recently received through a dream the gift of seeing where my heart was many years ago and where it is now.  I share this dream with you as I wrote it in my journal which I thought would be just for me.  But now my Heavenly Father is asking me for the courage to trust Him to use this dream in your life for His good purpose.

  • At the beginning of the dream I am in a house just “living my life” – busy doing what is expected of me.  I discover a small, ferret-looking, scrawny dog and wonder why did my husband bring this dog home?
  • My best friend comes over.  I am interacting with her and she notices the dog.  She is quite concerned.  Points out to me how dry and pale its nose is; how skinny it is and looks basically like its dying from neglect.  At first I act surprised but then I blurt out “that’s because I’ve been ignoring it.  I don’t know what to do with it or where it came from. I don’t know why my husband brought it here.”
  • The scene changes and my friend and I are on a trip.  I’m looking at the trip from a business perspective of “what do I need to get done”.  My friend is taking in all the beauty, luxury, comforts and opportunities of the place.  The dog is with us at my friend’s insistence.  Everyone keeps calling the dog “he” and I’m surprised how passionately I correct them.  I am becoming enthralled with the dog, watching her beauty grow as I interact with her.  She is growing at an amazing rate.  Looks something like a beautiful golden doodle. 
  • I feel pretty lost at the resort.  My friend seems right at home.  I’m trying to keep the dog “under control” so she doesn’t get in trouble or bother people. 
  • At one point the dog sees an archery field and someone shooting a bow and arrow.  As soon as the arrow hits the target the dog leaps into action charging the target and removing the arrow in one clamp of its teeth and swing of its head, returning the arrow to the person that shot it.  I’m stunned and so are the people around me.  I don’t let my surprise show.  Instead I say “she is very well trained you know” while wondering who taught her that? 
  • The scene changes again.  There is some sort of evening event.  I’m feverishly looking for somewhere to kennel the dog.  What I find looks like a 3rd rate day-use motel and I just can’t leave her there, even though I do consider it. 
  • I go outside and it is dusky dark.  I can’t find a path to wherever it is I need to go to get ready for the evening.  I see the path I think I need and it is quickly being overcome by a deep tide rushing in with a strong current.  I look at the dog and ask her can we make it? But even as I do the path becomes completely consumed by the tide. I am at loss to know what to do when I hear my friend’s voice “do you need help?”  I wake up.

Revelation of the dream’s meaning:

  • I know the dream is about my heart because dogs have always represented my heart in my dreams.  I hear “this dream is the journey of your heart over many, many, many years”. 
  • Jesus (my husband) brought “my heart home” 42 years ago and I (i.e. my intellect) pretty much did ignore it for 26 years – until 1998 when Holy Spirit (my best friend in the dream) started pointing out to me the condition of my heart.  It brings tears to my eyes as I realize the starkness of the neglect; my cruelty out of fear and just not knowing what to do with my heart; and, my disdain for it.  I was so consumed by performance, production, perfection and had no time for my heart.  I have been so surprised by my heart as I’ve paid more and more attention to it. 
  • The scene in the dream where the dog bounds in to action to remove the arrow … could that be a more dynamic picture of my passion for inner healing and how no matter what is going on, because of the way You have made me and trained me, I see the arrows hitting the hearts around me and bound in to remove them and to return the arrow to the one who shot it – the enemy.  Recognizing both where it belongs and who is responsible for the shot.  (John 10:10).
  • There are still areas of my life where my first tendency is to kennel (i.e. lock-up) my heart, but I’m getting to the place of no … I just can’t do that.  The path to where I need to go to rest and prepare for what is next is now covered by the flood of Your Presence where it has rolled into my life and the familiar paths are gone.  But the Holy Spirit is there – asking me if I need help to move on to the next place. 

YES.  I absolutely do.  Thank You, Holy Spirit, for asking, for being with me, for Your incredible patience, persistence and endurance with me.  Thank You to my beautiful, incredibly strong heart for enduring all I put you through.  I’m so sorry for how I treated you.  I’m amazed how you survived.  I am thrilled by your beauty, strength and what our Heavenly Father has designed you and trained you to be.  No more kenneling. 

I have no clue what is next but I’m ready and excited to step into the flood of the waters of life from Abba’s throne. (Revelation 22:1with Your help Holy Spirit.

Back to my original question – what is the condition of your heart? How are you treating your heart?

My prayer for you is that you would make the choice to ask our Heavenly Father to reveal to you things you have never known about your heart, but He has known since before the beginning of time. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

This gallery contains photos of the vessel my Heavenly Father
used to teach me so very much about my heart
“Bob”

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Choices – Part 2

How amazing is it that not only does the Creator of all give the created the freedom of choice, but also no matter what choices we make throughout our lives, both knowingly and unknowingly, Father God’s compassion is so great that He continually gives us new chances to choose again.  Every day He sets before us the opportunity to choose between life and death (Deuteronomy 30:15).  Every day His mercies are new.  (Lamentations 3:22-23).  You may give up on yourself because of the choices you have made, but your Heavenly Father does not.  He is faithful to complete what He started (Philippians 1:6).

His love is so great that out of His joy and delight in you, in me, He CHOOSES to extend favor rather than to take offense at our sins. What is that favor?  Grace = “The empowering Presence of God enabling you to be who He created you to be, and to do what He has called you to do.”  

Let that sink in to the very depths of your being!

I remember the first time I heard this definition of grace taught to me by James Ryle.  It made grace so much more real to me.  When I would hear “unmerited favor”, it created a perspective in me that My Heavenly Father was barely putting up with me.  Learning that the Greek word for grace “charis”  comes from the root word “chairo” which means “to rejoice, be glad, delighted” literally rocked my world.  It is out of our Heavenly Father’s joy and delight in us that He acts towards us.

If your perspective is our Heavenly Father is “merely putting up with us” it creates fertile ground within us for a belief that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection created “blanket coverage” and it becomes very impersonal.  When in actuality, it’s very, very, very personal.  It’s all about you.  Yes, the person you see looking back at you from the mirror is the very reason He never gives up.  Spending eternity with you and with me is the reason He created us.  (John 3:16-18)

What is God saying when He tells us that every day the choice between life and death is ours?

To choose our Heavenly Father and to choose to trust His heart towards us is what it means to choose life.  How do I know that?  When Eve chose to doubt the heart of God towards her, death entered the world (Genesis 3), i.e., separation from the very One who creates us and is the source of life itself. (John 1:4)

As much as spending eternity with me and with you is God’s desire, He still created within each us the capacity for free will to choose whether or not we will love Him and trust Him or to choose “something other” than Him.

That “something other” can take many forms … control, isolation, money, manipulation, understanding, anger, or bitterness to name just a few.  When Jesus cried out “forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), He was not just speaking of those present the day of His crucifixion.  Jesus was praying for you and me as well.  Jesus knew that just as the enemy deceived Eve, he would constantly parade choices before us trying to get us to doubt the heart of God; to believe either that God is holding out on us or that “something other” can keep us safer than God can.  Let me assure you, you are definitely not alone in sometimes choosing “other than God”.  We’ve all done it in one form or another, including the Apostle Paul.  (Rom 3:23).

The kicker …. it’s no surprise to our Heavenly Father.

The psalmist David tries to capture in words the vastness of God’s intimate knowledge of us; His provision for us; and, His presence with us in Psalm 139.  I encourage you to read the psalm in its entirety and let it permeate your being.  As David is writing this psalm, he shares how the revelation of such loves impacts him:

It is the most amazing feeling to know
how deeply You know me,
inside and out;

    the realization of it is so great
that I cannot comprehend it.
Psalm 139:6

Our Heavenly Father knows more about each of us than we know ourselves.  With all of that insight, still His choice is to love you and me.  Now there’s a reason to hope!

Do you believe that your past choices are too great for God to overcome?

Do you believe that your circumstances are beyond what God can redeem?

Watch this amazing testimony of Ian McCormack to see just how many opportunities God provided to choose Him in the most dire of situations and what God can do when we do choose Him.

Choices

I am freshly amazed at how the Creator of All gives the created the freedom of choice.

Think about someone you love.  Think about how many times you either have, or have wanted to control their choices so they don’t get hurt, make mistakes, hurt others or just simply have a better, fuller more enjoyable life.

Since I’m made in God’s image, that tells me He experiences the same longing and yet always He chooses to let us choose (Deuteronomy 30:15).  Otherwise, it would not be unconditional love, it would be control.

Recently while walking I became aware of a very simple choice that can have great impact.  What might that be?  Two seemingly innocuous words … and, or.

I have been blessed with the gift of administration.  However, it had become quite burdensome trying to plan everything for everybody to keep their worlds safe and running smoothly.  I heard myself praying “Jesus show me where I should be depending on You OR my gift of administration.”

Suddenly I realized that was the problem!  It isn’t OR, it is AND.  Only when I use my gifts AND Jesus is when I receive the freedom He would give me in exchange for the burden of planning I was experiencing. Jesus orchestrating my gift (Isaiah 26:3).  Jesus guiding how I use my gift (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Jesus showing me the boundaries in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6).  Jesus being the supply of the very energy to cause the gift to function in my life via the eternal waters of life from God’s very throne (Revelation 22:1).  My part is being diligent to follow His lead both to develop the gifts He has put in me and to implement those gifts.

If we depend on what He has given us, be that our giftings, people, things in our lives, “OR” Jesus, that gets us in trouble.  We get out of balance; out of rhythm.

The “AND” provides us our metronome.  Jesus gives us the beat and rhthym of what needs to happen when.  He even provides the how … the crescendos, the decrescendos, the changes in tempo.  He is the heartbeat behind it all.

It’s constant you know, this freedom to choose “and Jesus”.  Every moment of every day, the choice is always ours.  Now there’s a reason to hope!

Conductor Of My Heart

Conductor of My Heart

Like A Rock

Like a rock

Like a rock

As you gaze at this picture what is your immediate response?  No thinking here … your instantaneous, uncalculated response.

Why am I asking?  Because of what Holy Spirit revealed to me in Psalm 73:26

My health may fail,
and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever

As I read I felt led to study the Hebrew to gain more understanding of what my Heavenly Father has promised to me for the places in me that are the most weak and weary.  The depth of this wonderful truth and promise unfolded before me.

God is the strength,
like that of a rock cliff that cannot be moved,
of my heart – all that makes me, me:
my inner me, mind, will, heart, soul,
my knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory,
my inclination, resolution, determination, and conscience.
He is the strength of the heart of my moral character,
the place out of which comes my appetites,
emotion, passions and courage.
He has chosen Himself to be my portion,
possession, award, share,
and parcel (i.e., of land – a place to dwell)
since ancient time,
continuously, perpetually,
and for the unending future of eternity.

WOOOO HOOOO!!  Now there is a reason to hope!  I don’t have to muster up the strength I need.  Instead I get His strength, like a rock, as my supply and place to dwell.

My prayer for you is you will open your heart to receive your portion of the infinite supply Your Heavenly Father has for you so that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit!  (Romans 15:13)

The Trap

Bear-Trap

There is a very fine line between humility and self-deprecation, i.e., belittling or undervaluing oneself.  That line is like spring-wire on a trap.  Who’s trap?  Good question.

Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

Humility is realizing my genuine need for God in every moment of every day to fill me with Himself so that I may be all that He created me to be.  Without Him, I am like a light bulb with no power attached to it.  It does not mean the light bulb itself is worthless.

To be blunt, I’m calling God a liar when I self-deprecate myself and call myself worthless.  Father God paid a HUGE price to clear away all obstacles and hindrances that separate me from Him in order that we may spend eternity together.  His actions tell me what He deems my worth. (John 3:16, Romans 8:32)

Where am I going with this?  Glad you asked.

Today is Mother’s Day here in the United States.  It’s a VERY big deal.  It should be, after all Mother’s create space for life to happen in the womb and in the world.

I’ve never had a child.  Enter the trigger wire.  It’s very easy on this day for me to get focused on all the things I AM NOT.  That is the path my enemy would like me to take in order to devour me, steal my energy and my hope.

What’s your trigger wire?  What sends you down the path of focusing on what you are not?  Is it  your health, your weaknesses, your failures, your finances, lost loved ones, unreached goals, the successes of people around you, something else?

Some may say this is a discipline to motivate yourself to be better by focusing on what you are not.  As I type this to you, I see this image of someone digging a deep hole at the start of a race, jumping in and saying this is the place I need to start … rather than on level ground at the starting line.

The bible does tell us to first examine the plank in our own eye, before trying to take the speck out of another person’s eye (Matt 7:3-4).  So it does call us to know ourselves and to be honest with ourselves and with God about who we are – a work in progress that is completely loved by the Creator (Ephesians 2:9-10).

However, Jesus also tells us:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Matthew 22:37-39

Did you catch it?  “Your shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF”.  If we love ourselves by belittling and undervaluing ourselves, we are going to do the same to the people around us.  Do you see how that could be a problem???

Fear not … the Owner’s Manual tells us how to live REAL without self-deprecation.

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.
Pray about everything.
He longs to hear your requests,
so talk to God about your needs
and be thankful for what has come.
And know that the peace of God
(a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding)
will stand watch over
your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Finally, brothers and sisters,
fill your minds with beauty and truth.
Meditate on whatever is honorable,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is good,
whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Philippians 4:6-8

What those verses look like for me today are:

  • This blog post is an answer to my prayers, i.e., my honest conversation with my Heavenly Father this morning about how I was feeling about myself and this day.
  • I am thankful for His truth that sets me free to receive His love for me, to be able to love myself and to love those around me.
  • I am filled with His peace in exchange for the agitation with which I woke.
  • As I choose to focus on beauty and truth, what is honorable, right, pure lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy, my thoughts are flooded with images of my Mom; the many women I know that are mothers; and the opportunities that have been afforded to me to be the love of God to nurture and create space for life in the lives around me.

Our Heavenly Father can and wants to do the same for you, regardless of what “your trap” may be.

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Hide and Seek

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I was surprised in my last post to find my Heavenly Father hidden in the darkness.  He wasn’t through with surprising me.  I was completely caught off guard these past 2 weeks to find Him in the midst of qigong.  I have quickly had the opportunity to put to the test the quote from my last post that has been resonating within me asking how willing am I to keep my heart “unoffendable”?  Lucky me ;-)

“If you’ll keep your heart unoffendable
I will use you to demolish the things that tried to demolish you.”
Testimony by Elizabeth Reisinger

For those not familiar with my story – four years ago I’d reached the point that I told my husband I would “do anything” to get rid of Fibromyalgia Migraines that were lasting up to 12 weeks at a time.  His response to that was to pray for me and as he prayed I heard repeatedly “acupuncture”.

Bottom line of that experience, I learned that judging something can cost you big time. Acupuncture has helped me more than anything western medicine had to offer.  But it was only when I repented of the judgement/offense I had held towards eastern medicine that I was able to reap the benefit of what Father God has provided for thousands of years through acupuncture.  As I experienced great relief I made the comment to my Heavenly Father “it would have been nice if You’d provided this a little sooner.”  He softly replied, “you could not receive it with the judgment you had in place.”  I couldn’t argue with that!

Well, “my offend-able-ness” was about to be tested again.

Enter pangu qigong.  I’ve been skirting my way around it for several months.  Again, leary of the unknown and thinking it best to “protect myself”.  OK, I confess I can be a slower learner :) .

Right after my most recent post, what just happens to pop up on my Facebook newsfeed but a class being taught by my acupuncturist on pangu qigong.  As I glanced at the post I heard it again “if you will keep your heart unoffendable …”  Hmmmmmm – I had a choice to make.

I read about it www.pangu.org.  I prayed about it.  I asked for my husbands’s thoughts.  I asked for my BFF’s thoughts and asked another friend to pray.  Everything was lining up to tell me to “check this out”.  I had so many questions.  Are you in this Father?  Is this You providing this for me?  Come Holy Spirit and be my guide.

You know what?  The head knowledge of Matthew 7:7 has become experiential for me – if I seek Him, I will find Him … in the darkness, in things and places I never imagined.  How? As simple as the child’s game of “Hide and Seek”.  The catch is we MUST seek and keep on seeking … always, always seeking Him.

It’s not that our Heavenly Father does not want to be found.  He has hidden Himself in all He has created like a lover calling to a lover saying “show me you are interested”.  All the feelings that each of us hold within our hearts of wanting to be desired, courted, chosen and sought after – where do you think those come from?  I’ll give you a hint.  We are made in His image.  Yup.  There is a constant invitation from our Heavenly Father in everything around us  to seek Him out and find Him in order for us to delight in one another as we discover one another.

And, it is not that our Heavenly Father wants to make things difficult for us. Here in America we have “Easter Egg Hunts” for the children at Easter.  Colorful egg-shaped containers holding delectable treats are “hidden” by parents pretty much in plain view for children to seek and find with squeals of delight on Easter morning.  The children are not remotely aware that it was the parents that provided the opportunity for discovery and delight.

How many times are we like that? We are on a hunt and we don’t even realize what Father God has put directly in our path for us to discover to delight us and to provide for us.

So what discoveries did my Heavenly Father have waiting for me in qigong?

The Chinese imagery of sun (masculine strength), balanced with the moon (feminine strength) coming together in balance suddenly became My Heavenly Father (masculine strength) balanced with the nurturing of the Holy Spirit (feminine strength) all coming together in one being – Jesus – the first of many children, which would include me! Embracing “all the goodness the universe holds for a golden future”, became embracing all My Heavenly Father has created, called good (Genesis 1:31) and deeded to me through:

Jesus – the exact image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of creation, the eternal.
It was by Him that everything was created:
the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them,
all things seen and unseen,
thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities.
Every detail was crafted through His design,
by His own hands, and for His purposes.
He has always been!
It is His hand that holds everything together.

(Colossians 1:12-17).

Qijong is all about having life force energy flow through you unobstructed.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  “But the water I give them,” he said,“becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.” (John 4:14)

According to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19) is taking on new dimensions for me.  I’m realizing I have no clue what those riches in glory look like or what form they may take. But my Heavenly Father has promised me if I do my part to seek Him and will keep my heart unoffendable, He will cause the eyes of my heart to be flooded with light, so that I can know and understand the hope to which He has called me, and how rich is His glorious inheritance He has prepared for His children.  (Ephesian 1:18)

Now there’s a reason to hope!   Care to join me?

Dogwood Sun Shining Through