Friday, January 25, 2013

My Spirit is moving..Watch and see - and know.

I waited on the Lord in silence this morning after praying in tongues for a while. After a few minutes of being still, I saw a landscape of low rolling hills that were beautiful mottled shades of red. There seemed to be no life except for some low growing vegetation. It looked like the arctic tundra.

Then I heard a verse of scripture that has been in my head and on my heart for several days: Habbakuk 2:14: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."

I asked the Lord if these two things were connected (the image and the scripture) and then I saw the tundra again; but this time there was a wind blowing and stirring the vegetation. Then I heard:

"Daughter, this terrain seems desolate and empty, but there IS life here. I will pour out my Spirit upon this landscape and as it blows wherever it will, life will spring up all about."

"I have not forsaken My church. Even though it seems empty and devoid of Life, I will raise it up again at the right time."

"Let not the people despair. Like the exhortation to remain watchful in the parable of the servants whose master had gone away for a long time, I exhort My people who are called by My Name to remain watchful and alert, ready and waiting for My return. Do not become complacent; do not let hope fade, for I am coming."

"Continue to work, to serve, to share, to pray, to rejoice, even though your eyes cannot see the preparations that are now taking place. Take heart, for I am working! You must be ready. You must remain watchful so that when the moment comes you can take your rightful place and assume your role in what is coming."

"See. My Spirit is moving. It is blowing across the land stirring up life. Watch and see - and know."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hell and Compassion

A recent Facebook post about hell posted by a Canadian radio talk show host who is very open about his faltering Christian faith prompted me to write down my thoughts on God and hell. I wanted to respond to his post but hesitated. I've tried to argue his points in the past, along with many others who have more theological training than I do, but lately it seems he is beyond apologetics. It is up to the Holy Spirit to change his mind now, and that is my prayer for him and for all those who have believed the lie that the God of the Bible is a mean and exacting judge.

The God I worship is not an arbitrary, indifferent judge. I don't believe that God "consigns" us to hell. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us plainly that He doesn't want a single person to perish. And John 3:17 says that He sent His son into the world to save us - not to condemn us.  I know from my own experience that we don’t just get one chance to repent and turn from sin. God is continually trying to draw us into a redemptive loving relationship with Himself all throughout our lives, even when we feel far from Him or want nothing to do with Him; even when we are completely immersed in our “sin”.

We've all heard testimonies about dying unbelieving people who've remained alive against all odds until the day they finally repent and give their lives to God; and then, soon after, they die in peace and without the fear of being cast into hell. That happened to the father of a friend of mine just a couple of months ago. God is merciful to the very end and continues to seek us out, just like the black sheep in the painting, and to call us to repentance – which simply means turning around, and moving toward Him – until we take our final breath. And who knows, maybe His mercy extends beyond death?

I've known several people who nearly died and saw terrifying visions of hell. One was a woman I met while ministering in the BC lower mainland prisons. She was an addict, a prostitute, and a thief, who accidentally overdosed when a skid row pharmacist gave her a dose of undiluted methadone. She told me she knew that God had allowed her to see hell because He wanted to give her another chance to live her life differently. He didn't want to send her to hell. He brought her back from the brink of hell and restored her to life so that she could have another umpteenth chance to turn to Him and be saved. This vision changed her life forever and caused her to seek and experience God's love and mercy. She was very gifted prophetically, and uncannily wise, but sadly, her struggles with addiction soon overtook her new-found faith only a few months after she was released from prison. I don’t know where she is today but I still think of her and pray for her often.

Revelation 20:10 says that hell was designed for the devil and his demons, not for mankind. In some translations, the word "hell" is used throughout the Bible in the place of "death" or "hades" which both mean something quite different. (See if you want to read more.) I think that while Jesus did teach and warn people about hell, the Church - as an institution - over the centuries, has distorted His teachings and used the threat of hell to manipulate and control people through fear. Perhaps some translators were influenced by this church policy as well?

Many people who, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, consider themselves safe and secure in their salvation because they are upstanding members of the Church may have a rude surprise awaiting them when they face the Lord on their judgement day. Those who self-righteously point the finger of damnation at sinners, have misrepresented God as a harsh and mean judge, ready to strike down anyone who steps out of line and cast them into hell as punishment for their sins. But which of us has ever lived up to the standard of conduct written for us by God in the Ten Commandments? Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I think those who pronounce damnation over others because of their perceived sin will get the rudest shock of all when they are face to face with the Lord and are called to account for their words and actions and for how they represented Him while on this earth.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matthew 7:21-2)

Jesus said to a mob of men who wanted to stone an adulterous woman to death (because that’s what the law said they were to do), "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) This should be our attitude when we confront sin in the people around us. Jesus had compassion on the woman. "At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:9-11)

Jesus came to represent the Father. When His disciples asked Him to show them the Father, He said, "Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father!" (John 24:9) And, according to Hebrews 1:3, "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature." If we want to know the true nature of God, we need look no further than the gospel accounts of Jesus ministry and nature.

I have known, personally, the mercy and compassion of the Lord. Twelve years ago, He saw me in my sin (and believe me, it was considerable), but - just like the woman caught in adultery - He loved me so much He didn’t leave me there. He called me out of my life of sin and futility, and He healed me and set me free from fear, and pain, and dysfunction. He gave me peace, and a new life, one with meaning and purpose. This is the God I know! He could have condemned me for the wrongs I had done and consigned me to hell, but instead He showered His love on me. He wanted so much more for me than I believed at the time.

God IS love. Believe it! It’s true! And He is merciful towards sinners. And this sinner is grateful to have known and experienced His love and His kindness in my life. I wish everyone could know how good and kind and tender He is. It’s as easy as opening the door of your heart and inviting Him to come in.

"Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3:20)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Revelation and The Light of the Gospel

In the seventies there was a revival called The Jesus Movement that touched many people in North America and even in the small coastal BC town where I lived then, bumper stickers proclaiming, "I found it!" or "Born again!" or something to that effect, were prevalent. I remember laughing in derision at drivers who displayed these proclamations on their cars. I thought they were sadly deluded - and even stupid; that their happy-clappy faith was nothing but a crutch, an escape from the crushing and stark realities of life - which I believed then were the inescapable truth.

I appreciate the irony that I can now count myself among the happy-clappy crowd, even though at that time in my life I probably would rather have died than become one of them. God's mercy and love are so great they are truly unfathomable. He waited patiently, more than twenty years, for me to become humble and broken enough to bow my will to His - and I will be eternally grateful that He did. My life truly began that day in August 2000, when I finally made a decision to turn my will and my life over to His care and let Him be Lord of the rest of my life.

I was reading 2 Corinthians 4 this morning. As I read verses 3-6, I could see that the same "veil" that Paul describes in this ancient letter to the first century church at Corinth covers the spiritual eyes of unbelievers today. That veil was what kept me blind and unable to see the truth for most of my life.

In verse 5 Saint Paul tells us what the stumbling block is that prevents unbelievers from receiving the Light of the Gospel. Just as I did, "the world" sees Christian believers as stupid, arrogant and bigoted because we proclaim that our way is the only way to God, that there is no other true spiritual path. But, as Paul explains, "what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as (their) servants." Yes, we believe that we are priviliged, that we possess knowledge that the rest of the world doesn't know, because God has "shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God..." but having received this knowledge cannot produce arrogance in us. It brings only humility and gratitude because...."we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." (Verse 7)

We are fragile, imperfect vessels; we have done nothing to earn this privilege; we are no different and no better than anyone else. And God uses "jars of clay" so that it will be obvious that the "surpassing power," and the glory, belongs to Him and not to us. That is the reason for our happy-clappy demeanor - we are continually giving thanks and praising God for the wondrous work He has done in our lives. Our gratitude cannot be contained, and it overflows, causing us to gush and to want to proclaim God's goodness to the world.

We know that have not gained this knowledge because of our own intelligence or wisdom - it can come only through revelation: "For God..has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," and it is available to every person who will humble her/himself and seek God - and who beholds the face of Jesus. In that face is love everlasting, love without end, love without condition, love beyond anything you have ever known: pure love that fills every void and heals every hurt.

So, if we seem giddy and foolish, it is because we know that we have this treasure in jars of clay; we know that we are undeserving and unworthy - and yet we have been given the greatest treasure of all, "the knowledge of the glory of God," and the love of His Son, Jesus!

In my Bible (ESV), Jeremiah 29 is called "The Letter to the Exiles", and through it God would speak these words to you, "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. When you come looking for me, you'll find me. I'll make sure you won't be disappointed..." (Verses 11-14 from The Message)

So, join us and behold His face. He's watching you - yes you! - with love and anticipation; waiting for you to turn to Him. And I can say in all truth and sincerity - and from my own personal experience - that you will never, ever, regret it. But, just as a word of warning, if you take my advice you just might that you too have become a life-time member of the happy-clappy faith club!

To read 2 Corinthians 4 in The Message go to:

Opening photo courtesy of my son, Jeremy Sean Williams, photographer:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

God of Wonders

We welcomed Pastor George Ewald and his wife Karen at the Powell River Healing Rooms last night. They, along with Sharon, their youth pastor, ministered to a small crowd of people - as many as we could fit - sharing testimonies of the power and love of God and the miracles and changed lives they have seen as a result of the revival at their home church, Port Hardy Christian Fellowship. They also imparted gifts to us through words of knowledge and the laying on of hands, and once again, I was blessed beyond measure and amazed at the goodness of God.

The anointing on Pastor George is so powerful that even as I stood before him waiting for him to minister to me, I felt the presence and power of God so strong I had a hard time standing. And I received such comfort and encouragement, and a couple of powerful impartations for ministering in the power of God. I might share what I received in another post, but right now it feels too deep to put into words.

These are people who have submitted their lives completely to God and who continue to surrender their wills and their ideas about what revival should look like and how they need to minister. They are ordinary people who carry a powerful anointing for breakthrough, and their faith in God is so joyful it is contagious. They are like little children in their expectancy, and isn't that just what Jesus taught, that "to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14)

The Port Hardy team are ministering at a local church tonight and I look forward to more of what God has in store for me, and for our community.

"Prepare the way of the Lord!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Gateway for God's Glory

On Monday as I was worshipping and praying in the sanctuary of my church God showed me something I feel I need to share with others who are hungry and seeking after God. I guess you could say that I am a "seer" or that I have the gift of sight, because most often when I ask God if He has anything to say to me, I see an image or a vision. I rarely understand the image God gives me at first, but I ask Him to help me understand and He does.
This week what I saw was something celestial and active, like a portal or a black hole. It was huge and it seemed as though it was far out in deep space - the second heaven. I saw ribbons of light pouring, or being sucked down, into a bowl shaped structure with a flat bottom. The ribbons of light were like streams of molten gold that were drawn into the bowl from outer space and then poured down along its walls and across its bottom flowing into a hole in the middle of the bottom which acted like a drain, and becoming one stream of light which was being sucked down through space to the earth. It was so magnificent: the flowing golden ribbons, the colours, the contrast of dark and light, the beautiful shape of the magnificent portal, and the steady movement of the flow of molten light.

I asked the Lord why He was showing me this amazing thing, and He said He was trying to show me how my hunger, my desire for Him, brought His glory - the streams of light - down from the heavenly realms into the church sanctuary. We have been experiencing the manifest presence of God in our midst lately during our Sunday services. I know I'm not the only hungry one among us. What's happening feels like the beginning of revival, and I have been wondering what it is that we are doing that is causing the manifest presence of God down to dwell among us.

What the Lord was showing me is that our hunger, our desire, our longing for more of Him is a force which draws, or pulls His glory down onto our earthly plane. And as we continue to hunger after Him and long for His Presence and His glory, we draw down the power of heaven to earth, and as a result we will see our lives our churches and our communities transformed by the power and the glory of God. This vision helps me to understand the power that I see at work through the healing revivalists I've watched, like Nathan Morris. I understand now how the power of God came into those meetings at The Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival, because Nathan, and others, spent a lot of time hungering after God and asking Him to show them His glory. They were drawing God's radiant glory and His power to earth.

I wish I could draw or find an image that would do justice to the heavenly vision that I saw, but these at least give some idea. My prayer is that as you seek after God, as you hunger after Him, you will receive a revelation of His glory that will bring awe to your heart and ignite a passion in you to know Him more; it's that passion, that hunger that will draw the glory of heaven to earth in your life and church and community.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea

I have been spending Monday mornings alone in the sanctuary of my church - Kelly Creek Community Church - in obedience to a "call" or assignment God gave me at the beginning of the summer. This time apart is my weekly offering to the Lord, and as I continue this practice, my experience and knowledge of Him is going deeper and deeper; this past Monday it went so deep that what I experienced is truly beyond words. I'm still experiencing it. It is a new "understanding" - although I don't fully understand - of the omnipresence of God, of the Holy Spirit, and of what it means to be "in Christ".

In Acts 17, as Paul was addressing the Athenians who had gathered in the Areopagus, he explained that the "unknown God" they had dedicated a popular shrine to was actually not remote, but very near (vs. 27). "In Him we live and move and have our being," (vs 28). I've always thought I understood the meaning of the apostle's words, but after what I experienced on Monday and continue to experience today, I know that I understand very little. I continually ask God to open the eyes of my heart and my understanding - my spiritual eyes - so that I can comprehend what it is that He is trying to show me, and what my experience means.

It is very human to want to understand. It's a comfortable place, a more secure place, to live with understanding, than it is to live in the mystery. So, realizing this, and although there is a deep longing and an unsettled-ness in my soul as a result of my recent experience of God, I am content to live with and to live in the mystery until such time as God makes my understanding complete.

Today as I sat in His presence, experiencing His closeness and His love, I began to weep with a sorrowful longing for my family, especially my sons and my closest sister, to be able to know the love and the closeness of God as I do. When you know Him intimately and sense Him so close to you - even though the understanding is lacking - all your worldly cares melt away. Nothing else matters.

I read Psalm 16 today and it speaks to my experience so beautifully. Perhaps David experienced God's presence and love as I have? " your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

So, what was this experience I had on Monday?

As is my practice, I worshiped the Lord with music and using my flags; I prayed for Mike (our pastor) and the church and for a few individuals; I bowed down at the "altar" and prayed in my prayer language; and then I sat quietly and asked my Father in Heaven to speak to me. Usually He leads me to a passage of scripture or speaks words to me about a situation that then lead me into scripture, but not this time.

Instead of hearing words I became aware of a palpable presence, God's manifest presence in the church with me. I could feel it pressing on my skin. I could "see" it in my mind's eye. It was invisible "matter", it had substance and dimension and it filled up every inch of "empty space" between me and the walls and floors and furnishings of the sanctuary. There was no empty space, it was ALL filled with Him.

I wrote, "He bumps up against me - although of course He is in me and I am in Him. I realize that, although I don't always feel His presence, or "see" it, He is ALWAYS here - or there. He fills up everything. There is no "empty" space."

As I sought to understand the meaning of this experience, I turned to my Bible. Colossians 1:17 says that "in Him all things hold together." In The Message that verse reads:"He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment." This is a better explanation - at least it helps me a little. Then I asked God to help me my understanding, asking,"Is this for me, or for KCCC (our church)?" and He responded with these words:

"'Show me Your glory.' That's what you asked of Me. It is all around you. Open your eyes and see."

I reply, "It is like a sea, Father! As though we live in an ocean of Your presence and your glory! It surrounds us; we breathe it in! We take our life from it! It is available to all! The Kingdom of God is here! It surrounds us. Wherever I go I walk in it, - and in You!"

As I typed those words the words of Psalm 139 came to my mind:

5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Thank You, Father! You love me! Oh how You love me!

I've been remembering my first experience of His glory. It was nine or ten years ago as I was my baptism in the church was approaching. I asked God to help me to prepare myself for this rite. I wanted to be spiritually, emotionally and even physically ready. But instead of giving me something to "do" to get ready, God began showering me with His presence and His love in such a powerful way that I could barely stand up under it. I wept and wept for days on end. It was so intense I could barely stand it, but it was so ecstatically beautiful that I couldn't bring myself to ask Him to stop.

He prepared me for the ritual of baptism by convincing me beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was with me and that He loved me. I wonder if perhaps He is preparing me for something that is to come?

"You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it."

Lord, who am I that I should be so highly favoured as to know You in this way?

PS: To learn the amazing properties and shape of Laminin, the protein which holds all of our bodies' cells together, watch this video. It is fascinating!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Free Indeed!

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

Jesus was talking about sin when he made this statement. What it means to me today is freedom from death and disease. He has healed me! He has rescued me from a death sentence that was pronounced over me last fall when I received a diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma. The doctors told me there is no cure, that all they could do was give me more time if I followed their treatment regime.

That is why I have not posted for so many months. Many things have happened and God has shown up in so many amazing ways, but the journey seemed very personal, and the more people I invited into it, the more confusion and doubt I experienced in my faith walk. It wasn't anyone's fault, it was just that I was desperately seeking direction and wasn't able to hear clearly from my Father because of the fears and doubts I had. I was hoping someone else could tell me what to do, but no one could.

But right from the very beginning of this journey, God gave me encouragement. He spoke promises to me that I clung to - sometimes only with a grain of faith as small as a mustard seed - promises that He has upheld. I plan to share my journey of faith here in the coming weeks. There are so many tender mercies, so many amazing moments, so many big and small ways that God has demonstrated His compassion, His patience, His love, His power and His faithfulness in my life. And today I received the results of a recent CT scan: there is no sign of malignancy in my body!!!! Thank You, Jesus!!!! It amazes me that He did it all for me, that He set me free! Who am I that God should care about my life, about my feelings, about my needs and desires?

Oh, people! His word is true! His nature is good! The Bible says that God is love, and we see his love expressed through the Incarnation, Immanuel: God With Us, the Only Begotten Son of the Father - Jesus Christ.

If you are not walking with God, if you want to know His amazing grace and love too, come to Jesus. He is the way to God. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

If you are hurting and confused, if you find life hard to bear, come to Jesus. This is His invitation to you: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message)

If you are sick in your body, you can be made well. Have faith in The Healer. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well." And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease." Mark 5:20-29;34

I can testify to the truth of all of these statements; I have experienced this supernatural reality - and so much more! And I promise that you will NEVER regret making the decision to come to Jesus and invite Him into your heart and your life. I did one day almost eleven years ago and I was changed forever in an instant and set free from a crippling addiction. I can't promise it will always be an easy road, in fact the Jesus walk can be quite challenging, but He knows what you need to flourish in this life, He knows where your heart and your body need healing. He came and died on the Cross and then rose to life again in order to overcome the powers of darkness, sin and death - in order to set you free. He longs to give you comfort and rest. He is good. He is gentle. He IS love. I pray that you will come to Jesus. You can trust in Him. He is waiting for you.

Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I'll come right in
...Revelation 3:20

Here is a simple prayer that will help you open the door to Him:
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for dying for me on the cross. I’m sorry for the things in my life that have been wrong. I now turn away from everything that I know is wrong and I now receive your gift of forgiveness. I put my trust in what you did on the cross for me. Please come and fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me the strength to lead the kind of life that deep down I’m longing to lead. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen