Monday, October 26, 2009

Job 23:13-16

13 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?
And whatever His soul desires, that He does.

14 For He performs what is appointed for me,
And many such things are with Him.

15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence;
When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.

16 For God made my heart weak,
And the Almighty terrifies me;

*********ALL CELEBRATE FOR MY 300th POST!!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not a Tame Lion

The C.S.Lewis quote has been echoing in my mond so often recently that it strikes me as a mantra.
Found in The Last Battle, they say: "Is it not told in all the old stories that He is not a tame lion...."

As far as I have known/been taught there are certain boxes and categories, and even those who decry these labels are called "non-conformist".

Even God has certain limits and things that are not done.

For instance: God speaking

God does not speak. It is a given in my circle. People who claim visions or extra-biblical revelation are written off as some sort of unbiblical/unscholarly imaginer.

Yet: He is not a tame lion

I myself once experienced God in a way not in order with my theological persuasions. I was at first completely unsure of how to communicate it. (I also at first completely doubted that it WAS God)
I then did not want to tell anyone lest I meet with lectures or a reputation as someone who was easily swayed by emtional teaching. I refused for some time to accept my own analysis of the place and situation.

However, the fact remained: God had spoken.

Over and over in the past year and 5 months He has affirmed to me that it was Him, and what He said has been affirmed as many times. Since Journey I have had a new clarity of insight, and I also place greater emphasis on Lewis' insight. God does not do boxes. God is so beyond the boxes of "conformity" or "non-conformity" that it isn't even logical to deal with Him on that sphere. One of the most authentic people I know "speaks" ("" is for those of you shaking your heads right now) with God.
(Also, the generic label of "speaking" is a human term which is not able to describe things not on a human realm)

Dear readers: Do not put human insight above God. Do not doubt, O you of little faith.

Friday, October 09, 2009

God Bless 1984

by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Now, those of you who know me are probably wondering why I am putting up a song like this. And dear readers (brownie points for you!!!) who remember my remake a while back are REALLY skeptical as to what is coming next.

First off, I have never felt the patriotic frenzy whipped up in me when they strike up the last verse. It reminds me of the proles in they could be roused to patriotism whenever the moment was needed.

Second, it is not only blatantly false, but extremely manipulative of facts as well.


Let me explain.

1: Rights are given by GOD!!!

Yeah, you know that already. But how many of you have ever winced at this line?

"..... the men who died, who gave that right to me...."

2: Being naive about the character of politicians won't help you at all.

Ex: "the flag...stands for freedom...they can't take...away"

3:"at least I know I'm free"

If that is all you really care about (and if you call what we have currently [current = since the Great Rooseveltpression] freedom) then go live in the USSR. They were free obey.

4: Being politically correct doesn't hurt either. All the politicians really need is a whole lot of bodies to make their point. If necessary, the singers of this song bind themselves to also take the bullets for the laws and treaties the politicians find expedient to their pockets. "...gladly stand"

(Note: I am sure if they looked up the meaning of "defend" {anyone hearing 1984 here again?} and stuck to it they would also protest all wars and "wars" since the American conquest of Mexico --ie. Where Andy Jackson got his Generalship)

(Note: the War of 1812 is an exception)

So....when I hear people singing or speaking of this song....I sit and muse with a bitter and amused smile on my's tripleplusgood duckspeak and that is a fact

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jouney Part I

I am posting these in backwards order so that those who are reading have only to scroll down. I think always of ease of reading and understanding for my readers. ;)

Part I—
I am sure some of you know, but for those of you who don’t, I was away from home the last two-ish weeks visiting friends across the nation and attending a “camp” type program called Journey to the Heart. I hesitate to call it a “camp” because it is far more serious and deals with deeper issues than any other summer camp program I have heard of. It’s whole purpose is to help you seek God “with all your heart, soul, and mind.” It is through IBLP (if any of you have heard of Bill Gothard, or the ATI homeschooling program).

We (all attendees) arrived Saturday around noon, and before dinner attended a staff meeting where we listened to testimonies and began our Journey. (Mr. Gothard loves testimonies) A group of VIP ladies from Romania (the head of all the public schools, and another lady who was in the upper circle) spoke shortly (through a translator) about how they had been implementing things from the Basic Seminar and how they were going to work on translating and producing Mr. Gothard’s new “Lies We Believe” booklet for use in the public schools.
Sunday we went to a church service, and then we fasted over lunch (fasting from breakfast was optional, and we were informed ahead that fasting was planned) and listened to Mr. Gothard speak about things we were going to learn, or need, or find helpful.
Sunday night we watched an episode of the Duggar family’s Discovery TV program (they are an ATI family, and 4 of their oldest girls were in one team), and listened to further testimonies.
Monday we all dressed in our green shirts (or pink or white, depending on what team you were on) and had a final meeting with all the staff. A man who was translating the Basic Seminar into Arabic (yes, and working through all the different language groups/dialects involved) gave a testimony about his life as an oil worker. He was a pretty dynamic guy. Oil worker, bible college student, etc.
We then spent about 45 minutes out in the wind (it was not only cold, but overcast and windy) while chairs and sheets were set up, and while we were arranges, re-arranged, and arranged again for a group picture. I am not with my team, because my knee could not maneuver into the highly akward kneeling/sitting/twisted position necessary to be on the front row. Three of my group were eventually moved to the back row, and two of the other green team moved to the front row.
We then piled into vans and headed out on an 8 hour excursion up past Chicago, through Wisconsin, and finally to Watersmeet, MI. The Northwoods Conference Center is a lovely piece of ground owned by IBLP, which was redeemed from a past of Indian ritual and spiritism. Also, many of the Journey retreats find that cleansing from sin and finding freedom is something Satan fights against. It later became known that one of the girls had a family history of (and she herself used to dabble in) witchcraft. I became speedily inducted into a life of extreme spiritual warfare which I had not exactly believed existed. Many girls were sick, or felt like they were about to get sick. Much of the leaders times together was praying for their teams and binding the powers of iniquity (so we were told). I was pretty scared for a while. One of the girls on my team had a dark shape visit her every night for years. She could point to a spot in her room where it stood. Once, when I was writing out questions I had and issues I was working through, I began shaking. This had happened to me previously this year, and it usually became debilitating to the extent that I could no longer write. I asked Libby if it was because of bitterness in me, or anger, or some fear, and she figured it was an attack. When I write out things it helps me be able to process them more thoroughly, and it also gets them off of the slow-burner in the back of my mind. Libby said that it must be an attack to try to keep me stewing over them, or to keep my mind busy. That really got me scared, but I prayed (out loud) that Satan be bound, and the shaking slowly stopped. I am still scared by that. It did happen again twice, but when I prayed—it would stop.
Oh, and the part about being busy in your mind: The day that happened was Thursday; The Day of Delighting in the Lord. It was a day of fasting and searching out the scriptures. There was a big emphasis on quieting of the mind and being silent. Waiting for God. Really waiting. I have been working on that on the train and since I came home. It really is an exercise!! It is absurd how many things you remember when you try to be still. Peace, my soul, be still.

Journey Part II

Part II—
My knee had not given me trouble until Thursday night. We were praying for one of our team (all of us circled around her) when one girl stood up, tripped over my foot, and fell on my knee with most of her weight. Yeah. I don’t think I screamed, but I sure felt like it. I kept it elevated and took pain medicine…and prayer. Babying it kept me in fine shape for the rest of the trip. God was good!

We worked through the material slowly. On Thursday, the material about the Day of Delight was on page 91 onward. We were then around page 32. Our leader said that (technically) we should be doing it faster, but it did not matter. Instead of flipping pages, we were really cleaning our hearts. Times of discussion about the course material would turn into times of questions, and times of confession of sin, and times of prayer for one another. One by one, we stripped off part, and then all of our various masks. ( the “Perfect ATI girl” mask, and the “Holy and Spiritual Christian” mask, and the “I Am So Strong” mask…to name a few) On Friday, the beloved visionary of our team lead us in a time of confessing the various iniquities that our families passed down to us, and other sins that we had ignored, or buried, or refused to confess. During the week, as we listened to speakers, or as we read through the course material, different areas of my “heart” would begin aching, or throbbing. It was the strangest sensation. Almost as if God was touching the sin-stained area and scrubbing away all the filth. By Friday, I had dealt with a lot of the larger issues either privately with God, or during our study of the different “bad hearts”. However, I could still feel areas that were dirty. As we confessed to one-another, we all broke out in tears. We all got on our knees (some of us on our faces) and we cried out to God for forgiveness and cleansing. We prayed “in one-accord” for about two hours. We prayed for eachother, for our families, for our nation, for others, for a sudden, painful attack of TMJ that hit our visionary sister (as we prayed the pain subsided), and our own sin-stained hearts. I have never known 10 strangers so well as I did those girls. In those hours of prayer and couple hours of confession, we became a family. We could say anything. Our deepest darkest secrets and sins. It was so freeing. We loved and were loved with forgiveness from God and eachother. I arose from there with a perfectly clean heart. It was the strangest feeling in the entire world. To be empty inside. To not feel angry or guilty or hurt. Things that have happened to me, people who have hurt me, I still remember those events, but God (in His awesome and overwhelming Grace) took away the pain. I can acknowledge the damaging things that they did to me, but those events no longer hold me captive.
Lest you should think I now am perfect, please do not presume. I did get angry at someone just the next day for not being considerate about my knee. Anger and nasty comments poured out of my mouth. Then it came to me: “…Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I suddenly stopped in my tracks. Here my new heart was filled with anger. I had to completely stop and ask God for forgiveness. I am still a sinner. My mind would still like to get up on the throne and tell me what is good for me. Tell me what I deserve. Tell me my rights have been trampled on. It is astounding to me to see how many times I need to re-clean out my heart. I have found though, that although I am a sinner, I now much more in tune with what is going on in my heart. I can understand why I am angry and give my expectations to God. I can stop it before it turns to bitterness. It is wonderful.

Journey Part III

Part III—
Saturday was our “sleep in” day. I was sick. I finally found the strength to get up at about 9 in the morning. I was ready, however, when the breakfast van came by, which some of us hadn’t taken showers yet, or were in the middle of one. (yikes)
I find it amazing. Almost all of us girls came with some measure of trepidation about “perfect ATI girls” or just “girls” in particular. I was not looking forward to having to explain being an MK to a bunch of “wow, I care SOOO much” homeschoolers....who would all have wonderful Gothard families and look like all-American-girl dolls.
Yet, each of us eventually let down our barriers, and we realized that we all had the same fear of eachother....and IT WASN’T TRUE!!
Good is just amazing!!
Well, Saturday we finished up a “personality test” DVD that we had begun watching during the week, and did some tests to determine “love language” and then we went to Bond Falls. Bond Falls is not as amazing as some waterfalls I have been to, but it is lovely to be sure. However, it has some nasty terrain!! My knee worked through it slowly, and by the grace of God I did not die from drinking stream water (thank you Dearest for the pain pills) or from falling/slipping/etc which was a dire possibility.
Got some lovely pictures!
That night we asked if any of the other teams had experienced the same as we did, and we were told some of the info I wrote above, and other things. We all felt very burdened for the other teams, and decided to wake up early to pray for them.

Sunday we woke up around 4:30 in the morning. Yes, 4 AM. We cleaned the gatehouse from cellar to dome (neither of which it had, but the thought counts), and prayed for the other teams, and spent some last moments in our lovely home before rushing to eat and rushing to leave. We drove back to Hinsdale, and I slept most of the least that is how it felt. I honestly don’t I must have been asleep. Most of the time I was awake I was ruminating over what to share as a testimony (Mr. Gothard loves testimonies) and praying for the other teams. Our visionary sister was given a dream/vision (burden) for (a) girl or girls who had still not confessed or dealt with things. She saw them halfway between the platform (to give their testimony) and the door (to leave without changing) and it really weighed on her. We all prayed right outside the door to the Staff Meeting room, and Libby asked Mr. Gothard if we could recite I Cor which we had memorized. We had planned on being the first ones to give testimonies, but two other girls stood up almost right away and said a few short words. We arranged ourselves in verse order and gave testimonies in reverse-verse order because we got mixed up. It was interesting how we were (I think) the only group to all give testimonies. I had written out a slew of ideas and things to say, and had written out 5 pages of thoughts. I ended up sharing very little of any of that. What I did say I felt (afterwards) could have been better, or more of this-or-that, or more moving, or more about specific things that helped me....but everyone said that I said what was “me” and that it had been really good. In fact, most of the girls felt that they did not say what they had planned, or felt that their testimonies were lacking....but we all agreed that they had been very good, very helpful and right on the mark. That is when amazing visionary said “Hey, girls, remember we were praying that the Spirit would speak through us...His words and not our own? That is what happened....” We did not give or say what we had wanted/thought with our feeble intellects was the best, or most holy or most hard-hitting thing, but we were His vessels, and we spoke His words. When we all finished, and we recited our 3 verses, the line for testimonies had tripled, and four girls had come up to our visionary and said “Was it me? Because I felt you were talking to me.” She said that she did not know who it was, but that God was the one working and God had given her the burden. She prayed with each of them, and she said that once she had given her testimony, she felt the burden lifted. Not that there was no need for those 4 girls, but that it was not her burden anymore, but God’s. God had given it to her, and she had used it, and now it was up to Him again.
Testimonies continued until lunch break on Monday. Mr. Gothard said (at least a half-dozen times) that he had never heard a Journey with such powerful testimonies. Libby told us a couple times that he was being truthful about it too. She said some Journeys came and went with only a couple testimonies, or testimonies about water-tubing instead of sin-confessing. Nearly every team had two or three girls speak, and about 3 teams had most (or all?) of their girls say something.
Monday was a mixture of speakers and sessions about different things. It was definitely a trying day for me as I struggled with dashed hopes in an area, and disappointment, and my expectations of certain people (I thought they promised something, but they never fulfilled what they said) made me hold a grudge. Tuesday I was hit by such an attack that I could not move from the couch. I said some rather angry and depressing and hurt things. In fact, I was powerless until two girls finally got down beside me and prayed. Then I suddenly realized what I was doing (holding a grudge of expectations, being depressed). I was able (after they prayed) to see what was going on. I rebuked Satan for poisoning my mind, and I prayed and forgave the people for not following through, and I gave God my expectations. Afterwards I was my cheerful self again, and I was definitely scared again by what was going on. This spiritual-warfare stuff is freaky, guys!!
Tuesday right after lunch I was driven to the train station, where after a few hugs and a prayer, I boarded the Metra and headed away to Chicago. Once there, I got my tickets paid for (staying an extra day was a blessing, although an expensive one), I was able to check in my big bag, and I headed out into the Windy City to see some sights before 6pm.

As I was meandering outside Union Station, I was once again accosted (not in a bad sense) by a “black angel” as I had begun calling them. Seriously. Random black guys with a degree of ragged clothing who know directions to everywhere and are more than willing to help you. Anyway, this one was selling newspapers and I didn’t have any spare change, so we just traded information. (Note: in Chicago, people who are used to walking tend to underestimate distances) He told me that Pacific Garden Mission (home of “Unshackled” Radio programs) was about 4 blocks down from the station. I had wanted to go there/visit/have a tour, so I headed off and walked four blocks. I had to ask a lady in a store then, because I was told “you can’t miss it”. She said it was down four MORE blocks....which was more like 6 and a half. BUT ANYWAY, I got there and a very active and cheerful lady (I believe the only white lady in the entire building) gave me a personal and interesting tour. She loved the fact that I used to listen to “Unshackled” in the Philippines, and even walked me to the bus stop two and a half blocks away. Then, a very trendily dressed white lady helped me get directions to Chicago and LaSalle street by the subway, and I then (with directions from another black angel) headed down about 4 blocks to Moody Bible Institute Campus, where I spent about an hour with a friend. Yes, my knee was not very happy, but I was able to sit down for a part of that time. Interesting thing, though, was that my shoulder actually hurt a LOT more than my knee. Lugging around books and all the extra weight over 50lbs from your big suitcase is NOT something I would suggest to any compadres on a walking tour.

SO, I got back to Union Station right around 6pm when the sun was setting, and I wandered around the food court for some time trying to find a cheap, yet tasteful sustenance besides the water and chips that I had stashed in my bag. The Pitts station sure doesn’t have any available food, and I would need something before my 19 hour trip was over. I finally picked up some bread sticks from the little Pizza Hut, and boarded the train just as it was announced for boarding. While the train from Pitts to Chicago was mostly empty, the train from Chicago to Pitts (to Washington DC, actually) was reserved seating only. I had a seatmate, but I was so tired that I fell asleep almost right away. It was a little less cold with a packed train, and I had on extra layers, but sleeping in a small seat is always uncomfortable. My neck was all cramped up when we got to Pitts at 5 in the morning. I then wrote in my Journey Journal until 7am when the train to Harrisburg came ready. I was able to get a row of seats, but my things also cramped me...and I slept there again (Note: Dear readers—never set good intentions when you travel). I woke up about 30 minutes away and my shoulder finally stopped being numb from carrying my huge bag and sleeping in a twisted up position....ouch.
It was good to get pushed and pulled in every direction my silly siblings when I got out to the car, and to hear their chatter and find out about all the new scrapes and bumps and bruises they had received since I was gone. I had intended to sleep and unpack, but as life in this family would go—my grandparents on my mothers side were driving up from Virginia the next day and food and a room had to be prepared for well as all the chores that had fallen by the wayside when I was not there to do them....
That night I stayed up until 1:30 in the morning trying to figure out whether I wanted to be involved in a drama camp in the area, and figuring out details to a TeenPact alumni event.
Thursday we all went out (missing the first Square Dance Practice of the season) to audition, chess class and a Constitution Class. We got home about 10 minutes before the Grandparents walked in the door. I was then up until about 12:30 typing out the beginnings of this whole thingymabobber.