An Upgraded Mind

img_3311In my dream, I was in a restaurant where food was ordered and picked up at a counter, and there were a few tables scattered around. I was with three unidentified friends (represents God in all three persons) and there was one table for four but it was right by the line/register and was very crowded. One friend suggested we go upstairs where there were some more tables and we headed up there. I didn’t actually see it, but knew instinctively that it was surprisingly spacious and open.

At the same time, there had been an experience going on in which I had received what looked like a balloon with a small amount of water—maybe 1/3 full (me, undergirded by God!)—so plenty of room for expansion. I remembered that much earlier in the night I had been awake and got the word, ‘backdoor’, but didn’t understand why.  I was developing a prayer in my sleep and couldn’t remember it when I woke up, but immediately realized that my mind/brain is an exquisitely designed computer and that programmers often leave a backdoor entry so they can get in when nobody else can. I got up and wrote a ‘backdoor’ prayer, also asking the Lord to apply to me personally everything I had ‘written’/prayed while in the dream state, though I don’t recall the exact words.

The backdoor prayer, “Lord, please forgive me for all unrighteous thought and for believing the lies of the enemy. Please forgive me for not setting my mind on things above and for allowing fear, worry, and regret to dominate my thinking. As my Creator/Designer/Programmer, please access the ‘backdoor’ of my brain/mind, which is like an elaborate computer system. Close all doors that should be closed, and open all doors that should be opened so the gates of my mind may never be shut against You. Please kill all viruses and erase all ungodly pathways. Please upgrade my speed, memory, and storage capacity so I can quickly recall all that You want me to know. Please re-program me; upgrade my existing programs and install new ones that align with your latest designs for my life; and set my entire being for automatic updates and releases. Please build a firewall of Your truth through which deception cannot penetrate, and install the Word of God as my always up-to-date anti-virus program. Please cause all of my thoughts to be aligned with Yours so I can always understand what You are doing and know how to respond appropriately in the world. Conform me to Your image, Lord.”

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.  For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

 

Standing In Faith

Barbara ParkerAs we approach Christmas, many of us reach out to others a bit more than usual, perhaps re-connecting with people we haven’t been in touch with lately; perhaps finding ways to help those who are less fortunate; perhaps greeting total strangers with a, “Merry Christmas.” Also, as one year concludes and a new one approaches, we often find ourselves in a self-evaluation mode. We examine what have we accomplished as well as what should we do differently next year, and such a process is scriptural:

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5

I’d like to do a bit of both in this post that doubles as an announcement to the Standing In Faith group on LinkedIn and an invitation to join us, offering first a quick review of our group, and then sharing with old friends and new, the message of hope the Lord has given me.

The Standing In Faith discussion group began as a leap of faith on my part in March 2011. New to LinkedIn and not a big fan of social media, it was quite a surprise when the Lord impressed me to form the group, and from the very beginning He has had full ownership. This is not my group—it is His, and I’m simply His group manager. There have been several times that I’ve wanted to shut it down because it seemed as if it was going nowhere and accomplishing nothing, but His permission for that to happen was never given. Now, in retrospect, I am in awe of what He is doing, and I’m well aware that He is accomplishing His work through the group in ways that I will never be aware of this side of eternity, which is very exciting. Our growth during 2015 has been astounding, and there are new members every day from nations around the world. This is an international outreach such as I never could’ve imagined, and I welcome all of our new members and pray that the fellowship we have here will bless and encourage you in your Christian walk.

From the beginning, the Lord designed Standing In Faith around the passion He has given me for the Body of Christ to live by faith and to operate in unity, and our stated purpose is, “To encourage Christians to live by faith and not by sight, building each another up in the unity of faith that we share in Christ Jesus.”

With that purpose in mind, there are a couple of things about this group that may differ from other groups; things that don’t make us any better or worse, but just different. First is that the Lord has led me to accept everyone who requests membership without any pre-screening, just as He is willing to accept all who come to Him. Second, while we often discuss our differences of opinion, we do not enter into divisive debates or arguments, and no comments are allowed that denigrate the person or faith of another. This can pose a huge dilemma for me as the “referee”, and I must rely strictly on the Lord’s leadership regarding which discussions and comments to allow and which ones to deny, so I would appreciate your prayers for His wisdom in this regard, as well as your understanding and forgiveness if I make a mistake in judgment. I do not agree with everything that is posted here, nor will you, but instead of taking offense and arguing with every statement, please respond from a spirit of love that displays the grace and mercy of the Lord. We are not all “on the same page” doctrinally, but instead of allowing the enemy to separate us as has been done for centuries, we consciously choose to set our differences aside and focus on Jesus in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

As you may be aware, LinkedIn has recently re-designed much in regard to groups, and both the appearance and the function has been affected. Visually, it is easier to quickly scan through discussions, but it is also harder to get the full impact of a discussion without choosing the option for “more” in order to read the entire text of the comments. I would encourage everyone to dig deeper into the “more” of our discussions to get the full benefit of what each person has to say. Also, the space allotted for text has been diminished, so it is more important than ever to try to make a point succinctly.

Previously, the group was open and a request to join received automatic approval, but now every membership request comes to me first. As mentioned before, none are turned away, but any member’s contributions may still be designated for pre-approval if they are deemed to be divisive or off the topic of faith in Jesus; and any individual may be completely banned from the group at my discretion (this has only happened with 3 people whose obvious intent was disruption and destruction). Also, please be aware that with this new system, for reasons I certainly do not understand, LinkedIn is flagging as inappropriate many entries that are fully acceptable, so please be patient if your submission doesn’t appear immediately. I try to turn everything around within 24 hours or sooner, but occasionally that isn’t possible.

Please review the group rules since there have been a few changes to remain in alignment with LinkedIn’s way of doing things. Also, please remember that we do not focus on personal agendas, make political statements, or doctrinal positions; but we discuss the traditional Christian values of the majority. That said, it is difficult to completely avoid the political arena since it has such a huge impact on our lives, but our goal is to approach any such discussions with the intent of illuminating God’s truth and not man’s opinion.

Enough review, and on to our Hope! This morning, the Lord highlighted some phrases to me from Hebrews 3 that are relevant to Standing In Faith.

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession…[who] is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope…Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.  But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Our “today” is a day in which hearts have become hard throughout the world. Jesus warnings of end times events are occurring right before our eyes. His words (Matthew 24:4-14) resonate with what we see and hear daily:

“See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We are not to despair! Buried in a passage where many accentuate the negative, is one of the most promising phrases in scripture. “See that you are not alarmed,” isn’t just an impossible suggestion, for Jesus would never have advised something we cannot accomplish. In Him we have hope, He is our strength and our refuge, and we need not fear:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:3-7

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

At Christmas we often hear people saying that Jesus is the reason for the season, and that’s true; but I’d take it a bit farther to declare that Jesus is the reason for every season in our lives. Our very existence here on earth is designed to bring honor and glory to Him, and the fact that we are here “today” is by His design, and He has a purpose for each of our lives.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:16

So what does this have to do with Standing In Faith? Go back to the Hebrews passage from which the Lord spoke to me today, for this is the re-affirmation of our purpose:

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

May our Lord be with you all, may He bless and keep you throughout this and every season, and may He make you a blessing to others as you all are to me. Merry Christmas to all, along with my prayers and best wishes that in the year to come each person will find their strength in Him and will learn to stand in faith as never before. My prayer for each of us is from Hebrews 4:

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…Let us hold fast our confession…Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

 

 

Do it Again!

IMG_1241“Again! Again!” my small granddaughters squeal with delight as we play “upside down girl,” with me lifting them up by their ankles as I used to do with their brother. I tire of the game much faster than they do, for with every visit they’re a little bigger and a little heavier, so before too long our game will end. But I wonder if my joy in their exuberant fun is anything like what God feels when I plead for more from Him.

These are my thoughts as I ponder the past week of “games” the Lord has provided for me. You see, He has created me to love puzzles and my idea of fun is unraveling His mysteries.

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2

One way we “play” is that He gives me dreams to interpret in order to understand what He is doing; sometimes they’re mine and sometimes they come from friends, which is fun because I then have the privilege of helping them figure out what the Lord is saying. In the past 7 days, I’ve had personal dreams that led to unexpected deliverance that I didn’t even know I needed, insight into His plans/purposes/protection, instructions that I knew I’d received in my spirit even though the memories faded quickly when I awake, and times of knowing I’d been co-operating with Him to accomplish unknown tasks in the heavenly realms while asleep. I’ve also been honored to help several friends understand the encouragement and guidance of their own dreams. With each instance, my heart cries out for more. Do it again, Lord! Do it again!

He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
he will be chased away like a vision of the night. Job 20:8

For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds. Job 33:14-15

It’s also been a week in which we’ve had a lot of “scavenger hunts” for nuggets of His truth; for His puzzle pieces that form a greater understanding of Him even before those nuggets were known by me to be necessary. Time after time, He has taken me to specific scriptures that were relevant for something that would occur later in the day or week; for conversations or events that He knew were coming even I was still clueless. In awe over His foresight each time I cry, “Again!”

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way. Psalm 119:97-98, 103-104

This was a week in which I attended several “parties,” otherwise known as gatherings of believers. Each instance was delightful, either because of the fellowship or because of the wondrous new insights I gained into what God is doing throughout both the earthly and heavenly places. Current events as reported by any news media pales in comparison to current events as revealed through communion with God and His people. More, Lord, more; please do it again!

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25

Fortunately, unlike me with my grandchildren, God never tires of my pleas of, “Again! Again!” I’ll never become too big or too mature for Him to call a halt to our games, and I know that He delights in my joy in Him.

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4

A Song of Hope

IMG_0105_2Like many of us, my cousin, Crystal Kain Ross, felt overwhelming grief at the Supreme Court’s decision to endorse gay marriage.  Soon though, she realized that God had not been caught unaware, He is still in control, and in the end He has already won the battle.  When all is said and done:

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  Romans 14:11

Then the Spirit of God spoke to Crystal’s heart and gave her a new song to sing. In telling me about the song, she emphasized two phrases (italicized in the text) that spoke volumes to her.  In the first verse, “His crystal tears,” the Lord showed her that Jesus’ tears are as crystal, multifaceted and pure.  In the fourth verse, the phrase, “His torrents of love,” cannot do justice to the magnitude of His love for us.

The darkness will soon disappear
The daughters of earth are awakened
To cry His crystal tears
His voice sings o’er the oceans
With judgments in their waves
The nations soon are coming
To see His brightest day

Soon every knee is bowing
Before the King of truth
And every heart will be accepting
Of the faith that needs no proof
The sinners are confessing
The secrets of their nights
They see the King’s great promise
Every day a new nation in His light

Sweet rivers of salvation
With healing life and grace
Flow now inside us unceasing
Until the darkness is stayed
Wash over us victorious
Bring purity from sin
Until we join the chorus
Of the songs that never will end

His torrents of love are falling
In glorious light-filled rays
So bright His paths before us
They flow in brand new ways
Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

No matter what the Courts say
Or all their dark desires
The King of glory cometh
To light His holy fires
Be of that group so counted
Of His purity within
So when you time here is over
Your soul can enter in

Each cry to heaven is counted
No prayers are cast aside
The gates to the heavens are opened
The King is drawing nigh

Be Encouraged

BibleLet the people of God be encouraged!  The unrighteous decision of the US Supreme Court this week is an affront to God as well as to His people, and it is surely one more nail in the coffin leading to His judgements on man.  But His purpose in judgement is to cause people to look to Him and be saved, not to pour out His wrath on the righteous.  We must come into agreement with His plans and purposes to draw all men to Himself, even if it takes very severe/difficult/unpleasant circumstances; and in the midst of it all we must stand in faith and rejoice that our God is on the move!

I have sort of been in mourning for a few days over the increase of evil that has been unleashed, with a heaviness of heart over it all, but this morning the Lord directed me to three Psalms that brought things into perspective for me.

First, Psalm 131, just 3 short verses, but they pack a punch, and I believe show the way to the first thing we need to do, which is to quiet our soul and rest in Him. What peace!

Second, He directed me to Psalm 75, which speaks of judgement, and there are some truths there we need to hold onto. In verse 2, we see that in the set time that He appoints,  He will judge with equity.  Wow!  From our calm place of rest in Him, we can be assured of the righteousness and justice of His judgements, for God is the One who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another, and as He does, the wicked will be cut off but the righteous will be lifted up (verses 7 and 10).

Third, was Psalm 35, David’s prayer the God would “contend with those who contend with me and fight with those who fight with me.”  We must realize we are at war, and it’s much bigger than just the “gay agenda.”  It’s an all-out attempt by all spiritual forces of evil, aided by their physical allies, to overcome the world.  But it’s simply not going to happen!!!  Jesus has already won the victory, and even as we witness the terrible consequences that come in any war, we must commit to the attitude of verses 27 and 28:

Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.

In the midst of the judgment that God will undoubtedly be pouring out, is our opportunity to tell those who are deceived of His righteousness, of His grace and mercy; it is an opportunity and a call for righteousness such as we’ve never had before.  There no hope except in God, and we are the ones who know the truth and are equipped to deliver His hope to those who are desperate.  Let those whom He has called rise up and joyfully enter into battle, for our commander in chief is Jesus, our Soon and Coming King!!!

He told us repeatedly not to be afraid, so heed His words.  He wouldn’t have instructed us to be fearless if it were not possible, so kick fear out the door and focus on Him.  Remember the power of obedience and praise, and watch from His rest as the present-day “walls of Jericho” are taken down.

On A Leash

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119: 10-11

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Sheba loves her collar and her leash.  After a bath, she gets very excited about having her collar replaced.  Why?  I don’t know.  But the leash I do understand—that means she gets to go out for a walk, and there’s nothing she loves more.  When she was younger she’d run away if she escaped without a leash, carelessly darting out in the street or playing hide and seek in a neighbor’s yard, daring us to chase her.  But maybe somewhere along the line she’s learned that it’s for her protection, because now—even without the leash—she stays close by, not wanting to stray too far from her master.

What a lesson for me! How I cherish my “leash”—the never changing Word of God. The more time I spend with it, the more I never want to be away from it, for God’s Word is where I go for comfort and direction when I’m tired or frustrated, alone or afraid.  Full of promises of God’s love that will forever amaze me; its truths pull me away from harmful temptations and give me strength to stand in the face of illness or loss, disappointment or persecution.

I love the description of “my leash” in The Message version of Hebrews 4:12-13,:

God means what he says. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey.

Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what. It draws me ever closer to my Master—and like Sheba, I never want to stray too far.

A New Day is Dawning

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Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.        Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV

Never has the fulfillment of these words felt as imminent to me as it does now.  My sense that our God is on the move was enhanced a few nights ago when, after confronting evil all night both while awake and in my dreams, I finally fell into a restful sleep and dreamed of righteous change. When I awoke, I knew deeply within my spirit that whatever is on the horizon is a move of God that cannot be claimed or labeled by any ministry, denomination or other group.  He simply cannot be contained!

Much that I see in the physical realm is confirming my sense of the spiritual, as indicated in God is On the Move in Southern California and I Had a Dream of the Triumphant Church.  In my own life and ministry, change is in the air, with new opportunities beginning to appear on my horizon after several years of pulling back and waiting on the Lord.

So, with only 3 weeks until 2015 arrives, I’ve begun preparing for whatever the Lord choses to bring during the new year.  The first change I’ve made is to make my first three books, Pug Parables, I’m Still Standing and Richard’s Story available as free downloads.  Secondly, I’ve updated my blog site to become my ministry website as well, and it has a whole new look.  Within the first few weeks of January my old domain of http://www.standinginfaith.org will be directed to this site, http://standinginfaithministries.com

Certainly, we live in a time that confirms the truth of Jesus’ words in Luke 21.  Men’s hearts are failing them for fear because of all we see occurring in our tumultuous world with wars, commotions, hatred, persecution, and natural disasters surrounding us.  Yet His encouragement to seek Him first stands.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 21:28 KJV