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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kindness and Judgment

Hi, my name is Jeannie and I am a judge. I don't like to think of myself as judgmental, but I must confess that I am.

(Flashback) I happen to be an external processor, which means that sometimes I discover ideas as they fly out of my mouth. (As opposed to those who actually think things first!) I was talking with someone about the importance of forgiveness when I experienced one of those times. I said something to the effect of, "I think maybe the reason God is such a stickler about us having an unlimited supply of forgiveness for others is because it is only when we are truly able to forgive others that we really believe we, too, can be forgiven." I tell you this because I believe it relates to what God is teaching me about judgment.

We are told that we will be judged as we judge. Could it be that this is not just a command God has given, but a reality that He is revealing. Within myself, at the deepest parts, I feel that I am judged by God and others by the same standards I use to judge those around me. It is the root of much of my insecurity and self awareness. Is it possible that if I can fully release my right to judge and begin accepting people and circumstances as they are, I will find myself accepted or acceptable? Maybe this is not a curse of God, but a result of how our mind works.

Maybe, God knows the inner workings of a man (or woman) so well that He knew that if we could not forgive and release those around us, a part of us would cease to believe in His freely given forgiveness for us. That it is actually our own mind that imprisons us.

I don't think I am alone in my judgment. It is a wide spread disease. I don't know that any are automatically immune. Most likely we all have to fight to build up antibodies against it.

This morning, I reread the story of Hagar and Ishmael and I saw an amazing picture of God. God's people disobeyed. They created the problem surrounding Hagar and Ishmael. If that wasn't bad enough, God's people then labeled Hagar and Ishmael as no good and shunned them to the desert to die. (Sound familiar?) And then the part that brings tears to my eyes. God, Himself, purposefully goes after Hagar and Ishmael to encourage, provide, and protect them. God's people cast judgment. God casts kindness and mercy.

It is amazing to me how God managed to honor His relationship and covenant with Abraham and Sarah (His love for them never wavered) and chase down and honor Hagar and Ishmael. What an amazing God we have!

God, I surrender my right to judge. I want to be free to love those you have placed around me. I want to receive Your judgment, not my own. I lay down my pride. My tendency to think, "Well, it is okay for them to do that, but I am above that sort of display." I confess that those are words of pride and judgment and I hand them to You, God. Take my judgment and fill my heart with Your kindness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


"However, it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him' - but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." I Corinthians 2:9-10

"So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ." Philippians 1:10

Some of you know that I have been doing a Bible Study by Beth Moore entitled, "Living Beyond Yourself." There is so much richness here. There is much I could say after this session, but I will focus on "heightened discernment" at this time.

A look through the Bible will show you that the word "discernment" is used more often in a positive context than a negative one. This caught my attention. I was already invested in the teaching, but I suddenly realized that something was about to step on my toes. I was right. Beth went on to talk about how a critical spirit will often mask itself as discernment. How does one know the difference? Discernment is rooted in love. A critical spirit is rooted in pride and arrogance.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was swimming, God began speaking to me about something rather uncomfortable. He showed two different glimpses into my life.

The first was me at peace. It was during a season when my ability to see the giftings and potential in people was quite high. It was a nice picture.

The second was me nervous and discontent. In this scene I was seeing in others motives, etc. that were not good. I was building walls around myself.

Which was discernment? Both were rooted in a similar gifting or instinct. What made them different? Holy Spirit empowered discernment is rooted in love. Since perfect love casts out all fear, there was no need to worry. I was free to say, as Paul did, my life is worth nothing to me, because I know how valuable my life is to God. I know He handles me carefully and purposefully. (I may not always like how some things feel along my journey, but that doesn't make them bad.)

A critical spirit left out love. What good does it do anyone, including myself, if I can see the heart only to despise it? Does this help the person? Does it protect anyone else? Does it protect me? The only way a critical spirit can help is by building walls. It may seem helpful and protective at the time, but eventually I will come to see that I have succeeded only in building myself a prison.

Now, I rarely walk completely in HS led discernment or a critical spirit. In one day, both could make an appearance. However, I want to continually grow closer to being able to walk in HS led discernment. After all, without love I am only a resounding gong, right?

How do I move in the direction I want to go? I get into the Word and I ask for filling of the Holy Spirit. That could take me off on an entirely different bunny trail . . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I read Colossians 1:13-17 this afternoon. I have read this passage many times. My head knew what was there. My heart did not. Things that awaken in our spirit are often inadequately described by words, so please try to read on with your spirit rather than your head.

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,in whom we have redemption,[a] the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

I knew Jesus spoke us into creation. But this passage was huge for me. Let me pause for a moment to tell you a short story.

The past 2 nights I have woken up to the bed shaking. It felt like a minor earthquake. Now, to the best of my knowledge we have not actually had any earthquakes recently - not even little ones.

Last night, I woke up to the shaking (I am using the term "woke" very loosely!) and thought, "Are we having an earthquake? Do I need to be ready to spring out of bed and rush to the doorway?" "Is my blood pressure doing crazy stuff?" Then, the thought occurred to me that some people have talked of spirits shaking their beds at night. This may sound arrogant, but my automatic response to that was, "What demon would be stupid enough to do that to me?!" (It is not that I never face attack, I often do. They just tend to be more subtle.)

Before I could follow that line of thought anywhere, I felt something (God, I would imagine) prompt me, "Don't follow that train of thought. It will feed fear and you don't have anything to be afraid of." ooookkaayy. "Just say 'Jesus.'"

Now, have you ever been in a state where your mind seems to be quite conscious, but your body is still very much asleep? That is where I was. It took an absurd amount of energy to turn my body over and force out the word, "Jesus." I had a song going through my head, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" I think. But there was no way my vocal chords were going to squeak out a melody.

I grunted the name of Jesus and almost immediately passed out again. (I was tired!)

You see, I have known for years that we come against evil "in the name of Jesus." I knew demons shuttered at the thought of Him. I knew that He was God. But, for some reason, I always thought of Him as the weaker part of the trinity. (I know, theologically it doesn't make sense, but emotionally that is how I saw Him.) He was kind, loving, etc. He is The Word. He spoke creation into being. He spoke ME into being. What I seemed to miss along the way is that He also spoke angels, demons, principalities, and powers, rulers and authorities "of this dark age" is the way Paul put it to the Ephesians.

Why do we use the name of Jesus when fighting on the spiritual realm? It is not just because Father God wants Him to receive honor. It is because HE CREATED THEM! The thought crossed my mind, "He spoke you into this world and He can speak you right back out." (Mother's often threaten that sort of thing, but Jesus could actually DO it.)

Jesus. So much more than I understood. So much more than I understand. Wow.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Trembling, Rejoicing, and Kissing

I woke up this morning wondering what I wanted to do with the day. Most of my friends are at the Bill Johnson conference. I had decided not to go. I decided to head into Logos Bookstore where I found a used book section. I certainly could not pass up the opportunity to add to my library at $.25 and $.75 per book. (I did splurge and spent $2 on one of them.)

As I step into the much dreaded role of leadership, I have been thinking seriously about what I really believe. I grew up in one of the more strict holiness denominations. Lots of rules. Some poor people saw only the rules and no power. I was one of those blessed to see both. I am part of a non-denominational church plant where grace and activation are highlighted. Beyond that, now I am in the charismatic world at large, I also see a subculture of people who stress experience and emotion.

As a leader, which of these things do I water? What is okay to neglect and trust that God will take care of? When does one cross the line into micromanaging someone else's relationship and walk with God? These are just a few of the questions I have been asking myself.

One of the books I picked up today is entitled, "Passion for Jesus," by Mike Bickle. In one chapter, he goes through Psalm 2. Here are verses 10-12

"Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

I could paraphrase what he says, but instead, I will just quote him,

"God is awesome in splendor and terrifying in His greatness. This royal One has no superior-no equal. When we get a glimpse of His eternal, majestic splendor and beauty we are filled with reverential fear. We tremble before Him."

"If we only feel fear and trembling in the Presence of God, we will never experience the fullness of His grace. David says we are to rejoice before Him as well. We are to exult and rejoice in the benefits of our inheritance."

He goes on to describe how the phrase "kiss the Son" speaks metaphorically of the special intimacy we are designed to have with God.

I like these three anchors. Trembling, Rejoicing, and Kissing. I get the feeling that it is not a balancing act. It is all - of everything. All of me trembling in awe before Him. All of me rejoicing in the benefits of my inheritance. All of me embracing the passion of my God.


Friday, January 29, 2010


This entry is being written to address the big question, "What did I think of Avatar?" Apparently the movie is controversial and considered by some to be dangerously New Age. I talked with a woman tonight was seemed somewhat afraid and offended by the movie, yet had not seen it. She wanted my opinion on whether or not it was "safe." Oh, my. While I don't consider Avatar a children's movie, it certainly did not offend me. Quite the opposite.

Now, it is important to note that I am the same person who, just a few days ago, mentioned feeling messages in the wind. To some, that is already a red flag. :-) It is possible that I am a bit more liberal in that area than some Christians. And that is my disclaimer for what I am about to say.

I loved the movie. Hmmm, how should I organize my thoughts? :-) I guess I will just list them as they come to me, so they are not in any specific order.

1) There was a point in the movie when my spirit was very sad. The male lead stepped out in faith and began to pray. The female lead came up behind him and sadly told him that it was pretty much a wasted effort because their deity existed only to keep the balance of nature. A part of me wanted to sign up to be a missionary to Pandora right then. To tell them that the God of the universe was interested in so much more than the balance of nature. I kept thinking, "They are so close . . . ."

Then, some time later in the movie, God shows up. The female lead is stunned. And my spirit shouted, "Now THAT is my God!" He is a God who fights for and with His people, who turns the impossible into the possible, who has a personal interest and investment in His people. And, while the people did not yet understand that about their deity - and the director may or may not have understood it either - the true character of God showed up.

When the main male character is praying, he tells the deity that earth destroyed its mother - implying that each planet had its own deity. What he did not realize was that he had already been proven wrong. Just before one of the humans died, she opened her eyes and said, "I am with her. She is real." And then died. This sounds like the God of the universe, not of a planet. This deity had no dilemma regarding the woman being alien to their planet.

I imagine part of the New Age fuss is that their deity is referred to as "she" and "mother." I can see how this could ruffle some feathers. I, personally, do not take offense with this because, while we have been taught to refer to God as "Father", I doubt He is limited by gender. My guess is that He is the perfect embodiment of both genders. I do understand the argument regarding the many "goddess" based false religions that have been around for centuries.

One of the things I find to be interesting is that it is very possible that the creators of this film intended for it to be New Age-y and "goddess" based. But, if it was, I think they missed. You see, in another setting, I probably would have been uncomfortable with this aspect of the movie. But the God I know kept showing up. I could ramble about that for a while . . . :-)

3) Especially as Americans, I think we chose to ignore some aspects about the way the church is described in Acts. I believe there is power in unity and submission. I think this is demonstrated in the movie in some interesting ways.

4) I like that the "real marine" was the good guy. :-)

5) I like the whole concept of "I see you." But then, I would. . . .

6) I enjoyed the liberation theme. Made me think of our Social Justice Ministry and the traffickers. They may believe that money and violence run the modern world, but there is Something much bigger!

7) I love that the tide is turned because of one man's prayer.

8) I like that a broken "alien" is who God chooses to assign as the ambassador of liberty. Again, that sounds like my God.

I left the movie reminded of what an amazing God I serve and found myself humming worship songs as I made my way to the car. My humble opinion - Avatar is a great movie to foster intriguing discussion.