Compost to Resurrection Life

Compost

I’ve been thinking a lot about compost these days… since I am considering having a compost potty in my tiny house (in God’s timing).  Realizing how strange that it is that compost becomes soil.. and soil, though once totally decomposed waste, creates nutrition for plants- which are life creating and life giving substances. From plants come fruit and high levels of goodness that we don’t want to live without and are even necessary for proper physical functioning.

Is it possible that from the darkness and desolation that we’ve experienced in our lives, a “new flavor” of goodness can be revealed in the Earth- to the people around us?  Is it possible that the hurt, wounds, and difficulties we’ve experienced ARE really and truly working to become like fine gold- glory?!  The fruit that we will bear will be nourished through the process of decomposition… and that will produce resurrection life!

A few years ago, when my dear Mom was sick on her bed (in the hospital) with a fatal disease… I had a dream.  In the dream I asked Jesus what my “spiritual name” was.  In real life, I hadn’t even thought about a “spiritual name…” nor felt concerned to know what it may have been.

In the dream, Jesus looked at me and said, “Anastasia.”  I hadn’t even heard of that name (except from the disney movie, that I had seen one time in the past).  So, I looked it up online to find out its meaning.   The name means, “Resurrection.”  Jesus was reminding me of the resurrection of the just on the day that He returns.  He was also reminding me that though many things would die in my life- He would bring resurrection.  I believe He was also telling me that though my Mother would die, yet she would live.  Etc. etc.  There were many things that He wanted me to receive from that moment with Him.

Tonight, through a father in the Lord… I was reminded of Jesus’ promise of resurrection in my life.  And, no matter how hard things have been, or will be- may my heart be ever FIXED on the HOPE of Messiah’s appearing.

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1 Peter 1:13-21

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

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Facing Accusation, Condemnation, and Imperfection- in the Church

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For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.…

Ephesians 6:12-13

We love to quote Ghandi… “Be the change you wish to see in the world…” Yet, it’s not fully known whether or not Ghandi ever actually said that. Although what he did say was this, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him… We need not wait to see what others do.”

I, personally appreciate these principles- a LOT!

But, how come when it comes to the Church, most people aren’t willing to apply the same principle? How come so many would rather leave their gifts and talents elsewhere? How come so many would rather choose to not love the Bride that Messiah laid down His life, in the name of all of her flaws?

Angry Owl Pic(This freaky owl pic reminded me of my heart on so many occasions, wrestling through the perceived and often-times very real weaknesses I see in others… Notice, I say “others’ because in those moments, I’m not thinking about my own flaws.)

Sure, maybe someone might “make you feel condemned” or someone might “be clicky…” Maybe they didn’t do those things at all- maybe it was just your perception? Either way, it doesn’t mean that you have to receive either of those realities!  The pain is real- undeniably, yes.  But the manner and ways of Jesus are the exact opposite.  And it is Him that we gather for- ONLY HIM!

Let the rest of the chips fall where they may- and know that the people around you (as tough as it is to know it at the time)- are weak, broken, flawed human beings- JUST LIKE YOU! God ALONE is your judge- and His standard from the Holy Scriptures– is the line in the sand that never changes- ever.

In the corporate world, I was taught to 1. Own it (all responsibilities and personal actions), and 2. Don’t give away your power. In other words, don’t let other people’s behavior control your behavior!  Don’t give them the power to decide your life circumstances for you. Just don’t.  You’re above that- You are “seated with Christ in Heavenly places!!”

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(This is HOW free you really are!!)

Ephesians 2:6, “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”

It’s as simple and as easy as choosing to overcome all of these obstacles with love- and loving your neighbor as if they were your very own self!  If something is wrong around you, don’t criticize it… Change it, transform it, liberate it, seek counsel over it, get leaders involved. Bring justice. Bring mercy. You have the power. You really, really do! Just don’t point fingers, when several of them are pointing back at you.

Choose to love. Then choose it again. And again. And again. Etc. Etc. Etc.- Forever.

Just don’t point fingers, when several of them are pointing back at you.

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.…

Ephesians 6:12

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What Is My Worth To You? How Can I Really Know?

Do you ever ask the Lord, “What am I worth to you?” “How do I know that I have value?” “What makes me worthy of real love?” “How can I know that in my heart?”

I was pondering those questions… not from a place of insecurity, but just genuinely wondering the root of my worth- besides the “sunday school answer” of being made in His image- (which is a powerful and vital truth but just not what I needed to hear at the moment- although I need to hear it at other times) but He spoke to me through means of business concepts that I’ve been learning lately.

(Some of you may know that I’ve been redesigning furniture lately as a business… visit my blog http://www.reenvisionsbyrachel.com to see some of my latest stuff.)

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of appraisals of furniture after I redesign them… and the ultimate point with sales is the principle that something is worth as much as someone is willing to pay. You can price something as high and/or as low as you’d like- but the true test of value is if someone will hand over that amount of cash and be convinced that they got a good deal. You really do want to be fair… not greedy… and just offer something of “great worth” both for yourself and for your customers.

………………..

This is what YHWH said this to my heart, “Something is worth as much as someone is willing to pay. I purchased you with my own life….”

Just like that.

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It was a simple statement from the Throne of Grace… and in that moment- as always when you hear from the King of Kings- I was changed. I was transformed from the inside out. My heart took a greater measure of peace. I was able to feel like I actually deserve to be called His daughter- not because of my gifts, talents, good looks (on some days not so good looks), or material possessions… but because He chose me and purchased me- for himself.

I may do a great job at many things… and then mess up at one thing- and feel like a total failure. Or I may do a great job at many things, fail at one thing and feel totally worthless. How many of you deal with this?! Let’s be honest? I know that I do- so often!

The next question would be, “Do I really believe that You are who You say You are?” Because if I do!?!? The power of what YHWH spoke would strike the lies of the enemy of our souls and crush him under our feet.

Let’s just stop ourselves. Ask Him to speak to our hearts- as individuals… and grow a deeper root of confidence in our Sonship.

“Something is worth as much as someone is willing to pay. I purchased you with my own life….”

The Psalm 1: A Personal Questionnaire to Experience a Happy Life

One of the most amazing and challenging things in our relationship with Elohim is that He will never get in the way of our free will. He will never force us to do something that we don’t say yes to doing. He values and honors our will so much that He (in His divine sovereignty) will woo us by His grace but freely release us to choose His plan or say no. It’s the implications of our decisions that will determine the fullness of our future.

This is partly why the saying, “We make our bed and have to lie in it…” is so true and very difficult. Each decision we make changes, hinders, or transforms our future (including our eternal future). If we suppose that waking up everyday, our lives are being controlled already by the Father, and we find ourselves constantly making bad decisions and then suffering the consequences, perhaps it would be fair to estimate that we have more power in our lives than we may realize. Perhaps we need to realign our thinking with the word of God that says, “Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, whatever a man sows, that He will reap.” Galatians 6:7

This is why one of my biggest prayers that I pray so often these days is, Lord show me what to sow into. Show me where I am supposed to plant seeds (as You provide seeds for the sower and bread for the eater). I want to reap a harvest of right thinking, right being, right living- Blessedness! I want to be fruitful (Psalm 1).

In Psalm 1 it tells us that, “1 Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

“Blessed” in Hebrew translates literally as “happy…”  This is the prescription for a happy life from God’s word.

If we break down this chapter and ask ourselves- “Is my life lining up with this?”

1. Am I walking in the counsel of men and women who do not know the Lord? (The the correct answer is, “no.”)
2. Am I standing in agreement with people who have not repented of their sinful life-styles?  (The correct answer is, “no.”)
3. Am I choosing to mock the people of God? (The correct answer is, “no.”)
4. Is my hearts delight in the Law of the Lord? (Answer: Yes)
5. Do I spend time focusing/meditating on His Law? (Answer: Yes)

This person will be fruitful.  This person will be “like a tree planted by rivers of waters.” This person will bear fruit in due season.  But those who choose their own path, will be like “chaff that the wind drives away.”

Let’s choose life!

Living By Faith Not By Sight; What Kind of Faith Are We Walking In?

Walking in childlike faith is totally not the same thing a walking in childish faith. Childlike faith commits all things to the Heavenly Abba, knowing that He will always be in charge- always be trustworthy… and always come through- but as it is with parents- things will happen in His way and His timing.  Childish faith wants what it wants and wants it now- and demands the Heavenly Father give what is being asked for.  It becomes angry and resentful in the process because of the ways he “fails” to come through.  God never fails His children.  He never gives a stone when we’re asking for bread.  That is a lie that has more power to destroy a human being than cancer itself.

I can see the Lord sitting me down when I’m behaving childish, and just holding me. Helping me to see that His ways are better.  His plans are greater.  He’s like… just hold on a second.  Calm down.  You really can be at peace today!  It’s in that moment that I can take a deep breath and receive the impartation of the type of faith that pleases the Lord.  The kind of faith that also walks in patience… just believing Him for the best whether or not I see it in my life-time.  The kind that suffers reproach for the gospel.  It’s the kind that willingly suffers on a cross. The kind that bears no popularity in the eyes of man.  It’s the rare- precious and priceless type of faith.

Something that I’m realizing more and more about the ministry of Jesus when he was here on Earth over 2000 years ago, is that it practically made NO sense.

One moment he’s turning water into wine because his mother asked him to- even though he stated himself that it was before his time.

And the next minute you have the family of Lazarus crying their eyes out- emotionally sick over the fact that Jesus HIMSELF just let their brother die- completely die. Stone cold dead.  And out of Jesus’ love for Lazarus and his family- Jesus HIMSELF “wept” in that time!  Why would He do that??!?!? Wasn’t He the “big healer”??!?!

And then after Lazarus was “good and dead” (forgive the play on words) Jesus chooses to raise him and completely heal him?

What happened to the healing ministry of Jesus when He willingly and gladly took up the Roman cross and died- a criminals death?  Why would He do that?  Why would He allow all of His apostles to “suffer” and die on crosses as well (with the exception of John)?  If the Kingdom of God is for the purpose of making us “well” and taking away injustice in the Earth, then why did all these vast injustices happen to the people of God who followed so closely to Jesus and even to Jesus himself?

I would argue that the Kingdom looks totally differently when it actually comes in manifest form- than we would ever in a million years expect.  I agree that He is the Healer. I agree that He is the very resurrection and life itself… but His miracles pointed to Himself- to His kindness.  They pointed to His nature of LOVE.  God is Love. So, somehow I have to believe that it was even loving for Him to allow His disciples to suffer “in the same manner” as He Himself suffered.  Somehow I have to accept that suffering is not the big injustice in the Earth.  I have to believe that somehow suffering is “producing” something greater in me.

1 Peter 1:6-9 tells us what the POINT, the very substance of our suffering is purposed for!

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Do you see that last part???!?  “Obtaining the OUTCOME of your faith- the SALVATION OF YOUR SOULS.”

Wow. To me that is suddenly very clear.  What the Lord is looking for us to have in childlike faith is this one outcome:  The salvation of our souls.  Our souls. Souls.  May I repeat: the salvation of our souls.

Matthew 10:28 tells us, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This is part of why 1 Corinthians 14:20 tells us, “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”  We can’t bumble around expecting anything from God- except the essence of His nature (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) and that is manifest in strange and unexpected ways.  Believe me… in the last days you will see the Lord manifest His nature to you in “strange and unexpected ways.”  It’s not going to look like you sitting back in your multi-million dollar home eating chocolate covered acai-berries with perfect health and a crowd of twitter followers.  (I’m speaking to believers in Messiah- to clarify). (**Although some believers may be doing this and James 5:5 has something to say to those who fall into that category).

The mystery of God’s perfect timing and will is not something that we can forcibly manifest on the Earth- unless God in His wisdom chooses to move on our behalf in the way we’re asking (as He often does).

Otherwise, it’s best to do as James says in chapter 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Let’s take a BIG and juicy pill of “TRUST” and leave every other unanswered question… and every other detail in His mighty and glorious hands.  We are going to need the kind of faith in the last days that doesn’t run away when things look confusing- when the Lord doesn’t respond in the way that we were asking.  We will need the kind of faith that says, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” (Job 13:15)

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(The above photo is my personal property and is not to be duplicated for any reason apart from my permission.)

I’m not saying to stop contending for healing… I’m not saying to stop asking Him for breakthroughs in our lives- because we probably will never stop asking (and He wouldn’t want us to stop asking because He’s told us to do so! (Strangely enough)).  But I am saying that we need to step back– and pursue perspective.  Let’s get clear- heavenly vision and perspective on the “who, what, when, where, and whys” of this whole thing.  Let’s chase after WILLING OBEDIENCE more than we chase after the miracles.  Let’s chase the miracles.. and abide in the glory- but Beloved, “obedience is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22).  The miracles lead us to a man… and sometimes that man leads us into a garden called “Gethsemane” to sweat drops of blood because of anxiety for the purpose of obeying the Heavenly Father.

All I can say is that we need Him.  We (I) need His ever present help.  But- I want to not build my life upon the sinking sand of a childish faith.  I want to build my life upon the true mysterious God/Man whose ways are so much higher than my own.  This is what it means to have faith- child-like faith.

And may He help us. He will because He’s promised to do so.

L’Chaim!

… lol … 

I laugh because this blog title only expresses my happiness and joy in the things that Yah has been doing in my life these days!  It’s so amazing to me that in the areas of my heart wherein He has called me to make intense sacrifices, He is restoring joy 100 fold and reminding me of His faithfulness to complete all He started… He’s teaching me about such a variety of things!  I’m not saying what I was doing with my time before was a waste, because on the contrary, I know it was foundational in getting me to where I am now… But, He made it abundantly clear to me that the season shifted and that I was called to follow Him- wherever He would go!  And Beloved, this never looks familiar!  

So, I laugh because what He’s doing in me is in the realm of creativity/artistic expression and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  This includes many different aspects of art- but in this blog, I am focusing on the FURNITURE side. 🙂 

Here’s to a great new season! I hope you have a Happy Passover!  

Follow my furniture blog at http://reenvisionsbyrachel.wordpress.com
Please share with your hgtv or diy friends!!

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Baby Steps in Faithfulness

Last night, while I was out with my Dad, spending time with family, I got a call from someone who expressed interest in purchasing one of my newly-reconditioned furniture pieces.  I was MORE than thrilled to be on the phone with someone wanting to buy this from me… This is the turquoise piece, with a great distressed look (dark-brown undertones).  I’m proud of this one because I put a lot of time into creating the look.  It’s classy, elegant, and practical, which for me equals love.  lol, Enough about that.

The point is that I had someone on the phone, who wanted to buy it.  I told her the price, and that I am flexible if given a good offer.  Everything seemed to be going quite well. She kept giggling and calling me “cute,” which I thought was strange… but, there are tons of strange people in the world and I’m accepting of that.  Next thing she says to me is, “Would you be able to carve something into it for me? Like a quote?”  I thought for a minute and said, “Hmm… I could probably do a wood burning for you, if that would work. I don’t know how to carve, but wood burning is do-able.”  She sounded really thrilled because she had offered me an extra $50.00 for me to “carve” something into it.  So, I said, “What would you like it to say?”  At this point she replied, “Well, it’s a quote by someone, that most people don’t know about… His name is Aleister Crowley, and the quote would say, ‘Do What Thou Wilt.” 

It didn’t take any time for me at all to respond to her, “Well Ma’am, as much as I’d love to do this carving for you, I know who that man was and I know the roots of that quote… I’m a missionary, and there is no way that I would put my name and something from him on the same piece of art.” 

She sounded a bit stunned… and her giggling got weirder.  I could hear a loud humming in the background of where she was… and she told me to “hold on for just one second, I need to leave the room… I’m at a seance.”  Then she said, “hehe (in a higher pitched giggle) you were cute at first but you’re not that cute now…”  “Well, Could you do a symbol then for me?”  I said, “What symbol would you like?”  She said, “I would love to have a pentagram.”  She offered me another $100.00 if I would do the pentagram. 

Wherein I immediately said, “Ma’am I know that Aleister Crowley was the founder of the Satanist movement… and I know exactly what a pentagram is. There is no way that I would ever put a pentagram on any of my art-work… and I would never put a quote from Aleister Crowley.”

She said, “Most people don’t know who Aleister Crowley is…” And was amazed that I was aware of him… and at that point she said, “Well, it’s ok, I saw a different piece of furniture for sale that I liked.  I’ll just give her $1000 dollars for it.” 

I said, “Ok ma’am, that’s TOTALLY fine with me.  Have a good evening.”

What a WEIRD moment!

I felt the Holy Spirit with me through it all… and I just had a sense that the Father allowed me to be tempted, somewhat like Yeshua was tempted in the wilderness.  “And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’” (Matthew 4:9).  Satan was trying see if I would “sell out” and serve him for the amount of $250.00. And my resounding answer in my Spirit was NO! I actually confess I said, “Hell no, Get thee behind me Satan!” (I have family from Texas, and “hell” isn’t a profanity where we come from… lol)
“Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'” (Matthew 4:10).

I knew that I had passed a test… and I know that more will come. But praise the Lamb, I had been 1. aware… and 2. faithful to only serve the Lord with my resources/furniture.