Redefining Everything

Everything in my world is being redefined.  All understanding is shifting because after all:

“I am making all things new!” Revelation 21:5

We know that when Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn!  All separation was removed between God and men (…and women.  Just for the record, man is NOT the mediator between women and God.)  How amazing that He brought us in-to Him!

I am so happy that its spring, but one thing winter is good for, is some good object lessons.  (I promise, I’ll bring this back around.)  It snowed this year for us, and my favorite event was hearing it melt!  We had a few warm days where the sun was doing the melting.  Our backyard is surrounded by an 8 foot privacy fence.  The snow had cleared everywhere…except where the fence had blocked the sun.  It was so strange to look at!  There was literally a perfect line down the side of the yard:  grass on one side, snow on the other.  It was so warm, the snow shouldn’t have been there.  (I wish I had taken a picture!)

This is a picture of one of the choices we have as a believer!  We could bask in the Son!  We have been given direct access to its warmth and clarity, His perfectness!  If we decide to take one step to the left we will find ourselves under the shade of the fence (when we ONLY get our revelation from other people. Ie. Teachers, pastors, ect)  Our understanding of the Son, will have to be filtered through the blockage of the fence.  What a vast difference in the outcome!  The section in direct Sonlight is flourishing!  It is green and thriving even right beside the effects of winter.  The section under the fence is cold and dead and unable to produce life.  It’s not making the progress that nature should make when it comes in contact with the sun.  How often do we ONLY look to others to spoon feed us our revelation?

You have direct access to the Son!  He gave up His life to make this happen!  Why would we go back to the way things were before His ultimate act of love?

This is where I have been for the past 10 years!  I have been slowly realizing what teachings I grew up with that were under the fence.  I have direct access to Jesus and am learning to bask in His love.  He’s changing things!  He’s redefining for me even the definition of love!  It’s strange to look back because everything looks so different now.  I will never forget where I came from, but will always be moving forward!  This is what I want to share with you.  I want to share my journey of how Jesus is:  Redefining Everything!

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What I’ve Been Up to Lately

It’s hard to post blogs when you’re in survival (or deployment) mode.  I’ve not been able to post as much as I’d like lately.  It’s been difficult to even share this with people.  I know that our words hold power to change worlds, so I also have wanted to be careful.  It also seems that not too many people understand what this situation is like.  So, I guess I’ll give this a go.

My amazing, wonderful, beyond-all-dreams husband has been dealing with some severe back problems.  They started with some incidents and injuries while he was deployed.  They got worse and worse, but didn’t affect him too much.  One day, something happened.  We don’t even know what it was.  He just woke up unable to walk!  It’s basically been a downhill journey from there.  It’s been a year and 3 months, since the initial-whatever it was.  He’s being “treated” by the military, and I use that term very, very loosely.  They are basically giving him no options for treatment, since they don’t do the type of surgery that would be the most beneficial for him.  He is also in need of multiple surgeries, which is why the type is so important.

Iaian has gone from being a top athlete, to having a handicap sticker, using a cane, and sometimes is not even able to get out of bed.  It has been so rough to see someone that I love so much go through something like this!  He is in constant pain, and there’s nothing anyone can do.

Here’s the kicker.  We KNOW that God heals!  We KNOW that Jesus provided for our healing on the cross.  We KNOW that it is NOT in God’s will that Iaian be hurt!  We KNOW that Jesus gave us the authority over sickness and demons.  We pray constantly, with all authority, for Iaian’s healing.  Iaian believes.  We all believe.

Most of my days have been spent “just trying to get stuff done”.  We’ve got 5 kids, and we homeschool, and Iaian’s been unable to move.  It takes all day to do all of the things I need to do.  This is what I mean by deployment mode.  I spend my time “getting stuff done.”  The only HUGE difference is that he’s not getting shot at, and he’s not going to die unexpectedly.  But it is so hard seeing someone you love in agonizing pain all of the time.

We had a huge blessing the other day.  Some days have been better than others with Iaian, but they are never “normal” days (like he’s functioning the way he used to).  Something knocked him out again, and he was unable to even lay down without constant, make you scream, pain.  I was desperate.  I just threw it out of facebook, so see if anyone would be willing to come over and pray and worship with him.  We’re not talking about a begging session here.  We’re talking about power filled prayer!  I was just overwhelmed by the response of the people that said they were coming!  Our house ended up filled with people praying over him, singing over him, and just loving on him!  We had people praying around the world at the same time!  By the end of this two hour glory fest, HE WAS STANDING!!!  He hadn’t stood in two days!  What was the most amazing about all of this is that it’s not something we are going through alone.  A lot of the time, I feel like I am the only one that can help him.  But there are things that people can do!  I felt like I had a spiritual weight lifted off of my shoulders when they all came in!  Other people were standing in the gap for him!

I believe for a full recovery for Iaian-somehow.  I don’t know how it will happen, but it will!  He will be having some appointments coming up to reevaluate the situation.  It’s gotten much worse, since he was first looked at.  Now, I will have to take him to his appointments.  Now, I will be in the room with the doctor.  Let me just say that we WILL get answers!  Iaian WILL have a treatment plan.  This man joined the army running some crazy time for his 2 miles, and HE WILL LEAVE THE ARMY WALKING!!!  They owe him that much!

Well, I share this with you so that you’ll join in victorious prayer with us!  I share this with you to be real.  Not all things are sunshine and roses, but the things that aren’t, are intended to hurt us, and are NOT of God!  I know God works all things out for good…so if it’s not good yet, it’s not the end.

In the Beginning God Did Not Create Patriarchy (Mini-Series: Part 4)

Genesis 3:

Enter:  The Curse

AKA: Patriarchy

We are all pretty familiar with this story.  I feel that the church has emphasized the fall and the curse more that the pure love of God and beauty of creation (but I suppose that is for another time).  Satan enters a serpent.  He tempts Eve.  Eve is deceived.  Adam joins in.  God comes looking for them because He loves them.  He is so sad that they would chose to be apart from His love for them.

Genesis 3

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
but he will rule over you.[c]

17 And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”

This is the first time we see tension between the genders.  Once God’s perfect world was tainted, only then do we enter a world of inequality.  This is where patriarchy enters the scene.  This is the first mention of gender hierarchy.  LET’S BE VERY CLEAR HERE:  these are the way things WOULD now be, NOT the way they SHOULD be!!  Patriarchy was NOT in God’s original design for His kids!  His original design is gender equality and harmony.  It’s only after sin enters the world do we see the man-made effects of the sin in the form of patriarchy.  We need to stop declaring the curse over ourselves!  The curse was the enemy’s plan, and we need to start living in God’s plan for us. Gender is the only part of the curse that we “keep” and some even declare that it is “God’s system set up on earth.”  None of us go, “Give me some more pain with these contractions!  They are not quite as painful as they should be!”  or “Man, I need this ground to have some more weeds!  Tilling wasn’t quite as hard as it was yesterday!”  We don’t require all Christian men to work the fields, but the church requires all women to be under the rule of men.  We have worked since the fall to make cultivating the earth easier.  We use tractors, tillers, and countless other modern conveniences to ease the pain of tilling the earth.  I mean, not very many men even have the occupation of farmer anymore.  We have invented new ways to birth children.  We now have epidurals and intrathecals.   We have done all of these things to combat or ease the curse, but the idea of patriarchy has been put on a gold placard and considered “the way things are supposed to be”.

To put it in other terms, we don’t say, “Man, I haven’t had enough temptation today.  I’m going to need a little more.”  Or, “The devil hasn’t prowled around me enough today.  I should have some more resistance.”  This just sounds foolish!  Why would we do this very thing with the idea of patriarchy?

People are so quick to say, “Jesus broke the curse when He died on the cross”, but for some reason we are very offended when that touches the idea of patriarchy.  A majority of the church lives in a way as to say, “Jesus broke the curse!  Except the curse of patriarchy.  We will keep that one.”

Jesus in His loving mercy didn’t leave us under the effects of the law.  He didn’t leave us with the way things would be.  Our loving Father, sent His only Son, Jesus, to redeem us from the curse.  HE REDEEMED US FROM THE WAY THINGS WOULD BE AND BROUGHT US INTO THE WAY THINGS SHOULD BE!  Isaiah 61 foretells the New Covenant that was established at the cross!  This New Covenant is the final covenant in which we receive all the benefit!  Galatians 3:16 declares, “13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[g]14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[h] Holy Spirit through faith.”  Christ has RESCUED us from the curse!.  Verse 14 shows us that one of the marks of the New Covenant is the Holy Spirit being available and indwelling all believers!  Galatians is such an amazing book.  The theme is sonship and identity in Christ!  Later on,  Galatians 3:28 states, “ 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[o] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is not just a salvational verse, this is a sonship verse, a kingdom verse!

How can we know that we are under the New Covenant and it is in effect today?  Hebrews 8:6 states, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”  Wow!! A better covenant with better promises!! Yes!!  2 Corinthians 3:6 shows us that this New Covenant is CURRENTLY in effect (not something that has to be waited for until after death), “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  He has made US ministers of the New Covenant.  That’s not for another time.  That’s for NOW!

He has redeemed us from the curse!!  It is finished!

In the Beginning God Did Not Create Patriarchy (Mini-series: Part 3)

All of this talk about Genesis may have you thinking, “But what about the part about Eve being created as a helpmate?”  This was a point of concern for me for a long time.  Was I just created as an accessory?  Was Adam tired of doing the dishes and cooking his own meal, so He asked God to give him a helper?

If you’ve been around Christian circles for any length of time, you are probably aware that the word helpmate, translates to the Hebrew word “ezer.” (Genesis 2:18) (We will see in a bit that “ezer”’s partner, “kenegda”, has been forgotten or deleted in most modern American churches.) What exactly does that word mean?

Ezer is derived from two Hebrew root words. One meant “power” and the other meant “strength”.

Carolyn James, in her book, “The Gospel of Ruth”, enlightened me on the word helpmate.  Before Eve was created the word helper or helpmate is used twice in Genesis 2:18 and 20.  Helper or helpmate is translated into Ezer.  “Ezer is a powerful Hebrew military word that is used to describe God as Israel’s helper.  The Bible’s consistent use of ezer within a military context leads us to believe God created women to be a warrior alongside the man in advancing God’s kingdom on earth.  This is every woman’s calling. Every woman is an ezer from birth until death.  We are warriors for God’s purposes alongside our brothers in Christ.”  Women are fighters.  We are warriors.  This brings so much more meaning to a woman’s life than what time dinner is, and how to make her husband’s socks brighter and whiter.  I challenge you to let these words speak to your heart, and live up to what you were called to, being an ezer warrior!

Ezer is used 21 times in the Old Testament, twice in reference to Eve, three times referring to the nations Israel requested help from, and 16 times in reference to God being Israel’s help.

The other word that we cannot leave off of the word ezer, is the word it is partnered with in Genesis 2.  The whole phrase is “ezer kenegda”.  This would be “helper fit/suitable” for him.  Kenegda indicates a power or strength corresponding to man’s.  This means equality. This is not some lesser value, weaker link, lower intelligence kind of thing.  This is someone of the same power, strength, and value as man.

We have had a poor understanding of the word ezer or helpmate.  We have turned this word into something cheap, something insignificant, something subordinate, something that has been undervalued.  Somewhere along the line, we have bought into the idea that a woman’s only value is held in being wife.  We forget that we are a portion of the image of God that the world deserves to see.

How did this happen, you ask?  The word help”mate”, was translated into English from the old English word, help”meet”.  “Meet” was in the Old English to express the concept of “fit to” or “corresponding to”.  We must not be afraid to go back to the original Hebrew for clarity!  Unfortunately, a lot of meaning can be lost through the many translations of the Bible.

Hebrew scholars have said that the most accurate translation of Genesis 2:18 would be, “I will make a power [or strength] corresponding to man.”

This is something to be excited about!

In the Beginning God Did Not Create Patriarchy (Mini-series: Part 2)

We have already seen that God’s original commission and design was for both genders to live harmoniously and equally together in this new world!  Genesis 2 gives us a more in depth look into the creation of humans.

Genesis 2

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.

Wow!  I absolutely love this.  If you just take a minute to picture this, it is beautiful!  The love and care that the Master Artist took creating man and breathing on him!  Then, He planted a garden for Adam!  So much love was poured out for His beloved creation!

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man[c] to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs[d] and closed up the opening.22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.

“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.’”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

God created man from the dust of the ground.  At the end of the day, God said it was good.  Adam was created in God’s image.  So, God created Adam as the complete human representation of Himself.  Adam was not lacking in anything!  I believe at this point, Adam was probably even an asexual being, if reproduction were necessary.  Here’s Adam, complete, and made in the image of God.  If God created Adam in His image and lacking nothing, then what did he make Eve out of?  Adam’s rib, you say?  Okay, so a rib was taken out of Adam (during the first supernatural surgical procedure, I might add), and with that He fashioned Eve.  I’m pretty sure we are all on the same page here.  Well, what was Eve’s innards made of?  Not her organs, but her emotions, inherit qualities, and general demeanor?  Did God give her something new?  Did He created these things to put into her?  No! (Remember, Adam was complete, and he was good.)  God, in His infinite and amazing wisdom, extracted the female attributes from Adam and fashioned them into a woman!  Whoa!  Think about that for a minute!  That’s amazing!  Life takes on a whole new meaning at this point.  This is why God says that in marriage the two have become one (Genesis 2:24)!  The one person literally became two people, and now the two people become one complete person! (Remember Genesis 1:27 In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.)

God extracted the feminine qualities OUT of Adam, who before that, being created in the full image of God.  He fashioned an amazingly new bodily vessel out of Adam’s rib, and voilai: Here is woman!!  The image of the nature of God is now housed in two distinct persons.  Marriage brings the unity of these two entities together, once again reuniting, to make a whole!

In the Beginning God Did Not Create Patriarchy (Mini-series: Part 1)

This story changed my world!  Genesis is the beginning of all life.  This story sets the stage for the rest of the Bible, and for all of our interactions with God and with others.  This is where it all begins.

What if I told you that God didn’t create a patriarchal society?  What if I told you that God didn’t give Adam dominion over Eve, or that Eve wasn’t created for a subservient position?  What if I told you that all of this is laid out in Genesis?  Understanding these truths makes all the difference in the world.  This is foundational for Kingdom living.

We are all pretty familiar with the Genesis story of creation and the fall.

Genesis 1

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[b] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[c] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings[d] in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

What I love about Genesis 1 is that everything spoken to, about and over humans, were spoken to, about and over both Adam and Eve!!  “Let Us make human beingS, in Our image, to be like Us”. BeingS (plural).  “THEY will reign over…”  “In the image of God He created THEM; male AND female He created them.”  “God blessed THEM and said…”

This is the original blessing spoken over ALL mankind.  God included women in this!  This is so beautiful and reveals so much of the nature of God’s love for us!

So, Genesis 1 amazingly depicts the gender equality that God intended.  Adam and Eve are in full harmony with each other.  They are created and commissioned together, not one reigning over the other.  In fact THEY are to reign over all of creation together!  This is the beautiful, most perfect, original design!

What comes next? Genesis 2

Why Does Biblical Gender Equality Matter?

Most people have an opinion about the value and position or “role” of women in the church.  If you don’t think you have an opinion about it, you probably just took on the position you were raised with, or what you have seen predominantly modeled in your church.  Some people can’t even see why it is an issue.  Others go so far as to say that it is a secondary issue in the church.  A secondary issue?!  If there are no secondary members in the church, then how can there be any secondary issues about the equality of women?  This is not a secondary issue because there are no secondary people groups in the Kingdom!

Does it really matter?  I am here to tell you, YES!  It absolutely matters!  Each person is created in the image of God.  There are attributes that we exhibit that are predominately masculine or feminine.  When Adam was created, he was created in the full image of God.  He contained all of the attributes of God, masculine and feminine.  When God fashioned Eve out of Adams ribs, He extracted the feminine qualities from Adam and placed them in a woman.  Whoa!  This is amazing to me!  That’s a big deal!  That’s so much better than the idea that women were an afterthought because Adam was lonely and needed a housekeeper, a buddy, ehem, I mean helpmate.  Women were part of the original design!

The equality of women matters more than we may see on the surface.  The church has been stunted in growth and maturity because women are not being encouraged and promoted into their callings!  Man and woman together are the full representation of the Father.  That’s why he gave us marriage.  After he extracted the feminine qualities out of Adam and placed them in Eve, God gave the institution of marriage, in which case, the two would become one (again).  This also applies to the church.  The church is to be the representation of Christ on earth.  We bear His image!  What does the church look like if only half of its members (who are relatively similar) are being represented or activated?  It looks like the American church!  We are only functioning at half capacity!  The church is only being represented in its masculine form!  (Have you ever wondered why the church is so justice oriented?  Have you ever wondered where the compassion has gone?  Have you ever wondered where the nurturing/discipleship side of the church is?  I believe these questions are easy to answer when you look at who is allowed to be active in the American church.)

The world needs to see the feminine attributes of the Father exhibited in His church!  The world is longing and begging for that!  When women are allowed and encouraged to step into the callings, this will be not only a gift to the world, but will also develop the church into a more radiant bride!  The winds of change are blowing!  I can see it happening!  The Holy Spirit is releasing freedom and peace to men and women everywhere!  Unity and love is here!

2015 in Yellow

I just love the New Year!  It’s a time for regrouping, refocusing, and looking forward to your future.  It’s a time full of so much hope because no matter how bad your past year has been, you can start afresh.  It also doesn’t hurt that my birthday is between Christmas and New Year.  I just love the opportunity to be intentional.

I’d love to share with you a few words that God gave me for 2015.  If they resonate with you, I pray that you’ll be able to walk in them too.  If you want a word or some focus, or promises of your own from God, feel free to ask Him!  He is so ready to give them to you!

The first thing He gave me was a color: yellow!  Yellow is my color for 2015.  This was followed by the words:

Hope

Creativity

Expansion

One major theme that’s transferring over from 2014-2015 is “being intentional”.  I will be intentional in these things!

I also have the verse Proverbs 11:11 which says, “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.” (NASB)  I have to be honest, I’m not exactly sure how this fits in for me personally, but I am excited to figure it out!

So, I was super excited about my color.  I looked up its prophetic meaning.  Yellow stands for: the Spirit of Understanding, HOPE (lookie there), Intentional pursuit (hhmmm), courtship with God, the glory of God, and risk.  Haha!  I just love how these tie in!

I am so looking forward to 2015!  Thank you for joining me in this journey!

Happy New Year!

For the Love of Creativity

We are all created by creativity.  We are all born with creativity.  Long before time began, you were creatively designed.  You are a product of the creativity of the Divine Creator.  He didn’t just create, and end there.  He crafted you from His DNA.  He intended for you to continue creating.  You have been given a unique expression of creativity that the world is in desperate need of!  Inside you, there is a seed that needs watering and cultivating, to bloom into a beautiful expression of love from the Father.

I know I started out creative.  I was the super emotionally energetic child.  I was the child whose parents bought “The Strong Willed Child” book.  I remember having a very vivid imagination.  I remember hours turning into days of make believe fun.  I’ve been told, I never knew a stranger.  I would draw, act, play piano, sing, and write tons of stories!  These were my expressions.

One day, something changed.  Someone else in my family was labeled “the artistic one”.  Many of my friends began to excel musically.  As it turned out, I was only an average singer.  One day, the unthinkable happened, and I forgot my lines in a skit, in front of the whole school.  The only thing that hung on through my teen years was intellectual and academic pursuits.  I guess it’s safer that way, not having to put yourself out there, and risk.  In one last ditch effort to pursue creativity, I decided to take art my senior year of high school.  That didn’t last too long.  I was kicked out.  Sure, it wasn’t because of my lack of artistic ability, but that’ll pretty much put a damper on things.

So like all people, in their formative years, much of my actions were based on other’s reactions to me.  I don’t believe that anyone made the decision to not be creative for me.  I very clearly remember comparing myself to others and feeling defeated.  I opted for what was safe, and was sure to steer clear of anything involving risk.

One day, all of that changed!  I had begun reading about how God created us, and created us to create!  I learned that art (along with everything else creative) can be prophetic!  He wants to partner with the creativity He put in us, and have that shine for the world to see!  He longs for us to create things of beauty that will leave the world in awe!  All of that points to Him!

For me, it started with a gift card to a craft store.  I had nothing to lose.  I’d always wanted to try my hand at painting, and here was my opportunity.  I had beautiful pictures that God had given me, in my heart and in my head, but had no idea how to get them from my heart onto the canvas.  I just started!  The hardest part for me is just starting, and giving myself permission to make mistakes.  That’s exactly how it started.  I went from a person that was completely shut down and a non-creative, to a woman whose brain is always on, always receiving, always longing to create!  As soon as I actually started, I began receiving more and more!  As I utilize these gifts, God keeps pouring even more over me.  I don’t feel like there are enough hours in a day to create everything in my heart!  I morn over the years lost, and look forward to all that I have left in life.  I will continue to create, and my hope is to help others realize the creativity they house.

Right now, I’m starting slow and steady.  If you want to check out my facebook page, it holds some of my creations.  I will be revamping and expanding in 2015!  I’m so excited for the things to come!

https://www.facebook.com/HTArtpage