Ignorance and Responsibility


I work occasionally as a parking enforcement officer–a job I started to get myself through college, and have enjoyed so much I probably will never fully quit.

As I write parking tickets, I’ve often encountered angry people and have had to share with them what they’ve done, while still executing justice.  I’ve heard every excuse, and one time was nearly killed by a man who had parked over an hour in a 30 minute parking zone and, in rage, attempted to run me over with his truck before the police got involved.

One of the most common excuses is not knowing the rules of the road: “I didn’t know that wasn’t a parking space.”, “I didn’t know I needed a permit in that area.”, “No one told me I couldn’t drive through the bus center.”, and so forth.  Some of the people I meet are really nice people who really didn’t know they were in the wrong; more of them are lying (evidenced by the computerized system I carry of every ticket and warning they’ve had in the past).  Regardless, it’s the responsibility of those who drive to know the rules of the road (and of parking).  It’s my responsibility as parking enforcement officer to judge rightly and execute judgment according to the law.

I say this because many Christians neglect to actively pursue the Lord–even though it’s clear that love (demonstrated through obedience) is the first and foremost commandment.  We don’t, in the new covenant, have a rule book to follow as the Jews did; instead, the Holy Spirit writes the law on our hearts and connects us to God so that we can know and walk out His will.  Without the pursuit of God through the Holy Spirit (by reading the Bible, dialoguing with the Lord in prayer, connecting with other Christians in fellowship,…) we miss knowing Him.  And if we don’t know Him, well, He’ll still have to execute perfect judgment.

The season of God’s mercy is NOW.  Right now we’re alive and have the choice whether to learn God’s heart and choose His ways, or whether to drive our lives by our own rules.  And while I can give ‘warnings’ to those parked in the wrong spot (the gift of surprise mercy), God’s mercy is only available until we die, after that His judgment can be nothing but Just because He can’t go back on His word.


Holy Spirit Conference, ICLV


Ben and I returned last night from six days in Las Vegas for the Holy Spirit Conference at the International Church of Las Vegas (ICLV).  We had an excellent time.  Hundreds of people received physical healing from the Lord.

Although there were many great messages, my favorite speaker was Heidi Baker.  Her and her husband, Rolland, are missionaries in Mozambique and have experienced the supernatural side of God’s love and provision in amazing ways.  They’ve seen food multiplied, deaf ears opened, the dead raised, the sick healed, and countless other miracles.  But more impressively, Heidi carries the Holy Spirit so strongly that He is heard in her words and physically seen in her countenance.

As Heidi spoke, one theme keep coming up: how much do we want to know Him?  How much do we want His presence?

“The hungry always get fed”, she said, “how hungry are we?” (Isaiah 55)


The Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit is literally the Spirit of God.  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 tells us that just as we have a spirit in us that knows the depths of our thoughts, so does God have a Spirit that knows the depths of His being–and that’s the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit that resides in God the Father and Jesus themselves.  He’s the third person in the trinity God.

Since the Holy Spirit is the inner Spirit of God Himself, He knows all things.  This more than qualifies Him to be the Spirit of truth, the Helper, who Jesus promises will teach us all things (John 14:17 & 26) and guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

This is really exciting!  And it means that when we ask for more of the Holy Spirit, what we’re getting is the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16)!  Even recognizing only the surface level issues of our flesh, we know that the mind of Christ is something we need much more of; we should be diligently pursuing the Holy Spirit so that we can closely partner and connect with God in the way He intended.


Evidence of Repentance


In 2 Corinthians 7:11, Paul tells the church of Corinth what repentance looks like.  True repentance is evidenced by:

  • earnestness (diligence)
  • vindication (some versions say, ‘clearing of ourselves’)
  • indignation (we begin to hate the sin; it becomes disgusting to us)
  • fear of the Lord (reverence to the point of trembling before Him)
  • longing (intense desire)
  • zeal (we pursue, embrace, and defend Him with enthusiasm)
  • avenging of wrong (we move from tolerating our own sin to punishing it; we force sin to depart from us by submitting to God)

When we begin demonstrating these attitudes, we show ourselves to be innocent in the matter–true repentance (repentance means ‘a change of mind’) has taken place.

Remember when God the Father instructs Moses about how the Jewish people should sacrifice to the Lord?  Exodus 29:10-30, amongst other places, shows that there was to be a “sin offering”, “burnt offering”, “wave offering”, and “heave offering” (other passages even include “guilt offering”).

Let’s not cut repentance short by stopping after ‘sin offering’; let’s continue to offer a fragrant aroma of prayer to the Lord and to continue fighting against our flesh until everything in competition with the Lord is purged from us.

It’s not enough for us to JUST confess our sins and receive forgiveness–this is a good start, but Christianity is more about seeing and knowing Jesus than simply being forgiven.  That is, a Christian can be forgiven and ‘saved’, and yet not be walking in the freedom Christ intended.  The freedom occurs when we let godly sorrow move us to full submission and a renewed mind.  As we experience this full repentence, we also begin to experience the Lord Himself because the cloudiness of sin clears itself from us enough that we can begin to see our Lord.


Moving without the Spirit?


A friend of mine started going to a new church and invited me to check it out with her.  It was a pretty charismatic church: passionate speaking, dancing, and singing.  The atmosphere was intimate, warm, and intense.  I mostly enjoyed myself.

There was one problem: I personally had a really hard time connecting with the Holy Spirit.  And I began to realize that just because the people were moving and singing and loudly proclaiming blessings over themselves, didn’t mean that the Holy Spirit Himself was moving through them.

This isn’t to say that it wasn’t a good church (maybe I was having an off day?) or to criticize any type of worship (we have so many personalities and each connect to the Lord best in our own ways).  It is important to remember though that when the Holy Spirit moves it happens in the hearts of the people first and overflows in various personalities, so loudness and physical movement aren’t necessarily an indication of His presence.


Camping in Yosemite


YosemiteI spent the last four days in Yosemite National Park camping with some friends from college.  The views and weather were fabulous, and it was exciting to see all the tourists with their various languages and cultures (in fact, we made many new friends).

I had so much fun with the women, but also missed my husband by the time I returned.  When I came back and told Ben I missed him, he said, “Sometimes you have to miss me to remember you love me, otherwise you might take me for granted.”

Sometimes we have to miss the one we love in order for that love to be stirred.  I know there have been seasons in my relationship with the Lord where He’s seemed harder to reach, and yet it’s been in those moments that my heart’s cried out with deeper fervor to hear His voice and know Him more.


Jesus IS the Word; the Bible is His transcript.


The Bible is the key to the heart of God.  There’s power in it, because it’s the testimony of the true God, and He Himself speaks in and through it (literally).  It’s a powerful thing to capture the words of the Lord–and this is just what the Bible has done.  It’s the transcript of dialogs with God throughout history.

A friend asked me once whether we can trust the Bible since the translations vary slightly from language to language and version to version.  She, being linguistic minded, felt it wrong to credit God for potential human errors–and how can we say that each are the inspired Word of God when they aren’t exactly the same?

All good questions.  But here’s the thing: it is the HOLY SPIRIT who reveals the Word to us (John 14 & 16).

Well, wait!  What about the Bible?  Yes, it starts with the Bible.  Our lives should revolve around the Bible because it IS the inspired Word of God–it’s His transcript to us.  But Jesus is the Word that became flesh (John 1).  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God Himself, and it’s the Holy Spirit speaking through the Bible that makes the Word come alive for us (1 Cor 2)!  In essense, it’s the Bible plus the Holy Spirit–the Bible is the living Word only when read with the Holy Spirit’s divine guidance.  So, it’s all about the Bible (which is Jesus, the Word, as a lingual transcription for us); and it’s all about Jesus, who is the Word Himself and still speaks through His Spirit!


God will never ask us to do anything He hasn’t done first!


The first commandment is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind.  This is absolutely the MOST important thing. (Deut 6:4-5, Ex 20:1-3, Mark 12:28-30)

The second commandment, while not equal, is also important.  We are to love our neighbors–to love EVERYONE with the love He’s shown us.  This is the second most important thing, and is catalyzed by our love for the Lord.  (Mat 22:36-49, Luke 10:25-37)

When Jesus commands us to love other people, it’s not arbitrary, it’s because HE LOVES them.  It’s Jesus giving us His heart for the people of the world–whether they will choose Him or not.  We can love the lovable and unlovable only through Him.  This is why the first commandment is first and the second is second!  Without a firm love of the Lord, we really can’t make ourselves love–we can go through the actions (even with enthusiasm), but that’s all it is: working out the expression of love rather than actually loving from that deep place in our spirits.  (1 John 4:7-21)

We connect to Jesus solely to experience Him, know Him, and love Him.  And as we enter into that relationship, He begins to give us His heart.  Our heart begins to break for the people we never thought we could like, let alone love; and it’s such a deep love that we are stirred to outwardly demonstrate that love through evangelism, giving, service, and many of the other spiritual gifts.  We can’t help but love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).


Truth is not a democracy


We can choose to believe whatever we want–we have the privilege to think freely, and no outward force can enforce our inward thinking.  This is a great freedom.  But in the case that we are persuaded wrongly about something, there are still consequences.  If fired from our job, for instance, no amount of believing it hasn’t happened will bring in the missing paycheck.  And, theologically speaking, not believing in Hell doesn’t make it nonexistent.

When it comes to the big issues like “is there a god?” and “who is God?” we had better be pretty certain we’re confident of the truth–not based on polls, opinions and research, but on our individual quests through life and reality.


The problem with not feeling


Years ago I went through a long season of not wanting to feel any more.  I had been reading a lot on psychology and Buddhism and hypnosis, and started experimenting with ‘transcending’ my feelings so as not to have emotional pain and unrest.

Actually, I was successful in ‘not feeling’ for a time.

It was a very powerful time in my life–charmingly dark and powerful.  I was also working to develop my psychic abilities, self hypnosis, and vision of the unseen; and I was very successful in my occult interests.

There was a problem though, and I’ll tell you why I wasn’t satisfied with the “New Age” way of living: I became so good at not feeling that I didn’t feel anything.  My family and friends had shown me glimpses of love and joy, but I had stopped feeling altogether–no love, no joy, no peace, and so on–and yet, I remembered that I had often felt those good feelings in the past.  So slowly I began to soften my heart so I could feel the good parts again, despite the additional torment.

It wasn’t until years later that I learned Jesus really can, and wants to, take away all our pain–that regardless of circumstance we can rest in the fruit of His Spirit.  The irony is that to receive the Lord’s peace, we must circumcise our hearts–making ourselves vulnerable by cutting away the skin of our hearts, that the softer part would be out in the open.  This is contrary to our thinking because initially it is so painful to sacrifice even our wounds to a God we can’t see; it takes a great deal of trust and faith.

The alternative, however, is the hardening/thickening of the heart–an empowering of the self in order to block out emotional intrusions by building up a defense barrier.  This is one of the ways which seems right to man, but leads in the end to death (Prov 14:12).  The higher and longer and stronger we build the wall around our hearts, the more we cover up uncleaned wounds, perceive happiness and peace when there is none, and the harder it becomes for the wall to be destroyed.

It’s painful to be vulnerable (thus, the Biblical analogy of circumcision, which I’ve heard is painful as well–and increasingly so with age); but, it’s also necessary to rip emotional problems and wounds out by the roots, which requires entering into the most sensitive places.  And it’s not just about reaching the sensitive places, but about allowing Jesus to adequately and thoroughly heal and cleanse us from the inside out.  The Lord Himself is the only one trustworthy to handle our hearts, so we can put it all in His hands!