Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lost but on your way...

I am in the habit of asking the Holy Spirit questions like "what am I wearing to church next Sabbath?", "What would you like for me to do today for you?" or "Where am I worshipping on Sabbath?". Well, the conversation began Friday morning as I am brushing my teeth,and it goes forward like this.

Me- Lord, I am not interested in attending the conference, however, I know you already know this. How about New life?


Me-Niles-Philadelphia! I don't even know where that is, I don't want to go there Lord, wherever there is.

Holy Spirit-Niles Philadelphia.

Me-(Extremely anxious now, because he is sending me straight out of my comfort zone.) Now, I began to negotiate, how about I go back to the Nations.


Me-Lord, I don't like this is uncomfortable. Niles-Philadelphia it is.

End conversation.

I processed all day what God was doing. I knew he had something he wanted to tell me that I was not going to get anywhere else.

Sabbath evening has come, I have prepared and ready to rest. I lay down with my word, my journal and spiritual formations book. I began to journal. I realized after about 30 minutes of writing I was holding my pen and sleeping. I woke, turned off my light and went back to sleep. it's about 8pm. At 11:24 pm the Lord woke me out of my sleep with a vivid picture of a friend. I prayed and turned back over. Well, needless to say he wanted to talk and I wanted to sleep but sleep would not come again until 3:40 am.

What the Spirit of the Lord wanted to do for me began at 11:24 pm. He spoke about Himself, he told me about Life beyond Regret, The Practice of Confession and The Guided Life, Receiving Guidance from Him, The Holy Spirit. He then took me to a sermon my father preached one week before he died, and I must say this was the most difficult because I did not think I could make it through the video. Nevertheless, I did and he taught me about Grace and the Reading of the Will. I return to sleep shortly after.

I am driving to church this morning following my mapquest directions to Niles-Philadelphia. I was okay until I thought a I took a wrong turn and pulled over to turn around and I asked

Me- Holy Spirit, am I going the right way cause I don't like being lost. I looked down at my directions and He said "keep going in the direction you were before you pulled over." So, I did.

Driving...I enter the city of turn comes up and what do you know DETOUR.

Me- oh, Jesus what do I do now. I follow the detour hoping the street is parallel to the original street I was on.

Holy Spirit-follow the car in front of you.

I follow the car to the light but the light changed and the car turned left and I sat there not knowing what I was supposed to do. I looked at my direction and relized I was at the street I was supposed to take my turn on. It said to go East on Main. Now the street sign said Main street but no east or west and I am geographically challenged without a GPS. So, the light turns green and I go right and realize it was the wrong turn so I turn around and go in the other direction.

Me-Lord,I'm lost again because of this detour.

I keep driving straight looking for Broadway street and all I see it streets named after numbers. I keep driving and then I said.

Me- Lord, I am lost for the 3rd time.

then I heard this voice whom I knew was not the Spirit of God...just go home.

Me-Lord, show me the way, I'm still anxious, I hit a detour, got lost three times but I'm not going home show me the way.

I took a deep breath, pulled my car over and turned around and went in the direction from whence I came. Just as I was pulling into the business district, the Spirit said..

Holy Spirit-Look up.

I look up and there was the street I was looking for. I missed it but I found it. I turned the next corner and the corner after that and was at my destination. I arrived at Niles-Philadelphia 15 minutes late but right on time for the Spirit of God to finish the conversation he started with me the night before. It was powerful. And when I entered the church, the Dean of Admissions (whom I did not know he was),introduced himself and I in return and he said your not at New life this morning. I said, "I tried, but the Holy Spirit said no, and told me to come worship here this morning" he smiled and said Praise God. I said, I am.

The sermon was entitled "through the ups and downs" I laughed inside like Sarah did...The children's story even lined up with what God was saying to me..."Things that go together" I laughed again...
Then the analogy of the rollercoaster did it for me....Once your strapped can't get off till the end of the ride....

John Ortber is the auther of The Life You've Always Wanted and you can find those chapters on the Holy Spirit and Confession in his book.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Underwriting a term not used outside of businesses and agencies who perform this action on a daily basis. Nevertheless, it is a term which should be considered by anyone who evaluates their life.
Introspection, another term I use daily. Lately, when thinking about my investments. Evaluating my returns, debt and values [appreciation/depreciation]. Being ones own underwriter is important, I was reminded of this from a visit home.

In my early adult years I did not underwrite my life and I went bankrupt on more occasions than I care to remember. Making deposits where I expected high dividends and not investing in areas that I should have and knew were profitable; only to be disappointed at the end of the month when I reviewed my statement of life. Then tax season arrives and I am looking for a refund from some of my investments throughout the year but what I receive is a notice from the IRS [Insignificant Rogue Souls] who audit(remind you of all your poor yearly expenditures,want receipts, dates and transaction)me. Then they send me a bill of what I owe them. It was all I could do not to go away but I decided I was not making anymore investments and opened a Savings account instead.

This was great, keeping my deposits in one area, slow growing dividends but growing, no debt, returns monthly went directly into my account. Great I tell you, it was great, but it was too safe. Self-investment is good but it can't get in the way of life investments.

It was at this time I needed investment counseling. I learned the importance of determining my worth. However, this determination took a few years to perfect... and it still is not perfected, moreover it is a continual reassessment. Sometimes daily, monthly and there have been hourly reassessments. The point is are you underwriting your life. One important aspect is I have 24/7 support access and I use Him quite often{there is never a busy signal,no automated voice or voicemail}. I recommend him to everyone I come in contact with. So I recommend him to you too:)

I've made investments lately which I am paying high dividends,however all is not a loss because other investments have returned higher than I could have ever expected. A few adjustments here and tweaks there and the end of the month statement will be pleasing to my sight.

Think about it... how important is underwriting to you?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Blessing

Thursday, October 15, 2009, I attended my 2 pm Spiritual Formations class aka Personal Spirituality and Faith. I walked in the classroom and thought I had walked into the incorrect classroom, when the professor noticed my puzzled face and said, your in the right place if your looking for Personal Spirituality and Faith. I continued to my seat. Exhausted and recuperating from a long road trip I sat and waited for class to begin...

Lecture begins, Dr. Hall a seminary professor introduces himself and states he is standing in for Dr. Kidder, who is unable to teach the class today. It was at that moment that I said I'm going home. I don't need to be here today. Although my brain was saying lets go my body was not obeying the command. If you can imagine a struggle there definitely was one.

You wrestle not against flesh and blood is what I heard....For your struggle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. There was a fight and the flesh was losing. I did not understand why until Dr. Hall begin to talk about the one spiritual discipline that goes unnoticed. The Spiritual Discipline of Blessings.

Here are some thoughts from his lecture...

A recent edition of Christianity today listed over 30 spiritual disciplines
Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline list 12
There is One that is ignored

In search of the Blessing

Gen 27:34
“Bless me—me too, my father!

Without the Blessing Kids Can Grow Up to be . . .

Seekers—People who are constantly search for intimacy, but are seldom able to tolerate it
Shattered—live is marked by fear, depression, anxiety and emotional withdrawal
Smothers—Like a sponge suck every bit of energy from everyone else looking to have their unmet needs met
Angry—still emotionally chained to their parents through an unforgiving spirit which they take into other relationships
Detached—spend a life time protecting themselves from ever being hurt be someone again
The driven—seek to earn the blessing as perfectionist and workaholics
The seduced—look for lost love in all the wrong places

This is where the tears began to well up in my eyes..... I wondered does everyone in the world fall into one of these categories or is there someone out there who has experienced a perfectly well childhood and grown to be well balanced adults...

Dr. Hall then proceed to further explain the blessings of yesterday and today.

The Blessing Yesterday and Today
The Significance of the Blessing Biblically
How often do you think the word bless or blessing appear in scripture? (he asked this question and I answered 600, I was close and he was impressed)
Around 700 times

OT word for Blessing-Berakah
The transmittal or endowment of the power of God’s goodness and favor
Usually through the spoken word and often accompanied by the laying on of hands
Hebrews believed that the spoken word carried with it great power for good or for evil
Words once spoken had a life of their own
When a word of blessing was given, the speaker could not retract it
Gen 27

NT word for Blessing-eulogeo
From which we get the words eulogy and eulogize
Means “to speak well of” or “to express praise”
Most often the act of calling down God’s gracious power on someone
Luke 24:48-51
(sadly we do this when they are dead and gone an unable to appreciate the blessing of expressions or praise for them) a little backwards don't you think. I do.

Four types of Blessings

Spoken by God to people promising His favor (ex. Abraham)
Spoken by people to God—when we speak well of or express praise to God than we are blessing Him (Ps 103:2)
Spoken by God or people over things (Deut 28:4-5)
Spoken by one person to another, often in the name of God (Num 6:24-26)

Our Focus

Spoken by one person to another, often in the name of God (Num 6:24-26)

Within this last category of blessing—the word can have two meanings

General meaning—best kept in mind by the literal translation—to speak well of, to express praise
Luke 6:28

Specific meaning—the intentional act of speaking God’s favor and power into someone’s life, often accompanied by the symbolic act of laying on of hands

Gen 48:8-49:28
Mark 10:16

5 Powerful Relationship Aspects included in the Blessings

Meaningful touch
A spoken message
Attaching high value to the one being blessed
Picturing a special future for the one being blessed
An active commitment to fulfill the blessing

Each of these area Dr. Hall took the time to elaborate is what was said...

Meaningful touch
An essential element in the biblical blessing
Touching was a graphic picture of transferring power or blessing form one person to another
A key to communicating warmth, personal acceptance, and affirmation
Jesus and the blessing of meaningful touch
Mark 10:13-16
UCLA study found that to maintain emotional and physical health, Men and women need 8 to 10 meaningful touches a day
Matt 8:1-4

A spoken message
Incredible power to build up or to tear down
James 3:5-6
Sticks and Stones
To see the blessing bloom in the life of others—Spouse, children, friends we need to verbalize our message. Good intentions aside, good words are necessary to provide genuine acceptance
Hard to give to others what we did not experience

Attaching high value to the one being blessed

Words we speak day in and day out in casual conversation, creates an atmosphere that either chokes and poisons the spirit of those we are in relationship with or blesses them
Prov 18:21
We have the daily choice of speaking death or life
Death-destroying their self-esteem with negative labels, nicknames, household reps, or self-fulfilling prophecies
Life—words that build up and bless others
How often get lost in daily shuffle of just living
Eph 4:29

Expressing High Value

You are important you matter
Prov 3:27-28

Picturing a Special Future
Gen 27:28-29
Letting them know that they have something to look forward to

An active commitment
James 2:15-16
Commit them to the Lord
Commit ourselves to their best interest

Words of Hope
Year locust have eaten—Joel 2:25
You can start with a clean slate today—Phil 3:13
Countless people are waiting for someone to speak God’s blessing into their lives—Start today

Friends, and I do not use this word lightly. If I call you friend it is because you have earned a place within my heart and you are endeared to me. There is enough wisdom here in this lesson alone to keep you busy for the next year. Before I left Syracuse in August 2009 a woman approached me and said I have a word for you from the Lord. I humbly sat down and begin to pray silently to myself and waited for her to speak... she opened her mouth an prayed. She then proceeded to tell me as she called me by name that Blessings are real. She repeatedly said it until confirmed I heard what she said. She said God wants you to understand that they(blessings) are real do you hear Him. I listened intently, she said some other things and our conversation was finished. I believe God has Prophets/Prophetess who do what God tells them to do when he want them to do it. She spoke that word to me in January 2009 and what has resonated with me the most is Reshana, Blessings are REAL!

So, if you follow me, the class on Thursday was God speaking(reminding me) into me what he said to nine months ago and all I wanted to do was leave and go home. Hence, the struggle. When I thought of blessings, I thought of the monetary kind, health you know the ones we are all so concerned about. But what I took from that class that day is the five relational aspects included in blessings. There were other areas in which God continues to help me with, but I did not realize how much power lies within those 5 aspects until I thought about my FRIENDS. Something, I have been thinking about lately. I share this lecture and my experience as a hope that you are blessed with a profound sense to put into action those 5 relational aspects of blessings....because they are REAL.

I also would like to thank Dr. Hall for being a willing vessel that day, because he did not have to teach our class.... it could have easily been canceled. But you see, I believe in providence. God knows exactly what his children need and when they need it. He knows what I, Reshana needs. Thank you God, and thank you Dr. Hall.