Transparency of the Bride

Identity  of the Bride

As I have already described in my blog posts, I grew up in a very tormented, broken family. There were several of us children with me being the first-born. Two of my siblings have a horrible, incurable disease, and watching them suffer has been hard for me. As an intercessor, I repeatedly stand before the throne on their behalf and I go about my days grieving for them. Deeply.

It is my habit to invite the Holy Spirit to come to me in the night-time to teach me and guide me in dreams and visions. Last night was no exception. Increasingly the Father  asks me to disrobe before Him, and I’m becoming more familiar with His desire for me to be totally transparent with Him. Last night was a little different; it was Jesus, my Bridegroom, who asked me to stand before Him transparently. As I started taking off layers of clothing, I realized that I was going to have to discard my earthly identity and the grief I was carrying. He had not addressed that issue until now and while I was willing, I didn’t know how to go about it. Give up identifying with my blood brothers and sisters?

I felt Jesus saying that my grief for them was defiling my relationship with Him. He wasn’t first. They were. With  gentleness He helped me see myself as He did – in bondage to them and their welfare. He pointed out that He is exceeding abundantly able to care for them as He has so lavishly cared for me. He reminded me that He wanted a Bride that was without spot or wrinkle. That was not negotiable. He would not be unequally yoked with His Bride.

Transparency of the Bride

As I allowed Jesus to help me take off my earthly identity, the Holy Spirit stepped in and opened my eyes to what God saw me as. I stood fully transparent, glowing in glory and beauty difficult to describe. Light shone out from within me and I was fully His equal. Then my eyes were opened to see other individuals just as stunning with Light streaming out from within them. They were various colors from black and brown to yellow and red because God created the peoples of our world for His pleasure. What an incredible sight, and fully His Bride as described in His Word (Rev. 19:8). We came together as one and her resplendent radiance increased exponentially. The Bride’s gown appeared to be silk and it billowed gracefully as she moved to greet her Beloved.

Jesus will never be unequally yoked. But as we obey Him, He will continue His  miraculous creativity in bringing us to Himself in holiness and the most  thorough purity.

He Who began a good work in you

will continue developing that good work

and perfecting and bringing it to full completion

in you. Phil. 1:6

Your English Teacher Hates Children

For two years at a particular university I experienced severe emotional abuse by a religious group that was sponsoring me along with a young couple and their two young sons. It was harder to bear than even my first year in China with brain-washing.

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Mrs. G. had had her first baby and one evening both Mr. and Mrs. G. and I were having a prayer time since students are to be out of the building after 9pm.  About 9:30 the E.s’ baby-sitter and another student burst into G.s’ apartment, uninvited, to practice their English. (E.s were a young couple with two little boys sent with me by our organization to this university.)  I was holding Baby G. and E.s’ baby-sitter stopped short, her mouth open in utter amazement.  Of course she would be surprised if she believed that I really did hate my Chinese students and all children.  Quietly I returned the baby to his mother and excused myself.

Eventually the Chinese came to realize that everything they had been told and read in the emails about Me was not necessarily so. But what a traumatic experience for me.  Gaining Chinese trust takes time.  In the face of E.s’ criticism, my ability to forge relationships was seriously hindered and I was close to defeat.  Not only could I not make friendships with my students, I was set at naught with most of the foreign teachers, as well.  My spiritual mandate to pray for our university made getting beyond this situation urgent.  The enemy’s diversionary tactics were wearing me out and I needed prayer warriors to come along side to help drive back the powers of darkness.

The Ground at the Foot of the Cross

I confess that I was very angry with E.s and our organization. I was appalled at the gap between their Christian words and how they lived out their profession.  Even as I have begun to write about my time in this strategic location, I have revisited forgiveness to renew freedom from the fear of man and false guilt of verbal and emotional abuse.  One morning around 4am the Lord came to minister assurance and to witness to me that I had truly forgiven and needn’t be shackled by fear and intimidation any longer.  Another aspect of my struggle was the knowledge that my anger defiled other people.  This was a devastating realization and brought me very low, for I as a Christian had hurt others.  Forgiving myself was harder than forgiving others.  I too needed the precious blood of Jesus, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  I am thankful that the ground at the foot of the cross is level and we all may kneel there in contrition.

After the organization’s conference in Beijing it seemed like Professor E. began to realize what an impact he and his family had had on me, and was perhaps a little surprised that I didn’t fight back even when taunted.  For my birthday the E. family treated me to lunch at the local  Kentucky Fried Chicken. I was so gratified that he invited me to pray with his family for the university and our Christian influence, and amazingly, the Holy Spirit came to honor us with His presence.  Such a wonderful peace and healing.

Confrontation

In a private conversation I asked Professor E.’s forgiveness for my September-October anger.

“Why didn’t you answer the CEO’s emails?” he asked

“Because the organization violated their own policy regarding not sending any personal information by email or phone.  Also, there is never any reason to respond to abuse.  In addition, placing someone in charge that has never been out of the country, as opposed to someone who has more than eight years of experience in China is inappropriate.

“You sent your baby-sitter and her classmate to G.s’ apartment at 9:30 at night to practice their English when you knew we were having a prayer meeting.  After 9pm is our time to relax and enjoy one another here in the hotel.  If you want to help students practice their English that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t send students to another foreign teacher’s apartment without checking with them first.

“I’ve met comments in the street regarding my not liking children, according to you and your wife.  Even if you don’t like me, how do you dare negate my witness to the very people we have come to tell about Jesus?  The email about me not liking children and my Chinese students was not true!

“You have a lot to learn about how to keep your own counsel and protect the influence of other Christians for Jesus’ sake.  Speak directly to a person when you may have an issue with them.

“Nevertheless, someday you will make a fine missionary, Professor E.  You have some strong qualities, such as speaking directly to me now – even though it’s after the fact.  You have asked for advice before taking off into the interior of the province to hold a conference.  Asking for advice is important to gain the favor of your colleagues, not to mention safety issues.”  That last statement clearly meant a lot to E. and I was glad, for it was true.

Terminated

An email terminating my relationship with the American organization came toward the end of March and I breathed a sigh of relief from the oppressive relationship(s).  A fiery experience – not finished, but the overbearing authority had been removed, thank the Lord!  The organization followed with a phone call to confirm the email and I was relaxed and courteous, to the obvious relief of the representative.

Apparently Professor E. and the organization CEO continued to send frequent emails critical of me.  If either of them sent emails to me, I ignored them because I was keenly aware that the Chinese read them.   It’s hard to guess what the Chinese thought about those one-sided emails, but I noticed that the Foreign Affairs Office seemed to warm up to me.  The man who paid the foreigners’ salaries once a month was friendlier, smiling and offering courtesies to me not given earlier.  My students warmed to me as well, especially the graduate English majors.

Having had such a horrendous experience with the American professional organization, I hoped and prayed that returning the coming school year would allow me to craft some good relationships and provide opportunities to speak for Jesus.  I would be free to speak to Chinese Christians about forgiving to be forgiven, and they would understand where I was coming from.

Behold, they may gather together and stir up strife,

but it is not from Me.

Whoever stirs up strife against you shall fall away to you.

No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper,

And every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment

you shall show to be in the wrong.

This triumph over opposition is the heritage

of the servants of the Lord.

This is the vindication which they obtain from Me.

Isaiah 54:15, 17

 

Is Jesus Unequally Yoked?

Made in His Image                                                                    

As I progressed through healing of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) I often thought about who Jesus is. If we are made in His image, is that why we have personal dignity?  Is that why we are creative – because He is? When I prayed for healing of my mind Abba brought up memories I had no access to without His help, to expose lies I had believed and vows I had made before understanding why they were wrong. Changing those lies and falling out of agreement with those vows has revealed a person set free to be who God created to reflect Himself to the world.

When I surrendered my will and choices to Jesus, I thought about how respectful He is of my wishes even when my wishes are not His will.

Possibly the most important aspect of healing for me was my emotions. I was almost emotionless, with layer upon layer of limestone and marble around my heart. I dreaded being joyful because I had to come back down and landed off balance nearly every time. So I would rather not have joy than to be plunged deeper and never quite recover the former level of depression.

I was willing to forgive and cancel the debts of those who hurt me, but Isaiah 53 includes the healing of griefs and sorrows. Forgiveness doesn’t heal the pain of wounds inflicted. When I began to surrender that pain and received emotional healing I was filled with awe. So that’s what emotional purity felt like!! I was so happy, and to the present I am joyful inside. Made in God’s image….so God is emotional, too. That was a revelation to me. He laughed with me and we celebrated small victories together. Knowing that my Creator is emotional has continued to be a source of pleasure for me.

Because God is infinite and flawless, everything about Him is bigger than me. His drive to create is stronger than mine, so His pleasure in creating things is greater than my pleasure in sewing a new quilt, matching shapes and colors.

Each Person of the triune God is unique with distinctive likes and dislikes. That means, each is a fully developed individual with a distinctive personality. For example, it took me quite awhile to get acquainted with the Holy Spirit because I wanted to treat Him like I treated Jesus. Jesus was my Lover and I was eager to give and receive demonstrative affection to the Holy Spirit. But He told me He didn’t want that kind of affection. I was surprised. “You don’t? Why not?” But when I needed Him to protect me from some dark entities He was fierce in driving them out. So I knew He loved me. But He wanted to do all the loving while I did the receiving and praising and worshipping. I was deeply entrenched in performance, so that was difficult. I had to ask for His forgiveness and help in giving up the attempt to earn my own way and just accept His love without trying to earn it.

Early in my DID journey Jesus was my Friend, then Someone to play with me, then my Lover. The Holy Spirit never competes with Jesus for my love and attention. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit is my Teacher and Defender. I can ask Him questions and expect to get answers.

Abba is my Stability, my Rock. He likes for me to ask Him for things and when I get anxious or overburdened, He takes me in His lap and comforts me. I have learned to express my emotions of joy and pleasure as well as curiosity without fearing His impatience. All three of the triune God-head are so longsuffering and gentle and self-restrained. Sometimes I feel like a drama queen now that I’m out of prison but they are never short with me, and sometimes they even join in with laughter or a wild dance. If I’m deeply distressed for some reason they will join me in quiet sympathy. Jesus and the precious Holy Spirit are quick to aid my wordless intercession.

Early this morning as I walked I shared concerns about several things with my walking Companion, the Holy Spirit. When I returned to my apartment complex I sat on a bench in the shade to catch my breath. Behind me was a wild rabbit, startled by my  presence. It stood frozen so I turned to speak softly to it. After several minutes it relaxed, sitting on its haunches. That pleased me so much and I thanked my precious Companion for the thoughtful gift. He knows me completely and knew what would lighten my mood.

Made in God’s image means far more than a physical expression of who God is. He is Mister Personality with dignity and grace, perfect in empathy and mercy, intimate in understanding me better than I know myself – and wise in guidance. He is trustworthy and keeps His Word. He is pure and clean. His integrity and righteousness are modified by forgiveness and longsuffering. His intention in making me was that I would reflect these traits with His help.

Have you ever thought about Jesus planning to marry you? He created mankind in His image, yet a little lower than the angels. Angels are more intelligent and more powerful than mankind, but they don’t have the authority God has endowed us with nor the freedom to choose. Neither are the angels to inherit all that belongs to the only begotten Son as we are. Jesus came as a Man to buy us back from Satan when we fell – and paid a terrible price for us. His plan from the beginning was to make Himself a Bride worthy of His love. That is a mystery of mysteries – He has created us to need Him. Does He need us? Bill Johnson once asked the rhetorical question: ” Is Jesus coming back for a bride He will be unequally yoked with?”

 

Religious Emotional Abuse

For two years at a particular university I experienced severe emotional abuse by a religious group that was sponsoring me along with a young couple and their two young sons. I will be telling about it in the next several autobiographical posts. It was harder to bear than even my first year in China with brain-washing.

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American Professionals

Mr. and Mrs. CEO blew in for the day.  They head up a professional Christian organization in the States that places Christian professionals in universities of nations around the world.  Professor and Mrs. E. with their two little boys had been assigned, along with me, by this organization to this university.

“I don’t want any arguments!  This is what we’ll have for lunch,” Mrs. CEO emphasized as we sat around a large table in a very expensive restaurant.

She ordered dishes she had no idea about and since we had no say in the matter, we could only eat what our stomachs would allow.  Tripe! I refused to eat that.  Finally she asked me what tripe was and I explained that it was the intestines used as casing for various stuffings.

“No wonder it is so chewy!” she exclaimed.

Then the other adults decided not to eat any more of it, either.  The E.s commandeered the conversation with their precocious little son with the result that no serious conversation could take place even though we were eager for fellowship with Christians from the States.  Professor E. showcased little Jimmy, the young couple’s eldest son, and I wondered if it was a tactic to avoid any genuine exchange.

It didn’t seem that they planned any time to talk with me, so I requested an hour during the afternoon with the CEO’s wife, to listen to my outlandish, angry, condemning tirade (that’s how it came back to me) before ending the day at a banquet hosted by our Foreign Affairs Office.  During “my hour” that afternoon I mentioned the political prison just one block from campus and heavy artillery fire that could be heard day and night with helicopters flying low overhead. The CEO scoffed.

“So what!  That goes on all over China (I’d never heard it until now, and I’d been in various places in China nine years by this time).  We have it all over America, too.  We hear heavy artillery fire outside XX day and night.”

“This university didn’t promise to reimburse the flight money until the end of the school year.  My wife told you explicitly in front of our treasurer that you had better take enough money to live on for at least a month.”  This emphatic advice must have gone entirely over my head, and the treasurer’s.

I pointed out that we had no copies of the contracts we signed.

The promised exchange of Yuan for US dollars had not been forthcoming and the exchange percentage was arbitrarily reduced from 50% to 30%.  This exchange of Yuan for US Dollars is how I managed to save enough money to buy round trip plane tickets year after year and it was crucial to my continuing service in China.

I was working 16 classroom hours a week as a writing teacher when the normal load for a “foreign expert” was 12 hours.  Considering that my hours were for composition, I was in my room marking papers about 40 hours a week.  Professor E. had 8 classroom hours and Mrs. E. had 4.

Our documents cost us between 800-1,000 Yuan although the university was supposed to be responsible for this cost.

We are required to go to the telephone office to pay our telephone bills by ourselves (the Foreign Affairs Office refused to help us) although not one of us speaks the local dialect or understands the billing.  My phone was actually disconnected for two weeks before I realized I was expected to pay the bill for whoever occupied this room before I did.

Professor E.’s family and I have computers, never mind that all the (pirated) software is in Chinese and we don’t read Mandarin.

Believe it or not, none of these issues were important enough for the CEO to negotiate.  What’s more, I was forbidden to address the proper officials with any of these issues!  Professor E. would take care of all the negotiations although this was his first experience outside the United States and he knew nothing of Chinese culture!

During my hour with Mrs. CEO, she commented, “We thought you were more professional than that,” referring to my first newsletter which had to be submitted to them before it could be sent to my family and friends.  “It was discouraging.” Not discouraged-sounding.  I had the impression that they were concerned with what my family and friends might think, rather than with my need to let those who prayed for me know what was happening or not happening with me.

Regarding the broken promises, very expensive contract with the university officials, and clever escalation of classroom hours I commented that there were Chinese contingencies for everything.  Promises broken are good strategy in a country where the national currency is not exchangeable, and resorting to law is meaningless because those who make the laws are above the law.  Mrs. CEO pointed out that the Chinese believe they are born pure; they really don’t know right from wrong.  I said nothing more; her world view was something less than adequate.

“We possess this precious treasure in frail human vessels of earth

that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power

may be shown to be of God and not from ourselves.

We are hedged in on every side – troubled and oppressed in every way,

but not cramped or crushed;

we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out,

but not driven to despair….

For our light, momentary affliction

(this slight distress of the passing hour)

is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing

and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory….

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen

but to the things that are unseen;

for the things are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting),

but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

II Corinthians 4: 7-8; 17-18

Ending the day at a Foreign Affairs banquet, the CEO and his wife repeatedly brought the conversation around with religious terms such as “redemption” and “salvation.”  Chinese officials have little idea of this type of vocabulary other than to be offended with the perpetuation of American colonialism.  This misguided zeal makes the building of trust more difficult for the Christian teachers who must remain and earn the confidence of those who don’t know our Lord and Savior.  I was ashamed of Mr. and Mrs. CEO. Didn’t they realize that one must earn the right to speak of sensitive matters to a Chinese friend, and speaking of such personal things in public was dishonoring to one’s relationships, if not risky?

As a result of this visit, the following day the hotel management stopped student visits to our apartments.  One of my students with a prior appointment was turned away with a violent verbal exchange, not even being allowed the courtesy of using the reception desk phone to cancel the appointment with me.  Other foreign teachers were livid at the counterproductive attempt to restrict contact between Chinese students and foreign teachers outside of class without realizing what had caused the change.  In-class instruction is inadequate because students need to use English in practical settings to develop vocabulary, sentence structure, inflections and logical responses in real conversations.  Forbidding students to interact with their foreign teachers is not common, fortunately, and is an indication of the strong local reaction to a Christian presence.

Closing the hotel to our students was ostensibly to protect us since murder of foreigners is on the rise in China.  However, rooms are rented on our floor to Chinese willing to pay more than for first floor rooms, and strangers roam our 4th floor hall, looking in our doors and windows.

 

Jesus in A Black Suit

Several weeks ago as I was worshipping Jesus, Abba, and the sweet Holy Spirit, Jesus appeared in front of me dressed to the nines in a black suit, white shirt and cufflinks on His sleeves. Even with long hair and an untrimmed beard He looked sharp! He didn’t say anything and I didn’t either – I was speechless.

I mentioned Jesus’ appearance in the black suit to a friend whom I trust. To my surprise she commented that her pastor had also seen Jesus walk into their church services just after they started praise and worship. He was dressed up in a black suit and white shirt. The pastor didn’t know why He came dressed so formally.

Hoping for a hint, I Googled “black suit” and found a site that described the groom and groomsmen wearing black suits or tuxedos with white shirts in a formal wedding. Then I asked Jesus to come again and explain why He was appearing in a sharp black suit to a few people. He explained that as Heaven’s Bridegroom He was waiting eagerly for His Bride and the Wedding Supper. Oh. And I smiled as He embraced me sweetly.

This week I dreamed I was a junior high school teacher. One of my students had brought to school a new toy which was motion activated. It looked like a ferret and humped after whose-ever feet were moving. While we were laughing and exploring the “ferret’s” behavior the intercom burst into our merriment. “Miss Joyce, would you please send the boys of your class to the office? Some police officers would like to talk to them.” One of my students was a young version of a university student in China who accompanied me on a long winter holiday. His English was excellent and he was easy to get along with but he was a Youth League member and I knew where his loyalties lay.

In my half-awake state I felt a stir of caution and wondered what the warning was about. Both the creepy “ferret” and the unusual appearance of the Chinese student were a concern to me. I called for my precious Councilor to ask Him some questions and Jesus came along – dressed in His black suit. He hugged me but the hug was overly physical.  Before I had time to say anything, this Jesus propositioned me! Immediately I commanded him to leave. He didn’t want to go so I asked the fierce Holy Spirit to escort him out of our presence.

A false Jesus! I felt defiled for having touched him and shuddered. After Satan was dispatched my true Bridegroom came to comfort me. I understood His eager anticipation for the Wedding Feast in Heaven and His desire to urge us to prepare for the momentous occasion.

“I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in loving-kindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord” (Hosea 2:21-22).

Revelation 19:6-9 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.  8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  9 Then he said to me, Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.

Emotional Abuse by Religious Entities

For two years at a particular university I experienced severe emotional abuse by a religious group that was sponsoring me along with a young couple and their two young sons. I will be telling about it in the next several autobiographical posts. It was harder to bear than even my first year in China with brain-washing.

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Foreign Teachers’ Relationships

I asked a Chinese student to go with me to find the antibiotic suggested by the American nurses as soon as possible after the American organization  CEO’s departure. Unfortunately, the reliable brand the nurse in the tour group recommended was not available, so I bought the Chinese brand.  It was probably a counterfeit since I broke out in hives. The medication seemed to help so I continued with the entire two week course; however, I will not be able to take that particular medication in the future for fear of a fatal allergic reaction.  It’s only by God’s grace that I didn’t die from the allergic reaction to the Chinese imitation. Later, when I returned home for the summer, x-rays revealed significant lung damage from tuberculosis.

Too Busy

When the foreign teachers met as a group in the hotel dining room little  Jimmy E. was the center of conversation by his father’s encouragement and by the volume of Jimmy’s voice.  No adult conversation was possible.  After lunch was nap time.  After lunch was also when the Chinese take a two hour rest, so it was couple time for Professor and Mrs. E.  My classes were all in the mornings but Professor E. kept office hours from 2 to 4pm so the only time I might chat with them was after 9pm, which was bedtime for the little boys.  Professor E. invited Mr. and Mrs. G. and me to group devotions at 2pm when afternoon classes begin or at 9:30pm, always in his office which was across the hall from their suite, and always with the door open so he could hear the boys if they awoke during our meeting.  My point is that although I was to meet with Professor E. daily, he had fortressed himself in a schedule I couldn’t find space in.

Praise and Worship

Mr. G. was an excellent musician and played the mandolin with gusto during our group worship times.  Once I closed Professor E.’s office door and another time Ed (a retired NYC cop) came from his apartment across the hall to close the door for us.  The loud music attracted the Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) on the first floor and the person in charge came upstairs to see who was in the group.  Spying a head of black hair, he assumed we had invited a Chinese woman to join us, but in fact, she was a Mexican-American teacher from a nearby small college. Unfortunately, her presence gave reason for the FAO to try to shut us down.

When I commented to Professor E. about the poor judgment of having praise and worship with an open door, he retorted, “Why didn’t you get up and shut the door?”

Fortunately Ed heard our conversation and came into the hall.  “She did.  And I even came out and shut your door once, too.”

“Joyce, you’re just conjuring trouble,” was Professor E.’s dismissal.  That Ed witnessed this conversation meant a lot to me.

At Professor E.’s request two missionary couples with Christian and Missionary Alliance came from Hong Kong for several days.  In addressing our little group of believers, they strongly emphasized our need for unity.  I went to Beijing for the Sunday service and the following day Mrs. G. came to pray with me.  She had a word from the Lord that I had a spirit of criticism, and God hates criticism.  Her “word from the Lord” seemed to originate much lower than the Lord’s abode but I didn’t say that out loud!

We’re Praying for You

On Thanksgiving I received a scathing four page email from the American  organization CEO concerning my antipathy toward my students and the E.s’ little sons.  He went on at great length to assure me the organization back home would be praying for me, but by the tone of the email I had little confidence in the nature of their prayers.  What brought on this frantic assault?  To the best of my knowledge the E.s were displeased that I hadn’t turned out to be the baby-sitting granny they expected.  As for me hating my students, I was a teacher by choice.

I loved spending time with my Chinese students and had gone home with them to the countryside whenever possible to meet their parents and experience their lives and circumstances.  Before I came to China I taught junior and senior high school science classes fourteen years in rural schools in three states.  Often students came home with me for sleepovers.  We laughed in class and I enjoyed playing jokes on them before the bell rang.

E.s were upset with my efforts to chat with their younger child.  At no time was I allowed to talk to Nathan if Jimmy was nearby.  They considered Nathan mentally handicapped because he did such things as ride his little tricycle down the stairs and cry brokenly for hours.  My heart went out to the little guy because he was firmly kept in Jimmy’s shadow.  Mrs. G. grudgingly acknowledged that Mrs. E. wouldn’t allow her to speak to Nathan, either.

I was appalled that the organization CEO would send such a harsh email when he knew all letters and emails were read by the Chinese, so after much thought and prayer, I decided not to respond.  Professor E. seemed embarrassed and put his head down when he met me in the hotel hallway since he had received a carbon copy of the missive.

But I say unto you who are listening to Me,

Make it a practice to love your enemies;

do good to, act nobly toward those who detest you

and pursue you with hatred.

Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness

of those who curse you;

implore God’s blessing upon those who abuse you –

who revile, reproach, disparage and high-handedly misuse you.

Love your enemies.  Be kind and do good

– doing favors so that someone else derives benefit from them…

Luke 6:27-28

To my utter amazement at Christmas all my classes, and some individuals, gave me Christmas gifts and cards.  The outpouring of respect and love (dare I say it?) took me by surprise because Professor and Mrs. E., their Chinese baby-sitter and one of her classmates, and Mr. and Mrs. G. were outspoken in their criticism of me as a person, a Christian, a teacher….a misfit.

Prophetic Intercession

I have loved to pray as early as in high school. Evangelists who visited my church would sometimes comment on this and ask me to pray for them when they moved on to other churches. It seemed odd to me that other Christians in my church didn’t share my enthusiasm for spending time with the Lord. Eventually I started keeping a journal with dates of prayer requests and their answers. To my surprise, there were frequent answers and this encouraged me to keep going. I also noticed that I didn’t care for prayer lists. They seemed boring to me and dampened my enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I’ve had personal intercessors who had pages of people they prayed for, including me, and their prayers were effective. Each intercessor has their own niche.

I love being in God’s presence. As I adore Him in my prayer language, He puts individuals/groups/nations on my mind and I pray in a mix of English, tongues, decrees, and just silent yearnings. There is an intoxicating, sweet intimacy as I work with the Holy Spirit in lifting up those He lays on my heart. In fact, travail is familiar to me as I wordlessly experience His passionate desire for others. Sometimes I ask Him to reveal to me the issue I’m praying for and He does. Other times it is enough that I simply trust His guidance. Sometimes I feel what the other individual is feeling and pray till it dissipates. Sometimes I feel what Abba is feeling toward that person or situation and pray till He says it’s enough.

My prophetic intercession is mostly hidden and is not appreciated or understood by other believers. In one city in China a small group of touring missionaries with experience in other nations came to visit a friend of theirs, a friend of mine. They made it a point to honor me for being the foundation under the building, unseen but vital to the stability of that building. I was speechless. They asked me questions about my perspectives in praying for China so I shared reluctantly.

On the other hand, I have been castigated for being “afraid” – tears mean I’m afraid – right? Or, when I list the social and political structures that hinder the precious Holy Spirit’s tender work in a city or region, other Christians think I am fearful. So I am cautious about mentioning things I pray for or opposition I meet during my prayer times. So, yes, I tend to stay isolated unless I have a prompting to share. Fellowship with other intercessors is a rare treat for me and often exposes things I need to know and lifts up Jesus to encourage and strengthen us all.

Being in the right place at the right time is awesome. Just before the Tiananmen Massacre the Chinese government was saying that foreigners were the fault of the unrest. I just wanted to get away from the pressures for awhile so I decided to travel to a sea-side tourist spot that I had enjoyed in the past. The person who was supposed to meet me at the train station didn’t come but as I stood trying to decide what to do, another American passed by and stopped to invite me to a university in the city known for hosting foreigners. I went. And to my utter surprise, there were probably a dozen other foreign teachers there (all believers), all seeking relief for a long weekend. If that weren’t enough, a conference speaker we were all familiar with had been sidetracked to the same city and this same university. So we had sweet fellowship every morning and evening for several days before again scattering to our various schools. If we had been invited, the logistics would have been difficult. But when God does a thing, He does it well!

In this new season of outpouring of the precious Holy Spirit there is another aspect of intercession that I practiced only occasionally in the past, but am doing much more of now – that is making decrees. According to Isaiah 44:26a and 45:11 God invites us to command His hands and ask Him questions about things to come. Job 22:28-30 echoes this. I caution you to know God’s heart before making decrees. Ask Him to invite you to sit with Him in His throne to make decrees that please Him. I have found prayers offered for others to pattern after on the Internet that are not always loving and compassionate. Some prayers even curse evil doers when our Lord’s desire is that ALL will come to know Him, perhaps especially those who are afar off as the prodigal son was. Those who are least likely to have any Christian contact – Jesus died for them, too. People in prison and refugee camps….

While I don’t claim to be a prophet, I do know the power and authority of prophetic intercession. Walking in the calling God has qualified you for, whatever that calling might be, is fulfilling like no other experience. He is an awesome God!

Note to those who prayed for me at my request last week: thank you so much. Monday I was bathed in peace and healing. Tuesday wasn’t quite so easy but it was still physically good. Wednesday I had to fight to hold the ground I had gained, but the precious Holy Spirit came alongside to help and encourage me. I am experiencing freedom from pain (healing) and strengthening of my immune system (creative miracle).

Missionary Intercessor

Intercessory Worship

Rather than confront the principalities and powers directly, G.s and I decided to sing praises and declare in song that Jesus is Lord.  Sometimes it took an hour to punch a hole through the lowering dark clouds into the Lord’s presence.  Mr. and Mrs. G. and I were meeting every Wednesday at 4:30pm for praise and worship.  All three of us were musicians, so we sang our prayers.  If we had an unusually bad day we got together of an evening to sing which drove the enemy away. Hotel officials were horrified that we were singing!  But we kept it up and the oppression always lifted.  If we neglected the weekly sing, quarrels among the foreign teachers, fear and oppression crescendoed noticeably.

Music in praise and worship is not optional.  A vertical focus is critical to spiritual, physical and psychological vitality.  The joy of the Lord in praise produces a balanced, sound faith in God’s sovereignty over the powers of darkness.  It also instills a holy boldness to speak out in Jesus’ name whether the opportunities seem to be convenient or not (II Tim. 4:1-5).  What a privilege to be one of God’s intercessory missionaries!

Missionary Intercessor

I can still see her with her head bowed almost to her lap.  “I thought you were more mature than that!”  And she seemed ready to weep over her perception that I feared X-city  Another time as I was talking to a lady about our area, she commented, “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”  I knew that she had misunderstood my reaction to the spiritual climate of X-city.  These comments were made by Christians who claimed to understand intercession and warfare prayer.  On the other hand, Christian colleagues from other nations quickly sensed my deep concern for nations and their leaders.  When they asked, “Who are you?” they want to know my place in the Body of Christ.  My answer that I am called to intercessory prayer has promoted long-lasting, close relationships in which I have prayed covering for some bold activities in Jesus’ name.  This is the privilege of an intercessor.

Mediators with the Lord tend to be sensitive.  This may cause misunderstandings because one becomes focused in prayer and all else fades.  Serious intercessors tend to be spiritually perceptive and show a great deal of insight.  This discernment is used primarily for more effective prayer.  They tend to be quiet people who see and hear much but say little.

There are various kinds of intercessors.  All Christians are called to intercede for others, but those called to intercession pray for longer periods of time and more intensely over certain situations and people.  They generally have a deeper interest in the background of those places and individuals for which they plead.  Some intercessors travel from place to place, staying in one location for a short time while others may find work in an area and remain for longer periods.  The Lord may change one’s assignment from time to time.  The intensity and direction of an assignment may change, also.

God’s Troops

I had the privilege of meeting some to the intercessors who returned to X-city to visit the area and find out who the present intercessors were.  One woman told of being lead to Baoding along with two other Christian missionary-teachers.  All three women became very ill with respiratory problems, so they went to Hong Kong to recover.  One of the other two finally returned to the States, too ill to continue teaching in China.  The second lady did not return to X-city but relocated within China.  Only the lady I met continued teaching in X-city for an extended period as a strategic level prayer warrior.  I also met an elderly man and his wife who taught in X-city for several years.  He bicycled all over the ancient city praying as he toured.  Nervous Chinese authorities warned him to restrict his riding to the immediate area of the university.  Nevertheless, he was not intimidated and persisted in the task appointed by the General.

What incredible love and commitment they showed.  It was an honor to bow my head as this elderly couple prayed for my courage and strength.  I’m grateful that the Lord in His mercy set me on a training course to prepare me for such intense warfare before sending me to X-city.  Spiritual mapping, even if not complete, is critical to one’s effectiveness as an intercessor.  Understanding the need for identificational repentance, both from the perspective of foreign nations invading China and from the aspect of Chinese spilling Chinese blood, brought brokenness to my heart.

 

End of Emotional Healing for This Season

 

I am through a year of major emotional healing as guided soverignly by my incredible, loving Abba. I told the sweet Spirit that I was not willing to go one day without an intimate encounter with Him in some way. And when I get comfortable with Him, I ask Him for increased hunger and thirst. I want to fear and revere Him and receive Him as sacred every morning for the new day.

The reason I believe I have reached the end of emotional healing for this present season is because I am starting to have dreams and visions involving others instead of the intense focus I’ve had just on the triune God for the past year. I am also beginning to travel in the spirit again, as I did before the healing process engulfed me. Never in my life did I dream Abba would come to me as intensely intimately as He has. And He has remained intensely intimate. He hasn’t stepped back at all and I am deeply grateful. Wearing that beautiful robe of righteousness, without spot or wrinkle says, “I belong.” I’m His. He owns me. Oh, how precious that is to one who never felt accepted, loved, or celebrated until now.

Now I am seeking physical healing. As you could imagine, my immune system failed to develop fully because I didn’t bond with my mother (or father). The immune system reaches into various areas of the human body and in my case that involves more than my digestive system. My immune system causes food “sensitivities” until I can safely eat about a dozen different vegetables with no added chemicals such as sauces or condiments. I can eat meat with nothing added. I have arthritis and muscle weakness. My allergies cause sinus infections, scared ear drums and inner ears – I wear two hearing aids. And my sight isn’t as clear as it should be. Other glands and organs are involved as well.

Jesus’ blood provided not only healing for our griefs and sorrows, not only forgiveness for our sins, but also healing for our sicknesses and diseases (Is. 53).

Psalm 84:11 says, For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

the Lord will give grace and glory;

no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.

I believe that with all of my heart, so I am searching myself to find what might be the block to major healing of my physical body. Actually, I need more than healing; it’s not correct to pray healing for an amputation or a part of the body that didn’t form. A creative miracle is needed to complete the formation of a body part – and that’s what I’m asking for. God is exceeding abundantly able, and He is doing creative miracles these days, so I am asking for His mercy in not withholding this request from me, one of His beloved children. If I should come to mind, would you please pray with me for healing and a creative miracle? Thank you and God bless you. Joyce