The Guardian

I described several weeks ago (July 29) an encounter with the Lord that I didn’t understand very well. Now I’m more able to explain why I felt like I had been converted all over again, although I had given my life to Jesus as a 14 year old.

As has been the case with my emotional healing journey, something happens regarding healing, then later I read about it and the Holy Spirit brings understanding. Perhaps the reason for this healing sequence is that I must trust Him. By this time, I am eager to have Him working deeply in me because He is indeed trustworthy.

By reading the book Broken to Whole, authored by Matt Evans, Diane Moyer, et al, I found several references to the Guardian as one aspect of the tripartite person, the other two being Function (mind) and Emotion. Apparently the Guardian is most difficult to work with, very controlling to keep the original self “safe”. Back in the early part of my journey I met Fear who was terrified that I would be hurt by God the Father and Jesus in my inner meadow. (Tree House, Jan. 28) She was an alter living in the Guardian segment of my soul, and she was trying to keep me safe. Sometimes the Guardian is not a believer and hinders God’s work within. And in my case, the Guardian seemed to be a man – a harsh one (I was extremely strong-willed).

I begged God to go deep into my inner being for healing but I didn’t know what to ask for. I simply trusted Him to know what I needed and to address the issue(s) – which He did. Because the Guardian is a part of me, it felt like I had been converted all over again. Converted or not, he was still harsh, so I asked Abba to fellowship with him while I slept. The next day I noticed that the Guardian was now a woman as she should be, and she was gentler though still on guard.

I explained to the newly converted Guardian that the Holy Spirit was my Standby, so she could relax and trust Him to protect me. I told her about the two demons that came to harm me several months ago and how fierce Holy Spirit was in sending them away. Sometimes evil entities are vaporized before they have time to turn around to flee!

The precious Holy Spirit is truly a gift – a Treasure. Sometimes as I think to myself, He agrees emphatically with what I just thought, and that surprises and delights me. He is listening even when I’m not talking to Him directly. And sometimes when I speak to Abba or my Bridegroom,  the Holy Spirit answers! I laugh and ask if He answers for them, too? His voice is distinct from theirs but always gentle and kind. At times I am not easy to work with and He is so longsuffering and humble in dealing with me. Oh, how I want to be like Him!

Thoughts on Emotional Healing

Someone asked me how I got started with this most recent emotional healing journey so I thought my readers might like some of the back story.

I have always been a cat lover and have always had a cat here in the States. When I returned from China I got a cat. When he died I got another. My last kitty was an animal shelter rescue – it was a kill shelter. The cat had some strange ways and one day I noticed that he had a notched ear – he was a TNR – trap, neuter, return – from some large city. My town is quite rural and far from any city having such a program. The cat had the typical health issues of a feral cat so I cared for him as best I could but after three years of medicating him every four hours, he died of kidney failure. I grieved for him more than I should have because he plugged a huge hole in my loneliness as a single, retired missionary.

When I started looking for another cat more than a year later I heard a tiny voice suggesting that I needed to spend more time with the Lover of my soul. But I didn’t want to be without a cat so I delayed. Finally I gave in and requested my pet deposit. The check came in August of 2016 and I began to have serious longings for love in my loneliness. I laid in bed at night and begged Jesus to come and love me. Then one night He came! I ran to meet Him and He pressed me to His heart. He didn’t let me go after a short polite hug but held me, and I melted into Him.

I gave up something that occupied my time and attention. Then He came with something He knew I hungered for more than a pet could ever give. So, the first requirement for emotional healing is a desperate, sustained hunger. Few people come to the foot of the cross unless they are desperate for an answer to the deep longing within.

The second step is desperate, sustained hunger. No, this isn’t a typo. After a taste of the supernatural, too many people say, “Thank You very much.” and go on their way, no longer desperate. Jesus’ love meant far more to me than the love of a sweet kitty. I couldn’t get enough of Him and pressed Him for every moment of intimacy. In that commitment to Him, my Bridegroom responded gently and with longsuffering, for I was like the feral cat – I didn’t know how to behave – but never did He make me feel inadequate or dirty.

All my life I have yearned for an intimate relationship with the Creator. I have printed on a slip of paper where only I can see it when I sit to have a devotion in the mornings:                     meditation brings revelation;                                                                                                             revelation brings manifestation.

I have memorized several chapters in the Psalms, and possibly Psalm 27 is my favorite. I often pray it to Jesus before going to sleep at night and on waking in the mornings.

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord,

that will I seek after;

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the Lord,

and to inquire in His temple.

My spirit groans with desire to see Jesus’ face and be able to talk to Him (as opposed to prayer).

Psalm 27:8-9 When You said, “Seek My face,”

My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, will I seek.”

Do not hide Your face from me;

Do not turn Your servant away in anger;

You have been my help;

Do not leave me nor forsake me,

O God of my salvation.

If Jesus wanted me to seek His face, then He must show me His face! I remind Him of this, and He always comes when I cry. I remind Him that His commands and these promises are for NOW – not sometime in the distant future, in Heaven.

Psalm 27:13-14 I had fainted unless I had believed

to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage,

and He will strengthen your heart;

wait, I say, on the Lord.

There is another verse that I remind the King of kings of. In Matthew 11:12 we are told that the violent take the Kingdom by force. That’s me. I am violent in accessing God’s holy Kingdom. And by experience I have found that He likes that kind of violence! He loves it. And rewards me with His beautiful, majestic, humble and gentle presence.

After one exceptionally precious encounter with my pure and holy Bridegroom I asked Him if this was a one-time experience and He replied, “No, Joyce. You can come any time for an encounter with Me.” And He reminded me of Hebrews 4:16 where we are encouraged to come boldly to the Throne of Grace. My need is simply more of Him. To know Him is to hunger for more.

Mom’s Visit to China  

Mom and my sister came to visit me during the Chinese Spring Festival.  I wanted to take them to see the Great Wall, terracotta warriors and other sights of interest while they were in China, so one of my students from Xian, offered to help make arrangements for us to visit his home town.  He wanted us to sleep at his home so I left the responsibility of getting local officials’ permission up to him.  As with most Chinese students, he thought his family could have foreign guests, but I cautioned him to protect himself by getting documents signed by the proper authorities.

When we arrived in Xian he took us to his home to meet his family but we were not permitted to eat with them nor sleep at their home overnight.  Instead we were put in a car and driven more than one hour out into the plains to an isolated factory.  The strange men showed me that the factory furnace had been heated warmer than usual for their workers and lead us to a room in a small isolated guesthouse.  The beds had been made with clean sheets and blankets and there was hot water.  The men showed me where the toilet was and then said they would return the next morning to take us back to town.

My sister was terrified and thought we were being imprisoned.  I didn’t understand what the men had in mind and knew it was strange but I didn’t want to add to her fear, so I made little of our strange accommodations.  The worst of it was the bitter cold and the lack of adequate water to drink.  We slept in all our clothes under the heavy cotton batting quilts and woke up early because we couldn’t sleep for the cold.  Finally we had to get out of bed to be ready for the men’s arrival.  They came as they said they would and I asked them to take us to a Chinese hotel which they did.

Bill offered no explanation about the odd “hospitality” but we hadn’t brought enough money to stay at a decent hotel – “decent” being 5-star in my sister’s mind.  I can remember that it was warmer than the factory on the desolate plain, but still very filthy with spittle on the floors and unwashed tea cups for patrons to drink their hot water from.  The drapes were filmy Dacron, stained from many rains and scanty covering for the windows, the Chinese not wasting unnecessary fabric in window or bed coverings.

This incident solidly confirmed my sister’s fear that she might never get safely back to America. As soon as we returned to Beijing she asked one of my friends with connections in the airline ticket booking office to get her a flight back to the States as soon as possible. So the day after we got to Beijing my sis left Mom behind and fled back to America!

Thankfully, Mom stayed with me for the second week of  ”touristing”.  She said I had been in China almost ten years and if I said it was safe, then it must be safe.  I was so happy she stayed and without my sibling to always be complaining about something, Mom and I had a wonderful time.

It was months later that Bill told me the officials wanted to turn the three of us over to the police as being spies since our passports were counterfeit.  I brought out my passport and we studied it carefully.  The Chinese characters were plain and easily read, so we concluded that the officials must have been semiliterate, not being able to read their own language.  Of course, I never told Mom or my sis  how close we actually came to being turned over to the Xian police for having counterfeit documents.

I had been to Xian twice before and both times had difficulty getting back to my Chinese university because of corrupt officials in transportation and hospitality. A crime syndicate controlled hotels, train and plane tickets in and out of the city.  Pay up or you don’t go.  With tourism being a multimillion Yuan business, local crooks cooperated with each other for their mutual benefit.  The mafia finally got too big for their britches and Beijing took notice of the embarrassment they brought to China through stranded and very angry tourists.

Mom was eager to join me in intercession and deliverance of the foreign students’ building at the university where I was teaching at the time. A German student studying Mandarin told me there were often footsteps heard in their halls and sometimes knocks at their doors. When they went to answer the door no one was there but they could hear someone running away. I did some research and discovered that the foreign students’ building was located over an ancient graveyard.

With such a long history, modern buildings are frequently erected over old cemetery ruins.  Mom and I prepared ourselves by searching our hearts and confessing any sins brought to our minds then each of us took oil to the now empty dormitory to walk through the halls and stairwells, anointing doors, windows, and other openings, commanding entities to leave. When my friend and her fellow-students returned there were no more knocks on their doors or footsteps heard in the hallways.

I took Mom to a qi gong exhibition in a large park so she could see and experience the supernatural strength of practitioners of qi gong. One man held a very tall ladder on his shoulders and another man climbed it. Along with qi gong there is often a foul stench. Both men had trouble with their balance and stability and at last failed. Mom admitted that she was binding the empowering spirits as was I.

Mom’s visit is among my favorite memories in China.

 

Vows and Lies

Note: This is not a teaching on marriage. It is an incident I experienced with Jesus.

Recently a friend called. The conversation was okay on the surface but something was wrong. There was an edginess to her voice that raised the hair on my arms. I had asked if I might visit her and her husband for an overnight – the drive was too much for going and returning all in one day. She had several reasons why they wouldn’t be able to have a guest until later in the year, and I was even further mystified. Then she commented that I couldn’t possibly understand her because I had never been married. I was puzzled because I had made no reference to their marriage.

When we hung up I went straight to the Holy Spirit for some understanding. Was my friend acting out some lies she believed about her marriage? Then my mind went to vows I had made about marriage as I observed my parents’ relationship. I had vowed to never get married because I was convinced that I could never be an adequate wife and mother. And I was determined I would never submit to the treatment my mother received. I didn’t respect either of my parents – Mom because she was emotionally weak and submissive to abuse, and sometimes even helped her husband  beat us. My dad because he was verbally and physically violent.

I recognized these attitudes as vows I made to try to protect myself, so I quickly broke them and emphatically commanded any demons inhabiting those vows to be gone. Then I asked Jesus to forgive me for judging my parents. Period. I then asked Jesus to restore to me what I had forfeited through those vows.

Over the last nine months during the massive healing of alters and fragments, I have enjoyed the overwhelming love of my heavenly Father and His only Son Jesus, my Bridegroom. I had moved from begging for His love to learning to be quiet and simply receive His tender love. As I thought about what God intended mankind to understand about His love, the impact of human marriage, with all its limitations, began to dawn on me. As I quietly submitted to Jesus, He poured Himself out to me. All I had to do was receive. The human husband’s part was similar to Jesus’ role with me. But the human husband not only was to be a source of intimate love to his wife but he was expected to submit to his heavenly Bridegroom as well.

As I was conversing with the precious Holy Spirit there were many yellow sparkles in the room and I knew the angels were interested in the conversation, too.

My love-relationship with Jesus was one of submission to receive His love and pleasure with me. In marriage He intended for there to be submission to receive love and respect. Seldom did I see a marriage like that because men appeared to believe they owned their wives and children, yet Jesus never treated me like I was chattel. What I observed didn’t change God’s purpose for marriage, so I moved on into my Lord with a greater trust and admiration for His kindness and respect for me even when I was rebellious.

A giant fire-works display interrupted my train of thought and I stopped to watch as angels gathered in troops of blue colors, red, yellow, green, and catapulted into the air to come down in various shapes like waterfalls, star-bursts, hearts. They kept their shape and beautiful colors as they slowly drifted all the way back down in formation. Such stunning beauty and color.

The flash of understanding in my spirit made Jesus so happy that He ordered the fire-works. His joy at my understanding His purpose of revealing Himself in the analogy of human marriage filled me with awe and a deeper respect for His wisdom and grace.

Jesus’ plan for marriage is to reflect His love for His bride. Of course, marriage between a man and woman falls short because humanity is flawed. God intended for husbands to tenderly care for their wives and children as they submitted to and served each other in mutual love and respect.  Yet husbands themselves must submit to their Lord, as well. I understood that concept because my greatest pleasure is making my Bridegroom happy. With this new freedom from the bondage of ungodly vows and a deeper understanding of His heart, I have luxuriated in Jesus these last few days, sometimes intensely. Even days later I am still seeing lots of yellow sparkles.

Healing in China

                                             Home for a two year break

Although I came home summers, I usually stayed in China four years at a time.  When I came home in 1998 I brought with me a tape series by a man who had come to Beijing teaching on the Father’s Love.  I knew there was still much unforgiveness in my heart toward my parents and that root of bitterness bothered me a lot.  All things work together for good to them who love the Lord, right?  Well, I found a lovely apartment I could afford and Mom let me drive her second worn out old car which often didn’t run.  I was effectively isolated from jumping into the car to go to town when I was lonely and it wasn’t safe to go for walks along the highway.  It was a perfect time to listen to those tapes.  But I couldn’t concentrate.  So I began to fast, and sat down to laboriously transcribe the tapes.  For nine months I fasted alternate periods –  a week of Daniel fasting, three days of absolute fasting, a day or two of rest, and back to the Daniel fast.  And the Lord came to help me forgive my parents and brothers and sisters.  Then – THEN – He began to speak to me about how I had hurt others.  That was bitter medicine and I wept in private for weeks.  There was no one to help me work through all that was being stirred up, so I asked the Lord to help me bring myself to accountability.  To do that I wrote possibly two dozen brief letters to various people, especially my family, to apologize for hurting them as specifically as I could remember.  I kept a journal so that I could go back when the enemy might come to discourage me.

At Easter I was invited along with Mom to the home of one of my  sisters . Her daughters were also there and we were planning some fun for the little ones. One by one my nieces came to me to whisper that their mom had told them stories from her memories of when she and her siblings were young. Each niece was impressed by a different memory of something I had said or done that disappointed them. I was  totally shocked at the lies and twisted “memories” and decided to return home for I was crushed. As I drove back home I sobbed heavily, for my family relationships meant much to me. When I drove through my home town I noticed a car in the parking lot and a light on in the church I attended, so I pulled in to see if someone would pray for me. There was a couple praying in the sanctuary, so between broken sobs, I asked if they would pray for me. “No,” they responded. “You need to get saved before we pray for any other needs.” I wondered why they thought I wasn’t saved, and turned wordlessly, even more devastated, to get back in my car and drive home continuing heavy sobs of grief and loss.

I finally wept myself to sleep. In the night I had a dream that I was dead and Father God had come to carry my lifeless body in His arms. My head and feet hung down, my legs and arms bouncing with each step Father took.

The next day was Sunday – Easter Sunday – and I had never felt so lifeless. I knew I needed people, though, so I went to join a small in-home fellowship group. They were horrified when they saw me and prayed a couple of times during the morning for me. The leader was reluctant to allow me to go home alone, but made me promise to call him that evening to let him know how I was doing. That evening there were tiny glimmers of life within and slowly there came a fragile stirring within.

I felt like I returned to China in August a bloody mess, spiritually.  The last two years were the most difficult of all my years in China because I had made myself so vulnerable that every difficulty threatened to take me under.  A year later I felt prompted to pack up and come home at the end of the school year, that I wouldn’t be returning to China again.  Mom needed me.

                                                         Healing in China

A part of the bitterness I grew up with was major fear of men.  When I moved to Beijing my prayer partner was a Black lady whose husband was over six feet tall and well built, with a big ebullient voice.  She asked me several times to stay overnight so we could spend quiet time together, but I always refused.  One afternoon while I was at their apartment her husband came home and wanted to talk to me.  While he was talking (I wasn’t very talkative) he stretched out on the long sofa and lowered his voice.  Soooo…he knew my fear.  I was charmed by his perceptiveness and we became fast friends.

While in Beijing I associated with a group calling themselves prayer warriors.  Three of us were called out as intercessors: an American single man, an African single man, and yours truly.  The close relationship I was privileged to have with these two godly men was deeply healing.

My last two years in China I met the French teacher at the school where we were both teaching.  Americans can be loud and tasteless, but this man was violent in his anger – and he was angry a lot!  One day he was shouting so loud he could be heard from the first floor of the hotel to where we lived on the fourth floor, so I invited him into my apartment to talk it out.  Suddenly it occurred to me that I was far from afraid of him!

When he discovered that he couldn’t intimidate me, he knocked on my door later and asked in a stage whisper, ”Who are you?”  A bit guarded, I told him I was an intercessor and to my amazement, he accepted that explanation.  He brought me prayer requests nearly every day after that for the next two years.  I was thrilled to realize that the rough time of fasting was bearing fruit.  A deep joy sprang up inside me and I marveled at the Lord’s grace and goodness to me.

I believe the Lord’s call on my life was two-pronged.  Yes, I was to take the Gospel to people who had never heard, but in China I experienced a depth  of healing that I would not have received in my own culture.  The Lord softened my stony heart and taught me to love and respect very humble people who knew what pain and betrayal was.  I learned to love my male students as they let me into their lives with a trust that, to me, was awesome to receive. And I was respected by Christian brothers and sisters for who I was in Jesus.

A New Creation

Awhile back in my healing journey I had an experience that I didn’t understand, so I waited to write about it until I had a little more understanding. After significant healing I have been eager to share my new freedom from bondages with others, but felt an inner caution to wait and rest in the newness. As I waited on the Lord I began to plead for Him to go deep into my core. I wanted a more intimate relationship with Him and I recognized that no matter how extensive this healing was, I was still a fallen creature and would always need to walk intimately with my Abba. Day by day I continued to ask Him for a deeper reach into my core. Well, He answered!

One night in the wee hours He came quietly but I knew immediately this visit was different. He came at a new level of love, touching a place in me that I didn’t even know existed. I had been experiencing testing of my vows to Jesus and have struggled to keep His face in my sight. O, I would delight to advance to another level.

I enjoyed His presence immensely. In the morning I rose and did the necessary things to start my day. Then I began to sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords. I sprawled on the sofa to commune with Abba and was immediately transported into the Father’s holy Presence. As He bent over me with fiery passion it seemed the veil over His face slipped a little and I was afraid of His fiery passion so I asked the Holy Spirit to come and hold my hand while I submitted to my Lord’s holy fire. I needed His help to answer the Father with the passion of my own heart, to give God what He wanted of me. And we, together, went deep. I responded as much as I could. There are no words to describe this encounter. But now I understand why no one can see God’s face and live!

During my time in God’s lap I saw gold twinkles crowded around us. Many angels. Watching. Celebrating. But I closed my eyes to shut them out, to focus on God’s face.

I was in and out of consciousness over the next several hours. When His power and glory lifted I felt like a new creation. Newly born again. I sang. And laughed. This euphoria lasted for days but hasn’t abated completely. So this new level is sustainable and not just an “experience”.

I am being recreated as God originally intended me to be: a gift to my parents from Him. They refused the gift for their various separate reasons, destroying and defiling the gift. Now – God as the soverign Creator – is recreating me from the inside out. No wonder the angels were crowded around. No wonder the King of kings was so passionate. I have received new life in Him. I am a new creation. Holy Spirit, help me to live passionately, unswerving in my commitment to my Lord of lords. You are worthy, O Lord, to be praised and worshipped.

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As has been typical for this process, I discovered later that some emotional healing ministers believe there is a negative core identity that needs to be converted. This experience radically changed me more than I would have expected. My intimacy with Abba, my sweet Savior, and precious constant Companion Holy Spirit deepened and my access to Them, already constant, has become even more intense. How can I explain the joy and peace?

Some nights I am awakened by the Holy Spirit loving me. All day He stays close and is extremely intense. His love is at times so overwhelming that tears stream down my face unbidden. To think that not too long ago I thought He was reticent! Like my Bridegroom, He also knows how to laugh. I am challenged by His intimacy to respond in kind as much as I know how.

The triune Godhead is amazing and personable in ways I would never have imagined. They are personalities just like we are – we are made after Their image. A sacred, precious discovery. I am learning to value my body because They indwell me. My whole personality is changing because of Their intensely passionate Love.

Another night. The Holy Spirit came very near. I stood with my arms around my Bridegroom’s neck and His arms around my back in our intimate dance posture, my heart pressed against His heart. Around 3 am He began to pour Himself into my heart which continued till around 5:30 am when I usually start my day. Once I tried to look at His face but couldn’t for His intensely sacred, fiery passion. He wants me to rest in His love but I don’t know how. Quiet. That is so against my nature and I equate rest with boredom.

Now I am learning to let God love me. No works. No performance. No begging or teasing. Just submission. And Jesus is such a lavish, passionate Lover. Learning to submit and receive is a sweet lesson. I was having some health issues and tests came back within normal ranges. I was so happy but at a loss to know how to celebrate. Jesus snatched me up and took me in a mad-dash waltz around the Throne Room, then we collapsed breathlessly, laughing together like sillies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding the trains

I have many other memories of travel in China that include riding on the trains.  China has an extensive rail system and has various levels of trains such as local trains that stop at every village.  The seats are hard and straight-backed and very uncomfortable – if you get a seat.  I didn’t mind riding on local trains but I had a hard time getting tickets because everyone crowded the ticket booths, pushing and shoving; there were no lines.  Also on the local trains there were no lines to board or get off.  Pushing and shoving was the rule of the rail.  Sometimes people were trampled and bones broken.  One time I was in the countryside and needed to get on a local train back to my campus.  The strong, hardy peasants were pushing far beyond my strength to cope, so several of my male students took me to the carriage where my seat was and asked passengers already in that car to put the window down and they hoisted me through the window.  I held my ticket in my mouth and they handed my bag to me through the window.  As I was getting settled I discovered a railway policeman watching the little drama.  Fortunately he allowed me to enter by “some other way”.  That was so funny and I can imagine what I must have looked like smiling from ear to ear holding a ticket in my teeth.

One summer while I was back in the United States I happened on J. R. R. Tolkien’s books before they became popular, and bought the whole series to take back with me to China.  During the winter recess I rode a sleeper train to Kunming which was a several thousand mile journey and read his books.  I bought a top berth just under the roof (three berths on a side facing, which made an open compartment).  With that relative privacy, I was transported to strange, exciting worlds.  When I needed more food I dashed off the train to buy from hawkers. That was much cheaper than eating in the dining car, just as it would be here in the US.  The quality of the passengers was better so it was sometimes fun to try to chat with them or play Yahtzee which they caught on to quickly.

Not all long train rides were uneventful or pleasant, however.  I was going to Harbin to see the “Ice lights” and took a train similar to the one described above since the trip from Beijing was about 24 hours.  In my open compartment was a man who had been a tour guide for foreigners during the 1980s so his English was understandable.  He considered himself an expert in both our language and culture, however, and was insufferable.  One minute he was helpful and the next he was castigating me for one thing or another.  After listening carefully to him and evaluating his behavior, I decided he had some mental glitches and tried to stay peaceful in our conversations.  Since I was carrying a lot of money for my vacation, I hid it in the bedroll at the head of my bed.

During the ride two peasant girls came into the car where I was riding.  They were very curious when they saw me and wanted to speak with me.  The matron of our coach forbade them but I asked her to let them come and sit on my bed.  One girl had deep carvings cut into the back of her hand and I asked her why.  She explained that it was the Chinese New Year and this was her offering to her god.  The deep carvings, by the way, were bloodless. She was demonized.  We talked peacefully for a short while and then she became riled so the matron moved her away.  The girl became wild and grabbed the railway policeman who was guarding the carriage entry to keep her confined.  She tackled him like a high school football player would tackle a dummy and he held onto the door frame to keep from being overwhelmed – she was strong!  After while some of the railway personnel gave her and her friend enough alcohol to make them drowsy and they quieted down.  When the train arrived in Harbin I began to gather my possessions to debark and couldn’t find my money.  Frantically I searched. At last the ex-tour guide handed me my money with the comment that he could have easily stolen it.  Apparently that was a delaying tactic to keep me in my compartment because as the guide scolded me the police dragged the two girls by their hair down the aisle.  Two of them stopped at my compartment to warn me to keep my mouth shut about what I had seen, the guide shouting his translation at me in self-importance.  The student who was to meet me boarded the train to find me, dressed in a sharp black suit and white shirt so the police and guide weren’t sure who my connection was and quickly melted away.

I decided that if the Chinese didn’t want that scenario told, that was exactly what I would do, as much for my own protection against the officials as – I didn’t know what.  I started by telling the young man who met me and he was speechless, then told me to be quiet; he didn’t want others to overhear me.  When I returned to my campus I also told the teachers there and at other schools employing foreign teachers (they weren’t all Americans). I found out other foreigners had had similar experiences and reacted the same way I did – to tell what we saw with names and places, even writing home about it.

In another very disturbing case, one of our Japanese students who was in China to learn the language and culture, was traveling alone. The Chinese hate the Japanese and blame every native of Japan for the atrocities of World War II. As our young student was about to board a train from Wuhan back to our university he was attacked and severely beaten. Someone drug him aboard the train, fortunately, saving his life, and saw that he was dumped at the correct stop. When we all returned to the school we found the young man in a fetal position on his bed, not able to talk or eat for the trauma he had suffered. He slowly gained strength with much care among his fellows and showed incredible emotional courage to continue his studies in a very hostile environment.

 

Fear of Failure Part II

This is part two of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for affirmation of my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 2 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/

The Good News is we are reconciled to the Father!!

To the degree that we do not understand and embrace this is the degree to which we will walk in pride. Pride is to seek worth apart from God. (Joyce’s emphasis) Our rest and completeness is in abiding in His presence and communing with Him and in Him. Ministry is not our reward. He is our reward.

“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a
vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your
very great reward.”
Genesis 15:1

There is a growing movement and trend, especially in men’s fellowships, to try to give men of God identity and purpose by filling them with a sense of destiny. This is misplaced vision. Depression, despair, and any perceived lack is a result of not knowing who we are as His child. Seeking God so that we can fulfill our destiny leads to a
perversion of who we are called to be. Fellowship is not to be “me” centered. When this occurs, our motive is now to find meaning…and the Word says we already have meaning.

 Failure to embrace His truths toward us leads to:

  1. Intellectual Ascent (our worth comes from our mind) we turn to the soul as our source of worth and our relationship becomes one of mental understanding. The realm of the spirit becomes a closed door to us. (study the Pharisees)
  2. Spiritual Mysticism (our worth comes from our spiritual experience) – this is a grave danger. Seeking experiences is never to be our goal either. We must instead seek Christ. We spend time in His presence and develop our spiritual senses through communion. Spiritual understanding is a natural result. We do not seek Him in order to experience the “supernatural.” We seek Him to spend time with our first Love. To seek Him in order to get something from Him is spiritual prostitution. It leads to all sorts of experiences that have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. (read the Book of Jude, Acts 8:9-25). We will never get to hear or know the heart of the Father with this
    attitude.
  3. Pride (by the power of our own will, not the Holy Spirit, we accomplish our goals) – now we see ourselves as superior to those around us. Worse still, we attempt to swallow up others in our drive to see our vision fulfilled. Our vision is linked to our identity and worth. Titles and presumption begin to fill our soul and the motive of our heart is to try to “become more.” The spirit of Pride seeks to strip others of their identity. People become an extension of our own driven self. Many of God’s children are suffering under this bondage today. (Read Kings and Chronicles, & story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel.)

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that
in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2
Corinthians 5:21

Our calling, our God given vision, our meaning, our purpose, our destiny is to be reconciled by the ONLY means that salvation comes: The blood of Jesus Christ.

This is not the end. This is the doorway to which intimate fellowship may be experienced. This is how the realms of his kingdom are made visible to us without compromise. It was not the outer court of the Temple that was split when Jesus died. It was not in the inner court either. Man could worship in either of these places already. It was the Holy of Holies shroud that was torn in two. We have access to a place that would have caused man to die before the Atonement of the blood of Christ.

Make sense? Under the old covenant… up until Jesus died, if a person walked through that curtain… it was “curtains” for them.

Death. Instant death.

And yet…

Anyone who received the Spirit at Pentecost weeks later (the new covenant being initiated with the Holy Spirit now dwelling IN the believer) could have walked right in there though. Our destiny is to live with Him, in the Holy of Holies.

Look at any person in scripture that was willingly used by God. They were not seeking a commission. They were seeking Him. They were seeking His face. Their calling came as a result of their communion. God initiates. The answer to the growing sense of lack of purpose is not resolved by a 12-point self help book or an emotional stirring of our “purpose” to “do.” We are not called to “do.” We are called to “be.”

Our destiny is the throne. That throne is in us by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. The answer to the sick heart of the Body of Christ is found in communion with Him. This is not exciting to many because we do not have a revelation of our self worth coming from Him alone. Instead, ministry, calling, and “doing” feeds our worth to the degree that we continue to cooperate with the carnal mind.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mindgoverned by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Romans 8:9

When we received Christ, we died to the carnal man. We now have the Spirit of the living God inside us. We are His Temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in His death?” Romans 6:3

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

We are given a new mind and a new identity. We are partakers of His righteousness and we are now thinking His thoughts. As a redeemed child, we now have the ability to do this, by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Sadly, the carnal mind, which we died to when we accepted salvation, is still being dug up and communed with, within the Body of Christ. This is a spirit of necromancy. It is communion with the dead. It produces no Godly fruit, no life, nothing of eternal standing. It brings forth death.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:2-4

My brothers and sisters, this is Jesus speaking. He is talking to born again believers!

We are to walk by the mind of Christ which we are given and is in us. If we truly understood what it means to be the righteousness of Christ, we would want nothing more than to spend time with Him. It is in His presence that we experience the fullness of His nature. We commune in Spirit and Truth. This is not a mental experience. It is a
spiritual one. To live on the other side of the veil is a world beyond anything else we can experience on this side of eternity.

Friends in China

An African Brother

A. was a passionate believer with an amazing story. He was a little goat herder and by chance a local teacher discovered that he was very intelligent. With her recommendation, the government invested in his education and sent him to Russia to learn the language and study engineering. Officials changed their minds and decided they needed dental surgeons, so they sent him to Beijing to study Mandarin after which he was transferred to Wuhan to study dentistry. But A. never forgot his beginnings and God’s plans for his life. He also had a strong sense of justice which caused him serious trouble.

A. and I spent quite a few weekend hours talking. I had so much to learn about other nationalities and their journeys with the Lord. We attended the same weekday worship group and I found out that the Russian students in Beijing were violent. The dorm rooms didn’t have locks and the Chinese police wouldn’t come into the building because they were afraid of the Russians. A. and his African roommate were very afraid for their safety since occasionally there were murders in the dorm. A. asked me to pray for their safety so I asked the Lord to set a Big angel at their dorm door to keep them safe. I prayed that the angel would be visible to human enemies as a huge warrior with a cowhide shield and tall spear and a cruel-looking face. Weeks passed and A. and his roommate said nothing. Finally one day the roommate told me they had been left alone and I revealed my prayer request. The young man looked shocked and said nothing more although he looked thoughtful. I had to laugh.

After two years of language study A. was transferred to Wuhan to a teaching hospital to study dentistry. A.’s nation paid for their students’ food and housing but the Chinese withheld food and did not heat the buildings. A. lead a protest which in China can get you arrested. The protest was broken up but A.’s food was withheld. He is a poor communicator and although we wrote letters, he didn’t say one word about his dire situation. Meantime, I felt that I would like to send him about 1,000 Yuan a month. Chinese hate how foreigners help each other and I couldn’t get bank money orders or postal money orders, so at last I sent registered letters with cash. When I saw A. briefly at the end of the spring semester his first year in Wuhan he was very thin and just commented that if it hadn’t been for my letters, he would have starved. A. calls me Mom but I am very unworthy of such a title for he is certainly my spiritual superior in every way. A. is now a teaching professor specializing in children’s dental surgery in his home nation.

He got married in January, 2013, and a year later in January he and his wife had a baby boy.  A. was ecstatic.  Then in 2014 I had the impression that he and his wife had some difficulties so I carefully emailed him – we generally don’t email at all – and he answered that I had the correct impression. I’ve heard nothing more and realize that he is in a dangerous place so I just pray as I am lead.

Charles and Diana

(Chinese students choose their own English names, and some are pretty unusual.)

I decided to eat in a student lunch room with a group of students which included Charles and Diana.  Charles was as nervous as a sparrow and about as thin.  One evening he came, looking harried, to tell me he was  taking a western tranquilizer, and had been for some time.  He was the third generation of a former land-owning family who lost their fortunes in 1949 at the Communist takeover.  He described being jeered at and ridiculed in school, and could never gain good grades.  He had to take the college entrance exam three times before getting into a normal school (similar to American junior college) from which he transferred to university where I met him.

Charles appeared to have some nutritional deficiencies so I began urging him to change his eating habits.  As he added protein to his diet he started  gaining weight and becoming calmer.  He had a pervasive attitude of hopelessness that bordered on self-destruction, but he didn’t want to hear about the Solution to his problems.  I noticed that he had talked with a Canadian tour group (Christians), so perhaps the seed would bear fruit.

Eventually this young man was able to come to America to earn a certificate in his chosen field.  He married Diana when she came to join him and she eventually obtained her certification, also.  Charles and Diana both are now believers.  He called and we had long chats by phone.  Someone loaned him a nice car to drive from the East Coast to visit me one weekend so I took him to yard sales, a fast food joint, and we laughed like sillies over shared experiences in China.

Charles and Diana finally returned to China where they are working in their chosen fields. Rarely does Charles call me and he is not permitted to email me, but I believe he and Diana are faithful in their walk with Jesus.

 

 

Fear of Failure, Part I

This is part one of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for your affirmation as my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 2 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/

Fear of Failure
(a.k.a. my self-worth will rise and fall)
“and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” Colossians 2:10

Lie #2- My Worth is Determined by My Calling, Function & Actions

I am going to address a widely spread misconception about who we are as His children…and who we are not. The truth is, our worth is never changing. It cannot be added to, nor can it be diminished. Our calling (or “purpose, or “anointing,” or “vision,” etc…) is independent of our value as a child of God.

Ministry is an outflow and by-product of our relationship with the Lord. We are called to Himself, not to ministry.

“Such as I have, I give to you…” Acts 3:6

If we derive comfort from our “calling,” we misplace our identity and self-worth. Invariably the question of “who am I?” will have its answer centered around what we believe He has commissioned us to do.

Our fullness is given to us in Christ. It is forever established. It cannot rise and fall. Our fullness is in His righteousness that was given to us. It can never change. It cannot be altered.

Without embracing this, we misplace our rest. Our rest is not in our calling. Our rest is not in our ministry. Our rest is not in the way we function in the Body of Christ or in our gifts. Our rest is in Christ. Him alone.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

This is another verse that is so often twisted. How often this verse is used to encourage this “quest” for our identity. When we get wrapped up in trying to determine what our “ministry” or “calling” is, we will feel lost unless we know what we are “supposed to do.” This is misplaced identity and it is another area which reveals we are drawing from the fallen thinking of the carnal mind. We will remain feeling lost. Or worse yet, we will become a Pharisee. We accept Christ and then instead of being taught the truths about how special and wonderful we are as His child, we simply run to another idol for our sense of well being and value. Only this time we do it under the guise of spiritual maturity.

One of the main reasons the body of Christ struggles so much to look different from the world is that we don’t feel much different from the world. What is more, we have not been taught to think from the mind of Christ that is now inside us, and is accessible through His word and prayerful communion. We are discouraged, sullen, depressed, without peace and rest. Above all, we don’t understand the vision we are called to walk in.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

The vision we are to have is not a vision of ministry. It is the vision of our Savior. We keep our eyes fixed on Him. He is our vision.

He is our calling. We are called to Him.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

The reason so many children of God fall to deception, discouragement, depression, witchcraft and pride is because our hope is misplaced. Our hope is never meant to be in how He will use us. Nor is it in what He will “do” through us. That is not our true vision. If we study the Word, and look at how our brothers and sisters who had a relationship with their Redeemer lived, we will see a common theme. A principle of His Kingdom is this: Greater revelation of Him will reveal greater revelation of what He wants to do.
Study the prophets. Every vision God gave them, whether it was events to come (foretelling) or expounding on events or principles that already exist (forth-telling) was aimed at entering that child into a deeper understanding of the nature and heart of God. This is to be our vision. The definition of “vision” is this: the faculty or state of being able to see.

The more we seek the heart of our Creator, the more we will think what He thinks, feel what He feels, and see what He is desiring to reveal to His Church. We will be more passionate about the things He has passion for. This is called “communion.” This is fellowship.

And this is why we were created. It is our true purpose, our true ministry, our true vision, our true calling.

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

It brings Him great pleasure to spend time with His creation. I urge you to read Genesis, The Songs of Solomon, The Psalms, Hosea….

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23

Did you catch that? John was literally resting his head against our Lord’s chest. This picture often chokes me up. Both Jesus and this man were so secure in who they were, the freedom to give and receive from each other was without hindrance. I say “both” because we often forget Jesus was also a man. In fact, He was the – perfect – man.

Did you hear that my friend? Want to know what a man is? Read about Jesus. Begin to let go of what fallen man says, and let yourself be who you are created to be. Stop stuffing it behind the veil of this fallen world, constructed by the one who made himself unworthy to stand in the presence of God.

Misplaced vision causes us to begin to create a conditional sense of self-worth, contrary to what God says about us. We are complete because we are His child. Not because of our calling. Not because of the vision He has given us to minister to others.

NOTE: If we seek to find worth, not acknowledging that our worth is already forever established as His child, servant, and friend, we will fall into self-deception.

That deception will come in the form of legalism, spiritual excessiveness, self-delusion and pride, to name a few.

NOTE: Any area in our life that we pursue because we think it will add to our worth IS IN OPPOSITION to the Kingdom of God, to His word and to His will for our life.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel….” Colossians 1:19-22

We are already complete. It is finished. What we do or don’t do cannot alter this reality. All we can do is live in the realm of self-deception. A “vision-based” identity, at its root, is to say that there is more to get than what Christ has already imparted to you. This is another lie.

This is one of the greatest deceptions being perpetuated in the Church today.

Let’s read the rest of the verse:

“…this is the gospel that you heard and that has been
proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
Colossians 1:23

What is the Gospel? The word gospel means good news. The good news is NOT that God has a vision for us in terms of ministry. The good news is NOT that He has a plan for us to make ourselves feel special and unique based on the unique, one-of-a-kind blueprint for our life.

No…..