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Sabbath-ing in Christ

“I have put the Lord before me at all times; because he is at my right hand, I will not be moved” (Psalm 16:8, Bible in Basic English).

One day I heard a radio preacher talking about heaven and the tree of life. He said there will be no more sorrow, wounds, haunting dreams, or dashed hopes in heaven. He said that in heaven there will be no more spiritual failures, struggles with imperfections, or wishing you could serve God better. There will be no more resisting or battling with the flesh, the world, and the devil. He said that in heaven, no one will live in bondage to sin. There will be no more pain of separation. There will be no more remorse or guilt. There will be no darkness or night there. He said that heaven offers every occupant a new mind. Then he said, “In this life, you have never known one minute of these pleasures. In your best day, hour, or minute, you have never experienced any of this.” The preacher added, “You will never experience perfect peace or perfect freedom from sin or perfect joy or satisfaction until you are in heaven.”

“No, no!” I protested to myself. “This isn’t God’s truth! Doesn’t this man know the Gift of God? If all of these blessings are still in the future, why am I experiencing so many of them now? How can he tell me that sadness, pain, toil, and death are my lot in life when I experience perfect joy, perfect delight, perfect rest, and perfect Life in my Savior right now? These blessings are present reality in my life, and they are all included in the Gift of God – the perfect Righteousness of Christ!”

“There will be no sorrow, wounds, haunting dreams or dashed hopes in heaven” – But Christ has already healed my broken heart. The leaves of the tree, His promises of grace and power, nurture and sustain me right now. I am healed and whole in Him.

“…With his stripes we are healed” Isaiah 53:5.

“And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole…” Luke 8:48.

I ‘Sabbath’ in Christ’s healing Presence.

“There will be no spiritual failures, struggles with imperfections, or wishing you could serve God better in heaven; there will be no battling with the flesh, the world, and the devil in heaven” – But Christ has already fought the battle for me and won! I stand as a conqueror right now!

“…Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33.

I ‘Sabbath’ in Christ’s victory.

“No one will live in bondage to sin in heaven” – But Christ has already freed me from Babylon, and I am no longer a servant to sin but to righteousness! Right now I am free!

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” Romans 6:18.

I ‘Sabbath’ in Christ’s freedom.

  • “There will be no pain of separation in heaven” – Christ’s sons and daughters who are one in Him are already connected by His Spirit. I enjoy oneness of spirit with my brothers and sisters in Christ near and far right now!

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another…” 1 John 1:7.

I ‘Sabbath’ in this place of unity.

  • “In heaven there will be no remorse or guilt” – But Christ has already washed away my sins and my guilt forever! He is my Joy. How can I be sad when I have fullness of joy in His Presence right now?

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9.

“…In thy presence is fulness of joy…” Psalm 16:11.

I ‘Sabbath’ in Christ’s forgiveness and in His joy.

  • “There will be no darkness or night in heaven” – Christ is my Light already! I live in the Light. I am light! The night is over – joy comes in the morning – and the day has dawned in my life. The Sun, the Day Star, has risen in my heart, right now!

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world…” John 8:12.

“Ye are the light of the world…” Matthew 5:14.

“…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” Psalm 30:5.

“…That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

“…Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” 2 Peter 1:19.

I ‘Sabbath’ in the Light, the very ‘day-ness’ of our Redeemer’s shining Presence, His glory.

  • “Heaven offers a new mind” – But Christ as already given me a new mind! I am a completely new creation right now!

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: … all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

“…We have the mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16.

I ‘Sabbath’ in Christ and His mind is in me.

This continual, ‘present reality’ resting in the perfect righteousness Christ now heightens my experience on the Day of Delight, God’s weekly seventh-day Sabbath. The Bible says:

“God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them…and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3.

The seventh-day Sabbath was and is a memorial of God’s perfect work of creation and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. It is His oasis in time, a gift of physical, mental, and spiritual rest at the end of the work week. We purposefully set aside our “regular rush” and daily toil and wait in quietness before Him. The silence of the soul during those sacred hours amplifies His melodious voice speaking to the heart and we rest more completely in His holy presence.

The Bible tells us that “He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered” (Psalm 111:4). The weekly Sabbath invites us to delight in God’s wondrous works in nature and brings us into closer communion with the Creator. It is there in His presence that we can find comfort because the powerful Word that said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) and created all things is the very same Word who speaks life to our souls.

The seventh-day Sabbath was not merely for Adam and Eve and for the children of Israel. It is for us today. Like the other precepts of the Decalogue, it is of everlasting obligation. When God’s garden once again blooms here on earth, His holy rest day will be honored by all beneath the sun. The inhabitants of the new earth will go up to worship before the Lord from one Sabbath to another (see Isaiah 66:23).

Praise to our merciful Savior, our beautiful King, for the Gift of God, Christ’s Righteousness and ‘Sabbath-ing’ in Him! May you find true rest in Him, is my prayer for you.

 

 

The Gift of Darkness

“You will be covered by his feathers; under his wings you will be safe…” Psalm 91:4 (Bible in Basic English).

I have heard some Christians say that their happiest times are when they are suffering because it is in the furnace of affliction that they feel the presence of Christ the most deeply. This has not been true in my case. Depression has visited me on a monthly basis for more than 35 years, and looking back over a lifetime littered with its devastating effects, I confess that I have rarely felt Christ’s presence during those dark times.

The only way to escape the agonizing pain I suffered in that dungeon appeared to be total darkness (death). “Rescue me from this miserable existence!” was my frequent plea to heaven.

But that prayer was met by silence, soul-slaughtering silence. I was alone in the blackness. “My God, my God,” I cried, “why have you forsaken me?”

A gem of truth from the Word of God has recently turned my thinking upside-down. It has taken a lifetime for me to realize (yes, some people are a bit slower than others…) that during those times when I felt abandoned and Christ seemed so far away, He was clinging firmly to my hand. He never let go. Christ has promised in His Word, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5) and He never did. “…He is faithful that promised” (Hebrews 10:23).

So here are the verses which opened my eyes to His amazing grace:

“The people kept their places far off, but Moses went near to the dark cloud where God was.”[1]

“The LORD chose to live in a dark cloud[2]

“You came near and there was darkness, blackness, and tempest[3]

I could hardly believe what I was reading – the Lord lives in a dark cloud! My Jesus inhabits the darkness! By choice! So when I prayed for the Lord to remove the darkness from me, little did I know I was praying for Him to remove His Presence from me. When I prayed for Him to remove me from the darkness, little did I know I was praying for Him to take me from my safe place in Him! When a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, it’s pretty dark under there, isn’t it? Horror of horrors, I was asking to leave the warmth of His wings!

Thankfully, He neither removed the darkness from me nor removed me from the darkness. Instead, He came near and gently covered me with His wings – protecting me, shielding me, comforting me, providing refuge in the very midst of the depression. The darkness which felt like an unrelenting curse was the precious blessing of Himself, His sweet Presence, the covering of His wings. Jesus gave me the gift of darkness beneath His healing wings to hide the black night of my soul. Although I didn’t feel it, He was so near during those times of hopelessness that He could have smothered me under His feathers! I praise you, my Savior! The darkness was not a curse but a gift, an abundant blessing!

Now if the dark cloud descends, I can know that His feathered wings surround me with His blessed Presence, and I welcome Him. There is a sweet silence now, a stillness, a special serenity, in that place of refuge. Even when it is night in my soul, especially when it is night, I choose to remain under His wings and to live in the Light, claiming the promise of His glorious Word: “In Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5.

[1] Exodus 20:21 (BBE).

[2] Deuteronomy 4:11 (Brenton).

[3] 2 Chronicles 6:1 (Easy-to-Read Version).

My Beloved Child

012“Come to Him, the ever-living Stone, rejected indeed by men as worthless, but in God’s esteem chosen and held in honour” (1 Peter 2:4).
What did God say about His Son?
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
“And the word that was spoken to Jesus at the Jordan, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:6. …The voice which spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased” {DA 113.1}.

Contemplating Christ

In the contemplation of Christ

we linger on the shore

of a love

that is measureless

We consider His life on earth,

His sacrifice for us,

His work in heaven as our advocate,

And the mansions He is preparing

For those who love Him,

And we can only exclaim,

O the height and depth of the love of Christ!

…In every true disciple

this love,

like sacred fire,

burns on the altar of the heart.

(AA, 333-334)

Autumn Beauty

Was out for a walk a few days ago and noticed these “temporary leave fossils” along the road. Then I played with the coloring of the photos a bit and came up with these:

054c     054a   081a066a     054   054b

My Cup Runneth Over

Life-changing events have flooded my soul with healing during the past two weeks, and I’d like to share some of them with you.  As I bare my soul before you and testify of our Father’s marvelous love for His children, may you receive a blessing. I praise the Father for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Through the gift of someone’s generosity, I flew from Minneapolis to Atlanta on October 16 to attend the feast of tabernacles in Georgia. This was the first time for me to receive the blessings of the feast with this group of believers, but from the outset, it was as if we had known each other for years.

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One glorious event during the camp meeting was the Service of Blessing during which Brother Adrian called the young men of the congregation to the front to receive a blessing for the various ministries and gospel endeavors they have been called to. This is similar to the way Abraham and other patriarchs blessed their sons and the way our Savior was sent forth on His mission by His Father. However, the Spirit of God soon impressed Pastor Adrian to open the invitation to the older men and to us women as well until everyone who coveted the blessing had an opportunity to receive it.  Time seemed to stand still during that service.

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I stood in the front with the others to support those receiving the blessing, but I didn’t kneel down to be singled out by name to receive one, choosing instead to return to my seat, in tears. The evil one convinced me that I was woefully inadequate, that I was too unworthy, too unclean, to receive such a blessing. I didn’t believe the blessing was for me.

As I sat crying out to my Savior, “Help Thou mine unbelief”, a caring brother and sister gently encouraged me to go forward, saying that although I could be blessed right there at my seat, I would receive a greater blessing and greater healing by going forward, so I very reluctantly returned to the front to be prayed over.

Brother Adrian’s prayer of blessing reminded me that I am a precious daughter of the King and there is a special room in the heavenly mansions prepared for me. This was music to my gypsy ears, and sweet healing flowed to my soul through the Spirit of Christ.

Another blessed event was having the opportunity to be re-baptized along with 10 others. (I had desired re-baptism for more than 5 years, ever since I was reconverted in Canada.) Ellen White says,

“The Lord calls for a decided reformation. And when a soul is truly reconverted, let him be rebaptized. Let him renew his covenant with God, and God will renew His covenant with him. . . . Reconversion must take place among the members, that as God’s witnesses they may testify to the authoritative power of the truth that sanctifies the soul.” Letter 63, 1903.  {Ev 375.2}

An added motivation for my request for re-baptism was my new understanding of the truth about the relationship between the Father and the Son, the culmination of more than 2 years of intense study about what it means to know and love the one true God.

As I publicly asked my Kinsman-Redeemer to spread His skirt over me, His handmaiden, I submitted myself to the headship of Christ in the waters of baptism and accepted the ‘covering’ our heavenly Father has provided through the righteousness of His only begotten Son. What a joy to share this solemn and triumphant occasion with my brothers and sisters in Christ!

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The love and acceptance I experienced during those two weeks was a welcome relief to the years of rejection and misunderstanding that the locusts had eaten. We pressed together with one another, putting aside all envy and malice, repenting freely in this safe place, to the glory of our Father in heaven who longs to see His children of one heart and mind, the heart and mind of His beloved Son.

I praise the Father also for providing a waterfall as the location for our baptism. For me, it was especially meaningful because of the healing I experienced while living near a waterfall in Costa Rica for three blissful months. It was beside that waterfall that I received inspiration for my book about depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, “Shine for Me, Blue Butterfly!” and was called to shine for Him.

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But wait! There’s more! Twenty-four hours before my flight back to Minneapolis, the community of faith there offered me a part-time position. This was just one day before I was due to arrive at a homeless shelter for Christian women in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, my new home.

Although at this point I may not fully appreciate the heavenly humor in such timing (my human cry is, “Abba, why did You wait until the very last minute?”), I delight in the peace that I experienced with my Saviour during the very midst of the storm. He is faithful who hath promised. I know I can trust Him.

The transition for me – from being one day away from needing to accept the ‘covering’ of the State of Wisconsin to being offered the ‘covering’ of this community of faith – has my head and heart spinning. Praise the Father for His precious balm in Gilead!

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Regarding answered prayer, Sister White says,

“The answer may come with sudden velocity and overpowering might, or it may be delayed for days and weeks, and our faith receive a trial. But God knows how and when to answer our prayer. It is our part of the work to put ourselves in connection with the divine channel. God is responsible for His part of the work. He is faithful who hath promised. The great and important matter with us is to be of one heart and mind, putting aside all envy and malice and, as humble supplicants, to watch and wait. Jesus, our Representative and Head, is ready to do for us what He did for the praying, watching ones on the Day of Pentecost.” 3SP 272 (1878).  {LDE 194.2} 

As an unmarried woman, a ‘widow’ so to speak, with an invisible disability, I have desperately needed this covering for many years. Until now, no church has accepted caring for me as part of their responsibility. But finally the Father has lead me to a flock, a body of believers who are willing to be a channel of blessing for me, who have accepted me and my specific needs, and who are willing to work with me that I may flourish and grow in a safe place. The Father has blessed me tremendously in this, and I pray that I can reciprocate by being a channel of blessing to other people in pain and need. My heart’s desire is that as I experience the Spirit of our Savior, the life of the Father will flow through me that I may minister to those in my circle of influence. The Spirit of the Savior was that He was willing to let go of His relationship with His Father so that we might have the opportunity to love the Father.

I plead for this experience of submission, and I pray that you will plead for the same, that He will give us the understanding of the value of one soul so that we can’t get off our knees until the Spirit of Christ is interceding for this person. Then as we allow the Spirit to move in our lives, that person can see just how loving He is and choose whether to have Christ as their Savior and King. This is my passion and purpose as I seek a more intimate relationship with my Divine Beloved.

“We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. . . . The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.”  {FLB 246.6}

I placed myself in the channel of blessing by attending the camp meeting in Georgia, and now, praise the Father, I am a new woman in Christ with new opportunities to serve the body of Christ in a new place, and with a new purpose! I have been blessed me far beyond I could ever ask or imagine. It’s time to enjoy the ‘abundantly above all’ blessings He has drenched me with. I am soaked to the skin in the Father’s mercy.

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” Ephesians 3:20.

 

 

Youtube video on PMDD

Today I uploaded my first youtube video. Not as simple to create as it looks and I sure struggled with this project, but I invite you to take a look (and a listen)! Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/Rt1w0bw8qYo

Moving on to another chapter of my so-called life next week. Will write an update when the dust settles…

By the way, you computer geeks out there or anyone who knows more than I do about youtube videos (which included some 5 and 6 year olds probably…), please let me know what I can do to improve my presentation. Teach me something new!

Butterflies Use Amtrak

Here are a few photos, as promised… A bit of explanation: the trip originated in Atlanta, Georgia and we traveled north through Washington, DC, then west through Chicago all the way to Seattle. The sunset was in Montanta if my memory serves me correctly and the flowers and slug were in the Seattle area. The building with the flags is on the campus of Central Washington University in beautiful Ellensburg where I’ve been enjoying fresh fruit all summer, some of it straight from the trees!