Does “Deserve” Deserve to be Said?

For years now, whenever I hear the word “deserve” whether used in a “positive” sense like “Forget a birth day, you deserve a birth month!” “I deserve to be treated like the queen I am.” or a more negative one like “that creeper deserves a death sentence!” “I deserve to be punished for what I just thought.”, my spirit cringes. I ask myself, Who is to say who deserves what? Certainly not us. And, do any of us really deserve anything, whether good or bad? Who judges that? If camped too firmly on the positive, it can lead to self-entitlement and self-absorption. If camped to firmly on the negative, a spirit of shame and condemnation.

Since the line is so easily blurred (or stepped over) I just stopped using the word deserve, altogether. Instead, I try to think of the good things as ways to be healthy, balanced or right again. And the bad? I ask God to give me his heart on the subject and respond how he would. I think of Jesus – Is it just me, or does sin seem to make him more…sad than anything? Can you picture his face when he looked at the crowd of men with stone-filled fists ready to unleash at the woman caught in adultery? The whole situation must have torn his heart. But mercy triumphed, as it did wherever he stepped foot. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jn 8:11. 1. I don’t condemn 2.Go on – move on. 3. leave that life of sin – stop doing it. You can. ~ There was never a mention of what she deserved. Only acceptance, empowerment and a command.

It seems like the blood that Jesus Christ willingly shed proves he deems us worthy of every one of its benefits. Worthy of Kingdom living. Freedom. Abundance. For us to admit this seems like arrogant heresy – “Look at me! I’m worthy of receiving all he’s offered!” Ha! – Sounds so foreign to even type that, as I’m used to singing to my King, “YOU are worthy!” not “I am worthy!” But if God didn’t love us so much and deem us worthy of being adopted into his royal family – if He didn’t deem us worthy of offering us salvation in every way, he wouldn’t have come at all. He does what he pleases. So to Him, we must be worthy of his love and salvation. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that we would be saved.

This worthiness though – it differs from the idea of “deserving”. As closely-related as they seem, they’re different. Deserve derives from an Old French word, “deservir”, which is originally from Latin, and means to serve zealously or to merit.  No one deserves God’s favor, gifts, blessings. It’s only by the gift of grace, received through faith that we’re saved or given anything of God. Deserving, I believe, always implies there was a working for or toward an end. A doing of something enough to cause a particular outcome. A performing. “She did this, so she deserves…” (I shudder even typing it). And when it comes to salvation, that sounds like the polar opposite of what we have in Christ. That sounds like a spirit of religion – a doing in order to receive or be received. Not a simply being. Simply believing. Simply receiving a gift. So after all my thinking so far, that my conclusion – so far. To be worthy, at least in the faith, is not the same as deserving.

And I still don’t like the word deserve.
I wonder if anyone else doesn’t like it either?

Angel’s 10th Birthday

Our lil one turned DOUBLE digits this weekend. We still could not be any more in love with her. Her sweet as honey-heart, her silly-face smiles, her long, wavy ombre’ hair,  her observant, serving ways, her memory like an elephant, her health-consciousness, her get-dirty-adventurous side… We do love her and see Jesus shining out of her every day. Still, after 10 years. Below are some photos I took over the weekend and the video taken at Papa and Gigi’s where she blew out all her 10 candles in her Funfetti cupcakes…or, at least she thought she did.








After the 2nd evening of celebrating was all over last night, Ricky and I stayed up until 11:48 just sitting in the living room talking about the revelations that God has given us over the last year, and how we can convey truth in love to others, without being upset or coming across as mad in any way, that so many people really are deceived and resist changing the way they think because they believe what they have been taught is the biblical truth, even without really digging in and reading it for themselves in context. The look of the Gospel has changed in our perceptions, and so has our perception of God himself. Jesus too. It has all changed. They haven’t of course. But we have. It is beautifully frustrating, fulfilling and freeing all at the same time. And I never thought I’d get to stay up late and talk about things like this and grow deep in Him with my husband like we do now. It was only a dream years ago. But a heart-shift can happen at any moment, if we are open to learning truth – to seeing it for what it is, and abandoning all else but that truth. To walk in it, especially alongside your spouse for life – is an incredible gift. A treasure. I am so grateful.

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Carol? Why?

Have you given some thought to the lyrics of “O Holy Night“? It has been my favorite for years. The words ring and resound with hope, rest and freedom from slavery.  If you take it a step further, the slavery can mean anything that someone is kept in bondage to. A stronghold they can’t seem to get away from, and that has control over them in some way.  There is hope for these among us. And we can share it.

This final verse is especially powerful:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease

Let the words of this hymn fill your heart. And bring you into a space and time of pure praise.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
…”

An Evening with Bob Hazlett

You know how it feels after a long day where your muscles are fatigued and you slip into a hot tub and you just rest – rest in that warmth and feel-goodness and let it just surround and envelope you?

That is how I feel this morning and last night after I left an event at Grace Chapel church in Wilsonville.  I decided to detail the evening here so that I would not forget what I experienced.

I had discovered quite by accident that a man from Connecticut was in town speaking, at that small church. And thought, what are the chances? This man, Bob Hazlett, I had seen online and listened to whatever I could of his, back in Feb/Mar of this year, 2016. I sensed a calmness, a humility, and also a power about him, as he would meet people in an audience or anywhere, really, and God would give him a bit of knowledge in that moment about that person he would not otherwise know. To me, the gift of prophecy can be so encouraging when it is exercised correctly. There are just two people I know of with this gift, who I would actually go and see/hear, Shawn Bolz and Bob Hazlett.

It was a struggle to get to the point of actually going. My husband doesn’t feel the need to go many events in general, so he questioned my need as well. It brought up an hour long discussion and long story, short, I told him I’d already got my one ticket for $20, and he did not have to feel pressure to go with me. I just like being with him. After a while, when tensions settled in the home, we hugged and he opted to stay home with Angel.

I had posted on FB that I was intending to go and would save anyone a seat if they wanted to as well. Who knew? Out of all my FB friends, there may have been one that felt led to attend this as well. My mom and dad, who I’d told about it days before, decided against it, but an acquaintance of mine I know through Gunnar Simonson, music artist Manager, Raymond De Silva, replied, to my surprise. He was on his way, I was there 45 minutes early, and the seat I was saving in row 2, center, was his. This, I believe, was ordained by God. If Ricky would have gone with me, I probably would have not posted the announcement on FB. But I did, and I soon realized, the dynamic was a certain way for a certain reason.

I sat there alone for about 20 minutes getting lost in the worship as the team practiced their songs for the evening worship time. Already, I had sensed the presence of God in that place. Maybe it began in me, and I was already to the point of fullness in my spirit, that just a song or two of truth and lyrics sent me into overflowing with tears as I sat there.

Before it started, Raymond and I talked. Mostly I talked. God gave me two examples to tell him to testify of my own personal experiences with speaking healing of life into people, in a strange or miraculous way. It was so fun to recall and retell of my stories of the man whose back was healed at the Doctor’s office lobby, and of Solomon, the Muslim from Senegal who I met on a walk one day and he amazingly let me pray for him to know Jesus in a personal way.

The event, called Kingdom Come, started with what seemed like over an hour of worship time. Precious moment after moment in his presence. Just one song I did not know.  I was in love with God. I did not care about how or if anyone saw me as I expressed myself in worship. He was all that mattered. Between songs at one point, we prayed for those around us who needed prayer for anything. The young woman near me had her hand raised and I zoomed over to her. I got to pray healing over her anxiety and related stomach pain. I knew I was supposed to pray for that, for God had delivered me of that same exact thing ten years ago. I told her all about it with such excitement. TEN years ago. And worship and surrender was what healed me of it one day. After that day, I had two more panick attacks, and then nothing. Not one more. For ten years. Allison was so excited to hear this. Her eyes were wide and they were glued on me as I testified of God’s power.

When Bob went up to speak, he first talked about the meaning of the word Hallelujah and what the root, halal means. It denotes what lamps and celestial bodies do: shine, emit light. It also means to be boastful or to praise. I looked it up later and found that in just a couple places in the Bible, it means “to be insane, or rather irrational, speaking nonsense”. I guess that when we yell Hallelujah, to some, it can seem rather irrational! But Bob had people who needed healing there, identify themselves and we’d all yell out Hallelujah three times and on the third, we all yelled, clapped, etc.praising our God as he healed many of them. And this is what happened. Those who experienced healing came up in front of us all and he quickly went down the line with his microphone asking what it was and how they feel now. About ten people in all. Great way to raise the faith level in the place from the get-go. It was like primer for the paint.

As he prayed over one woman, he mentioned her being a seer. I leaned over to Raymond, and  asked if he knew what that was, because I didn’t, just a year ago. He said no, so I explained it was someone who could somehow see into the spirit realm, and see with their eyes, both demonic and angelic spirits. He just nodded.

When Bob spoke, it was on persevering in suffering, from Romans 5, but in relation to not finding break-through in the healing you have been seeking and praying for.  He encouraged us to continue praying and believing the truth of God’s word, for it is true. Even when our perceived reality does not match up with what we read to be true and possible in the Word. When we focus on the reality of lack or pain opposed to the truth of what Jesus says is possible and shows again and again is his will (complete restoration, God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven), hopelessness begins to take hold. When that happens, it is like the tension of the truth rubs up against our current reality and creates a rut. When that rut is rubbed up against for a long time, our hope seems further and further away. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12) but a longing fulfilled is the tree of life.

Here is the text of Romans 5: 1-5, amplified, of which he focused on 3-5:

Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The message was very encouraging. After he finished, he offered people to come forward and receive prayer from designated people with prayer badges on, which I don’t really agree with because I believe if we are filled with the Spirit, we can all pray and the same Spirit will work through us all. But I still went forward to receive prayer (I suppose out of tradition) on behalf of my mom, who asked for prayer on that FB thread I’d posted. So we prayed healing over her back and also restoration in her spirit and that God’s love would drive out all worry and fear in Jesus’ Name, for worry and fear have proven to compound back pain and effect the back pulling it back into a state of pain and tension, where it becomes a cycle. So we prayed against all of it, believing God would and has in fact already done a good and restoring work in her in both ways.

After the prayer time at the end, I sat back down and Raymond told me that the man in front of him prayed for him and told him the Lord gave him a picture of a plane taking off – this was evidence to him. Raymond had told me initially that part of why he came was to hear from God as to weather He is calling him to move to Nashville for business endeavors. It was so funny as he shared it with me, I asked if he’d told that man anything about his dilema and he said, no. I only told him my name. His excitement was showing in his face as he spoke and then he stopped and said, “Drop the mic.” We both laughed. I think he might be moving to Nashville.

As we sat and talked for about a half hour, he admitted to me that he has been able to see into the spirit realm since he was a child so clearly at times, he could not distinguish the difference between human beings and spirit beings. I told him maybe he could read the book, The Veil, whose author writes about his own same gift.

The Lord gave me several words for him: one had to do with him being a nucleus (I didn’t say that but I pictured that) where he’s a source of truth for the artists he will be working with, and his influence in words will affect each musician for the benefit of the kingdom. I also drew in his little notebook, a picture God gave me of a stick shift. That tonight would mark a unique moment in his life where he was going from N or D to 4D – like, off-roading – in the spirit! Sounds funny, but he related. He admitted he’d felt like he was just on cruise control, and agreed, he could see how all he was now understanding was going to take him into a deeper level with God, and that this stick shift was special in that it had no end to how many gears it had – we can always go deeper with God. So really going into 4D with him – is just the beginning.  AMAZING!

We walked to the book tables as they were packing up. He wanted to buy Bob’s book, “Think Like Heaven”. After the purchase, I just thought I’d take the opportunity to meet him since he was right there. I used to get a bit starry-eyed at guest speakers, etc. But not anymore. It was very cool to recognize that I saw him just like me or any other believer who’s been baptized in the powerful Spirit of God.

He shook my hand, asked my name and its meaning. I told him Chelan, Bubbling Waters.

Chelan, are you a musician, by chance?

Yes, I sing.

I think that the Lord is going to use your voice to heal people. I see you singing over the sick and them being restored.

That’s amazing. I’d forgotten about it, but you’re the third person to prophesy that about me. One time I actually went to a hospital to pray for someone in a coma and within that week, God brought him out of it and he regained all functions in his body again.

Do you work in the medical profession?

Well, I guess so. Yes.

What do you do?

I’m a caregiver.

Ok, that is right where God will use your gift of song. Do you ever sing to your clients or around them?

Yes. I do.

Keep doing that. He will use your voice in song to bring healing to them.

I will. Thank you.

And that was that. He had not a clue who I was, but God spoke right through him specifically to me about what He wants me to do and keep doing, in order to bring restoration to the people he loves. And to bring him glory.

All glory to God… This was certainly a night to remember for me. A good example of being in an atmosphere of believers where faith is rising all the time, and God is speaking, hearts are changing and his people are being given the tools and fire under their seats to go and do what Jesus has called us to do, each of us using our unique gifts to bring him glory and people restoration and freedom.

 

Solomon and the Holy Moment

This morning I was walking with Vern one of our two waking routes, and my thoughts went to what I may say to encourage some students his weekend at an awareness event. I was thinking to say what you believe about yourself is very important. I want to communicate these things: they are…

  • One of a kind
  • Made wonderfully
  • Precious and very valuable, and
  • Nothing can diminish their value

We approached a white car that was parked into the sidewalk a ways which frustrated Vern. I laughed it off, “it’s ok, let’s just go around” I said. And we did. As we walked, I glanced up for a good look at the owner – a tall, well-dressed, dark-skinned young man with a lit cigarette in his hand . He was standing behind his white rear-end damaged car. 

As soon as I said hello, he smiled wide and said it back, quickly apologizing for how he was parked. I asked his name and he said Solomon. “Solomon!” I replied, “I like that name. It’s Biblical!” He nodded and wished me a good day. “You too!” I said back. We kept walking, and I went back to thinking of those encouraging truths, only now I was applying them to Solomon. Perhaps I should have told him, I thought to myself.  The moment is gone.

We turned the corner and continued walking at a slow pace, when I noticed that same white car had pulled up across the street from and behind us. He got out, crossed the street and approached me, saying in a slight African accent (from Senegal, to be exact), and an excited smile, “Chelan, I cannot help but thank you for saying hello to me.” “Oh, sure!” I said. God gave me an second chance, “God wants to use you in a significant way to impact the people around you – people in your sphere of influence.”

“How do you know this?   I feel as if you may have more to say to me, from your spirit.” I replied back with a smirk, “I’m sure I do!”

I am going through a very hard time in my life, as my wife has left me in March. We have two girls. My 4 year old is on the car. I am having such a hard time, I cry every day. I do not believe in divorce. I feel as if there is something more in your spirit which you can say to me.”

“Oh there is! I have the Spirit of the living God inside of me. He is a God of restoration. He makes all things new. And you feel broken because it was he who designed marriage to be an everlasting covenant. When husband-and-wife separate or divorce, that covenant is broken. That is why your heart breaks. But you must contend. Do you know what that means?” He said, “I do not.” “It means to fight for something and not give up. Be encouraged – the Lord reconciles and restores.” “But my wife”, Solomon retorted. “She is very smart, getting her Masters, but she is being childish, going to her parents who do not like me, getting their advice. They do not share my religion.” 

Vern, who was standing close by, kept trying to interject a remark and managed to finally share hope from his own life, “My wife and I have been married for 47 years!”

The dark man’s daughter, whose name was Rikeah, rolled her window down and yelled, “Daddy!” obviously tired of waiting. He yelled back a desperate, “two minutes, baby!”  The clock was ticking. Time would not be wasted.

“Do you know Jesus?” I asked him urgently. “I know he was a great prophet. I am Muslim”. “Oh, well, I don’t know much about being Muslim, but I know Jesus, and to me, he is so much more than just a prophet. He is the Son of the living God who died for our sins and rose back to life. He is my EVERYTHING! I LOVE him!”

Would you like to know him? “I do already know him” “No, I mean know him, like I know him. Time is short. Would you like me to pray with you?”   

Solomon’s countenance clearly brightened and he did not hesitate, “Yes, please!” So I took his hand in mine and my other hand crossed over, to reach his broken heart.

And I prayed something like this, “Lord Jesus, thank you for your Spirit that lives in me, and I pray the same thing for my new friend Solomon. That you would take up residence in his heart. Fill him up and give him hope for a reconciled relationship with his wife. You restore! Thank you for bringing us together like this today. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.”
Solomon hugged and thanked me. And then turned to my sweet client by his walker, hugged and thanked him as well. And ran back across the street to his daughter. 

Vern looked at me. “Well,” he said quietly, in awe of God. “That was a holy moment.”

Enough!

  
Such a good reminder.Matthew 6:1.

Sinful nature tries and pries into our sense of self worth, and the search for significance. It lies to our spirit saying, it is not enough that an unseen God sees you and all you do. You need the seen people to see you, verify you, validate you, compliment you. THEN you will be worthy. 

THEN you will be counted.

But that is a liar’s voice. Don’t be deceived. 

If Eve were there beside you, she’d surely pipe up, “ENOUGH! DON’T FALL FOR IT! That snake told me the same thing. He said if I did something, I’d be more like God! And it made me forget… I was ALREADY like God, before he opened his toothy mouth and spoke his intrusive words that leapt straight into my being! Why did I believe him?? Do not make my mistake. Stand firm in who you already are, whole and complete. You are like God already, made in his image and likeness. Like I was! You have nothing to prove to yourself, to God, or to anyone else. Please believe me, you have only to be who he made you to be…ENOUGH.”