OCTOBER 26, 1996
Westlake Village, CA
Edited, SEPTEMBER 25, 2008
"For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this" (Isaiah 37:32 NIV).
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace" (Romans 11:5).
Chapter Six, Verse Six
I think this may be the last chapter of this book. I'm not sure why I think it, but I do. When I finish, then probably, the publishers will appear at the door step, and my literary career will be launched. At least, I finally got to the place that when people say, "You ought to be a writer," I don't deny it. I say, "I am a writer. I'm not a published writer, but I am a writer." Yesterday morning, God gave me the melody for the song at the end of this chapter, and this morning He gave me the rest of the words. I'm deeply moved by these messages of hope and redemption for Israel, for the remnant, the elect, the reserved of Judah (Jer. 50:20), whom God says through the prophet Jeremiah that He will pardon. In my spirit, I believe that this is that day of which the old prophets spoke, that we are the remnant, the elect, and that God is about ready to collect His own and begin the restoration and salvation of His entire creation for which every heart yearns, whether they be Christian or Jew, Moslem or Hindu, New Age or Old Age, Pagan or "The Church of What's Happening Now."
Jeremiah prophesied, "In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping; they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, 'Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten'" (Jeremiah 50:4-5). For a nineties kind of woman such as I am, it took a powerful move of God's Spirit to get me immersed in these old prophets. Of course, God nudged me in that direction because I have no money with which to buy books, and so I have sort of been left with nothing else to read but the Bible. Nevertheless, human drama on this grand scale, this multigenerational saga of nations and warfare, glory and defeat, love and hate, betrayal and courage, valor and faith can't be matched by the most articulate, gifted novelists on the planet, not now or ever. I suppose that's why the Bible contains "The greatest stories ever told." It's true. And, amazingly, these words of hope and comfort are as fresh and brightly burning within my heart today as they must have been when they first fell from the prophets' lips.
I was remarking to Lenny this morning that sometimes, Jeremiah and Ezekiel especially, get so wrapped up in delivering their message of wrath and retaliation for Israel's sins, that wrath seems to be all there is. They remind me of one of our firebrand acquaintances, who said with more zeal than knowledge, "Jesus is coming soon, and Boy! Is he pissed!" Anyway, there's so much gloom and doom and thundering in some of these books, that I want to get into my bed and hide under the covers until the storm passes. Isaiah, on the other hand, sees over and above the wrath, to the eternal, abiding love of the Lord God almighty for His beloved. Listen to this: "Sing, O Heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O Mountains; for the Lord has comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. But Zion said, 'The Lord has forsaken me; and my Lord has forgotten me.' Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 'Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me'" (Isaiah 49:13-16). Isn't that wonderful? It also explains, if you ask me, why in creating his glorious arias in "The Messiah," Handel chose more passages from Isaiah, than from Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
I woke up this morning thinking about this feminine self that I have reconnected with, and who has been disenfranchised in me for so long. We got a letter from two other mystical type friends yesterday, Bettie and Marvin Cope. In her letter, Bettie recounts her struggles to allow God to heal the internal warfare between her masculine and feminine selves. She's talked about that for a long time, but I never quite thought of it as warfare in just that way. In her, the warfare became so great that she got to the place where, as she puts it, she "just couldn't fry the eggs." The inner conflict caused her to be unable to function. My sister has miraculously come out of a similar situation, though she had miserable childhood abuse experiences that precipitated her nervous "break through" as she now refers to it. Nevertheless, I can see that part of the trauma which contributed to the disintegration of her emotional life was that for years and years, she forced her feminine self into functioning in a masculine role in order to do her job. She could not entirely disown her feminine self because it was too powerful, but vitality and other right brain strengths such as hers, have a rough go of it without the appropriate structure usually provided by the various left brain functions.
Integration of all our selves, male and female, is the key. Voice Dialogue has become a powerful tool for Lenny and me. It allows the voices to speak to us and tell us their pain, discomfort, anger, or praise to God. The female voice told me this morning that she does not like real estate because her feelings ALWAYS have to take a back seat to the client's needs. "It's a game," she said, which she is VERY tired of playing! I understand that. My sister Marilyn has done some wonderful seminars on the topic of burn out prevention. One of the precipitating causes of burn out is forcing one's self to continue to do the job, even when it isn't working out. It seems to me that all those real estate trainers mentioned in the chapter entitled "Baggage from Babylon," need to heed this advice.
When a person constantly has to beat himself or herself up in order to do a hated task, someone inside rebels; sits down on the job, and quits. If one is unable or unwilling to hear the cries, the protests, and the threats from these voices, it's been my experience that, the disowned self, the disenfranchised voice will fix me, but good. My body will break down and I'm history. It happens to me when I don't listen. In fact, the ONLY time I get sick now is when I don't heed the internal prompting, but continue to force myself to do either something that I hate, or something that just isn't working. Obviously, I realize, that we all have to do things we'd rather not do from time to time, and we're all coming from different places. I'm so obsessive-compulsive by nature that my lesson is going to be different than the person who never even tries, or who avoids responsibility at all costs. It seems to me that we're all being moved away from dysfunctional ways of behaving, toward wholeness; from darkness into light, from our efforts to control, toward acknowledging God's control. God will not use the same methods of healing on any two people because we're all so different.
It surely looks to me like He's speeded up the process as well. The older people I knew when I was growing up didn't make major shifts in their lives or in their thinking. They were born, followed a set of rules handed down to them by their parents, which they in turn, handed down to their children. They lived their lives by the rules, as best they could, and then they died. My life has been in a state of flux for as long as I can remember. Somehow the scripture came to me, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent" (Acts. 17:30). In other words, God let things slide for a long while, but now, He's changing the program, and asking us to change our minds (repent) about Him and ourselves as well.
All the politicians, especially those seeking reelection this November, will tell you that the problems of the world will be resolved and peace and prosperity will reign supreme if we just vote out those folks of questionable parentage who are in office, and vote these guys in. Or maybe, they tell us that if we just give them four more years, they'll finish the job they started because they have just the tiniest little bit of work left to do. It has been a terrible temptation for me, but I'm trying not to give my snide, though accurate, evaluation of politics in general and presidential politics in particular. I'm praying for strength to resist this temptation. Why? Well, because there's a fifty-fifty chance that those two moth eaten mystics who might buy this book are followers of the political party I expose. That's an unacceptable risk, don't you think? I'll just say in passing that when we lived in Houston, Texas, years ago, we seemed to get lots of calls from this candidate or that one. I would always say, "Oh, I don't vote. It only encourages them." Just kidding, but it shut up the callers. There would always be a stunned silence on the other end of the line.
I have a friend who told me that she heard on the 700 Club that Christians everywhere are fasting and praying about the '96 election. I probably caused her to go into her prayer closet, "plead the blood," and bind and cast the demons off me because I told her, "Fasting would no doubt do wonders for my thighs, but I doubt if it would impress God. I think He's probably got it all figured out without my help! In fact, He might appreciate it if I quit trying to control Him." Sorry, I couldn't resist just a little truth, cynical though it may be. After reading Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, to name a few, I think whatever happens on the world stage is totally under God's control. If not, fasting just doesn't seem quite powerful enough to get the job done. We need to get out those pitchforks, storm the battlements, and throw the king into the moat with the crocodiles. Oh well, politics is one great way to keep people off the streets and into bars. As an aside, though, I would like to know what kind of vitamins those old sons are taking.
The beautiful thing to me about God's promises to the remnant is that it's clear that when the time comes, He will do whatever is necessary to accomplish HIS will. Isaiah told King Hezekiah, "And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion; the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this" (I Kings 19:30-31). It is thrilling to me that whatever has to happen, and it's plain that a lot has to happen before the creation is restored, God says HE will do it. The zeal of the Lord will perform it! That lets me off the hook. By the way, in case anyone other than those two mystics should read this, let me say that I'm not saying there's nothing for me to do, ever. Mystics understand that what I mean is that God will call me when He wants me to do something, and He'll do it through me. If He doesn't call me, whatever I do is just self effort. One writer said that anyone could have done what Moses did, if God called him and empowered him to do it. I believe that is a true and accurate statement. The people who protest the most about my statements about God doing it all, are usually the ones who still think they are in control. Oh well, it's God's job to amend their theology, not mine.
October 28, 1996
I am so totally shaken up today. Lenny went down to negotiate with the owner of the real estate franchise where we work about the money we owe them. The details don't matter, but depending on the outcome, what we're facing is what feels like the end of our career in real estate. That might be the best thing if God has anything else in mind, but if He does, He sure isn't telling us. When someone says about themselves as I just did, "I'm all shook up," it turns out that's a very Biblical concept. I wondered why all these scriptures about God shaking the heavens and the earth have been coming to me, and now I know. For as I've said before, the heavens and the earth are right here inside of me on a mystical level. I'm going to include some of these scriptures and then comment on what I got out of them for my life: "For thus says the LORD of hosts: Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor, says the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:6-7). You'll probably recognize that verse from having heard it in Handel's "Messiah."
I did an entire journal on this topic, in which I included the blessing I got from reading Hebrews 12:18-27. There, the writer points out that we have not come to Mount Horeb (Ex. 19:18), where there was blackness, fire, darkness, and tempest, and an earthquake that shook the whole mountain. Rather, he says, we have come to Mount Zion, which the prophet Joel says is the holy mountain of God (Joel 3:17), and, we have come "unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." He explains what this means.
Since we are even now at Mount Zion (though at times I feel like for sure I'm at Horeb what with all the shaking and quaking going on), then we need to listen up to the voice that speaks to us from heaven (Vs. 25): "Whose voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, saying, 'Yet once more, I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.' And this word, 'Yet once more,' signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (Heb. 12:26-27). The result of all this shaking? The Hebrew writer says that what we can expect is that we shall receive "a kingdom which cannot be moved" (Vs. 28).
Let me just say here, that it will be a welcome relief to have a kingdom which cannot be moved. Living in California, where the earth moves, buckles, and destroys on a regular basis, I know what an earthquake feels like. There's nothing quite like it. No words can really describe the feeling of terror, the utter amazement, and the lack of control to do anything but just hang on until the bucking and rolling stop. After that, there is the certain fearful looking at the judgment caused by the destruction. That's exactly how I feel emotionally on this financial roller coaster ride we've been on. Actually, that's not an accurate metaphor because roller coasters go up as well as down, and we've been on a down ward spiral for so long that there's no "up" in sight. It feels like we've been catapulted into the chute which ends up in hell. In any event, throughout the whole thing, I have had some relief and some peace in knowing that God was doing the shaking and that whatever is destroyed, needs to go, and whatever remains is who He is, and who I will be when He is revealed in me.
As I said in the chapter on Babylon, hell fire is redemptive because it burns off the dross. The recent Southern California wild fires reminded me again that fire really does not destroy matter. It merely changes its substance or outward appearance. And when we go through the fires of hell in our lives, we will be changed from our earthly form to our heavenly form (I Cor. 15:51). Interestingly enough, the words the Apostle John uses to describe those who will be thrown into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, are words which describe behaviors: the fearful (Don't you find it fascinating that this is number one on the list?), the unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars (Ex. 21:8). As our friend John Gavazzoni has pointed out, people behave in those ways because they do not know that God loves them and lives in them. I believe that those false selves will be burned up and all that remains is that which God loves and wants to fellowship with forever.
All these scriptures about shaking the heavens and the earth came together for me this morning when I reread this verse in Revelation 16:17-19: "And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, 'It is done.' And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath." When the world's systems completely fail for us, and don't work anymore the way we've always counted on them to work, our heaven and our earth shakes, quakes, and everything that we counted as important comes to naught. That's more baggage from Babylon, big time!
I mentioned that Lenny went down to talk to the owners of the real estate franchise where we work. He went there to tell them that we have no way to pay the office bill, and that we have little choice but to leave the company and continue our real estate business from the Mom and Pop company we still own called Heart Realty. When he drove off, I felt two things: 1) terrible that he had to go there and do that alone, for I knew the owners would be very upset, and 2) afraid of what would become of us without the relocation network which has supplied us so much business over the years. I felt like we were in a tiny life raft in the middle of the Atlantic and we were about to shoot a hole in it with a gun.
He called me about an hour and a half later to say that they had made us an offer to stay in the company, working on a split commission basis. That means that we give them a percentage of every escrow that closes, and they will pay the bills as we go along. They are taking a terrible chance here, it seems to me, because if God doesn't change the program, they will have nothing and neither will we. I did feel a wave of relief though, because our health insurance is with the company and I am not in an emotional place right now where I can stand the thought of losing it totally. I felt very grateful that Lenny had gone in and talked to them, because I was too emotionally trashed to do so or even go with him. In addition to relief, I saw something very important which I'll try to explain and describe here.
Before Lenny and I married, he had been given an assignment by God to remodel an old commercial building for the Hillcrest Christian Center, making it into a combination church facility and school. He finished that task successfully, and so when we married, he joined me in the real estate business. Because I had 9 years of experience by then, it was sort of "my business." Lenny is a far better sales person than I am, but my expertise is opening and closing escrows (until lately, that is). So, I always sort of took the lead position. He always says that God took his ego and melted it down years ago, and so he says he didn't mind that I did that. This female part of me did mind, though I didn't realize it until today. I heard her say, "I don't want to do this anymore. I hate selling real estate!" I thought, "Boy, where does that leave us?" Anyway, after I realized that a) I was incapable of going to the office for anything, let alone negotiating money with the owners of the franchise, and b) that I'm tired of being the "husband" in our business relationship, it all began to come into focus for me.
The shaking, the quaking, the devastation of our "business heaven and earth" began to make sense. The problem is that I don't know what a husband is or does, and I don't know what a wife is or does either! Does anyone out there know? (Deliver me from churchy answers). Lenny and I have had a lot of fun teasing each other. I would say, "I don't want to do that. That's probably what a husband does. You do it." Then, he would answer, "I'm out of practice." Touché. So, until we can figure it out, I think the fair thing is that we take turns being the wife (doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, etc.), because as Erma Bombeck once said, "Everyone needs a wife."
In my birth family, my Mother functioned like the head honcho. She ruled the roost, called the shots, and was the boss, or at least that's the way it always seemed to me. She over identified with her masculine parts such as control, power, and yes, even aggression. Dad was not feminine in any way, but he just was too emotionally wounded and physically exhausted to be there at all for me emotionally. He got up and milked the cows at the crack of dawn and again at sunset, and the rest of the day, he did his other jobs to make money. He made it; Mother was right by his side all the way, helping him earn it, and she managed it VERY well; so well in fact, that they did the unheard of thing in our family, of sending all their daughters to college. The youngest went on to medical school and became a doctor. So, their arrangement worked well for them in their relationship. They were very happy, and I can't say it was all that terrible for me, except it left me with no road map to follow in terms of my own relationships.
Now, I can see that God is tearing the whole structure of my life down in order to rebuild it by His blueprints. As Jesus said to His disciples about the temple, "the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Luke 21:6) The whole thing will be destroyed. That verse has been on my mind for days. In fact, I was telling Harry and Jeri Fox that it would describe the organized church's reaction to the manifestation of the sons of God. Little did I realize, that it is, in fact, a description of what God is doing in my life now, and in this hour. The comfort from that verse for me, is that Jesus told them that in three days, the temple would be raised up again (John 2:19). Likewise, I'm looking forward to being raised up on the third day to resurrection life.
Thinking He meant the literal temple that stood in the literal city of Jerusalem, the religious leaders mocked him while he hung on the cross, saying, "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildeth it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matt. 27:40). The problem was the same for them then as it is for us today. We don't want to hear that the way to resurrection is the way of the cross. And when our earthly temple begins to be shaken down, we cry out to God to save us, little realizing that this is precisely the way that He is saving us. There is a verse in Joel 3:16 which says, "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." I personally need to read this verse about every 15 minutes to remind myself that the Lord's hand is not shortened at all, so that He cannot redeem, and He still has power to deliver (Is. 50:2). Sometimes, however, I doubt this and the fear takes me over. That's not a happy event, and I know that I'm like the disciples who, panicking at the storm on the sea, woke up Jesus, who was sleeping in the boat. No doubt, He would say to me the same thing He said to them, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matt. 14:31).
October 29, 1996
Speaking of fear, when I woke up this morning and looked out over the mountain, the sky was black and pregnant with rain clouds. I quickly got up and went into the kitchen and turned on the radio. They confirmed what my eyes could see: 50/50 chance of rain this afternoon. The first Pacific storm of the season is bearing down upon us and it's already raining in Oxnard (about 25 miles away) and moving toward the L. A. basin. Here we are like sitting ducks, a roof that leaks and no money for a new one. We spent all last winter with plastic on the roof, and buckets on the guest bed to catch the leaks that came through anyway in spite of Lenny's heroic efforts to stop them. In hopes of having money for a new roof, Lenny repaired the intensive damage to the guest room ceiling, re-plastered, retextured, and repainted it. He did the same in our bedroom (though fortunately, the leaks are not over our bed). He found heavier plastic at Home Depot a couple of days ago, and it looks like he'll have to scurry out there and buy it with our last dollar, and come home and put it on the roof. He has a different plan for how to secure it this year, but the problem with living on a mountain top is that we get gale force winds which whip through these canyons. Better rain and wind than fire, which we had in 1993, but still, it's something to dread with a roof like ours. Just another joy to embrace, I suppose, another chance for the zeal of the Lord to save us.
When I turned on the radio to get the weather just now, they had a blurb about a little five year old kid who got expelled from kindergarten this week for bringing a beeper to class. Why? Well, because drug dealers use beepers, of course, and they are on the school's "verboten" list. It's against the rules, don't you know. (Do you think the Religious Right controls kindergarten policy too?) And, of course, it's way easier to catch a five year old kindergarten kid than it is a drug dealer and that probably plays into this somewhere. After hearing recently about the 6 year old that got expelled for sexual harassment because he kissed a little girl in his class, I told my daughter that we'd better brace ourselves. Her oldest child, a precocious, great looking, outgoing six year old named Harrison, says outrageous things. Once he looked deeply into my eyes and said to me, "Grandma, I think I love you." He told his mother he wanted to marry a girl with beautiful hair and a lovely mouth that speaks wisely. Just let him say that on the school play ground to some little girl, and he's history. He's toast. We'll be smuggling a file into his jail cell. (We'll hide them in his chocolate chip cookies.) I think with all the fear about crime in this country, the next big demand on our tax dollars will be to build jails for recalcitrant toddlers. Think of it, diaper changing tables look sort of like jail house bunks. My knowledge is limited, of course, to what I've seen on TV. Sorry, I got carried away again. I get like this when I'm nervous.
October 30, 1996
We spent two hours yesterday putting the plastic on the roof. I'm not thrilled about heights, but I can manage the fear once I'm up there. What terrifies me is going up and down the ladder (It's tough to climb when your knees are knocking together in fear). The wind was whipping and it was absolutely necessary for me to go up there and help him. We put plastic over the entire roof and he nailed down the edges with 1"x2" boards. He laid 2"x10" boards on top of the plastic to sort of help hold it down. As the wind rose, it still flapped and bucked, and I thought of what a prospective Buyer will think looking at the blue plastic hanging over the edge. We went to bed early last night and I woke up at 11:30 to the plop, plop, plop of water pouring out of an old leak that he had repaired in the hall ceiling between our bedroom and bath. I ran for a bowl and by that time Lenny was up. He replaced the bowl with a 5 gallon bucket, and made a small hole for the water to spill out. (If he hadn't done that, it would have spread over the ceiling and come out who knows where?) The water poured out of the hole like water running from a hose. He emptied that 5 gallon bucket three times last night and again this morning. Wonderful, ain't it? As Job and Jan would say, "That which we greatly feared has come upon us."
I got up this morning and sat down in front of the fire to read. My morning selection was Nehemiah. Now there was someone who was also acquainted with major repairs, rubble, and trouble all around. My friend Bettie had sent me a little book written by a friend of hers called, "Treasures of Darkness." It was written by a woman who was testifying about how her union with Christ has allowed her to suffer all sorts of life's worst tragedies: a drug addicted son, a son killed in a car crash, extreme depression, and on and on, while living an overcoming life through her union with Christ. While I appreciated that she had shared her experience, and felt great compassion for her suffering, still I did not resonate to her main premise which seemed to be that we have to suffer in order to get to the glory. I know it works that way sometimes, but I resist the idea that because it is true for some, we should all embrace suffering every time it comes our way. And I want to set the record straight: just because I'm saying throughout this book and my other writings that God has brought all these things upon us, I am NOT saying that this is for everyone, nor am I saying that we must travel this road in order to get to heaven (heaven being the dwelling place of God, which I think is within each of us).
In other words, I'm not into being a martyr. I no longer really resonate to the suffering Christ, the one Isaiah says is "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Is. 53:3). That was necessary for Christ in His role as Savior of men, but I don't believe each of us has to follow His path in every detail. I don't glory in His sufferings on the cross. I glory because he arose from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for me (Heb. 4:14-16). While I understand that Jesus said we must take up the cross and follow Him (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:32; Luke 9:23; Luke 24:27), I do not think that He was speaking of a literal cross. I think He meant the cross of God which crucifies our old man, our carnal self. Based on Jesus' sacrifice, and His glorious resurrection, the cross allows us to reign in heavenly places with Him. Paul said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the WORLD IS CRUCIFIED UNTO ME, and I unto the world" (Gal. 6:14). What does it mean to be crucified unto the world? I can't speak for Paul, but for me, I'm beginning to see that what it means is the sure knowledge that God is in charge of everything, and I'm not! That sounds so simple, but is so difficult when we have been taught since we were knee high to a duck that we have to do it ourselves. Everything depends on us, etc.
A dear friend from the office called me yesterday to tell me that he loves me and misses me. In the course of the conversation, I told him that strange as it sounds, I know that we're right where we're supposed to be because God has put us here for His own reasons. The friend said, "Well, you know, God helps those who help themselves." How interesting that phrase should come to me just after I had written about it in this book. Normally, I would have let it pass because this man is not a practicing Christian, though I intuit he certainly is a believer. It rose up in me to say, "It turns out, that this is just not true. The people who say it are the ones who think God is too old, too tired, too feeble, and/or too busy to be bothered with our problems. The truth is that He sends us the problems so that we know He is there, that He is in charge, and that He will turn it all into His glory. And let me just say also that I have grieved for you because I know you're having a difficult time as well, and it's tough enough to endure the chastening of the Lord when you know it is He. It must seem terrible if you don't know it because you blame yourself and think that you didn't work diligently enough or put enough energy into it, or something. I want you to know that God loves you just the way you are and He is dealing with you so that you will come to know Him." He didn't say anything to that, but I had to say it, no matter what the outcome. If it was of the Spirit, then He'll take it from here. If not, oh well, I was true to myself and that's all I require of myself.
Well, I have cheated death one more time. Wouldn't you know it, we got a call from a real estate broker who wants to show the house tomorrow. I told him the roof leaks and that we'll put a new one on through escrow for the new Buyer (from proceeds of sale, we can pay for it, you see). Meanwhile, the leaks are still drip, drip, dripping into the buckets, bowls, and containers. So, Lenny went up on the roof to take the plastic sheeting up and see if he could find where the water was coming in, in hopes of stopping the leaks before the showing tomorrow. (Our vast experience shows us that Buyer's generally prefer roofs that do not leak!) He needed me to help him, of course, and so as Lady MacBeth said, I screwed my courage to the sticking point and went up on the roof again. I hate it. I really do hate it. I feel so out of control on the wobbly ladder.
Anyway, when we rolled the plastic back, there were pools of water everywhere! How in the world did water get under that plastic? Lenny swept the water off with a broom, and we left the plastic rolled back with the 2"x10" boards on it to hold it down so that it can dry out. We're back to the drawing board, it seems, for we have not one clue as to how the water got under the plastic. In California, the rainy season came early this year. Normally, we don't get a storm like last night (3 inches), until January and February. Does this mean a really wet winter? Probably, all things being equal. The one blessing is that it also probably means the end of the fire season, and that is too wonderful for words for those of us that live out in the brush areas where the fire hazard is extreme. Still, rain is a four letter word when you have holes in your roof.
In any event, I want to end this book with the thought that everything, absolutely everything which comes into our lives comes from the hand of God and brings with it His glory, ultimately. In a previous chapter, I related a dream I had in which the Lord told me He was sending us to Jerusalem. I protested that we couldn't go for we have no money. He said, "Don't worry, I've found you a free place to stay." The title to this chapter, "Joy From Jerusalem," kept coming to me, until I finally got it. That's where the Lord is sending me, and the time is now! Of course, if I am the temple of God, then Jerusalem (the holy city of God), is located within me, and that's where I have to go to get the goodies God has for each one of us. How could this be? Jesus said that the Kingdom is within (Luke 17:20-21); Paul said that the kingdom of God is not "food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
* Editor's note: God performed His word to send us to Jerusalem twice: once in March, 2000, and again in March, 2005. As He said, it was free to us thanks to the incredible generosity of my sister Mary and her husband Bob Blattner.
Therefore, the peace which passes understanding (Phil. 4:7), and the joy of the Lord which is my strength (Neh. 8:10), are all within me. And so they are, for in spite of a roof that leaks, no money to pay the house payment, or anything else for that matter, there is great joy welling up within me, no matter what the circumstances may be, making what we have to endure bearable. Though it is not provable in a court of law, in my spirit, I know that God is working with the remnant right now, the elect, in order to accomplish the purpose He has had from before the foundations of the world. For that reason, I think the passage in II Kings 19:31, bears repeating, "For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion; the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this." Isaiah told us who would be our leader: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD OF HOSTS WILL PERFORM THIS" (Isaiah 9:6-7).
And this is what it's all about. This is why our heaven and earth has been shaken. God is revealing the kingdom within us which cannot be moved. The angel of the Lord revealed to Mary, that Jesus would reign from the throne of his father David, and that he would reign over the house of Jacob for ever in his kingdom which has no end (Lk. 1:31-33). In our travels with God, we have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, "the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12:22-23). Our God is in the process of bringing His word to pass. We look expectantly to see all the prophecies fulfilled: "For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isaiah 51:3).
I told Lenny yesterday that it looks like I'm as nutty as all the other crackpots who have run around saying, "The Lord is coming again in 19___." And while I don't deny being a genuine crackpot, mad for God as it were, nevertheless, the difference here is that I'm not giving a date for the coming of the Lord. I'm declaring that He's already here! He lives in us! He reigns supreme in our hearts. He is, even now, the King of kings and Lord of lords! When I say that I have heard the seventh trumpet sound, what I mean is that Jesus is here even as we speak! He's riding on a white horse, crowned with many crowns, followed by all the armies in heaven (Rev. 19:11-16). His work is done and the great voices in heaven are saying, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 11:15). What it means to be crucified to the world is to realize that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal, and to realize that all our trials and sufferings are but a "light affliction, which is but for a moment, working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Cor. 4:17-18).
As Lenny said after we got back down from the roof, "This sure doesn't do your flesh any good." He's right about that! However, Paul gave us this assurance, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (our flesh), were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (II Cor. 5:1). And, truly, certainly, this earthly tabernacle often groans under the heavy burden of our lives. During these times of stress, we are "earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven," and we long for the day when, "mortality might be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:1-4).
Nevertheless, we hang in, we cling to God's unchanging hand, and we look forward to the day when "the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away" (Isaiah 51:11). To be continued.......
Editor's Note: The melody for this song the Lord gave me is on the website. It takes longer than I wanted for it to load, and I'm working on that. J.A.
Bring the Sheep Back Home
The night is dark; the sheep are gone. They all have run away. The Shepherd goes to find the flock, and bring back every stray. The Shepherd leads them by the hand, wherever they may roam; He goes upon the mountain dark, to bring the sheep back home.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Why have you gone astray. The prophets and the priests of God, said there would come a day, when God will take you by the hand, wherever you may roam. He'll go upon the mountain dark, and bring His sheep back home.
Oh Zion, holy mount of God, The Lord shall comfort thee! Rise up and shout! And praise His name! For He has set you free. The Lord will comfort Judah, wherever she may roam. He'll go upon the mountain dark, and bring His sheep back home.
By Jan Austin Antonsson, October, 1996
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to Faxes From the Fiery Furnace
Faxes From The Fiery Furnace, Chapter One
Shame From Shiloh, Chapter Two
E-Mail from Armageddon, Chapter Three
Baggage From Babylon, Chapter Four
Just A Note From Job, Chapter Five
Memo From Moses, Chapter Seven
Dancing with the Devil, Chapter Eight
News From Neosho, Chapter Nine
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
This writing was uploaded to the web 8/26/05,
by Jan Antonsson, webmeister,
and last updated 12/04/08.