4/28/2006

Dreams are Filters

If God is going to use my music for His Kingdom and this has something to do with it, I need prayer. If it is just a tempting detour from His actual will for my life, I need prayer. I had a dream last night that I was walking along the side of a freeway while huge black semi trucks thundered by. I came to a place where there was only a guardrail between me and a mountain. It was kinda funny because I wasn't scared of being hit even though it seemed like the drivers wanted to hit me. But then I thought, "Maybe I should be scared", and for a moment I faked being scared to see if it would work. I took a quick look around at let out a whine, but... my heart rate didn't go up. At that moment a big, evil truck headed straight for me and I merely climbed up and over the guardrail onto the small space next to the mountain and walked away. As the truck approached, I calmly remembered these words, "The Lord is my refuge. He is my protection." I said it with a confident smile and I wasn't hit, miraculously. There was just screeching tires behind me and I kept my face forward walking along the guardrail, completely at peace. At that point I either woke up because of that peace or because I realized it was a dream.

My dreams have been showing me my inner condition. I know that sometimes dreams are like a coffee filter that gets thrown out the second we awaken. The activities and thoughts of the day are the coffee grounds and the water that percolates through is the soul. What's left in the morning is a strong pot full of flavor and rich memories that we keep as part of ourselves. Lately, my coffee filter has had some holes in it so that little grounds escape and end up in the brew. So I examine them and find that some of them just dissolve with time but some of them I drink and find that I am grateful for the holes in the filter. Is God poking holes in my filters? In any case, my faith dreams are looking more hopeful. It's comforting to know my subconscious would survive a long walk on a dark freeway bridge full of demonic semi-trucks. Only by faith, of course. And it's by faith that I intend to walk into any situation where my music may be a tool.

4/23/2006

Precipice Path

I just got back from a women's retreat! What a great weekend! Possibly the best church-people experience of my entire life! I was so blessed and I think I even blessed them a little.

In this life we will have troubles. After a weekend like I had, it's hard to believe I will have any more of them. I have been inhaling the sweet air of renewal, rejuvenation, and repose. But this isn't Heaven and though the love of Christians for one another is as a warm breeze over the garden, one must still be in this world until one is taken out by God Himself. Now the faint reek of the enemy has mingled with the sweetness of light like poop-scented bathroom freshener. I ignored it at first and remained joyful and at rest. But in my giddiness I found I was overdoing it and being slightly dishonest with my feelings.

Nobody likes it when the laughter ends or the smile falls as the situation changes. We Christians walk on the edge of a dangerous precipice like naive toddlers. By Jesus' Spirit I am able to hold the hand of the Father. This weekend He carried me to a meadow far from danger so that I couldn't even see the edge and He smiled as I played in safety. I spent that Sabbath rest with some of my sisters and occasionally we knelt together at our Father's feet and prayed with thanksgiving. Then comes Monday and our purpose for being on the path that winds along the precipice. He walks us back to the danger that we'd almost forgotten about. It's scary at first until I remember He holds my hand firmly and watches my every move with love and protection. I look up at Him and rejoice that He is with me. I dance and sway and suddenly I am enraptured by the amazing feeling I have and all I want to do is dance, not walk on the path. I lose myself in the sensation and forget why I started dancing to begin with. Other times I've gotten lazy, self-ambitious, indignant like a spoiled brat, or just plain distracted. My mind would get fuzzy and I would let go of His hand...

Lately, the time between letting go of His hand and realizing I've let go is getting shorter, but it's still very unpleasant. I've have been known to see Him over there beckoning to me and I turn away from Him, saying, "Now why doesn't He want me to go this way?" (the question 'why...?' when it comes to God has always gotten me into trouble, then I read Job) Pretty soon I would end up in a wilderness full of wolves or staring straight down into a sickening drop that disappears in some fog. Wailing, crying, tears, and repentance would be the order of the day. Then He heals me, teaches me, comforts me, and strengthens me. Then He picks me up and takes hold of my hand again.

With every lesson I think I am finally learning to stay focused on Him and not let go. In fact, He has told me just to keep looking at Him during the whole journey! This seemed silly to me at first because I would miss the scenery and stuff. But when I actually kept looking steadily to His face one time I found that I could see so much more, like I had eyes on every part of my head. But the minute I would get distracted by what one of my fifty eyes were seeing, I would look away, lose the miracle-sight, and feel suddenly blind even though I had two working eyes. I find that life is so much more abundantly rich when I am looking to Him. It's not always giddy laughter or strong marching feet. It's balance and variety. It definitely keeps me on my toes. It's an adventure!

I have a strange feeling the longer I keep my eyes on Him, the sooner I'll find myself out in the middle of an ocean walking on the waves. Or maybe I'll run so swift that I will blur past horse-drawn carriages and SUVs. The idea is to keep my eyes on Him...

4/21/2006

Pray for the USA

What is mankind? We are specks and God is bigger than the universe! 'What is man that You are mindful of him?(Ps. 8:4)' Yet, every hair on our head is numbered and every one of us is known by God. He wants us to populate Heaven with our sanctified selves to love and adore Him for eternity. That's so cool.

Lately I have been looking around at my culture in disgust. All these little mortals parading around with their pomp and pride snipped here and siliconed there. It's ridiculous! We are worse than the idolators of Moses' day because we have new technology to make ourselves look inhuman in the name of popularity! It's completely wrong to see someone made in the image of God with their face stretched unrecognizably and all of their female or male extremities made unnaturally large. This is a culture that lusts for pleasure and self-gratification. It has forgotten God unless it is a feel-good god they seek. As soon as God becomes this huge being to be reckoned with, they say, "No thanks, I want the God of prosperity and positive thinking."

I am about to go somewhere that can be misinterpreted. I love humankind, but I also know we are under a reign of darkness at the moment. I had a dream last night about a menacing black tornado that was about to touch down right outside my window. In my dream I prayed that God would spare my house and my family. What was interesting was that my house was covered in crushed red velvet and it had the style of what you'd see in the french quarter of New Orleans. Symbolic enough?

I don't agree with the televangelists that have been spewing professions of God's judgment on New Orleans for all it's daquiri-drinking, top-lifting, loose women and voodoo. If I agreed with those men I would have to say God has judged Tennessee and Indonesia and India! The truth is, we ain't seen NOTHING yet. God has been merciful to us for a long time. We have changed into a perverted, God-slandering country during the industrial & technological revolutions. This nation was founded on Christian principles by Christian forefathers. Now it is quickly becoming atheistic and it's obvious what direction our economy and ecology is going. I am praying for the USA. We have been "under God" for over 200 years and now many wealthy atheists are trying to push our nation out from under His protection and grace. Well, my fellow Americans, it shows. I think the tragedies of 9-11, the hurricanes, and now the tornadoes in the midwest are merely warnings. I believe that as children of God, it is our responsibility to plead with Him on behalf of our nation. However, He is just and good and all that He does is perfect. I pray that it's His will to protect His children whether by rapture or just placing a 'hedge' around us. If we do survive the small warning disasters our nation will continue to face, it will give us opportunities to share God's love with the hurting and confused. I'm not afraid, but I am praying a lot.

When I read the prophets I really get heavy-hearted. God is opening my eyes to the condition of the American people. He is so merciful and wonderful to us, who are deserving of His wrath in the fullest. He is longsuffering and patient with us. When His wrath does come down from heaven it shows the condition of the hearts of the people. Most of the time it takes mind-wracking tragedy for a person to see exactly what they are made of. When the ground falls out below you, what do you reach for? Who is your god? My practice has become to reach for the Most High God (the only God) before tragedy strikes and before I am desperate.

It's shocking to me that during the tribulation people will be so hardened against Him that they will hate Him and blame Him because of their suffering. I'm sure that in the days of Noah, the sinful people raged against God even as they drowned. If we are going to blame God for anything, let us rather give Him credit for the good things in our lives. Did He bring us into being in our mother's wombs? Yes, He did and we didn't have a choice whether or not we would be born. But ever since then we have had a choice. I believe God, in His mercy has placed all of us in the most likely spot to choose Him. Those who never will chose Him, He has given over to their sinful desires and to the service of the enemy. It's true that for some it would have been better if they were not born. But, God has allowed us to reproduce and if He were to keep the lost from being born just to spare them their evil existance, He would have taken away a huge facet of our free-will reality. If none were born except those who were to go to Heaven, what would be the point of even giving us free will? Every one of us would surrender our free will to God's will at some point. But He has allowed evil for His reasons, perhaps because we wouldn't have seen that He is GOOD otherwise...

Existential philosophy thoughts. I love that I have an answer to most of my tough questions about the extistence of mankind. The rest is faith in my personal life and in the infinite things that I cannot comprehend. But, really, whoever is reading this: Please pray for mercy. Pray for rapture or provision that we might be taken up or taken to the needy of this world by His love. If there is an ounce of prophecy in your blood I suggest you find a way to rally the troops to pray. If only we could get our president to declare a national fast and to strip down to sackcloth and weep for his nation. Then God may spare us like He spared Nineveh. His children here are the only hope for this place. With the fresh blasphemy from Hollywood and the 'prosperity gospel' rampant in so many churches, we are starting to see who are really Christians. When the wrath hits the fan, even more children will be revealed for who they are. We must hold together and be the Body of Christ. Find your buddy and fellowship with them and pray to our God with them. That He may be given the glory in whatever tragedy awaits us.

Always to Him be the glory and honor and praise!! His faithful love endures FOREVER and His Word will never pass away! Hallelujah.

4/19/2006

Faith Indicators

Every moment is unique unto itself. When someone says, "I'll do better next time," it really isn't accurate. But God gives us chance after chance to have faith in worldly, typically frightening situations.

I heard a preacher say an amazing thing yesterday. He said, "When trials and tribulation happen to us, it isn't those circumstances that get us angry or sad or depressed, it's the condition of our heart. It reveals to us what was already there." He's saying that anything can happen to us, it's the way we respond that is significant. This happens to us Christians to reveal our character and show us what part of us needs to be surrendered to God.

Last night I had a dream I was walking down a street littered with partying and drinking people. Suddenly I felt someone poke me behind my knee with something small and sharp. I reached down and felt a small needle, or I thought I did. I turned to the girl who had done it and yelled, "Did you stab me with a drug?" She just smiled menacingly. I grabbed her by her shirt and pushed her against the wall. Then I realized what I was doing and composed myself, saying, "Well, if you did, God will let me know and I will come looking for you." (That's funny to me, because that's the way I brought God into it. It did calm me down in the dream and I did feel love for the girl, and pity but I was also very much angered and scared.) I wiped off some of the beaded sweat that was on her face and it came dripping off my hand. Just as I let go of her I felt some of my own sweat trickle off my forehead. I knew then that I was under the influence of the same thing she was on. She said something like, "Oh, just go with it." But I was enraged. I started to feel the effects of it and I was dizzy and barely able to breathe. The crowds got thicker and my brother David was with some of the people that came up and pressed in on us. I cried out to him, "David! I got stabbed with a drug! I didn't want it to happen! She stabbed me with a drug!" But he was completely wasted himself and couldn't hardly stand up straight. I told the girl that she'd better run if my brother found out what she'd done. But David just swayed and didn't even look me in the eyes. At that point I began feeling very claustrophobic and yelled, "I have to get out of here. I can't breathe!" As I shoved through the people, gasping, I woke up on my stomach, gasping, with my head all crooked to one side and it was very HOT in my room. No wonder I couldn't breathe! I was twisted up under huge blankets with the heater up too high and my airway constricted. But, it was an interesting dream anyway because it showed me several things about my condition:

I feel that the dream indicates that if I was put under the influence of anything, by force, that I would be afraid. If I was afraid, I would forget to have faith. I can compare it to when Paul got bit by the viper and he just shook it off. Instead of having 'faith' (see: fear) in the known fact that vipers venom is deadly, he had Faith that God was there and was keeping him safe so that he could continue preaching the gospel. The snake was dangling from his hand long enough for the islanders to whisper that justice must be at hand in the killing of this missionary. But then Paul was like, "Shoo, viper!" and threw the little sucker into the fire. Aside from being totally awesome of God to show His provision in that way, I'm sure it also demonstrated Paul's faith. Not that Paul needed further evidence, himself, but it reminds us to believe in God in the most unexpectedly dire circumstances. I mean, Paul had just survived a shipwreck along with the entire crew of the ship. So he survives a shipwreck, just to be killed by a stupid snake? Thank God it didn't turn out that way. The dumb viper only came out because of the fire that was being built on the sand. Snakes are attracted to warmth, them being cold-blooded and all. Anyway, the snake messed with the wrong mammal and God used it to show me His glorious triumph over another serpent.

But, alas, I am not Paul. So in my dream I was 'bitten' by a venomous substance and I panicked, had cheap peace for a second, and then panicked again. It shows me where my faith is. Thank God it wasn't a real situation! As I am remembering more of last night's epic dream sagas I realize most of my dreams were about things going dreadfully wrong. In one of them the drug test I took for my new job came back unusable and there is no retesting. But in that dream I trusted that it was God's will to keep me from working there, since I asked Him to close doors if that was the case. Needless to say, I'm a little tired this morning.

God has given me the memory of these dreams as a diagnosis. I asked Him for one after I'd heard the preacher say what he said about the heart's condition. I think the whole point of this life is to give God glory in acknowledging that He takes the most wretched and crusty piece of clay and creates something so beautiful it almost looks like Jesus. So, when trials and tribulations come my way, I will look past them into the face of my Heavenly Father and see the Truth about myself and my faith. Then I will pray and obey accordingly.

4/17/2006

Vine Abiding

We live in a world where mankind's lusts have created nuclear weapons. Lust for knowledge and lust for power. This is when the prince of this world is ruling. But he is defeated because God so loved this world. What a precious possession we are, to be bought at such a price. We are bought with the pure, sinless blood of love. Love embraced death as payment for us when He could have lived seventy more years without us knowing about His true identity and then died and went home to be with the Father. But He didn't, because He loves us. Silly little mortals that we are but we are the Bride of the Christ. He is our King and we are His adoring creation, loyal only to Him. In this world we are tested for many reasons. One of the reasons, I believe, is to define the depth of our loyalty. He knows how much we will endure for Him but we need to know too. We see how He has changed us when we realize that we aren't afraid of the furnace that burns so hot that it kills the guards that stoke it.

My issue is that I think I have to accomplish some great and noble mission here in this world. But the truth is: He is the only mission I am on. Jesus Christ, the Vine in which I abide. Every day my love for Him is more realized. He's all I want to think about and all that I aspire to be like. Riches I heed not nor man's empty praise! Thou mine inheritance now and always! Thou and thou only first in my heart! High King of Heaven my treasure Thou art!

However, words cannot really express the peace that comes with abiding. Things aren't exactly smooth in my worldly life, but for once it's not that big of a deal. I've learned a little more about abiding in His love. Someday I'll write a song about it.

4/15/2006

Faith Out of Freedom

I recorded five of my songs when I was in Louisiana. Emily's producer graciously set me up with a fine demo to send to the Library of Congress for registration and protection. Now Everson Blue are laying tracks of bass and lead and possibly drums on top of my silly demo!! For the love of music! My trip out there couldn't have been more full and vibrant.

Talking on the phone with your loved ones just isn't the same. I mean, Em and I have spoken on the phone a LOT. We've probably put in as many hours on the phone as we have over coffee, face to face. It serves for communication and it's helped us to formulate our words and focus on a conversation in the presence of other distractions, but it just isn't the same. When I was sitting across from her (she even moved her couch so we could be DIRECTLY across from one another) holding my mug of coffee, listening to her, it was like a flashback from when we were kids and spent every weekend together. As we got older we would

4/11/2006

What Up Ya'll!

I've been here in Louisiana for almost a week and tomorrow I fly home. Booo!!! I mean, I want to see my family but I don't want to leave my family, ya know? We had a crawfish boil yesterday and today I am going to the studio to record some songs with the Bean. Emma Bean. I can't upload the pictures onto her computer but stay tuned for lots of neat ones when I get back home.

What a great time it's been. The people here in the South are really great. So laid back and warm and they sure do know how to have a good time! Add Emily, her mom and I to the mix and you have an all out rager with flying lemon merange pie and WAY too many Britney Spears moves in the dust.

You know what's cool? Sharing Jesus while I'm buzzed. There are a lot of 'prodigal's here that need to come HOME. I also explained Jesus to my 8-year-old friend Erica. I don't see it as a hypocrisy but I know some people that do. God knows I have self-control even under heavy alcoholic influence. I didn't sin, I just got way buzzed.

Anyway pray for me and my new Louisiana fam. I wish I could live in too places at once...