Tag Archives: vision

Face to Face with the Holy Spirit: Receiving the Holy Spirit Part 4

2 Jun

At first, I didn’t tell anyone about my “Night of Terror.” I was unsure of what exactly had happened and felt that if I shared the experience, they might get spooked out or wonder about my sanity. “This Holy Spirit stuff is terrifying,” I thought to myself. “THAT, THAT…whatever that was, is exactly why I wanted nothing to do with this spirit nonsense!” Resolved to shut out the supernatural for good this time, I decided to put this Holy Spirit thing behind me and move on!  

 

Apparently even though I was determined to be done with the Holy Spirit, God wouldn’t let it go. A few days later I woke from a terrifying dream. I was shaken with fear and back in that dark place; however, very slightly, to my soul I could feel God almost reprimanding me. “There is no fear in love,” he prompted me sternly. “If you have fear, you are not in Christ. It’s impossible to be in Christ and fear.”  Then he issued a command, “Try again.”

 

Not so sure God really understood the circumstances, I finally decided to open up and share about my situation and God’s desire for me to take another whack at this filling, or baptism, or demonic open house deal. After explaining the situation to my parents, they reassured me, “It’s a counter attack.”

 

“What is this,” I thought to myself, “World War Three!”

 

My dad went on, “Satan used your childhood fears to scare you out of moving forward. He capitalized on your weakness because he’s worried you’ll find out who you really are in Christ.” I was surprised there was no surprise on his part. “He’s especially concerned about you becoming a Spirit filled Christian who walks in the power and authority of Christ Jesus. That’s Satan’s worst nightmare…you moving from a ‘good Christian’ to a believer relying on God’s Spirit.”

 

So, tucked under my covers that night, I made another attempt at inviting the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure why I was so formal, but my journal notes record that I kept repeating, “may the Spirit live in me, may the Spirit live in me, may the Spirit live in me…” As I was drifting off to sleep, suddenly, what felt like 1,000 volts of electricity, bolted through my body.  Like a closed circuit, power was running on loop from my head to my toes, vibrating every fiber of my being with energy. Yet instead of being deadly and draining, it was energizing and life giving! It felt as though light was streaming from every pore, and my whole body slightly trembled from the “surge.”

 

Swimming in bliss, I slowly opened my eyes to the “real world.” Directly over me, hovering parallel to my body, with five inches between us, was a figure. The general form of a person, I could make out a head and shoulders with a “body” that continued down the bed. Face to face, I encountered the living Spirit, the Holy Spirit, of God Almighty. S/he was majestic. Though the face had no distinct identity, the being swirled with every color of the rainbow in an iridescent light show. There was the sudden awareness that while I was in my room, I was not in this “reality.” The whole space seemed to be transcendent…other worldly.

 

Paralyzed in awe, the Holy Spirit leaned down just slightly and gently kissed my forehead. I winced in shock and closed my eyes tightly. Over the next twenty minutes, God continued to energize me with his power and I eventually drifted into a deep, peaceful sleep.

 

Waking up the next morning, I was still me. All the “feelings” were gone, and there was no evidence of the experience. While the event was transformational, the change in me was almost imperceptible at first. It was over the years looking back that I could quantify the now living and active Holy Spirit in me, working through me, empowering me to hear and do God’s will in my life and the lives around me. I was now, a girl on fire, a girl on a mission…

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It just disappeared! cancer < GOD

1 May
We sat around the table as a family. All five of us agreed that we would seek God for an answer, especially my mom. She wasn’t getting up without hearing something. One by one over the next three hours, my brother, dad, daughter and I left. Alone at the dining table, my mother waited for her “sign.”

 

Three months earlier on May 24, 2005, my mom was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer. The hard, immovable mass was the shape of half a baseball, had tentacles, and had begun spreading to her lymph nodes. The advised treatment by Kaiser was six weeks of chemo and radiation to ideally “shrink” the cancer; then surgery to cut out the remains and perform a colostomy, ultimately rerouting her rectum to an external port at her side with a bag attached to receive the waste.

 

The “C” word had gripped me with fear; our whole family was in turmoil. Out of desperation, my dad suggested he and my mom go to a place he’d seen healing first hand; at the battered women’s shelter where he often volunteered, they prayed for things like a broken leg and back pain and seen people healed right before their eyes. Yet, even with these stories of miraculous healings, my mother’s mantra was, “Why would God heal me?” And while she couldn’t fathom why God would heal her, in particular, of cancer; she allowed the women of Shepherd’s Gate to lay hands on her, and ask God for a miracle.

 

As they left the property, the Director of the Ministry, Steve, offered my dad prayer as well, adding, “We don’t know what’s ahead, but I’m sure you’re going to need prayer as well.” And while my mother felt no different as they got into the car to leave, my dad claims that not more than a few minutes later, suddenly the Gift of Faith (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11) was dropped into him and, “I just knew she was healed.” In the nine months leading up to this moment, my dad had been searching the scriptures, reading, and re-reading all accounts of healing.  The Bible has 43 recorded miraculous healings, and my dad knew each one intimately. Apparently, the reading of scripture had prepared the soil of my dad’s heart so that when prayer was added to the fertile ground of hope, faith sprouted in abundance!

 

The same day, my father gathered the family in the kitchen, “I know you are going to be healed; I know Elaine is going to be healed of cancer by Jesus.” We all looked at him with doubt in our hearts and concern on our faces. But he insisted, “I have read accounts where Jesus healed over and over again. I think God was preparing me; I know God heals. I can’t convince myself that he doesn’t. It would be like trying to convince me that the Pacific Ocean was not out there to the west. I know it is; just like I know you are going to be healed Elaine.”

 

While most wives might be encouraged by their husband’s declaration of faith; years of mistrust concerning my dad only made my mom uncomfortable and nervous. She didn’t trust her husband’s motives and she didn’t think God would do something so extravagant for her; the best plan of action in her mind was to take the doctor’s advice and go for the full medical treatment with all the bells and whistles, even if it did mean never using a toilet the same way again.

 

photo(13)Two weeks later, my dad’s proclamation about her healing began to take shape…the only problem was, we had no evidence. In the bathroom, just as she was about to flush, she spotted a fleshy clump with root-like fingers floating in the bowl; a similar but smaller specimen had appeared during her last bathroom visit. Yet even with two occurrences of abnormal items in the bowl, it didn’t yet register to her that she had seen firsthand “exhibit A and B” of her personal miracle. Out of habit and not thinking, she flushed the toilet.

 

Sixteen days later on July 11, 2005, my mother started chemo and radiation treatment at Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek. After only one week of treatment, her Oncologist called with some peculiar results. “Good evening,” Dr. Lui began. “Well, I have looked over your chart and it’s a bit strange. The cancerous mass is malleable and has become granulated tissue. When I examined you several months ago, the mass was solid…hard as a rock. Now the tissue is clumpy and gelatinous. It appears to be coming apart.” He paused and then added, “I cannot attribute this to your receiving only one week of chemo and radiation treatments (his records would later show he changed his mind). I might even classify it as miraculous.” But before we could start celebrating he went back into doctor mode and advised, “However, I think we should still proceed with your medical treatments just to be safe.”Being a good patient, my mother did continue her treatments for four and a half more weeks. Even while the evidence was mounting in favor of a miracle, she still needed to be fully convinced in her own mind that God was doing something phenomenal for her.  So there we sat…around the dining room table; my mother intently seeking God’s will about the situation. After we had all gotten up and left, she remained, determined not to move until He spoke. She wasn’t willing to simply adopt my father’s faith; she needed something of her own. As she sat quietly, eyes closed, she says at one point this large eye was all she could see in her mind. It filled her head and this tranquil blue eye was fixed on her. Along with the intense onlooker, who she could sense was God, came this verse into her head, with power and life:

 

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.”
Psalm 32:8-9

 

This was the confirmation she had been longing for; without hesitation she too believed God was healing her and that she no longer needed the chemo and radiation treatments. That very afternoon on August 15, 2005, she called her doctors, “I believe God is healing me of cancer so I won’t be showing up for any of my chemo or radiation treatments.”  While they couldn’t stop her, the doctors advised highly against her decision; it was a death sentence in their minds.

 

On October 21, 2005, during Dr. Lui’s third examination since my mother had stopped her treatment, he became flustered and panicked.  In an authoritative, but frantic way, he ordered the nurse to get him prepped for a biopsy so he could remove tissue from the original cancer site. Duriphoto(14)ng the first examination after my mother stopped her chemo and radiation treatment, he refused to take a biopsy; while the mass of tissue had shrunk to only one tenth of its original size and God’s healing was materializing, Dr. Lui was still convinced logic would prevail and the cancer would need to be surgically removed. By the second visit, the tissue abnormality was now the size of an M & M, and Dr. Lui was still on track to do his job regardless; he didn’t care that his target was rapidly shrinking before his very eyes. But by this third visit, all hope for “business as usual” was gone…literally!  At the original cancer site, the rectal wall, previously engorged by a firm tissue mass of cancerous cells, was now totally pink and smooth, with no signs of abnormality. ALL THE CANCER HAD DISAPPEARED! Grabbing for metal devices, trying to find the right length and tool, Dr. Lui pinched and cut a piece of tissue from the site of origin as my mother winced in pain. “I’m sending this out to the lab immediately,” he said. “While it looks like there is no cancer remaining, we need them to test these cells because we can’t be sure it’s gone.” I don’t think Dr. Lui was against my mother being miraculously healed, it’s just that he’d never seen it happen before; he didn’t know what to do with himself. He was a doctor, without a job.

 

As we waited patiently over the weekend for the test results, there was rising hope that indeed, my mother had been miraculously healed of stage three rectal cancer! I’m sure it sounds odd that we weren’t already popping the champagne cork; but when you’re in the middle of a miracle, you aren’t quite sure what’s happening.

 

Doubts plague your thought life, “Is this what normally happens when someone does only part of their chemo and radiation treatment?”

 

“Is it a temporary glitch and the cancer will come back with a vengeance?”
“Did we imagine this whole ordeal? What is going on?”
The other difficulty with front row seats to the miraculous is that it’s nothing like it would be in a movie; there’s no soundtrack playing to a crescendo, lighting and close-ups to signal one intense moment over another and no voice-over to clue you in on what’s happening.

 

However, when the test results came back negative for cancer, when my mom flatly refused surgery altogether, and when each year every exam only confirms the lack of any cancerous cells…over time, this miracle only becomes more real and shines God’s glory over our family!  I now can confidently testify that God personally stepped into our lives, and did the impossible. We each were beautifully confronted with the Truth that God the Father is good, that Jesus the Christ does heal, and that the Holy Spirit personally brings life altering revelation from the throne of God.

 

Witnessing a bonafide Biblical sized Miracle pretty much messes up all prospects of remaining an average “churchgoer,” a “theological exert” or an aloof Christian with a laundry list of requests for God. I was face to face with my Creator, nowhere to hide; and I was now on the hook to respond in some manner…

 

What would you do if faced with a miracle? How would it change your life?  Who would you tell? How would you celebrate and acknowledge the event?
Intersecting Story: Origin of the Species

“Where were you when I was being molested?” A friend’s cry for answers.

15 Apr

Is God useless and helpless when it comes to human suffering? That’s the picture I had gotten in the past when questions like these came up. “Where was God when I was being molested,” questioned my dear friend. For the most part I never even wanted to look straight at that issue; my dull understanding came from sideways glances through a peripheral vision of seemingly endless atrocities committed against humanity.

As a vulnerable child is approached by their prey, where is God? Previously, I had two vague and disturbing images that would come to mind. Surrounded by bright light and ethereal clouds, an elderly

Father with a flowing white beard peers down from the Heavenlies to earth, searching the landscape for something discernable. Because he is so far removed, he can only see large worldly events through the haze of the glorious light. But if he squints and strains to bring an individual into focus, for only a second he can see the abuse, yet quickly recoils and thinks, “But if I help that one, then they will all want help!”

Worse however, I find it even more horrifying when I try to understand the abuse through the personal relationship Jesus Christ offers. No longer removed and distant, Christ is now standing in the room. He looks on helplessly as the child’s innocence is being devoured. Jesus watches the whole event with sadness and pain, just waiting for the ravaging of her body to cease so he can comfort her with a whisper through his tears, “It’s going to be alright.” No it’s not Jesus, why don’t you stop crying and do something! Pick up that chair already and hit him over the head you helpless, useless God!

As my dear friend continued to share about her experience, she revealed, “I cried out to God several times asking, ‘where were you when I was being molested?’ One day he responded with a vision, showing me that the whole time, Jesus had been in the room.”

“Ah ha, I knew it! So he was just standing around looking on helplessly,” I thought to myself.

“I don’t want to get too graphic,” she offered, “but the Lord showed me that Jesus was actually between me and my abuser. That everything the molester did to me, he did to Jesus first. He took the brunt of the abuse.”

My heart dropped.

I had no idea.

I had no idea.

I have no idea who God is…

The implications of this revelation tore my theological world into pieces. Somehow, this means that all day, everyday, Jesus is being molested. Yet not just molested, he’s being burned, hit, spit at, yelled at, raped, murdered, and maimed just to name only a few sins committed by one human against another. But how is this possible?

A few days earlier on Sunday at church, our pastor had been teaching from Ephesians 3:18, “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” but he accidentally repeated the dimension of “high” twice and left out “long.” It got me thinking about how some have explained those dimensions form the shape of the cross; but a cross could be made by only two of those dimensions, so why all four? Just as I was pondering this, I had a very clear supernatural vision. The cross at the front of the church became brilliant gold and extended dimensionally both forward through the room and also behind the wall it was mounted on out into the courtyard, seemingly through time and space

.

My previously pathetic comprehension of the cross, the black and white still frame image of two pieces of wood, some

nails through Christ’s flesh, a painful death sentence he shared alongside some thieves, and the taking on of the world’s general sinful nature, suddenly burst into full color with rapid motion images.

The cross was not a stationary or metaphorical event. The traditional recounting of Christ’s trial, flogging and crucifixion is grievous indeed, yet there are many who have been falsely accused, beaten or crucified; potentially even all three. However, if in addition to being falsely accused and sentenced, beaten and whipped beyond recognition, and then crucified alongside legitimate criminals, Christ on the cross individually and personally experienced each human being’s suffering from the beginning of time to the last day, then I truly stand in fear and trembling before the greatness of my God.

Could that be what scripture recounts here, “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’)” Matthew 27:45-46 An eerily similar cry to, “Where were you when I was being molested?”

The cross has always been the Christian symbol of Christ’s suffering for humanity, but could it be that in addition to the physical events portrayed in the gospels, on the cross, Christ supernaturally and personally interceded for each human being “real-time” up to the point when he declares, “’It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30