The Next Church In Need Of Saving

A dream…

I was who I am now,
Same kids, same husband, same age.

I had gone to meet a good friend,
One who like me, still believed that the Holy Spirit
Still spoke and worked in believer’s lives today.

He and his wife had asked me to meet them,
At one of the big churches,
For they had booths there,
Where you could sit down in the entrance
And chat for a bit with a cup of coffee.

We sat there for a little while talking,
Getting caught up with what was going on
With our lives since we last met.

I told him, that my older children
Were doing well in college,
Despite all the evil around them.
When he asked me why,
I told him that they could see
If there were any demons around them,
and then avoid them best they could.
This seemed to trouble him,
And he voiced his concern for my kids,
Wondering how they handled it,
Living around demons like that,
For what if one tried to attack them?

At that moment we were interrupted,
As the church service was let out,
And the foyer became filled with people.

I had wanted to purchase a small bag of my favorite chocolates
That they had for sale in their coffee area,
And the server was now there, available for orders.

So I excused myself for a moment,
And as I went back to the shelf to grab a bag,
I also seen a pile of glossy colorful one-page hand-outs,
On the various beliefs of this church.
There were one or two that caught my eye,
And I took one of each of those,
But one especially seemed interesting,
For it was on the topic of demons.

As I tried to grab it, someone bumped into me,
And I then turned to look for a moment
at the person who had bumped into me,(it was a young kid,)
And then back again to the pile of fliers,
I found that I could not find that particular flier again.

I tried searching for it,
And this caught the attention of someone else there at the church,
who then came to try and talk to me,
and try and answer any questions that I might have.

I then seen the pastor walking out from the back of the service,
And realized with shock that it was pastor Jeff,
From our old evangelical Lutheran church from many years ago.

I called out to him,
And he paused to look down at me, (he was slightly taller than I,)
And I know he recognized me,
But there was a reservation about him,
And I sensed he was not about to greet me as a long lost friend
That he had once known well.

He asked me if I was finding everything O.K.,
And so I told him that I was trying to find their flier on demons.

“Oh!” He exclaimed with ease, “I can tell you all about that.
It is a short flier, anyways,” he confides in me with a wink.
“The truth about demons,” he says, warming to the topic,
“is that there are none! Not in this world anyways.
They’re tucked away in hell. So you don’t have to worry about them.
They were only here on earth when Jesus was here.”

“But Jeff!” I exclaimed, walking right in front of him,
In the hopes that it would slow him down enough to listen to me,
(he was always busy multi-tasking and looking around to others and greeting them,)
“My children can SEE them in THIS world!”

At that point, we had stopped right in front of the booth where my friend was,
so my friends could easily hear our exchange.
Pastor Jeff looked at me with great pity in his eyes, and said,
“You should have them see a doctor.”

Shock rolled around within me.
He thought this was caused by my kids being sick?!
“But their doctors have said that they are healthy!”

Yet as I seen his still-pitying glare from his eyes,
I realized that it did not matter what I said,
He believed what he believed,
And it would not change just because of my testimony.

I then became aware,
that there was a HUGE dark demon hanging over him,
Him and the whole church.
It was incredibly oppressive,
and it weighted down upon the people and upon pastor Jeff,
Like a HEAVY boulder upon his shoulders.
And was shackled to one of his legs with chunky but silent chains.

I stumbled in my steps as I struggled to keep up with him,
And then finally gave it up and let him walk off,
(to continue meeting and greeting his congregation,)
For I needed to escape the pressure of that strongman demon.

I returned to my friend in the booth.

“So how do they deal with the demons if they attack them?!”
My friend asked me again. Bless his heart, he was still concerned for them.

“They cast them out in the name of Jesus, and then the demons leave!
I paused and then added, “it works better than what some doctor would give them…”

Normally, if I would say such a thing to someone about my kids,
It would be said as a joke, for doctors are not needed
To remove demons, or to remove such a wonderful spiritual gift,
Which the bible calls spiritual discernment.
(Some of my kids had it in a very strong form of it.
I myself had it in a much more subdued form.)
But I realized that my friend took it as a serious statement,
so I then ended my words with a reassuring smile.

My words seemed to make a big difference to him,
And relieved his concern for my children a great deal.

We finished our time together,
And as I went to go pay for the bag of chocolates,
I found that they had no real change for my ten dollar bill.

I was told to go put it in the cookie jar with all the other monies,
And to take out the change that I needed,
which would have been four dollars.

But when I tried to do this,
I found that there was no real cash left in the jar,
And that it was filled with these strange bills called ‘scripts’.
They looked like cash on one side, but on the other,
There was words and writings on it that had nothing to do with money.
The paper the script had been printed on had obviously been re-cycled
From the church’s offices and school rooms.

I asked my friend about it,
And he said that the kids at the church use it as a reward system,
to get treats and other such things for doing their school work.

Well, no one else had change around me,
And I was not going to ‘donate’ any extra cash to this church,
(not after realizing that it stood for such false teachings,)
And there was no way I was just going to take it,
So I had to go put it back on the shelf and not purchase it.

As I was leaving the church,
Someone in the entrance hall,
Was installing some kind of sensor, that would let the church know
More information about the people entering or leaving their building.

I asked the installer what kind of sensors it used,
(as a way of being friendly,) and as he answered me,
He asked me to hold one of its components for a moment for him.
He pushed the object into my hands, and I held it,
But then felt its strange activation on my fingertips.
So I hastily told the man that I could not hold it any longer,
For I was beginning to feel its effects.
I quickly exited the building,
And then the worker came out,
And I quickly handed him the part he had asked me to hold for him.

He grabbed it, but a second later he dropped it
Onto the cement sidewalk. (Had he felt its effects too?)
And it fell in between us.

I bent down to pick it back up,
(thinking how expensive it must be,
And wondering if the fall might have broken it,)
Before handing it back to the man.

The man looked at me,
And I could tell he was going to try and blame me
For dropping it if it did not work,
But as I looked around at all the cameras
that were recording everything around the building,
I gave him a slight shake of the head,
indicating that his ruse would not work,
For all they had to do was re-play their cameras,
And the truth would be out.
It had been the man who had dropped it, not me.

So I turned my back to the church, and left.

I then woke up.

*

I realized, that this pastor,
Was treated almost like a demi-god,
By the members of his congregation.

Then I realized with shock and distress,
That I had done the same thing,
And had treated him like a demigod
When I was going to his other church!

People chased after him,
Wanting advice on this or that,
on spiritual matters or on real life matters,
Asking him for favors,
Or just generally wanting to be near him.

He rarely told the people to go seek GOD for the advice they were looking for.

This was a man who spent his life,
Going from one failing Lutheran church to the next,
In order to try and save it.

He had done so in our old church,
Though I must say, that I thought the church was just fine
When we first started going there.
It wasn’t until later,
When things started to change for the worst.
The higher-ups had caught sight of our little church,
And had heard the reports of the Holy Spirit working amongst the people.
So they sent this man, pastor Jeff,
To come in and transform the church into a mega-church.

After the transformation had been successful,
(to the governing board’s standards,)
He left and moved on to the next church in need of saving.

Saving…
As if this one man was some kind of god himself!

I asked the Lord to please forgive me,
For ever treating this pastor like he was a little demigod.

I then realized with a sudden start,
That all those years of feeling guilty,
Of wondering if we had left the church too soon,*
Had been complete and total waste of energy.

For here, in reality, the Lord,
In His gracious wisdom,
RESCUED us from that church!

If He had not,
That church could have scarred my children for life!
They would have been treated as if they were SICK
Whenever they would have said that they could see any demons.

A gift from the Lord was thought of as a sickness?

Now THAT WAS crazy…!

* * * *

* As a side note, and for an excellent commentary on questioning church authorities,

please see Tim Shey’s blog entry:

http://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2013/01/07/am-i-divisive-please-answer/
Thank you Tim, for re-blogging Lori Rodeheaver’s blog post on your web site!…

His Imperfect Wife

My heart drags to post this journal entry here,
Yet the nudging from my Lord and Savior to do so,
Have only strengthened with time and prayer,
and will not go away.

I have been told that there are those out there
Who are currently struggling with issues like these.
So these next few posts, (this one and the past two included,)
Are written for you.

A word of warning concerning this post:
War is ugly, no matter what side you’re on.

Journal entry: April 3rd, 2005

(Note: The past three days I’ve been very sick with bronchitis.
The day after this journal entry, my husband also became sick with this same bug…)

I knew the peace between us wouldn’t last through this illness.

My husband kept asking me to do things,
For him and with him, as if I wasn’t even sick.

I have always told him, (every time I’ve been sick,)
That when I’m sick, all plans are on hold.
No going out for a night on the town,
Getting together with another couple,
Cleaning or re-modeling projects,
EVERYTHING.
But does he listen and take this to heart?

No.

When I awoke today, I felt so miserable,
That when my husband asked me
what I was going to do today,
I told him in all seriousness:
TO BREATHE.

He then asks me questions
Designed to get me to do his will;

“Can you log on to the prescription web site?
I need to access your RX history for taxes.”
“O.K.”, I said, figuring I could do this while I worked on eating my just-made and still-warm lunch.

But problems are encountered in logging on,
And before I knew it, he had me checking up
On two other items of paperwork, as well.
Then, as I’m still struggling to sort out these paper problems,
He clicks something on his Palm Pilot PDA,
(Presumably checking something off his ‘to do’ list,)
then shuts it off & sets it down, turns to me and says:
“O.K…., now, do you want me to help you
clear out and vacuum this room?”

I looked at him first, to see if he was joking,
And when I seen that he was not,
I raised my voice just a notch,
And said very emphatically, “NO!”

He frowned. “Well why not?”

I was so upset by this question,
That I felt my mind buzz blank for a moment,
Before I gave him my answer.
“Because I haven’t even been able
to pause from doing all the other things
you’ve been asking me to do,
to even have a bite of my own lunch!
So, no! I don’t want to! I’m going to eat first!”

He then had the grace to look a bit sheepish,
As he realized the truth of my words, and then backed off enough to let me finish eating my now cold lunch.

Oi! HOW this man could even understand me,
with my voice sounding like a nasally scuba diver
speaking under 30 feet of water, I’ll never know!

Once I finished eating, and finished doing the work
he had requested me to do, we begin clearing out the room.
Mind you, this is heavy once or twice a year cleaning
That I’m trying to do, and to top it off,
My allergies were working overtime,
From all the dust, cat hair, and pollen.
(He had the window open for ‘fresh’ air.)
So by the time we actually came close to finishing,
I was very weak, wheezing, and gasping for air,
And I then stopped and asked my husband to do the rest,
(vacuuming under my desk,)
for I told him that I was on my last molecule of energy,
and I felt like I was about to collapse.
Grumbling, he took the vacuum cleaner
and finished the chore,
but let me know how upset he was,
that I had not told him sooner
that I would not be able to then go downstairs
and fry up the purchased trout for our dinner.

This made me angry again, and I let him know,
That he should not have planned (For certain,)
For me to make or do anything when I’m sick!

He responds, by telling me that I should have told him
Yes or no, yesterday when he mentioned it to me in passing.

(Like how many times would you like me to tell you that
I’M SICK, AND ALL PLANS ARE OFF?!?)

But of course, I go downstairs
(after resting a moment or two,)
and go make the fish for dinner.

Later on that night, right before
(while I’m still weak & struggling to simply breathe,)
he points out on the calendar,
the nights he’s working late for this week.
(Oh No!, I think to myself,
But I need you here when I’m this sick,
To give me a break from the kids,
So I can get some rest!)
He then tells me that he’s not sure
if he should cancel class for Friday, or not.
(At the time of this writing, my husband was a professor at a local college.)
I ask him why he would,
And he tells me that he can combine the last two lessons,
And then give the students a break on Friday.
(Oh, I think to myself, that would be nice for them.)
But then he goes and does the crass and uncaring
(dare I say unthinking?) thing of reminding me
that we would need this Friday off,
in order for us to go camping this weekend.

(AAAGGGHHH!!!!)

I looked at him in shock, anger, and disbelief,
And repeated once again to him,
That no, we can’t go camping this weekend,
BECAUSE I’M SICK!

This time, he slams the calendar down on the desk,
And snarled “that’s right! We can’t, can we!”
He then looks at me fully and says:
“I am so ANGRY that you are sick!”

(Well!!! HE’S angry that I’m sick!!
What am I ? HAPPY? I certainly didn’t choose
To get this sickness, and spend my next two months
Just struggling to breathe in an ocean of green slimy mucus!!!)

“Well then,” I told him, “the next time the neighbor boy
comes over to play with the kids,
and he’s still sounding and acting like he’s still pretty sick,
you’ll know what to tell him!”

(My husband had always de-valued my concerns,
and shut me up when I told him that I don’t want our kids
to play with other sick kids, while they’re still sick.
I don’t know why, But he seems to believe that our children (and me?!?) are like superheroes or something,
Impervious to bacteria, viruses, or colds.
He let them play all together, and now we are all sick
with what this boy had. And so now he blames ME?!?)

As he walks away, my mind is already deciding
That now we are separate again,
And that I will hold myself apart from him,
And not sleep too close to him tonight.

But then God
(yes, He was still there, – amazing, isn’t it?)
reminded me of the futility of such a move.
It would only end up being
a waste of spent time & energy.

But I couldn’t just let it all go, either.
So I said, – much more calmly, “You know, …that really hurt!”

“I know,” he replied with resignation
yet still some anger, in his voice.

And I know, that sooner or later,
With my P.U.S.H. prayers, (Praying Until Something Happens,)
My husband’s heart will soften,
And he will come to terms yet again,
with his imperfect wife.

So, now, I simply have to keep reminding myself
(as Satan tries to incite me against
such a ‘selfish’ & ‘unloving’ husband,)
that this too, shall pass,
and that this is not a big enough issue
to rip our family apart over.

Once again however,
I am reminded of what happens to me
When I take my eyes off Jesus,
And refocus them on my husband.
That man would keep me doing his will
running me ragged, telling me to just keep going,
And that I’ll be just fine. Vitamins? Medicines?
Nah, you don’t really need them.
Rest? What for? Your not REALLY that sick, are you?
Oh come on! Why do you have to let
A little virus bring you down like that?
Just ignore it, and it will go away!

Oh yeah.

They say, that to look at God, is life. And in my case,
I think the literal interpretation would fit.
Cause to keep my eyes on my husband,
And submit to my husband IN EVERYTHING,
Instead of checking in with my God FIRST,
Would mean death for me, in more ways than one….
*

TO BE CONTINUED…

*

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

(Colossians Chapter 3, verses 18-19, 23-24, KJV)

* * * *

Being Freed From The Demon Of Depression

Today, I wish to post a testimony of thanks to my Heavenly Father, on this Father’s Day. I praise The great I AM! I praise You Jesus! I Thank You very much for saving me!

Many years ago, I had been suffering from clinical depression, probably brought on through the ill-advised use of the anti-depressant Prozac, prescribed for me (in dangerously large amounts,) in the hope that it would heal me of the constant migraines that I had been suffering from. Instead, it led me into a nightmare that almost ended my life.

Few people can really understand the anguish that affects one suffering from this kind of depression, unless they themselves have also suffered from it. For me, it was an actual physical pain, that affected my whole body. It physically hurt to be alive. So I have included a poem that I had written during this time, which shows the depths of which Jesus pulled me out of.

Within The Hungry Emptiness

The darkness ascends
It covers the mind
As thick as tar
To a place no one finds.
All the tiny pieces
That once could form your life
Now scattered in the air
You try to grab for one
To put it back in place
But your hand stays empty.
A ghost
In a solid world
Half here
Half there
Anywhere
Yet nowhere.
You float
From thought to thought
And jump
From deed to deed
So many energies in the air
Never finishing
Or going anywhere.
Red from anger
Gray with futility
Hands clenching through
A snarled empty head
Unable to grasp a thread
Watching the pot
Boil over with fear
Stumbling
Disjointed
Beyond just broken
Death’s stone face within me
Pulls my feet across the floor
Performs the motions of the living
While pulling my mind through its door
And shutting itself behind me
Click.
No fear
Too beyond it now
No hope
Too far ahead
So lost
So I stay where I am
Within the hungry emptiness.

*

Below is an adapted version of a ‘reader’s theatre’ script that I had written (and performed) for a church I used to go to many years back. It is the testimony of how Jesus used one of His obedient children, to stop me from committing suicide, during the lowest point of my life. 
 
(From my viewpoint:)
I hid myself… in my bedroom closet.
Shut the doors…, then closed my eyes. Depression!…
That… ever-hungry emptiness… that haunted me,
Had finally… consumed… my all.   
All I could think of… was… how to kill myself.
But… through these thoughts,
a voice… from within… called to me, 
and whispered,… “I need you.”
I questioned the voice,… then realized it was God.
I told him how unworthy I was,… how useless.
Yet… he persisted.
“But… you’re God!”, I said,
“You?…You can do anything!
I scoffed. “What do you need me for?”
He answered,…“To help others… like you,
  To reach out …to those… among you
who have gone through… what you have.”
When I asked Him how,
He told me …time would tell,
And to somehow …just get through the afternoon.
“But I can’t!” I cried,
for I feared… my enemies,
Pain,… emptiness,… and… despair.
They’d press me to death, while I waited there. 
Then the voice reminded me; “Genna”.
“But God,” I said, “she’s probably busy today.”
Yet… I found myself calling her anyways.
I asked her if I could come over to visit,
And she told me… she wasn’t sure. 
“I’ll call you right back though,” she said,
“and let you know.” 
So I sat there by the phone…and waited. 

 (From my friend Genna’s viewpoint:)
I slammed down the phone,
Angry at God,
To think he would even ask this of me!
“You know,” I said, speaking out loud,
“just how long I’ve planned to go to this party,
And now you’re demanding I cast it aside?” 
“Be with her,” the thought clearly filled my mind,
“But Lord,” I insisted, “I can be with her tomorrow.”
“No,” the spirit whispered firmer this time,
“I need you to be with her now.”
I sighed, defeated, and said, “oh, all right,”
And when she arrived after my call,
I did sense something wasn’t right. 
We talked about the weather, the traffic, and gardening,
Spoke about nothing at all.  
Then after a time she stood up and said she felt better, 
And told me she needed to go;
For her husband would be home soon. 
“Oh how could you Lord!,” I fumed to myself,
as I followed her out towards the door, 
“I don’t understand why you asked this of me;
This was all such a waste of time!”
But after we said our goodbye’s to each other, 
She turned back to me and added,
“Thank you Genna, for being with me today.  
I would have committed suicide,
If it hadn’t been for you.”
I stood there stunned, as I watched her walk away,
Angry, my mind raced, and I wondered,
What should have I done instead?
“Peace little one,” the Holy Spirit replied,
“you have done what I asked,
now you must let her go.”

*

It took a while to be completely freed from that demon of depression. (I did not know at that time, about casting out demons in the name of Jesus.) Fighting off the depression always seemed to be a struggle. Till one day, listening to a prophesy TV show, the speaker, while praying for those in the audience, suddenly stopped and looked up into the camera, and said that there was someone listening to the broadcast, that was being freed from the demon of depression, right at that moment, and that this person should claim their healing in the name of Jesus, and to forbid satan to trouble them anymore. Satan tried to tell me that the message was for someone else, but I still wondered if it really was meant for me. “Yes! You!” the man’s voice called out (it felt like he was speaking directly to me,) “Do not doubt your healing! You have been set free!” At that moment, as I stood there in the living room doing some housework, I felt the heavy weight that had been on me for so long being lifted off of me. I decided right them and there, that I would claim the message as my own.

It worked!
Glory to Jesus Christ of Nazareth; for indeed, He has set me free!

(And yes, in case you were wondering, Jesus also healed me from the constant migraine attacks, but that story will have to wait for another day… 🙂

*  *  *  *