We all remember so many details and images of 9/11/01.
As I drove up the Colonial Parkway toward home that day, I wondered how it would forevermore feel to be one with a birthday on 9/11. How would those born on this day celebrate life in the midst of such death? God knows every thought or maybe He planted that thought in my mind, knowing I would revisit it many times in the coming years.
On 9/11/2006 at around 10:15am, the 5th anniversay of this Patriot Day, with the roll call of those that died playing in the distance, the supernatural power of God met the natural in my life. I found myself that morning alone. We had since moved from Virginia to NC and I was battling severe depression. This was not new, it had been going on for years but on this day I was tired of fighting each and every day to stay alive. Satan had me in a stronghold and I was almost convinced of my unworth. Almost, because for reasons that even I do not know, I said a desperate and heart felt prayer to Jesus, “HELP!”
And then….as in the days of the Apostle Paul, I encountered the Living God.
His magnificent and radiant Glory filled my office. His presence filled every crevice of that room including every part of me…I felt both incredible peace and holy fear. I fell onto the floor and for what seemed hours, I lay prostrate there under the weight of His Glory. I was as one of the dead in my physcial body though more alive than ever before within. On that day, the Almighty God allowed me to see just a glimpse of Himself, He held me in His arms and allowed me to see the “Missy” that He created me to be and showed me how satan had worked to destroy me even as he had destroyed my own dad. My Father spoke to me words that will forever be engraved in my heart, Words no one can ever take away or dismiss. Heavenly words! I spoke to Him words that I will forever live by. On that day, He healed me, delivered me and changed this life for all eternity. On that day, I repented of my sins, forgave all who I had been so unwilling to forgive and then He forgave me and I accepted His salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. On that day, I made Him Lord and King. After years of hiding the truth about myself and pretending to be saved because I had walked the aisle one time as a child, I was truly born again. Washed as white as snow. That was the greatest of miracles in my life.
My Father then baptized me with His Holy Spirit and I began to speak a language I didn’t know! A heavenly language that until that very moment I had never believed in. He promised to restore my life and that of my family. His promises are always true! It was a suddenly, parting of the red sea experience. I was changed in every way…physically, emotionally and spiritually. I came away with a burning love for Him and His Word and the desire to please Him in all I do.
So today is my real, true birthday. There will probably be no cake, no presents…I know no way to celebrate than this – to remain filled with a heart of gratitude and devotion and indescribable love for my Savior and those He created. To do His will as best as I can. To never forget…remind myself daily of Jesus’ sacrifice and His love for me that brought me out of the place of impending death and into this eternal life. Think about it…at a time when the pain and grief of an entire country was so much in the world’s focus…My Shepherd “left the ninety-nine” to come and rescue this sinner. The beautiful Lamb of God carried this lamb home…what a special gift to me! Thank you so much Jesus!!!!
And herein lies another truth….If He did all of this for me, He can and will do it for you too. He will reveal Himself to you. He will meet you or come after you. He will draw you to Himself or draw you closer. If you feel you are in a place that you can do nothing else, just say the only prayer I did….”HELP!”
I pray for the peace and love I feel to comfort you all and most especially those that are still in so much grief on this 9/11. I pray today that you know my Jesus!
The following is on my wall of this office right in front of where I sit. I will never forget 9/11:
Lord, I give myself to You;
I give my life to You.
I want to be your servant.
I feel Your call;
I believe I was sent and saved
To do the will of my Father.
I will take orders from You.
I will submit to You.
I will let You break my will.
I will not seek for comfort
or high positions,
Nor to do what I want to do.
Mine is the humblest task,
Or the most dangerous task;
By the grace of God, I will do it.
I will go where You want me to go;
I will do what You give me to do.
If in this walk I seem to have nothing,
I will not complain.
At times when I find myself in a kind of prison,
I will rejoice and I will praise You
Because You have been to prison for me.
I love You, Jesus;
I thank You for calling me,
And that You want me,
And that You can use me;
I thank You that You are there to guide every step
As I do my part to ready
Your Bride for Your return.
And I say today with my whole heart,
“Send the Fire
And burn up the sacrifice.
Fill me again and again with Thy Holy Spirit
And give me a double portion of Thine anointing.”
Over the last couple of days, I have been reading again Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard and once again, I am amazed and changed by this little book.
Hind’s Feet is an allegory similar to Pilgrim’s Progress, except in this book, a girl called Much Afraid is going to the High Places where the Shepherd lives. Along the way, she has to persevere under and through the frequent attacks of her relatives – Pride, Craven Fear, Bitterness, Resentment and others. She can only make progress as she holds the hands of her two companions that the Shepherd gave her for the journey, Sorrow and Suffering. This book was to me a teaching on the role of suffering and its relationship to sacrifice and the surrendering of one’s will completely to God.
After the Bible, this is the one book to date, that helped me most in changing my life….and I have read many, many books. These last years, I have gone through my own process of overcoming fear and moving from a life controlled by it to a life of increasing intimacy with God, where fear can’t abide. So this book is in many ways my story, but it is also a story that helped to start that story. I think it is a fabulous book and I will highly and always recommend to anyone that struggles with any degree of fear in their life and yearns for victory over it.
(Thanks to God for using this book to help me overcome and thanks to Lynn for giving me this book two years ago– What a gift!)
LOVE- Paul walked in love. Not love as we sometimes know it but I think love as Jesus defined it and walked. Not only did he walk in this love though, he hoped and expected that we should walk in that love as well. Just as Christ loved us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul loved us (each of us/the church-you can tell that from what he writes) and expected that love in return…but considered that when he didn’t get it to have entered into the suffering of Christ. He had relationship with God so intimate that He could be a true empty vessel for Christ to show love but also to experience pain for His cause. What kind of love did Jesus walk? That question to myself took me straight to 1 Corinthians 13 where that love is defined. We have read it hundreds of times but this time I read it in the Amplified Bible and where I have often almost patted myself on the back thinking I had this love thing down pat. I got to these next verses and there I found conviction. vs. 5 Love (Gods love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. Then vs. 7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening] How to walk in Christ no matter what. You know for the words “Grace and Peace” the Amplified Bible says “Grace (favor and blessing) to you and [heart] peace from God our Father the the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” I liked that and am really learning a lot from the Amplified during this season of my life. Anyway, I think if the church could walk in true love…the Divine Love of Jesus Christ and our Father…then we would have NO LIMITS. It is the greatest commandment. I believe that the presence of God and God’s glory will be manifested when we are sitting in unity with each other and are vessels of that Divine Love both inside but also outside of our four walls. Then we will see miracles, signs, wonders, revelation, obedience, deep relationship, true freedom and incredible manifestations as an everyday occurrence. We will not look on ourselves proudly or boast in our sufferings but look on our sufferings as the ultimate act of worship for our Lord. WOW! I would like to experience such a church.
FEAR – There is good fear and not so good fear. Fear of the Lord is essential. In Hebrew one definition of fear was AWE. I use the word awesome all the time but have I really experienced awe. Sitting at Hatteras looking at the ocean and thinking about how God said to that ocean…”this far and no further”…I feel true awe. Awe moves you. Not necessarily a physical move but could be…definitely a move on the inside. Fear defined as caution may be healthy fear. I fear guns in the hands of children. I fear poisonous snakes or people driving wrecklessly. Healthy fear though is not all consuming. Then there is that other kind of fear. If fear can be defined as awe then perhaps it can also be defined as worship. Anything that we fear or obsess over we worship. If we fear what others think of us then we fear man and are worshipping man. If we fear the financial situations then we are worshiping money. If we fear death then who are we are worshiping?
COMPLAINING AND ARGUING – Says in 2:14 to do everything without complaining or arguing. Do not complain or argue. That is directed at the church and is great advice. Sometimes we tend to complain and think our complaining is justified because we think we know something that others don’t, but these are never acceptable. Sometimes we argue and call it debating or bantering and I have seen more than one church split due to what started as arguing that someone called banter. When you get to vs. 15 it says why he wants you not to do that… I know that God has said to me on more than one occasion, “STOP arguing with ME. I only want to change you for good.” Isn’t it always amazing how much you can learn when you stop arguing with God?