Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Freedom BEYOND Our Fears

Why does fear seem to be at the surface in every person’s life?

Fear lives in and through politics. That fear of who is going to be our new president in the next election. A Fear of having the ‘wrong’ person in office and taking control of this country and putting many lives in danger. A fear that lives in and among our households; a suspicion of a spouse cheating, a fear for our children’s safety in our public schools, and a fear of not being accepted by others. Fears of the unknown or losing a loved one, (a fear of death). Fear of losing a job, fear of not having enough money to pay the bills, or having enough to even feed your household. The list goes on and on. You know, I think fear is the the biggest force that motivates people into doing things that they aren’t otherwise, willing or wanting to do. There is also fear formed in our local congregations. A fear that drives pastor’s and leaders to manipulate and control others to ‘pay up’ and tithe, so they, the pastors and leaders of the congregations can feed their families. They use the threat of Hell and use ‘alter calls’ to bring people to a fearful God. Any so called sin, and every wrong doing imaginable to enable others to fall into fear of what will happen to them if they don’t confess their sins. Fear is a force that strives on hurting and destroying the hearts of people. For some, fear rides on the bases of their entire lives. It has a way of controlling our thoughts and sometimes even our actions.

I was listening to a pod-cast from Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings on The God Journey called, Freedom From Fear. They have some awesome conversations about how fear manipulates our thoughts even on how we perceive God in our lives. Some see God as an angry God, who is waiting for anyone to slipup. A God who doesn’t see His people through loving eyes, and uses fear and judgments to push and manipulate people into following Him. Some actually believe that God is a conditional loving God, who only justifies His love on the good a person does compared to how much bad a person does, and how some think God sees people from a Superior position. Yes God is Superior to me, BUT he came to earth to show me that He has felt the same as I and loves me enough to die for me through everything He has gone through. God in fact, desires a relationship with me for no reason other than the reason that this fearless God who wants nothing more than to love ME, and wants to be my Daddy, and in that, He allows fear to have NO bases in my life. Yeah, I have moments that I am fearful of things; I am a person just like anyone else. However, knowing where I stand with Father I know and understand that Love conquers fear and therefore, fear has no ability to be in my life. It sure would like too, but it can’t because Father has won me through His undivided, and unconditional Love that will last for eternity, and that my friend, is Freedom.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Synopsis From My Viewpoint

Okay, I finished A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle yesterday. To my surprise, I finished the book in one day. It has over 300 pages and by the time I got to the last couple of chapters, I was sick and tired of reading words. For one, I am not a HUGE reader, and second, I usually am not that intent in finishing a book in one sitting, but things that were talked about in the book intrigued me even though I found through reading the book that there were many things I completely disagreed with. However, I decided to fish out the things that were good and use them in and through my life where Father has intended, and throw out the rest.

In order to understand where this guy is coming from, I must be honest and share both, the good and uplifting things I saw and the stuff I don’t agree with.

The whole meaning and purpose of this book is to recognize ones conscious state and how one can become aware of the now, and the Presence, as he calls it, in order to be awakened and fully understand ones human BEING. In order to fully understand your consciousness, one must know the signs and be aware of how powerful the ego is.

The ego is what Eckhart calls, a powerful force that builds up through ones entire life. It is born in and through a person since childhood. Ego becomes more important than anything or anybody else. Ego takes control when one is unaware of the current moment, and becomes lost or trapped in thought. They are selfish thoughts that create scenarios of anything that seem to be ‘against’ the self (ego). Eckhart points out that the ego isn’t necessarily wrong or bad but it is unconscious. It is unaware of the current moment.

These are the things that the Ego feeds on: unhappiness, resentment, grief, (possessions, and anything that has material quality value), never is satisfied and always wanting more, fear, greed, jealousy, violence, anger, rage, the need to feel superior to all others, mistrust in everyone and everything, complaints, feeds on paranoia, sees only what it wants to see, lives for recognition of others, admiration, wants to be famous in all eyes, destroys any hope or opportunity for any genuine relationships, lives to be fake, never wants ‘problems’ to cease, a dysfunction of every sort.

These characteristics of ego will show its self when the opportunity arises. They won’t necessarily show themselves at the same time, but will when the time is right. In order to overcome this ego or control it, when it is so desperate to destroy ones life, is to understand how powerful it is and realize that it will go as far as you allow it to go, in order for ego to control and manipulate you to do what it wants. Once the ego is recognized for what it is, the answer to removing this controlling force and to break free from its powerful grip and to fight back for what is truly yours, your life. In order to control this, one must move beyond the ego into ones own true identity. This is where discernment comes in and separates what I believe to what the Author believes. Eckhart believes that in order to do this, one has to become God. One has to strive to have the appearance and approach to all things as God. It first seemed like he was saying God being in us will give us the power to become present in the moment and defeat the ego, but then he says this. “The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I AM.” After reading that one little sentence, I felt as though he stripped away every supportive meaning that this book had to offer in just that one sentence. Father bluntly and honestly says in scripture.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

I am starting to think that he purposely took the (I AM) out of what Father was saying, and to call us what Father calls Himself, (or maybe I am just reading to far into this.)

Eckhart uses many scripture references that proclaim what Jesus says, but neglects the true meanings behind what Jesus is actually saying. For example, he uses an example from the Gospels, yet in what Jesus says in this, Eckhart is doing and telling the reader the exact opposite. “And when Jesus said, ‘Deny thyself,’ what he meant was: Negate (and thus undo) the illusion of self. If the self-ego-were truly who I am, it would be absurd to “deny” it.” Eckhart basically took two words out what Jesus was saying and didn’t show the verse for what Jesus really meant by it.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 Jesus said, ‘Follow me’, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. Father means what he says, and Eckhart wholeheartedly denies it. One has to have a purpose in denying themselves. Using those two words in this book doesn’t even make sense. A person isn’t going to deny himself or herself anything unless they have a good reason to: that being to follow God and live for Him. At least that is the best reason I can think of!

Even though Eckhart believes that the “I AM”, as in (ME) takes precedence over God, which is a BIG, not okay, in my book, I find some of his information to be helpful in living for God. (Not to sound contradictable) but I find that he does make a good point in separating the ego from who a person is. I just want to look past the negative things that Eckhart proclaims as truth, not to allow it or accept it as truth, but rather, to be graceful and sensitive to what Father is showing me.

He examines that the ego isn’t a part of the person, but just a collective dysfunctional behavior, the insanity of the human mind, that wants nothing more than to destroy ones life. He notices that all humans have this because they are unaware of their consciousness and not familiar with their BEING. Eckhart expresses how important it is to find consciousness, and become aware of the awakening of the soul and thus live life in the awakening of ones consciousness, and to BE in the moment of every moment. I have found this information very helpful and gather that Father desires me to realize that if I become more aware of each moment I live in, that, through the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit, I will become more aware of realizing that I have a say in how I react and respond in situations where I would normally ride on my anger or whatever wants to take hold of me in those certain moments and any of those characteristics that selfishness feeds on to gain control and precedence in my life.

The reason why I finished this book was because I felt that Father was telling me to finish what I started, not just for the sake of ‘finishing’ this book, but to see how Father was going to use the good that is found in this book and use it in His truth and in His light!

If most of what I took from the book seemed to be nagative in a spiritually sense in how one percieves God, it was not my intention to make the "negative' seem bigger than the positive. However, the negative that was found seemed to build my perception of God and strengthened my identity in Father more as I wrote this.

I think the most important thing that I have grasped from this book is becoming more aware and more conscious in every present moment, and understanding that there is something happening in that moment, whether or not I am ‘conscious ‘ enough to realize it, and in every moment, Father is there, and is waiting for me to find him or recognize him in every moment in time. In and when I notice the Spirit, all Father wants is to lead me and guide me to Him. This isn’t saying that Father is a cop and He is watching my every moment or move just in case I slip, but His desire is for me, and in that, all I see is how much He loves me. I want to come alive and become awakened on a regular bases by Father and His Spirit. That is what I ache for, so that I may portray His beauty and truth in and through the way I live my life.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A New Earth

I was watching Oprah this afternoon and she was talking about this book, A New Earth, Awakening Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle. The title seems a little New Agie, but I guess that would be called, (judging the book by its cover). Has anyone heard about this book and what its about? Oprah was interviewing some people who have read it, and to me it sounds pretty uplifting. This guy was saying as he was reading it, that he noticed how negative he was being and realized he doesn’t have anything to be negative about. So others seem to like it and twice they mentioned certain scriptures from the bible, not that that makes it good or not, but I am just kind of curious. I may go check it out soon…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Seeking His Face In What’s To Come!

The past couple of days my hubby made plans to go visit a friend who is about to be shipped to Iraq for his last mission as a marine. Jonathan made plans to meet up with two other friends and leaves tonight. Before the plans were complete, I found out that I had most of today off through Monday, which means I would have a lot of time to go and hang out with my Family while he went to see his friend. However, it couldn’t work because I already had prior commitments to baby-sit this weekend and couldn’t cancel. So, as was planned, Jonathan left this morning. Lets just say, I was a little flustered about not being able to go. Well, today, I got off of work at noon, and just as I was driving home, I got a phone call and my babysitting plans got cancelled due to some illness in the family. Well, I found this out about two hours after Jonathan left. We have another vehicle, but it’s a gas-guzzler and unpredictable. I was uncomfortable traveling for eight hours by myself, and I felt a nudge from Father to stay. At first, I was really upset because of barely missing a free long weekend back home with my family. After my anger subsided, I calmed down and figured Father had another plan for me this weekend. Still don’t know what He is going to do with me in these empty five days ahead of me. It kind of seems a little liberating not having a ‘plan’. By nature I am a planner and love to know what I am going to do and what is expected to happen, however, Father is taking that away from me I believe, and has a plan that I don’t need to know about until it is already underway. Maybe he will give me a little heads-up, but we shall see.

Father, let your will be known to me, and the time I have to be spent wisely in You. I want nothing else than to know that I am doing what I feel I am led to do by You. I know you have a purpose of making plans for me to stay home, and I am okay with that. Even if you don’t have a precise plan for me in the next couple of days, let me find You and rest in what I find to do. Love You Abba!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pieces

Here is another one that hits me hard! I see how incredibly strong these words mean when they are put together in this format. I am learning through this and I see Father in this. What do you see?

"Pieces" by Red

I'm here again
A thousand miles away from you
A broken mess, just scattered pieces of who I am
I tried so hard
Thought I could do this on my own
I've lost so much along the way

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole

I've come undone
But you make sense of who I am
Like puzzle pieces in your eye

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole!

I tried so hard! So hard!
I tried so hard!

Then I'll see your face
I know I'm finally yours
I find everything I thought I lost before
You call my name
I come to you in pieces
So you can make me whole
So you can make me whole

Lost In You

Just recently I discovered a new Christian band called, Red. They have amazing music and their lyrics go deep into my spirit! I have clenched onto them and am finding great things through their music that Father is using in my life these past couple of days!!! Here are the lyrics to one of their amazing songs, LOST!!


"Lost"

Can I be dreaming once again?
I'm reaching helpless I descend
You lead me deeper through this maze
I'm not afraid

I'm lost in you everywhere I run
Everywhere I turn I'm finding something new
Lost in you, something I can't fight
I cannot escape
I could spend my life lost in you! Lost in you!

Your whispers fill these empty halls
I'm searching for you as you call
I'm racing, chasing after you
I need you more

I'm lost in you everywhere I run
Everywhere I turn I'm finding something new
Lost in you, something I can't fight
I cannot escape
I could spend my life lost in you!

I could never be the same
Something that I could never arise
I could never look away
I lost myself in you!
It's all over now!

Lost in you! Everywhere I run
Lost in you! Everywhere I run!
Lost in you!
Lost in you!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Can I still live in the Status Quo?

I am a woman who loves the Lord and is becoming relaxed and comfortable with who I am in my journey with Father, I have come to understand the importance of living in a relationship with God and getting my focus on my heart more than my outward appearance of how I look as a Christian to others. Don’t get me wrong, I want to show others Father through the way I live my life, but as far as how others see me, regardless, I want the freedom to do what I feel I can do without judgments from others, especially if I am not getting conviction from Father. I am literally crawling out of my shell on this one, so ‘PLEASE’ bear with me.

There are choices that I make that put Christians on edge. They may look at me and say, that chic is not a Christian, she doesn’t go to church, and she goes places ‘I’ would never enter. She listens to secular music. She drinks alcohol on occasion, and go on and on and on. They make these judgments without ever knowing who I really am inside my heart. Now I could see where they are coming from, for I have been there before. I used to look at people from that angle if I found out that they partied, or they listened to secular music, or so on if they professed to be a Christian, but then I realized something. Its not what one does that clearly defines them, but it is the heart that defines them. Now I can see how contradictable that sounds, but if one focuses on what the person is ‘doing’ than on the ‘person’, it is easy to overlook what is simply important. Their heart and whom they really are inside. I may know a person my whole life and really never ‘know’ them because they aren’t willing to expose their heart to me, but only know them for what they do. How then can I make judgments on what I can see, and expect to make a 'good' judgment and never really know who they are.

It's not my place to judge 'regardless'...


Okay, I may be skating on thin ice here, but I have been thinking about this lately, and need some input.

Please be real with me!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Love Language

As I was thinking about how we talk in this blog world, I have discovered many attributes that promote relationship in every aspect. When you are open with others, it breaks down barriers and opens doors to exposures of a real heart and that could lead to great risk. However, that doesn’t seem to stop or slow down your true heart’s reflections of Father. I see many who aren’t controlled by fear of what others think but only care about speaking love and truth that comes directly from Father. It is a real privilege to be able to share openly without huge vigilance or a burden to bite my tongue. I can’t even grasp how wonderful and fulfilling it feels to be real. Some may come and see how real and open I am on here and may never come back, but those of you who do come back and share in thoughts and reflections of the heart, says a lot to me. I want to encourage you to continue to be bold and be real, be you, for that is what I believe Father desires. So I move on with my head high and with a joy to share my reflections of a God-centered heart. Thank you all for being real and encouraging me, it really says a lot and I continually look forward to more real heart reflected conversations!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Being a True Friend

As of late, I have been pondering on the meaning of being a true friend. What provoked this thinking is my awareness of a friend who has been absent for a couple months now and hasn’t made any effort to communicate to me. This stirs quite some disturbance in me and so I felt that I should follow up with an email and just say hi. I didn’t bring up what the problem was, but was just checking in to say hi as if nothing was wrong at all. I think about the pattern I see myself following when it comes to maintaining friendships. When I first meet someone I try to spend a lot of time with them to get to know them and find myself doing nice things for them and going out of my way for them as a newfound friend would. Sounds good so far right? Well, eventually when we have known each other for a while and the newness of the relationship starts to cool down, communication in some instances on the other side of the friendship starts to die, then when I don’t get pursued at all, its like they lose interest in me all together, and in return I give up pursuing them. Now, you’ve heard the worst. I can’t really understand why this always happens but it seems like it is weighing on me pretty heavily. I want to stop this pattern and get over myself and never stop loving them and following up with them regardless how well they communicate to me. Last night I was talking to my husband about this issue and he said that the reason they may not be talking to me is not because of me but because of them and you have to respect where they are and just be there for them even if they aren’t there for you. It hurts, but he is right. My deep down heart felt desire is to be the best friend I can be to all my friends and not let pride and selfishness get in the way of that. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13. I want to be like Jesus and lay down my life for my friends whenever they need me. I want to be there for them even if they aren’t there for me. Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” I may be that brother/sister right now, but I hope if I don’t accomplish anything great in this life that I am remembered as a person who loved at all times and was there regardless.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Somewhere in a Moment

I have thought about what it is like to just be. In my life I have always been a busy body, going somewhere, doing something, and never really just resting. Especially in my Christian life, it has always kept me on my feet running around doing stuff, when all I really need is not to have my plate full of busyness constantly. I like what Walking Church had to say on his blog just recently about learning from his dog Missy, to just rest!
It always seems to surprise me that I never find rest in the moment of time. Well, Saturday, I finally did it! I was planning to get together with a good friend for the afternoon, but that didn’t happen. My husband was up in the mountains skiing so I was alone and had nothing really to do, so I asked Abba what he wanted for me that day, and he told me, find rest. So I did. I went to a creek in Golden and got a sandwich and sat down by the creek and read the Shack book. I would say I read for almost two hours. It was so peaceful and just where Father wanted me to be in that moment in time. Have you ever had that feeling? Being somewhere exactly where you need to be at the exact time you need to be there. I am learning to fall into every moment a lot more and start to live there for a while without jumping too far ahead and focus on the future or get caught up in the past for too long! I have done that my whole life and now starting to realize that somewhere in this moment right now I have something to learn from Father. It may not be too significant but it’s a moment that Father has made for me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Slideshow Of Life

Hope you enjoy some beautiful pictures taken by my husband Jonathan and I here in Colorado. Most of them are taken up in the mountains in some awesome mountain towns like, Estes Park, Breckenridge, Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and other hotspots along the way. The other pictures are from our vacation to London, and what an awesome experience that was. You can tell who was holding the camera most of the time and it wasn't me. There are a few pictures of our dogs Mocha and Brewster. The bigger brown haired dog is Mocha, and the little black one is Brewster. He is our smelly baby. The other pictures are from New Mexico where I grew up, most of them are taken at my families ranch, some awesome shots we got of the clouds!

Have Fun Browsing

In Freedom, Nicole!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

God Gave Us a Name and it isn’t GOD

I have this annoying angst with some people who try to justify their own theologies through convincing and ‘playing God’ through their religious commentaries, it is getting quite old. I usually advance to zoning out when I am faced with this so-called preaching the gospel. When are people going to realize that they are not God, and they are not called to convince me and proclaim the voice of God over me? I have heard it a billion times people say, “God told me to tell you”… Well, I usually reply back flabbergasted saying, who died and made you God? I am usually not quite that forward or rude. I may sound a little short-tempered in this post, but perhaps I am extremely disgusted with religion. Unfortunately, people use religion as their source to control and manipulate people into action. Now I see how non-believers look at all Christians and classify them all into this certain horrible category, and I don’t blame them for doing so. If only non-believers could see me differently than a lot of Christians. I hate that label. Christian. Even if its in the bible and that is what Father has called his people, but lately its such a label that I wish I could erase. I am not talking about my beliefs in Father and my relationship with him or his people, but the name Christian has really given all of us a bad rap. Or perhaps it’s the religion behind the name that has. I would probably feel much differently about the name if it weren’t a name for religious legalists. Does it ever bother you when people ask you what ‘religion’ you are? It does me. It gets under my skin so deep, and I feel like the only reply that I have is, ‘I only have a relationship with a God who loves me and cares for me regardless my sin’. I don’t know maybe Father will give me one that explains where my heart is or maybe I should say where HIS heart is in this!

Does anyone else have a good name to express your relationship with God to others?

Friday, February 8, 2008

What is Church?

A building? The steeple? The pews? The bible?
How about US? You, me, the brother across the street? Yes, yes and yes. We, God’s people are the church. Doesn’t that make sense? Than why is there so much attention on attendance of a building? Why are there so many people concerned in our Christian circles today to build up the definition of church being a building? In recent conversations in Bino’s blog we have talked about the Christian community coming together. I would like to add to that and say that the Christian community is all of us and we are the church. A building doesn’t mean a darn thing to me anymore. Some call it a place of worship, but if you think about it, couldn’t that be said for a lot of other places, our homes, our bedrooms, nature (outdoors). Doesn’t worship only happen when humans are involved anyway? So, if I was to say that I worshiped Father in Starbucks, wouldn’t that count? I am just posing some open-ended questions to boost up more conversations about this subject. Church and Christian community = SAME THING.

What do you think???

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting Over Myself!

Ever since I found this journey that allows me to be myself with Father freely has really helped me let go of my self-delusions that I used to hold onto. One was guilt. It always played a huge role in my life as I was committed to feeling guilty for every sin that I committed towards Father and family. I would allow it to take such a huge grip that it would kill me to even talk to Father about my sin. I couldn’t do it, I would be miserable over one thing I did for a number of days and not let the thing go. I would allow it to destroy my level of so called integrity and strength that I had. I used to think it was Father punishing me for the sins I committed. It was that ugly and depressing. However, when I entered this newfound life with Father, it became clear to me that it was a battle I put on myself. God had nothing to do with it. It was all about getting over myself and seeing that Father still loved me and wanted to cradle me in his arms. Now, a week or so ago, I was real ugly to my husband, and said unbearable things, it didn’t take long for me to step right back into my delusion of guilt, but as I was praying and releasing my sin to Father, the whole problem vanished and the shame lifted. It was a miracle. I was set free from that guilt trap and from myself to see that Father wanted me to let it go and as I did, I started looking forward.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Big Religion and Big Government

I am probably going to be stepping on some toes in this post, but I just couldn’t help it. After watching the outcome of Super Tuesday it got me all fired up for some reason. Usually when one talks about religion or politics there is usually smoke in the air from the flames coming from some peoples heads, but if you talk about both, politics and religion in the same conversation, warning, their may be a forest fire starting very soon.

As I use the term (big government) I probably give away that I am a republican and believe in small government vs. government control because I believe that we the people can make decisions on our own without the governments input. It isn’t the government’s responsibility to take that away from the people who have rights to decide what is right for them (us). If we give the government an inch they will take a mile or more and that to me is a real problem and that scares me. I blame my husband for such conviction and thought when it comes to politics because he is a real hardheaded republican and gives it much attention. For a while, I would just sit on the sidelines not really having an opinion or giving it much thought, but my husband influence has driven me to the point of actually writing about politics on my blog (go figure).

Religion can look scary to me as well, it portrays to me bondage that deprives me from the liberty that I can have with God. It’s a certain bondage that doesn’t allow freedom in having a relationship with Father and succumbs to obligation or bondage to any laws that reign or take precedence over sharing a relationship with Father. Religion is all about the “me factor” and how well “I” am doing to gain more points in God’s eye than just being who I am for God without keeping track of points and sins. Religion also portrays a sense of having to be responsible for our fellow brothers and sisters. Having accountability partners so man can keep me inline instead of God and having to take on the responsibility to keep an eye on Christians just in case they slip up.

Religion is a lot like the Federal Government. They both are control freaks. They want to take as much away from a person as they can and declares that “they” know best. They portray a sense of wanting others to have a full dependency of trust in the laws they proclaim to be laws and what is or isn’t illegal. Religion or the Federal Government aren’t looking out for my best interest but in the interest of them and takes all the honor and power away from God. Religion and Government in every turn from this point on has rubbed me the wrong way, and will continue to do so.
How does this rub you?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Unity? Is it possible?

Depending on the definition you use for Unity, being on the same page and living in harmony with every brother and sister in the Christian circle to me seems impossible on this earth. I am starting to think that unity will happen in Heaven when everything is perfect and the (definition of unity) will ring true. I am starting to think that unity is something that we can’t make happen, whether we would like to see it happen or not! It seems like trying to make it happen is not worth the effort. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, quite the contrary, I just think that having unity with every Christian is an unrealistic thought. Can unity be seen in a different light though? Okay this is what I mean. Can’t unity mean for us right now to love each other where they are with the Lord and not throw judgments on each other or not be in relationship with each other if our points of views and walks with Father don’t line up perfectly. All Christians have one thing in common they all proclaim to love the Lord. Isn’t that enough to unify the body of Christ? Our love for Father will bring unity to love each other like Father has love for his church, which is all of us.

Just some open-ended thoughts that still have room to grow. Please add on if you have some thoughts!!