Monday, April 20

"She" writes

I have begun meeting with a few others (mostly women, one man) to sit under the teaching of a new friend of mine, as she leads a class on Prophetic word.  Today was the second time I trekked out to my old stomping grounds of Steinbach.  Alvin and I used to love taking the kids there for our weekend outings.  Never did I imagine I would be meeting in a little house on Barkman, with a few others - spending time learning and listening and praying.  It is so very sweet.  Today as I sat in front of my fireplace, I realized I needed to do some homework.  Here it is - perhaps you would like to read it.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee - maybe you also could respond to the same question below!  May God be glorified.

The purple is all Scripture - may God add a blessing to the reading of His word that is interspersed throughout this writing.

My response to what is the “Kingdom of God” - what does it look like for me, my family, my community, my country, my world?

Then Jesus asked, What is the kingdom of God like, what shall I compare it to? Luke 13:18

A little girl sits in a circle with other children
intently listening to the head leader talk about heaven
and how Jesus died for her sins
and even though she is only 7 she knows what she must do her mom and her kneel by the side of her bed
and she asks Jesus to forgive her and be her Saviour

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3

The wind on that Sunday afternoon was strong, making the waves of Lake Winnipeg high and rolling.
The little girl enters the waters with the elder
Knowing that this day truly is a definable moment in her 11 year old life

“Yes I believe Jesus is the Son of God and my personal Saviour”
“Upon confession of your faith I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
the kingdom of God ...

John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Luke 3:16

She is often confused by the emotions she feels for her brother.
She wonders where he is ~
but at the same time realizes how incredibly hard it is to relate to him and feels a relief of sorts
He only joined their family when he was almost 9 and had been through so much hard stuff
abandoned by the biological family he knew

put into foster care where he was often beat up
and then placed into an adoptive family that wanted to love him
however he just couldn’t seem to trust anyone
She knows that he gave his heart to Jesus when he was young
but as he told her - he has a three headed dragon that controls his thoughts, his actions, his coming and going
the addictions to many things are consuming and ruthless
he carries around his possessions in an old backpack
in there is his first Bible, an old King James version
The three headed dragon roars often -
it has devoured the relationship he had with his wife, and daughters and son
it has ruined marriage, and jobs
and he often has to find refuge under a bridge or when he is lucky he joins the family at Siloam mission.
In the clear moments he knows that Jesus wants all of him, not just the little piece that somehow is still there
He feels the love of Jesus
but somehow continues to give into the licking tongues of the dragon
In his clarity he longs for renewed fellowship with Jesus and the peace and joy that used to be his.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

She sits in the congregation that is her home church
A congregation that she loves
A congregation that she serves within and out of
She has noticed such a very tangible change in the pastor’s passion over the last couple years.

The pastor speaks with boldness and authority that is uncharacteristic of some of the pastors before him.
The Holy Spirit gives him the boldness.
People sit forward in their seats to listen.

The people who are there for the first time, just checking out the church in the neighborhood - hear the message about Jesus - his death, his resurrection, and the reality of living with Jesus as Lord of your life.
The pastor invites people to give their lives to the LORD

People make decisions for Jesus - and there is a celebration in the heaven lies!

“He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ - with all boldness and without hindrance” Acts 28:31

She walks from her breakfast meeting and gets in her car.
Driving out of the restaurant parking lot, she sees a young couple -
with a toddler in arms, and at least 10 bags of dollarama stuff.
They have put them down on the road, to rearrange and get a better hold of them

She drives past, and then stops and gets out of the car. Hey - can I give you a ride?
“We just live a block away - its okay.
No really - if it would be helpful - I am willing.

He jumps in with the bags and bags of stuff
And she walks home with the toddler since there is no car seat and its a nice day anyhow.
Some conversation.
Some connecting points
The young mom meets them at the car once they are home and with big smiles both of them say thank you for your kindness

She looks ahead and sees the guy standing huddled in the middle of the blvd Not sure if she will get a red light and stop or not
she rifles through her purse to find some money in case

a red light
but being a few cars back
she winds down her window and puts out her hand, and he comes
His eyes meet hers and as he says thank you ma’am - God bless you she comes undone with emotion
and there is no doubt that he senses it and sees the tears in her eyes unexplainable other than a sense of the presence of God in that moment

The missionary had jumped out of the van when she noticed something
and talked to the person in Thai
Returning to the vehicle the missionary says, we need a few of you to come and pray for healing for this person
She knew that she needed to be one of those who huddled and prayed for this man’s healing
They did that a few times
Huddles and prayer were a constant during their time of mission work in Thailand She learned so much about believing prayer, about the gift of faith, about healing, about the Holy Spirit at work

young couples, street people
prodigal brothers and curbside prayer huddles the Kingdom of God

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power 1 Corinthians 4:20 And he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:2
Heal the sick who are there and tell them the kingdom of God has come near to you. Luke 10:9

Her depression is long
Then her mom dies
and a year later - her dad
She walks through some tough medical stuff which includes a near death situation Thankfully her sister heeded God’s voice and ran to the hospital room when she did Healing
more healing
now She is excited about her first grandson to arrive
something unexpected goes horribly wrong as his heart stops before he enters the world
she and her husband and the other grandparents huddle and petition God
but he chooses to take their firstborn grandchild to heaven
her heart shatters into a million little pieces
and she struggles with the faithfulness of God in her life.
It is the dark night of the soul
It is a time of lament
of wrestling
of remembering the faithfulness of God in the past to her grandparents, and her parents and to her and her family
and in the midst of brokenness and extreme sorrow
she knows God is still Sovereign, faithful, loving, good and fully in control

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith “we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” they said. Acts 14:22
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 2 Thessalonians 1:5

She heard him speak
not once but over and over
she shared with her husband and family
and they believed what God was saying to her was true and for them too
She left her career, to enter another one that was really unknown territory
They sell all that they own - land, farm, house
And invest every single thing - financially, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually into following God on what some people think is a whim
but they know otherwise
with full assurance
with full confidence
with full investment
that God does not call you to something and hang you out to dry.
And the blessing and the fingerprints of God all over their lives as a family - has totally kept them in awe at the greatness of their God

He is at work without a doubt
He is fulfilling His plan and his promises The kingdom of God

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 “nor will people say, Here it is, or there it is, because the kingdom of God is in your midst!!” Luke 17:21

She talks with her husband and her kids
She smiles as she watches her grandchildren act out Jesus resurrection
Granny, can we play Jesus?
She ponders the things in her heart
She knows her story is uniquely hers and yet also knows we each have a story
Their life has been deeply etched and changed by the times of hard things, and grief And living in this world but being set apart is often really really hard
however it is all for a greater purpose - for the Kingdom of God
And she and her husband and kids know without a doubt that the best is yet to come.

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, Blessed is the one who will eat at the feat in the kingdom of God.” Luke 14:15
Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. Mark 14:25

Written by Joy Klassen for the Introduction of the Prophetic class, April 20, 2015 This is written from my own personal experience - I am the “she” I write about. 

Wednesday, April 15

Beautiful or average??

The other day, Saturday to be exact, there was an article in the Winnipeg Free Press, written by Jen Zoratti and it was titled "Beautiful or Average? How about neither?"

The article talked about the question that Dove is asking in its latest campaign called "Choose Beautiful".  In the video - women from a few different places of the world were asked to walk through a door.  One was labelled "Beautiful" and one was labelled "Average".  I won't spoil the video campaign for you - you will have to google and watch it yourself.  However Jen in her article said "the video clip serves to reiterate a few things.  One, that impossible beauty standards upheld by the media have made us all feel woefully inadequate.  Two, that beautiful comes in many forms.  three, that being beautiful is still the most important thing a woman can be."

I have to say that the title itself caught my eye, and I read the article.  This whole concept - or thought - or quest for worth speaks deeply into the deep places of my heart.  You see - I struggled with the whole beautiful thing.  I just didn't know it.  Ya, seems strange I know.

I likely blogged about this before - but here I go again - just a little.  When God sidelined me in an amazing pastoral position in what was then my home church of 30+ years, I could not figure out why He called me (yes, very specifically called me out) of the field of Early Childhood Ed, and then I followed a very specific call IN to pastoral ministry but I kept asking God why?  He made it clear I needed to follow him on this - and I did out of obedience.  It was just a little bit into the ministry there that I realized why I believe that God had me there for 7.5 years.  He needed me to see how many women did not see themselves as beautiful in the eyes of God and looked everywhere - to everyone or everything for affirmation on their beauty and ultimately their worth.  This was not an age specific "aha" ... I heard it in the voice of a 70+ woman who wept as she talked about a loveless marriage.... to seeing it on the faces of young girls who were just beginning to feel the early twinges of love!  I realized that women are so incredibly made - by our most loving God - but we just don't see our worth.

I knew that was part of why God called me to the ministry of Women Refreshed at the Well.  However, it was a while later when while I was studying under Dr. Larry Crabb - I realized that I was like the rest - and did not see my worth.  It is a much longer story, that if I were to tell you face to face, I would be choking back tears.  You see ... I knew I was loved for sure by my dad and my husband (two of the main men in my life) however I struggled with my worth - with my beauty - and when it came as a revelation - I was totally undone in the moment and hours after.  God did such an incredible work in my heart, in my life, and continues to affirm his love for me and his absolutely delight in me as a beautiful woman of God!!

You see, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder however my "beholder" is the LORD JESUS CHRIST and as Dr. Crabb said to the women in our class - "Look to the LORD for your worth - for your beauty - and if you have husbands that affirm you in this - that is the  bonus!!"   Somehow that day that God spoke into the core of my being - He made me realize that He has created me unique and wonderfully made - and beautiful.  And in His eyes - there is no such thing as average!!
And the really cool thing is - I believe it.    With His help - this is part of my prayer here within the ministry as well - that women would seek HIM first for all they need - before looking for the affirmation/acknowledgement of the world, their significant others/their jobs etc.

Yes its hard.  Especially when for instance, you may (like me) struggle with some weight issues, or lack of confidence, or can't help but check out all the magazines to see what the world thinks women should look like/be/do/act/ etc.

Psalm 139 is my favourite Psalm and one that I read and recite parts of often.  He has created me to be fearfully and wonderfully made - and oh boy, does HE ever love me - and you.
You are not average sweet ONE - you are absolutely beautiful in the eyes of YOUR beholder - Jesus.
And that is more than enough for this gal!!

The morning we left our course -
Dr. Crabb (Larry) wrote this on the back of my name tag.
This is my reminder !

Monday, April 13

for today LORD ...

The Gospel According to Matthew - in which Bruce Marchiano is the one that portrays Jesus
is by far my most loved "Jesus" film.
He also wrote a book - everyone should read - In the Footsteps of Jesus.  Amazing book
I love that he portrays a Jesus who I think Jesus IS ... he laughs with us, cries with us, celebrates with us.
His hair blows in the wind!!  (unlike some other movies where Jesus is stern, stiff and not at all personable   Really??
This is the Jesus I look forward to seeing face to face one day!!

Today I have already met with my LORD and need to now be getting at some of the stuff of the day.  But before I begin, this is the prayer that I have written in my journal.

For today LORD ...

O LORD for today ~
May I see You around me ~
          please take my breath away :)
May I hear You ~
          please remove distractions and noise
May I love You more ~
          YOU are the great lover of my soul
May I grow to be more like YOU ~
          Saviour, God, Redeemer, Friend.

Oh how I love you!!  My LORD and My GOD!!