Friday, January 09, 2009

Doubt, Discouragement...Hunger! (a bit of rambling)

I am a passionate person, I don't know of anyone who knows me who would disagree. I am hot or cold, I am extreme, intense. I'm not saying I can't be relaxed because more and more I'm just peaceful and relaxed. But when I believe something, I really believe it! Funnily enough this can lead me to get discouraged and doubt I mean doubt everything. When I don't see healing, or financial provision, or changes in people/relationships, or whatever, I get angry sometimes. I start thinking that maybe this God stuff is all my imagination, that maybe none of it is real. Like I said, I'm either hot or cold!

But generally my extreme doubts, anger, discouragement, even depression all add up to one thing--hunger. I am starving for intimacy, a fresh experience, a fresh conversation, with Jesus. I just miss him. Do you know what I mean? I think my Christian experience has been pretty broad, non-charismatic and charismatic, arminian and calvinist, etc... But every church I've ever been part of has had legalism as a common denominator.

Some mixed in a little law, some alot. Some were honest about it, some called it 'grace'. But even if the methods or doctrines about getting God to show up or do something were different, they all had methods. Some believed that prayer was the key (yeah, I've read Ravenhill and God knows how many others), some believe if you really want something (revival anyone?) than add fasting to that. Some say confessions of sin and repentance is key, actually, many claim this on both arminian and calvinist sides. We must consecrate the temple, purify it, clean it out or the Holy Spirit will not fill the temple (this leans very heavily on OT imagery obviously). I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of people who believe that faith and the word of faith (speaking things out) is the key to getting whatever it is that you need.

I believe that faith and prayer are great, but they are the fruit of the answer, not the answer. There is no method for receiving any of God's blessings, the greatest of which is his constant presence. I'm tired of begging God for what I need or want, especially begging for him to reveal himself, manifest himself to me.

You see, when I first started listening to Rob Rufus, getting my first real glimpse of the glorious gospel of grace, I would be caught up in a crazy swirl of joy and love, it was euphoric and it would last for hours sometimes. I would wake up in the night and God's presence was so real! His voice was so clear! It was beautiful and wonderful. At any moment in the day I could say "God, you there?" and he would be there in this tangible powerful way. I was so caught up in his love!

But then something really weird happened, which I don't think I've shared with anyone but Aaron. One night after listening to some grace preaching I was lying in bed still caught up in God's glorious presence and I must have drifted off to sleep. I was woken up by such an evil presence that was paralyzing me so that I could not speak without a pronounced effort. Finally I said "Jesus" and the evil presence left.

Now, things like this had happened to me lots of times before, but for some reason this experience had a horrible effect on me. Because I fell asleep in God's presence and woke up in fear, in my mind God's presence just kind of turned on me so to speak. It's really strange, but especially at first I could not experience God's presence anymore the way I had been because every time he came I became afraid, I instinctively withdrew. Very very strange, since in general I'm not afraid of demons (apart from the initial reaction when you're first caught off guard or you're having a dream) Over time the effects have been dulled and of course I've experienced God's presence many times, but it has never been the same.

I know this is a very weird story but I guess I don't care what people think of me so much. I don't really know why I'm sharing it in relation to this post but I think I'll just leave it for whatever it's worth.

Anyway, I don't appreciate worship songs that are begging for God to come or whatever. I think they ignore the fact that he has come, Jesus has come and made a way for us to enter into the holy of holies! There is a new a living way, not a dead ritualistic way that sends in the holiest guy you can find with a rope tied around his leg hoping he can please God enough to get everyone safely through another year.

Now we have a great high priest who has entered the holy place with his own blood. Did God strike him down? Or is the blood of Jesus so superior to the blood of bulls and goats that God had to strike down the whole system? The curtain was torn from top to bottom because for any other sacrifice to be offered after the blood of Jesus had been sprinkled would have been blasphemy. Think about that!

We are not beggars, we are sons! We live in our father's kingdom, we carry out his word, his work, with authority. There is no power on earth that can stop us from victory! There is no power on earth that can keep us from our father and his love.

I'm putting up another song that I love. I love it because it doesn't say "will you come" it says "you will come". Now yes, he is already here, but he also promised to come! He said where two or three were gathered he'd be there, he also said "I will never leave you". So both are true, but in either case, there's no place for begging unless you are under the law and still a slave. But I am not!

7 comments:

lydia joy said...

At least you're not lukewarm - LOL!! Thank God!! God loves the way you are, you are a woman after His own heart, and anyone who knows you well must love you for your boldness and your passion for HIS TRUTH and His Truth alone!! You are deeply loved my friend!
I always appreciate tidbits (or should I say titbits, Dan?), of your own life experiences - so I appreciate you taking the time to be open and share, you never know what God will do with our testimonies in the lives of others.
You know you carry the very life of the Son of God with you always, you carry His presence with you whether you sense it or not. Sometimes we "feel" it tangibly and sometimes we don't - but we always know He's there, isn't that comforting? I am finding that if I step out in faith and respond to His love for me, or just enjoy Him, He will often bring His presence in a tangible way, like waves of joy as you mentioned or some other such manifestation, like sensing my crown upon my head, whatever it may be we have a confidence in the simple truth that He will never leave us, He will lead us into deeper and deeper revelations of truth and feed us and we will drink deeply, we will never hunger or thirst again really.......but I know what you mean by being hungry for him and wanting Him so desperately to be so really real.........especially in ways of life experience, such as our health and provision. Just throw it at His feet girl and worship Him like I know you are!! You are right we never have to beg, we are sons and daughters of the most generous High King and Daddy!! Hang in there precious Loved ONE!!! Love you, be encouraged, rest in Him!!

(my song suggestion is Kim Walker's "He loves us" and maybe get your hands on Kelanie Gloekler's cd, you will be dancing with Him in no time!!)

Dan Bowen said...

This has got to be one of my fave posts ever Julie, I just love, love, LOVE it!! And I know that's why we are going to get on like spiritual soul mates because I am so like you - EXTREME! I always like to joke that the one sin I will never be tempted to fall into is the Laoedecian error of lukewarmness!!

You said;

"I don't appreciate worship songs that are begging for God to come or whatever. I think they ignore the fact that he has come, Jesus has come and made a way for us to enter into the holy of holies!".

I have to admit that has been one of the things that has taken me the longest to work through. I used to LOVE worship songs that beg for God to come. There's a Newfrontiers song that goes;

"How long before You drench the barren lands? How long before the weeping turns to songs of joy?".

And at Stoneleigh Bible Week 2001 Terry Virgo wouldn't let us sing it! Because one of the prophetic women had a dream where instead of singing "How long?" we were singing "It's begun!". I was cross enough with Terry anyway for stopping Stoneleigh but was even crosser because I loved that song!

But now I am beginning to understand it. Songs that beg for Him to come are being sung out of our LACK of experience of Him rather than singing in FAITH believing that He HAS COME even if we don't see it and touch it yet!

Like Lydia, you are so so appreciated! I love the passion you carry in your heart for your old friends in Sovereign Grace Ministries and how your heart aches for them - just like my heart aches for my family.

Awesome stuff sister!! Awesome! Keep at it and keep writing!

RJW said...

Mmmmmm...interesting ramblings.

Straight to the heart: I'm pissed that the enemy invaded your rest. I've experienced the same sensation but not for many years. The "tangible" presence of evil. Oppresssive. And always during sleep. As I have walked more and more in my authority as His beloved, I don't fall for Satan's lies anymore. He's defeated. PERIOD. I choose to live out of what Christ FINISHED at the cross which is not just my death to law but my resurrection into His life!

Julie, we are the Bride. We are what the cross was about. Would you stand for someone usurping your rights as Aaron's wife?? I bet not!! Your marriage bed with Christ is even more sacred. Stand (REST) in your authority as the Beloved and KNOW that our enemy is deceiving you by manipulating your emotions. You don't have to fight a defeated foe!! Don't waste your time. HUMPH! Kick him out of your thoughts and focus on Jesus. If you make yourself available, He's always attentive!! :)

Praise & Worship: Would you like us to send you the Kelanie CD's??? THAT was your Christmas gift but we never got your address. (hint, hint) They are splendiferously marvelous!!

You passionate??? Who would have guessed?? ;)

silent wings said...

Julie, what a beautiful song!
Thank you for being so open and honest.I had a long post here but I decided it would be much nicer and better to do tea again and share that way instead.

Just wanted to say too I appreciated this Lydia,
"You know you carry the very life of the Son of God with you always, you carry His presence with you whether you sense it or not." I have been trying to tell myself this lately.

Julie, DO get Kelanie's CD's!!! Absolutely restorative music.

(hugs)and prayers for you my friend,
Love Cirra

Juli said...

Julie,, I had an experience much like yours - that overwhleming sense of evil being present - I felt not like God had "left" me, but was standing back.

I was very new in my faith and totally confused bt it - I was alone, away from home, at a Christian writer's retreat. I had so much fear I thought I would literally die.

But I also knew I had to go back to my little room, and deal with it, and pray and ask the Lord to lift it, which he did, but not without many tears, and crying out to Him.

I still don't know why He allowed that to happen. It reminds me of Job in a way, the Lord allowing Satan to test him. I think often about that evening of mine, and remember the feeling of being apart from God, and I don't ever want that again. For me it has served as a reminder that apart from Christ, that is how vulnerable I am.

You know, I can relate to the crying out for more of Him. All I can say is that you must keep crying out, believe Scripture when it says "If you seek me with all your heart, you will find Me." Trust that the things not yet revealed are not revealed for a reason (Deut 29:29 helps me with this)

Whatever He has revealed to you of Himself, enjoy it. It is a strange paradox - being completely satisfied in Him, yet hungering for more. I don't fully understand it, but I know it to be true.

It takes great spiritual maturity to live in grace (grace as the Word defines it, but as the world does). You know all this already, but sometimes it bears repeating!

Love you and praying for a fresh revelation of Himself to you..to encourage your heart.

Juli

Bino M. said...

Jul - This post reminded me of several things but I will share two things. 1. My charismatic past. Charismaticism did nothing good to me. May be it was my problem but I was constantly looking for 'experiences' but the truth is none of it satisfied me. After one is over, within minutes I am desperate for another one. Interestingly enough, Bible says, 'seek Him and you shall find Him' so the question I asked myself was, if I found Him, why am I still seeking?

Long story short, my experiences didn't set me free but Truth did set me free. I stopped looking for 'something more' and found that I already have everything I ever need. (This is not to say that I have reached my full growth, but speaking in terms of seeking experiences.)

The second thing is about dreams. Usually dreams don't bother me whether it is good or bad. But few days ago I saw a weird (very weird) dream that in the dream I am trying to kill my 2 yr old son. I didn't tell this to my wife because I didn't want to scare her. But it stayed in my mind for a long time and still bothers me.

What I think is sometimes dreams can be very weird but again if its creating fear in us, what is the source of it? It definitely is not from God. Because God deals with us on the basis of perfect love and perfect love casts out fear. So I come to a conclusion that any type of fear which tries to creep into my life, it's source is ALWAYS the devil. So replace the lie he is trying to sell to us with truth and move on...

Ursula Kuba said...

Jul,

Wow! Awesome post! I'm a pretty extreme person too...I'm either smokin' hot or freezing cold...I think its because I'm very passionate about Jesus! Love the grace that oozed through and the realness. So...I get the demon in the middle of the night thing...I'm gonna borrow from Sheila - ACK! I've experienced it, my most frustrating being a hissing demon waking me up. Now I do NOT like having my sleep broken. In fact, I'm not a very nice person if you wake me up for no reason. And if you wake me up to stand at the foot of my bed, all red, and hiss at me and try intimidate me, then I really am going to get irritated with you. That thing left fast I tell you. Other nights, years ago it was common for me to wake up with a presence in my room, and I was too petrified to move. Now I know my authority. And then Julie, there was that one night, that makes it up, when I'd gone through something particularly traumatic, and I woke up in the middle of the night, and Jesus was standing in my room. That was worth it!

And yeah, how do we forget that we are already seated in heavenly places...and heavenly places are where he is at? We are too slow I tell you!