Travel Journal Excerpt
July 2005 Ė Wisconsin, USA

...Thursday, July 28, 2005 Ė 1:05 PM - Today I have been pondering the ways we believe our own experience over what God says, which is in direct conflict with Romans 3:4 (Let God be true and every man the liar).  Why is it we are so twisted to think we know better than God?  Even though He clearly tells us that we are holy, righteous, acceptable, and a success if we have Christ in us, we believe our own stinking thinking and lying emotions over what God says.  Victory is simply standing in Godís truth and taking Him more seriously than ourselves.  It is choosing to believe even though we are RIDDLED with unbelief.  In my flesh I am a liar. I always will be and I will believe the father of lies over God any day.  However, the revelation of Christ in me puts it all in perspective and I stand in the truth.  I know it is marching around the same merry-go-round again, and you have heard me say all of this 1000 times before, but the freshness and newness of it still staggers me after almost 10 years of walking in this truth.  He is worthy, He is Holy, He is righteous, and as my friend Alex says, because He is, so I am also.  I donít care if my emotions donít agree with God, and I donít care if my own mind tries to tell me differently.  I shall not be moved Ė not because I am so strong but because I am persuaded that NOTHING can separate me from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.  NOTHING!  Neither height, nor depth, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things past, present, nor things to come!  Not even my own behavior, unbelief, sin, or failures.  Add something to nothing and it is something.  And God is clear Ė NOTHING can separate us.  Do you believe?  In my flesh I will never believe, but thanks be to God Ė there is a Life in me that believes, and that Life is the very essence of who I am.  Christ is my life!    Yes, the lies always try to drag me down Ė so what?  So often we think that walking in victory is the absence of negative emotion, struggle, failure, and temptation.  But itís not.  Walking in victory comes in the MIDST of the storm, and the storm becomes so irrelevant that we simply let it push us to Jesus and we become aware of His holding onto us. 

I was recently counseling with someone who told me she was barely holding on and she didnít know if she would make it.  I asked what would happen if she let go.  She said she didnít know.  I asked her to try it and see what God does.  Letting go is literally falling into Godís arms and letting Him hold us.  He is a lot stronger than I am, and I would much rather that He holds me, thank you very much.  Iím too weak.  I wake up every day knowing I canít keep me.  But what does God say about the one who is to keep us?  ďBut the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:24).  I want you to understand that it is not that I have attained anything Ė just the opposite Ė Iíve just gotten so sick of a dose of my flesh that I just do not want to go there anymore. 

I was recently talking to someone who has been walking through some very difficult flesh battles.  As we talked through things the Lord gave me an assignment.  I couldnít believe what He had me say.  ďSister, here is your assignment for this week.  The next time you are finished defecating I want you to do something.  Before you flush, I want you to get down on your knees next to the toilet and stare at what is in the bowl.  I want you to take a good look at it.  Study it.  After examining it for a while, I want you to think about all you have to offer to the world apart from Jesus, because what you are looking at in that bowl sums it up.  That is all that will ever come out of you.  Stare at it long enough until the Lord begins to minister to you about where your hope and help comes from.Ē  ďBut what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:7-8).Ē  When we get sick of ourselves, maybe we will look at Jesus for a while.  Iím not saying to pretend that our flesh is better.  We have to own where we are in the flesh at any given time.  For example, I may be feeling really worthless, hopeless and like a failure.  Any response other than something like, ďSo what? Jesus is enough,Ē lands me in despair.  Refusing to acknowledge my feelings does nothing to free me of them, but likewise, wading in my feelings doesnít free me of them either.  The only true freedom I can ever know is in Christ.  The point of the toilet bowl is to give a visible picture of what we will find if we go looking for any contribution we have.  Some struggle with that thought saying I am talking about self-abasement.  Thatís not true. What I am saying is that anything good that comes out of me is Jesus.  I have NO contribution to the true good things, the lovely things, and the things of God.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Friday, July 29, 2005 - 12:53 AM Ė I will only write for a few minutes, but just wanted to update you on the afternoon and evening.  We arrived at the station on time and our transportation was there to pick us up.  We chatted a bit and I received a phone call from Becky with some issues I needed to deal with from the office.  The afternoon was a time of rest while the evening was a time of meetings and fellowship.  It was nice to fellowship around the Lord and share what God has been doing.  Principles do not save, only Jesus does.  We get into trouble when we are looking at where God has other believers rather than looking at Jesus.  Or when we try to identify truths instead of seeing Jesus.  The meeting went over 3 hours and was truly a blessing. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Many of us know the principles of walking in the life of Christ, but when the heat gets turned up, we don't really know His presence. Therefore, I must ask the questions: Are we sharing concepts, knowledge, and ideas about walking with Jesus, or are we indeed sharing what we have seen and heard? Is it all conceptual, or is it indeed our personal reality? The proof of the reality comes in the midst of our failures, weaknesses, problems, struggles, and victories. We cannot apply principles. Apart from Him we cannot do anything. The reality is if Jesus doesn't show up, we are in big trouble.  Principles and concepts don't save us, only Jesus does.

 Verses for Reflection

And answering, Jesus said to them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard; that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is proclaimed to the poor. (Luke 7:22)

and what He has seen and heard, that He testifies, and no one receives His testimony. (John 3:32)

For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20)

For you shall be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. (Acts 22:15)

that which we have seen and heard we declare unto you, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)

Friday, July 29, 2005 - 8:13 AM Ė Good morning.  I feel tons better!  I can actually think today!  I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at about 7:00 AM and felt really good.  Yes, it is still morning and I wish morning came at about 2 PM, but for me Iím doing well!  J  I am just sitting down with my morning coffee and wanted to take a few minutes to write before the day gets away from me.  I have counseling at about 11:00 AM, a meeting at 1:30, and an evening scheduled as a fellowship time.  Thatís the plan for the day, but it will be interesting to see how the Lord directs my steps and what it will look like by the end of the day...

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