"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are CHILD OF GOD. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. and when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -- Nelson Mandela
* Losing and maintaining lost weight thru the holidays, gotta love that!
* A whole new year with new beginnings and now mistakes in it, wonder what will happen this year?
* Long Christmas and New Year weekends OFF!
* Friends, near and far, I love them and need them.
* Newly organized and redecorated rooms, lovely!
* Grandbabies, their sounds, smells, laughter and the joy they bring my heart.
* Scrapbooking & Digital Scrapbooking - LURVE IT!
* Sleeeeeeeep, yeah we are friends like that.
I have been to your myspace at least a half dozen times, writing notes to you...missing you...wondering why in the world my heart feels so deeply and crys...I talked about you today...saying that the twos sides of me are at odds in this issue...my feelin side just feels it and responds with tears, no explanation necessary...yet my logical side, says this make no sense...in that yes, you knew her, but you didnt *know* her as many others did that would justify, explain or make sense of the tears I cry. But the logical side of me says nothing and reasons nothing, to either make the tears stop or justify the tears that flow...so I suppose I should just accept them, for whatever reason they are there and trust that God understands and knows and hears the deep of things within me.
You are soo missed, as I wrote on your myspace, even by silly girls who never even got to hug on ya...man every time I go there I cry...wonder why? Maybe cuz when I went that weekend, something about you, something within that hobbit house, something about sitting with your mom, hugging on your daddy, praying for your children, speaking into Wes's life, sharing tears with never met before friends, left an indelible mark upon my soul...and it changes a person. Funny thing is I dont know, if we would have ever talked as friends, or if we would have discovered some passion shared...aside from the ones I know about...God, writing and cross stitch, I would have liked to have found out.
I often wonder, if you could do things different, knowing what you know now, what would you do different? I also wonder, what our answer to that question would be in light of, what we think YOU know now...about us, God, friendship, family, people, ministry...and what that answer should make US do differently, now while we can?
I cant believe we are approaching a year. Time goes by so fast, it seems we can barely catch our breaths. I pray that your babies come to saving knowledge of Christ, that they grow strong in the things of God and I pray that Wes is strengthened as a father and also comes to saving knowledge of Christ and his whole household. You know, better than any of us, how vital that is...so more than anything I pray that for them. I look forward to meeting and embracing you when God calls me home, until then girl, save me a seat.
March 25, 2008
8.6lbs, 19.5in long
Isn't she beautiful!!??
...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
...even though our weeping may endure a while, this morning Nattie knew true JOY.
I KNOW that being face to face with the LORD of LORD and KING of KINGS, she NO LONGER needs the faith that we sooo desparately need right now, for she SEES Him who has LOVED her and for His own reasons, beyond ours, has called her home.
To Him who is able to do abundantly ABOVE ALL that we could ask or think...we rest in You oh Lord and trust, knowing that You are in control of ALL that we dont understand and cant wrap our human brains and hearts around.
We stand firmly before the throne, in all our emotions, loving and trusting You.
Borrowed from StephanieG:
There is nothing--no circumstance, no trouble, no testing--that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to become panicky, as I lift up my eyes to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no circumstance will cause me to fret, for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is--that is the rest of victory!
--Alan Redpath, former pastor of Moody Church
Toronto Vineyard Pastor Repents for the Manifestations...
By Paul Gowdy, a former Toronto Vineyard Pastor(used by permission)
It has taken me nine years to actually come to the place where I would write this story. Part of the reason was because I was not fully convinced that it is appropriate to speak out against weaknesses in the body of Christ publicly. Another reason is because it has taken years of soul searching to become convinced that what happened in the Toronto Airport Church was actually all bad or at least more bad than good!
For the past number of years I have called it a mixed blessing. I think James A Beverly called it this in his book Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing 1994. Today I would call it a mixed curse concluding that any individual good that came from this experience is far outweighed by much harm and satanic deception. I suppose that therein has been my dilemma. I have tried to live my life in the fear of the Lord and Jesus told us that the unforgivable sin was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Attributing to Satan what was in fact a work of God. If pressed as to whether or not the Toronto blessing is all God or all Devil I will still be hedgy, but I am convinced that Satan has used this experience to blind people to the historical doctrines of God, to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, to failing to test and discern the spirits and failing to test prophecy.
After three years of being in the thick of the Toronto blessing our Vineyard assembly in Scarborough ( East Toronto) just about self destructed. We devoured one another, with gossip, backstabbing, division, sects criticism etc. After three years of 'soaking,' praying for people, shaking, rolling, laughing, roaring, ministering at TACF on their prayer team, leading worship at TACF, preaching at TACF, basically living at TACF we were the most carnal, immature and deceived Christians that I know. I remember saying to my friend and senior pastor at Scarborough Vineyard Church in 1997 that ever since the Toronto Blessing came we have just about fallen to bits! He agreed!
My experience has been that the manifestation of spiritual gifts mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12 was much more common in our assembly, before January 1994 (when the Toronto blessing started.) than during this period of supposed Holy Spirit visitation.
During 1992-1993 when praying for people we would experience what I believe was genuine prophesy, deliverance and much grace and favour from the Lord. After the Toronto Blessing started, all ministry time changed, the only prayers were 'More Lord MORE ', the shouting of 'Fire' the jerky shaking of the body with the 'ooh ooh OOH WOOOAAH' prayer. (I kid you not!)
On January 20th 1994 about 15 people from our church traveled over to Toronto Airport Vineyard in order to listen to Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from the USA. John Arnott had called our senior pastor to invite us. He communicated that Randy had been to the Rodney Howard Browne meetings and that the stuff had broke out in his church in the following weeks. John was hoping that something might break out with us too. We were only too happy to travel over. We were a church plant out of the Toronto Airport and we started in 1992. In those days there were three Vineyard Churches in Toronto. One Down Town church, Scarborough vineyard church to the east and the AirPort Church. We were one big happy family. Because we were small in number we did special meetings, conferences etc, together.
The year before most of our leadership teams joined and had headed to Nicaragua for a short term missions trip. We had genuine love and fellowship with each other. Since leaving the Vineyard churches I have read a fair bit of analysis from the critics. Some make out that the Toronto Blessing was one huge conspiracy to lead the body of Christ into heresy. Heresy and apostasy I suspect may well be the result, but none of these destinations were intentional. I am honestly convinced that the leaders in the Vineyard churches are genuine born-again Christians who love the Lord, but have fallen into deception. They have not loved the Lord enough to keep His commandments. They have failed to obey the scriptures and have been led astray by our longing for something bigger and brighter and more exciting and dynamic. I am guilty of this sin also. I have preached renewal in Korea, the United Kingdom, the USA and here in Canada. I am genuinely repentant and in writing this story I would ask you the bride and body of Christ to forgive me. Especially the Pentecostal / Charismatic Christians among you, for you are my immediate family theologically. I am an evangelical Christian, I always have been but I do not believe in the cessation of the spiritual gifts at the end of the apostolic era. I believe that it was my evangelical roots (my family are Baptists and I was born again in the Presbyterian Church.) that started to open my eyes to problems with this so called renewal. In hind sight I look back and think how could I have been so blind? I laughed at people acting like dogs and pretending to urinate on the columns of the TACF building. I watched people pretend to be animals, bark, roar, cluck, pretend to fly as if they had wings, perpetually act drunk and sing silly songs. How I thought that any of this was from the Holy Spirit of God amazes me today. It was loud irreverent and blasphemous to the Holy God of the Bible. I suppose in my mind I reasoned that as long as they did not teach any thing in direct violation to scripture then it was what we called the exotic. This is a buzz word for manifestations that could not be justified from a biblical perspective. I was taught from the pulpit that we had two options. The order of the nursery full of life and messy or the order of the graveyard, very orderly but dead! As a young immature pastor I wanted life with mess. I failed to remember that God wants us to become mature and grow up in him. I became disconcerted by the prophetic words that came forth especially one by Carol Arnott in which she had her bride experience where she was taken into the very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced was even better than sex! I was shocked in my spirit and thought how can one compare the love of God with sex? When we suspected that demons were running riot in our services John Arnott would teach that we should ask are they coming or going. If they are leaving then that is ok! John would defend the chaos by saying that we ought not be afraid of being deceived, if we have asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill us then how could Satan come and deceive us? This would make Satan very strong and God very weak! He said that we needed to have more faith in a Big God to protect us than in a Big Devil to deceive us. This sounded very convincing but was totally contrary to scripture for Jesus and Paul and Peter and John all warn us about the power of deceiving spirits and especially so in the last days. Again we did not love God enough to obey His Word and the result was that we opened ourselves up to lying spirits. May God have mercy upon us!
Finally the penny dropped for me as I was rolling around one night 'drunk in the Spirit' as we would say. I started singing and as I rolled around the floor the Nursery Rhyme 'Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow.' came to mind. I sang this in a mocking spirit and instantly my heart told me this was a demon. Instantly I repented and was in total shock. How could a demon get into me? Did I not love God? was I not zealous for the things of God? Was I not nuts about Jesus? I knew that an unclean spirit had just manifested through me and I was guilty of great sin. After this experience I stayed away from TACF. I did not go back there any more. I did not possess the conviction to denounce the whole experience but thought that we where failing to pastor the Blessing well enough.
Even after I stopped going over to TACF, I had to pastor the fruit of it. One example was when some of our people returned from a meeting there asking us if we had all received the golden sword of the Lord? I asked them what they were talking about thinking that it was some prophetic reference to the Holy Scriptures but they said, 'no, its not the Bible, it's an invisible golden sword that only the really pure can receive. If taken in an unrighteous fashion then the Lord would kill you. But if you are holy enough to receive it then you can wield this sword and it will heal aids, Cancer etc. and bring salvation. How one wielded this sword was by pretending to have this invisible sword in your hand and motioning to strike people with it when in prayer! I thought while even in deception at this time that the TACF had become Looney bins! This was purportedly first received by Carol Arnott and then given to the ones holy enough to receive it! Another thing was the golden fillings in the teeth. We had people in our assembly peeping down one another's throats looking for the gold fillings that God had placed there to show how much he loved them! In all my time there I only heard one message on repentance given by a visiting speaker from Hong Kong named Jackie Pullinger. It went over like a lead balloon. We were not there to repent, we were there to party in the Lord! After one year into the blessing I spoke out at a pastors meeting and said 'guys we have shaken, rattled, rolled, laughed cried and bought the tee- shirt. But we have no revival, no salvation, no fruit and no increased evangelism so what's the deal?' I was soundly rebuked - who was I to expect to see fruit when the Lord was healing his broken people? We had been legalistic long enough and God was spending this time restoring his wounded and freeing us from legalism I was told not to push the Lord and the harvest would come in his time.'
I knew this was wrong because the Lord had commanded us to go into all the earth and make disciples! Not, that everyone should take a sabbatical for who knows how long, while God does some strange new thing! Ultimately I left over something as controversial as the ordination of women. Personally I believe from scripture that women should not be pastors/ elders in a local assembly. I could be wrong on this and there is much debate in the Church today but that is my conviction and in the Vineyard churches they were ordaining all the pastors wives to co pastor with them. I am certainly for women in ministry but believe that the Elder/ pastor role in a local assembly has been reserved for men. I did not write scripture but God willing I will have the grace from now on to obey it.
So there is my story. I could go on and document much excess, folly, sin and latter day reign teaching that manifest from the prophetic end of this Blessing but others have already done that. We sang about Joel's army and the billion soul revival as if it were one of the Ten Commandments, and as always it was just around the corner. Next month, next year etc. Jesus said that when the son of man returns will he find faith upon the earth? And if he does not return when he does no flesh would be saved but for the sake of the elect he comes. This is a far cry from the domionism that is being taught all through the vineyard / prophetic/ spiritual warfare movement. I honestly think that they think they are going to take over the whole world! While in the Vineyard I embraced a life verse from the Apostle Paul the phrase do not go beyond what is written!
To finish I just want to say sorry for the damage, that I have personally done by teaching things that are not correct biblically. I repent before men as I already have before God. I will not excuse my falling into deception. I did not bother to test things when the scriptures commanded us to do so. Everyone who was there when this thing started knows that what I write is true, they would just come to different conclusions especially if they are still promoting the 'river!'
To those in the river I would say swim out, there are things living in the water that will bite you real good! I love the people of TACF and the Vineyard movement but I think that we have much to answer for and may the Lord open your eyes sooner rather than later. I suspect that when this letter goes online I will get bombarded by emails from both camps, some damning me for still believing in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and still walking in deception and some old friends damning me for exposing dirt or being negative about the Lords anointed! Well, the Lord knows my heart and by his grace he will guide me into all truth as I seek to know Christ and him crucified! If you believe that I walk in sin and error please pray for me that the Lord would forgive me and open my eyes. I will study the word to show my self a work man approved! I would call on all who read this to pray that the Lord would open the eyes of all who have been involved in this deception. Whether leader or follower, we are loved and the Lord is a forgiving God. He says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I believe we are like the church in Laodicea, we think that we are rich, have prospered and need nothing, we do not realise that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. We must take the Counsel of Jesus and buy gold refined in the fire (which is his suffering, not a false spirit!) white garments to clothe our shameful nakedness and salve for our eyes that we might see again. Jesus is calling us to repentance and thank the Lord that he is, for it will lead us to true restoration with our Father! If God has forgiven me and opened my eyes then he can do it for all those caught in deception too. I will finish with a warning from Paul, he says if you think you are standing firm be careful lest you fall.
I wanted to share with you what wrote for my sister to read at the Breast Cancer Body Image Workshop for the Arts for the C.U.R.E group she has gotten involved with since my experience and some of her friends have had breast cancer.
Let me start by saying that everyone’s story is their story and as a believer, hopefully it is a story of who HE is in them.
I have learned to never compare stories, we share, but don’t compare. Because honestly someone has had it worse and someone has had it better, that is life. We share our stories to give hope, encouragement, support...never ever to diminish what one or the other is going thru. What we are going thru IS NOT "piddily stuff"...it is big, it is serious and it is scary...BUT if we REALLY stop and think about it...we CAN’T be brave UNLESS we're scared, and everything any of us have stepped thru in our lives has required us to be brave...this is just one of them, right...?
My journey began in 1981 when I found my first breast tumor and continued thru last year when they found the last 3 bringing my 25 yr total to 12. In between the 9 lumpectomies and removing a triangle piece of muscle & tissue under my right arm because of a “suspicious” thickening, I endured severe endometriosis & polycystic ovary disease resulting in the removal of 14 grapefruit sized ovarian cysts, over the course of 5 surgeries (2 of which occurred within 5 months of one another) that ended by introducing me to menopause via a complete hysterectomy, at the ripe old age of 28.
So is it any surprise that when the surgeon told me that there were 3 tumors, instead of just the 1 originally thought was there, I pretty much broke down? Not really. Then he examined me. And while on the examining table, he says, “did you know THAT was there?”...well yes, but in the midst of everything, I forgot to mention it. I had walked around for probably a year and a half, taking the hands of my mother and my bestest girlfriends, saying “here feel this, is this normal?” So there it was, a thick mass in my upper chest wall…so now what?
All I know at this point is I can’t do this anymore, I can’t endure the fear anymore, the waiting anymore, the “is it cancer this time?” anymore. Every time a tumor showed up, my risk for breast cancer increased. I told my surgeon that I knew that some had it worse than me and that I had it worse than others and his response was to remind me that my risk for breast cancer was high and that he’d rather do a mastectomy on me than another lumpectomy. Well, now there is a thought…
So I decided to be proactive and have a double mastectomy and a Latissimus Dorsi flap reconstruction. I didn’t have a biopsy because I wanted to avoid more procedures and figured either we would be saying whew it was cancer and we got it or whew it wasn’t cancer and we beat it...My final diagnosis is breast disease, no breast cancer.
So why am I writing this? Because I do know the fear of that looming diagnosis, time after time after time. It was very scary, intense and trying every single time. When they found the last 3 tumors, something inside me broke, I had gone from lumpectomy to lumpectomy and then getting on with my life, which in many ways is healthy, but I never dealt with the risk factor, but these 3 made me stop dead on the tracks of my life and everything halted. Do I wait until cancer darkens the door of my life to justify doing something or do I not give it a chance?
What is the definition of a survivor? It isn’t merely someone who beats back a death sentence, by surviving some percentage of odds against them? Or can it merely be, at the base core of the soul, someone who chooses to live? Now God not withstanding, and so it is understood, I absolutely believe God has my life & times in the palm of His hand and is able thru ANY circumstance, to chose to call me home to Himself, but short of that, He allows us to make many life choices because of the gift of choice He gave us and one of them is the survival choice. A soul will fight all odds to survive, we have seen & heard MANY stories testifying to such and others where no matter how strong the will to live is, death comes anyway…this is the power of God. He is the creator of life and He decides our life & times, even if we do not believe in Him. So because I believe this, do I disengage from making choices to live? NO WAY! I exercised my gift of choice and I made the choice to live.
Can I tell you that the road afterwards has been all joy, the answer is no. It has been a strange journey, to say the very least. For one, I have found my femininity again, by being a fake boobed, no nippled woman…who woulda ever thunk that one up? Certainly not me! And even though I am eternally grateful for having had the chance to be pro-active, there has been the “who am I, what right do I have to share or speak, and the you cheated” thoughts and feelings that have and still are, even as I write this, clobbering my heart & mind, to the point of tears. There is a part of me that wants to stand up and say, “you bet ya I cheated; I cheated breast cancer out of the opportunity to cross my life path”! I want to stand up and scream I am a survivor! But the survivor’s guilt I struggle with hasn’t let me – yet. It is a strange phenomenon of issues for me to work thru; I don’t know anyone yet who has walked my path, so I can’t go ask, “Is this normal”? Maybe it is, maybe not, but it is part of my journey right now.
I know whom I have believed and I press toward the mark and will fight the good fight, saying here I am, always stunned to amazement that He will use one such as I...the story of my life...at least this part, to be able to comfort those with which, I have been comforted of God. Writing this is part of that battle, as is talking to women within my realm of influence fights the good fight. And as I am continually reminded of what my lovely Sissy told me one day, that what God wants to use me for and what is offered thru me, is not merely contained within the realm of this experience. I want to reach women out there who have been in my shoes and let them know, they aren’t alone. I want to touch and comfort those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer with whatever He has equipped me to comfort them with, I want us ALL to know Him through it, as we should know Him through everything on this journey thru life.
The point is, that what we each go thru is REAL and we FEEL it and sometimes REEL from it...I have not been thru the door of cancer, been right up to it, but not thru it...So, please don’t ever invalidate what you are going thru, on any level, by comparing it to or against what someone else is or has gone thru...all that will do is pit you against what you are going thru and what you would normally, naturally feel and need to feel, to rely on Him thru it all. Our outlook on whatever we go thru makes such a difference in how we go thru what lays before us. No matter how hard anything is, we WILL get thru it, just take one day at a time and remember that all of our days are written and God owns the book. Breathe, pray, trust, ask questions, make the best decisions for you that you can with the information that you gather and trust, trust, trust that the Living God of the universe sees you and KNOWS your every heart cry and seeks to answer it, with Himself. God gave me Psalm 18 condensed one time and it goes something like this: "He hears your cry, EVEN unto His ear, and He BOWS down heaven to deliver you, cuz He delights in you." This isn’t a promise that the worse won’t happen, but that no matter what happens, God goes before us and we can trust that.
I have come to realize that as I am able to share my testimony, that the moment of sharing does not indicate, in any stretch of the imagination, the length, breadth & depth of time it took to live it, die to it, & recover from it...nor does it indicate how much it cost to obtain its jewels, its nuggets of truth or its principles of wisdom...in its sharing, it sets up the listener to believe that all this occurred in a moment of time, when truly, it has taken my whole lifetime to write thus far...and because life is life, I *know* there is more to come.
So my dear new friends, I encourage you to stand, as hard as I KNOW that can be, so that you can get on with what is before you…with all the passion, strength, hope, and faith…for there IS a future...so together lets raise our swords of victory, adjust our badges of courage and press in to fight the good fight...for the battle is the Lords!
And because I am the woman God made me, I would be in error if I did not add one final thing, IF you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, please come & talk to my sister or if you are reading this, you can ask me, and we will tell you how you can come to saving knowledge of Christ.
Thank you for your time and your hearts, I pray that the Lord lead & comfort each of you in all that is before you.
Happy New Year!
It has been a very rough start, had a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction, alot of pain and still recovering...but GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME!!!
My Beautiful Daughter, Son-in-Love and GrandBaby...
Aren't they Beautiful!!!
Zion Samuel is born!!!!
October 4th, 2005
8lbs 6oz, 21in long
Ain't he beautiful!!??