Wednesday, February 11, 2015

START WITH A POEM

If you've read the first two books in the Wood's End Series you may have noticed that I began each with a poem.  Why?  I guess because I occasionally write poetry and much appreciate better poetry - King David, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot.    

Using a poem to open the first book was accidental.  I came across something I'd written long ago at age twenty three and thought it fit what the fictional character of Andrea was going through.  The second book opens with an excerpt from a much longer poem.  

Below is the poem I plan to open the third book with; The World in the Wood.  Unless, of course, I write something else or stumble on some long forgotten verse between now and completion of the third in the Wood's End series that seems to fit better. 


Will open the third, yet uncompleted book in the series,
The World in the Wood   


AMBIVALENT VICTOR
by, Alexandra Clair

I could not go on.
An avalanche of minutes passed through blackest wood,
Splintered twig mercy to the tempest whim.
No foot fixed,
No life in compass,
I would not go on. 
Until the hand that loosed the comet on a path;
Throne to Spirit,
Spirit to heart God spoke.
"Ambivalent victor you shall be.
Go on."

This excerpt opens the second in the series,
The Year Between the Wood

IN THE CLEARING
by, Alexandra Clair

Dressed for the occasion, 
I'll lean over the casket,
Thinking of those who've known you as I have,
I'll slip this poem into the breast pocket of your human disguise,
Then I'll go back to where I am today,
In the clearing,
Free of you, 
It's warm.

Opens the first book in the series - Wood's End

MICHAEL
by, Alexandra Clair

I'm leaving, she said, I have to go,
And he looked out the window and watched the wind blow,
The grass about and make of the trees,
Frantic dancing dolls dressed in green.
Okay, Michael lied and she left,
But not without taking a piece of him,
In exchange for quite a lot of her.

Monday, January 26, 2015

WOOD'S END SERIES at the BOOKSELLERS in MEMPHIS, TN / DROP BY AND PICK UP A COPY.

WHERE TO BUY THE WOOD'S END SERIES IN MEMPHIS


I'm happy to share that THE BOOKSELLERS at Laurelwood Shopping Center in Memphis, TN is now carrying both WOOD'S END and the second book in the series, THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD.   Please drop in and let this helpful staff point you in the right direction.  You can also call them - 901-683-9801 - and ask them to hold you a copy until you arrive.  Additionally, I'm happy to sign any book purchased from there in advance of you picking it up. 

The Wood's End Series at: THE BOOKSELLERS at Laurelwood

387 Perkins Road, Ext. / Memphis, TN 38117


PS:  if it's been awhile since you've read Wood's End you might want to buy both books.  In the last edition of Wood's End I added a chapter and made some additional changes.  Mainly inspired by readers' comments and questions.  (I love hearing from you!)  One question, obviously from dog lovers... "What happened to Andrea's dog, Charlie, after she was placed back in lock-up?"  I'm currently working on another writing assignment, but will soon get back to the third book in the Wood's End Series called: THE WORLD IN THE WOOD.  If a few of you in Memphis want to meet and discuss the book series let's have lunch.  Where?  At the BOOKSELLERS!  Happy to meet you there.   

If you are not in the Memphis area order the books from Amazon, Create Space, or from any book store in your area.    



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/54575935 Dr. Ravi Chandran - thanks for the interview!

Had a very nice interview with very thoughtful host Dr. Ravi Chandran. 




Interview with Steve Acheson very worth listening to.  This is my second interview with Steve who has a ministry of Deliverance and Counseling with a focus on domestic violence.  

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifequestchristiannetwork/2014/12/05/the-unseen-world-with-alexandra-clair-and-special-guest-steve-acheson



Saturday, September 6, 2014

A DEMON POSSED MAN, A CASTRATED BOY, A WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTRY - NO WOUND TOO GREAT TO HEAL!

I love reading the various search questions that get people to my blog.  Someone recently searched the following: "an example of a new convert in the Bible."  Whoever you are, thanks for asking this question.  One of the most evocative examples from scripture of a salvation experience, which is the same today as it ever was except for the story that gets us there, is the Eunuch, a court official in the realm of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia.  Read Acts 8: 26-40.  This Eunuch is now a mature man, but he would have been taken in battle or sold into slavery at some time in his youth.  While still a young boy he was castrated; a brutal and barbarian practice of the time which many slaves did not survive.  Never escaping his history and the angst of this profound suffering and lingering grief, the Eunuch is drawn to the Old Testament description of Jesus' death on the cross which was predicted in the Old Testament long before it actually happened.  The historical novel, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, describes in detail this horrific torture in the life of the main protagonist. 

Understanding what the Eunuch would have suffered we can understand why he is drawn to these words in Isaiah.  Here is a startling and powerful word picture to which he fully identifies. This man will never have children or the life that evil men stole away.  Still... by divine intervention the Holy Spirit brought this passage in Isaiah to his attention and with the help of an angel this divine, supernatural, miraculous appointment took place between two unlikely men whose paths should never have crossed.  The Eunuch, this court official met the Apostle Philip.       

Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"  And he said, "Well how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  Now the passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he does not open His mouth. In humiliation His judgment was taken away; who will relate His generation?  For His life is removed from the earth." 
 
A messenger angel, sent from Father God, directs Phillip to share the gospel with this powerful court official and the little that is told speaks so much about this man's life and the healing that is needed and provided through faith in Jesus Christ.  At the end of the story the Eunuch prays to receive Christ and is baptized.  He says to Philip, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."  This man is now reborn as a new person.  There has been a radical, supernatural heart change that has shifted and altered his conception of the world he lives in and his purpose for being just where he is.  Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2nd Corinthians 5: 17).  There has been an immediate healing, but now the deeper healing will be the life-process that draws this once broken man into continual and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. 

However, the story I often think of, the one that first flashed to mind when I read this search question is one of the most dramatic in scripture.  This is the story of the man possessed by legions of demons.  We are told that Jesus crosses the sea to reach this man.  Jesus has heard the cry and through the dramatic and marvelous outcome He demonstrates to his disciples and to us how an exorcism is performed.  This example is also a significant healing example of Jesus' love for those that are lost and even thought hopeless.  
 
It is also an example of God's immense compassion for the lost.  That even before we can utter the cry for help He hears us.  And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I was found by those who did not seek Me, and I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me (Romans 10: 20).  So perhaps you have not been crying out to Jesus Christ, but you are in fear and turmoil.  You are hurting and there are wounds that take you back in your mind.  You repeatedly revisit this pain which is the trigger that sends the destructive scripts, (self-talk) that leaves you stuck and helpless and looking in all the wrong ways for releif.  The need of your heart is poignant and raw.  You need an answer; you need a Savior and in these circumstances Jesus has provided the way out; a way to understand your need for Him.  And in this way freedom from sin is accomplished via a divine and powerful expression of forgiveness unlike any counterfeit previously relied upon.  For there is only one that can truly offer eternal life and that is Jesus Christ. 
...for, "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).

The story begins in Luke chapter eight.  Jesus and some of his disciples were caught on the sea of Galilee in a terrible storm; "a fierce gale of wind."  Taking this little trip was Jesus' idea.  He had a plan and a foreknowledge of what would take place.  Someone on the other side of the sea needed Him and had been crying out and it was time for Jesus to show up.  Jesus knew where he was going and why, but he also needed to shatter the bias and build the faith of those that were going with him.  "Let us go over to the other side of the lake," so they launched out (Luke 8: 22b). 

Jesus fell asleep in the boat.  He had perfect peace; perfect faith.  When the fierce gale of winds and high waves threatened to swamp and sink the boat those common scripts of fear took over among his followers.  The disciples came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"  And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves; and they stopped, and it became calm.  And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" (Luke 8: 24, 25a). 

Those who practice intercessory prayer, deliverance, and exorcism expect to encounter opposition.  A flat tire, a distracting non emergency that masquerades as such or... as happened just now my computer screen going blank; a transitory non-problem.  In faith we pray against such opposition. 

In the wake of this terrible storm Jesus and some of his disciples continued the trip; arriving in the country of the Gerasenes; which is opposite Galilee.  As they disembarked upon the shore they were met by a man who was demon possessed.  And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs (Luke 8: 27). 

The demons spoke through the man and confronted Jesus.  What we notice is that they immediately recognize Jesus as the Son of God.  They cannot lie to Jesus and they cannot lie about Jesus because in another realm the war has already been won.  
 
Seeing Jesus he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg You, do not torment me.  For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For it had seized him many times; and he was bound with chains and shackles and kept under guard, and yet he would break his bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.  And Jesus asked him, "What is Your name?"  And he said, "Legion," for many demons had entered him .  They were imploring Him not to command them to go into the abyss (Luke 8: 28-31).  

Jesus has arrived on the scene because this man's plight, his utter lost-ness in the context of a terrible demonic assault upon his soul; his very human-ness had come to God's attention.  The person he was, was fighting for the God-given autonomy to choose life over death.  

Jesus knew the names of the demons.  They confessed who Jesus, was acknowledging His authority as the Son of God.  They also had an awareness of Father-God's predetermined timetable which they articulated in a clever plea, trading upon this knowledge. 
And they cried out, saying, "What business do we have with each other, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8: 29)  In the same way, demons and evil spirits today, know that time is short. 

Another bit of knowledge revealed to us from these passages in both Luke and Matthew, who recorded the same event, is this.  Jesus allowed the demons to reveal where, by Jesus' authority demons would likely end up after such a clash in the context of exorcism.  And they were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss (Luke 8: 31). 
Into the abyss from where there is no escape or return. Today this same authority is among the gifts, tools, and weapons God has given us as children of the Most High God, confirming Jesus' promise that after He left planet earth for Heaven, to be seated at the right hand of God the Father in all victory, He would not abandon those left on earth... as orphans.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father (John 14: 12).  We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1st John 5: 19). 
   
And because we "know the rest of the story," we additionally pray that all demonic back ups and replacements be  equally destroyed. Jesus did not actually need to ask the names of the demons.   He knows everything.  But Jesus was providing an object lesson.  He was demonstrating to his followers, among them Luke and Matthew, and then down through the ages to us as preserved in His holy word, the key elements of how an exorcism is to be performed.  So that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 10, 11). 

At the end there was a wonderful conversion told with very few words but enormously rich in the image evoked of a radical transformation.  The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind and they became frightened (Luke 8: 35).  

Does that thrill you as it does me?  I can see this man sitting at Jesus feet, his head resting against His Saviors' thigh, content to be basking in the love and grace of such trans-formative healing.  

As with all true conversions the man was then ready to follow Jesus.  He wanted to share what he'd been given.  But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him that he might accompany Him; but He sent him away saying, "Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you."  This man, the least of all, by virtue of his rescue was to be a powerful witness and missionary; a testament to the power of Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to meeting him in Heaven.  Jesus said: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10: 10). 
 
Another example is the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery at a time when the Pharisees hoped to catch Jesus in such a way that he too could be condemned.  Jesus sees this woman; her heart and her regret.  He reaches out to her, knowing everything about her and loving her none-the-less.  Jesus intervenes in her circumstances to convict those that were trying to destroy her.  His healing love touched and changed her, opening the door for a fresh start.  And demonstrating that these fresh starts, new life is what He offers and what we need.  Psalm 103 says that when we confess our sins God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and that is just what Jesus' love did for this woman.  Even at the point of death, in Jesus all things can become new. It is never too late.  NEVER.  Read John 8: 1-11.  And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either.  Go.  From now on sin no more (John 8: 11b).   

Another conversion.  At the point of death, in the very last moments of life, Jesus said to the one thief that acknowledged who He was, as side by side they hung upon the tortured Roman crosses, these powerful  and significant words.  Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise (Luke 23: 43)  Read the full story Luke 23: 39-43. 

The apostle Paul is another example of a transformed human being whose life was radically altered in a supernatural Jesus-encounter.  In writing about his experience Paul quotes Jesus... a description of what happens when each of us is saved and where we then take our first steps as children of the Most High.  " ...to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."  Acts 26: 18. 

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1: 13).

And how do we obtain this salvation?  Scripture is very clear that... Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10: 13).  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3: 16). 
 

...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10: 9, 10). 
 
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free form the law of sin and of death (Romans 8: 1, 2). 

You can pray right now and ask Jesus for this new life.  Confess your sin and tell Him you need him.  He'll be found. 

Read my book Wood's End and share your thoughts!


Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice.  Soft cover 12.00 / Download 2.99

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PLANET EARTH - THE COSMIC EPICENTER, GROUND ZERO

Is it by choice that we seek to settle the question of who we are in  relationship to a Sovereign Creator?  King Solomon wrote: He has also set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3: 11a). 

Settling this question, even when a person decides by default to deny the existence of God, is an imperative of the human design as embedded in our physicality as the operational need  for oxygen. Erich Fromm believed that freedom (that God-given right of free will) was a source of conflict for all human beings.  On the one hand we need freedom and long for it on many levels.  On the other, the infantile core of who we are, drives some to reject personal freedom and by our choices we narrow our world.  Embracing freedom is healthy.  Contriving life events that constrain freedom through the use of escape mechanisms is the root of what makes us unhealthy. Fear of death, that we must face the inevitable decay of our bodies and believe this is inherently unfair, moves us toward settling this question of who God is.    

 For mysterious reasons we cannot fully comprehend, Planet Earth is ground zero for God's plan to play out in great complexity; past, present, and future. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit decided to reveal themselves; that humanity would know and be known by God.  This was not going to be possible without freedom; the ability for human beings to make decisions for themselves, to self-determine a course of action.  God placed a homing device in the hearts of man.  That homing device is the stamp of eternity - where we came from and where we will end up - hopefully in His glorious presence.  By this imperative there are two basic choices. 
 
The first choice is to escape the vagaries and anxiety of the unknown. Facing the unknown is to accept the responsibilities of freedom. The mystery of what we don't know is anxiety provoking and we are repeatedly and in many ways invited to run from this imperative, to numb, deny, and construct an alternate reality.  And yet, the very core of who we are, how we were designed, calls us to recognize the conscious and subconscious need for answers.  In every sense it is a kind of responsibility we cannot escape - to reconcile, to the best of our limited ability, the inevitable end of physical life; death and decay.  As we should, we are offended by death.  Evil is to constrain life.  For life to be fully engaged our Creator bequeathed us, by right and  design, certain life-faculties.  These are autonomy, mobility, free will, sentience, awareness, the ability to grow, learn from our mistakes and acquire knowledge.  Only by God's grace does knowledge become wisdom.

So... our first choice is to run from freedom.  To ignore the great mystery of the unknown that invites us to grow.  Who is God?  If we decide we can have God on our terms, a God of our own making, we have created an alternate reality that narrows life and denies the mystery.          

The second is to embrace the unknown.  To recognize that there is a vast dimensional universe which co-exists with ours and which prayer impacts.  And... there are specific places called heaven and hell.  But we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2nd Corinthians 4: 18).  

We do not turn and run from the mystery.  We draw near to Jesus Christ even though much of what we know from the hurts of life, all the bitter reality of physical death and decay, may tell us that doing so isn't safe.  Embracing Jesus Christ by faith means that the mystery of what we don't know and can't quantify deepens and opens us; providing a peace that transcends the physical. 

Describing the angst of this dynamic the Psalmist comes to understand.  You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it (Psalm 139: 5, 6).   
 
In the legalistic first we will adopt the form of a religion or perhaps we'll construct a kind of philosophy for navigating the unknowns of life. We fabricate a reality that tells us we will have answers that will sustain us toward the great unknowns of life after death - eternity. We would be wrong. 
In the later choice God's Son, Jesus Christ, adopts us for the very reason that we are willing to draw near to God, opening our hearts to the mystery of what we don't know and discovering a  personal and authentic relationship.  We move from crisis to knowledge.  From knowledge to wonder - revelation, sharper intuition and personal insight being willing to let His word and His presence challenge us, to change us, even when doing so makes us uncomfortable.  We are not embracing... rather we are embraced by the wonder, the manifestation, the mystery of God's love.  We let go and let God - experiencing His love because He first loved us.  We receive His gifts, and find that many times we are mercy zapped by the wonder that can't, for now, be fully understood.  Therefore, having been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5: 1, 2).    
 
As part of God's grand design, because grace is not possible without it, He gave us the gift to self-determine a course of action.  Even as evil seeks to enslave mankind, and we see this all about us, God guards free will and the internal filters, the guarding and checking mechanisms, that allow us to use critical thinking skills in defense of life and goodness.  In defense of the weak and the beleaguered we pray for healing; for a restoration of these necessary working attributes in those who have suffered the loss of them.  This defining empathy draws each to embrace ministry. We see that on many fronts strongholds are given over to evil and that God's goodness is the invader, the vanquisher of evil.  We take up arms.  We act.  We devote ourselves to intercessory prayer and all the while God loves and teaches us to love.     

Regardless of any "religious label" where choice and autonomy is constrained, what is experienced is the counterfeit. Father God is about setting us free from the slavery of sin and death and for this He sent His son, Jesus Christ into the world that by Him, we may have eternal life as we step into the mystery of what we don't know.  Any family, person, system or government that steels personal autonomy, attempts to destroy liberty, freedom of thought; those God-given human attributes.  These actions are evil.  Satan wants none of God's vanquishing power to work through faithful believers, inclined to pick up the torch, shinning truth into dark places.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1: 5).   
 
Scripture identifies believers as aliens on planet earth.  The church militant is the invader. Evil is the facilitator and the perpetrator, building toxic strongholds whose aim is victimization, toxic power, early death, wars etc.  Cast from heaven after the war in heaven satan is almost surprised to find itself on planet earth "ground zero" - and the Bible describes this war. 
 
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon.  The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12: 7-9). 
 
And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child...  (Revelation 12: 13)
 
Landing on planet earth was not the destination that Satan expected when he first lay the groundwork for demonic  rebellion.  Satan's massive ego told him he could be God; in fact had every right to be God.  But since this fallen angel is a created being, like us, this was never possible revealing the depth and degree of sins delusion.  We are told that a third of the angels rebelled with Satan and were cast to earth with him.   

Those good angels that won this war play three roles and are organized by God into troops and armies.  They are warriors, ministering / protecting angels, and lastly messenger angels.  The angels who won this war in heaven far outnumber those that fell to earth in a very changed condition. What a rude awakening.  It's important to remember that satan and these fallen angels rebelled amid the perfection of heaven; being in the presence of God.  When we rebel it is an entirely different scenario since we can only guess at what will be missed if we fail to love and trust Jesus Christ.  For this reason Jesus stands ready and willing to receive us when we turn to Him in repentance, desiring to know Him.   For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10: 13).   

Because this war, transferred to Earth and is still going on, God's army of angels are actively engaged on the side of human beings. 

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  And we know that the Son of God  has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.  Little children, guard yourselves from idols (1st John 5: 19, 20). 

These good, uncorrupted angels, doing the will of God and under His rule and assignment, are sent forth for our benefit.  Speaking of believers in relationship to angels the author of Hebrews asked the rhetorical question.  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1: 14).  And of the angels He says; Who makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire (Hebrews 1: 7). For He will give His angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91: 11).   It's okay to ask God to send these angels to help you in whatever conflict you are engaged in.  We don't pray to angels, but it is perfectly okay to ask the Lord Jesus Christ for this specific kind of help.  Though we are in this war, we prefer peace, and pray for peace. (Psalm 120)    
 
We don't know when this war in heaven exactly happened.  It would have taken place before Genesis chapter three.  We can deduce this because, when we are first introduced to satan in the clash between good and evil, for the hearts and souls of mankind he is already in the Garden working to snare Eve by temptation and entrap Adam by greed and pride.  Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said to the woman...  (Genesis 3: 1, 2a).   
 
Satan will ultimately fail.  Let's not forget.  Every day, in countless ways and by numerous means, by divine calling and eternal right, men, women and children fight battles and win.  God's Light overcomes the darkness.  In the film, God's not Dead, I loved seeing the list of cases that Christian college students filed and won when they were denied free speech rights on campuses across this country. In the context of how this war is waged and won through believers there is a varied fabric that is each, according to calling and geography, what is learned from experiential suffering and loss, in the exercise of talents and gifts, in the fight to overcome at multiple levels and circumstances - each and every role is equally valid. God is creative... we need only look into the faces of a crowd to guess how much He loves diversity.  There are commonalities, but each face is different. How does he do this?  I want to ask when I get to heaven.    
 
The basic fear script, perhaps all fear, centers on powerlessness over the physical death of the body.   
 
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Hebrews 2: 14). 
 
And a verse I stand on in deliverance. 
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 5-11). 
 
About our conflicts on Planet Earth and how we might respond to them in courage and with character, I like what J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his book: Return of the King.  I like to be reminded of this valuable point made by a talented writer who let us see his humanity in what was poured into his work.   
"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, up-rooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till.  What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."  J.R.R. Tolkien. 

I like to close with a verse.  So many of you are in countries that experience turmoil and so I imagine you might not have a Bible handy.  For this reason I try and put an entire passage in place in the knowledge that God's word has the power to heal and nourish your heart.  God bless all of you; now over 90,000; most in the last two years.  I may not meet you in this life, but I'll see you in that glorious place called heaven where no tear ever falls.  We love Jesus!  And so together, we'll rejoice. 
 
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever.  Amen (1st Peter 5: 6-11). 

Another Blog that might hold some interest...
 
 
Books by, Alexandra Clair.
For download on Nook and Kindle; soft cover Amazon
WOOD'S END (fiction)
THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD (sequel to Wood's End)
DISCERNING SPIRITS: Visionary Gifts in Practice
 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

HEAVEN IS A REAL PLACE and Book Review / THE BOY WHO CAME BACK FROM HEAVEN by, Kevin & Alex Malarkey

HEAVEN IS A REAL PLACE

The Bible tells us about Heaven and speaks of it as a real place; a place to which all who love Jesus will someday be.  We will know our friends and family in heaven.  There we will see Jesus.  Many people, before they take that last breath into the fragile tent of their earthly lungs, speak of angels being present in the room.  Some that have gone as far as the "gates of heaven" only to come back have spoken of what they've seen and experienced.  When my friends Nina and Mark Haines lost their mentally ill son they both had a vision regarding him.  To his father Jon said, "It's beautiful here."  There are several books currently on the market about this topic; among the best -- The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.   



People who have preceded us in death, are now, part of the great cloud of witnesses that scripture speaks of surrounding us in life.  Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12: 1).   




Though He knows we will be sad and has designed the grieving process, Jesus tells us not to grieve as the unsaved do who have no hope.  Read 1st Thessalonians 3: 13-18; and 4: 1-11. 

 
... the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel (Colossians 1: 5). 

 
I was so blessed by reading this book.  "The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven."  I hope many of you will pick it up and be blessed by the content as I was. 
 
Many of my readers are in other countries, in places that are currently experiencing turmoil and violence.  In some of our cities in the United States, certain neighborhoods are under siege by gangs and it seems very little is done to make these places safe so that children can play outside without being threatened; without seeing the ravages of unchecked crime.  Today, our tolerance for evil, is such that more and more are being persecuted for their faith.  God wakes me in the night to pray and right now for Ukraine, North Korea, and of course Israel.   Many are accepting of way too much and some are intimidated into coercive silence.  But I am not discouraged.  I trust Jesus and I believe we are on the eve of a kind of spiritual revival that many have been praying for.   The apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy: For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed (Jesus Christ) and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2nd Timothy 1: 12).  
 
 
Christian people carry within them the Holy Spirit.  Letting God work through us we stand in the breach.  Some walk a thin line as they pray and labor to make a difference and many are martyred for their faith.  Some cannot speak, but they pray powerful prayers of intercession and this is their calling.  Revelation 6: 9-11 speaks directly to those who have died for their faith and in turn inform our own battles for righteousness and justice.  It's a long passage, but some may not have a Bible handy.  For this reason I'll quote the passage in full from the New American Standard translation.
 
When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on earth?"  And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also (Revelation 6: 9-11). 
 
Another informative  passage from Revelation, reminds us that on many levels the battle is already won.  Satan has already been judged and the evil that demons and evil human spirits wreck in the lives of people is overcome by this blessed, wonderful faith being walked out in significance and power.  
 
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.   And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them.  Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time" (Revelation 12: 10-12). 
 
In Zechariah chapter 6 we read of an angel who woke the prophet from sleep to convey a vision.  When Zechariah asked the angel for clarity, "What are these, my Lord," the angel responded with a universal kingdom truth applicable for all of us regardless of what we may be experiencing. 
 
Then He said to me, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts (Zechariah 4: 6). 

And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Mathew 19: 26). Also: Mark 20:27;  Luke 18: 27
How do we access this power?  We pray and we do not give up in prayer.  We trust the many promises of God regarding prayer.  God said that all His promises were "yes"  and when we lift up these promises to God - that He loves us and will respond to our prayers - what follows is the triumphant "amen!"  Read 2nd Corinthians 1: 18-22.  About prayer, Jesus said:  Truly, truly, I say to you he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.  If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14: 12-15). 

 
While we are fighting a battle -- and each is drawn to causes according to a divine calling and equipping in Him -- we feel the spiritual help that comes from faith.  There is an evil that encroaches upon all life, satan and it's forces against the divine mandate to be salt and light, not passive, but radically grounded in God's truth, Holy Spirit carriers.  While we may feel  tired and discouraged, we are not living for this material world, but for the promise of eternity in heaven.   For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2: 8-10).   
 
Here is a quote from this wonderful book; The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by, Kevin and Alex Malarkey.     
 
Heaven is real.  There is an unseen world at work - an intensely active spiritual dimension right here on earth, all around us.  And much of this activity keeps us from focusing on our future destination, the place where we will spend eternity.  (Quote from the Introduction)
 
How much more would we risk for Christ, for His goodness and righteousness, the divine path exposed in His word, if we really understood Heaven? My friend, Marg, lost her mother whom she had a wonderful and close relationship with.  For this reason, for comfort, she wanted to understand more about Heaven.  God led her to read this book, which she shared with me; a real blessing.   

Angel description told to Kevin Malarkey by his son, Alex who lay in a coma after a terrible auto accident: "The angels were big and muscular like wrestlers, and they had wings on their backs from their waist to their shoulders." Alex Malarkey

Kevin had some insightful words which came from his interactions with true prayer warriors. 
"Isn't it possible to appear to be a pleasant person, with a smiling face, saying all the right words to give the impression that one is close to God?  Isn't it revealing that Jesus, the apostle Paul, and all of the great saints of the Bible were never described as nice?  God had taken care of where he placed us.  Not among your average "nice"  people, but among true men and women of God, soldiers of the Cross who were ready to mobilize.  These were people who understood spiritual warfare in ways that the vast majority of us never recognize." Page 52 

God told us about this wonderful place called heaven.  Jesus said ...
"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My father's house are many dwelling places, if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going."  Thomas said to Him, "Lord we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?"  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14: 1-6). 
 
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.  Do you believe this? (John 11: 25, 26). 
 
"For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved," Romans 10: 13). 
 
Looking forward to heaven, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8: 18).

 For more about Spiritual Warfare read my book:

Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice.


 
Also: Wood's End

 
Soon to be Released:
The Year Between the Wood

 

Friday, May 16, 2014

THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD - Status Check

2/3/2015 / This book can be purchased in Memphis at the Booksellers in Memphis, TN.  This charming bookstore with a luncheon restaurant is at Laurelwood Shopping Center.  Both Wood's End and The Year Between the Wood should be in stock.  Also available at Amazon in Soft Cover and E-version.  Order from any book store. 


http://www.amazon.com/Alexandra-Clair/e/B008PY1XIQ

Readers can also send me questions or comments here at my blog, but also via the Goodreads website. 

I wanted to share the cover for the WOOD'S END sequel;
THE YEAR BETWEEN THE WOOD.