Friday, December 9, 2011

Pure Worship and Christopher Duffley

There is so much these days that is posted on Facebook that one can really be overwhelmed by it all.  There just is no time to look at everything and of course, it's not necessary.....    
But there are those times that the Holy Spirit of God whispers, "Stop and look." So I did...and what I experienced was a heart of worship so pure that God and Jesus must have had front row seats and their angels must have filled the room!
It made me pause - take time out - to have a "selah" moment - to reflect on what is true worship....I'm not sure I can truly define it, but only to say that it is not what one does, but the very spirit of God rising out of a pure and holy vessel....a broken or weak vessel.  It is the Holy Spirit in a person communing with God Himself in Heaven....It is Heaven coming to earth....the Spirit of God reaching to Heaven...and the two meet on the earth.  Oh my!  THAT IS THE BLESSEDNESS OF HIS GLORY!
Christopher Duffley is both blind and autistic....yet when he sings, "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; Open the eyes of my heart.  I want to see You....."....Heaven, itself, comes down to meet earth.

For it really does not matter how man may judge our "talent"....because what really matters is our heart before Him. God wrote in His Word that He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise...The Amplified version writes it this way: "[This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men....[No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame." (I Cor. 1: 25, 27)
Oh be blessed....and enter into worship which is pure and holy....unadulterated, uncluttered....weak in the flesh/in the eyes of man, but strong and mighty in God.
Sing Christopher!  Sing!  For we are in such need of vessels such as you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Ponderings - Beauty for the Ashes

A couple of divine appointments last week gave me pause to stop and consider how God has taken our family from the ashes of nothingness to now reflecting His beauty and glory....We haven't always been who we are today....There was a point in time when all looked hopeless for my two sons, Brandon and Trevor, and myself....But God.....~  Let me share.....~
Last week my oldest son, Brandon, who is a pastor...brought a group of 90 to "The Call" in Detroit.  My husband and I were blessed with the opportunity to join him for dinner; however with his responsibility for that size group of adults and youth, I was a bit dubious as to how much time we'd get to spend with him.  God saw to it that we had the time.....(Brandon, now 33/blue check and Trevor, now 30 and grey shirt, live 800 miles away so we only get the opportunity to visit face to face about one time per year, which makes our times together even more precious.)

One table over, not wanting to miss an opportunity to gab, I took the chance of introducing myself to one young man, "Hi.  I'm Brandon's mom."

"I'm honored, " he immediately replied.  "I'm Paul."  (My mother's heart thumped.  This young man was honored to meet me!  God's restorative work through Brandon was the reason for his comment.)  We shared a brief discussion and I returned to join my husband and son.

And then an adult who is an instructor in the ministries school stopped by our table to chat.  Brandon introduced us, "Ruth, this is my mother."

Ruth sweetly offered,  "We just love Brandon.  When he speaks, the presence of God comes into the room.  We are so blessed to have him."

At this point, I could not hold back my tears....."Thank you", I choked.  "What a blessing to hear this, because God restored our family.  We were just trashed; just trashed as a family...but God restored us."  Memories of the past overwhelmed me....where we were then....where we are now.  Who would have thought?.....Only God!

TRASHED....ASHES...BOTTOM OF THE BARREL....BOTTOM OF THE HEAP....You name it, we were there.

Brandon and Trevor were both in the mid/later teens, yet still in high school when their father and I divorced.  They chose to live with their father....which collapsed my heart to shreds.  I felt as if they'd both died in a car accident.  My depression turned suicidal and I entered a local psychiatric unit for a week.
During this time, I had also become sexually involved with a former boyfriend.  The emotional emptiness in my 21 year marriage and my own issues made me vulnerable to Satan's pit into which I had willingly walked.  I submitted myself to the comfort of a married man's arms. 
I knew that I was wrong before the Lord and with His conviction, forgiveness, grace, mercy and strength later on, I stopped the sexual involvement, but the emotional attachment still existed.  We were planning to one day be married.   However, after discovering four years later that I'd been believing a lie, it was revealed that he'd never filed for divorce.  The ring and the dress which waited in my closet would one day belong to someone else....and my house of 22 years would belong to someone else, too. 
It was during this mess in my life that Brandon, in Feb. '99 - 18 years old and 8 mos. post graduation, showed up on my doorstep at 7:30 AM coming down from an LSD trip.  "Mom, do you believe in Jesus?" he asked.
"Of course I do, Brandon.  He's the only way."
Brandon continued, "I was in a battle for my soul for the past six hours, and it was only my faith that saved me.  I saw demons.  I saw angels.  I saw the Kingdom of Heaven."
Two weeks later, I had the opportunity to ask Brandon if he'd had a type of out of body experience....He replied, "Mom, Satan showed up that night and said, 'You're going to die tonight and I'm taking you with me.'  I even saw the demons attached to the posters that I had in my room!" 
He immediately moved back into my home.  Sleeping on the floor in the hallway next to my bedroom he shared, "Mom, when I sleep downstairs the demons come after me, but when I sleep up here next to you, I'm at peace."

Brandon turned his back 180 degrees on the lifestyle he'd been living, but I'd had no idea of the drug and pornography world that had taken hold of him.  It was while living with their father that Brandon, while in high school, began dealing marijuana out of their home.  Trevor got involved in this hell hole, too, even though their father was a lieutenant of road patrol in our regional sheriff's department.  
But God performed a miracle in Brandon as he came back to Him with his whole heart and gradually grew spiritually and emotionally stronger.
The fight at times was intense...and I got a crash course in spiritual warfare!  Yet, one more great battle had yet to be fought....Fast forward six months.  I was now living in a temporary place.  I'd brought Brandon home with me after he'd been at his father's.  The Lord had told me there was going to be a battle, and I prayed in tongues the entire 30 minute drive to pick him up.  

Not more than a half hour after returning to my place did the battle begin and continued for the next three hours.   I cannot remember it all, but what I do remember is this:  There came a point at about three o'clock in the morning when standing directly above my son, who lie spewing vile and vulgar obscenities in a voice I did not know, I called upon Jesus and His angels to intercede and help with a passion and a fervor never before known to me.  I could feel Him at my right side.  Brandon no longer looked to me, but to my right.....I cannot tell you what I said, I only knew that He was there....and my son was delivered that night.

Brandon will tell you the same thing.  He saw Jesus standing to my right.  Having gotten involved again with marijuana that evening at his father's, the demons had returned, seven times stronger than before....but Jesus delivered my son.  Hallelujah!  Praise God!  That was 12 years ago.
While living with their father, my sons wanted little to do with me....I knew enough about their living conditions to be very concerned....There was nothing I could do legally.  All I could do was pray.  And pray I did!
Then in 2000, while I was 800 miles away in Michigan having just returned from a 5 week visit to Germany, Brandon experienced a car crash in which the oncoming car T-boned his car on the passenger side.  He was airlifted to a larger hospital, because there was so much blood.  His car looked as if God, Himself had wrapped His hands around the driver's seat where Brandon had sat.  Brandon was discharged from ER that evening with a mild concusion and a cracked rib.  Someone from the flight staff visited him in ER before his discharge, "Dude, you shouldn't even be alive!!!!"

Then on a visit to Brandon's, gasping, I stared at his car photos for the first time.  It looked as if God, Himself, had wrapped His hands around the driver's seat where Brandon had sat. Stuttering through my tears, "Brandon, this is the type of wrecks that only drunks walk away from!"

"Mom," he replied, "It was as if an angel knocked me out just prior to the impact."
.....But God.....

Then last year, while camping in the northern wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Steve and I made our way into a local village to secure more staples.  My cell phone indicated I had some voice mails.

Trevor's voice...weak, but there....."Mom, I'm in the hospital.  Remember the dream you told me about where you saw me in the hospital and I was calling out to God,'s happening now...."......and his voice trailed off......My heart stopped and I burst into tears....
I could barely get the words out to my husband....Just holding my phone up in the air to his face, I choked, "That was Trevor.  I don't know if he's dead or alive....."

And because there was no cell phone coverage where we were camping, this voice mail was 24 hours old!!!!!  OH GOD!!!!!

Frantically I called answer......then answer.....All I could do was wait and pray....Within a half hour, Brandon called....Trevor had made some bad choices the night before....Knowing that he was medically crashing, Trevor had called 911 for himself....He was admitted to ER at about midnight.  All I know is that his condition was not good.  Brandon arrived and prayed for Trevor....Trevor vomited into the wastebasket....He was released to go home at approximately 5:30 AM.  The doctor stated, "You should not have gotten better this quickly.  This just doesn't happen."  Trevor made it into work that morning....from one foot in the grave to fully restored.
There had been a time when in the midst of losing my 3500 sq. ft. home on a spacious, country 10 acres and everything I owned with the exception of 10 plastic storage bins containing my "savings" that I cried out to God.  "Lord, please, I beg of You, may I never have to bury either of my sons!"  I had nothing....but I had my salvation and my sons were alive.  I vowed that I could weather whatever further came my way....
God has blessed me with a wonderful husband  ...and my sons have bought a house together in the Carolinas.  Trevor manages a successful restaurant deli (and is a fantastic, creative chef when left to his own devices) and Brandon (also a fantastic culinary artist) continues in ministry.

Thanksgiving....Yes, thank You, Lord for restoring our family and giving us Your beauty for the ashes.  Isaiah 61:3.  

Thank You that in the Valley of Achor...that place of death....You ARE Our Door of Hope. (Hosea 2:14 and You became My Husband...Hosea 2:16)

Lord, I pray that this testimony of how You have worked in our lives will encourage someone else today who needs to know You ARE with them and You ARE mighty in battle and Your arm is not too short that it cannot save. (Isaiah 59:1)

"Lord God, I come before You in the mighty Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ and I pray that since You know exactly how You want to reveal Yourself to the person reading this testimony of Your Goodness, Glory and Strength that You show Yourself strong on their behalf.  Lord, when we are weak, then are You strong and You've told us that Your Grace is sufficient for us.  Father, I pray Your Grace be revealed for Your Glory in each and every person who reads this today....for Lord, we need You.  I pray Your Peace which surpasses understanding to cover the heart and mind of every person who reads this testimony....knowing that we overcome the evil one by the word of our testimony and the Blood of the Lamb.  Glory to Your Name!  Amen and amen."

Be blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Ever yours in Christ,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

God's Purpose in a Sporting Goods Store....Nonna Bannister

There are those times in life when we search out a particular book, and then there are the times when it is as if God puts the book into our hands, Himself.  The second method is how I came to purchase "The Secret Holocaust Diaries - The untold story of Nonna Bannister" by Nonna Bannister, Denise George and Carolyn Tomlin; available through via the link provided.

My husband and I live in Michigan and we love to fish in the lush Upper Peninsula.  Our summer trek is an annual event the end of August as the U.P. has usually "warmed up" by then!  And so it is that we have begun to include a stop at "Jay's Sporting Goods" shop; just a short hop from the Mackinac Bridge.

What is the likelihood of finding a Christian book in a sporting goods store?  But that is exactly what happened.  "Jay's" in Gaylord, Michigan offers a wide variety of hunting, fishing, clothing and home items; devoting one very minor section to a rack of Christian books.  We've been there so often that its not unusual for us to make a beeline for our favorite sections.  He enjoys checking out guns and fish lures, and I tend toward sniffing various candle scents, checking out the Woolrich brand sales rack and "testing" hand creams.

Window shopping in my corner of the store, I made my way to the Christian book rack....My eyes fell upon Nonna's book....a brownish black and grey cover....Nonna's photo of her girlish face...haunting eyes staring out over a lined linen parted....pigtails decorated with bows...The title: "the secret HOLOCAUST DIARIES - The untold story of Nonna Bannister".....

.....I picked it up...looked it the description on the back cover....flipped through some of the pages...and set it back neatly in the rack....Slowly twirling the rack around and perusing the other selections, I came back to Nonna's book....I felt drawn to this book....I read further....
Nonna had written an account of her life through the Holocaust and never revealed her story to her husband or family until much, much later in life.  And now after her passing, her story has been revealed for us. 

The back cover reads: "The Secret Holocaust Diaries is a haunting eyewitness account of Nonna Lisowskaja Bannister, a remarkable Russian American woman who saw and survived unspeakable evils as a young girl.  For half a century she kept her story secret while living a normal American life.  She locked all her photos, documents, diaries, and dark memories from World War II in a trunk.  Late in life she unlocked the trunk, first for herself, then for her husband, and now for the rest of the world.
     Nonna's story is one of suffering, torture, and death - but also of incredible acts of kindness that show the ultimate triumph of faith and love over despair and evil.  The Secret Holocaust Diaries is in part a tragedy, yet it's also an unforgettable true story about forgiveness, courage, and hope."

I was hooked.  A story of another over comer!  I wanted to know more.......

And then "more" happened; more than I had ever anticipated.....Throughout the past 20 years of my life, multiple people have encouraged me to write my story of adoption from Germany...finding my birth mother...and siblings...and the abuse which existed in my adoptive home and how the Lord healed me. 

This Fall was no exception....Having connected with other writers through the internet, women who had never met me personally were now encouraging me to write.  And God was letting me know that now is the time.  "Lord, I will need Your grace and mercy and strength"; for multiple times before I'd sat to write and gotten stuck in the thick sludge of memories and feelings.....How to write and not be overwhelmed?

And then I read Nonna's book....Her courage blazes across each page....Raw courage of survival....God triumphing with His goodness over all the evil which had happened in her life.  God's restoration for a past which had been ripped from her tender hands.....She hadn't signed up for this tragedy in her life.  Nobody signs up for a tragedy; for it is the result of something which is totally out of your control!  

However, God showed Himself strong on her behalf.  He gave her His beauty for the ashes.  Nonna's past did not determine her future.

I purposed anew that if Nonna Bannister could write her could I!

Thank you, Nonna Bannister; Thank you to your family for the countless hours you spent organizing, etc; Thank you Denise and Carol; but most of all, Thank You, Lord~

Tenderly yours,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Forgiving the Unforgivable

I've been reading Denise George's blog: "Encouragement for Wounded Women" ( and her latest posting deals with a new book she's written re: forgiveness.

That touched a deep cord with my heart.  You see, my adoptive mother had been one of the sexual offenders in my past.  Nobody knew about it.  This secret I buried so deeply in my unconsciousness that I had forgotten about it until my mid-30's, in 1986, when I'd been in counseling for major depression.  About eight months into my counseling I sat in my room, alone, praying and writing as I had for so many countless days during the black shroud which had descended upon my mind and heart after a major downsizing at my place of employment.  I had to step down from a nursing administrative position...back to a supervisory position.  I knew it was inevitable, but when it happened, my house of cards disintegrated....everything crashed. 

This was not just depression, I was also suicidal at the time.  Dreams had turned into nightmares of fires from which I could not escape....Daytime became no less comforting as voices in my head...hearing my father's voice...constantly telling me that I'd failed...over and over and over again.....relentless....I felt robotic.  Even driving became and exercise in "who would win"....Satan or God?  If I arrived at my destination unhurt, then God won...and if I didn't, then Satan won.  I felt in control of nothing.  I felt nothing...only as if a walking dead woman.  My new supervisor told me that I had to pull it together for my staff....Taking a long, sucking draw on her cigarette across the conference room table from me' squinting her eyes, she warned (meaning my staff), "They'll get you, you know.  They'll get you."  My paranoia jumped to a new level.

It was during this time that I began to journal....It was my lifeline to sanity.  Somehow, I felt that if I could write, I might find something within myself to be able to remain sane.  I desperately fought to "find me" by writing tirelessly in the middle of the night...seeking God....seeking myself.....I had two little boys and held a nursing management position in one of our local hospitals. I wanted to remain in touch with what little reality I had left for my sons.  I didn't care about my husband.....His support remained non-existent; even though he worked in law enforcement and dealt with family issues in his daily routine.

My mental state was fragile at best and the psychiatrist who I was seeing at the time (her specialty being children) had given me her cell phone number in case I needed to speak to her. She had decided not to use any medical treatment for me stating that the "side effects were worse than the depression".  (Anti-depressives were just not as safe in the 80's as they are today.)

And so it was that during one of my alone times of journaling that I began to remember.....Seeing myself on the floor in our bathroom when I was about 3 or 4.  My mother seemed obsessed with my private area.  Somehow at that age, I knew that I had "three holes down there".....Memories of my mother with me in indoor tents we'd constructed...age 4-5....Her graphic description to me of how babies were made....Other things I witnessed that I will not write publicly.....

Being trapped in the bathroom with her and my brother while she gave us both enemas and ordered us to "hold it".  I remember my brother and I screaming...and the consequences for my brother when he needed to relieve himself.....And then....her icy voice....commanding...."Cristy.  Come get in bed with me....."  I could feel her arm clamping down around my neck...ever tightening as she barked, "Lay still!  Lay still!".....My breathing felt as if I must have stopped....and my memory blacked out.  These times continued until I was in my early teens....There was just no saying no to my mother.  I remember telling her no once when I was 13 or 14...and she replied as a commanding officer, "I said, 'Get in bed with me'."......Still to this day I do not have total memory of those times.  I believe it is God's way of protecting me.

As these memories flooded back, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I prayed for God to kill me, because my pain and grief was so overwhelming.  Writhing on the floor in my room, I begged God to kill me....but He didn't....and years later, I actively planned to take my own life....Will write that at another time of how God turned that around.....

Meeting with my psychiatrist, she stated, "Crista, I have no doubt that your mother sexually abused you.  There is just no way that people make up the kinds of things you are telling me....."

Years of counseling followed.....By 1990, I began to actively plan taking my own life.  My husband locked his gun in a safe in the wall.  I knew the combination.... Our marriage had deteriorated to ashes....I felt worthless as a mother....and became convinced that everyone would be better off without me.  Of course this was a lie of Satan, but it made perfect sense at the time.

A local Christian radio station aired "The Minirth-Meyer Clinic" early in the afternoon.  They always included their help line number, and I had heard the voice of Dr. Verle Bell, MD many times over.
I decided to make the call.  They accepted me as an inpatient, and praise God, Dr. Bell was the director of the unit in Naperville, IL where I spent a month in a locked facility in July 1990.  Intense psychiatric evaluation and therapy ensued.  My psychiatric evaluation stated: "Crista's self-esteem is so non-existent that she will probably be successful in terminating her own life within the next 10 years."  There was no hope in my prognosis.  None.  Only Jesus.

It was during this time that the Lord led me to II Timothy 2:13 "For when we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."  ....You know the old saying, "When you want to let go, tie a knot and hang on."  Well, I had no strength left to hang on to anything.....I was free falling...."God, You're either there...or You're not.".....So when He led me to this verse, there was a flicker in my spirit that let me know that even though I didn't have the strength, He did. My black hole was so deep that I didn't know if I'd ever emerge...and I didn't even know if I wanted to.  So if I did get out of this endless chasm of total blackness, it would be because of Jesus and nothing else!

It was while at Minirth-Meier that Dr. Bell asked, "So why would God allow all of this to happen?"....He asked the same question I had pondered so many time.  This hurdle seemed impossible to jump.  Adoption....Abuse.....I didn't get it.

So he answered for me.  "Crista, God never desired this to happen to you.  But God gives everyone their free will.  He wanted your parents to follow Him, but they chose not to.  It was not His desire that you be hurt, but it is His desire now to heal you."  I could handle that.

The end of July, I went a pitifully empty marriage...and my wonderful sons...ages 11 and 8.
After my discharge, God led me to a new psychologist....a Spirit-filled woman who knew how to pray.  Joan would spend a half hour discussing issues with me and then we'd go to prayer.

I do not remember the exact moment that I forgave my mother....because it was a process and a choice; having to deal with the betrayal and anger...but the Lord's healing and forgiveness came as a result of His healing inside my soul.

By this time in the mid 90's, my mother had gone through a mastectomy for breast cancer, and I was now in my early 40's.  The cancer had spread into her bones.  (In 1972 at age 53, she spent the following 18 mos. in a rehab hospital as a result of a major head injury following a head on collision which left her with right sided paralysis and an inability to speak appropriately.  Her memory of past events escaped her now...only wispy glimpses of days gone by remained.)

She had fallen as a result of the bone cancer and had broken her shoulder.  Walking had become more difficult for her.  She needed a hospital bed and someone to care for her 24/7.  Dad, who had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer and faced his own surgery, secured the services of a home healthcare professionals.  One of mom's RNs, Nancy, was a Christian and had been praying for my mother's salvation.  And one evening, with Nancy in the kitchen praying....I met with my mother while she lay in her hospital bed in the dining room of their home.

At this point, I need to tell you that my mother was a tough old bird.  She'd grown up on a farm during the depression.  Nobody was going to tell her what to do.  She was as determined as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" that, "As God is my witness, I shall never go hungry again!"

Her family had gone through prohibition times...extremely tough times of dire poverty.  They bootlegged beer and whiskey; selling to the elites of their town.  Living on a high hill with no water pump close by, my mother and her sisters hauled water up the hill for laundry, dishes, weekly baths and  for their distillery. 

Mom and her sisters not only served as the barmaids, but as the entertainment, dancing on table tops for the men to enjoy.  One of their regulars was the mayor of Lowell; my mother's future father-in-law.

Nobody talked about the "secret" events which took place in their home as a child.....I only heard whispers alluding to things that happened with her cousins in the barn.  My aunt took her secrets with her to her grave; only stating that she'd "never tell".  Mom's "secrets" manifested in her abusive behavior towards me, explosive rage and her binge eating and purging.  Nobody ever talked about the demons inside of them.....All we ever did was sweep our "stuff" under the rug and keep buying bigger rugs....and pretending that everything was "normal".

My mother's primary goal in life was to be a millionaire.  I'm not sure, but I think their long career in Tupperware put them pretty close to achieving this goal....However, by this time in 1995, she'd spent 23 years of her life as permanently handicapped...mentally and physically.

I can't tell you the exact point when I forgave my mother, because I spent much time in a depressive fog.  But I can tell you that there was a day when I was able to say to the Lord, "I choose to forgive my mother through and by the Blood of Christ.  What I am unable to do, You are able, Lord."  I realized the enemy had come to destroy her own life as well.  She had been victimized in her childhood, too.

So here it was: September 1995.  I was 42 years old and my mother was 74.  Her body still paralyzed on her right side and now her shoulder broken.  She lay in her hospital bed....completely spent.  No longer would her bones heal - the cancer had stolen this capacity from her body.  The was in pain.  My mother who could always do what she wanted....couldn't.

"Mom....Do you know that by accepting Jesus into your heart that one day, you will be able to go Home to Him in Heaven and you will be perfectly healed and be able to walk just fine and not have any pain?  Do you know that right now, without Jesus, you will go to hell when you die....and your pain will be worse than it is now....and it will go on forever.....Mom, Jesus wants you to ask Him into your heart.
If He were to walk into this room right now, would you take His hand."

"Yes", she softly replied.

Then mom, "All you have to do is ask Him into your heart.  He will be there for you."

It was at this time a miracle occurred.  My mother who never needed anyone her entire life, bent her heart and asked, "Jesus, please come into my heart.  I need You."

My mother went Home when the Lord came to get her seven months later.  That's another testimony for another time. 

It was two years ago that I met with a precious woman of God and a friend who led me in more deep, healing prayer....asking Jesus to take me back to the times He wanted to show me and heal me even further....The question: "Crista, where is Jesus?"....I will tell you that in my spirit, I saw Jesus.  He was right there with me when each event occurred....And I will tell you that it is true when scripture says, "Whatever you do unto the least of these...You've done it unto Me," (Matt. 25:40)....He literally meant it.  Everything done to us to hurt us by the enemy, is done unto Him.  And I knew in my spirit that what my mother had done to me had been done to her. My forgiveness for my mother had turned to sorrow for her past....and my forgiveness went even deeper than before.

Forgiveness.....What we are unable to do....He will.
Hope has a Name....and His Name is Jesus Christ.
Be blessed.~

Ever yours in Christ,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog site for Wounded Women~

Author and speaker, Denise George, is writing a new blog site: "Encouragement for Wounded Women".  It is outstanding!  We are in such need as women for a ministry such as this.

I encourage you to check it out and to share it with others.
Also, Denise's book is available via for only $0.99.
Blessings always,

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Reverential Fear of the Lord

Dear Blog Readers~
So great to be with you again after a long lapse! For about a month now, the Lord has been speaking to me about "The Reverential Fear of the Lord" and the necessity of the Church to understand the absolute wisdom of God contained within Proverbs 1:7. It is vital to our walk with the Lord to understand that there is a holy, reverential and healthy fear of the Lord which is foundational to our Christian lives.

While watching "The Last Samurai" last night (and I like war movies and how they relate to our Christian commitment), one line stood that, Capt. Algren remarked how the Samurai village contained a separateness and a spiritual quality about it that was unequaled to anything he'd ever previously encountered...He wanted to know more about them.

And so, we must come back to some foundational truths in Christ in that a reverential fear of the Lord is a priority for living a righteous and holy life. Our Christian walk is to be more than punching a button on Facebook or forwarding an email that says, "If you're not ashamed of Me, you will send this on." Really? Is that what our Christianity has now been reduced to? Pushing "Like" buttons and forwarding emails? Because if this is all it takes, anyone can do that.....Church, we are called to mature in Christ.

The following are my notes from the Sunday School class I led this week. Feel free to copy & paste into a format that works better for you.  You are invited to partake of the meal He has provided and we examine our own lives and hearts before Him.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive study, but as we purpose in our hearts to live rightly and holy before the Lord, He will show us The Way; for He is the way, the truth and the life.  

I look forward to meeting with you on a more regular basis.
Blessings always~ Crista

Righteous Living Begins with The Reverential Fear of the Lord

Second only to our salvation is the understanding that our righteous living….walking it out in our day to day life, begins with the reverential fear of the Lord.  Our behavior, both privately and publicly, always reveals what we have truly internalized re: God’s Word and how we are to live our lives before Him. Heb. 4:13 “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

God’s Word says that His People are destroyed for lack of knowledge….Hosea 4:6

Strong’s #1847 - Knowing, Understanding, Intelligence, Wisdom, Discernment, Skill
Prov. 1:7 NKJV : “For the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and knowledge.”
Amplified: “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.” (Amp. Version)

The Fear of God:
Strong’s Concordance #4172, morah as: “Fear, reverence, terror, awe; an object of fear, respect, or reverence. Morah is derived from yare’, “to be afraid of, to fear, to reverence.” (Reverence, semnos: Strong’s #4586: Behavior that is dignified, honorable, decent, august, worthy of respect.)

Our trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior is more than a “collect $200/pass Go/get out of jail free” card as the lives of too many professing Christians today demonstrate little difference from unbelievers in word, deed and action; showing little/if any regard for the consequences of our behavior or the realization that God holds us accountable for every thought, word, deed and motive.
There are those in Christian leadership today who are not preaching holiness and making it sound as if we are all friends of God through professing Christ as our Savior. This is called apostasy. Jesus says that we are His friends IF we do whatever He commands us. (John 14:15) This is a conditional statement which demands our attention.
Beware of teachings which put emphasis upon relationship with the Lord without accountability/responsibility on our part.

Scriptural Truths: 1. We will all have to give an account before God. 2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
2. We are all naked before God. Heb. 4:13 “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give and account.“ What we do, say in private is just as open to God as what we do in public. A good question to ask ourselves: “If Jesus were standing/sitting next to me right now, would I do what I am doing?” Well, He is anyway.
3. We will all be judged.
4. We are to live sanctified, holy lives - To be holy as the Lord, Himself is holy; to come out and be separate. To be sanctified (separated from the world) in thought, deed, action, motive, character, speech and habits.

1) Examine our fruit: Matt. 7:15-21, Gal. 5:22-25
2) Realize that what comes out of a mouth/heart defiles a person. Matt. 15:11, Eph. 4:29-32
3) Our lips may say, “Yes, Lord.”…but our heart is far from Him. (Matt. 15:8)
4) We all have choices in how we shall live; this day/today. Joshua 24:15
5) We are only His friend, IF we do His will. John 14:15
6) Avoid those who preach that it is not necessary to live holy and righteously! Eph. 5:7, Ephesians 5:1-7, 8-14, 15-21, Jude 3-4, 16-25

Reverential Fear of the Lord --->Leads to Holy and Right Living which is pleasing to the Lord
Where do I go from here?
1) Ask the Lord to examine my heart that we may live a holy, sanctified life out of our reverence, love and awe for Him.  (Ps. 139:23-24)
2) Love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and body. (Deut. 6:5)
3) Love our neighbor as ourselves. (Lev. 19:18)
4) Be obedient to His Will and Word
     *Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22b)

     *Rebellion is as witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23a)
     *To him who knows to do good, but doesn’t do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)
5) Purpose in my heart to be Holy as He is Holy (1 Pet. 1:16)
6) Determine/purpose to live a sanctified life - as Jesus prayed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. (John 17)
7) Minister and serve unto the least of these (Matt. 25:40)
8) Live at peace with all men. (Rom. 12:18)
9) Guard my mouth. (Eph. 4:29-32)
10) Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, but be filled with the Spirit. Be baptized in the Holy Ghost Who empowers us from on high with His Strength and Power to live holy and righteous on this earth to the Glory of God!  Hallelujah!  (Eph. 4:1-3, Gal. 5:16-25)  
11) Imitate God. (Eph. 5:1)
12)Develop the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-24)
Life Application:All of us could make a list of things to change…..We look into the mirror of God’s Word so that we know what He desires of us….and we purpose/commit to living a holy, righteous life out of our reverence/fear/awe/respect/worship for Him Who Is The Only Wise God.

“Lord, I commit this day, right now, to walk in righteousness before You. Forgive me for the way in which I have strayed from You and Your Word. I ask You to search me and know me and see if there be any wicked or hurtful way in me and lead me in the way everlasting…on Your path of righteousness for Your Name sake. God, I ask that You put such reverence and love in my heart for You, that I purpose in my heart to live holy before You. Show me. Lead me. Send Your Holy Spirit to do what I am unable to do for myself…for I know that I can’t, but You can. Therefore I move my pieces. I choose this day to live in obedience to Your Word that Your Glory may be known among the nations. Amen and Hallelujah!”

Be blessed,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Praises to Jesus~

Jesus Christ....only a swear word in my house growing up. Trusting Him did not come easy....So many people had hurt me in my life....Those who were supposed to protect me had caused and allowed severe trauma.

But one day, 22 yrs. ago, I knew I needed a Savior...and I asked Him to be Lord of my life. He said, "I will be with you always." I didn't understand then what I do now....

He's the Only One Who gave me beauty for the ashes in my life....The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness....The Valley of Achor became my Door of Hope....The Valley of the Shadow of Death became His life everlasting....He is the Only One Who drew me out of the miry pit....and a pit too deep, too wide that I never thought I'd ever get out of it again...or even wanted to.

Because of Him, I am alive today ~ literally. They say when you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on...I couldn't even find the rope; let alone have enough strength to hang on. So I let go into a free fall....He was either there or He wasn't...I found out there is no depth too low that He is not there.

On the Cross, He held out His hand to me that I might take it and find my way to His heart and to God's.

Jesus Christ - Who because of the Cross is with me always, has conquered my enemies, loves me unconditionally, is the Glory and Lifter of my head, fights for and prays for me when I am too weak and worn to do otherwise, makes a way where there seems to be not way, takes me in His arms as only a loving Mother and Father would do and has my Home waiting in Heaven...with God the Father.

Praise His Holy Name! Thank You, Jesus for Your willingness to die for me so that I may live and share You with others.

He is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Have a Blessed Easter everyone.

Tenderly and lovingly,


Monday, March 7, 2011

I Have Inscribed You on the Palms of My Hands

This is for those of us who sometimes wonder where God is when it hurts~ Life hurts - whether it be in body, mind, emotions or spirit….There are those time in life when the storms “overtake” our ability to see beyond them…because all we see is the blackness of the boiling sea below and the pitch of clouds above.

We look out onto the horizon….straining to see a glimpse of land ahead…but we can’t even see land let alone concoct a glimmer of sunlight along our path…Weariness overtakes us…

A couple months ago, I decided it was time to deal with pain management for my arthritis…I simply could not take it anymore. Chronic pain was sucking the life out of me by day and by night…It was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain patience for simple bumps in the road…I sought help from my doctor for the pain and depression.

“Are you suicidal?”, she inquired….

“Oh no….I still enjoy getting together with friends…”

But after my appointment, I began to reflect…suicidal?….No….Wanting God to take me Home and say that I had completed what He’d called me to do…Yes. I just wanted to be out of the constant grind of pain. I was exhausted; wanting to be out of pain; wanting to have a "good" night's sleep.

Exhaustion…Yesterday writing to my dear friend, Clo. “Please pray for me…..” Her words…God’s words of comfort in return…bolstering my spirit - just to know she was there and praying - taking the burden off my shoulders. (Yes, my hubby is a support - for those of you who might wonder…but sometimes, it’s too close…and he needs his own support person….and this is why friends are so vital.)

Personal struggles make it difficult to “find” God in the darkness as we grope our way along…as a blind man reaching out to touch the next stable point in life…the next step….tentative…and then at times, stopping altogether…resting…catching our breath…or just plain too weary….

Where’s God?….”Lord, I enjoyed your presence so much in the land of plenty…but in the desert, I’m not sure anymore where You are?…Have I disappointed you in my weariness of body and You have given up on me and walked away?…Did my pain give way to You turning Your back on me in my time of need, because I did not meet Your expectations?”

And it is in these types of times that I find myself wrestling with God….like this morning….I had read something yesterday that someone else wrote about the Lord’s Presence being so close…and agony hit…”Lord, we enjoyed such communion…but it is as if I can’t find You right now….”

Yesterday at the nursing home, sharing a testimony of my friend, Becky…recovering from shoulder surgery…How the Lord’s Presence enveloped her - encouraging her heart - for one reason only - His loving kindness, compassion and mercy.

Then the Lord gave me an image of a mother sitting on the side of her young child’s bed - feverish - delirious at times - a cool cloth on her head - bending over her child - stroking her face - praying - loving - touching…never letting go….sitting through the night watch…at times taking her unconscious child from the bed to cradle her in her arms…rocking…singing…praying…stroking back sweat soaked hair…Her child at times seeing her only through fluttering eyelids…then drifting off into feverish sleep…until her child finally awakens…eyes wide open…”Hi Mommy…Can I have something to eat?…I’m hungry.”

Her child has “come back”…


“Yes, my love…“

“I didn’t know where you were…I was so afraid…I couldn’t find you…”

“My darling child…I know. You were so sick…but I was right here all the time…Holding you, loving you. You are my precious one…”

And that’s how it is at times in life, isn’t it? Sometimes we are that little child…and sometimes, He gives us the privilege of sitting beside someone else’s bed to get them through the night…to be Jesus to them in the darkness of soul….

This morning…watching the little finches outside our living room window…reflecting…turning on the music I so enjoy during my times of reading scripture or writing…soft and soothing…comforting…non-invasive…

“Lord, where it is so easy for me to encourage others…please encourage my own heart…It’s been so long since I have really “felt” You close….We enjoyed such communion in the land of plenty…Reveal Yourself to my heart in the desert…”

And I had no more finished this prayer, than He broke into my thoughts…”Can a nursing mother forget her baby at her breast? Though she may forget, I will never forget you, for I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…”

Isaiah 49:13-16 says it this way….”…For the Lord has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted. But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.”

In closing, I pray your heart be encouraged this day…If you are the child in this image…He is with you….

And if you are being used as a “mother” to someone else right now…praise God…Continue to be there in the night watch…God is using you to encourage the heart of another weary traveler until “the fever breaks”.

(P.S. If you suffer from chronic pain and have not yet done so, I encourage you to seek assistance from your physician. It may take some trial and error as you work together to find the combination that is right for your body, mind, emotions, and also approved by your insurance company. Eat heathly...and tell someone you trust what you're going through....We all need someone to hold up our arms when we get weary.)

God bless you all~

Ever in His love and mine,



Saturday, February 26, 2011

In a Spirit of Gentleness~

Yesterday, I had the blessed opportunity to officiate a funeral…and I say “blessed”…because the Lord opened the door to share His love and His Word….We never know the condition of the hearts that are listening to the funeral service, but He does…And one thing I believe with all my heart is that His love reaches down to the worst of us sinners to bring us to the saving knowledge of His salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior….

And yes, I say “worst of us”, because I know who I was before Christ, and I also know what it is to backslide and to be given a second chance to be redeemed from the clutch of hell. And I can honestly tell you that I truly don’t know how I “got back”, other than His grace, mercy, love and compassion which drew me out of the pit of hell. But there was a “turning point”….My pastor (in 1999) had preached a sermon which convicted my heart - deeply…and I had to talk with him afterwards and confess my sin. I was living two lives…one in the Praise Team and presenting myself as a “good Christian woman”….the other - a fornicator….the ravages of an emotionally painful marriage that ended in divorce…my own wounds and vulnerabilities…and I had succumbed to the temptation of the world…But on that day, the Lord gave me an opportunity to repent and turn….

Blind, beaten, dirty and broken….That is our condition before Christ….and that is our condition when we fall back into the world….How do we approach the one who is blind, beaten, dirty and broken….How do we approach the backslidden? With a stick…or with gentleness and compassion; knowing that we too, are also subject to temptation….(Gal. 6:1)…Please understand that at this point, I am not condoning sin. When we are sinning…we are to stop. And I do not support using scripture to justify sinning. The Gospel is never to be used to justify sinning. (Romans 6:15)

What do we see when we as Believers now look to those who are steeped in the things of the world? ~My friend, Clo Lent DiPilato posted this scripture on Facebook this morning from Luke 18...of which I will quote verses 10-14 from the Amplified version:

“Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men - extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers - or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The Lord through the Apostle Paul , Colossians 3:12-15 from the Amplified Bible wrote:

v. 12 “Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

v. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

v. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together in ideal harmony].

v. 15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].”

And from Chapter 4: 5-6 “Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”

I love the word winsome! For it means charming, in a child-like way. Oh…how a child will respond to the loving accepting arms of the one who says, “Come to me…and you will find rest and comfort….love and acceptance…”

Jesus left the ninety-nine to go find the one….Will we do the same?….He gave His life to bring us into His fold….

He came not to be served, but to serve….What will we do with the life He’s given us?

“Lord Jesus, make me an instrument of Your mercy and grace this day…to those who are in need of You….Amen and Amen….”

Be Blessed of the Lord~

Ever yours in Christ Jesus~

Crista Simmons (

LifeCare Ministries

Sunday, February 6, 2011

His Everlasting Arms in the Nothingness~

When I was in nurse’s training (a very long time ago….), we had an instructor who had served in the military. Miss Mary Mason. And every time we needed to clear the hall for an oncoming patient, she’d sharply call out, “Flatten agin the wall. Flatten agin the wall!” Simply stated, “Make way! Clear the way! Don’t be in the way!”

In reflecting this morning, that’s how we feel sometimes in life….like we’re the ones who’ve been flattened…run over…and left for dead in whatever it is that mowed us over…and we don’t feel like we’ve got the energy or “want to“, to lift our head, let alone get up and try it again. We are down for the count, and we see no way out…every direction looks impossible.

May I share with you an experience and then some scripture? You know, maybe you’re not that person…but you know someone who is….Whoever it is needs Hope that only the Lord can provide.

The reason I want to share a personal experience is because it is easy to look at the writer and think, “What do you know? You’ve never been in my situation.”

One of my primary purposes in this blog is to be transparent in my writing…and in so doing…that the Glory of God would be evident….And I pray the love of Jesus and His Hope to transform your heart and mind this day.

It was the summer of 1990, and I was inpatient at the Minirth-Meier Psych. Unit in Naperville, IL…It was a locked unit…One evening, something happened that I cannot explain…but another resident had shared something…and it was as if my emotions stepped onto an elevator and I went to the bottom floor…As I did, everything else began to fade…I could not distinguish anything that was more than about 2 feet in front of my face…My nurse led me into the padded room…I think I was sobbing…into a blackness that had no end…a black hole…no end in sight…just the overwhelming sense of loss in my life that would not go away…the losses that I’d been running from my whole life…I looked up once..and could only make out the feet of our unit director, Dr. Verle Bell, and our head nurse…They spoke…I couldn’t comprehend what they said…At some point, my nurse led me back to my room…I can only tell you that if I were to put an age to my feelings, I’d would’ve been 2 or under…no words…My nurse tucked me into bed and kissed me on the forehead.

Morning came…the black hole was still there…There seemed no way out…and I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to try…

They say, “When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”….Well, I couldn’t find the rope; much less tie a knot in it; much less have the strength to hang on….I had let go and was free-falling into nowhere…

What I didn’t know at the time is that nowhere has a bottom…and it is called His Everlasting Arms and that Hope Has a Name - Jesus Christ….He didn’t come to me to scold me and ask, “Where’s your faith?”….No, He came to me and held out His hand…”Crista, take My hand…and I will lead you out….”

Now, I’m here to tell you that that’s faith…Just taking His hand IS faith! He says to us today, “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.” (John 14:6)…When we don’t know the way out of the black pit, He does.

For there is no God like Jehovah. “For when we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13)

And underneath are the everlasting arms~ “There is none like God, O Jeshurun [Israel], Who rides through the heavens to your help and in His majestic glory through the skies. The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He drove the enemy before you and thrust them out, saying, Destroy!”

Maybe you’re too worn out to take His hand…then just know, that He’s kneeling down to take yours…

His love is from everlasting to everlasting….and nothing shall separate you from His love….He is not a man that He should lie, and He is no respecter of persons.

Let’s close with these words from the Lord through the Apostle Paul: “Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love?…”…”For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-38)

“Lord Jesus…today, I will let you take my hand…because I can’t do this by myself. I don’t know my way out of this blackness…But I will let You lead me, because You’re the Only One Who knows the way out.

Thank You.”

And in the words of our unit director, Dr. Bell….”I can’t. He can. Therefore, I move my pieces.”

“…but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“…to give them beauty for the ashes…” Isaiah 61:3

….To make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of Hope…. Hosea 2:15

Hope has a Name, and His Name is Jesus Christ…and underneath are His everlasting arms.~

God bless you, dear hearts.

Ever yours in Christ,

Crista ( 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rock and Roll - Be Still and Know

This morning while reading Psalm 46, the Lord gave me an image of an Ocean Wave/Tilt-a-Whirl…those dastardly mechanical mechanisms of gastronomical torture placed strategically on our playgrounds in the 50’s and 60’s…Go have lunch…then go “play” on the puke machines! Now THAT makes sense! NOT!

Oh…I digress…But isn’t that how our lives “feel” at times?????

Ps. 46:1-3.…”God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas. Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that!].”….

….Selah…Breathe in…pause…breathe out….

Back to the Ocean Waves of our lives….Up and over…over and up…pulsating to the thrusts of its riders…low to high…high to low…swirling and sashaying…up and around….the higher the rise, the faster the rush to the bottom…centrifugal force casting us once again up and over and around and plunging…spinning ever faster and more furiously….until it was time to head back into school….For some, it was total ecstasy…for others, we were as green as grass within five seconds flat!

Isn’t that how life feels sometimes? There are the time’s in life that give us that rush of ecstasy…but there are others that leave us with little more than an overwhelming, nauseous condition which only stopping will cure….and then when we dismount, we’re still not sure if we’re going to stand…tottering…faltering…flopping on the ground….staggering…But we’re not left alone….He is with us. The Lord, Our God, never changes. He is our Rock…Our firm foundation….Our Strong Tower….

Let’s continue to read….v. 4-7 “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning]. The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

….Selah…Breathe in…pause….breathe out….

v. 8-9 “Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire.”

v. 10-11 “Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold), Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

….Ahhhhh….deep breath….

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest, [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good - not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Selah…pause and calmly think of that….”Come, Lord Jesus, Come….”

May your load be lifted today by the Only One Who is able to carry our burdens….

Ever yours in Christ,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Knock! Knock! Knock!!!

Yesterday on Facebook, I shared what the Lord had told me at the end of my time of pouring out my heart to Him....But I want to share what ensued prior to His word to me...and many of us...because sometimes it is very easy to think that we are alone in our struggles...and the one writing does not struggle or does not share in the agony of heart like we do. So, for those of you who feel alone in your struggle...let me encourage your heart....The Lord walks with you and me...and He's not left you nor forsaken you.

Yesterday, as I sat w/ coffee in hand....I mentally pictured the Lord on the other side of my living room...kind of a Gestalt...And my position was just open and honest...even though it was a "You stay on Your side, and I'll stay on mine, and we'll get along just fine." (I hadn't healed from the salt in my wounds yet....) So...I just sat and talked...You see, I'd been feeling personally threatened by a certain situation about which I cannot publicly write. (Hubby and I are fine!)

And this is what I wrote as He responded...

"I've been waiting for this time (together), Crista. SLOW DOWN!!! SLOW DOWN!!!! Be still and know that I AM God. In the face of adversity, you run, but I tell you to stop and stand. I know you have conflict that you didn't create (or are not responsible for the creation of it), but do you honestly think I will allow that? NO!! You are under the shadow of My wing - and I say that there, no evil shall befall you. (Psalm 91)

STAND STILL AND SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD! (Exodus 14:13) For the Lord is Mighty in Battle! It is I Who Do The WORK, so that the Only One in Whom you may boast is Me. I delight to give good gifts to My children and bring victory to your situation; for My Glory is one of those good gifts. You ARE more than a conqueror through Christ, or I would not have told you so. O ye of little faith, lift up a shout, for your day of victory is about to come about."

And by the end of our time together....He was sitting next to me on the couch....

Rev. 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me."

Thank You, Lord for Your long-suffering and patience and compassion and love....Please reveal Yourself even more to our hearts we invite You in....

Love to all,


Sunday, January 23, 2011


Dear Blog Readers,

This is a long entry today. It is so serious, and you may want to print it out. It has to do with how the Lord has been warning His Church about His impending judgment and being right with Him. Please know that this message is not written to one person(s) or group, but to The Body of Christ; for we all have a responsibility and an accountability to walk rightly and holy before the Lord. We will stand, individually, before the Judgment Seat of Christ. We are all called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling - not trusting in our flesh to do the work, but walking in His Truth and His Spirit.

Before we go on however, let me say this, I truly believe that for those who are truly in Christ, this is the Church’s finest hour…for the Lord promises in Isaiah 60 that when great darkness increases, then shall His light also increase. Also, be encouraged by Ps. 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.”

Many in the Body of Christ have either gone through the fire, been going through it or will go through it.

Why? It is preparation for what is to come. It is purging us of what is not of Him so that we will walk in the fullness of Christ. But with that comes also the tearing down of the Towers of Babel…places built by men to serve their own selfish purposes while all the time purporting to be from God. God has much to say about leaders who should be feeding the flock and instead feed themselves. We continue to see and hear this lust for earthly goods perpetrated in the “prosperity doctrine“. The prosperity doctrine in all of it’s various interpretations is the modern day Pied Piper of deceit leading God‘s people to the abyss. (See Ezek. 34) (We heard a pastor once say, “Wouldn’t you love to have so much money in the bank that you had to transfer it from one bank to the other?”….And I ask you, “Is this what God says our Christianity is all about?????!!!!!” GOD HAVE MERCY!….BUT HE’S SAYING: “Time’s Up!”

It was on Monday, Jan. 3, that I awoke at 5 AM to the following dream:

I “heard” my husband violently shaking the front door...because it was locked…

RATTLE! RATTLE! RATTLE!!!!...And then I "heard" Steve shout to me, "Crista! Crista! Crista!"

When I awoke, I really thought he was in the room with me and hadn't gone to work....It took me a little while to get oriented to the fact that he was not home....

Then, three days later on Jan. 6, ...I had another dream:

Steve and I were together and it was told to us that in 5 weeks (Feb. 10th) my retirement benefits would expire....I panicked...and Steve said, "We will have to trust in the Lord to provide."

Both of these dreams indicate His grace (5 AM and 5 wks)...and He's been earnestly trying to get His wife's attention, but she's been asleep. At first, the door was locked so He had to violently shake it open to get our attention...and then once in, He will be shouting to wake up His Bride....

The “5 wks and your retirement benefits are over” have to do, I believe, with the fact that He's saying His time of grace (number 5) is done....He's given The Church time to acknowledge her sins, repent and turn from their wicked ways (2 Chron. 7:14-16)...but now He's saying, "TIME‘S UP!".…

And in the following dream the Lord through my friend, Connie, He is speaking directly to leaders in the Church, because He holds leaders more accountable. See posting:

We have seen and will continue to see the Lord’s exposure of dirt and filth within leadership.

It is His Word which states that that which is done in darkness will be brought to light. (John 3:20-21)

We know that God is merciful. He gives us time and time and time again to repent and walk rightly before Him. But when His mercy is continuously met with a rebellious heart, then there comes a time for His firm line in the sand to be drawn…And His firm line is termed “Judgment”….

2 Peter 4:17-18 “For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God? And if the righteous are barely saved, what will become of the godless and wicked? [Prov. 11:31]

Now where is our Hope in all of this? It is in His righteousness…His holiness….allowing His Spirit to live and move and having His fullness in and through us; His vessels. Do we stand before Him in confidence; that our hearts do not condemn us? Or do we stand before Him knowing that we have been walking in rebellion? Are we seeking to justify our sin? Or are we asking Him to purge us of our sin? Do we want to be seen as holy and righteous before Him….or do we want to go out and partake of the filth and seek my own justification? Do we want to walk in the fruit of the Spirit….or the lusts of the flesh? Do we pray, “Lord, THY will be done, no matter what!”….Or do we pray, “Lord, this is what’s right for me…I know what’s best…Now, You do it.”

Beloved, hear the Word of the Lord:

Romans 13:11-14 “Besides this you know what [a critical] hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). For salvation (final deliverance) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ, the Messiah). The night is far gone and the day is almost here. Let us then drop (fling away) the works and deeds of darkness and put on the (full) armor of light. Let us live and conduct ourselves honorably and becomingly as in the [open light of] day, not in reveling (carousing) and drunkenness, not in immorality and debauchery (sensuality and licentiousness), not in quarreling and jealousy, but clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts).”

Determine this day….As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! (Joshua 24:15)….For we are the house/the temple of the Living God.

I’ve included another dream and word received from the Lord from 2007 and 2008 that are appropriate to this message.

DREAM: House About to Be Brought Down:
Walking through this huge house which had the appearance of being very expensive, but in looking at the high ceiling I noticed that it appeared almost like a hard jell (one would think initially that it was glass), because it began to sag. Through the "jell" one could see all this crud crushing down upon the ceiling. Over to the left, one area gave way and a black trash bag emptied its contents of filthy clothes (rags) onto the floor. I watched as the high ceiling began to bulge even more from the weight of the junk piled high between the roof and the ceiling (that which was not visible to the eye). ~I was thankful that I was not in the market to purchase this home...but just going through it and looking....and I saw all that was about to "fall". ~Then I was in the basement of this same house (I think).....and I saw this older man (60-ish) doing something like working w/ tools....and then he made a comment about eating these white, fat snake-like things; kind of like "well, they're not to bad once you get used to them"....and not realizing that they were gross and NOT to eat them! And the basement was dark and slimy with bugs and snake things running around.

This is the condition of many churches today, and a soon coming "cave in" to the present "system"; people eating things that they have been programmed to believe are "good" for them when in reality they're harmful. The condition of this "house" was that the whole structure was about to collapse upon itself, because of what it had laid upon itself. It was its own "stuff" that was about to create the collapse. All the "stuff" is man's creation and the yokes put upon the sheep. They are the "programs" created by man in the name of the Lord to give the appearance of elegance and that all is right with the church, but in the end, they are responsible for its demise.

1/2/08 "Great Change Is Coming"
"Life as you know it is going to change. You are very comfortable right now, but I tell you the truth, Great Change Is Coming. I AM shaking all that can be shook. I AM shaking men's hearts. Who will trust Me to carry them through? Have I not said that judgment shall begin in the House of God first? Do not be surprised by what you shall see before you. I AM God! And men shall once again revere and fear My Name! Men shall fall on their faces before me. Yes, I am full of grace, mercy and compassion. BUT I AM ALSO THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE! My wrath have I reserved for those whom I have warned and yet have not heeded My warning! My wrath have I reserved for those shepherds who've abused My flock for their own gain; for greed in My Church is an abomination before Me. My compassion do I pour out on the unbeliever. Have I not said it is better to have a millstone hung around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble? When those who are called by My Name cause the unbeliever, the little ones, the one whose faith is miniscule, to stumble because of their selfish greed, then My wrath is stirred!!
Then, I must take action where there is no repentance. I AM long-suffering, but enough is enough. I have seen the suffering of My People and the greed of the shepherds - the very ones who've been called to lay down their lives for My Sheep, and it causes Me to vomit! It is an abomination before Me! Think not that I do not see for My eyes roam to and fro throughout the earth to see if there is one righteous man/woman. Oh yes, there are many in My sight who are righteous, but it is not the ones who've been flaunted and do now flaunt themselves across the TV screen. Have I not said that I exalt the humble, but bring low the proud?
The proud are about to be brought low - in one sweep of My Mighty Right Hand. (In my spirit, I see God's hand sweep from left to right over America - from the southernmost tip of CA to the southernmost tip of FL.)
There are those who commit adultery with the world. My Church leaders have committed fornication with the political systems of the world! Take heed lest you fall! The time of My warnings have ended. Now, I shall bring vengeance upon those who have raped My Sheep for their own selfish gain and called it of Me."
(Ezek. 34:1-22, 1 Peter 3:12, 4:17-18, 5:2-3, 5-6, 2 Chron. 16:9, Matt. 18:6, Ps. 33:18, 34:15, Is. 65:11-15.

Over the month of December (2008) I have been receiving multiples of 7's in groups of 3's (Gifts of 21 candles total in Dec., Dinner bill of $17.77 and car odometer 166,777) I continue to seek the Lord for His message to me about this.

Be blessed in all ways as our hearts turn to Him.

Ever yours in Christ,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Walking in the Light of His Glory

As the world grows increasingly darker, may we ever walk in the fullness of the Light of Christ. The greater the darkness, the brighter even a little spark will shine. Yes, darkness shall increase on the earth before the coming of the Lord. But Beloved, take heart, when we are in Christ, we are His and His Light shall shine forth as the sun. His Glory! For "In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it]." John 1:4-5

It truly matters not what is going on around us...even though we are faced with issues...that is part of living on this earth...but we do not need to allow the issues to consume us. May we allow Christ, through His Holy Spirit, to consume us, for He is an all consuming fire. And when He removes something/someone out of our life, it is for His Glory. He will fill that place with more of Himself when we allow Him to do His work in and through us.

May we ever live in humble servitude before Our King. "Thy will, O Lord...Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Not my will, because I have no comprehension of what is the best for this situation....Only You do...and I yield to Thy Will; whatever the outcome. For I know that whatever the enemy intends for evil, You will use for good. May You and You Alone be praised, glorified and magnified through this yielded vessel."

Our prayer for today is so appropriate in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Colossians: Col. 1:10-11 "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy, Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints of God (God's holy people) in the Light."

Blessings always in Christ,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Standing the Test

I hope this photo brings a smile to your face...Been there done that...again...and will probably go through it again....(I'm talking about the cat....)...Don't know about you...but this is what testing looks like at times to me....Not real happy about the whole thing....In fact, we'd prefer watching paint dry!
Yet here we are about to see what the Apostle Paul has to say about His Brother and friend, Timothy, who is like a son to him...."But Timothy's tested worth you know...." Phil. 2:22

~Wow! What does that say about Timothy? He's been through "the stuff"...time and time again...and through all of his testing...there is now a worthiness about him that is evident to others. God has been glorified through his testing...and there is a quality about Timothy that has stood the test.

~I suspect that we would use the following adjectives to describe Timothy: Trustworthy. Faithful. Righteous and holy. A true man of God.

~This reminds me of the chemistry lab experiments in high school...The flame test...What does it smell like? What does it look like when the flame is applied? For certain elements have specific qualities that identify them only when the hot, blue flame burns deep to the core.

~So when the flame is applied to our lives...Who is seen? Self or Christ? Flesh or Christ? Yet not that I live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal. 2:20

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature)…” Gal. 5:24

“Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

For those of us going through testing right now….REJOICE! LIFE UP YOUR HEADS AND REJOICE!

For Christ is being formed in and through us….The greater the darkness…the brighter the light shines….

Take heart, Beloved….take heart.

Blessings always,

Crista Simmons -

Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)