Canine Evangelism, Dreadlocked Drummer, and My Big, Open Mouth

Greetings from Jersey, in the Channel Islands of the UK!

I was invited here for a 36 hour continuous worship event called Lovesong for Jesus, a Pentecost celebration.  The friends who invited me here are Jenny and Julius, natives of Jersey who I met at the Feast of Tabernacles in Kalisz, Poland.  Jenny and Julius are musicians who also sing.  I do not play an instrument, and, well, let’s put it this way: I’m not known for my singing.  Jenny and Julius know this, so I didn’t hesitate when invited, and I saw that my calendar was open for this weekend.  Then I was surprised to find that my name was on the list of worship leaders.  I protested, and Jenny just laughed it off, saying that I’m a worshiper, even if I’m not musical.

I didn’t want to back out and not come, and didn’t even seriously consider doing so.  But what in the world was I going to do for a whole hour—or at least what would I do that anybody other than God would want to hear or participate in?

As the time came closer to my session, I realized that I would probably get little sleep anyway, so I decided to spend all night in the church before my session, which was set for seven on Sunday morning.  With the front doors wide open, the chilly night air rendered the church freezing cold.  I had brought a poncho, but wished for a blanket.  I looked a warm corner in which to snooze, but found nothing that worked that wasn’t already occupied.  So I passed the night listening to the worship, dozing and jerking awake.

At the three AM session, something wonderful happened.  My friends, Bill and Natalie were playing, and I was feeling grateful to be there to hear them.  Then the bars closed, and suddenly the church was full of people.  One young man was so enamored of the music that he clapped at the end of the song.  Despite his long dreadlocks, he didn’t seem to feel out of place, as some of his friends clearly did.  As the next song started, he asked if he could play the drums (since they had no drummer).  Bill and Natalie enthusiastically welcomed his musical contribution, which was actually pretty good.  The whole time his face beamed with the most beautiful smile.  When that song was over, he said goodbye, since his friends had already left.  He quietly confided to Natalie that he had been drinking, but she just responded with a smile because she knew that—we all knew that.  I was suddenly very glad that the church had left the doors open all night.  It was worth a little discomfort to have seen such a meaningful connection with people who might otherwise never have entered a church.  Well, at least one of them!

Then as my hour approached, my prayers got all the more fervent, begging the Holy Spirit to be there with me.  I had an idea of what to do: to worship God by naming His many Names and attributes.  So I went to a table in the foyer, pulled out a pen and paper, and began to write.  But soon I was interrupted by a new friend who wanted to talk.

I stopped writing, and talked with him.  He was there with his sister, who had a dog with her.  The dog was a friendly and well-behaved Australian Shepherd.  He saw that the dog and I had been drawn to one another (most dogs know who loves them).  So he started to tell me about Canine Evangelism, which is something he heard about in Cardiff, Wales.  He said that there is a neighborhood in Cardiff where unemployment has lasted for three generations.  He said that along with the hopelessness that such long-standing unemployment brings, there is also the alcoholism and drug abuse that frequently goes along with it.  Then one day a Christian woman was walking her dog, and a child was drawn to the dog (much as I had been to his sister’s dog).  The little girl was with her unemployed dad and grandfather.  As child and dog bonded, a friendship formed between dog owner and the adults.  Friendship led to a shared coffee, and that led to sharing the Gospel message.  What had seemed a coincidence turned out to be a “Godincidence.”  I love God’s many creative ways of reaching out to people to give them hope.

Now, I had just an hour before my set.  In desperation, I asked, “Do You have a word for me?”  And the Lord responded by speaking very slowly and clearly in my mind: “Psalm 81, verse 10.”  I grabbed my Bible and found the verse, which says: “Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it.”  That was just what I had wanted to hear!

When I went forward to do my session, I took the papers that I had written on, and began praising God by His Names.  The worshipers from the previous session stayed and played and joined me, with singing and music.  Sometimes we sang, sometimes we riffed, sometimes we prayed, but it had all been led by the Holy Spirit.  And too soon it was over, and the next people entered and began.

As I left the church, I felt so happy that I wasn’t even tired.  I shared all this with Angie, my hostess.  She caught my joyful enthusiasm, and the two of us, together with her twin sister, had church in her living room, first century style.  It wasn’t until after lunch that the fatigue of a night without sleep overtook me.  I had a long nap before we returned to the church for the closing session.

This has been an amazing weekend!  God is good!

Intimidated

Istria

Greetings from Trieste!

Yesterday I visited Koper, Slovenia with my son, Kevin.  We had neither one ever been to Trieste, which was the motive for coming, and from Trieste we made a day trip to Slovenia.  Koper is on the Adriatic, it’s very pretty and close to Trieste, being only 45 minutes by bus.

Trieste is in an interesting corner of Italy, being closer to Slovenia and Croatia than to most of the rest of Italy.  Kevin was interested in coming here because of the history.  I was more interested in coming here because of the culture.  I’ve always loved the places where cultures and languages intersect and overlap.  And Europe has many such places.

So we enjoyed a pleasant day in Koper, and while waiting for the bus back to Trieste, I found myself alone in the waiting area with a woman.  After a moment she got up to go throw out some trash.  She limped to the trash container and back to her seat.  I was about to ask if I could pray for her leg when I suddenly thought: She probably doesn’t speak either Italian or English.  So I didn’t.  And I’ve been wrestling with myself ever since.

Finally this morning, when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I asked the Lord about it.

Me:  Why did you put that lady there, knowing that I would be too intimidated to pray for her?  You know the end from the beginning, so why?  Was it to test me?

God:  No, it was to show you what is stopping you.

Me:  What did stop me?

As soon as I asked that, I remembered an encounter with a demonized boy who started manifesting at the sight of me.

God:  The demons know who you are, so they did everything they could to intimidate you.  They reminded you of rejection and abandonment, and it worked.  Next time, remember this, and be bold.

I will!  And to my readers: perhaps there have been times when you’ve been intimidated into silence.  But remember this: the only way that the enemy can possibly win a battle is if we back down.  The enemy is defeated, and the end of the book has already been written.  So winning these temporary little battles is all he can hope for.  Let’s don’t give him even the smallest victory.  Let’s be bold!  God is good!

Twenty Kinds of Dreams

DSC03386Dreaming on the bus to Moldova from Transnistria

John Paul Jackson, an expert on dream interpretation, says that there are at least twenty different kinds of dreams.  Here they are:

  1. Healing Dreams – in which the dreamer receives physical, mental, or spiritual healing.  That is, healing of the body, soul, or spirit.
  2. Flushing Dreams – which are caused by some kind of close encounter with perverse people.  The dream is your spirit’s reaction to such an encounter, even if you weren’t aware of the encounter.
  3. Calling Dreams – in which your God-given calling is revealed or clarified.
  4. Warning Dreams – in which God warns you about a dangerous place or situation that you should avoid.
  5. False Dreams – planted into your mind by the enemy to confuse or to stop you.
  6. Body Dreams – caused by illness or pregnancy—babies in the womb dream at six months, and frequently the mother experiences the baby’s dream.
  7. Chemical Dreams –caused by drugs (even legal prescription drugs) or alcohol.
  8. Self Condition Dreams – in which God reveals problem areas in your life that must be dealt with.
  9. Courage Dreams – in which you find the courage to defy the status quo or go against “common wisdom.”
  10. Correction Dreams – which reveal the reality of your situation so that you can make corrections to your actions or your thinking.
  11. Directions Dreams – in which you receive instruction from God telling you something you must do.
  12. Intercession Dreams – in which you learn what or how you must pray for someone, some place, or some situation.
  13. Prophetic Revelation Dreams – which reveal something that is about to happen.
  14. Dark Dreams – dreams which are in grayscale or with muted color are second heaven dreams and reveal things that must be prayed against.
  15. Spiritual Warfare Dreams – dreams in black and white, which contain no color at all, reveal issues for spiritual warfare and you must command the forces of darkness to cease this activity or get out of this place.
  16. Fear Dreams – these dreams reveal fears that you must learn to overcome.  Whatever you fear, you empower, so fear God, and Him alone.  John Bevere says that fear of the Lord doesn’t mean to be afraid of Him.  It means to be terrified at the idea of being away from Him.
  17. Inventions – these are creative dreams in which you come up with any kind of creative idea: a story, a song, an invention, problem solution, etc.  God is infinitely creative, so don’t limit Him or yourself.
  18. Words of Knowledge – in which you receive instruction about how to solve a particular problem or dilemma.
  19. Deliverance Dreams – in which demons are cast out and real deliverance happens.
  20. Soul Dreams – in which your mind is the dreamer, speaking to you of your desires or thoughts.

I have been keeping a Dream Diary, in which I’ve been recording my dreams for about a year now.  I’ve had many, though not all, of these different kinds of dreams.  Many of my dreams are about the Rapture.

Everybody dreams, you just might not be remembering your dreams.  It takes some discipline, but if you keep a pen and paper near your bed, and make the decision to write your dreams as soon as you wake up, then you will train yourself to remember your dreams more and more.  It is important because God does communicate with us through dreams and visions.  It is said that dreams are written in disappearing ink.  That is so true.  Many times I’ve woken up, thinking: I’ll never forget such an amazing dream.  Only to find that half an hour later, I can’t remember very much of the dream, and an hour later it’s gone altogether.  If God is speaking to you through dreams, then shouldn’t you be paying attention?  God is good!

God’s Perfect Love

This morning I was contemplating about God, and specifically about how He loves all of His creation.  I was suddenly struck by how unrestrained love requires vulnerability, and in this case, God’s vulnerability.  We never think of God as being vulnerable.  How can an omnipotent God ever be vulnerable?  Answer: by choice.

If this doesn’t blow your mind, then consider how much God has suffered when He was betrayed by those He loves: first by the devil, who was Heaven’s worship leader.  Then by mankind when Adam disobeyed.  Then by every person that has ever lived since then when we also disobeyed.  That made it necessary for a vulnerably loving God to send His son, Jesus to live out a vulnerably loving life and to die as a result of the betrayal of one of His most intimate companions.  It wasn’t the nails that held Him to the cross, it was love.

God chose to make Himself vulnerable to all of His creation by loving us with unrestrained, complete abandon.  God is good!

Saying Goodbye is Hard, so Hard!

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I lost a dear friend recently.  Everyone who knew him loved his goofy smile.  He made friends wherever he went.  I miss him daily.  He was there when I prayed.  He was there when I went to sleep.  He was there when I woke up.  He traveled everywhere with me.  He has his own album on my Facebook page.  Yes, I lost my little friend and traveling companion, Prayer Bear.

I flew into Newark last Wednesday, and got off the plane.  Prayer Bear stayed on the plane and flew off into the setting sun for parts unknown.  He was always ready for an adventure, but I never thought he would go off on his own like that.  Perhaps he has found another traveling companion, someone closer to his own age.

Wherever you are, Prayer Bear, I know you are lighting up the place with your sweet, goofy smile.  I’ll never forget you!

Overwhelmed by God’s Amazing Love

This weekend I had ten guests coming to stay, and since Sally is also staying with me at the moment, I knew that it would be best if we got out of the house.  I do have a big apartment (by Milanese standards, it is very big indeed, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a large living room), but twelve would be a very full house—more than I really want to be a part of.  So when I got an email announcing a prophetic mentoring day by a prophet in England, I knew that we should go.  Sally had several boxes to send to her mother in England, but the cost to ship them was very high.  So we decided to pack them into her car and drive to England.

Sally has been feeling drawn to the prophetic for some time now, and the Lord has been speaking to my spirit not to be satisfied with living an ordinary life by the same rules and restrictions that the world’s people live.  So when I told Sally about this prophetic conference, she immediately said that she wanted to go.  Although Sally has never made such an epic car journey (eleven hours from Milan to the ferry port in Calais), she boldly decided to go for it.

Of course, we prayed before even loading the car, and felt like the Lord was sending His angels to accompany us all along the way.  Indeed, we had great weather for most of the drive, practically no traffic, and the Channel crossing was smooth and uneventful.

At the conference, we met a friend who had been praying for Sally, but had never met her before.  The conference was largely about prophetic training, which was wonderful.  If the local churches were teaching this, then the prophet wouldn’t have to hold these mentoring days.  But most prophets learn by trial and error, or worse, never step out in faith to prophesy for fear of not getting it right.  In addition, there is the problem of the Western mindset that says that if we can’t experience it through our five physical senses, or reason it out with our rational mind, then it isn’t real, and we can dismiss it.  So the spirit world is completely out of the picture, leaving people vulnerable to demonic demonstrations of power, while the church people have no supernatural power to demonstrate at all.  No wonder people are flocking to Tarot card readers, psychics, clairvoyants, and the rest!

But God did give us supernatural powers and also something that the demons don’t have: the authority to use these powers.  Plus, although a psychic may get things as much as 75 percent right, most do no better than 50 percent.  Why?  Because only God knows the future.  The devil has been around a long time, observing mankind from the beginning.  But he has only the past and speculation to go on.  He’s a good guesser, but God never has to guess.

So at the registration table, we received our name tags and a sheet titled “Guidelines for Handling Personal Prophecy.”  And the number one item was: Record, read, and meditate on your personal prophecies.  Immediately I thought about the prophecy given to me way back in 1976 (see The Prophecy Fulfilled at Last!).  It hadn’t made any sense to me at the time, and it had been typed out for me onto now yellowed paper, but somehow it had stayed among my possessions through all the years and ten moves (including three international moves).  I hadn’t understood it because it was referring to my present ministry.  Interestingly, when I went hunting for that prophecy some months later, I couldn’t find it.  I don’t know what has happened to it, but it was in my possession long enough for me to finally understand what had been written in it.  So recording prophecies makes perfect sense to me.  There were other instructions about waiting on the Lord and so forth.

Then she had us seek a partner to prophesy to.  For me, this was easy because the Lord had already been talking to my spirit about the woman sitting directly in front of me.  So when she turned around, we paired up.  What the Lord had spoken to me about her was about her hands.  He called her hands beautiful (and indeed they were!).  He said that He intends to work miraculous healing through those hands, and I saw broken bones coming together and even missing body parts regenerating.  I also saw her surrounded by children.  Later she told me that she was starting a children’s rescue home.

She said, “Tell me your name again,” and she scrutinized my name tag.  I said, “Alisa.”  She said, “That means joy.”  She knew that because a prophet had recently told her that God says He has named her Alisa, meaning joy.  She had heard my name right the first time, she had just been very surprised by it.  Now, I ask you, what are the chances that in a room of about 150 people, I would pair up with someone that God had just given my same name?  So with that, she continued:

I see you as a strong wall, like a city wall.  The word that comes to mind is bulwark.  And there is a moat surrounding your wall.  And there is jasmine growing on the wall.  You are also the jasmine, which grows wild, and you’re growing all over the wall, giving it a sweet scent.  You are wild and smell sweet like the presence of the Holy Spirit.  You lend your strength and sweetness and joy to others without losing any, yourself.  You pour yourself out for others, but remain full, yourself.

Another couple of prophets told me:

She: God has set you to be one to pull up, like Jeremiah, to pull up, to root out, and to rebuild.  You will be challenging quite a lot about what people believe back in Italy.  I don’t know if you live in Italy, but it’s like you’re going to be there to challenge the norm, what’s been laid down.  And dare I say it?  You’ll challenge the Vatican on certain beliefs.  And you’re going to be there to help people come out of that stronghold of religion, and bring people into relationship with God.  And it’s going to be your testimony, as you tell people about what God in Jesus has done for you, and others will be drawn.  It’s almost like you’re like the woman at the well, where you had such a radical experience with Christ that you’re going to go out and say, look, this is what happened in my life.  And people in the Catholic world there’s a spirit influence, and I believe it’s your hometown.  And people are going to look at you and say, “I want what Alisa’s got.  I’m going to church every Sunday, and the priest is speaking, but I want what she’s got.  I want that water of life.  I don’t want to be thirsty again.”  That is what God is going to be using you for.  To break down, you’re called to the mountain of religion, to break down, to break the bonds, and to lead people out into freedom from the Catholic world.

He: The Lord says, I’ve brought you out of darkness, I’ve put My light into you, I’ve put My Word into you, I’ve put My strength into you, I’ve put My Spirit into you.  And as you go forth, you’re going to speak My Word with boldness.  And you’re going to see signs, wonders, and miracles as you speak My Word.  You’ll see people’s lives change.  This will also bring persecution, so you also need to use the Spirit, use the shield of faith, use the helmet of salvation.  You need to be aware that the enemy will try to knock you down.  It’s not an easy thing for you.  You have tasted some of those things.  You’ve tasted that persecution.  You’ve tasted deceit and betrayal.  Jesus was betrayed.  But know that God is for you, and not against you.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  You will see things happen.  You’re going to see things happen.  You’re going to see things happen in your own life, more and more.  Because what God has done for you, He’s going to do for other people because His love is for you.  He is for you, and not against you.  And even right now.  Even the desires of your heart, you think how are you going to do it?  “You aren’t going to do it on your own, you going to do it with Me,” says the Lord.  “I’m going to equip you, and I’ve been equipping you.”  In all the things and trials you’ve been through, He’s been equipping you.  He’s been changing this, He’s been changing this more and more and more.  And I sense the Spirit of God saying, “As you yield more and more to Me, you’re going to see those things more.”

She: I get the sense that you’re like one of them in the Acts of the Apostles, you’re going to go ahead and turn the place upside down.  You’re a changer.  You’re a changer.  You’re a world-changer in that spirit.  You are there to put people’s beliefs upside down.  You’re going to offend them.  But Jesus was offensive, the rock of the offense.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Like in Jeremiah, what he said offended people, but God wants you to be bold.  And you’re going to be a person that speaks the truth, and sometimes that is not going to be a nice thing that people want to hear, but it’s something that you’ve got to say.  But you are His mouthpiece.  Set your face like flint, and don’t be fearful.

Then the main prophet, who had organized the conference, picked me out of the crowd, having never seen or spoken to me, she said:

What is your name?  Alisa, the Spirit of the Lord says Daughter, I have been taking you on a relational journey.  You came to a place of emptiness, and there was the lack of connections.  There was even an area where I protected you, but I let you begin to start feeling the loneliness, and I began to let you start feeling the heartache.  Not as a way of hurting you, but as a wake-up call.  This was a time to reconnect with life, and to reconnect with people.  I’ve been taking you on a journey of learning to trust again.  And I’ve been taking you into places where the heart has the ability to be vulnerable, and there’s even the possibility of love again.  This is a healthy place where I have you.  Daughter, I speak into that which was empty, and that which was capped-off.  I call forth now Life.  I call forth Family.  I call forth Relationships.  Just like the scattered bones came together, I am taking scattered things that I might bring substance within the midst of you.

Now, with all this, I had little chance to find out how Sally was faring.  So as we enjoyed a dinner of fish and chips at a local pub, I learned that Sally had gotten at least as much as I had from the conference and the prophecies.

To me, the saddest thing in the world is when people are told by their church that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.  How much clearer can it be?  We were meant to walk in the supernatural gifting and empowerment of God.  It’s how Jesus and the Apostles shared the Good News with the lost.  I believe it’s how we should also be sharing the same Good News—the same way!  God is good!

Sunshine Bloggers!

sunshineaward

After yesterday’s beautiful day of praise and worship (World Praise Day!), I got an email notice that another blogger, my dear friend, Milly at Destination Italy, had nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.  I was both humbled and grateful for the recognition.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a lovely way to recognize and promote bloggers, and to help bloggers to get to know each other and get other bloggers to link to their website.  Through my blog with WordPress I’ve found so many good writers out there that too few people know.  This Award is a way to cheer on them and give them the recognition that they deserve.

The Award Requirements Are As Follow:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Name ten things about yourself that others might not know.
  3. Nominate ten other bloggers (be sure to show the Sunshine Award logo so they can use it too) and let them know that you nominated them.

So, thank you Milly!  It was a surprise and an honor to receive this award from you.  I was equally surprised to read that you’ve only been writing for a year (item number one in your ten things that others might not know).  At reading this, my respect for you went way up, though my love remains unchanged—being already enormous.

Here are ten things about me that others may not know (in no particular order):

  1. I used to hate the color pink.  The truth is that I’ve always loved the color.  I only rediscovered my love for the color pink when I was a teenager and found fluorescent pink paint.  I then proceeded to paint all my bedroom furniture pink.  Now I realize that it was never the color pink that I hated, it’s all washed-out, wimpy pastel colors that I hate.  I like vibrant colors—all of them, really.
  2. I wrote two novels.  Well, really, I only wrote three quarters of two novels.  I love telling a story, but fiction just doesn’t appeal for me like real life.  So I lost interest in both novels just when I was within sight of the ending.
  3. Despite the fact that I was a housewife and stay-at-home mother for 26 years, I am not a good housekeeper.
  4. I also lack the instinct for being a good hostess, although I am working hard at changing that, since I do host lots of visiting missionaries and pastors in my Milan apartment.
  5. I hate cooking, so I rarely do it.  Instead, I’ll usually fix a salad, heat up a soup, or open a can of tuna to put on crackers.
  6. Every day I think about, daydream about, and pray for two things: Revival (especially in Europe and America) and the Rapture.  But then, if you read my blog, you probably already guess this about me.
  7. I discovered one of the most wonderful things in the world recently: Israeli coffee.  It’s thick and sludgy, like Turkish coffee, but with a hint of chamomile.  Heavenly stuff!  I would drink it every day if I could get my hands on it.
  8. I love animals and children so much that walking down the street, I will usually recognize the dog before its owner, or the child before his or her parent.
  9. I never listen to music when I’m writing.  A creative writing teacher once suggested listening to music, and I found it so distracting that I quit writing that day and went for a walk instead.  What I do like to listen to while writing is water—the splashing of a fountain, the gurgle of a creek, the crash of waves—it’s God’s music.
  10.  Most people would never guess from my sunny disposition, optimistic outlook, and cheery nature that I went through two periods of suicidal depression—one lasting almost three years.  That all changed when I finally fully surrendered everything to God.  You can’t imagine what God will do for you when you finally let it all go.

And now, my nominees for the Sunshine Award, in no particular order:

Sally at Vivere Veramente (Really Living—in English and Italian): http://vivereveramente.eu/

Linda at Journey in Process: http://journeyinprocess.wordpress.com/

Annette at From Think to Ink: http://fromthink2ink.wordpress.com/

Isaac and the various Rebekah’s at Being Rebekah: http://beingrebekah.com/

Cindy at Cindy Livingstone Ministries: http://cindylivingstoneministries.wordpress.com/

Joyce at O City of God Italy: http://ocityofgoditaly.wordpress.com/

Joel at Prophetic Scroll: http://www.thepropheticscroll.org/

Sheryl at Delight Thyself in the Lord: http://verse4psalm37.wordpress.com/

Jeannie and Ron at Just a Seck: http://justaseck.wordpress.com/

Amy at Frugal Mama: http://www.frugal-mama.com/

Check out these blogs!  God is good!