18th August 2007
A TYPICAL FAMILY LIFE
The concept of the Maze of Life is nothing new.
the life of King Solomon and the choice for wisdom that he made. He
could have taken another path. Yet all path-choices and their outcomes
are known to our Lord and He is able to turn us to that final path of
the narrow way (the only way out of the Maze). There is no escaping the
Cross for anyone. It is a universal law. Your religion (or supposed "non-religion") will not change that fact.
Consider a few modern contemporaries:
The blessed woman of God, Martha Wing Robinson, given a choice of a
great open ministry with visible signs and wonders, or a closet
ministry to just sit at the feet of our Lord. Her latter choice was far
more glorious when you read her biography, for there were greater things that happened because of her choice.
Consider the ministry of Anna Rountree (Author of The Heavens Opened & Priestly Bride), her and her husband [singularly, she was called Anne. But her name was changed to Anna
which was inclusive of her husband] could have had a great open
ministry, but they chose that narrow way and are still ministering at
the feet of the Lord.
Consider the visions of Susan Cummings; the maze of life concept is quite clear in them.
The problem is not the open ministry. The problem is the pathway we take to get to that open ministry!
to know Our Lord's will for us is oftentimes difficult. But He will
show us along the way. Either through others, or directly.
Consider the life of our Lord Jesus! For 30 years hidden away at the
feet of the Father. Don't you always wonder what He means when He said,
"I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me"?! What was our Lord's own will?
We quote today from the book about Howard Storm's NDE My Descent Into Death .
We focus on the chapter about his life review i.e. when your life on
earth is shown to you after death. (The Turning-Point Court of the
Blessings to you this weekend.
Howard Storm My Descent Into Death (See a Video of his story)
I was in the company of Jesus and the angels, they asked me if I would
like to see my life. Unsure of what to expect, I agreed. The record of
my life was their record, not my memory of my life. We watched and
experienced episodes that were from the point of view of a third party.
The scenes they showed me were often of incidents I had forgotten. They
showed their effects on people's lives, of which I'd had no previous
knowledge. They reported the thoughts and feelings of people I had
interacted with, which I had been unaware of at the time. They showed
me scenes from my life that I would not have chosen, and eliminated
scenes from my life that I wanted them to see. It was a complete
surprise to see how my life history was being presented.
angels and myself held by Jesus were arranged in circle while the
scenes were projected in the midst of the circle. The images were
primarily of people and a few inanimate objects that located the
event's time and place. It was similar to a play without the scenery
except for the bare essentials. The
drama was in chronological order and very selective, demonstrating to
me important developments in my spiritual growth in the world."
saw how I was being trained to repress emotions and was obedient so as
to win the approval of my parents. I was also learning that my father
completely dominated all of us by the threat of his anger. Although we
were not allowed to show anger, I was learning what a powerful means of
controlling people anger could be."
angels showed me how my father's compulsion to be successful was
driving him toward increasing impatience and rage with his family. I
saw how my mother, sisters, and I each developed different means of
coping with his unpredictable mood swings. My mother was increasingly
passive but withdrawing emotionally from him. My sisters were
developing elaborate characters of hypocrisy and duplicity. I grew
withdrawn and lived in a private world full of anger and violence.
angels were showing me how important love was in shaping each member of
the family's character. They shared their saddness as we saw how love
was expressed in inappropriate ways.
"The angels, Jesus,
and I felt such disappointment as we watched a typical scene of my
father coming home from work late in the evening full of anger. My
sisters and I tried to avoid him as much as possible so we wouldn't be
yelled at for some capital offence like slouching or putting a elbow on
the table. Getting slapped in the face without warning or provocation
was becoming common. How pitiful it was to watch a child, who just
wanted to be loved, get physical and emotional abuse for no reason. As
these scenes of family dysfunction increased over the years, I saw love
turn to hate in people who really wanted to be loved."
"We watched scenes of my life as I became an adolescent. I became
increasingly rebellious, and it was painful to see how I hurt my father
by emotionally rejecting him. The more we fought, the more our
relationship deteriorated. It was a surprise to see how I had
contributed to this hostility and was not the innocent victim I had
imagined myself to be. I sought love and support from adult male
figures who were kind. I excelled in the shot put and discus for a
track coach who gave me acceptance and approval. The
angels and Jesus had no interest in the track meet competitions I had
won or lost. They were interested in the relationships and how we
encouraged or hurt one another.
"The advent of rock and roll music carried a message that my adolescent
mind was eager to accept: love is romantic sexual relations with
members of the opposite sex. I readily began the pursuit of
girlfriends. It was possible to fall in love with a succession of
like-minded girls. The music, television, movies, magazines, and books
were bombarding us with this message of love.
with the cultural climate was that it identified love exclusively with
sexual relations. I didn't understand -nor did my generation- that love
and sexual relations are not the same thing. We viewed members of the
opposite sex as objects to be exploited for sexual gratification.
Relations between male friends were always aggressive because we were
rivals for the females. Spiritually, this was a disaster for me and for
my generation. We had fun but we were unhappy because we were looking
for love in all the wrong places."
"They showed me how God had given us the opportunity to learn love by
having children and raising them to be loving. In my life review, I had
to turn away numerous times when I saw myself treating my children in
unloving ways. The most unloving things that I did was to be at times
so obsessed with my concerns that I was indifferent to their needs. I
am sorry for the occasions that I was impatient or cruel to my daughter
and son. The most disturbing behaviors I witnessed in my life review
were the times when I care more about my career as an artist and
college professor than about their need to be loved. The emotional
abandonment of my children was devastating to review.
horrifying to see how I had become so much like my father, putting
status and success above everything else. I believed that worth was
measured by my success in my chosen career. Because others determine one's degree of success, one learns to value oneself based on the criteria of others.
Of course, one is never good enough because there is always a critic
and another level of achievement to conquer. This becomes a
never-ending quest for the unattainable goal of approval. The more you
succeed, the more driven you are to prove your worth. I bought into
this game hook, line, and sinker. I was caught dangling on the strings
others pulled, missing the simple love and joy of wife and family."
"One of the things I had done repeatedly in my life was blaspheme God.
During my home life and later as an art student, I had acquired the
habit of swearing profusely. This became an unconscious habit and
meant nothing to me. To use vulgar words is poor taste. To use the name
of God in crude or empty ways is an insult to our Creator. I was horrified at how it hurt my heavenly company when we witnessed me blaspheming God and Christ Jesus in my life review."
"We watched a student come to me with a serious problem that he was
having with a girlfriend. We could hear my thoughts as the student told
me his story. I was bored and anxious for the student to leave because
I had no interest in his problem. To the student it was of the utmost
importance, but it was trivial to me. I gave the student some
ill-conceived advice and he left. The angels and Jesus were very
disappointed in my failure to care and communicate with this young man
seeking help. God wants us to be compassionate to one another.
"We create our eternal judgment by what we do in this world. The truth
judges us. In the light of God there is no deception. How many people
will cry out to Jesus Christ when they die and be given a life review?
He will say to them, 'You called me but I never knew you. When did you
show compassion to your brother or sister? When did you love me?'
"The angels showed me that we do not earn our love of God by the things
we do. God's love is given without cost or strings attached. We live
lovingly because God loves us so much. Thank God there is a way to
change our lives and be forgiven our mistakes.
"The next time
I leave this world, I will be able to stand with the angels and Jesus
Christ and look at my life without constant shame and foreboding of
what we will see next."