Archive for the ‘Iris Letters’ Category

~♥~

A professor with silver locks and pecan brown eyes asked Iris a question as they strolled down a sidewalk together. “What is it like when the Holy Spirit comes?” he blurted out. “Can you describe what happens or how it feels?” His open hands were motioning earnestly towards Iris, and she was quite startled.

“That is a question that will take some time to answer” she replied, “so I will write to you about it.”

As the days passed, she prayed and waited for the Spirit to break into her thoughts with words. She sat down at her cluttered desk one morning and wrote this letter. She slipped it into a long white envelope and mailed it to the gentle professor.

 

All Souls’ Day 2011

St. Augustine, Florida

Dear Seeker:

You asked me one day to describe what it feels like when the Holy Spirit comes. There is no short answer to such an inquiry, and I want to try to answer your question in the clearest manner possible. I can only recount my own personal experiences to you, and run the risk of being perceived as completely mad.

The Holy Ghost moves in many different ways depending on the time and place and circumstance. His works are so varied that it would take at least an entire book to describe them all. For now I will recount only a few “visitations.”

When I first met Him as a young child, the Spirit would come to me while I was in my bed, and it seemed as if I could feel His warm fatherly hand stroking my hair or rubbing my back until I fell asleep. He drove my childhood fears and tears away like leaves in the wind. When I was being beaten or mistreated in some way, He would remind me of how Christ was treated, and this gave me a sense that I was not alone in my suffering.

The Spirit has continued to be near me, throughout my life. At times, He is like a cloud covering me, sharing His thoughts with me when I need them. Sometimes His voice will break into my mind with a simple phrase like “Trust in Me” or “Forgive him”. On occasion, He might direct me to go here or there, do this, or say that to someone. Sometimes He warns not to do or say this or that.

On other occasions, He comes to me in dreams to teach me something important.  I remember one such dream about a cross so tall that it pierced through the clouds of heaven, and blood was spilling on my hands in great warm raindrops. It was the first time I began to grasp the bewildering rhetoric about Christ dying for my sins in particular, and realized that I partook in the blame for His death.

Sometimes His healing power has come to me through holy people who have touched me during prayers. There have been times when I have simply arrived at church sick and left with no symptoms.

Once I had been suffering with a digestive ailment, and a voice awoke me one night saying, “Get up and drink some water.”  I had been considering seeing a doctor, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t bothered to pray for my healing. So I decided not to question the voice. What did I have to lose by being obedient?  I got out of bed, poured some water in a glass, prayed for the Spirit to be in the water, and drank it. I could feel it working instantly, as if medicinal powers had gotten into the water. I fell asleep, and by morning I was well. I felt really foolish for not asking for help sooner.

I have been present when the Holy Ghost has visited and consoled other people in terrible misery. Once while I was talking with a downcast young man at a detention center, the Spirit came in and took charge of the situation. I saw something like white smoke or fog stirring in the room and I felt His presence. The young prisoner felt it too, and he cried out, “Oh my God, I’ve never felt anything like this before. I feel so comforted!  I feel like I can make it now!”  Both of us were in tears. I said, “See how the Holy Ghost has come in, just to ease your pain?”

I have found that the Spirit loves to manifest Himself in places of misery and isolation:  in care homes, hospitals, prisons and on the streets. It sounds crazy that the Spirit wants to hang out with us and help us, but it is true. He doesn’t want to be left out. He yearns to be invited, but will never force Himself on anyone.

The most powerful experiences of the presence of the Holy Ghost have come to me during the gatherings of holy people. I suppose He just enjoys being among His faithful friends who love Him. Just like we do.

Sometimes the Spirit will flow in softly at first like a gentle breeze or a refreshing misty rain, and suddenly a great thunderclap will awaken everyone. A sense of dread might become so intense that I feel as if I should hide.

One Sunday, an elder was speaking, and the Spirit flowed out of his mouth like smoke and filled up the whole room with a great cloud. People began to cry and quake and fall on their knees. The elder said, “I think there is enough of the Holy Ghost to fill this room all the way to the back, don’t you?”  He paused for a few moments, and said “I don’t believe in interfering with the Holy Ghost.”

He stopped speaking, and the Spirit began to flow around the room, spinning our souls into glowing threads and weaving them together on a great loom, until there was no more separation between us. We became one glorious tapestry of love.

Sometimes the Spirit will beckon people to come to Him and surrender their lives and problems. He can employ spiritual leaders at these times, or He can do the work without anyone’s help. One Sunday in church, a woman stood up and said, “The Spirit says He has been calling on someone here for a long time, and that it’s time to stop running and come home. He says this is your last chance.”  I counted nine people who sprung out of their seats and ran to the altar in desperation. One young man fell upon his face on the floor in front of the altar, weeping and writhing in terrible agony as the holy men gathered around him to pray and comfort him, until his tremors ceased and he had found rest for his soul.

Another day, when an elder was speaking about fountains of living water springing up from within, I felt great waves of the Spirit crashing over me and tears sprung out of my eyes without warning. The elder looked at me and said, “When the Spirit gets ahold of you, water’s gonna gush out of your eyes when you’re not even sad.”

He stopped speaking and I heard voices all around me and a churning like the sound of mountain rapids. I looked over my shoulder. I saw an ocean of people springing from their seats in waves, flowing in perfect rhythm up and down with cries and shouts, as if lifted and cast down by divine force. Some were soaring on top of the waves, and some were caught in the undertow and on the verge of drowning in their despair. I had never seen anything like it before, and it could never have been orchestrated by any human. The waves rolled and groaned and toiled, until the cleansing was complete. When the waters receded and became still as a pond, people’s faces were glowing with serenity and joy.

Needless to say, I could write much more on this matter, but I hope this is sufficient to give you some sense of how the Spirit works in the world of humans. There are so many things I still wonder about, such as how He can be in so many places, and yet dwells perpetually in the hearts of those that love Him, giving every one of them comfort and guidance at the same time. His works remain a great mystery to me.

I wish you the best in all of your endeavors and writings.

 

Peace and Grace, Iris

               ~♥~

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A professor with silver locks and pecan brown eyes asked Iris a question as they strolled down a sidewalk together. “What is it like when the Holy Spirit comes?” he blurted out. “Can you describe what happens or how it feels?” His open hands were motioning earnestly towards Iris, and she was quite startled.

“That is a question that will take some time to answer” she replied, “so I will write to you about it.” 

As the days passed, she prayed and waited for the Spirit to break into her thoughts with words. She sat down at her cluttered desk one morning and wrote this letter. She slipped it into a long white envelope and mailed it to the gentle professor.

 

All Souls’ Day 2011

St. Augustine, Florida

Dear Seeker:

You asked me one day to describe what it feels like when the Holy Spirit comes. There is no short answer to such an inquiry, and I want to try to answer your question in the clearest manner possible. I can only recount my own personal experiences to you, and run the risk of being perceived as completely mad.

The Holy Ghost moves in many different ways depending on the time and place and circumstance. His works are so varied that it would take at least an entire book to describe them all. For now I will recount only a few “visitations.”

When I first met Him as a young child, the Spirit would come to me while I was in my bed, and it seemed as if I could feel His warm fatherly hand stroking my hair or rubbing my back until I fell asleep. He drove my childhood fears and tears away like leaves in the wind. When I was being beaten or mistreated in some way, He would remind me of how Christ was treated, and this gave me a sense that I was not alone in my suffering.

The Spirit has continued to be near me, throughout my life. At times, He is like a cloud covering me, sharing His thoughts with me when I need them. Sometimes His voice will break into my mind with a simple phrase like “Trust in Me” or “Forgive him”. On occasion, He might direct me to go here or there, do this, or say that to someone. Sometimes He warns not to do or say this or that.

On other occasions, He comes to me in dreams to teach me something important.  I remember one such dream about a cross so tall that it pierced through the clouds of heaven, and blood was spilling on my hands in great warm raindrops. It was the first time I began to grasp the bewildering rhetoric about Christ dying for my sins in particular, and realized that I partook in the blame for His death.

Sometimes His healing power has come to me through holy people who have touched me during prayers. There have been times when I have simply arrived at church sick and left with no symptoms.

Once I had been suffering with a digestive ailment, and a voice awoke me one night saying, “Get up and drink some water.”  I had been considering seeing a doctor, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t bothered to pray for my healing. So I decided not to question the voice. What did I have to lose by being obedient?  I got out of bed, poured some water in a glass, prayed for the Spirit to be in the water, and drank it. I could feel it working instantly, as if medicinal powers had gotten into the water. I fell asleep, and by morning I was well. I felt really foolish for not asking for help sooner.

I have been present when the Holy Ghost has visited and consoled other people in terrible misery. Once while I was talking with a downcast young man at a detention center, the Spirit came in and took charge of the situation. I saw something like white smoke or fog stirring in the room and I felt His presence. The young prisoner felt it too, and he cried out, “Oh my God, I’ve never felt anything like this before. I feel so comforted!  I feel like I can make it now!”  Both of us were in tears. I said, “See how the Holy Ghost has come in, just to ease your pain?”

I have found that the Spirit loves to manifest Himself in places of misery and isolation:  in care homes, hospitals, prisons and on the streets. It sounds crazy that the Spirit wants to hang out with us and help us, but it is true. He doesn’t want to be left out. He yearns to be invited, but will never force Himself on anyone.

The most powerful experiences of the presence of the Holy Ghost have come to me during the gatherings of holy people. I suppose He just enjoys being among His faithful friends who love Him. Just like we do.

Sometimes the Spirit will flow in softly at first like a gentle breeze or a refreshing misty rain, and suddenly a great thunderclap will awaken everyone. A sense of dread might become so intense that I feel as if I should hide.

One Sunday, an elder was speaking, and the Spirit flowed out of his mouth like smoke and filled up the whole room with a great cloud. People began to cry and quake and fall on their knees. The elder said, “I think there is enough of the Holy Ghost to fill this room all the way to the back, don’t you?”  He paused for a few moments, and said “I don’t believe in interfering with the Holy Ghost.”

He stopped speaking, and the Spirit began to flow around the room, spinning our souls into glowing threads and weaving them together on a great loom, until there was no more separation between us. We became one glorious tapestry of love.

Sometimes the Spirit will beckon people to come to Him and surrender their lives and problems. He can employ spiritual leaders at these times, or He can do the work without anyone’s help. One Sunday in church, a woman stood up and said, “The Spirit says He has been calling on someone here for a long time, and that it’s time to stop running and come home. He says this is your last chance.”  I counted nine people who sprung out of their seats and ran to the altar in desperation. One young man fell upon his face on the floor in front of the altar, weeping and writhing in terrible agony as the holy men gathered around him to pray and comfort him, until his tremors ceased and he had found rest for his soul.

Another day, when an elder was speaking about fountains of living water springing up from within, I felt great waves of the Spirit crashing over me and tears sprung out of my eyes without warning. The elder looked at me and said, “When the Spirit gets ahold of you, water’s gonna gush out of your eyes when you’re not even sad.”

He stopped speaking and I heard voices all around me and a churning like the sound of mountain rapids. I looked over my shoulder. I saw an ocean of people springing from their seats in waves, flowing in perfect rhythm up and down with cries and shouts, as if lifted and cast down by divine force. Some were soaring on top of the waves, and some were caught in the undertow and on the verge of drowning in their despair. I had never seen anything like it before, and it could never have been orchestrated by any human. The waves rolled and groaned and toiled, until the cleansing was complete. When the waters receded and became still as a pond, people’s faces were glowing with serenity and joy.

Needless to say, I could write much more on this matter, but I hope this is sufficient to give you some sense of how the Spirit works in the world of humans. There are so many things I still wonder about, such as how He can be in so many places, and yet dwells perpetually in the hearts of those that love Him, giving every one of them comfort and guidance at the same time. His works remain a great mystery to me.

I wish you the best in all of your endeavors and writings.

 

Peace and Grace, Iris

               ~♥~

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I wrote this letter to my father in January 2012 while he was extremely ill, in hopes that he might at least consider praying for himself.  I don’t claim to have all the answers and I am in no position to judge anyone.

But I do believe the teachings of Christ, so it would be poor of me not to try to convince those whom I love in a humble way.

If you have not read the post called “The Geronda and the Atheist,” I would highly recommend it.  Here is the link:

https://olivetwist.wordpress.com/quotes/the-geronda-and-the-atheist/

~♥~

Dear Poppy,

I am writing this to you because I feel that I would be remiss if I did not press you about this subject.  I know that you have a disdain for religion, and you always have. I have a problem with it too, in many ways.  Terrible evils have been committed in the name of religion, and it angers me too. 

You are very hard-headed and I like that in many ways, because I think it is important to think for oneself. I admired Luis Buñuel for challenging the religious leaders and questioning everything, even if they did excommunicate him and consider him a heretic. 

However, I do have this question for you that has been bothering me.  You have many valid complaints about religion, but what about Jesus?  What is wrong with Him? I have never really heard you address this. I am really curious, because I cannot seem to find a flaw in Him.  When He was sent to Pontius Pilate to be beaten and questioned, Pilate said that he could find no fault in Him. No one else could find anything either, even the religious hypocrites who wanted to kill Him. I’ve never met anyone perfect before, so this in itself makes me think that He is divine.

Also, what is your response to C. S. Lewis, the Oxford scholar who said that you either must believe what Christ said about Himself, or be comfortable with calling Him a liar or a madman?   Christ said He was one with the Father (God) and Lewis says if it is not true, then He is like someone who calls himself a poached egg.

All of Christ’s closest friends said that He had no qualms about professing His divinity, or saying that He was the only door to God.  He said He had sheep that were from other pastures, and that He would bring them into His pasture.  This is a mystery in many ways, but I believe in His divinity and His ability to visit anyone He chooses in any place at any time and reveal Himself.

If I have to choose between believing Jesus and believing some writer like the author of the Da Vinci Code or Hitchens, I think I would trust Jesus more than any of them. Gandhi expressed great admiration for Christ but he couldn’t stand Christians, because he felt they were so unlike Christ.

I admire many great human teachers such as Buddha, Gandhi, Black Elk, Baha U’llah, and others, and agree with many of their teachings. I think they are a great source of joy and wisdom to many people. But to me it would be preposterous to say that they were equal with Christ.  That is, of course, unless you don’t believe Jesus performed so many miracles or died willingly for His followers or rose from the dead. No other teachers have done such things or made such claims.

If these miracles were not true and the scriptures were false, then why did the Essenes go through such painstaking efforts to write them all down numerous times with such precision and care, and to preserve them for future generations?  Why would I waste my whole life to write down a fairy tale hundreds of times and hide copies in places where they could survive for thousands of years? And to do it anonymously, taking no credit for myself as the writer! That would seem ludicrous to me. 

Well, I know that you are an intellectual, and that you enjoy these conversations like a jousting match. To me, this isn’t just some empty rhetoric and it’s not a game.  I am not seeking argument or conflict or trying to outsmart you, but rather wishing you would just contemplate what I am saying. If you must debate, so be it, but I wish you’d just pray once instead. I actually do worry about your soul. I’ll bet you are laughing about that, but why would you want to take chances? Sometimes I think it’s just your pride and nothing more.

Have you ever thought about asking God in a humble sincere way to do something for you that you could not possibly do on your own, and just see what happens?  What do you have to lose by giving Him a chance?  If He doesn’t respond to your humble sincere prayer, then you will never let me live it down, and that is okay. Then you can have another good laugh. 

I am going to have the audacity to ask you to pray anyway, and I will pray too for you to be persuaded about Jesus, even if you don’t believe anything else. You are aware that I have loved Him for my entire life.

I hope this letter doesn’t make you angry, because I love you and enjoy our communications these days. I don’t want to wreck things. I wish you would just do this one thing for my sake, if for no other reason. 

Love always,

Olive

~♥~

 

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(From “The Iris Letters”)

Dear Saviour,

You have been on my mind a lot these days, especially since people think it’s cool to mock you and many seem to be walking away from you.  They have plenty of intellectual reasons that sound well thought out and logical, such as the fact that Your Father’s House is still a den of thieves, and Christians can be so hateful and judgmental.  I agree with most of their complaints, but have they forgotten about you, and all of your indiscriminate love and terrible suffering?

One fellow has a website with all of his reasons why he left you.  He writes that you never answered his prayers and didn’t make his life any better, and that it takes so much pressure off of him when he doesn’t have to convert anyone. He says he finds it so much easier to make friends if he doesn’t mention you.  He says he feels as if his whole walk of faith had been a criticism of other people and a source of tension.  I have read his “musings” which he should call “rantings” instead.

You haven’t made me rich or successful, and my family and friends have never understood the way I feel about you.  Even in Your own house, people don’t seem to care much about you or each other.  My life has always been a struggle and I have lots of issues, but I just can’t imagine life without you.  You are so beautiful to me, and I have adored you for most of my life.  I cannot give you up, no matter what anyone says.

I am beginning to understand how you felt when your friends all deserted you, and what it feels like to be alone and misunderstood.  But to experience your presence for even a moment makes it all worth it. When people complain about all of the problems with religion, I always ask them what they see wrong with you.  They can never give me an answer. I promised my heart to you one day many years ago, and I don’t care if no one understands what I see in you.

Even if you don’t give me the things I want and I don’t deserve you, and my friends and family don’t understand, I am so happy that you are mine and I am yours.  That is all that matters to me.

Love,

Olive

Love ? I love love love you.

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