Of the Love of God
By Anissa Pesce Zucker
Ten years ago, If you were to ask me if I was interested in ascending into the spiritual realms of heaven through the blood of our savior, Jesus Christ, I would have thought you were nuts! If you were to say, “Do you know God incarnated into a human body to send his son to earth to die for your sins so you can develop an intimate relationship with your eternal father who has an unconditional and deeply personal love for you?” Then you told me that God was never alone. He was always three persons in one eternal being; Father, son and Holy Spirit (which I have come to believe holds the feminine energy). Then I told you that the Holy spirit leads us to know our Messiah. That is her primary mission, to comfort us and lead us to Jesus. I’d probably say, “Are you suffering from a chemical imbalance? I’ll stick with my wine, sarcastic wit, netflix obsession and daily fitness. I’m good.” Jaded as I was, I probably wasn’t ready to hear the message. Too much to digest. But you would have at least planted the proper seed.
But that was not the seed that was planted. I attended a congregational church, completed confirmation just barely because I didn’t believe in immaculate conception. I believed Jesus died for us, was buried for 3 days and rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven like the bible said, but I never connected with him as a true friend, brother, interceder in my life. It was more of religious study, nothing spiritual that I could recognize at the time. I remember early on in college, crusade evangelicals coming up to me often. One girl began chatting with me when I was looking down and out (which I was quite often in college) and for a short time, I thought she was just offering her friendship and kindness, but as soon as I began opening up to her, she started talking about Jesus as our savior from hell. I immediately felt a jolt of fear, rejection and anger. I thought, this girl doesn’t care about me… she just cares about her agenda, which seems to be to sell people her concept of salvation. I already knew I was lost, damaged and broken. I didn’t need to hear how I was going to some eternal fire because of it!! I stomped away from her in a frenzy of frustration and despair. I probably picked up some Prozac and an appointment with a therapist after smoking some pot and drinking booze to suppress the pain.
Since then I have rejected this “Jesus” for 15 more years and explored every spiritual path BUT Christianity. I started in a new age, pagan occult group (basically witchcraft), which didn’t last long after a tormenting experience with a demon after playing the Ouija board with some of these new age “friends.” I spent many years in martial arts, yoga and finally ended up in an AA 12 step program and a Buddhism community which helped me stay more sober and disciplined, but I still felt a heavy weight and like a hole in my heart.
For the past 5 years, I have been experiencing God’s presence in such a tangible way. Experiencing miracles, signs and wonders, conversing with the Lord and even supernatural experiences. Unless you know through your own experience with contemplative prayer, mystical moments with God, or have had some sort of powerful spiritual awakening, you may not believe me if I told you.But, please, don’t stop reading if you have not had these experiences because I am in NO way saying I somehow “earned” or “deserved” these beautiful transformative experiences. For those not operating in the mystical heavenly realms, it is important to me that you know my heart. When I use the word “ascend”, please don’t think I am talking about some random “new age” spiritual practice of transcendental meditation to gain enlightenment by my own self will. It’s much simpler than that. The word “ascend” is described by Chris Carter as a “Shift into the spiritual realm of imagination” (Carter, Cosmic Shift, 2015). (https://www.discovertheheavens.org/?fbclid=IwAR1VBWkMWf9dmC5OkC1LpxyJyI0lFPiqT7B1UPi5bl_2MeIbXfyxgBLft-s)
Baxter Kruger and I at Nicene Creed retreat in Boston 2019
Many Christians hear words like “Ascension”, “Ekklesia”, “meditation” and “Astrology” and twinge in suspicion, thinking this is “enemy territory”. I am reminded of the bible quote, “…can anything good come out of Nazareth…?” (John 1:46) Truth is, Satan has been twisting scripture from the beginning. Just remember all the bible verses he quoted to Jesus while he was fasting in the desert for 40 days! (Matt 4:3-11). If Jesus were to take those verses LITERALLY, we would never have a savior. We all, like Jacob, wrestle with the Lord and his word. We must remind ourselves that Jesus Christ is the “Logos” (word) of God and the bible is a tool we use to connect with this Logos, but the Bible on it’s own, is not God, right? Or as Crowder states in his many conferences, the trinity is not Demon, Son and Holy Bible” (Crowder, 2019) The trinity is depicted best by the gospel in chairs ( https://youtu.be/WosgwLekgn8) Where the pastor explains atonement and why we need a savior. It dismantled the Pagan mythology of Penal Substitution of a God of Violence and bloodshed. This is clearly not the God I worship. I worship the God of Love who desires ALL to be saved ( 1 Tim 2:4)
Learning about the spiritual world and its influence in our world is worth exploring. I can quote scripture after scripture regarding why following the stars, signs and seasons, angels, courts of heaven are all places God has called his sons and daughters to visit. The only prerequisite I would HIGHLY recommend, would be to develop our relationship / intimacy with the Lord BEFORE going into the heavens. It may not be your calling at the moment and that’s okay too! And YES, I am talking about using our sanctified imagination that the Lord created within all of us so we can live by the spirit rather than by the soul/flesh. I start by visualizing the veil broken by the blood of Christ. It’s really more of a mind shift. Instead of operating out of the left brain, rational thinking, I shift to the right brain creative side of the brain. “Jesus said, Cast your net on the right side…” (Joe Dispenza – https://youtu.be/g0QOnpyzo_k)
Believe me when I say, I am in NO WAY writing this blog to say I am somehow “more spiritual” or “more loved by God” because of these experiences. I’d rather have you think me crazy, than think I am trying to elevate myself in ANY way. I have been called to reveal the true God. I am a daughter of God who never even knew God most of my life. I grew up in a family of Italian, German and Portuguese heritage. My great grandparents on my dad’s side, The Pesce’s – (fish in Italian) were immigrants from Italy and struggled to make ends meet to support their families during the Great Depression. From what I’ve seen, faith was strong but, like all, the self will was often stronger. So, my parents were born in the 1950s during the baby-boomer generation. These factors played a part in their being raised in fear of losing their provision. Both parents were raised in Christian, matriarchal home environment where the woman is primarily the homemaker while the man is the bread-winner and tradition obviously influences future generations. Am I saying this is wrong? Of course not. I am just trying to show you what the world sees in a time of great struggle followed by great success. This leads the generation to a mind set of “work hard, save and live happy in retirement.” Is there anything wrong with that mindset? Maybe, maybe not. I am not here to give answers but to lead others to think critically about these things.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.” – Alan Watts
In the spirit, my grandparents and parents were all wonderful, righteous and holy people, but like all of us who make mistakes and “have fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), too often, they don’t realize just how holy they are in God’s eyes. Why? Well mostly because we have been raised in a society that is based on a “rewards system”, very similar to religion which has preached a gospel of works, exclusivism but I’d argue the most damaging, the lie of SEPARATION for too long. Hence, as Jesus stated, “You search the Scriptures because in them you think that you have eternal life, but these are the same scriptures that point to me” (John 5:39). Remember the prayer Jesus prayed in Gethsemane and “God, I pray that they will know that they are in me, just as I am in you and you are in me” (John 17:21).
I love how John Crowder taught us the trinity in his New Wine Seminary Class… God is three persons, inseparable yet distinct. The doctrine of the Trinity means means God is not alone. Within the being of God is a relationship — three persons in a mutual union of love without loss of personal distinction. Anything less than “one” negates the depth and closeness of their communion. The Father does not become the Son or Spirit and the Son and Spirit do not become one another or the Father. It is a relationship of oneness, but not of absorption. (John Crowder; taken from “Statement of Faith” page https://www.thenewmystics.com/)
I think it was Robert Capon who said something like, “Anything valuable has been found on the outskirts of religion.” In other words, everyone has a relationship with the living God, it’s just not as many truly seek to know this loving creator and as John Crowder says all the time, “He’s accepted you in the family already, whether you know it or not and it’s not your fault!” Another good quote to inspire you in your small religious detoxing study groups- “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead.
I don’t believe any religion can truly release anyone from bondage. Catholic and Protestant church traditions keep people in bondage to fear as well based on much of the faulty, pagan influenced doctrine introduced to the church through Constantine, the Roman Empire, and other ruling forces in the latter church ages.
The early church fathers were much more rooted in the original gospel Jesus preached on biblical allegory, mystical union with our creator, which leads his children to more fully understand the depth of love and grace. By becoming aware of God within each of us, it empowers us to tap into the love the trinity has for ALL. Another dangerous theology that infiltrated the church where Arian believed Jesus was SEPARATE from God was known as “Arianism”. Although not many Christain’s would claim to be following “Arianism”, like the Jehovah Witnesses, many of them would still claim to believe that God had to “punish Jesus and separate from him while on the cross because he’s too holy to look at sin” or that “God views all sinners as evil unless they believe in Jesus, then he just sees “Jesus” and ignores sin. But if we “repent, claim Jesus is our Savior, we won’t burn in a FALSE Pagan Hell forever. All this is faulty doctrine was created by man. It’s called “twisting scripture” for control. This is what Satan wants- Exclusivism and Division in the Body of Christ. This is exactly what Paul warned about frequently. For example, in Colossians 3:11 “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.”
There is NO separation on this side of the cross! The BIG lie from Satan was that God was somehow “holding out on us….” that “…if we eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we will become ‘like’ God. When we were ALREADY ‘like’ God!”
ALL can be the greatest offense to the hyper “religious” person. We all have that inner desire to be “right”. But if I declare being “right”, that makes another person feel like they may be “wrong”, which causes adrenaline to rise and doubt to overpower, weakening faith in a loving God.
The two big lies that have infiltrated the church are the concept of SEPARATION and DUALISM. Separation blinds us from the truth of our identity in Christ ( Col. 1:15-16 ) and that literally NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. ( Romans 8:38 ) Our power to co-create with our creator (1 Cor 3:9 ) and that the power of the tongue can move mountains (Pro. 18:21). As for dualism, this has to do with the very beginning of the bible when God introduces us to the story of Adam and Eve and the two trees. We are old to only eat from the tree of LIFE (Gen 3:22) and that the tree of knowledge is forbidden and leads to death (Gen 2:17). Because they chose to eat from the tree of knowledge, they were cursed and in order to protect them from themselves from Satan’s power, they were banished from the garden and forced to work out their own salvation (labor for food)… but as we know, the deception about how they are not already “like God” snuck inside and in that moment, they thought God was holding out on them (Gen 3:1). So they began to let the “tree of knowledge of good vs evil” dictate to them how to live, rather than trusting and leaning on Jesus through the grace and freedom produced by eating from the tree of Life.
OKAY- I got a bit SIDETRACKED on my purpose! BACK TO MY TESTIMONY-
My attempt is to write a brief testimony, not just about my own mystical awakening to the truth, which for me, was almost like an instant “knowing” of the truth as the holy spirit filled me with glory, but even more importantly, the ongoing relationship with Jesus.
It happened when I wasn’t looking for it, I had just about given up actually. Although I was attending AA meetings, staying sober, working a decent job in my field of expertise, as a teacher, I still felt lost. I still didn’t “fit in” anywhere. As a rebel, lost in addiction as a kid, sure I wanted to be that crazy outsider who scared people due to my arrogant obsession with danger and risk taking. But now, I was trying to be a grown up and to “fit in” but I still had a hardness in my heart I couldn’t shake. After finally completing the 12 step program, which deals a lot with resentments , the part I played and ultimately, forgiveness, I started feeling the weight lift. In fact, I remember having days of pure joy, however, I still didn’t know who I was talking to when I prayed the serenity prayer or when I begged God to help me through some chaotic moment in my early sobriety.
I remember going through the motions. Go to church (I went to the one closest to me that wasn’t super fundamental like the one right across the street). Be of service. Help others. But how could I truly work step three
daily if I didn’t even know who God was!!?? And I couldn’t even hear his voice!! Every time I heard a sermon at the local Methodist church, I would unknowingly twist it up in my head and feel condemned, unrighteous, unholy, sinful, hypocritical, unworthy and most of all a FAKE. I thought I was “pretending” to be a Christain because it was my heritage, Jesus always seemed like a peaceful person and I looked up to him, but I certainly didn’t feel my Cosmic UNION with him. This was not the messaged preached. It was more like, “Try your best to be like Jesus, repent if you mess up and read your bible every day.”
Too often people speak of their testimony about how they “got saved” and the story ends almost abruptly after this experience. It’s like they identify with that moment in time when Jesus was somehow outside of them, and he was somehow magically popped “inside” of them and therefore they have chosen the “right”path and won’t end up in hell. This is living under the tree of knowledge and like living in FEAR, instead of in LOVE. This is a bondage that keeps folks living in a narrow depiction of the messiah’s power to redeem all. This also leads to striving, which NEVER leads to salvation. “We are saved only by the grace of God and by believing on whom he sent.” (Gal 2:21)
Robert Capon said it best when he said, “I got saved 2,000 years ago, when Christ died on the cross, was buried and rose again!”
That being said, I did experience a mystical transformation that totally changed me. Its going to be hard to explain but I will do my best. The first and most powerful moment happened only a few days after storming out of church early because I thought they were saying I was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” somehow I twisted that so bad in my head because I thought I was going to be one of those people trying to get into heaven through the wrong way like a “Thief” and that Jesus would know and send me away into eternal fire. Even back then, I didn’t really believe in the whole literal fire thing, but I did believe in some sort of hell state of mind. Lord knows I experienced plenty of that myself during my addiction years of pain, hurt, misery and basically living in fear daily. I desperately did not want to EVER go back to that dark plane of existence where I literally felt like a “living dead girl” (A well known song by Rob Zombie) I used to blast in my ears when in the pang of deep depression, angst and apathy.
I don’t remember how long after that service I experienced my first deliverance, but I think it was maybe a month or so later, when I was in a dark place but I couldn’t figure out how to articulate my issue. The pastor spoke softly to me and seemed to sense I needed a deliverance. She had me repeat a prayer of renouncing ties with enemy, occult, witchcraft, etc… it went on and on. I found myself struggling to repeat the prayer, but when I got the words out, my heart shifted and a weight fell off of my shoulders. I fell to my knees and cried. This is going to sound weird but I somehow saw someone behind me, holding me and I felt a deep love never experienced before. I walked away feeling kind of strange, spacey-like and like the atmosphere around me changed. Then the flowers looked more colorful and the sky more blue. It’s hard to put into words, but I knew God was starting to reveal himself. I almost forgot about this for a few days, but then maybe a week later (I am not sure exactly) my entire life changed.
The funny thing about when God showed up and revealed himself to me, I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t feeling super spiritual, I wasn’t elated, I wasn’t depressed, I wasn’t bitter or angry. I was just kind of, going about my day, running errands and such. I was driving back from a grocery store. I pulled up to my driveway. I was alone when I walked into the house, past the living room and the moment I stepped into the kitchen I dropped the bags , fell to my knees. The presence of the Lord was so powerful. There was bright ray of light from the natural sun, but as it soaked up the kitchen, the light spoke. I could not hear audibly, but in the spirit I knew I was getting downloads of truth straight from heaven. And in a flash I saw my Lord, Jesus Christ, hanging out, laughing with disciples, turning water into wine, playing with children, preaching the sermon on the mount, breaking bread on passover on the night of his crucification. Then, suddenly the whips, the shame, the nails, the mockery, the suffering of the cross…. I could not stop crying. Then he showed me rest and peace with death under the ground and a moment later, his glorious resurrection and majesty! I don’t just “believe” in Jesus. I KNEW him. I felt so undeserving of this mystical moment that I just started listing all the sins I had ever committed and surrendering my life to him. I felt his arms wrap around me and I felt like if he were to let go, I would break apart into pieces. Then heard a soft whisper, “Who do you think was also with you in the church when you feel to your knees and were released?” I immediately remembered not long ago when I was freed from that heavy weight.
I remembered my vision of Jesus holding me then. It felt the same. “Please… let me love you. I have never left you and never will.” This was the beginning of the rest of my life as a new creation….
There is SO much more of this story to tell, but I want to go back to theology for a bit. I will finish my testimony in PART 2.
The atonement theory that God had to take out his wrath on someone in order to save the few believers who follow Jesus leads many down the wrong path of guilt, shame and anger! But the truth is, Jesus is the savior of ALL, especially those who believe. (1 TIM 4:10) and, God was IN Christ, reconciling the WORLD to himself. ( 2 Cor.5:19 ) So actually God, incarnate stepped into OUR darknesses to appease OUR wrath in order to demonstrate his power to forgive ALL our sins, even the sin of unbelief. Which leads us to the next question…. So who are the “elect”? Aren’t there tons of passages about “his elect” and in OT, his “chosen” people? The separation between believers and unbelievers has caused so much violence, oppression and heartache in our world. Is this God’s will? Of course not! “He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). In our blessed new covenant Is anyone chosen due to their strong faith in Jesus or their righteousness? Well since “ALL have gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God” ( Rom 3:23 ) then NONE are the “elect” but one….. Guess who?!
That’s right, Jesus Christ is the elect. He is the chosen one and our faith in him (Arminianism) can’t save us and as stated clearly in Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” As for the other camp (Calvinism) “God is LOVE , in him is no darkness” (1 John 1:5) So there cannot be some chosen to be saved and some damned forever (Calvinism). This leads me to a soft conclusion to hold closer to the early church fathers, like: the Apostolic Fathers; Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, Greek Fathers; Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Origen of Alexandria, Athanasius of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa of Christain universalism, however, due to its hard doctrine, it sounds more like a defense against the previous two camps. I am more comfortable saying that free will does not END after death. There are many verses to support this but that’s not the point of this blog.
Here’s one big one-
“And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” (REV.21:25)
In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col 1:20)
The Meeting House Church (Bruxy Cavey) Interviews Brad Jersak on “Evangelicalism”-
By the way, if you want to discuss more Christ-Centered / Trinitarian based theology that is beautifully appropriate for kids without the scary Pagan lies of literal fire and such, please feel free to join my facebook group for our Children’s Ministry- click here Christ Victorious and Savior of ALL Gospel Ideas for kids/ teens- https://www.facebook.com/groups/2448047342172940
The Jesus Trip: John Crowder and Matt Spinks
ERIC Wilding another SUUUPER Drunk on the gospel guy…. You will love this one!
MORE TO COME !!!!
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