Just Say Yes – Part 2: The Cost and the Gift

For me to just say “yes” is not a DO NOT GO TO JAIL pass allowing me to continue with life as I had been living it. Father might give me healing to demonstrate His love, but there is a need for me to desire and allow change. Otherwise, what’s the use? Why should God grant me my “wish” only to have me remain in the state in which I began? What good is that? How does that help me to remain healed?

I have found that my saying “yes” to God has two parts. The first is an expression of my desire. More importantly, it is permission for Him to be involved. The second aspect of “yes” is the desire to grow and change. I cannot overemphasize this enough; my life in relational-faith with Father God is a life of growth and change. That’s why I left the organized institutional church in the first place. There I found no impetus to grow. Here in relational-faith, I am loved by Him and He loves me. I want to grow out of love for Him.

No, this is not a free gift in the sense of me doing nothing to invest some of myself. I must float out of the way in yes and submission. In the midst of all of this work, I must continue to stay out of His way and keep saying, “yes.” I must do whatever it is that Father counsels me to do or invites me into. I must be proactive in this process. I must be willing to be transformed into the new, whole being that Beloved God designed me to become in the first place.

I have also discovered another fundamental aspect to this process of transformation. That is always the case. I must be willing to give up something I neither need or actually want in order to make spiritual room for what I do want. I’ve found that there is a need to let go of whatever it is that’s hurting me to make room for what it is that Father wants to give me. This too is a big part of saying “yes”.

There is a simple process of letting go that a friend of mine leads me through to help me. I’ve come to understand now that I can do this on my own in Father’s Presence. But at times, I don’t always see what is needed or how really very simple this release is, and so my friend’s help aids my focus.

What she has me to is in the Spirit. I see or visualize the thing that I am willing to release. I hold it out offering it to Father or to Jesus in both hands – palms up. I then see Him take it from me. I wait because His gift for me is then placed in my open, upturned hands.

Often I don’t know what it is that I’ve received. For me seeing in the Spirit is somewhat abstract. No matter, I almost always understand the precious power and significance of His gift to me. I know in my heart that this gift is many times more precious and more powerful than the misery that I’ve just let go of.

It’s interesting to me how all of this happens. On the one hand, God is willing and able to provide all that’s needed for my healing – spiritual and physical – but there is always something I must be willing to give up to receive what He has for me. I don’t always know what His gift will be. I am very often pleasantly surprised.

Release is the central aspect of the “yes.” I must freely let go of what it is that’s making me sick, spiritually or physically. I need to allow Father to make room within me for the new healed reality that He wants to give me – Amen.

God is not going to just zap me into becoming some new healed person so that I can just go out and destroy myself all over again. That’s not what will help me to become something new. That’s nothing more than codependency – He gives, I take, nothing changes. Nope, that’s not how love works.

Love offers the best of things, not items or objects, but things which empower us to become our true selves as God Himself designed us to become. That true self is a reflection of Him – period. That true self knows something of and lives in His Presence and His love. That true self loves to do what it is that it is designed to do and be – especially the be.


Lew Curtiss

Just Say Yes – Part 1: Allowing God to Heal


Yesterday I discovered yet another area of my life where I’ve been getting in God’s way. I tend to do that sometimes. But He lovingly showed me how to stop blocking Him and just say, “yes”. I thought that I was doing well by “trying” to do what was needed, but now I realize that I was cutting God out of the mix and trying to do something on my own strength. It’s what a friend calls D-I-Y religion.

Last night I was reading Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation. Something that he said in that book struck me with revelation. He was talking about contemplation being a gift from Father. My job was simply to be fully present and to allow Him to bless me. This idea is what lead me into thinking about my need to be the “yes” for both my growth and healing. Merton further said something that lead me to grasp that my growth was my healing. They are one in the same thing. If I will simply turn toward growth, the healing happens all by itself.

I’ve come to realize that “yes” is my first and simplest expression of the powerful freewill that Father God has given me. Because He will never override or violate my freewill, this simple first expression is my permission to Him that I am willing to receive whatever He wants to bestow upon me. After that permission, it is imperative that I remain in “yes” and stay out of His way as He helps me. Lastly, a big part of my “yes” is that I want transformation. I want to change.

The other day I got a rather serious medical report from my neurologist telling me that I have problems. Some of them are in my brain. Some are my body. Most, if not all, of them are reversible, and it’s up to me to just get on with it. It’s up to me alone. This is my own choice.

Okay, back to my being the “yes”. It has to do with the idea that at times I get in God’s way when He has simply wanted to help me all along. My various doubts, challenges, and fussiness all add up to my blocking Him and not allowing Him to guide me into full health. This is the barest essence of what Merton was talking about. Many times I get in God’s way. Somehow I seem to think that it’s up to me alone to do the doing without a full submitted reliance upon Father God. Even though I know better from other ares of my life, I’ve found that I have still been doing this with regard to my physical healing.

I had to ask myself, has my health improved in the last few years? The truthful answer is no. On my own effort, nothing has changed long-term. I’ve not become the new person physically that I can and want to be. I’ve been doing all of this work on my own strength. And that’s what Merton was talking about in his writings on contemplation; it is God Himself who brings me into the relational experience, the intimacy, and the revelation through contemplation. It’s a gift pure and simple. All I need do is say, “yes” and receive – Amen.

Lew Curtiss

Part 2 – Crown of Thorns: Love and Dignity

Crown of Thorns – flickr commons

In a previous post, I shared my vision of seeing and receiving my Crown of Thorns. At that time Father God had given me a spiritual tool to help me endure life’s challenges without feeling a desire to give up. My Crown of Thorns enables me to keep moving into creation, life, and light. It reminds me that I am loved and am not alone.

Since then Father has also revealed a good deal more about the significance of the crown and how, at His crucifixion, instead of mocking the Christ, it was actually one of His highest honors. So too can it be for each of us as well.

First, Christ went to the cross out of love for us. He went to restore us to full relationship with Father God.

Second, any mockery from the Liar toward Christ that came through His executioners was foiled by God’s love for us and by the truth that indeed Christ is King.

Christ’s Love for Us

Christ – to my way of looking at it – went to the cross entirely out of love for the children of God. It was out of love for all persons that empowered the Christ to say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.” Christ loved even His persecutors, so much so that He forgave them.

The purpose of Christ’s sacrifice was not – first and foremost – to save us from our sins. For me to think so, I would actually be living in a spirit of fear – fear of hell and damnation. If there is anything to fear it would be separation from God. If you know anything about my life story, separation from God was not what I wanted.

Christ’s sacrificial gift is a gift of life. It is a gift of restoration allowing to move us back into deep, personal relationship with God the Father. The sin issue is minor when compared to our full and complete restoration into relationship.

Christ’s example is a love that we know almost nothing of here in this world. We live in an eye for an eye culture that demands vengeance and retribution instead of forgiveness. In our human condition, we prize justice instead of righteousness. I am convinced that most of us don’t even know what justice and righteous actually are. Most of us in this world seem to believe in a resolution of violence, however mild or severe as if they will solve our problem and make the world a better place. Personally, I’m not convinced that any of us even know what that so-called better place would look like. We’re so profoundly governed by our own self-interests which affect our grasp of these concepts.

Christ as King

In a way, it’s funny how often the Liar tries to mock Christ, God, or the Holy Spirit because he reminds me so much of Wiley Coyote from the Warner Brothers cartoons. Everything that the coyote tries in order to catch the Roadrunner literally backfires on him. That, of course, is what’s so funny in the cartoon and the unmatched futility of both the coyote and the Liar are what amuses me. Mocking God however is not a laughing matter even for the Liar.

At Jesus’ crucifixion, I’m guessing that the Liar thought that he had won. After all, he was killing the Christ, the very Son of God, whom he knew full well had come to save the world. But as it is stated in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the White Witch had forgotten the deep magic.

So it was that the Liar lead the Roman executioners to mock the Christ with a crown of thorns instead of giving Him the usual gold crown of laurel or oak leaves. Both were traditional in those days.

I firmly believe that Christ wore His crown of thorns joyfully, maybe even with modest pride. That crown spoke truthfully of His Kingship. I’d like to believe that angels by the thousands were singing songs of praise and honor to Him, and perhaps He heard them.

I’ve come to see more in my own Crown of Thorns. For me, my Crown of Thorns is far more than just a wondrous tool that helps me to endure hardship. It is indeed a celebration of my own son-ship as a prince of the heavenly realms – one among billions. My Crown of Thorns reminds me of and reinforces my own identity in Christ, my Lord, and my Brother.

Lew Curtiss is a facilitator and artist with NW Ekklesia. To read more of his story click on the link here; http://nwekklesia.com/artists/lew-curtiss/


Part 1 – Crown of Thorns: Enduring Hardship

Andrey Grinkevich – Unsplash

Let me tell you a story about a gift from Father God that released me from my attitude of bondage and set me creatively free. For a long time, I was very ambiguous about life. In fact, at times I didn’t care if I woke up in the morning. I felt that bad.

A series of life experiences had become burdens of futility. What I mean is that it didn’t seem to matter what I would do to buoy myself up; eventually, I would slip back down into a heavy ambiguity. The life experiences that burdened me were a childhood and youth of disruptions in my family-life so much so that I finally lost all sense of peace and safety. Then there were years of burdens from adult life that just simply wore me down. In the end, I was a borderline diabetic and carried an extra 110-pounds of body weight. The overall effect of these experiences was that my desire to grow out of this stuff was wearing down to nothing.

The vision of a solution came in quiet time with the Lord. In meditation in the Spirit, I saw huge thorns. I was surrounded by brambles as if I were in a thicket of them. At first, I interpreted them to be a presentation of my life of prickly challenges and pain. But by zooming back for a broader view, it became apparent that I was staring at a Crown of Thorns. This is the same device that the Roman soldiers used on the Christ to mock Him (Matt 27; Mark 15; John 19) as the “king of the Jews.”

I asked Father, “What’s this got to do with me?” Then I saw a tree with a vertical crotch of two great big limbs. I believe that it was an oak tree because of the bark and leaves I could see. On the left, the limb was gray and dead. On the right, the limb was alive and healthy.

Father said to me, “On the left, you can see your ambiguity toward life and death. On the right, you can see life itself. Choose.” This tree was actually a fork in the road of my life. I had a choice to make.

I looked and asked, “Why do I need to choose? Why can’t I just let things happen as they will? I’ll keep doing my work for however long I can, and if I don’t wake up one morning, then I’ll be free of life’s miseries.”

He showed me that, “The gray limb on the left is death. The green limb on the right is life. You cannot live in an imaginary gray area between the two. You either want death – and that is very likely why you don’t care if you live or die – or you want life. It’s one or the other and is not a mere coin toss. It’s one or the other. Secondly, to live with the presence of death lingering in your life will only bring death. It will kill any and all creative work and relationship that you attempt.”

For me to leave things in this vague state would completely block any work that I wanted to try and do. Death lingering over my shoulder dampened my attitude toward life and would effectively cut off anything that I thought I could do with my life. I hadn’t seen this before. This made sense, and it was as if this indecision diluted everything about living a worthwhile life.

I then realized that I needed to decide deliberately and not leave life and death to a mere celestial coin toss. Something welled up inside of me, maybe it was Father’s love, but I chose life. At that moment I sawed off the dead limb, choosing the whole-life trunk as my path.

At that moment, I suddenly understood the Crown of Thorns that Father had shown me earlier. This was my Crown of Thorns. This was Father’s gift to me to help remind me that life is always going to be peppered with troubles, large and small. The crown also told me that I am a prince of heaven. Lastly, I was reminded that my difficulties are not endured alone. Christ is present and offers to be my strength in the midst of them. For me it’s the knowledge that there is a way out, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am not alone. I am loved and that is what sustains me.

I now wear my Crown of Thorns whenever I face a challenge, difficulties, or any kind of senseless misery. It’s often difficult, but with Father and my crown, I can make it through the challenges of my life if I will but choose to.

Lew Curtiss is a facilitator and artist with NW Ekklesia. To read more of his story click on the link here; http://nwekklesia.com/artists/lew-curtiss/