Friday, August 26, 2011

My garden

I began this blog last month right after hearing Pastor Judi speak in North Port. I have struggled to finish it. I have struggled to put unto effect what has been needed to happen in my life. I have decided this particular subject will have no end so I will periodically re-visit this subject. Please bear with me on this journey.
So Pastor Judi after a wonderful introspective lesson last night I resolved to inspect my relationship with my family. I would compare my heart to a well tilled garden, something I have been working on for several years. I said to God see I am ready to plant. And He said "What about those?"... pointing out some very tiny almost imperceptible weeds sprouting in the furrows. I said yes I can take care of those, I will spend more time wit my husband, I will encourage him more, I can do more for him, I can be more attentive, Yes Lord I can have more patience; I can take care of these and any other little things sprouting in my heart that do not belong. Yes Lord I will.
So what did you also say? "When you say yes to God...It is GAME ON! as far as the enemy is concerned." So this morning guess what...First thing this morning there sprouted in the middle of my well tilled garden a very big ugly weed. What started it I can't recall only that it is a problem with disciplining the girls, a and I do not back him up, and continues into who is responsible for paying what and where did all the money is a very ugly weed and when I try to pull it or dig it out I get pricked with thorns. I proceed to have a mini meltdown, I cried and I said I don't want to do this anymore...I don't want to be in charge...I don't want to be responsible for everyone...Then I left... and I cried on Jesus' shoulder. Why don't you just heal him so he can go to work, so he will feel needed, so he will make decisions again, so he can be responsible?
This problem was deep and had been there a long time and is still there. Sometimes I can prune it and then it's not so bad. But God is now telling me to remove it and take down the fence. I said what fence? The Lord said look carefully, look deep inside. I saw the fence that had been there a long time. So long in fact I had forgotten it was there.
I was stunned. Here I was tilling and tending and preparing my garden so when God gave me seeds of ministry to plant it would be ready, and all this time there was a fence in the back that I was ignoring. Whenever the weed would grow over the top I would prune it as if it was someone infringing on my personal space. Sometimes I would put another board up to keep things out. Now here it was growing in the middle, off the roots of the roots of the weed I would not remove. when you are trying to ignore a problem it does not mean it went away or it is not growing often it is growing ever stronger. Now I am not saying there was nothing in my garden. Love flourishes there, compassion is everywhere, tenderness, generosity, and many other things grow well there all the time. So what isn't growing... and why?
I removed the boards to see what I am dealing with, God said look down at the roots there are seed pods there. The labels read...RESPONSIBILITY, ORDER, and GROWTH. My house was out of order, my responsibility was lacking, and my growth is stalled. I was not very happy with the revelation of all these things wrong. When
God opens your eyes to things like this all you want to do is blame someone else. I did not want to be head of the family anyway so why am I the one that needs to grow these seeds? I always thought if I can just keep on working and pay the bills eventually God will make it easier for me. I keep thinking this is just my imagination...I am really Okay...right?
I know of course that this weed has been there a very long time most of it consists of resentment. Not really anger just a deep resentment for being the one to go to work, to make the choices and to take on the responsibility of the failures. I am here to tell you ladies when the decisions are thrown your way, with a "you'll do whatever you want anyway" or a "no one cares what I think" added to it, you begin to hate being responsible. I realize this is something that comes with depression which is what my husband is dealing with, but it is still not an excuse to harbor resentment. I rarely respond harshly to my husband I internalize it and rationalize that this is how it has to be.
I had been told by many a pastor that I am responsible for me, for my decisions, and my reactions and that I am not responsible for anyone else's reactions or decisions. Unfortunately I had forgotten a very key element in God's plan..."and a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife and the two shall become one, Gen. 2: 23, 24. I am part of another. I am in many ways responsible for the "we" the difficulty is how much of it am I responsible for? Where does "we" end and "he" and "I" begin? After 26+ years of marriage you would think I would have a lot of this figured out. The problem is I have spent very little time on figuring it out. It is too easy to get into a mode or habit of doing things and time slips away and nothing is figured out.
I think my error was in that I quit trying to figure it out, I quit trying to get my husband's opinion. I just began to do things right or wrong and he let me. This according to the Word is wrong. I must submit to my husband and this means putting him first. I have not been doing that, I have not even been putting myself first, I have just let things slide. I want very much to remove this obstacle, this weed, from my garden. The question is where do I begin? I am now trying to weigh every word that I speak. Do I agree with him? Do I back off even when I know he is wrong? I need to connect again. I have one huge problem though, he will adamantly agree with me when we discuss things and then simply not follow through. If I was really good at handling things that would be fine, but I am no business person. I am not the best at finances and I do not challenge him when he decides to spend even if I am sure it is not a good idea.
Where is the balance?
I will post this and see if I can come up with some solutions as I continue to hack away at this weed and cultivate my seeds. With God's help they should begin to take root soon. Some trees that you plant never grow viable fruit for 7 to 10 years after planting, some even longer. This is a process that will take time. I am going to need to find the correct mix of water(activity) and fertilizer (prayer). I will post any progress I make.
Love and Prayers; ever in pursuit of Zoe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inviting the Savior In

Hi There, I had a great time at the renewal services with Pastor Nail. He spoke again on the Holy Spirit and Pastor Jeter is going to continue the series. Three things usher in the Holy Spirit, your words, your works, and your worship. He will not come unless He is invited. Since the Spirit resides in each of us then He can be asked into the situation or conversation at any time. The first thing you do is ask. Your words will reflect your heart. As Pastor Judi always, always, over and over and over tells us ya gotta put it in there. If your heart and head are filled with scripture then when you open your mouth Jesus should spill out. Where your thoughts go there also go your words. The Spirit cannot work in a negative environment. The enemy can. If you notice once a negative thought is verbalized it is followed by many more. That is because once you utter the first negative statement the enemy focuses your mind on it. It will take a concious decision to stop those negative words. Pastor Judi and Dr. West said to grab them quickly with a follow up statement " In the name of Jesus I rebuke those words," or "In the name of Jesus we do not accept that." God created this world to work on the words we pronounce into the airwaves. He spoke the universe into existance and He created this world and everything in it with His words. When you speak you either give God through the Holy Spirit the tools to work or you give the enemy tools to work with. Liken it to the Living Water Jesus spoke about, if you put mud in the water and offer it to another to drink then they will no longer want what you are offering.

This is the same with your actions. Your heart will direct your actions. If you participate in a ministry whether you are doing a food give away, a project for another or just giving someone a hand with something, if you are not truly happy doing it then God can't bless your work, the people you are helping will sense your attitude, and the enemy wins. Even in your good deed---the enemy wins! Why, because it was not done in the Spirit of God! That is why Christ said your deeds will not get you into the Kingdom, your relationship with Christ will, it will also motivate you to do the deeds. In my studies Psalm 119 tells us that we will find joy in the laws and precepts of God. It will not be a chore to do the comandments of the Word you will actually want to do them and it will be a way of life for you.

The more I study the more I enjoy dining at the banquet table of our Heavenly Father. I know that I am craving more of what He has for me. The Spirit of the living God resides in all Christians and the power is available to all of us. The catch is we have to choose to tap into it. God gave us the power of choice. Many religions teach predestination or some form of it. I do not believe we have no choice otherwise why would God say to ask of Him. He tells us to ask for strength, for wisdom, for discernment all things we need to make choices. I do believe God knows what choice we are going to make. He knows every breath we take and every thought we think. God is not on a time table we are. Still He will intervene when we ask and when it furthers the Kingdom. When we ask the Spirit of the Lord to guide us He will. We will find joy in doing good, in doing His will. Never my friend get too busy to ask the Spirit to guide you. Invite Him into everything you do because when you do it becomes a work of the Lord. He will receive the glory and you will not be doing it in your own strength.

In the name of Jesus, and ever in pursuit of Zoe,

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thinking about sheep and goats

I was at Micky D’s this morning and saw a license plate that read EPH2 89. Since Ephesians 2 does not have a verse 89 I looked up 8 and 9. It reads:

“God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

There are several things to look at here. First it is a message to believers because to an unseeing eye the license plate just had letters and numbers. To a reader of scripture EPH is instantly recognized as Ephesians. The chapter 2 and verses 8 and 9 were easy to figure out. What a wonderful way to send encouragement to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Pastor Judi wrote in her blog that we need to usher into the work of the Lord wherever we and whatever we are doing. I am attesting to the truth in that, because it does not matter which church we attend or how many ministries we are involved in if we do not do so in the name of Jesus we waste our time. If we are in a ministry and we are not actually touching the people we are ministering to then we do not do it in His name, we do it in the name of the church or the name of the ministry itself. If I feed and clothe the poor as Jesus instructed me to and then I do not minister to them at the same time then I do no better than the government programs that do the same.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the last one Christ talked about in the Bible, the goats never saw Jesus hungry, thirsty, naked, or in prison. This is because they never saw Jesus in the ministry they were doing. They saw people not Jesus. Unfortunately these people did not touch their hearts. Jesus said when you do unto the least of these you do unto me. Jesus never took care of a person in need without addressing their Spiritual needs. Jesus touched, held, listened to, and asked questions of everyone He met. If you are doing things because you think it is what a Christian does and your heart does not ache for those you are working with then go away and get your heart right. We are vessels of God, showing Christ through the love we pour out on others. You have to get over yourself and show Jesus. More of Him and less of me is how Paul puts it. In striving to be more like Christ we have to let go of more of the world. It is not about numbers or how many things we are involved in it is about spending more and more time showing others the unconditional love of Christ. If we do not show the world Jesus then we have nothing to offer because without him we are no different than anyone else in this wretched world ruled by Satan.

Remember you were bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. You have two choices Jesus or Satan you cannot serve both. If you try you become a plastic Christian no good to anyone. Stand up Daughters of The King and be counted. He is raising up a mighty army of women and I plan to stay in the ranks. Together we will enlarge, encourage, and nurture the Kingdom of God.

Be Blessed in His Holy and precious name, and ever in pursuit of Zoe.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Travail in prayer

I have been back in my book Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets. I think that I am learning about how we are supposed to pray for others. I know we are supposed to pray over them. I know we are supposed to pray earnestly and with expectancy. Pastor Dutch talks about praying that the Holy Spirit will hover over someone. The prayers we pray are to release the power of the Holy Spirit in some one's life.

When we pray we ask God to release the dunamis (the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit). When I pray I tend to slip into praying in the Spirit. One of my teachers told me that if you have no details to labor over when praying for someone you pray in the Spirit. Sometimes I feel as though no amount of my words will do so I just pray in the Spirit. My concern is for those who have not received their prayer language. I have been told that it is a gift; I have been told you can receive it simply by opening up, and I have been told you must earnestly seek it.

So how do you receive a prayer language? Well there is no clear answer to that. I know this because I sought after this gift for so long and did not receive it. I have learned that some of my personal difficulties have been that I simply did not have a clear understanding of what it is I was seeking. I was not raised Pentecostal and I had no clarity on what it was or how to use it if I had it. My understanding was from other religions. I envisioned a mysterious force taking hold of one's body and completely taking over. Since I have received my prayer language I know differently. As you begin to pray your mind is conscious of who or what you are focusing your prayer on but as you release you control of the spoken language to the Spirit inside you the words flow forth. Having an interpretation is not necessary as this is you, the Spirit of God, and God the Father.

I know some very strong Christians who do not have this gift. I wonder of it is a maturity level or if one simply reaches a place in their heart where they are earnestly seeking and it is given. I have been a Christian for over 40 years and only received my prayer language two years ago. It is a hard call as to how or why and my only explanation is that God knows when you are ready.

When truly praying to intercede for someone one must speak the words out not mumble or pray inside your mind. Pray out with authority that is how we release the power of the Spirit to work. Satan is already defeated, Christ received the keys, He ascended into heaven and before He left He imparted the authority and connection to the power of Almighty God to every Christian that will. I say that will because many do not. Intercessory prayer is a powerful weapon against the unseen realm of the spirit world. People and especially Christians have no power because they do not seek it. They do not want to put forth the effort to achieve because it takes time! Time that many are not willing to give.

I am seeking to increase my interceding for those too precious to lose. Some are not aware of the precarious place in which they are walking. Many a Christian will adamantly tell you they are good. Unfortunately they are usually not so good. If they are not bearing fruit then they are not good. In Revelation we are warned about being lukewarm Christians. I admonish you that if you are not an evangelist, a preacher, a teacher or others in ministry you can be a prayer warrior. A prayer warrior has no age restrictions, no status, no requirements but the sincere desire to help other to know God, be saved, and accomplish God's purpose for their lives.

One thing I do know is that this is not an easy task. Many hours of prayer are needed in most situations. Sometimes praying for the lost or the rebellious seems futile. But the answer to our prayers may come even after we are long gone. That is why it is called faith. You believe in that which you cannot see. Pastor Dutch says that if we liken our prayer to the thought of overshadowing the one we are praying for with the Spirit of God the Spirit will then hover over that person. Remember when Peter would walk by and when his shadow fell on people they were healed? It was not because Peter’s shadow could heal it was because the Spirit of God was hovering over Peter. As Peter prayed for those needing a touch the power of God through the Spirit of God was released.

I know what you are thinking; wouldn’t it be fantastic if we were also in possession of that power? Peter must have been so spiritual. Well news flash… you are! Christ said if you believe in me I will send another to be with you, the Spirit of Truth, John 15: 26. The Spirit when it enters a new Christian is not a watered down version that you have to build up by being a Christian and going to church. No, the Spirit is as powerful as it will ever be we only have to have the uninhibited faith to release the power. It is released through your words, your prayers you speak and God releases power. But you have to believe and…and it has to be in God’s will. Also in His time, something which we have difficulty with. So keep praying over the ones you know are not saved, not serving, need healing or just need to know God is there. In His time.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Heard Him Whisper

I have had time to reflect and spend time with Jesus. I want so desperately to know what the next step in my journey will be. I write encouragement to the Sisters in my Bible Study, and write here in this blog. But I feel there is another piece to pick up and place in the puzzle. I have all but abandoned my gift of being an artist. This is a gift I should perhaps not allow to remain dormant any longer. I paint fairly well, I do other things like cake decorating and sculpture and I miss it. I know it is a God given gift and I need to return to it. When I create something I feel a closeness to my Lord. I need to get past the excuses and start doing what I was called to do, Create. Everyday seems consumed with doing, whether it is studying for college or helping my daughter in school, there never seems to be enough time in a day. I know I am not the only one caught in this cycle. Now we need to move and I do not have a clue as to where. I am laying it before my Father and waiting on Him to show me the way. In addition to that it looks as if I no longer have a church home. The place I attend is empty and cold and so my days there are numbered. I cannot let the pain consume me, it seeks me out in the night and floods over my heart and I cry out , "Jesus oh Jesus why has this happened?" When will I heal and where am I going now?... I can't lose my teacher... I can't lose my sisters... I thought I was doing so well.. following you... learning your Word as never before. What went wrong? In the quiet of the night... I listen... I thought I heard Him whisper... "It is all for the plans I have for you." "You were getting comfortable." "But Jesus, what is wrong with comfortable?" "Remember, in My Revelation to John, the letters to the seven churches...if you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold I will spew you out of my my letters and meditate on them." All I could say is "Yes Lord,...yes I will leave my comfort zone...I want what you have for me. I will follow you. Please let me follow you! I wait now on His call. Where ever You want me to go, I will go. You guide my steps Lord, I give the worry over to you. Now I wait... and listen... He is not in the storm, or the wind, or the earthquake,... He is in the a whisper, (1 Kings 19). Listen for Him...

Monday, March 21, 2011

When I falter in my walk

How difficult a day can be when I fail to do as I know I should. Today was the final day at my now past job. I was so happy that I was working a day shift so I could go to the Monday evening Bible Study that my sisters were attending. I knew our truck had issues and I even had assurance of a ride home. But it was not to be, the truck was not running right at all and would barely limp down the road. I became frustrated at it and my lost plans, suddenly I shouted out " Truck run, in the name of Jesus!"... There was no response.
I thought about this for a while and then I realized I had just revisited Moses and his complaining Israelites. I was humbled to say the least. In my frustration I more or less demanded that God fix my truck. God gave water to the Israelites, but Moses was not allowed into the promised land. He did not fix my truck. That would not have taught me anything. I soon asked forgiveness for my unruly outburst.
Luke 10: 19 says that Jesus has given us the authority "to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you." This passage means that we are given the authority to step on demons and evil spirits and I had decided that my vehicle was being attacked by one or the other. I did not think about the fact that the truck had issues and was long overdue for repairs, I just wanted to get where I had planned to go. God graciously used this illustration, (and an hour in the WalMart parking lot waiting for the truck to cool down to get us home), to show me that if I want to recieve His blessing and to call on the power of the Spirit within me, I must do it in reverence, not in my selfish desires.
Years ago I would have been angry that God was not taking care of my needs, after all I nobly wanted to go to Bible study. But the more time I spend learning how God works and how we must conduct ouselves in His presence, the more I realize that I am the one limiting the power of God. God has rules as to how He works and things in our lives that will hinder our connection to Him. During the days of Jesus' life on earth He offered up prayers and petitions with fervrent crys and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was he learned obedience from what He suffered..." Hebrews 5: 7,8. So if Christ was heard through reverent submission how then can I expect to be heard...? Through reverent submission. Learning to hear from God is a process. Prehaps one never completed, but one I must continue to pursue.
Also in pursuit of Blessed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

See Me as the Father Sees Me

It is difficult to fathom that I have entered into the second half of a century. I never saw myself as getting older, it just seems as though it crept in overnight. I look into a mirror and do not recognize the face looking back. I do not feel old. How can this be? Well my oldest child is 25 so that should give a clue. Still I am on the edge of a new journey. I am studying in college and in private theology classes. I am being streched as never before. I continually ask God,"What are you doing? Why am I not sliding down the other side of the proverbial hill heading quietly toward retirement and my Heavenly resting place?"

Oh yea, Pastor told me there is no retirement for Christians, and since God stated in His Word that we are preparing in this life for the next, we will probably have jobs to do in Heaven also. So even though I see myself as getting very much older, God does not. Have you ever noticed how we are always referred to in the Word as His Children. "But as many as recieved Him, to them He gave the right to beccome children of God, even to those who believe in His Name," (John 1:12). He sees a young and capable heart. God our Father chooses to see us through the Blood of Jesus. A perfect vessel pouring out the love He pours into us. But, you might say we are cracked pots. Jars of clay of what worth is a cracked piece of earthen-ware?

Here is how it works: When you choose to follow Christ, not just be saved by Him but to truly follow, His Spirit enters into your soul. Together you and He work together to find each crack and fill it with the balm of healing. This balm is strong and yet transparent. As that crack is healed and sealed it remains transparent to the world, Then everytime that part of you comes to light, His light shines through. Have you ever stood and watched the light play through a stained glass window? I picture that as the light shining through my vessel, through the prism of the balm that God has placed on my imperfections, and then the world will see a beautiful display of dazzeling light. The light of my Jeaus shining through. There are ways to remind yourself that you are a beautiful vessel in God's eyes. One is to buy a stained glass window mobile, (mobile works better because it moves and dazzles), it dosen't have to be a big one. Put it where you will always see it, a kitchen window, in the study by a window. Just be sure there is lots of light.

The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you:
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your Glory. ( Isaiah 60: 9 )

If you study in a darker low lit room there is another option. Get a candle that is surrounded by a stained glass holder. It can be a small one or a large one depending on how much you need the reminder. Just be sure the candle can be replaced. We have one always lit in our bathroom, a fragrent candle. Candles with fragrence will remind you of God's light in you and the sweet fragrence of His Spirit.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, ( 2 Corinthians 2:15 ).

Everyone that accepts Christ and follows Him must do His work. God does not appreciate loitering in His kingdom. There is a job for everyone. Your job may not look like what you thought it would but it will be a glorious one. I have learned not to settle for any job, move around until it feels right. God will let you know. Then you can shine for the Kingdom. Be forwarned that it may also change. God has seasons for each of us and we must stay close to Him and listen when He speaks. I would never have thought that I could be an encourager through writing and yet it seems that I do somewhat well at it. This is a recent gift that I have discovered and look I am over half a century old. All things are renewed in Christ. The more time spent with Him the more you learn about yourself.
I am adding a link here because the teaching and learning opportunities are a wonderful testimony to what one can do through Christ. It is the driving force behind Proverbs 31 ministry. and
Love in Christ