God Singles Out The Sinner And Offers Grace (Part 2)

As promised, herein is the Part 2 segment from my soon to be published book (hopefully) entitled “Conversations With God Using Scripture”. You will recall in Part One, I catalogued my experience while attending a church retreat for women up in the hills of Massanetta Springs, Virginia, approximately 37 years ago. There I met the Lord early Saturday morning as the women gathered around an old rugged cross for prayer. It was there in a supernatural moment, I received a divine directive from My Master. (You are cordially invited to revisit Part One (from last week’s blog) to receive a full account of this encounter.)

Although I had attended this retreat by happenstance, much later I realized it was the Holy Spirit’s way of getting me alone with Him so that I could hear His voice only. The revelations I received that weekend so penetrated my heart that when I returned home, I began to search the Holy Bible for confirmation and clarity. I found the answer in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 6. Following is an adaptation of how the Holy Spirit spoke to me as I read the prophet Isaiah’s account of his divine calling from the Lord:

An Adaptation of Isaiah 6

1. In the year that the Mount Calvary Baptist Church Women held their 4th annual retreat, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a hill, high atop Massanetta Springs, and an ole rugged cross depicted his glory.  

2. Around the cross stood the female saints of Mount Calvary, each one holding two hands of two others; and each one having a multitude of prayers on her lips.  

3. And one cried out unto each of us and said, Pray, pray, pray to the Lord of Hosts.  He has a job out there for you to do in the world; and he is waiting on you to fulfill his will.  

4. And a hazy light began to appear above the cross as God opened the door called morning and the atmosphere became full with his glorious dew.  

5. Then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a women who has been playing church.  I have not completely aligned myself with the Saints of God; for this morning my ears have heard and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.  

6. Then went I unto one of the Saints whose total being was on fire for the Lord, and as I took hold of her hands in mine, they felt like live coals:  

7. And the Holy Spirit laid it upon my heart and said, Lo, ask your sister to pray for thee; and thy iniquity will be taken away and thy sin purged.  

8. Also, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Eat the word least I chew you up and spit you out.  Then fell I upon my knees and said, Lord, I will eat the word.  

9. And he said, Get up, go, return to Mount Calvary and remember your promise to me; for if you do, I will surely reveal the scriptures to you and you shall have wisdom and understanding and you shall see me at work in your life.  

10. You shall have power in teaching my children and they, too, will yearn for the word; and I will open up their ears so they can understand.  I will close their eyes to the distractions around them and they shall look beyond the trash and tinfoil of this world and see only me.  And their parents will see the changes in them and bring them forth to be baptized.  

11. Then said I, Lord, how long must I eat the word and how long must I teach the gospel?  And he answered, until the cities become more humanized and god-fearing, and the inhabitants learn the power of prayer and the households are without strife and the land is filled with love.  

12. So that no matter where the children relocate to, if they should stray, there will always be someone there to show them the way.  Thus, many shall return, even a tenth, and shall be stronger and more faithful in their service than before.  

13. And that tenth shall be like the mighty terebinth and oak trees with their leaves shaped like the hearts of men, bearing wing-like fruit in all seasons.  And when the inevitable comes and the leaves shall fall and the physical seed shall be planted for the last time; thanks be to God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  With the glorious forgiveness of every sin, our spiritual seed shall live on
and continue to bear fruit for the Lord until he comes again.  Amen.
clay jars
What does God require of our clay bodies?

Scripture Lesson: He has shown you, O mortal what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. Micah 6:8 NIV

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God Singles Out The Sinner And Offers Grace (Part 1)

When you are ‘called’ by God, take 2 staffs (right and left boxing gloves), and pray earnestly for God’s Favor and his Unity during your assignment.

As the title denotes, this blog is just the beginning of a two part segment from my soon to be published book (hopefully) entitled “Conversations With God Using Scripture.” Next Friday in this blog space, I will publish Part 2 of “God Singles Out The Sinner And Offers Grace“. It will be written as an adaptation of Isaiah 6, reflecting my personal experiences as a younger woman, while on a church retreat seeking a closer walk with the Lord. Like Isaiah’s divine godly encounter, I, too, after God’s penetrating and convicting examination of my life, also declared later; ‘Here am I, My Lord, send me!’

A True Story – Part 1...

In the Old Testament, Isaiah begins his autobiography in Chapter 6 by recording the death of his king.

“In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne; high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”          Isaiah 6:1

If you are a student of the biblical “Begots”, without reading any further into the Scriptures, you know of one possible reason for King Uzziah’s demise.  The Begots reflect a procreation list of family generations sired by the forefathers in the Bible.  Usually, when a name (or its derivative) is first mentioned in Scripture, its definition is also given.  King Uzziah’s name denotes that he egregiously breached one of God’s sacred laws. (*)  In another place, the Bible gives this definition of the name:

“Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.”    1 Chronicles 13:10

Another biblical concept gleaned from the Isaiah 6:1 verse is that something had to die before a rebirth could take place.  Other events in the Holy Bible that embraces this dual concept is: famine and plenteousness; darkness and light; death and resurrection; good and evil, etc.

I experienced this phenomenon, of something having to die, in 1983 while participating at a church sponsored Women’s Retreat at Massanetta Springs, Virginia.  At the time, I was seeking a closer relationship with the Lord, but realized I was only doing so at my own convenience.  To be honest, I was preoccupied with self.  I was obsessed with starting my own business (a laundromat).  I was still climbing the corporate ladder at my official job as a building manager for a large automotive corporation, trying to crack that glass ceiling.  And I was also enrolled in college taking several business courses.  No wonder I felt like a guinea pig on a treadmill.  So when the retreat opportunity presented itself, I reluctantly decided to attend.

My encounter with God came about 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning at our sunrise service which was held high upon a dew-drenched hill.  I remember standing around the wooden cross at the top of the hill encircled with about 30 other female saints.  It was still very dark and a chilly breeze was blowing.  You could smell bacon and fresh baked bread aromas floating up from the kitchen dorm below as camp custodians prepared our breakfast.

Seemingly, the worship leader who was standing at the base of the cross, was reading my mind as she shouted for all of us to get our minds off breakfast and on prayer.  Next, I remember silently thinking why are we praying one at a time.  God can hear a multitude of prayers all at once.  Just then, the worship leader shouted out those very same words to the women.  I opened my eyes to see if there was a spy in the camp and the Lord spoke to me and said, “It is I, my child!”

When I returned home, after that astonishing weekend, one evening I sat down and attempted to recapture on paper what had happened to me at the cross.  I knew with assurance that all the trash and tinfoil of this world that had weighted me down was now lifted.  In other words, my “King Uzziah” had died.  In my study time, I was led to Isaiah 6, and the composition entitled “God Singles Out The Sinner And Offers Grace” was born.

(*) NOTE: King Uzziah’s sin was that he disobeyed God and was struck with leprosy. (2 Kings 15:5 and 2 Chron. 26:19-21)

#TuesdayTrivia:  The famous “Uncle Sam” World War I army recruitment poster “I Want YOU for the U.S. Army”, designed by James Montgomery Flagg, was actually an inspirational version of the British poster "Your Country Needs You" by Alfred Leete.  #posterdesign
God needs you in his army no matter what country you live in.

Scripture Lesson: So I, (put your name here), pastured [God’s] flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. Then I took two staffs and called one Favor and the other Union, and I pastured the flock. In one month (a short time) I got rid of the three shepherds (the evil enemies of God). Zechariah 11:7-8 [Paraphrased)]

(Tune in next Friday for Part 2 of “God Singles Out The Sinner And Offers Grace”)

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GOD’S PRESENCE ALONG WITH HIS PROMISES GUARANTEES POSSIBILITIES

I can only imagine that during this Covid-19 life-threatening and deadly pandemic; the California wild fires causing loss of life and property; and the nations’ political unrest which is arousing citizens to feel disenfranchised, betrayed and demoralized; that these situations are empowering skeptics, god-fearing people and agnostics to call out, ‘God, where are you?’!

Devastating wild fires in California
Who is going to win the election

No doubt, in times past, God has been your anchor-father, and you were able to communicate with him with ‘no problem’. But lately, you are experiencing a deafening sound of silence. Just when you thought you were dancing with the star-angels, you became a wallflower. (Did I forget to gargle this morning?)

Did God not say we should come as we are? Did he not invite us to enter his gates (presence) with thanksgiving and his courts with praise? (Psalms 100:5) Ask yourself…have I not demonstrated a faith that is steadfast, unmovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord? (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Did not the Lord promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) And did He not profess that with man, certain things were impossible, but not so with God. For all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)

All I can say to you morally depleted people, is welcome to the wilderness of life’s journey!

Did you not know that God often places his people smack dab in the middle of the wilderness to allow them to grow and be refreshed? That’s right! God wants us to become equipped and fortified to do his bidding here on earth. He also wants to give us experiences so that we are able to recognize the enemy (Satan) and to navigate his territory successfully with the aide of the Holy Spirit.

So, as you can see, getting through these dry seasons is not just a matter of waiting on God, ringing your hands and shouting out loud, but you should use this time to search the Scriptures, pray fervently, and encourage and lead others to join you in becoming a partner with God; to hold fast to his unchanging hand and to know that he is up to something good and beneficial for all of his children.

My personal testimony…

Hopefully, we will all learn how to pray with conviction, fortitude, trust and confidence that our Lord and Savior has the whole world and all of its situations in His hands. In October 2013 while on a Buckner International Mission Trip, I attempted to pay for some souvenir books I had purchased. But when I put my hand on my waist to retrieve my money belt it wasn’t there. At that moment, all my strength left my legs and I slumped to the ground. My colleagues were at a loss as to what had caused me to almost faint. As I sat there on the floor trying to compose myself, my first thoughts were that I had somehow been robbed of my money belt. But a holy peace came over me and I experienced reassurance that my lucre could be replaced by simply making a phone call to my son back in the United States. So I picked myself up and brushed myself off and continued on my mission assignment for the Lord.

Needless to say, when I returned to my hotel room that evening after visiting the children’s orphan homes, there on the floor and partially hidden under my bed was my fanny purse. Evidently, that morning, I did not tightly secure the fasteners on the purse to my waist. Yes, because I had turned that whole situation over to the Lord, plus I did not harbor ill feelings against the citizenry of Russia, nor did I fret over lost spending money, I was able to operate in peace all that day and performed as a positive witness for the Lord, bringing joy, peace and hope to the little children.

Let us observe today’s dilemmas with the same frame of mind.

Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 3:5-6

…in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. v.6

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GOD INSTRUCTED ME ON PRAYER


Especially when the Biblical Word is your focus!

Have you ever pondered the expression, ‘Babes in Christ’?  Are you now or have you ever been a ‘Babe in Christ’?  Well, for me, the answer is a resounding YES!  Another expression in the Christian faith that is highly associated with the first question are the words ‘Born again’.  When we think on these 2 expressions, how should we analyze them?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret conversation I had with Jesus on how I should pray to Him about the 2 questions above…He imparted to me the first verse of a song recorded by the Statler Brothers entitled, Just A Little Talk With Jesus:

                           “I {you} once was lost in sin but Jesus took me {you} in
                           And then a little light from Heaven filled my soul
                          He bathed my heart in love and wrote my name above
                          And just a little talk with Jesus made me whole.”

Thank you, Lord, for You gave me a preponderance of the evidence that I could understand and apply in my prayer life.

Evidence Unvailed

 I once read that in nature, all living things reproduce themselves.  So, if we apply this to the Christian populace, we emphatically know that none of us can consider ourselves a natural-born Christian.  We were all converted to Christianity.  Thus, we consider ourselves ‘born again’ and as an infant…a ‘babe in Christ’.  Yes, I too, was once a babe in Christ, but now that I have been born again, this time by the Blood of Jesus Christ, I am being made whole each and every day! And my prayer life is becoming more meaningful and authentic in every expression of my faith. The Holy Scriptures bear this out in 1 Peter 2:2 which reads: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

Below is a list of words that you may consider incorporating in your prayers to express just how grateful you are for God’s divine intervention in your life. Yes, I am suggesting that you become an astute and conscientious Wordsmith when communicating with God.

AAcceptanceIIntimateQQuestionYYearn, Yield
BBoldJJoyousRRelease, RepentZZealous
CConfessionKKindnessSSeek, Share  
DDeliveranceLListen, LovingTTrust  
EEnergizedMMeditateUUnderstanding  
FFranknessNNegotiateVVictorious  
GGratitudeOObedienceWWorship  
HHonestyPPassionateXExemplary  
Feel free to add to this list of attitudes that can be reflected in prayer.
Searching for prayer language

My personal experience/example of praying God’s Word back to Him

Scripture Lesson:

God’s Blessing on Zambia
(An Adaptation of Isaiah 44:1-5)

“Yet hear me now, O Missionaries to Zambia, My servants, and American Baptist Churches of the South whom I have chosen. Thus says the Lord who made you and formed
you from the womb, who will help you while
on your journey: “Fear not, O Missionaries My servants; and you, Eleazar, whom I have chosen as their guide. For I will pour water on the House of Lusaka who
is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground of
compounds in Zambia;
I will pour My Spirit on all those who journeyed
to Africa and My blessing on Eleazar’s dream
for the Zambian people;
New churches will spring up among the grass huts like willows by the watercourses.” Hope International Church of Lusaka will say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; Bethel Church of Kafue will call himself by the Name of Jacob; Soweto Baptist Church will write with his hand, ‘The Lord’s” and Riverside Baptist Church of Chingola will name himself by the name of Israel. (This 2002 prophecy is certain to come to pass saith the Lord.)

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GOD TRAVELS IN STYLE

What do you know about cars?  For one thing, did you know how inefficient they are?  I had to laugh when I learned that cars take up a huge amount of space on this planet but get driven around mostly empty.  (If you don’t believe me, just take a look to your right and left the next time you pull up to a stop sign.)

Government statistics have reported that private cars driven in the U.S. carries only 1.6 people per trip!  So, what we can conclude about cars is that they mostly just sit there, parked in the garage, the driveway, on the street, at the dealership or at the mechanic’s. But, not withstanding, they demand a large portion of your operating cash.

Okay, I know what you are thinking; what does the above information have to do with having a conversation with God?  (I’m so glad you asked.)  Well, what I am about to share with you this week is a belated conversation that happened to me some 25 years ago, that I almost forgot to revisit. My Lord reminded me that I had not repented nor thanked Him for His long arm of protection that He had provided in an area He is definitely an expert in…namely, time perspective.

Here’s how I surmised that God travels in style and not in happenstance…

Some 60 years ago, I was a passenger in a car of a young but legally aged driver. Also, his wife was seated on the front passenger’s seat and I was in the back seat.  We were traveling a few miles above the speed limit, but our vision still allowed us to see straight ahead as well as quick side glances of territories we were currently passing.  In other words, the driver had only a 2-dimensional view of scenery that was leading us towards our destination.

Suddenly, we approach a sharp bend in the road.  Just beyond the bend, the highway went into a deep downward slope that allowed the car to accelerate and go even faster.  To everyone’s horror, the hood of the car came unlatched and flew backwards covering the whole windshield and blinding the driver’s view.  We all began screaming and yelling, ‘Stop the car, slow down and stop the car!’  We all thought we were going to die that day. Fortunately, the driver managed to pull off the road and to safety.  No harm was done.  We exited the car, tied the hood down and continued on our way.

Years later, when I was much more mature and assessing my life with a spiritual barometer, the Holy Spirit spoke to me in the vernacular of how God was a safe and stylish driver.  He brought to my mind a memory of a frightened girl in the back seat of a car.  ME!  The Holy Spirit said to me, do you remember wiping tears from your eyes after that hood-flying situation was over.  I could only respond by nodding my head. Well, that was Me comforting you and quietly instructing the driver to use more caution and adhere to the speed limit because he had precious cargo on board.  He continued by saying, I also shut his wife’s mouth so that she did not scold him afterwards.  Remember?

During that conversation, dear readers, I want you to know, I did none of the talking.  I kept my mouth closed. I just listened, cried softly and begin to thank God for his strong arm of protection.  I also asked for forgiveness for my slowfulness in returning to give thanks.

The Holy Spirit ended His time with me by saying, My Child, I always know where I am going when I travel, especially the condition of the roads and the direction I want to take.  In fact, while using my divine GPS I also know who else will be on the road besides Me, and what disposition they will arrive in once they reach their destination. I AM THE NASCAR DRIVER OF THE UNIVERSE!  I TRAVEL IN STYLE, DISPOSITION AND LAW AND ORDER!

Here is the lesson I learned…

Always remember the Lord will carry us in His arms where ever we want to go as long as we trust and obey Him. Make it a habit to look and see that there are only one set of foot prints.

We have a Father who is willing, able and prepared to carry His children through life in spite of their slowfulness and lack of understanding. He is familiar with all types of transportation, yet surpasses them all. He is like a bridge over troubled waters. And he travels in style.

Scripture Lesson: He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:13

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GOD’S GIVING IS ENDLESS

THE HEART OF GIVING, INC Logo

Let’s examine the phrase, “You reap what you sow”.  What does it mean? The dictionary defines ‘to reap’ as to gather a crop; and ‘to sow’ as to plant seeds. Throughout the holy scriptures, however, ‘sowing’ is used as a metaphor for a person’s actions and ‘reaping’ as the results of such actions.

Let’s look at 2 Biblical examples:

  • “Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from that Spirit will reap eternal life.”  Galatians 6:8
  • “The wicked earn deceptive wages, but those who sow righteousness reap a sure reward.”  Proverbs 11:18

Is it not true, that most of us would like to think of ourselves as sowers with a good nature rather than with a deceptive nature?  That way, we would most likely always reap a just reward (outcome).  What could possibly hinder that line of thinking and cause our acts of generosity to go awry?

In a word… “YOU”!

Did you know that the wrong mindset we engage in prior to giving our gifts, talents or assistance to aide others can negate our good intentions?   Usually, mankind’s motives are guided by thoughts of; ‘don’t give out more than you can afford to lose’; or ‘if I do this, will the person appreciate it or better yet, pass it on’?

If we want to be followers of Christ, we must ditch those kinds of thoughts.  We must pick up the Banner that reads: ‘The more we give, the more He gives to you.’ Plenteousness’ is God’s middle Name.  The authority God has given his Son is that the cattle on a thousand hills are His.  Therefore, Heaven’s resources never run out.  And as a child of the King, it is our inheritance, too.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

When I was about 12 years old, one summer I went to stay with my grandmother in another town.  She was so glad to see me and had stocked her cupboards with all my favorite foods. Grandmother went out of her way to entertain me.   She even made arrangements for her neighbor’s younger daughter to sleep over several nights just to keep me company.  But how did I repay her?

One day, my new friend and I were sitting on the front porch steps drinking Cokes. Just then, grandmother came out of the front screened door and approached me with a glass.  She asked me to share my drink with her.  Now, that was not something I wanted to do.  Nevertheless, I reluctantly took the glass and poured just a smidgen of Coke into it.  Grandmother said, ‘thank you very much’ and reached down and took the Coke bottle out of my hand instead of the glass.  She then turned and walked back into the house.  I was left with the smidgen.

The lesson I learned:  Those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly.  I soon realized that all summer long, grandmother was teaching me biblical principles without once lauding the Bible over my head.  What a wise and saintly woman I had the privilege to be akin to.

The takeaway of this blog is simply this:  A person’s giving to another is reminiscent of God’s giving us his energy, strength and resources.  Divine sources that will never be depleted.  Therefore, if we think of our giving in this manner, then we know with assurance our attitude in giving is based on the Character of Jesus Christ.  And whatever and whenever we offer anything to others it merely becomes an exchange rather than a depletion.  Our resources really have not gone anywhere even though it may seem like they have moved from one person to another. That’s the Law of Endless Giving. 

Scripture Lesson: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-9a

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GOD HAS PECULIAR WAYS OF COMMUNICATING WITH PEOPLE

Blog-pexels-photo-2681319

I’ve lived a life that’s full.  I traveled each and every highway.  But more, much more than this.  I did it my GOD’S way.  Amen!

For some time now, I have been faithful in keeping a promise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I would publish a new blog every Friday on WordPress, sharing encounters on how God the Father scripturally communicates with me on various subjects.  Some of these blogs have been very revealing and personal and needless to say, in some cases unbelievable.  In other words, the intimacy level of the Spirit and a mere mortal raises some illusions.  WHY?  Because God communicates with me in a special way that causes me to think about things differently.

So, for this week’s blog, I have decided to allow my readers to enter into my secret closet, while I share a revelation the Holy Spirit ministered to me one evening in March 1983, as I was preparing to conduct a seminar on the subject of what is the role of a Deaconess (female officer) in the church.

The seminar’s scripture theme had been given to me by the organization’s president and it came from Saint John Chapter 15.  As I began to read the verses, one descriptive word started to formulate in my mind to summarize that verse(s).  As I continued reading through the entire chapter, by the time I finished reading and meditating on its content, I realized I had written down 10 single descriptive words and one short sentence, for a total of eleven single expressive thoughts that summarized the entire chapter.

The next thing that happened, I begin to softly sing an old familiar hymn entitled,  “He’ll Understand and Say, Well Done.”  I immediately grabbed a pen and paper and begin to compile my thoughts in a chart-like draft.  Below is a copy of what eventually came to fruition from John Chapter 15, with the aid and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Verse
Scripture
Single Descriptive Word
Lyrics to the song
5      I am the vine, ye are the branches:  He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:  for without me ye can do nothing. DEVOTED

Very  Loyal,Very Faithful

If when you give the best of your service,
8

 

16

     Here in is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:  that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

EVANGELIZE

Proclaim the Good News

Telling the world. . . .
4

6

 

 

     Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except ye abide in me.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 

ABIDE

To remain

 

. . . .that the Savior is come.
1      I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman CHRIST

The expected Deliverer

The Savior. . . .
19

 

 

 

21

     If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:  but because ye are not of the world but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

OFFENDED

To hurt the feelings of

Be not dismay. . . .
3

 

24

     Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin:  but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

NEGATIVE

Expressing Denial

When friends don’t believe you. . . .
9

 

17

     As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you:  continue ye in my love.

These things I command you, that ye love one another.

EMPATHY

The capacity for participation in or infusion of another’s feelings

(The highest of intellect)

He’ll understand and say WELL DONE.
20      Remember the word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. SOJOURNER

To live somewhere temporarily

Oh, when I come, to the end of life’s journey. . . .
13      Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. SACRIFICE

An offering of a life or object to a deity

Weary of life and the battle is won!. . .
10

 

 

 

     If you keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. ETERNAL

Without Beginning or End

Carrying the Staff and the Cross of Redemption. . . .
26      But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. SPIRIT OF TRUTH

Supernatural Being

He’ll understand and say, WELL DONE.

(*)  All Scripture references are from KJV

God’s Final Surprise For Me

All of those many years ago when I compiled this workshop for my church’s Deaconess Board, it took me a minute to realize the surprise ending the Holy Spirit had blessed me with.  Please observe that the first letter in the capitalized word in the “Single Descriptive Word” column actually spells out the description of the audience I was to conduct this workshop for:  D-E-A-C-O-N-E-S-S-E-S!  Hallelujah and praise God!!!

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GOD INVITES YOU AND ME TO ASK

I’m not kidding.  It’s right there in the Scriptures.  Don’t be afraid.  God is not a Bogie Man or an alien from outer space.  God is Love and he definitely wants to have a little talk with us.  From the very beginning, God had a lot of astonishing things to tell us…concerning his creation and his personage, and also especially about his Son.  But most of all, God just wanted to talk and visit a while in your sanctuary and to find out “Whaz’zzz up, my brothers and my sisters!

Man Raising Right Hand in Focus Photography

Besides this blessed invitation being written in the Holy Scriptures, and also extended to everyone in our hearts, His desire is to give to all of us a ‘high 5’. How do I know this? because whenever you find yourself faced with a conundrum or a situation where there is absolutely no clear solution of what is right or wrong, did you know that you subconsciously wish you could turn to someone who is more astute than yourself.

Jesus Christ whispers in your ear…I AM the answer! I AM that Someone!  Come, let’s have a little talk.

I’m not saying you recognized that still small whisper in your physic as the voice of the Holy Spirit, but that does not change things.  Allow me to provide you with two scriptures that attest to my words, followed by a personal example of excluding the One who knows all.

  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your cares on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:6-7
  • If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (without criticizing) ; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

God questioned my judgement… 

Earlier this year, around the beginning of Covid-19, I put a rental property I owned on the market ‘For Sale’.  Little did I realize the dramatic effects this pandemic would have on our society, health, financial livelihood, businesses, educational pursuits or our social encounters.  Although I received thousands of electronic views on real estate websites, after six months of having the condo on the market, I had not received any bonafide offers from buyers.

I forgot to mentioned, just before listing my unit, I was no longer accepting renters and had invested quite a large sum of money in remodeling and upgrading the unit.  Now it is six months later, and with nothing but expenses accruing on the apartment, and the fear of uncertainty surrounding the duration of the virus pandemic, I decided to pull my investment property off the market.

Then I turned ‘again’ to the Lord…

Wait, what did you sayWere you talking to MeI don’t remember you asking Me anything about putting your house on the market!  Maybe you thought by merely  explaining to Me what you had already intended to do was a conversation.  Excuse me, I beg the difference.’

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Oh, boy, I did it again, my bad….sorry, my Lord!

Epilogue:

Many Christians misinterpret God’s offering of help in times of decision making and find themselves in a heap of trouble and financial ruin.  But we should not allow our short-comings to hinder us from repenting and returning to the only One who can bring us out of despair. I know, because after I came to myself I asked for forgiveness and gave the Lord permission to order my steps.  And guess what!  He did!

God placed it upon my heart to investigate the possibility of turning my property into an AirBnB for visiting nurses and doctors that He would send to my area to assist the medical providers caring for those afflicted with Covid-19 in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons.  Since acting on this divine assignment, I cannot tell you how many doors have been opened to facilitate this project and to bring it to fruition.

Now that I have ask His advise for the property’s use, He has opened a new venture entirely for me…Now that I am seeking His guidance, He is allowing me to find the right organizations and expertise I need to complete the good work He intends to use to help others…Now that I hear His knock on my door, I am hurrying to let Him in and to have a meaningful, blessed and rewarding conversation.

GOD IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME!  Matthew 7:7

 

 

GOD IS THE RULER OVER THE UNIVERSE

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GOD IS LIKE A SATELLITE, RULING AND RECORDING THE ENTIRE WORLD

I borrowed the above title of this blog from a sentence in Bruce Wilkinson’s book entitled Beyond Jabez.   You remember Mr. Wilkinson.  He is the famous author of the parent book, The Prayer of Jabez.  The message in both books clears up the misconceptions of whether or not it is all right for a person to pray and ask God to specifically bless them by enlarging their territory.  I invite you to explore Mr. Wilkinson’s bible-based responses in both books and be ready for a rude awakening that will truly knock your socks off!!

As we dissect the words that God is the Ruler over the universe, what does that really mean?  First, we are not just talking about God being a Ruler over heads of state or governments.  God’s authority, rulership and supremacy is also over every day life situations such as finances, relationships, health and wellness, educational pursuits, spiritual growth, and situations that weigh heavily on your moral responsibilities to God and your fellow man.

All of these decisions gives us challenges and invokes fears that depend on the measure of faith one has in the Living God and the examples set forth in the life of his Son, Christ Jesus.

A real life rude awakening in Kingdom authority:

I can remember a time in my life, while on a mission trip in Costa Rica.  I was riding in a jitney cab with other missionaries, when we saw several young children running along the street waving at passing buses and cabs.  They were trying to draw attention to us foreign visitor passengers coming into their village.  They wanted to show us some love.

Suddenly, a large suitcase tumbled off the top of one of the buses in front of us and fell to the street.  Two older children ran hurriedly into the street, scooped up the suitcase and fled down a narrow alleyway and out of sight.  Those in my cab gasped but said nothing, and our local cab driver did not stop.  Everyone acted as though nothing had happened.  (Hold on to this thought…there is more.)

Later that day, after settling into our rooms, I decided to wash and dry a load of clothes,  along with my newly soiled tennis shoes, in the laundry mat located in the hotel lobby.  After supper, I went to the laundry room to retrieve my clothing.  To my surprise, when I opened the dryer, there was nothing inside but a handful of tiny rubber balls.  No newly dried clothes, no newly washed white tennis shoes.  Just a handful of tiny rubber balls.  Basically, just crumbs of melted rubber.

My knees became weak, I placed my hand over my mouth to keep from crying out, I looked around the room at the attendant and other customers.  I didn’t know what to do or who to accuse of my loss, when all of a sudden, I heard a still small voice say; My child, sit down…relax…listen to me.  I obeyed and sat down.  I buried my face in my hands and I said softly; Speak, Lord, thy servant is listening.

My beloved, Greater is He that is within you then he that is in the world.  And as you know, I oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.  Your assumption that someone robbed you of your possessions and your earlier ill thoughts of young children as thieves are misplaced.  Honestly, your actions and those of your mission team were the cause of it all.

Oh, my Lord, speak on.  How have I offended You?

Why have you come to this desolate place where there is so much poverty and physical need, with all of these fancy new clothes and a prideful attitude of your status with Me, when you know that I require obedience rather than sacrifice?  At dinner time, when you were asked by your host church what church did you belonged to in the states, instead of just naming your church, you pridefully reach into your purse and displayed a picture of a brand new multimillion dollar building, which caused your host to sadly exclaim, ‘My God, what a waste!’

You still do not understand why he said that.  So let me explain.  Your host was thinking just how many mouths all that money could have fed and/or provided medical supplies and housing with indoor plumbing for his people.  Also those children were desperate to sell  on the black market those clothes in the suitcase, to help support their families.  And by the way, you put too much money in the dryer and I alone burned up your brand new tennis shoes and gave your clothes away to someone in need. 

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; but the glory of kings (queens) is to search out a matter.”  Proverbs 25:2

Oh, my God, say no more.   This conversation is too revealing for me.  I now see the error of my ways and understand Proverbs 25:2 more clearly.  For you have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

I understand now that You, my Lord, have crowned all missionaries as your chosen students being taught to become kings and queens in your vineyard.  We are being trained to be loving and compassionate to all Your subjects without prejudice.  Therefore, I sorely repent of my insensitive actions and for my teams haughtiness.  I humbly pray for Your forgiveness and thank You for ordering my steps in the way your servants should act when on the battle field.  For not only are you the Ruler over established monarchs, but also over the common and lowly hearts of your people.

GOD IS ABLE TO PROVIDE DELIVERANCE!

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He’s got the whole world in His hand!

Did you know that both sinner and saint, believer and non-believer, male and female, and false prophets and men who prophesied truth have all confessed at one time or another that “God is able to provide deliverance”? And also, did you realize that when they do acknowledge that God is able to overcome any and all adversities, these witnesses give us an unforgettable lesson in faithfulness and God’s goodness and mercies.

Allow me to pose another question to you:

Has there ever been a time in your life when an enemy/foe has overpowered you and rendered all your efforts of survival helpless and you found that your only weapon against your foe was to face destruction with your convictions and faith in tack?  Always remember that no weapon formed against you shall prosper… (excerpt from Isaiah 54:17)

I, personally, am grateful for recorded events and heroic stories retold by sages, eyewitnesses, or old wives tales, for without a doubt, they have been the cornerstone, seed and foundation of the church.

As I write this week’s blog, I am reminded of a specific event that is happening in our Nation today.  With the spread and devastation of the Corona virus, whether you agree with the methods put forth to curtail it or not, most everyone agrees that our Nation’s fate is in God’s hands and he and he alone is able to provide the relief and instructions to deliver and bring us out.

The most revealing Bible story that bares me out is found in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, Chapter 3; the story of three young Hebrew boys whose Babylonian names were Sharach, Meshach and Abed-nego.  They refused to bow down in a worshiping posture to the Babylonian king’s golden statue.  In spite of the fact that if they did not obey the king, they faced certain death, they put their trust in God and chose to disobey the king’s orders.

This defiance infuriated the king and he commanded that the young men be put to death by fire.  So the king ordered the furnace to be preheated seven times hotter than its usual temperature.  But in spite of that, the faithful boys were not afraid to face death because they knew that God was able to provide a method of survival.  And if not, they would never the less, bow down.  Subsequently, they were joined in the furnace by a fourth ‘Mystery Person’ who fanned the flames and reduced its temperature.  When the king saw this miracle, and perceived that the fourth Person was an Angel, he immediately commanded that the boys exit the furnace alive, and was amazed to see that they were unscaled by the smell of burnt clothing and hair.  Consequently, the three Hebrew boys  found favor with the king for their tenacity and strong commitment.

The moral of the story:

Some people believe that no situation has yet arrived in our Nation that calls for believers to personally demonstrate the scripture recorded in John 15:13:  “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  Not even the nearly 144,000 Covid-19 deaths so far recorded in the USA, seems severe enough for someone to cry out in prayer, ‘Here am I, Lord, take me instead.’

Well, that prayer might seem a little extreme, but we can all certainly pray the prayer of Jabez, found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10:  Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain.’  

If the prayer of Jabez was our prayer, too, and the Lord granted it, we could oblige Him by extending our efforts to search out the needy, give comfort to the downhearted and encouragement to the down trodden.  I’m sure with God’s help and provisions, we all could make a difference during Covid-19.

Please allow these pictures to help me tell my story:

man-pushing-a-woman-sitting-on-wheelchair-3101214                                   RAE

     Sharing time with family.                                                   People volunteering. 

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     Protect yourself & others.                                                     Wash hands often.   

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           Why do these things?  To please our Provider!  And become an overcomer!

Scripture Lesson:   Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.” Daniel 3:28

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

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