“Stringing mustard seed pearls”

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest thy trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6

This was just on my heart this morning and it yesterdays post, we looked at the verse that tells us that the preaching of the cross, the retelling and proclamation that Jesus was real and was everything the Bible says that He is and that to those whose minds have been trained and saturated by this world, it is just too much for them to believe.

So they don’t.

And when you think about it, everything we are taught in this world is completely contrary to the Word of God.

We are all born EQUAL, we are all created by the same Creator and as babies we know nothing but basic needs and as we grow we become toddlers and we all can remember being children and even in terrible upbringings most can still look back and remember that feeling in your heart and your soul that you are connected to something so much greater than yourself.

And that trust, trust in something that you can’t see but you know in your heart that there is more, that is why as children we have that faith and trust that allows tears to dry and laughter and joy to spring forth out of even the smallest of things, what may seem silly to  an adult is a source of endless merriment for a child.

We can fall down, get scraped up, maybe cry for a second and then in an instant get right back up on our feet and take off running again. No fear because we have just recently learned how to run.

Jesus also said a little something else, Matthew 18:3: “And he said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children,ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” 

And this is the condition we suffer from that He was warning us against in this verse. It is as we grow and as we develop and our minds are influenced by everything we hear and everything we see, we start to learn some very damaging lessons, lessons that we’d be far better off had they been left untaught.

But life does not work that way, it is not meant to work that way, at least not here.

When we begin to be taught fear, when we begin to be taught that we are not invincible, when we begin to be taught that if we are different, we will be rejected and when we begin to be taught that those who question and those who rock the boat will be  labeled, isolated, and made to stand in the corner alone and separated from the “rest of the class” until they can conform to the popular and expected thoughts.

That is the fear, that is the destruction that leads to the loss of the faith that we are born with, as we are told in Romans 12:3(c):”…according as God hath dealt every man (human being) the measure of faith.”

So we know  the faith is there, we just need to a little help sometimes in remembering where we hid it when we had to hide it from the world, when we cast our pearls and the swine ran over them and then attacked us for having that faith in what we cannot see.

The warning Jesus gave us means exactly that.

And I think sometimes even in our zealous attempt to win others to Christ, we will just throw those pearls out there.

And they represent wisdom and the holy things unto dogs means close to the same. If a person is NOT feeling conviction for their sins, if they are not coming under the prompting of the Spirit and we try to witness to them and we give the scriptures that they will NOT understand without divine revelation, the enemy and their flesh immediately kick into action.

They feel “judged” they feel like we are hypocritically accusing them and then they resort to exactly what they world has taught them, they attack, they attack us, they attack the word of God, and it only drives them further from the cross.

And what you are trying to share with a pure heart and sincere caring can actually cause a stumbling block for you.

Once we have been hurt while trying to witness, we feel dejected and question sometimes our own testimony, but remember you ARE right in trying to reach out to them but this can only been done by shining His light.

Being that light to them and praying constantly and standing in the gap through intercessory prayer for them and then as God draws them to Him, you can be there to answer questions only as that person opens the door and God always takes care of the rest.

We do get worried and often as we have been enlightened to the truth, we can become horrified, I know I was, when I realized just how real God is and just how His mercy had kept me and how close when we are not saved ARE truly standing over the mouth of hell.

Anyone who is saved HAS that testimony and when we will only remember who ministered to us and what events led us to the cross, when we think about who was effective in showing us the love of Christ

And to recover from the influence of this world, remember from our last post, this world referring to the teachings that are against God, making it declared an enemy of God, requires faith and faith is described as this:

Hebrews 11:1:”Now faith IS the substance (REALIZATION) of things hoped for, the evidence (CONVICTION) of things NOT seen.”

And THIS  is the kind of faith that Jesus refers to when He said this from Matthew 17:20: “…IF ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and IT SHALL BE REMOVE; and NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE UNTO YOU.”

And of course, yonder place just means telling the “mountain” to go and it WILL go.

And I know that this verse is classically taught dealing with the fact that a mustard seed is tiny.       

                                                                   

mustard seed

                                                  

But I want to look at it from a different perspective, how about IF think of ourselves AS mustard seeds?

How about if we just have faith and know that we are exactly what Jesus says we are and that we do have that access to Him and every promise in His word and not be afraid because the world has taught us that is foolish to actually believe that He could have possibly came to earth through a virgin, been the only Son of God, died and even harder to believe that He rose from the dead and that if we believe  that He did all these things, that one day we will also raise from the dead.

The world says that IS impossible, but God said IF we will BECOME like a little child (again in our thinking and innocence of heart) and be CONVERTED.

Which literally means, being changed, adapted for a NEW purpose and accepting that new purpose in Him and for His kingdom and then become a mustard seed in our FAITH in HIM and KNOW that He will do the miraculous simply because we believe that He will because as His child and Him as our Father, we have asked .

Be a mustard seed and just grow and hold onto those pearls, they serve a much better purpose displayed as a symbol of the love God bestowed on you when He gave you that precious strand, never take them off, certainly not to please this world and most definitely not to be thrown down and trampled.

If you have not accepted Jesus as the Lord of your life and you are feeling that pull, Him drawing you into a relationship with him, don’t be afraid of what others will think, what your friends will say or how you could possibly be shunned and ridiculed, you are where ALL of us who are saved have been.

We all face certain fears when we make the decision to break out of the mold this world shapes us in, so here is one last verse, I have used many times and have prayed it for MYSELF many times:

Romans 12:29(a,b): “And be ye NOT conformed to this world; but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind…” he does NOT expect us to be perfect or even close, He just expects us to at least make an effort!

Thanks for reading! Have a great week, love & peace till next time!

Σαλπιζω Φλογιζω NBJ2018

Shared from YouTube

 

An “A” for effort but nothing still equals zero .

“PAUL, CALLED to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the WILL of God, and Sosthenes our brother.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, CALLED to be saints with ALL that are in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, both their’s and our’s. 

Grace be unto you, and peace from the God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 

That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance (speaking) and in all knowledge; 

Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you. 

So you come behind (fall short) in no gift; waiting for the coming (revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Who should also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is faithful, by whom ye were CALLED into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,that ye all speak the same, (have a uniform testimony), and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 

For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that are contentions (quarrels) among you.

Now I this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and of Apollos; and of Cephas; and I of Christ.

Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized into the name of Paul?

I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus, and Gaius;

Lest (unless) any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

And I baptized also the household of Stephanas; besides (other than them), I know not whether I baptized any other. 

For Christ sent me NOT to baptize, but to preach the gospel, NOT with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect (considered void and meaningless). 

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND WILL BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath God not made foolish the wisdom of this world? 

For after the wisdom of God the world by wisdom KNEW NOT God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching  (the message preached) to SAVE them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But we preach Jesus crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 

BUT unto them that are CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  

Because the foolishness of God IS wiser than men; and the weakness of God IS stronger than men.

For ye see (consider) YOUR CALLING, brethren, how that NOT many wise men after the flesh, NOT many mighty, NOT many noble are called.” 1 Corinthians 1:1-26 

The main thought running through this passage is that we ARE called.

I love how Paul pointed out all the “in fighting”, all the contentions, and strife.

Like how so many of us in the “church” NOT one church but as a world-wide universal belief in Christ, have so many different thoughts and arguments about those beliefs… who “should be allowed” to serve what office, and what’s worse who’s “going to hell” or not for not conforming to “traditional” roles, or certain denominations beleifs, but he is teaching us that this is wrong and that we are to belive this… Jesus Christ, sinless son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, dead, and resurrected. Sharing THAT testimony and winning others to Christ through HIM being lifted up, NOT by our “wisdom” and ALL the other arguments are just that, arguments and that has no place and will never have a place in the Kingdom of God.

We are also being taught here to always bear in mind the fact that Jesus saves us, Jesus sanctified us, and He confirms, even keeping us in the confirmation that we are His, until the very end, until we are welcomed into our eternal reward.

But what do we do with this confirmation?

What do we do when we fail to share that testimony of just what the cross has meant to us?

What happens when God has healed us, rescued us, and delivered us and yet we don’t want to share that for fear of looking “foolish” to the world?

We become much like the ten lepers, whom after Jesus had healed ALL of them, only one returned to give God glory. 

When we choose to fear the world or we choose to just “sit” on our gift or calling and make no effort whatsoever to nurture those gifts or pursue that calling and when we fail to help others on the path that God has chosen for them, we are doing NOTHING. And when our “service” to the Lord only consists of what is convenient or comfortable to us and for us, again we are doing NOTHING.

And when church becomes a place we can go IF we need something from God or do not have anything “better to do”, then it the worst kind of NOTHING. When we just don’t feel like serving God, { NOT due to illness, but meaning attitude of being apathetic, just don’t have time, just don’t care} well, Jesus did NOT FEEL LIKE BEING TORTURED AND MURDERED, but He loved us enough to do it.

And ONCE we have known the Lord, we no longer belong to ourselves, we have been, as the Bible tells us, “bought with a price” and that price was Jesus’ life.

And then we turn and “live out” the verse in which the Lord tells us that we have “sold ourselves” for nothing. And by doing NOTHING we are selling ourselves, our salvation, AND those whom we were to minister to and those to whom the gift God had given us should have impacted.

God sent that preaching, that calling, that gift to those who do believe, we know the world will NOT receive it, it is not sent to them and he already told us they will find it foolish.

We can have that friendship with the world, even after God has us warned of this with these words from James 4:4:..“Know ye not (do you not know?) that the friendship of (with) the world IS enmity with God? whosoever therefore will (wants to be)be a friend with the world IS THE ENEMY OF GOD.”  

Again, the “world” meaning putting a higher value on those things of sin and worldly pleasure, and putting the thoughts, opinions of others at a higher value than those of God.

This is a huge problem today with the refusal to speak AGAINST pagan beliefs and sin for fear of offending others. If you know God to be God than you KNOW that He is also the ONLY truth and the ONLY way to salvation.

And the argument of “others having their own beliefs”, but when you know those beliefs are completely contrary to the word of God and say NOTHING you are letting that person be falsely lead and by saying NOTHING you are letting them have  a false sense of security in those false beliefs.

The FIRST ploy the serpent played on Eve was LETTING her BELIEVE that he was her friend and that he was telling the truth, when we LET other BELIVE that we WOULD tell them the truth concerning the way to salvation but we fail to do so, then we become as much a danger to their soul and eternal life as the devil himself.

And all due to our choice of choosing NOTHING.

That does not mean you can not speak to someone or be kind to people but when those friendships and FEAR of ridicule prevents you from sharing the cross and the testimony of God, then that friendship is now of a higher value than your own salvation.

So we all have that choice, DO THE WILL OF GOD, as we are told here:

James 1:22: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves.” 

There is that deception again, it is very easy to deceive ourselves into choosing what we think or what we feel, but you know, when Jesus taught the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer, a key to that prayer is ‘Thy will be DONE in earth,a s it is in heaven.” and that earth can also mean US, Adam was created from the dirt of the earth, and earth is this realm but WE are also that earth that must allow HIS will in us.

When all is said, and all is done, rewards given and totals tallied we can be assured of getting straight “A”‘s for effort and we can also be assured that no matter how it is calculated “zero” will always equal absolutely NOTHING.

I, for one want those “A”‘s! I changed the name a little and am trying a little something “different” as far as ministry goes, because I was challenged to the thought of what did I have? What could I do with whatever it is that God has allowed me to have to spread the Gospel of Christ, and fail or flop, if we give all we have and try our best, that is all he wants of us BUT we all have to try to we all need to start taking God and His word, His commands, His mercy, and His love and doing something with it.

Σαλπιζω Φλογιζω NBJ2018

Related: go-for-the-gold-but-please-hold-the-jade

To shun the Son

“Breaking through the breach”

“And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her and went in unto (had relations with) her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er .” Genesis 38:1,3

I want to stop right there for a moment before we get into the rest of this story because I need to point out a few things about it to kinda set the stage, if you will.

Notice this is what happened after Judah and his brothers had decided to do away with Joseph.

But Judah was the brother who decided to just sell Joseph rather than let him rot in the pit, which ruined Reuben’s cowardly plan of sneaking back later and freeing Joseph.

There are so many things going on in this story it would take years to point out every little detail.

So for us, we’re just going to look at how bad ideas lead to worse ideas and what we compromise in that process.

So here’s Judah, whose name literally means “praise”, he has gone away from his brothers and went to his friend, who lives in a place that my spellcheck even tried to change to adulterate and once there he ends up with a Canaanite wife, whose name means “crying” and remember the Canaanite’s were the people who the children of Israel were supposed to overcome so that they could possess the land that God had given them. 

So now not only is he going places he should never be but the “praise” of Israel has now mingled with the “crying” of the pagans and that which was produced was anything but good.

“And she conceived again, and bare a son and called his name Onan.

And she yet conceived again, and bare a son; and called his name, Shelah: and he was at Chezib when she bare him.” Genesis 38:3,4

This union had now produced three children, Er, whose name meant “watcher”, Onan, whose name meant “wealthy”, and finally Shelah, whose name meant “blind” who was born while Judah was in Chezib, the land whose name is derived from the words, “disappointment”, “delusion”, “failing”, and “lying”.

So it is pretty easy to see the prophetic going on here. 

We can see just how easy it can be to be led wrong.

Led into that land due to our disappoints and failings and the tears of those lands mingling with our praise until we also can be completely delusional to the fact that no matter what we call our “accomplishments” in those lands, and no matter how we may feel that we are growing or being enriched, if we have “left” our “promised land” for a “foreign field” that God never sent us to, then we are failing because we are “blinded” in that land.

It is really reminiscent of the spiritual state spoken of by Jesus.

Revelation 3:17,18: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. 

I counsel thee to buy of me Gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Now we know how Judah got there and what was “produced” there, now let’s see just how far he had to go before he finally saw how “blind” he had become. 

“And Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, whose name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s firstborn was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew (killed) him.

And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 

And the thing which he did  displeased the Lord (was evil in the sight of the Lord) whereby he slew (killed) him also.

Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter in law,  Remain a widow at thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown: for he said, Lest peradventure he die also, as his brethren did. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.

And in the process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheepshearers to Timnath, he and his friend Hirah, the Adullamite.

And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep.

And she put  her widow’s garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place, which is by the way to Timnath; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she will still not given unto him to wife.

When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned in unto her by the way, and said, Go to I pray thee, let me come in unto thee (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?

And he said, I will send thee a kid from my flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it (something she could keep as a guarantee)?

And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets (cord), and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him.

And she arose, and went away, and laid by her vail from her, and put on her garments of widowhood.

And Judah sent the kid by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive his pledge from the woman’s hand (to get his staff, etc back): but he found her not.

Then he asked the men of that place, Where is the harlot, that was openly by the way side? And they said, There was no harlot in this place.

And he returned to Judah, and said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, there was no harlot in this place.

And Judah said, let her take it unto her (let her keep it), lest we be shamed: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.

And it came to pass about three months after; that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, she is with child by whoredom (harlotry), and Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” Genesis 38:5-24

Interjection time… WOW that is a lot going on and I can’t help think that I probably should have used Judah’s good old buddy Hirah in WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT.. further proof that when we are headed down the wrong road the enemy always sends someone to make sure we go barreling down it!

So now we are up to Tamar, Judah smuggling blaming her somehow for the fact that his sons died, not once every considering what we know to be true, they died because they did evil in the sight of the Lord, not because of any thing related to Tamar, another one of his misconceptions, just as he thought she was a “harlot” and  in the process he ended up throwing everything her way except what was rightfully hers.

And now she is supposed to be the one that gets “burnt” by the fallout..

The almost comedic irony in this is that when his buddy couldn’t get his possessions back, he decided to just leave it alone so that they would not be shamed in not having kept his end of the bargain in her payment… and yet he is so spiritually blind that it is okay to manipulate and deceive his daughter in law out of her rightful heir and when she is found to be questionably pregnant, he is going to have her killed.

And the truly scariest aspect of the story is just what Judah was willing to sacrifice, without any thought, worry, or fear that he may not get his signet and especially his staff back, which were his very identity and worse that he could so easily state that it could just be kept… kept as payment for “harlotry”. 

That can be taken symbolically as a very spiritual  “adultery”, when we choose to trade-off or just give away the callings, positions, and gifts that God has given us, either for something we want more or just simply through willful disobedience.

But by being in that land and mingling with those of that land he would indeed find himself in the spiritual place of Chezib, where “blindness” had been born and all would lead to the repentant “crying” as his wife’s namesake. Let’s check out his wake-up call with the ending of our story for Genesis 38:25-30:

“And when she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: Discern, I pray thee, (Please tell me) whose are these, the signet, and bracelets (cord), and staff.

And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because I gave her not Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more (did not have any further relations with her).

And it came to pass in the time of her travail (when she gave birth), that, behold, twins were in her womb.

And it came to pass, when she travailed, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out; and she said How hath thou broken forth? this breach be upon thee, therefore his name was called Pharez. (Breach OR Breakthrough).

And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand; and his name was called Zarah (Zerah, meaning “dawning” and “light”).” It is impossible not see another scriptural truth that would mirror this birth.

1st Corinthians 15:45,46: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit. 

Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

It comes down to this, we have all maybe been Tamar, and we have all probably acted like Judah in one way or another but we can choose to let mistakes and failures hold us back and destroy our relationship with God and others OR we can use those very “breaches” to propel us forward to a breakthrough, the choice is ours.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share in a little of your day! 

Love & peace till next time!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2018

And as I looked at the date, I realized today is the anniversary of receiving my calling, 10/16/06 and I am forever blessed and honored that He has allowed me to be…HIS!

 

Prayer of David

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, and the ship was like (about) to be broken.

Then the mariners were afraid and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them, (threw everything possible overboard to lighten the ship).

But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship, and he lay, and was fast asleep.” Jonah 1-5

This is the final post in the series dealing with the thought of spirit versus flesh.

In “Magic” button we looked at Peter and the disciples, who succumbed to emotional exhaustion and  the sorrow caused by the dread of the uncertainty of what was about to take place.

And Paul, who definitely had a predisposition to violence was constantly imprisoned, and ridiculed and was quite honest about the struggles that he faced as he allowed the Lord to teach him the reactions God wanted him to display and he did, one of the many proofs of this came after he and Silas were miraculously freed when God sent an earthquake and opened ALL the prison doors.

Paul alerting the jailer to the fact that they were all still there just as the jailer was about to commit suicide because of their escape.

Paul’s unexpected display of love and mercy being one of the things God used to bring conviction on the jailer, saving him and his entire family.

And with “Kidron calling” we discussed the tear filled journey taken by many including David, whose comfort and complacency directly led him to the place of temptation which Bathsheba. 

David should have been in battle with his men, and his fall to that temptation gave way to what would send him and those faithful to him fleeing toward the wilderness.

And finally Jonah whose just simply allowed his flesh such control that he really believed that he could outrun God. 

Most know the story, when it became evident that he was the reason this storm had come upon them ALL and asked to be thrown overboard with which the storm ended for those on the ship but it still took a horrifying ordeal to convince Jonah that he would do as he had been told.

And still, Jonah held on to enough of his flesh that he actually got mad when God showed mercy to Nineveh and revoked his judgment after they had repented, Jonah was mad because he wanted them destroyed to fulfill his prophetic word.

He could have had his own insecurities as prophets are usually hated and ridiculed, maybe he thought if he sleep long enough and ran far enough someone else would do his job for him and God would somehow “forget” that he had given Jonah this job, and unfortunately,  there is still a lot of that going on today.

These stories have many common threads but one that is really prevalent is how all these examples affected other people, from the hurt and heartache Jesus suffered when his friends couldn’t even stay by his side and would go on to run and even deny him and being betrayed by one who knew him so well and had held such closeness with him that he knew exactly the spot that he could hand Jesus over to his enemies.

Of course, Jesus knew all this and still loved us enough to go on over that brook of CALLED.

And the story of David filled with weeping upon weeping as we all “take people with us”, whether we want to believe that or not, we do.

Our decisions, just like in Jonah’s story, can affect and endanger others, as he laid comfortably sleeping  while those on the ship were in fear of being absolutely destroyed. Jonah oblivious to what was going on around him, and as with the fare price, he did indeed pay a much higher price and STILL had to do his job.

That is what happens when we allow denial to convince us that everything is really just someone’s else’s problem that they’ll just have to deal with.

God has given us the Bible and all the stories of those before us to be examples to us of many things and often what to do and a greater blessing of what NOT to do and how NOT to handle our problems.

In starting this series I had that thought over and over in my own heart as I have been trying to deal with my own struggles after losing my Mom and I have found that to be true so many times, we all struggle with something at one point or another in life.

We can choose to be big fakes and try to hide those struggles and put on our “churchy christian” faces (yeah, someone actually called me that a few weeks back ;), I was thinking, “If you only knew”…, obviously they had no clue to the battle I was having just staying on the boat!) and we can chose to pretend that we are all together and fa-bu and all kinds of groovy.

But that is not real and God hates that, actually His word says this, and I have quoted this verse probably thousands of time during my time with the Lord and His word never fails:

James 4:7-10: “SUBMIT yourselves therefore TO God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh unto you.

Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts ye double minded. 

Be afflicted (lament), and mourn, and weep:

LET your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness (gloom). 

HUMBLE yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

So with all the troubles in life that can sometimes TRY to lull us back into those old comfortable places where we can just go to sleep hoping to wait out the trip of the dreaded, now uncertain future ahead, so afraid of tearfully crossing that brook ahead of us, that we can forget the promises, and the blessings, and the fulfillment of the callings that are just on the other side of that brook…if we will make that journey.

I want to end this on the note of David, this is the answer for us if we have struggled with these issues or even if someone wasn’t thrown from the boat, they had just temporarily “fallen off”!

That is one of the innumerable beauties of God, it’s not about falling off the boat, or having to be thrown from the boat, it is all about climbing back on board and trying your best to sit down, shut up and trust the Captain.

I love the boating terms, always will, and I have put this is past posts, but back in the day when our late Pastor, who had been a Navy man, would hit us with a particularly toe stepping message, he’d always end it with this, “Shape up or ship out!” and then he’d smile really big and finish with, “And these pews don’t have oars on them!”

Still pretty good advice, we can’t go backward there is nothing there except heartache and death, so we have to go forward, even if we are going without human companionship. 

Imagine the disciples once they were “on their own”, they really had to put their faith to the fire and as Jesus told none of us are above any of us and all of our work will be tried in that fire.

This is David’s prayer after he had been confronted by Nathan the prophet concerning his sins with Bathsheba and the “murder by war” of Uriah.

It is a wonderful prayer and even to be broken down and prayed by certain verse over our specific struggle, we can all find hope, help, and healing in the word of God.

                                                         Psalm 51

“HAVE mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness; according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speaketh, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen (brought forth) in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right (steadfast) spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free (generous) spirit. 

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else I would give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite (crushed) heart, O God, thou will not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion; build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.”

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2018

 

“Kidron calling”

“And when Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron (Kidron) where there was a garden, into which he entered, he and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither (met there) with his disciples.” John 18:1,2 

Picking this to tie in with my last post “Magic” button  this scripture took place at the time of the arrest of Jesus, after he had given the disciples warning that they should watch and pray that they would not enter into temptation.

Now is a good time to point out that as Jesus went forth into this place, He was on His way to his arrest, torture, humiliation, and ultimate crucifixion.

ALL this laid just beyond the crossing over that brook BUT this was also the path of His divine purpose for coming to this earth, as He answered Pilate… To this end was I born, and for this cause I came into the world,  and the enemy, just like Judas in this passage, always knows where we go for comfort and just where to find us in a crisis, and that is when he hits us with all he has and it’s like that button, he knows how and exactly where to do the most damage.

But FIRST I really want to point out that Jesus is an exception to all the rules. He is God and when He came here in human form as a sacrifice for all of us, He did so completely sinless.

He NEVER committed sin or even thought a wrong thought, so it was NEVER a question of falling with Him, as it is for us. BUT as He also told us that The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. and we are to follow His lead in how He handled every situation and circumstance in life and even in the face of death.

And there is so much for us to learn in crossing over our own brook “Kidron” and if we are called, we are going to have to cross that brook.

We can a learn that from Davis’s story 2 Samuel chapters fifteen and sixteen, to give the background on it, this WAS due to David falling into temptation, because of his affair with Bathsheba and the essential “hit” he put on his own solider Uriah in an attempt to cover his tracks, he had been told that the sword would NEVER leave his house, so even though he had repented and reconciled to God he was still under that judgment and this story took place as he was fleeing from his son who WAS one of the evils that would arise from his own house against him.

If possible please read these chapters to get the jest of this story because I am just using a few verses to get to this point, but it is a story I have used many times to make many different points and so much can be learned on some many level from David’s ordeal.

I am starting scripture coming into the part of the story when most had turned against David and it actually says that Absalom “stole the hearts of the men of Israel” and as he prepared to overtake his father’s throne, David and those whose were faithful to him were forced to flee and this is where decisions were being made.

2 Samuel 15: 21-23 : “And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the Lord liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there shall thy servant be.

And David said to Ittai, Go and pass over. And Ittai the Gittite passed over, and all his men, and all the little ones that was with him.

And ALL the country wept with a loud voice,and all the people passed over,the king himself passed over the brook Kidron (CALLED),and all the people passed over, toward the way of the wilderness.”

What really jumps out at me is the similarity between Ittai’s pledge of allegiance to David and Peter’s words to Jesus and one of the literal meanings given for Kidron is “CALLED” and as you go on with that story, David was hit so hard just in these few chapters, this ONE instance of a PERIOD in his life, he was chased, cursed, hated but he was learning something, and you got to remember WHO David was and what he had ALREADY learned from the Lord.

By this point in his life, he had been in battle after battle, fought Goliath, survived Saul’s hatred and had been anointed three times to be king and David knew what is was to be afraid and he knew what it was to desperately seek God, he knew what is was to  trust and he knew what is was to encourage himself when he felt a million miles away. But by the point this all came into play against him he had gotten a little out of practice keeping those things he had learned fresh in his mind and most importantly fresh in his heart.

As he and all his people passed over the brook and they all went toward the WAY of the wilderness, his flesh began to die, when he just accepted the things being thrown at him without cursing back or flying into a rage and wanting to retaliate, when he just kept on crossing the brook of the called his enemies were defeated and his throne rightfully restored.

Not to say that there wasn’t PAIN, serious, serious pain, as all these crossings were made with tears and sorrow.

Over the past few weeks I have thought so much about what Jesus told Peter, when He said The Spirit truly is ready but the flesh is weak  and I have come to believe of the many lessons we learn from that scripture that the biggest, hardest lesson to grasp is this, that our spirit, the part of us that loves God, longs for His presence and wants nothing more than to please Him and be in His will can BE completely given over to Him but our human side can still have a lot of catching up to do, it can be very weak and must be strengthened BEFORE we can enter into those places that He wants us to travel.

And when you think of it, imagine Peter and ALL the disciples, hanging out with Jesus day and night, being in the midst of Him and the miracles and Him giving them that authority over demons and diseases BUT He was right there with them or at least they knew He was close by and would come to the rescue just like He did when He rebuked their lack of faith and taught them the need for fasting and prayer when they could not cast the demon out of the young boy and the father had to bring him to Jesus Himself. (Matthew 17:14-21)

So how much harder would it be for them when they had to have the faith to believe for these and greater works in His name and believe for that power to come when they asked in His name when He would no longer be by their side on this earth?

He was not only their teacher, He was also their best friend and even though they knew who He was and is, and they saw with their own eyes miracles and resurrections of the dead, nothing could ever have prepared them for the transitions between heaven and earth that would take place.

Their spirits were ready, that is why He gave them the extra comfort of adding TRULY when He told them but the “flesh” part, the human side had to be strengthened or otherwise their minds could have never withstood the transition that they also would have to make on that journey with Him.

Think about that… ALL of this was new, it was new to EVERYONE and if you put yourself in their shoes at the time and ask how would they react when they would no longer see Him or touch Him in the physical realm but be aware of His invisible presence and would actually feel Him in their souls.

NOTHING could have ever prepared them for that, it is not a shock that they stood “gazing up” when He went back to heaven, they were trying to reason it all in their heads when it cannot be reasoned and they would have to learn how to navigate their lives and fulfilling His call on their lives in a way they could have never possibly imagined.

And when the pain, the sorrow and the persecution would come that flesh would have to be under submission to the spirit or else that flesh would cost callings and how that submission comes is in one word…acceptance… and I’ll leave that right there for now.

Thank you for reading and thanks for all your prayers!

God Bless you with a wonderful week!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ2018