“Raised by wolves”

“And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash.

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers (had died) and there AROSE ANOTHER GENERATION after them, which KNEW NOT THE LORD, NOR YET THE WORK WHICH HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL.

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and FOLLOWED other gods, of the gods OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE ROUND ABOUT THEM, and bowed themselves unto them, and PROVOKED THE LORD TO ANGER.

AND THEY FORSOOK THE LORD, AND SERVED Baal and Ashtaroth (pagan Canaanite “deities”demons).” Judges 2:8-13

About my title… I actually like wolves, the furry animal ones and believe in supporting conservation of their habitats and their protection, so this is going to be about those OTHER wolves.

The spiritual ones and we all know that they are among us and they do try to fit in and fake you out as to their true identity but those are just one type of wolf, I want to talk to you about another.

Just plain old run of the mill wolves, ones who are just naturally exactly what they are. Never been saved, never even thought about it, just spend their lives doing whatever they want, whenever they want and usually not much of it is good.

Wolves run in packs, but they always have a leader,or leader ‘couple”, not always by being the strongest, but by taking care of the needs of the pack, knowing what the pack needs and making it happen and sometimes they will take in young pups to raise as their own and make them a member of the pack.

I am quite afraid this is the major problem so many Christians have in staying the course for Christ. If you had been “raised” up in the world by parents or a parent that did NOT serve God or teach you anything about God or exposed you to false religions, and you had grown up in  a home with drinking, partying, and all the things that come with that, while maybe socially acceptable, maybe even holding to some value system, still in no way has prepared you to live a life with behavior fitted according to the standard of God.

Kinda like, the old phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” more less, do as your parents, your friends, do as you have been taught. What about those little pups that are adopted into the pack?

Same deal, we respond as we have been taught. I do know that some things God just places in us at birth, that deep intuition knowing right from wrong and that little tugging that sets off the alarm that even when a wolf says something that is happening is okay, you know, by that feeling in your stomach that it really isn’t.

The Lord instills that in us that no matter where life takes us that we will long for more, we will know there is more than just this life, and we will one day break away from the pack and seek that which we have never known and have never been taught because one day we realize that just because the pack takes us in and raised us as their own, still DOES NOT MAKE US A WOLF.

Often when you announce your salvation people will seem genuinely happy for you and they will even congratulate you, encourage you, and wolves especially will sometimes confess they “probably need to get saved too” and this all seems good.

 BUT if you have been “raised by wolves” I promise you all they are doing is marking off your new territory as their new hunting ground and they will soon want you to get you back running with the pack.

And I have seen this far to many times, someone will get saved and soon  the old friends show up along with the old habits, and the old ways after God has delivered them from that bondage because you can’t be a lamb and run with wolves!

People end up back on drugs, back out in sin because they refuse to “lose their life” in order to find it and listen to the wrong people.

Matthew 16:24-26: ” Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

I understand this somewhat referred to the deaths of his followers BUT  I also believe He was also referring to the loss of our lifestyles, friends, and anything we have surrendered at the cross in order to serve Him. Denying ourselves is denying the will of the flesh and the desire to return to the behaviors and sin we were freed from.

2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE (creation) : OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.”

ALL NEW! Doesn’t get any better than that, every sin, every failure, every mistake covered by the blood and washed away FOREVER! And we’ve got to keep it that way!

You know the best defense against a wolf? STAND YOUR GROUND they want you running when they attack, so you have to stand your ground and they will back down and back off and you can’t let them keep hanging around.

Here’s the WORD on it, to go back to our starter verse, Judges chapter one deals with how the tribes were told to destroy the inhabitants out of the lands God had given them and the fact that many did not destroy them but rather kept company with them and they were soon visited by an angel of the Lord to be reminded of WHAT they had been told. 

Judges 2:1-4: “And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said , I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I SAID I WILL NEVER BREAK MY COVENANT WITH YOU,

AND YE SHALL MAKE NO LEAGUE (treaty) WITH THE INHABITANTS OF THIS LAND; YE SHALL THROW DOWN THEIR ALTARS: BUT YE HAVE NOT OBEYED MY VOICE: WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS?

WHEREFORE I ALSO SAID, I WILL NOT DRIVE THEM OUT FROM BEFORE YOU: BUT THEY SHALL BE AS THORNS IN YOUR SIDES, AND THEIR GODS SHALL BE A SNARE UNTO YOU.” 

Never heard it? Well, we have now, if we do not throw down those spiritual altars, you know all the things that have been more important than God, all the spiritual altars where God-given virtues have been sacrificed for the pleasures of this world. And have no relations with the “inhabitants” of the land of your past, because the will be allowed to become a thorn in your flesh and their “gods” of drugs, sex, and money will become a trap to you. So watch out for those wolves, they are real, and they are devious, never trust them, don’t listen when they start to howl and don’t back down when they growl, stand your ground and they will quit coming around!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

I love this song, when I was “in the world” I loved music, all music and much of it, not quite what a Christian should listen too, so I’d get “songs in my head” that I really did not want there and I actually prayed and prayed that when I got “music in my head” that it would be Gospel, and when that time came, this was the song!

“WIDOW-MAKER”

I really debated doing this… blogs are  a beautiful thing and somehow writers get emotionally attached to readers and even though we may never meet in person, the love and attachment to our regular readers is still very much there and the appreciation and love for them is just as strong, if not more so, than it would be for those who came and listened to “live” ministry because it requires giving up time and moments of their lives to stop by and check out whats new on the site.

Of course that could just be me.. but I believe many bloggers feel the same way. I have been writing rather sporadically, and it may be that way for a little while longer so please bear with me and don’t jump ship, I’ll be back and really need the prayers now.

I’m sure you noticed my featured photo of me and my sweetie, it is from last year and I used it because “a picture truly is worth a thousand words” and it sums up my hovering over him, “pestry” kind of nature.

I have noticed in the church a new attack with this, I am sure aimed at the “church ladies”, it seems that so many husbands are being hit wide open and I know at my church we have all just had to absolutely band together and have faith for each other, and once even just finally giving into to the sheer lunacy of the fact that two of our husbands had serious “life or death confirming” appointments on the same day, and it is not just the church I attend, I know many women fighting the same attacks on the health of their spouses.

I am not a stranger to fighting giants and I know we are all fought and fought hard, just comes with the territory of being a soldier in the kingdom and just as the storm in Paul’s story had a name and Israel’s larger than life, seemingly undefeatable giant, Goliath had a name… Guess hell didn’t appreciate my teaching series on the world’s “heart condition”….. my latest nemesis has a name, whose prophetic irony is in no way lost on me… “widow-maker”. 

And I asked myself, what kind of sick twisted name is that?  I know the medical logic behind it but I am sure it was coined by a secret misogynist or a “he-man woman-hater” because why on earth would anyone choose a name of such absolute cruelty?

My husband truly is a God-send, my pre-Christ days of torment trying to fill up that spot in my soul with a constant need for approval from the opposite sex and the twisted need for reaffirmation of my self-worth as being more than kindling had led me on quite a path and I racked up boyfriends and toxic relationships like a stamp collector who had just found an old abandoned post office full of wondrous never post marked finds and self-destructive was an understatement.

So after my very short, very painful nine-month first marriage, I truly never wanted to marry ever, ever again and to be honest, when I met my husband, I did not even want to date anyone because I had just absolutely had more than enough and even though I had not accepted Christ, I knew by this point that nothing in my life up that point was working and dragging someone else into my messed up world was only going to mess them up and I honestly did not want to do that to anyone else.

But life has a way of knowing what we need, when we might think otherwise and he was extremely persistent and I was in love with him before I could even figure out what happened to me.

No joke, I actually cried because I was so upset at how on earth I could possibly have fallen in love with him, when I did not want to fall in love with anyone. But who could help it?

He was gorgeous and was always at the ready to rescue every wounded or stray animal I happened upon and always ready with a solution to any problem and a shoulder whenever I needed to cry and a reassurance that NOT HIM, BUT GOD would always take care of it. He was completely different, and it took five years before I was ready to finally say I do and I always told him that I was the last thing on earth that he needed but when I said I do, I meant and I meant it forever and he has always just been a great person.

I knew of a family that needed Christmas gifts for their children, which ended up with him branching out into an angel tree program and using his job as a catapult for an almost twenty year Christmas ministry that included the elderly, nursing homes, and of course children’s programs for multiple agencies and all of his secret things that I have heard people mention to him in passing, and he has always went above and beyond what anyone would ask.

Of course we have had our moments and our fights, as everyone does, but he has been more that I had ever imagined or deserved in a spouse. He looked at me through the eyes of love with a strong background in Jesus and never gave up on me.. even though I know I was quite difficult especially before I was saved and probably a lot after that.

All of my craziness.. like getting up in the middle of the night when I was nine months pregnant and a skunk had sprayed outside our house and “the horrid smell” was killing the Victorian inside of me, and “could he please do something” it is funny now and a long-standing joke because there really was nothing he could do.. but pregnancy can do strange things to women and he got up.

He stayed right by my side during the birth and took off work for the entire three days and even once came home for me to take my cat for an emergency vet visit. All the things he has shown such sweetness and kindness in, I could never list and I know how blessed I am.

So twenty-three years seems only days and in 2014 it started getting scary, he was working as a vulcanizer, sounds alien I know, but it is kinda like being an emergency repair guy for mining operations and it is set up almost like power company men, if something is down they have to work until it is repaired and this can mean fifteen-twenty hours shifts with the guys taking cat naps while taking turns driving or waiting on the belt repairs to cure.

He had been on a twenty-eight hour shift and was trying to unload the equipment and slipped and injured his knee, so he had surgery and the exact same surgery was needed again four months later and I was scared to death when they had to put him to sleep the second time, it was so close together and he coughed and coughed when he was in recovery, so the next day he was home and became deathly sick, turned pale as a sheet and was just soaked in cold sweat and I called the number they had given us and the doctor on call said to just watch him for fever and site redness but made pretty light of it and finally thank God it passed and he felt better.

Kept having medical problems and last November a major double hernia was found and that made surgery number three.. two repairs for a really weird type of hernia that he had evidently been born with and had just never known it.. until it made itself known.

Ah.. we think it is getting better… blood pressure goes through the roof… several dosage changes on his medication and finally the doctor orders an EKG and the results came back with two prior heart attacks, one that had been major and they found an “abnormality” so off he goes to a specialist… more tests… nothing about any of it is good, I kept having faith but just could not shake that “little feeling” that made me cry every single time I thought about it… crazy numbers and crazy results and the repeated voiced thought from them is that he is “too young” to have what he has going on.. he is forty-eight and these are problems that shouldn’t even be there for thirty or forty more years…  and the doctor told him that considering the heart attack he already suffered (which I now believe was after the second surgery) that “he had been given a second chance and that everything that would now have to be done was things that should have been done yesterday”  and a really odd southern analogy “that if your barn is on fire, you get on your horse and run”

So we hold on.. heart catheterization day comes and I am so holding on.. I am not going to cry and I am not going to give in to the unthinkable.. (although that really did not get me too far, trying is not always succeeding) My verse… I was and am holding to..“Who against hope BELIEVED in hope” the cath didn’t take long, we were met in recovery with a dry erase board with a heart drawn, LAD four blockages, from left to right.. 100%, 95%, 80%, 70%  so the battle has been engaged and the prize to be won is the life of my husband and I know all of hell is rejoicing as the ante has been upped by needless and senseless drama on BOTH sides of our family, hurt and anger, people who love to kick you when your down, making quite a lonesome travel.. but God reminded me of the fact that we are NEVER alone.

One of my favorite written works is:

 “Prayer for Peace”

 Lord, make me an instrument of thy divine peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning, that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

 Written By:  St Francis of Assisi

I know the Biblical truth behind it.. we have to counter every attack, just as using the Word of God which is our sword, and as we counter “fear with faith”,”hurt with surrender”, “evil with good” etc. and I had thought and thought.., what scripture counters widow maker?

Yesterday, I came to what is, I think my only conclusion, “YOKE-BREAKER” Jesus IS the author and finisher of our faith. He has had his hand on my husband and it is by his grace that the first unknown heart attack did not kill him, and being put under for the all the surgeries, not to mention everyday life has not killed him and that He allowed this condition to finally be found and as scripture also says, it is by His grace “we are not consumed” and I can not know tomorrow or how the rest of our journey will fair but I know God created him in the palm of His hand and no matter how much I love him, Jesus loves him even more and in that I trust.

I’ve been around long enough to know that fairy tales do not exist and that life can be very unfair but I am certain of two things, I will BELIEVE in HOPE in the face of hopelessness until there is no hope left to be had and EVEN then widow maker will NOT win because on earth or separated by the realms of heavenly rest and earthly togetherness HE WILL ALWAYS BE MY HUSBAND and there will never be another, and as Solomon put it, “Love IS as strong as death” and LOVE NEVER DIES.

Forever & Always

No copyright infringement intended with the use of the St. Francis prayer, it is on a card that I have had for around fifteen years and credit to him was all I could do.

End of the season….

“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.

Being forty days tempted of (tested by) the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (was hungry).

And the devil said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him saying, It is written, THAT MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD OF GOD.

And the devil taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him the all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power (authority) I will give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. IF thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, IF thou be the Son of God, cats thyself down from hence (here): For it is written, HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER THEE, TO KEEP THEE: AND IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR THEE UP, LEST AT ANY TIME THOU DASH THY FOOT AGAINST A STONE. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is SAID, THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD. And when the devil had ended all the temptation (testing) HE DEPARTED FOR HIM, FOR A SEASON (until an OPPORTUNE TIME).” LUKE 4:1-13

We sometimes are too easily convinced that NO ONE endures the same freaky, bizarre battles that we suffer and allow the enemy and ourselves into pushing us right off the boat because we believe the lie that if we were “right” these things would not be happening. If you are going through something similar today, be encouraged, we are never alone.

So in our story, this is not JUST any one that is going through this! It is our Lord, our Savior, the beauty is that as we all know, or should know NO HUMAN can fight the devil. Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost and then LED by the Spirit to go into that wilderness, He could not take a buddy, He could not decline the offer, He had to go this one completely alone.

Of course having all power in heaven and earth HE COULD HAVE did anything He wanted but to be the example to us, this is what He did and as He walked that wilderness, alone, fasting, praying and BEING TESTED BY THE DEVIL FOR FORTY DAYS!  

We fight the most heated parts of our battles when we are physically the most weak, and sometimes the most emotionally drained, the enemy is not going to hit you the moment you come from a house shaking revival, full of fire, and new oil, he is a lot of things but unintelligent is  NOT one of those things. 

First he attacked Jesus’ identity, his first move is ALWAYS to try to get us to doubt or question our Identity in God, and there’s some symbolism in that, I think in the bread also that we can sometimes be weak, weary, and lured into accepting the wrong thoughts and doctrines as “food”  during the times of famishing, but Jesus just quickly came back with the word, that hunger is nothing, but the true bread of life, the word of God is the only truly satisfying meal.

The devil then tries to make Him an offer, all the POWER, all the Kingdoms, ALL he could ever desire, IF, he would worship him. Pretty hilarious right there, trying to “buy a man with his own money” and we know to not sell out your eternal riches for “A MOMENT IN TIME” as the devil tries to sell it.

Again Jesus cut him with that sword of the spirit, telling him to his face that HE KNEW who he was dealing with. Sometimes you just have to let the devil know that you are not playing his game, call it for what it is and don’t let him bluff you.

And then he makes ONE MORE ATTEMPT to try to get Jesus “to prove” Himself, He USES scripture. Ever had anyone twist scripture as an argument back to your Biblical reasoning against an argument they have against you or something the enemy is trying to test you with? You know, that in my thinking is really deadly territory, and I love this part, Jesus no longer stating “it is written” instead He used “IT IS SAID” because not only was it written but God had spoken it and was indeed speaking it AGAIN and there is nothing quite like that, when you think it in context of parent to child … I SAID… carries all the weight needed and the devil knew he was absolutely busted. 

There is no power in heaven or earth, nor will there ever be that has precedence over what He has spoken. And with that the devil fled.. but only for a season.

Some things do just keep coming, all those who came against Him during His ministry, but think of all that came to Him for salvation. We do go through battles in this world that relief is only for a season, and there is always going to be struggles we may never understand here but God uses all things we suffer through as an opportunity to shine His light on our lives and we can often look back after a trail and see what He has allowed to grow and be nurtured in us during those moments and in the end, even though some have went through terrible ordeals, probably not one of us would go back and change a thing IF changing it would have altered the outcome of bringing us to the Lord. We know satan thought he waged the final battle against Jesus at the cross, he thought in this opportune season, that he had won it all only to have Christ overcome death, hell and resurrect victoriously forever and ever.

We have to have those enemies to have that table prepared for us in their presence. If we were never crushed in spirit, how could He draw nigh? If we never shed a tear how could He wipe them away?

Maybe life would be all happy-go-lucky but we would not necessarily know the redemptive power of Jesus and we would not have that promise of eternal life, we would not need it if this one was so fabulous, without the need for hope, we would be most hopeless.

We know also in the following passage after our verses that “Jesus returned in the power of the spirit…” So I want to leave you with His word, when you feel like the enemy is dragging you under, quote this: HE SAID …

“My sheep HEAR my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I GIVE unto them eternal life: and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand.

MY FATHER which gave them me, IS GREATER THAN ALL; and NO MAN IS ABLE TO PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND. I AND MY FATHER ARE ONE.” JOHN 10:27-30

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω  NBJ 2016

AMONG THE THORNS

“As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters” Song of Solomon 2:2
The beautiful spiritual garden of the Lord, filled with every plant and flower to be imagined and the plot he has chosen for you to grow in.

You have been created in the image of God, the enemy knows this and he knows the value of the true beauty which you possess. He despises it, so he plants his briers in your life to rip and shred that image until there is nothing left but bloody, twisted, painful wounds.

Thorns, the gnarled twisted vines that entangle us and who we believe ourselves to be.

Their razor-sharp points piercing our souls, preventing our movement in either direction for fear of their sharp sting. If left to grow they will completely take over our souls.

“There is that (one who) speaketh like the piercings of a sword.” Proverbs 12:18(a)

We go through some pretty rough stuff in this life but often the real damage to us is not caused by physical sufferings but rather through words. Words are so powerful, that is why Jesus is referred to as “THE WORD”, He spoke everything into existence and the enemy loves nothing more than to battle you with his own perverted, twisted, destructive words.

As the Bible states, those words stab our hearts, souls and spirit to a greater degree than any dagger ever might, because these cuts go straight to the heart.

“Four Eyes”, “Dumb”, “Stupid”, “Wimp”, “Fat”, “Bone rack”, “Flat chest”,” Slut”, “Idiot”, “Cry Baby”, “Should have never been born”, “Never will amount to anything”.

Of course, they are always offered to us with the all too familiar, “YOUR…’ which automatically red flags our minds which have been programmed to the values of this world and our social need to conform to default to self-blame.

It hurts just reading them doesn’t it? These words are so powerful and carry so much force that even not being spewed hatefully at us, they still affect our emotions.

Words piercing our souls, and so many young men and women in our world today have listened to those words and the thorns that accompanied them are now strangling everything a Holy, loving Father has created them to be.

Society has set levels of supposed beauty and social conduct that are both impossible to achieve and disgraceful.
We have all been there at one point or another in life, maybe you are there now and the effects of these words can linger for life.

Self destruct mode takes over when those thorns have convinced us that rather than rid ourselves of them, that we must instead change ourselves to accommodate their presence.

IF we were prettier, more handsome, bigger busted, more muscled, slimmer, sexier, had better skin, whiter teeth, had more friends or could get that perfect date.
Maybe we could fit if we drank more, tried the cool drugs, give our virtue away to everyone who asked, losing a little of our soul each time, joy, self-esteem and self-worth being strangled out, while depression, guilt and shame moves comfortably into their spot.

Achieve one goal and a new one will be set because that score board is rigged and it forever changes to keep the players on the field right where the enemy wants them.

If it is so grand, why do so many celebrities commit suicide and die from drug overdoses?
Their souls have become so covered by thorns even all the money, fame and power can’ take the pain away, they are so miserable inside that they can no longer bear living.

These thorns manifest themselves in many, many ways the most common alcoholism, drug addictions, pornography and gambling addictions, cutting and eating disorders and host of self-destructive behaviors.

We, as Christians must get our heads out of fairy land and see what is really take place in the lives of those Christ sent us to minister to and start acknowledging that these problems are very real and offer help to the untold number of teens and adults that suffer alone in silence, fearing that they will be farther ridiculed if their secrets are out.

We have to teach them that is okay to talk about these things and that there is help and most of all there is hope.
The realization has to come that THERE IS NO STANDARD! We are fearfully and wonderfully  created, completely on purpose by someone who loves and does not make mistakes.

He wants us all to feel beautiful from the inside out and most of that our true value will be found in Him. That we would understand that true beauty comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and personalities.

Just as roses, daisies and orchids are completely different and yet all equally as stunning.
His love is as the lily, the beautiful precious thing, completely surrounded by those thorns.
His love and His love alone is the only force that can cut all the thorns away and allow us to grow in that beautiful garden, being ourselves, just exactly who he intended us to be.

Hold on to God, give him all your pain and trust him because “HE IS THE ROSE OF SHARON AND THE LILY OF THE VALLEYS” and you are beautiful in Him!
Original Post Date:06/06/2014 

All rights reserved. Nina BrownJohnson/ baresoulphlogizo 2015

 

ASHES

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Ashes, sometimes all that is all that is left of what once was your life all that was held precious and dear, all that is left of what once was and most importantly what will be never again. Maybe you feel that way today, maybe you have wounds that are so deep, wounds that are […]