My year in review.. in the rearview

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things unseen….” we all know that one by heart. And I BELIEVE IT!

I have BELIEVED it and I HAVE BELIEVED since I was saved March 13,2000, but actually I BELIEVED it before I was saved because sometimes life deals us hands with odd stacked so high that there is no way of winning without pulling that mysterious ace out of the hole and often we have forgotten exactly where that ace is hidden. 

Still digging on the New Years Eve card game with my parents last night. They love it and I know some people may think card playing is wrong but if you are not betting on it, it is no different from checkers, or chess, or video games in my opinion.

It was actually a wonderful evening. We always ring it in with my Mom and Dad and last night was exceptional, we watched some great Gospel signing, praying, we ate and then had our game of Spades, watched a Christmas pageant, watched the ball drop, blew ours horns and prayed the New Year in on speaker phone with my Sister. 

But anyway they are the sweetest people and every single New Years Eve is even more of a blessing because we are all together. We still always miss my brother Donnie, we always spent New Years Eve’s together at their house before he passed but death does one thing for a certainty, it reminds us, very painfully of just how precious each one of those moments of that countdown really are, and precious they are.

And we had been blessed to be gifted with a restaurant gift certificate as a family Christmas gift, so Mom taught it would be a good night to use that, so while my family was gone to pick up dinner, me and Dad listened to a Gospel music program and his shoulders have been hurting really bad over the last few weeks, so anyway I just felt like we should pray.

We prayed and just had the sweetest presence of the Lord, the kind of presence that just leaves you with tears of awe in His mercy, grace, and the fact that we as humans are so small and should be so insignificant, BUT He loves us so much that EVERY need we have IS important to Him. To know and be made aware that in the midst of an entire universe of heartache, trouble, and toil, a world full of problems and troubles much greater than our own, HE WILL take the time to hear us and touch us and let us know that HE IS still very much there.

And sometimes so beautiful about sharing tears of joy and awe with my eighty-four year old Dad that still amazes me. Couldn’t stand the man until I was nineteen, to say we had a troubled relationship would have been the understatement of the century. But when I had some problems we began to get close and actually talk to each other and he eventually ended up being the person who prayed with me when I got saved and filled with the Holy Ghost and once that took place I understood completely why we had always had such and argumentative, strained relationship.

God has plans for our lives and Satan knows who to put at each others throats. So maybe the person who always fights and argues with you is the person who you have already been predestined to win to the Lord.

He always said that me and my sister were “like daylight and dark” and I was always dark. I was also okay with him saying that because I knew that it was absolutely the truth. She was sweet and mild and I really was exceptionally vocal with my thoughts and feelings and extremely strong opinions and looking back I truly wish I would have been my supportive toward him rather than resent and rebel.

Funny things happen in life, when we are young and “flying” down that highway thinking we are Sammy Hagar signing, “I can’t drive fifty-five” raging through life at break neck speeds while we don’t even know where we are headed and we are going so fast that whatever image that rear view mirror is capturing becomes just a blur.

But add a little age, a few seasons, and a strong desire to become an old sage one day, things change… as we slow down we can see… we see what that mirror is trying to show us and it shows us life, moments, glimpse, memories, that are so close to passing up by and that we become so painfully aware that a day will come when we will long for those things that were once behind to be in view just once more.

And as the Bible tells us to “FORGET those things that are behind” we know we must stay the course and enjoy every second of the ride we have left.But it does hurt to think of the things we could have done so differently and how that would have affected lives for the better. And this year that is my deal.. to SLOW way down and look carefully at WHAT I am seeing.

As I went outside and I pondered and I thanked the Lord for the wonderful Christmas our family had… with loved ones that we had not seen in a long time and children running, playing and Mom glowing seeing her family together and I thanked him for my great-niece who lives a very busy life quite far away, and as she came to visit just a few days before making my parents day.

I thanked Him for what He has done for my family and my husband’s health and sending blessed help with burdens that few even know about and He has blessed in way that have just blown my mind and in ways and through people whose kindness  has been beyond measure.

And I have had to learn so much about MYSELF and face fears and deal with things I did not THINK I was quite prepared to deal with and it all, even though I FELT surrendered and I felt like I TRUSTED God, I have had learned lessons in trusting Him with the prospect of widowhood, as much as I have had times of wanting to choke my husband over our twenty plus years, I NEVER had to FACE head on the fact that I may lose him.

I had no CLUE what was going on inside of his body because he has always been the “strong” knight in shining armor.

I NEVER had to cope had in hand with my daughter FACING these fears together as she had to deal with the possibility of losing her Dad, while STILL coping with the grief of losing her uncle who was like a second Dad to her. We were side by side for the entire ordeal all the tests, the horror of being met with the dry erase drawing of his blockages, the doctor informer her that this is now in her medical history also, which another later told her that again, and I told him really fast that she is a teenager and they just needed to stop it, and thankfully nothing else was said. She had enough worry without them scaring her about her own health at that particular moment. And we stayed with him and sleep in his hospital room and it was all so surreal, so sudden but we saw the hand of God at every turn.

And all the daily issues that came along for the ride, other family issues, worries, and snares and TRYING to fix a few things my way only to realize some things may never change and some of our inner wounds are so deep that we may NEVER be able to get past certain hurdles.

I am speaking of myself there and the fact that I have just truly had to admit to myself that i went through what I went through over twenty years ago but I don’t know that I will ever feel safe in certain working conditions again and I don’t know that I can ever go “back” to the comfort of never worrying about looking over my shoulder, not because there is now a need to, but simply because we can never undo what has been done.

And I have had to painfully accept that, I love people, I love working in public but I know deep down inside that I may be able to swing it for a few weeks but I am never going to be the same and a work environment of  large windows and public service is not going to be a thing again.

So I have had to learn a whole NEW level of trust and as I thought about all these things and ALL He has done and the ways He has made in absolute wilderness a beautiful thought came to mind… “GREATER WORKS THAN THESE…” and I am so holding to that verse, for me, for you, for this entire world! GREATER…. and TRUST and FAITH are the doors that lead to those greater works.

When we ARE helpless, ARE hopeless, and ARE without remedy as the scripture I clung to, “Who AGAINST hope BELIEVED in hope”…. that is when those doors open to GREATER because we KNOW, we have been TAUGHT that even though we KNOW it, we REALLY see it put to the test, that He is not going to let us fall through those cracks, He is not going to let the world swallow us up, and He will NEVER leave us comfortless.

And most of us have been wounded in life and wounds leave scars, and some things may  NEVER be completely “alright” and make us feel like we will never be able to cope or handle certain things ( and maybe we can’t) and make us question our ability to stand one more second and even feel “flaked out” or as my daughter said when she was little.. about a horse on a cartoon, “not all there, up there”

The past year I WAS a mess, I WAS freaked, I WAS scared, and I WAS fogged over but HE NEVER WAS!

He is NEVER a mess or blindsided by what befalls our human states, HE IS THE I AM THAT IS and like the old Gospel hymn and the words of Paul.. when I am weak HE IS STRONG and for all of my fears He gives faith and for all of my tears, He has given me peace and in that awe IS the Joy of resting in HIS STRENGTH and sometimes in life we just need to be reminded of that!

Thanks for reading and I pray you are having a blessed beginning to a beautiful New Year!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2018

I have loved this song for years and I hope you love it too!

“In the pits?”

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings (steps). And he hath put a new song in my mouth, EVEN praise unto our God;  MANY SHALL SEE ITand fear (BELIEVE) and SHALL TRUST IN THE LORD.” Psalm 40:2,3

Nothing quite like being “down in the pits” spiritual pits, life pits, stress and aggravation pits, the path we walk can often be riddled with pit after pit carefully placed there by the enemy and those who are our earthly enemies to trip, trap, and send us tumbling down into that pit and the funny thing with pits is this, you are going to never free yourself from a pit.

No one can climb their way out of a pit, nothing to hold onto, nothing to hoist them upward, nothing to stand on. Just trapped, with only one way out, straight up.

And sometimes we we are in a pits we must be very very careful when it comes to how we get out of that thing, what may look like a rescue line thrown down into that pit, a blessing, even guised as an answered prayer can actually be an even bigger snare that once you are freed leaves you running headfirst into an even more sinister trap.

Which explains the necessity of seeking with our soul rather than thinking with our head, logic is not always what it appears. I’m gonna give you to examples of two men of God, two pits, two “rescues and then you’ll dig where I’m coming from about it.

Most know the story of Joseph, he was the son of Jacob and Jacob loved him dearly, because he loved his mother dearly and Joseph had the nature of his mother, he was gentle and kind and his father favored him and this caused some serious jealousy, resentment, and hate spewed at him from his brothers.

To put it mildly, his older brothers were really some rude, crude, and loud dudes whose hearts were in no way right. And if you have never read the story of Joseph, PLEASE read it, but for now we will pick it up here, when he has been sent out by his father to feed them (boy, you could get into some symbolism with that, maybe we will one day)

Genesis: 37:18-29: “And when they saw him AFAR off, even before he came near unto them, THEY CONSPIRED AGAINST HIM TO SLAY HIM. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh.

 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into SOME pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what shall become of his dreams.

 And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, Let us not kill him. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid (rescue) him out of their hands, to deliver him (take him) to his father again.

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethre, that they strip Joseph out of his coat, his of many colors that was on him; And they took him and cast him into  a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

And THEY SAT DOWN TO EAT BREAD : and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and behold, a company (group) of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his death?

Come, and let us SELL him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.

 Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and THEY DREW (pulled him up) AND LIFTED JOSEPH UP OUT OF THE PIT, AND SOLD JOSEPH FOR TWENTY PIECES OF SILVER: AND THEY BROUGHT JOSEPH INTO EGYPT.

 And Reuben RETURNED UNTO THE PIT; AND BEHOLD, JOSEPH WAS NOT IN THE PIT; and he rent (tore) his clothes.” 

Man, now that was some bad blood.

Let’s see what we got going on here, well they hated him and they were so enraged and jealous that their Dad had made a special tunic for Joseph and God had blessed Joseph with a dream and that just really added fuel to the fire. And notice that they were already plotting his murder and had decided his fate before he even reached them.

To get into a little spiritual insight here, think about what they said about “seeing what becomes of his dreams” people will secretly hate you and want nothing more, often because of sheer jealousy (which IS a spirit BTW) and want nothing more than to destroy your hopes and “dreams”.

Let’s talk about Reuben, He KNEW this was wrong, he COULD have stopped this, but he DIDN’T because he would not stand up for what was right, he wanted to do it on the down low.

He planned to go back and rescue Joseph and take him back home, but through his cowardice he talked them out of killing Joseph only to have him thrown into a pit from which he would be drawn up only to go into slavery.

Reuben could’ve, should’ve but didn’t and that made him just as guilty as his brothers.

This pit was in the “wilderness”, we all know what that means, wilderness, scary places that we have never been nor know anything about and certainly don’t know how we will survive there.

And to top it all off they feel so good about what they have done to their brother they sit down and eat while he is terrified in a pit trying to figure out why on earth they hate him. Then the greed kicks in and they decide a little profit is better than blood on their hands as if this were really  a lesser sin, talk about self-deception!

I am sure Joseph felt relief being pulled up out that pit, even not knowing what fate would await him, but just getting out of it and his “freedom” from the pit gained his brothers twenty pieces of silver but in the spirit world prophetically purchased the future slavery of the Hebrews by the Egyptians, the land into which Joseph was sold.

Let no one ever deceive you, every action has consequence and often those consequences linger and they linger for generations. 

Jeremiah is known as the prophet of doom, he had a job and he had to do his job and absolutely at no time was anyone happy about anything that came out of Jeremiah’s mouth.

But Jeremiah was blessed and he was a prophet of God and as they could hate he and they could try to kill him, they could never silence or kill the Word of God which came forth from him.

He went through so much that he even wished for a second that he had not been born, he proclaimed that he would no longer speak nor make mention of God’s name… but oh that fire, who can stop that fire?

God would raise His Spirit up and Jeremiah would once again regain focus. We are coming in on the story where they are mad, so mad because he has once again advised them with words they do not want to hear, and the saddest reality with the Book of Jeremiah is the same reality we have now, they could have listened, they could have obeyed God, but they didn’t.

Just like Reuben, a bad case of Could’ve, Should’ve but Didn’t. Had they repented and turned from their evil ways, God would have turned his wrath and spared them, let’s see how that went.

Jeremiah 38:1-13, 38: ” Then Shephatiah the son of Mattan, and Gedaliah the son of Pashur, and Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashur, the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken unto all the people, saying,

Thus saith the Lord, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey (prize) and shall live.

Thus saith the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.

 Therefore the princes SAID unto the king, We beseech thee, LET THIS MAN BE PUT TO DEATH; for thus he weakeneth the hands of (is discouraging) the men of war which remain in this city, and the hands of  all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt (harm).

  Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, He is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.

THEN THEY TOOK JEREMIAH, AND CAST HIM INTO THE DUNGEON of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, THAT WAS IN THE COURT OF THE PRISON: AND LET DOWN JEREMIAH WITH CORDS, AND IN THE DUNGEON THERE WAS NO WATER, BUT MIRE: SO JEREMIAH SUNK IN THE MIRE.

NOW WHEN EBEDMELECH THE ETHIOPIAN, one of the eunuchs which was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; the king then sitting in the gate of Benjamin;

Ebedmelech went forth out of the king’s house, and SPAKE unto the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he like (likely) to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.

Then the king commanded Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Take from hence thirty men with thee, and TAKE UP JEREMIAH THE PROPHET OUT OF THE DUNGEON BEFORE HE DIE.

So Ebedmelech  took the men with him, and went into the the house of the king under the treasury, and TOOK THENCE OLD CAST CLOUTS (old clothes) AND ROTTEN RAGS, AND LET THEM DOWN BY CORDS INTO THE DUNGEON TO JEREMIAH.

AND EBEDMELECH THE ETHIOPIAN SAID UNTO JEREMIAH, PUT NOW THESE OLD CAST CLOUTS AND ROTTEN RAGS UNDER THINE ARMHOLES (armpits) AND JEREMIAH DID SO.

SO THEY DREW UP JEREMIAH WITH CORDS (ropes) AND TOOK HIM UP OUT OF THE DUNGEON: AND JEREMIAH REMAINED IN THE COURT OF THE PRISON.

So Jeremiah abode in the court of the prison UNTIL the day that Jerusalem was taken and he was there when Jerusalem was taken.” 

As with Reuben, the king could’ve stopped this, Jeremiah was a prophet and the king knew this, so he should’ve stopped this but just like Reuben, he didn’t. 

But Ebedmelech had compassion, and courage and he could, he knew he should and he did!

And a eunuch and his use of old clothes and rotten rags is also very interesting because sometimes we can be pulled up out of pits by some very unexpected people using some very humble things, things that may not look so rescue worthy, maybe not quite what we were thinking of but yet perfect for the job of rescuing us and making the pull up a little less painful.

Notice neither of these pits had water, Joseph’s was empty and Jeremiah sunk up as he also would be “stuck” in bondage until Jerusalem was taken. Both were “free” from the pits,but they still were not quite “home free” and in life certain things can look good, they can look like a way out, people can seem to be your friends and be coming to “save” you out of the pit and in truth only be saving you because it will profit them something.

So you have to be careful when you reach up to hold onto that rope that has been dropped down to you and make certain it is the one that will lead to true freedom. Pay close attention to who is on the other end of it.

And if you know someone is in danger of “being thrown into a pit”, meaning someone cooking up plans against them, or if you see someone already “in a pit”, PLEASE don’t EVER allow yourself to be the one who SHOULD’VE, COULD’VE, BUT DIDN’T!

Because only God can truly deliver, only God can reach down that far and pull us up, only God can release us from being “stuck” in that miry clay of bondage and suffering and only God can set our feet on that firm foundation, on that solid rock. And only God can put a NEW song in our mouth and once others see us come UP OUT OF A PIT OF CERTAIN DEATH AND DESTRUCTION, A PIT OF NO RETURN, AS OUR SCRIPTURE TELLS US, THEY SEE IT, THEY THEN BELIEVE, THEY THEN TRUST GOD BECAUSE THEY HAVE SEEN THE PIT WE HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM! 

Blessing, Love & Peace till next, keep your eyes on the prize! Love Sister Nina

Φλογιζω NBJ 2017

MISSION….Staying the course

“Then Jerubbaal who IS Gideon, and ALL the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod; so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are TOO MANY for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt THEMSELVES AGAINST ME, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

Now therefore, go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and DEPART early FROM mount Gilead. And there returned (left) of the people twenty and two thousand; and THERE REMAINED ten thousand.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet (still) TOO MANY; bring them down into the water, and I will try (test) them for thee THERE: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee; and of whomever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

So he brought down the people unto the water: and the Lord said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shall thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were THREE HUNDRED men;  but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped I will save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand; and let all the other people go every man into his place (home).” Judges 7:1-7

Most know the story of the oppression by the Midianites and they were fierce and when God called Gideon  to lead the people to freedom, he wanted some assurance and…. a little more.. well much more  reassurance that this was God’s will and that is a very good and noble desire. So I would imagine that deep down Gideon pictured this battle taking place with a multitude of the strongest of the strong and with the host of heaven as guard and with back ups for his back ups.

We too, fall into this human realm of thinking, we want that back up, that assurance that our numbers are far superior than those of our enemies, but as Christians, we have our enemies we see and we have the many, many more unseen enemies to our salvation and our walk. God sees things a bit differently, He wants the enemies, the world, and US to know that our victories come through Him and through Him ALONE.

Zechariah 4:6: ” Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This IS the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, NOT by might, NOT by power, BUT BY MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord of hosts.” 

Things that may not always look quite right to us can be EXACTLY right on target with God’s plan. Our problem come when we question, ponder, and consider the why’s , why not’s, and the dreaded what-if’s.

Instead of pondering we need to go down to that water for a little bit, what was so different about the three hundred?  For starters, twenty-two thousand left for fear, and there is nothing wrong with admitting fear.

And there is nothing wrong with being afraid, that IS why God gave us so much comfort through His word, with scriptures such as, “What TIME I am afraid, I WILL trust in thee” and His promise to “NEVER leave us or forsake us” but that is sometimes and there are sometime when we have that fear we have to just set it out and wait for that fear to pass, because we have all been afraid in life, BUT in the operations of battles of faith, there IS no room for fear. Fear and faith can not coincide because it will lead to double mindedness and we can not waver into fear creating doubt against the very thing we are believing for, that is why we were warned over and over again about fear, remember, ” For God hath NOT given us the SPIRIT of fear; but OF POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Those fears play over and over attacking our minds with the what-ifs, and why’s and why not’s and that creates doubt and discouragement that stifles the faith that He has given us and the working of His power in our lives and His perfect love which casts out ALL fear.

So now he is down to ten thousand, still quite a number, but STILL too many, because it would have been a little too easy for the flesh to rise up and convince people that they were strong and that was what won the battle.

And God likes to work in the realm of IMPOSSIBLE, that IS His specialty! The test was in the water… they were ALL at the water, the separation came based on how they chose to drink it. The MAJORITY just bowed at the water and the three hundred paid attention and stayed on alert and they USED what they had, they brought the water to their mouth by hand and they weren’t afraid of being inappropriate or considered uncivilized, they had a mission and the mission was there only concern. 

I think this is how the last day harvesters are going to play out, as the separation continues, as we are in the great falling away but we know we are also approaching the pouring out ( I think we have actually already entered into it) people have to know their mission and not look to the left or to the right, ONLY to the Lord because it IS all Him, just like the mighty victory He gave Gideon. Gideon needed ONLY to obey and God gave him every encouragement he could have dreamt of along the way.

Maybe your church doesn’t look quite as full as you’d like, or your ministry seems stuck on auto pilot, life may seem to be taking you everywhere but where YOU WANT TO GO. Have faith, you have no ide what God is doing behind the scenes and if you give up, you WILL never know hat could have been, so DON”T EVEN ENTERTAIN THAT THOUGHT.

The army of the Lord is not for quitters and once you make that conscious decision to stand, even if you are the last one standing, you will be glad you did, when all looks hopeless, when all looks impossible, THAT is when the sweetest victories come, and it makes you stronger in the Lord because you KNOW, HE has allowed you to stand, in the face of the enemy, in the face of your fears, in the face of your hurt, sorrow, and despair, you then can show others, that they too can stand.

Don’t despise the “small things”, don’t question things you may not understand at the moment, stay your course and accept your mission, USE what He has given you, no matter what others may think, when you find yourself at that water, don’t be too afraid drink!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

LOVE this song! Try singing it!

Regeneration of Generations

” But YOU ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar (special) people; that ye should shew (show) forth the praises of him WHO HATH CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.” 1 Peter 2:9

CHOSEN, how blessed is that term? Jesus himself in John 15:16a said this:Ye have not chosen me, but I HAVE CHOSEN YOU..”

There is a major difference between going after something for ourselves, of our will and our desires and being chosen for a very specific purpose. Notice this verse is for a chosen GENERATION, meaning a preordained, predestinate group  CHOSEN to be the polar opposite of what came before. 

To allow the Lord to break chains forged over many generations by those who came before us. A chosen generation that would turn back to the Lord, who would choose the paths of righteousness rather than the broken roads of abuse and alcoholism, and addictions. A generation willing to allow God to shape their lives and repair the breaches in the protective walls of salvation, and that would hear God’s voice calling them out of the darkness that has formed over the ages.

Darkness passed on from generation to generation, until that faithful day that God’s voice is heard and centuries of darkness and cursing, poverty, abuse, and sorrow will be transformed by His marvelous light.

 A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a generation called to be the messengers, priests to their families and peers on behalf of the heavenly King to tell of the goodness of God and the freedom He offers. And as Jesus tells us, we are CHOSEN for the job. Because through Him, with Him and by the power of His blood we can overcome and to have to be chosen indicates that of a certainty that job, that calling, is not going to be an easy task.

I knew a lady who once told me that she had been baptized as a child, but when she grew up, really late in life, she choose to be baptized again, not because she questioned her salvation but salvation was all she had ever known and wanted to do it as a token to her love of Jesus. I have always thought these people were so blessed, to grow up in the Lord, to be taught scriptures and know of God.

But I do think as “first generations” we can witness to those in the world and understand things that they face and struggle a little better, because we really do understand those feelings.

Now to understand the dynamics of some of those battles “first generations” endure, and it is a battle royal of endurance but I hope by the end of this, you will feel refreshed in your battle and the fire and need to continue and fight hell till the last breath.

Satan knows scripture, he knows every word ever written and he is as sly as he was when he beguiled Eve and he knows to corrupt the plant, to blight it, he would also blight the seed of that plant and so with his temptations and snares he pulls down a plant from the garden of the Lord knowing that he has destroyed the future also.

When God gave the Ten Commandments and the warnings of serving other gods, this verse really jumps out: Exodus 20:5: “Thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the children unto the third and fourth generation of them who hate me.”

So for me, I think to cause this, the ancestors had to really, really turn against God in a most dreadful way, because He is so loving and merciful and to hate him would require such violation and paganism, I can’t fathom.

The hardest concept to wrap our heads around comes when we see Christians who seem to really never have problems while we struggle in areas that never even seem to come to their door, we wonder what is wrong with us? Why do we go through the things but they don’t.

All people have problems, but it is true that some do seem to face battles that are harder, fiercer, and sometimes even bizarre but here is the reason, YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED OUT.

Satan wants you back in that darkness because he knows if he can defeat you, he will defeat EVEN MORE GENERATIONS that come from you. He doesn’t want you leading others to the light and liberty of God.

It is hard to be the “first” on a path, not having a strong spiritual foundation, and to try to understand what you’re doing, where you are going, or how your supposed to get there. And you can see this in the story of the Hebrews being brought of Egypt, most died in the wilderness because they had only known bondage and slavery and could never get into the mindset of true freedom, BUT the NEXT GENERATION went into that land NEVER knowing the horrors of Egypt.

“First Generationers” often feel overwhelmed because their issues are so numerous that it is a process because each issue must be dealt with one at a time or we would be like those who didn’t make it out of the wilderness, we could not handle the rest of our journey with the needed faith and trust life requires, because even coming out of Egypt, the roads ahead could still be sometimes rocky.

Exodus 23:29,30: “I WILL NOT drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee, By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, UNTIL thou be increased and inherit the land.” 

If everything were suddenly conquered, we would no longer build faith or trust and we would soon be destroyed by the vanities of our minds and leisure.

If you doubt that, read just how many times ancient Israel would prosper and then turn from the Lord thinking they had all they would ever need and how David became so complacent that he didn’t go into battle with his army but chose to have the affair with Bathsheba that brought anguish down on his GENERATION, and Solomon, who had all, peace, all prosperity still rebelled against God in taking pagan wives and worshiping with them.

No, you don’t want to trade in a perfectly good vehicle that may not look great to you right now but is taking you EXACTLY where you need to go for something that appears sharper, faster, but will in the end only drive you had head first into a bad accident. 

Recognize WHO you are and why you fight and why you CAN NEVER give up that fight. Psalm 22:30,31: “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation (accounted of the Lord to the NEXT generation) They shall come, and declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born that he hath done this.”

PSALM 102:28: “The children of thy servants SHALL CONTINUE, and THEIR SEED (descendants) SHALL BE ESTABLISHED BEFORE THEE.” 

Isaiah 54:13: “And all thy children shall be taught if the Lord; and GREAT SHALL BE THE PEACE OF THY CHILDREN.”

See, sometimes the one being fought is not even who the fight is really against. And a good tool to use, as cliché as it may sound, truly is counting blessings, make a list of what you came from and make a list of where you are now, you may just be very surprised.

Hold on to God’s promises and know that you fight and you have to fight for the rights of your parents, your siblings, your children, and your grandchildren, and all that will come after you. You may be hurting now but your trust in the Lord will mean your child will NEVER know what is to hide terrified from a drunken or stoned parent, your child or grandchild will never know the shame and embarrassment of being mentally or verbally abused, the NEXT generation will never know the humiliation of poverty and the pain of hunger and there is no need for me to continue into the places many of you have suffered and tell you, NEVER AGAIN. NEVER AGAIN will you suffer those things and NEVER will your generations.

When God breaks chains, they ARE BROKEN unless we chose to chain ourselves and our families, and our futures  back to Satan’s whipping post. And God has CHOSEN you and He will little by little bring you through all the areas, past all the stumbling blocks set in your way. And He will restore and bless you but don’t give up when you are almost there. Here are some of His promises:

Psalm 22:24,25: ” For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; NEITHER hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.” 

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord that seek him, your heart shall live forever.” Psalm 25:10: “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.”

Isaiah 54: 14: “In righteousness (right standing with God) shalt thou be ESTABLISHED: thou shalt be far from oppression: for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”

Revelation 7:17: ” For the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living waters; and God shall wipe all tears from their eyes.”

Romans 10:11: “For the scripture saith, WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED.”

Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

We could go on and on with wonderful promises and God’s awesome encouragement of “Be not afraid nor be dismayed”, God is with us and for us and He will take you step by step. Just hold and remember all those who will someday be very glad you did!

Φλογίζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

If you have never heard this song, please take a minute and let it minister to your soul and let the power of God break the chains and break them forever!

 

SHIELD & SWORD

“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I AM THY SHIELD, AND THY EXCEEDING GREAT REWARD.” GENESIS 15:1

  In the cares of life and the endless searches for meaning, belonging, and the struggles with ourselves and the world and those in it we often forget the simplistic truth of the Gospel. While we do live in a fearful world and we do suffer heartache, disappointments, and sorrow one thing never changes, God and His promises to us. What he said six thousand years ago to Abram still applies to true believers today. HE IS…

  “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heavens in thy help, and his excellency on the sky. The eternal God IS thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy before thee; and shall say, Destroy them. Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also HIS heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who IS the sword of excellency ( majesty) ! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.”                 DEUTERONOMY 33:26-29

HE IS our shield, our protector, our high tower and our strength and He will scatter your enemies and put all that was theirs under your feet.

“Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously BECAUSE of truth and meekness (humility) and righteousness: and thy right had shall teach thee terrible (awesome) things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies: whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, IS FOR EVER AND EVER: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter ( of righteousness).                          PSALM 45:3-6

 For a classical comparison think of the tale of Cinderella, the clock struck, the ball ended, her clothing became tattered again and it appeared that all was just as it had been, her way out seemed lost but the end of the ball was only the beginning of the story and the end of her mistreatment by the evil stepsisters, because something had changed, she had met the Prince and he was already on his way! 

Maybe your having a day like that, when it seems as though things will never change, but they already are, you just don’t see it yet. Unlike our fairy tale prince, we serve a LIVING KING, the one and only undisputable King over everything and part of being a King is being a shield for your people and being their protector and that hiding place behind His shield where HE fights for us.

 

The Lord IS my strength and my shield: My heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth: and with my song will I praise him. The Lord IS their strength and HE IS the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed (shepherd) them also, and lift them up for ever.”

                                                 PSALM 28: 7-9 

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them (You protect them) : let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee: For thou LORD WILT BLESS THE RIGHTEOUS; WITH FAVOUR WILT THOU COMPASS HIM AS WITH A SHIELD.

                                                  PSALM 5:11,12

The banner of the Kingdom of God, The banner Jehovah Nissi, flies over you and your life. And that banner is love and His love for you. I know you certainly can’t see it but it is very much there. So just hang on and wait, wait humbly, and patiently for Him, I promise your King is on His way and He will show up and save your day!

Φλογίζω /  ΝΒ 2016

 

 

Bow Shot

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 Pretty strong statement, one shot, one chance through this life. We go through life with our eyes focused so closely on the task at hand or the current crisis that we fail to see the big picture.

We live, we die and the one shot we have is the time in between, every failure, every mistake but also every accomplishment, and every single victory is all embodied in “ONCE”. 

We will not have works in the grave, we will not have works in New Jerusalem and in hell there will be no chance of salvation ever again.  “Works without faith IS dead”, we can all do something, some type of “work”, we can all give, but when we need to do a work that is not quite so easy, that will require blood, sweat, and lots of tears, when we will set out on a course that is going to cost us something that is when it starts being set apart, and when a sacrifice is required and especially when it is a sacrifice of that work itself. 

Whatever we have been born to accomplish is to be accomplished on this earth. One shot to make a difference and live our lives in complete trust and faith to one so much higher than any earthly happening whether it be good or bad. Learning true trust is not that easy, we all say we TRUST God, we sing about trusting God, and have motivational agreements that we trust, but do we really? 

Trust IS faith and faith IS trust, you can not have one without the other, faith IS trusting God with the most precious of things, EVEN when it looks like we might lose but we have to trust Him enough to surrender even those things that we have fought so hard to nurture and protect, our hopes, our dreams, and sometimes our spiritual “babies” and lay them on the altar.

  Genesis 22 tells of Abrahams grueling test of faith, several days journey to what he thought would be the sacrifice of his son whom he loved more than life itself, the death of  his promised child, a child whose promised birth had been the fulfillment of the purpose of his own life,  the father of nations.

Genesis 22:4: Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off”  he had lots of time to think,  and dread, journeying up that mountain for what he believed would be the death of that child.  

Genesis 21 tells of the story of Hagar and Ismael, Sarai’s servant and the child she bore for Abraham because of Sarai’s  messed up attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise for Abraham. By this point Sarah wanted them out of her life and God knowing all things told Abraham to go ahead and send them away, now Hagar finds herself in the wilderness with nothing trying to find her way back to Egypt with the son she was demanded to bear for an heir and he is now considered nothing and no longer welcome, but he was her baby and she loved him and could not bear to watch him die:

Genesis 21:16: “And she went, and sat her down over against him (across from) A good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child, And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice and wept.” 

Exodus 2  tell that when  Pharaoh had called for the slaughter of the Hebrew baby boys, Jochebed placed her baby Moses in an ark made undoubtedly countless tears and set him adrift with unquenchable faith.

Exodus 2:4 “And his sister stood afar off, to wit (know) what would become of him.” What they all had in common is this, these were their natural children, children whom they loved with every fiber in their being. Each time these things were “afar off’ it was a process of waiting, and watching and knowing that they had to TRUST GOD IN FAITH.

Abraham KNEW what God had promised, Hebrews 11:17: ” BY FAITH Abraham, when he was tried (tested) offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” As we know an angel stopped Abraham and God sent a ram as a sacrifice and we all learned that God will provide for us all that we need to be obedient to Him.

Jochebed’s baby was spared from those who given a chance would surely kill him, not only would he not die but she would nurse him and love him and tend his needs and no longer have to hide him and fear for his life. And he would go on to be used of God to lead his people out of bondage, drew from the water one day leading his people to freedom through parted waters.

God had heard Hagar’s cries when she was pregnant and sent an angel to comfort her and she had been obedient to God’s voice returning to Sarai and surrendering her child and now unable to bear watching him die in the wilderness, she had separated herself from him, crying out and now God heard the cries of the child himself and God sent the angel yet again and sprang up a well in their wilderness. They all had to learn faith and trust, to trust God with what was most precious to them, and sometimes we must trust God with all the things that are precious to us and when the enemy is coming after those things or there are those who wish to dash those hopes, smash those dreams,  and outright kill those spiritual babies then we have to just lay them down on the altar and just get a bow shot away and KNOW, and TRUST that HE IS JEHOVAH JIREH, that HE IS FAITHFUL , HE does see our sorrow and hear our cries and that HE WILL DELIVER.

Φλογιζω  NBJ 2015

  

NOT just any port in a storm….

We’re heading back to the spot just before Jesus lead Peter back into the boat.
Last time, we discussed how Peter had battled through a dark tempestuous night out in the middle of the wide open sea, at a time when it was truly man versus nature, without any of the modern nautical equipment around today and at the height of his terror, Jesus came to the rescue, but Peter’s new-found bravery as he walked with the Lord on water, was short-lived thanks to that terrorizing gusting wind.
We also have Jesus by our side in our storms and yet all of us have those moments when that wind blows just a little too hard and that fear of its howl is immobilizing and like Peter we freeze and those waves start dragging us under till we cry “LORD! SAVE ME!” 
So what about the time between those moments?
When the winds blow and howl and scream in our ears so loud that the voice that we had just heard so strong, as Peter did when he heard the Lord say “Come” we now question. Is it really HIS voice we hear over the sound of the storm. 
We are so deafened by the storm by this point that we are not really sure of anything and we just want to freeze in that fear of the unknown and uncertainty, and if allowed to IT WILL drown us right where we are.
We never even realize that we are so close to being back in the safety of that boat and the end of that storm.
Riding out storms can devastate even the strongest of sailors, it will knock the wind out of your sails, shiver your timbers and if you are not paying very close attention it will make you head to “any port in a storm” the nearest, closest spot available to you to dock that boat and get out of that storm.
Once your there you could turn from being an honorable first mate to becoming a scurvy sea dog, because all the “hail” and high water can make people do funny things.
When the going gets rough our flesh wants comfort, we want safety, we want this to end and to know all is accounted for and that our losses are minimal.
As Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

We want  to run to the safest spot and into the nearest boat,  BUT the problem with this is that Jesus DID NOT led Peter back to any old boat, it was the boat that he was SUPPOSED to be in
Jesus has ALL POWER, he could have just materialized a different boat, he could have translated them to shore.
HE DIDN’T because Peter had to go through that storm and get back IN the SAME boat he just got out of, BEFORE THE STORM WOULD STOP!
Now you could ask WHY????? But ask yourself, and we really have to speculate on this, but how many times do you think Peter drew courage and renewed faith by remembering that journey?
I love to point out the fact that Peter carried out his commission from Jesus under the brunt of KNOWING HE WOULD BE CRUCIFIED at the end of his mission.
We all know that he, like all the disciples were persecuted, beaten, and tormented all while the power of God poured from them, miracles, healing, and leading the lost to Christ.
COULD Peter have went on to carry this out faithfully had he not took that walk and GOT back in that boat?
Had he not let Jesus help him overcome all that fear and let Jesus lead him back to the boat that you know he would not have wanted to be back in, had he not overcame it through Christ, would he have ever had the faith and courage to know that death would not be the winner in the end?
Could he have had the courage to go to that cross at the end of his life?
I will leave that for you to answer, but Jesus was teaching Peter in that storm.
Jesus does not send storms on us but when we are allowed to continue through one, IT IS because he wants us to have victory, true victory, not a cop-out running from it kind of thing, but true taking the head off a giant victory in that area of our life.
Anyone can run, he will not allow us to run, He created to “having done all to stand” “STAND.”
Our “boats” are no different from Peter’s and sometimes we feel like whoo-hoo I’m finally outta that boat! 
Only to discover we got to get back in it if we are to see the storm end.
So to help us hear the right voice and find the way back to our boat till that storm ends, we’ll use our compass:

Psalm 77:6 I call to remembrance MY SONG IN THE NIGHT: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search”
Now the wonderful thing about the Psalms are that they ARE SONGS!

Such as:  Psalm 69 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim (set to The Lilies), A Psalm of David.

” SAVE me, O God; for the WATERS are come in unto my soul (neck).
I SINK in the DEEP mire, WHERE THERE IS NO STANDING: I AM come into DEEP WATERS, where the FLOODS OVERFLOW ME.
I am weary (worn out) of my CRYING; my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I WAIT FOR MY GOD.”

“DELIVER ME out of the mire, and LET ME NOT SINK: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and OUT OF THE DEEP WATERS.
Let NOT the WATERFLOOD OVERFLOW ME, neither let the DEEP SWALLOW ME UP, and let not the pit shut up her mouth on me.”
                      Psalm 69:1-3,14,15

Just as Peter answered Jesus, when asked if he to would leave him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the WORDS of eternal life.”
Jesus is the voice and the one port in our storm, get back in the boat, the storm will end and this storm may very well be the catapult to a level of faith you never would have imagined possible or a deeper relationship with the Lord that you can not fathom, but of a surety, one day, remembering this storm, and the quieting of it WILL BE YOUR SONG in another night and this storm will be proof positive that night too will end, the wind will cease and morning will yet again come.
Φλογιζω/ All rights reserved/NBJ 2015