Merry Medicine

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but  a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Laughter truly is good medicine and unfortunately usually when we are the sickest and need the medicine the most is often when we are most fearful of what the spoon holds will taste most bitter.

I have been unable to write or really do much of anything that involves the cyber world for about a week. My computer was stricken with the dreaded disease  “Blue Screen Of Death” or BSOD as the internet help sites like to call it.

Quite nasty, my PC fell into a loop spin of perpetual death, never completely dying,trying to hold on for dear life, quickly flashing a “preparing automatic repair” message and wildly spinning for a few moments only to flash a few more dead screens finally  landing on a solid blue screen with a rather disturbing facial expression on which it announced that it could not repair itself and would need to collect information and restart.

At which point after performing all the before mentioned intentions it BEGAN the entire process over again… and again.. and again.

Kinda sounds like some of us sometimes doesn’t it? Or is it just me that sometimes finding myself  faced with “environmental variables” and situation “updates” that I just can’t process, I can quickly attempt to repair myself,  fall into that vicious loop and death spin until the realization that I may need to send out  a crash report, ask God for major help only to find myself quite prone to repeating that same process WITH those SAME issues that I had already “turned over” to God and to so this over…and over.. and over again.

No, I don’t think it is just me and then again some things just KEEP coming back. A wonderful friend told me that once, that things WILL just keep coming back until you learn the response that IS expected of you.

So many are sick and so many are hurting and sometimes faith seems so far away but you know there IS joy in the Lord and His joy is always there for us and we all know that life happens nothing is going to ever change that and all that will stand in the end IS how we choose to view those things and how we chose to let them define us and as our verse a broken spirit does truly dry the bones and can leave us with the blank, hopeless expression of our own hurt, sad, wounded “blue” screen signaling impending  “code blue” status for our spirits.

So amidst worrying about several of my church family and natural family members battles, and illness, my computers crash, no access to my email because it refused to acknowledge me or my recovery account, the subsequent three-day tech repair and another day just setting everything back up, I also had an “event” looming on the horizon, fun term.. shadowing… kinda like “walking through” this life.. “the shadow of death” the shadow, the thought the threat of things unknown, unforeseen, and expected doom.

 I had dreaded this thing for weeks, not because of the event itself but because I knew the odds on a “wolf” being there were pretty darn high and I am not afraid of the wolf.. I AM afraid of me, I fear my flesh and what would want to fly out of my mouth at lightning speed and another person that I only know could be referred to as the “wolf handler” you know a person who knows good and well what is going on and the damage that wolf has caused some innocent sheep but the wolf is a convenience for them so they turn a deaf ear and a blind eye and see it through the very obviously rose-colored glasses simply because that works for them, but in the grand scheme that only works for a while because we all eventually see the truth when opposed to God, even when we don’t want to see it.

So I prayed and prayed and had others pray and of course the day came.. and of course the wolf was there, doing what wolves do best… it is funny.. when you know that someone is a wolf and they know they are a wolf, and they KNOW you KNOW they are a wolf, it makes an interesting playing filed because they will do little things just to try to get to you and that is where merry medicine and the joy of the Lord come onto the scene.

God had taken care of it far in advance and I do realize WHAT He expects from me and I know that fighting wolves is NOT my job.. I can warn of wolves but HE IS THE SHEPHERD.. not me and once I really gave it all to Him and TRUSTED Him to take care of it.. He did and in Him taking care of it, what I had dreaded, the hurt and anger and just absolute bewilderment that NO ONE could see what was going on there, what I had been trying to repair in my own attitude had to be repaired by HIS and once I accepted that, He blessed me with absolutely, truly one of the most fun evenings I have had in years.  

I ended up making a new friend and seriously laughed all evening and I know it was truly a table in the presence of my enemy and I even realized a little something else on the way home… maybe sometimes when we hold our peace is when He will no longer hold His.

But I am so thankful, I am thankful for a God that loves all of us and when we unwittingly fall prey to the virus of believing we HAVE to fix or ourselves because as “good” Christians we should be able to love everyone and get along with everyone and sometimes we just CAN’T, that is not a crime and it is not a sin, there is nothing in our human state that God requires us to “repair” for ourselves, that is a lie of the world and satan.

This is why we when we are hurt, angry, bewildered, and just mind-blown we only need to send that “crash” report to our Father:

 1 Peter 5: 5(b)-7:  “GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD, AND GIVETH GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand (SUBMIT, SURRENDER TO HIS WILL) that he might exalt (lift you out of your distress) in due time:

Casting ALL your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

In those times when we are faced with sickness, long waging battles, wounds, and even those wolves howling in the distance we need ONLY to confess these troubles to Him, he already knows all about it, He KNOWS our hearts, our souls, our intentions, and EVEN, as the Bible says, OUR VERY THOUGHTS BEFORE WE THINK THEM.

But we have to ASK Him for help and then we can rest assured that those nasty viruses we have contracted will be cured and that medicine that medicine that we so dreaded swallowing (like letting go of the flesh) may actually taste a whole lot sweeter than we would have ever dreamed!

Peace and Love! Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2017

“Swimming Practice”

Like most, I have been spending many evenings during this big nasty heat wave checking out the Olympics. Last night an American broke a world record and of course won gold.

What was fascinating is that if you walked in late during the race it would have appeared that she was actually BEHIND the others because she was using a new strategy that gave her a lead. She and her coach had spent time reviewing footage of the style and techniques used by another Olympic great and evidently the extra “studying” paid off quite nicely. An action plan I think we could all benefit from in the kingdom.

2 TIMOTHY 2: 14,16: ” Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they STRIVE NOT about words to no profit, but to the subverting (ruin) of the hearers. 

STUDY to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings (worthless talk) for they WILL increase unto MORE UNGODLINESS.” 

My new favorite song is “What you want” I posted with my last post, the reason for this is the simple truth of too many leaders and not enough followers in the Kingdom.

Everyone IS a leader, everyone HAS a title, and YET the GIFTS are not flowing, because we can’t choose our titles and our jobs, it has to be WHAT GOD HAS CHOSEN. And often what GOD wants is NOT exactly what we had in mind!

The other problem is that no one wants to complete the course of spiritual “schooling”these ministries require. And I DON’T mean Seminary! And of course there are those who KNOW everything anyway, and they are right and everyone else is wrong. Those I think are quite hopeless.

One who has stepped on my toes time after time leaps to mind, I had made a suggestion, something I knew WAS NOT of my own thinking, because I had been under such an anointing when the thought came, and it took so much courage to make the suggestion AND I have never REGRETTED anything so much in my life.

They absolutely lined me out and even accused me of wanting to do something BECAUSE other churches did it! And I took a bath in spiritual reproach coming off this person and after much prayer, trying to figure out why on earth they got so angry, I KNEW the reason they became so angry was NOT the suggestion. IT WAS because the suggestion CAME FROM ME and they felt SUPERIOR and was actually INSULTED that I would DARE suggest anything to THEM.

And it did create enough static to shut down the work I felt God had me in that place and at that time to do. But God is a good God and this is where “being approved” come into play. Maybe someone has hurt you or discouraged you, or like me, you ALMOST become  convinced that somehow you jumped the gun, when actually sometimes we need to re-evaluate who we truly are “workers together” with in the kingdom.

I think sometimes we view people differently than they really are and God has to let us see, what we do not want to see, so we will move on into the direction HE WANTS. But again God is God and He will never leave us twisting in the wind, if it is of Him, IT WILL COME TO PASS.

It was so funny, close to a YEAR later, I was still receiving page notifications from this particular place, and you can imagine when one popped up that they were having a “special” service incorporating the very thing, I had been spiritually keel-hauled over!  It took every single ounce of restraint I have to not comment on it, to the effect of “Sounds familiar, thought for sure I asked about that… Well good luck with that… but next time you may want to try it when THAT DOOR is open!”

But I didn’t and I don’t know it could have went great but…. People like that, because this one has a way of offending the anointing, and I say that because IT IS NOT MINE, it belongs to God and when people demand things such as gender based laying on of hands, it pretty much sums up to this. If whoever is doing the laying on, IS NOT the one God chooses, well all they are doing is “praying” their own will over that person and without the power of God performing those things, IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

But I see a future change in that also because God has a way of teaching people humility and correcting their own biases. I truly believe the day will come when that person needs something major from God and it will not come they way they THINK it should and the will be required to learn the fine art of humility.

But that is where we are running into obstacles, too many people with THEIR agenda, and way too many leaders who still should be learning how to follow. One comes to mind that needs to get themselves right before they play Pied Piper, but since that is the game they are playing… where did those children go in that story again? Oh yeah, right..  the story ended with no one EVER knew where they ended up.

IT is not a game, you can’t just decide that you are this or you are that and jump head first in the pool to drown because you will drown a lot of others with you, when you get into the deep end and find out you really don’t know how to swim as well as you THOUGHT you could, because that lesson was one you bothered not to show up for!

 No one WILL EVER know “everything” we ARE to be workers together and together means just that. one mind one accord working for the good of the kingdom, not a race to see who’s best and who can reach that finish line with the greatest moves.

The words mentioned in our verse, words if they are not seasoned, if they are not tempered by the spirit of God WILL RUIN others. Words spoken without the power of God and the timing of God are just that words and they only cater more and more to worthless, human vanity, which is why we now have so many claiming to be representatives of Christ, who are so far AWAY from the truth that the have deceived THEIR own mind by THEIR OWN words into their own damnation and are committing things that are true abominations to God and yet believe they have punched ticket straight to heaven.

Truly believing within themselves that they can just proclaim and claim every chosen blessing from the book and yet ignore all scripture that provides the BREAD for that sandwich they are attempting to eat. And we know if they are to still be fed with milk THEY WILL choke to death on the meat of God’s true Holy doctrine.

And the problem is ALL the others who follow after them, never questioning, never allowing their conscious to feel conviction that leads to repentance and again we know this leads to having their conscious seared with a hot iron.

How did we ever become so vain and high-minded that we can “choose” our gifts, choose our callings? When God CHOOSES for us! We have no word in these matters. None, read the Bible, read those who tried to argue out of these calls.

Abraham LEARNED to follow God. Moses LEARNED to listen to God and spent real time in His presence, so much time, that his face shined to the point that he had to cover it because it SCARED the Hebrews.  Maybe learning to flow in the gifts and presence of God will cause people to be uncomfortable around you.. maybe that is a hold up, but do you really want to please God or would you rather fit it?

Your never going to fit in under the anointing of God, a friend to the world (and this does also mean candy coat fake Christians) will make you an enemy to God.

 John the Baptist dwelled in the wilderness. Apostle Paul studied THREE years and also participated in the vow of the Nazarite. And we all know Peter’s trails, struggles and most of all his overcoming all these things. Peter was learning, being educated in the disposition required to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ. We ALSO KNOW the end of that story, Peter, in dying to himself, and making the kingdom of heaven HIS Goal became so filled with the power of God that not only were prayer cloths taken from him, to heal diseases and cast out devils BUT that the sick were brought outside his home that EVEN THE SHADOW OF HIM PASSING BY might heal them.

STUDY, study the word, study the history, STUDY an elder, one that you know for certain, lives, breathes and sleeps for the kingdom. We have problems with that also, and we should never follow anyone if we do not know their life, know HOW they live in their own home, outside of a church house. Jesus IS our example, but just as the lady mentioned earlier, there is no harm in learning how an elder has “made” it, how they coped, how they gained strength and use that as part of our training manual.

Never be discouraged,of course, it will come, there will always be those who try to make you give up, and often they are the ones who you really believe will encourage you the most, when I first started training in ministry, my Pastor gave me some excellent advice, he told me that it was NOT “those” out there that we had to worry about, as far as picking apart your every word and saying mean hurtful things, it was those inside the church, and those in the family, they are often the ones who will discourage us the most. I found that to be true.

God places His call upon you and His gifts inside of you, but after that it is up to YOU, to nurture those gifts. Remember when God asked Moses why was he crying to Him, He had ALREADY given Moses what he would be equipped with, it was up to Him to have faith and use that gift. The Anointing does not come easy, nor does it come cheap. You will give up some things, and probably a few people, your desires and your flesh and it will cost you, time, and some trips to that refining furnace, and it will require diligence, and it will require PATIENCE.

ROMANS 12:7: ” Or Ministry, let us WAIT on our ministering…” nothing, nothing is going to happen outside the perfect timing of God, and we can not go off all half cocked and try to rush what can not be rushed. God works in His time and when that time is right, no matter how many have hurt or discouraged you, that time will not be stopped.  The ONLY person who can destroy the call on your life is YOU!

ISAIAH 43:13:” Yea, BEFORE the day was I AM he; and THERE IS NONE THAT CAN DELIVER OUT OF MY HAND: I WILL WORK, AND WHO SHALL LET IT ( who shall REVERSE His work)?

NO ONE, NO ONE overrules the preordained plan of God. They can try but they will only succeed, IF YOU let them. And to pursue the call you may as well learn to fight now, because THERE will never be a time when the fight for that calling will cease. As a soldier you are required to fight UNTIL the Captain calls you off the field, which in this army is when you leave this world.

 REVELATION 3:7:  “And to the angel (messenger) of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that IS holy, he that IS true, HE THAT HATH THE KEY OF DAVID, HE THAT OPENETH, AND NO MAN SHUTTETH; AND SHUTTETH, AND NO MAN OPENETH.”  

 Don’t worry if your technique looks backward to your teammates, Don’t worry if sometimes, it looks like your not even swimming in the right direction, because in due time the Captain will perfect your moves. Just wait for HIS guidance, Keep learning, keep studying, never give in and never give up and never let anyone keep you from that finish line!

Φλογιζω Σαλπιζω NBJ 2016

Is ONCE really ever enough?

“GOOD BYE, ROXIE SMITH”

The name alone brings me to tears, my brother Stevie and I sat next to each other at our Dad’s eightieth birthday party, a party primarily intended to shift focus from the grief which had slowly consumed him for months.
Tears filling Stevie’s eyes and the pain on his face broke my heart in half. We were trying to be strong but failed miserably, the common denominator that held our family together was no longer there and nothing would ever, ever be the same.
I had been the youngest child to four brothers, my sister married when I was five and the oldest brother died  when I was six, our parents both worked full-time so we had a lot of interesting snow days and summer vacations! I spent most of my early childhood being the enemy of all things “manly” and learning to kill or be killed in the best possible way! My mom’s favorite movie is “Overboard” with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, I told her I know why, those children act like we did only they had me!
Over time Troy married and Stevie moved out, Donnie and I went to school together and hung out together with my best friend Genia,
I was plagued with fear growing up, especially of lightning and he would always comfort me during storms, he never belittled me for being afraid, he would just tell me it would be okay that it would be over soon and it always was. He always protected me and never wanted me to be afraid.
In the early eighties, Stevie moved back home and somehow as if set the sound track of “Gemini Dream” everything changed.
Donnie had found an old underground “bunker” down from our house. I don’t know if it had been a bomb shelter or something for storage, it was concrete with metal rungs used to walk down into it, but they turned into a teens paradise, they had a radio, candles, flashlights, snacks and Donnie used the concrete walls for his often abstract art.
One portrait would stick forever, she was quite a character and she would become the mascot of our lives, she had to have a name and someone suggested Roxie Smith and it stuck, from that point on, she became the scapegoat for all mischievousness we didn’t want to own up too.

“Roxie did it!” of course our parents never understood why we found that so hysterically funny, which made it even funnier.
We spent that summer laughing, listening to music and suddenly I was no longer that pesky, little brat but an equal.
We were something like Cheech and Chong meets The Three Musketeers, somehow honorable while being incredibly goofy!
Over time Stevie moved to Tennessee and  Donnie moved next to Mom and Dad, and I briefly lived about thirty minutes away, only to move back. Donnie and I stayed right next to Mom and Dad, our homes within shouting distance of each other, I teased her that she would never get away from us and in reality, she never wanted to.
But we always remained close with Stevie, Donnie’s daughter is like a little sister to me and although she never knew it he worried about her a lot and  he would always ask me about her when he felt like she was heading in the wrong direction with a friend or new boyfriend I’d always reassure him it was the growing process and she’d be fine.

I always had such a comfort knowing my daughter who adored him would have that, an uncle she could always talk to if she needed help and I would  have the reassurance of  knowing he would always be right there for her.
We all have problems and he had his with alcohol, like so many others he used to dull the pain in his heart that had built up over a lifetime, a battle I am glad to report that he did win, by overcoming it .

But a greater guy you would never find, big, good-looking with a Sam Elliott mustache, never turned anyone away when they need help, and he always knew what to do in a crisis. We believed he would be there forever.
But our plans aren’t God’s plans and May 2011 would test our faith almost to the breaking point.
He worked nights and most of his free time was spent helping our parents and fooling around with vehicles and hanging out with Dad, who always has to be doing something, that’s what has kept him going, anyway the day before Easter 2011 he started having pain in his ribs, he thought he had just pulled a muscle so he waited about a week before going to the ER, when they did a chest X-ray, it revealed a huge mass in his lung.

He was transferred to a cancer center for a biopsy, for unexplained reasons the night of the biopsy he suddenly seized up and  completely coded, no heartbeat, no nothing, his daughter had called and I was on the phone with her and they were preparing to try to start his heart back, she was screaming and understandably ended up passing out.

The center is about an hour and a half from us, so we all rushed there and it was like a nightmare from hell and I kept begging God that he couldn’t die he wasn’t saved, when we got there, she met us in the parking lot, he had come out of it and was fine, no medications, no procedures, just as quickly as it happened, he came out of it.
The doctor’s never could explain it, I told one of them I could, it was God and the power of a praying Mother, had God not spared him he would have died lost and he believed and he would not even eat unless grace had been said but he had never made that required confession of faith of Jesus as his savior.
We were soon informed that he had a rare, deadly inoperable cancer and would have to immediately begin aggressive chemo and radiation.

He had a great sense of humor and tried to lighten us up by saying it was his luck to get the worst kind. Once he got to come home Mom made him move in with them so she could look after him and he resumed life. He couldn’t go back to work but he tinkered with stuff with Daddy outside and planted his annual garden with my daughter and even with the chemo and radiation he did not get sick. Other than losing his hair he looked healthy as a horse.  And we believed…..
The time came for his next test, the cancer was not gone, it now had splintered and had spread to his ribs, and spine. The doctor who had once been so hopeful now conceded there was nothing more he could do.
In our desperation we begged him to go to another cancer center, our sister who stayed right by his side took him and she relayed the message to us that the doctor callously informed him that he now had no more than two weeks to live, even adding a “Do you understand, Mr. Brown?”
This news came October 10, 2011, four days before his forty-ninth birthday so we decided to have him a huge family dinner (and we believed) and even though he was now too sick to eat, he opened his gifts and even posed for the camera wearing our nieces furry hood. He never complained and never once asked why.
We were told not to take him back to the hospital but we had his primary care doctor, she was Godsend, we were told we could have Hospice which he was adamantly against, he did not want to die with tubes and strangers and we did our best to honor that wish.(And we believed) two ministers came faithfully to pray with him and us and to assure his salvation because he said he hoped he was saved and he was trying to be so they led him in prayer till he felt he was.
After his party he began to sleep, the last words he ever spoke to me was “Good Night”, in our family we were well-trained you did not go to bed unless you said Good Night, I would cry all day and then try to go act all strong and not hover over him but inside I just wanted to hold him forever and beg him to please not go I couldn’t live without him, I had never had too. I believe God let him sleep to kill the pain, it wasn’t the medicine because he couldn’t be roused to take it, I think he was just shielding him until it was time to go home.
The morning of October 24, 2011 in the arms of his ex-wife and our Dad, he passed away in our Mother’s bed on Stevie’s birthday.
The whole ordeal was like life playing a sick, twisted joke and wanting to wake up from a horrifying dream, someone had even commented to us that if he died it would be due to our lack of faith and because we “got into agreement” with the cancer, something they will answer to the Lord for but it was enough to almost send our Dad over the edge, when Donnie passed.
We had faith, we believed, the minister that came the day he passed told me he believed for a miracle but Donnie got his miracle when got spared him to be saved. And the hardest thing I ever had to do is watch them take his body away knowing that never on this earth again we would laugh, or hug or cry together and all our plans for growing old as neighbors was over, and even though his life on earth had ended his eternal one had been assured.
God carried us through unthinkable sorrow, he continues to carry our parents, Donnie’s children, our siblings and my daughter through it.
God never promised we would not lose loved ones or that the circumstance wouldn’t be mind numbing sadistic, God knows our death even before our birth and it is just that a part of living and every second, every moment is precious and he promises if they live for him, they are with him, Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”                        Job 19:25-27 details it to the extreme.
For all that mourn, know those tears are precious to God,
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy, he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5,6
Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are all passed away.”
By the end of Dad’s party, the hymns of the singers driving stakes through the wounded hearts, most ended up outside crying together for what had been lost, Mom with the Victorian grace so rarely seen today hid her tears in putting away leftovers, Stevie and I toyed with the idea of going back to see if the old place was still there but in our realization that the second Musketeer was really never coming back and that the precious laughter of that innocent time that had bonded us through so much more than blood but through true friendship was now a priceless memory to be tucked away in our hearts and propel us to finish our race.
So My dear brother I love you and I will be strong, I will not be afraid of the storms anymore and I know one day I will hug you again. Good Bye, Roxie Smith, God knows I  desperately do not want to let you go but love never, ever dies it only sleeps for a little while.

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Probably the worst picture I could find, we had been laughing about “wearing the same outfit” the reason this one means so much to me is the circle of arms, I had never really noticed it until after the fact, but this is what he was to me and our daughters.

Had God not covered us….