Shoveling Neighbors


(I wrote this story for my Sunday school class of younger children. It’s meant to be acted out.) 

“The Two Neighbors That Needed to Shovel”

Once upon a time there were two neighbors, Harry and Joe.  Harry loved to take care of his yard and never let his grass get too long or the snow get too deep.  On the other hand, Joe was a “get around to it” kind of guy.  He never quite “got around” to mowing until the grass was very long and never got around to shoveling until he couldn’t get out of the driveway with his car.

(Ask for two volunteers to be “Harry” and “Joe”.)

One winter morning, Harry looked out his window… (Tell “Harry” to pretend to look out the window.), and said to his wife, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  I had better go shovel.”  And shovel he did!  (Have Harry pretend to shovel.)  There was very little snow, so in no time at all, he was stepping back into the house again saying to his wife, “Ah!  It feels good out there!  That fresh air really woke me up!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “There is a little snow on the sidewalk and driveway.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe put his feet up on the couch… (Have Joe put his feet up.), and his hands behind his head (Have Joe put his hands behind his head.) and said, “Nah.  It will melt before long.”  Then Joe went back to drinking his coffee and reading the newspaper.

Sure enough, Joe was right.  The sun came out and the snow melted before the day was out.  Joe’s drive and sidewalk had some puddles, but the snow was gone.

A week or so later, Harry got up in the morning and looked out the window again.  (Remind “Harry” he is supposed to pretend he is looking out the window.)  He said, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  I had better go shovel!”  True to his word, he put his coat on and out he went and shoveled.  (“Harry” should have it down by now, but if he forgets to pretend to shovel, remind him.)  It took Harry just slightly longer than the time before since there was a little more snow on the ground.  Soon he was stamping the snow off of his boots and stepping back into the house.  “Hoo-ee!”  He exclaimed!  There’s a little bite in the air today!  Winter is here to stay!”

Next door, Joe’s wife looked out the window and said to Joe, “It snowed in the night again.  We got a little more than last time.  Don’t you think you should go out and shovel?”  Joe got up from the couch and looked out the window, (Remind “Joe” to look out of the window.), and said, “Hmmm.  There can’t be more than an inch out there.  I think I can wait until I have more time.”  Then Joe went back to the couch, put his feet up and finished reading his newspaper.

Well, Joe was right in a way.  There wasn’t more than about an inch of snow on the drive, but when they drove their car over the snow, it packed it down until it made a hard, slippery surface that Joe’s wife slipped on a couple of times walking out to get the mail.

This is the way it went for the next three snowfalls.  As soon as it snowed, Harry would go outside and shovel.  Harry’s drive and sidewalk looked the same as ever.  It was clean and dry enough to ride a bike on, and Harry was getting stronger and stronger because of the shoveling.  On the other hand, Joe’s drive and sidewalks were slippery and rutted with dirty, hard, slippery snow.  Joe’s wife said, “Honey, if you don’t shovel soon, someone is going to fall!”  Joe answered his wife, “Dear, I am having no trouble getting out of the driveway and people should be careful walking in the winter anyway.”  Then he went back to the couch with a fresh cup of coffee and put his feet up.

It was just after Christmas, when the radio and television began to issue this warning.  “We have a Winter Storm Warning in effect.  We are expected to get up to 6 inches of snow by midnight and another 4-6 inches by morning. ”

Harry reached over and shut the radio off and said to his wife.  I had better get to bed.  I will need to be up early to get the drive and the sidewalk shoveled before I go to work.”

Joe turned off the radio and said to his wife.  “There is a really good program on tonight.  It will keep me up late, but that won’t be a problem.”  Joe’s wife just rolled her eyes.

The next morning, Harry was up by 5:00 am, had a good breakfast, bundled up and went out into the blowing snow and cleared away the snow they had gotten overnight.  (Harry shovel)  He was huffing and puffing a bit, and it took him 45 minutes to do it, but he was finished in plenty of time to pack his lunch and head for work.

Joe overslept.  His wife shook him awake and said, “Joe!  I don’t know if you will be able to get out of the driveway! We got a lot of snow last night and it has piled up on top of the old snow.”  Joe jumped out of bed and quickly dressed.  “No time to worry about it.  I’ll be late as it is!”  Joe threw his coat on without buttoning it, grabbed his cup of coffee and a cookie and ran to his car.  (‘Joe’ can pretend to run.)  Joe opened the garage door and the drifting snow blew in.  He threw the car onto reverse and roared down the drive, through the snow and slid out into the street.  Off to work he went.

It continued snowing throughout the day and by the time Joe got home from work; he got stuck over and over trying to get down his driveway and into the garage.  He said to his wife, “Honey, where is the shovel?”

Harry was already out shoveling the snow that had fallen throughout the day from his driveway when Joe came spinning his tires down his own driveway.  Harry just shook his head and kept on shoveling.  It was hard work, but Harry had gotten strong and had gotten used to the cold weather.  He didn’t mind the way the full shovel pulled on his back and he could throw each shovel of snow a long distance.

Joe was finally worried about the deep snow in his driveway.  Later, after much searching for a shovel, Joe went out into the freezing cold air and stood shivering, dreading the job ahead.  What he had failed to notice until now, was that his driveway was layered with hard packed snow that had been covered with heavy, fresh, deep snow.  It made him long for his warm house with its comfortable couch. He wanted nothing to do with shoveling.  He only wanted to go back inside and drink a cup of coffee and read his newspaper.  He sighed and stuck his shovel into the deep snow.  (‘Joe’ may be too interested in the story to pretend anymore, so just let him listen.)  “Ugh!” he grunted with each little shovel full.  He had gotten out of shape through the winter, so he could barely throw the snow far enough to get it to the side of the driveway.  “Ugh!” he grunted again and again as he struggled through the deep snow.  He just wasn’t getting enough shoveled to even make a path for the tires of his car.  His arms were getting heavy and burned with each shovel full.  His breath was getting shorter and he was gasping for air.  He started to feel weak in his knees and they began to wobble.  His ears and nose were getting frostbitten and his hands were cold and raw from the rough handle of the shovel.  He stuck his shovel deep into the snow again, but this time, when he threw the shovel full of snow, the shovel flew out of his hands and he fell face first into the snow and lay there.  His wife and his neighbor Harry came running to see if he was all right.  They helped him to roll onto his back, but he couldn’t get up!  He had thrown his back out with the shovel!  His wife had to call an ambulance and Joe was laid up for the rest of the winter. Not only that, but he also had to pay $100.00 to a man to plow his driveway; all because he had let the snow pile up deeper and deeper until it was more than he could handle.

The snow is a lot like the times we get angry with someone or sad or hurt.  If we don’t forgive whoever has hurt us right away, it piles up in our hearts like deep snow. Our hurts and anger get bigger and deeper and harder to get rid of until we are no longer able to be happy.  Just like Harry, every time we have a snowfall of a hurt or anger or sadness come into our heart, we must immediately forgive whoever has hurt us so that our heart can be clean and happy again. Some hurts are heavy, like a very deep snowfall and we need Jesus to help us to forgive the one that hurt us. Just ask Jesus to help you to forgive and he will and you can have a light, happy heart again. Remember, each of us has caused Jesus hurts, but he forgives us, so we need to forgive others the hurts they cause us. You will never regret forgiving someone, but you will always regret not forgiving, especially when the time comes that Jesus looks you in the eyes and shows you His nail scarred hands. Hands that were nailed to a cross for the forgiveness of the hurts you and I caused Him.

Nancy

Matthew 6:14,15 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

This Little Piggy


The Young Disciples Club

And

“This Little Piggy”

Featuring Jack:

Jack was one of the older boys in the Young Disciples Club. He hadn’t been in the club as long as some of the kids. He, his Mom and siblings had moved to town not too many years ago. His Mom had found a job at the local hospital and had to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. Jack was pretty quiet about his Dad. What he didn’t say spoke louder than what he did say. His friends learned not to ask him what his Dad had gotten him for his birthday, or if he would be going to his Dad’s for a visit over the summer, or if his Dad would maybe help him get a bicycle. For that matter, Jack was sort of quiet a lot of the time. It was like he had experienced a few too many disappointments already in his young life and it had sapped his youth of joy. He didn’t smile much, not with his eyes anyway and lately he had seemed withdrawn. Maybe that was why Jack had been on his youth leader, Pastor Ron’s heart so much lately.

Pastor Ron sat quietly at the top of the knoll, his bike in the grass beside him. He had ridden up to the look out some time ago. He wasn’t at all sure why, but he felt like he was waiting for something or someone. Earlier, God had seemed to drive him from his house and onto his bike and this was where he had found himself. It was a pleasant day with a soft warm breeze but Pastor Ron was not able to enjoy it. As he prayed, he became more and more troubled in his spirit. He had been praying at home, as he usually did, but as he prayed for each person that came to his heart, the boy Jack, from his Young Disciple Club kept coming back to his mind. Over and over again Ron’s heart would return to Jack in prayer until the uneasiness he felt in his spirit became more than he could bear. Ron recognized that Jesus was calling him to intercessory prayer for Jack. Pastor Ron had answered that call to prayer and though he called on the Name of Jesus and prayed with all of his might, the urgency would not lift.  He felt that unmistakable heaviness grow and he cried out to Jesus to intervene in whatever was happening in Jack’s life. Pastor Ron wrestled for Jack in prayer, crying out for Jesus to intercede in whatever was happening with Jack. The heaviness became almost unbearable until, finally; Pastor Ron felt his spirit lighten and the unmistakable Holy Presence of God swept over him. As he prayed on that little, grassy knoll, Pastor Ron knew that he had pressed through and had been granted an audience with the King of Kings. He felt as though he stood before the very Throne of Grace and he knew he could ask God to grant his petition.  He reverently bowed his head and spoke to his Friend Jesus. He said, “Jesus, I don’t know what is going on with this young man, but I know that you have placed this burden on my heart to pray for Jack and you know what the trouble is. I ask you, Lord Jesus, in your Precious Name to reveal the situation to me and give me your direction so that I can help him, in Jesus Name, I pray. Thank you Jesus, Mighty God!  Amen.” As Pastor Ron finished praying, a sweet peace settled across him. He wiped the tears from his eyes and and breathed in the soft, warm breeze. His prayer turned to a heartfelt praise and worship and he sat quietly for a time in silent meditation, thinking about the Goodness of God. In the quiet, mingled with the soft breeze, he heard footsteps climbing the other side of the knoll. He heard the unmistakable sound of someone dropping to the grass then the muffled sound of weeping. Soon the crying turned to loud, ragged sobs.  Pastor Ron stood and walked softly to the other side of the knoll where he found Jack, his hands covering his face, sobbing as only the broken in heart can cry. Ron lowered himself to Jack’s side quietly, softly resting his arm across Jack’s shoulders and began to pray. “Jesus, you know the trouble that this young man is sorrowing over. You know what is causing this heartache. You know the number of hairs on his head and his very thoughts. There is nothing hid from you, Lord. Oh, Balm of Gilead, we need your comfort.” Pastor Ron prayed until Jack wiped his eyes on his sleeve and looked up.  Pastor Ron grieved for the young man, wondering what could be weighing so heavily on him. He prayed silently, waiting for Jack to speak. Jack finally began to speak, uncertainly at first, trying to find the words to tell his youth leader what he had been unable to confide to anyone. The words started and stopped, at one point pouring out, at other times stammering, starting and stopping again. Finally, his youthful voice faded to a whisper, ashamed. Pastor Ron knew now why Jesus had put such a heavy burden to pray for Jack on his heart. He spoke softly to Jack.

“Jack, what you have been into, it is true, does not please God, but; you need to somehow get a hold of how great the mercy of God is. The Bible says in Proverbs 28:11 ‘He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy.’ Jack, you have done just as the Bible has directed us to do. James 5:16 says, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ Now you need to talk to God again and claim that mercy and forgiveness He has offered us.  Psalms 41:4 says, ‘I said, O Jehovah, have mercy upon me: Heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.’

Jack turned his sorrowful eyes up to Pastor Ron and said with a shaky voice, “Pastor Ron, I have told Jesus how sorry I am and I’ve begged Him to help me but I keep having these thoughts jump into my head! I’ve tried everything but they keep coming back! I don’t know what to do anymore! I’m afraid I’ll be lost and I don’t want to be!”  Jack covered his face with his hands again as his tears silently fell.

Pastor Ron, reached out in his spirit to that Throne of Mercy again, searching for the right words for the broken youth sitting beside him. What came to him was an old song that he sang softly, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord my God, and renew a right spirit within me. Create in me a clean heart, Oh Lord my God, and renew a right spirit within in me, within me.”

“Jack, the Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 7:10, ‘For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.’ Jack, you need to let that sorrow you’re feeling be ‘godly sorrow’, let it work toward repentance! This same portion of the Bible goes on to say in verse 11, ‘For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.’ Jack, do you love Jesus?”

Jack sat up a little straighter and said with great conviction, “With all my heart, Pastor Ron.”

Ron went on to ask, “Do you want to serve Him in holiness and live a life that pleases Him?”

Jack nodded his head vigorously, unable to speak as emotion started overwhelm him again.

Pastor Ron gripped Jack’s shoulder and looked him in the eye. “Jack, you don’t have to listen to the accuser. Romans 8:1 tells us, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ You need what John 15:3-4 says, ‘Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you…’ That chapter goes on to say in verse 7, ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’

Jack, you are fighting a spiritual battle right now, but you have Jesus at your side and the sword of the spirit at your hand. Philippians 2:5 says, ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:’ submit your thoughts to Jesus and fill your head with the Word of God. Jesus has already paid the price, so like 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, ‘But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Pastor Ron stood up, holding his hand out to Jack to pull him to his feet. “Come on Jack. Let’s thank God for His mercy and His loving kindness toward us.”

Jack smiled the first big, real smile Pastor Ron had seen for a long time and raised his hands toward heaven and praised God with the liberty that only comes from a forgiven heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story was written to ask you; Do you have something in your life that you have tried and tried to shake, but just can’t seem to? Jesus is able to deliver us of anything, anything, anything. Find a quiet place to sit and talk to Him. Tell Him everything; hold nothing back, confess it to Him; tell Him every detail. Talk to Him even about the things you tell no one about. Talk to Him about the things you don’t really want to talk about. Confess to Him every detail; even those things you wish you could forget. Tell Jesus you are sorry you have sinned and grieved Him. Ask Him to forgive you. Ask Jesus to cleanse you. Ask Jesus put you back on the Potter’s Wheel again and remake you into the person He meant for you to be. If you haven’t been baptized in Jesus Name, you need to be.  Acts 2:38-41 says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

If you need the name of an apostolic church near you, look at the web site: http://www.upci.com/churchLocator/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Then don’t settle for just having your sins forgiven and washed away. You need the Holy Ghost to live a victorious life. Most likely you will receive the Holy Ghost when you are baptized. Ask for a Bible study while you are at it. There is nothing like living your life in the power of the Holy Ghost. Check it out today!

Nancy

(I may post some other stories I’ve written. We’ll see.)

Burden Bearer


“Be a Burden Bearer”, the silent whisper of the Lord spoke to me.

I had sat down in my big chair to finish a wonderful book by Robert E Henson, called “Breath of Life- The Gift and Blessing of Prayer” when I felt the unmistakable wooing of God to pause and love on Him for a while. I loved on Him for a period of time, then felt I should stand. I was listening closely for His Voice when He said, simply, “Be a Burden Bearer”.

I should explain first of all that I have been practicing listening for the Voice of God. Everything I have learned lately says we need to come to a point in prayer where we “still” ourselves…wait…and listen carefully for His Voice. I had just asked Jesus earlier in the day during prayer to give me “ears to hear” His Voice. He said to me that He longed to speak to me but my ears were, “dull of hearing”. I wanted so badly to hear His Voice, but I asked Him to please speak to me clearly so that I would have no doubt that it was His Voice I was hearing and not just my inner thoughts. He said to me, something to the effect, “I speak to some in a whisper, to some in a feeling or impression, to some in that ‘still, small voice’, to some in pictures, to some through other people, and to some through dreams.” He told me to Rest in Him and commit my way to Him and He would speak to me.

After the Lord spoke to me, saying, “Be a Burden Bearer”, I asked the Lord, “What is a Burden Bearer?”  He said to me, “Ask my servant.” I tried to figure out what servant He meant, and finally landed on one I would ask after I prayed awhile. I was trying to figure out what a burden bearer was, when suddenly, I remembered the burden I had offered to help carry many months ago.  I had been praying for a certain servant of God and realized that the burden this servant was carrying was becoming too much to carry alone. I had prayed, “Lord, I’ll help carry {the} burden!” I felt a heaviness rest down on me and I prayed for the burden, but really didn’t know how or what to pray. I felt that my prayer was pretty ineffective because I just didn’t know what the burden was or how to pray for it. After a few days of trying to pray for this burden without knowing what to do with it, I prayed again. I said to God, “Lord, please give me just a tiny portion of {your servant’s} mantle so that I know what to do with this burden.” I felt like I was told to stand and once again I actually felt something come down and rest onto my shoulders. I was surprised because I had asked for just a “tiny” portion of the servant’s mantle and this felt like my entire shoulders had something come resting down on them. I felt a heavy responsibility.

I started praying for the burden, calling it “Precious Burden”. I prayed for the burden for some time, but still didn’t know what to do with it. Finally one day, I spoke to the burden. I said, “Oh, Precious Burden of {God’s servant}, what are you?” I prayed that over and over, speaking in tongues and praying. Then suddenly, it seemed I knew what it was, so I then prayed, “Oh, Precious Burden! What is the Key to reaching you?” and I seemed to get an answer.

Like I said, that was many months ago and much has transpired in my personal walk with God in the interim, so I am ashamed to say, I hadn’t thought much about this burden for some time. I stood in my living room, determined that not another day would go by neglecting this burden. I began to pray immediately. As I prayed, I realized part of what a burden bearer’s responsibility is. I knew being a burden bearer would require much prayer and fasting. I also knew it would require me to go as a warrior before the servant of God. I would be required to pray a vanguard of angels around God’s servant for protection. I would be required to warfare pray into the enemy’s territory to take authority in Jesus Name and by the Blood of Jesus over those spirits of the enemy that were resisting the servant of God. I would need to dispatch angels to fight those spirits that were coming against God’s servant and I would need to plead the Blood of Jesus over God’s servant and over myself and over all that pertains to the servant and to myself.

I have much to learn.

Rise up Oh Army of God! Many burden bearers are needed!

Nancy

Nehemiah 4:6-23

“But we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together to the half thereof; for the people had a mind to work.

7And it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobijah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being repaired, that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, 8and conspired all of them together to come to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.

Discouragement Overcome

9Then we prayed to our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.

10And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens faileth, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build at the wall.

11And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them and kill them, and put an end to the work. 12And it came to pass that when the Jews that dwelt by them came and told us so ten times, from all the places whence they returned to us, 13I set in the lower places behind the wall in exposed places, I even set the people, according to their families, with their swords, their spears and their bows. 14And I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.

15And it came to pass that when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had defeated their counsel, we returned all of us to the wall, every one to his work. 16And from that time forth the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held the spears, and the shields, and the bows, and the corslets; and the captains were behind all the house of Judah. 17They that built on the wall, and they that bore burdens, with those that loaded, wrought in the work with one hand, and with the other they held a weapon. 18And the builders had every one his sword girded by his side, and built. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 19And I said to the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and extended, and we are scattered upon the wall, one far from another: 20in what place ye hear the sound of the trumpet, thither shall ye assemble to us; our God will fight for us.

21And we laboured in the work; and half of them held the spears from the rising of the dawn till the stars appeared.22Likewise at the same time I said to the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and [be for] labour in the day. 23And neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our garments: every one had his weapon on his right side.”

 

 

A Glimpse


“It’s so good to be home…It’s so good to be home…”, my husband spoke softly as he rocked in his old green rocking chair. It’s been almost 15 years since he uttered those words.

I had just started my evening prayer through the tabernacle and was meditating on being thankful for the “gates of the tabernacle” when that scene from so long ago came to mind. I had been thinking of how those Jews that could only make it to the temple once a year must have felt as they approached it, how they must have wanted to drink in the sight of it. I could imagine how they laughed and shouted as it came into sight. Fathers lifted children onto their shoulders and excitedly pointed out the temple in the distance. Then I thought of those Jews that had spent years in captivity and how only the fortunate few made it back. I thought of how they must have wept at the sight of even the remnant of the temple. It was as I was thinking of those captives, that I thought of my husband sitting in his old rocking chair, so very glad to be home. In my mind’s eye, I saw our children sitting a little away from him, hopeful but wary; and myself on the couch, wanting to be happy, yet serious and cautious.

This is a very long and difficult story that I am only going to tell you a little of. I will allow you a glimpse, but no more into those dark days. It’s not something I willingly talk about, but God has made it very clear to me I am to write a little bit of it.

I had just brought my husband, (I will not give his name) home from the hospital where he had been very close to death. You would think that was why it felt so good to him to be home, but it was much more than that. He had been gone from our home for many months; but, gone from our family for many years. It was his first time “home” since he had left us. The divorce was finishing up and the children and I had finally started to find a new normal. Some weeks prior to this, I had been to a ladies retreat. It was during the last altar call of the last session of the retreat that God spoke to me. He said, “If {he named my husband} asks if he can come home, will you let him?” I said, “No Lord. There’s been too much water under the bridge. It’s been too hard.” A little later God spoke to me again, “If {your husband} asks you if he can come home, will you let him?” I said, “No Lord. I don’t want to.” Then one last time, God asked me, “If {your husband} asks you if he can come home, will you let him?” This time I answered, “I tell you what Lord, how about if we just do this your way. You’ve never left me hanging and I don’t suppose you’ll start now.” The retreat finished, I went home and didn’t think another thing of God’s words. That was Saturday. Monday afternoon, my husband stopped by the house. He said he had something to talk to me about. I reluctantly let him in. He said he had made a mistake and wanted to come home. Long story short, I forgot completely about my conversation with God and said no. He spent some time trying to convince me but I had no intention of going down that road again. He finally asked if he could take the kids and myself out for pizza. The kids had come home from school by then and were all in favor of us all going for pizza. I did not want to go with but he and the kids put a great deal of pressure on me until I agreed. We got back a little later that evening and my husband asked if he could catch a nap on the couch in the lower level before he went to work that night. I was very unhappy about it. I absolutely did not want him in the house any longer, but where he was living was an hour away, so I reluctantly agreed. I went to bed and hadn’t been asleep long when I heard him on the phone in the dining room, calling in sick to work. I was very angry. I was even more angry when I got up the next morning to find him on the couch in the living room, claiming to be sick. I didn’t care if he was sick. I wanted him out of my house and let him know in no uncertain terms that he had better be gone when I got home from work. The kids called me later at work and told me their dad was very sick. I came home after work to find him still on the couch and truly sick. He was burning up with a fever which I could not ignore. I spent a long night trying to get his fever down, so come morning, I insisted he be seen. When the attending physician diagnosed his illness as sinus infection, I knew in my gut they were wrong but there was nothing to do but get the antibiotics and hope they worked. I have to say I was very anxious to get him off of my hands.  I had company coming for Easter, I had a great deal to do and I knew his presence would be unwelcome to say the least. That was Wednesday, but when Thursday came and went with  no improvement, I insisted on taking him to the emergency room across town. It wasn’t long before the nightmare began. They roomed him immediately which should have been my first clue he was seriously sick. At some point I was taken back to a private area and questioned by the infection control group. Could he have contacted this, that or the other, they asked me? I finally had to own up to the fact that I really didn’t know much about him anymore and hadn’t had contact with him for a very long time. They said he had said as much but they were grasping straws. He was admitted and the battery of tests began. The next afternoon, I brought the children in to see him and was disturbed to notice his breathing had become labored. They took him for a late afternoon CT Scan which showed multiple pulmonary embolism. My Easter company came, took the kids home with them and my vigil began. He rapidly went into a decline and was emergently moved to intensive care. The physicians broke it to me that he was going into total organ shutdown and they still didn’t know what was wrong with him. Very quickly he turned yellow-orange and became very swollen. He was delirious and kept asking me to take his boots off, though he had nothing on his feet. He said they were, “so heavy”. Soon after, he became totally unable to speak but was easily startled and very frightened. I prayed almost every minute I was with him. At some point I knew I was to pray over his entire body. I knew I needed to pray and sing to him, touching him as I did. I didn’t care who came and went, I continued. I remember a young doctor walking in and observing me. He said to “keep it up”, that it had been proven to help. I only left when I knew someone else would be with him. He reached crisis mode and they still didn’t know what was wrong. They finally told me that it might be a good idea to let the children come and tell him goodbye, so I called the school and the principle brought them to the hospital. I don’t remember much of that time except for the exhaustion. Then, the main physician came to me with a smile. They finally had a diagnosis and could aggressively treat him. He had been visiting family in Tennessee two weeks prior to the start of his illness and had been bitten by a tick carrying a disease called Ehrlichiosis, called by locals, “the bone breaker” because of the pain associated with it. The average yearly incidence of it is 0.7 cases per MILLION population and none of that happens in MN. Once the physicians knew what they were dealing with, they were able to successfully treat him. They were finally able to move him out of critical care to a step down unit though he still couldn’t talk and was confused. They had a serious talk with me about taking him home. They said I would have to make sure not to allow him to use the stove or let him wander. They could not guarantee he ever would improve enough to be left alone. I vividly remember saying to God, “Well, this ought to be interesting.” They were finally going to release him, but since he was very immunosuppressed, I went home and cleaned and washed walls. When I came back to his hospital room and walked up to his bed, he reached up to me and put his arm around my shoulders, kissed me and said the first words I had heard from him since he became so ill. He said, “What are you doing here babe? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” It was the first time he had kissed me since his heart had turned from me so very, very long ago…the first time he had spoken an endearment to me since his heart was stolen from me.

I took him home from the hospital and the first thing he did was to go to his favorite old chair, the green rocking chair. He rocked silently for a while with his eyes closed, than said with a catch in his voice, “It’s so good to be home… It’s so good to be home”.

I fell in love with him all over again…head over heals in love with him… passionately in love with him… and we almost made it. We almost beat that spirit that had gotten a hold of him, but he wouldn’t let the pastor or the men of the church get close enough to him to be accountable… to be safe.  He was finally able to go back to work, but it wasn’t long before he was dabbling once again with that sin that had taken him from me in the first place. Soon he was back where he had been before he had gotten sick…only more so. I fought that spirit that had a grip on him! I fasted and prayed and wept until I tore the cartilage in my ribs. The rest of the story reads like a textbook. That spirit isn’t very imaginative. It pulls the same stuff wherever it strikes. There was the usual ugliness of divorce, then the car broke down, the well had to be re-dug, my furnace burned up, my fridge went out, my stove quit working, the roof started leaking, the pressure pump went out and had to be dug up and replaced. The divorce had been discontinued when he got sick, so it had to be completely restarted…with a new retainer fee… in other words, I made a lot of money, but I had none.You say, where was God in all of this? Oh, where do I begin to tell you of His faithfulness. One day as I wept, God said to me, “But, didn’t I give you peace in your home?” Yes, God gave me and my children peace in our home.  He also gave me closure, since I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had done everything I could possibly do to win my husband back to me and to God.

You wonder if God left me “hanging”? No, no He didn’t. He has given me a new, peaceful life. I’m working on being a soul winner and the best is yet to come. I’m not sure why God has laid it so heavy on my heart to write this or why He has placed such an urgency on me to write it. I guess, if there is one take-away I can give you, it is this: Remember, Satan doesn’t come to inconvenience you or to mess up your day…

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:” John 10:10

Nancy

“It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” And your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.…” Isaiah 62:4,5

The Crushing of the Rose, Part 2


“That thing is going to come right through the window at me…”, I thought.

I had been warfare praying and felt to open my eyes. I looked out into the darkness and saw the presence I had felt. It was a huge, dappled gray deer standing at the edge of my yard, looking into my house toward me. I did not stop my prayer as the deer took two aggressive steps toward the house. It took a few more lunging steps toward the picture window where I sat and then charged. I did not move, nor did I change my authoritative, warfare prayer. It galloped straight for me, looking to all intents and purposes it was going to crash through the picture window to attack me. At the last second it veered, it’s hooves pounding the ground as it passed. It was the third night in a row I had experienced some sort of resistance to prayer.

As I mentioned in my previous post, “Excuse Me??”, my church had recently been watching, “Heaven to Earth: The Tabernacle Today” DVD series by Anthony Mangun during our Wednesday eve services. A tongues and interpretation had gone forth during the first of the series, saying among other things to, “Let this become the marrow of your bones.” (speaking of praying through the tabernacle), so I had immediately incorporated each portion, as I learned it, into my prayer time. At the end of the first video, Anthony Mangun says, “It’s gonna change your life…” and I can say emphatically…it has changed my life. So, that being said, I was really looking forward to watching the final DVD. In the meantime, I had become interested in a Facebook page called, “Apostolic Iron”, written by Bishop C.M. Wright. His church, (website is http://theantioch.com/) was going to host a series of live events called, “Call to War End Time Harvest”. I wasn’t going to be able to watch it live as I would be traveling back from a visit to my son and his family in California, but was grateful to find out it would be archived.  I flew back to St. Paul through a terrible early blizzard and drove home on horrible roads. I got in very late and headed to bed with every intention of resting the next day. When I got up in the morning, instead of having my usual bowl of cereal for breakfast, I decided it would be a good idea to fast, so I headed to the couch with my Bible and a blanket and took my time praying through the tabernacle plan. After a long, enjoyable time with God, I started watching “Call to War: Session 1″ archived series. It had no sooner gotten started when I received  a very difficult phone call that left me feeling attacked and terribly hurt. I managed to pull myself together and started the video again. Not far into it, I started sneezing, then I developed a little sniffle. I didn’t really think much of it though until, as the video progressed, I started hurting everywhere. My teeth hurt, my jaws hurt, my eyes hurt and watered, my neck hurt until it was difficult to hold my head up. My little sniffle turned into a continual pouring from the nose complete with congestion. I propped my head up and continued watching. Bishop C.M. Wright told us of a deep revelation God gave him and I knew it was extremely important for me to catch everything that he was saying. I tried hard to focus, but continued to feel very tough throughout the video. As I watched, the presence of God was very evident and I had a good time of prayer. The afternoon passed and before long it was time to head to church.  I had no intention of missing the last of the “Heaven to Earth” series, so down the road I went, my Kleenex box sitting next to me. I no sooner sat down at church when my runny nose, aches and pains went into full-blown cold and flu misery. At the end of the Heaven to Earth video, Pastor asked that we all pray for each other and my Pastor’s wife came directly to me and prayed for me. I felt so tough by then, I wasn’t even sure if I could drive home, much less go to work the next day, so I was very grateful and relieved when this powerful woman of God prayed for me. Service ended and I knew I looked bad when my pastor opted for a fist bump instead of the usual hand shake as I passed him to leave. With great effort, I drove home and dropped into bed, pleading to God to be better by morning. God is Good and prayer works, so come morning I felt peaked but was able to go to work.

I came home from work, tired but no longer feeling ill so I pulled up “Call to War: Session 2″, got comfortable in my chair and started watching. As I watched, my legs started jerking, so I switched my position and focused again and my legs started jerking again. I tried to get comfortable, but no matter how I changed positions, my legs would ache and jerk and then; out of the blue, I got a horrendous Charlie horse in each of my shins at the same time. I leaped out of the chair yelping and calling on the Name of Jesus! I couldn’t get relief no matter what I did. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stretch, I couldn’t relax. If I bent my toes up the cramps got worse, if I bent my toes down the cramps got worse. Finally with  much calling on Jesus, the leg cramps eased until I was able to sit back down and watch the rest of the video. As Bishop Wright taught about warfare prayer, it slowly dawned on me that what I was experiencing was spiritual resistance.

The next day I knew I had better have the armor of the Lord on before attempting to watch session 3, so I fasted and when I got home from work I carefully prayed through the tabernacle plan before pulling up session 3. Once again, watching the video was easier said than done. I had gotten home pretty late from a tough day at work and was still not feeling 100%, then praying through the tabernacle plan,took awhile to do. By the time I pulled up the video, I was very tired and very hungry and ended up struggling to stay awake for it. I was frustrated and disappointed that I had gone through such an effort to be spiritually prepared to watch it and still ended up missing parts of it. I gave it up, ate and went to bed.

I got up early the next morning, (Saturday) to prepare for my son and his family to come and haul a large load to the dump.  After they left, I collapsed into a lawn chair in my living room with a blanket. (I had hauled my couch and chair to the dump)  I was still not feeling the best but wanted to watch session 3 again.  I watched session 3 and session 4 and the power of God came down. I prayed and worshiped, dancing backwards down the hall and into a back bed-room/storage area. A change came over my spirit and I KNEW there was something wrong in that room. I couldn’t believe I was feeling something evil in that room, but I was. I searched around and finally found what it was. In one of the closets was the television that I had gotten out of my living room back in early 2012 when I started my journey of consecration. I hefted it up and hauled it to the garage for the next load to the county recycle plant, then I could worship freely.

Sunday morning in church, I felt the same beauty of the Holy Ghost come resting down and with it a freedom to worship that I hadn’t felt in quite a while. I worshiped with my whole heart dancing out of my seat and down the aisle. I felt to touch different ladies as I passed, and then after an all out “jubilee” in the far corner, I made my way back to my seat, pausing to pray with a lady who needed the Holy Ghost on the way. My pastor let God have His way and invited us all to come to the altar to pray. The front of the church filled and wonderful things were happening. I stood, praying and worshiping with others up front, all the while reaching in my spirit, asking God who I should pray with. God impressed on me, to not move from where I was. Finally, He put it on my heart to go pray for an African lady, but I was not to touch her. I felt in the Holy Ghost to pray for her starting from her left, then moving around behind her, then to her right, praying all the while without touching her but coming in close.  I could feel the power of the Holy Ghost at work. Suddenly she was all over the place at once, staggering, almost falling into and onto those kneeling and praying. I tried to stay between her and those she might step on, trying to take her arm but was almost knocked off my feet. Finally she went down onto the floor with what would have been seen as convulsions, but I knew better. A couple of men came and we prayed until the convulsions passed and she got up, got her shoes that had been kicked off and went and sat down. I felt to keep praying in tongues while walking the perimeter of the church until Pastor reined things in and continued the service.

I went home between services and watched session 4 then again, after evening service, session 5. I had Monday off, so after morning devotions and praying the tabernacle plan, I watched session 6. I wasn’t able to get to session 7 until late that night. Toward the end of session 7, we were led into prayer of Warfare Intercession. It was during this warfare intercession that the very large deer attacked. There was no mistaking the demonic influence. The next session was to be on Travailing Warfare and I knew I was in for more demonic attack unless I took offensive measures. I fasted the next day and when I came home from work, I no sooner stepped through the door and I felt an unwelcome presence in my home. My cat could evidently feel it too and did a sudden sprint down the hall. In my mind I thought, “Looks like I’m in for the long haul.” Out loud I said with conviction, “I’m up for the long haul. I’m in this (God’s service) for the long haul.” At that, my cat went into a frenzied cat fit. She tore her claws into the carpet to run faster and faster. She went in and out of rooms and up and over the table and down the hall and finally under a bed. I just went to the cupboard and got out the olive oil and made myself a VERY large cup of tea. I was going to pray through the house, anointing it with oil calling on the Name of Jesus and plead the Blood of Jesus over every door post and window and whatever didn’t get out of my way. I decided to start in my bedroom. I could feel a great resistance, so I asked Jesus to please send me a big angel to go through the house with me. I got to my bedroom and I thought, “I’m going to do this right.” so I started with praying through the tabernacle plan. I took my time like never before. I talked and prayed to Jesus and loved on Him and worshiped and praised Him. When I got to the brazen altar of repentance, I dug deep. I carefully confessed and repented and asked for forgiveness and cleansing for everything that came to mind. God dug in deep and brought to my attention sins of envy and pride and jealousy and arrogance and what bothered me most…pettiness. During this time I recounted to God, His great Plan and Sacrifice. I told Him how I was no longer without hope and would never be helpless in my sin again.  I didn’t have to be stuck with my character flaws. I could be changed. God was changing me on the Potter’s Wheel and I was no longer the same. I was no longer the “old Nancy” I was new and I intended to stay on the Potter’s Wheel until I pleased God! (I thought, “I am going to talk about the Blood of Jesus and His redemptive power until this thing is sorry it ever messed with me!”) I prayed until I felt a lifting, then I prayed for Jesus to “Wash me by the water of His Word”. I prayed and read the entire Book of 1 John out loud and talked to Jesus about what I was reading. I stood when I finished reading and knew I could continue praying the tabernacle plan as I anointed the house with oil. As I reached for the oil, I felt angels rush into my room. I don’t know how many, but more than one. I went through the entire house, accompanied by angels and anointed everything, (even Kitty got a little anointed with oil) praying and worshiping and praising and singing as I went. It wasn’t until I was completely finished and my house was saturated with the peace and presence of God, that I pulled up the next session on Travailing Warfare prayer. At the end of the session, Bishop Wright led us in travailing warfare prayer and once again, I sat at my picture window, this time travailing in prayer for the lost and backslidden. It was some time later, I once again felt to open my eyes and look in my yard. This time, there was a herd of deer grazing in my yard. A very young deer frolicked, kicking up it’s back legs as an older deer chased it back and forth across my yard. Then I spotted the large, dappled gray deer. It had its head lowered to the ground and grazed peacefully.

It seemed fitting to me that the final session was on Warfare Worship. What power and what peace! I have a great deal to learn about prayer yet, but I’m reaping the benefits and so is my church. I’m no longer hesitant to offer Bible studies and have a group of ladies I meet with. These ladies have little in the way of earthly goods, so their hearts are tender. I also know that God has given us a nearby town and I’m praying for God to lead me to the hungry hearts there and put in my hands a tool to reach them. I occasionally still have little meltdowns when the wait for God’s promise seems long, but I know God is not done and everything is in His time. Besides…I found treasure in the field worth selling all for…all my hopes….all my dreams…my time…my energy……my all.

In the words of Evangelist Lee Stoneking, “You will never be the same again!”

In His Service,

Nancy

Excuse Me??


Deer in the headlights… I’m sure that’s what my eyes must have looked like to my pastor…

It was the end of our Wednesday night service, and we were all standing. We had just watched the sixth installment of “Heaven to Earth: The Tabernacle Today” DVD series by Anthony Mangun, pastor of The Pentecostals of Alexandria. I had told my pastor earlier that I had picked up a large packet of prayer guides at our UPCI general conference that went with the series and I wanted to share them with the church, so when he started to say, “Sister Watrud, do you have…” I immediately swung around to my seat to pick up the packet, but before I could, the rest of what he said registered. He had said, “Sister Watrud, do you have…a word for us?” That’s when the “deer in the headlights” look manifested.

I wanted to say, “I got nothin’ Brother!”, but instead I thought, “Don’t panic, just think for a minute.” I settled myself…looked at the carpet for a few seconds…and still had nothing. I breathed a quick…Jesus… then went into testimony mode. I started to say that, like Pastor had said earlier, I too had been thinking for the last couple of days how evangelizing our city was going to cost me something. I said that my take-away from our UPCI General Conference had been that there was nothing wrong with the precious seed we were casting out over the city, but we were casting it on fallow (hard) ground. I said the ground needs to be broken up with prayer and fasting and then watered with tears of travailing prayer. I went on to say that this kind of prayer takes consecration.  I said let’s do like we’ve been learning and go to the brazen altar of repentance and consecrate there. I said, “It’s going to take a little time. Consecration takes time.”

Up until this point I had been speaking in a normal tone, conversationally, then; from somewhere deep within me, I declared, “Put away your entertainments!” When I said, “Put away your entertainments!”, something rose up in me and I spoke the words as they came to my mouth with an authority and a boldness that wasn’t my own.  “Put Away Your Entertainments!” I said again, much louder. Then, one more time, as a shout that I could not contain, “PUT AWAY YOUR ENTERTAINMENTS!!!” I continued, knowing I was speaking under the unction of the Holy Ghost. One of the things I said was, “If you carry resentment in your heart, you will NEVER be able to go forward in God!” Once again, I found myself repeating the exhortation, but this time, like a dance in the Holy Ghost, I found myself taking two steps toward the platform and saying loudly, “If you carry resentment in your heart, you will NEVER go forward in God!!” Then, still as a dance in the Holy Ghost, I turned, stepped toward the congregation and said again, “IF YOU CARRY RESENTMENT IN YOUR HEART, YOU WILL NEVER GO FORWARD IN GOD!!!” Finally, I said to step into the fire of the Brazen Altar (I stepped like stepping into the fire of the altar) and spend some time there until the resentment was burned to ashes.

I had never heard of “praying through the tabernacle” plan before. My church had gone through this series one other time before I was a member, but I, personally, had never heard of it until we started the series some weeks back. I didn’t think I would probably change what I was doing because I liked my prayer time the way it was.  I enjoyed my long talks with God and I  didn’t want to change anything about it. I thought this would probably be a helpful tool for those learning to pray or struggling to pray.  All that being said, I was still looking forward to the series and hearing more about prayer because (I think those who love to pray will agree) if you love to pray, you can never get enough of hearing about prayer. The first lesson was an introduction to the series and if I had been on my own, I maybe would have never of even played it, thinking it was superfluous, but I thank my mighty God that I wasn’t on my own and my pastor had the wisdom to play it. Anthony Mangun had barely begun his background and introduction to the series, when there was a tongues and interpretation that went forth. The interpretation was, (as best as I can transcribe by listening) “I have given your pastor specific instructions of what to teach and how to teach. I am asking you as your God, to hear me tonight and my voice. Pay attention to what your pastor is speaking for I have given it to him specifically and I want you to take this and learn this. Put this in your life. Let this become the marrow of your bones, for I have given you specific instructions and I want you to heed these words, I want you to understand and I want you to follow them diligently for I have called you unto this time and I need you to follow my instructions.”

Needless to say, after hearing the tongues and interpretation, I became deadly serious about learning how God would have us to pray. I have discovered that there is an appropriate way to approach our Almighty God and though it is a process and does take some time, it is golden time and is more effective than jumping in with many words, but little awe and respect. I have found that every time I pray through the tabernacle (building week after week on what I have learned so far) that I have more and more interaction with God and more and more of His presence. I also often feel the presence of angels while I pray this prayer. This tabernacle prayer is becoming the “marrow of my bones” and I haven’t even gotten all the way through the series yet!

Like Anthony Mangun says at the end of the service:

“It’s gonna change your life…It’s gonna change your life…It’s gonna change your life.”…and it truly has………

Nancy

The Crushing of the Rose


“Lord”, my voice broke again as fresh tears splashed down my face. “I feel like the desert in me blossomed and bloomed but I was left on the vine and now the blossom has become overblown and the petals are starting to fall.” (Isaiah 35:1 “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”) (see previous posts) The splashing tears became heavy sobs once again and  I said to myself as much as to the to Lord, “So what does a person do with such deep disappointment?” I struggled to catch my breath as a great pressure weighed down on me.  I finally fell asleep with a silent prayer of “Oh comfort me, comfort me, Lord…”.

It was the night of August 16, 2013, and I was winding down from hours of grief and prayer. I had been listening to a man of God preach that evening,  I wish I could say I remember what he preached, but I cannot. It was just one phrase he spoke that struck me so deeply. He said to himself, “I don’t want to be deceived…I don’t want to be deceived…” He was saying that after all these years of serving God and all that he had been through, he didn’t want to blow it at this late hour.

All I remember of the service is, at some point, leaving the computer and going to stand in the middle of my living room with my arms raised, talking to God. I said, “Lord, I don’t want to be deceived!!” I thought of my deepening walk with God and the days and hours of consecration. I thought of the potter’s wheel and of the changes my God had made in me, and I didn’t want to blow it. I thought of how precious my prayer time had become and how precious the Word of God had become to me, I thought of the past year and a half of preparation, physically and mentally and the increase in confidence to work and pray with others and my increase in understanding and I didn’t want to blow it. I not only didn’t want to blow it, I didn’t want to “want” something so badly that I couldn’t let go of it. I knew I had to let go.  I said, “This is it, Lord. This is where the rubber meets the road. I said to you that I submit myself and my dream to you to do with what you choose and you are taking me up on it. That’s OK Lord, I meant it then and I mean it now. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

I woke the next morning, thinking about the terrible pressure I had experienced the night before and spoke to the Lord, saying, “Lord, I don’t ever want to go through that pressure again. Please tell me I won’t have to go through that again…” As the tears slid down my cheeks, I thought about how the pressure had been so physically heavy on me that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I spoke out loud, describing it to the Lord. “Lord, I don’t know if I can do that again…the pressure was so great, I didn’t think I could breathe, please tell me I won’t have to go through that again… Lord it felt like it was crushing me…” It was when I said the word, “crushing”, that it all came together for me. I said to myself, “It’s in the crushing that the fragrance of the rose is obtained.”  It was the “crushing of the rose”. My blossom hadn’t been neglected, it was being perfected until it was ready to produce an oil of fragrance. I didn’t want to ever forget this precious insight, so I went so far as to go to a gift shop and buy a silver keepsake box.  I had it engraved with, Isaiah 35:1 on the top line with a sprig of roses below and the date, 8-16-2013 below that. I got myself a rose and put the blossom in the box. Silly me…I thought you only go through the crushing once. I was to find out, that was not so.

It wasn’t long before I had an even greater disappointment that left me questioning everything I thought I knew. I not only questioned my calling…I questioned my sanity. I felt God was moving me, but what if all of my expectations, were just a product of my imagination. Was I deceiving myself?  Did God really speak?  Were all of those things I took as confirmation, just the product of a foolish, worked up mind? I went back to the brazen altar time after time. I opened the curtain to God on things I hadn’t yet talked to Him about. I traced back in my mind through rabbit holes until I got to the origin of each thing. I learned first hand that even a little bit of folly can ruin the fragrance of the rose that had been so hard bought. Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor;’so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.” These were hard lessons, but I became diligent to guard my fragrance.  The pressure was on me continually and I came very close to becoming hardened by it, but by the grace of God, I recognized I was in danger of letting the trial destroy me. When the pressure became too great, I learned to warn myself, “Your fragrance! Your fragrance!”

God is so very good. I’m sure the crushing will probably become a frequent visitor, but as God spoke to me through a Brother in December of last year, I’m walking in the dark…but all that matters is, I know Who holds my hand.

Nancy

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd;

I have all that I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the LORD

forever.

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