The Crushing of the Rose: Part 3


The Crushing of the Rose: Part 3

The Crushing of the Rose: Part 3

“It is dangerous to have a prophet in your life, Sister.” My pastor’s Bolivian accent made the words he spoke take on a portentous undertone. Though he was telling me of times he had delivered prophetic messages that had not been heeded, it felt suddenly as though his words were meant for me.

Crushing of the Rose: Part 3 is now available on my new web-site:

http://nancylwatrud.com/2014/11/crushing-of-the-rose-part-3/

Please join me there!

Nancy

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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.”

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.”

 

 

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.

Just a Little Bit of Faith


“You don’t need a whole lot, just use what you’ve got…faith, faith, faith…just a little bit of faith.”  The old Sunday school song ran through my head.

I was on my way to church and thinking on faith. The Sunday school lesson I would be teaching was on the “shield of faith”.  I live about a 30 minute or so drive from church, so once I was on the highway, I thought I would listen to Hebrews 11.  As I listened, the repeated phrases, “Through faith” and “By faith” got my attention.  I realized what I was hearing was what these individuals did with their faith.

“4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” “5 By faith Enoch was translated (taken up to heaven without dying)”  ” 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; “8 By faith Abraham,…obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” “11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive … a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” “17 By faith Abraham,…offered up Isaac:…his only begotten son,…(Believing) that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;” “20 By faith Isaac blessed … 21 By faith Jacob… blessed… 22 By faith Joseph…” “23 By faith Moses…was hid three months of his parents, because they… were not afraid of the king’s commandment. 24 By faith Moses… forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 Through faith he kept the passover… 29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.” “30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” “31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthaeof David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

I thought, if God has given each believer at least a “measure” (Romans 12:3) or a “little bit” of faith…what could I be doing with my measure? The Bible says it doesn’t take much faith to move mountains, (Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” That intangible Faith is able to move the tangible. What a powerful mix faith plus obedience must be!  Jesus said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.”   This got me thinking… if I obey the little nudges of the Holy Ghost, even if it seems, “out there”, what might I see happen? There are the nudges that don’t cost me much, like when God put an old hymn book song on my heart while I was loading groceries into my trunk not too long ago, and I began to whistle it. I don’t usually whistle in public, but when I would have quit whistling after a phrase, I KNEW I was to keep whistling the song. I happened to have a large cart full of groceries, so  by the time I went to return my cart, I had gotten through the whole song (key change and all). I KNEW I was supposed to whistle that song, so I had my eyes peeled as I took the cart back. Sure enough, as I headed back to my car I spotted a lady paused by her car and she was smiling at me. I smiled at her and she quickly stepped to me and asked me if I was Assembly of God. I said no, I was United Pentecostal which was as Apostolic Pentecostal organization.  As I was saying where the church was located, she said she knew of it. It turns out, this lady was the old across-the-street neighbor of some dear church friends of mine.

Some nudges, on the other hand, do cost something.  I was planning on getting a great deal done over my vacation recently to try to increase interest in my house which is up for sale, but on the second day of my vacation, God emphatically placed on my heart that I needed to put all of my previous plans aside and go to the whole week of our Minnesota district camp. I had already planned to drive to camp for all of the evening services, but God let me know that would not cut it. This required many details to be worked out and lots of packing to be done on short notice but I felt strongly that God was sending me to camp to receive the direction from Him I had been seeking and to commission me somehow. Camp started on Monday evening and every service seemed to confirm I had been called to camp by God for this purpose.

On the Thursday evening of camp though, I got a message that my son who lives in California had been able to change his business return flight for a quick visit home.  I hadn’t seen my son for two years and though I missed him badly, I simply could not leave without receiving from God what He had called me to camp to receive. We were finally able to come up with a time on Sunday to get together and though it was bittersweet knowing he was home and I wasn’t, it would have to do.

Friday morning of camp, during prayer, God put on my heart that there were some things that I must not have in my life if I was to serve Him. 1. I could not have the spirit of Jezebel. 2 Kings 9:30 “When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window.” In other words, I wasn’t to have a desire, “to be seen”. 2. I must beware of the spirit of Balaam who used his gift for his own profit and was full of self-pride. 3. I must not have the spirit of Hagar who despised her mistress. (or elders) If I allowed any of these a foothold in my life, I would have the same end as these. After taunting Jehu, Jezebel was cast down out of the window and was eaten of dogs. In other words, the world loves it when Pentecostals get all puffed up and then fall into sin and like dogs they will eat you up when you do. In that same vein, when Hagar saw that she was able to conceive after being given to Abraham, she scorned her mistress, Sarah who had been unable to conceive. The end result? Hagar was treated very harshly by Sarah until she finally ran away. The angel encouraged her to go back, but the son she bore to Abraham had the same disrespectful attitude and treated the son Sarah was eventually able to have with disrespect also. Once again Sarah was angered which caused both Hagar and her son to get cast out of the camp. In other words, if you think you are better than what you really are and cause trouble in the camp, you will be despised by those living the promise and will become an enemy of the people of the Truth. The end of Balaam? He loved the world and was destroyed along with the world. All of this instruction came before Bobby Killmon’s 10:00 am message where he spoke of 1 Kings 14, of Egypt taking away the treasures of the House of the Lord including the gold shields and to cover up the fact that the House of the Lord was now bankrupt, Rehoboam had bronze shields made that he had painted with gold to imitate the lost gold shields. Brother Killmon spoke of the posturing or pretending those that have broken covenant with God do to cover up the loss of the blessing of God and their forsaken relationship with God. Form with no substance. The look, but no power.

Finally, Saturday evening, Brother Lichtle, the Minnesota district superintendent spoke of this being our D-Day. We were being sent. I was not surprised to hear the intent of the message as I knew I had been called to camp by God to be commissioned into His service.  I received from God what I was called to camp to receive. I felt it come on me when I was prayed for…I don’t know exactly what it is yet, but I will know more in time. Until then, Faith is sometimes spelled W.A.I.T.

My faith is yet to be, as Lee Stoneking says, “Tried, Tested and Proven”.

Nancy

11th Hour Laborer


“I’m an 11th hour laborer.” I felt the blood drain from my face as the realization struck me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I had been in Pentecost since early 1977. I had started teaching Sunday school by around, 1984 or earlier. I worked every meal, I cleaned the church, I sang solos and was in the choir. I headed up the Ladies Ministries for a period of time. I did fund-raisers, I was submissive to my Pastor and loved the Saints. The trouble was… I was not a soul winner. I wasn’t even a soul-inviter or a soul-Bible-study-teacher. Oh, I was faithful. I tithed and gave as generously as I possibly could. I became a core member of the church and was a part of the leadership group. I was proud to be called a “Mother of Zion” by my Pastor and loved Saturday night prayer…but I was not a soul winner. I raised my children in this Holiness Way and got them to every camp and youth event. I made sure they dressed modestly and stayed out of trouble…but I was not a soul winner. I made sure to greet every visitor and shook their hands, I might have even gone so far as to sit next to one or two upon occasion, but I never cherished them or took them to me as a mother would her children or brought them into my home and made them a part of my inner circle of friends. I was content to be friendly at church but I did not Love that Soul. I was not a soul winner.

While the Faithful Ones labored in the field of harvest, day after day, week after week, month after year after decade…I lived the same minutes and hours and months and years and was like a sleep-walker, a dreamer. I dreamed I was working for God, but when I awoke, it was but a vapor and a night vision. There was nothing of substance to offer the Master. Martha’s house was kept running like a well oiled machine, but there was no fruit on the vine. My hand was not in the harvest.

Then, in God’s Mercy, He woke me up. I shook myself and looked around me. I was stricken when I realized that my service in my church had been like a white-washed tomb, a cloud without rain, a bird feeder with no seed. I wondered where I had been and what I had been doing all of these years. I looked at Matthew 20 more carefully.

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.”

Where were those laborers when the householder went out early in the morning? My guess is that they just couldn’t be stirred. They were sleeping. The “do not disturb” sign was on the door.

3-4  “And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard,”

The 11th hour laborers missed this opportunity also! Why?? My guess is they may have actually stirred themselves after their leisurely morning and maybe even went so far as to check out the marketplace to look for work. They maybe even saw the other workers way out there in the field, but some thought they had missed their opportunity to be laborers and so, sadly went back home. Others saw how far they would have to walk and the time and effort they would have to invest to join them and so they thought, “Next time. I will join them later.”

5 “Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.”

Hmm. Let me see. If I understand the Jewish clock a little bit, the first hour is about 6 am and the twelfth hour is about 6 pm . That would make the third hour about 9 am. The sixth hour would be around noon and the ninth hour would be around 3 pm. (please have patience with me…I am but a Sunday school teacher) so what was that laborer doing from noon to 3 pm? The way I see it, (because I’m talking about me) is, that laborer was belly up to the church buffet, crying, ” feed ME, feed ME, feed ME!” Then, sadly, as I’ve seen too often through the years, laborer after laborer decided it was time to, “take a break”.

6-7 “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us.”

That wasn’t exactly true was it? There were plenty of opportunities to do the work of God, to bear fruit, to care for and love souls. It’s just that, there had to be a “want to” and there was precious little “want to” to get the work done.

Folks, it’s the eleventh hour. It’s the eleventh hour of the church for sure and for some, the eleventh hour of their life. You don’t have to be old to be in the eleventh hour of your life. That little 16-year-old I read about, didn’t know she was finishing her hours here on earth when she hit that truck. And as I wiped the tear that slid down that lady’s cheek as she realized that the stroke she had suffered was going to take her, I wondered at what she must be thinking, knowing she was finishing her hours here on earth.

As I have been writing about since early 2012, God graciously, mercifully woke me up and stirred me. I am an 11th hour laborer, but I am going to be the best 11th hour laborer I can be.

Jesus! Let me strengthen the arms of your servants that have labored these many years, turning neither to the left nor to the right in serving you. And Lord! Let me refresh your servants that have labored through the heat of the day, unfailingly faithful, no matter the field, whether the rain fell or it did not, whether the soil was soft or fallow, they worked for you. Lord! Send Me! Send Me! Send Me!

Matthew 20:7 He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

Proverbs 6:9. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Nancy

I would say, “Take care” but; I think we’ve done enough of that. Instead, I will say, “Throw caution to the wind! Jump in! Do something! Catch this wave!”

As Rev Lee Stoneking says, “This is That which was spoken by the prophet Joel! Another That is not coming!”

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