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!”

Crazy Consecration


I was watching a scene, in my mind’s eye of a Christmas many, many years ago. I saw myself watching my family as they bent low toward the floor and a lighted box. Their faces were intent and blank at the same time. Their eyes were fixed on the box, yet there was no engagement with it. I became more and more concerned and finally, I had acknowledged to myself that the Christmas gift to my son of a PlayStation had been a huge mistake. I was deeply disturbed and prayed, asking Jesus what could be done now that it was in the home and the family was completely taken up with playing it. I had cried out to God in my heart and asked for forgiveness for my foolishness and asked for a way of escape. Then, the way God does…I felt that peaceful answer settle down over me. I knew what to do and I didn’t have to wait long for my opportunity. In those days, we often had to run up and down the road for one thing or another, so it wasn’t long before I had my son in the car with me. I asked the question, “If you hadn’t gotten the PlayStation for Christmas, what would you have wanted?” My son answered quickly, without hesitation. “A snowboard.” I responded, “Would you still want one if we could take the PlayStation back?” Again, he did not hesitate, “Sure.” And that was it. The PlayStation got packed up and returned that very day and a snowboard was bought. My son and my daughter became avid snowboarders and didn’t seem to miss the PlayStation.

I was reminded of the PlayStation Christmas one evening after a time of consecrating prayer. It had occurred to me that entertainments take time and prayer of any consequence takes time. It takes time to force your thoughts into submission and focus your spirit on God. It takes time to create an atmosphere of worship. It takes time to come into the presence of God and once in the presence of God, it takes time to communicate and worship as He deserves. Often these sacred times of prayer become a time of consecration and receiving my marching orders from God. I have thought so often since I determined in my heart a while back to make time every day for deep prayer of how different it would have been if God had not gotten a hold of me early in 2012 and convicted me about my different entertainments. I disconnected from cable, got the TV out and now give Facebook only a few minutes at a time compared to the hour or more it used to get.

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Making the Dry Tree Flourish


“Oh great. Ezekiel.”

Now, some of you are going to want to reach through the computer and slap me real hard for what I’m about to own up to…but; here goes. The reason I was disappointed about turning to Ezekiel in my Bible was because I had done what no mature Christian normally does. I NEEDED to be encouraged. I NEEDED to be encouraged so badly that I had asked my Jesus to please speak to me through His Word by me randomly opening my Bible. I knew better, but closed my eyes and opened my bedside Bible. It fell open to…Ezekiel. I was disappointed. You have to understand…I just don’t do this. I normally would just read from where I had left off and look for nuggets of peace and solace there. The reason, I didn’t do that was I had been reading Isaiah and I just wasn’t up to reading what was coming in the next chapter when I had such a need of comforting. When I saw that I had turned to Ezekiel, I’m afraid I sighed. I went ahead and started reading with part of my brain saying, “You knew better.” So, I read…

Ezekiel 17

“1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2. Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; 3. And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: 4. He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants. 5. He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. 6. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs….”

I was reading but not absorbing. I was tempted to skim, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me. I continued.

“7. There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation .8. It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. 9. Say thou, Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. 10. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.”

Now, I REALLY didn’t want to continue. I was just so beaten down already, I didn’t think I could bear to read something that made me feel any worse… but; my conscience would not allow me to not take the bitter with the sweet, so…I continued.

“11. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 12. Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon; 13. And hath taken of the king’s seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land: 14. That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand. 15. But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? 16. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. 17. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons: 18. Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. 19. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. 20. And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me. 21. And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it.”

Now, not only was I beaten down and very sad…I was starting to wonder if I had displeased God. I caught myself skipping words in order to rush ahead and past this disturbing scene…but; my conscience wouldn’t let me. I made myself back up and read it again before I continued.

“22.  Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:”

I had to read this a couple of times. It was puzzling to me. Then I read…

“23.  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.”

My heart started to lift…Oh to bear fruit! To be a goodly cedar!

“24. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.”

He will make “the dry tree to flourish:” I had to read it again and again. “…made the dry tree to flourish:” Oh what Beautiful Words!  “I can do this!”,  I thought. “Everything is going to be alright, no matter what the end is, it’s going to be alright!”

For months I had been working on the “force the desert to blossom as the rose” plan, as I call it to my kids and family. I had been privileged to hear Rev Lee Stoneking speak at my daughter’s graduation from Bible college, and the thing that he said that impacted me the most was what he preached from Isaiah 35:1 “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” He spoke of “forcing” the desert to blossom as the rose. (I wrote extensively about this in my post, “Rise Up Oh Army of God”.)  God had really gotten a hold of me after this and had been changing me in ways I never would have done on my own. Just the other night, I had been praying about how I felt like I had so far to go and I felt like progress had slowed and I absolutely did not want to chance a stall. I talked to Jesus and said that my program of forcing the desert to blossom was not going to cut it. His ways are so much better that I asked God if HE would “FORCE my desert to blossom”. He is so awesome and His ways are awesome and He would do it RIGHT!  HIS plan would be perfect and the end would be lovely, no matter what it was. Now, here I was, sitting on my bed reading Ezekiel 17 over and over to make sure I got it right. Yes, I’ve been in a dry and thirsty land, but THIS DESERT is GOING to BLOSSOM!

What a GOOD life we have when it’s lived in God!

Nancy

My Husband


“Oh, my Husband, my Mighty God! Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? How would you have me speak?”

I was standing by my seat deep in prayer, when I felt a tap on my arm. I opened my eyes to see a stranger before me. He said, “I wonder if you would mind sharing with me what you are interceding so deeply for?”  I tried to think of a way I could explain to this man of God what I had been praying about. How could I put this thing into words…how could I tell him something so deep…so personal.

It was the first evening of our organization’s General Conference. I was attending it with my daughter, though she had stepped away and was praying for others. I hadn’t really thought we would be able to attend the conference since an unexpected home repair had pretty much wiped out my financial buffer. God kept laying on my heart that we should go until, with less than a week til the conference, during prayer, I thought of how we could manage it. If you have read my previous posts, you have something of an idea of what God has been doing with me these past months and the changes leading up to this evening, that found me standing before God, in deep submission, praying.

I should probably take you back prior to this evening, to a time of consecrating prayer, a time of relinquishing of my will to Jesus, a time of brokenness before God. I had put myself under His protection as my Husband and placed my future and entire trust in His hands. I made a purposeful decision that evening to give God my first love, as my spiritual husband. As I prayed, I thought of how a woman in love speaks to her betrothed. I thought of the Song of Solomon. 1:3. “Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. 4. Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee…2:3. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love…16. My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. 17. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.”

I spoke to Jesus during this prayer of consecration as the Shulamite woman to King Solomon…I told Him how much I loved Him, how much I desired to please Him, to serve Him, to lavish my love on Him.  As I worshiped, I told Him I wanted my life to please Him, my clothing to please Him, my hair to please Him. I told Him I desired to please Him in Holiness and in submission of my will to His.  In this deep place of prayer, I spoke to God as my Husband, asking Him for protection, provision, comfort and direction.

I looked at the man standing before me and struggled to find the words. I had been praying to God as my Husband, pouring my heart out to Him. I had let myself get distracted with life and with my own desires and had let my first love for Him slip. What use was I to God if I was not sold out to Him? All of the changes that had happened over the past months, all of the promise I was feeling were worth nothing if I wasn’t sold out to God! I knew I needed to place God once again in that honored place in my heart reserved for my spiritual Husband. Finally, I spoke, telling the man of God that I was of no use to God if I wasn’t sold out to Him. Then, after asking me if I had repented about this, he said, “This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray with you and God is going to change you and it has already begun. You will see changes over the next few days and as the days pass.” Then he prayed for me and the power of God came down…and God, my spiritual Husband took His rightful first place in my heart once again…and I danced the dance of The Bride.

Isaiah 62

1. For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
3. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
6. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,
7. And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
9. But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
10. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
11. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
12. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Nancy

I Will Set My Face Like Flint


“Is there any way you could come home a weekend soon and help with a couple of things?” I was texting my son and could feel my heart squeezing as I wrote the next words, “I’m going to be contacting a Realtor soon.”

As I wrote in my post, “Crazy Prayer, Crazy Faith, Crazy Plan”, God had placed on my heart that I would be moving soon and that I was to prepare. I had been doing just that ever since. As I texted my son, I felt the finality of what I was doing settle on me. It was like I took Jael’s hammer and drove the tent nail into this Crazy Plan making it no longer a thing of dreams and thoughts and impressions but into hard reality. I had come to what I felt was a time of testing. The testing encompassed everything from, “Are you sure this isn’t just your  imagination?” to, “Can you let go of your dream and give it back to God?” Well, as to the first question, I know this isn’t just my imagination, for one thing because it’s all too specific and another, because God confirmed I would be moving to my pastor. As far as the second question, I have good friends that I confided all of this to a while back and was given some very prayerful advice. An excerpt from his note is as follows,

Let me share two things. Africa. I have always felt a pull, perhaps you can call it a calling, to Africa. I spoke to a denominational missionary a long time back when I was a serious denominational Christian, and felt this call. I was so sure of it, so full of it, and I went to a conference and all these missions agencies were represented. I walked up to the man at a booth who had missions in many places, including Africa, and he asked why Africa? I told him and he laughed. He said his wife had a calling to Africa, but it was God’s way of saying will you go anywhere in the world, because that was the LAST place she wanted to go. So I have always taken things in my life that I consider my “Africas” and placed them systematically on the altar. I say that to say these events may be in place to open your mind and prepare you for something bigger than what you think they are. Does that make sense?

Second, God got us ready, we were headed overseas, we thought, and were preparing to get up and go, preparing to be able to leave at a drop of a hat. But Jesus wanted us here. So why the specific overseas idea planted in our heads? So I could talk to overseas missionaries. So we could get the ball rolling. And so we could finally see in the process that He was preparing us for domestic missions, but in that process he would guide us through in our thinking, if we didn’t think overseas, somehow, we wouldn’t have landed where we need to be. I really think that if God hadn’t planted overseas in our heads that we would somehow have not been thinking big enough or let go of enough or taken it seriously enough for our final destination. And the commitment here is so expansive we wouldn’t have been ready for it.
I am not saying that every single thing that you have heard from the Lord won’t come to pass. But I am saying that it is even bigger than you can think of even based on the direct revelation He has given to you.
It is impressive your preparation! I would be more concerned if you simply had visions.
I hope what I wrote was encouraging and sharpening.
God bless!”

I’m so glad for this precious brother’s advice. I took my “Africa” and placed it back in God’s hands. It was not easy to do at first. I finally was able to let go of my dreams, my hopes, my longings and give them back to Jesus, the safest place for our treasures… This hasn’t been a one-time consecration. I have had to answer this question of whether I can trust Jesus with my dreams over and over. It reminds me of Jesus asking Peter, “lovest thou me more than these? ” over and over. Just this past weekend, once again I had to answer the question of whether I can let this go and trust Jesus with what He does with it. I was able to say, “Yes, Jesus. None of this came from me. You gave me all of it anyway. If you gave me this great thing, you can take it back and give me greater!” God answered me with a mighty touch of the Holy Ghost.

So, you see the testing isn’t just, can I let go of my favorite green, froggy planter and my tea cups…it’s, can I let go of my dream. As to that, I thought, as I texted my son, “I will set my face like flint and do this thing.”

Judges 4:20-21

20. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and inquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.
21. Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Garage, rafters and furnace room done, thanks to my son-in-law, daughter and family. Next project is to deal with my writings.

Meet you in the prayer room…

Nancy

Isaiah 50:7   For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Song of Letting Go


“I need you to…” I struggled with my emotions, unable to finish my sentence. I tried again, “I need you home to…” I choked on my words making me sound angry. I was frozen at my kitchen counter, head down, eyes tightly shut. I clutched my phone listening to my daughter. “Mom!”, she said in frustration, “I really don’t want anything more out of my room!” I kept my tears in check, speaking carefully around them. “I don’t need you home to empty your room, I need you home to….” My voice cracked. “I need to spend time with you before you move.” At this, my daughter’s voice cracked. “I know, Mom.”

My daughter had called to tell me that she had changed her plans and would be moving from Minnesota to New Hampshire the weekend following her graduation.  I had calculated quickly and realized I would hardly get to see her before she left. I wouldn’t even be able to see her off as I was scheduled to work that weekend. It had hit me unexpectedly hard. My daughter, my last child still under my wing, really was going to move and far enough away that it would be difficult for me to visit.

It was not like her move came out of the blue. She had talked of little else for the past year. She was moving to New Hampshire to help in a small Home Missions work there. I had previously told her  that she needed to have a job in New Hampshire and her school bill paid before she moved, which was good advice, but lately I had felt that perhaps I was wrong. I had started to feel she shouldn’t delay her service to God, so I told her she should get her resume` ready and be prepared to go. She had planned on moving the end of the year but now, suddenly she was going. I did not object to her going where she felt God was leading her to go. She has her own calling that she needs to be faithful to and I expected her seek direction from God on her own, but it did not keep me from feeling a great sadness and loss when she told me she was leaving so soon.

We hung up and I went to the couch to pray and finally let my tears flow.  I knew my God, my Jesus would understand. As I prayed and talked to God,  I remembered what a dear lady had said to me just a week or so earlier. I had been moaning about problems with my lawn tractor and not being able to get my lawn mowed. She wrote on my Facebook page. “I take the stance about things like this at least it’s not health, it’s stuff.” I will admit that at the time I thought her comment was a little more serious than the post warranted, but I love this lady and took it to heart. Now, I remembered her comment and said to the Lord, concerning my tears and sadness, “At least I’m not feeling this way because of a sickness or death or some kind of trial and I’m not crying over my daughter because she’s backslid!” “She’s graduating from four years of Bible college and she’s leaving to go to where You’ve called her to.” Then, I remembered my tears and heartbreak throughout the years prior as my husband left and children slipped away from their commitments to God. As I thought on the hours I had poured my broken heart out to Jesus, I spoke to the Lord. “Jesus, You know that all I have asked for and cared for all of these years of praying for my children is that they live for You and walk in Your ways. That has never changed. Even before my children were born, I gave them to You and I have never changed that prayer. That has been my heart’s prayer all of these years.”

As I was thinking on this again today, it reminded me of Hannah, the mother of Samuel in the Bible. She had prayed to be able to have a child and finally, in her desperation, she told the Lord God that if He would give her a man child, ‘then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life,’ I Samuel 1:11. God heard her prayer and little Samuel was the result. After she had weaned Samuel, she took him to the temple and gave him to Eli the priest as she had promised and he was mightily used of God. When I thought of this I remembered the song of worship Hannah had sung after she left Samuel with the priest and I thought, “I will not be sad. I will write a song of praise to Jesus because I’m giving my daughter back to Him.”

Song of Letting Go

Jesus, I remember the day I stood in front of the mirror and cried because I was pregnant with another child. You asked me if I could trust You in this thing also. And I said,”Yes, Lord. I will trust you in this thing also.”

And Jesus, I remember the little girl riding in the car and looking at the stars shining in the sky. She said, “Look at the beautiful hands of God!”

And Jesus, I remember the day she stood at the open front door singing her heart out to you. She sang the only words to the song she knew as loud as she could! She sang, “God’s got an army! God’s got an army!” She sang it over and over to you. Then suddenly her song stopped and she came running to me saying, “There’s a man at the door!” though I found no one there waiting. I said, “What did the man say?” and she said words I’ll never forget. She said, changing her voice low, “I am the Captain of the Army of the Lord and God DOES have an army!”

Jesus I remember her stumbling a bit, trying to find her way until You talked to my heart loud enough for me to say, “If you could, Abby would you still go to Bible college?” and her tears and nodding said more than her words ever could.

Jesus, I’ve seen her grow and receive her own call, now Jesus I give her…my child…back to You.

My tears may not be quite finished, but I’m letting go of my daughter to serve God in her own way with her own calling.

I may have an empty nest, but my quiver is full.

Psalms 127

1.  Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
2.  It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
3.  Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4.  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Nancy

Bearing Witness; My Uncut Hair


I was praying. Tears were streaming down my face as I let my long hair down and draped it over my hands.  I studied it carefully, noticing the deep browns and the glistening auburn where the sun was shining on it. I pulled the length of it through my hand, then I held it out and studied the varying shades from the ends upward. It had been almost thirty-five years since it had been cut, thirty-five years of an unwavering conviction that the Word of God desired women to not cut their hair.* This standard had been strongly upheld within my organization for generations, but now this rich heritage; this unexplainable blessing was fading in relevance in the churches and rarely preached or taught over the pulpits.  It was becoming simply a tradition passed from generation to generation. The trouble is, convictions cannot be “caught” or “passed along”, convictions are a matter of an individual’s beliefs as they grow in faith and are convicted by the Word of God.  Families may plant the seed of these beliefs in their children, but they are not convictions until the individual owns them.  True godly convictions are the moral rudder of an individual and are rooted deeply in the Word of God.  How do I explain to someone the power that is in a woman’s uncut hair that has been consecrated to God?** How do we explain the power in a handkerchief that has been prayed over and anointed with oil?*** or how do we explain the power of Peter’s shadow to heal?**** Some things must be spiritually discerned. *****

It may be, those of us who were not raised in this way are more hungry for it because many of us have experienced the coldness and emptiness of a life without the peace and power of the Holy Ghost. Once we experienced it, we desperately want it in our homes and in our lives. Those that have lived in their own hell already, gladly count the cost of dedicating their life to God and do not hold any price too dear. I had already lived in such a hell and knew that this life of consecration to God was a good life. It was the way I wanted to raise my children and I wanted it for my children’s children. I remember the moment I consecrated my life to God.  I was standing in my kitchen at the foot of the stairs and was praying.  I said to Jesus, “There’s a lot in my life that needs to change and most of it’s going to take a while, but there are some things that can be changed this very night.”  I was ruthless. I packed up all of my slacks(ref i), leaving me with very few clothes. I knew I had to get them out of the house and I did. I packed up all of my jewelery except a few sentimental pieces that loved ones had given to me; the rest went into the trash along with my makeup(ref ii).  You see, I was not just hungry for God, I was desperate for God. I never wished for any of it back. These were the easy changes, but important none the less. No one had twisted my arm or held me over the fire of hell to do this. I knew it wasn’t going to buy my way to heaven. Jesus had done that for me on the cross. They simply showed me the scriptural basis for it in the Bible and that was all I needed. Because I was desperate for God and desperately wanting to consecrate my life to him.

I wondered, as I looked at the ends of my hair, if I was looking at hair that had laid on the altar in that old church where I first repented. I also thought of the many years my tears had fallen on my hair as I prayed in my home for my lost loved ones. Memories flowed before me as my hair slid through my hands and it occurred to me that my hair was a witness of my years of striving to live for God. I thought of the different times in my life that I had struggled with personal failures but had hung onto the grace and mercy of Jesus. Inch by inch my hair bore witness to times of  heartache and times of joy, times of power with God and times of great weakness.

Then I stood and held my hair up to God.  It would once more bear witness.  I prayed, “Jesus, I will not remove the old landmark, let my hair be a witness today and may it testify to man and to the angels that I will continue to live for you every day for the rest of my life.  Let my hair declare it!”

Proverbs 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

*I Corinthians 11:15; **I Corinthians 11:10; ***Acts 19:11-12; ****Acts 5:15; *****I Corinthians 2:14-15; ref i Deuteronomy 22:5; ref ii I Timothy 2:9-10

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