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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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 He didn’t smile much, not with his eyes anyway and lately he had seemed withdrawn.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.)

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.

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

Crazy Love, Magnificent Love


“Is it a small thing to grieve your God?”, the still, small voice of God had spoken to my heart many months ago. I had gotten home from work and was still in my car in the garage, on my phone, catching up on Facebook. I had felt the wooing of God, competing for my attention, but I had continued reading post after post. It was then that I had felt that unmistakable grieving of the Holy Ghost wash over me and He had spoken. His Words were like a sword that plunged deep into my spirit. I immediately realized I was at a dangerous precipice, not just because I had ignored the wooing of God’s Spirit, but because I knew I had lost my first love, if I had ever had it. I simply did not deeply and truly love God, not the way God’s Word describes in Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  This acknowledgment to myself that I did not love God as I should, broke me. I managed to make my way into the house and to my chair to pray but I didn’t know where to begin or what to say. I didn’t know how to even start to pray now that my worship seemed phony and shallow. I struggled, wanting to say, “I love you” to God from the depths of my heart, from that place where deep love resides, but when I inspected my love of God, I knew it wasn’t sufficient for Him. I didn’t want to talk to God about it, but I knew I had to. I tried to speak, but could only come up with broken sentences. How do you talk to the Almighty God about the fact that you don’t seem to have the kind of love to offer Him that is due Him? I asked Him to help me love Him with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might. This started a conversation with God which lasted many hours. I started by telling Him everything He had done for me and worked my way backward through scripture from the cross, to Him leaving heaven to take on flesh as a baby so that as a man, He could be that perfect sacrifice for my sin. I worked my way back through the ages to Adam and Eve and the sin that entered the world through their disobedience that the blood of bulls could not forgive. I went back to the fall of Lucifer from heaven and sin entering the world. As I talked to God, telling Him everything He had done, something started to change in me. I felt the presence of God resting on me and my recitation of His Goodness became sing-song poetry. I felt my love for God grow and become deeper, it was like God enlarged my heart and gave me the ability to love Him as He deserves to be loved. I asked God to help me love Him and He did.

This was many months ago and my love for God has continued to grow. It has become what I can only describe as a spousal love. I Need Him. I can’t wait to be in His Presence. I pour my love out to Him. I lavish love on Him. I woo Him and worship Him with an unashamed need. I love Him deeply, deeply, deeply… and He loves me. I look for time to love on Him, to be in His presence, to talk to Him. I may be doing something else, but when I feel that little nudge from the lover of my soul, I have to stop and entertain His presence. Even as I’ve been writing these last sentences, “My Love” has been very near, His presence so very tangible…

I asked Him to help me love Him…and He did.

Crazy Love, Magnificent Love,

Nancy

As Lee Stoneking says, I “will never be the same again.”

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