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.”

 

 

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A Glimpse


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy

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

The Crushing of the Rose, Part 2


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In His Service,

Nancy

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.

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

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