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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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.”

 

 

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

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.”

Along for the Ride


“I’m no Tamar, Brother. I’m a Ruth.”

I had been thinking a lot about Ruth (The Book of Ruth) and Tamar (Genesis 38). Anyone with any sort of romantic bent will sigh a little as they read the Book of Ruth and be somewhat appalled as they read about Tamar. I thought about what it took for both of them to pursue their dream. They both had to prepare themselves. Ruth, washed and anointed herself and put her raiment upon her. Tamar put off her widows clothes, covered her with a veil and wrapped herself. I’m sure at that point, though they were both going through the motions of preparing themselves, what they were about to do still hadn’t quite set in. It wasn’t until each took that first step away from what they had known for many years that reality hit. Ruth, dressed in her best and smelling of perfume, stepped out from her mother-in-laws home, that safe place and started her endless walk down to the threshing floor. Tamar, slipped away from her father’s home wrapped and veiled as a harlot and started her long walk up to Timnath to the side of a dusty road. Ruth the Brave. Tamar the Bold. Each of their stomachs were in knots as they walked toward their destiny. They both were imagining the possible consequences of what they were about to do. Ruth wondered what would happen if Boaz refused her. What if he rebuked her for her forwardness. Tamar blanched at what would happen if Judah discovered who she was or if the men of the town came upon her and treated her as the harlot she was only pretending to be. Then, much sooner than either wanted, they were each in their place and their story would soon unfold. Ruth, waited for darkness and the revelry to end and for the man her future rested on to find a place to sleep. Tamar waited for her father-in-law, the man who had promised her a future but had withheld it from her, to appear as he walked on his way to Timnath.

Scene 3 and the curtain rises.

Darkness had fallen and Boaz had eaten and drunk and his heart was merry. He laid himself down at the end of a heap of corn and was soon asleep. Ruth stepped softly from the shadows, her heart pounding and went to where he slept. Trembling, she uncovered his feet, and laid her down…..Tamar gazed at her father-in-law from behind her veil, terrified at what she was prepared to do…..It was midnight and though it was silent, Boaz awoke, startled and knew he wasn’t alone. He quickly turned himself only to see a woman lying at his feet. He whispered harshly, “Who are you!” Ruth answered breathlessly, “I am Ruth, your handmaid. Cover me with the skirt of your garment and be my protector for you are a near kinsman.” Boaz answered her with great gladness and love and proved to her that he was an honorable man. He set his mind to making her his wife and he did.

Judah went over to the side of the road where Tamar sat. Thinking she was a harlot, Judah said, “Let me have intercourse with you.” For a moment Tamar wondered if she could do this thing, then she remembered the cruelness of her first husband, Judah’s oldest son and how Judah’s next son had simply used her, making sure she didn’t conceive.  She steeled herself and said contemptuously, “What will you pay me?” The bargain was agreed upon. Judah’s staff, seal and cord left for a pledge until payment of a kid from the flock was made. Tamar allowed herself to be used as a harlot and conceived. She got up and went back to her Father’s home, putting away the harlots garb and putting back on her widow’s garment. Tamar had humbled herself to conceive. It had been her law given right to be protected and allowed the chance to conceive after the death of her first husband, but it had been denied her. Tamar was done passively waiting for what she knew was her right. She did what few would do and made sure that her child would never be called a bastard for she had indisputable proof as to who the father was.

Ruth and Tamar. Their stories are so much alike, their braveness, humbleness and boldness, but the thing that struck me was, at the end of the story, Ruth went from lying at Boaz’s feet, to laying in his arms, whereas Tamar knew Judah from behind a veil and when Judah found out who it was he had left his staff, seal and cord with he knew her no more.

It is a day and age to not just be “along for the ride”. Passive service to God will no longer do. Passive “waiting on the blessing” should no longer be the norm. We need to re-look at how we find the will of God for our lives. As Lee Stoneking says, “We need to be aggressive!” We need to push and shake the gates and doors of heaven until we find out what God would have us do. Somehow we need to get off of the “path of least resistance” and out of the “go with the flow”. We need to be bold and have a warrior attitude. Fight for what you feel God has for you! If you must stay behind the veil, then so be it. I will not. I choose to be a Ruth. If I must humble myself, I will, but I will at some point leave the feet of my promise to be in the arms of my promise.

Nancy

Ruth 4:9-22

9. And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
10. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
11. And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
12. And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman.
13. So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son.
14. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
15. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
16. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
17. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
18. Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
19. And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
20. And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
21. And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
22. And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

11th Hour Laborer


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nancy

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

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

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