PRAYERS

Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

God tells us that if we see a brother (or sister) in need we should do that which is within our means to help. Prayer is always within our means but we never know what doors Father may open through them. Should you desire prayer for anything (healing, direction, etc.) or if you want supportive prayer along with your own please feel free to e-mail that request to sharbu3@gmail.com and be assured that there are others who will be praying with or for you.


In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

At the end of each post are the options to share, forward or make a comment. Click 'comment' to respond. Let us know if you like, don't like or are helped by what you read. Comments can be made or read by anyone. All you have to do is select the "comment" at he end of the entry.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

4-6-2024    Building a Foundation

For the past several years now, I have been following and (occasionally) posting responses to posts by Henryp Jonson.  I’m still confused if the ‘p’ is actually part of his first name or his middle initial (oh well).  Henryp is a pastor in the Philippines.  I started following him as he was posting photos of the building of his church.  And I do mean – literally – building his church.  He laid the physical foundation for the building, brought in the timbers for the framework, walls, etc.  He and his congregation built the church from the ground up.  Since then, also on Facebook, he has shown the activities and growth of his fellowship.  He’s even brought in special speakers to help his fellowship grow.  Now I didn’t come in as Henryp was building his ‘flock’, but it was indeed, the church members who built the church.

I mention Henryp because before any church can succeed, it has to have a foundation in, of and for the people.  The actual church consists of the body of people who are in attendance but, it is also nice to have a place where we can come and gather together, living in and sharing what Father has done for us – in person.  There’s just something special about being, in unity, with other Christians.     

But first, let’s consider erecting a building.  Any builder knows that before a house can be constructed, it needs a solid foundation.  Before construction can even start, the ground must be settled, solid as a rock, so the building won’t sink into the ground and collapse (Matt. 7:24-27).  He assures that his building surface is level and can support the building he intends to erect.  As example, growing up, my mom decided to covert our front porch into an extension of our living room.  It looked great, inside and out.  But after several years, the ground upon which the extension was situated, began to settle.  It was livable but a crack emerged where the new edition connected to the original.  By the grace of God, it wasn’t a separation of the two sections, yet it was noticeable what had happened.  The house I’m living in now has no such problems, but the house is not level.  Shortly after I moved in, I noticed that if I placed a round 0bject on the floor at one end of my living room, all by itself, the object would start rolling towards the other side of the room until it hit something to stop it.  The foundation may have been sure but it certainly was not level.  When something is placed on the floor, that something should stay put.

Once the cornerstone is laid and the foundation is ‘squared away’, the building can be erected safely and effectively.  That is the house will be square and level, side to side, top to bottom and the floor will be level to gravity.

Now let’s look at how to build a spiritual foundation.  There are many bodies (churches) within the body of Christ so there are many different places where the body gathers.  According to the National Congregational Study Survey, there are an estimated 380,000 churches in the U.S.  There are more than 45,000 Christian denominations globally and more than 200 denominations in the U.S., according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. Most of the denominations came to be after the Protestant Reformation in 1517.  Again, there are over 200 denominations in the U.S.,  which includes, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, other ‘main stream’ (traditional) churches, Pentecostal, Full Gospel, Apostolic plus assorted variations and ‘Independent’ fellowships. 

Not all denominations and/or congregations believe exactly the same so foundation becomes very important.  No, we’re not going to discuss the differences between the 200 denominations, much less the 380,000 congregations (churches) in the U.S.  But consider, on an average, there are 7600 churches in each state of various denominations or non-affiliated churches.  As of June 2023 and according to http://statista.com/statics/, 31% of Americans claim to never attend a church while only 20% claim weekly attendance. That leaves about half our nation somewhere in between.  How many churches exist in your town or city?  According to https://www.churchfinder.com/, there are 97 churches in my hometown which has a population of 43,700+.  That means, on average in my town, 91 people attend a church service on a weekly basis.  Yes, some churches are larger and some smaller so this doesn’t mean every church in my town has ninety members.  Getting the picture?

The body of Christ should be in unity.   

So, with so many ‘fellowships’ in the nation or even locally, basic foundation is very important.  And that’s what we’re going to talk about – what foundation really is important to us? 

As Christians, we believe that God is (period), end of discussion.  If this isn’t true, then what do we believe in?  The Big Bang?  Evolution?  What do we expect after this life is over.  Anything? 

In the beginning God!  God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1). 

There was nothing before Him (Isa. 43:10-11) and He has created all things (Gen. 1:1).

God is Spirit so we worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).  That is our spirit must connect with His and it does through the Holy Ghost (1 Corinth. 2:13-16). 

And God is love and we know this as His Spirit (the Holy Ghost) abides in us (1 John 4:6-13).  Now, love in 1 John is the Greek word agapao (G25), to love in a social or moral sense.  Which would include agape (G260) which is benevolent affection,  to hold dear, or charity.  God explains to Jeremiah that His love is everlasting (Jer. 31:3).  Here, the Hebrew word us is ahba (H160) which is love between friends, within the family, loyalty to and could include romantic.  Nonetheless, God is love!

We also know that God sent His only begotten Son into this world to redeem us back unto Himself because we departed from Him through disobedience (John 3:16, Gen. 3:1-24).

There is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his friend (John 15:13).  Agape is used in this passage.  ‘Lay’, in laying one’s life down, is the Greek word tithemi (G5087) which effectively taking the place of.  Through Jesus, God took our place on the cross (1 Peter 2:21-25).  And yes, literally over the centuries, many Christians have (literally) died for their faith, but there is another connotation here.  Jesus tells us we must deny (die to) ourselves (Luke 9:23-26).  That is to reject the ways of the world and abide (live in/for) the love of Jesus. 

So, what do we mean by abiding in His love?

Throughout the whole bible, Father explains His love towards us AND how we can return our love to Him.  Practically speaking we show our love towards Father by seeking His will (Matt. 6:33), then applying His will into our lives (James 2:14-26).  We believe.  Praise the Lord!  But Father also wants us to show what we believe by ‘loving’ others.  Doing something good for someone else.

We’ll mention the ten commandments here: love the Lord above else, no statues, don’t use God’s name flippantly (loosely), honor the Sabbath, give mom and dad their due respect and, of course, don’t kill, steal, commit adultery, lie or desire that which belongs to our neighbor (Exod. 20:3-17).  Go back and read all of James 2 and draw a deeper connection.  Jesus summed up love in a single statement which has two parts: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and then love your neighbor as yourself  (Mark 12:28-31, Matt. 22:36-40).  Surpsrise!  Even the Jews knew this (Luke 10:25-27).

Jesus gives us many examples on how to love our neighbor.  The man who had been beaten and robbed and another man (a Samaritan) took the wounded man to an inn, paid for the room and told the innkeeper that, upon his return, he would cover any additional costs (Luke 10:30-37).  Peter and John, at the beautiful Gate at the temple, had no money to give the lame man, so they offered him what they had – “stand up and walk”, and the man did (Acts 3:1-8).  Paul tells Timothy to flee evil things but follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, patience, meekness, don’t ever give up and cling to our eternal promise.  Be willing to share your faith and be accountable to God (1 Tim. 6:11-14).  Some doable suggestions.  We all don’t have to literally ‘die for Jesus’, but in turning away from worldly things and living for Jesus is death to the ‘old man’ and life to the new man in Christ Jesus (Col. 3:1-4, 2 Corinth. 5:14-21).  Keep in mind that we don't do 'works' to get saved.  We do them because we are saved.  Let the new man live in us through the Holy Ghost,

Helping other people helps them to become all that they can be.  Paul tells us that everything we do should be done to edify the body (Eph. 4:15-16 ).  He also tells us to excel in edifying the church (1 Corinth. 14:12, 14:26, read all verses 1-40).

We can go on and on with examples, but I pray that we are getting the picture. 

The Holy Ghost will comfort us because He dwells within us (John 14:16-17). He will lead us into all truth (John 16:13-14) and understanding (1 Corinth. 2:5-16).  He is our teacher (John 14:26). He is our strength to live this life (Eph. 3:16).  He gives us authority (G1849 exousia)  over sickness, disease and over the power (G1411 dynamis) of devils (Matt. 10:1, Luke 9:1).  He will l protect us (Rom. 8:26-28).  To receive the full benefit of the Holy Ghost working in us and through us, we have to give Him free reign in our lives, that is don’t quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19).And Father gives us that direct connection with Him through the Holy Ghost.  He edifies me and yet has His a place in the church (1 Corinth. 14:1-19).

 Our foundation is built on more than just the belief that Jesus has saved us.  We do have an obligation on our part.  And we do have help to accomplish our tasks (the Holy Ghost and our brothers in Christ.

So what is our foundation built upon? It should be to love our heavenly Father with every ounce of energy we have and then showing that love that through our actions.  We should help others in need.  We should endeavor to help others to be all that they can be.   And knowing the Holy Ghost is in us and will guide us, teach us and protect us and be our strength to accomplish all that Father has laid before us.

We can go into greater detail, but I pray this is enough to get the ball rolling, if it isn’t already on the move in our lives.  

Once the foundation is laid, we have the hope and promise that Jesus will be with us always (Matt. 28:20).  He will help us to become all we can be.

So again, I ask “Upon what is our foundation built?

Amen

 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

3-24-2024 Spring into New Changes

                            

It’s spring and Father is bringing changes, not just for this month, not just for this year but for the next several years as He delves deeper into this season of Spiritual Explosion.

Let’s look at our own lives.  How much have “I” grown over the past year?  I don’t mean in getting more words from the bible into our mind (memorizing), but how much more has the bible been ‘becoming alive’ for ‘me’?  Seeing scriptures in a new light.  A deeper light.  A deeper understanding of what Father has truly been saying?

Father has been using our pastor (Loretta) over the past few years honing our Spiritual ears, eyes and heart for this ‘season’ in which we are now. 

Think!  Father has been growing our heart and our Spiritual thinking as He prepares us for what is now quickly approaching for some, for others even now is and for others yet to come.  How many of us actually know what gifts are Father has given us within which we can successfully operate?  Has one of those gifts been reaching out, slapping us in the face (so to speak) to get our attention?

Understand, the gift(s) Father has given us is to equip us to do the work for which He is calling us.  As we understand our gifts (talents, and abilities), we should be asking ourselves ‘Why has God equipped me like this?”  If we haven’t been asking, we should be. 

Father has equipped us so we can fulfill the ‘calling’ He has placed upon us.  That is edifying and the growth of the church, His body, as a whole (Eph. 4:11-15).  Just as there are many parts of the body, there are many tasks within that body which need fulfilling.  And the body of Chris is located (physically) in more than one place.

So, just what are our gifts, talents and/or abilities?

Gifts

Every man receives the gift to minister one to another as good stewards of the manifold graces of God.  Let him minister with the ability God has given him that everything might be glorified through Jesus Christ … (1 Peter 4:10-11).  The Greek word used for gift in 1Peter is charisma (G5486), which is to be delivered from danger, an endowment (spiritual), a qualification (religious) or something miraculous (being able to do something unique).  We consider charisma to be something as that which sets us apart from the crowd.  We usually associate charisma with ‘that magnetic personality’ which draws us to an actor, singer or some other person, famous or not.  If you will, charisma is what makes ‘us‘ special. 

            Talents

A talent is a natural endowment or a special creative or artistic aptitude.   A talent is something which we can do very well.  It separates us from others.  We generally think of singing, acting, painting, managing a business or even wiggling one’s ears as a talent.  It is an ‘inborn’, natural way through which we are able to do something.  And it is God-given.  We can grow our talent, honing it to a finer ‘tune’, but it is something, still, which we are born with.

            Abilities

This is having the competence to be able to ‘do’ something.  That is having an aptitude or proficiency in doing something (whatever) reasonably well.  I know how to make things out of wood but when my son makes things out of wood (shelving, cabinet, whatever), his creation looks pretty good.  When I do it, it looks like a bunch of wood nailed together.  It may serve its purpose, but my ‘grass hut’ is nothing compared to my son’s ‘Buckingham palace’.  Get the drift?    

Calling

And, then, there is a calling.  That is, having a strong inner impulse towards a certain vocation, profession, etc. which can be (or should be) influenced by ‘divine intervention (God).  For us, it would be that to which Father has been (or is) calling ‘us’ (me)?  It is that ‘something’ that we are fascinated with or seem to be always drawn to, or continually drawn back to.   

How do I know what God is calling me to do?

Gifts are given without repentance (Rom. 11:29), that is whether we know Jesus or not, but knowing him sure helps.  These are the things which we may not have any ‘special’ training for but we seem to have that ‘natural’ knack for doing.   What are the things we ‘enjoy’ doing, or even, perhaps, would like to try (with or without proficiency)?  This is not just our inner desires (not that tutti fruiti ice cream cone), but this something we just can’t seem to shake and it will require some ‘real’ work (ability & talent) so we can implement it into our own lives.

            What’s in a name?

Most of us assume mom and dad just picked our names ‘out of the blue’ or perhaps we are carrying on the tradition of being named after a relative (dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, uncle, aunt, etc.).  But, in fact it is our heavenly Father who has influenced our parent’s choices (believe it or not).  He says “Before I formed you in the belly (your mother’s womb), I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you … (Jer. 1:5).  Father does have specific intentions (or plans) for each one of us.  Father says “I know the thoughts I think towards you …” (Jer. 29:11).  In case you missed it, Father’s knows us before we are conceived. He gives us gifts, talents and/or abilities before we are born. All designed for us because He has intents for each one of us!  A plan!  A task! 

Using myself as an example:

            What’s in a name

William Carter (Buck) Ledford (Buck is a nickname)

 William                Helmet, a desire to protect

Carter                   Transporter of materials

Ledford                                Noisy stream crossing

Buck                      Stag, male deer (spirited young man)

To get a deeper understanding, I looked up the root words for each name and checked its ethnic origins.  Sometimes, the name may have multiple implications, if so, ask Father which one fits best.  Which one is really me?  Ask and receive, He will tell us (John 14:13-14).  Sometimes names have both a positive and a negative indication.  As we grow we have a choice as to which indication we follow.

                What about birthdays?

Now, have you ever wondered why some babies are born close to their ‘due dates’ , while some are born ‘early’ (according to due date) and others come later?  I was born (I’ve been told) about a month before my due date (sorry, I can’t remember that far back), nonetheless making me a December baby.  My son was born about a month late, not quite making it into December but becoming a November baby.  Think about it.  I was born on 12/3, my youngest grandson on 12/4, my son on 11/29, my middle grandson on 11/27 and my eldest grandson wanted to be different so he arrived on 2/9.  The dates do have meaning and there are Christian based charts which can help us.

As with our name, our birthdays also play a role in our basic make-up.  The numbers - the day, month and year - on which we are born all have unique ‘Christian’ meanings.  They give us further clues as to the gifts, talents and abilities God has given us from birth.  In our walk with the Lord, Father tells us that the work we do, do as unto Him (we work for God, not man Col. 3:23-24).  He will perform the task He has given us until He calls us home (Phil. 1:6).  And He will equip us to do that work (Luke 10:17-20, Heb. 13:20-21).   Again, our gifts, talents and abilities equip us to accomplish the work to which Father has intended for us. 

Now, let’s look my birthday as an example:

Dec 3, 1945

December , the 12th month 

12   (Luke 9:1 - He (Jesus) called the 12 & gave them power & authority over all devils and to cure diseases). This number represents Governmental perfection. The authority to go out in His (God’s) power.

3      The third (3) day

 (Col. 2:9-10 – In Him, the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.  You are compete in Him who is the head of all principality and power – Jesus).  3 represents Divine completeness, Faith or Perfection.  Maturing and seeing things to the end, completion.  Father is the Godhead which is three – Father, Son and Holy Ghost, yet one.  Complete means fully equipped, lacking nothing.  In Christ Jesus, in whom we are complete.  Maybe not matured yet, but complete.

The year, 1945

There is no ‘Christian designation’  specifically for 1945 so Father had me split it into two segments.

19   (1 Corinth. 13:9-13 – … now, things are hazy when I look through the glass, but later I shall see face to face) 19 is ivine is completeness or fullness, perfection, faith (10 + 9 - Testimony; Law & responsibility, Divine Order).  Now, are we starting to get an idea as to what is being completed?

45   (Psalm 121:7, Exod. 20:20) 45 is preservation, (40 + 5 - Trials; Probation; Testing & Grace; Favor; God's goodness; Pentateuch (first five books, the law).  Again, more depth into our calling.

If one is adventurous, the year can be broken down even further to discover deeper meanings, but Father had me break mine down as shown here.

Now, I do want you to understand something about the numbers.  Numbers do not dictate the qualities, rather the qualities dictate the numbers.  That is God gives us the qualities, then the numbers reflect our God-given qualities.

The Calling

What has Father, specifically, been calling ‘me’ to do?

Father gave me two scriptures in which He identified as the calling He has placed upon my life.   Jeremiah 1:1-10, the calling of Jeremiah & Ezekiel 37:1-14, the valley of the dry bones, the task presented before Ezekiel (rebuilding of the church, that is in part, which He has entrusted to me).

Interestingly, Father showed me Ezekiel first, the task which He has laid before me, then in Jeremiah, the fact that He has placed ‘this’ calling upon my life.

For me, part of my calling is being accomplished in the blog, ‘www:homecoming-a-spiritual-re-awkening.net’. 

It took me about six months to get the blog up and running (9/2014 – 3/2015) and another six years to bring it into today’s perspective (Okay, I’m slow).  That is to make it relevant to the season we are currently in.  He has been preparing me to do His work, waiting for me to be best prepared so I might  be fully effective.   And Father keeps telling me that there is yet, more to come (beyond where He has me today).

I’ve shared how Father declared the calling He has placed upon me through the scriptures.  Understand that gifts, talents and abilities reflect how Father enables us to do His work.  The calling defines that task to which He has called us. 

So, how do I know my calling? 

A pastor, prophet, or some other prophetic person may speak a Word from God into our ear.  If so, God will confirm it through scripture (or speaking to us personally).  Or as with me, He may show us the scripture first, then confirm through a prophetic person or even things (the world) round us.  Do we have the ears to hear and eyes to see (Prov. 20:12, Matt. 16:13) when Father speaks?  Understand, the point is not which comes first, prophecy from the scriptures or prophecy through a prophetic person, or even into our own heart, but the fact will be that all will be in agreement.  Things are established by two or more witnesses (Matt. 18:19).  A prophetic word through another person and/or scripture and through our heart,  (Father speaking to us through the Holy Ghost) make three witnesses, thereby establishing our calling. 

So, Father knows us from before we are conceived.  Before we are born into this world, He has already given us gifts, talents and abilities to accomplish the plans He has designed for our lives.  As we grow, naturally, we should notice different things which attract our attention.  Things we like.  We should discover some things we like to do over doing other things.  We need to be listening to our heavenly Father, as well as our parents, those around us as and well as observing and being aware of the world around us.  Father speaks through His Word, people around us and even nature, itself.  What do we see?  What are we hearing?  To what is our focus drawn?

In short, Father has called me to be a part of the reconstruction of His body so we can learn to truly live in His love and abide in His safety.

I’ve attached a copy of the “Watchman” so you can get a better look at how Father developed that with me.  We are all different and unique so Father does not always deal with everyone the exact same way but the components should still be there.

My prayer is that this will help us all to come to an understanding of the task  which Father has given each of us and that He is guiding us and protecting us as we discover, mature and abide in His love and His will (John 14:10-21).  He will reveal His will for us!  AND He will never leave us on our own (Heb. 13:5).  Father is on our side.  Let’s be bold and press forward.

Let it be so!

 

The prophecy for the Church – The Watchman

Dates are significant

September         Is the ninth month and represents completeness from the Father.  It has been decreed in heaven, we now just wait for the manifestation or the accomplishment of it.

24th                         Priesthood.  We are a royal priesthood before God Almighty, designated to bring God’s redemption to the world, in His timing through creative works.  We will experience a break with tradition and Father will provide new methods of reaching the ‘lost’.

26th                         Redemption.  In God’s perfect timing and even through, and maybe because of man’s weakness, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bring redemption not just to the lost but the church as well.

30th                         Commitment.  There is a new responsibility to God’s Law.  Not just the 10 Commandments (as such) but His Law of Love.  Those who are truly washed in the blood of Jesus Christ will find a new dedication in serving God.  We need to push forward and not falter.

The prophecy

24th The watchman stands watch.  For what does he watch?  For danger that approaches the city to cry out to the people so they can prepare for battle.

                Up on the ramparts we look out over the land.  What do you see?  The enemy encamped all around and about.  What do you feel?  We are lost.  There are too many.  Look again beyond the enemy and what do you see?  I see a host far greater than the enemy poised to do battle.  And what do you feel?  Encouraged because we now far outnumber our foe.  (2 Kings 6:15-17).

                My children.  Did I not send Gideon with just a handful to set the enemy to flight?  Did I not send Elijah alone against the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40)?  Gideon with his candles and Elijah by fire all overcame seemingly impossible obstacles yet by My hand did I not give them victory?  Put your complete trust in Me and as with the walls of Jericho, watch the wall crumble (Josh. 6”1-27).  Watch the enemy become confused and flee.  Watch My glory humble those who resist Me (Judges 7:7-8, 16-21).

                I make a way where there seems to be nothing.  I overcome many with a few.  Those who glorify My Name will taste the fullness of victory.  Put your hand to the plow and begin to plow and hang on as I work My work for My glory (Phil. 1:6).  The season is nigh, even at the door for many things to be manifested.  My children are you ready?  Prepare your hearts.  Prepare your souls.  Don My armor and prepare to step out.                               

                The Lord spoke to my heart and said that his is not just for Wellspring.  He has been preparing many children for this time and the time is near, nearer than we might think.  In case you’re confused this doesn’t mean the ‘rapture’.  It does mean taking a deliberate stand for and in Jesus with our very beings.  It is time to walk the walk, talk the talk and put up the ‘good’ fight.  To do all that God has been telling us to do, individually and collectively.  Don’t fear the closed doors.  Take the knob and turn it, the door will open for our Father has ordained it.                               

26th As I was praying (in the morning)

                I have more to share.

                OK, Father.

                Remember the watchman?

                Yes, Father.

                Look out there.  What do you see? (I looked out my front window at the sky darkened with storm clouds).

                I see a world in turmoil.

                And so it is.  What else do you see?

                I see that you have shown us rays of sunshine in the midst of all that darkness.

                Remember Elijah and his loneliness?

                Yes, Lord.

                And what did I say to My servant?

                7000 had not bowed their knees to other gods.

                I have My number.  I always have My  number of those who truly love Me and serve me and who will not turn their hearts away from Me towards the world so man will still have his beacon, his lighthouse. 

                Consider, My son, the gifts I have given man are merely tools to comfort and guide him until I return.  They are tools to help man come back into My fellowship.  They are tools to learn how to live in My love.  Seek My Holy Spirit within.  Use those tools well.  Don’t quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19) but rather yield to Him so He (the Spirit) can work My work through you.

                I have an army.  I’ve always had an army but I want My children to live in My love so they can truly be the offspring of their Father.  I want the world to see My love so that their hearts might be convicted.  I want the world to see My love that their hearts might be ashamed.  I want the world to see My love and even though many will wax colder some might come into My Kingdom because their hearts have melted.  The gifts are good but yet they are only tools to express My love to the world.  Live in My love.

30th I AM the Lord God who created the heavens and the earth.  I have set all things in their respective places at My good pleasure.  I know the beginning and I know the end.  I have established the beginning yet I have given man a choice.  Man can choose to follow Me or go his own way.  To choose to go his own way, man opens himself up to the promptings and temptations of the Evil One, to fall into his snares, the end of which is man’s own destruction. 

                What is destruction, My children?  Separation from Me and My love – forever.  Have you considered forever?  Consider pain and torment.  Consider lusting after something and never being able to attain it or never to be satisfied or fulfilled.  All to which there is no end.

                What is eternal life, My children?  Living in Me and in My love.  Being always satisfied, never wanting.  And because you abide in My will, freedom – to do what you will because you abide in My will, which is My love. 

                As you consider the well-being of others, I will lift you up before them (in this world and in Mine).

                I AM – all that you ever need, all that you should truly desire.  I know your hearts and I will open My storehouses of blessings unto you, My children because of your obedience.

                Let My angels guide you.  Let My angels serve you.  I have set them about you, let them perform their appointed tasks.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

   3-9-2024    Extraordinary Wisdom

                        

My pastor has just released a book entitled “Extraordinary Wisdom, the 31 Day Devotion”.

The book helps us to understand how to apply the book of Proverbs into our own lives.

As many of you may know, especially for some who don’t, the book of Proverbs is a collection of writings from the Hebrew King Solomon.  Traditionally, Solomon is considered the wisest man who ever lived.

According to the world History Encyclopedia, Solomon was probably born around 1010 BC (Wikki lists it as between 970-931 BC).  Both are estimates.  Remember that ‘BC’ (BCE) precedes Jesus’ birth and ‘AD’ (ACE) is after or since.  In case you are wondering, the ‘CE’ (Common Era) is a modern attempt to remove references to Jesus from our dating system. 

If you remember the story of David and Bathsheba, the first child they birthed died shortly after birth (2 Sam. 12:1-23) and Solomon was born later (2 Sam. 12:24).  He was the first surviving son for David and Bathsheba.

Though David had other sons (other than with Bathsheba), Solomon was who followed David onto the throne of Israel (1 Kings 1:32-35, 46-48, 2:12).  God was pleased with Solomon so He visited Solomon in the night and offered him anything which he desired.  Solomon then asked for wisdom to know how to rule the people so his kingdom would do well (2 Chron. 1:10) and God obliged him because he didn’t ask for wealth, riches or honor or even the lives of his enemies (1 Chron. 1:11) God honored that request AND gave Solomon riches wealth and honor. 

Knowing how to deal with anything and everything that comes our way is the greatest gift any of us could ever receive.  As with Solomon, wisdom will generate any appropriate reprimand and/or appropriate blessings from God.  Amen?  The book of Proverbs reflects on how God shows what would bring His blessings into our lives and how His correction would, would, also turn into blessings. 

In ‘Extraordinary Wisdom’, our pastor provides an intro to each chapter to so we can have an idea of what to expect in that chapter.  Our job, then, is to ask God (Father) to open our mind and our heart and teach us what He wants us to learn, then read the chapter.  Then write what the Holy Spirit has shown us, from that chapter, in the space provided at the end of each chapter - our revelation.  That is, what has Father shown us. 

Hint, when you read the chapter, don’t read it just once.  Father has shown me that through a second pass (or more) through any passage, different aspects will pop out at me.  You don’t have to stop at two readings. These are things Father wants us to pick up and learn, at this time.  As Father has shown me, even later in life, as I grow in the Holy Ghost, the depth of the passage (whatever I am reading), Father will take me into deeper understanding of the words l which  I have been reading.  Yes, I use my “Strong’s Concordance” a lot as I look up the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the words which I’m not sure about.  But, be careful.  Some words may carry a different slant (meaning) than what we may be familiar with.  As translated, may not be exactly what God intended.  Usually in the ballpark (close) but may be arguable.  Father has also shown me that we may have to look at the ‘verses’ around the word we are trying to understand or perhaps, even the whole chapter.  And even then, in our concordance, check any root words associated with the word we are researching.   This is how we should get a clearer understanding of what Father is trying to say to us.  If He’ll do it for me, He’ll do it for you.

Solomon is considered the wisest man ever (ask God).   He is attributed as the author of Proverbs. 

“Extraordinary Wisdom” by Loretta Yarbro McFarland, through Vision Birthers Self-publishing Services, Distributed by Amazon KDP, can be ordered on Amazon. It will help remove things which may not be so clear and help us with a better understanding of the book of Proverbs and how we can apply it into our own lives. 

Remember, this book is a devotional, not an explanation.  Explanation comes through our reading the book, anticipating what God will show us then listening to the Holy Ghost so He teaches us. 

When this book is properly used, the intro provides the anticipation, the passage provides the words and the space provided (at the end of the chapter) is where we can jot down our reflection of what Father shows us at the time of our reading.  When properly used, it is a ‘total package’ for learning. 

Be blessed.

Amen

Yes, this is a plug for my Pastor’s book, but I think that if one prayerfully ‘dives in’, they will find it most rewarding.

BTW, if you are interested and in the Hagerstown, Md. area on March 16th, our Pastor will be signing copies of the book which you have purchased, between 1:30 to 3:00 PM.  We’re located at 363 S. Cleveland Ave. Hagerstown, Md., suite 101 (around back, bottom floor).

Amen and Amen

Saturday, February 24, 2024

2-24-2018  For the Love of God

    

I’ve addressed the question before “Really, Who is God?” and, at that time, I shared three main spiritual events in my life.  I talked about how these experiences impacted my life but I didn’t really talk about how they came into being.  And that’s what I want to talk about today.  These, and all the other things I have experienced in my Life wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the LOVE GOD has for me.”

Communication with Father (or anyone else, is a two way street.  So is God’s love – He communicates with us, then we need to communicate with Him.  Communicate = talking.

First, God so loved me that He gave His only begotten Son that should I accept His Son (Jesus) into my life and through my commitment to Him, I would enjoy eternal fellowship with the Father through the Son forever (John 3:16).

Second, I discover that if I love God I will live according to what Jesus said because it is a demonstration of my love for Him.  Jesus said “If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 15:10-12).  His commandments are actually a single commandment – to Love.  But love moves in two directions – up and outward. God’s concept of love is to truly care about Father (the great I am), who He is and just what does He mean to me, then to care about those around me.  

Truly caring about our relationships is LOVE!    

Thirdly, God’s ultimate desire for me to have a relationship with Him through my love for Him (He loved me first).

What I want you to take away from this is about how Father loves me and then how I can return that love to him.  And, keep in mind, this isn’t just about me, it’s also about you.

Jesus says that whatever you’ve done to the least unto those in My kingdom, you’ve done unto me (Matt. 25:31-46).  He watches over us and stands beside us when we n need His help.  He is the first of many brothers of those who seek the Lord (Rom. 8:29).  Jesus IS our ‘big’ brother! 

Basically, I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church.  In my youth, I faithfully attended Sunday School and, as a group, the boys in my class and I attended services afterward.  After High School, I drifted away from attending church on a regular basis.  Several years later, I met the woman I wanted as my wife, who was also Southern Baptist, so we went to my old church to see if the pastor would perform the ceremony.  There was a new pastor (less than a year, I think) and he agreed to do our ceremony but he required one condition – that for the marriage to succeed, Jesus must be involved in our lives.  He explained how things would work then he turned specifically to me.  He asked me if I knew Jesus as my personal Savior.  I replied that I attended Sunday School in my youth.  “That’s not what I asked you” he said.  I responded to his next question with “I’ve never done anything really bad and try to treat people nice.”  Again, he said “that’s not what I asked you.  We exchanged thoughts then He asked me one final time “Have you ever received Jesus into your heart?”  At that moment, I felt a tugging deep down inside and admitted “No” and then the pastor asked me if I would invite Him into my life.    I said “Yes.”  Iprayed to let Jesus into my heart and immediately I felt a huge, very heavy burden literally lifting up off my being.  In reflection, at the moment I realized that, that was when, Jesus had become my big brother!  God, the Father, was now with me and in me!

While I was yet a sinner Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8).  I had the ‘audacity’ to ask Him into my life and, in spite of who I was.  He did not refuse.

Again, at that moment, I knew that while yet a sinner, Jesus had exchanged His life for mine 2000 years ago.  Also, in reflection, I’ve come to realize that was just the first step.  I’ve spent all my life learning, continually, how to walk more closely with my Lord.  Over the years, I’ve learned the depth of what ‘keeping His commandments means and, more so, what giving my love to Him truly means.

When I confess and repent my sins, He is faithful to forgive and forget them (Rom. 10:9, 1 John 1:9, Isaiah 38:17, Micah 7:19).

As I’ve lived my life, too many times I’ve fallen short of Father’s expectations for me and time and again, I’ve had to repent things which I have done.  It took years for Father to finally get into my thick skull to take care of business up front and not to put things off.  As with King David, when the prophet Nathan reminded him of the sin he had committed with Bathsheba which resulted in a little baby who died.  Through Nathan’s confrontation, David repented because he had come to realize what he had done (2 Sam. 12:1-18).  Father has impressed upon me that when I’ve “messed up”, as soon as I realize what I have done – that is the time to repent, not days, weeks, months, etc. later.    That is admit my guilt, confess my sin and turn away from it.  God forgets our sins (Micah 7:19, Isa. 38:17) and so should we.

Should I sin (after salvation) I do have an advocate with Father as long as I repent (1 John 2:1).

What more can be said here?  I remember, as I truly confess my sin, God puts that repented sin behind His back and it slides into the sea and is forgotten (thank you for the reminder  Micah and Isaiah?

Father loves me and I do my best to show my love for Him.  Let me share a couple of situations where God has shown His love for me.  Now, grant it, other people may have experiences more dramatic or traumatic than my situations, but these are a couple of mine.

Baltimore/Washington Parkway connects Baltimore Md. With Washington DC (no brainer).  My home was just a few miles outside the DC line and my sister was about fifteen miles closer to Baltimore.  The Parkway was the quickest route between the two points.  When I was in my early twenties, I rode a Triumph 250cc dirt bike.  I was coming from my sister’s, on the parkway and about a mile from my exit was a ninety degree turn in the road (OK, about 90 degrees), in the direction I was headed.  I was coming out the back side of that curve and as soon I had a clear view of the traffic ahead, it was stopped – dead!  The speed limit was 65 mph then and the closest car to me was maybe thirty yards.  I thought to myself ‘hit the brakes and lay the bike down.  Minimum damage I get severe road burn but I should live, maximum damage I slide under the car in front of me and suffer greater damage to myself as well as the bike.  Then I heard a small voice ‘get off the throttle and steer onto the shoulder’.  It was a gravel shoulder, but I did it.  I was able to safely slow the bike down to a controllable speed and safely survived what could have been one very nasty incident.  The Holy Ghost gave me direction.  God was watching out for me!  And, yet, at that time, I had not yet given my life to Him so I wasn’t appreciative as I should (or could) have been.  I didn’t even really know Him then.  If that isn’t love?  Not me!  The Lord!

The other experience I’d like to share was on my job.  Except, for a little under two years, I was a ‘federal’ employee ‘lifer’.  I worked for the US government, CIA, GSA and FDA.  Yup, that’s the Central Intelligence Agency, the General Services Administration and I retired from the Food and Drug Administration.  While at FDA, about five years after I had given my life to Him, I experienced God’s love for me, in my  finances.  I was a documents clerk with the FDA for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) specifically Office of Generic Drugs (OGD), under CDER, all under FDA).  I received, and coded documents then forwarded them for drug approval and resourced them to the appropriate discipline reviewers, aka chemist, medical doctors, pharmacologist, etc.  Not all the drug companies followed standard procedures by declaring what issues the document was addressing, fortunately they did file it to the appropriate drug application.  I processed various types of documents which would pertain to formula changes, packaging changes, expiration date extensions, manufacturing changes, quantity changes and the like and of course they all submitted an annual report reflecting all of the year’s activity for that application.  One day, I sat at my desk grumbling (to myself) about processing ‘easier’ documents versus more involved documents.  Annual reports were the easiest and it was a pain (oft times) trying to figure out just what the companies were doing with other documents.  While I sat grumbling, I heard a small voice say  “Give Me the job.”  I looked up and around then said “OK, it’ Yours.”  I knew Jesus by this time.  I believe, at that time, I was a GS4 but I might have recently been promoted to GS5, the ceiling of the pay scale for my position.  About two years later, we were told that our position was being upgraded to a GS7.  Still working within OGD.  Several years later, my supervisors told me a position was opening up as a contract Liaison which would go to a GS9.  CDER had sixteen review divisions (each dealing with a different drug type, heart, lung, kidneys, etc.) The liaison position meant that I would be training contractor staff to do the same job I had been doing (for about ten years) and I would also be dealing (as a liaison) with issues between the contractor and the government, as well as writing procedures for the contractor and explaining the impact for both contract and government staff.  After a few years, my GS9, then the top level of my position, was also upgraded to a GS11.  After a while, I was told that one of my co-workers would soon be retiring and my supervisors wanted me to replace him.  He retired and I did take his position which was a  GS12 slot and that’s the position from which I retired.  Generally, GS 10 and above positions, in the government, required college education.  I thanked God for giving me the ingenuity and the availability to attain that GS12 with only a high school diploma.  Father showed His love towards me through my paycheck. 

Other situations showing God’s love for me and how He protected me would be reflected in the near accident when I first bought that Triumph 250, or on the roof of the hotel in Saigon or when, the day before one of my coworkers and I were scheduled to check out of country (Vietnam) and catch a plane back to good ole USA  and during which we encountered a helicopter ride to the middle of nowhere, yet, we did make our flight the next morning. 

Over the years, I have always given ‘something back to God, but I haven’t always been a ‘tither’. Later in my life I have made sure Father has that which is holy to Him (Lev. 27:30).  And even through my failings in those years, Father has always given me direction and made sure I always had what I needed to meet my needs.  Yes, there were lessons in the process, but Father kept showing His love for me.

Over the years, He has continually grown me in knowledge of the bible AND drawn me into a closer relationship with Him. 

Has Father blessed me?  Definitely!  Has He shown His love towards me?  How can I count the all the blessings and situations He has pulled me through?

I can never, ever, fully repay Father for what He has done for me, but I do my best by learning what He has taught me and doing my best to be faithful and obedient in His will.  I give Him praise and glory by singing songs back to Him, which He has given me as well as singing along with recordings from professional artists.  I enjoy singing those songs for as I do, I feel His presence in my life.  Some songs, He has given me, even reflect those ‘physical’ feelings I have when I am in His presence.

I may not be like Daniel, who prayed every morning, noon and night but I do set a significant amount of time each day to spend with my Lord.  I like to know what Father and I talk about, but He has also impressed upon me that there are times I just can’t express myself in the way He likes, so yes, I also pray in the Spirit, that is the heavenly language Father has given me,  tongues (1 Corinth. 14:13-15, 39-40).

What I do doesn’t compare to what He has done for me, but I am still trying.  Before Father took her home, I used to tell my wife that “I was trying”.  She would look at me, get a slight smile upon her lips and say “Yes, I know.  Very.”  How often must Father look at me with that similar, subtle smile?  I thank God that He loves me.

I love the Lord with all my heart and He has shown me, over the years how He loves me.  Without going into greater detail, what more can I say?

Father does things for us and all too often we are not even aware of His presence or even consider His involvement in what happens in our lives.  Sooooo

Now, how about you?

Amen