Monday, September 27, 2010

Priority #2 - My Husband - Valley of Ono

I was so blessed by the word Friend Hubby preached yesterday from the book of Nehemiah and before the day was over, it had to be put to the test!

I don't believe in all my years of listening to Friend Hubby preach, that I have ever heard him preach from the book of Nehemiah. He has a "old" New Open Bible that has always blessed me in how it broke down the different types of opposition that Nehemiah incurred in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

1. Opposition through Ridicule [language or behavior intended to mock or humiliate, the act of deriding or treating with contempt].
2. Opposition through Threat of Attack [declaration of an intention or a determination to inflict harm on another].
3. Opposition through Discouragement [the expression of opposition and disapproval].
4. Opposition through Extortion [unjust exaction (as by the misuse of authority)].
5. Opposition through Compromise [an accommodation in which both sides make concessions].
6. Opposition through Slander [an abusive attack on a person's character or good name].
7. Opposition through Treachery [an act of deliberate betrayal of a trust].

I don't know about you, but I have experienced all of these at one time or another. Many of them through the same person. Friend Hubby preached about the necessity of a greater degree of discernment in the Body of Christ today. All that comes from God is good, but everything that "appears" good has not necessarily come from God. He preached today about the Valley of Ono. When the enemy tries to get you distracted from the purpose of God in your life, you tell that devil, "Oh, no!"

In this past year, I have been strengthened and encouraged by the ministry of Jonas Clark
who has exposed the characteristics of the Jezebel spirit running rampant in the church of America today. All of the examples of opposition that I listed above are arrows in Jezebel's quiver and she uses them skillfully.

I believe with all my heart we are living in the last days. The Lord is speaking to His called out ones and warning them of the attack of the enemy to come upon the people of God, those who are sold out to Him.

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'" Matthew 10:34-36

I am on a mission to route out unbelief in my heart. Do I believe the Word of the Lord from Genesis to Revelation. Are there parts of the Bible that I believe and parts that I wish weren't in there?

I am seeing a divide in the church today. There are many who are seeking the Hebraic roots of Christianity and rediscovering that our Savior was, in fact, Jewish. (duh!) We have for so long tried to make Him relative to our own culture (I have been in the great cathedrals of Europe and seen a blond haired, blue eyed Jesus, and I have been in a church in New Jersey that had a black Jesus with an Afro). The Father could have chosen to present Himself to the world through the Aztec, Mayans, Zulus, Cherokees, Vikings, or any group of people He wanted, but He chose to reveal Himself through the Jews.

"The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt." Deuteronomy 7:7-8

Through Jesus we have been grafted in! Praise God!

"Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." I Peter 2:10

Look at what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 11.

"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

Does this mean we're supposed to become Jewish? No! THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE'RE SUPPOSED TO CONVERT TO JUDAISM!!!!!! If the Jews had always believed, we would have never had the opportunity to be grafted in. But if we ever want to really get to know someone (like a future spouse) we need to know where they came from. We need to know how they think and what makes them tick. It has a lot to do with how they were raised. Friend Hubby is from the east coast. It is a totally different culture from where I was raised in the midwest. To understand him, I had to learn about where he came from. For the longest time we had to come to a consensus about what to serve for Thanksgiving dinner. I was raised with mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. He was raised with baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens. He wins! LOL!

I want to KNOW Jesus. I want to know what idioms that He used in His teachings were unique to His culture, His surroundings. I want to sit on the mount with the others who listened to the Sermon on the Mount. I want to see it from what they were looking at. When John the Baptist told the people to REPENT [turn away from sin], what was He telling them to turn to??? The Law of Moses (not all the caveats that the Pharisees had put in - the fences around each law) but just the simple, plain words that the Father had given to teach us how to love Him). There was not New Testament, yet he was preparing them to meet the Lord. Isn't it also interesting that every Scripture Jesus used to come against Satan was in the book of Deuteronomy? We say, "I'm a New Testament Christian" yet we aren't even using the weapons Jesus used to fight the enemy! We are fighting a battle with only half an arsenal!

It is time to have a vendetta against the spirit of unbelief in our lives. Don't believe me? Think it doesn't take all that? Wake up!!!

Watch this Perry Stone video and tell me what you think.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Priority #1 - My God - Standing

There is one principle I try to teach my children and those who come to me for advice on dealing with difficult people:

If you will wait on the Lord, and do your best to stand in your integrity when dealing with wicked people, the Lord will either move you, or move them.

Psalm 37:10 puts it this way, "A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found."

If you look up this Scripture on Blue Letter Bible, you will find many similar Scriptures.


My three children have been over-achievers this year. In the course of this school year they have achieved karate belt promotions, job promotions, new jobs, first-degree black belt, promotion to teen court judge, new scouting levels, troop vice-president, troop president, patrol leader, troop scribe, Timothy award, Provost's Gold Scholarship recipient, Science Olympiad bronze medalist, and high school graduation. Like many great achievers in the world, much of their motivation, unfortunately, stemmed from the pain of words of failure that were spoken over them from a mouth that was supposed to bless them.

Proverbs 26:2 (CJB) says, "Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow, an undeserved curse will come home to roost."

During one particular martial arts test, two of my children were paired and with each kick and punch, they named their frustrations and hurts. I'm proud of them for that. They could have manifested their pain in self-destructive ways, but they channeled it through their self-determination.

Last year, a couple we have known for over a decade decided to "share" with us their distaste of our parental choice of not hiding difficult situations, what they consider, "grown folks business" from our children. LOL! I have to laugh at that one. My children have endured more "grown folks business" than many grown folks. Losing a sibling, financial issues, and let's not even mention all that goes with being a pastor's kid!

There is a method to our madness. Psalm 78:4 from the Bible in Basic English, "We will not keep them secret from our children; we will make clear to the coming generation the praises of the Lord and his strength, and the great works of wonder which he has done."

How do you show true praise? Just throwing up your hands and saying, "Hallelujah" when you are walking on the sunny side of the street and everything is going your way? Psalm 50:23 (CJB), "Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; and to him who goes the right way I will show the salvation of God." We are reading Leviticus in our daily Torah portions right now. Sacrifices were bloody. They were painful. They would have been an incredibly ugly ceremony to watch. The sacrifice itself probably wasn't to happy with it either.

Two things stand out in this verse:
1. Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice.
2. Go the right way.

We have not been perfect parents, but I hope and I pray that as my Diva prepares to leave us in a few months for college, that we have demonstrated an effort to model those two things. Praising our way through death, discouragement, disassociation, and everything in between. And second, that they can see that righteous living is it's own reward.

And finally, when you don't have any answer at all, you can't hear a word from the Lord, and it seems like all of your efforts are in vain, don't go your own way. Stand, endure, and persevere until your help comes, for it will surely come.

If we hide our struggles, we will also hide our praise.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Priority #1 - My God - Celebrating at the Seder Table

Last night my husband and I attended our second Seder, this time with our 2 youngest children. Last year's Seder had only 1 child present, the rabbi's 12-year-old son. We learned much of the symbolism behind the Seder table but I was so nervous! You know I was raised Church of God in Christ. Stepping into the Hebrew roots of our faith felt like forbidden waters, almost as if you had invited me to attend a coven!

This year, we were supposed to go out of town for Passover, but decided at the last minute that it was not financially the best thing for us to do just now. So in my email, I found an invitation from a family to other homeschoolers in the city to attend a Seder at their home. We had never met them before. They were gentile messianic believers. Their other guests included Jewish-by-birth believers and some non-denominational Christians.

They're Seder was much more kid-friendly (seeing that there were so many children present. For the plagues, they had:

Blood: Poured water into a translucent pitcher with red Kool-Aid at the bottom to illustrate water being turned to blood.

Other plagues: At the table, at every adult place, there was a plastic baggie with plastic animals to represent the plagues. At this point in the story, we opened them and threw plastic frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts at the children.

Lice and boils: There were small black circle stickers and larger red circle stickers that we stuck on each other to represent the lice and boils.

Hail: We had baggies with ping-pong balls, but as a surprise, our hosts released some packing popcorn from the ceiling.

Cattle died: There were little plastic animals all over the table. We had to knock them over.

For darkness, we all had to be blindfolded. I got a great picture of my son with a fuzzy scarf tied over his eyes.

The table was also set in an "L" shape to represent "Egypt" and "Goshen." Of course Goshen was exempt from most plagues. LOL.

There were other kid-friendly portions of the Seder, including the 4 questions, and a cute-as-a-button little boy named Gabriel carrying a bag with matzoh on his back while another cute-as-a-button little girl named Chaya asked him where he was from "Egypt!" and where he was going, "Jerusalem!".

We didn't get home until 3 a.m. Leave it to our family to stretch totally out of our culture to try new things! My children told me today that they were afraid where were were going was going to be boring, but that they'd had a great time! Friend Hubby and I were able to add to our knowledge of Hebreic roots. I got to see a volume of Talmud for the first time with the mishnah, Gemara, and commentaries by famous rabbis such as Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, otherwise known as Rashi. I have been reading Rashi's Daughters, and although it is historical fiction, I have learned a lot about Jewish culture and discerning between their interpretation of the Scriptures we call the Old Testament, and Jewish superstitions and mysticism such as the "Evil Eye", the demon Lillith, and other things.

I love learning new things. I pray that as long as I have a reasonable portion of health and strength and am enclothed in my right mind (there goes that COGIC coming out in me), that I may be ever learning about my Father's world.

"THE EARTH is the Lord's, and the fullness of it, the world and they who dwell in it." Psalm 24:1 AMP

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Priority #6, My Ministry - What I've Learned

One of the most difficult things I have learned about ministry is how to let go when you've done all you can to help someone and you realize that other than pray (which is powerful in itself), there are some situations and even some people that you have to let go of and turn over to God. Sometimes the hardest walk is walking away, or at least moving yourself to a safe location so that the Lord can do what He does best, and so that the wounds that you incurred while trying to help them heal.

Wikipedia says that the "first step in rescuing a drowning victim is to ensure your own safety...Conscious victims may panic and thus hinder rescue efforts. Often, a victim will cling to the rescuer and try to pull himself out of the water, submerging the rescuer in the process...If the victim pushes the rescuer under water, the rescuer should dive downwards to escape the victim."

There are people that I love that I am not able to help because every attempt to reach out to them ends up with them pulling me under. When I first realized that I was not able to help them, I went through a period of brokeness and mourning for ME. How could they not accept help from ME??? Don't they know who I am??? Haven't they seen my business card??? I'm joking, I don't have a business card. But I learned to identify with Christ in that "He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him." (John 1:11). Matthew 13:58 says that in His own hometown, "He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." They just couldn't get past who they knew Him to be in the past. "Isn't that Mary and Joseph's boy?"

Friend Hubby and I were laughing one day about the fact that sometimes we seem to hear God better when we leave our hometown. We get in the car on a road trip and about an hour or 2 away, the words of prophecy just begin to flow. The saying is true that familiarity breeds contempt. Jesus' miracles were proliferate AWAY from those who knew His humanity best.

If you have ever been the victim of a control freak and then delivered, if you are wise, you will not put someone else in that same position and try to manipulate them into doing what you want, staying where you want them, remaining with whom you think they ought to remain with, or even the opposite trying to get the other person to leave where you want them or who you don't want them to be with. Think about that when people you love and want to minister to chose to go their own way. Remember that they can't get so far out there that God is not able to reach them. He's got some innkeepers along the way. We've just got to learn to trust that He loves those whom we love far greater than we do and He is a God who does exceedingly, abundantly, above all we can ask or think.

Though it sounds cliche, sometimes you really do have to "let go and let God."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Priority #5 Myself - Modesty

I always feel the need to apologize when I haven't blogged in a while. I'm sorry. Life got in the way of my blogging. LOL!

Today, the topic most on my heart is modesty. I want to see how the definition of modesty has changed over time.

According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, specifically feminine modesty is defined as
"In females, modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor."

In Webster's 1913 Dictionary, the definition has been shortened to,
"Natural delicacy or shame regarding personal charms and the sexual relation; purity of thought and manners; due regard for propriety in speech or action."

Shorter still is the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,
"Reserve or propriety in speech, dress, or behavior."

Is it just me, or have the standards of modesty decreased along with the words used to define it? LOL

I wonder if some dictionary would accept my modern interpretation of modesty. It is simply: If you are single, what is yours belongs to you alone. If you are married, you are your beloved's and your beloved is yours alone.

Some Scriptures pertaining to modesty:

Song of Solomon 6:3a (CJB), "I belong to the man I love, and he belongs to me"

Genesis 2:25 (NIV), "The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame."

Exodus 20:26 (AMP), "Neither shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness be not exposed upon it." (This verse is speaking of nakedness in the house of worship).

Proverbs 11:22 (NIV), "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion."

I Peter 3:3,4 (AMP), "Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God."

Each of us has to find our own balance in the area of modesty. There will always be two ends of the spectrum, those who feel that modesty is an outdated chauvinistic ideal and those who believe that modesty entails homeliness.

I believe the more time you spend in the Word, the more you will find the balance that is fitting for your unique calling. Your standard for modest does, and should change over the decades and seasons of your life. There were, in my past, red spiked heeled pumps with a fan on the side that I would have worn to catch my husband's eye when we were courting. The same shoes a few years after marriage would have been impractical and unwise when I had a baby on my hip and a toddler by the hand. Later when my vanity took a hit because I was now the mother of a teenager whose modern version of my red pumps seemed silly to me, until I remembered my own. Then there was the vanity of having a child ready to leave the nest and wondering if there is still time to were the red pumps for a little longer until age catches up to me and I have to trade cute for comfort.

Where does your heart lie on the spectrum of modesty? Do you feel it is outdated -- the bustier the better? Do you feel that the only real modesty there is would be to wear a burqa? Search the Scriptures and search your hearts. Allow the Lord to give you His standard for your modesty according to His calling on your life (you ARE walking in your calling, are you not?), "I the Lord search the mind, I try the heart, even to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:10 (AMP)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Priority #4 - My Home - Shabbat Shalom

Over the course of the past year or so (longer for Friend Hubby) we have been on a journey to explore in depth the Hebraic roots of our Christian faith. In our experience, our studying has led us to being more family-centric (not that we weren't already family oriented, as most who know us in the flesh know), but I am a person who likes to be busy. I fill our family calendar up to the max. Over the course of the past few months, we have been making a greater attempt to keep the sabbath. The original sabbath, not the one changed by the early church to distance itself from the Jews who became a most hated people in the early days of the institutionalized Christian church. My daughter loaned me a book to read this weekend called The Fruit of Her Hands by Michele Cameron. There is an exchange in this book between a Jewish young girl and her Christian nursemaid who is about to be married.

I wanted to attend her wedding. But she knit her lips together and would not tell me when it would be.
"But I want to come -- I can walk before you with a basket of spring flowers!"
"Up the aisle in the church, Shira?" she asked, eyebrows raised.
"Why not?" I persisted.
Jeanne sighed. "You would upset everyone, Shira -- I shudder to think what my husband's family would say, seeing a Jew in front of the Holy Mother and her Blessed Son."

ROTFLOL! Hellooooo!

While we are very clear that no "act" can purchase our salvation for us, we also believe that the Torah (Old Testament) is an instruction manual. It is a message from our Father teaching us HOW to love Him. As Christians, we have picked over which portions of the Old Testament apply to us. We want to claim all of the "I will"'s without going through the "If you will"'s.

That said, we have begun to embrace and sanctify the sabbath in our home. Because this is not a habit for us yet, every week, we see room for improvement. My goal is to have all the housework and laundry done, be caught up on my lines (I'm a medical transcriptionist), and have a meal prepared for Friday night's dinner, Saturday's breakfast and lunch. After lighting our candles and having our communion meal of challah bread (no it doesn't have to be challah, like I said, we are just learning and trying new things), and grape juice, we have great discussion with our children over the past weeks' Torah portion. A couple of websites we have found helpful in our learning have been


Granted, we do live in America and not Israel, so life does not completely stop for us some Saturdays. Our son is in karate, our daughter works in fast food, and all of our children are in scouting. We are not always able to keep completely still for those 24 hours but we are making as much effort as possible to try!

Each week, I am understanding more fully the phrase, "Shabbat Shalom (sabbath peace)."