CRUSHING

As I laid down last night to go to sleep I kept thinking about the crushing. What it means to be crushed, how it feels to be crushed and the purpose of the crushing. None of it sounds so pleasant or appealing.

In our world today people are angry. They are reaching far for a type of justice that will go way back and alter past wrongs. I am not writing this to express my thoughts or position on these matters. I will however express my sympathy regarding injustice. I for one despise injustice. I will fight for the underdog and will pretty much cut out of my life anyone who tends to bully another around. I despise a bully and I despise people who think they are anything more than another human being. Despise is a strong word but honestly I feel strongly about it. However, I do not think you will ever win using the “eye for an eye” method. I also do not believe you will ever be able to go back and rewrite history. Oh, yeah you can tell the stories as you so choose but what is done is done.

I said all of that to say this, a lot of people are unhappy about the crushing, mainly the crushing that came many years ago to their ancestors. I would have to agree with them. Pondering on all of this got me thinking about being crushed. If I have said it once I have said it 20 times, every human at some point will face injustice of some sorts. Unfortunately no one is exempt because we are all humans fighting a daily battle with our very own ego and when ego wins someone else will be crushed.

Before I went to sleep I began to read about Lucy Farrow, who they call “the first lady of Pentecost.” The more I read the more I found out that she went through some real deal crushing in her life. Yet, she was the key player in the Azusa Street revival. She was a key player in spreading the good news regarding the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. We do not speak much about the things she faced in her life but we glory in her victories. We are a product of the environment that she created, even years and years later. If you have not researched her, I urge you to do so.

Then there is our own Sis. Willie Johnson. I think I asked the Lord 20 times during reading her book, why? Her life was so hard. The crushing. Yet, I can remember when she would visit my church and I, as a child would sit in awe of her anointing. But I never heard of her crushing until she was gone. Oh, how her legacy still moves on from generation to generation, still blessing each of us. There are so many I could write about today.

The crushing. I laid awake thinking why must such great people be so crushed? Then it hit me, the greatness came from the crushing. I woke up still thinking about the crushing. I begin to read Leviticus 24. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.Without the vail of the testimony, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall Aaron order it from the evening unto the morning before the Lord continually: it shall be a statute for ever in your generations.He shall order the lamps upon the pure candlestick before the Lord continually.”

“Beaten for the light.” WOWZER. Chills sprung up my spine. “Beaten for the light.” It all begins to make sense to me. You see the candlesticks in the tabernacle had to be filled with the purist of olive oil in order to burn continually. Back in the bible days olives were put through a crushing process in order for the purest of oil to be released from them. This oil held such a high value but it came with a price. A crushing stone was tied to a large lever. When the lever was pulled the crushing stone would come down on a basket full of olives and crush them, squeezing the oils out. Why such a large stone, for such a small olive? But it wasn’t about the olive or the stone; it was about the oil and the purity of the oil.

When test, heartaches and trial come our way and we want to lie down and say, why such a large crushing when I am just one small individual? Take heart my friend. It is not about the trial or even you but it is about the anointing that God himself is trying to purify in you so that you may be that light that sits upon the hill shining bright for the world to see, so that you may be used to change lives for generations to come. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

Oil will produce light but the purist of oils will produce light that lasts through generations. Do not despise the crushing, it has a purpose. And do not diminish the purpose of your ancestors; it was because of their crushing that our world was changed for the better throughout time. So it is true, when God is in it, crushing is always followed by light. The more crushing that comes, the more pure your lamp with burn and truly during these last days it will take the PURE light to reach our world.

 

 

The thumbprint of Poppa

Driving to work this morning I was reminiscing about all the lessons my father has taught me over the years. I use the word ALL lightly, as there have been so many. I am a bit hard headed I must admit and most lessons I have learned the hard way to say the least. I am extremely grateful for a Poppa who knows how to handle all of me.

The past few years have come with some great lessons. I can honestly say they have not been easy ones. However, nothing seems to come real easy for me. Some days I pray that He will just let me understand without teaching me…”don’t learn me that.” However, I know for myself that His grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in my weakness. You may have understood these things for many years. I have heard them, I actually believed them because someone told me but I did not know or understand without the lessons.

I hate being weak. It actually makes me mad but all too often I find that I am weak. Learning to be okay with you can be a difficult journey. If you are anything like me you can spend hours upon hours replaying conversations, questioning did you say everything perfectly or did someone take that wrong or replaying your actions questioning did you do it just right. Living this way is exhausting.

For a few years I have felt like I needed to walk around with a resume on my back. I have carried the “am I good enough” question around like a purse I would have hung on my shoulder. Recently I decided I could and would not do that any longer. If I was ever going to fulfill my calling I had to change my thought process. I had to stop over thinking me. Yes, I do care how other’s perceive me, of course I do. I would be ignorant not too. However, I am choosing not to make that my focus any longer. How could I sincerely focus on another who may need me, if I cannot get over myself? I do not mean get over myself in an arrogant sense. I just mean stop spending so much time trying to cram myself into a cookie cutter pattern. Life is real short and if we aren’t careful we will miss our purpose trying to fit ourselves into the purpose. Comparison brings fear; fear will shut up our calling. Nothing or no one can remove the purpose unless you allow it.

As I was driving this morning the word thumbprint came into my mind. Me being me, I wanted to see what the true definition of thumbprint was. This is what I found, Thumbprint: something that identifies especially.  Which lead me to look up especially: in particular: b: for a particular purpose. I began to look around and see God’s thumbprint everywhere and how perfect it all is, the sky, the trees, the birds, the colors, you and me. We are all made differently but yet all beautifully and wonderfully made. We are all made to fulfill the great commission but yet in a very specific, particular way.

When we come to understand he has sealed us with His thumbprint we can be confident in who we are in Jesus. We can be confident in our place in His Kingdom. His thumbprint cannot be mimicked or copied; it is genuine, unique and specific. You do not have to spend your time trying to fit in, or be just right but rather find yourself lost in the hope that you are able to extend to another because of his thumbprint on your life, specifically. The grace he extended to you, He expects you to extend to another.

We all have a story to tell, a testimony to share. Not one is greater than another but yet all fits so perfectly in His Kingdom. Do not ever rob the Kingdom of God by trying to be like someone else. The mighty hand of God created you to be you with all knowledge as to what you would bring to the world for such a time as this. Grace is our teacher and it is through our weakness He is made perfect. Just as I am amazed when I look around at nature and understand each creation has a purpose, I also can look into the eyes of ALL of His children and realize they also are His handy work, beautifully and wonderfully made with a specific purpose for such a time as this. FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS on others, reach deeper and reach harder so no one gets left behind. I am so thankful for my Heavenly Poppa. I would not be here today if it was not for the lord.

 Esther 4:14

14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

 

Slow Down

 

Let’s Make A Trade

The passage of scripture below has been ringing in my head all week long. My husband and I spent a few days away, to relax. It was wonderful. The last few months have been mentally hard for each of us. God is so gracious to give us sweet rest.

The last few months I have been experiencing a sense of heaviness. I cannot pin point exactly what I feel all I know is how I feel. We often talk about prayer. I’ve used the term “We’ll pray” so much throughout the years, it almost feels cliché. I am a firm believer that prayer changes things. I do not only believe it, I truly know it for myself. I have experienced the power of prayer in my life. Because of those experiences, I trust in prayer. I also believe there is no way to hear from God, for Him to lead you, if you do not pray. God knew Abraham because Abraham had a relationship with God. As we have heard many times before, we must maintain our relationship with God. You cannot do that without speaking to and listening to Him. I enjoy prayer, I love prayer.

That being said, these past few months I have had a hard time in prayer. The heaviness that I feel makes me so weary. I keep hearing we need to engage in war and all I can think and tell the Lord is that I am so tired of war. I am tired of warring. Then I feel so guilty and worthless. Am I not called to war, to intercede, to be of a help in this time? I am tired. I do not want to fight. I do reach the throne of God here and there. I do breakthrough after I continue to push through the weariness in my mind. But my initial response is I am exhausted of warring.

The Lord placed this passage upon my heart this week. When I began to read it my heart leaped with a refreshing joy. It is almost as if the Lord is saying, “lets make a trade” Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….I began to think of the goodness of Jesus, I began to testify to my spirit. When I think of where He’s brought me from, I cannot help but to have joy in my heart.

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness really stood out to me. I have read this passage many times but the word “spirit” weighed in this time. A lot of times we do not understand what we are up against. We can take ownership of what we are feeling. However, a spirit that lingers in the air does not belong to you. If you have been born again through God’s grace and mercy the trade has been made. Every single good gift comes from above. It is through His grace, the ultimate sacrifice made that day paved the way for the trade. Do not take upon yourself the feelings of the principalities that roam the air. You may be opened up to feel them because you are called to pray against the attacks they’re trying to make upon the children of God but they are not yours to clothe yourself in. He has traded the heaviness for garments of praise. You have traded in those old garments for praise.

Is it possible the Lord is allowing you to feel what is oppressing the earth so that you may pray? So that you may understand how others are feeling that cannot fight. So that you may push through, stand in the gap for your city even your country? The weariness, the heaviness brings a sense of hopelessness. When people are bound in hopelessness there is no prosperity or growth. That is the plan of the enemy. Do not own the hopelessness. The trade is done for you. When we begin to speak of the goodness of Jesus…when we begin to humble ourselves and pray…when we begin to share the “good news”…the atmosphere will shift. The more people who make “the trade” the more liberty you will feel in your city. Do not allow “feelings” to bind you. It will stunt the movement of the right spirit, the spirit of the Holy Ghost. If you do not break through the weariness, if you do not continue pressing on, not only will you lose out but those around you that have not made “the trade” are going to lose out. Someone needs you. God has sent you to bind up the captive, the hopeless, and the brokenness in your city. He has allowed you to feel the pain and exhaustion so you understand the urgency. Do not own feelings, own your salvation, own your heritage and own your commission.

What a beautiful trade we read about in Isaiah Chapter 6. Every single person in this world needs to experience this. I know for myself the things that the precious blood of Jesus Christ has buried and the things He has brought to life personally. Let’s share, let’s give, let’s push through the what we do not understand and share Jesus with our world, more today than ever before.

-MY HEART

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

 

4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

 

6But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

 

7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

 

8 For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

 

9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

 

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.#decketh: Heb. decketh as a priest

 

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

 

 

HATE

Black

Hate, what a strong word! It almost stings as it comes out of your mouth. You can feel your body tense just thinking about hate. I woke up this morning with HATE on my mind. The news media is full of hate. It is almost like a plague. It starts in a specific area and before you know it, like wildfire it has infected millions.

My initial thoughts were on a national level, the outrage that is flowing across our country on the basis of racism. I actually HATE racism. Growing up my best friend’s skin color was different than mine; however her being was much like my own. I never looked at her and thought of her any differently in a negative sense. I loved her. She was my friend. She felt the same feelings I felt, she had the same struggles I had, she laughed the same as I laughed and smiled the same as I smiled, she got angry just as I got angry and was ornery as I was ornery. We did life together. We fought battles together. She stood up for me because I wore skirts every day as I stood up for her in other ways. We both, because of “class” or “religion” faced some tough ridicule during our school age years. We both survived. I periodically will check to see where she is in life now. She is a mom, the same as I, she works and has a career the same as I, she loves her family the same as I. She is now a beautiful lady that I honor because of her strength and endurance.

That being said I did see color in the way you would open a crayon box and see color but I also saw people in the same way as I saw those crayons, as people. The crayons all were a different color, no doubt about that. The crayons were all still crayons, no doubt about that either. Pretty simple, right? So I thought, until lately.

When I see a person, I truly just see a person. The hate that seems to dictate our world today, I cannot pretend to understand. It truly breaks my heart. I cannot wrap my mind around such a driving force that would persuade anyone to feel above another human. I really do not care about your status in life, your color or last name. What I do care about is YOU. YOU are a human, designed directly from The King’s hands. YOU are beautifully and wonderfully made. God’s Word says so. How could I ever believe it for myself, if I first cannot believe that for you? I cannot. We are children of God. His Word says, He desires for NO ONE to parish but for all to have eternal life. How could anyone feel the right to take another human’s destiny in their own hands? I will never understand.

As I laid there praying this morning, I became convicted and burdened, burdened for myself. I know strange, however I know me better than anyone knows me but God. The hate had me confused and examining. I have to examine what I know. I know myself. I began to dig, dig deep within my soul, checking out my inner being. As if I was taking a scope through every inch of my body. When I would come across a wound, a scar, a misunderstanding a failure it stung and my body would become tense, just the same as when I mention or think of the word HATE. I realized that unless we deal with life’s circumstance, unless we allow Jesus to heal us, hate lingers, hate becomes an ulcer that in turn will make the entire body sick. When we are sick physically we physically cannot act or react in a healthy way. When we are sick spiritually we cannot act or react in a healthy way either. Life is life; we cannot always avoid everything that will bring us harm. We can, however, allow Jesus to sift through our brokenness and heal our mind and hearts. We cannot carry the weight of  hate. It is the silent killer. It will wreak havoc on your mind, eventually destroying your body. This morning I was confused as to how such HATE could so quickly become so widespread. The answer is it has been lying silently in the heart of many. It has been widespread for years watching and waiting, ready to kill, steal and destroy. The devil uses our personal triggers, our personal wounds, our personal misunderstandings to bring division. The division feels justified because; after all we are hurting for legitimate reasons. But reacting to hurt with acts of hate does nothing more than cause more hurt and more open wounds, leaving a cycle of hate for generations to come.

No entity can survive under these circumstances. I do not care how spiritual you are, how right your doctrine is, how much you attend church….if you allow hate seeds to set in your inner being, you will never be a productive member of any entity. If hate is fed from one person to the next, this encompassing jealousy, envy and strife, that entity will never reach its full potential. You may have a victory here and there but you will never have complete success. HATE sabotages health and stunts growth. Each of us has some work to do, from the loudest protestor to the quietest person on the pew. We all have the potential to carry these weights. Until we learn to release them, to allow the blood of Jesus to flow through our veins, to allow God to heal, even when you feel justified, you will stay bound up in the current events. HATE is strong but quiet until it leads you to react. Every single time that reaction will cause some sort of hurt. Do not think you are above the person screaming in the streets for justice, if you’re quietly spreading hate seeds through gossip and strife. You are not! You’re destroying this land. You’re destroying people! This is a time to clean up the insides of our hearts and get right before His returning. We cannot help one single soul if we are sick ourselves.

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7)