Bow Shot

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 Pretty strong statement, one shot, one chance through this life. We go through life with our eyes focused so closely on the task at hand or the current crisis that we fail to see the big picture.

We live, we die and the one shot we have is the time in between, every failure, every mistake but also every accomplishment, and every single victory is all embodied in “ONCE”. 

We will not have works in the grave, we will not have works in New Jerusalem and in hell there will be no chance of salvation ever again.  “Works without faith IS dead”, we can all do something, some type of “work”, we can all give, but when we need to do a work that is not quite so easy, that will require blood, sweat, and lots of tears, when we will set out on a course that is going to cost us something that is when it starts being set apart, and when a sacrifice is required and especially when it is a sacrifice of that work itself. 

Whatever we have been born to accomplish is to be accomplished on this earth. One shot to make a difference and live our lives in complete trust and faith to one so much higher than any earthly happening whether it be good or bad. Learning true trust is not that easy, we all say we TRUST God, we sing about trusting God, and have motivational agreements that we trust, but do we really? 

Trust IS faith and faith IS trust, you can not have one without the other, faith IS trusting God with the most precious of things, EVEN when it looks like we might lose but we have to trust Him enough to surrender even those things that we have fought so hard to nurture and protect, our hopes, our dreams, and sometimes our spiritual “babies” and lay them on the altar.

  Genesis 22 tells of Abrahams grueling test of faith, several days journey to what he thought would be the sacrifice of his son whom he loved more than life itself, the death of  his promised child, a child whose promised birth had been the fulfillment of the purpose of his own life,  the father of nations.

Genesis 22:4: Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off”  he had lots of time to think,  and dread, journeying up that mountain for what he believed would be the death of that child.  

Genesis 21 tells of the story of Hagar and Ismael, Sarai’s servant and the child she bore for Abraham because of Sarai’s  messed up attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise for Abraham. By this point Sarah wanted them out of her life and God knowing all things told Abraham to go ahead and send them away, now Hagar finds herself in the wilderness with nothing trying to find her way back to Egypt with the son she was demanded to bear for an heir and he is now considered nothing and no longer welcome, but he was her baby and she loved him and could not bear to watch him die:

Genesis 21:16: “And she went, and sat her down over against him (across from) A good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child, And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice and wept.” 

Exodus 2  tell that when  Pharaoh had called for the slaughter of the Hebrew baby boys, Jochebed placed her baby Moses in an ark made undoubtedly countless tears and set him adrift with unquenchable faith.

Exodus 2:4 “And his sister stood afar off, to wit (know) what would become of him.” What they all had in common is this, these were their natural children, children whom they loved with every fiber in their being. Each time these things were “afar off’ it was a process of waiting, and watching and knowing that they had to TRUST GOD IN FAITH.

Abraham KNEW what God had promised, Hebrews 11:17: ” BY FAITH Abraham, when he was tried (tested) offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” As we know an angel stopped Abraham and God sent a ram as a sacrifice and we all learned that God will provide for us all that we need to be obedient to Him.

Jochebed’s baby was spared from those who given a chance would surely kill him, not only would he not die but she would nurse him and love him and tend his needs and no longer have to hide him and fear for his life. And he would go on to be used of God to lead his people out of bondage, drew from the water one day leading his people to freedom through parted waters.

God had heard Hagar’s cries when she was pregnant and sent an angel to comfort her and she had been obedient to God’s voice returning to Sarai and surrendering her child and now unable to bear watching him die in the wilderness, she had separated herself from him, crying out and now God heard the cries of the child himself and God sent the angel yet again and sprang up a well in their wilderness. They all had to learn faith and trust, to trust God with what was most precious to them, and sometimes we must trust God with all the things that are precious to us and when the enemy is coming after those things or there are those who wish to dash those hopes, smash those dreams,  and outright kill those spiritual babies then we have to just lay them down on the altar and just get a bow shot away and KNOW, and TRUST that HE IS JEHOVAH JIREH, that HE IS FAITHFUL , HE does see our sorrow and hear our cries and that HE WILL DELIVER.

Φλογιζω  NBJ 2015

  

Thanksgiving

Psalm 136:16-26: TO HIM which led his people THROUGH THE WILDERNESS: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM which smote great kings: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER: And slew famous kings: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER :  Sihon king of the Amorites: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER: And Og the king of Bashan: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER: And gave their land for an heritage  (the land of the wicked kings to the children of God): FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER: Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER. Who remembered us in our low estate: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER: AND HATH REDEEMED US FROM OUR ENEMIES: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER. WHO GIVETH FOOD TO ALL FLESH: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER. O GIVE THANKS UNTO THE GOD OF HEAVEN: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER! 

11/26/2015 revisited 11/24/2019

Psalm 136:10-16

To HIM that smote Egypt in their firstborn in their firstborn: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER:

And brought out Israel from among them; FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER:

With strong hand, and with a stretched out arm; FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM which DIVIDED THE RED SEA into parts FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER:

And made Israel to PASS THROUGH THE MIDST OF IT: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER:  

But OVERTHREW Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: FOR HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

The Thanks in Thanksgiving

When I think of the word thanksgiving, I tend to get the tune of “Old MacDonald’s”  in my head and wanna sing “With a gobble,-gobble, here and a gobble-gobble there….” , But since I lost out to my brother due to traditional gender based child naming and my Mom didn’t name me “Mack-Nina” it kinda takes the fun of out it anyway! But there is so much more than turkey and gravy, parades, and pumpkin pie to be had.

 I have given this a lot of thought. I have never written anything just for Thanksgiving. I have always wanted too but now that I have taken on the role of family Thanksgiving Dinner Hostess, it seems like time always just runs a little short with my long list of things to do. But I am so thankful for it. Every occasion to celebrate with our families is precious threads through time that will become irreplaceable memories and that is so important, especially as we grow older in life and realize just how precious those memories will become, because one day, they will be all that we have left of a season, a time, and often all that we have of a late loved one and memories become the tune played in our hearts until that great day when we will all feast together again, no more tears, no more heartache, and we will forever give thanks.

Growing up I always awoke on Thanksgiving morning to the unmistakable mouth watering smell of roasting turkey and the sounds of the televised Thanksgiving Day parade, I would drag myself into the kitchen to find my beautiful mother working on side dishes smiling and just happy with the joy of the day.

So beautiful, and such a blessed time in our history, in our world today we have so much cause for concern, ISIS and the terrorist groups and their constant threats, sickness, a horrible economy for many, my area devastated by the EPA’s “coal overthrow”, I can see it both ways, I have a friend who goes to every anti-coal protest she can find, but so many, my family included have suffered the effects of it and many friends still are forced to relocate to feed their families, it all sounds great for the environment but tell that to hungry children and worried parents. In other regions of our world everyday life for many is a struggle and each day brings true starvation for others. This year so many standing in prayer and unity for those in France and Mali, and the families of those who were executed because they could not quote a Quran verse and yet we dispute each other on social media as to whether or not to fly country colors as solidarity, and in America you are hated for flying a rebel flag but not for displaying a swastika, so messed up, because nationality, color, or the actions of a particular government that we have no control over does nothing to change one simple truth, we all are human, we were all created by the same God (even if we do not choose to serve Him), we all hurt, and we all cry and that is reason enough to put down all the bickering and pettiness and protests of what lives matter ( for the record, some police departments have long track records of brutality that I believe is not just racial, I am sure some of it is but there are mean people in all walks of life) we are still in the same world, facing the same uncertainty.

The one constant that will never change is the love of Jesus and HIS MERCY, and HIS MERCY ENDURES FOR EVER.

Psalm 136 1-9:  O Give THANKS unto the Lord; for HE IS GOOD: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

O Give THANKS unto THE GOD OF gods: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

O give THANKS unto the LORD OF LORDS; for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM who ALONE DOETH GREAT WONDERS: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM that by wisdom MADE THE HEAVENS: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM that STRECTED OUT THE EARTH ABOVE THE WATERS: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

TO HIM that MADE GREAT LIGHTS: for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

The sun to rule by day; for HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER. The moon and stars to rule by night; HIS MERCY ENDURETH FOR EVER.

As the day of thanks draws close, we cannot change what has already happened, we must not fear what may happen, these are things that none of us can control, but the one thing that we can control is our thoughts, God will keep US IN PERFECT PEACE ( peace of mind) when our minds are focused on him, when we give all our thoughts in thankfulness to Him for HIS mercy, and HIS loving kindness that WILL endure for ever and ever and that no one can take away.

εω Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015

 

Sticks and Stones #3 “Blood Transfusion”

Family night at Ye Olde Drama Ville Theater is never a one-act play and no one wants tickets to that dreadful show anyway. The script is just too predictable, the outcome a certainty, someone is always gonna go away hurt while another revels in their glory of being alpha male, while everyone stands by as helpless “extras” with nothing they can do, nothing they can say, just waiting it out until the dramatic star chooses to go away.

 Angry at the aggressor and too sympathetic in wanting to tend the wounds of the victim, sometimes it only feeds the persons feelings of helplessness and personal anger for what they feel as personal weakness in “not standing up for themselves”, I said FEEL because reacting on the aggressors level IS NEVER WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

But in reality the reason most don’t argue back is because they FEAR what they, themselves may be capable of if they allow those pent-up emotions to burst out in a blinding fury and it is one step across that invisible line to becoming the very thing that has tormented them.  

But if you have in times past, fell  into that trap, don’t beat yourself up, the Bible says for us to “live peaceably with all men, as much as LIETH WITHIN YOU“, keeping peace as best as we can, but sometimes we don’t quite hit the mark when we are under attack. 

Proverbs 18:14: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity: but A WOUNDED SPIRIT WHO CAN BEAR?”                  

Proverbs 17:22: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”                                  

Proverbs 12:18: “There is that ( one whospeaketh LIKE THE PIERCING OF A SWORD.”                                        

Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance but by SORROW of THE HEART THE SPIRIT IS BROKEN.”  

This repetitive play will without a doubt leave someones heart pierced and their very spirit broken. The good news is you are not required of the Lord to continue to play the starring role, as the enemy and sometimes other family members would try to sway you into believing. The bad news, because it is the truth that is more hard to hear is this, IT IS UP TO YOU TO QUIT THE TROOP AND FIRE THE DIRECTOR.

 In “Blood Brothers” we discussed some biblical brothers and how a couple of them, in my opinion, did not even realize that the others really did hate them. We all want family approval, it is inborn need to belong and be accepted by our siblings and the most painful enlightenment that we will ever go through is coming to terms with the fact that they truly do not like us as a person and that there is nothing within our mortal grasp that will change that.                                                                

Often we do not understand why the Lord doesn’t just change these things on our behalf, but the truth in that is again God ONLY deals in FREE WILL and he will not go above what a person asks of him and even though we want them to change so that we can have a good, healthy, loving relationship with them, as God intended, if they don’t see a problem and have no remorse or repentance and no desire to change, then that is their free will and God will not go above that.     

Jesus said that they hated him without a cause and a servant cannot be above his master, if they hated him they will hate you.                                       The secret is in emulating his behavior, when you bless those that curse and pray for them, they have no accusation against you, as you have only been kind to them, when the Holy Spirit begins to deal with their heart and their actions start coming back to mind, they can find no justification through your behavior toward them to explain to God their own actions. God then uses this to bring about repentance, true remorse for their actions so they then may be saved and that is our goal.                                                                                                                                                                                          

Now digging the blood transfusion, when we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are covered by his blood, we are made partakers with his blood and become new creatures, adopted through that blood into the household of God himself.

WE BECOME HEIRS AND JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST and even though we still have an earthy family, our main family is heavenly and the only dinner we have to be sure to make an appearance at is the wedding supper of the Lamb!                  

Just as Abram had to leave his family in order to fulfill God’s purpose, sometimes we also have to “forget those things which are behind and press toward the mark of that high calling”. When we must “leave” (emotionally) our families or friends it is then, that the word of God promises us that God will pick us up, Jesus said he will be our mother, brother, sister, whatever family position that is broken and empty, JESUS HIMSELF WILL FILL THAT VOID, HE IS a friend that will stick closer than a brother.                                      

So accept that transfusion freely, be diligent, when you find your mind running through the past, replace those thoughts with scripture and things of God, And lean on your church family for support.                                                                        

Before I had even be called I had been in  a battle, a fierce unbelievable battle and I went to church and heard words that I still cling to today, a brother had been singing and he stopped, this guy is on the quite side as far as speaking and I think that made it hit home even more, but he said that we should always remember no matter what we are going through or how alone we feel that someone else is either going through the same thing or has already been through it.                                              

We often look at others as “perfect” people who haven’t a care in the world and that freak show stuff just happens to us but you will never find a Christian who does not have a testimony that will nine times out of ten leave you in tears, it is part of the overcoming we all must endure, the very reason your church family is a major factor in walking away from relationships you just don’t need in your life and being accepted by Christ is the only acceptance we need.                                              

But NEVER give up on them, pray for them, and as I said before once you give that gentle answer back when they are attacking you, just walk away, you have to, and when you have been in a very terrible argument and maybe threats have been made or your feelings are just really hurt, here are some scriptures that I believe will help, but again lean on your church family, talk to your Pastor or trusted prayer partners, pray together, there is strength in that but please don’t jeopardize your personal safety by continuing in it.

Psalm 56:3,4: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. IN GOD will I praise his word, IN GOD I HAVE PUT MY TRUST; I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT FLESH (people) CAN DO UNTO ME.”                                                                            

Psalm 118:6 :”The Lord IS ON MY SIDE; I WILL NOT FEAR: What can man do unto me.”                                          

 Psalm 56:9 : “WHEN I CRY UNTO THEE, then shall my enemies turn back: This I know, FOR GOD IS WITH ME.”        

Romans 8:31:”What shall we then say to these things? IF GOD BE FOR US, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?”                    

Psalm 56:8 :”Thou tellest ( you know) my wanderings; Put thou my tears unto thy bottle: are they not written in thy book?”   God sees and keeps record of our pain, one day all the tears that we have shed, that He is very aware of will be returned to us in PURE JOY !  

 James 1:2,3:”MY BRETHREN (brothers and sisters of Apostle Paul through Christ) COUNT IT ALL JOY when ye fall into divers temptations (various trails) KNOWING this, that the trying of ( relying on) your faith worketh (produces) patience.”                                                                                                                                                                                  

Just say no, just walk away, don’t play the game and don’ star in that role!                                

“Proverbs 23:24,25: “MAKE NO FRIENDSHIP WITH AN ANGRY MAN; AND WITH A FURIOUS MAN THOU SHALT NOT GO (STAY AWAY FROM THEM) LEST THOU LEARN HIS WAYS AND GET A SNARE TO THY SOUL.”                          

Anger will “jump” and it is like an infectious disease and it is contagious and you do not want to catch it.                                

2 Samuel 22:47,49:“The Lord liveth, and blessed be MY ROCK; and exalted be the God of THE ROCK OF MY SALVATION.  And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.”                                                                                                

 Psalm 140:1,4: “DELIVER ME O LORD, from the evil man: Preserve me from the violent man: KEEP ME from the hands of the wicked; Preserve me from the violent man, WHO HAS PURPOSED TO OVERTHROW MY GOINGS (SETS STUMBLING BLOCKS BEFORE US).”                                                                                                         

Isaiah 12:2:”BEHOLD, GOD IS MY SALVATION; I WILL TRUST, AND NOT BE AFRAID: for the LORD JEHOVAH IS MY STRENGTH AND MY SONG: HE ALSO IS BECOME MY SALVATION.”                                                                                 

It is my sincerest prayer that for all who may be in holiday dread because of theses things will find comfort in God’s word, remember as you study these for yourself, use a reference Bible that will lead you to other scriptures dealing with the same subject.

God often uses this to lead us to other scripture, which will be perfect for whatever our battle is at that present time and it is in the quite times that God will speak to you through his word and send you comfort and peace.                              

Remember Jesus said for us to be of good cheer, because he had overcome the world and sometimes for us, we must overcome those we actually hold dear. May God bless you and keep you and give you true peace this season.                    

Φλογιζω NBJ 2015                  For more in this series, please check out the following posts: Bad BloodBlood BrothersAnger DangerStrangle Hold   

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                            

Sticks and Stones #2 “BLOOD BROTHERS”

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.” Mark 13:12

“For the son dishounerth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law:  A MANS ENEMIES ARE THE MEN OF HIS OWN HOUSE”  Micah 7:6        

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is BORN FOR ADVERSITY.” Proverbs 17:17                                                        

Fair to say these are some serious warnings of ye olde family unit making frequent appearances at Drama Ville dinner theater.

Recorded in the Bible it started at the beginning, Genesis chapter 4, and it started with Cain the firstborn of Adam and Eve and of course the older brother to Able.Cain became jealous and angry because God accepted Able’s offering but not his, Cain had offered what HE wanted to offer NOT what was acceptable as an offering, instead of heeding God’s warning to him, he let his anger simmer and steep until it hit the boiling point.                                            

Genesis 4:8 ” And Cain talked with Able his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in a field, that Cain rose up against Able and slew him.” 

He talked him into going into the field with him, with the intention of killing him the entire time. Again leading me to believe that Able, like Joseph just did not have a clue to this secret hatred was until it was too late.                                                                                            

We know the story of Joseph and how he was one of two sons bore to his father Jacob by his choice wife Rachel and he was half-brother to the ten bore by Leah, the wife that he had been tricked into marrying.

Now maybe the bad blood was a direct result of that and who truly knows the effect that all the strife and hatred between these sister wives had on the ten as they grew up, who knows the discussions they may have heard and who knows if their ultimate hatred for Joseph was born out of their own feelings of inadequacy because we do know Joseph was the favorite son.

But we also know that it was because Joseph was not anything like them,he was like his mother, he was gentle and mild, it was because he was pleasant to his father.                                                                

Maybe it was just the sowing of the tares with the wheat. I really don’t think Joseph understood that his brothers seriously hated him, I believe that in his innocent thinking and his young age that he just did not get it and when he shared his dream, satan then used that to push them over the edge, he was just a teen-aged boy sharing what in his eyes was the coolest dream ever, we know that his Dad rebuked him for this because being older, wiser he knew that the others hated him.        

Genesis 37:18: “And when they saw him afar off,even before he came near unto them, THEY CONSPIRED AGAINST HIM TO SLAY HIM”   

He did not have a clue, but after they had thrown him in a pit to drown (only there was no water in the well ) they sat around laughing and eating lunch and then changed their mind and sold him as a slave, he finally, painfully, understood.                                                                                                                                                                                 Selling Joseph forewarned of the entire Hebrew nation being enslaved to Egypt and many today live enslaved in emotional prisons built by the hands of their family members and built on their spiritual blood  The Bible really doesn’t detail Jesse thoughts toward David but we can read between the lines, he is young, writes poetry, plays music, the creative type, so he is given the job of watching over the flock.                                                                    

David was not even considered by his father when Samuel called for the sons to presented and that just about said it all. And we know when push come to shove and all the men of Israel was cowering down before Goliath, Davids true character started shining through:

1 Samuel 17:26,28: “And David spake to the men who stood by him, saying, What shall be done unto the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why comest thou down hither?and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thy heart; for thou hast come down that thou mayest see the battle”

Eliab’s entire personality revealed!

The oldest ones seem to have the biggest issues, the parable of the prodigal son even has this theme, the angry older brother. Always angry because they feel they did not get the attention they deserve. He was angry because he saw something in David that he knew he did not possess in himself, courage in the face of a giant.

He wanted to line David out and “put him in his place” in front of the other men as a show of bravado, he could still tell off little brother there.

Why are you here? Why were you born? Why do you have to be here anyway?

Sounds like some of the things many ears have heard. Who is watching your FEW sheep, just got to prove whatever the younger has watch over is not just quite as good or meaningful.

Now he has to let everyone know what he thinks about David with accusations of pride, (remember the accuser of the brethren, one of satan’s many name’s, well he loves nothing more than to accuse you through your brethren!) and of course he had to give a reason for good show.

And  I know  David put up with this on a regular basis, check out his answer: 1 Samuel 17:29; ” And David said,What have I NOW DONE? (what did I do now?) Is there not a cause?”

Breakdown, Cain was angry and jealous because of Able’s offering being accepted by Father God. his only response for his action was “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In his eyes, his little brother was not his problem and when he was called on his deed, he only cared about saving his own neck.

God was with Joseph, Joseph named his firstborn son Ephraim, meaning “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction”  and giving us all hope in the fact that what is meant for harm God will use for good.

Joseph’s brother’s were angry and resentful over his relationship with their father.

But he forgave his brothers but the cosmic repercussion of it all still sent an entire race into slavery for over four hundred years.

We do see that David fared pretty well, one whom the whole group of the thought was no more than a singing pretty boy is still considered one of the most fierce warrior Kings to ever have existed and whatever became of his brother Eliab, I haven’t a clue, but David’s throne is forever established of God.

Goliath laughed at David, mocking him, mocking his size and asking did he come against him with sticks as if he were a dog, more or less, sticks were something to beat something else with, but in the giant’s eyes it was no match for him, but the stones, the stones could break him, because just as that stone guided by the hand of God himself took that giant to the ground enabling David to take off the laughing giant’s head with his own weapon, God IS OUR ROCK and He always wins.

Maybe you have been or continue to go through these “family affairs”, but please hear me, just as with Cain and Joseph’s brothers, people can have far darker feelings toward us then we want to accept. It is hard to walk away from family member’s especially when subjected to the good old brainwashing like Eliab tried to use on David.

They will always blame you, they will always accuse you because Satan IS the ultimate older brother, to the children of God, he was created first, we were created in God’s image, he is older than mankind and he is jealous and angry because you can have a relationship with the Father that is now lost to him forever.

Giants even bigger than Goliath can be born of these relationships,so see it for what it is. Please stay with me, next time I want to give a boatload of scripture, God’s word to help with these things and take the heads off some giants, we’ll start it with a little “Blood Transfusion”!

Φλογιζω/ NBJ 2015   

For more in this series, please check out these posts: Bad BloodSticks & StonesAnger DangerStrangle Hold                                                    

Sticks and Stones #1 “BAD BLOOD”

We all know the old saying about sticks and stones, and what a wonderful gesture to encourage that words will do no harm.

But sticks and stones will break many things and words can shatter hearts.

This is going to be one of those not quite so comfortable subjects that so truly needs addressed.

For some who grew up in TRUE Christian homes of sibling love, and harmony, I salute you and I am happy for what you do not understand but for the rest and the majority we’re gonna deal with bad blood, the questionable point when sibling rivalry and normal competitiveness between family members turns not so friendly and the blood of your truest most formidable enemy is shared through your own veins and the hatred that pierces your heart through the words the Bible refers to as “of a piercing of a sword” and they are much worse than the sword of an enemy because we unfortunately have a built-in pack need to belong, fit in and be accepted.                              

Even in the most together families, there is usually one or two that have issues with each other that affect the entire family.          

I have seriously thought about whether this is a bigger issue for males or females, because there are stories of males bullied and pushed a little too far by abusive older brothers and yet for females with one or sometimes two misogynistic siblings the damage done can far outweigh the normal relationship with the “good” siblings and this pattern can be seen over and over, and often traced back through a complete bloody bloodline of bad blood between “brothers” for generations. It is a story almost as old as time, I think it goes back even farther than Cain and Abel, I think it goes back to the war in heaven, the rebellion of Lucifer as he took one-third of the servants of heaven with him.                                                            

 His jealousy and rage and as now his accusations against the children of God, so clearly seen in the verbal abuse in domestic situations and his need to attempt to control those around him so crystal clear in the lives of those who wish to control others through this kind of abuse which can turn violent and physical at the drop of a hat.

Our biggest obstacle to overcome, the name itself, “Domestic”, what does that even mean? Tame violence? Tame belittling?

Homegrown heartache and as long as it’s not a stranger cussing you out then it is just domestic, no big deal, just deal with it. That is what it means. As Christians we are taught by Christ to love those who hate us and pray for those that use us and bless those who curse us, but I truly DO NOT believe that he meant for us to be the family door mat or the emotional whipping boy who hears it if the sun doesn’t shine the right way.

The Bible also teaches to “GIVE NO PLACE TO THE DEVIL” and to resist him and he will flee from you, there are countless scriptures I give with this series as proof that we do not have to have contact with them and to stay away from violent, mean people who only want to hurt you.

Through time women have stayed with abusive husbands because they made a vow that it was forever, but again why on earth would Jesus take all those stripes, all that pain and die on that cross to save us, so we then could live life with someone of the devil that beats on us, either with fists or words? NEVER going to get me to buy that story!

Now, we have to deal with family, like abusive husbands only you can’t divorce them but I tell you what you can do, SEE it for what it is. When we don’t have Christ they have us locked into their game, an ongoing test of the wills to see who is “strongest” or who will bend first, it is like running with wolves, they consider tears a weakness and when your down the whole pack turns on you. That is what Satan wants. His objective is to poison your blood with the same poison he manged to inject into theirs, probably through the same sadistic,systematic mind games and through the endless hail of heartless words and of course it just wouldn’t work without the endless, never-ending accusation that it is really YOU! Because YOU think your better than them and all the words designed to instill guilt (that does not belong to you) and play on that lack of self-worth that has already been successfully driven into your brain and whatever else is thrown at you, he hopes to beat any gentleness,or compassion, and anything remotely decent out of you until he has YOU become exactly what your abuser is and that is his plan and that is scary.

But once we accept Jesus they want even more to destroy you because now they have no one to play with since you are a new creature and are working toward crucifying your flesh, so now the enemy has a double motive.

 Trap #1. If he can get you to break and hit back and attack them out of the same pain and anger that held you in bondage before, if you are not very careful he can make you fall spiritually, if you are passive-aggressive and he can mange to get you into attack mode he can have you being the aggressor or getting so angry just wanting it to stop that you will cause more damage than can be undone.

Trap #2 The old blood is thicker than water routine and convince you  that it IS YOUR JOB to get them saved and that if you are just nice to them and tolerate them and put up with their abuse, you will be leading them to God and if you fail to let them hang out with you wasted and treat you like dirt than you are not being very kind and if they die they will die lost and it will be YOUR FAULT! Not true! We can’t get anyone saved only Jesus can do that! We can be a light but when someone is high, belligerent, and mean, raising Hades on you, how can they see that light through their own anger? Soft answers do turn away wrath but once you give that answer turn yourself away also. Jesus did not fool with demons, he did not carry on conversations with them, he cast them out  and there are times in our life that we must see these things for what they are, traps, demonic traps that the enemy is using to try to KEEP us in the same bondage that God delivered us from!

Jesus wants us to have peace and joy unspeakable and delivers us from all fear,and we must not allow the enemy to convince us that blood is blood and to be a “good” Christian requires us to endure these things. So please just say No to that ingrained false belief that by letting them torment you that your are somehow helping their soul and that one day they will love you, accept it for what it is and don’t fall for the traps. Never tolerate a behavior from a family member that you would not tolerate from a stranger and you sure wouldn’t keep going back to the same store that you got called a useless hussy in a week before, (of course that is a language clean up) now would you?

Next time we’ll start making Biblical sense of this, stories of what others went through and how to put our trust in God and allow him to heal us and be all that we need.

Φλογιζω   NBJ.2015

For more in this series, check out this posts: BLOOD BROTHERS ,  Sticks & Stones part 3,  Anger DangerStrangle Hold

With the eyes of Iris….

The title sounds like I got a little confused there, doesn’t it? But no, I don’t mean through the iris of the eye. I mean trying to see through the eyes of Iris.

Iris is my little friend, she is a tiny little bird dog mix who is not very much bigger than my cat. She is, well, was a stray. I had never seen a cat or a dog in my life with such trust issues, usually you can feed them a couple of times and they know your okay, but not Iris. I got into the habit of keeping dog food on my back stoop (it is so not a real porch, it is tiny and step size) because we had a huge black lab that never wanted to share treats and bullied the other two so one day one of the others decide to get really smart and come to the back door and bark, hence therefore his nick name “Captain Barky” it was the cutest thing ever and he did this so often (my husband said that he had me very well-trained) that I finally started putting dog food out there hoping he would think it was special and appease his barking for treats syndrome.

One day I heard rustling at the back door and looked out the window and here is this tiny little dog eating as fast as it could and every rib, backbone, and little hip bone was visible and it just broke my heart and once she had been noticed, she quickly fled. Soon she starting coming pretty much every day, she would eat and run and if I tried to go out there or had to put out more food she would run away. I finally learned to not make eye contact with her and just try to get the food down wherever and as quietly as possible, try to get back into the house and sometimes she would run and then come back after I was inside. It soon became obvious that she had puppies and would often try to carry away the food container with her and this entire process went on for about six months and we at no point could touch this dog.

As I said I have never seen this kind of distrust and we could only imagine what she had been through. But soon another little friend starting coming by, I kinda of believe it is her puppy but this little thing was not scared in the least and adored my daughter and suddenly one day out of the blue after all this time, Iris let my daughter pet her. We could not believe it and my daughter joked about her being a different dog or something was wrong with her because it was like a complete 360 and suddenly she is jumping up on us, trying to lick our faces and honestly she looks like she smiles. The change was just mind-blowing. It was like when she did decide to trust us, it was a complete, no questions asked, give it your all kinda thing.

Sometimes that is how we are when we have trust issues in our walk with God, we want to trust him, we want to have faith, but we are so scared of being hurt again or so wounded that we are afraid to trust anyone or anything. We often are fine trusting God with part of our lives but maybe not so much with all of our problems,our failures and fears, and sometimes we can trust him for eternal salvation and still be unable to allow him to get close to our wounded hearts to heal us, so we can have peace in this life while we are waiting for the eternal.

God wants us to trust Him unconditionally with every thing. trust can be a hard thing, what does trust even truly mean? To know that no matter what, your life IS IN the hands of one so much higher, that life, death, sickness, financial worries, any imaginable woe can never ever change the fact that your soul is in the arms of the everlasting God.

We all fall prey to the “I am trying to live right, why is this happening to me?”, moments, and dark times when the enemy tries to convince you that if were right this things would NOT happen. He is such a liar! Things happen, it rains on the just and the unjust. Christians suffer but SO DO those who are not saved, they have lost loved ones, they have problems, they lose jobs and the get sick BUT they do not have the blessed assurance that these things are but for a moment and they do not have the comfort  that only comes THROUGH TRUST IN GOD.

We all know the story of Job, we all know that it was a great contest between the forces of the universe and that satan contended that job only worshiped God because he had been blessed with a good life and Satan thought he could turn Job against God by tearing his life all to Hades. Now we all may have problems but when we are tempted to complain we should just read the beginning of Job, no one has had problems like he had!

While one messenger was still speaking to give him terrible tidings, another came waiting to tell him more! He lost ALL of his children, his wealth, his livestock. HE LOST EVERYTHING including his health (by being covered from head to foot with boils) his friends turned on, as often happens when the chips are down, he was surrounded by all those who could not wait to tell him how bad he was to try to force a confession of evil out of him and the part of the story that always ripped my heart out is when he thought God terrified him in dreams. Satan did ALL of this to him and he MISTAKENLY believed that it was God doing it, right down to the demonic nightmares. The only thing the enemy was not allowed to do to him was kill him. He had free control to torment him at will and yet the entire time Job thought he had angered God, BUT Job never lost his trust in God or in God’s faithfulness and the most profound verse is this:                                                                                                                        

“Though he slay (kill) me, YET, WILL I TRUST IN HIM…..” Job 13:15 (a)                                                                                

As the story winds up and the truth is revealed, Job is blessed beyond measure for what he had endured, he was given more than what had been taken and those who were too quick to judge him were required to honor him, no one would ever want to imagine what would have happened had he failed this test, the one who had sent it all on him would now also have his eternal soul to torment but GOD KNEW that Job would NOT FAIL THE TEST! Job TRUSTED God even when he did not understand until it was over.                                                                                                                                          

Maybe today, you are having trust issues, maybe there is something you just can’t let go of, worry pitting your stomach, thoughts from the enemy of what if, I ask you what if not? We hear so many voices and often those voices are against faith, they are against trust in God, that is one of the many ports you don’t want to take refuge in during your storm.  

 Jesus asked in Matthew 6:27 “which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”                                                         

We worry and stress over things we have no control over and circumstances that we will never have control over, only God can change things and only God can give us peace of mind even in the midst of trails but we have to trust him and give him all our troubles and trust his sovereignty in ALL situations.                                                                                                        

The sufferings of the disciples are without question, and their attitude toward it all was unwavering, they focused on “that” day: “For the which cause (the Gospel) I also suffer these things; NEVERTHELESS I am not ashamed:   For I KNOW IN WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, AND AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE TO KEEP THOSE THINGS WHICH I HAVE COMMITTED UNTO HIM AGAINST (UNTIL) THAT DAY.” 2 Timothy 1:12, you know written by Paul, who was beaten on multiple occasions, wrote most of the New Testament while imprisoned, suffered many, many afflictions and was beheaded for the Gospel of Christ.                                                                                                                                                                        

“That day” is different for all of us, whatever our struggles, fears, and worst case scenarios may be, but rest in the comfort of Paul’s example, KNOW in WHOM you believe, KNOW and BE PERSUADED that HE IS more than able to keep ALL things that we COMMIT to him. All the hurt, all the fears and all the what ifs and even the why’s. WE HAVE TO TRUST HIM with it all and once you just get under the shadow of his wings knowing that he has you, all of you, in his care and that when and if “that day” comes, HE IS there and HIS PEACE will see you through.                                                                               Φλογιζω NBJ 2015.

  

           

Matthew 6:9-13

“After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive
our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver
us from evil.
FOR THINE IS THE POWER, AND THE
GLORY, FOR EVER. A-MEN”

NOT just any port in a storm….

We’re heading back to the spot just before Jesus lead Peter back into the boat.
Last time, we discussed how Peter had battled through a dark tempestuous night out in the middle of the wide open sea, at a time when it was truly man versus nature, without any of the modern nautical equipment around today and at the height of his terror, Jesus came to the rescue, but Peter’s new-found bravery as he walked with the Lord on water, was short-lived thanks to that terrorizing gusting wind.
We also have Jesus by our side in our storms and yet all of us have those moments when that wind blows just a little too hard and that fear of its howl is immobilizing and like Peter we freeze and those waves start dragging us under till we cry “LORD! SAVE ME!” 
So what about the time between those moments?
When the winds blow and howl and scream in our ears so loud that the voice that we had just heard so strong, as Peter did when he heard the Lord say “Come” we now question. Is it really HIS voice we hear over the sound of the storm. 
We are so deafened by the storm by this point that we are not really sure of anything and we just want to freeze in that fear of the unknown and uncertainty, and if allowed to IT WILL drown us right where we are.
We never even realize that we are so close to being back in the safety of that boat and the end of that storm.
Riding out storms can devastate even the strongest of sailors, it will knock the wind out of your sails, shiver your timbers and if you are not paying very close attention it will make you head to “any port in a storm” the nearest, closest spot available to you to dock that boat and get out of that storm.
Once your there you could turn from being an honorable first mate to becoming a scurvy sea dog, because all the “hail” and high water can make people do funny things.
When the going gets rough our flesh wants comfort, we want safety, we want this to end and to know all is accounted for and that our losses are minimal.
As Jesus said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

We want  to run to the safest spot and into the nearest boat,  BUT the problem with this is that Jesus DID NOT led Peter back to any old boat, it was the boat that he was SUPPOSED to be in
Jesus has ALL POWER, he could have just materialized a different boat, he could have translated them to shore.
HE DIDN’T because Peter had to go through that storm and get back IN the SAME boat he just got out of, BEFORE THE STORM WOULD STOP!
Now you could ask WHY????? But ask yourself, and we really have to speculate on this, but how many times do you think Peter drew courage and renewed faith by remembering that journey?
I love to point out the fact that Peter carried out his commission from Jesus under the brunt of KNOWING HE WOULD BE CRUCIFIED at the end of his mission.
We all know that he, like all the disciples were persecuted, beaten, and tormented all while the power of God poured from them, miracles, healing, and leading the lost to Christ.
COULD Peter have went on to carry this out faithfully had he not took that walk and GOT back in that boat?
Had he not let Jesus help him overcome all that fear and let Jesus lead him back to the boat that you know he would not have wanted to be back in, had he not overcame it through Christ, would he have ever had the faith and courage to know that death would not be the winner in the end?
Could he have had the courage to go to that cross at the end of his life?
I will leave that for you to answer, but Jesus was teaching Peter in that storm.
Jesus does not send storms on us but when we are allowed to continue through one, IT IS because he wants us to have victory, true victory, not a cop-out running from it kind of thing, but true taking the head off a giant victory in that area of our life.
Anyone can run, he will not allow us to run, He created to “having done all to stand” “STAND.”
Our “boats” are no different from Peter’s and sometimes we feel like whoo-hoo I’m finally outta that boat! 
Only to discover we got to get back in it if we are to see the storm end.
So to help us hear the right voice and find the way back to our boat till that storm ends, we’ll use our compass:

Psalm 77:6 I call to remembrance MY SONG IN THE NIGHT: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search”
Now the wonderful thing about the Psalms are that they ARE SONGS!

Such as:  Psalm 69 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim (set to The Lilies), A Psalm of David.

” SAVE me, O God; for the WATERS are come in unto my soul (neck).
I SINK in the DEEP mire, WHERE THERE IS NO STANDING: I AM come into DEEP WATERS, where the FLOODS OVERFLOW ME.
I am weary (worn out) of my CRYING; my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I WAIT FOR MY GOD.”

“DELIVER ME out of the mire, and LET ME NOT SINK: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and OUT OF THE DEEP WATERS.
Let NOT the WATERFLOOD OVERFLOW ME, neither let the DEEP SWALLOW ME UP, and let not the pit shut up her mouth on me.”
                      Psalm 69:1-3,14,15

Just as Peter answered Jesus, when asked if he to would leave him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the WORDS of eternal life.”
Jesus is the voice and the one port in our storm, get back in the boat, the storm will end and this storm may very well be the catapult to a level of faith you never would have imagined possible or a deeper relationship with the Lord that you can not fathom, but of a surety, one day, remembering this storm, and the quieting of it WILL BE YOUR SONG in another night and this storm will be proof positive that night too will end, the wind will cease and morning will yet again come.
Φλογιζω/ All rights reserved/NBJ 2015