Thursday, June 20, 2019

Humility, The Better Teaching

I’ve noticed a trend as of late (or maybe not) that people have become so focused on themselves in so many ways.  Especially in ministry.  It has become quite disappointing and quite sad to say the least.  There are so many who are so me-focused that, and I say this often (and I guess not often enough), that they believe that people want to hear from them so much that they have to share what “God” has given them while they’re driving.  Nope.  God does not give you anything so important that you have to share it while you’re driving.  He would not risk your life nor the lives of others to have you share a message while you are driving.  So please let’s just stop that nonsense once and for all.  (Side note:  I really wish there was a way for me to start reporting all of those who do it, because I would, honestly.  Distracted driving is one of the prime reasons people are killed on the road these days, in particular, my Joseph.  And yes, I am very sensitive to that.  So now since that one is out of the way, let me continue).

I think we have gotten too prideful.  People are focused on themselves so much so, that every time they “minister” they have to take a picture of themselves to do so.  And it’s okay to take a picture of yourself.  But if you want to minister and share with people a thought from the Lord, why must you make it about you? 

It has even crossed over to those who minister in music.  Singers and gospel choirs.  The emphasis is so much on them.  The focus is so much on them and what they can do, their talent, their ability.  Where is God in that?  Where is the humility in it?  Where is serving in that?  It’s what they can get out of it. If it can bring them to the next level in their ministry.  If it can help them move up financially.  I’ve witnessed people with all the talent and not so much the anointing, because they lacked humility.  Humility give you the power you need to get the next level. 

People are spending too much time on their own selves trying to get ahead, on going up, increasing, getting to the next level.  Everybody wants to go higher in God, supposedly.  It is so important to them to get to the next level in ministry.  They say.  Nobody just wants to serve anymore.  It’s not enough to simply want to serve the people of God from where they are.  To simply be a servant of the Lord and minister.  God has called each one of us to be ministers of reconciliation.  Simply put, He has called every single one of us, titled or not, to bring someone into the kingdom of heaven, to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But so many are just interested in just wanting their face to be seen or to make money, or to get to the next level.  It’s not enough to be a servant, they have to have a title.  It’s not enough to be a deacon, they have to be a minister, or missionary or evangelist, or pastor, or bishop and now even that’s not even enough, now they have to be an apostle.  Last time I checked the only apostles were in the Bible with Jesus. But that’s for another time and another blog. 

Let me present this, what if we put all that energy that we have into teaching humility?  The energy we use in the videos we make we say that God told us to make while we’re driving (except not while we’re driving of course) and teach people what it means to be humble)?  The energy  it takes to snap a selfie to use to tell people in some soft encouragement that we’re not even walking in, that energy, to actually learn and study humility?  What if we took all that energy that we use to try to get ahead, to try and study the Greek and the Bible in every language, to attain more knowledge to grow closer to God, and simply just started becoming more obedient to His will?  What if we ourselves just became more submissive to the Word of God, to God Himself?  What if we actually used a little more of that energy to humble ourselves?  To dig deeper into the things of the Lord and get to know more of His ways?  And begin to practice walking them out. 

Jesus was a humble man.  He was the perfect example.  The Bible says He humbled Himself in the form of a servant.  There’s a thought.  What if we actually followed that example and humbled ourselves in the form of a servant?  Ouch.  Not too many of us like that term.  And there lies the problem.  We don’t want to serve, but we want to “minister.”

But look it up.  To minister means to serve.  If you want to be a minister you must first be a servant.  And to be servant, you must humble yourself.  But if you humble yourself, truly humble yourself, then perhaps, God will exalt you.  Isn’t that what the Scripture says?  Humble yourself and in due time, I will exalt you.

God will exalt you to where you want you to be.  It is He that exalts.  There is no reason for you to do it.   God will bring you to the next level.  It is He that elevates and promotes, not us.  We are to serve.  Him.  His people.

If we humble ourselves, and walk in humility, exercise humility, live it, we will teach others humility as well, and maybe it won’t be so much about getting ahead or atop, or above anymore, but, below…. Right where we belong.  At the feet of Jesus, listening and ready to do the Father’s will, because that is what true humility is all about.  Doing the will of the Father.  His Will.  His Word.  His Way. 
It’s not so much about going up but staying low. 

And the other thing about staying low, being humble, you can probably relate better to those that are in the valley. 
God is real.

A servant of the Lord, still,

Sis. E

Copyright 2019

Friday, May 31, 2019

These Thorns

These Thorns

Every year God allows the women’s ministry of our church, The Favoured Women of God, to host a Women’s Tea, sponsored by our church, On Good Ground Christian Fellowship, where my husband is the pastor.  Not that it matters, (but it does), you don’t need a lot of people, nor a lot of money, nor to host a fundraiser (ouch…) to do the will of God, you just need those who are willing and those who dare to believe Him, but I will save that for another day and another blog. 

Anyway, God speaks as He does about things that we are going through and deals with us throughout the year at our women’s meetings on various topics from a personal standpoint and allows us to share with others what He has shared with us.  He then gives a vision as I create the save-the-date, flyer or whatever promotional material I feel led to do or is needed.  A few months before the Tea, I posted the Save-the-Date on a website I was and had been a member of, as I normally have with past women’s events.   I went back a few weeks later after creating the flyer for the Tea to update my post on the site and posted the flyer to the Tea to the upcoming events page.  A  week or so later I had made some changes and wanted to add some things to the post, so I went back to the event site, and my flyer was missing, then I tried to go the ministry page to where I was a member and I could not find it.  I then realized that not only had my flyer been removed, but I had been removed as well.

These Thorns.

I was both shocked and disappointed.  One because no one had the courage to say anything to me.  And two, because this is supposed to be a site where women encourage one another, where they help one another to minister to other women (using their talents and abilities through ideas about ministry events concerning women)… something that the Tea, our women’s Tea, our purpose, is designed to do. 

So I had these questions.  And I’m not really asking them of you the reader, but just putting it out there as a Selah moment.  “Something to pause and calmly think about” as I was taught by one of my pastors,  Dewey Lane from Alexandria, Virginia. “How can you minister to women if a picture of a woman will appear as offensive to you?  How can you reach somebody if the very person you are trying to reach does not come packaged the way you expect them to be?”  How can you expect to encourage someone in their walk, or even in the talent and ability, if you strike them out, before given them the opportunity to see where they’re coming from?”  Hmmmm…

The picture is featured above and depicts a women dressed in a bathing suit with thorns coming out of her body from different spots.  It represented the theme of our Tea, and how as women we are stricken with thorns, all kinds, but like a rose, are yet beautiful because God has made us that way.  But if we allow Him to deal with us, BY HIS GRACE, we can be healed of those thorns, as we were taught, and they can become, scars. 

These thorns, prickly and ugly, as they can be sometimes represent all the issues that we as women can have and that we deal with.  Women have some issues.  Mary Magdalene had some issues.  And she wasn’t the only one.  But if the women (the leaders in this ministry group), cannot see past issues, who are they ministering to, who are they really trying to reach?  If we can’t see past the ugly, “these thorns” who are really trying to reach?  Each other?  Jesus would not have turned me away from that group.  He would have welcomed me with open arms.   “Come on in, daughter.”  Which is what they should have done.  And I believe they failed.  By the way, I have contacted them three times (three times I asked of the Lord, Paul said)… and I have yet, received a response. 

Ministry is not clean.  It’s not flowing and pretty.  A lot of the artwork and flyers I see in their ministry group are just that, pretty and clean, and they serve its purpose.  Women like pretty stuff.  And we had some pretty stuff at our tea.  But every now and then we’ve got to get to the heart of the matter.  And go to where it hurts.  We’ve got to touch where people where they are.  Hurt as they do.  Prick their thorns, no matter how inappropriate that picture may appear to be. 

So I’ve been blocked.  Not the first time.  Certainly won’t be the last.  I’ve gotten used to people liking me one day, disconnecting from me the next.  It’s something about being in ministry.  Sort of goes along with the calling.  Hubby preached a word at recent Bible Study, I’d rather please God.  Because if I try to please man, I do an injustice to Him and myself.  I’ve got to be me.  Nobody can do me better.  Not the first time, I’ve been blocked from a person’s life.  Not the first time I’ve been block from a ministry site, probably won’t be the last.  But you know what, persecution is a thorn too and I’ve learned, and am still learning, God’s grace is sufficient, even for that. 

God is real.  And He’s real good at turning “These Thorns” into “These Scars” so I won’t go around pricking and hurting people. 

Still, the Lord’s servant,
Sis. E

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sleeping With the Enemy

Sometime ago there was a movie with Julia Roberts called “Sleeping with the Enemy.” The title is kind of weird for the movie because it really had nothing to do with what happened in the movie. For those who never saw it, SPOILER ALERT, it’s an old movie, released in 1991. After faking her death in order to flee from her violent husband, Martin (played by Patrick Bergin), Julia Roberts character, Laura, leaves Cape Cod and moves to Iowa, where she creates a new identity and starts dating a local teacher named Ben (played by Kevin Anderson). Martin begins to discover that Laura isn't dead and tracks her down. But Martin has some real OCD issues, which is why Julia Roberts leaves in the first place. Why it’s called Sleeping with the Enemy, I don’t know. Maybe because at one point, she is forced to have to stay with someone she considers her enemy. Someone against her. Someone against everything she believes in. Hmmmm. But whatever the case, it was a very good movie and worth watching.
The Bible says “how can two walk together except they be agreed.” Which simply put means, how can you walk in peace or in unity with someone, unless you are walking in agreement, believing the same thing or being of the same mind. I found myself of late chewing on this Scripture. Coming off of the Tea Party that our Women’s group, the Favoured Women of God were able to host recently, still meditating on the Word of God shared by Evangelist Lillie Bonds, “Thorns vs. Scars” and even meditating on our theme, “These Thorns” and how the grace of God is sufficient. All of this has me in the Spirit realm.
God has been showing me so much and He has been speaking in so many directions and on so many other levels. But isn’t that so like Him? (Side note: Don’t ever put God in a box, looking for Him to speak in just one way or to answer one specific question. God will give you that answer and give you a host of other answers to questions you didn’t even ask). Anyway, the battle is real in the Spirit, even as far as what is going on with the abortion law and women’s rights and the political arena. It’s so much more than what it appears to be. This is a spiritual battle. We are in spiritual warfare and it has been that way for years. But let’s not get off topic, even though I feel as though I’m right there. Sleeping with the Enemy. How can two walk together except they be agreed? That’s the question.
Many are walking in agreement with the enemy. Yep. It’s all over the place. Right before your eyes. People are sleeping with the enemy. Agreeing to his word. He has one too. Chock full of lies. Agreeing to what he tells them to do. His silent whispers. They’re walking in bitterness. In shame. Walking in unforgiveness. Walking in darkness. Walking in untruth. Walking in guilt.
He is whispering things to them in the middle of the night. Going to bed with them. They are laying down with him. Under the covers. As they pull the sheets over their heads to go to sleep, he is right there, whispering. Kissing them. Cuddling with them. Filling their heads and their hearts with lies. I can hear him. “It’s not going to be alright. You are all alone. You are not that strong. You can’t do it on your own. They don’t care about you.”
If you are listening to all of this, you are sleeping with the enemy and it’s time to wake up. Time to stop agreeing with the lies he’s telling you. You know the Truth. It’s time to come out from underneath that blanket of darkness and open up those blinds. Let the light in. Let the Truth in. Even if it hurts you.
You know that I thought that the movie had nothing to do with it, but look at God, because it does. Throughout the movie, Julia Roberts was always afraid. Afraid of what she was feeling. Afraid that the enemy would always come back. Afraid that she would be found out. Afraid to face him. And the horror she felt when she realized that she was found... it was all over her. But she knew it was either her or him. One of them had to go. She had to come out of agreement with him. Come out of agreement with what SHE was allowing him to say to her. To do to her. Even if it meant it would hurt her.
But once she did, she came into alignment with the Truth. The light of who she was. She realized she was nothing of who that enemy said she was. She was no longer sleeping with the enemy. She was defeating him. Defeating the enemy and winning. And you can too. But you have to stop sleeping with him, first.
Because how can two walk together except they be agreed?
Walk with God. Agree with God. Because God is real and God is good.
A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E