Worship – From Need to Sufficiency

Worship is the adoration of our Precious Lord Jesus and our Father, through the Holy Spirit as we choose to engage Him. We can enter worship (personal or congregational) with an attitude of need, but if our worship, adoration, love, and trust (faith) are in tack, that need will be left behind in our thoughts as we adore Him. We, who are His, are never denied His presence. So, as we behold Him (in our hearts, thoughts, and reality in the Spirit) that presence overshadows us and we become released into a state of sufficiency because of who He is! 

It is impossible to draw near to Him and and not receive, for the very thought of His presence with us opens us to who and what He is. However, if that is, and continues to be, our point in worship, we will not move into the depth of the knowledge of His sufficiency. 

The author of a book I recently read (Felix Halpern, A Rabbi’s Journey to Heaven: A Miraculous Story of One Man’s Journey to Heaven and Your 30-Day Glory Transformation) wrote about the difference between transactional prayer and transformational prayer. I began to think about those two words and as I did the Lord showed me how our worship is a combination of both of them. 

Worship is to be primarily “Him” centered. When we make worship “me” centered, we are using a spiritual climate intended to be transformational and are keeping it transactional. We need to review these matters in our hearts before the Lord, and see what changes we need to make in order to enter the “transformational atmosphere.” 

The same Spirit discipline is needed in our prayer life as well. He uses this transformational atmosphere to infuse us with His life and sufficiency. So, we receive, but in another dimension and that dimension is called “glory.” 

Worship – Drastically Different

Well, my “New Beginnings” did not go for very long, as you can clearly see. So shall we begin again? I do have in mind a study here – like the one I had started last July, and we will see if that is what my Lord appoints.  He desires me to share in this post some of what He has done in and with Psalm 19 Ministries in the past year. 

As with all ministries, Covid has had its effect. Many of us have lost dear ones and it has been extremely hard on all.  I took the months of January and February of 2021 to seek the Lord about what Psalm 19 was to do. I had heard several prophets speak to the period of beginning again by saying, “Do not try to go back to normal. The Lord has allowed the shaking of the church, and we need to be doing what He instructs – not just trying to return to the old “normal.” Well, I had just gone back to normal. I took the two months off so I could hear Him. I felt helpless in it as I didn’t have any idea what to do differently. So I prayed and listened!

He is so wonderfully faithful. He began to speak and I began to understand. He and I had an awesome time as He reviewed for me His instructions regarding worship, teaching, ministry in general, and fellowship. I will not try to explain here all of it, for it is continuing to unfold as we move forward. However, because our time of “worship” is so different, I want to explain why we do what we are doing. I am aware that “worship” is to be our entire life expression in His love. However, I am talking about the time we sing and praise together as a body in our meetings. 

The Lord reviewed for me what I was seeing in the church (and I speak broadly – as what I am about to say is very broad and includes all expressions – but especially the born-again, Spirit-filled communities). The time of “worship” is assigned to a “worship band” or at least as many instrumentalist and singers we can get out of our congregation. They lead the songs and we sing what they have (hopefully) prayed with and selected. The musicians do a good job, musically, and at times really do follow the Holy Spirit. However, except for a few (front row, upfront, first few rows of people) the “audience” is minimally involved. 

He highlighted to me the truth of 2 Corinthians 3:17 (which the KJV translates it almost correctly. However, I have not found another translation that even comes close). The verse in the Greek reads: “Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty.” I will only introduce this, but will in another post teach the passage. 

So in our meetings at this point in time, we sing only what the Holy Spirit leads, not what is generated by a leader, or leaders, or instrument, or group, but by the congregation that has gathered, either large or small. Honestly, this is tough- on all of us. It takes effort. We have learned to sit passively and receive, but not to engage. Worship is not about receiving (although it is impossible to truly worship and not receive. Another post will follow).We do have one instrumentalist backing what is done in the congregation, and we are expecting that number to increase, but the primary worship is done from out of the congregation. There are no words fed to us on our beautiful 65” TV. We shout, sing in tongues, sing a chorus, read scripture, give a prophetic word and do as the Lord leads, according to 1Corinthians 14:26.

His instructions about worship are to bow, clap, dance, make a joyful noise, make melody in our hearts to Him, shout, sing +. So we are choosing to actively be involved together and flow together in it all. 

This is effectively training all of us to not only be actively involved with the Holy Spirit in worship, but also to hear and to listen Him and one another. The congregation is also not sitting in rows with all looking toward to raised platform. Instead, the chairs are arranged in a tear-drop design on each side of the platform, facing one another. Our instrumentalist is on the platform simply because we need the room. The teaching and all other activity occurs in the middle of the tear-drop on the floor. 

Our teachings are shorter and more fully releasing what the Spirit is saying in His Word. It is always from “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,” as written in Ephesians 1:13.

Immediately following the 30 minute (give or take a minute or two) teaching, we have ministry to the Body that has gathered. The Lord has brought a powerful Holy Spirit-moving ministry team together to work in His flow in all the miracles that are and will follow. It is not uncommon for some to fall in the power of the Holy Spirit even before they get to us to minister to them. It has been awesome! 

Then (oh yes, still going), we have some announcements and fellowship together with some light refreshments. It is such a joy to get to know folk we have not known before, and or, the catch up with those who we already know. 

There are other “new” expressions that are beginning to occur, and I will share those as I can. 

If you live in the Syracuse, NY area, please feel free to come and experience Him in this dimension. 

The Gathering, 3 PM every 2nd and 4th Sundays – 6138 S. Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13205 – psalm19.org.

New Beginnings

We all need new beginnings occasionally, so beginning again here is not unheard of. During the course of the years I have at times blogged religiously and at other times – hardly at all. But I believe it is time to once again begin to put writings and teachings here for those who wish to accompany me on this journey of life for the time period.

New beginnings are always welcome as long as there’s life, so I choose in my heart to give life to this old blog – thus pronouncing it now my new blog! Don’t you just love the name “Mannaword?” I believe the Lord gave that to me when (2005) I first tried to find a name I could use to have a blog. We are returning to its original purpose – “Biblical understandings in snippet form.” So when I write here we will be working with the written Word of God – The Holy Scriptures – and we will let them find the breath of the Holy Spirit.

Now for post #1 in a new study. We will be allowing the Holy Spirit to breath life into us through the words of Titus. This book is not high on Christian agendas to read, occasionally I will find a leader acquainted with it, but other than that, its treasures remain hidden to most. A few years ago I was teaching it in our Bible Institute and I had some young leaders in the class. They had not read it at all. So as I watch the Body of Christ become less literate in the Word than at any time in my life, I believe it is time to study it together. If you enjoy the study, do send the link to your friends and those who might enjoy studying with us. Each post will be brief, so it won’t take very long to read and begin to digest what is written.

May the Holy Spirit lead us as we move in anticipation to this study.

As you may know, the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to one of his leaders and sons in the faith, a man named Titus. I would urge all my students not to get into arguments regarding the authorship, nor about Titus. It seems the “scholars” are replete with theories and may be a delight to some minds, however, to the average Bible student such things just get in the way of faith. So let’s just receive what the book says about Titus and all the Holy Spirit wrote to him. This is usually referred to, along with 1 & 2 Timothy, as the Pastoral Epistles. That is OK as long as we understand that it would have been expected to be read and studied by those who were the recipients of such pastoral care.

Lord, we open our hearts, minds, and Spirits for your imprint as we place our eyes and mind on these marvelous truths.

“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;” Titus 1:1 KJV

(I will use the KJV for two main reasons, it is free to print without difficulty of copyright, and it also needs less correction as other translations as I study the Greek text to see what is here in that language. There are several manuscripts of the Greek that I have access to, so I will check most of them as we begin our work. Anyone can research the Word this way whether they have formally studied the Greek or not. Here are my online resources that will give you access to more knowledge than you can possibly hold. http://textusreceptusbibles.com/ – here you want the Analysis for each passage. This is the main text the scholars had available for the KJV. https://thebible.org/gt/index – this is a bit more complicated but you can develop your own parallel Bible and have the Greek as one translation with the analysis of the passage at the bottom. https://biblehub.com/ – this site is a complete Bible program online. You will want to click the interlinear, or any other data you might want. Anyway, I pray this helps all who wish to dig deeply).

So you can now check out my study and conclusions. It is expected that you will do so as we journey. Please leave questions, comments, or other data in the comments and we can dialogue about the passage.

Now back to verse 1. The word “servant” or slave as some newer translations give it is the word for “bond-servant.” If you wish to read the Old Testament description of such a servant, please read Deuteronomy 15:7-18 to discover this practice. Basically, Paul is saying that he is a servant by choice. He is not saying he is a slave that has no choice, but he is a “love-servant” by his own choice. This is what we become in our Lord Jesus when we understand true submission to Him and choose to be led by the Holy Spirit and do as the Lord Jesus says. Anything, less will end in massive frustration. So if we find ourselves frustrated as we serve others, we must check our submission level to our King.

He is a servant to Him and he has been appointed as one sent by Him. The word “apostle” simply means “one sent” and is used to designate those in the body who do the work of an apostle as “one sent.” Yes, we do have those in the Body today, but I fear that many who say they are such, simply want placement over others and pronounce it over themselves. When others with authority to give the title or anyone else, say that a person is an apostle – then there may be some validity to it. To use it as a title that others have not given is a risky busy in the Holy Spirit. I have known several who would qualify to be known as such, but none of them gave themselves that title and some even actively refused it. So when we receive these words in Titus, we are receiving the Words of great authority that the Lord has sent to Titus and then to us.

I think this is quite enough to think through for this first post. I had thought we would finish the verse, but the remaining part of the verse will have enough for another post, on another day.

Lord, thank you for new beginnings, and even in these few words we have looked at in this post, we have seen the need to keep our hearts in tune with yours, our individual persons in right relationship with the Holy Spirit in our own thoughts, and we willing receive your authority in the words spoken.

What a wonder the printed Word if God is when we receive it and allow it to have life and breath!

Keep Me . . .

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings… Psalm 17:8 KJV

To be kept as the apple of the eye of Almighty God and to be hidden under the shadow of His wings are indicators from the heart of David that he had an intimacy in His relationship that is seldom grasped. Of course, this happened in the Old Covenant and that lets us know that the intimacy we are called to can be much deeper, wider, fuller, and intense than any in that age could understand. However, David gives us heart-words for a beginning. 

So many of us are stunted in our relationship with our Lord Jesus. We want all He can do for us, but seldom do we spend time with Him to begin to know Him deeply. Even those of us who spend time daily in His word and in Biblical mediation are finding ourselves empty at times and wondering how we can move from the staleness in this relationship (our prayer life) into a vibrancy we might never have known before.

Our world has been and is becoming more and more dangerous for those who walk in the light of Jesus. So we will do well to begin to develop a relationship in His heart so that we confidently know that we are kept as dear and as close to Him as David – even closer. It is not so much a matter of learning something new but instead it is a matter of leaning and allowing. It does take time and we must love in Spirit ways. Only in Spirit can we possibly love with His love. It is a love that flows outward – His to and in us, and then we lean and allow Him to continue the flow of that Spirit-love to others. Really, everything in Him works that way. We lean, receive, and allow, then He moves and does. In the process, we become in Him what He has designed us to be. 

All our works, designs, programs, etc. are of no or little value in this precious sharing of “life-with.” David was often found before His God in front of the Ark of the Covenant, which he had moved into an open-to-all tent in Jerusalem. (This, of course, is prophetically speaking of our present Kingdom age). It is thought that there he would find a place where the wings of the cherubim provided shade and in that cool shade, he would kneel/bow and spend time with His God. It may well have been a place where he would have been hidden from the eyes of others. It was a place where he knew the acceptance and the love of His God. His self-revelations in Psalms would lead us to that conclusion about His heart.

So, Beloved of God, may we also find that place in the Spirit where we kneel, lean, trust, and receive. We then will find strength for our day and the praise will rise within us in gratitude in His heart. 

Lord Jesus, we bless you and thank you that we are the “apple of your eye” and you have hidden us in the shadow of the wings of your very presence. Today we stop, lean, and receive much more deeply the truth of your love and the essence of your presence. We love you, trust your enfolding, and draw near.

THE REST OF GOD

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Enjoy this first post on Mannaword by Rev. Cindy Rosenau. The photo on the left is also one of hers -location, Filmore Park, Moravia, NY. 

By Rev. Cindy Rosenau

 “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” (Matthew 11:28)

 There is, therefore, a rest that remains for the PEOPLE OF GOD. He that is entered in His (God’s) rest hath ceased from ALL HIS LABORS. Therefore labor to enter into the rest of God…” (Hebrews 4:9-11)

The REST spoken of in the above scripture is not speaking of Heaven! Rather, this is a description of a realm or a position where believers choose to dwell in utter dependence upon God resulting from a cessation of self-direction and self-dependency. This is the mark of maturity; the choice to lay down all independent thought, words, and actions. THIS IS THE REST OF GOD! Paul said it another way; “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME…

A great many things have been said and done in the name of Jesus. However, only those works and words that the Father initiates will produce fruit that remains. All other works, regardless of how “good” they might seem, are fraudulent! In other words, a work produced in the name of Jesus yet not initiated by or from Jesus is a counterfeit. Jesus said that those who performed works in His name without seeking to know the will of God were workers of iniquity! (Matt. 7:21-23)

Scripture states; “Therefore we must labor to enter the rest of God.”  Labor and rest; these two words seem to be an oxymoron. This is not, however, a contradiction but rather an acknowledgment that there must be a  conscientious effort to move away from self-directed ways and deeds, turning rather to God’s explicit direction and will.

When we enter into God’s rest we find ourselves living in the fullness of the New Covenant! “…For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  2 Cor. 2:16. Many of God’s people have received the blessing of the New Covenant but are not living out of the fullness and reality of the Covenant that God made and keeps for us! What joy and peace have those who are confident that the Great I AM has finished the works!

As we become more and more sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit and The Voice of God, we can become His instrument,  His voice, His hands, His feet, etc; all at His bidding! Jesus said, “Learn of me.”

John 8:28 Jesus, therefore, said, when you lift up the son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me,”

John 5:19  Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do:  

Not my will but Thine be done.

When Jesus was tempted by satan to turn stones into bread he testified that His bread (leading and direction) was the Word spoken to Him by God.  Jesus certainly had the power and the authority to turn stones into bread. But He refused to do so because he had not received a “Word”  or direction from God to do so. Jesus was teaching us the way of Sonship. Through His submission and utter dependence upon God, Jesus modeled for us the walk of sons.

Too many of us are presumptuous when it comes to serving and working for God. We believe we can go out to battle without meeting with the King for His instructions and leading. When we speak ~ when God has not spoken, our words become like stones; they can condemn, bring division, and a host of other death-like symptoms. Even the letter of the word brings death when it is not ignited by the Holy Spirit!  Only God can cause our words to be turned from stones to bread or the life-giving quality that only His Spirit-directed words possess! If we long to see greater miracles and the greater works that Jesus said we would do, let us enter into the rest of God!

Let God work in you, walk in you, talk in you, and live His life through you!  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14 GO TO THE SECRET PLACE. SUP WITH JESUS. ABIDE IN HIM. REVEAL JESUS.

Praise God for this great glory that has been shared with us; that we have been called into a co-operative relationship with the Covenant keeping King…who lives, walks, rules, and reigns in us through Jesus Christ! Amen.

 

New Beginnings

It has been five months since I have written on this blog. In all my years of blogging, that is the longest I have ever let it sit idle. Well, today is the day to begin again! I place my rock garden as the photo as it is today. Spring is really trying to burst forth here in Central New York, but we still have some colder days, lots of clouds, and rain, so the tulips are giving us their glory to encourage the rest of the crop of iris’ and other “babies” to be planted in June. But for me, this is the beginning of blogging all over again.

I am so thankful to our Lord Jesus that each moment is a new one and can become the beginning of “all-new.” He knew that even with all the benefits a relationship with Him provides, there would be days, weeks, months, and even years when something loved would need to rest for a season. And it seems to blog was just that for me during the past five months.

Oh yes, there were reasons, and I was intensely occupied with the Holy Spirit of our Lord into realms that I hope I will be able to share at least some of what I now perceive. No details, of course, about how I got where I am today, but please know I am grateful for each new discovery, each new friend, each new experience, each new tear, as well as every time over-whelming laughter has had me enfolded in joy!

I plan to write here and also to use two of the very precious ladies, who work with me in Psalm 19, who also write effectively of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in us to join me in writing here. They are both also good photographers so we will highlight their work for their posts. 

Diane Hernandez – lovingly known as “Lady Di,” for she is indeed that! She writes regularly using “snail mail” to make her insights available to those who wish to read. Now we will be placing some of her shorter writings here for all to read who want to do so. You will enjoy her precious walk with Jesus as she shares. You can also read Lady Di on Psalm 19’s website on “Lady Di’s Corner.”

Rev. Cindy Joy Rosenau of Christ Living In You Ministries, who is presently Psalm 19’s Missionary in Residence, will also be sharing some of her writing and Holy Spirit teachings! Cindy has spent several years in Ghana, W. Africa, in founding and Apostolic oversight of two congregations of God’s people as well as the Institute of the Holy Spirit, where she taught laborers for the Kingdom. I know you will gain much as she reaches into the deep well of the Holy Spirit to write of the riches she finds there.

Of course, I will write as well. In Jesus, including others, is always wise, and this will enable us to expand the blog’s reach and purpose. I am grateful for these two precious ones – to walk with them and to write with them!

Thank you, Lord, for others to walk and work within Your Kingdom!

Participation

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I wanted you to see the “end of the matter.” In my last post, I used this flower bed to write about beginnings and endings. Now here is the “ending” picture. On a day when I was raking the last of the leaves this season, I captured this bed once again. It has bloomed all during its season, and as you can see the dandelions are still very busy. However, the season is completed and the enjoyment this bed gave to me and the neighbors was delightful. So now I rake the leaves and prepare the bed for winter. A season of rest is now due.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“For you were formerly darkness, but now light in the Lord: live as children of light:(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)approving (discerning) what is pleasing unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 (KJV base with adjustments for better understanding from the Greek by Iris)

As I visited with the Lord on what we should share from His Word, He brought to mind a concept that He has been teaching me. The above verses do apply to that understanding as we will see. The concept is this: our Lord’s empowerment in us supplies what is needed for us to participate in Him (with Him, through Him) to accomplish the work of His heart in all matters. He usually does not do things by Himself but waits for one of us to “see” and “move” to accomplish those things with Him. That is because we are His Body. So as one not separate from Him, but organically in Him, we are led in Spirit to walk hand-in-hand, (heart-in-heart) with Him to do what He is doing.

We were all once people who lived in spiritual darkness. We did not understand through His Spirit and could not be led by Him in any way. But now, through Christ, we have been enveloped into His heart and Body. So we are as He is – light! Therefore we are to live that way – in light and as light. Verse 9 then gives us a way to judge as to whether something is of Spirit or not – for that which is of Spirit is goodness, righteousness, and truth! What a lens to see and live through! Because we are light, we can “see” what the Spirit needs and wants, and to obediently participate. That is what obedience is – Spiritual participation in His nature to accomplish His heart. Our ability to do that is found in faith – trust that He is leading and revealing. As we follow, more and more is revealed.

In this way, we approve, discern, prove, allow, test, and interact in what is pleasing in Him. Without our participation, much will remain for another to pick up. Our Lord works His way and heart among us, but what joy it brings to Him and us when we choose to do it with Him!

Thank you Lord Jesus, for loving us and empowering us to live “with” you in all we do. It almost too wonderful to grasp – you long for our participation in all you do. Amazing!

Better Is The End of A Thing…

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IMG_4890I had put this photo on my last post (in June, would you believe) as I had just begun the planting of my rock garden in the front lawn. Now it is in late August and here is the contrasting photo I took a couple of days ago. As you can see, it has been a really good year for the garden. I have totally enjoyed tending it (the little that it has needed) during these past few months. 

As I pondered the difference between the photo’s, my thoughts went to the following verse out of Ecclesiastes 7:8a:

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof ….”

This is the truth as is seen in the photos. I am also reminded of a similar verse in the same book, Ecclesiastes 7:1b:

“Better is … the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”

Both passages are saying the same thing.  The truth of the matter is easy to see in these photos. I have planted and watched and waited as the summer unfolded, and now it is almost Fall and I am receiving the splendor of the summer’s work and the end result is a glorious display. But is the death of these plants actually more glorious than their beginning?

As I have grown older, I have really wondered what was ahead for me. What would my end look like? After over 40 years of Bible teaching, and almost 35 years in Psalm 19, I was growing weary and wondered just how long I would be able to continue. Of course, until the Lord changed my instruction, I could not quit. I asked Him often for insight as to how to move forward in these later years.

Is it possible the Bible is right, even here in Ecclesiastes, that the end is better than the beginning? If I allow my experiences regarding the end of life and what I feel in my body to be the determining factor, as opposed to what the Word of God clearly states, would there be a hope into tomorrow that I might have missed? There certainly is a Fall and a Winter, these are true. Even in my Fall and Winter I know if I  train my heart and my spirit to expect the good of all the Lord has for me, instead of anticipating and expecting the difficulties of what age brings, He will be faithful to me and to His Word.

To my delight and unanticipated joy, He has not changed my instructions at all! Instead, he has provided people for yet more and more ministry. He is opening new and exciting venues for His Word, and He has sent key individuals to help me move into those venues. The horizon holds hope and excitement, moving me forward in my thoughts and belief systems. How I praise Him!

Psalm 92:12-15 reads this way:

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

I choose to say yes to this Word and to trust Him in faith!

My heart moves forward, pondering His marvelous truth. I want to encourage you to have a beautiful today, whatever season you are experiencing, and a genuine hope for what tomorrow might hold.

 

 

Beginning and Endings

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Life is full of both – beginnings and endings. We are always working with one of them, or both at the same time in various aspects of our lives. The photo above is of my raised flower garden in our front yard. I have wanted to get all the weeds out and get it ready for annuals. I was given the combo that I have placed there, by a dear friend and her great niece for Mother’s Day but had to wait until two things happened before I put it in place. First, I had to wait until it was warm enough. That has been true for a few days now, and second, I had to have time to weed out the garden, remove the tulip leftovers and then get the soil dug up and ready for planting. Both of those came together this morning, so I was able to get it done before noon.

However, this “beginning” was not as simple as I thought. In the last few years when I have planted in the bed, I noticed there were a lot of what I thought were root clusters in the soil. You know, the kind left behind from the plants that were there last summer. So I knew I would need to dig the dirt and turn it over before planting was done. Well, let me tell you I was in for a surprise. The root clusters were not leftover from the year or years before at all. Instead, they were massive roots – tree roots, that had invaded this nice tasty spot. No wonder the plants did not prosper well, even though I really fed them well.

So the work began, to begin a “beginning.” I dug, cut, pulled, fell over backward in the bed, worked some more, and shook out root cluster after root cluster which had invaded my fertile bed.  Finally, that was done, now back to digging, oh, but there’s more – root clusters that are, and tree roots, and clusters. Well, just before it became too warm for me outside, I was able to get the chicken wire in place. Oh, I forgot to tell you, we have an abundance of squirrels and they are fed by a neighbor, so no way to discourage their exploration in my gardens. So I learned a few years ago to place chicken wire on top of the soil, and they will not destroy my plants. It works!

The photo is of the finished product. I will be putting more annuals in the spot this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon, but for my lunch time and resting time. It is enough.

Now for the ending. I am sad to say that only three of my iris plants bloomed at all, and we are in their final glory days. The ones that flourished are indeed glorious. Here are images of them. I love them so and miss all the other colors which have beautiful flags but no blossoms. I think they just got too much moisture with the very, very cold wet spring. So here are those endings.

If I were judging, (and of course I am not), I would say the endings are more glorious than the beginnings. Isn’t that always true? The seed or the knob or the flag, even the stalk, is not lovely at all, but then it blooms, and its ending brings glory to the entire cycle.

Lord, thank you for my flowers, and beds, and the joy of being able to dig in the dirt. Thank you for teaching me about beginnings and the endings, and may I spend my time enjoying both instead of mourning for yesterdays blooms. You are glorious, Lord Jesus, and you make our lives that way – every day – all the way through when seen through your eyes. Thank you, Lord!

That No One Be Moved

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1 Therefore, when we could not stand it any longer, we thought it good to be left behind at Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the Good News of Christ, to establish (strengthen) you, and to comfort (encourage) your faith; 3 that no one be moved by these afflictions (pressure, tribulation, persecution). For you know that we are appointed (destined) to this task.” 1 Thessalonians 3:1-3 NHEB  (All words in ( ) are other meanings of the previous word in Biblical Greek and inserted by me for your understanding).

After our class in the Institute of Biblical Studies (Empowered Ministry#4) this past Tuesday evening, one of my older students who has diligently studied his Greek for many years, came to me to share something he found during our class study. He traced a word (as he often does) and found a precious nugget. We enjoyed the nugget, and I took the time to research it after class. It indeed was a delightful nugget of truth. As I have thought about it during this week, I wanted to put it in a post to share with you.

Notice in verse #3 (the others precede it here, so we keep it in a proper context), that Paul tells the Christians in Thessalonica that he has sent Timothy to them to encourage them, so they do not become discouraged and moved in their hearts away from the truth of the gospel. “…that no one be moved by these afflictions.” He had told them they would experience some of the same types of affliction (notice optional words in the passage above) that he was experiencing and did experience when he preached the Gospel. He wanted to warn them that the good news of Jesus Christ will get them in trouble with religious people as well as idol worshippers. As he was reaffirming his love and concern for them, he used a word that is translated here as “moved.” He did not want them to be moved from believing. Then he told them they are appointed (destined as he is) for such pressure.

One of the primary meanings of the Greek word used for “moved” is “to wag the tail.” In other words, our attitude toward opposition is to greet it with a welcome joy and knowledge that it is what we are appointed to experience.

Years ago, one of my mentors who is now with the Lord, during a time when I was often misunderstood and opposed, said to me, “Iris, when such things begin to happen to you, get out your butter and knife because the Lord is about to give you bread.” I thought that was such a strange thing to say, but just a few days later, something I did to bless another person, was twisted into something I had not intended at all. As I drove away from their home in tears, the phrase my mentor had said came to my mind. I dried my tears and began to worship and praise my Lord. My heart was lifted into hope, and love just flowed from me to the one who was troubling me.

Did He give me bread? Oh yes, an entire banquet, but it was a matter of Spirit at first, and not physically for a long while. But I began to rejoice and that held me through that time and much more opposition in peace and “wagging my tail” — I was not moved. Eventually, that all reversed in a rather dynamic way.

His promises are true, and as we discover more and more about how we are to live in the Spirit, we will learn to rise above the pain into His joy. Thank you, Lord, for making these things clear and empowering us to enjoy you — deeply in the middle of rejection and pain.