That No One Be Moved

woman-praising-God-in-the-wheat-field

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.

Sharing – The Spiritual Dimension

In the Spirit, there is a dimension to sharing that is not often known. When our Lord Jesus told His apostles, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and then poured His Holy Spirit into the church on that beautiful Pentecost Day so many years ago, He eliminated any form or definition of distance between Himself and the person who chooses to be one with Him. That means He is always with us; whatever we do, He also does. 

While this feels a bit scary when we fully grasp the consequences of the “never leave you” and the responsibility that brings, I believe we need to look at another aspect of this union in Him. 

We can share deeply with one another in the natural and we are familiar with the benefits of those relationships where that is possible. Sometimes that leads to pain within deep fellowship, but it is always worth the price to be close in heart with others. It provides the benefit of hugs and sweet belonging places.

When it comes to opening to the reality of our Lord’s presence – always with us, we find He generously desires to live with us with a  sense of His presence — wherever we are and whatever we are doing. We have the capacity of deep sharing with our beloved Lord. When we begin to grasp this, then we can spiritually develop that presence to allow Him access 24/7 as well as learning His emotional delight in us and around us. The word “lonely” doesn’t exist here. 

This joy of sharing in His heart is not so much emotion (although it often has an emotional expression in our love with Him), but is instead a deep well of strength. Notice Isaiah 12:2-6 (KJV)

 “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. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.

Read verse #3 once again. Notice that joy is the container we use to draw the water from the well of salvation. Everything we need is in the “package” of salvation given to us as a gift for the asking from our Lord. Within that salvation is everything we will ever need. The strength to accomplish all He has specified for our day, our “now,” is fully supplied in our relationship in Him, and is accessed by this “joy.” As we open to receive, no matter what our circumstances may be, we find strength in Him, we do not possess on our own. It is a power (the container) to access all He has for us.

As we learn to share our life with Him and in Him, we begin to experience His presence experientially and the strength of that experience in sharing. This experience is possible to access when we set our hearts and minds on things above and not on our matters. (See Colossians 3:1-3) 

Learning to share with Him and in Him means not only do I know I am with Him always, but it also tells us that He can now share with me His thoughts and His concerns. When we pray in this perspective, we begin to see how to pray very productively because we “see” it from His point of view easily. Those revelations make our prayer time much more productive and much, much less work.

Beloved, readers, we have much ahead in this relationship in Jesus. Let’s begin to open to this sharing purposefully and allow the sharing in Him to heal the heart. This will begin to release the pain of our living as well as project us forward in the life in the Holy Spirit much more thoroughly than previously experienced. 

Look Again!

Whatsoever things are true, lovely, noble….

The recent political events in New York State, namely the legalizing of late-term abortions, is abhorrent to all of us who believe human beings are all made in God’s image from conception. But this is just taking matters into the evil domain entirely. In case you wondered, I am very pro-life! I wanted to make that very clear as we step into the heart of this article.

When this happened, the Lord challenged me to begin to “Look Again” into realms of the Spirit and see what was happening. So as we “look” together, I believe we will see some significant things we need to look at and keep in our minds.

Our enemy and the source of evil is very limited. He does not create anything – only react to it. So what is happening in Holy Spirit understanding that the enemy is trying to get us to overlook? You see, while we are so busy cursing the darkness, we are missing the true because that evil is not at the core of our lives. If he can get us to spend time rebuking him and concentrating on the supposed greatness of his wickedness, then we will be working in his ballpark.

Our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit are on the rise in NY State and throughout the United States. He is making great strides in the hearts of His people and multiplying by masses in areas where we do not see. I know this is not apparent in the natural, but it is true in the Spirit of God. The power and the change are on His side. While we spend our time in the negative end, He is dramatically changing the scene in the Spirit.

So how are we to know this, since it is not in the “real” world? It is here, and we will begin to see if we open our minds and hearts to the Word. Our instructions are to think and talk about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, the excellent and the praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) Also we are told to set our hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2)

This does not mean we put our heads in the sand and ignore what is evil around us. It does mean we begin to take charge of our minds and voice and then begin to put the enemy under our feet (Ephesians 1:22-23) by refusing to join what he wants to accomplish. This means we get involved positively in matters around us and begin to be a part of the answer instead of lamenting how bad it is.

That negative attitude gives praise in the wrong direction. The enemy does not care if it is negative – in fact that gets us thinking as he thinks. Instead, praise our true Lord and watch His hand as the things in the Spirit become the “real” world for all.

The Lord taught His disciples to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Then they were commissioned to go into all the world and make that change. If we do not “see” and understand in the Spirit, how will we ever bring it here?

So how do we get involved? If the Lord has not shown you what you are to do as you read the above, then let’s first get busy praying for our Godly politicians, and electing more of them. Let’s make prayer and the results of prayer our priority as we choose the “seeing” He has for us individually and collectively. Then let us choose to love beyond differences and see no person as “the devil himself,” but choose to pray in the positive directions and instructions of Scripture to bring effective change. Of course, then we vote when that opportunity presents itself. I am confident the Lord Himself will speak to you about how you can positively be involved in His heart toward the present circumstances.

Meditations On A Snowy Day

I am in my LazyBoy comfortable chair, on this very snowy afternoon in Central New York in January 2019. A storm is supposed to bring us a lot of snow, and really, we have not had a “big” one this winter so, we will see if it comes as planned.

You see, there are not many weather events that happen to us in this location that will do anything but slow us down a bit. We do not have to work with hurricanes, tornados, and only a little bit of flooding every now and again. Snow, with all its inconvenience, comes and because it often comes we as Center New Yorkers have learned to work with it and if not enjoy it, at least not let much of it stop us.

However, a big storm, well that is different. Everything will stop. There is no panic, because tomorrow, or at the very latest, the 2nd day, all roads will be clear and most power restored – and life goes at its regular pace. But you see, now at this beginning period when traffic slows down, and most are planning on an evening at home, there is a rare anticipation of quiet in the heart.

Joe has gone to the Center this afternoon to complete some work on the music for his service tomorrow. It may get canceled, but just in case, the music team will be ready. So I am home alone with my electric fireplace going in the corner and sweet instrumental praise music in the background. There is still some light traffic in the bustling road out my picture window, but it will soon be paced slowly, or not at all. It is already so still (the snow muffles all sound) that one can get lost in the quiet. I love it.

So many want to be in the sunny climate, and I enjoy that too, briefly. When the Lord commissioned Joe and me to move to the Northeast in our mid-twenties, we had no idea how deeply we would learn to love it. The people are warm and genuine, and to be able to be in such stillness and beauty, well, it is just amazing and such a blessing to watch and enjoy.

Yes, the cold does hurt when it is really, really cold and it eventually “gets to me” somewhere in late February or early March, but it is still beautiful, and I would not miss it. Watching the snowfall and knowing our Father has made each of the flakes unique is a study in wonder. They are numberless – and so are we, the people of His love – yes, each one of us also unique.

Lord, thank you for the beautiful snow and for displaying your wonder for me today. May each day, although not wrapped in this kind of quiet, find you and then allow you to wrap us in the peace that goes way beyond quiet.

BE DEVOTED

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 11.52.12 AM“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV

(Plans are laid to be able to finish the video work on Authority in the next few weeks. However, in the meantime, we pick up the passage that follows).

The word used in Greek for “devoted” here is to “persist, steadfast, or wait upon” leaving us with the understanding that to devote oneself to prayer means to continue in it for a long time with a deep emphasis in that action. Most would call this “intercession.” Although I believe in deeply in intercession as we are commanded, this particular scripture is aimed more at the whole body of Christ and not a particular group called to pray for something as in our common understanding.

(A bit of a side point: we are all called to intercession! None of us is exempt in the Body of Christ from this very important prayer instruction. The current understanding we have in the Body regarding intercession is that only those called to do that in a concentrated way are responsible for the intercession needed and commanded. That, in our way of thinking, requires a special gift – the gift of Intercession. That is nowhere in the word, beloved. Intercession, indeed, can be and often is a “call, and a particular appointment,” but nowhere is it listed as a “gift.” We all have various assignments within prayer, and intercession is only one of them).

Now let’s get back to “devoted.” We are commanded to be devoted to prayer and to watching and to being thankful. Let’s just work with “prayer” first. That simply means talking with our Heavenly Father. It means communicating with Him on any and all levels of our being. I think that is fairly simple.

However, such communication is never simple. It takes an openness in the human being to be open, vulnerable, and willing to engage the God of Heaven and Earth. That is simple, but not really. We must also be willing to listen so two-way communication can occur.

You see, in this New Covenant, we have with our Lord Jesus Christ, He has come to live within His earthly temple – you and me – through the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20) Also, we are one in Spirit with Him or “one Spirit with Him” depending on your translation. (1 Corinthians 6:17) So there is really no distance or anything blocking Him unless it is within us. So our reluctance, or unforgiveness, or and the list could go on and on, might well interfere with our ability or willingness, but Jesus has completed all so He could live in us.

So being devoted to prayer is not such a big order, except internally. All matters can be processed in His heart of love and willing openness to you and me. Ours is the easy part – get rid of anything that keeps communication a problem in our minds and hearts. He is so willing to do that with us. Then freely stay in constant touch (that pretty well explains “pray without ceasing”) from moment to moment and begin to enjoy the fruit of such a full, open relationship with one who loves us more than anyone else.

What would such love do within us? Oh, I have found this jewel! Beloved, enter and begin to exchange all for Him only, and amazement will enter as we love and receive – for He constantly loves and receives us. Devotion is so easy in His heart.

All Of A Sudden

During the sermon this past Sunday at my local Body of believers, a guest speaker worked with the concept of intimacy in communication with our Heavenly Father. While on the surface, laughing with all during his insightful illustration, I agreed – !00%!

All of a sudden I was confronted with change. During my “quiet time” the next morning as I was busy with Him,  I realized that even though I agreed with our speaker, I was one of the ones who are formal in my expressions with Him. I use “Father” a lot, seldom “God,” as that could be anyone, but I stay on the “Heavenly Father” side in my expressions.

However, even before the sermon, I was becoming more and more aware of my tendency to be formal Just how formal do I need to be since the Almighty God of the entire universe and everything in it has chosen to dwell in this body of clay, by His own choice?! He has eliminated any definition of distance between us by that action. He has been my source (hence Father), and the lover of my soul (Lord), yet, Abba. If we were in Greece and heard a child running after His Dad using that term (and we probably would hear it for it is common), we would understand that it means “Daddy.”

In the natural, I never called my Dad, Father. I grew up in the Bible Belt, and we just didn’t do that. (I guess it came from a misunderstood interpretation of “Call no man Father.”) So I have always called God my Father all the while knowing it was much too formal for how “we” communicate.

There is nothing I do not share with Him. Not because I remember it all, nor because that is the emphasis of our time, but just because He lives in me and already knows. He blesses, corrects, and loves me moment by moment and second by second. He is indeed my “Dad.”

It is time I begin to make that switch in expression. It is a bit difficult for me, but it will happen. I had already started a switch in my prayer journal for we already have individual names for one another there. This public and, for me, bold step to do so verbally has begun. It is way past time!

Seems like All Of A Sudden, but really, it has been coming. Thank you, Beloved Dad, for making Yourself so real and available.

More on the Way!

Blessings to all my Dear, Dear Readers!

As you know, I have not written in about a month here on Mannaword. I guess I took the month off from blogging. I had not intended to do that, but with all that was needed during that time, I had to let the writing slip to the side.

Now that the weather is getting a bit cooler, (a real key in my being productive in writing) you can expect some videos and some articles as we move forward. Thank you for being with me and for praying when you think of me.

Soon! Blessing you!