Thursday, May 23, 2019

What’s Under the Hood?



What’s Under the Hood?

After an especially wet spring one year, the muddy condition of our dirt road made it nearly impossible to navigate and our little 4-cylinder Pontiac was not up to the task. I declared in frustration after almost two weeks of being housebound, “I want a Jeep!” Noted; my husband bought my first Jeep in 1994. To say I enjoyed driving the vehicle would be an understatement. And for several years I had the pleasure of sitting high and traversing whatever roads came my way.
When it was time to trade in my beloved Jeep my husband insisted on purchasing an 8-cylinder vehicle. Not knowing anything about cars I protested vigorously because I did not want a different SUV. He prevailed and gave me the keys to a beautiful, new 1996 Black Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (Gold Package).  I had to admit it was impressive. I guess I was just into the aesthetics and had no idea what was under the hood. I soon discovered why he wanted this size engine. One day as I was merging on to the highway, I saw traffic was heavier than I anticipated as I started my merge. I gunned the accelerator and was astonished by the distance I put between me and the oncoming cars! I almost ran into the rear end of one of the cars in front of me! Wow! That’s why he wanted the 8-cylinder!
My goal today is not to convince you to buy an 8-cylinder vehicle, but to share with you that God has put more under our hood than most of us realize. II Tim 1:7 tells us that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. I noticed that power was first, love second and a sound mind is third.
I like to do a word study as I read the bible to get a better understanding of the scripture, so as I looked up the words in this passage I came away with a far better awareness of what God has put “under the hood”.
Spirit: Pneuma: primarily denotes “the wind” (akin to pneo, “to breathe, blow”); also “breath”; then, especially “the spirit,” which, like the wind, is invisible, immaterial and powerful; the rational soul; mental disposition.
(Vine, W.E. Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index (Word Study) (Kindle Locations 44827-44829). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)
There are multiple types of spirits. The Holy Spirit, our own human spirit, and of course demonic spirits as well. The word ‘the’ in front of spirit in this passage expresses that this is not the Spirit of God and that it is a destructive spirit.
Fear: timidity, cowardice. deilia (1167), “fearfulness” (from deos, “fright”), is rightly rendered “fearfulness” in 2 Tim. 1:7, RV (for KJV, “fear”). That spirit is not given us of God. The word denotes “cowardice and timidity” and is never used in a good sense,
(Vine, W.E. Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index (Word Study) (Kindle Locations 26972-26974). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.)
Power: 1411. δύναμις dýnamis doo'-nam-is Definition: force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power
Ref: Strong, James. KJV Bible with Strong's Markup and Dictionary of the Bible (Kindle Locations 242777-242779). Miklal Software Solutions, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
(usually by implication, a miracle itself)
KJV Translation(s): ability, abundance, meaning, might(-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle(-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.
Ref: Strong, James. KJV Bible with Strong's Markup and Dictionary of the Bible (Kindle Locations 242779-242780). Miklal Software Solutions, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Love: Agape, the God kind of love. agapé: love, goodwill
Definition: love, goodwill
Usage: love, benevolence, esteem; plur: love-feasts;
 Agape-properly, love which centers in moral preference. So too in secular ancient Greek agape focuses on preference, likewise the verb form agapáō meant to prefer. In the New Testament agape refers to divine love.

A sound mind: II Tim 1:7, This phrase is taken from the Greek word sophroneo, which is a compound word combining sodzo and phroneo. The Greek word sodzo means to be saved or delivered. It suggests something that is delivered, rescuedrevived, salvaged, and protected and is now safe and secure. One expositor suggests that the word sodzo could actually depict a person who was on the verge of death but then was revived and resuscitated because new life was breathed into him.

https://renner.org/what-does-it-mean-to-have-a-sound-mind/

All of this to say that God did not leave us on the side of the road waiting for the tow truck. He has made available to us the power we need to do the job He has for us. Even if we get muddy, He has provided resources (angels) to come to our aide to get us out of the situation. The Blood of Jesus, the Word of God, the name of Jesus, the love of God, and the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. He says in Acts 1:8 that we would receive POWER after the Holy Spirit comes upon us. In Rom 5:5 He said the LOVE of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us and in I Cor 2:16 we are told that we have the MIND of Christ. I John 1:7 ... and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  Let's get out there in traffic and show them what's under the hood!


Friday, December 28, 2018

My Father’s Voice

After years of journaling, writing on scraps of paper, backs of tablets, and collecting multiple yellow legal pads of notes, thoughts and questions, I have finally put some off these writings into my first book. My title is”My Father’s Voice” and you can learn more about my journey by visiting my website: www.atfathersfeet.com
Grace & peace❤️

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Leave the Panic Room

There was a movie that came out in 2002, called The Panic Room, starring Jodie Foster, and the story line is about a woman and her daughter experiencing a home invasion, and how they retreated to a panic room in their home for protection. We have seen horrific headlines about home invasions that resulted in devastating tragedies.  One could wonder if a panic room could have prevented some of those disastrous results?

A panic room, in real life, is a secure place to retreat to in time of a real or perceived imminent threat. It is a fortified space, constructed to withstand extreme force. Storms, like hurricanes, tornadoes would be a reason to construct a panic room. There are other dangers one might want to escape, like biological, or atomic attacks and, home invasions. These spaces are designed to accommodate the occupant/occupants for an extended period of time with food, air, communication, and what ever other life preserving resources necessary while keeping them safe from harm. The bottom line is this is a place to head for if you feel endangered.

I was thinking about how a recent encounter with someone pushed me into a place of withdrawal. It was a very uncomfortable and in a way, threatening confrontation,with no way, in my mind to escape emotional harm. I knew this was an occasion where things could escalate and do damage, so I retreated to my inner panic room and bolted the door. My face was looking at them, my body was present, but I was really removed from the conflict. Or so I told myself, but then I heard the familiar voice saying, 'What are you doing in here?'

I want to consider, briefly, how we can live our everyday life as though we are in a panic room. There are so many dangers in our world; physical as well as emotional, spiritual and mental. It can be easy to slip into a place removed or detached from the situations we are faced with daily.  We can retreat in a moment of conflict, emotionally, and close a door behind us. That may be safe for the moment, but we should not remain there. The danger is in continually retreating and closing doors as we back away from life's demanding situations. Soon you are so far into the panic room, you cannot hear or see what is outside.

Or, we could be like Batman in his Bat Mobile.  Once he enters the vehicle, he commands, Shields, and the armor plated shields surround the car, and now, he is impervious to attack.  He is able to navigate dangerous situations without fear of being harmed. But, in the natural, we cannot live like this.

We all know that our ability or power to defend ourselves is not exhaustive. Even physical power is limited, contrary to what the movies tell us.  The only real Super hero in our lives is God. The Bible tells us that He is all powerful, all knowing and everywhere present at all times. He has said in scripture that He will keep us in perfect peace if our mind is fixed on Him (Isa 26:3 NKJV)

He also said that when our ways please Him, He makes our enemies to be at peace with us (Prov 16:7 KJV) There are so many scriptures about God's protection, that I can't address them all in this piece. However, for me, the ultimate prayer or scripture for protection is Psalms 91.  He that dwells in the secret place... This scripture covers everything concerning the safety of my family, myself, all that concerns me with God's protection, and offers me many promises of safety.  This is a scripture to keep by your bedside. It is more powerful than a 357 Magnum. It is not something to pull out in a panic, while trying to learn how to use it.  You wouldn't do that with a natural weapon, you would want to train, to become proficient.

God's Word is a valuable resource to turn to daily.  When we take in God's Word on a daily basis, it begins to live on the inside of us. Once the Word is alive in your spirit, there is no force that can withstand it.  Keep God's word in your heart and in your mouth. It has the power of life.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Metron

 The word metron is a  term defining measurement. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary it means: the minimal unit of measure in classical Greek verse constituting in certain meters (as the iambic, trochaic, anapestic, and the lyric forms of dactylic) a syzygy of two feet, in others (as hexameters of epic verse) a dipody and where necessary for analysis in the case of spondaic series a single foot, and in compound meters (as the ionic and choriambic) a foot of four syllables (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metron)

 In scripture it refers to authority. The prophet Samuel had authority. I Sam 3:19 tells us that God did not allow any of Samuel's words fall to the ground. His authority range encompassed  prophet, priest, and judge. Saul was given authority by God to be king. In 1 Sam 13 Saul stepped out of his authority as king and took upon himself Samuel's role as priest. (Samuel's metron) It cost him the kingdom.  God tore the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David.

Jesus has given the Church authority. The Church is the most powerful force on the planet! Nothing should happen on the earth without the permission of the Church. Nothing!

Jesus tells us in Matt 18:18-20 whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth is loosed in heaven; if two of us agree... it will be done... For wherever two or three are gathered... there I AM in the midst.

Psalms 133:1(Amp) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment poured on the head, that ran down on the beard, even the beard of Aaron (the first High Priest), that came down upon the collar and skirts of his garments [consecrating the whole body]. It is like the dew of Mount Hermon and the dew that comes on the hills of Zion; for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, even life forevermore [upon the high and the lowly]. 

How clever of satan to divide the Church! He has us squabbling and arguing about non-eternal things and we are not focusing on the great commission and God's eternal plan of salvation for mankind.

Our corporate anointing is so powerful that our adversary has put much effort into keeping us distracted. We get fixated on how much music, how little the sermon, what color the carpet, who is sitting in a particular seat, and on and on.

God has said, ask of me and I will give you the nations as an inheritance Ps 2:8, but we often only want a parking space close to the building.

We, the corporate Church have a huge metron! But we may be using it as scatter shot. Little pellets that irritate the enemy rather than irradiate his schemes.

We each have a gift from God to accomplish His desired task for us.  We all belong, but we each have levels of authority. As we grow in the knowledge of God and the finished work of Jesus on the cross, I believe our metron increases.

My husband and my dad were both in the Army.  Father used the military ranks to give me a visual of the levels of authority.  https://www.goarmy.com/about/ranks-and-insignia/ranks.html

Starting with the Pvt, (Private) the lowest rank to General of the Army (GOA, Five Star General) each rank carries authority. The private the lowest, the GOA, the highest. But even the Five Star General has a measure, and not all authority. The GOA needs other Generals from the whole Army and their authority, and the Army depends on the other armed forces, the Air Force and the Navy and the Marines, Coast Guard, and all of their branches. And still, they, combined, do not have all of the authority. All of the military might is but a portion of the authority  of our government because we also have the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Defense Secretary and the Senate and the Congress, and finally the Commander in Chief, the President. This represents the full power and authority of the US Government.  

Each segment has a metron, but when we face a formidable enemy, we don't just send a Pvt or even a GOA, we send a significant representation of our force. We meet force with more force with the expectation of winning. We continue to add more and more power until we do win.

We are powerful,as the Body of Christ, even individually. Jesus said in Matt 11:11
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

So we have authority, just not all authority.   Eph 6:12(AMP)  tells us that we wrestle not with people, but, powers, master spirits who rule the world, and spiritual wickedness in the heavenly sphere. We need the corporate body together to pull down authorities in the heavenlies.  To bring down racism, to stop abortion, to clear our neighborhoods of gang violence, to stop human trafficking, and gun violence. To clean up our government, and to stop police brutality, child abuse and whatever else ails our land and our world.

How do we get back on the right page? Find out what your metron is and fulfill God's mission for you. Stay in your spot until you get promoted to the next rank. Stay in faith, stay in love and always, always speak God's word over every situation.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sponge

Like so many people I have wanted to have a closer relationship with God and to truly be tuned in to His voice.  So many times I thought I was operating by direction from God only to realize and find out later that God wasn't in the mix.

I think we humans tend to make it hard to know God when He has said it is simple; spend time with Me and I will lead you and guide you.  Right...; is there some special super duper hard thing that I can do, God? Some severe or monumental sacrifice? No, He says seek first the Kingdom of God and all those other things will be added. What else can I do to be more tuned in to God?

We certainly don't seem to believe that God is not holding out on us, waiting until we reach super spiritual level 1or higher!. After all, Jesus suffered, so of course we must do so as well. So many thoughts and sermons, testimonies and other influences were swirling around when Father God gave me an analogy using my kitchen sponge.

I have a sponge that sits at the back of my sink behind the faucet. It has a two fold purpose, to catch the water that splashes against the backboard and to mop up occasional spills.  Some times the sponge is so dry it will hardly absorb the liquid.  It sort of makes this scratchy sound as I use it to wipe up a spill.  Why is that? It is because it has been sitting there behind the faucet and no water has touched it, all of the moisture has evaporated.  At other times, the sponge is a bit damp and can very easily pick up crumbs or a few drops of water or what have you. If the sponge happens to be in the sink filled with water, and I have a major mess to clean up, the sponge is saturated to the point that it cannot absorb anymore, and it at this point the water in the sponge begins to leak out. I have to squeeze or wring out some of the water (the anointing) in order for the sponge to take on cleaning up the mess.

Our Lord Jesus, spent considerable time in the presence of the Father. In His own words, He said I only do what I see the Father do and I only say what I hear the Father say.  He would often go aside to spend time with the Father. When the Holy Spirit descended on Him at the Jordan river, the scripture says that the Spirit remained on Him. With this presence and power, Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. (Acts 10:38)

We are often like the sponge. Without active pursuit of God, we can be in varying degrees of moisture or dryness spiritually.  Our weekly church service is just enough to make us moist.  If we attend a weekly bible study or mid-week church service, we maintain a bit of that moisture. 

Without constant contact with God we dry out; our moisture just evaporates. You can tell when you are dry because of how you respond to situations or people when you are caught off guard. Our routine activities can absorb what moisture we have, if we do not replenish our spirit man with the Word of God. Contrarily, just spending time in the Word is not sufficient to keep us saturated; we need fellowship with God and to experience His presence.  When something blindsides you, are you scratchy, moist or saturated? 

This spending time with God is not a passive, inconsistent process. Each bit of time we spend with Him delivers moisture to our spirit, but to become saturated requires constant contact with the source; with God Himself. Reading the Word of God without the Spirit of God revealing His truths to us is an exercise in discipline, but not fellowship with God. 

As I learned to spend time with God, without seeking some special favor or making petitions, I discovered that when situations did arise, I had peace and clarity. I had a confidence that God was in the mix and He would show me the solution.  Sometimes, just like the overly wet sponge, just my touch left an impression because of the saturation.  It is the anointing that destroys the yoke.

Ephesians 3:19-21(Amp) gives us a description of what spending time with God will do for us:
19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [a]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [b]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [c]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [d]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).(The Bible Gateway; www.biblegateway.com)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Can You Give Me a Hand Here? I'm Drowning!

Back many years ago when my husband was finishing up his undergrad degree at Hampton University, then, Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, we would often go to the Naval Air Station at Dam Neck. This small naval installation located near Virginia Beach, Virginia had the most beautiful beach and we would slip away from the studies and take the kids and make a day of it.  I love the water, but never really learned to swim proficiently. Most of my experience was at the shallow end of the local public swimming pool, so my familiarity with the ocean was non existent.


I had just purchased this cute little black and white swimsuit with a jazzy red belt attached. It really didn't have straps, just two little holes on the sides, which when I slipped my arms into them... voila, it became a backless swimsuit. So cute! My idea of a fun day at the beach was to sit serenely in my cute little swimsuit and watch the antics of my kids and husband, and dole out the goodies. 

 My husband, this particular day was not content to let me be an observer, and coaxed me into the water. He promised we would not go further than knee deep and if I would just follow his instructions I would be just fine. He very carefully explained that when a wave comes in, just jump a bit and avoid the impact of the wave. Sounded easy enough, and we were only going to be knee deep. It should be simple enough, and, if by chance a wave should catch me off guard, I would only be in knee deep water, so I should have no problem regaining my footing. Right? And he was there to keep me from all harm!

Well, we started out into the water, wave... jump... See, no problem. Wave, jump, wave, jump higher! WAVE! The next thing I knew I was in and under the water, with waves coming at me like a baseball batting range. I was struggling for all I was worth to get up, but every time I tried to gain my footing another wave would knock me down. I was thrashing around like a beached fish, when I realized my husband was not helping me to stand up, he was trying to keep my cute little swimsuit on my body! Wave! Hey! Can you give me a hand here? I'm drowning! His concern for my nakedness should not have been the primary focus at that moment...keeping me from drowning was! I am sure it was a funny sight and I laughed with everyone else when it was finally over and we were safely on the beach. 

Even though the water was really less than knee deep, my inexperience with the ocean, the waves and how to flow with it left me vulnerable to drowning, even in, perhaps, ankle deep water. I just could not gain my footing before I was slammed again by another wave. Help! I truly have fallen and I can't get up!

  My husband and I were talking about this recently, and as He usually does, Father God used the incident as a teaching moment. I have been doing some volunteer work at one of the ministries that serve people who find themselves in challenging life situations. Some are homeless; some have addiction problems, and some may be escaping from abusive environments. The one thing I have learned in the six or so months I have been serving is that I don't know anything about the desparation of their conditions! My life experiences are so far removed from what some of these people are facing, I often find my perception skewed.

We can become overly focused on what is "proper"; more concerned with how something looks to others, rather than recognizing the the life threatening state a person may be in. My focus should be how I can be a source to finding true resolutions for the problem. A simplistic approach, as I might see it, may not be  adequate for the situation at hand. I was quick to share God's word, but sometimes we need to offer more than a scripture, with a promise to pray for the need. (James 2:14-18) Not to say that prayer is unnecessary, because it is essential, however, in addition to the spiritual, we need to be willing to supply the practical as well. This is not to say just throw some money at the problem...same as my husband trying to keep my swinsuit on me.


As in the situation with me in the ocean and my husband's response, each of us had a different perspective; I thought I was drowning and that I would die, while he could see that I was not drowning, but very close to being stripped naked before the eyes of everyone around. His actions were two fold; to protect my modesty, but also avoid embarrassment if his coworkers saw my nakedness. My response, given what I was experiencing, was I am dying here and he doesn't see it, nor is he doing what I thought was necessary to save me. If I had been able to calm down, I could have just stood up! I did not realize the power I had to save myself. I had to see that I could do something about my situation, but because of the onslaught of the waves and with no other perspective, I could not get myself out of the situation alone.

This illustration challenges me tremendously! It challenges me to see a broader picture, and to view it from more than one aspect. How can I help the person in crisis to see truth? What are my motives, what are my limitations, how can I be of assistance? All necessary to be able to provide a successful rescue.  How can I help that person see what I see?  What do I see? Am I seeing truth? My truth or thier truth? What a powerful analogy and what an amazing opportunity to be a co-laborer with Christ!
 
  I think it is important to be willing to be a part of the solution, if it is in your power to do so, or to assist in helping to find the one who is able to rescue.  According to James, this is faith.  He, James, said your actions are an indication of your faith. It is when we step out to be a part of the solution that God has an opportunity to be made manifest through us.  We are his workers here on earth and may be the only “Jesus” someone in need has ever seen. Each time we allow Him to walk into a persons life through our obedience, we leave God’s footprint in the earth.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Leviathan

I was visiting a church with a friend and heard a message from the man who would become my pastor. He preached a message on Leviathan, taken from Job 41. The whole chapter is about a formidable beast that is impervious to almost everything.  He talked about the improbability of taming Leviathan or making friends with it. 

It is impossible to pet it without losing a vital part of your anatomy; he also spoke about the scales, or shields that cover and protect this creature from attempts to kill it.  As this pastor drew a picture of this living armor-clad, natural annihilator, destructive as a tank, he then connected the subject of his message--pride.

Pride is a fierce, terrifying opponent built for battle and all but impossible to destroy.  It glides along, smoothly, under the surface like a crocodile. Dangerous, deadly and not at all willing to be denied. It's strength is legendary; it's fierceness is unequaled.  It lies deceptive,  just under the surface of the water and it is only when a prey, careless, steps too close to the crocodile 's lair that the realization of danger becomes apparent. Once in the jaws of Leviathan, it is all but impossible to escape it's grasp.  Death is almost always inevitable; if not death, vicious maiming is a result.

Pride is much like Leviathan. It is powerful, deadly and a formidable foe. It is deceptive to the one who is the victim and to the one who operates in pride.  Pride disguises itself with many different appearances.  It can mask itself in false humility, it can show up dressed as a martyr, or a multi-tasking answer to everyone else's needs. Often, the only way one might uncover pride as the root of a person's personality is to step on his/her 'pride-thing'. You know you have touched it when you hear that tell-tale 'click'!

This can be a dangerous, accidental discovery. Sort of  like Linda Blair in 'The Exorcist', just short of head spinning, and green vomit.  The sweet person who manifest some totally different person in reaction to a situation; or an angry outburst over what started out as a pleasant conversation.  The victim inadvertently stepped on the pride-thing when a certain topic is introduced. It isn't until Leviathan surfaces and they are in a death-roll, does the unsuspecting prey realize what is happening.

A great analogy of the way pride masquerades was illustrated to me with an incident that happened to my mom.  She has quite a few skin tags, most of which are totally harmless. She had one under her arm and it had become painful.  She was a bit concerned and asked me to take a look at it because it seemed to be getting larger.  I looked at her arm and saw this unusual looking skin tag. Taking a pair of tweezers, I tried to lift it to see if there was a break in the skin. When I touched it with the tweezers, legs stretched out and started moving.  It was an engorged tick!

We often don't recognize pride until we touch it or someone touches our pride-thing.  The only way we were able to safely remove the tick was to suffocate it, then we could remove it with the head in tact.  We put clear nail polish over the area the tick had attached itself to and allowed the polish to harden. We could then remove the insect, without the possibility of it growing again.

In life, the word of God, living in you makes a hostile environment for things like pride, anger, and envy, just to name a few. Let the word of God dwell in you richly. Then there will be no pride-thing! What ever is on the inside is what will come out when you are squeezed.  Be constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit of God.