Women History Month-Hero of Faith

Women History Month: Heroes of Faith

If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me just admit, I love reading about the pioneers of faith. As a matter of fact, it was a book named, “Pioneers of Faith” written by Lester Sumerall that got me hooked. If you have not read that book, I highly recommend it.

This month I would like to highlight Maria Woodworth-Etter.

Maria (pronounced Mariah) began full time ministry in the late 1800s at 35 years of age. She is quoted as having said that she didn’t feel qualified to go out and preach. At the time that she went, female preachers were still heavily frowned upon, but she knew she had been called by God to go, so she went.

Maria’s ministry was known for the many signs and wonders, trances, and conversions of the masses. Through many difficulties, such as arrests, death threats, divorce, and accusations of insanity, she spread the gospel under the tent.

In 1912, she conducted a five month long revival for F.F. Bosworth that propelled her ministry to another level. John Lake referred to her as “Mother Etter” while others referred to her as the “Grandmother of the Pentecostal Movemet.”

I found her book, “A Diary of Signs of Wonders” several years ago and I am still impressed with the relationship this woman had the Holy Spirit. She is truly a hero of the faith and someone you should know. Wonderful Jesus!

Consider Job’s Wife

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.” Job 1:1-3 NKJV

A couple years ago I was asked to speak at a women’s fellowship and to share on the topic of difficult times. As I sought the Lord for a direction, He led me to Job’s wife. Today’s post will be a snippet of that message.

Here we see that Job was a very wealthy man. He had 10 children, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen (1,000), 500 female donkeys, and a whole lot of servants. And of course, since Job had all of this, so did his wife. The Bible tells us that Job was a man who feared God and shunned evil, a man who was blameless and upright; and I am willing to bet that his wife had the same testimony.

But in one day, Job lost all of his possessions, most of his servants, and all of his children. But so did his wife. Everything and everyone she held dear, except her husband, was gone in a single day. The Bible tells us that Job bowed and worshipped the Lord, but I believe that here is where they differed. In his difficult time he turned to the Lord, but in her difficult time, she embraced her grief and sorrow. And before we start judging her, let’s be honest and say that most of us would have followed her example and not his.

Then the devil attacks Job’s body and now his wife is angry and becoming bitter. “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”-Job 2:9

It is at this point that I believe that many people give his wife a bad rap. I am not excusing her words, nor condoning them as the proper response for difficult times, for they are not. But I also don’t believe that these are words that sum up her whole life before God. They are words spoken in the midst of grief and heartache. An extremely difficult time for her.

I have seen wonderful men and women who love God have difficult experiences with the Lord. I have heard them make stupid remarks that was nothing more than their grief and flesh talking. I have heard care givers speak words about their loved ones and vice versa that was nothing more than fatigue and weariness expressing itself. And I sincerely believe that was the case with Job’s wife.

And allow me to give her one more benefit of the doubt: She was not born again and she certainly didn’t have a Bible to comfort her during her hardship. She was serving God to the best of her knowledge, but when this tsunami of difficulties flooded her life, she had nothing to lean on except Job. And where was Job, outside dealing with his pain and sorrow the best way he knew how.

Loss of children, extreme poverty after great wealth, loss of many servants (all who were a part of her household and probably her heart) loneliness, despair, a very sick husband, and a withering faith in God: this was Job’s wife. When God asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job, I believe He was including Job’s wife.  And I believe that just as He knew that Job would pass the test, He knew Job’s wife would.

So the next time you see someone going through and they are not behaving like you think they should, pray for them because you don’t know where they are at and how much your prayers can be used to bring about their deliverance. More on Job’s wife next time. Wonderful Jesus!!

Paul’s Thorn

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”-2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul was used mightily by God to do unusual miracles, and although the letters that he wrote doesn’t bring a lot of attention to that fact, it is noted in scripture. Paul believed in miracles and operated in them. (Acts 19:11-12) But because of the above passage regarding the thorn in the flesh, many people believe that Paul was sick and delighted in being sick. And so justifiably, we can be sick because not everyone is healed.

It is true that Paul had a thorn in the flesh, but it was not sickness. As a matter of fact, Paul tells us that the thorn was a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. (Rick Renner does a fantastic job of explaining this in his “Sparkling Gems”.) Yet, even with this evidence, (Paul’s own words), many still thinks he is talking about sickness.

“know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land which the Lord your God has given you.” – Joshua 23:13

“Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’”-Judges 2:3

The above scriptures are witness to the truth that “thorn in the flesh” is a phrase used to denote something that will plague you in life. Paul, as a New Testament believer correctly places the blame for it at the feet of the enemy. Paul was letting his readers know that the devil was in hot pursuit of him because of the revelations that God had given to him and was relentlessly pulling out all the tricks to stop him. I don’t have space to even get into what it means to be buffeted.

We would be hard pressed to go to a service and find that everyone is walking in health. People are being attacked with cancer, pain, arthritis, and so many other things. Thank God for the doctors, but why be turned off from going to God for healing. He said He is the God that heals!

When the children of Israel came out of bondage, scripture tells us that there was not one sick among them. The God that kept them whole is the same today. Did He do for them what He will not be willing to do for us? God forbid! I encourage you to not let tradition or wrong thinking keep you from pursuing your healing. Reach out in faith and begin to seek Him to be whole. Wonderful Jesu!

By His Stripes!

Isaiah 53:4-5- “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

There is so much packed in these verses, but I want to focus on the end of verse 5: And by His stripes we are healed.

The world is filled with sick people. The medical and pharmaceutical professions are growing by leaps and bounds. No matter how many people die from well meaning doctors, treatments, and prescriptions, people continue to pour their money into getting healed by them. No matter how many devastating side effects medicine has, people are still purchasing them and giving them a try for hope of healing or just plain relief.

Well, Isaiah prophesied that by His (Jesus) stripes we are healed. This chapter is actually foretelling the death of Jesus on the cross. No genuine bible scholar will argue with that. Jesus died to bring us salvation from our sins. This punishment of being whipped was for our salvation. And yet, there is controversy when it is taught that we are healed by His stripes the same way we are saved by them.

The woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8) also spent all she had on medical treatments, and was left with no hope, until Jesus! I know that was a different day and there is treatment for this condition, but I personally know someone who experienced this same condition and was also healed by Jesus!

Psalm 103:5 states that He (Jesus) forgives all of our sins and heals all of our diseases. Again, salvation from sin and healing from diseases are in the same verse. And let’s not forget 1 Peter 2:24 which carries the same theme.

How have we come to a place of trust for salvation, which we cannot fully experience until we transition from this life, but we cannot trust Him for healing, something we can fully experience in this life.

I know there are a lot of questions and a lot of examples that can be referred to about who didn’t get healed, but I can share just as many examples about who didn’t get saved. That doesn’t change the truth of God’s word that He wants no one to perish, and He isn’t the author of sickness and disease, so He doesn’t want you sick.

If you are sick in your body, you need to know that by His stripes you are healed. I am not anti-physician or medicine, but I encourage you to go to God on the basis of His word for your healing. Just as He desires to save all, He desires to heal all. Don’t buy the lie any longer that Jesus no longer heals. Reach out with your faith today and know that by His stripes you are healed! Wonderful Jesus!

 

Hide the Word!

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11

I am sure that if you attended a Sunday School class or a Vacation Bible School week, you had to memorize this scripture. I know I did. But I have found through the years, that this scripture is not “kids play”.

Christians all over the world are daily struggling with the issue of sin. Some of these people truly love God but can’t seem to get the victory. But here we have David, a man not redeemed, saying the word of God was hidden in his heart so that he might not sin against God. He had a hope of freedom from sin.

The Word of God tells us that Jesus was made sin that we might be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) and yet many people struggle with the entanglements of sin. There are two reasons that come to mind: First, some may not have been taught that we can live free from sin, but I just mentioned two scriptures that say you can. Hiding the Word of God in your heart concerning who you are in Christ Jesus will help. When I say that I don’t sin every day, people think I am being self-righteous, when I am totally relying on the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

Meditating on the scripture of Him being made sin so that you can be righteous is one to hide in your heart. Another one would be Galatians 5:1, where Paul writes that it was for freedom (from sin), that Christ set us free. I added the “from sin” part, because that is what he is referring to. You can be free!! So when He sets you free, don’t go back to it, becoming entangled in a yoke of bondage.

Another reason is, people misinterpret Romans 7 as Paul saying that he struggled with sin, that when he wanted to do good, evil was always present. So if Paul struggled, you know we will! Read consecutively with chapters 6 and 8, you see that Paul was not referring to his life after Christ Jesus, but under the law, before Jesus. And if you read throughout the New Testament, you will see the victorious life Paul led for the Master.

And if Paul could live free from the practice of sin, so can we, so can you!! But it will start with the word being hidden in your heart so that when sin is presented to you, like Jesus, you can respond, “It is written” and overcome it every time. Yes, every time you use the Word of God on Satan, it will work.

Jesus wants you free from a life of sin! That’s one of the main reasons He came to the earth, to set you and me free. So let’s decide today to settle that issue so that we can walk free from the bondage of sin. And as you meditate on the Word and begin to overcome sin, ignore the people who refuse to believe that the power of the cross was not enough to make you the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Wonderful Jesus!

Just a Sinner Saved by Grace?

 

I read a lot of books, fiction and non-fiction where Christians use the phrase, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace!” It causes me to cringe because, how can someone be a sinner and a Christian?

I get the sentiment behind it. Especially as we witness, letting people know that we too had to recognized that we were sinners in need of a Savior. But once the Blood of Jesus is applied, the sinner becomes redeemed. And the word of God tells us, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” Psalm 107:2 -NKJV

So I am a Christian, a believer, a saint, a child of God because I am redeemed and that’s what I should say. A sinner, on the other hand, is still being controlled by the enemy. I like how Paul refers to the way I used to be: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3 – NKJV

Paul said we were once like that, not that we were still like that and always would be. Paul said “we were dead in our trespasses and sin” and therefore we could rightly be referred to as sinners. Christians, however, have been made alive in Christ!  Therefore, to continue to identify as a sinner, is in essence saying the Blood wasn’t enough to truly change you. Either “old things have passed away and all things have become new” or they have not. And if they have not, then you are still yet a sinner. And if you are still yet a sinner, than you have not been saved by grace.

Christians, are called a lot of things in the word of God: saints, believers, redeemed, child of God..but not sinners. As a a matter of truth, we have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness (sinners land so to speak) and into the Kingdom of His dear Son. Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin. Sinners practice sin. And although we as believers may sin, we should not be practicing sin on a level that makes us sinners.

So I just finally wanted to get it off my chest that I think it’s a trick of the devil to have those whom God have redeemed and called by His name because we are His, continue to call themselves sinners. I’m just saying!! Wonderful Jesus!

 

My Story

I received Christ as my Savior after the death of my mother when I was about 9 years old. She died, and then several months later, both her parents died, and my father died when I was thirteen.

By the time I was sixteen I had many suicidal thoughts and attempts, but during one of those attempts, I met Jesus!! The room filled with Light and I saw a form of a man in all white and light. Then He spoke these words, “No matter what you go through in life, my Love is sufficient!” Then He left! But I knew it was Him and my life was forever changed. When I first read 2 Corinthians 12:9 it was so close to what He had said to me that it only confirmed that I had seen Him: “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”NKJV

Not only did I renew my relationship with Him, but He filled me with His Spirit and I have never looked back. I have not lived a perfect life, but I have lived a stable and dedicated life for the Lord. His Love has truly been sufficient through the things that I have encountered in my life.

If I had to choose a scripture to testify of the life I strive for with Him it would be Galatians 2:20- “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” NKJV

When God told me to start this blog, there was only one title to give it, “Wonderful Jesus!” Because He has truly been wonderful to me, I want the whole world to know it and to experience Him as I have or in a much greater way. Wonderful Jesus!

Black History Heroes

My Black History Heroes

This is the end of Black History Month but I wanted to take a moment and speak of two men who I am often in awe of how God used them.

The first man I want to share about is William Seymour. Seymour was used mightily of God in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in the early 1900s. It is said that thousands crowded into the mission to receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues and to witness or receive one of the miracles that this ministry was noted for.

There is a website, 312 Azusa Street, which was the address of the mission, that can give you far more information than I am able in this single post, but the most amazing miracles took place under his ministry: creative miracles of limbs growing out, fire on the mission like that of the burning bush, people receiving new languages they had never spoken before and going to the mission fields, and too many more to name. If you’ve never read about him, he is someone you should know.

My other favorite person is George Washington Carver known for the more than 300 ways he invented in using the peanut and 100 ways in using the sweet potato. Although this is all fascinating, as is his story from slavery to well known botanist; what inspires me about him is his faith in God.

If you were to read an article about him, you might not find this information; but he said he was often inspired by God as he would look at a plant, seeing what to create and how to do it. Amazing! Every morning he was said to get up and spend time praying and then he would go into his lab and create. Although criticized by some for this “strategy” he was considered not just a great black scientist, but a prominent scientist and inventor. I’m so amazed by his faith and prayer life as I am with Seymour. I hope someday my prayer life will be thought to be equally as inspiring.

Both of these men are someone I am glad I had the privilege of learning about and I believe they are someone you should know! Wonderful Jesus!

Mustard Seed Faith 2

In my previous post, I wrote how I don’t believe that Jesus was referring to size in Matthew 17:20 when He spoke to His disciples about mustard seed faith. Let’s look at that verse again:

Matthew 17:20-So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

I don’t want to leave the impression that I don’t believe in mountain moving faith, because I do. I just think you need more than a “little faith, the size of a mustard seed” to move it.

The Word of God does not share much with us about Jesus being impressed with people, but when it came to great faith, He did not hold back His praise!

Matthew 8:10 – When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

Earlier in this chapter Jesus was asked by a Roman centurion to heal his servant. And Jesus told him that He would come and heal the servant. “The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it. ” (Matthew 8:8-9) Jesus marveled at his faith and said it was “great faith” and his servant was healed.

Matthew 15:28 – “Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
This is another beautiful account of Jesus being impressed with someone’s faith. And it was great faith that got her daughter healed, not a little faith. If you are unfamiliar with the passage, let me paraphrase and you can go back and read it on your own: The woman came to Jesus and wanted Him to heal her daughter. He didn’t acknowledge her presence. She continued to plead with Him, and then He said something that would have totally offended the average person, “But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”-Matthew 15:26
This woman came to Jesus for a healing for her daughter and instead of getting offended she replied that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs which fall from the master’s table. It is then He makes the above statement from verse 28- “great is your faith!”

All you need to do is read Hebrews 11 to see that the people mentioned in the “Faith chapter” had great faith! Mustard seed faith means something other than the size of our faith. If we want to move the mountains in our lives, we are going to have to understand that “little” faith won’t get it done! Wonderful Jesus!!