Put on the Whole Armor!

fruit gnatsAnnoying little creatures they are! Fruit flies! I detest them.

When we were still living in Nkwanta, Ghana – one of my sons and I were talking about where in the world they come from.  I mean did they just  – you know – just APPEAR.

We did a little research and found that when you bring a piece of fruit into your home there is a very high risk that a fly has laid an egg on the skin/rind/shell of that fruit. So, if you bring the fruit home and do not wash it until you intend to eat it – the chances that you will see gnats flying around are high.

In Ghana the fruit is so very good so we always brought home fresh pineapples, avocados, mangoes and watermelon. I always washed them well before storing them. One particular day I awoke and there were still my little flying friends in the morning!  I checked my fruit well and found a very small soft spot on my watermelon – that was the culprit! We got rid of it – and my little flying annoyances disappeared. They were attracted to “live” trash – fresh fruit, yeast, etc. They were attracted to things that show that they have life.

As I thought about this I thought about the myriad of issues that we are facing in our ministry life.  It seems that not a days go by that we are not dealing with some issue that threatens the effectiveness of our ministry – nothing major, just annoyances that make you want to shoo them away. Annoying – these little darts that the enemy keeps throwing at us. We pray, we fast, we practice silence before God, even lectio divina – and yet they persist. It occurred to me that like my little flying friends – these darts are attracted to life. The enemy would not be annoying us so much if he didn’t see that our ministry was alive and doing well. You see, the enemy too is attracted to life! He wants to steal, kill and destroy – and if there is already spiritual death, then there is nothing for him to take, execute, or annihilate. So I guess we are in good company!

Fruit Flies!! I do despise them – but as for the annoyances of the enemy, I say bring ‘em on. I am alive in Christ, I am fully devoted to His mission in this world – and if that brings on attacks from the enemy, then I have the faith to conquer them, to withstand the test, and yes – to expect the incredible and the impossible! I am clothed with the breastplate of righteousness — and that will extinguish the darts!

I encourage you to put on the full armor of God when the enemy comes your way.  He wants to discourage the army of the Lord; but trust that God has you and will keep you.  If it is for the sake of the Kingdom of God – Don’t Quit!

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Trust In The Good LordMany find comfort in these words – but for me, they can cause angst.  It’s the word “let” that causes problems for me.  I mean, what am I supposed to do when the trials and problems of life really do give me pause or cause me to have fear?

I know – I know –  I know what you Christian folk are saying, “Jan! take the thought captive, bring the thought into submission with the will of God, trust, I KNOW!!  But that word “let” still gives me a lump in my throat.

Maybe you never had an issue where the money was just not enough to meet your obligations.  Maybe you have never faced the type of illness that a doctor says cannot be cured.  Maybe your life is on course and you are not only joyful but prosperous.  That is what I tell myself when I encounter people who tell me not to allow myself to worry.  I say to myself that they have no idea what it is like to be in my shoes!

Well, I Thank God for His Word!  These words were spoken by the very Son of God, and knowing that Jesus said the words tells me that it really is possible for me to disallow my heart from fainting at the first sign of trouble.

I go on to read Christ’s words in Matthew 24 as he describes the perilous times the world will face but he reminds those that follow Him that they are not alone.  And then I remember that the Word of God gave me another “let” that gives me power and strength – “Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”  (Philippians 2:5)– and as I continue to read His Word and allow Him to speak to me I am reminded that if I have the mind of Christ I cannot be troubled for it is against the mind of Christ for me to have a troubled heart or mind even when all around me seems full of trouble.  Then I remember that He also told me that if I could only remember at all times that He has already overcome the world – I will know that I too will overcome.

Now, let me say that my heart began to feel lighter and the lump in my throat was less uncomfortable.  Let me also be clear that my situation had not (and indeed has not) changed – yet I am hopeful, truly, that He desires to and will indeed work it all out for my good and for His glory.  So today, you know – later on after I start thinking about my trouble again – the moment it seems that my heart just might faint, I will not let my heart be troubled, instead I will start singing, clapping, dancing and praising Him in advance of my deliverance!  As I praise – it will lift my heart from trouble to a place of triumph and I will not be able to stop myself from rejoicing.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled! As my mama always tell me,  “Just trust in the Good Lord!”

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. 

John 14:1

Black Missionary History – Eliza Davis George

Eliza GeorgeEliza Davis George was born in 1879.  In December 1913 she left Texas for New York; and on December 12, 1913, she sailed from New York to Liberiaas a National Baptist missionary.

Eliza and another missionary opened a school for children in the interior of Liberia, where there were few missionaries or churches. They called the school Bible Industrial Academy, and their aim was to teach children to read the Bible and show them helpful life skills. Within the first two years they had fifty children attending the academy and saw more than 1,000 people accept the Lord in the nearby villages.

Eliza served as an evangelist, teacher, and church planter throughout Sinoe County, Liberia. Wherever she established ministries, she trained Liberian young people and sent them as missionaries to take the Word of God to their own people and to provide education for their children.

Five years after arriving in Liberia, Eliza’s mission board disbanded. Lacking financial support, she was approached by a British missionary doctor who urged her to marry him so that she would be able to remain in Africa. After much prayer, she concluded that God was permitting her to marry, and in 1919, Eliza became the wife of Dr. Charles George. Together they adopted three children: Maude, Cecelia, and Cerella.

Even when married, Eliza continued to live meagerly, trusting in the Lord’s provision and going to extraordinary lengths to secure support for the ministry Jesus had called her to. Her prayer life reflected her dependence on God:

“O heavenly Father, thou hast taught us to pray for our daily bread. Lord, thou dost know that I do not have one penny to buy food and pay the workers here at the mission. Father, send us something to meet our needs as thou hast promised. Help me to keep trusting Thee so that the children will know Thou art caring for them.”

In 1939, her husband passed away – yet she continued in the work for 33 more years.  By the 1960s The Eliza Davis George Baptist Association had twenty-seven churches in Liberia.

Eliza returned to the USA in 1972 at the age of 93 due to fragile health.  She passed away in Tyler, TX in March 1980.

Happy With Jesus Alone

prov 15 16Recently a friend of mine and I have both been in the midst of circumstances that have made us face personal limitations. It has been a joy to walk the road with another sister in Christ because we have helped one another reach and remain at a place of contentment. We have encouraged one another to stay close to God and dwell in His presence at all times. As we share every week or so; we have both been so happy to find that His presence is completely fulfilling. We have not found ourselves feeling lacking, rather we are in joy!
However, that is not the case for everyone all of the time. This world we live in compels us to seek more; to be more; to have more; to do more; to desire more. Time and time again I hear people saying don’t settle for this or that. I agree that we should all live out our God given purpose – that is to be sure! But what if God hasn’t created you to be 1st; to be at the top; to lead everybody …. What if His purpose for you includes suffering for the sake of His Kingdom?!?! What if He is teaching you to be grateful where you are? What if your difficulties are meant to teach someone what faith looks like?
I had a friend once who would not let her husband enter ministry because it would mean she’d have to give up her lifestyle. Her life was wrapped up in her life! Very sad, because all things pass away …
Contentment – it is a God reflecting character trait. Contentment – it is an attitude that says His presence is enough. Contentment – it means that my status and circumstances don’t cause me fear. Contentment – it means that personal gain will not make me the center of my own world. Contentment – it means that I won’t do what is evil to gain what the world says is good. Contentment – it means that all that He gives to me I will be grateful for, but none of it will mean more to me than Him!
Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16
I’m Happy with Jesus Alone
by: Charles Prince Jones
There’s nothing so precious as Jesus to me;
Let earth with its treasures be gone.
I’m rich as can be when my Savior I see;
I’m happy in Jesus alone.
 
Refrain:
I’m happy with Jesus alone,
I’m happy with Jesus alone;
Though poor and deserted, thank God, I can say,
I’m happy with Jesus alone.
 

Lead Me, O Lord!

jeremiah 17 9 10Lately, many who have the life spotlight have been doing some wicked things.  It can make you embarrassed to be American, or even human!  When you look at the actions of some, it can really make you look down on them; and raise your own self up a bit. Yes, you have to be raising you up if they are suddenly beneath you.

It points out a truth about who we each are.  I’ll talk about me.  You see, I haven’t killed anyone; spoken with ill regard of anyone publicly; stolen anything; wished anyone dead; abused any child; mistreated anyone because of their ethnicity; etc. etc. etc.  So,  unlike those people I read about or see on the TV screen, I am righteous! Right?!?!  WRONG!

Truth is, only God knows why I refrain from what I refrain from and only God knows the things I do that none of you see.  My mind knows the blessing of trusting God completely and submitting to Him in all things; but my heart without the leading of the Lord is just self serving even when my desire is to be good!  My hope lies in the actions and love of my King.  He searches my heart and knows my true desires; He is faithful to see if there is any evil in my heart and His mercy and grace are powerful and can be counted upon to always lead me in the everlasting way.

I’m ever grateful that I have learned not to depend upon man – not even myself – to do the right thing.  I depend upon the Holy Spirit in me to bring about in my life what The Lord wills to be so.  Even when it seems that I’ve done a good thing, the truth is that it is only the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  Search me, O God! Lead me, O God! Omnipresent God – my soul hides in You!

“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah‬ ‭17:10‬