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Abraham's promise

Last Sunday we had six people at Faith in God Church. It may not seem like much until you realized the ages of the people who attended. We had a man in his seventies. He was a former pastor of the church there. He was the one who started the church a number of years back. Then there was a woman in her fifties, another which I think was in her forties, and another woman in her twenties. There was a teenage boy and a boy who was two. I forgot all about taking up an offering. I have spent so many services by myself so far that I simply forgot. I’ll have to remember next week I guess.
All those months alone during church services has reminded me about God’s promise to Abraham. God gave Abraham the word that he and Sarah were going to have a son. It didn’t happen right away, and it didn’t happen because of anything that Abraham did. Matter of fact, Abraham tried to make things happen and look at the mess he made! The son promised to Abraham is still wrestling with the son of Hagar!

God gave Isaac to Abraham in a way that Abraham had not thought possible.

 

Putting Aside My Own Preconceived Ideas

God brought me to this church in a way that I never thought possible too. I grew up thinking that women should not be preachers. I thought that perhaps I would one day marry one. My husband Jeff and I started a ministry in Doniphan, Missouri several years ago and it was a total failure. I came here because Jan and Johnny Thomlison advertised that they needed someone who felt called to pastor a church. I thought that at least there would be someone here right? That was not the case. I had visitors for the first few months but they weren’t usually during regular church services. Most services I was on my own, by myself.
It really didn’t bother me too much though. Okay, so it bothered me a lot, but whenever I would think about it and pray about it, it was as if the Lord was telling me, “Well, when people do show up, you’ll know it wasn’t you who brought them. Under no circumstances will you be sharing my limelight. Never forget this time alone in this church. When people do come, it won’t be because of one of your brilliant programs. It will be because my spirit drew them.”
That’s not as harsh as it may sound. It’s a lesson in humility really. Having humility is not about being humiliated like some people might define humility. Humility isn’t about being walked on at all, it is about submission. Humility is when we give authority over to someone else. The situation becomes their responsibility rather than our own. It means whatever happens the one in authority gets not only the glory, but gets the blame as well.

Jesus and the little child

Christ’s Perfect Submission

When I think about perfect submission, I think about Jesus in the events immediately leading up to his crucifixion. He was not tricked into going to the cross. HE CHOSE to go to the cross. He went to the cross because he knew that was what his father wanted him to do. He did it because he loved us and knew that was the only way that we would not face separation forever from the one who created us, the source of all love (including self-love).
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Passion of the Christ, the movie shows you how he submitted to physical pain, but what it was unable to demonstrate was the emotional and spiritual torture that Jesus faced at the same time. This emotional and spiritual torture that he submitted to belonged to us. Each of us owned a piece of that torture that he submitted to because he loved us.
Humility and submission is never about being less than anything. It is about allowing the Lord’s authority over us. At this church, I am happy to say that right now, God is in charge and he’s telling me that he wants this to be a youth church. He’s also telling me that it is to be a missional church. I will take more about that later. How am I going to make this happen? The truth is, It can’t make it happen. God will make it happen as I submit to him.

What God Is Asking of Me and You

Right now, it is all about keeping my personal agenda out of it. I am leaving the execution to God. Oh, I’ll do whatever God tells me to do and only what he’s telling me to do and here’s what he’s telling me to do.
1) Pray for God to reveal his direction in our lives today.
2) Meditate on his written word
3) Listen to his voice. What is he telling us?
4) Take action where he says to take action.
5) Praise him every day for leading me as he directs.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback.

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Where God Speaks

Hands_of_God_and_Adam

I have been trying to listen to God (Holy Spirit) through my spirit. A couple of months ago I learned that my spirit is found in my gut, rather than in my mind or in my emotions. Some of the places in a word in the original language says heart, should actually read “belly” or “gut”.

Years ago I learned that whenever I sensed something in what I called my intuition, I was always right. This understanding of gut knowledge has me now to hear from that place what it is that God has for me to do. My problem was that I did not understand that that place was where my spirit is.

God Spoke, I Listened

Because of the nature of my job, for the first time in eight months that I worked there, I have not had a single Sunday off until three weeks ago. I had been going to a Tuesday nigh and a Wednesday night  Bible study,  but could not get to church on Sundays.Because I had missed church, I determined that I would go to three services in three different churches. The first church was a denominational church, but the second two were nondenominational churches. In  the second, they had a food distribution going on in which I helped. In the final church, even though I had never been there before, I felt as though i was home.

At the end of the service, I felt the prompting in my spirit to go up to the pastor of the congregation and ask him if I could give a message at his church on June 7th.  As I said, I did not know the pastor, but I did feel as though I needed to ask.

It was not as hard to ask as I thought it would be. I even told the pastor that I understood if he said no. He did not however, said no. He said maybe. I didn’t hear back from him, but on June 7th, I showed up with a message.

Mind you, I had never preached a message in front of a church group before and I even told the congregation that. I was obviously nervous, but everything went well. I knew that I needed more experience and I really want to be able to do that more.

The Message

thunderstormThe message that I gave was out of Luke 11, John 11 and John 12. It was about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus who sat at Jesus feet, listening to what he had to say. She faced ridicule from her sister. She questioned Jesus when he allowed her brother to die. She then received revelation that Jesus was going to the cross and she wanted to serve him by anointing his feet with Spikenard, an oil that offered physical, emotional, and spiritual healing because she knew the pain that he was going to face on the cross.

Today, like Martha, we are often too busy to take the time to listen to Jesus as Mary did. If we are to get revelation from God, then we need to take the time to spend at his feet listening.

We need to be willing to question Jesus. It says in the word that we receive not because we ask not. Perhaps our problem as Christians is that we think we are supposed to have it all together. The truth is, in our earthly physical bodies, we never will. It is only in Jesus that we can know anything of lasting value.

Nothing is really mystical about what Jesus offers us. Our duty as Christians is primarily to love as Jesus loved and to listen to what he would have us do next.

I hope that I never get too busy to listen to what Jesus Christ has to tell me.

IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


jesus-preaching

Blessed are the Meek for they shall Inherit the Earth

What does it mean to be blessed? Here in Matthew 5:5 and the rest of this passage commonly known as the beatitudes the Greek word for blessed here is makarismos. means supremely blessed. Some translatorss translate the word to mean happy, however it means much more than that.

To be blessed means to be so completely satisfied that you want nothing more. If the word here had been written in the Hebrew, it probably would have been the word Shalom. Which means wholeness and peace. It’s a completeness that signifies total satisfaction, without remorse. no defect can be detected. Complete perfection. Its the feeling of satisfaction that you get when you have given your all to something and you look at what you have created and you are amazed that you were the one who created that masterpiece.

I have had that feeling when I read over passages that I have written. It is as though God himself had bent down and written the words through my hand. That’s the meaning of blessed here. Its in knowing that God is working in my life. That God is using me to influence others. That’s what true blessing is.

        Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth

How can we be blessed through meekness? We now know what it means to be blessed, now let’s take a look at what it means to be meek. Contrary to what some think, the word meek doesn’t mean being a doormat.  The Greek word here is prothumos which means to be forward in the spirit, or willing to do the will of God. It comes from two other Greek words pro which means in front of  or superior to and the word thumos meaning fierceness or indignation or passion. In other words, it means that a person who is meek is a person who is willing to something that is greater than his or her own passions. In Jesus was said to be meek and lowly in spirit (Matthew 11:29), and the word meek there meant that Jesus was willing to put aside his own personal fleshly ambitions to focus on doing the will of his father.

Wow, that gives a totally different spin on the word meek! This idea of being meek was not what I thought!

So what does it meant to inherit the earth? the word translated inherit here is the word  kleronomin meaning to share in being the heir of ghay the Greek word translated the earth,  Ghay meaning the solid (physical) part of the terrestrial  globe including ALL the occupants.

So does this simply mean that the meek will inherit the earth when the new Heavens and the New Earth are created at Christ second coming? The only key word here we have not get defined is the word shall.

The word shall is not actually a word in the Greek, rather it is attached to the word inherit. the word kleronomin is  in the present tense, not a future tense. Therefore this passage “the meek shall inherit the earth” means, the blessing (complete in fulfillment) of the inheritance of the earth comes when a person willingly sets down his or her own will to do the father’s will.

The primary reason I am writing this blog is so that I personally will sit down each day and study the word. By sitting and writing, I have been compelled to dig deeper into understanding this not just to share with others, but so that I can glean more from the word for my own benefit. I am certainly blessed by this study. I pray that you too have been blessed. I ask you to pray that I will grow in my obedience to the Father’s will and I will pray for you to do the same.


Picture of the Mount of Beattitudes

Chapter 5 of Matthew begins the passage known as the Beatitudes. I remember years ago at the church I attended at the time the elementary children had a program called The Bee-attitudes and there were posters about how “to be”. the idea is that if we want to be blessed by God, we would be blessed if we did these things.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven

There’s that phrase again, Kingdom of Heaven. The poor in Spirit get the Kingdom of Heaven. What does it mean that the poor in Spirit will get the Kingdom of Heaven? What makes someone poor in Spirit?

Poor in spirit does not mean being poor in the physical sense. Being poor in spirit means that re recognize that we don’t own anything. Everything that we have in this short life belongs to God. We are only stewards of what God owns.

How differently we would live if we recognized that all the we claim to own belonged to God. Imagine what it would be like if we do not identify with this physical world. If we knew that what we had belonged to the creator of the universe, that we simply were taking care of what belonged to him. We don’t own these worldly goods, it doesn’t own us. It belongs to the Lord God All Mighty, Jehovah our provider! We are here to do the Father’s business.

If we are poor (God owns it, we don’t)  in this physical world that we live in does not belong to us. Spiritually we recognize that our citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven. Compared to our citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven, our life as we know it here, even if we live to be 120, is but a vapor.

Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.

This is the promise of the resurrection. What Jesus is saying here is that we may be mourning now, but our mourning will last a short time. Our comfort in our loss is knowing that someday in eternity, we will again see that person we think we lost. It will be as though they were only asleep.

As Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:9-11: “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Who died that whether we are alive or asleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.”

Jesus promises us that if we recognize that this world has nothing to offer us, that if we recognize that we have a life that goes beyond this life, God will bless us. He wants us to more than just recognize that our ultimate citizenship is not in this world. We have been promised eternal life in Christ Jesus. Even in death, we are blessed!

Again as the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21-23 “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot declare. For I am torn between the two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better. However, I know that I must stay here because I benefit you.”

When we recognize that our citizenship is not of this earth, that God owns it all, that our loved ones who died and are believers we will be with again. How can we be anything else but blessed?


Fisherman in the Sea of Galilee

In Matthew 4:17 Jesus has started his ministry on earth telling everyone that “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

He then walked along the Sea of Galilee. In other places in the Bible and in history Sea of Galilee are the Sea of Tiberias, Gennesaret, and Chinnereth. this sea was source of the Jordan River. The Jordan River flowed from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. We can take a lesson from this when we recognize that the Sea of Galilee is the source. It was alive and teaming with fish and supported the communities that surrounded it. The Dead Sea however only receives water and has no outlet. It is a dead lake where nothing grows. If you take and take and take, you will be as barren as the Dead Sea.

Jesus wasn’t walking along the Dead Sea. He was walking along the Sea of Galilee and as he was walking, he comes across Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and he invites them and then the sons of Zebedee James and John to be his disciples to become “fishers of men”. He took these men and gave them a higher calling. There is no record of them wondering if they should go, whether Zebedee tried to talk James and John out of going, if Peter’s wife was worried about where the money would come from. None of these are recorded. It just says Jesus invited them and they went.

painting of Jesus Christ healing the sick

Throughout Galilee, Jesus started his preaching ministry. He went from synagogue to synagogue preaching the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven. But he did something more, he made a difference in the lives of the people around him. He healed people. He healed all kinds of diseases, but he also healed all types of torments. The word torments here is the Greek word basanos which is thought to come from the root word basia which means to walk, a pace, foot. In other words, this word basanos has to do with anything that makes us feel as though we were going to the bottom or down to the foot.

What Jesus offered and gave to the people were The promise of the Kingdom and the gifts of salvation and healing.

“Well,” you say,” that was Jesus and that was then surely that’s not for us today. God works differently today than he did back then. He uses medicine and doctors today, right?”

I’m not going to answer the question for you of whether trusting in the medical system is God’s work. That’s between you and God. What I will challenge you concerning you  though is what Jesus told his disciples:

At the end of Jesus’ ministry, John records in John 14:12 Jesus spoke to his disciples and said, “Verily verily, I say unto you. He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works shall he do because I go unto my Father.”

What I am challenging myself (and you, if you’re up to the challenge) is this: If we believe the Bible as we say we do, why don’t we do the same works and even greater works than Jesus did? Why do we let the tormenter rule over our lives. Why are we ineffective in delivering others of their diseases and oppressions? Is it God who has changed or is it perhaps that we REALLY do not believe what he says? More importantly, what can we do about it?


After Jesus was tempted by the devil and the angels ministered to him (Matthew 4:1-11), he discovered that John the Baptist had been cast into prison. He left left his home in Nazareth and moved his ministry to Capernaum located along the sea coast in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. Again, this action that he takes fulfills another prophecy. (Isaiah 9:1-2). As we have seen, Matthew is making a point of noting when Jesus fulfills Messianic prophecy.

At this point, Matthew sees Jesus as a great light for the people. This light in the Greek is phos a word means underived and absolute light–the opposite of all darkness. Our word “phosphorus” comes from this Greek word. Phosphorus has an underived light that doesn’t seem to come from anywhere, it produces light that seems to have no source. Matthew sees that Jesus is no ordinary man.

Jesus began to preach,  and his ministry begins with encouraging people to repent, but he does more than tell them to repent. He tells them that literally “the Kingdom of the heavens is at hand.”  What Jesus tells them is that the purpose of  re-establishing the kingdom of God over this rebellious part of God’s realm. this term is only found in Mathew’s gospel. It is a dispensational term and refers to the Messiah’s kingdom on the earth.

The parables that Jesus later tells here in Matthew that has to do with the Kingdom of Heaven applies to the time when the Messiah establishes his kingdom here on earth that lasts forever. The kingdom of Heaven was then and continues to be offered to anyone who wants to believe. What Jesus had to offer was an offer that would transcend forever.


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John the Baptist preached and baptized people unto repentance. As Christians, we are called to repent and then be baptized for the remission of our sins. John showed us how to repent. The word translated “repent” when used in Matthew 3 meant to be totally repulsed by your sinful nature that you want nothing to do with it.

In Matthew 3:13-17  there are some very important things to note as Jesus comes onto the scene. Jesus coming to John the Baptist to be baptized. John said that he did not want to baptize him, because John said that he (John) needed to be baptized by him (Jesus). Jesus said that it was necessary for him to be baptized by John because it was “necessary to fulfill all righteousness”.

Why did Jesus do this? He wasn’t coming for the remission of sins because he knew no sin.He submitted to baptism for two reasons. First, as mentioned here, he did it to fulfill ALL righteousness. In John 1:31, he did it to be manifest to Israel.

When Jesus came up out of the water from being baptized, the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and landed on Jesus. Then John heard a voice from heaven saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Like John, Jesus was on a special mission. Both were sent by God and both had to fulfill what they were sent to do. Both did what God told them to do. Both suffered because of what God called them to do.

In verses 11-12 John had said that he baptized with water, but that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Whose fan was in his hand, and he would thoroughly purge his floor and gather his wheat unto the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

This is an analogy of judgement that Jesus would divide the sinful from the believers in the end. John saw Jesus not as he was then, but as he would be in the future. In this passage both John the speaker, and Matthew the writer, are letting us know that Jesus is the Messiah that the Jews were looking for.

Here is one of several places in the Bible where the trinity of God is present all at the same time. Jesus the Son, The Holy Spirit and God the father are all here. Jesus being baptized, The Holy Spirit lighting on him like a dove, and God the father speaking that he was pleased with his son’s obedience. One of the most important facts that we can meditate on during our study of the Gospels is the concept of “doing the will of The Father”. If , like Jesus, we could focus our every waking hour to this concept, we could, like Jesus, revolutionize the world around us.

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