The Flower

The Flower
Marsha Deveaux Johnson
One day I heard a knock at my door.  I leisurely went to the door because I was not expecting anyone to visit.   Upon opening the door I looked down and saw a single flower placed in water in a soda bottle with beautifully opened petals.  A note was attached to it that said, “This reminds me of you.”

This flower was placed there by my Neighbor who lives beside me and is so helpful.  As I closely viewed the beautiful flower, I noticed that it had nine beautiful soft petals.  Closer viewing revealed to me even more.   I saw words upon the petals that stirred thought.  I wondered if the words were the key to what reminded my Neighbor of me.

I saw the word “LOVE” and thought He sees love?  And then I remembered the compassion that constantly floods my human spirit when I minister God’s love to others.

I saw the word “JOY” and thought, He sees joy? I had just lost a loved one.  And then I remembered the joy that took away the tears at the memorial service.

I saw the word “PEACE” and thought He sees peace?  And then I remembered the tremendous peace that I had when I learned that my life had to be interrupted with surgery and recovery to alleviate nagging pain.

I saw the word “LONGSUFFERING” and said out loud Oh No! And then I remembered painstakingly waiting with a friend at the emergency room of the hospital so she could receive services.  The trauma, the children playing, the babies crying, you have not suffered long until you have waited in the emergency room of a hospital.

I saw the word “GENTLENESS” and thought He sees gentleness?  And then I remembered as a young child I had to learn how to give my grandmother diabetic injections way back when they were not so refined.  I learned to be gentle and to hurt when others hurt.

I saw the word “MEEKNESS” and thought, He sees meekness and humility in me?  And then I remembered a humble apology to my grandson Rohan about Parmesan cheese that tasted funny to him.  I insisted it was alright until I tasted it.

I saw the word “GOODNESS” and thought He sees goodness and kindness in me?  And then I remembered how I frequently allow people who are on their lunch break to get to the checkout counter a little quicker.  I am retired and seize joy when I make someone’s day this way.

I saw the word “TEMPERANCE” and thought, He sees temperance?  Then I remembered how I listen to others when they need a listening ear and push back my own challenges so that they can have the earthly encouragement that they need.

I saw the word “FAITH” and thought He sees faith in me?  I am constantly seeking God’s word so that my faith may grow.  Maybe He sees my seeking and reaching and counts it for faith.

If someone placed a flower at your door or on your desk and said, “This reminds me of you", what words would be written on the petals?
Walk
In The Spirit
&
 Bear Fruit.
Walking in the Spirit brings
 the blessing of the growth of fruit
in the life of a Believer.  The works
of the flesh are   (adultery, fornication,
uncleanness,   lasciviousness,   idolatry,
witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying,
 murders,      drunkenness,      reveling)
The fruit of the Spirit should abound
 in  the  life of every  Believer.  The
absence of the works of the flesh
promotes the growth of the
 fruit   of the  Spirit.
Love
Joy
Peace
Longsuffering
Gentleness
Goodness
Faith
Meekness
Temperance
(Galatians 5)

Marsha Deveaux Johnson


Full Circle

Full Circle
Will You Be Made Whole?

Many years ago God asked me a question after one of our ministry retreats.  I remember vividly the questions that God has asked me throughout my lifetime.   They have led to great understandings of His nature and His written word.   He spoke to me on a Saturday evening after returning from a Friday-Saturday weekend retreat.  I stood in my bathroom and out of my spirit came from Father, “Would you be willing to be inside a circle with Me and place all of your loved ones outside that circle?”  I was stunned at the question.   I was void of His meaning and purpose. I was not mature in my faith enough to immediately say “Yes, Father” regardless of what it meant.  I meditated on this question (that came out of my spirit) the rest of that Saturday and Sunday. 

On Monday morning I had an answer for My Father.   As I stood in front of my bathroom mirror getting ready for work, I said, “Yes Lord, I would be willing to be inside a circle with You and You alone.   I will place all my loved ones outside of the circle and I now close that circle.”  Immediately in my spirit I heard God say, “The Holy Spirit will close that circle.” Obedience to God’s requests of us brings us to the point of getting help from the Holy Spirit in all that God requires of us.   As my walk with God progressed, I realized that this act of obedience allowed me to commit actions, incidents, and situations regarding loved ones to God easier and not be devastated by their actions.  I have taught this “Circle Teaching” through the years and many believers have benefitted from it. 

Years later in my life, God revealed to me that when I put my loved ones outside of the circle and remained in the circle with Him and Him alone, I was putting them firmly in His hand.  At the time He asked me the question, I had to respond in faith regardless of my lack of understanding His desire and purpose.  I sure would have wanted to know at that time that I was putting them firmly in His hand.  However, I was required to trust Him with them regardless of His plan.  I had to know that His plan is only a good plan (Jeremiah 29:11).  Always trust God.  You will not always have all of His wisdom or word on a circumstance or situation.  The just (righteous) will truly live by faith (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38).  Say yes to Him regardless of the question.  He is designing and producing wholeness in you.

Recently I asked God a question (we’re allowed).  I said to Him, what about the woman (that would be me) who was left in the circle with You?  I can tell you why I asked this question. He prompted it.   I asked it because He wanted me to ask it so that He could respond and give me an answer.  He knows how to set us up for His next procedure in our lives.  He always leads us to His desire, His purpose, and His will.  We are so led and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the God-life.  We must remember that it is His Kingdom that must come and His will that must be done (Matthew 6:10). 
This question prompted God to speak to me about wholeness.  He shared that putting loved ones in His hand is a beginning process of becoming whole and complete in Him (  ).  As awkward as it may seem in the natural, in the spiritual realm all severe attachments to people, places, and things hinder intimacy with God.  It is the establishment of this intimacy with God that allows all other relationships with people, places, and things to be set in divine order and bring peace. 

The one who is “circled in” with God enjoys ultimate peace regardless of the circumstances of loved ones outside the circle.  The “circled In” one knows that it is only a matter of time before God will bring circumstances outside the circle into divine order.  The “circled in” one gets a heavenly view of others.  They see that regardless of a loved one’s current inadequacies their completeness comes from Jesus Christ.  If they are currently functioning at ten per cent of their allegiance to God, the “circled in” one sees that the ninety percent is covered by God’s grace as you stand in faith for their wholeness.  The “circled in” one takes a heavenly view of earthly circumstances and knows how temporary and fleeting all of this world’s pleasures and profits are.

God has helped me to understand that His view is the completed picture.  Our view is the canvas in process.  God sits in eternity where completion is the order of the day.  We are in time processing each moment as it is released to us. However, to keep the faith, we must see His completed picture purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  Our faith must be tremendously in His word, His promises, and His intimacy in our lives.

We come full circle with Him as we trust, trust, and trust.  When we do, the walk gets easier.  We know what to expect and we understand that the complete circle of all our lives is made whole by Jesus Christ.  He is making the woman inside the circle (me living in time) whole while she (in eternity) is already whole in Christ Jesus.  What about you?  Have you come full circle?  See yourself and others as whole in eternity.  God deals in wholeness.  If you are ten percent on your way to wholeness, He fills the ninety missing percent.  If you are forty percent on your way to wholeness, He fills the other sixty percent.  We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).  Some of us need more grace than others.  I suspect (knowing Father) that there is much more of this “wholeness” knowledge to come.  Meditate on this word and hear His voice.  Let Him make you whole.


PS
In the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke, John) the recordings indicate that Jesus spoke often of “wholeness” when He performed miracles.  He wanted man to be whole, spirit, soul, and body

"Good Buys" and "Goodbyes"

“Good Buys” and “Goodbyes”
Dr. Marsha Deveaux Johnson
I recently got the news that my brother was suddenly critically ill and near the point of going to be with the Lord.  There was time but circumstances did not permit me to go to his bed side to say goodbye and “see you later, buddy-boy”.

As I lay in my bed a couple of mornings after the news, God began to speak to me about “good buys” and “goodbyes”.

“Good Buys” for a shopper is when the price is right and the product is good.  We all love to find a good buy.  It makes us feel good to know that we have efficiently used our resources to find something of value to us at a good price.  We have won in the marketplace with a good buy.  A “Goodbye” is a break in communication or parting.

God began to enumerate to me my “Good Buys” that I had experienced with my brother. 

It was a “Good Buy” that for the past seven or more years, once a week on a conference call Rudy, my sister Iris, and I would pray.  We prayed as God has directed for the body of Christ, governments, leaders around the world, our family (the Deveauxs, the Johnsons, the Dargan’s, the Andersons, the Hills, the Williams, the Snypes) and extended family gathered along the way as well as friends.  This has been a tremendously good buy that Iris and I have celebrated with our brother.  It is a legacy to pray with your family.   Build a legacy of prayer with your families.

It was another “Good Buy” when every Thanksgiving holiday was spent with the family who could gather together.  We spent Thanksgiving Day with a meal to celebrate God and each other.  Elfleata and Rudy were always there.  This was a “good buy”.  It is a legacy to spend time with your family.  Build a legacy of fellowship with your family.

It was a “Good Buy” for my brother when I remembered his birthday every year with a card and tucked in a love offering.  There is nothing worse than an empty birthday card from a family member.  If you have to, tape your quarter or dime to the inside of the card.  They will know that you cared enough to send your very best. It is a legacy to give to your family members.  Build that legacy of giving to each other.

As My Heavenly Father pointed out to me all of the “Good Buys” I have shared with my brother through the years, I heard His voice.  All of the earthly “good buys” I shared with my brother are the “goodbye” for now.  There is a temporary break in us sharing the” good buys” here on earth together.  However, the most fabulous and glorious “good buy” that we will all receive will be the reunion God has planned for His family throughout eternity!  Make preparation to spend eternity with God! 


 (PS) My brother made it safely home with Jesus Who is the best “Good Buy” this world has to offer.

Let Not Your Heart be Troubled

Let Not Your Heart be Troubled

John 14:1
“Let not your heart be troubled.”

The Heart of the Believer
The spiritual heart of man is the cross-point of the soul the spirit.  Like the physical heart (with two main arteries supplying blood to the body), it connects the spirit (reborn & communicating with God) and the soul (mind, will, & emotions).  The heart often experiences conflict, for the spirit of man always wants to please God.  The soul however, is not always renewed and submitted to the complete will and word of God.   

We must constantly renew our soul (mind, will, emotions) with the word of God until conflicts diminish between the soul and the spirit. This is the process of “keeping our hearts with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23).   God’s word and will in our reborn spirit will then govern our soul.  Our soul will then lead our bodies to God’s divine will and purpose.


The Cause of a Troubled Heart
Jesus took upon Himself all sin.  All of mankind inherited the sin of Adam (Genesis Chapter 3) and all mankind commits sin (Romans 3:23).   All sins (past, present, and future) have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ.  When a person receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the Adamic inherited sin and sins previously committed are irradiated and washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Repentance offers an avenue for forgiveness for sins committed after receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Being free from sin and the guilt of sin provides a clear path for the heart to “rest in the Lord”.  If unrepented sin is present in the heart, it will be troubled.

A troubled heart can indicate a heart that has not completely dealt with the sin issue (1).  A troubled heart can also indicate a heart that is so consumed with the things of the world and its system that peace cannot exist in it (2).   A troubled heart can further indicate a heart that lacks knowledge of God’s word and promises (3).  If any or all three of these issues are present in the heart, it cannot help but be troubled.

Indicators and Remedies of a Troubled Heart
Indicator
The troubled heart lacks completeness in relationship with Jesus Christ and does not understand the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Colossians 2: 10 says, And we are complete in Him”,   God who has begun a good work in the Believer will bring it to completion only as the Believer yields to the Savior on a daily basis. 
 Remedy
Seeking to irradiate the practice of sin in our lives is a great place to be and live.  This place offers us a heart that is trouble free.  Guilt and shame of sin always brings trouble.  God says, “The wages of sin is death”.  So then are we to receive and do God’s word and the results will be a trouble free heart.  As we daily live and daily choose God’s word as the governance for our life, our hearts become increasingly trouble free.

Indicator
The troubled heart does not comprehend the tremendous love God has for it and has not been made perfect in receiving God’s love. 
Remedy
I John 4:18 says,”There is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear.”  When the spiritual knowledge is revealed regarding the tremendous love of God for us, fear cannot abide.  God’s love swallows the emptiness and fear that gives place to trouble.  We trust God because of Who He is and what He has done (sending Jesus) to set us free.

Indicator
The troubled heart is constantly pulsating being “at risk” and lives in fear of being victimized by Satan and the kingdom of darkness.
Remedy
 Colossians 1:13 says, “We have been delivered from the power of darkness and been translated into the kingdom of the dear Son of God”.  Satan really becomes a “non-issue” as we draw closer in relationship to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  The protection and promises of God become more and more visible as we release faith in Him.  We see victory after victory and go from glory to glory and our hearts become trouble free in the very midst of trouble.


Let not you heart be troubled.

The God of the Dark Cloud

The God of the Dark Cloud

Isaiah 45:6-7, “That men may know that from the east and the rising of the sun and from the west and the setting of the sun that there is no God besides Me.   I am the Lord, and no one else [is He].   I form the light and create darkness, I make peace [national well being] and I create [physical] evil (calamity); I am the Lord, Who does all these things.”

I dreamed that I and three others were on a beach.  We were enjoying all the wonderful pleasures of being in a place created by the Father for earthly enjoyment. We looked in the distant sky and saw a ferocious dark rain, thunder, and lighting cloud on a parallel course with where we were.  We knew that if this cloud proceeded that we were in direct line to be engulfed by it with its life threatening capabilities.  We had no place to go and could not possibly outrun the dark cloud.

 I called to the others and said for us to come together and pray.  In my spirit I knew that we were not at risk because we knew the “God of the Dark Cloud”.  I had assurance deep within that we were safe.  I also knew that if we were taken by this sudden force, we knew exactly where we would go.  We stood in awe as we watched the dark cloud and its destruction pass right by us with no impact on our lives or safety.  There was no fear, no panic, and no drama as the “God of the Dark Cloud” steered it away from His people.  We watched as even the dark cloud changed course to pass right in front of us leaving us unscathed by its force.  We were just as safe on that beach as we would have been anywhere in the universe.  We know the God of the “Dark Cloud” and He is our Father.

When I awakened Father begin to speak to me about Who the “God of the Dark Cloud” is.  Job 12:9-10 says, “Who [is so blind as] not to recognize in all these [that good and evil are promiscuously scattered throughout nature and human life] that it is God’s hand which does it [and God’s way]?  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

Chapter 12 of Job states further in verses 14-17 that, “Behold He tears down, and it cannot be built again; He shuts a man in and none can open.  He withholds the waters and land dries up; He sends forth [rains], and they overwhelm the land and transform it.  With Him are might and wisdom; and the deceiver are His [and in His power].  He leads [great and scheming] counselors away stripped and barefooted and makes judges fools [in human estimation, by overthrowing their plans.]”

The remaining verses of this chapter (Read Job 12:18-23) actuate that God is in control of all the good and evil that we see about us.  This should not be surprising because He is the Creator of everything (Elohim).

When we receive and live for the Lord Jesus Christ His blood covenant is with us.  He becomes the God of our “Dark Clouds”.  This puts us squarely in the best possible position in the world.  That position is in “Christ Jesus”!   Dark clouds are under His authority and the authority of every Believer as we faithfully trust Him.  When we know that He controls and steers every dark cloud, doubt and fear are nailed (to the cross).  We victoriously overcome everything (God’s way)!

God has challenged me to tell His people that He is in the dark cloud.  He is in fact the “God of the Dark Cloud” for the Believer.  This takes away every threat, intimidation, worry, fear, and uncertainty of the cloud that you see or don’t see (hidden from you) in your life. 

Knowing that God is in the dark cloud is called “Faith”.  Faith in Him assures us that if we believe that He is there (and He is) we will see that things are working together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). 

Jesus is, “Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and in this world, but also in the age and the world which are to come.  And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised through the church}.”(Ephesians 1:21-22)


You are not at risk when you are in Christ Jesus.  Everything is subject to Him.  He is the Lord of the dark cloud for the Believer.  This silences and submits every dark cloud to the will of the Father for your life.  Look your dark cloud firmly in the face and see Jesus.  You have already been delivered!

An Unwrapped Gift

An Unwrapped Gift

Recently I attended a birthday party.  It was time for the person honored to open gifts.  I watched as a person who gave a gift simply walked across the room and handed an unwrapped gift to the person honored.  Later as I was spending time with God, He brought that scene to my mind and began to speak to my heart. His words centered on the gift that was simply placed in another’s hand without wrapping, or a bag, or any attempt to conceal what the gift was.

My thoughts went to how many times does God give us unwrapped gifts and we simply don’t recognize the blessing of the gift?  The wrapping of a gift signals that something is coming your way.  But the unwrapped gift itself is still the main center of attention only without the fanfare.  “God daily loaded us with benefits” (Psalms 68:19).  How many times do we take the benefits for granted because they did not come wrapped prettily or in a fantastic recognizable or reusable gift bag? 

God’s blessings make rich and add no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22).  Are we cognizant of the many ways in which He shields and protects and warns and restores us?  Eternity alone will reveal all the many blessings that God gave to us right here on earth.  Lord, open our eyes to all the unwrapped gifts You give. 

Well, I started thinking and began to thank Him for all the unwrapped gifts He gives to me.   He gives all of  us another day to worship Him (Many do not know Him), another day to bless and be blessed by our family and friends (Many have no family or friends), a home (many are homeless), transportation (Many walk everywhere they go), food (Many go to sleep hungry), health (So many are sick), the blessing of having a sound mind, clear godly thinking (Many are locked in wrong thinking and mental disease) and decision-making ability (Many make deaf and dumb decisions over their own lives and the lives of their children), wisdom (Many lack no godly or practical wisdom), children, grandchildren (Many have no natural or spiritual heritage), and the list is endless.

This endless list of “Unwrapped Gifts” is given to us by the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Recognize and thank God for the unwrapped gifts (blessings) that are piled in your life day after day after day.  They are everywhere!


Contemplation

Contemplation

Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God”
Proverbs 20:27, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly (spirit).”

Contemplation (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary)
Concentration on spiritual things as a form of private devotion, a state of awareness of God’s Being, the act of consideration with attention, regarding steadily

The word “contemplation” itself intimates a spiritual surrender of focus that must be rendered in totality.  As human beings we have the intellectual ability to divide our attention and focus in many different directions.  It is this characteristic that must be harnessed when we enter contemplation.  Through contemplation the Holy Spirit of God leads us to a place where God desires us to occupy.  The purpose of this leading is to guide us to a place of firmness in our faith.  Contemplation also guides us to a place of awareness of the Father’s continual presence in our lives.  Contemplation is a natural progression of the Christian faith.

Contemplation is the spiritual bedrock of intimacy with God.  It is the act of being still for the purpose of knowing God.  It can be entered into by simply finding the quiet time to “be” with the Father.   Our human spirit is the candle of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27), simply meaning that when God wants to talk and commune with us, He speaks primarily to our human spirit. The physical area of our bodies in which our spirit lodges is the “belly” or stomach area.  It is here, deep in our being where the Holy Spirit stirs us to commune with the Father and Jesus Christ.

We can approach His awareness, His presence, His abiding, and His will by simply entering into   “quiet time” with Him.  This time has no set agenda.  It is away from others and distracting elements.  It is not a prayer request session, nor is it a time away from busyness.  It is rather an “entering into” the presence of the Father to fasten attention upon Him.  It is also to regard or to attend to Him steadily, consistently, and unwavering.  It is entered into in silence.  Every thought is “taken captive” (2nd  Corinthians 10:5) and focused on God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is an exit from fleshly attentions to spiritual focus.  The agenda becomes His.

Contemplation is a plateau that naturally progresses as you grow in your walk with God.  You will literally be summoned by God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit into this place of fellowship.  It is growth.  It is a place that dissipates fear, chaos, self–obsession, and disobedience.  It brings the Oneness of the God-head front and center in you.  You experience the overwhelming power of His love imparted to you.

Contemplation ends up being an opportunity to allow God to ignite our spirit with His presence, His love, His compassion for us, His thoughts toward us, His heart for His creation, and the list goes on and on.  It also builds our relationship with the Father.  It employs and fulfills the purpose for which He created man in His likeness and image (Genesis 1:26).  That purpose was for fellowship with Him.  God wants to rest and abide in us. John 14:23 says. “If a man loves Me, he will keep My words:  and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

Contemplation gives birth to a hunger to be in the presence of God for the purpose of knowing and fellowshipping with Him.  It also allows the peace imparted to the human spirit to enter the soul and body.  It ultimately brings us to the same relationship (1st John 4:17) with the Father that Jesus had when He was here on the earth.  We enter into the “Sabbath- Rest” spoken of in the fourth chapter of Hebrews.

Contemplation is initiated by the Holy Spirit as we faithfully walk with God in this life.  It is a natural progression of the Believer who is growing in their faith and intimacy with God.  It brings peace in all circumstances.  It brings an exceedingly growing faith as you see the repeated faithfulness of God.  Because you visit Him only to be with Him, it brings you to a place that God can call you, “friend”.


Enter into Contemplation…for Eternity.

Why "Hepzibah in Training?"

More than twenty five years ago I stood in a powerful praise and worship service. As I entered into worship weeping in the presence of the King, I heard the voice of Jesus in my spirit. He called me two names. The first name was Hephzibah and the second was Beulah. I was stunned and immediately sat down on the bench to ponder these two names. Neither of these names appeared flattering to me.



I left church and called my sister, a mighty warrior of God, and told her that God had called me two names. Her reply was “If God called me names; I needed to find out what they meant.” I searched scripture and found that the name Hephzibah means, “The Lord delights in her” and that Beulah meant, “Thy land is married (committed, spoken for, etc). Needless to say, I was delighted in the significance of these two names that my Savior has bestowed upon me. My goal and treasure in life is to fulfill the plan for my life on this side of Eternity and to train for the other side of Eternity.



I offer you the revelations, thoughts, and meditations that God imparts to me in this blog “Hepzibah In Training”.



I thank you for your comments.

Followers