To learn more about this holy, special holiday, read Exodus 12-14, Leviticus 23, and Luke 22.
To learn more about this holy, special holiday, read Exodus 12-14, Leviticus 23, and Luke 22.
If you’ve ever been stressed out, worried about something (i.e. bills, family, friends, health issues, work, etc), or fearful of something or fearful of the future, think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Perhaps by focusing on the loveliness or purity of a roses’ petals, you can let go of the thorns dwelling within such a peculiar, but lovely plant.
Much has quickly transpired in recent weeks, making it seem each event that unfolds before me is like a game of dominoes. One event triggers another, which triggers another, and before you know it, lives are changed.
Similarly, this morning, my husband and I attended a church we had not attended thus far while living here in Myrtle Beach. We had been to this same church for other events and even led a worship experience at this same church on a recent Friday night, but never attended their Sunday service. How is it possible to lead worship at a church you’ve never attended you ask? All I can say is, with God all things are possible! How that transpired is an entirely other post I need to scribe. But for now, this story needs to be shared…
At the worship event I recently led a couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of singing with another worshiper who specializes in the guitar. He and I had only met days before, but as fellow prophetic worshipers united by spiritual DNA, it was as if I had sung with him my entire life. Little did he know I had been praying that Abba/God our Father would send my way a male guitarist who also sings. As he “noodled” on his guitar, I spontaneously sang fresh manna or fresh new songs. Likewise, he at times would spontaneously sing new phrases as we made up a song together simply singing unto the LORD. Yet another prophetic worshiper attended that event – one whom I had only met on facebook also days before and yet that worshiper jumped on keys and all of it blended so perfectly. It was as if God orchestrated an entire band in a matter of seconds. It was a glorious time of worship and people’s hearts were healed simply by stepping out in faith.
Speaking of faith, as my faith partner (husband) and I, along with a few of our other friends, were sitting in this church today supporting my new guitarist friend and singer as he led worship at this particular Sunday service (which is also new for him), we all just worshiped expecting God to have His way in the service. During the first song the guitarist/singer/lead worshiper opened with, I could discern a wall of sorts, a wall of fear and awkwardness attempting to block the Spirit, but I pressed in praying in my heart and at times out loud rebuking the spirit of fear and anything trying to prevent the Holy Spirit from doing what He does best.. Upon the middle of the second song, it broke, the presence of God entered the room and it was palpable – almost unbearable it was so intense. I just sang my heart out in worship. Meanwhile, in my peripheral vision, I could see a gentlemen wearing green. I could sense I was to minister to him and I heard the Spirit tell me the man needs healing, but I had not yet heard from the Spirit how I was to minister to him. So I simply waited for the Spirit to tip the domino in me. As the worship segment transpired, a singer on stage shared a testimony about a woman in their church who was healed of lupus and even had a child when she was told by medical professionals she would always suffer in the disease and she would never bear children.
By the third song, the Pastor came up to the front and asked me to join the praise band right there on the spot. Evidently, he had heard about our spontaneous worship from the Friday night event we held there a couple of weeks prior. I was shocked he called me up, but I stepped out in faith and proceeded to the stage. (Remember, I had never attended that church and literally just met the Pastor moments before the service began.) In general, I try to avoid any resemblance of performance so I sat on the steps adjoining the stage and simply worshiped Yeshua/Jesus as if I was sitting at His feet. We all just poured out our adoration for our God in song. Another friend of mine who does attend that church called out to the Pastor asking if he could give a word to a visitor in the church so the Pastor permitted the Spirit-directed interruption. Afterwards, an elderly woman stood up and gave a word encouraging the people to take courage and to obey God in whatever He was prompting like the previous man had just done. Meanwhile, my heart pounded as just prior to the elderly woman’s encouraging word, I heard the Spirit invite me to call forth the man in green (and the woman sitting with him) as I was to sing over them a prophetic song. Often times, God just highlights the person(s) to me and then all I have to do is step forward, open my mouth, and He takes over. But being my first time in that church not knowing how their services normally go or if they would even be open to such a thing, I nervously asked the Pastor if I could do such a thing and he eagerly agreed.
With the Pastor’s permission, I called forth the man in green and the woman next to him (they were a couple). I also asked the man who spoke out moments earlier to come up and lay hands on them as I already knew he had gifts of healing (from me knowing that man). I asked my guitarist friend to noodle whatever he’d like on the guitar. Then I began to sing a spontaneous prayer over them, which turned into God singing a lullaby of healing over them. In the song, it was about God healing the man physically and healing the woman’s heart. I remember singing about God was physically healing the man and he was about to enter a new season of growth then the Spirit shifted me to sing over the woman saying He forgives her, He sees her crying at night, and to let it go, and simply follow Him…the Spirit went on to say they will have many spiritual children if they just step out of the boat in faith and follow Him. The word that came through during the spontaneous prophetic song evidently ministered to them as they were crying and seemed to validate what the Spirit was singing over them.
When I finished, the man revealed to the church that he is struggling with lupus (the very disease the singer on the stage gave a testimony of healing from). So the woman who was healed of lupus and her husband came forward, without human prompting, to pray for the man in green and his wife. The husband of the healed woman gave nearly the same prophetic word as the song I sang to the woman who needed healing in her emotional heart.
“Our God, the creator of the heart, the creator of the body,
is all about using the body to heal the heart. “
Our God, the creator of the heart, the creator of the body, is all about using the body to heal the heart. Furthermore, His heart is to heal others through the body! He uses us believers in Him and His Son as members of the body of Christ to transform hearts. All it took was one domino of obedience to trigger another, to trigger another, until the end result was transformation not just for the man and woman who were specifically called out, but for all of us dominoes God used to bless them!
I had no idea God liked to play dominoes. I always just likened God to favoring chess as He moves the pieces around in our lives to help us reach our God-appointed destination. Now, I see He also prefers dominoes triggering each of us to surrender in obedience to His will, His way, and His wisdom as He connects our hearts in His all-knowing, healing, lullabies of love.
Happy Firstfruits (the Biblical name for Easter)! He is risen indeed! In case you are curious, check out the Feasts of the LORD (for all who believe in Him) see Leviticus 23.
For nearly twelve years, the inspired words scribed in the 54th chapter of Isaiah have ministered to my weary, barren, yet overcoming heart. So much so that in 2009, I even designed a tattoo with musical elements and “Isaiah 54” engraved like a wrap around my upper arm. All these years later, after much adversity, growth, waiting, weeping, and joy, Yahweh has divinely orchestrated a unique opportunity to love others by singing and making joyful music in an upcoming special worship service.
It was most difficult when Yeshua/Jesus invited me to follow Him to Myrtle Beach and by doing so leaving behind my worshiper friends. Oh, how we would make music, sing till there was no breath left in us, pray, and prophesy much like the musical prophets mentioned in I Samuel 10:5-11! To leave behind such a special group of people was indeed a sacrifice, but like all purely motivated living sacrifices, there is blessing in obedience.
“Learning to worship Yahweh solo, without assistance from others or various props, in the privacy of my home and heart, was a valuable lesson of long-suffering and perseverance, all of which further produced an authentic, purely Spirit-led, heart of worship.” Carrie Renee Turner
Upon relocating South, I had to learn how to sing and play my guitar without my beloved sisters and brothers. Learning to worship Yahweh/God solo, without assistance from others or various props, in the privacy of my home and heart was a valuable lesson of long-suffering and perseverance, all of which furthered produced an authentic, purely Spirit-led, heart of worship. I earnestly prayed and longed to unite with worshipers of Spirit and truth, but what I found in the process is, He is in the wanting and waiting.
“You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. ” Jeremiah 29:13
In time, through a move of the divine Spirit of Grace, the Ruach/Spirit introduced me to a few like-minded, all-in, worshipers. Eventually, after a few more months, we formed our own little small group that gathers every Friday night, every Shabbat, Lord willing. We catch up on what has unfolded through the past week, share whatever Yah is teaching us, sing, pray, and encourage one another as the Ruach/Spirit invites. The purpose Yahweh plotted in bringing this group of Spirit-led sons and daughters (Romans 8:14) together is becoming more clear… We are to gather, to sing, to make music unto the LORD, and to invite His presence into our lives and the lives of others. We will be spreading seeds of authentic worship, which we pray the Ruach of Yeshua will take root producing healthy, beautiful blooms and eventually emulating an insatiable fragrance of Christ – where we cannot get enough of His aroma of truth and love.
Sing with joy.
Just as both the invisible, buried root and the visible main cane or main branch of a rose bush are united as one plant through the bud union, there is one God consisting of the invisible Father and the visible Son, Jesus Christ, whom are united in one Spirit. All the fullness of God is manifested in His offspring, Jesus Christ just as we consider the visible canes or branches of a rose bush it’s fullness thereof. (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-4,18; 10:30; Ephesians 4:3-6; Colossians 1:15-18; 2:1-10; Revelation 22:16)
In the beginning, God established a beautiful garden in just 6 days (on the 7th day God rested and enjoyed His garden). God wanted His plants to forever thrive and flourish while setting up boundaries to protect His beautiful roses (Genesis 1-2).
Sin was sown into God’s landscape of life, which left untreated quickly spread
throughout (Genesis 3+). Similar to how black spot or other botanical diseases taint our roses, infectious sin plagues all human life and leads to physical and spiritual death revealing our desperate need for a remedy (Romans 3:9-26; 6:23).
The Savior, The Remedy
Just as neem oil is produced by the pressing of the fruit of a neem tree and used to treat common diseases and pests found inhibiting our rose bushes, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was pressed on the cross, also made from a tree, so that His blood, like neem oil, could cover and cure our disease of sin if we apply it to our lives (Matthew 26-28; John 1:14,29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Galatians 3:13; Philippians 2:5-11). Additionally, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are manifested throughout botanical creation as the death of a flower leads to fruit full of life-giving seeds.
Just as life cannot exist without water, it is important those who claim to believe with their whole heart (Acts 8:36-38) believe by obeying Jesus’ command and example to be baptized in His authoritative Name, calling unto Him, for in baptism we are united in Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-39; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; 10:13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:11-12; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 3:18-22). Jesus taught that those who want to be planted in His abundant garden of everlasting life (enter the kingdom of God) need to be baptized by water and the Spirit (John 3:3-6; Mark 16:16). As we submerse ourselves in Him and therefore identify ourselves as His, living waters will wash over us (water baptism), washing away our sins (Acts 22:16), which were covered in His blood, and at some point, living waters flow through us (baptism of Holy Spirit), sustaining an adopted supernatural, flourishing life (John 4:1-26; 7:37-39; Revelation 22:1-2). Water not only washes away dirt (sin) in our garden, but is needed within our plants to thrive (Spirit). Choosing to receive Him, His example, and His command through baptism by immersion in His Name is the first public step towards a long evolving and rewarding process of trusting and obeying Him (John 1:12-13; Acts 5:32; Galatians 3:14).
Baptism of Holy Spirit
Similar to a gardener using his or her hands to plant small seeds of life in a receptive fertile soil, the Holy Spirit is a like a small incorruptible seed implanted into a receiving fertile soul typically, but not limited to, through the laying of hands as God wills (John 1:13; Acts 8:12-19; Acts 9:17; Acts 14:3; Acts 19:1-6,11; Romans 8:9,14; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 1:23). The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, also referred to throughout Scripture as the eternal Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and the gift of grace or Spirit of grace, is a promise (Acts 1:4; Acts 2:38-39) given by God in His timing to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) – the hands of men and women are just a means by which God uses if He so chooses. Although the Spirit typically is transmitted through hands of Godly, Spirit filled people, there are also instances where the Spirit fell on others without the laying of hands (Acts 2:1-6; 10:44-48). Furthermore, the Book of Acts reveals that receiving the empowering Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) is so intensely powerful it manifests physically in some form upon initial implantation (i.e. speaking in tongues, healing, etc. – Acts 2:1-4; 8:12-19; 9:17-18; 10:44-48; 19:2-6). Throughout various realms or circumstances of life, the physical often manifests what’s going on in the spiritual.
After that incorruptible seed is implanted, rooted in Christ, and tended to, the Spirit within will continue to grow and blossom eventually producing fragrance and fruit (Matthew 13; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2 Peter 1:2-8). Throughout the life cycle of the seed, it matures into an established and flourishing rose bush, albeit the seed cooperates with its own development by responding in obedient faith to whatever nutrition and refreshment supplied (Psalm 42:7; Matthew 13:1-23; 31-32; 25:29-30; Luke 8:18; Acts 5:32; Ephesians 3:16-21; 2 Peter 3:14-18). Consequently, should the once tiny seedling embryo continue to thrive as it grows up in God, it will go onto produce fragrant flowers, emitting the fragrance of Christ, but then as part of the beautiful cycle, the flower dies to its self and one’s self-centered desires as it serves others in love, allowing the dead flower to produce many more seeds or disciples in Christ (Mark 16:15-18; John 15:8,16).
Trials & Tribulation Followed by Resurrection
Moreover, when a new rose is birthed, it goes through a lengthy trial to test how the rose will respond to various conditions and seasons before it can go onto market to be sold and enjoyed. The breeder looks for healthy canes and foliage, signs of disease, prolific flowering, fragrance, and so forth. Numerous roses grow side by side for many years in a test garden before the breeder decides to promote the overcoming, seasoned, ever-blooming rose. Whereas, other diseased or non-flourishing roses will be discarded and eventually composted.
Likewise, we will be tested and tried, dwelling side by side with unbelievers and the disobedient, rebellious roses through various trials and seasons (Matthew 13:24-43; Matthew 24; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:3-7; 4:16-19; Revelation 7:13-14; 9:4; 12:17; 13:4-10; 14:12-13; 18:4, 20-19:2; 21), but in the end, upon our Breeder and Master Gardener’s inspection we will also be promoted through either the resurrection or the gathering depending on if our current state upon His inspection is in dormancy, also know as asleep or dead in Christ, compared to a rose still flourishing despite the difficult and exhausting season of heat encountered (I Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 10:7; 11:15-19; Ezekiel 26). At that moment, His chosen roses will be transplanted to be with Him and to glorify Him through an immortal fragrance of Christ in our designated roles for a millennium (Revelation 20:1-6; Zechariah 14). After the 1,000 years, the remaining dead will be resurrected and will be judged according to their works and obedient faith (Revelation 20:7-15).
The Eternal Garden
Although many diseased or weak roses were composted in the Lake of Fire, all the immortal roses will dwell in God’s eternal garden forever emulating an aroma of Christ (Revelation 21-22).