Sing With Joy

isaiah541 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. 27748047_1579022115485598_3880365538067107960_oOh, 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.

THE BOTANICAL THEMED STATEMENT OF FAITH

A few weeks ago, I spent a good deal of time writing a botanical-themed statement of faith. Jesus’ plant-based parables sure did help! 🙂 Sometimes nature says it all!

God & His Garden

369989.image0Just 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

Sin was sown into God’s landscape of life, which left untreated quickly spread

Rose_Fig04

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.

Water Baptism

watering-rosesJust 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). rosehip-seedsThe 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.

Development

Rose Seedling 1After 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 Rosehip-Natural-oils-for-body-pg-fulland 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.

Best Rose garden lr2

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).

inspirational-gardening-quotes-proverbs-sayings-gardens-flowers-weeds-plants

Happy Hanukkah

pink rose menorah

A rose themed menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. To order one, visit this link. 

 

As “ever-blooming” roses, are you dedicated to letting your light shine? Keep in mind light shines brightest in the darkness. Fear not!

“Hanukkah” in Hebrew means “dedication” and is often referred to as the “Feast of Dedication” or “Festival of Lights”. Ironically, the only time Hanukkah is mentioned in the Bible is in the New Testament. Evidently, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah as it is referred to as a “Feast of Dedication” in the Gospel of John.

John 10:22-30 (NKJV)

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication  in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

 To learn more about Hanukkah, you could click here.
Happy Hanukkah!

Activated Abilities

After relocating my struggling climbing rose known as ‘Florentina’, I discovered she simply needed to experience a new environment in order to grow into her full potential. Previously, Florentina was residing in a pot on my north facing balcony at the beach. However, after months of failing to produce even one bloom, I finally decided to transplant her to a sunny east facing garden bed within the condominium community I reside in (with permission of course). Although it has only been a few weeks since I relocated her, the conditions seem to be beckoning her to bloom. She has already produced numerous new leaflets and I assume in appropriate time, she will eventually put forth luscious layers of crimson colored petals.

activatedabilities

Upon meditating on such a enlightening transformation, I realized our God-given abilities react to whatever environment we find ourselves planted in. Put another way, depending on the environmental conditions, we may or may not manifest the spiritual DNA embedded deep within us. I’ll never forget the bizarre spiritual giftings that manifested in me when I started attending a small, but flourishing Spirit-embracing body of believers in 2008. Having been a believer in the saving grace of Jesus Christ since I was just a little girl, this was the first time I experienced such foreign abilities. In fact, I was always advised such “abilities” were not relevant in today’s modern, new and improved type of faith. Initially, upon experiencing such unexpected, unwanted, and frankly, at times, inconvenient abilities,  I was alarmed and unsure of what was unfolding within and from His Spirit buried in me. Nevertheless, I quickly discovered such manifestations were for the benefit of those around me as well as helped nurture my seed like faith.  Much like a rose blossoming for the first time, she may find herself reluctant to share such a sacred and beautiful gift, but in time, she will understand and therefore, willingly produce something beautiful to better bless those around her. As I saw others reaping the benefit of my flowers, the fragrance of Christ, and eventual fruit, I learned to not fear, nor to reject the spiritual DNA manifesting as crazy or ridiculous. Instead, I eventually chose to embrace my environment and the love emulating through such Spirit-scaped blooms or abilities.

Through the ongoing seasons, having been transplanted in different gardens of believers, even in the soil of different states, some familiar flowers have bloomed while different ones provided fresh opportunities of growth. Had I not been open to relocation or refused to allow new leaflets to bud out due to uncomfortable fear, I would have missed out on unique opportunities to love others all the while learning more about God’s loving nature!

If you hear the Master Gardener discussing plans of relocation, whether to a nearby sunny spot or distances far and wide, fear not! He may be creating an environment ideal for cultivating the beautiful rose He intended you to be… A rose ever-blooming in this abundant garden of life!

Garden Border Control

Creeping Charlie (Small)

Creeping Charlie {photo credit: unknown}

Today, I found myself performing the never ending task of weeding. In particular, an intruding vine, known as “Ground Ivy” or “Creeping Charlie”, knows no bounds as it constantly invades my rose beds.  Although it looks deceptively charming at first, Creeping Charlie will choke the life out of my roses and other plants if allowed. Hence, why I pulled out my knee pad and spent about 2 hours ripping this vine out as best as I could not to mention the persistent flock of dandelions and other unknown weeds in my urban garden. I’m not sure who sowed Creeping Charlie into my yard probably decades ago, but my goodness, what a headache! To help eliminate the encroaching yard from reaching my flower beds, the husband and I will soon be implementing a border control of sorts with old brick or stone (it’s still up for discussion as to which we can agree on).

brickborder

{photo credit: unknown}

So while the dirt compiled under my nails this morning, I thought about how necessary boundaries are in our lives as they define our roles, our responsibilities, and our way of life. Without boundaries or borders defining and describing such areas, both our garden and our world would be chaos. Boundaries not only define who we are, but they protect what we value most. A brick or stone border, a fence, a wall, laws, rules, and terms of an agreement, are all examples of boundaries. God’s word found in the Holy Bible provides boundaries to live by as well. Such boundaries, or written terms, are designed to define our roles and responsibilities as believers, who we are in Christ Jesus, and the way to life. By rejecting these Judeo-Christian boundaries, there are chaotic consequences – just look at the world around us or even your own life. I certainly suffered chaotic and unnecessary consequences when I didn’t abide by God’s boundaries. I’m sure you can think of a time or two you did as well. Clearly, without them, ungodly vines like Creeping Charlies can invade our hearts and homes choking out the life God intended for us. How important it is we learn to abide within Christ’s border control while eliminating the ungodly vines and weeds the world sows.

Delighted To Find You

After much researching and deliberation, I set out to find a specific rose of particular beauty and fragrance known as “Double Delight”. As I slowly perused the rows of selection at a local nursery, I was disappointed to not find the rose I had my heart set on. Nevertheless, I lingered about intrigued by the variety of colors and scents displayed before me. Upon walking up and down the aisles, I decided to look a little more carefully just beyond the arrangement of roses for sale. To my utmost surprise and delight, there was my desired rose hiding in a dark, forgotten corner. She was the last one left, wrapped up in bare root form, just waiting to be redeemed. Upon finding this rose known as “Double Delight” and redeeming her as my very own rose, I experienced double delight indeed!

double delight

“Double Delight” {photo credit: unknown}

Did you know, the Spirit of the Lord searches for those He desires? He long-suffers, patiently pursuing us with the desire to redeem us, heal us, transform us. He’s not afraid to reach into the dark, overlooked corner we’ve been hiding in. He sees beauty in us no other can possibly see. He longs to adopt us into His collection of fragrant roses because He knows in time, we will dispense a unique fragrance of love into a hurting city of barrenness. Once we are found and come into His kingdom, Jesus tells us in Luke 15, all of heaven rejoices over such a delightful find! If I delighted in finding such a rose, surely, He doubly delights in finding you!