Friday, August 31, 2018

Are You OK Being Hated

I was out walking this morning listening to a teaching on my phone and in the middle of it the Holy Spirit asked me a question, “Gena are you OK being hated?”

I wasn’t ready for such a deep question before 8 AM or before I even worked up a sweat, but Gems it stopped me in my tracks. Am I OK being hated?
My first response was No.  Rejection is  one of the enemies best weapons against me. It’s something I have to keep in check almost daily.  I have allowed the Lord to rip that root out of my heart and soul yet that toxic plant tries to grow it’s ugly seed again and again.
So why wouldn’t I want to be hated? Because that would mean being rejected.

So I have to ask myself what am I willing to sacrifice to not be hated? I guess that’s what the Holy Spirit was asking me this morning.

Hebrews 13:12-14  And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp; go forth from the ceremonial law, from sin, from the world, and from ourselves. Living by faith in Christ, set apart to God through his blood, let us willingly separate from this evil world. Sin, sinners, nor death, will not suffer us to continue long here; therefore let us go forth now by faith and seek in Christ the rest and peace which this world cannot afford us.
Hebrews 13:12-15 The Message
10-12 The altar from which God gives us the gift of himself is not for exploitation by insiders who grab and loot. In the old system, the animals are killed and the bodies disposed of outside the camp. The blood is then brought inside to the altar as a sacrifice for sin. It’s the same with Jesus. He was crucified outside the city gates—that is where he poured out the sacrificial blood that was brought to God’s altar to cleanse his people.
13-15 So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come.

Jesus was led outside the city to be crucified because of the ceremonial law followed by the Jews. He was treated as an offender. Keeping the Levitical law would, according to its own rules, keep “sinners” away from the Holy altar. This letter in Hebrews was written to Jewish believers who were tempted to abandon their faith and return to Judaism and the temple. The letter seems to encourage the readers to share in Christ’s humiliation and rejection by His own community, He was left alone on that cross.

I think most of us can embrace the teaching here that Christ died for all sinners, we embrace the message of love and acceptance so why would the  Holy spirit ask if I was OK being hated?
We find that answer in Matthew.

Matthew 24 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

OK Gena side journey. I recently went to Toyota to see about selling my car or trading it in. In my journey I am always trying to find ways to keep my overhead down.  I never know where I will be living and was hoping to lower my monthly payment. I spoke with a brother in Christ, we will call Tom, who worked there. Tom counseled me not to purchase a car and we talked about refinancing, he asked if I had my paperwork from when I bought the car. I laughed at the thought of still having paperwork from 2 years ago and if I did, that I would have any idea where it was. The only thing I have kept on a regular basis is my family.
Tom told me if I could find the documents to bring them to him and he might be able to help me. He gave me his cell number so I could contact him directly.
So here comes the typical Gena move. I was looking through my car for the contract and found 2 papers from Toyota with my car information on it. I was so excited to find them that I took pictures and text them to Tom. About an hour later he called me and said “Miss Gena is there a reason you text me pictures of your oil changes?”  
You see Gems I saw the part I was looking for on those papers so I didn’t bother to keep reading the rest. I just wanted what I found to work for me, but it couldn’t because it wasn’t the true contract.

We are currently living in a world where believers read what they want to see in God’s word but not the whole message. We don’t want the commands and obedience of the word and many are falling away from the truth of God’s message and their relationship with Christ as a whole. Matthew 24:10 clearly says many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.

Gems we have to be ready because a line is getting drawn and we are all going to have to decide where we stand just like the readers in Hebrews. It’s not a matter of will you be hated but when.
I am currently working as a prayer counselor and for many of the callers it seems like they are calling into Santa’s wish list line, “tell God I want this or that.”
We are not allowed to preach or teach on the call which is wisdom in some cases however it can work against you . The prayer team can only use God’s word however the caller only wants you to pray the good stuff. I have had to become very strategic in my verse choices.  I share the promise available to them along with the command that goes with it. I have had many ‘believers” hang up on me because they don't want to be held responsible for their side of the relationship, they just want the blessing.

Many of the media wars we are experiencing with believers, not the lost, are those who want to pervert the word of God. If you don’t line up with them you are soon hated. We are hearing more and more of Preachers and teachers giving false messages. They are willing to water down or just plain change the word of God to be what their itching ears want to hear. They want to give you an oil change instead of a covenant change relationship.

We too are going to have to live “outside the camp” outside the worlds views of what's acceptable. We are going to have to decide to be set apart, to be God’s holy people. We have to be willing to suffer, right now it’s just words for the most part for the Western church but in the days to come it may be physical suffering for you as well. We have to endure the hated city we live in now with the hope of our eternal home that is yet to come.

What does that look like for you to be hated by your camp of people for Yeshua?  What are you having to stand firm on or speak truth about? What groups are you going to have to offend for the cause of truth?

Gems are you OK being hated?

My prayer for all of us is to be strong and make it to the end. I know with God all things are possible. I know we can live without fear because perfect love cast out all fear.
I know I can be hated as long as I KNOW I am also loved.

So I will answer your question Lord, yes I’m OK with being hated.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Will You Follow Me

I heard a sermon today called Follow Me and I wanted to share it with you Gems.  I will try to do justice to the original message but of course will give it a Gena’s Jewels twist.

We will start with what believers are commonly called, “Christians.” So where did that title come from?

It started about 12 years after Yeshua’s ascension and it was a term given by the people of Antioch.

Acts 11: 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Antioch was a multi culture pagan city, the term “called” was a business term, if you were in a relationship with someone or committed to a certain following or principle you were called to them. For example if you were a follower of Caesar you were a Cesarean, if you were a follower of Plato you were called a Platonean.

So when the people of Antioch met Jewish believers they would ask them why they didn’t worship their gods and they would say because we follow Christ. When they asked why they didn’t seem to love the power and wealth of the city they shared Christ promise of riches in Heaven.  So it was only natural that because they followed the ways and teaching of Christ they would be called Christians because they followed His teaching and principles. The people of Antioch actually saw Jesus teachings in His followers. Hmmmmmm

So to be a follower of Christ meant you were on the same road as Him, to learn from Him, imitate Him and multiply Him to others.

2 Timothy 2:1-2 Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Messiah Yeshua. And what you have heard from me among many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be capable to teach others also.

It seems we have kept the "called" name Christians but many have stopped following Yeshua’s teachings and commandments. Today anyone can be called a Christian and never even read God's word or speak to Jesus.

Let's look at 3 possible groups of people who have reasons for why they can’t completely follow Yeshua.
The first is the excuse maker:

Matthew 8:21-22 Then another of the disciples said, “Master, first let me go and bury my father.”22 But Yeshua tells him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

The phrase “let me go bury my father” was a cultural expression meaning let me wait until I get my inheritance. Pretty much he was saying I want to make sure I can self-sustain, keep my security just in case this Christ thing doesn’t work out.
Then there’s the Stuff Lover:

Matthew 19:21-22 Yeshua said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you own, and give to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving, for he had much property.

 This guy had good stuff he wasn’t ready to give up. He probably had a nice house and great transportation so the other stuff was easy for him but giving up his comfort was another thing.

Then there’s the, what about him guy.

John 21:20 Peter, turning around, sees the disciple following. This was the one whom Yeshua loved, who also had reclined against Yeshua’s chest at the seder meal and said, “Master, who is the one who is betraying You?” 21 Seeing him, Peter said to Yeshua, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Yeshua said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

This person is worried about what everyone else is doing instead of making sure he’s following Jesus. You know the old as long as I look better than him or her I should be OK.

I think at times I have been all three of these people.
I love Yeshua’s response, “what is that to you? YOU follow me.”
In case you’re wondering He still gives that response.

Yeshua asked Peter 4 times to follow Him. Why do you think Jesus constantly has to ask us to follow Him? There are a lot of reasons I guess, life itself really. We get so caught up in our own world and the struggles that come with it. We slowly drift and before we know it we are in dead religion. Went to church, check. Said a prayer before I ate, check. It can be so subtle until one day you wake up and realize you are lukewarm.

Revelation 3:15-17 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. Oh, that you were either cold or hot! 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have made myself wealthy, and I need nothing. But you do not know that you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.

You ask yourself how you got there, you were doing all your church stuff  but are no longer imitating or multiplying, just existing. Still called a Christian but not actually doing any of the things that the first believers were recognized for. You may even be asking what a follower of Yeshua even looks like today. Well Gems I’m glad you asked because Jesus tells us in

Matthew 16:24-25  Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find

This word is for Believers from the King Himself!

1.     Desire to follow Him.

2.     Deny self – making my happiness and comfort top priority.

3.     Take up my cross – fighting your own fleshly desires.

4.     Lose your life – lose your need to control and free fall into Yeshua’s plan for you and trust me Gems your life will just begin.

Will the business term Christian once again carry the same weight it did for Paul and the disciples in Antioch? I pray it will because Jesus is still asking believers “Will you follow me?”…………..

Matthew 7

Judging the Fruit

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Maybe I'm Amazed

In the 70’s (1970’s)  a song came out by Paul McCartney called Maybe I’m Amazed. These are some the lyrics.

“Maybe I'm amazed at the way you're with me all the time
Maybe I'm afraid of the way I leave you
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song
Right me when I'm wrong
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you”

We say that phrase all the time, that’s amazing, you’re amazing; it was amazing we can be talking about anything from a chocolate cake to a view of the Grand Canyon.
We also use it in a negative way when we are aggravated with someone. Well aren’t you amazing…..

So where am I going with this? Glad you asked.

Have you ever thought about Jesus being amazed? I mean JESUS the son of God. The disease healing, wine making, prophesying, life resurrecting man of God?
What could possibly amaze Jesus?
Hey Lord wanna see a cool card trick?
Pretty sure He has seen all our tricks and as for creation, well He created it.

Going back to the lyrics of the song, I find myself drawn to 2 lines.
Maybe I’m afraid of the way I leave you
Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you

Let’s go back to the original question, can Jesus be amazed? Well the Bible talks about two times He apparently was.

Luke 7:2-3, 6-10
There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die.
The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.
So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”

First thing that hits me is this centurion wasn’t even a Jew, one of God’s own people, it was a Gentile. Jesus was already setting the stage for His ultimate goal of bringing Jew and Gentile together as one body, one church, one family.
It’s funny because sometimes it’s friends not family that have the most faith in us as we do our journey but that’s another jewel.
How did the Centurion leave Jesus?  In His own words, amazed. Jesus was amazed by his faith.

The second time we see Jesus amazed is
Mark 6:5-6
And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any mighty miracles among them except to place His hands on a few sick people and heal them. And He was amazed at their unbelief.

Well this is a bit harder to read. Jesus was amazed at the unbelief.
Here Jesus was in His hometown a place I’m sure He wanted to bless and heal as many as He could but here He was given no honor, He found no faith.

OK Gems so here’s the big question, when you spend time with Jesus how do you leave Him?

I once again have an almost address in Tennessee.
I say almost because I’m staying with friends for the next few weeks as I wait for the Lord to show me where exactly He wants me to live.

If you’re a regular Gena’s Jewels reader you know the last 8 months the Lord has kept EVERY door closed in Florida as far as finding a job. He pretty much removed me from everything I was involved with including bible studies and friendships, He was cutting ties and although it was painful I knew it was needed to give me the courage to leave Florida. It’s hard enough leaving my children and grandsons.

My dear friends Cynthia and Jon had asked me to come 3 times before and this time the Lord said pack your bags and go. I wasn’t sure how long the stay would be so I flew here to Franklin for a mere $39.00. I had 2 large suitcases that I desperately tried to fit my grandsons in.

I left with faith because the Lord has constantly shown me His faithfulness in taking care of me so I guess when I got on the plane I left Jesus feeling good about my faith, dare I say amazed.

On my 3rd day here I heard an advertisement on the radio about a company hiring part time help and felt the Holy Spirit say “send them your resume.”
I reminded Him that I sent hundreds of resumes for 8 months in Florida but OK I’ll send it. 
I decided to use this as my fleece. If I didn’t get the job I would stay for the summer then return to Florida and if I did get the job then the Lord wanted me to stay longer. I’m never sure how long long is but the Holy Spirit gives information on a need to know basis.

After a very thorough hiring process I was offered a job with the Christian Broadcasting Network on their prayer line which I’m totally excited to start in a few days.
Now I wish I could end my story here but a few days ago I was the 2nd story. I was amazing for lack of faith.

The questions of unbelief began. I was trying to figure out how to get my car here to TN. Where am I going to live? I still have to find a 2nd part time job to afford an apartment. How long is it going to take to save enough money to move? How will I get the little bit of stuff I have left in Florida here?
It’s funny getting the job didn’t make me feel like I had moved but the thought of my car arriving made the move real. How long is long? Do I register my car here?????

The Lord has been supernaturally taking care of me for 16 months paying all my bills and keeping me in a loving home, carrying me with such love and care emotionally and physically and here I am questioning everything with no honor to who He is.

This time I left Him feeling amazed at my unbelief….

Gems I never thought about Jesus being amazed in me one way or the other but I gotta tell you I want Him amazed at my faith not my unbelief.

What is the Lord asking you to do? What area is He asking you to amaze Him with your faith? What relationship is He asking you to consider or walk away from? What lane is He asking you to stay in? A job, a move, a commitment, what is He asking you to believe Him for?

The other line in that song is “maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you”
Jesus never fails! The Holy Spirit is a constant source of strength and wisdom. God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow He is the best description of stability I could ever experience.

It is amazing that I can not only need but count on Him always!
My prayer for myself is that when He looks at me He will encounter more times of being amazed at my faith than my unbelief.

A question was asked of me last night that I will close with asking you.

Is God trying to resurrect something in your life that you have put to death?
Is He amazed at your faith or unbelief?

“Maybe I'm amazed at the way you're with me all the time
Maybe I'm afraid of the way I leave you
Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song
Right me when I'm wrong
Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you”

Allow the Lord to help you sing your song

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Stay In Your Lane

This has been my mantra the past year and if you have had conversation with me lately I have given you the same advice, like it or not :)

It has been a hard lesson to learn and I still have to remind myself of it almost daily.
The gist of it is to keep focused on the path God has for me and don’t feel the need to help control the path of others.  Mostly it’s with my family that I have to stay in my own lane.

As a mother this can be a constant struggle. We want to “help” the Holy Spirit because we know where we screwed up and want to protect our children from the same mistakes. We can give advice but then we have to stay in our lane and let them drive.

I have been thinking a lot about Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path."

But let us go back further. In Numbers 8 God is giving instructions on setting up the tabernacle which is the place where the children of Israel would worship Him, so as you can imagine it was to be a very Holy place.

What stood out to me was the first few verses where He tells them how to set up the lamp stands:

Numbers 8:1-3 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to Aaron, and say to him, ‘When you arrange the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.’ ” 3 And Aaron did so; he arranged the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The lamps were set up so the light would shine forward. Now you might be saying well DUH of course they shown forward so you could see what was in front of you and you would be right, but let me ask you something. How many times are you looking back at your past when the Holy Spirit is asking you to move forward? Why are you trying to shed light on something you can't change?

I did some research on the lamps people used in Bible times.

The lamp they carried in the days of Jesus only shown a few feet in front of them. I don’t know the exact amount but it was minimal. That’s why they totally understood the verse in Psalms. They wouldn’t dare travel outside at night because it was too dangerous. They couldn’t see anything including wild beast who may have had them as a main course, so the image of light on the path and a lamp for your feet made total sense.

They could move one step at a time as the light gave direction on the path. I hate to tell you this Gems but that is still how God wants us to move. He wants us to take one step at a time and wait for the Holy Spirit to give the next direction and most times even if we have an idea of where we are going the path to get there is uncertain.
The problem with us is we want a flood light that not only shows the step in front of us it shows the whole path!

This type of light requires little to no faith.

In Numbers 9 a question is brought to Moses from the people, it’s not about travelling but I love Moses response. This advice can be applied to any questions we have, especially travel.

Numbers 9:8 Moses answered, “Wait here until I have received instructions for you from the Lord.”

How many devouring things can we save ourselves from if we take one step at a time?
The Holy Spirit is very clear with directions if we are patient to wait on them. As always I’m writing this jewel for myself as well as you.
Not only will He tell us where to go He will get things set up before we get there.

When the Lord moved me to TN  I had no idea where I was going or where I would live. I knew no one in TN and I had enough money to last about a week or so.
Step one, I prayed until I got the answer of where in TN to go, Franklin. When I asked the Lord for more light on my path the Holy Spirit answered with

Isaiah 30:21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left.

Gems I literally traveled that way and when I arrived in Franklin, my U haul packed with all my belongings, the Lord led the way step by step. I had no choice but to stay in my lane.

In Numbers 10 God instructs the Israelite's on how to move out when they were headed to their next destination. They were set up by clans with a leader and a banner over their head indicating who they were. Basically they were shown what lane to travel in.

God is such an orderly God that the clan that set up the tabernacle would arrive days before the Levites who were carrying the sacred objects for worship. When the Levites arrived the tabernacle was set up and they could begin worshiping the Lord.
If they would have changed lanes and left after the Gershonite and Merarite division there would have been an unneeded long wait before they could perform their duties.

How many times do we change lanes then complain that we are waiting too long for the next assignment. Don’t get me wrong at times the next assignment is to wait which is why we always have to go to the Holy Spirit and get instructions. Gems He really does allow things to move like clockwork, God’s clockwork of course.

As I have shared before, people worry that they may have to travel under the banner God has placed me with. I want to comfort you again by saying NO. You are allowed to stay in your lane and me in mine but again we cannot tell each other how to travel.

Numbers 10:29-30  One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”
30 But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”
Now I want to be honest with you Gems there are times I tell God I’m tapping out, this journey is too hard for me. I don’t want the lamp I want the flood light! I have had days that I’m so overwhelmed I tell the Holy Spirit “it’s OK if you want to take me home, I’m ready.”

I found comfort in knowing Moses felt the same way.

Numbers 11:14 I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! 15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!”

I totally get what Moses was feeling. The good news is God didn’t take him up on his offer instead He sent Moses help.
I can’t tell you how many times the Lord sends me help. Many of you reading this have been one of those people who pulled me up when I was not only changing lanes I was turning in the keys to my transportation.

I will end this jewel with an encouraging verse for all of us.

Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

I can’t think of anything more exciting than to know I can please God!
Stay in your lane Gems and be a light for your path and a beacon for others.

Filled with His Spirit, each of us are beacons of light that show the way to a lost and
dying world.”