“Get in the Bush”

Saints, I do not want to watch Isaac die. I share with you the following powerful message that struck my heart written by dear sister in Christ, Bambi Jenkins. “Get in the bush” was a fresh word she gave me during one of our recent conversations on a specific situation I was feeling led but reluctant to address. I encouraged her to share this message with a wider audience as I believe many of us in the body of Christ feel discomfort and may resist sharing the truth with those who may reject it because we desire to keep their company. But regardless of our discomfort, we cannot sit and watch Isaac die. We must get in the bush. Go ‘head, my sister. Deliver this message as only you can. Read on!  Blessings.  -Nicole 

 

bambi jenkinsGenesis 22:13 (NIV) Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.

How many of you know that Jesus didn’t save us just for ourselves? In other words, He wants to use you.

If we don’t get in the bush, we will stand by and WATCH Isaac die.

There was a story that God had given me to explain this to one of my children. It was about a new warden of a prison. He was strange to most because of how he operated. This warden wasn’t so concerned about the prisoners being locked up. His concern was more about how he could get them to be free.

The new warden made an announcement, that for one day between the hours of 12 noon and 4 p.m., he would open every cell door as he walked through the entire prison. He told them, that any prisoner who comes and gets behind him and follows him out of the prison will be set free and their records expunged. Many speculated if this could actually be real or just a test.

The day had arrived for this to happen and at noon all the doors opened and the warden began his walk. Many of the prisoners ran out and started fighting each other. Some started grabbing as much stuff as they could steal and ran back to their cell to hide it. A lot of the gangs took this opportunity to try to kill rival gangs. Out of 500 prisoners only 13 walked behind the warden.

Most of the prisoners never even left their cells. They were making fun of the ones walking with the warden telling them that this is just a set up, a joke, and that they were being tricked. One of the guys following the warden begged his friend to come out of his cell and come with them, but he shook his head and told him “he was a fool to believe this stuff.” Others spit at and threw things at the warden and the prisoners following him, calling them “sell outs.”

…3:58 p.m. had come and before you knew it, the warden and the followers neared the exit. At 3:59 p.m., all the guards were ordered to put any prisoners who hadn’t followed the warden back into their cells. When 4:00 p.m. came, as the followers began to exit the prison, a few prisoners yelled from their cells, “Wait! I didn’t think this was real. Please let me go too.” They desperately screamed, “Just walk through again and this time I promise I’ll follow you out.”

But the doors slammed shut.

The warden then looked at the prisoners who followed him out and told them, “Just as promised, you are all free and your records have been expunged. I just have one request from you.”

They all replied, “Anything man you name it. You just got us out of there, you just set us free.”

He said, “I know this is going to sound crazy…”

“Excuse me,” one of the freed prisoners interrupted the warden, so happy that he was free, and eagerly said, “Crazy, no sir. Ask anything, I’ll do it.” The warden continued: “I want you to go back in there and tell them the same thing I told you. That by my authority, the gates will be open for two hours this time and if they follow you to the exit door where I’ll be waiting, that they will also be free.”

Gratitude suddenly changed to fear. The gentleman who was previously so eager asked the warden was he crazy. They all started to gripe and complain. One said,  “I’m free now. I don’t want to go back in there.” Another said, “They had their chance, but they didn’t care so why should I.”  A few asked the warden, “Didn’t you see them killing each other in there? Don’t you care about what happens to us? Didn’t you hear them making fun of you? What makes you think that they will listen to us if they didn’t even believe you? They are going to reject us!”

The warden answered, “We have cameras and security. I will watching you the entire time. I know that they ignored and made fun of me but I still want them to be free. Yes, you will all be taking a huge risk by putting your life on the line. But think about it–it was the same thing I just did for you.”

Out of the 13 men only two stepped forward. One of the two men said, “How can I not go back? How can I not show others the way out? How can I not risk it all for those still imprisoned and for a warden who risked it all for me. How can I not!!”

Ezekiel 3:18  (NIV)  When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.

So many of us have been saved and set free, but we sit on the sidelines of fear, hide behind fear of rejection, fill our lives with programs, all in hopes that we look holy enough to cover up our disobedience.

Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh. He had his reasons and concerns.

Matthew 4:19 tells us: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

 

ram-in-a-bush

WE are the sacrifice. WE are the ram in the bush, but most bushes are empty. The harvest is ripe but the labors are few. We don’t like the idea of being uncomfortable. The idea of being rejected has made us chameleons. Blending in with the crowd, changing with every conversation as the need to fit in grows far faster than the desire to stand out for God’s glory.

Some have even taken what God has said out of context.

Hebrews 10:25 tells us to come together to encourage each other while we continue to fish. But we get comfortable right there. We would rather fish each other because there is no risk in dealing with people who already agree with you.

Also, Jesus responded to those who questioned why he was spending time with those who were considered outsiders.

Mark 2:16-17 (NASB)  When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?”  And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

You who are already “well,” stop fishing each other and get in the bush. I know it hurts, you keep getting pricked, and it’s so painfully uncomfortable at times. But ask yourself: Why are you living and for whom do you live?

We are quick to say, “Send me Lord I’ll go.” But when the assignment arrives we hesitate. We choose ourselves over God in our denial to be obedient to Him. We rationalize this decision to disobey by displaying our overflowing works (that we hand-picked, by the way), by believing that the assignment is just too difficult. We don’t want to fan the flames of disappointment in relationships. In other words, we don’t want to be disliked by anyone, even at the very price of their soul.

So we sit and watch numerous “Isaacs” die as we maintain our great image in the eyes of man. We watch our friends, loved ones, coworkers, and others that God brings across our path, perish and drift away into a darkness from which there is no return, because we refuse to get in the bush.

God has called you to a place of discomfort that will cause many to be saved and set free, but you must be willing to choose God over yourself. You must volunteer to serve God in the presence of pain and disappointment, while trusting that He will work everything together for your good and His glory.

Take your position child of God. Your assignment awaits you.

Isaac lived, because there was A RAM IN THE BUSH!

In Christ,

Bambi

 

 

 

“These Are the Results”

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

On October 27, 2018, I was invited to share a message for the third year in a row to students at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. The message I delivered was entitled “Identity Theft” on how Satan steals the identity already given to us by God. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Called the “father of lies,” Satan from the very beginning has been challenging God and His designs to fabricate a counter design. In order for us to acquiesce to Satan’s design, we’d have to change our identity. Many people are living off of a false identity to deal with traumas, abuses and brokenness. They concoct and are attracted to what the false identity offers and tells them.

The false identities are camouflaged in “courage” and “acceptance.” That’s the appeal. But they are empty promises from Satan. In confusing the truth about our identity, he sows seeds of depression, hopelessness and apprehension about our future. But here’s the Good News: Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full! Question is, Will you volunteer to suffer? A dear sister in Christ and guest writer for Voices Against the Grain, Bambi Jenkins, shares a sobering message on this subject entitled “These Are the Results.” I implore you to read and consider what identity you are living today. If you have accepted false information, there is hope.   -Nicole

To the Broken: “These Are the Results”

bambi jenkinsI had a vision. I was driving down the street and saw a woman walking around in her home with a broken spirit. She is smart, has all types of degrees, is a peak performer at her job and holds a top position. But, in her home when no one was around, she was torn and depressed. As she walked slowly throughout her home, head hung down, she looked back over her life.

Her history was traumatic. She had been sexually abused, exposed to a lot of trauma and severely mistreated at the hands of those she trusted. Being raised in the church, she had begun to trust the Lord but soon lost her connection with Him. She turned to alternative religions and paths that opposed the Christian faith in which she was raised. Desperate to escape her pain, she created a false image of herself. At work, she was skilled, confident, and personable, but when alone at home, she was defeated, depressed with thoughts of suicide. She was confronted with the reality of her tormented past, without any viable repost. The identity she was able to portray at work, was not sufficient to sustain her destroyed self-esteem at home.

These are the results of abuse, neglect, and fear.

You see, if the devil fears anything, it is the future you and what God has planned to do through you. The enemy wants to discourage and disrupt your progress towards being who God created you to be. So Satan sows seeds of self-doubt. Seeds that can be carried throughout and impact virtually every area of your life.

Without God’s help, many will surrender their true identity in order to cope with deep-seated pain. We will put on a mask to conceal old but still-painful wounds so that people may see a more beautiful, successful and powerful person —a person that we are unable to see for ourselves, but one that we desperately create in an attempt to fit in with society. We will turn away from what God says about us and become what the world says is more acceptable.

deception-john-rizzuto

But know this beloved: God is calling us out of all the self-made tombs that we have accepted for our lives. He’s calling us out of the darkness and the very painful chains that bind and distract us. He will show us what it means to live free in Him. He will give us a new identity and the confidence to live in it as He mends our broken hearts.

Psalm 34:18 NIV The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

We can stand against pleasing our flesh, the devil and this world’s agenda, by simply trusting in who God says we are.

James 4:17 NIV Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

To the Church: “These Are the Results”

In my frustration about what is happening in some churches and with its leaders, the Lord allowed me to see and understand that if we don’t recognize the results, then we won’t understand how to fight to be free of them. The results that I’m speaking of is when leadership lacks truth, love, and order, we create church members who are simply religious, without a true relationship with Christ. This often turns nonbelievers away who don’t care to participate in what they see as hypocrisy.

We have many great leaders among us, however, too many are more concerned about their image, church rosters and/or financial success. This leads to ineffective and powerless sermons and teachings that compromises the very power, strength and saving Grace of God’s Word.

All too often the body of Christ has come under attack because of those who use the house of God as just another social club to alleviate their loneliness and boredom. But the Word of God makes it clear the role of the Church leadership:

Proverbs 27:23 NLT Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds;

Jesus is calling for Christian leaders to follow Him and to speak the truth in love, without compromising it in order to avoid offending anyone. We are to put our trust in Him— not in numbers — and believe that He will provide everything that is needed. Leadership is responsible for teaching the truth as well as living it. As leaders, we have to be serious about God’s Kingdom business and not religious busy-ness.

1 Timothy 3:2 NIV 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.

Many church members have relinquished the responsibility of their relationship with the Lord and knowing His word, giving this work totally over to the church. This has resulted in fickleness, inadequate power, ineffectual prayer, and instability. Hebrews 10:25 encourages the gathering together of saints but that is not where it stops. Christians, we are to study daily as well as teach those in our care the word of God. No one can eat once a week and be sustained. As with Christians, we must continue to feast on the word of God every day. When we neglect to read and meditate on the word of God, this weakens our spirits and allows the flesh to take control.

Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

We must be willing to look in the mirror and get real with ourselves. We have to allow God to penetrate those painful areas that we’ve attempted to hide and hold back. We need to understand that anything that we hold on to, is the very thing that the enemy will use to target and distract us. Obedience must become non-negotiable to us. Children of God, I encourage you to get to know God for yourselves. Pray for those in authority. Lift each other and live God’s truth before everyone.

Jesus is calling for nonbelievers to put their trust in Him alone and to yield their lives to Him based on His love and truth. He loves you so much that He died for you. I can agree that there are those in the church who seem to be living different lives from what they profess. There will be many who profess to know Him. This can be disappointing and discouraging but nevertheless, God’s word is still true.

Titus 1: 16 NIV 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Also, please understand that there are many who aren’t playing with God but are simply struggling in different areas and could be in the process of change. Don’t run from God because of them. Run to Him because of Jesus. We are all in need of God’s strength to stand. I’m praying that you will come to know Him for yourselves.

Altar Call to Alter Your Path

These are the results, but it’s not the end. There is hope.

i surrender all

Do you desire the real thing? To no longer live a facade? Will you volunteer to shed your robe of comfort in exchange for pain — on purpose? Are you ready to be someone who no longer wants just a surface relationship, who runs to the throne of grace to surrender all to God?

My prayers are with you.

Your sister in Christ,

Bambi