You said Yes.

“Thank you,” I said to the Lord while praying this morning.

“Thank YOU,” he answered.

“For what?” I asked, wondering what he could mean.

“You said Yes. That’s all I needed.”

Suddenly I knew he was referring to the summer day in 1972, when I asked Jesus to be my Manager, Lord of my life. He had been my Savior for many years, but Lord? No, not really.

On that particular day I had told him, “I’ve tried to manage my life my own way for a long time and it’s not working. Please come in and manage it for me.”

Several times over the years I’d heard him call my name, in a small still voice, “Bette.” I would just ignore it, shrug it off to my imagination and not respond. In the very back of my mind somewhere I was probably thinking, “Later.”

But now I was so desperate! So sad, so disappointed, so disillusioned with my life. That afternoon when he called my name, I answered. And in a split-second everything changed… (See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/all-things-became-new/.)

Blinking back some tears as I looked through my kitchen window, I had to look again. The grass looked greener! The pine tree was browner, the canna lilies were orangier — nothing was the same!

Amazed, I walked out to my back yard to look at everything up close and slowly recognized that the grass and tree weren’t new. I was new.

Rubbing my hand over the trunk of the pine tree, I realized that verse was true: If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I was a new creation, with a new life, a new challenge, a new assignment, and a new identity.

Indeed, nothing has ever been the same since that day. Fifty years worth of images ran through my mind this morning, people and places, events and answered prayers. Healings. Deliverances. Callings…

So many things I would never have known or experienced, had Jesus not become Manager that day, Lord of my life.

I’m still thinking about what the Lord told me this morning, “You said Yes. That’s all I needed.” I’m so, so glad I finally did. I wish I’d done it much sooner.

(Also posted today, please see https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2022/09/20/after-being-delivered-from-fear-of-their-faces/)

After being delivered from fear of their faces…

The rest of the story; to be continued, I suspect.

20 September 2022

Lately I’ve been thinking back to all the people I’ve talked to since being delivered from “fear of their faces” in the summer of 1972.

(See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/fear-of-their-faces-2/)

All the Bible college classes I’ve taught. All the Sunday School classes. The public addresses (teaching, preaching, or speaking on a variety of subjects) to small and large crowds, even whole congregations (GOP, Christian Coalition).

The personal interviews I’ve done with new business clients (Executive Services and S.C. Family Memories), civic group and club addresses to talk about the need to preserve family histories for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Television interviews given for the same reason, with a host I’d never met before.

I thought about all the on-air interviews I’d done with guests from every aspect of the business, social and political world here in South Carolina, on my very own talk radio program (Talk With Bette; my husband Tim was my program director). Hospital presidents, college presidents, businessmen and women, chairs of civic clubs, representatives of state organizations, candidates for political office or elected officials themselves.

Then there are the many interviews I did while serving as a volunteer with OM Ships, talking with total strangers in two foreign countries (Iceland and Germany), as well as on board two ships operated by OM Ships (Logos II and Logos Hope).

I campaigned for (and won) a position on the South Carolina Commission on Women, where I had to appear for confirmation before an argumentative SC Senate Committee Hearing. Some people didn’t want me confirmed because of my pro-life stance on women’s issues. I also campaigned for an appointment to the SC Board of Education, not as complicated to win but not automatic either.

The formal meetings of both those groups were with people I had never met. Discussions could be heated and lengthy, so many issues were far from simple!

I ran twice and won twice for the office of First Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, when our current Governor was Chairman. I had opposition from another faithful (but not pro-life) GOP member. Campaigning was active, meeting and persuading many GOP representatives from across the state to support me. I was nominated and campaigned to serve as a Presidential Elector in the 1996 Presidential election for the SC 6th Congressional District. I won that election also — I had no opposition!

During all those years Tim and I helped to recruit and then assisted other candidates to run for office, requiring many working committee meetings, emails and phone conversations with newly-met people.

Then there were the non-profit organizations that Tim and I founded and ran, including one against legalizing video poker in SC (won that one), another opposing a South Carolina lottery (lost that one, unfortunately). Both required talking to a great many people one-on-one or in groups.

Most of all those were people I had never met before. While making a number of new friends along the way, there were many I would never see again. But being with them I experienced no shyness, no panic attacks, no fear of any kind! Sometimes I’d have a little “nervousness,” a feeling that I soon came to realize was actually the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do a work he had called me to do. And has called me to keep doing!

Teaching, preaching, sharing, caring (and writing, too) are callings of God. Assignments that require listening, hearing, understanding, and obeying that still small voice that first whispered my name as a little girl. “Bette,” he would call. For years I ignored him, put him off, tried to explain it away as merely my imagination.

In 1972 I finally answered that voice, asked him to be Lord of my life, and things have never been the same since!

Who are we in Christ?

We were created by God in his own image to be his own child, to do what He wants, when, where and how He wants, in order to get the results He wants.

And He made us with free will to choose to be and do that, or not.

Since starting this study, almost every day the Holy Spirit brings me another scripture with another facet of our identity in Christ to add to my notes. The following is in sort of a haphazard order, despite my attempts to make a logical step-by-step list.

I’m sure there are other descriptions and scriptures that could be added so I’m not going to publish this as “all inclusive.” Now and then He tells me, “It will ALL be helpful, you’ll see,” so I keep listening, keep studying, keep praying, and typing.

(If you get bored with this long list, just quit reading, but please don’t quit thinking about this subject, or asking the Lord for yourself: WHO AM I? He’ll find a way to answer you.)

How we live our daily lives, how we share God’s word, how we witness, even how we pray and intercede, are all related to that one essential question:

Who are we in Christ?

  • “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
  • We are in Christ, everything else is derived from that truth. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28, John 14:20
  • We are also inhabited by God: (1) by the Father, (2) by Jesus, and (3) by the Holy Spirit, John 14:17-23. All the Trinity make their home inside us.
  • We were created in God’s image, Genesis 1:27
  • Chosen, (1) He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, Ephesians 1:4; (2) God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:13; (3) you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9
  • Forgiven of all sins, Colossians 2:13-14
  • Free, not condemned, Romans 8:1-2
  • Saved by grace, God’s free gift to us, Ephesians 2:8
  • … through faith, also a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8
  • … faith that comes by hearing and believing God’s word, Romans 10:17
  • … his own faith was offered by Jesus to the disciples and to us, Mark 11:22
  • We are now the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Made an entirely new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Sons of God, adopted; also led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17
  • Made one spirit with Him, I Corinthians Cor. 6:17
  • Friends of Jesus, John 15:13-15, also see 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23
  • Taught by the Holy Spirit, who will also bring back to our remembrance whatever Jesus taught us; He will also show us the future, John 14:26
  • God’s workmanship, Ephesians 2:10, also see verse 8
  • Being changed (metamorphosized) from glory to glory, 2 Corinthians 3:18, also see Colossians 1:27
  • Unfinished; God began a good work in me and will continue to perform it, Philippians 1:6;
  • A life-long learner; I am continually learning and adding to what I have received and know, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • God’s workers to do what he ordained for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Co-laborers (co-workers) with God to do those things, 1 Corinthians 3:9; also see 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • As Jesus is, so are we in this world, I John 4:17
  • Imitators of God and of Christ, the word “followers” is literally translated imitators, Ephesians 5:1
  • Imitators of Paul as he imitates Christ, I Corinthians 4:16, 11:1
  • Seated with Christ in the heavenly places, Ephesians 2:6, also see 1:20-23
  • Spiritual warriors, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; in a war, whether we know it or not
  • Armed and armored, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • More than conquerors, Romans 8:37-39

What is our assignment?

  • Replenish planet earth, subdue it and have dominion over it, Genesis 1:26-28
  • Seek the kingdom of God, Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31-32, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” Romans 14:17
  • Because “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:31-32
  • Reign with him on earth now, in this lifetime, Romans 5:17, Revelation 5:10; 20:4-6; 22:5
  • Do what Jesus did, i.e make disciples, teach them to observe what he commanded the first disciples: (1) preach the kingdom, (2) heal the sick, (3) cleanse the lepers, (4) raise the dead, and (5) cast out demons; Matthew 28:18-20
  • Do even greater works, i.e. deeds, than Jesus did, John 14:12-13
  • Do the works ordained by God for us beforehand, Ephesians 2:10
  • Be co-workers with him, I Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1
  • Be ambassadors for him, 2 Corinthians. 5:20
  • God is in us to will and to do his good pleasure; allow him to do that, Philippians 2:13
  • Do everything in love, I Corinthians 16:14 (agape, God-kind of love)
  • Walk (live, behave) in love, Ephesians 5:2
  • Give thanks in everything – no matter what happens around us, there are always things to be thankful for, I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Offer the sacrifice of praise, Hebrews 13:15
  • Pray without ceasing, I Thessalonians 5:17
  • Pray in the Spirit, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray with all prayer and supplication, Ephesians 6:18
  • Pray God’s will and then we know we have what we requested, I John 5:14-15
  • Receive answers to prayer, thus receiving fullness of joy, John 15:11, 16:24
  • Note: many scriptures instruct believers to pray. None say pray for the sick, however, except for James 5:14: a sick person should call for the elders of the church who will anoint him with oil and then they pray over him. Jesus commanded disciples to heal the sick, not pray for the sick.

How can we do that?

  • Know God and Jesus, John 17:3
  • Be led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14-16
  • Receive faith, Mark 11:22, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:17
  • Live by faith, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 2:20
  • Receive the baptism (and thus God’s power – dunamis) of the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8
  • Be being filled with the Holy Spirit; this is a continuous verb, not a one-time event, Ephesians 5:18
  • Be a co-laborer with God, not a “lone ranger,” 1 Corinthians 3:9
  • Know who we are in Christ, know who God is and who the enemy is, John 10:10
  • Know our authority on the earth, Matthew 10:1, Luke 9:1, the same as the original disciples / apostles, Matthew 28:18-20
  • He gave them power and authority, Luke 9:1, 10:17-19, the 70 returned in joy; he gave them authority over all the power of the enemy; also applies to us
  • Fight the good fight of faith, 1 Timothy 6:12
  • Submit to God, then resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7
  • Resist the devil steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world, I Peter 5:9
  • Desire all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 12-14
  • Covet the best spiritual gifts (i.e. most appropriate for the need) I Corinthians 12:31; especially covet to prophesy, I Corinthians 14:39
  • Expect Jesus to manifest himself to us, John 14:21
  • Abide in him, allow his word to abide in us; then we can ask and it is done, John 15:7
  • Be transformed (metamorphosized) by the renewing, i.e. renovation of the mind (Greek word nous, way of thinking and understanding), Romans 12:2
  • We have the mind of Christ, his way of thinking and understanding as he is in us, 1 Corinthians 2:16
  • Take advantage of the information, training and equipment available in God’s word, 2 Peter 1:3-8
  • Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, Ephesians 6:10
  • Be spiritually armed and armored with the whole armor of God, Ephesians 6:11-17
  • Realize that we can do all things through Christ, Philippians 4:13
  • Allow the fruit of the spirit to grow and develop in our lives, Galatians 5:22-24
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, John 16:13
  • Live and walk (act, behave) in the spirit, Galatians 5:25
  • Continue living and acting by the spirit, not by keeping the law, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:1-3
  • Be patient after doing the will of God, Hebrews 10:36
  • Let patience do its perfect work so we will lack nothing, James 1:4
  • Be patient with joyfulness, Colossians 1:11
  • Be anxious for nothing, Philippians 4:6
  • Do not be troubled or afraid, John 14:27, 1 John 4:18
  • Let the peace of God rule in our heart, Colossians 3:15
  • Be humble, 1 Peter 5:5-6
  • Don’t think more highly of yourself than you should, Romans 12:3

Also see:

Paul’s prayers, good examples to pray for ourselves and others:

  • Be enriched in utterance and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 1:4-8
  • Have the spirit of wisdom and revelation, understanding the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints (Christians), Ephesians 1:16-19
  • Be strengthened… comprehend… filled with the fullness of God; read entire passage, Ephesians 3:14-19
  • Know and understand God’s will, Colossians 1:9,
  • Be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, Ephesians 5:17

My prayer language

My Prayer Language

Time: 11:55 PM, April 15, 1974… That’s when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, with no any idea in the least what was happening.

I’d never even heard of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but whatever it was, it was exhilarating. Exciting. Terrifying. Challenging!

Somehow I knew it was the answer to my short prayer at bedtime — “Lord, help me.”
(see https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/testimony-adventures-with-the-holy-spirit-part-i/) But I didn’t realize that among everything else that was happening, I was receiving a precious gift, a language with which my spirit could communicate directly with Father God.

It was the middle of the night! The house was quiet, my husband was sound asleep in the bed beside me, and I was hearing the most beautiful chorus singing songs of worship and adulation to the Father, inside my head. It didn’t occur to me that it was my own spirit; or that I could sing those lovely words out loud.

Years earlier I had taken voice lessons to help overcome a sore, scratchy throat that developed nearly every afternoon, following a day of teaching many Bible college classes. My vocal instructor gave me a book of familiar classic opera solos and sang along with me as we practiced them.

None were written in English; they were in Latin, French or Italian. All composed in a much higher pitch than my usual speaking voice, it soon became obvious that I wasn’t actually an alto, as I’d always thought. (And always sung, throughout six years of chorus and chorale in high school!) I was a soprano, singing those high register notes without a problem.

I was thrilled! Pretty soon the scratchiness at the end of a day was a thing of the past. I still have that book somewhere; it brings back many sweet memories of the teacher and our times singing together. Ave Maria. Un Bel Di. Jerusalem, the Lament of Christ. Such sweet songs in sweet languages I’d never learned, although I read the English translation printed beneath the foreign phrases so I could make sense of the pieces.

All that is to say, the beautiful melodies I was now hearing in my mind weren’t any of those languages. Not Greek or Hebrew, either, as I had gotten familiar with those while studying the Bible. So what was it?

I didn’t know, but that musical concert was so peaceful, even regenerating. I didn’t attempt to sing along; how could I? I didn’t know that language. Thankful for this special gift I just listened and enjoyed it.

A few weeks later I began reading Dennis Bennett’s book, The Holy Spirit and You, and came across a thought-provoking chapter about speaking in tongues, and praying in the spirit. I began thinking more about the lovely music I was hearing. Was that actually my own spirit singing? If it was, could I sing those words out loud?

I decided to find out one afternoon while preparing supper for my family. All alone in the house there was no-one to make fun, or criticize, or have to explain it to. Standing over my kitchen range, I began to sing out loud, not understanding the language but finding the words coming easily.

Whole phrases, sentences, and paragraphs came in an orderly fashion! It was amazing! I felt like I was singing a brand-new aria I’d never heard before.

Well, that was 1974. Continuing to study about the work of the Holy Spirit, I learned that this spiritual language — singing in the spirit — has two purposes.

  • One is to offer thanksgiving, praise and worship from my heart to Father God.
  • The other is to speak out a prayer God himself inspires, allowing him to perform something on earth that he wants to do: his will.

These expressions quickly became an integral part of who I am in the Lord. I still sing in the spirit (especially in groups of spirit-filled believers worshiping our Lord together), and I pray in the spirit as well as in English.

Sometimes I advise a friend with a thorny problem to solve to pray in tongues, i.e. in the spirit, whenever not praying or speaking in English. I believe the solution will come faster than it would have otherwise. That has certainly been the case in my own life over these years.

Here’s something else I’ve learned over the years: Not everyone receives a full-blown language to begin with. Sometimes they only receive a few words and because of that, they don’t truly believe they were given a spiritual language.

But if they speak the words they do have, more will come. It’s like a young child learning our complicated English language, their vocabulary starts out small but over time it grows, and grows.

(Here’s a helpful article about the difference between this and the gift of tongues for public meetings:  https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/tongues-prayer-language-vs-public-gift/)

Another spirit of fear: heights

Fear of people had seemed to be a lifelong problem for me. (See link below). Fear of heights, not so much.

As a grammar school kid spending summers with my grandparents, trees were just one of those big toys God put in their yard for me to play with, in, on, atop, you get the picture.

Chinaberry trees were wonderful habitats for imaginative boys and girls. Hide and seek? Cops and robbers? Cowboys and Indians? Spies and secret agents?

Leafy branches, hard green Chinaberries for slingshot ammunition, tobacco twine and empty tin cans for telephones — what more did you need? Clamber up the nearest branch, climb like monkeys to higher branches, crouch behind the trunk, await your “enemy” and let ’em have it! Play, play, play, having lots of fun all summer long.

There were sawdust piles to climb, the ladder to the hay loft in the barn, the roof top over the horse (really granddaddy’s mule) stable, oodles of climbing opportunities. None of them brought on even the slightest hint of fear to me, for quite a few fun-filled summers.

There was a church camp in the North Carolina Mountains that my whole family attended one summer. A late morning activity for the older kids (probably age 10 or so) was climbing one of the smaller hills to the very top, a well-marked trail, lots of handholds, twists and turns along the way with a helpful adult guide to lead us up.

No sweat! No problem! The view from the top was spectacular, the hills and mountains really were blue! Who knew! It was so beautiful, I would have done it again and again.

But the next summer, disaster struck. My grandparents took me with them on a vacation road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Remembering those lovely blue-shaded hills and mountains, the adventure seemed so inviting, I was thrilled they had asked me.

Then came our first stop, at a North Carolina overlook. Granddaddy pulled off the road onto a grassy area, pointing out the beautiful cliffs and valleys and peaks and trees and — no guard rails. “Look, see how pretty?” But I didn’t see pretty. What I saw was disaster. My head began spinning, my balance went off, and I felt compelled to run to the edge of the cliff and jump off.

Fear struck me like a shotgun blast. First I clung to the car door, then sunk onto the floorboards of the back seat, crouching with my knees to my chin, where I rode the rest of that trip. I shook, cried, and kept my eyes squeezed tightly shut. Mercifully my dumbfounded grandparents made the rest of the trip much shorter than planned.

Was that the beginning? No doubt. There was no more summer time tree-climbing fun for me. Even a step stool in the kitchen was too much, I was terrified to attempt getting something off a cabinet shelf. A full fledged panic attack would ensue, although no-one called it that in those days. I knew, I just knew, I would fall, break my neck and die.

As a teenager and young adult the fear was manageable, simply because I never climbed a kitchen step stool or anything else, for any reason. Making use of lower kitchen and bathroom shelves was reasonable; they were reachable. Upper shelves were either empty or used by others in my family. Never me. Front door and back door house steps or school staircases weren’t fun, but they had sturdy hand rails!

I got married in 1961, had two children, and one day in the 1970’s a huge WWII cargo plane flew into our local airport and the public was invited to come take a look inside. Of course, we had to go see it!

And of course, I discovered that to see inside the cockpit and cargo compartment, you had to ascend a very tall, tall ladder. I stared a long time at that plane, my excited kids raring to go. I got in line with them (and half of Florence, it seemed) and when it came our turn, I stepped up one rung — and froze.

Cold sweat. Pounding pulse. Shortness of breath. I just couldn’t do it.

I let my husband and the kids go ahead and I backed up. Way, way back, behind the crowd where I turned my back to the people, embarrassed for anyone to look at my face. Eventually my family found me, we went home and that was that.

Standing in my living room, my husband said mockingly, “How do you plan to get to heaven?” I couldn’t answer him. Tears running down my cheeks, I knew something had to give.

I had been a Christian for years. I’d re-dedicated my life to the Lord in 1972. I’d been delivered from one horrible fear that same year.  How could this be happening? I knew the scriptures (2 Timothy 1:7); I knew that believers just weren’t supposed to be afraid like this. And so that night I prayed. And prayed. I fell asleep praying.

When I awoke I really didn’t feel any different, but I took the Lord at his word and chose to believe that this tormenting, humiliating fear of heights was gone — just like the fear of their faces had gone, a year earlier.

A few days after that, a friend’s husband called — “Bette, I just got qualified on a larger plane, you want to come take a ride around Florence?” Bob, a member of the local CAP, was inviting several friends to take a short plane ride around town and wanted to include me. He knew nothing of my fear, didn’t know my spiritual teeth were gritted as I said, Sure, I’d love to. I was saying to God, we’re going to find out if prayer works or not!

I had no problem climbing into the plane, it was only ground level. Two friends climbed into rear seats, a dad and his little boy. Bob checked to be sure we were all buckled in tight, took the pilot’s seat and began the plane’s slow trek to the outer runway. The engine revved up, zoom down the runway we went and up, up into the air!

We weren’t far off the ground when my door popped open. I could see beautiful blue sky, but fear didn’t grip me! This is interesting, I thought – no fear! Bob just pushed the door further out, then slammed it shut good. We enjoyed ten or fifteen minutes touring around our town and the outskirts, Bob pointing out what we were looking at. Things look a lot different from overhead, we discovered. Nobody knew what I was thinking, thanking and praising the Lord — no nervous twinges, no nothing.

We were a bit sorry when it was time to come back to earth. Bob chatted with the control tower, got a few instructions and down to the runway we came. And bounced. The plane bounced up off the tarmac quite a few feet, and Bob headed the plane further up; we would have to circle the airport and try again.

My friend and his son in the back seat had become pretty quiet. Bob was talking with the control tower again and I was thinking, Wow, that was something. Wow! But no fear, no nervous twinges, I had only a bit of excitement at my own mental state — I had indeed been delivered of fear, once again!

The second try at landing was smooth and uneventful, we all thanked Bob profusely for the ride, the landing adventure, and especially we thanked the Lord for keeping us all safe!

Not long afterward my church asked me to chaperone a group of teenagers on a Carowinds trip. The excited, laughing teens wanted me to join them on all the tall rides and roller coasters — something I’d never, ever been able to do before. But I did it, over, and over that day. It was wonderful.

Since then, I’ve traveled in small private planes (locally), commuter planes (between Florence, Atlanta, Charlotte, etc.), larger passenger jets (to New York, Minneapolis, Boston), and international jets (to Iceland and Germany). There were quite a few adventures along the way on those trips, but fear wasn’t included.

Several years ago my brother Harold invited me to accompany him on a photography trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway, continuing onto the Shenandoah Parkway in Virginia.

For several days we traveled, stopped and took photographs, some from close to the edge of a drop-off. Here’s one I took.

There was no fear. No nervousness. No twinges! Just gratitude, praise and thanksgiving to my good, good God for his mercy and deliverance.

Are you fearful? Of speaking to people, of heights, anything else? Did you think you were just “born that way?” I truly doubt anyone is ever just born that way. But evil spirits are like fleas, or ticks. They find opportunities to attach themselves to people, even Christians, for purposes of harassment and prevention. Stealing your joy.

They prevent you from doing what Father God wants you to do, from participating in events He wants you to enjoy, stopping you from witnessing to his great power to deliver, helping get other people free. Don’t let the enemy get away with it!

If you would like me to pray with you, please just ask.

(See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/fear-of-their-faces-testimony-part-three/)

Henry’s Sentries are being called up

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

A radical revolutionary not afraid to speak up against Great Britain, Patrick Henry is most famous for his speech that includes the line, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Governor of Virginia during the Revolution, he fought to add the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.

As I was dreaming a nonsense sort of dream early this morning, a word from the Lord interrupted my dream quite loudly. “Henry’s Sentries.”

It was so loud, so pronounced, that it woke me up from sleep about 4:00 AM. There was nothing more than that, no explanation, nothing. I couldn’t imagine what it meant.

I know what a sentry is – a guard, a watchman – which is what prophetic intercessors are, in the spirit realm. I am one of those.

But who or what was Henry? Immediately the name, Patrick Henry, came to mind. All I remembered about him was “Give me liberty or give me death,” a statement he made in a speech before the American Revolution.

Questions and more questions kept coming:

  • Who exactly was Patrick Henry?
  • How was he connected to “sentries?”
  • How did he get information that caused him to support resistance to Great Britain?
  • Who were his friends, acquaintances, cohorts, compatriots in those times?
  • Henry’s sentries — were they secret agents? Spies?
  • Pre-Revolution and/or during the Revolution?
  • Did Patrick Henry know Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and if so, were they friends?

I got up, fixed a cup of coffee and went to the computer. Using various phrases to seek out what that word referred to, I learned that without the voice and influence of Patrick Henry, there would be no Bill of Rights attached to the Constitution. That piqued my interest even further.

And then I came across a free online digitized biography of Patrick Henry, written by his grandson William Wirt Henry: “Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence And Speeches V1.”, published in 1891. I found a printed copy online and ordered it. I started reading the digitized  version, taking a break only to go to a Tuesday prayer meeting at my friends’ home.

I have learned some interesting things about Patrick Henry:
– Ordinary looking, unassuming (usually).
– Didn’t care much about his outward appearance or dress.
– Loved music; played the violin and flute.
– Loved fun, quite personable with an excellent personality.
– After a few years of regular school he was tutored at home by his father.
– Closely observed people and things, keeping his thoughts to himself a lot of the time.
– Highly intelligent; a voracious reader.
– A Christian from an early age; knowledgeable of the Bible.
– Possessed a remarkable and accurate memory of whatever he read, saw or heard.

I have also learned some important things about him:
– Married at age 18, he failed at two occupations, then read a couple of law books, applied for a law license, was examined and licensed.
– He began a highly successful practice while still a very young man, serving the working class people mostly; quite successful in court, he soon became respected and well liked in that area of Virginia.
– He was a powerful, anointed orator when he finally began to speak on issues that he felt passionate about. Like freedom. Liberty.
– Elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses on a “fluke,” in just a few short days he became one of the most notable and powerful voices in Virginia politics. Amazing!

I gradually came to realize that Henry’s sentries didn’t live during his lifetime. God is calling them up in OUR lifetime.

Henry was a modern-day Son of Issachar (see note below), one of Holy Spirit’s sentries whose relationship with the Lord, close observation of the times and events he was living through, and courage and willingness to speak out were instrumental in saving the American colonies from the grip of Great Britain.

Sentries like that are needed now, in the time we’re living in. I could name a few that I know of across the nation today, but many more are needed.

I shared about this with the members of the prayer group and was asked to pray a prayer of impartation over the group – there were nine of us there today – for this specific assignment. And so I did.

We are all connected to other intercessors in this area and other places, some prophetic, some not, but we have discovered a common thread in the last few weeks: attacks of the enemy to distract our attention and change our prayer focus.

Some have been hurt in odd accidents, some have become sick with unusual ailments or someone in their families have, and some have been experiencing sudden disturbances in their household or with relatives.

At the same time, there have been a number of great answers to long-time prayers, real breakthroughs.

We are committed to continuing our prayers / commands / decrees, asking the Lord to sharpen our spiritual seeing, our hearing, our attention to his voice; committed to taking greater authority over the distractions of the enemy, to standing up and speaking out when and as the Holy Spirit directs it.

How about you?

……………………………………………..

The sons of Issachar are described in I Chronicles 12:32: “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.” They served David well.
See https://www.livingaschristians.com/resources/2020/06/14/the-sons-of-issachar

Childhood Salvation

Is there such a thing as childhood salvation?

Is there really an age of accountability? Some people think so, some people don’t. Some say it’s 8 years of age, others say it’s 12.

But have they ever lived with a strong-willed 3 year old? One who knows what it means to be “naughty?”

I think the article at this link explains the issue quite well. https://truthforkids.com/age-of-accountability

I don’t remember a time in my life, ever, that I didn’t know for sure that Jesus is the son of God, that he is God himself, and that he took my sin on himself and died on the cross to pay for MY sins.

“Jesus loves me, this I know.” And I do, actually. I was taught that simple song as a young child, and I believed it then just as I believe it now.

For God so loved the world, including me, that he gave his only begotten son, Jesus, and that whosoever (including me) believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16). I was taught that powerful verse as a young child too, and I believed it then just as I believe it now. It summarizes the gospel very well.

I have been trying to understand how I came to believe what I know to be true. Several things come to mind.

One:

My parents were both Christians who had been raised in Christian homes. (That really does make a difference.) We loved them and we trusted them. We trusted them to tell us truthful things, not to tell us lies.

They prayed for us and with us, my brother and me. We prayed over all our meals, prayed over both ordinary and special events, prayed at bedtime, and of course prayed in church. And we went to church as a family. We went to Sunday School and “preaching,” attended nearly every revival at our own church as well as other churches, plus tent revivals.

Even in the days when one or the other of my parents were far from perfect parents, far from perfect in their actions towards each other or towards themselves personally, they still turned to the Lord to help them. To deliver them. To restore them. And he always did.

I never knew my father’s parents; his dad died years before I was born and his mom died when I was about 3 years old. But they were church members (Baptist) and I can imagine them praying for their family and the families that would come in later years. That would include me. Many of the older Motte generations are buried in the Grove Hill Cemetery in Darlington, South Carolina.

My mother’s parents and most of their Powers siblings were members of Methodist churches. Many of their generation of that family are buried in the cemetery at Pine Grove Methodist Church between Timmonsville and Darlington, SC. My own parents are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Florence.

When I would see either set of relatives, Christmas Day, Easter, birthday celebrations, whatever the occasion, there was always a time of catching up with family news, and there was always prayer. Every meal where Da (my mother’s father) was at the table would begin with him saying grace – “Thank the Lord for Dinner.” (Or Breakfast, or Supper.) And he meant it, as short as it was. He was indeed thankful. So were we all.

I didn’t hear my great grandparents’ prayers, but I am convinced that they did know the Lord and that they did pray.

Two:

My brother and I were taught the Bible, as being the real, actual, word of the living God. Sometimes it was Mama and Daddy doing the teaching, sometimes a Sunday School teacher, and sometimes the pastor. The Bible was important to all of us, as important as eating food and drinking water.

Early days we were read Bible stories from a children’s book. We learned about Abraham and Sara, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Noah and the ark, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, Elijah and Elisha, many others from the pages of the Old and New Testaments.

We also learned about Jesus — lots and lots of stories about Jesus. Who he was, why he came, what he did while on planet earth. We learned about sin and what it was, how it first got into existence, what God thinks about it, and what God did about it, for us, by sending Jesus.

We learned what grace is too, and that we didn’t deserve God’s grace but we got it anyway. We didn’t deserve God’s love, but we got it anyway.

We also learned that salvation isn’t automatic just because our parents were Christians, that we ourselves were responsible for that decision. I will never forget two little lessons we learned somewhere: “God has no grandchildren,” and “Living in a garage doesn’t make you a car!”

We were first taught these concepts in simple, easy to understand words. We learned that we have the ability to ask Jesus into our heart — meaning, to ask him to forgive us when we did wrong (i.e. naughty, bad things), ask him to be our “saver” and ask him to help us change our messy way of selfish thinking.

As a teenager I had occasions to think about all that once or twice, and each time I made a conscious decision and recommitment to that truth: Yes, Jesus was indeed my Saviour. As an adult living a troubled life years later, I made an expanded, deliberate decision that Yes, Jesus was both Saviour and Lord, and although I hadn’t really been acknowledging him as MY Lord, I wanted him to be.

And in an instant, he was. A lot changed that day… I changed a lot that day! See https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/all-things-became-new/

I don’t have a specific date written down anywhere when I was born again. Some folks would say I wasn’t really born again, then. I wasn’t saved, I wasn’t really a Christian, as a child.

I have to disagree. Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have been my loving companions for too long, the Bible has been too precious to me for too long, and the Kingdom of God has been too real to me for too long.

But I have often wished I’d made Jesus both Saviour AND Lord of my life much earlier.

Childhood Melodies

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.”

Patty cake. Three blind mice. Row, row, row your boat. Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor — no, actually they didn’t, Daddy sang something in a barbershop quartet but I have no idea what range voice he had.

Mama didn’t sing much. She loved to hear him sing, though, and when I was little and taking piano lessons, Mama taught herself the basics of playing the piano.

Music was always playing in our house, whether on radio or hi-fi (record player with fancy turntable, loadable with multiple vinyl records). Folk music, classics by symphony orchestras, musical movie soundtracks, blues and jazz from New Orleans, boogie woogie, Hits of the 50’s and 60’s, Big Band love songs and war songs — Mama and Daddy had a huge collection of long-play 33’s to choose from.

Or somebody in the house might be singing (who knows who), or playing banjo (daddy), or playing piano (me), or playing violin (brother Bud, aka Harold).

During the summer months when Bud and I spent a lot of time at our grandparents’ farm, Mimi usually had a radio on in the house tuned to a country music station somewhere.

Grand Ole Opry on WSM radio, direct from Nashville! I learned to love the sound of fiddle music, acoustic and slide steel guitar, the thump, thump of a big old bass guitar, the twang twang of ukuleles and mandolins, and lots of hillbilly tunes. Bluegrass. Mountain music. Honky-tonk!

When Mimi and Da bought a black and white television set, they discovered the Louisiana Hayride and Grand Ole Opry were broadcast there, too! Now I could see what my favorite country western music-makers looked like!

Saturday nights brought the memorable Kitty Wells’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” or Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” right into our living room.

I still can’t hear the name Hank Williams without hearing him singing “I Saw the Light.”

In between the vocalists might be the comedy skits of Minnie Pearl, or the amazing strings and pickin’ music of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.

Here’s a clip titled Earl’s Breakdown — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtMdqh3HFBo. It was wonderful then, still wonderful now!

Why did we love music so much?

One practical, earthly reason may have been Daddy’s oldest sister, Aunt Myrtle. She played piano for silent movies! And she sponsored my piano lessons. Myrtle could play like Liberace and she loved for all of us to listen.

There’s another, more spiritual reason, though. Music was Father God’s invention. The Lord sings! The sons of God (angels) sing! Heavens, earth, trees and mountains, even the stars sing!

So when it came to creating human beings, it’s only logical that He’d include a music gene in there somewhere. At least in my own family, I’m sure he did!

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)

“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:7)

“Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth.” (I Chron. 16:33)

“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” (Isaiah 49:13)

Childhood Prayers

Bette, age 5

My earliest childhood prayer went like this:

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mama and Daddy, God bless Bud, God bless Mimi and Da, God bless Uncle Ponk and Aunt Vera, God bless Uncle Dub and Aunt Pearl, and God bless Uncle Mike.”

I asked God to bless every relative of Mama and Daddy’s that I could remember, their brothers and his sisters, their spouses and all their children. I added names as time went on, when Mike married Frances, and babies were born to one or another family. No doubt I missed a few cousins now and then.

Once in a while I would tag on somebody not a relative, like my school teacher or Sunday School teacher, or friend. At the end of the prayer, I was always careful to add “In Jesus’s name, Amen.”

Confident that everybody I loved was covered with God’s protection for the night, I pulled my doll babies closer and fell asleep.

Even now I can clearly visualize my bedroom and my bed, myself snuggled up under the covers with five or six dolls surrounding me as I closed my eyes and spoke to God at bedtime. I was in kindergarten at the time of that mini-vision, but I had prayed that same bedtime prayer many, many evenings before that.

When did I stop praying those precious, repetitive words?

Perhaps it was after the day I heard the Lord whisper to me in a small quiet voice, and I realized that he was actually listening to my thoughts and prayers. And I knew somehow that I could just talk to him, I didn’t have to use memorized, rote prayers! How neat.

He didn’t speak that day in answer to a prayer, actually. He had spoken in the middle of my first grade classroom as I was admiring my teacher. He said, “One day YOU will be a teacher.” That was it.

That was all he’d said to me then but I knew it was God. I had no question or fear or doubt or anything, just some surprise that he considered me important enough to speak to, in the middle of a school day, in the middle of a school room. Me!

I didn’t really expect God to talk to me again; I didn’t even ask him to talk to me again for many years. I just accepted it as a one-off, something he wanted me to know just because I loved my teacher, and because he loved me.

And then I sort of forgot it. Yep.

As the school years passed by one by one, none of my plans included becoming a teacher. Nuclear or space physicist, that was my plan. That was what I studied all the math and science for, took all the advanced testing for, planned to enter college for.

My family faithfully attended church where as a young teen once again I greatly admired a teacher: my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Mellie Sue Hewitt, always smiling, soft spoken and kindhearted. She was also quite knowledgeable in the scriptures. In her classes the Old Testament came alive, relevant, and important.

Prayer was a given in her classes, and they didn’t consist of repetitive phrases and sentences. They were more like chatting with a close, personal friend. Along with amazing stories of dynamic Bible characters like Abraham, Moses and Joshua, I learned that the God they knew, and that she knew, appreciated ordinary conversational prayer.

Then Daddy died suddenly of a heart attack, May 14, 1960. I was 16 years old. My mother couldn’t cope. She fell apart, turned away from church, away from her faith, and turned to substances for “support.” Drugs and alcohol.

After that, church wasn’t a real priority for me either. Mama had dropped out, so I dropped out. While most of my friends went away to college, I was enrolled at USC-Florence here at home. Mama drove me back and forth. We didn’t talk much.

If you have read any of my other stories, biographical stuff, you probably know that my plans got majorly derailed during my first year of college. My grades were excellent, I had no problems in class, but life-shaking problems at home finally got the best of me.

My alcoholic mother and I simply could not get along. I dropped out of college to marry the man who I thought would take me away from all my problems. He didn’t. It turned out that he, like Mama, was an alcoholic.

I began practicing the art of conversational prayer, and I mean practice. Practice. Practice. Prayer lists. Notebooks. Little sticky notes on my desk, in my Bible, everywhere. Most consisted of “Please help me” type requests. Help me get through today. Help me get through the week! Help me pay the bills.

Help me not fall apart, like Mama did. They were all one-way but despite my having dropped out, I knew, I just knew, that He never had.

A lot happened in the next few years. I’ve written about some of it. I bought a number of books about prayer, how to pray, intercessory prayer, having a prayer life. I read and underlined, wrote notes in the margins. My prayer lists grew. My notebooks got filled, post-it notes proliferated on computer, mirrors, Bibles and books.

And along the way, I discovered something amazing. Prayer isn’t always one-way only.

Transit / transition

I knew 2019 would be a year of change; something would trigger something else, which would result in still something more.

Thinking in terms of geopolitics in the natural and spiritual realms, I didn’t realize how close-to-home that change would be, back in January.

My January 1st post titled “2019” described several prophetic words the Lord had given me: Flashpoint; critical mass; paradigm shift. My initial understanding of those words was of global events and certainly some of those have occurred. National and international news this very week point to that.

But in my personal life, all have come to pass as well, and continue. Here’s a bit of background…

Off and on for some months my daughter Shelby and I had discussed moving in together. She was living with her three grandchildren and the children’s aunt in a leased house, with an option to purchase the property. She was putting funds aside every month to be used as a down payment some day.

Unfortunately; a number of local companies had declined her request for a mortgage loan. But then one day a local bank agreed to work with her on acquiring a mortgage, provided she could increase her down payment funding somewhat.

We started praying more specifically for wisdom and guidance, and it seemed as though we both heard the same reply: it’s time.

And so I spoke to a realtor friend, listed my condominium for sale, and we began what I thought might be a lengthy process.

But it wasn’t! Within a couple of weeks the condo was sold! Two days before closing, my four cats and I moved in with Shelby and family.

It was obvious that the bank’s mortgage agreement was a sort of flashpoint for us, one that triggered a major change, leading to critical mass and a paradigm shift in both our lives. Nothing will ever be the same.

Within a few more weeks we bought the house together and are now in the process of remodeling. An older house, it needed a fair amount of updating to make it more convenient for all of us.

A more modern kitchen, extra bathroom, new closets, updated flooring, various maintenance projects and minor repairs started two days after I moved in. Can you visualize mess with a capital M? It’s been an adventure living in the house while all this is going on!

Well, my prayer assignment hasn’t changed but it has broadened significantly. Many other people have been added to my usual, normal prayer list. Other situations; more specific needs.

“2019 is going to be an interesting year, I think” is how I ended that January 1st post. It has certainly been that.

Thinking about writing this post, two other words kept coming to mind: transit, and transition. Short explanations: transit is a journey; transition is the result of that journey.

My recent transit changed my physical address; the spiritual transition is ongoing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what else the Holy Spirit has in mind for 2019!