God’s smelter, God’s forge

Esther's Petition

The Holy Spirit — AND fire?

Smelter“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Luke 3:16 KJV)

Hmmm. Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, John said. Okay, that I understand. But fire? Why baptize with fire? Some thoughts:

When precious metal is “fired,” it’s purified, thus made more valuable. When a human being is “fired,” the same process happens. The baptism with fire is God’s smelter…

Smelting produces a metal from its ore, such as silver, iron, copper and other base metals. The process removes unwanted elements and leaves just the metal behind.

When someone becomes a Christian, some things — unwanted elements — need to be removed. Sickness and disease, physical weaknesses, flaws, genetic predispositions…

View original post 660 more words

Suppose

Esther's Petition

Suppose…

I always existed, as pure thought and energy. Alone and completely self-sufficient, I needed nothing outside myself to eternally exist.

Yet at some point I chose not to be alone. I created immortal beings with the ability to think, learn, reason, make decisions, travel, and do work. Not identical to each other and none like myself, I made hierarchies of these creatures and gave them personality, power and purpose. Communication. Fellowship. Worship.

For their habitation I created a place outside myself, efficiently designed to best serve their purpose and mine. The dimension of heaven.

To facilitate communication, fellowship and worship, I made a space for myself within their habitation, creating one without danger of damage or destruction from my presence.

Sounds okay, yes? God, angels, heaven. Seems complete to me.

But it wasn’t, in God’s mind. Something more remained to be created.

For whatever reason, God desired fellowship with…

View original post 517 more words

The world is winding down

18 April 2022

At bedtime last night, I prayed as I often do, “Father, please speak to me.”  What I had in mind was, what did the Lord want me to pray about, to request of him. That brought on a conversation I didn’t expect.

“The world is winding down,” he said.

Then he defined what “the world” actually is. Every human being alive at one moment in time constitutes the world. It’s people, not the planet earth. And this world, this iteration of the world, he said, is winding down. He continued explaining.

The people of the world consists of many believers and many unbelievers, young and old. Many, many are tired. Even faithful, spirit-filled believers are weary, exhausted from holding on, interceding, trying to believe their prayers are right and will be answered, although it’s been a long time and there’s still no breakthrough.

They are not just spiritually tired, they are physically, mentally and emotionally worn out. They are ready to come home.

And while this world winds down, the next iteration of the world is winding “up,” he said. It is is being called up even as we speak, an army to be energized and trained whether they ever wanted to be or not.

Although they haven’t been planning or studying to be pastors, preachers, missionaries, revivalists, or even administrators in a church somewhere, they are my next-gen warriors for a battle they’ve never imagined being in. How shall they fight?

They will call those things that be not as though they were, and thus call my will into being, here on the earth.

A great number of soldiers are being called up by my Spirit. Some are longtime Christians who thought they knew how to pray. They did in some ways, but they didn’t know how to do the kind of spiritual warfare necessary now.

They need to know how to speak the word I give them and see it happen in front of their eyes.

Recognizing my voice suddenly, surprised and maybe not pleasantly surprised at its message, they find themselves ready to obey. Dissatisfied with the status quo of their own faith, their own life, they have felt unsettled in the spirit but haven’t known why.

This is why.

A new army of warriors is necessary now so I am calling them now. Their training is going to go fast, covert and overt fighters, learning to throw spiritual “monkey wrenches” into the enemy’s plots and plans, sometimes in an instant.

Here is more of what the Lord said in that conversation:

Change will come in how these fighters think, how they think about their own spiritual authority, about praying and listening, seeking and speaking in agreement with God’s word, commanding, decreeing and declaring what he wants spoken.

Change will also come in what they see, not just what exists in the natural, but also what exists in the supernatural.

They will also see what God wants to exist in the future. Describing those things as though they already are, co-laboring with him they will call them into being.

This world is going away fast, he repeated. As people retire, resign from their present assignment or die, new warriors are taking their place in homes, schools and colleges. Malls. Hospitals. Government departments. Office buildings. Factories. Farms. Churches too. Military installations, new recruits and seasoned soldiers, U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force. Every branch.

Ordinary looking men and women, doing ordinary work, won’t be ordinary natural people any more. They will watch and listen for my voice and say what I say. Command what I command. Decree what I decree, declare what I declare, the Lord said. Then he added:

Call them up with me. Say with me, Warrior Army, arise now. Arm yourselves. Be on guard. Be alert. Say what the Lord tells you to say, now. The training will be fierce but it will be fast. The results will be, too.

As our conversation ended, I knew one thing for certain — 

This is going to be live fire training.

Although I fell asleep in a few moments I was wide awake again in a few hours. I got up and stayed up, meditating about all he had told me and wondering, should I publish that conversation or keep it to myself? I was listening for his directions as I began typing these notes.

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.

Be Ye Holy

Esther's Petition

BurningBush(Previous title Bush. Burning. Holy?)

When Moses was tending his father-in-law’s flock up in the mountains, he saw an angel in the middle of a bush on fire (Exodus 3:1-6). Well, that was certainly unusual.

Curious, he went a bit closer to check it out, and God called him by name! That was even more unusual. Then God said, Take off your shoes, the place you’re standing is holy ground.

Wow. The dirt was holy. I could understand the bush being holy, but even the dirt? God himself had picked that spot for an encounter with Moses. Because God was there, the place was separated for his use.

It’s as though God had drawn a line around that bush, claimed it for his own purpose, set it on fire and then settled first an angel, then his own presence into the middle of the bush.

That story is fascinating…

View original post 694 more words

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.

Lies coming down

I shared this word with only a few fellow intercessors back in February, but this week I’ve seen more and more of it coming to pass.

On Monday night February 14, 2022, as I was praying before sleep the Lord showed me ranks of angel warriors with swords drawn and pointed outwards, preparing to attack.

Father God showed me that he has called Time and the warriors are deploying. He is calling an end to the lies and deception that the enemy has been using across America (and the whole world, for that matter).

The spirit behind all the lies and deception is actually the spirit of fear, He said. Fear of being found out, truth revealed, deceptions uncovered, lies that had brought much influence, power and wealth, while hidden.

Over the coming days / weeks / months there will be a battle of God’s warriors against the spirit of fear behind the lies, deception, all the deliberate falsehoods afflicting God’s people — indeed all people.

You won’t actually perceive this battle very well on the earth for a little while, He said, because it is a purely spiritual battle. But you will perceive the results soon as the lies are made obvious. The lies and deception will come down, will end, and the truth will become obvious.

Soon the spiritual battle will descend onto the earth and the natural world will also engage in this battle. Spiritual warriors and prayer warriors will be put to work more fiercely than ever.

So be alert, be aware, watch and keep watching, listen and keep listening. More importantly, pray and keep praying.

Posted 1 April 2022

 

Do you know the way?

Read this one along with “Cross Purposes,” maybe.

Esther's Petition

I was thinking about the word “way” the other day. No special reason, I can’t recall anything in particular that started that train of thought.

“Do you know the Way to San Jose” wasn’t playing in my head. Not even Jesus’s statement, “I am the way.” It was more like random abstract thinking.

What does the word “way” mean? I was thinking. How to do something? Like a way to cook collards so they don’t smell up the house? (Yes, there is one. Ask me.)

Or maybe a way of looking at something? Like through my trifocals when watching TV but not when reading a book. Or looking at something from somebody else’s point of view.

Then the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts. “Do you know the way from Florence to Columbia?”

“Sure,” I said. “There are lots of ways to get to Columbia from here.”

I began to think…

View original post 771 more words

Cross purposes

Esther's Petition

PrayingAtMall“It’s just my cross to bear,” people say sometimes. They mean trouble, hardship, sickness or disease they can’t seem to get rid of. Bad job. Bad marriage. Bad health. They want you to think they are “bearing up under it” with a good attitude, much long-suffering.

They’re referring to a verse they heard somewhere. They have a vague idea that they are carrying their cross for Jesus’ sake, trying to be a good disciple. But of course, getting rid of that particular cross is their heart’s desire. No matter what else they do, they desperately try to get out from under it. Seek a better job. Go to marriage counseling. Make doctor appointments.

A question: When did Jesus’ cross-carrying begin? When did it end? When did the disciples’ cross-carrying begin? When did it end? What does that even mean, actually?

Some background may help. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Jesus…

View original post 1,079 more words