17 ...follow me and I will make you fishers of men
I never realized that the ‘barJonas’ were the first disciple recruits.
It is pretty appropriate though. Here they are, busying themselves with the family business and JESUS finds them...
It made me think, what was I doing when JESUS found me?
I was 7, so I don’t actually remember. But in my first church, it was always a very big deal for a kid to get saved. They would never push you, because all of their energy was put into praying that you would let go and just go up.
Nobody to comfort you,
Or hold your hand...
The Christian walk was a tough walk. It was a tough experience and you were going to learn all of that on your own!
But Simon and Andrew are different. They were already in world working with responsibilities. They definitely had bills. Taxes were, I believe the biggest bill of all. But GOD said that this would happen, in response to Israel’s request for a King. God asked them to give 10% of their earnings. The king taxed and tariffed everything that they touched.
God requested, the king TOOK it!
And it’s no different today.
So these boys were working. They were probably the only ones working and taking care of their families. Simon, I know was married because the Bible speaks of his mother-in-law’s illness. The Bible doesn’t make much about their current situation clear except that JESUS, ministry, found them....
And not the other way around...
I say this because I believe it’s important. In my hometown it is not uncommon to see a church on every corner on the streets. If you say let’s go to Broad & Market, everyone knows that you are talking about doing some shopping.
People crowd the streets there. The crosswalk is so big and so busy. You never have to watch the light, just start walking when you see people shift and start moving their feet.
But you must hurry because you only have 10 secs to get across a really long street.
That’s Newark, NJ
One big haystack full of hay...
I liked seeing a church on every corner as I trudged up the cold cement hill on High St. My heart was filled with trepidation. I had experienced people throwing everything at me.. eggs, frozen and regular.. Bullets flew past me...
But I trudged on because I thought I’m going to be to my church soon and if I get shot, oh well...
I was on my way to church...
5 miles thinking like this. “I got on my Mrs Doubtfire shoes in case I need to run...
But I must’ve passed 12 churches in the way to my church and on my way home. No one ever discerned that my situation was rough? At 13,
No one ever cared that I would walk back down High st into the darkness?
High st was notoriously known as the most dangerous street in Newark, NJ.
I needed to be at church because my mother would walk in the door everyday with her fists in the air. She would call my name and she would just start punching...
And no one in all of those churches had a “gift to discern spirits?”
Discern please, that I am a kid and I have a spirit of insecurity, inadequacy and insufficiency brought on by my mother having those same spirits, plus a spirit of hatred because she told everyday that “she never wanted me, she didn’t like me and she was going to (half) kill me)”
No one saw???
But everybody had a church.
I have forgiven my mother by the way. I love her, and yes, DYFAS eventually took me out.
It didn’t get better.
I stayed in church though...
And I say this to everyone who has been abused.
I tried to commit suicide soooooo many times.
Because you can leave an abusive situation. But, if your mind is still in the abuse, your body will still be in that situation.
I have PTSD and GOD is helping me deal with the flashbacks.
There were people, not the family I was placed with, that tried to show me love. But the only thing that I was exposed to was hate.
And there are people who have told me that they were called to run multiple churches.. but the church that they have right now is not growing.
The gospel is about stepping up. I believe that if you step up and answer the call on your life God can and will do great things.
But how can God give you more than what you have, when you can’t handle what you have been given.
Churches are organic.
If you plant the church,
Water the church, and we know JESUS IS LIVING WATER,
Then GOD you WILL do the increase...
These are just a couple of Gods systems for the church...
But if the church is not seeing an increase or harvest, I must say that there might be a ‘wrench’ in the project.
We didn’t get there, but Andrew is actually the first recorded Christian Apostle which is totally appropriate because Simon, is asked a question by JESUS.
See the name Simon, originally means ‘to listen, or hearing’
JESUS asked a question of all the disciples, “who do men say that I am?”
This one and that one chimed in,...
But JESUS stopped and said ‘who do YOU say that I am?’
Peter said, “YOU ARE THE CHRIST, the Messiah! The SON OF THE LIVING GOD!”
See, I believe Simon at the time was really Simon... JESUS said flesh and blood hadn’t revealed that to him. See, when you stop listening to the naysayers, those that hate you and persecute you and you tune your ear to Heavens radio station. The disciples answer to the question was, “some say this, some say that”
But when Simon tuned them out and tuned Heaven in, he was able to hear the CORRECT answer clearly.
Simon spoke up with power and authority and when you are able to tune in love and tune out hate, HEAVEN will stand beside you and you will get a name change.
JESUS must’ve said, ok Simon told me who I am now I am going to tune into HEAVEN AND TELL HIM
WHO HE IS!
And I know the grass stood up, the trees leaned in, and the rocks began to cry as JESUS declared, “Simon! You ARE PETER AND ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT!”
Ok so if you are a part of the body and you have questions, tune the world out and tune HEAVEN in...
And that is why I wonder, if we are the body...
And one member, feels insignificant then don’t we bear one another’s burdens?
Don’t we feel their pain?
JESUS said “if my eye is filled with darkness, then my whole body is dark...”
I had surgery in late July of 2020 and my eyeballs had to be removed and put in again properly. I still struggle with motor skills there and swimming can be tedious... and if I get anxious, the pressure behind my eye shoots up and I can’t see at all.
When I left surgery my eyes bled for a few days, but nothing is worse than experiencing situations that just confront me and make me anxious.
I get so upset I start shaking and tears come. I lose it a little and bam!
I can’t see...
Last summer this happened to me near Antietam st. I had no where to go so I felt around for wall with an edge and I just sat.
Not in my old neighborhood, but I like to think GOD threw the church in there for me.
As I sat there, scared, fueling the anxiety that fueled my blindness, a squirrel hobbled up to me and I thought, “awe, you are so cute, I think I’m going to name you....
He hopped away.
I thought, “maybe he didn’t like the name. Lol”
And then I thought about my name. I thought about how it didn’t end in “a” like my sisters... I remembered how I symbolically changed it to “Gloria” when I was in the 3rd grade and my teacher refused to call me that. She called my mother in for a conference. She truly did not like me.
My mother told me that none of my teachers to that point liked me. I still remember some of the hateful things my first grade teacher did to me.
(I’m headed somewhere)
When I got to high school, Mr ONeall told me, without prompting, that I am what you call, “a love them or hate them person”
I thought, “ok, most people, even my family, hate me.”
I will deal...
In my 20s...
I was so afraid to do this but I did it.
A “minister” at the church that I attended told me to look up the meaning of my name.
I was named after my father...
So I am Jamie Elizabeth...
This is so painful guys..
Jamie is the female of James which is Greek for the Hebrew Jacob...
Be careful what you call your children...
Jacob has 2 meanings, so I went with the 1st... “to supplant”
To supplant means to replace or grab at ones heel. Jacobs attempts to replace Esau started in the womb and didn’t stop until he succeeded.
He was a manipulator!
Am I a manipulator LORD?
Elizabeth has a nice meaning but how can I even consider that. I will go out of my way not to trick or manipulate anyone.
But in Genesis 32, the Angel of the LORD changed Jacobs name!
“Do you think HE, God, would you consider changing my name? Because Jacob didn’t like his name and I don’t like my name either!”
And that was years ago.
“I was at the altar every Sunday, pleading with GOD to change everything about me, because I and my mother and my teachers and my family and my church family and my friends...
We took a poll. And we hate Jamie!”
Except that GOD created Jamie and I believe Ephesians tells us that we, I AM HIS MASTERPIECE!
I am a professional photographer, painter, poet...
All for Christ...
But the point is that I just made a canvas. And I dressed it in toilet tissue. I’m diving into what I always wanted to do!
If my canvas grew lips and told me that it hated how I created it, I would smash the lips with a hammer and rearrange them creating different shapes on the board.
Thank GOD HE IS NOT THAT EXPRESSIVE!
I still have my lips...
But HE did tell me the true meaning of my name this morning...
If you want to know your purpose, you have to ask the Man that created you.
I’m going to cry...
The second definition of Jacob means “to uproot”
HE said, “The truth is people love me like they love anyone else. The issue for them is that I have experienced a lot of trauma and the HOLY SPIRIT walked me through days when my mother made me strip down and beat blood out of my arms and legs... HE wiped my tears and my little sisters tears as she screamed, “stop, mommy, stop!” I had reached the point where I didn’t cry, because I had no tears left.
Every time I look at my arms now, and I count belt slashes that are still there, HE sees.. and everytime I look in the mirror and I see the 12 year old me looking back, HE holds us both...
But you don’t need a name change. You NEED to come to me to find meaning, because your identity is FOUND IN ME!
Elizabeth: is the gift of GOD..
You walk with the HOLY SPIRIT and issues are uprooted everywhere you go. Some people don’t want change. They would be very happy if they could stay in their mess, but you are a mirror of my love for them and a light pointing to the LIGHT!
That IS a gift from GOD!
Stay the course...
So in a way I did get my name change. My name means more to me now that I know that GOD had a hand in naming me.
To those churches that did not see.. Revelations is beautiful book. Check out the Letter to the Angel (Pastor) of the house at Ephesus. Fall in love with HIM again and seek HIM everyday for information on the members of the body that might be struggling or in danger. Because if I am a pinky toe that got banged as they always do. How fast can you run after the enemy, if I am in a cast?