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Cousin Worry


 

By: Evangelist Barbara Colbert
 

Did you know, that everyone has a close, or at best, a distant, relative named Worry? Now, if Worry is a close relative, then you better be doing a whole lot of praying. However, if Worry is a distant relative, then you have probably painfully learned, that although he will show up on your doorstep from time to time, he seriously cannot be allowed to stay.
 

Now, for identification purposes, I'm going to call Worry, “Cousin Worry”, and because it can be so incredibly dominating, I'm going to refer to Worry in the masculine (no offense to the male gender, I'm just saying . . .) 

 

Anyway, some of us have a Cousin Worry that actually lives with us every day of our lives. He's comfortable there, has taken up residence, and has become an integral part of the family. Then some have a Cousin Worry who is an opportunist that shows up when the circumstances make a way, and stays as long as the host allows. For others, Cousin Worry will slip in unexpectedly, generally latched on to some upset or emergency, and will attempt to instantly overwhelm the host with full force. This kind of Cousin Worry knows, only because he's been there before, that his stay is short and his time is limited. The host knows him well and loathes his presence. He knows he will be quickly ousted. This is the best fate for Cousin Worry, short-lived and sent back to whence he came.
 

Now, when Cousin Worry shows up, he brings with him several of his shady parasitic friends. They’re traveling companions named Anxiety, Fear, Panic and Trepidation. Then, if he is allowed to stay long enough, another good friend comes along named, Stress. Stress has a wide variety of antagonistic and sickening friends, named Depression, Hypertension, Insomnia, Migraines, just to name a few. These invasive allies will overtake the host like leeches, some will set up roots and even become a permanent member of the family, for generations to come. Cousin Worry and company can become so controlling, that he will paralyze his host to the point of utter hopelessness, rendering him unable to live or even survive.
 

Not only is Cousin Worry the ultimate hinderer, he is also the proverbial Killjoy. His agenda is to extinguish faith in God, and reinstate the sting of death. Cousin Worry challenges our faith, impedes our relationship with God, flat-out steals our joy. He is an enemy of God, and regarded as sin, absolutely forbidden in the lives of those who love Him.  
 

Howbeit, everyone has a Cousin Worry and he is here to stay. He is related to all humanity in every walk of life, from the poor and impoverished, to the rich and famous. He’s no respecter of persons, no matter what the station in life, he will show up to kill, steal and destroy. Old Cousin Worry is ageless, dating back as far as the Garden of Eden, making his debut when he and his companion, Greed, helped usher in the fall of man.

Okay, that being said, examined and hopefully agreed, all is not lost. If you identify a Cousin Worry residing in your life, or a Cousin Worry that keeps showing up every time a situation arises, or even if you have a Cousin Worry who is kept well at bay, and just dew-drops-in when he can catch you unawares. Whatever, whoever, whenever, just because he’s here to stay, doesn't mean he has to stay with you. It’s alright to kick out a relative, especially when it’s Cousin Worry!

 

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1/4/2020

 

Heart Hostages: Set Them Free and Breath Again!


 

By: Evangelist Barbara Colbert


 

“As for me, I will call upon God and the Lord shall save me . . . He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me for there were many with me.”


 

When I was five years old, my father came and took my sister away from us. His rescue was quick and clandestine, the only evidence left behind, a trail of her belongings scattered down the stairs and out the front door. He took her 300 miles away to live with him, and there she stayed long enough to know she had a father who did, after all, really care. I didn’t know then, that the memory of that day, would become an unshakable stowaway in the dark places of my heart. (Only God knows the brokenness that His children suffer. He alone knows each tear that is shed, gathers them in a bucket to be poured into the sea of forgetfulness.)


 

My father’s abandonment sent me vainly searching for a fulfillment I could not define. In spite of the love generously bestowed upon me from my mother, nothing could take the place of him. Little girl lost, looking for her natural protector, the only man who could give her what comes exclusively from the paternal blood tie. Even growing up with fine memories and excellent rearing that prepared me well for womanhood, the need to satisfy the perpetual feeling of rejection left by my father, never ceased. (Only God hears the cries that flow from the deep well of the heart.)


 

Years later my mother, deeply loved and cherished, passed on to glory. A  source of strength and a strong tower, she’d never left nor abandoned me. Yet, when she was gone, the void was just as deep as the one left by my father. Her memory lingered on, made bittersweet, tainted by his ghost. For now, they were both gone, and I had no one. (Only God can take away the pains of life, things lost, things regretted.)


 

Then, again many years later, the Father whispered into my shattered heart, “Even though your father and mother may forsake you, then I will take you up.” Be it death or desertion, we will all have to depart this life one way or another; for as the grass flourish today, tomorrow it fadeth, so shall the mortal man. Nothing lasts forever, but God Almighty, the Great I Am. He who loves me more than my father or my mother ever could, caused me to love Him, even more than I could have ever loved my mother or my father. (“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”) 


 

Because He knew my brokenness. Because He heard my cries. Because He wanted me made whole. For this, He set the captives in my heart free forevermore. He is the only One reigning within my heart. Not as a hostage, but a willing inhabitant, a gatekeeper to my heart and my soul.  


 

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” I shall know it unfailingly. God has made a way out of the wilderness of past hurts, pains, and sorrows. He has provided water for the dry and thirsty places in my heart. Now, He is doing a new thing, bringing forth a new year, springing forth a new life. Creating a hostage free heart, just ripe for the harvesting, ready to breathe again! 

 


 
November 2, 2019

The Heart is the Garden

By: Evangelist B. Colbert

Galatians 5:22 says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. The “fruit” of the Spirit, singular. One

Spirit, one fruit, inhabiting the heart of the Believer, fusing the Spirit of the Lord into the spirit of

the man, making one whole new creation in Christ.

You see, those of us who are “peculiar” people, proclaimed followers of Christ, are mandatorily

and statutorily required to become new creatures made in His image. Easier said than done, but

only for us - not for God. It’s His fruit of His Holy Spirit, which can only be imparted and

cultivated by the father God through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Myths and lies will tell us

that we don't have to possess all of the Fruit of the Spirit. Well, just having some of the fruit of

the Spirit, is like having a half, or a portion of a piece of fruit, incomplete and malformed.

Remember, it is one fruit comprised of many devine attributes, without the whole fruit, we are

undernourished, unevolved, possibly ineffective.

Keeping it simple, it's like a garden planted with a variety of fruit and vegetables. While we may

not eat or have a taste for them all at the same time, we will inevitably need them all at some

point in time. When we neglect to cultivate all of the fruit or vegetables in the garden, we will find

ourselves lacking at a time of need a necessary ingredient, rendering the dish incomplete,

distasteful, and maybe inedible.

Another thing. Ecclesiastes 11 teaches us to “ Cast thy bread upon many waters, for thou shalt

find it after many days. Give a portion to seven and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil

shall be upon the earth.” It is wise to sow unsparingly and indiscriminately, for we never know

when we will need a return. Ecclesiastes 11 also promises that if we sow bountifully, we will

reap bountifully, opening a gateway for us to receive bounty from the least likely places, due to

the righteous seed sowed along the way. Essentially, we cannot sow seeds of righteousness,

from an unrighteous garden. We cannot produce a garden of righteousness, except it be the

Fruit of the Spirit.

On a personal note, I will testify of a very recent time in my own life, where I needed every one

the fruit of the Spirit. Furthermore, I needed the Lord to enable me to sow unsparingly, and

quench my doubt of any return whatsoever. Negotiating the weeds that had infiltrated my

garden, the Lord brought to my spirit the remembrance of his words in 1st Corinthians 13:13; a

divine assurance that if I possess love, the very essence of Him, His Spirit, His fruit, then all else

shall surely spring and prosper therefrom. The fruit of His Spirit will prevail one way or another,

the garden will flourish nevertheless.

As always, God does not leave us without hope. So, when your garden is not flourishing and

storms of snow and rain, drought and infestations have compromised the cultivation of your fruit,

remember that God set love as the very first fruit of the Spirit. The one that will always take

dominion over your garden and never die. So that although we may be a bit spiritually

undeveloped, we will still nonetheless sow unsparingly, reap bountifully, and be continually

fruitful and multiply!

 

 

October 5, 2019

The Year Wanda Left

By: Evangelist Barbara Colbert

Youthfulness: greenness, tender years, springtime, a period of early existence, early in

time, a time when one is compelled by energy, will, and innocence . Who can foresee what

roads the youth will travel while young and all so restless? Perhaps paths of fiery endeavors

and mind-boggling challenges, or trails bumpy and ragged, embedded with pitfalls, thickets and

sinkholes. The philosophy of the youthful mind is that the ends will justify the means; and such

brazen motivation can only be justified by, youthfulness.

When we are young, there’s nothing we can’t do. The sun rises and sets all about us.

We have the world at our fingertips. King Solomon, even with all wisdom, restless and insatiable

with youthful desires, embarked on a quest to find the “meaning of life”. Yet, as the years

progressed, he came to find that it was all in vain. He found that the zeal of youthfulness could

indeed lead to a road of perdition, and the native sadly finding himself sinking into a cesspool of

sorrows and regrets.

As was for her. The year she left, she was all so young, headstrong and foolish. Youthful

desires fueled by an unyielding lust for life, the fires of youthfulness raged unquenchable and

destructive. In this condition, youthfulness was blind with no peripheral vision. While the instant

motives may have been of some credibility, there was no consideration for repercussions or

consequences. In her youthful naivety, like Solomon, she’d resolved that life could be

conquered by search and seizure. So she left without a thought for the tomorrows that would

come after tomorrow, leaving her traveling companions behind charred and scarred as

smoldering embers.

Solomon grew older and wiser, but only after negotiating countless roads of trial and

error. Though he was the wisest man on earth, Solomon yet embraced a lifestyle embroiled in

excessive self-indulgence and gratification; catastrophic by-products of youthfulness

unrestrained, uncontained. Howbeit, in his seasoned years, Solomon came to realize that all

that one does in the scheme of things was mere “vanity”, and despite all his wealth and

notability, his fate was the same as the common man’s - from the dust he came, to the dust he

would return.

The year she left was followed by decades of roads traveled, some high - some low.

Like Solomon, she’d gathered many treasures along the way, and made an equivalent amount

of errors. As youthfulness gradually faded, wisdom settled in. She felt the pangs of decisions

and roads taken in youthful anxiety, and deep in her heart she sorely understood more of

Solomon’s words “. . . what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is

past.” There was nothing left to do about it all but rest in His divine grace and mercy. Again,

Solomon “. . . God has set the world in their heart, so they cannot know or find out the work that

God maketh from the beginning to the end.” What we did not know in our youthfulness, God yet

knew then, He yet knows now, and He yet knows for tomorrow.

So we must be encouraged when counting failures and regrets. God makes allowances

for youthful calamities. It’s best to decide that the “year” we “left” was the year we embarked on

the arduous journey from youthfulness to wholeness. When we took life by the tail, rolled with

the punches, and by God’s grace, landed on our feet. Then, count it all joy and let King Solomon

conclude the matter with “ . . . there is nothing new under the sun. Everything else is vanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 2019

Giants

By: Evangelist B. Colbert

Joshua said, “Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me . . .” and though the land was inhabited by giants, because the Lord had promised it to His people, Joshua again declared, “ . . . but the LORD helping me, I will drive them out . . ." What is impossible to man, is more than possible with God. 

Joshua proposed, where will you make your dwelling place? Will it be in the hill country? Or the valley low? Though there may be “giants” in the way, will you surrender to them, making your dwelling place in the valleys, intimidated and afraid of the mammoths that hover overhead? 

God did not give those who serve Him, the spirit of fear. In fact, He is glorified through challenges and battles seemingly unconquerable. He lovingly brings His people out of valleys and into the high places. God will see us through the valley of the shadow of death and we shall fear no evil, for He is ever with us. He will permit the giants to come and hover about us like rumbling mountains threatening avalanche, but He will protect us from their devour. As Joshua proclaimed “. . . but the LORD helping me, I will drive them out.” 

Still, we must realize that all Giants do not come from the wiles of the Enemy. Some simply emerge from within. Having dwelled within us as companions willingly entertained by our own deficits and desires. Giant’s will distract, impede and devastate our lives in whatever way they are given passage. If they come from without, they will seek to infiltrate. If they come from within, they will seek to manifest. Joshua said that though there were giants in the land which God had promised His people, and though the people were insufficient on their own to conquer those giants, with God’s help they would drive them out and take possession of that which He had promised. 

    Where have you made your dwelling place? What giants are in your life that you have not served over to God for eviction? What shapes your thinking, your emotions, even your health, to the point of control and manipulation? What Giants inhabit your  life, and bound you to dwelling in the valley, instead of the hill country that God has promised? Giants of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, jealousy, strife and unforgiveness. Giants that have taken habitation within the heart. We may live with them all our lives and never realize how much of a role they play in our actions and reactions, our choices and decisions, sometimes our very life and death. Yet, where they come from and how they got there is secondary to casting them out, and closing the door for entry no more. Joshua said, “ . . . but the LORD helping me, I will drive them out.” With God all things are possible. 

    The Father is a master surgeon, a supernaturally divine Healer. With the balm of “Peace that Surpasses all Understanding”, He soothes worry and anxiety, fear forever denounced. With the oil of “Grace and Mercy”, He quenches the fires of anger, jealousy and strife. With the precious “Blood of Jesus” He covers a multitude of sins, enabling forgiveness. By God, Giants shall fall, rendered impotent and unpowerful. 

Joshua would only settle for the hill country, because he knew that by God, he was not meant to dwell in the valley low. God has promised Hill Country to all who know Him and any Goliaths inhabiting that land shall flee, when we declare “Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day.“ 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion Defined

 

By: Evangelist B. Colbert 

Someone asked the question, “Why does it seem that the church today is not taken as seriously as it used to be?” Someone else said, “Maybe it’s “organized religion” that’s made the church  too binding, too ritualistic, and unexciting.” I say, on the contrary, the church today has become too compromising, too permissive, and too undefined, birthing a myriad of doctrines, and people endlessly seeking to redefine religion to what they want it to be, ignoring what the Lord has already set in place since the beginning of creation.  

The plight of the church today is it’s failure to effectively challenge the increasing deprivation of the mind and soul of mankind. While many stray to believe in various man-made doctrines, living for oneself, and finding one’s purpose in oneself, notice the operative word is “one”. To seek within oneself, and with just the right formula, one will find inner peace, sanctity, and can even will into existence, personal prosperity. Yet, one only has to examine history, or even the turbulent state of the world today to see that it is evident, there is no peace that can be found within oneself. Isolating oneself from all other humanity, anesthetizing oneself with potions and other mind-altering drugs, or entrenching oneself in some form of self-induced transcendental meditation or mental telepathy, none of these things have brought the human soul everlasting peace, or a surety of life eternal. There’s truth to a song written years ago that said, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know . . .” 

Also, it is true that the church today is not taken seriously because religion, organized or otherwise, has run many away, and while people have run or turned their backs on the church, the church itself has not dealt seriously with the reasons why. Knowing that we live in a world that zealously promotes self-gratification, and while this is prevalent today more than ever, it is not a new dilemma. Man, from the Garden of Eden, sought his own way, violating the laws of the Creator and ultimately the creation. Still, the church has not responded well, and as the world has gone, so has, in many ways, the church.  While the “I, I, I” syndrome prevails and permeates society, it has not only trickled into the church, the church has yielded and submitted to it, mimicking the world, and sleeping with the enemy. End result; disgruntled potential Believers; a plethora of man made religions and cults rooted in ungodly doctrines; confusion; mayhem; damnation. 

Redemption starts in the heart and soul of the lost man. If one comes to Christ only to discover He’s too binding, too restrictive, he’ll soon be lost again. If one comes to Christ only to find He’s too permissive, too compromising, he’ll soon be lost again. Again, notice the operative word, “one”. This is the only time “one” is essential. It is the individual man that comes to Christ alone, broken and ready for whatever the Lord can give. This is what is sadly and often missing in the church today and the world today - the knowledge and understanding that “religion” is the result of something far greater - and that is Salvation. If one truly knows the meaning of salvation, if one truly recognizes the state of brokenness he was once in - but for God, then one will take the church “seriously” and “organized religion” will actually be religion that has “organized”. Putting into place, man’s heart to God’s will. Everything decent and in order and to the glory of God.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

AT LIFE’S INTERSECTION: CROSS WITH CAUTION!


 

By: Evangelist B. Colbert


 

“WANTED: CROSSING GUARDS - IMMEDIATE OPENINGS”

 

Years ago, the Lord inspired me to start an outreach ministry. However, already working full-time was a distraction, so I decided to step out on faith, and focus on accomplishing this task exclusively. To preserve my mental energy, and generate at least some minimal income, I took the crossing guard job. Even though it was well below my skill set, it offered flexibility and would not require much time or effort. Little did I know, that even a job so seemingly trivial, would provide a plethora of human experience to lay the groundwork for what I would do for the rest of my life. 


 

By my third week as a crossing guard, I knew all the children and all the vehicles that frequented my intersection. I had developed a small fan club  of bus drivers, police officers, and the former crossing guard who passed my corner daily, shouting out rather risque accolades better left unsaid. As simplistic as a crossing guard’s job may seem, it did have its perks.


 

The mornings, before the children came, were quiet times used to simply reflect on this unusual juncture in my life. I found the early hours inspiring, as trees bristled in the wind, and the sun made it’s brilliant debut from behind the billowy clouds. My thoughts flowed freely and uninhibited. I confidently planned the course of my endeavors, provoked by the beautiful kaleidoscope of autumn leaves swirling about in the warm autumn breeze, providing an atmosphere of supernatural inspiration. 


 

Then came the business of  doing what I had been hired to do; safely leading people from one side of the street to the other and becoming acquainted, one way or another.  


 

First to travel past my corner, were the elementary school children. In a whirlwind of youthful exuberance, they traveled in groups of three or more, like colorful balloons loosed in the wind, racing to my corner, halting just short of my STOP sign. Then, as I lowered the sign off they’d go, carefree, full of joy and innocence, never failing to provoke a wistful tug at my heart. 


 

Next were the junior high pre-teens, who always traveled in pairs, girls with girls, boys with boys. Endlessly chatting away, their gait light and quick, tolerating my crossing commands, as long as I kept my distance. 


 

Periodically, I’d get a high-schooler. Interesting creatures for sure. Generally walking alone and self-absorbed, their body language spoke volumes. They were never candidates to engage in conversation.  I knew to give them their space. Reluctantly, yet wisely, I’d leave them be. 


 

Finally, came the seniors. Their gait was much slower, rarely were they in a hurry. My most enjoyable pedestrians. Welcoming my assistance, they were always engaging and never failed to impart into my spirit kind words of wisdom and many times, encouragement.


 

I came to realize that I had observed life full circle. From the energetic youngster; to the caterpillar-to-butterfly pre-teen; to the self-absorbed teen; and finally, the seasoned senior. I came to learn that in God’s divine scheme of things, His purpose is not only on a grand scale, but a personal one as well. Graciously, my experience as a crossing guard prepared me to cross an intersection in my life that would equip me to minister to people from all walks of life. But more importantly, it taught me to never forget that God’s divine providence can be seen even in the business of something so mundane, as standing on a corner and crossing folks across the street.  

 


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