23 Pt. 15

23 Pt. 15


     “Thou anointest my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5

     It struck me as I finished writing yesterday that there may be those among us who are unfamiliar with the term anointing. The anointing, in short, is the touch of God on a person’s life that equips and empowers them for a certain work. In the Old Testament it was received when a prophet poured a specially mixed oil over the individual chosen by God for a certain work: Aaron was anointed by Moses as High priest. Saul and David were both anointed by Samuel as kings. Elisha was anointed as prophet by Elijah and so on.

We are explaining what the anointing looks like by using the acronymC.A.R.E..  Yesterday we explained that the anointing  complicates  life. Aaron, Saul and David all discovered this after they were anointed. I guess that makes the anointing sound bad, but really the anointing is a thing to be greatly desired. While it may complicate things, it also assures!

      Let me tell you something, when God calls you to something and anoints you for the work your success in that endeavor is assured! The truth is, if God is behind you in a work ( and that is what the anointing means) there is absolutely no possibility that you will fail. The world may stand against you. Satan himself may show up to nay-say your endeavors; But if God has ordained and anointed your work it will succeed and nothing can stop it.

In David’s day not everyone was anointed…but today in the New Testament EVERYONE WHO HAS ACCEPTED JESUS AS LORD AND SAVIOR IS ANOINTED!  

We know this is true because of the Scripture. You see, the oil used to anoint Aaron, Saul, and David was symbolic. It was not the oil that gave them power; It was the Holy Spirit whom the oil symbolized that empowered them. Once these men were anointed the Holy Spirit came on them to assure them of success as long as the men stayed faithful to their God.

Here’s where it gets exciting for us as New Testament Christians Paul the apostle writes, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” Eph. 1:13, 14 NIV

     Hallelujah! Those of us who believe are anointed with oil of the Holy Spirit!

Christian arise and realize that if you follow Him into the things He has anointed you for then your success is assured. You may battle but you will not fail!

Tomorrow: the anointing requires!

The Netherlands 2013 Day 1

This journey does not begin on a plane. It begins in an art gallery. 100_1627My friend Clayton was playing at the Greater Gardner Area Art Show on Friday night the 12th. I felt I should go. I suppose it was work. I suppose it was relaxation. In my world the two things have a tendency to become blurred. Is work a got to or a get to ( If you are wondering about that read my post https://josephelonlillie.com/2013/04/06/got-to-or-get-to/) ? What about vacation? Is it a got to or a get to?

100_1628When you enjoy your work,  so much of it is an adventure. When you understand you are called to your position,  a day in the office can be the same as a plane trip to a foreign country.

100_1630You just never know what’s around the next corner: Pleasant surprise or terrifying trouble. When the Shepherd of your soul has sent you into a thing…when you know He is with you either thing becomes just a tool in His hand to bring blessing.

This is a good starting point.




23 Pt. 14

23 Pt. 14


     “thou anointest my head with oil; ” Psalm 23:5 KJV

     A good acronym for anointing is C.A.R.E.      

The truth is, the idea of biblical anointing is lost on most western Christians, even among those of us who practice anointing. Usually when I anoint a person at the altar I tip the bottle onto my finger, wet it and use my thumb or forefinger to paint a little oil cross on the forehead of the anointee. It’s nice. It’s sweet. It’s comforting. It’s so NOT the picture of biblical anointing! In the Old Testament (which perspective David was writing from) when a person was anointed it looked something like this:

“Dress Aaron in his priestly garments—the tunic, the robe worn with the ephod, the ephod itself, and the chestpiece. Then wrap the decorative sash of the ephod around him.  Place the turban on his head, and fasten the sacred medallion to the turban.  Then anoint him by pouring the anointing oil over his head. ” Ex. 29:5-7 NLT

Second please take note that Aaron was not wearing Fruit of the Loom, Boxer Joes, BVD’s, or a swim suit for this anointing. He was fully dressed in all his High Priestly regalia.

With this picture in mind we are led to the C  of our anointing acronym,C.A.R.E..  The anointing complicates things. It may seem a bummer way to kick off this part of the study but it has to be acknowledged that in a world fallen so deep into sin the anointing call of God though wonderful is messy and costly and complicated.

Aaron got anointed and went straight from the goo of the oil to the grumbling of the Israelites. Aaron got anointed;  Then while he ministered in the tabernacle, God killed two of the priest’s sons for their sin and commanded Aaron not to grieve. How’s that for complication? How did Aaron explain that one to his wife?

My experience is that most people are all hyped up about being anointed until they get anointed and life gets complicated. The price of anointing in this world is high. Sometimes it causes our valleys of shadow. Sometimes it creates enemies for us; But the pay off is far higher for those who get past the devastation of complication. Anointing does not make for smooth sailing but if you can get past the wind and the waves the journey is well worth it!

Maybe you have been anointed by God for a work and you have been thrown off kilter by complications the anointing has brought. Tell me about it. Tomorrow we will talk about why we truly crave the anointing even with its complications.

Tomorrow: the anointing assures!

23 Pt. 13

23 Pt. 13


    “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:5 NIV

     Who is your enemy? I guess that’s not a question we Christians ask very often. I mean “Who is your neighbor?”…sure. “Who are the people I am called to minister to?”…maybe; But “Who is my enemy?”

Are we even allowed to have enemies? Are we permitted to view other people as enemies? I guess so, because someone is going to be in the group of people watching us chow down at the Shulchan!

The thing is we don’t choose our enemies. They choose us. As Christians we are counselled not to take revenge, strike back, or even feel hate in our heart towards anybody. That aside we are permitted to be realistic about people who have less than our best interests at heart.

An enemy in Psalm 23 is pictured as a person who harasses us or rises against us to hinder us from accomplishing our created purpose. I suppose that definition takes things out of the traditional “enemy” realm. I want to pose that sometimes it might be possible to even be friendly with our enemies. How many friends have you had who were “no good” for you? You know it’s the person who keeps you from fully pursuing Jesus but at the same time makes you deliriously happy.

I suppose some of those friendly enemies will be gathered around our banqueting tables to watch us feast, but forever kept from feasting with us….In light of that fact I find I cannot hate my enemies. Now more than ever I pity them and wish them to become real friends.

As you read who did you find yourself praying for?

23 Pt. 12

23 Pt. 12


     “Thou preparest a table…” Psalm 23:5

     I have always wondered a little bit about Psalm 23 and its shift in verse 5 from outdoors to indoors… from campsite to banqueting table… from the shepherd and his sheep to the king and his court. Then I consider who David was: the shepherd become king, the king become fugitive, the fugitive become king again and it all kind of makes sense. David’s life was an ebb and flow of battles and banquets, poverty and principality. He like me was in constant need of a Savior. God constantly met that need.

I don’t know if David wrote this Psalm early on in his life or looking back over the years of advance and retreat. If he wrote this while he was a shepherd then these words are heavy with prophetic power. If he wrote looking back over his long and checkered history then they are words pregnant with godly wisdom. Either way they are powerful.

David writes ”Thou preparest a table” . The verb is in the imperfect tense indicating incompletion of the action or an action that is continuous. It’s not “Once God prepared a table for me.”  Nor is it “Someday God will prepare a table for me.” It’s “God is continually preparing or setting a table for me”.

David understood that while God had blessed and while He was going to bless in the future that was only because He was constantly about the business of blessing in the here and now.

So it is today that God is in the midst of blessing you right now. I know it may not look like it, but where you stand will turn out for your blessing if you trust Him as your shepherd. For right now God is preparing a table for you. By the way it’s not a card table, or a coffee table. It’s not an end table or even a formica dining table. It is a shulchan, a king’s banquet table. Your situation right now is God setting you a shulchan. Can you see it? Maybe not but just wait the dining room doors haven’t opened yet. Trust Him! Hang on! You will see!

The Good Shepherd Pt. 9

100_1062     I hope you have been enjoying The Good Shepherd series. It’s been a bit since I posted the last portion of the story. I was on vacation in Holland. I’m back now; So Jerome can breathe again. If you have missed any of Jerome’s previous adventures you can find them all right here: http://wp.me/P39vIx-j1

The Good Shepherd Pt. 9

     The trial was thick fog and morning. Thoughts of my mother burning, Anna burning, Silhouette screaming as Tyson’s dogs licked her blood interspersed themselves with bits of testimony.

    “He hid me in the river to save my life.”

     “Broke the law!”

     “They were a terrorist threat.”

     “If I hadn’t  helped him escape, he’d be dead! We came here for help.”

     “How would I know where he got the food to feed those ruffians?”

     “It was his personal store of food that fed us.”

     I sat through the days of confession staring at the heart shape made by my fingers. God was there in my madness. Jesus was there in my grief and loss.

     Then I heard a voice from the jury box.

     “Vengeance is mine,” it said.

     My head shot up, a pointer watching a dove fall from the sky. The whole courtroom followed my indicative gaze. I followed my head as it turned to Tyson in the hot seat. I smiled and leaned back in my chair for the first time during the trial. The wind changed direction with the next question.

     “Did the Bone Brothers receive a trial by jury?”

     “They were terrorists!” Tyson screamed.

     The defense attorney just smiled, “Ah and the defendant’s mother. Was she a terrorist?”

     “I don’t see what that has to do with anything.” Tyson returned.

     “Answer the question sir.” The judge ordered.

     “She gave aid and comfort to the enemy.”

     “You mean the Bone Brothers?” my lawyer asked.


     “And Anna Hodkins?”

     “Her too!” Tyson breathed. it was almost a whistle between his teeth.

     “How old was Anna Hodkins sir?”

     “I don’t know.” Tyson’s voice scraped his jangled nerves  like sandpaper against rough wood.

     “Wasn’t she in fact eighty-seven?”

    “What does that have to do with Jerome?” Tyson spat.

    “Was Jerome’s mother arrested and tried?”


    “Anna Hodgkins?”

    “No. They never got to trial. An unfortunate house fire took their lives.” Tyson smiled.

     My lawyer was unruffled, “Ah I see and what about Silhouette Saaronen? Did she die in the house fire?”

     He spent the next hour fitting Tyson for the noose. IN the end it was Tyson’s shadow  and those of seven of his men that crossed my line of vision at the fire station that night as the lights winked on once again in Winchendon. The crowds applauded as the street lights illuminated the gloaming making the world a darker place with the deaths they revealed. It was justice and I knew my heart reveled in it just a bit too much. The age of grace was winding down.

23 Pt. 11

23 Pt.11


     “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,  I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 

     Anyone who wonders about the work of the shepherd needs to read “thefisherlady’s” comment to me in my post “23 Pt. 9.” Her story is so poignant in light of our current discussion. She said:“Three summers ago we had a bear attack on our goat herd. As I came out that evening to the sound of a goat call of agony from our forest, I did not hesitate to jump fences and run to the sound. As I called her she called back and I kept running. Past one dead goat kid then another and another, then my best milker, and still I ran and her cries grew louder. When I saw her under a massive black bear, fighting for her life I grabbed the first stick I could and even as I swung it the bear fled from my wrath. The stick broke as it smashed against a poplar and there I was staring at a bear as the bear stared back at me. At this point I think we were both wondering if a broken stick was something to be afraid of. I thank God, my 8 month old border collie arrived, keeping the bear away while we could gather up goats and do a head count….
All that summer due to 350 acres of oats planted at our neighbour’s, and twenty bears visiting them each day, I had to take my goats into our green pastures and herd them all day long. A quiet stream meandered through the area and with our new guardian puppy and my young Blue dog we played and frolicked with the goats, we lay in the long grass and rested in the shade of a big tree; really and truly I understood how perhaps David spent his shepherding days. I was always attentive to the sounds around us, ready for any predators. When out of exhaustion I would sleep, I would awaken to the dogs guarding beside me and the goats around them resting and chewing their cuds. My goat that had called me to rescue her, had had 200 puncture wounds and she didn’t want to die; five days later, by God’s grace, she delivered on her own a lovely kid doe which we named Victory … after I Corinthians 15:54… and death is swallowed up in Victory!
Two years later both mom and daughter delivered wonderful twins each on the same day. My Blue dog and Sam dog take their work seriously so we are still able to rest in the green pastures.
I loved how you mentioned about the smell of herbs and the fragrance of peace! It is that exactly and it reminded me of that long and beautiful summer as a shepherd with so much time to be still and know that He is God! The Lord is indeed Our Good Shepherd!

As I was meditating on verse 4 a few weeks back, Holy Spirit began to speak to me about His rod and His staff which comfort me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I could never say I didn’t fear evil if it weren’t for His rod and His staff. Without them all my  positive thinking and focus on the greener pastures would still be obscured by the ever-presence of evil about me. After all it’s not the green pastures that defeat evil. It is the Lord with His rod and His staff that chases my boogeymen away. If all I had were green pastures before me and no God with me in the present circumstance I would still be  afraid, because there would be a very real chance of never making it to the pastures no matter how green they may be.

Yet the Lord has assured me that because of His rod and His staff “no weapon formed against me will prosper” Isa. 54:17! He can and will defeat every evil force arrayed against me!

     Oh! But it’s even better than that! His rod and His staff are not just for the predators lurking in the dark. His rod and His staff are fashioned to keep me on the path when I lose sight of it in life’s gloom. I am prone to wandering, especially in those moments when life goes a little catywhompus. If I had to depend on my own ability to keep myself on the straight and narrow I would certainly despair. The green pastures would forever be out of reach and I would be lost. But I have a Shepherd who has both Rod and Staff to guide me back onto the path when I take a step away from the Way. Oh surely that is a great comfort! Neither enemies without or within shall keep me from reaching the green pastures. For the Shepherd has made it His job to get me through!

Pastor Wrinkles: Ferocious Pt. 12

I am back in town now! Today jet lag and all I am running a twelve hour day. Jesus take the wheel!

Honorbound Again


      Every Christmas churches around the world reenact the story of the birth of Jesus. Proud parents look on as little Johnny leads little Sally down the church aisle pretending to be Joseph to her Mary.

Year after year as the tradition plays itself out people are touched by the sweetness of this young couple, lost in an unfriendly Bethlehem. Congregants smile and maybe shed a nostalgic tear as the children/magi gather around the altar to bring homage to the Christ child and his mother.

In every portrayal I have seen Joseph is left off in the corner. No one is looking at him, not the shepherds, not the magi. Joseph’s job is done when he gets the girl to the stable. But what a job that had to be!

“Love is not rude.” I Cor. 13: 5

Now that may seem rather a violent segue to you: Christmas story… Joseph… “Love is not rude” On the surface they don’t seem to have a lot to do with each other. Just bear with me.

“Love is not rude” is actually, “love is not aschēmoneō.

      Here in 21st century America being rude means being impolite.

When your mother says, “Don’t be rude!”, she means “Stop burping at the table” or “Quit picking your nose in front of Aunt Rosie. She’ll never pay for those piano lessons you want so much.”

But in first century Corinth, When Paul wrote “Love is not rude.”, the word had a much different connotation. Rude to Paul was unseemly behavior that not only brought shame and reproach to you but to someone else as well.

Paul was saying, “Love does not engage in behavior that puts other people in a dishonorable light.”

In First Corinthians 7:36 Paul uses the word aschēmoneō  when he is explaining how an unmarried man should treat the girl he is betrothed to.

“If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, [fn] if his [fn] passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry–it is no sin.” I Cor. 7:36 ESV

Paul is teaching that a man needs to marry his fiancée if his passions are strong and that he should not bring disgrace upon her by behaving in inappropriate ways with her outside of marriage.

You see love cannot bring disgrace on other people because it considers not only the wants of others but the honor of others as well. It is not love when a young man takes his girlfriend to bed and ruins her reputation. It is not friendship when a buddy asks you to break the law so that you can join his gang. It is biblical rudeness.

Let’s  go back to Joseph. In the eyes of all Nazareth Joseph had the right to not only divorce Mary (even though they had not been officially married breaking of an engagement required a legal divorce in their culture) but to have her stoned to death. But Joseph was loving. He was not rude. He did not want to expose her to any dishonor if it could be avoided.

In the end and with a little prodding from God and His angels Joseph took away Mary’s dishonor and Jesus’ by becoming the earthly husband and father Heaven had appointed him to be.

Joseph was a man who protected the honor of his wife and the  child she bore. In that way he was not rude. In that way he loved greatly.

What are some of the ways you can preserve the honor of those you love? How do you keep yourself from being rude?

I hope you have enjoyed this study on love. What was the biggest life application for you?