Monday, July 14, 2014

Running In Circles

Every once in a while I come across a book that changes my entire mindset. There is of course the Bible – our living, breathing, guidebook to life. My favorite by Bruce Wilkerson’s, The Dream Giver, which inspired me to move out of the land of familiar, push past being ordinary and live the Big Dream that the Giver of Dreams gave me. Walking on Water by Madeline E’Lengle is another favorite, it inspired me to look for God in every place, in every moment, and in every person, and to capture these glimpses of glory in the songs I write. 

Currently, I’m reading, The Circle Maker by Pastor Mark Batterson.  Batterson has challenged me to draw circles around my prayers like the first century Jewish Sage, Honi.  During a devastating drought in Israel, Honi, drew a circle in the sand, stepped inside and made his intentions known, he would not leave the circle until the Lord answered his bold request for rain.  Now that must have taken some faith, to determine that you were not going to give up until you heard from God!  And as Honi prayed, the rain began to fall.

I don’t think you can get that kind of response from the Lord without being truly intimate with Him. I mean it hadn’t rained in over a year when Honi started to beseech the Father. He had to be praying before he stepped into the circle.

We need diligent prayer like that in our lives. You have to pray long and pray hard and never give up as Batterson tells us in his book.  Drawing a circle is about trusting that the God of the Universe will answer your prayers and your responsibility is to keep praying, keep believing, keep seeking, keep thanking, keep praising until the manifestation of the prayer stands before you.  .


I am now daily drawing prayer circles around my marriage, this ministry, my family, prayer requests others have given me, this nation, the world, Israel, salvation, healings, big dreams that are being birthed in my heart to serve the Lord and His people.  With Godly intention and faith filled purpose I am running in circles because I am determined to hear well done good and faithful servant! No more limp prayers that go over the same ground… nope, I want to stand in the circle and see the rain!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Going Deeper - Captured In Color, An Artistic Collaboration with Sherri Ohler


I have been seeking the Lord in mundane places. Waiting with expectancy to see His glory in every aspect of my life no matter how unimportant it may seem to others.  Sometimes my molehill is my mountain, and yet He is still concerned. Pushing myself to see past my own limitations of faith and believe Him for things so great that the impact produced can only to be attributed to the God I serve.  I am tired of forgetting to see His glory in the beauty of everyday life, a passing cloud, a sleeping puppy, my husband’s smile.  I am longing to see His majesty displayed in ways I have never experienced, to see supernatural healings, people raised from both the physical and spiritual dead, to see His very glory descend and lead as a pillar of fire.  He is the same, so why do we expect Him to act in ways different then those described by the very book we profess to live our lives by?

Learning to live in the center of God’s will is a choice.  Sometimes a painful one as the mirror of self reflection is held up as we are being changed to resemble the Christ who died for us.  Often it is a joyful one, where we defeat something we’ve been struggling with, are blessed beyond our wildest dreams, finally hear yes and see the promise of prayer realized.  The road is long to sustaining the mind of Christ within you, to truly love like He loved and walk as He walked is a journey to the center.  It is a constant buffeting of the soul, it is a quiet rest in His presence, it is understanding His compassion, love, and mercy are long suffering and available to all who would receive it.  Yes, I ache to go deeper and live in the center of His will.

To get the deepest parts you must be guided by the Holy Spirit, relying on the forgiveness of your sins through the death, resurrection and intercession of Christ Jesus.  To get there you must know that your Abba Father in Heaven has a good plan for you and you can trust Him to bring you to the completion of this plan in His perfect timing. Nothing will beset you on the journey that you and the Lord can’t handle together.  In darkness He is Lord, in mourning, He is comfort, in life, He is everything.  Going deeper means giving everything back to Him.

Moving away from the shore of safety, stepping out of the boat to walk on water, praying long and praying big – that is going deeper.  Moving quickly to obey, forgiving all the wrongs that have been done unto you, loving without condition, that is going deeper.  Serving with a pure heart, committing to Him to spend everyday of your waking life in an earnest effort to be made over in His image is going deeper. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that big dreams beget big prayers and big prayers require big faith and big faith produces big answers, that is going deeper.  And truly understanding that service to humanity in His name requires big answers to met big needs and that it is noble to relentlessly pursue such God given dreams.  Offering up your own life as a living sacrifice for His desires for you, content to know that one day this dream of a life will fade and you will open up your eyes to the true reality of everlasting life with Him.  That is living in the center of His will, the expectation and execution of these lovely endeavors are the meaning of going deeper.

I felt an urge in my spirit to ask Sherri Ohler to listen to the song that I wrote that has become my anthem and paint a portrait of my heart’s cry.  This beautiful rendition captured in living color of the song, Deeper, is the result.  I am so thankful that she agreed to share my passion and pursue the capture of going deeper in her own artistically anointed way.  What a blessing it has been to see it come to life!

Through a winter of setbacks, heartbreaks, challenges and valley living, I have found myself clinging all the more tightly to Christ.  If times of challenge and great stress are required to go deeper then I am willing to go.  I so desire to live in the center of His will.  I so desire to hear well done good and faithful servant.  My prayer for you is that you will be blessed by the song and be blessed by Sherri’s offering.  I hope it inspires you to lay your burdens down, shake off what needs to be shaken and let the Lord do a work in your heart.  Come to Him if you are weary, come to Him if you have joy, come to Him to commit your life and see His beauty not only in the normalcy of life but in the glory of His miracles.  Come with me as we wade into the water, in search of the deepest parts of the riches of His grace…

Blessings to you!
Naima

To obtain a free MP3 download of the song, Deeper, for a limited time: visit www.noisetrade.com/Naima 

To learn more about Dr. Naima Johnston Bush’s music and ministry or to purchase a copy of the Deeper Print by Sherri Ohler for $18.00 visit: www.ministryofnaima.com. 

To learn more about The Deeper Project, and to partner with us to complete the CD visit: www.gofundme.com/Naima

The Artist

Sherri Ohler - Madly in love with Jesus, and forever aesthetically driven, Sherri Ohler’s calling as a Christian Artist and self taught gourmet Baker,  begins with her earliest childhood memories filled with coloring books, fresh boxes of crayons and beautiful pastries from her Italian grandmother’s kitchen.

A diehard romantic, Sherri’s work is filled with whimsical, emotional & spiritual depth that speaks to the heart of the onlooker in such a way that brings joy & comfort beyond the expectation and scope of ordinary decoration.   

Her inspired work is now internationally licensed and she has the wonderful blessing of working with companies like DEMDACO & Dayspring, which is more than her grateful heart could ever hope for.  She prays continually for Holy Spirit driven creativity, love & joy, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve you through her art, products, redemption stories and creative passions throughout her shop, blog, speaking engagements and soon to be first book.

For More information on Sherri visit her online at www.sherriohler.com




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Told You So!

I'm working on a new book about all the lessons I learned as single waiting for my Boaz and as a married woman trying to be a Godly Wife... Here's an excerpt.  Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think!


I Told You So!

One of the best pieces of marriage advice I got was this, “If you know your husband is wrong and you’ve tried everything you can to sway him to your way of thinking and he doesn’t yield, shut up! Then pray and stand back and duck.”  I remember laughing like a loon when the advisor shared that you had to duck because the Lord was going to smack your hubby with the truth of the situation!  And then he would see that you were right and he was, well, just a little mislead.

Since I’ve been married it’s true, there have been times where I knew I was right and Jon just wouldn’t budge, so I had to stand back, pray and let the Lord swing.  The truth of the matter is that this principle also works in reverse, there have been several times when it has been revealed that I was in the wrong and Jon was the one in the right.  Wives everywhere take heed – sometimes you just gotta listen to your husband.  But even in all the who’s right and who’s wrong scenarios that play out between a husband a wife there is another important lesson that I’ve learned.  I told you so should never be a comeback to revelation of wrongness.

There have been times I wanted to say, I told you so, not just to my husband but to others I know and love.  I think sometimes we use that phrase as a hammer to reinforce just how brilliant we think we are, I mean, after all, we were the ones who were right.  And since we were right we must be some superior being so linked up with Christ that we can discern His will for everybody else and we just have to make it known.

I told you so becomes a dirty little phrase when we use it against the ones we love the most when they’ve fallen down and can’t seem to get up.  Seriously, how dumb are we, do we really think they don’t know that we were right!?  They are sitting there mulling over the mess they made and we just have to self righteously declare we knew better all the time.  How loving is that?

Which brings me back to that great piece of advice. When we stand back and ask God to be God in someone’s life, to direct them in the right way not our way, we do need to pay attention to the outcome, we may in fact need to duck.  My husband and I are linked together in the most intimate relationship on earth as defined by the Bible, when he or I make a bad decision it rocks us both – we are one flesh. 


We are Team Bush – a 3 Chord Strand of Jon, Jesus and Me – not easily broken.  Our consequences good or bad are shared.  If a decision is made that causes the team to take a loss, strike out, or suffer, it’s not a time to be trite and flippant.  Rather, this is a time when we realize that I told you so should only be applied when Jesus steps in, fixes the mistakes, shields us from the pain, or covers up the mess.  When Jesus steps in the only I told you so used should be… I told you so, Jesus handled it and I told you so, I’ll always love you, we are team. Don’t shoot your wounded partner and a strong marriage you will make.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Go Climb A Tree

I can’t see much right now.  It’s one of those times in my life where it seems like I can’t see what the Lord is doing and my only choices are to trust and to worship.  And it can be a challenge to trust and to worship when you feel isolated and shrouded in darkness.  We are always taught to press through these times, forget about what’s going on and focus on the Lord and what He has done in the past.  We pull out those platitudes that while true are quoted to placate us in times of trouble.  The ones like, “God is never late, He’s always on time!” or “He did it before, He will do it again!”  Like I said, true, but not always what you want to hear when you’re so crowded by troubles and issues that you can’t even see a glimpse of the hope that you know can and will deliver you.

At times like these, you gotta just climb a tree.  I loved to climb trees when I was younger although I didn’t climb to many growing up in the Bronx.  And I never went very high when I did because I was always afraid of heights.  But when I did get a chance, I would clamber up as far as I dared to get a different perspective of the world below.  So that’s what I’m going to do now, climb a tree.

In Luke 19, Verse 1-10 Zacchaeus the tax collector climbed a tree because he was too short to see Jesus through the crowd.  Zacchaeus was so determined to see the Lord that he even ran ahead of the crowd and climbed the tree.  And Jesus saw him in the tree, called him down by name and came to his home blessing him with salvation. Zacchaeus’s entire life was changed because he climbed the tree. He changed his outlook on life and changed his actual behavior because he met Jesus when he climbed a tree.


Well, I can’t literally climb a tree and wait for Jesus to pass by.  But what I can do is go higher and change my perspective about what is going on. I can believe that Jesus will see me when he passes by.  Going higher simply means that no matter how I feel, I should worship more, I should trust more, I should read my word more, I should serve Him even more.  I have to change my perspective and trust that at the end of this trial I will be changed.  I am going to hang out up high so I can see Jesus when He passes by and most importantly because I’m hanging in a tree up ahead I believe He will look up, call my name and my life will be changed forever.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When The Walls Have Fallen

Together we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ himself.  Ephesians 2:20, The New Living Translation

I love the book of Nehemiah… when I think about how he worked to rebuild the walls of his beloved Jerusalem despite opposition, oppression and a lack of resources I feel encouraged.  It’s been a rough winter and everything that I thought I knew, all the places I thought I was going turned out to be wrong… We have been sidetracked, wandering, displaced and knocking on every door we knew to knock on.  And in one of those times that are maddening to the believer, the Lord has been pretty silent.

I’ve tried to worship while I wait for answers.  I tried to explain to people that sometimes all you can do is wait on the Lord and trust that he will answer in his own good time.  But sometimes doubt creeps in and it cripples, and stirs up bitterness and it finds you wiping tears from your eyes as you try to go forward despite not being exactly sure where you are going.

So where are we? We are waiting, we are rebuilding, we are shoring up some things that the Lord has shown us are important to our character.  The walls have fallen, but the chief cornerstone still stands, and on this rock we will go forward and rebuild.

Dr. Nay’s Random Life Lesson for April
When it looks like the walls have all come down, remember the chief cornerstone is still in place – and on Christ, everything can be rebuilt.
.




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Worship While I Wait

Less then two months ago I stood on the stage at Samantha’s Lil’ Bit of Heaven testifying about how good the Lord had been to Jon and me. I shared that for the first time since we had been married we found ourselves at the turn of the New Year not having to move due to some crazy circumstance that had befallen us.  There would be no frantic search for a new home with very little provision to pave the way.  We were in the best place we’d ever been financially, the Lord had provided a warm home that we had lived in for a year.  I even remember telling Jon in the car on the way to New York that although I did want to move in the spring, I was really glad that we didn’t have to move anytime soon.

Then we pulled in the driveway after our trip home… and every light in our house was on.  The coldest winter in years had crushed my dream.  We had three pipes burst in a three week period.  Water rained down at the most unexpected moments ruining mementos, flooding rooms with inches of water, defiling the air with that wretched wet smell and forcing us to sleep in the living room.  Our landlord was no help, as a matter of fact he said he wasn’t going to fix anything until March when the weather finally bottomed out and Spring returned.  We were incredulous; it was the middle of January!  Who could live in this stench and the poor puppies were banned from the back of the house because I did not even want them walking on the carpet.  We had fans going and two dehumidifiers running and the heat turned up on high, but nothing helped as pipes continued to explode.

And then the Black Mold set in… and I found myself asking the Lord what was up with this!  Hadn’t we been in this place before?  Hadn’t I learned all the lessons I needed to learn?  Were we truly going to have to move out and find someplace else to live again?  And that’s exactly what we had to do.  Pack up everything we owned, put it in storage and revert back to the gypsy life until the Lord opened up a door for a new home.  It’s been almost five weeks and we are still vagabonds.

After standing on the stage at Samantha’s and proclaiming the faithfulness of the Lord and how finally, for the first time in three years we didn’t have to move and how stable things had become I was faced with the same situation.  I could contribute it to a Job Complex, we often fall back to believing this when faced with trials and tests.  I could believe that I had fallen short and hadn’t learned everything I needed to learn the first two times around with this test.  I could say that I needed to be rock solid in my faith, more consistent, a better steward, that I needed to learn to worship no matter what the situation was.  I could even blame it on my husband selfishly thinking there’s something he has to learn in all this and since I’m his wife, I’m along for the ride.  I could blame it on so many things and point the finger to try and give myself some peace.


But the truth of the matter is that there is no place to point and no one to blame.  Maybe it’s all the things I’ve mentioned and maybe it isn’t.  This is a moment when the scripture that the Lord’s ways are much higher then mine is truly relevant.  My responsibility is to worship and to obey no matter what is going on.  To take a step in faith and trust that the correction will come if I am out of line.  Right now I feel like a homeless gypsy, but I am so much more then that.  I am a daughter of the King, and even if it does not feel good or it makes no sense, I am determined to worship while I wait.  I will look up and live and trust that this is all working together for my good, and that the glory of the Lord draws near.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Turn To Praise - A Word From Our Sponsor



Psalm 42:11 
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

It is easy to control how you appear on social media sites. I think that can be detrimental in that people gain a false perception of who you are and how you are all the time. I choose to be selective about what I share with the world, not because I am concerned about what people think, rather I choose to cherish and protect those relationships and issues that are dare to my heart. You won’t get a rant about what’s wrong in my life, political issues, my husband, or how others have treated me badly. Because I don’t share everything, doesn’t mean that everything is always spot on.

I have plenty of struggles and today, I was feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and misunderstood. Instead of letting my struggle define me, I turned on my music and began to praise. I started out with head down, tears pooling and ending up dancing and shouting, I know my neighbors think I’m crazy. In the midst of this praise my spirits lifted, I found a lost bracelet, my attitude changed and I began to rehearse in my mind all the GREAT THINGS the Lord had done! When you are in a place of darkness turn to praise. It can be as simple as a muttered, “I trust you Lord.” It’s ok to sometimes share the bad, it may encourage others. Today I realize, praise is not only what I do… praise makes me who I am!