Good Bad and Indifferent – Travelogue

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It’s so good and NOVEL for me to be on VACATION. Unheard of for me to take 2 weeks off. Great flights, to Europe, easy in the middle of the week. Even loved the cute flight food. My daughter is VERY ready to learn all about travel and to be the independent woman she will be, yes a world traveler. And already she corrects me, I’m “just a tourist”, LOL …

We are blessed. Staying with my cousins in a village of just a few hundred people, with one coffee house, one restaurant, one store…. We have the first floor of their house which they are refurbishing, so this second kitchen has a teapot and pretty much all we need here, especially peace and quiet. The only bad was the pesky fly overnight, but today I found the flyswatter.

Going to a castle today from the 1300’s. The castles may be old, but the love never gets old. This week is already filling up with love of new old family, and I still haven’t hugged most of them yet. Looking forward to that. God Loves covers the miles apart.

The oldness of some buildings is quaint to us, but might be considered “run down” to others here…. the big church building here is from 1770, not officially abandoned but not in daily use, only used at Christmas. The doors are propped open with gates locked – and although exposed to the weather, it doesn’t really get as much rain as it gets vandalism… but the solid construction is fine and hearty. I know people in the US who say “look at the lack of people in the churches” – well Europe is way ahead of us there – the indifference is strong – the Lord is stronger however and those of faith do exist, like my cousins, but it is said that Europe is less and less “religious” – even if they do have the old churches and cathedrals that stand up to time.  Someday we will see how this all pieces together, but for now it’s like being a spiritual tourist into a time forgotten.

My scripture reading matches the church issues – so much comes and goes – there are good kings and bad kings – churches open and close – but the Lord never changes. Learning about King Hezekiah, we find that when presented with the future plans God had for his people, he thought, well I’m ok now. We do think just in short time frames of our time on earth, but God is ALWAYS knowing BIG ETERNAL everything. We need to think more long-term, more God-term. Love will survive above all.

AMEN 


2nd Kings 20:17-21

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”

As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?  Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

Trust Trust Trust – Travelogue

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There’s no feeling like stepping out from a car and realizing you REALLY ARE going on a trip. This trip is 11 days, family and freedom to wander thru the wonders. Doesn’t matter the prep, how much or little, I stepped out of my friend’s car today and WHOA, reality hit, I better be ready now. Give it up to God, He’s in control and you HAVE to believe that now. No turning back. 

The train I knew, flying I knew, 50lb weight limit I knew, longish lines and outrageous prices I knew. Trusting God? That’s all faith. That’s all Him being Him, us being dependent upon Him. That’s not us being weak, that’s us being smart. We NEED God to be God. Good thing He IS.

In every moment, we need Him. Just now, after I started to write, the flight crew paged for “if there was a doctor on board”.  If I couldn’t sleep before, I can’t sleep now. I pray. We are 3 hours from our first stop. Not sure what’s going on with them, but the Lord knows. We wait on Him even when we DO know. We have to have faith always. 

I am carrying a rock on this trip, in my backpack – usually it lives in my car. I painted it, it says “God is in control” – He is always, not JUST when I remember He is. I like this rock and I love the Rock, Jesus, because He has us covered either way, we live because He loves. I also have a card of Psalm 40:4 near my passport: “Blessed is the one who TRUSTS in the Lord.” 

And one more card in my wallet window: “I am with you ALWAYS.”, Matthew 28:20, this is Jesus telling us He IS God and with us. We must begin here, He is here, every bump of turbulence, every unknown is known to Him. 

Worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Trust IS the first step of worship.

Amen 

PS, no news on that passenger, no news is good news. Good news is God news, the plane is still flying, God still IS in control. Amen Amen 

God is in Control

A Trip of a LifeLine

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 A Trip of a LifeLine 

I am preparing for what might be considered a trip of a lifetime, perhaps I am, but since I’ve been blessed to be on many “trips of a lifetime”, to many places, and some places twice, I am going to consider this a trip of a LIFELINE instead of a lifetime. A lifetime is once so YES, I consider my repeat trip to my ancestral homeland as connecting and reconnecting a Life LINE of family, faith, friendship, and future… And since this is my daughter’s first time overseas, you could consider it a trip of a lifetime for her, YES, and I do pray a spectacular trip, but I also want it to be a lifeLINE, the first of MANY trips here! 

With family here, she gets to meet her generation as well as the younger and the older, those up to her grandmother’s generation, and we can look at photos and learn some stories of survival and thriving. Instant family will be in sight from just a flight, we are sure blessed alright!

A trip of a LifeLine: How could I not think of my great grandparents who left for good reasons and never got to visit back, the world wars, local wars, the finances too… This is not a cheap trip, but worth every penny to us. 

A trip of a LifeLine: Likewise, how could I not think of the Lord coming to earth and stepping out of Heaven for Good Reasons and never turning back. That was not a cheap trip, but worth every soul, to the Lord.

A LifeLine, one Life at a time. It’s worth the trip. With Jesus as our LifeLine, we will be fine.

Amen 


Letter of Paul to the Ephesians 4:7-13

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.


Psalm 68: 18-20

When you ascended on high, you took many captives;
you received gifts from people, even from the rebellious – that you, Lord God, might dwell there.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.

In Good God Hands

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It’s in good hands I leave home while I travel, I leave home in God’s Hands. 

It’s in good hands I rest my worries, I leave them in God’s hands. 

It’s in good hands I trust work will get done, or at least won’t fall apart, I leave it in God’s hands. 

It’s in good hands I put my stress, ego, mind, body, soul, life, loves, hopes, flaws, strengths, confidences, weaknesses, boldness, humility, humanity, whole-kit-and-kaboodle-ness, I PUT THEM IN GOD’S HANDS. 

Because He already has them. Because He knows what to do with them. Because He is a Good God. Because He IS GOD.

In Good God Hands.

AMEN 

Psalm 24:1-2, 8-10 (of David)

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods…..

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.

Reprise Post: The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

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Jesus, the Way, gave away the Whole Kit and Kaboodle of Himself for all our eternal lives.  Not any human measurable items, not riches nor fame, a Gift from not just hands, but heart and whole, Jesus gave it all.

Hands down. Jesus gave it ALL. 

Like the Father watching for His prodigal sons (and daughters) to return after venturing out into the world, God waits for us to return. And God in Jesus comes after us. Likewise, God gave away His richest most valuable treasure, gave away His Son’s Life for all to be redeemed, freely redeemed our sins for welcoming home all whose names are in the book of life to stay alive forever in GLORY. Oh, His Joy for when He sees us turn the bend for home. And who is in the Book of Life? All of us who believe in the redemption of Jesus for our sins. All who realize where our treasure really is. All who call Jesus Lord and Follow. We have to be Willing to Lose our Lives for Him.

We are already called to be in God’s SUV “Savior’s Ultimate Victory” biggest car wagon of Life with Jesus in the driver’s seat driving us home away from our junk. Even if we packed it – he just leaves the hatch open and it flies out the back. His Venture to Victory now becomes the finish lap to collect His Treasures: US!!! 

Jesus removes our burdens, His Yoke is Light, because He has ultimate horsepower under the hood, and each of us gets a saving faith trip. Anything we think we need to carry – baggage of treasures or trash – is placed on the roof and Jesus hits the gas and it flies away – we don’t need it – we are in the car and on our way. Freed for forever. (Just buckle your seatbelt so you don’t lean out the window looking back at your old life left behind. Let the dead fall under road tread.

NO GRUMBLING ALLOWED FROM THE WHEEL WELL SEATS!

And the unbelievable part? It’s a free ride, already paid, a toll was paid by the Driver. We slide thru the scanner and all is removed from your history bank account, all is credited on account of your faith.

Our hands feet and hearts are freed to work in acts of faith as from our calling and what we are driven to say, act, be is to benefit all weary travelers, all those who need to hear “Dump your junk” – “Ride with the King” – “Lamb Lyft” – “Saved by Grace” – “Riding on the fumes of faith” – “Not Worthy Wanderers Welcome”- “Low Rider’s Dip Trip” – “Was, Is, Is To Come Taxi” – “Shining Stars Shuttle” – “Almost Home”… 

The ultimate bumper sticker: “GOT JESUS?”

Gotta go, “My Ride is Here”.

Amen 

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Philippians 2:1-15

Imitating Christ’s Humility

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death —  even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Do Everything Without Grumbling

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

Reprise Post: Stay on Track

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God showed me an important scripture that brought me solace and peace. A personal message that God revealed – it connected to me when I asked for some gem of the day. It comforts me to stay on the right track by praying and asking, working and wondering, for particular and all people to HEAR HIM, for them to know Him, to taste His forgiveness and to know His lift. 

Yes, it’s the whispers of scripture to our hearts, souls, minds which overtake any other background worldly noise. If you ask and pray, God thru Jesus, the Word of God made flesh being the bible Himself, will answer your prayers before you ask. Before Him, no prayers are wasted. It is OK – and CRUCIAL – to ask God in prayer for people’s ears to hear. People we know and a multitude we don’t. God is telling us to stay on track and trust Him working within each person.

The scripture, an old testament little gem, 2nd Chronicles 30: prayers by the king for people who had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate... But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.

A second gem:

For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.


The train tracks of earthly life that we are on ARE HIS and return to Him. We have an engineer conductor and a caboose – an Alpha and Omega – JESUS… and for Him to move us, we have a Fireman Holy Spirit in charge of shoveling more coal into the boiler for steam.  The caboose has grips to hold on to and stairs to climb. I climbed the caboose in joy this past weekend – and even sat in the seat with a bird’s eye view.

For those traveling with the Lord, you can stand and wave, for those who leave the sleeper car, the fresh air feels great and refreshing, and for those who ALMOST missed the train, there’s always a hand up for helping everyone. 

We are the hands and feet of God – securing, pulling, hauling, holding ourselves AND anyone who we can come alongside with. Invite all to see what it is like riding with the Lord.

For those who know and don’t know Him, our prayers ARE heard. God’s spirit is telling us which side of the train to lean out – to watch and wave – to ask and pray – to reach out and save. God has been tracking all of the people and reaches for each one by name.

HE KNOWS where His train is going – to find and bring all HOME. His tracks are laid down in LOVE from His One heart. For out of Judah, the Word was commanded to come, Jesus came to Earth to bring us all along. Let us continue to pray for particular and all people to HEAR HIM, for them to know Him, to taste His forgiveness and to know His lift.  

Ears and Eyes OPEN!

“All Aboard!”

AMEN 


2nd Chronicles 30:1-27

And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem.

And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see.

Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.

For if ye turn again unto the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him.

So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem.

Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord.

And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites.

For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the Lord.

For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon every one

That prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary.

And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.

And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord.

And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the Lord: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the Lord God of their fathers.

And the whole assembly took counsel to keep other seven days: and they kept other seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves.

And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven. 

Reprise Post: No Baggage – Just Love

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No Baggage – Just LOVE

I do love visiting with people, that’s just part of my nature… and having spent every other day for a short visit to my grandmother’s nursing home from my birth until age eleven, I understand the temporary nature of nursing home visits and the importance… And I have empathy for the permanent situation they are in… It seems like a routine of flying in like a bird feasting on love and smiles and flying just as quickly out…

Some folks entering may be overwhelmed with the sadness of the people’s situation… Some may be caught up (especially with their own family members) in the guilt of such a short visit as well as feeling the pain of seeing them decline…and not being able to drop their baggage of the inevitably grave situation…

Visit briefly, flutter in like a bird… share Jesus’s pure love, while dropping your own baggage at the door…

You are called to have compassion, as in Romans 12:15 (KJV) “15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”…   With this recent visit I was reminded how nice visiting the nursing home is… Nice isn’t sufficient a word… I LOVE visiting… The first man I met grabbed my hand and wished me peace. He became my go to guy for music inspirations. Joe. Such a sweet exchange… Smiles come from all the people, especially when they see the kids… I get to share smiles and hand holding, no prep work needed… Abundant Grace gifts of community all around. As a friend from our church led the service, my daughter prepped the communion cups… My shy guy just looked cute… I thought I would ask them what they wanted to sing, and being it was the 4th of July weekend we sang some patriotic songs… and I suggested Amazing Grace… they loved singing of course. After the service one woman said how much she appreciated the service, and could understand the message…

Many well wishes and compliments abound from these lovely people. We are not family, so there are no expectations, no entitlements, just affirmations of community, just free love to flow back and forth. After service they “dashed” off to bingo… I could envision them concentrating on their own boards while keeping a watchful eye over each other’s numbers… Keeping a watchful eye over each other’s lives… On the way out I met a man, a veteran, who couldn’t hear me, said he was a paratrooper jumping out of planes and lost his hearing from that, and he didn’t get the health care he needed as a vet… He told me in his youth that he could catch fish just using his bare hands… Hmmm…. He just scooped his hands to show me how easy it is to catch fish.

These people held my hands as I held theirs but truly they captured my heart… Through the love showered on me, it reminds me that I am just one of the lucky fish that HE, our Heavenly Father, caught in HIS hands. No entitlement expected, just an affirmation that I appreciate of His LOVE. Telling me to live my life in a way that when I am weak, I am strong…

The scripture reading (2 Corinthians 12) was fitting and a comfort to me and hopefully to them… God knows there’s pain, anguish, loneliness, personal battles… a thorn in your side…. Paul reminds us to remember to stay humble, to stay weak so that we stay connected to God, and look to Jesus to show us the way to true inner joy and peace… The cross you carry, no matter how painful, is there to give you hope, it’s your way to your salvation into an eternal life….

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2 Corinthians 12 (NIV)

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Reprise Post: Feel the Love – Fill the Bag

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I keep hard copies of my chapters of writing in a “Subaru… Feel the LOVE” bag – yeah cool… Yeah BLESSED.

Got the bag from a very spiritual friend, who thoughtfully got it for me at a car show a couple of years ago… He was the one who called me out of the blue to wish me a happy mother’s day and we caught up from a long while… How blessed I could share how God had changed me…

How blessed also I was this morning to have someone check on me, worried I was ill with my head down, when actually I was just so deep in thought sitting in my car, writing a text…. It’s nice to have thoughtful people around isn’t it???

Just counting blessings… And Subarus…

and writings…

Reprise Post: God’s Recycling

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God’s Recycling, 28JULY

For VBS, I know the final take home cost of our sanctuary decorations this year was zero…. Not even the tape cost us, all was donated, reused and trash picked… most of the materials were donated (even the food)… Enabling us to keep under the total expenditures way down, WOW…

Yeah, God provides…

I especially like to use trash picked stuff because I remember God takes us, picks us up, removes our trash baggage of sin with Jesus death and resurrection, and reuses us, washes us clean, and reminds us we are loved… And gives us eternal life….

Dust to dust we are all made from God’s reuse and recycling…

Thanks God for picking me up, dusting me off, and focusing my eyes on you!

Amen


All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Ecclesiastes 3:20

For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.  Ecclesiastes 12:17

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19 NIV

Reprise Post: What’s in Your Garden?

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The rainbow text message photos from a local friend called to me to get off my chair and outside. And WOW, a FULL rainbow, start to finish, and it was a double too. Not much rain but a reign of blessings and promise and hope is always signaled when we remember God’s promises. The previous day there was a rainbow too.

Tomorrow, I don’t know about rainbows in the sky, but will God’s promises still be there? Yes, promises and hope from God are ALWAYS shining thru, it’s up to us to blow away some of our clouds of life and notice the silver-linings and promises fulfilled – then embrace the Lord in thanks. He will help us plant good things in our lives so that He can water them. He sends the rains and rainbows. 

When Moses instructed his people about the new land God gave them, he spoke of the Lord sending the spring and fall rains. These were agricultural folk, dependent upon the land and their livestock. But we are rarely more than simple gardeners, only a few seeds here and there for colorful flair and the joy of working the soil. Oh, the vibrant colors of Fall, the harvest season are feast for the eyes. The cool crisp feeling also gives us a reminder to prepare for the winter (even if it is raking up leaves in shorts). 

Some things seem easy and yet all is not all easy for so many and this life may seem to bring us storms or we feel we have too much rain or not enough. Hopefully all our angst is only seasonal, and prayerfully many do have a storage tank of rain to spare and share. We do have MANY blessings. My onerous task this morning was NOT working my farmstead but opening a can of spaghettios for my son’s lunch. Times have changed. He didn’t venture to the fields for work, but to school in a car with a friend after a trip to the local haunt for a breakfast sandwich. Our milk and honey promised land is flowing in conveniences and blessings. So, that also means we have more time to think about THANKING GOD. And isn’t’ that what our promise pledge should be? THANKING GOD.

And what about planting our fields? Our gardens? Let us now make GARDENS OF FAITH, FIELDS OF FORGIVENESS, and take on the praiseful barnstorming of worship, in our vast landscape of thankfulness. 

We are to till the soil for others now too, soften our hearts and look for seed planting openings. Let’s open opportunities for sharing. When the people ask: “What’s in your garden?” Let’s reply: “I’m cultivating HOPE, FAITH, FORGIVENESS and LOVE.”

Our lives change, our burdens differ, but the Lord is the same. 

God keeps His promises. 

Let us also keep the HOPE. 

Amen 


Moses teaching how to live in a new land, Deuteronomy 11:8-15

Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, and so that you may live long in the land the Lord swore to your ancestors to give to them and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden.  But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.

Reprise Post: Broken Chains

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I knew I had to write about broken chains while popping adhesions of scar tissue in my shoulder during physical therapy… So, many parallels to the release of us from the weight of chains, of life-stress holding us down… The adhesions popped with active stretching after my post-op inactivity laid down a rare case of tremendous scar tissue. These were painful powerful releases of my shoulder’s mobility from chains… I heard many pop over the course of four months… yes, I heard them as powerful as I felt them… so when the doctor said there was no choice,  time for more surgery, I REJOICED because I needed this opportunity to move from 70% mobility to 100%… A precise calculated cut of tissue… Surgery the price I gladly paid for my shoulder freedom. 

Release…

Can you imagine this tremendous visual of God breaking our physical mental emotional chains in order to be free?…  God calms our hearts, cheers our hearts, cleanses our hearts… God paid the price by sending Jesus to do this for us! A ransom for our bondage. We walk away from our gates of prison. 

Jesus lets us break free of the chains of the world crushing in on us, radically freeing us from the chains of sin – God frees us with a Savior! 

God wants us to move forward and exclaim the freedom He grants us… We are to spread the Good News… Jesus came to free us. 

There’s a praise song “Love Came Down” “LOVE broke thru the darkness, now I can finally see, Paid the price for my freedom, No more chains on me…and the Savior came, and He took the blame, changed everything… “

At our women’s retreat, my beautiful spiritual friend spoke about these chains being broken –  BUT WE NEED TO LIFT THEM OFF... I can see her doing the movements of removing chains… We have to stand up to shake them off.

God broke our restrictive chains, but it is up to us to realize that we are free to live in His LIGHT… GRACE is not something we deserve but we are gifted this freedom because God LOVES us!

It’s a process… It’s walking forward… It’s following stepping stones to the LIGHT… The path is narrow but it is sure… Look for the lighted stepping stones… even take a step in JOY.

Step out of your chains. You are released.

Keep walking in the LIGHT to new life… Forever…  Keep walking away from your chains. 

————–

Here are two scripture stories about being released from prison chains –

Acts 12 NIV

Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”

“You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.” But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.

——

Acts 16

Paul and Silas in Prison

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Reprise Post: Ping

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Jesus is just adjusting your antenna…

We are loved by God, so much that He keeps us thinking about Him… it might make us think (well I certainly did) that we are crazy contemplating Him so much, but He knows it is for our own good… it keeps us bearing His fruit and that means because of Him we are spreading the meanings of His Word and encouraging others…

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8  (and Psalm 1)…

God is “pinging” us… Yes, like a cell phone, if we were lost in the woods, the ping might help find us. The ping goes BOTH ways – towers and phones – both actively involved in communication…. Isn’t that what happens with God and us too? It’s not God pinging an inanimate object, like a rock, it’s God pinging the SPIRIT within us! We are filled with His SPIRIT, we can answer back, He can stir our souls because we ARE made of His stardust…. Even those souls who don’t know Him personally are His children… He pings them all.

How will we hear? What will we hear? How can we discern thru all the noise?

Perhaps the SPIRIT within each of us is constantly adjusting our antenna?…. Click-click, click-click, is how my Grandmother’s T.V. box for the big roof antenna would sound…

Yes, we can ask Jesus to hold His hands behind our ears like a receiving dish for God’s ping! We can ask Jesus to hold His hands behind our hearts as well, to heal our brokenness… Not simply like the fairytale boy with his finger in the dam to stop it from breaking, no.  Jesus can hold His hands behind our hearts to allow HIS living water to flow thru our hearts and back out thru those same cracks to nourish others… Jesus allows us to show His healing thru our brokenness… Living Water moves…

That’s us – broken but on the mend – less us, more Him – lost but found – but NEVER really lost to God, He has been pinging us all along…

The amplification of His signal drowns out the noise, we become a tree next to the noisy rippling life-giving stream, bearing more fruit, connected, rooted in the Living Water… Have you heard the pings of those fellow people calling to God? Messages in a bottle? I bet you have…

Number one message – God loves you – He wants you to accept your brokenness to accept His healing – He loves you no matter what… And guess what? it’s not just love once a day at the “same time, same God station” – it’s eternal – forever… And why? So that we LOVE HIM and LOVE all His Children… we can show our actions are from His phone conversation in our ear because we picked up HIS call…

Jesus asks: “Let those who have ears, hear”…

Ping…

Amen

Reprise Post: Devotion in a Car Wash

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I sat in a powerful automatic car wash and I knew there had to be devotion in that experience – somewhere… It was already formulating AUTOmatically in my head and when I saw the last sign to “DRY-N-SHINE” – AUTOmatically I knew that was God’s message today and always… He wants us to SHINE HIS LOVE!

My car wasn’t awful dirty but certainly it could have been cleaner… (what am I saying?  My peanut shell crumbs and life dust go on and on, purple bird poop from parking under trees was nothing compared to the inside explosion of who knows what!)…. Likewise I deceive myself into thinking that my life my soul are not as awful as I could imagine (What am I saying?  My sins of omission alone and self righteousness go on and on, and oh the mistakes, the bird poop of the soul…).

Despite of all of our humanness, the Lord finds ways for us to cleanse, to find His Way – Living Water in a car wash – a soul-soaking cycle for SAVING. Every car is dirty, every soul is a sinner – all sin is equal – all soul-saving means savoring the Savior.

Inside the wash, my car was on a single track, I had to put it in neutral and let the machine do its work automatically. In life we can look for the narrow but sure path – and we have to actually put our agendas in neutral and let the Spirit take over. Let Jesus do His work – automatically the Spirit pulls us, DON’T even think about putting it back in gear…

Inside, the car was dry, warm and dark! While the whirling bristles and flashing lights outside were like lightning and thunder, I felt the calm in the storms. Under God’s wings we are safe and sound – even if we see the enemies about – even if we hear the roar of earthquakes – calmness will help us hear the whispers of the Lord.

The car got not just one, but many many swirling brushes – many many slapping flaps…  One round of clean up is never enough, nor is it sufficient if you skip the hidden areas… Likewise sin and life require lifting the dirt under the dirt… our Savior understands and comes to clean continuously…

Actually, I really wasn’t worried about how the outside looked at all, I really wanted the unlimited time to vacuum and to sort my car on the inside. Jesus doesn’t worry about the outside of you either, Jesus wants to look inside and vacuum – first you can take out the big chunks out by hand – bottles under seats and logs from eyes… God wants you to feel beautiful. GOD LOVES YOU!

At the vacuum stations, my red car neighbors were arguing about scratches, on the gas cover. I stood grateful for realizing that my life scratches, most of which are of my own doing, car AND soul, were being washed. My dents are like Mader’s tow truck dents from the movie “Cars”, they are my memories… My tears, my thorns are my humility reminders, my smiles are in that car too… My joy is measured in miles… Eternally smiles and joy are in the Lord, as eventually we will enter the body shop of Heaven.

And at the end of the car wash what sign do I see illuminated? “SHINE!” Car buffing came included with this ultimate wash package. SHINE! Guess what? Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to each of us and forevermore so that we can SHINE. We are sent out into the world, driving to wherever His SHINE is needed.  His LOVE flows miles and miles. 

You know this shining up of my car did not cost me anything today!!!… I texted and got a free wash – a top of the line wash for FREE!!!… (yeah sure now they have my number)… You know what? OUR choice to follow Jesus is FREE-ing and doesn’t cost us anything either but it does cost us our own lives. Jesus has got our number and He will forever be pinging us to find us. We can hand our lives over in exchange for His, because He gave His life in exchange for ours – FOREVER… Free washes, free salvation, the owner of our souls already paid…

Of course it is not my boast to SHINE – it’s NOT of my own doing – it’s not even going to prevent me from having new sins, life is life, we mess up.  However, the ability to shine is going to give me a chance to heal and to tell others of my healing by the Body and Soul Shop of the Spirit.  It is in humbling gratitude that we know the splashes of mud will come, we are bound to repeat our need to be cleansed, we will have remorse, and when we repent we will be forgiven, re-cleaned, souls refreshed.

So take your mud and your scratches, those in your car and in your life and keep driving forward – for you are now commissioned – you are cleansed by the Living Water- it’s time to for you to DRY-N-SHINE!

AMEN!

GO!

Reprise post: Pollyanna

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Pollyanna

I have been called Pollyanna, often…. I forget the hard times I remember the good times, I have no idea why. I just know that I have very little right to complain, especially with how much God has blessed me.

Last time I was called a Pollyanna…. My thought was “good for me, sorry you’re not one too”, “sorry for your downer attitude”… I have to say that I should pull back my Pollyanna now and be more pensive.

From 8th grade on, when I turned into an outward-facing person, I walked away from my shyness, left it behind, I have been an enthusiastic person ever since (annoying yes, sorry)… Do I choose to show my dark places? no, not usually, and it is I who choose not to dwell there too long – or perhaps because I know God has new things for me – or because look how He has delivered me SAFE THUS FAR.

Just like this book passage states (photos attached) from a book my Pastor gave me, the writer talks about a man who looks on the bright side even in tragedy. I know someone in real life who did this, an amazing 87yr old retired coach, was a greeter at my children’s school and then the local tire place where people sat and waited and wow blessed if he came to talk to them….if I could be half as enlightened as he is at 87yrs of age, well that would be awesome…. He ALWAYS SAID: “HOW BLESSED AM I?” We always agreed – blessed and blessed because he counted his blessings.

Let’s just say God figures out how to make our enthusiasm knobs turn up to 11…. and plug it into the right channel.

The book passage acknowledges these types of people: “This true jouneyman of faith lived as a pilgrim. He didn’t deny life’s challenges. He understood that no place in this life is permanent. We just have stopping places, not staying places.”

YUP… YUP…

Amen

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Reprise post: Guard Rail Prayer Rail

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Friday night could not have predicted Sunday night memories of a great weekend… The Mercy of the Lord abounded to me… You could say that this is TMI for a devotion,  but this story is the truth: God rallies us – He rallied me when I asked… “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Seeking the Lord’s intervention…

That Friday afternoon I had FOOD POISONING! YEAH food poisoning, knew EXACTLY what food must have caused it… But Saturday I had major plans for my Polar Plunge with 8000 other crazy fun people, plus my daughter came home this weekend. On Sunday I wanted to be singing at church AND my son had been planning a rock climbing excursion with friends.

And I got FRIDAY FOOD POISONING… UGH

And so I put my plans in His…

And God rallied me… 

I turned my plans over to Him and He turned my life around. Why? Maybe because I ASKED. Maybe because of my stubborn willpower or maybe because I am greedy for my own plans? At any rate, that weekend with so many great memories now was ONLY made possible by God, requested by my fevered prayers at the guard rail, humbled and hurling…. if it’s TMI so sorry,  but a guard rail makes for an impromptu Friday evening, side of the road, PRAYER RAIL… I knew EXACTLY what I ate wrong (my fault)… At that guard rail I went through hell and back in 5 minutes… I was SURE it was food poisoning not viral (an added fevered prayer was that I didn’t want my family to get sick. They didn’t, and I had no other symptoms, my body rejected that poison soon after it went in)…

I made it. God made it better as soon as I collected my thoughts to pray. 3 hours later I felt recovered and I knew WHY. He’s saved me from worse.

Today my face, and my bagged eyes, are still flushed and bruised from all that guard rail trauma and strain. But I made it, Lord.  God is good.

I prayed being so very aware that I had to SURRENDER ALL my plans to Him… how I recovered so certainly and quickly was because of God… I was so surprised,  maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised that God can answer so specifically… 

He does.

Guard rail and Prayer rail… ALL GLORY TO HIM.

Amen Amen Amen

(Thanks God! Really, THANKS…)

Rest

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Lord, You give us rest, but we must actually take You up on the offer, hand back the steering wheel, let You drive. We do appreciate being Your children, You give us the ability to hide under Your wings. You have shown us when there is pain in the night, Joy comes in the morning. 

Each of us needs to BE STILL which allows us to focus on You, trust You. Your Spirit Lord in us will guide us.

Lord Jesus, You give rest to all weary and burdened, let us mirror Your gentleness and humility. Restore, rejuvenate and lead us. Remove the inner roadblocks that prevent us from resting in Your Presence, Lord. 

Let us take opportunities for silent reflection. Let us be led in order to lead.

Praying for all God’s people to find paths in You, we pray to be a reflection of Your Shine. We are Your soldiers, Lord, we thank You for outfitting us with Your Armor… as your disciple Paul wrote, our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, our shield of faith which can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, our helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

You Jesus are the Word, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let us Be Still and know Your everlasting PEACE.

Amen

Blueberry Heaven

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I wonder…

I wonder if there will be blueberries in Heaven, I wonder. 

I wonder if Blueberry Heaven has time set aside for picking, drifting bush to bush, then REAL Heaven must have ALL TIME ALL FOREVER GIFTED to us, with sweetness of the tree of life giving us different fruit of the season, in its time. I wonder. 

I wonder what forever life will be like without bugs that bother, poison ivy that threatens, critters that steal, I wonder. I wonder if fruit won’t rot. I wonder. 

I wonder if we will have perfect weather or appreciate and be safely protected, mesmerized by spectacular weather. I wonder with the Light of God, what no night will be like, no sun no sunburn. I really wonder if we will sleep, maybe just power nap deliciously, or decompress spiritually. I wonder. 

I know, Blueberry Heaven on earth is finding time for picking on a picture perfect day, with gifted family and friends, with overflowing bounty. I know real Heaven, blueberries or not,  is filled with the sweetness of freedom from worry, servitude of worship, and priceless connection with all…

I know Heaven will be wonderfully filled with Wonder for all.

Amen

Hezekiah Isaiah Messiah – I Tell Ya!

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I told our VBS campers that Isaiah was a great prophet, speaking to the people about what God said, AND that Isaiah foretold that Jesus was coming – Jesus the Messiah! I wish I had thought of this rhyming for the class: “Hezekiah Isaiah Messiah – I Tell Ya!”  Yes so we need to know that 700 years before Jesus was born, they were talking about Him. 

Hezekiah was a king who listened to God (most of the time) and consulted Isaiah to help him know if God approved of this or that. People lived in the moment – but Prophets lived in and on count of the Messiah – He was foretold to come out of a remnant of Judah – to be a Savior for His people AND for the Gentiles.

We know what they only would hope for – we know Jesus DID come. We DID hear from Him – and we will again – and we can always, in His Word. We can tell the world now – like Isaiah did – we can profit in the prophets and savor the Savior…

We can have HOPE. Jesus was their Savior and ours… Messiah – I Tell Ya!

Amen

—-

Isaiah 42:1-7

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

King Hezekiah 

2nd Kings 18:5-8

Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.

2nd Kings 19:5-7, 14-19, 30-31

When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.

“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”

Isaiah prophesied:

Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Small Fish Big Fish

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Small fish grow up. Little fish become BIG fish. 

I had just left from volunteering with Vacation Bible School and what a big fish from little fish surprise: my store clerk was one of my former Vacation Bible School and Sunday School kids.  WOW.  Tall and grown up, responsible, respectful, remarkable to see little fish grow. He saw my Vacation Bible school t-shirt and said: Hey do you still work at that church?  Well, this year was just helping and yes, I could tell God found a good opportunity for me to help 3 nights, no organizing, I just showed up. 

We should all find such moments, any and all church opportunities where we can meet up with the little fish and strengthen the swim of big fish. We need to set aside our expectations and be ready for accepting work stations. Just like the vbs game filling up the bucket of water in a relay race, we can help, one action at a time. As volunteers, we should love the opportunity to be fished into service. A small slice of time becomes a big splash of help. Even whomever simply filled the fridge of cool water bottles for our 80 degree nights, that was a Godsend for me!

And we ARE big fish and need to “school” with other fish of all sizes – especially we need show the little fish how we swim with faith all caught up with our Fisherman. 

A “Big Fish”, the pastor of this church, came out to play our “catch Jonah” game. He stopped by our station each night to bless and be blessed. I could tell he felt blessed by hearing the children shout “God’s in charge!”.  Our game nets were there to catch like the Whale in the story, the parachute to create the stormy sea… God had to redirect Jonah to his task, speak to the people of Nineveh, tell them God wanted them to repent. Jonah probably would have loved to be in any other city but that’s not what God chose. Jonah was called.  Not all Godly tasks are fun – but being called to VBS is. 

And showing up to games was a good calling for me this year, the teacher collected the items, then we brainstormed the action. I got to teach about God, enough said!   Since I had said “I’m ok with the heat”  yeah I got the heat: temperature and busy with kids, ready for action, and I was OK, BECAUSE GOD’S IN CHARGE. 

With 3 groups 20 minutes each, I filled buckets of water for sponge tosses, crawled like a crab and dried tears. Yes, a little boy cried because water got in his eyes.  I wasn’t sure of wearing this head wrap I got from a friend for the island pirate look, but it became the perfect towel to dry his tears. Another time, a girl cried getting lightly whacked by a shoe accidentally. We stopped play and we folded hands and prayed and she came back to play. Prayers answered. God’s in charge. 

And what a blessing to watch brilliant sunsets each night while the kids play learned… Jonah wanted to watch the city of Nineveh crumble, but God built the people back up to be rescued. They also got to see the sunset and then the sunrise the next morning. That’s what we should do, always want to be given a chance. And we are, because God’s in charge!!!

Amen 

Isaiah 40:4-5,9-11

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed. and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”  See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.

See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. 


The Stones vs The Rock

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I have been watching documentaries on the riches of the Roman ruins from the time around Nero and his successor emperors. What is described is amazing – the chards of rubble they pull up have beautiful frescos – but both time and friction between enemies caused these palaces to crumble and be crumbled. Also buried are over 200 amphitheatres all thru the former Roman Empire. Nothing lasts forever. 

Except Jesus – and the Word He is – and that He wrote.

Except one thing He wrote – was gone surely as soon as He wrote it. Surely whatever Jesus wrote in the ground in the middle of accusations of the adulterous woman by Pharisees and scribes (who were actually trying to trap Jesus), was washed away, swept away, kicked away, trampled away.  Jesus stoops down and writes on the ground (the dirt or the sand) before speaking. Then He did speak but went down to write again and remained there quiet while the accusers were certainly thinking quietly too. Convicted. He had just challenged them: “the one without sin cast the first stone”. 

The stones vs the Rock. No competition. 

The accusers left. I wonder if they wondered what He was writing too. [interesting that in this scene, scribes of the law were face to face with the Word Himself – but they were blind to the text of the moment.]

Jesus is our Rock on which we build our hope. We never want to drop Him. He is bigger than us and lowered Himself below us in order to raise us up. We won’t ever lose Him as He never loses us.

The writings of Jesus here were in the dirt or the sand, unlike the stone tablets of the law written for Moses. We don’t know what writing this was but that writing, like the accusations, would have washed away, blown away, been trampled away. Gone. Just like our sins – GONE – by His cleansing and sacrifice to take upon our dirt unto Himself. 

Even the stones, had they been used against the woman or not, would have eventually been repurposed or rolled aside,  Perhaps crushed and eroded over time. The foundation of a new garden perhaps, or made into a road. Nothing can be more permanent than the Rock Himself. Everything else crumbles in comparison. 

By Jesus’s Word, we are assured. By His actions, we are healed. By His writing, we are reminded.

What today can we ask Jesus to wash away – to move out of our sight – to help us start fresh. The woman was released into a new opportunity to not sin again and her stones blocked by the Rock that stood in front of her – not for her to run away – but for her to start again. Her past put aside, Jesus gave her (and us) a clean slate.

New Jesus is free to write on our hearts, because HE cleaned them.

Amen

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John 8:1-11

Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jesus Applied

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In any situation where you find you are just human, 

too human to reply, 

Let us BE STILL and let Jesus APPLY. 

When you feel a comment coming on that’s so super snide,

Don’t say it. Let God hold your tongue. 

Know JESUS has been applied. 

When you struggle with stress.

Don’t.

Know Jesus WANTS to be applied.

When you wonder if things will turn out OK.

Don’t wonder. 

Know Jesus WILL be applied. 

When your train gets derailed. 

Don’t stay on the broken tracks. 

Know and switch to new tracks that Jesus HAS applied. 

When you wonder who will change your life. 

Don’t wait on anyone else.

Know Jesus DOES apply.

Jesus applied. 

Accept the offer. 

Amen

Christmas in July, 25JUL

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I didn’t always know we would get a sweet gift, the Gift of Jesus.
It’s Christmas in July, HAPPILY.

I didn’t always know I needed the Lord as much as I do.
It’s Christmas in July, THANKFULLY.

I didn’t always know the Lord would take care of me and my family SO MUCH.
It’s Christmas in July, LOVED EXTRAVAGANTLY.

I didn’t know today was going to be the day that my work promotion came through (yes today! On 7/25, of all days, LOL).
It’s Christmas in July, SURPRISINGLY.

I didn’t know I wouldn’t know what that promotion details would be until Christmas July Eve, haha (7/24, LOL).
It’s Christmas in July, PATIENTLY.

I didn’t know the seeming delay in it would test me and make me cool it acceptingly, just to see it land exactly on Christmas in July. The Lord did that testing, PURPOSEFULLY.
It’s Christmas in July, NOT SO “COINCIDENTALLY”.

I didn’t know the Lord would teach me so much EVERYDAY.
It’s Christmas in July, EDUCATIONALLY.

I didn’t know the Lord would know me before I knew Him.
It’s Christmas in July. EXTRAORDINARILY.

I didn’t know the Lord took on my sins BEFORE I committed them.
It’s Christmas in July, WHOLEHEARTEDLY.

I didn’t know the Lord would forgive my ignorance on top of my sins.
It’s Christmas in July, AGAIN and AGAIN, GRACEFULLY.

I didn’t know Shephard Savior Jesus knew from the beginning He was to be God’s Sheep slaughtered for atonement to save all of us.
It’s Christmas in July, OBEDIENTLY.

I didn’t always know Christmas’s REAL meaning in Truth truthfully, only knew it seasonally. I knew it when I knew Christ in me SPIRITUALLY. Then I knew He wants to shine in me, in we.
It’s Christmas in July, JOYFULLY.

I didn’t know He LOVED us before we loved Him. I also didn’t know He was coming back again EXPECTANTLY.
It’s Christmas in July, “we NEED a little Christmas”, NO DOUBTLEDLY

It’s Christmas in July, BLESSEDLY.
It’s Christmas in July, FOREVERLY.
It’s Christmas in July, AMAZINGLY.

AMAZINGLY. AMEN-ILY

Merry Christmas in July.
GOD BLESSEDLY.

Amen

Riddle Me This, Prophetman

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SO – a riddle and a repeat in 3 books:

2nd Kings and Isaiah and Chronicles, they have a triple teaching of King Hezekiah.

We need to know about this king and his relationship with God, because as good as this king was, sometimes his pride got IN THE WAY of the Way. Prayer is powerful, pride however is punishable. And a king’s pride punishes his people too.

King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are linked… (read the three scriptures below). The King was highly regarded by all the nations. And the prophets were always known for their devotion to the Lord, thus being able to hear Him.  Whether the people paid attention is another story!

Pride shows up in us in strange ways.  There is a balance of pride in self accomplishments and skills, and humbleness in God blessings of accomplishment and God-given skills. When we humble ourselves to appreciate our skills, we CAN use them as He sees fit. And He DOES bless us with achievements and success. 

There is a riddle in these Hezekiah scriptures about a shadow obeying the Lord, shall it go forward or back(?), a riddle it seems also in that the king, in his discussions with the prophet, actually got to pick the sign of how he would KNOW that God heard his prayers! (IMAGINE THAT, us demanding proof from God, LOL) And king Hezekiah picked the “harder” thing for a shadow to do. Wow. The shadow of course obeyed. The king, not so much.

The King prayed to the Lord for healing of a terrible life-threatening illness and he was healed, but his pride stood in the way of his whole country receiving a pardon. He repented and all was forgiven. 

Our real King of Kings is JESUS.  When He humbled Himself, He took on obscurity and human helplessness. He could have called upon legions of angels in to the scene, instead He obeyed orders. followed God, stepping up or down as the shadow obeyed – and all for the sake of us, HIS PEOPLE.  King Hezekiah repented for his people and Jesus took our repentance upon Himself. 

Riddle me this, prophetman… WHY? no riddle at all, because Jesus loves us!

Amen

—-

2nd Chronicles 32:24-26 

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.

2nd Kings 20:8-11

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”… “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”  Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Isaiah 38:7-8
“‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

Fishing at VBS

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I walked into being a helper for a friend’s friend’s VBS, never met these folks, but I knew in joy I could just pop into anything. I knew in pride “I could do it all!” – well, yes I could do lots of it, but that’s bad pride thrashing about like a fish out of water. To run VBS, you need a whole school of fish to help. And you need Jesus to tell you which side of the boat to fish on. This summer I am fishing as a worker not the vbs captain. Either way, I could be prideful for my skills but I should not (we should not)… Now, not only should I (we) credit God with our skills, I (we) should swallow pride and taste and see where God NEEDS us to use them.

So, quietly and happily today I made a display suitable for catching HIS fish, a billboard for a fish craft that the kids will make later in the week… Crepe paper twisting is a web idea reused many times – I take no credit but bringing my open eyes and ears to help – my fingers to move more than my mouth.

WE are to be like Jonah (Tuesday’s VBS story), listen and obey.

We are to be caught up in Jesus’s net. Then help lower it again to help Him catch others.

We ARE the catch of God’s Day. 

Amen

When

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When I don’t know what to do,

Lord, prioritize. 

Lord, organize. 

Lord, materialize. 

Lord, synthesize.


When I don’t know where I stand, 

Lord, rescue me.

Lord, ready me.

Lord, remedy me.

Lord, stand for me.


When I don’t know when to move,

Lord, still me.

Lord, steady me.

Lord, strengthen me.

Lord, start moving me.


When I don’t know why I am here,

Lord, clue me in. 

Lord, curb me in.

Lord, compete “me me me” out.

Lord, control my doubt. 


When I don’t know how to survive, 

Lord, be my Revive. 

Lord, be my Thrive. 

Lord, be my Eyes.

Lord, be my Alive. 


Thru my “whats wheres whens whys and hows”, let me see feel know:

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE What.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE Where.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE When.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE Why.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE How.


Lord, YOU ALONE ARE YOU.

Amen 


Keep the Faith! Hezekiah Held Fast, We Can Too

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The Bible teaches us examples of people sticking with the Lord (especially in times of trial, illness and just bad times). We MUST put our faith in the Lord! TRUST GOD! 

We must. 

The kings (and common folk) in the book of Kings had prophets to help say what God wanted said. Woes to anyone who fights against the Lord. In the books of kings, there were good kings and bad kings, and A LOT of each. Good ones were good most of the time and bad ones were good some of the time, and so forth – but clearly all kings are all human (just like us) and all were/are being evaluated by God. Did they have FAITH in HIM? Do we? How do we deal with illness and scares?

Now it HAS been a long time working thru the book of Kings, and I had no idea how much history is here! So having a closer look at elaborate intricate history, which IS also THE WORD living to be learned, is just like looking at the weave of an intricate cloth or into a thicket of mesh or just like you would see an insect’s or butterfly’s wings close up, being so intricately and gorgeously detailed. Other times the stories are just a HUGE volume of info that I can’t absorb, perhaps that is why we will have FOREVER to meet everyone and learn their stories. And like stories which we can not comprehend (yet) we will just have to wait to see how it all fits together. It DID become clear, looking at these lists of kings and prophets printed on my new favorite pamphlet from Rose Publishing, that the Bible books overlap many times with multiple descriptions of one era and of certain people (Like Hezekiah and Isaiah).  I realize that we can learn one layer deep and then will have the opportunity to learn another layer deep. Like more than skin deep, the Word is deep from deep. 

More than skin deep also was a boil on the hand of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The Lord healed him, because HE ASKED. Hezekiah was a king who DID follow God and he did that like no other! And he was good! “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, theGod of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.”

What a great realization – that the Lord was WITH him (and is with us). That is what we must strive to realize as well and strive to be – to hold fast to the Lord and let the Lord BE GOD. He CAN protect and direct. If we let the Lord lead, we DO have Someone and some path to follow. And what a great open fruitful time for a great prophet, Isaiah, to be connected to Hezekiah. Isaiah speaks of the Messiah coming and has an opportunity to open more eyes and ears to the blessings of the Lord. Isaiah wrote (chapter 37:31-32):  “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”

Isaiah and Hezekiah meet up again at a point where Hezekiah becomes very ill. The recovery was credited to the Lord and any and every recovery we have from illness should be credited to the Lord for HE IS GOOD – and every trial should bring us closer to the Lord – for HE IS GOOD.  Hezekiah’s illness became the connection from which he then PRAISED the Lord for making him realize that He really WAS dependent upon God. God first made him put his house in order (which we also should do) and then because Hezekiah prayed and prayed, God delivered him. “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.  Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.  Isaiah 38:1-5

Hezekiah wrote this praise to the Lord after his illness and recovery:
I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world. Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me. I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!

But what can I say?  He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health and let me live.

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.

We ALSO can call on the Lord – in the pain and in the preventative stages – and in all moments…

He IS our All in All – He will answer the call.

TRUST GOD!

Amen

Who’s Direction?

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So, there’s a cute manufacturing anomaly that this particular Jesus doll has, a stuffed Hallmark doll sitting on my dresser. He has his arm as outstretched (really He came out of the box this way) as if to direct you to look at something or to walk you a particular way. He leads especially with a comforting look, the doll AND the Lord. 

I think one of the ways we know that we are not IN CHARGE of the universe (or our corner of God’s plan) is that we were born into this world as helpless babies. We can do LOTS when we turn adults, eventually less as aging people and yet some have a physically productive lifestyle right up until death. But as babies, we require upbringing, WE NEED DIRECTION and nurturing. As adults we require a different upbringing, and continual direction because in “God’s eyes” we are YOUNG in HIS Kingdom. 

Now with my grown/growing children older and older, I am the one surprised by what comes from them after all this time feeding and teaching and correction. What incredible flip of the roles to hear them shushing me, thinking mom needs this correction and mom needs teaching and how I am left behind technologically too… and I get tired at night when they are in their prime, but that’s because I wake up 530am they wake up much much later. 

In human years, I came first so I have a few years on them, but in God’s universe and Kingdom years, we are all but a blip. We are formed of God’s dust, therefore He knew and knows where that dust came from, where our dust fits in His dustpan and how He wants to lead our dust HOME,  following the trails left by our One and Only Dust-Saver Dust-Savior.

Direction. Leadership. Dust Collector.

I’ve been reminded especially lately, watching others, of the trials that believers endure. Hardships, pain. But one thing we NEVER lack is Jesus giving direction, His Direction.

His Directive from the Lord God, Our Father, is for sharing His grace and mercy, given without fail.

Others can give advice, but Jesus IS the Answer.

Not only is Jesus the Direction, Jesus IS the Map.

Amen!

!!!


A good song to remind us the trials of a bumpy ride on earth may be blessings in disguise  – this is not our home and we draw closer to Him.

Lyrics BLESSINGS, Laura Story 

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if the thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
When friends betray us
And when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if the thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
?

Don’t Do That, Do This

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If there’s one commandment God was serious about, in the old testament divided kingdom of Israel/Judah and serious about NOW (surely He is serious about them all), it was/is to NOT build and worship false idols. The bad seeds replace the good seeds.  It makes us dependent upon man and his schemes rather than God and His Salvation. We do this on a small scale and sometimes on a big scale. God says: Don’t do that.

We need to NOT drift. We need to tend to our good seeds planted in us. We need to rely upon Him. Keep track from derailments.

Summer time flies away, and like my garden, we need to weed out and block out the opportunities for the distractions to get a foothold in us. Then before we know it, the distractions take up the time and the water and the nourishments God intended for our time with Him. The weeds, however pretty like purple morning glories, twist up the stems and leaf out depriving the plants and block the fruits from forming well. There will be no harvest to enjoy or store for winter. The weeds create a tangled mess and will have to be tossed. The garden a jungle. Our lives lost in the thicket of sin.

One true opportunity God gives our gardens (AND US) is to BEGIN AGAIN.  When garden weeds are killed by winter’s coldness, we start fresh. When we shun the distractions, they walk away. Our lives can be renewed DAILY by taking up our crosses and being less us and more Him. EVERY DAY IS A  NEW DAY. 

The Israelites may have been exiled again, but we CAN come back, we HAVE a new beginning in Christ. We can walk back His Way. He will forgive and our life begins again. 

That’s why God wants all of our attention. We need to stay on track. He wants us close where He can protect us. Have Him call you into the station house on time. 

Someday this world will end, we won’t have a second chance that day. So TODAY, let us walk God’s Way. 

Be His.

Amen 


2nd Kings 17:7-23

For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.


Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.

Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.

And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin.

For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

God Bless the Little Children, All are His.

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It was a blessing to be a part of a personal parade, something that tapped into something that was/is much bigger then all of us, a collective outpouring of love and support to cheer a young cancer fighter, and his family.  The parade concept started from his mom asking for support and grew to hundreds of firetrucks, trucks, motorcycles, and cars, many with decorations and especially scare monsters with masks from the Halloween movies, horror genre… His mom thought he would enjoy pummeling the cars with water balloons. Well, he has been short time long suffering and could only sit in his chair, he seemed in much pain, but the many kids around him took on extra strength FOR him, to get the job done. SPLAT.

The firetrucks were silent as not to disturb – all the folks were so respectful and some gave gifts. I decorated the old Subaru with some Christmas in July decorations, easy for me to pull together in a rush, I have nothing scarier than rushing the Christmas season LOL (And Santa was there too, with his bike! So yeah, it was fine!!) And with extra decorations from my friend we got just as many water balloons pummeled at our car as all the scary monster cars… FUN.  FUN.

Sadness is in the rapid decline due to cancer. Always that unanswered question: why God, do kids have to get sick? I don’t have an answer. God knows we all think it.  God knows we cherish our kids even more because of it. In my grandparents era, many children died early due to many reasons – and in a broken world, we should not expect perfection in one slice, but we do wish it…  I have no answer but maybe a thought that only the bodies of children are young, but their spirits are old, like ours too. Our whole 120 max years is still minimal compared to eternity before and after, so adults are not less kids than kids in God’s eyes… maybe… in earthly world, yes we age in a flash of time. But in God’s eyes, all time is His.

This does not change the pain of lost and suffering children on earth, God have mercy. God also knows this pain all too well, and from the beginning of His son in purposeful offering being slain. 

God knows these pains and yet the children who are lost from earth have not been lost to Him. This also does mean all of us are God’s kids and our earthly loss is painful but means His Heavenly gain (sometimes a little sooner than we expected) is a gain. His heavenly gain is our heavenly gain forever… 

In the end there is no end. Time will catch up with itself since time will dissolve. There is no reason for us to rush time even though often we want to slow it down.

Forever and a day, God WILL have His Way. 

May we have health, oh yes, health we pray. 

Health until that very day when we will pass away, 

Let us know that is will always be according to God’s Say.

Amen. 

God bless the little children. 

God, please bless this family with peace and comfort. 

Amen 

God Knows Summer

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(modified from the call to worship I prepared this morning for outside church service- now a good reflection for a busy summery summer day. I finish this day OUTSIDE with the cat in her tent – and a covering over myself against mosquitos – not that it is dusk. The fireflies, the new bunnies, the stillness of a sticky summer night – these ARE the summer moments we have been waiting for – it IS like camping but not leaving the house – it IS like God KNOWS Summer and put it into place whether we were ready for it or not… Summer – He knows we need it – He knew I needed it – I knew too…)

God knows Summer!

This was a day the Lord had made – today – and it was a beautiful day in a beautiful summer that God has made. Summer is a favorite season. 

This IS the warmth that we all have been waiting for, those cold winter months are long gone. Gardens and beaches, playgrounds and baseball – swimming and summer…  Time for vacations and being OUTSIDE! 

Bright greens of trees and lawns, fresh summer fruits and HOPE everlasting that is renewed in us with a fresh filling. We are long past Easter but the blessings of promised forever life are never changed and this enjoyment of the fruits of summer should remind us of God’s faithfulness -.God got us to this day.

We have so much to be thankful for – and count our blessings! Not everything is perfect nor will it be on earth, but like seeing His SPECTACULAR RAINBOW after our storms, HE WILL PUT THINGS RIGHT, so we still have to remember to PRAISE HIM today for giving us each day and those forever days – when all will be put right (in HIS new Kingdom) by the amazing Power of Jesus crushing all that is wrong and setting in place all that is right.

We are but visitors here on earth, belonging to His Home above – and like another favorite of summer: camping, we all know that we will get Home and get a good shower to clean us up – a good meal (supper at the table) – and able to live forever at HOME in LOVE.  Thank You Jesus.

Let us, this summer and always, let the Holy Spirit in ourselves shine bright for all to see and be a messenger of HOPE. Let us share that energy and knowledge of future wholeness with people who need Him desperately – immediately – and forever. Let us praise Him ALWAYS.

Lord, be our light and warmth – You will forever be our summer sweetness.

Amen

Bounce Back

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Bounce back. I think God was just making a point that Elisha had REALLY been a man of God when even in his death, a miraculous raising from the dead could happen. Here is the scripture:

Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet. 2nd Kings 13:20-21

Bounce Back!

I find when I count my blessings, I worry less. I can see where God was faithful and where He just decided to save the day (like when driving in traffic and escaping an accident, He sends angels of bumper buffers). 

Just as mornings are refreshing after sleep, we bounce back into life with a fresh chance at it. It’s amazing that feeling of a Saturday or any fresh day after a tired night. And oh, the preparation is tremendous but the feeling of a vacation day is the best.

I find when I know I have made preparations, I worry less. I find when I make mental separation from being needy, I worry less. And most definitely when I place my trust in God, He comes through. Remembering this is how we should step into a new situation or an old situation with a new perspective.

Why? Why trust? Because we are to trust in God to cover us, place us, provide for us, teach us.

Why? Why God? He brought us into this world to love us and be loved. He teaches us and we learn A LOT when living on the edge of security, especially with bills, pledges of payments, over spending or just stretching seemingly thin. Or with health, or with time. That’s when, during and before issues, we should be realizing that we are dependent upon Him. 

Worries in a worry nation are amplified when things are good because the evil one has his sights on chaos and disruption. Let us worry less, pray more, make preparations and yet separation from worldly needs. God knows, all we need is HIM. He encourages us to remain FAITHFUL. He is ALWAYS faithful to us.

The dead man came to life not due to anyone asking, not the man, not Elisha, and not the folks burying him. He was tossed away but God found a Way.

Let’s trust God to find a Way for us too.

Amen 

Put Your Money Where Your Masonry Is

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We have many places to put our money – and more places where it simply flies away. Where do we best place our money? Wherever GOD wants it. It’s not just the church needing/wanting/using money, it’s a tool for blessings that can be misdirected – and yet we live in this world, so we need to use money for this world too… We do need to take care of our houses where we live – we also need to take care of our “houses” from WHERE WE GIVE.

Us too, where do we place ourselves? Are we being appropriate with our time? Do we give? How about our hope and encouragements, where do we share those? Are we stewards of attitude? How fake or real we are will be seen by God. He knows, therefore why try to hold back. Relationships need good foundations, not just walkways.

The money in this scripture (2nd Kings was held back 23 years and not used as directed for repairs to the breeches of the house of the Lord. Where it was broken is where it was to be attended to, and yet no one did that, but when asked again, the money faithfully came back to the intended purpose. If you make a promise, keep it. This house of the Lord was important as a focal point for the people to come and make the sacrifices – our houses of the Lord now are not for our sacrifice for forgiveness because Jesus accomplished that and gifted that to us – but our houses of worship are still meant to be for worship – not fluff.

No gold ornaments or trinkets, no flashy stuff for the church was to be made with the repair money, not softscape before hardscape…  And the workers were paid faithfully for their work. The priest didn’t bargain with them, they just paid them. It’s all in the attitude, just pay the bills. Put effort into infrastructure over fluff.

We bargain too, don’t we. We bargain with people who make less than us where we should be generous. We bargain with God, who gives us everything. When has God not kept you calm in a storm? All praise and honor are His, His love and generosity are what feeds peoples generosity, we should give thanks. His skills are gifted to others, which we benefit from, we should praise Him. 

We make flashy things and pass that off as important, again what is real is better. And giving your importance to real stuff to workers is better than layering soft gold to impress people who pass by, barely noticing. 

Our joy, peace, hope are from Him, we should mind that and be good stewards of our attitude. We should give our best to not be flashy. We should keep our promises. We should pay our workers. 

This means our kids and our workers too – if we ask them to do something and they do it – we should not move the bar and make a sliding target. Keep it simple and keep it real. CLEAN AGREEMENTS…

And always consult God.

Amen 

2nd Kings 12: 1- 15

In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.

And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.

And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord,

Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.

Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.

And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house. But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.

And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord. And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord, And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.

Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord: But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord. Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.

Overlap the Gap

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My glossy timeline pamphlets about the Kings and Prophets (Rose Publishing bought on Amazon) are great references for times of learning. When I place them for cross reference into my own life, they show me what Jesus is trying to teach me, He IS the connection Old Testament to New Testament to Forever – a cross reference by His cross to cross into our lives of gaps and overlaps. We can refer to and reference Him – HE WANTS to FILL US with the knowledge of HIM.

It’s clear to me that I have many gaps in my Biblical knowledge, specifically the Old Testament, these gaps are so clear that I can see right through them! However I am starting to place sticker-sized tidbits of knowledge on the clear empty spaces, and even get to start to overlap the stickies. Sometimes the stickers fall off and I learn again of something I learned – but that is why there are endless stickers and endless opportunities to learn. I don’t feel ashamed of these gaps, I feel like I am in a position to be educated and have the rest of FOREVER to fill in the gaps. Not a rush to rush thru the physical pages but to absorb something of everything, to make my own sticker placements, rather than try to learn everything at once which will glob all the stickers together into a ball and not be usable at all. 

The stories are remarkable and only tidbits of those are shared in the Word – I don’t read much commentary (yet), as this first time thru the old testament I will try to read first in my own hearing and eyes and synapse connections and make my own stickers. I don’t understand but a fraction of these readings in the Book of Kings but know they are important. I occasionally come to a story that I heard about in VBS, like rebuilding walls of a temple (again), and can build up those sticker walls of knowledge. I do try to look up authors and see what stories overlap in different books, and the truth of Truth I found in this statement from a chronology: the author of Kings was “writing not in order to accurately describe the past as a historian would (which is a modern concept) – rather he is telling the story of the past in order to illuminate the present day in which he lived.”

Oh! Yes of course! We are given the Biblical stories to understand that the Word’s teaching is intended to teach and reach, and STAY STICKY for our life sticker books. We ALSO can and should apply the knowledge of these writings to illuminate the present day that WE LIVE IN NOW. Of course there is 100% Truth learning about Jesus in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. (they are called TESTAMENTS for a reason).  It hearing the stories and IS SEEING HIM Walk His Way thru and out of historical prophecy that gave the believers and us knowledge of Him as the Messiah when He would come, AND chronicled those activities of the peoples to show they were following God’s Plan, AND lay down groundwork demonstrations of fulfilled prophecy when Jesus came. 

Like someone giving you sticker books with the outlines of where the stickers go, Jesus as the Word is that outline, and then Jesus being the stickers too for the sticker book you finally get to fill in the places and spaces. And in the overlap, and how you place the sticker, you see your own life in the pages too. We should read the Bible and see what sticks! Read it again and fill in more.

Gaps now overlapped. Truth now told. Understandings now understood. 

We won’t get to finish our understandings on this planet but have our “triptik” for revelations of days to come, and of forever. And oh how special we are holding onto the bonus pages of when He will return – we see in the Word (the book of Revelations) spaces for stickers of His Return – His Millenium – His Winning Way – and that gemstone New Jerusalem headed our way by His Way. God knows we are going to love stickers like those!!! 

Jesus, I am sticking with Him! Because He stuck with us first! 

We love Him because He loved us first.

Amen 

Teach me, Help me, Grow me, Lift me, Reach me

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Teach me Lord, to know Your Ways. 

Teach me Lord, to count my days.

Help me Lord, to find Your rest.

Help me Lord, to be my best.

Grow me Lord, to depend on You.

Grow me Lord, to be made anew.

Lift me Lord, to raise my Spirit.

Lift me Lord, to reach You near it.

Reach me Lord, to forever be true.

Reach me Lord, to reach back to You.

Amen 

Divided, Disgusted, Dark, Directed, DELIVERED

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It is the sorrow of Elisha the prophet to see the back and forth sinful evil of these kings (and those assassinating them) in the DIVIDED kingdom and from and between their enemies. It’s a mess. In 2nd Kings, estimated around 800 BC, we learn Elisha wept over knowledge that one soldier from Syria, Ben-Hadad, would kill his own ruler, take over, and also he predicted would cruelly kill many Israelites. He did. God knew. 

Elisha wept knowing all this in advance. Jesus also wept for the lost while He walked the earth, His tears knew the big and small of division. He knew the oppression in the past and the crumbling future.

***We must continue to share His Hope * He will crush all evil. ***

Jesus IS the Word, and our human dividedness is from our brokenness. His brokenness came to rescue us for our sins. In His brokenness of death for all to know and see, these chapters are seemingly (hypothetically) “as if” Jesus’s guts are split open. Split wide open. Messy. His Message (the bible scriptures) recount all the pain and grief in the world back then which surely was breaking more than just Elisha’s heart but all who saw the mess, and how it continued and continues. God’s made efforts to keep the line of David preserved – to secure the success of salvation – but the people of the day were dragged thru the muddy mess of painful waste of life and wars. Elisha must have been DISGUSTED with what was revealed to him. 

DIRECTED. Even so, of the awful back and forth turmoil we see in the 2nd Kings scriptures (and plenty more to read thru), one can APPRECIATE the GIFT of the existence of Prophets to remind us (and them) of God’s great Power and Direction.  In those who follow the Lord, the hope is kindled for a restored kingdom – and witnesses to His Power knew that God’s Promises were kept. All were directed to follow God, even thru the dark times.

DARK. 

Evil is not new. Dark times are not new. Today’s turmoil is not new. Tomorrow’s PROMISE is our NEW HOPE. And if God never changes, and Jesus exists always (Alpha and Omega), then LOVE never shyed away from stepping out into the world. DELIVERED. Holy Spirit, He’s here to Help!

DELIVERED – old testament Nahum is another prophet who also talks about evil taking over peoples and lands, all like Babylon, destined for destruction. But for us, we are to hold onto hope until we will be delivered, hold onto the truth: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him”, and evil will crumble.” YES. God will win!

Fast forward nearly a thousand years from 2nd Kings division and strife. A new testament testimony comes from Paul to the Jews and Romans, to reach even Caesar. Paul, even in captivity, chains for the cross, was called by God to be a messenger of HOPE.  (remember Paul was Saul, a zealous killer of the early church Nazarenes, those who followed The Way as early Christians, until JESUS HIMSELF appeared to Saul and changed his evil ways to become a messenger of the One True Way.)  And Paul said: “now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.” Yes, those 12 tribes were falling apart in the divided kingdom, but God kept their hope intact.

We need to be messengers of HOPE. 

Paul got to see the Divided, Disgusted, Dark sides of the world, even in himself, but then by being DIRECTED by God, Paul was saw the opportunity for people to be DELIVERED. He and we are delivered from and delivered sent, just like a letter of the Word. Sent.

We will see God’s justice – just stay tuned… God will provide refuge for all who humble themselves. 

God is good. Sing His Praises. Be a messenger of HOPE.

Amen 

(If you are in trouble or trials, hold onto God. He has been holding on to you.)

Amen Amen 

Elisha and prophesy:

Book of Nahum video:

Writing a FORWARD Story

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A friend of mine said he was always intending to write his faith walk story. I HOPE HE DOES. I encourage you all to write.  We can write about our faith history as His Story and importantly write about how God keeps walking us Home. His Story is surely about us getting Home back to be with Him.

I have had a very busy few weeks (!) and I expect that to continue – but right now I have one moment tonight to sit outside in the cool of the evening and rest and read God’s Word and turn to my faith writing. Oh so many connections we find in daily life with God’s Word, putting the Word in our Walk step by step… amazing…

Tonight I was truly pondering what “sitting with the Word” meant and realized that God “sat” down with and pondered WITH the Word too, as Jesus IS the Word.  Jesus, One with the Father, doing this Work of the One Who sent Him, this meant and means He took/takes God’s mission into Walking Word Form. The sins of the past are long gone as left behind on this new road to wholeness. 

Think how God surely missed Adam and Eve after the fall, missed them (and us, whom He pre-knew, separated by sin before we were even born), missed them walking with Him in fellowship in the cool of the evening… and so He made a plan of substitution of sacrifice that was written “on paper” yet truly came to fruition as Lived by the Word, thru the Word… Lifted off the page. Walking faith this day, taking in a moment WITH the Word, Jesus is walking us back to our collective wholeness with God. We write right and walk right by His Righteousness.

God took time to write HIS story because Jesus IS the Word. Let’s write our own HIS story of how He helps us as opposed to writing our story of where we went wrong. Let’s live the FORWARD story not the back story. 

 The Beginning and the End is Jesus and so what is next to keep writing and righting? The future. Because WE ARE NOT DONE WALKING OR LIVING YET! Our Future (Heavenly Homebound Homebodies) IS the Best that’s yet to come.

Walk with Jesus, keep writing HIS Story into our HISTORY.

Amen 

Lead Me reprise

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Lead me Lord, to Know. 

Lead me Lord, where to Go.

Lead me Lord, when to say No.

Lead me Lord, to go with the Flow. 

Lead to help me to Grow. 

.

Lead me Lord, to follow in Your Stride.

Lead me Lord, to avoid traps too Wide.

Lead me Lord, instruct me where to Hide.

Lead me Lord, to give up my Pride.

Lead to help me feel for You, Inside. 

.

Lead me Lord, to You.

Lead me Lord, to work True. 

Lead me Lord, to hear Your Clue.

Lead me Lord, to give You Your Due. 

Lead to help me know me thru You.

Amen


Grow me Lord, to know You’re Ways

Grow me Lord, to count my days

Hold me Lord, to find my rest

Hold me Lord to be my best

Lift me Lord to raise my spirit

Lift me Lord to reach so near it

Life me Lord to forever be true

Life me Lord to find You

God Made Fridays

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I always marvel at the concept that things were so much better in the past, because it’s dependent upon how far back you look at life. Are we talking the Fifties? My Dad said Happy Days was fictional, it wasn’t really like that. Are we talking 1700’s? I am sure unless you were wealthy that you worked day and night and never sat down to check Facebook. 

It is a fair claim that some things were better for some people then and some other things are better for some people now. Some groups of people had it better off and some did not. Some individuals made the most of any situation they were in then, and some do that now. 

Make the best of it. That’s a scripture too, actually lots of scriptures, actually the whole book. “Whistle while you work” or “Grin and bear it” – attitude is EVERYTHING. Friday? That’s TGIF, but only because Saturday is off, it’s different for different people who work Saturday. The other week I was off on Friday so Thursday was my Friday. I used to have a plaque saying that said “Everyone need a Saturday on a Wednesday.”

Attitude, it’s all in attitude. Attitude like Free Will is something God puts in our hands, with tweaking by His Spirit. He can help us refocus and recognize blessings where others see bad stuff. God can reframe challenges into skill-building experiences that serve us better than the fault took us down. We can rise in His Strength. We can make the BIGGEST realization that “I AM A CHILD OF GOD!””

Friday attitude is different than Monday, God made Fridays TGIF! But God made Mondays too. Actually, you already know, GOD made EVERYDAY – but gave people the opportunity to name them – and He gives us the opportunity to make the best of our attitude too. Today, let’s embrace TODAY and make the most of it. 

Today remember YOU ARE GOD’S VERY GOOD CREATION. YOU ARE LOVED!!!

God made you HIS!

AMEN 

HAPPY FRIDAY! (as my friend Sheila always says)

—-

Psalm 37:16 of David 

It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.

1John 4:7-11

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

—-

Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.”

Maya Angelou, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou

“You Say” by Lauren Daigle 

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough.

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low.

Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And you say I am held when I am falling short

And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me.

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing.

You say I am strong when I think I am weak.

And you say I am held when I am falling short. 

When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh, I believe.

Taking all I have, and now I’m laying it at Your feet.

You have every failure, God, You have every victory.

Ooh-oh

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

Oh, I believe (I)

Yes, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

They Have to Want It!

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I heard sage knowledge/advice: “They have to want it more than you want it for them.” This pertains in many situations and especially in that particular (undisclosed) conversation premise that I was in.

I thought  Hmmmm… this ALSO refers to faith. To us. To others.  

The only time this does not pertain is when and the other person is Jesus. Because in truth Jesus wants things for you much much more than you want them for yourself. 

Want, need, emergency or perception? We do know that people are impacted by needs. We certainly are. We also see God has gotten us safe thus far!!!

This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.

There’s a BIZARRE story (2nd Kings 6-7) in Prophet Elisha’s time, for the emergency needs in Samaria, besieged by the Arameans. The famine was so bad the people were eating each other, EWWW! The prices skyrocketed. The king of Israel blamed God, the God of Prophet Elisha, and went to kill him. Elisha knew of their plans as God revealed such. God also revealed a reprise to Elisha, that on the following day, food would cost pennies in comparison. Elisha didn’t say how, but to a soldier scoffing he avowed that both it was true and however, that soldier would not eat of it.

This DID happen, but from a whole other scenario that God made happen. He scared the army of Arameans with noises and they abandoned camp. At the same time, four lepers, who figured they had nothing to lose anyway, decided to go towards that area and wow, the enemy camp was empty of people but full of food. They ate and felt guilty about keeping this secret to themselves, so they got word to the king of Israel and he doubted (feared an ambush) but he investigated. Was true, so much food and no ambush or siege. The mocking soldier from the day before was sent to investigate, however he was trampled to death by the hungry crowds. Like Elisha said in prophesy, he did not eat. 

Wow… prophecy fulfilled in multi-layer multi-player style only God could orchestrate. We see solutions come from left field sometimes, don’t we. How did God do that? We need to say how we saw God work things out in our lives. We need to believe more than disbelieve. We need to hunger for His answers first,  food second. We need to know He works things out. This rescue was biggest impact and biggest news.

We have many prayers for our non-Christian friends, even scoffers like the soldier, hoping they believe, but they REALLY have to want to believe by themselves. And it’s the Spirit rising within them that makes all the difference. We fan the flames and yet they have to ask for the fire within themselves to open up so it gets needed air, they have to accept the feeding of Jesus’s fire fueled within themselves and ask Him to keep them running in His Path… there’s an even bigger rescue and bigger impact coming, let’s pray the mockers wake up and smell the faith. 

This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.

Instead of scoffing, they have to want it. More than we want it for them, they have to want faith to believe. More than God? No. God loved us before we love Him. God sets understanding all eternity within us, but we can’t understand until He explains, shows, leads… When Jesus returns, He and we will feast at the Heavenly banquet – certainly those who do not believe will not eat. Even the lepers and outcasts will eat because they believed, but those scoffers will die forever and not.

They have to want it. God wants them to want it too. God wants this EVEN MORE.

Let us ask God to help share news of His Banquet. He will. We must keep spreading the Good News while God is spreading the tablecloth and making room at the table for each of us. 

Lead on Lord.

Amen 

The story:

Famine in Besieged Samaria

Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.

The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

The Siege Lifted

Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”

At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace. The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”

One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”

So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.

Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Mountains into Molehills Reprise

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It is good to remember that GOD’S GOT THIS!

A reprise of this devotion I wrote – realizing that to God’s eyes, our problems are not insurmountable… Sometimes they are even good problems to have so that God can fix them or make us realize what to do to keep our eye on Him.

We do need to read and lead with the prayers of Psalm 63 to strengthen us – especially when making the big moves in life.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Psalm 63:1-8


When we look at things from God’s vantage point, mountains are REALLY molehills, and we can climb them with HIS help… And HE gives us the power and energy to soar higher than we could have ever dreamed. Amen.

Mountains into Molehills, Travelogue Reprise
The best thing about being so high up into the heavens above earth is that IT IS CLEAR and you can see how God fills in the rough spots and only the tops of mountains are visible… (these are the Swiss Alps). And that is so true with my life and maybe yours. When we look at things from God’s vantage point, mountains are REALLY molehills, and we can climb them with HIS help… And HE gives us the power and energy to soar higher than we could have ever dreamed. Amen.

Free enough for Fear or Faith?

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As soon as my cat, sitting at my feet, senses I am drifting back to dreamlike snoozing when I should be getting up, she walks back up to awaken me. I’m 99% sure there are angels armies and cat corrallers everywhere in the unseen realm of heaven’s warriors around us. I think the angel then tells the cat to sit, as I return to scripture reading and writing (especially in the chapters about angel armies). The cat then sits until she is summoned by angels (or by hunger) to move on – and/or back to moving me, so that I move on with my day.

Angel armies surround us, ready to battle evil (and sleepiness) and simply to get us from here to there. God has us on a journey not a jungle gym of life simply to keep us busy while we wait for Jesus to return. God wants us working His fields – planting seeds and working for harvest. God needs us to know what we don’t see, feel assured of His provisions, and maintain our cool in the attacks of the day. Elisha saw chariots of fire in the revelation that God showed him. When Elisha the prophet knew of these, he knew when NOT to fight because of fear, but to stand down in freedom of protection. TO HAVE FAITH!

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he (Elisha’s servant] may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Fierce enough to stand down. Free enough to free.

Prophet Elisha was informed by the Lord of the movements of the king of Aram preparing to fight the land of Israel, and this frustrated the king of Aram, so he called upon an army of his Arameans to target the prophet, surround the city where Elisha was. Instead of fighting the battle, even though there were plenty of resources in the heavenly realm to overcome that army, Elisha asked the Lord to blind the army (temporarily) until he could lead them out of town. It was a trap but more of a snare. Then instead of slaughtering them in their vulnerable state, he instructed the king of Israel to feed them! The army perhaps realized GRACE as well as the unbelievable relocation into another land. All must have feared and respected the God working with Elisha – helping Israel to survive. The Arameans were allowed to leave peacefully and the Arameans did not invade the land of Israel’s king (and Elisha) again. Peace by no bloodshed but the power of God.

Are we free enough to stand down from fighting and have mercy on our enemies? Are we strong in the Lord enough to lead our enemies away from a battle and thus preserve our walk and those of the followers around us? We don’t defeat them, we save them too. 

We too have the power of God protecting us from ultimate death so can we day to day pick up the mercy and grace and provide for our enemies who are led astray by commands of evil forces. Can we become wiser warriors, following God and knowing He is in control, rather than be worry warriors, following scarry sights? Acting as if we weren’t in God’s Hands.

We are free enough to be fearful or faith-like. Let us choose FAITH. 

Let us pick up our crosses, not our crossbows. Because the Lord has led us, we can lead others – even our enemies.

Let us serve each other and thus serve the Lord. Let others know us by our LOVE.

God’s got this. 

Amen

—-

2nd Kings 8

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

“Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Let Forgiveness Reign

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On the 4th of July we say “Let Freedom Reign” but one of our biggest freedoms is the freedom to forgive. It IS God given freedom to forgive and be forgiven. It is also God’s command to forgive. Freedom isn’t free, it costs the price of forgiveness. 

Forgiveness. 

In earthly living, ignorance, oversight, and accidents happen. Especially when you borrow something, you want to be especially cautious in how you treat it. If you are holding materials for someone, if you are borrowing a neighbor’s tools, if you are giving someone a ride – that’s certainly worth being extra careful. You are often borrowing trust. If you are watching a house or pet, there is trust in all ways, including by the pet…

Accidents do happen and repayments may be a substituted if it is material. Yet if it is our word that is broken, then owning up and asking FORGIVENESS is the best response. Likewise, GIVING FORGIVENESS is the best thing we can do. And pray. PRAY. Pray…

Elisha’s story as a prophet includes a tiny incident where an axhead was lost, flew off the stick into the water, OOPS!  Instantly the woodcutter seems to have felt bad, so he asked Elisha immediately. Good thing Elisha was there. That’s their equivalent to asking God’s help instantly, since Elisha was so revered. We too should ask for God’s help in all things, including lost things. We need to remember He is already present. We can ask on other’s behalfs too. AND WE SHOULD ASK HIS FORGIVENESS ANYTIME WE CAN. 

In this lost and found story is the substitution of tossing a piece of wood into the water and instead seeing the valuable ax iron float back up. This was not offered as a neat trick, but it was symbolic in many ways (especially if you consult scholars and connective minds all over the media streams. It could connect to many scenarios. Trust me the scholars have not left any rock unturned or wood tossed)… We should try to scratch the surface of understanding within our own Holy Spirit seeking, and importantly, being an old testament teaching, we find this connects to TRUSTING GOD at minimum and at maximum to Jesus as substitute for our sins.  FORGIVENESS. 

There is more value in freedom of forgiveness and in friendship than all earthly things that fade away. Just think of the family feuds over pennies or plates, furniture or farms. Reliability too is a family value. Either you are or aren’t reliable in their eyes and them in yours… We always seem to remember those wrecks. And yet, think of misunderstandings where forgiveness would be the MOST generous of gifts. 

Forgiveness is Priceless.

Then think of unforgivable things, and that’s where we have to substitute Jesus forgiveness, because even the impossible forgiveness floats will float. Toss Jesus in and find He was already in the mix waiting for us.

Consult the Lord first. Before hiding the incident, consult the Lord. Before over-thinking, consult the Lord. Before borrowing or lending, consult the Lord. And trust Him even and especially if you don’t trust the situation. 

At the beginning of this story, the workers asked Elisha to come with them before they started working. That’s another important aspect we sometimes overlook. Ask help in advance. I remember a trip to an event and my driver offered a prayer for safe travels before we went out of the parking lot. Ask guidance. It WILL be given. 

We know that God can do all things. Let us align with God. Forgiveness is His freedom gift to us.

We know people and situations are broken.  Let us align with God.

God’s got this.

Let’s “Let Forgiveness Reign”.

Amen 

2nd Kings 6

An Axhead Floats

The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”

And he said, “Go.”

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”

“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

Remembering My Dad’s LIFE Much MORE than Death

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Funny thing after a week of remembering the upcoming anniversary of my Dad’s death, I TOTALLY FORGOT about it on the day… OOPS, I FORGOT… and yet I thought about my Dad A LOT that day, because I thought about his LIFE!

Everyday I think about my Dad. All week I had been watching Hogan’s Heros, which I used to watch with my Dad. (I fall asleep exhausted on the couch too, like my Dad.)

These past weeks at work, in my spare time, I have been preparing something like my Dad would do, I made photo albums for 2 friends who have retired. I ran around and snapped photos of many many people, in groups and solo… Fun, I loved it, I love creating chaos of care… The new people thought I was nuts, the vintage workers didn’t expect any different from me… Wacky is how I roll, and after 20 years I get away with it… My Dad worked over 50 years, so when people commend me for only 20, I instantly think of my Dad’s much longer longevity.  (This is true of our Heavenly Father too – when people commend us for achieving something we should think of Our Father Whom all Good things are from).

So as I put the finishing touches on the books and mailed them, I thought: “This is something my Dad would have made: personal and unique and so they feel appreciated”… That’s how my Dad cared for people, AS INDIVIDUALS, and EVERYONE each as an IMPORTANT person. His saying was “You can tell the value of someone if you can sit down and have a cup of coffee with them.”

I think of my Dad in taking care of work business too, lots of work everyday and all year, and to be done with purpose not laziness nor overstepping on people. I always think about my Dad including and engaging people’s participation, as well as him being an advocate for those who are not always heard. Taking care of people even when they are not “your people”, because everyone is “our people”. 

I remembered my Dad when someone called me the “work historian”, as I keep photo albums of work potlucks and parties. I remember years and names, personalities and especially growth of young workers into big bosses. I don’t think it’s weird, I think it’s normal, my Dad would have been his “work historian” too except there was an over 60-year worker longer-term than he was over 50 years – and so she was the “historian”, LOL, 60 years… My Dad always spoke of this person in admiration.

My Dad also spoke of his goals in life – to work longer than his father did at his railroad job – and to have his kids graduate college. Those values transfer to me – and I joyfully work hard to pay the rent and raise my kids. And I remember that he gave us some of his retirement mini nest egg to pay the down payment on our house, to pay some of my kids education, to fund some of my kids school trips. THAT’S just what my Dad would have wanted to share that money for. 

The morning my Dad passed away a year ago, my son was at school and my daughter was taking a train up to the big city to see friends. Busy kids… They were living their lives, THAT’S just like my Dad would have wanted. We had been there to see him before he went downhill and that was a blessing. Then that morning when he was close to death, I hightailed it up to support my mom and brother, THAT’S just like my Dad would have wanted. 

But all day on the one year anniversary, I forgot about my Dad’s death, but I am blessed because I thought A LOT about his LIFE. I  even chatted with my mom and she didn’t mention it (not until a later email from her), but instead we chatted about random good things AND THAT’S just EXACTLY like my Dad would have wanted…

I am looking forward to seeing my Dad again in AfterLIFE. THAT’S just like OUR Heavenly Father would want! And so do we.

LIFE – much longer, better, and important to live than death.  

Find Joy in the Journey. 

Amen

Psalm 16:5-11

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presencewith eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God’s Secrets

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I’m going to tell you a SECRET: “Some things ARE best kept secret!”

There are 3 kinds of secrets, well 4, kind that you keep from others, ones they keep from you, ones you TRY to keep from God but He knows everything so don’t bother, and the ones He keeps from us. The more we look into Him, the more we learn, including WHY He keeps us uninformed. We will see ALL when we get to heaven, not so much now. Only on a “need to know basis”. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, be grateful He has us take things one day at a time.

Secrets…

Keep a secret if it will harm a relationship between others. Keep a secret if the other person still wouldn’t understand it after explanation, and especially if they might twist it. Share volumous overflow info with ONLY a select few,  spare the others. ESPECIALLY don’t tell someone something if they WON’T keep it secret. Always speak truthful, but sometimes less info is better. 

The best secrets? Ones God wants hidden in your heart. The most numerous secrets? Everything God hasn’t revealed.  If God can keep it secret, so can you!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

And do ask God, especially ask God…

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:4

A well off woman who had most everything did not ask for a child because she feared heartbreak.  This woman, thru Word of Elisha, received a pregnancy and the child from God after the Prophet Elisha foretold her. But the child died. She then traveled back to Elisha and only to Elisha to speak about this tragedy. She seeked God even if she saw no resolution. She had to tell Elisha in her brokenness and because she experienced what she saw as failing hope, as she warned him. We know people who fear the worse, unfortunately she also experienced the worst. We ache for families who have lost a child, there is no heartbreak we could imagine more severe. The comfort we share is the real hope of seeing them again in heaven. I pray hope in the truth of God watching each child as His Own FOREVER. 

Hope is what God shares with us, ESPECIALLY GOD. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Prophet Elisha stayed very close to God found out many secrets from God in his lifetime and prophesied for God. The people knew He was in close contact. However there are many times when God doesn’t tell us all the info and in this story (posted below) God didn’t tell Elisha the child died. Elisha realized this, and as soon as he heard, he sprung into action. We don’t know what the woman prayed, but we know she, Elisha didn’t display his prayer at that moment but “He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord.” Our prayer life should include these private moments as well as actions too.

The child was resurrected. The mother restored to holding her child. All to God’s glory thru Elisha’s actions. 

Restored Resurrected Rescued Reminded 

We are REMINDED by a resurrection story that is beautiful here, that we too will have resurrection and so will the children lost as well. We are to see this story is related to Jesus as well, He was the firstborn of the dead, resurrected not just for this earth but for eternity as well. Jesus went ahead of us to a secret place where He took our sins away. He went so we don’t have to go there. We believe in Him, we rely on Him. The mother didn’t tell anyone but the man of God about her grief. God already knew. God knows our pain.  We do need to share it with Him, in pain, sorrow,  anger, denial, and hopefully hope. He wants us to KNOW HIS HOPE.

Let us NOT keep His Hope a secret. 

Because of Jesus. The breath of the Spirit lives in us and in our loved ones. We will live on. Tell Everyone about this blessed hope. 

AMEN 


2nd Kings 4:8-38

The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life

One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat.  She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him.  Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

“What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!”

His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”

“Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”

“That’s all right,” she said.

She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”

“Everything is all right,” she said.

When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”

 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”

When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

RAGE or Setting Up a Prayer Stage?

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After an exhausting, very busy day at work. Jumping into the car I was so grateful that the Lord got me through the day. Nothing bad awful but work is work and we don’t have to let the circumstances spoil the day. Like Elisha, we need to cure the stew of our stewing anger or blues.

I caught the drive home news and it melted my perceptions of my day to nothing, so not important, BECAUSE there was a report of a road rage incident that caused a fatality, not far from where I work. Out of the blue or not, it’s more sad than any glad I could have… 

At that news then, I was flooded back with a memory from just this morning, a truck on my tail, honking his horn, being a jerk… I was not happy, I didn’t move over because he WAS honking, otherwise maybe I would have. Eventually I did get over and honked back. He didn’t get far, it was rush hour, he gained 2 car depths, I cooled down, he wasn’t worth it. This wasn’t road rage but pesky nipping at my bumper. I thought that it could have escalated but it didn’t and in these situations it IS better to get over and get over it and move on – Forgiveness over frustration.


Forgiveness helps YOU – not necessarily them who won’t look back in their dust trail – but if we put down RAGE, we set the stage for PRAYER and forgiveness. Later now, I am also remembering my last big save from someone else’s REAL road rage – these incidents (plus whatever triggered the fatality (a shooting after some traffic incident)) remind us to cool it. I n that incident (years ago) I was too scared to rage back – and went immediately to begging forgiveness to calm the situation – and that did turn the page on his rage, as I hit the prayer stage. I forgave him instantly and he didn’t gain any more traction on me.

So – in this annoyance of a bumper bully, it was not that level of rage, even so I knew that I should pray. That prayer feeling rose in my guilt to pray for his forgiveness, so I decided to pray for my forgiveness as well as I also could have gone more aggressive. Surely the Lord, kept me cool. I prayed for safety for all of us on the road. No jerk is worth working your anger up even higher than your common sense. AND, I realized since I was listening to a favorite scripture story about being good soil, that I missed it all together in my distraction of thought watching what that bumper bully did next! Yeah, I was not absorbed in the Word because the thorns clogged my eyes and ears. We should wear thick skin, especially in traffic. Guard your heart. Change your rage to a prayer stage. And this forgiveness surely also allowed me to work at my work and put it behind me.

God is always reminding us that I am safe thus far. You bet He is. God reminding us that we have to NOT get “overwhelmed with me”, and focus on THEE. Yup. Guard your heart from yourself too.

A prayer stage is the basic stepping stone of our Rock, Jesus. We decide what we build our day our of: anger, jealousy, rage? Or prayers in humility, shining a light, being the salt, curing the stew?


Curing the stew.

Elisha the prophet cured a poison soup by adding flour and surely God’s grace. Others had made it unknowing what they put in the mix was deadly. Likewise, we can try to stop the hate, anger, blind rage by adding FORGIVENESS. Jesus said forgive them for they know not what they do. People are clogged in blindness.

As like in road incidents, we don’t always know what triggers these mixes into life, and sometimes our actions or inactions, that would push on people’s hairline triggers. INSTEAD, let us mix FORGIVENESS into our stewing and taste the difference. Cool it.

Forgiveness goes a long way, and MUCH further than just 2 car lengths. 

Amen 

2nd Kings 4:38-41

And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.

And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.

So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.

But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

Oil Oil Oil

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One major thing I have noticed when helping a neighbor or a friend is noticing when they want to do whatever they are doing under their own accord or with their own money. This “let me do it myself” is a stubborn and wonderful attitude. It is a balance of helping and not diminishing their pride because they don’t have enough, it provides them to be a provider and not feel like they are in a hand-me-out state of living. This is a feeling of maintaining financial independence in some cases OR this is a feeling of being OK to work or to drive (if they are older), to live independently, to have “freedoms” and comforts. 

For us as helpers, it’s always a balance of helping or hurting, empowering or enabling. To someone who can walk, we may see when someone is struggling to walk but won’t take help – but put yourself in their shoes, you also would want to walk on your own.  Same with working. Same with money to someone struggling: lend $10 instead of give, don’t ask for it back, let them repay – and if they forget, you also forget. You ALSO would want to feel the dignity of paying your own bill or completing a task. You would not want help unless you really really needed it. However there are times we really do need to ask for help.

People want to pay their own way, maybe don’t mind a coupon, but want to prove to themselves (and maybe others) that they are OK. This is ego self-worth pride that empowers, not pride too high or too lofty. We should be respectful of people who want to empower themselves to help their situation back to being “OK”. We also want to walk in dignity not excessive pride. 

Obviously there are dire need times too. The Lord God will guide us in all.

A Biblical example: the widow’s oil, oil, oil…. Here we see yet another miracle of provision and teaching by God thru the words of Prophet Elisha’s instructions. Elisha ASKS “how can I help, what do you have” (she has oil) then tells this widow (in debt and about to lose her sons to slavery) to collect all the empty jars she can, and put her oil into them. Get empty jars from her neighbors – just get them – get as many as she can… WELL! Wouldn’t you know it but the widow and her sons were able and enabled and WORKED at the work of God – and filled the jars and poured enough oil to then sell and earn the money to pay off the debt. When the jars stopped, the oil stopped. WOW! A miracle of making due and making money and making mercy and making motivation. Elisha asked how he could help them help themselves. 

We get and need such motivation – that we would work as if our children’s lives depended upon it (well don’t they?) – that we would trust what seems like busy work or a foolish task could turn into something fruitful and profitable for us or for someone else.  What about the Lord? Would our work (whether we understand it or not) be profitable for the Lord if the Lord Himself put us to task doing it? YES. Our strengths and talents and deeds that can be attributed to the Lord are what the Lord has put us to task doing. We may not see the full effects of the payout but we must trust He needs us to keep pouring His oil oil oil.

Keep pouring out HIM HIM HIM and HIS BLESSINGS BLESSINGS BLESSINGS and see how many jars you can fill up!  It is like that favorite scene in “The Bishop’s Wife” (Christmas movie of fiction) where the Professor had an endless bottle of the finest sherry which does not inebriate but inspires, this action thru an angel (Carey Grant) for helping the writing of his book on Rome,  but MORE IMPORTANTLY for helping his FAITH. This miracle is recognized by the Professor as only something an angel could do.  Well, we SHOULD call out when we recognize the events and blessings and miracles only God could do. We should strengthen our faith. (HE DOES DO LOTS OF MIRACLES WE DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT).

I have seen the provisions God has made, enabling my education and me that I have a job to pay for living expenses, God helps me with my debts. My kids have grown up to beautiful young people – this IS a provision from God – to see them grow – to grow them and to be with them. All good things are from God. Preparing for the future, also important. God helps us.

Helping pay debts.

The widow poured out her heart to the Prophet Elijah, knowing he was a man of God. We can pour our hearts out to Jesus – to God – to His Plan – tonour helpful Holy Spirit- to our Hopes. The widow took whatvshe haf and then poured out the blessings of oil, filling jars, selling the material and making a difference in her sons lives. We can pour out the blessings of whatever gift God gives and make a difference in other people’s lives – especially by our cheer and hope. We can use our stability and income to help another on their way.

THE WAY

And we remember that Jesus poured out His blood to fulfill the scriptures and secure our salvation from being earthly slaves to sin and death. HE PAID OUR DEBTS – like the widow was able to pay off hers, freeing her sons from slavery. Jesus did the same. WE ARE FREE IN JESUS…

Let the LOVE, oil, and blessings FLOW.

Amen

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2nd Kings 4

The Widow’s Olive Oil
The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Ready for Rapture? Book your Flight

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Ready for Rapture? At least let Jesus BOOK your Flight. 

A GOOD BOOK is the Word plenty and you can follow it ALRIGHT.

Jesus is coming back, let’s spread the Word, today and tonight. 

Jesus’s Word is in Bible Books are awaiting to be heard by us, thru our Shephard’s INSIGHT. 


Rapture predictions mean be ready for service day and night. 

Jesus burning bright, coming on a cloud, oh what a SIGHT!

His Rapture Revelation reveals that purpose of His flight.

Bringing us Home secure – then Satan will be defeated in a spectacular final FIGHT.


The battle IS the Lord’s, so let’s just sit tight. 

Don’t let strife interfere, it’s in our HOPE in Him which we will DELIGHT. 

And Strengthen your hearts for the coming of the Lord may soon be within sight.

Good Rapture to all, and to all a GOOD FLIGHT. 

Amen 


1 Thessolonians 4:16-18

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Just for You

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“Just for you.”

We say that all the time. And often we do things individually for our favorite people. Others can benefit too. One does not have to be stingy with helping. Prayers are most powerful too. Forgiveness too should be given out as widely as possible and as specific as necessary. 

God does that for us too. Forgiveness, and especially gives us (and Himself) TIME. I feel He slows time or speeds it up. I know He seeks each one of us “just for us” – which is good! He helps us so we can help others – which is even better. He makes us stewards of wisdom as well as resources. Yet there are things only God can provide, including the knowledge of why. WHY does God give us these things? Because He loves us. 

In Elisha’s time, God answered a question of Jehoshaphat, who looked towards God for help. They were out of water and knew the Lord had brought them together for a battle. Prophet Elisha said he would not normally help them out, but only because Jehoshaphat asked upon God. Elisha did a  “just for you” moment but that rippled into helping a whole other battle.  Elisha got himself into a mental state to consult the Lord. (Elisha called for a harp, we too have to find the moments that we can listen for God.) Elijah was able to answer that the Lord would send water (needed for the animals, His creatures) and that was “an easy thing” for the Lord. Obviously the Lord intended this water to work even more in this battle. The scripture (posted below) has an exclamation point for the amazing way the Lord filled the land with water without rain! This water was also sent as a diversion to help the kings win the war.

Elisha was known for his dutiful work to Elijah, the mentor and great prophet. Water is something he would pour in Elijah’s hands, that’s how the kings identified him. Water is the most necessary physical need. Water is how Jesus describes Himself, as Living Water. Water gives life and washes us clean. The water comes as a solution to sin, war, strife. And the water, Jesus, comes to be that solution ever so sharp as a sword, dividing, conquering and ready for the ultimate battle. Water can cut thru a canyon of rock, smooth stones, given enough time. Living Water of Jesus wins our wars, in His Time. 

In this battle for Jehoshaphat, the water shone like blood to the other side’s warriors (Moabites) who would eventually be defeated. The same water that fed the animals also became the force that changed the direction of a whole army just by its presence. Jesus does this too, changes the people of the world just by His presence, within them He wins the war by washing. Spread over us, His water appears as blood, appears as a clean slate to God and we are saved in salvation. Jesus forgive us. 

Today, many don’t know this. Many are fighting wars as pawns they don’t realize they are being. Diversion, distractions and separation are rooted in evil. Many are drawing sides against their own families and friends without even knowing. Jesus forgive us all.

God, we hope You send water not to solve the problems in this world by flood, You will never do that again, but just as Jesus asked the Lord God, Our Father, to wash clean those who did not know what they did when turning against Him, we ALSO ask for You to wash Your Forgiveness over all. We can be hand washers too like Elisha, we can help pray the blood of Jesus over our friends and family and folks we don’t know. All they will hopefully notice is this pool of Living Water rising up within them. Without wind or rain, Jesus will win their war “Just for them.” Let us pray all will notice that the Lord washes us clean. Jesus, for You we are thankful. 

Just for you. Just for me. Just for all.

Jesus for you. Jesus for me. Jesus for all.

Forgiveness in Jesus is the best Flow of His Living Water.

Amen 

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2nd Kings 3

Moab Revolts

Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.

Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams.  But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

“By what route shall we attack?” he asked.

“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered. So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

“What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?”

An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.”

Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”

“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”

Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you. But now bring me a harpist.”

While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”

The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.

When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

Farmers of Faith, Harvests of Joy

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Farmers field ready for planting

Why does Jesus use the example of farmers and planting seeds so much in describing working for the Kingdom? Among connections to all the seeds, the growth, the fruit of the spirit spreading, I’m sure it also is because FARMERS WORK VERY HARD, long hours, and farmers won’t know what their crop yields will be year to year. Farmers depend on the Lord to send the rain and warmth and change the seasons just so…  Sometimes they also pray for the Lord to stop the rain.

Why are we to be like farmers when we work for the Lord? Because we MUST depend upon Him – especially put in the hours, tend the growth, work alone or alongside a crew. We must wait for the harvest and sometimes we are told to walk away from unproductive fields.  We must allow others to harvest what we planted just as we harvest what others have sowed.  AND – we can not take credit for the yield – but we can take joy in any and all harvest whether it is small or large.

Farmers of Faith. Harvests of Joy.

We have to condition the soil for next year too. Each year we have to pay attention to the best time for planting, the best time for reaping and the best time to let the soil lie fallow (shhh… sleeping). 

I went to a farm that was not yet planted. There the farmer clearly had much work to do but was planning to get to it and thus have a yield.

Today, I went to 3 grocery stores, two farm stands and the regional market which is filled with basic farmers and wholesalers and some niche boutique farmers too. (interesting that people are selling “anti-oxident skin creams when all the kale, blueberries, and natural antioxidents are a fraction of the cost and so much yummier.) 

The price differential is real – it is MUCH cheaper to buy the best stuff at the market than buy processed and take out food. Specifically I was looking for seasonal shelling peas – not going to be found in any supermarket – I found the peas in 3 places, and bought at all three, now I have over 3 lbs of peas to shell and eat – probably would eat them all myself, but peas will go less sweet over time – so I think it would be nice to share some of these peas now so that more could enjoy.  I lost a pea on the floor of my care, oops, it still looks good to eat, but it’s the floor so I will share it with God’s creatures outside. One pea to one mouse may be the dream catch.

SHARING: we should also share in the church – share resources and hope before it goes stale in our storehouses. Let excess be gleaned by others too. Don’t hoard but herd.

I also bought a whole dozen of sweet corn buy 6 get 6 free, and will give some to my neighbor – treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated – especially getting free sweet corn! My neighbors share friendship and companionship and joy in gatherings as well as keeping an eye on my house – trust me, it is better to have a compassionate nosey neighbor than an ignorant one. Isn’t that type of neighbor we also should be? Anyway, I certainly can not eat a whole dozen before it goes less sweet anyway. Share.

SHARING: we need not delay in sharing faith – because at one point, the fruit of the seasons will be harvested away up into the clouds…  Time will end for the earth – Time will start again for the Heavens – but in God’s timing, not ours. Time is precious and there is no time like the present to be PRESENT in our faith. Until that giant harvest, we must tend our fields – whether wholesale or niche – old fashioned crops or new cultivars. Teaching gardens are better than displays you can’t touch. Sharing over storing.

In all, we must work without grumbling and put in farmer’s hours. We must sow and be a cheerful giver. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Our hands and feet work for the Lord’s feast. Our feast is in His Joy.

Farm the faith, fan the flame, follow the fruit.

Harvest Joy.

Amen

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.  Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:34-38

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“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”…”the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:8-9, 23

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Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:7-9

Generosity Encouraged
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,  their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
 2nd Corinthians 9:6-15

one pea on the dirty floor of the car

No Weapon Shall Prosper

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It is strange that the cat has to use biting to get her point across. And the thumping of her tail, ticked off and waiting. Really, the cat doesn’t like us not understanding her, in addition to not doing what she wants, like going outside in her new tent or playing at 430am. She’s just a cat, yet filled with will and purpose and cattitude.

She was waiting 430am as I stirred, I didn’t go play but got up briefly and stepped into the bathroom, she nipped at my heal then my hand as I pushed her out. The plusses outweigh the negatives with how blessed we are with the cat, but 430am wake ups are annoying. 

As soon as I pushed her out of the room, scripture flooded my brain: “No weapon against me shall prosper.” Really, a strong Word and truthful. 

Why? Maybe the Lord reminds me these are not attacks but annoyances. And I did get back to sleep. Maybe He means the weapons against the cat won’t work either. Maybe it is a reminder once again for me and you and everyone: “don’t sweat the small stuff.” DON’T SWEAT THE BIG STUFF EITHER. 

NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER. 

This means insults or grumpiness, bitterness or strife-stirring folks. It means big weapons and threats too, nothing will stand against God. Nothing will take away forever life either from you in Jesus. Nothing.

Not prosper. This means that taking the high road is best, being pulled into the low road and stooping to the tactics of the troublemakers won’t help – let alone prosper you long term. There’s no where to go if one keeps digging oneself into a hole. In anger-driven situations, it’s best to just walk away. Let bygones be bygones. 

Even from life strife, take a moment away to work for the Lord. You AND the Lord have bigger fish to fry. Spend your time of making a difference in someone else’s life and that will make a difference in yours. Step away from your normal scene to help somewhere and be blessed. Be blessed by blessing. Let us all do the Lord’s Work and watch Him work it!

Step to the high road:

I closed the door on the cat, she will get over this. I’ve diffused stressful strife conversations in multiple real world settings this week and before too. I’ve walked away from anger. I’ve tried to not retaliate to annoyances. My sanity prospered. The weapons formed against that haven’t.  Do sweat the small stuff. Or the big stuff. Shut the front door, side door, back door. (LATER, not 4am, play with the cat). Later deal with the people who need your intervention, and they probably do need someone who can take the heat stepping into their fire. We have Jesus stepping into ours, right?

Don’t let waggling tongues bug you either. Take more of “not my monkeys not my circus” attitude for the people who want to distract you to stooping to their level. (And this includes news and tabloid gossip shows too). Speak peace into the situation and shut the wagging tongues off.

People will be people, but the Lord knows the truth of every situation. 

And you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.

Don’t let your anger let you pull yourself or anyone into sin. Look for the Lord’s purpose and PATCHING UP of relationships. Look for the doors to close, the paths to step away on. Listen for the “oh I hear someone calling me” and step away.

And for the craziness of life around us? Filled with strife-looking distractions? God won’t remove His Promise to save us from our human selves. Just keep focusing on things above. 

To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. 

Amen 

——

Isaiah 54 NIV 

The Future Glory of Zion

Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

“Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,  I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.

All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.

Lay It on Thick, Lord

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Oh, a day to go to a friend’s VBS, I want to see my old friends at the church where I sang in the band for a precious year when the Holy Spirit blew me that Way. There will be many changes of seasons in our lives. See the Holy Spirit can shift us where He sees fit. It’s the Holy Spirit who draws me to small nooks and crannies inside my schedule to find something that warms my heart. If we don’t take time for the Lord, who are we taking time for? Well, this trip I hope is both. Hopeful for hugs, appreciative of the love. 

VBS is vacation bible school for us as the Lord never takes a vacation from teaching us.

The theme of this VBS is creativity and color, YES, where best to delight in the beauty of expression than in the Lord. We are His Masterpieces. Pieces of our Master, placed into the wirld so such a time as this. Where else to paint ourselves into the picture than where the Lord sketches us. He asks us to share Him from our ink wells too. Bring your hands and feet, we have work to continue. Bring your easel and trays. Bring your open mind and let Him fill it with creative content. Be content in His content. 

And the Holy Spirit? Lay it on thick Lord, like a smooth pour of paint. Lay Your Spirit on thick and draw us to it like it becomes Your Fingerpaint ready to smooth all through the world. Color our sights. Lead with Your light.

Lay IT on thick.

LORD, YOUR FORGIVENESS AND MERCY COVER US. Jesus’s Blood SHED for us covers us with a LAYER OF LOVE. 

LAY IT ON THICK LORD. 

Lay IT on thick. 

We should all ask for the turn of the next coloring page. Where to next? What corner of the world or post it note at home needs His Glory spread? Where do we color creatively into His Space, where will He makes the boundary lines disappear? 

Today is a blank slate. Color well.

Holy Spirit You are Welcome Here. Help us help You.

Amen!


For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10


So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:7-10

In the Whole

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Looking at carpet samples I was just as intrigued at the names as I was the colors… It’s kind of like picking the horses at the horse race based on their names rather than their track record.

I was intrigued by “intrigue” and settled down with “in the hole”. I always hope house renovations wouldn’t put me “in the hole” financially, but this name actually referred to golfing – it’s good to be in the hole. (I bet golfers put themselves in the hole financially to golf LOL) Anyway, it seems financially we SHOULD tetter at the edge of the hole of life just so we rely on God for His decisions how best to build upon His foundation and lay the carpet too. Our money is His money for being a good steward. It’s also a tool for us to decide between need and want. Do I need carpet? It’s all in who you ask. Mine does need replacing, “it put in its time we say”….  If I ask God, He always says I will be with you… that means He will be. And we need to put in our time listening to Him. 


In the hole, could mean financially.

In the hole, could mean security. 

In the hole is a good place to build up from because you have the support of the sides.

In the hole, means you landed securing victory in the game. 

In the hole, means the Lord has you dependent upon Him.

In God’s hole is in God’s WHOLE. 

We ARE in His WHOLE. 

In the WHOLE, we find rest in the rest of what we were lacking. 

In the WHOLE, we find He is all we need, nothing more. 

For us to be in GOD’S WHOLE, means a deficit of us but filled with Him, His Way, His Wisdom, our wonder.


A pastor friend posted about being secure in the Lord in knowing that His angel armies are guarding us. She watched a hawk pick a snake from her yard. That’s the removal of the evil one, don’t fret when you have God in control. Keep your mind upon Him.

A friend yesterday told me about a big bear charging down the embankment towards him fishing at the lake, the bear turned and ran back up. Saved. God in charge. Keep focus on things above. 

A devotion (by email) shows up for the triple play, a timing of reinforcement, that all things work together for good, for the glory of God. We are to accept times of our deficit and His excess. Our holes, His building. It’s all about trusting Him. All things work together. We have to start somewhere, let’s start with Him.

We must build on His solid foundation.

I think of this continued bout I have with my poison ivy lingering. The reactive rash 2 weeks later still itches and makes me wonder about my body’s ability to fight it, “do I have bad circulation?”, my mind races, but instead and of course I need to take a serious relook at my health, reduce my sugar, strap on my sneakers and restart walking, it’s all for living better…

It is completely true to say of God that He definitely wants us to live better as a spiritual temple. We are in his WHOLE. He wants us to be complete in Him. We are to strap on our sneakers or walk barefoot in the sand, either and all ways we need to walk WITH Him. He IS the Way. 

Amen 

“’So you will be my people, and I will be your God.’” Jeremiah 30:22

(and sometimes we are in the hole to keep us on our toes – I listened to Cramer – financial analyst – and I agree – the selective pressure of the high costs of living keeps people in the job market which keeps everyone better in the economy… maybe my hole – our holes – financially keep us working and being frugal with earthly things and generous with Godly things…)

Hold Ye Your Peace

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Either you know it or you don’t.

Sometimes you wish you didn’t. 

Sometimes we don’t want to know what we do, but we do. Sometimes we know the worst is ahead. Sometimes we pre-mourn when we should live in the present. And I am speaking not just about losing loved ones, but also processing losses of any thing or any circumstance, of changing situations, hopes, our dreams for others, or whatever circumstances make us sad for the past.

Prophet Elisha got it, knew what was happening, so he especially DIDN’T want to hear about it. He  and often we, are “pre-grieving” losses. Prophet Elisha knew Prophet Elijah would be taken away from him. His friend mentor father-figure, co-worker for the Lord, his stability, his KNOWN. Elijah’s time had come. 

Elisha said to all the “Captain Obvious” prophets: “Hold your peace.” (King James translation sounds so much better than NIV, where Elisha said: “Stay silent”).  I imagine this was a snarky snap. Modern versions might speak like us and say: “SHUT YOUR TRAP!” – or perhaps this was spoken under his breath. Elisha didn’t want to hear repeatedly what every prophet knew: that his master Elijah was going to be taken up to Heaven, gone. Not lost but gone. Vanished in a whirlwind. Poof.

Elisha didn’t want Elijah to go. He was pre-greiving. Elisha didn’t even want to be separated from him. But when the Lord says it’s your time, it really is. None of us want to be parted from our loved ones. None of us seem ready to go either. How blessed Elijah was to “simply” be taken up with chariots of fire rather than die a cruel painful death. That’s us too. When we go it could be much more painful (in heartbreak) for those left behind than it will be for us. People say “ah, it’s better for them to pass” – but it’s still SO painful to us left behind. We need to pick up their work as well as do our grieving. We can tear ourselves up about it, like Elisha did, yet God gently says: keep moving. 

Elisha witnessed what he wanted to know would happen at the same time he didn’t want it to happen. Elisha was given prophecy and power, we are given GOD’S PEACE. We know God is on control. We are given GOD’S PEACE. 

Mourning, there is no certain time required for it. It is different for everyone. Clearly it seems that it’s better to talk about it than not. Elisha also was asked again and again if his gifted attendants wanted them to go look for Elijah dropped off on a hill, anywhere. He said no, but they insisted, so he let them look. It was certain in Elisha’a mind that Elijah was gone, but this looking by the others, no stone left unturned, no mountain not searched, was part of their mourning process, likely, and certainly part of their zealous desire to help Elisha thru His. People don’t always know what we need or hear, but they do mean well. We DO need to let others process the way the do. We also need to let ourselves process our own grief. Go to the mountains sure, but best give it to the Lord.

Once an elderly lady was in line with me at the dollar store, she unburdened something bothering her, and I was appointed listener by proxy. It was good she was able to speak freely, and even said she didn’t know why she felt so free to speak of something so painful. It involved her husband’s death and family issues before they got married like 50 years prior. It bugged her. She said thanks to me for listening. I was not burdened with it, nor even remember details now, but I do remember she said it takes a while to grieve. She said one day you realize you have moved forward, you have healed just that little bit more.

I believe the Lord is always telling us to be ready for His healing as well as His Plan. 

In the end, what did Elisha ask the Lord for? He asked for wisdom and for a double portion of spirit. He got to be there when it happened. He saw with hisvown eyes the movement of the Lord. He gasped in pain, but knew the truth.  We also must face the truth of our pain. Know of course that the Lord is granting PEACE.  We will get thru it.

The Lord finds us peace, He knows how to give it, when we are ready to see, know, hear, feel it.

Peace. 

Amen


2nd King 2:1-18

And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.

And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.

And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.

And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.

And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.

And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.

1He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send.

And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not.

And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?

All Things Beautiful in His Time

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God makes all things beautiful in His Time. Gratefully He got a head start. He made time. He owns time. He changes time. His uses Time and Timelessness.

God KNOWS Beautiful. 

I appreciate God is always with us. And He makes the time for us to get to know Him. He makes things BEAUTIFULLY BEAUTIFUL for us to recognize Him working in the world however much the world is temporary, like a flower or a waterfall that eventually will fall with time. We will all fade in this world. 

In God there is no time as a concept and ALL time as a concept. In God’s creation, He set time as having separation into stages, day and night, thus another good reason to take everything ONE DAY AT A TIME. He set life into stages too. He shortened life on earth from hundreds of years to a max of 120. He created time to use it wisely. So should we. 

Time.

In forever, there is no night. How will we mark time? We won’t. However long something takes is however long. Otherwise how better for God to run life forever than just to just run it continuous. He will be our Light, no need for the Sun.

From viewing a beautiful waterfall gorge and flowers and trees, I appreciated how He makes everything beautiful in His Time. Sometimes the time is now, sometimes it is far off, but He makes all things beautiful in His Time. 

Surely we can wait out the time now because He waits for all to have the opportunity to come to Him. He is working His interval of time. So should we. 

I appreciate He invented time.

He owns time.

He is in charge of time. 

He can stop time. 

He can dissolve time.

But He will never remove the time He wants to spend with us.

When we appreciate the time He gave us, we appreciate Him.

And there is no time like the present for appreciating Him. We were made for a time like this.

He WILL make everything beautiful in His Time. So should we.

Amen

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

Appreciating Father’s Day

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I want my children to know the love of their mother and father, their family, and the source of love, the Lord. Because the Lord has done everything for us, we can not do anything else but love Him and appreciate Him. SPEND TIME WITH HIM. He has done His work for Him to secure our forever Home thru mercy. Therefore, BECAUSE of His Spirit, His love is ALREADY working within us and thru us to regain time with us. Then His Fruits of the Sprit are being blossomed, developed and readied for us to share. We ourselves don’t need worry about being loved. WE ARE LOVED. He loves. 

We are His children. Appreciating Father’s Day because HE shares love, He IS LOVE.

On earth we want to be appreciated by our co-workers, peers, bosses, family, everyone… We humanly even want to be appreciated for just showing up. We have a hunger for appreciation. And yet we should NOT worry about hearing accolades of any earthly appreciation when the Lord IS where our focus should be. We should fear the Lord, knowing He is all powerful and full of mercy where He sees fit. We live in a broken world, broken life, broken conversations, broken society – but where it counts, He is our bridge, and going forward we should model Him to patch the brokenness. We have HOPE. He is hope.

We are His children. I appreciate Father’s Day because He is HOPE, let us let others know where our hope is – IN HIM.

Our Hope is in God the Father, known to us thru Jesus the Son, felt in us thru the Holy Spirit. From Psalm 103: The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.


I missed my Dad this first Father’s Day without Him, yet I have years of physical distance as a daughter moved out, whereas others have sorrow of daily closeness lost fresh each day. Psalm 103: For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

Loneliness surely bridged by her memories, yet our continued loneliness is in the lack of conversations. When we lose our loved ones, we miss opportunities to interact each day, to fill the gaps of conversations and togetherness. 

Sometimes we can be in the same room and have a gap, without a bridge to interact. We need to make time to bridge the brief time we have together. The Lord is always listening for us, our listening for His comforting. How true this is with Our Heavenly Father, He bridges His Own gap. He listens and speaks. He exists and encourages and empowers. Every day in His Way. He grows us for THIS season, just as a gardener tends their crops.

I appreciate God is still and always with us. And takes the time for us to get us to know Him.

Time.

I appreciate Father’s Day because I know my Father’s and my Dad’s love. I know love fills all my gaps. I know He created time to be with us, with me. He makes all things beautiful in His Time. 

Amen 

—-

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

The Word of the Father

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My Dad such a good man, steward of providing for his family. Leader of the house alongside my Mom. Filled with love and excess to share. Helped everyone. This is our first Father’s Day without him,  but his presence is seen, felt, known. Earthly fathers and mothers are gifts to us.

My Mom is here this Father’s Day weekend, and my mom also came to work! I said bring your gardening clothes, she did and got all decked out for brush trimming. My Mom works harder than anyone I know, that’s the best motivation I have to work on projects, to work alongside her. My Mom loves people too, and it shows. My neighbor said: oh now I understand the daughter’s joy meeting Mom. Yes.

I know we often idolize and value our parents and especially our children above everyone else, and as family we SHOULD put their well-being before our friends and/or other personal activities or wants. Yet there is One Whom should BE even more our focus, GOD.

Father’s Day. Well, every day is Our Forever Father’s Day. In greatest focus, Our Father, God Almighty, IS the definition of LOVE, of PRESENCE, of BEING AVAILABLE to help. His gift to us is of Himself and of His sharing to be with us and us with Him. Eternally. 


We love our family but we are never to put them or anyone over God. Jesus said so too. Yes, Jesus focuses, and as a lens would do, pointed everything back to His Father, Our Father. Our God Almighty.

When I started falling backwards in the back bushes with gardening clippers in hand, there was no one in my family to call out to, and no ONE who could help me INSTANTLY like my Heavenly FATHER, “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh Lord” – I called out to all His angel armies of fall-prevention. I called out, He caught me enough to prevent injury AND remind me to BE MORE CAREFUL. When it comes to hard falls and soft landings, who is really the One Who saves us? Lord God. 

All good things come from Heaven above, especially our salvation, grace, and peaceful future, due to Him. Jesus and Our Holy Spirit work harder than anyone I know, that’s the best motivation I have to work on spiritual projects, to work alongside God. Jesus loves people and it shows. Wouldn’t be great if (like with my mom) our neighbors said: oh now I understand your love meeting Jesus in you. Yes.

Jesus came to do the Work of the Father. On Father’s Day and EVERY DAY, we need to thank Him. Each day we also can try our best to do His Work for His glory, not our praise. 

We are called to acknowledge Our Father’s WORK, BOTH His CREATION of us and all good things, AND our SALVATION. We are to learn His Ways and do work for the Father, sharing His Love and our knowledge of it. We are to Honor Our Father, and love Him more than anything and anyone. 

The simplest most divine thing we can do this Father’s Day, and every day, is BELIEVE. Believe in Our Father’s Work. Believe in Our Father’s Word (brought to us thru Jesus). Believe in Our Father’s Power thru Our Holy Spirit. 

Believe in Our Father’s LOVE.  Believe in Him ALWAYS.

Amen 


Let’s get about our Father’s business!


Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:26

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:37-40

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:17-24

Three Times a Charm but Not Really

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“Without the Lab, you’re only guessing” is written on my nerdy science socks… one day I lost one and wore my “Faith” sock instead – so my feet read: “Without the lab, FAITH.” – yes – always FAITH…  We need to remember that GOD IS IN CHARGE!!!  He can reverse or prevent anything from happening – even heal a dire situation.

In the continued story of how Elijah prophesied, we see that he once again helped people realize GOD IS IN CHARGE. These passages here use the term Baal-Zebub as a false god which is surely the name origin of Beelzebub – another name for the evil one – who is real – but no match for our Lord and Savior Jesus. 

Resist the Devil and he will flee!

King Ahaziah fell thru a lattice (isn’t that awesome that the bible is descriptive enough to use the details of the construction) – and he wanted messengers to consult Baal-zebub, the false god about his injury. Wouldn’t it be better to pray for healing as opposed to testing God with rebellion? Well, Elijah got wind of this from an angel and went to intercept the King’s messengers and told the King the truth- that since he wasn’t consulting the real God, he had no hope for rescue.  (Isn’t that what Jesus does? intercept us before we get too far gone with the devil?)

Well, King Ahaziah wanted to call Elijah to him with FORCE – fifty men to make him come but Elijah called on God and those who came to capture him were destroyed.  The Third Time – was it a charm that prevented the men from being killed? NO – the third brigade of men begged MERCY – they said: “Man of God, please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants!  See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!” 

AHA – mercy – the men were spared and isn’t that just like the Lord to intervene when mercy is asked? (Yes, third time is not a charm for the army men but because of God’s mercy they lived)

And now, with the assurance of the Lord – thru the angel who spoke to Elijah, Elijah felt secure enough to go to King Ahaziah and tell him, for real and in person, that the punishment to the king remained because he had not repented.  

Isn’t that just like just like Jesus to go WITH US, to go in person and in Spirit, and give us strength to speak to others about God?)

Yes, no testing required, Jesus already will help.

Elijah as a prophet brought the Word of God to the people.  And the Word of God SAVES all who look to Him for mercy.

Amen 

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2nd Kings 1

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah

After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’  Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” So Elijah went.

When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”

“A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”’”

The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?” They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”  Elijah answered the captain, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

At this the king sent to Elijah another captain with his fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’”  “If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men.

So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants!  See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!”

The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went down with him to the king.

He told the king, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”  So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.

Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. As for all the other events of Ahaziah’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

BEWARE OF THE SHARK

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I could be a shark if I wanted to, we all could…   I am speaking of a fictional JAWS-like shark who smells blood and comes in for the kill – HOWEVER I know that sharks get a bad rap and they ARE one of God’s creatures and there are too many bad myths of them for movie purposes.

But for the sake of this reflection on life, I am going to write about a shark that we could idealize as us as people who go after things – who are cunning and shrewd – and perhaps could “go off the deep end” if we didn’t have SELF CONTROL. 

I have a coffee mug sticker that states the Fruits of the Spirit – and the last one on this sticker is SELF CONTROL.  I just added my “Beware of the Shark” sticker to the bottom of that. Me NOT being a shark is better than me being a shark, have self-control. Me being aware of others being sharks is also important – don’t get pulled into a bad scene when you weren’t the one who spilled the blood.

We need to tap into and appreciate the HUGE influences of the Fruit of the Spirit, meaning actions that we get FROM GOD’S SPIRIT in us.

There are some like love and joy which are such a benefit to us and to others thru us. Self control has to be one of the most used “on and off” switches that we need to stop turning off.

Self control means reducing our “I told you so” tendencies. Self control means less “coming in for the kill” by a shark who senses blood. Self control means just swimming away. Self control means counting our blessings and not pinching pennies while stepping over dollars in our nickel and diming of life. Being generous – being graceful – showing mercy – these are all the benefits of self-control of our anger or self-righteousness. FORGIVENESS.

There is an aspect of being a shark which is not bad – of our fictional attacking shark because sharks need to eat too – of when we are motivated to seek opportunities, when we are not shy in reaching to achieve something or take action for someone who is in need of our advocacy, when we advocate for ourselves. Being strong and powerful IS a gift. Being the “disruptor” is the new term for mixing it up and challenging old status quo living – and yet I would add the classic line: “it is easier to attract X, Y, Z with honey than vinegar.” – We should all be more honey than vinegar… love over lashing out… I would remind us (me too) that a shark at least circles the scene and swims around the situation for a while before coming in for the feeding frenzy. Self control and love is powerful even when and especially when it is quietly standing in the presence of God. LOVE IS the MOST powerful force in the world.  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 

There is much power in not using power or advantages for self-fulfilling ego – yet sometimes it seems you do need to be the storm over the calm waves. My new earrings (a $5 present to myself) came on a card that states:  “Never have I been a blue calm sea, I’ve always been a storm.” – I really liked thinking that for only a moment of that invigorating powerful message about myself – for the “go-getter” attitude and the drive. For making a difference in my life and in others lives for good…  Sure, I could use that once in a while for an ego-raising self esteem boost (which is why I bought those earrings as a treat and not necessarily just as retail-therapy). And yet, isn’t leading a stormy life also dangerous to self? And isn’t God MUCH stronger than we can ever think to be? Calming seas are just as powerful as a water-driving force and  the calming force of self-control, gifted by God, meaning we can be riding the waves that He stirs up for us rather than being a clanging gong ourselves. If we are a wave headed to the shore, it would better be for a good purpose…  We can be the storm – however I pray that we always bring needed rain to a situation as opposed to just flashy thunder and lightning…  I know that just like the sound of gentle rain on a room, we could appreciate the POWERFUL sound of a waterfall that calms us – just like God calms us because He IS so POWERFUL and IN CONTROL. He provides the LOVE we add to a situation: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1

My new-to-me blue Subaru (“feel the love”) has a cool “shark fin” antenna for the radio and aerodynamics. I like to think of my blue subaru as the whale – the whale that Jonah had a ride in – but much friendlier and happy to go place to place, wherever God needs me (and the roomy, functional, all wheel drive whale).  Jonah had to go and tell people about God’s plans but Jonah didn’t want to go. I would hope that myself and we all try to embrace that attitude of “HERE I AM LORD, SEND ME”. Put some shark fin into our “whale of a ride”. Get going for God. 

Self Control: take the high road, don’t sweat the small stuff, be available to let others witness our pause instead of our pursuit. Walk away. Count Your Blessings. BE STILL.

Beware of the Shark in yourself – yes of course beware of all sharks – but especially beware of our tendency to forget how God has given us these gifts to use for HIS glory – not ours.  Be His and be BLESSED!

Amen!!!

Jonah moments, Jesus messages

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Jesus spoke of a VERY important thing a person can do, to be SAVED, they are to repent and recognize Him as the Son of Man and One with the Father and therefore Lord. AND LET HIM ADVOCATE FOR YOU WITH THE FATHER. Be Still and Know. You can’t do anything that He hasn’t already done, and you can’t undo His Hold on you either. 

The Devil will tease you into doubting, but Jesus says that we are to look to Him and the devil will flee.

Call on Jesus to forgive you and He will. 

Call on Jesus to catch you and He will.

Walk away from Him, and God might just put you into a Whale to swim you around to any place God chooses until you are ready to go walking again on and in His Way, BACK UP to shore! WHOOSH!

Jesus spoke about the Sign of Jonah,  Jonah told people in Nineveh that God told them to repent. Jonah walked away thinking it was a lost cause, waited to see this destruction, and lo and behold, the people were saved because they truly repented. Jonah relayed the message but the people did the believing. 

Jesus spoke of The Queen of the South, because she actively wanted to hear about God, she knew of Solomon’s Wisdom (not neediness his wealth or rank because she already had hers). She was interested in his Wisdom which was a gift from God for God’s people. She had just as much wealth, wasn’t taking a trip to gauk at it, but to reassure herself that God was that powerful. He is. She stayed a while and went home. She had to see, hear, know for herself. That’s us too. We need to seek, listen, kneel, know. Knock. Knock and the door will be opened. He WILL open the door (or whale) that He wants you to go in.

Both these stories were told over and over for generations by the time Jesus walked into the crowds filled with curiosity and openness as well as blinded generations of religious types… Yes, all the stories of the Kings and Prophets were taught and should have resonated with them. Jesus said the people of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba would say to those blinded by disgruntleness:  “You got to be kidding me! Jesus is right there. Believe Him.”

What resonates with us? What should we be telling others? BELIEVE. BE HELD. BE HIS. BE ready to travel ON OUR WAY HOME. 

DON’T LET ANYTHING OR ANYONE STOP YOU FROM BELIEVING JESUS IS LOVE AND LORD AND FAITHFUL. 

God IS FAITHFUL, He will never leave or forsake you.

Amen 


If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.  For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.  The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here.


The Word is Continuous

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It’s new for me to dream about understanding the Bible, but I dreamt this morning about explaining the Bible scriptures to family members. I was realizing and wanting to teach that we must speak the scriptures into our lives, and it’s not so hard once we start, we just have to start. It helps if we have the hunger to understand these Old and New Testament connections in a consistent way… 

I was thinking of these new-to-me Old Testament chapters, 1st 2nd Kings (and prophets) and Chronicles, when just falling asleep a second time after split sleep schedules and a perusal of Bible tidbits

A new pamphlet (Amazon $3.99 priceless) that laid down the timelines side by side, showing that the scriptures of Chronicles is in a parallel timeline to Samuel and Kings. OH!!! I had no idea! Haven’t read the Chronicles yet, it’s like I will get to re-go over these same stories again…. and will re-appreciate them AGAIN with Psalms and Proverbs… (IMAGINE a triple reinforcement of knowledge and truth… TRIPLE… sounds like classic Jesus DOESN’T IT!… Jesus the Word, reinforcement in triple, like His reconciliation of Peter!

The Books of Samuel and Kings (and prophets) and Chronicles were each together as whole books, but then split due to paper bundle breaks in translation centuries later… Broken page breaks but SOLID Truth. Jesus broken down into digestible bits of the Bread of Life in a language translated for us.

So we ALSO tend to (and need to) break up scripture into chunks, sound bites, pick me ups. Yet in our BIG Whole Loaf understanding we must see how it all grows and flows together. Scripture is to flow like the blood in the body of Jesus, thru and out..  Jesus as scripture is full of different cells and organs, yet all works in concert. It requires and has and GIVES LIFE. 

The Word is Continuous Flow. 

We could divide our Biblical knowledge into colors of chapters and sticky notes of highlights, but it IS in the proclaiming of a non-broken TRUTH.  EVEN if we can’t hope to know it all (YET), We will…  We will learn it all as He flows thru us. Our hope is in His nourishment of soul and sanity. 

Jesus, line up our learning as You read to us Your Life…

Amen 

I’m excited about 2nd Kings, and fire again from Elijah (until the third time)… stay tuned…

Appreciate it

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Poison Ivy, yeah not fun. It’s humbling as a “thorn in my side” for one.

I can throw everything on it from my medicine chest, but mind over matter distractions are best.

Tonight, scratch the complaining – I will appreciate it. Tonight I bit into extra humility while eating a delicious juicy cheeseburger when I got a text message from my friend, who is very sick and weak, can’t keep food down, just got out of hospital. I put half my burger away for tomorrow and swallowed my humility and hopped in the car to get her extra medicine stuff, just looking at her was rough. I appreciate my health, I appreciate it.

Earlier I had appreciated waiting a decently LONG time for that takeout burger, I didn’t complain because I didn’t have to cook and felt ok to just buy it. I didn’t have to work the stressful counter for all those customers either. I didn’t have to be the woman working past the time she perhaps could have retired. I swallowed my burger and my good paycheck pride. It’s time to put annoyance aside. I got a waiting time to see what I SHOULD appreciate. I appreciate it.

This early morning, I appreciated most looking at my scripture bracelets while deciding whether to start my course of optional antibiotics script for potential cellulitis infection in my skin. God had a script too (free, paid ahead), His prescription of healing, His Word Script Scripture was on each bracelet. They said: “For I am Your God.” Isaiah 41:10. And “He will never leave you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.

Yup. So His script said my scrip was in my decision, but I was in His Hands either way. He let me decide with brains, knowledge, comfort, and cause. I took the script. The antibiotic script and the soul script. 

Now I itch. Know Why? Because I am itching that likely hidden cellulitis that likely that my arm didn’t show, but I felt was there. I scratch in healing tingling. So glad I took the script. 

Tonight I scratched an itch of faith and found Him under my skin even deeper… in my soul… so glad HE IS the Script. 

Keep scratching… appreciate the itch.

Appreciate it.

Amen 

His Handful

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I’m praying for something worldly, but something that seems so worthwhile to me. Would God grant it because I want it or deserve it? No, I think/know God would grant it because He is Good. It all starts with Him. He is God. We are to come to Him in wishes and admiration, tears and hopes, joy and joy. We ask, but it is ALWAYS Him who grants. 

We especially ask that our desires line up with His. When they don’t, we must accept that and move forward either way. Any worldliness seemingly good and seemingly bad is worldliness, yet it is washed clean by Jesus covering us in His Grace and Glory. 

Whether we get our earthly desires or not, we must still say God is Good because He does not change and He will always be Good.  We must also say that because the Holy Spirit within us is praising the volumes of God’s Eternal Goodness (that we WILL get to see) over that seemingly small in comparison handful of things we did or did not get here on earth. Even if we don’t get a handful, we are the ones who still sit in His Hand. We are His Handful. 

We are His Handful. 

I’d rather be no other place than in His Hand, that’s the reason He tells us we are not worldly, we are His children. We can sit tight and know everything WILL be alright. His Hands are MUCH bigger deeper wider and hold more than ours.

Focus on things above.

Amen 

Big Strokes and Little Strokes, our Holy Spirit paints us

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The Holy Spirit is fine-tuning us. His mission each day is filling in our soul mirror image of the reflections of Jesus. Sometimes we are presented with big strokes of the paintbrushes and oftentimes the little strokes. He is painting within us using all the colors of God’s rainbow. He is purifying us to reflect Him better. We are His children made in His Love.

It is His promise to take care of us. Meanwhile He makes us more mature with new layers and decorations, painting in our muscles to be His Hands and Feet. He created His children to do His Work. He is painting us in, dot by dot, specks, splatters and where we are cracked and broken, we are patch-filled then completely coated in Grace with gushes of Jesus’s blood…

His Home Canvas is not complete without us. We ARE the FILL of His Heart. We are the rescue of His Ransom. He developed His Master plan to be with us.

Jesus won’t you make us BE STILL? Holy Spirit, paint away, You know how we best would reflect God’s beauty.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Amen


1st John 3:1-7  

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.  But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 


Ephesians 2:4-10

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

My Prophetic Tom Petty

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This was a great passage to help me today.  Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. Yup, shrug off the day. Of course it’s also important to absorb the important facts of today and brush away the fluff.

There were trying moments and good moments today, mostly there were moving on moments, and that’s where Tom Petty comes in. I had finished driving a friend home from work, she’s going to retire in another week. I will miss her! She is a LIGHT. And she was the faith friend years ago to whom I mentioned the importance of holding onto Jesus’s Hand in times of sinking trouble… and I would have mentioned more about my specific but private issue today, but she beat me to the “hunch line” – not a punch line but the hunch that the TRUTH was needed – she simply but BOLDLY said: “Jesus is in control!”

Yes. It was the strengthening needed and spoken in avowing wowing.

And Tom Petty?

I turned for home with the radio blaring away. I decided to lift my hand as if to grab Jesus’s. Exactly then Tom Petty sang: “movin’ on, keep movin’ on…” AIN’T THAT THE TRUTH! KEEP MOVING ON. Jesus has this, will have that. Won’t drop the hunchline or punchline. He WILL ALWAYS have THIS, THAT, AND ALL IN CONTROL. 

Keep movin’,  KEEP MOVING ON.

Thanks Jesus. Thank you Tom. Thanks faith friend. 

Well done Holy Spirit, well done.

Amen and then some…

Tomorrow IS a new day.

—-

You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Rubik’s Rescue

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I remember my hands as a child could do the motions for solving the Rubik’s Cube, because I essentially memorized the steps in the published solution guide. I can still feel the motions, once you knew where to put the piece, it was like a sliding puzzle with turns. Done.

The other way to solve it was to break it apart and reassemble it. Did that. My brother did too, but those games were much higher quality than the plastics now.

A cheat, not solving it was deception, removing the stickers and resticking them. Fake.

Jesus is real, and God, our Father, makes a solution to our earthly puzzle by sliding His children around and His Hands know the motion. He knows how to get us back to place. Jesus is the One who took on the brokenness of being shattered in order to get us all complete in God’s hands. His broken body for us. His healing Spirit for us. His Solution to the problem of sin and death. We, although broken on earth, get to slide thru God’s Hands back into place. 

I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

God knows us… He ALREADY knows all His sheep in full and not in the brokenness of what we see. 

Rubik’s Rescue. 

Puzzle no more.

Amen 

John 6:28-40

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

Be the Word IN

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In the rainstorm of last night – I was reminded to get back to the story of Elijah.

We are told that we should be in the scriptures daily – well that is from others who know the yearning their soul makes when they are not in the Word for at least a couple days. Doesnt matter if they read it all before – it is a LIVING WORD – and needs to breath life into today’s challenges and blessings. Then there are even advertisements for glossy printouts of “the 15 bible versions every christian should know by heart.” Well, why would we need the printout then? LOL.  Clearly we do need prompting on occasion and we best internalize rather than simply memorize. Live it not list it. So important that we don’t just “be in the Word” but “be the Word IN” – meaning act, live, express ourselves WITH the Word WITHIN us – and allow the aching and wanting of the Word to be expressed THRU us.

This means living what you learn. Activating, not just achieving. Being led, not just leading. Speaking by direction not worldly circumstances. This is not necessarily easy.

Well, how? Read the Word to let it ruminate thru you. Know it so that when circumstances come up, you are to and you CAN step up in His actions not anyone else’s. No false god will help you then – ONLY GOD – real and true – ONLY JESUS – Lord and Savior – ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT – active and comforting. 

You sometimes have to speak the Word into the situation before you yourself believe it. We say God is in control, but then we too have to believe it.

Elijah spoke prophecies from God – especially dramatic in the confrontation with Ahab. But each new incident was new, and he was back to being a regular person and God’s actions were the miraculous movement in that moment. James, Jesus’s brother, wrote in His lessons that Elijah was just a common man, as we are. It was a great “coincidence” when just this week I heard a recorded bible lesson on those chapters of James, speaking about Elijah, AFTER I had been writing about Elijah for a week. This was not a coincidence!) What that radio lesson brought to me was at least one novel lesson to me, that I had not picked up in my reading, the sermonist said that the bull set aside to sacrifice in the fire contest against the fake prophet Baal, was representative of the sacrifice of Jesus. Elijah could prepare it – but God was the One who made the sacrifice count.  I knew/learned from my bible studies and readings and ponderings in the Word that each sacrifice from Adam and Eve’s time forward, from Moses, from all the later “substitutionary atonements” was a representation of Jesus being sacrificed, yet I had never thought of this “contest” with Baal more than just a demonstration of God winning.

We are to remember that God is not “competing”, He already won. He does demonstrate however, on our behalf, His Power to illustrate His Power. All Miracles point back to the Word and it is already the most powerful TRUTH.

So – the Word, Jesus, old and new testaments, is working HIS way thru us – this is for us to know WHY as well as HOW God works – but mostly to just LIVE IN His Work. For the people watching Elijah, not only did the sacrifice of the bull demonstrate God was real vs the fake gods, it demonstrated that GOD (and no one else) was able to make it happen – and this connects us (and them by prophesy) to the sacrifice of His Own Son for His Purposes to give Grace to all who would love Him and those who did not love Him, but were (and still are) being shepherded to turn their hearts towards Him.

Shepherded. We are not just shepherded but also in the benefit of the ONLY one who can give us HIS Grace.

And like Elijah, each day we must believe in that Grace. We should not disbelieve or look away when we don’t see our answers instantly. If the Lord says something is so – He will keep His Word. If He wants us to say something, we should (ask Jonah). The rains WILL come. In our troubles, when we pray, we should not expect that raincloud to appear INSTANTLY, we should TRUST that it WILL come. And we should know that the reason He told us (told Elijah) it would come, GIVES US TIME TO PREPARE. God gives us and others time to repair and prepare. Gives us ALL time to repent. Even evil King Ahab, who was written to be really really bad, had a moment near the end of some humble repentance and he was spared by God’s pushing out of the punishment to Ahab’s next generations. GOD GIVES US TIME TO PREPARE FOR RAIN.

Elijah had to find himself in prayer a lot. When he prophesied the rain coming – he was SO anxious for it to come and sent out his servant to check over and over again. When it did come, God strengthened him to run ahead of his enemies. The Buffer of the Blessing. Do we have to wait out our blessings sometimes? YES. Do we also have to run out and check if JESUS has come – will come – is come? NO, He already did, will, is. We do have to look inwards and know that if we LOVE, if we sacrifice, if we share this love by and of HIM and this hope from HIM, that Jesus has already come. Prophets prophesize ahead, but Jesus ALREADY was in existence (ALPHA AND OMEGA). Now we can just ACT upon this Truth. Be the Word IN, know it, ponder it, live it.

Love it. Humbly love, without boast, that the Lord has picked you to deliver His Message. Then do just that.

Amen


James 5:16-20 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

1st Kings 18:41-46

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1st Kings 21:20-28

Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

“And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ – “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

(There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

Upload Me

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There’s a fitting typo in this Isaiah 41 bracelet, I will UPLOAD you with my Righteousness Hand. 

A prophecy in an oops, but a real thing. God will UPHOLD us with His Righteousness Hand as we are “righted” by His Grace and Mercy. AND God WILL UPLOAD us, He will blow the trumpet and we will be taken up with Jesus. 

More than a blue light special from the shopping aisle, this will be an all dark piercing LIGHT from the sky.

Jesus is coming. 

Spirit Up move me.

God Uphold me.

Jesus UPLOAD me.

Amen

Isaiah 41:8-11

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you.

I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will UPHOLD you with my righteous right hand.”

Say the Word

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I am not worthy, but say the Word, and I shall be healed.

I am not ready, but blow the trumpet and I shall be called.

I am not bold, but sent the Holy Spirit and I shall be sent.

I am not all-knowing, but sent the Teacher and I shall learn.

I am not focused, but send the Reacher and I shall be found.

I am still wandering, but lead, dear Jesus, and I shall be led.

I am now listening, call me dear Jesus and I shall be Yours.

Amen
Amen


Psalm 1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.


Psalm 1: I Will Delight lyrics
“I will delight in the law of the Lord.
I will meditate day and night.
Then like a tree,
firmly planted I’ll be,
grounded in Your Word.
Blessed is the One
who follows the Way of the Lord.
Blessed is the One.”

Why is Forever FOREVER?

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I can do a lot of philosophizing about how fast life goes just by looking/feeling at the early summer we are having. We went from snow to full bloom flowers, grass that grows too fast, hot temps and cool nights, mosquitoes before lightning bugs. Summer will also go faster than it got here. Life is too short, too fast, too temporary. Maybe that’s the point.  We will appreciate Forever MORE as we realize how precious and fleeting EVERY moment is now. 

Forever extends to FOREVER, I cannot wrap my head around that. Wouldn’t that be nice if strawberry season did too? I lost most of my strawberries from last year when I had quarts and quarts. Sure I could buy them, but how delicious in your own patch. I love playing in the garden, however now it’s mostly weeds to deal with first. Life is too short, you can’t get to all the weeds. But FOREVER will already be gone of weeds and worries. Forever there WILL be time to see, feel, love, live.

I stopped mowing the grass to stand where I used to push the kids on their swingset, such a short forever ago. Reminising. That’s key to what “temporary travellers on this earth” is in a nutshell, before you blink that phase of life is gone. No one plays in this yard anymore, perfectly long for sports, which is one of the direct reasons I bought this house in this picture postcard neighborhood, known to be good for raising kids. No balls get tossed into the garden, requiring careful stepping to extract them. Perhaps, maybe eventually (I’m NOT rushing things) other kids will enjoy this yard, but for now, it rests… 

I DID appreciate the resting (after the weeding and mowing). You are my God, and I will praise you. The memories of moments last.  Then in FOREVER? The actual moments will last.

Forever… I bet there are strawberries galore, and useful plants that are never weeds. I bet even the good plants we consider weeds, like pokeweed, will be considered good. God planned GOOD. We, as God’s children, He calls VERY GOOD. He wants to be with us.

I bet the Lord God is looking forward to His kids playing in His Garden once again. He’s looking for those moments to walk with us. Forever. 

I know that He made FOREVER for Him to spend WITH us. What’s in FOREVER? HIS LIGHT, HIS LOVE. HIM, HIM loving us. Let us rejoice and be glad. 

“Forever and a Day”, let’s start now by letting that “Day” be TODAY, let’s spend it with Him. 

His love endures forever.

Amen 


Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my defense: he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LordThis is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.

The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will praise you;  you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Chariots of Fire – Buffers of Blessings – Prayers of Mercy

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I’m skipping ahead of the 1st Kings to 2nd Kings for stories of prophets Elijah into the stories of Elisha, prophet continuation as Elisha was called by the Lord. This is a MOST tremendous concept/reality that sometimes even devout Christians forget about. We know there are angels,  but do we remember that their are ARMIES all around us? There’s a battle close but invisible. Elisha saw Chariots of Fire. Sometimes we DO need to step into a battle that helps another. But always we need to WAIT for God’s instructions. 

Chariots of Fire, and yes Angels of Mercy. In this day and age, I think there must be angels who cover children in a car crash, ample buffers of blessings in blocking catastrophes, the simple blowing up the wind outside to prevent virus spreads in open spaces, and any and all angels that are leading your cat or dog to come sit by your side when you are feeling blue.  Angel armies. 

Chariots of Fire – I wonder what’s around us right now…  this is what Elisha saw and shared with his servant to STENGHTHEN: And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA. 

But the opposite army? God allowed Elisha to have mercy on them. Blindness and travel to another place. Fed them and set them free. Mercy.

Is not that what God is leading now? Us in blindness being directed to open space, war-free zones, and feasts. Lord have mercy on us so we can see.


I offer a prayer for all of us:

Lord, You go ahead of us. You will never leave or forsake us, just as Moses told his people, and as he told Joshua. 

Lord, we best try to tune into Your Plan for our lives and be accepting and appreciative of Your Will.  When we lose focus from serving You, we can also forget that our forever home in heaven above is where we belong. Sometimes instead we can get caught up in worldly pursuits and distractions, even though we are told to just be temporary travellers in this world. There are invisible battles and angel armies and chariots of fire to help us now. Knowing that,  help us give mercy to others, even our enemies. 

Jesus’s brother James says You, Lord, jealously long for the Spirit dwelling in us. When we don’t submit, we find ourselves trying to be friends with the world, which makes us an enemy from You. HELP US LORD. Our desires will battle within us. You can SETTLE the fight by gifting us Your precious mercy. You calm our battles by winning our war.

May we always allow you to GO first, AND want You to be first. Humble us,  Lord, so that we deny our pride. Help us to submit and seek You fervently each day, everyday, today.

Thank You for Your Grace.

We pray these things, Jesus, in Your Holy, Everlasting and Forgiving Name. Amen.

Amen 


1 Kings 19:19-21

The Call of Elisha
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

2nd KIngs 6:8-23

Horses and Chariots of Fire
Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”  And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

Psalm 91:11 – HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU TO KEEP YOU IN ALL YOUR WAYS

Word in a Whisper

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How quickly we lose hope and confidence in what we know of God – we forget what He had done in our lives, even just a short time before we forget. Elijah experienced this – he was able to go up to King Ahab and risk death by just being there with hundreds of people who were against him – and then Elijah became afraid just based on words of Jezebel, threatening to kill him. Just one person and just words. Real threat but just with words, lowercase “w”.

He ran, he hid, he slept. An angel came to him twice – to feed him and to wake him. Then he travelled 40 days and nights to hide again. He tried to be zealous for the Lord all the time – and yet even one of the greatest prophets needed more that just words of encouragement, Elijah needed and got the Word. The Word of God spoken into His life. That is our journey too – we are fed and we get woken. We are hungry even after being fed. We are waiting for God to speak His Word into our lives.  And when we trust that Word to save us, then we are born again. What a time to come out of our caves and listen for the Word in a Whisper.

A real Word, namely the Word of God came to Elijah: “And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ ” – this probably certainly actually means that Jesus Himself came speaking to him – Jesus Lord, the Word, said: ‘What are you doing here? akin to ‘Where are you in your brain space? What in your life are fleeing? Where are you not trusting? Where do you need to remember me to strengthen your faith???’

Not only did the Lord appear to Elijah, He instructed him to go seek direction from Him even more – and to listen: The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

The Lord talked about the Lord – well, yes. The Word speaks about the Word, yes, all over the scriptures the Word IS the Word.. and then the Whisper? A Whisper of the Lord is even more powerful than earthquakes, the wind, and even the fire. The Whisper of the Word is still the Word. 

And Elijah finds that even though he was “the only one left” – Who had NOT left WAS/IS the Lord.  The Lord never leaves us either… And what did the Lord give Elijah? a direction – and a purpose – go call the next prophet, Elisha.

Direction, Purpose, Confirmation.

Let’s listen for the Whisper of the Word into our lives.

Jesus has something to say. 

Amen

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1 Kings 19

Elijah Flees to Horeb
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

Fire the old gods, part 3

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This is the story that I know Elijah from (one of the best stories in the bible in my opinion): the making of fire in a soaking wet situation. God sent fire down that not only burned the one thing that was offered, it also dried up all the water in the trench too. Elijah also predicted the drought and then the rain.

Why do I know this most famous story? Because I learned it by teaching vacation bible school or teaching Sunday school. Those of us who teach must learn… And teaching children should be a number one priority for all of our churches. I can’t say I ever heard this story in a sermon, but I can envision it from reading it now due to some portrayal aimed at children, making it super interesting.  We must teach ourselves the full ins and outs of Word, because if we don’t, who will? Plus, it’s God’s Way for us to have our journeys explained to us. This is why He puts us smack dab into a broken world to see what IS working: God IS working…  He will send the rain and the fire…

Lesson number one here? Believe in real God, not the fake ones, FIRE those old gods, especially Baal or whatever and whomever is leading you astray. Lesson number two? Step up to meet your enemies, don’t cower away, take your life into God’s Hands, not yours. Be brave AND resourceful of AND respectful of God’s fire power. Show them the Stuff God IS Made Of. And show your willingness to hold your tongue but not your example, demonstrate love over hate.

To BELIEVE that God IS Sovereign in your life, this goes back to that scripture of not being friends with the world. Follow God knowing He IS a jealous God. Why?  He knows better AND He wants you on FIRM ground, HIS ground. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Elijah challenged the people, we MUST challenge ourselves to stay on track believing God is sovereign and on plan.

Elijah didn’t just set this up on his own, God had already told him to go to those people. God already had made him a prophet (one that survived and was bold enough to approach King Ahab where he might have been killed). God was setting up the whole scene, and Elijah asked for ALL the prophets of Baal to be witness to what would fire up the crowd but throw water on their hope in Baal. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire — he is God.”

Elijah set up a challenge right then for whose god/God is real. The world of people who rely on anything but God will be lost, are already lost unless their eyes are opened to their stray ways. They dance around the truth that the world and worldly pursuits just won’t fulfill them. We get pulled astray too – but when the earthly music stops, and the devil pulls out the chair from underneath you so you have nothing to sit on, God will ALWAYS give you a place. God wants you on His firm ground.

As you read the story below, please visualize it all, God sent fire on a water-soaked scene just at the timing that Elijah set up FOR GOD. 

WHY? Why demonstrate God’s FIRE POWER?  So these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

CRUCIAL!!! It is not to judge and condemn the people, but to WIN THEM BACK by doing the turning Himself. We today are to share the news that God wants to turn our hearts back to Him. This is not for anyone to say “I told you so”. Sovereignly, God CAN do this, wants to do this, and WILL do this. LOVE is why God WANTS to do this, He is keeping faith in His people to turn back to Him and know they are forgiven in the process. 

Let us all look for His Fire and turn back to Him. 

The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!”

Amen (and please read below)

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1 Kings 18:16-46

Elijah on Mount Carmel
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.”  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 

So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.“There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Fire the old gods, part 2

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There’s been simmering a scripture in my brain and ears for a while now: Don’t be friends with the world. Being friends with the world means being an enemy of God. This doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to people, actually you ARE to be salt and light. This is a warning from James, Jesus’s brother teaching his people and us: Don’t follow the crowd, be with the Lord. Know your Shephard. AND this is crucial advice for getting the devil to flee from us. Know that God is jealous for us. Know that God gives us GRACE to draw close to us. 

Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.

This connects with Proverbs 34 from Solomon’s time: He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.

I find this is TOTALLY relevant in these days, just as it was in the days of Elijah (hey, that’s a song: “These are the days of Elijah – Declaring the word of the Lord”.) GOD WANTS TO DRAW CLOSER TO US, that’s why He sent Jesus, ultimate servant to bear our sins and we have GRACE. Now God sees us unblemished. We can be HOME.

So, Elijah, the famous prophet (written in the book of Kings), was hearing firsthand first ears from God then declaring God’s Word to others, including God’s desires, warnings of jealousy and instructions. Well known was the rift between King Ahab of the split kingdoms and Elijah. Ahab was continuing to serve fake gods like Baal. God said it was time to send rain (literally in a drought) and the rain would be a reminder of Reign as well to the people. God used Elijah to send a CLEAR message. Obadiah who loved the Lord and was brave enough to hide 100 prophets in two caves, was still so afraid of King Ahab that he begged Elijah to not make himself known to the king. Obadiah (read below) was trying to be friends with the world at this moment. 

We can’t be friends with the world and listen to God at the same time. We must have ONE God. Our gods, lowercase are the shrines and desires that we make our pursuits in life. Instead we need to listen to God and realize that we don’t belong in this corrupt world. 

Elijah went where the Lord sent him, we should too. We don’t have to wait out droughts when we listen and read and drink of the Word. Living Water is better that fake gods. Fire the old gods…

Amen (and to be continued)

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1Kings 18:1-17

After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

“What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’  I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.  When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

Continues at:

Fire the old gods, part 1

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Some precious time to read over the long weekend. My daughter wants to read thru “War and Peace”, the HUGE novel, as her “summer reading” because it’s the backstory for her favorite musical “Pierre Natasha and the Great Comet of 1812″… WHEW, that book is as thick as it is tough, takes pages to just explain the characters. 

I have a different summer reading (and fall, winter, spring…), also of war and peace, A GOOD BOOK, the scriptures of the Old Testament. I’ve hit some great meaty bits in the Book of Kings. Yes also lots of names, but they are explained as we go… individual stories that are bite-sized and digestible. Inspirations in just a few verses that essentially say: DAY BY DAY we need to trust God, listen, follow. 

In the parallel storylines of the kings of Israel/Judah, we learn of a WELL KNOWN prophet ELIJAH. Jewish folks leave a chair for his return. John the Baptist was likened to Elijah. We know Jesus spoke with Elijah and Moses in front of Peter and John. It is said in the book of Revelation that two important figures will have a major part, experts say Moses and Elijah. We profit from prophets. 

Prophets speak for God, not for themselves. And all were saying: Fire those old gods, the fake ones…

Elijah is known for much, including FIRE but also interesting storylines of ravens and angels bringing him food, the Lord providing daily bread making materials to a widow so he also could eat. The LORD thru him raised the widow’s son from the dead, God thru Elijah made drought predictions and Elijah fought thru the myths of the perceived god Baal. Elijah and all the prophets were fighting fake fire with REAL FIRE. And in Elijah’s story, there’s the favorite reminder to us for us to be listening for God NOT in an earthquake and NOT in a fire, but IN A WHISPER… I should make that small case… in a whisper… God speaks for us to hear.

These are all examples of God’s provisions, God’s sovereignty, God being in control. Teaching moments of realization that God IS God rather than events happening spuriously as if Elijah were a magic man. Like when the widow’s son is raised from the dead: Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

So much to read here in the 3 chapters (17, 18, 19) of the 1st book of Kings at this link:

The beginning of this story of Prophet Elijah and King Asa, 1 Kings 16-17 – MORE TO FOLLOW…

In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.  In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”

In Ignorance We Bliss

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What a beautiful weekend. Went to two beautiful parades, plus a birthday party and memorial picnic just next door. Shopping, ice cream, walks. Ate A LOT! Even have 2 days leftovers for lunch… it’s been a whole weekend with wonderful people. SO MANY FRIENDS. Even a FROG in a pond. Beautiful weather, and a beautiful chance to be outside. I mean 2 years ago this didn’t happen – today it did. Never forget the opportunity to be where we are. Let’s forget our troubles for a while, but don’t forget the opportunity to forget them!

First parade, Saturday, in a “random” pick of where to stand, I saw three people back to back that I knew including my children’s former nursery school teacher. Wow, how crucial she was in helping my kids. But I COULDN’T remember her name, 12 maybe 15 years later. I remember now. She really was amazing for my children, I am SO appreciative. 

We do have good memories but we also forget many things. I mean how can we sit and enjoy and yet we do forget the tragedies in our world, especially recently. We as society forget so quickly! And yet for some reason the Lord allows that, allows us to just be in our own space and hopefully appreciate our blessings.  We have Ignorance that is bliss. That’s mercy, we forget but the Lord will forgive the forgetfulness. He forgives A LOT. He remembers it all. He forgives because He loves. He takes the opportunity of Grace to help us Home. 

Especially Memorial Day we are to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. How can we honor them best but to APPRECIATE what they did and the blessings that we do have. And this is true in our faith as well. God thru Jesus had made the ultimate sacrifice and we are super blessed beyond belief… I bet you, when we get to heaven, we will super appreciate it. It’s impossible to know how MUCH mercy the world and we have. Our Ignorance on that is not bliss. We need to humble ourselves and remember. 

So I wonder in heaven, because we do have FOREVER,  will we remember all those people we forgot? Will we also meet all the people we were supposed to meet and perhaps we didn’t have time to chat with them.  For example will we meet our great great grandparents? Will we meet that baby in the store that we saw at the checkout lane and simply said a quiet prayer for their lives? Will they come up to us one time in forever and say: remember that day may 30th 2022, I was that baby… 

I thought about all this as I drove past a church last week which was having a pastor’s conference, they had asked us to pray for the whole week for those pastors. I was just randomly in that neighborhood, having come from a grocery store, but in that time in place watching some leaving the parking lot  I just smiled in my heart for their dedication, and at the red light I was able to say a prayer. Three in the car next to me probably were pastors. One turned and smiled. I wondered if his spirit felt my spirit, actually the Spirit is His Own, we just feel the whisper of it. Maybe in forever, I will have time to meet them, surely thru our spirits we will know each other. Won’t that be the coolest thing?!!!

I think MOST of the best “ignorance is bliss” moments will be the grudges we forgot, the bad words and feelings gone forever. The prejudices and jealousy GONE, strife GONE, our pride GONE.

Maybe. Possibly. Probably. I mean it IS forever, right? We WILL have all the time that we don’t have now. We WILL be there when all are watching the new city roll in. Forever AND a day. 

Psalm 136 is best to sum up a blissful weekend. This is a love song God wrote thru Solomon at the temple, that we could praise Him that day and FOREVER. Forever AND a day. 

He remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies.

His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

It really will, He said so Himself. 

No more death in sin. In ignorance we bliss. 

In GOD we TRUST.

Amen 

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

To him who alone does great wonders,

His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,

His love endures forever.

who made the great lights—

His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day,

His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night;

His love endures forever.

To him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt

His love endures forever.

and brought Israel out from among them

His love endures forever.

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;

His love endures forever.

To him who divided the Red Sea asunder

His love endures forever.

and brought Israel through the midst of it,

His love endures forever.

but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;

His love endures forever.

To him who led his people through the wilderness;

His love endures forever.

to him who struck down great kings,

His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings—

His love endures forever.

Sihon king of the Amorites

His love endures forever.

and Og king of Bashan—

His love endures forever.

and gave their land as an inheritance,

His love endures forever.

an inheritance to his servant Israel.

His love endures forever.

He remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies.

His love endures forever.

He gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

Cracking the Code

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I found a difference (so far) between good kings and bad kings in my plodding thru the Books of Kings, during a split kingdom. The indicator (so far) is the time of their reign. Bad kings (so far) are 2 or 3 years and just now I found a good king, King Asa, at 41 years reign, WOW! Asa who ruled Judah, who became father to Jehosephat. (Finally I recognized a name, Jehosephat). I think I am starting to crack the code of understanding the VOLUME of old testament writing, at least this section. The key is to look for: WHY the Lord wanted to include these stories and WHY we should learn FROM them. 

41 years for Asa.  What makes the criteria for a good king? One who listened to the Lord. 

As David did…

All these scriptures (so far) mention FOLLOWING the Lord’s commands and having a heart for the Lord. That’s the code, a code of conduct!!! A bad king, it says, ‘failed in his heart’ to follow the Lord like David. The good king, FOLLOWED. 

I am not cracking this “code” by myself. Many many people have studied the Old Testament and I found, for only $3 on Amazon, a tremendous folding plastic-coated guideline of a TIMELINE. I am only opening my eyes to understanding. I didn’t realize SO MUCH of the old testament was the backstory for Jesus but now of course I see it (especially because Jesus IS the Word). I definitely am now understanding that the Lord kept trying to keep the Kings on track, the Lord sent Prophets too, to keep His people on track. 

As David was…

Let our code of conduct be one of listening, obedience, understanding, love, and life.

Let’s learn from the examples of kings, and Jesus Himself. 

Love God.

Amen

1Kings 15:1-15

And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

And Asa did that which was RIGHT IN THE EYES OF THE LORD, AS DID DAVID his father.

And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the Lord, silver, and gold, and vessels.

Our Father Did That

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My son got home from a high school senior trip to Disney world and Florida, I can’t take credit because savings money from his youth was from his grandfather – my Dad – and that paid for that… My Dad did that…

I was thankful for sleep before a 3am wake up on the way to the trip last week, and even though I was ready to drive, he already had arranged for a ride. I am thankful that he “had things handled”. I am also thankful that he still needs me as I still got that text message 5 minutes later: “can you put money on my food card?”… ah moms… I am thankful to be a mom.

Took a power nap before I left for the delayed bus from delayed plane ride home and then slept thru a thunderstorm while resting in the car at midnight at school waiting for the returning buses (this is the benefit of text messages and phone calls). That level of peace? to sleep in the car in a thunderstorm because I needed it more than I needed to be afraid?  My Father did that – God, OUR Father. He provides the peace (and the sleep). 

Everybody is now home under one roof… The cat and the college kid too in our crew. In a house now filled with boxes and stuff, plans and purpose. A late Friday night and now an early Saturday morning – quiet, laundry, breakfast, a 3-day weekend. Yes I pay the mortgage but my Dad paid the down payment on this house for us 17 plus ago… My Dad did that…

I am grateful for all the things that the Lord has timed just right – like my son even getting to be a senior doing senior stuff in a wacky 4 years, not just that he got to Disney, but that he’s been on an airplane before, that he was with a “smaller” school crew than previous years, and that the pandemic here is minimal compared to how it had been before. I am thankful for all these things and the preparations that made me not stress.

I am thankful for his graduation coming up, a whole step into life. I am thankful for him for a car opportunity and a job opportunity and THE SUMMER – and a life today. I am thankful for my college kid daughter to have a rest opportunity, a summer opportunity and that cat – oh wow I am thankful for that cat and all the healing love she emanates in my house. 

Love and good things come from God. Being thankful too comes from God.

Thankfulness is an expression from God to God.

Our Father provides even the emotional spirit for us to rest in.

One day, when we are finally Home with our Lord, we can thankfully say “our Father did that”…  GOT US HOME thru all the storms and hiccups… Yes He can… 

Thankful. 

Yes He Did. 

Yes He Will.

Yes He Does. 

Our Father did that!

Soul Survivor Not Sole Survivor

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In a pastor’s conference message, a post online I heard on the drive home, the pastor warned about people who pitch discord. We should not be one of those types of people, and we should be wary of people who are that. When we are working with another person or a group or even with ourselves, it means we also should try to work out the best, work things out in the Lord’s Love. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. You, me and the Lord. We are to know that the Lord is intending Himself to be our “third cord” AGAINST anything in the world’s discord. 

How much better we are for knowing the Lord is WITH us than trying to  live without His guidance. King Solomon is said to have this observation in Ecclesiastes: “Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.” Isn’t it best to check in with God? Yes it is. Is it best to know what season of life we are in? Yes, check with God for today’s weather, wander and wonder.

Recorded online, I recently watched the season finale of Survivor, it’s one of the very few TV events that I catch. I skipped the middle seasons, but at the beginning 20 years ago it was novel and riveting – and now it’s simply entertainment pleasure combined with mild intrigue. I am interested in their editing motives to craft the show and how the production holds back info (you don’t know how the jury will vote) on purpose. We are manipulated, but not any different than a “who done it” mystery. Plus it’s just fun to watch, one of those few things I reserve time for,  to break up my week. Just enough…

Sole Survivor is one person each season, and winning depends upon social games, strategy, and determination, outwit outlast outplay. However it also relies on everyone else’s strategy and sometimes the numbers are just against you. Someone does win and due to their same adversaries who vote for them or not. There’s mixed emotions of friendships, admiration of game play, and not voting for someone who ticked you off. There’s only one sole survivor each season. 

I contrast this with the seasons the Lord gives us. A season for everything. To everything there is a season. If sometimes the numbers seem against you then the wrong game you are playing…  There is going to be tough times in this world. We don’t belong here. Our Home is yet to come. Meanwhile we must live best we can here.

What season are we in? How can we be a SOUL SURVIVOR for this season and keep our focus on forever? Don’t try to buy comfort or “life” with worldliness or fame, fast talk or construing strife… of worldly things there is “A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. ” We are to live in the Lord’s Love. (Instead of being the watchers on the sidelines, we could all take an attempt at being a fire-rescuer and running into the scene to SHARE HOPE.) How will people know how to escape the despair unless they see the Light.

We don’t get to be a life survivor on our own work. Our Soul Surviving comes by relying upon Jesus covering us with His Love, spreading Himself sacrificially into repairing our wounds. Sparing us from the judgment that all will receive: “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”

One sage piece of advice from Jesus Himself – whether you are watching or LIVING “Survivor” for work, home, challenges, and triumphs is this: Take One Day at a Time. The season you are in today is today. Let’s embrace our opportunities and leave our strife behind. Be one of those people who rely on God as the third cord, and the Weaver of all.

God’s got this.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it.

AMEN

——

Ecclesiastes 3:1-17

Solomon writes:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

—-

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Solomon writes: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

“King for a Day” or the Lord’s Servant FOREVER

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This is such a great video of explaining a crucial chunk of the books of Kings, from the great video “Bible Project”.  https://youtu.be/bVFW3wbi9pk 

It does get SO confusing in the Old Testament, like with the names… and who is listening to God and who is drifting.  Israel, the people, were in trouble, they were split, they were on their way to EXILE.

What I have grown to understand is that MANY kings came after King Solomon, the son of King David, however many of them sputtered and failed…  They failed in listening to the Lord. The Lord then sent prophets, MANY prophets, to challenge Israel to listen to God. The kings often failed to listen. 

We might think it’s good to be “king for a day” but wouldn’t you rather be the Lord’s servant FOREVER? We can learn from these troubled examples, like Jeroboam, one of 20 plus kings in each of Israel and Judah, not listening, not holding up the examples of following God.

Even though David and Solomon had flaws, like we all do, David was known to the Lord as His cherished son, because he “followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes.” We can recover from our failings by listening again to the Lord. No wonder David wrote “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23

We must listen and try to follow Him over our fail-able fallible hearts or our pocketbooks or our powerplays. Often we see the mighty that fall… We don’t have to strive for worldly wonders, we don’t always have to win to have won. 

God fulfills His Promise thru Jesus, we already know the end of the book. We know Who the REAL King is… let’s follow Him right into God’s Grace for forever life.  

Let us recognize that we will live good life by listening, not being as “king for a day” but striving to be the Lord’s servant FOREVER…

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Amen 

—-

1Kings 14:1-16

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.

Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”

So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense? I have been sent to you with bad news. Go, tell Jeroboam that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.

“‘Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’

“As for you, go back home. When you set foot in your city, the boy will die. All Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one belonging to Jeroboam who will be buried, because he is the only one in the house of Jeroboam in whom the Lord, the God of Israel, has found anything good.

The Lord will raise up for himself a king over Israel who will cut off the family of Jeroboam. Even now this is beginning to happen. And the Lord will strike Israel, so that it will be like a reed swaying in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land that he gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, because they aroused the Lord’s anger by making Asherah poles. And he will give Israel up because of the sins Jeroboam has committed and has caused Israel to commit.”

The Whale of a Subaru

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There was only one thing that concerned me about my new blue Subaru, even more than financial things, was/is the industrial cleaner smell from the scrubbing they must have done… it’s pre-owned in EXCELLENT condition, the small stains don’t bother me, how could I ever tell with the way I pack it! And I’ve packed it twice, plus already trash picked in it, a small stepstool… (I even trash picked picture frames in my loaner, LOL)…

The smell…  I have a super sensitive smelling sense. My whole life it has been a blessing and a curse. But one’s sense of smell is also controlled by God (as everything is), we can ask for endurance and understanding. 

When the A/C is on, I don’t smell it. It possibly is in the engine or I don’t know. A cleaner or the thing it was trying to clean. I DON’T smell it after being in the car for a while.  Either way, it was not bad enough to break this deal of a great car for me, at this or any price. This Subaru I am calling my Whale… I even got a cute sticker. I KNOW what God needs me to realize: that I am being carried in the stomach of this Whale. I am being swept to places while protected inside against His Waves. 

No, I never named my Subarus, only referenced to them by color. And yet my blue Subaru, the 2008, was my “Salvation Subaru” – I truly came to Christ over a 6 week period while having MANY opportunities in the commute to THINK. And for the Lord to find me where I was… lost…

Found. I am now Found. Good God, I pray you all know that feeling, that humbling,  loved, looked for, realizing, restoration and scoop up out of the unknown into the known. I pray you realize God reeling you in… I pray you a born again birth by water and light… Jesus catches you like a baby and raises you into life to save you from death… Jesus. 

The Whale…  this blue Subaru is named not according to the smell, like as if I actually have to live and move inside a whale’s stomach ICK, but because I DO have to be like Jonah and GO WHERE THE LORD NEEDS ME TO GO!!! AND BRING HIS MESSAGE. We need to know God’s love is to be carried IN IT’S WAY into the world in order to bring it all back in to Him. Like the waves of the ocean out and in.  So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Like the water through a Whale’s blow hole, you have to clear your breathing space and your thinking place.  God has PLANS for you. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Let us not be like Jonah and begrudgingly go into the world – nor wait for it to crumble so that we can say “I told you so”…  Let us not watch the world in sideshow fashion, but bring more of God’s Word and Love to the people – because HE IS THE MAIN EVENT…

LET US RIDE HIS WAVE AND KEEP SWIMMING – THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED TO HEAR ABOUT HIS GOOD NEWS!

WHALE-ON!

AMEN

PS – the smell is disappearing these days now and NO ONE ELSE NOTICES IT LIKE ME… Wow God is SO specialized in His Way…

In Jesus be Free

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Resist the Devil and he will flee.

It’s supposed to be that simple, you see.

It’s not living for our pride

but how in humility under God’s Wing we hide.


Not needing to see Your Face,

Just let us feel Your embrace. 

If challenges are at your door,

Send Jesus to be your ROAR.

If you get stuck inside, 

Ask Holy Spirit for today’s ride.

Depending on FAITH is how we need be, 

Simply LIVE thru Jesus and just BE.


Resist the devil and he will flee.

Jesus in You, we walk free

Jesus, help me to see

From earthly wants I am FREE.

If I in Thee and Thee in me,

Today take me where You need me to be.

Amen 

New Subaru – Gap Overlap

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It’s good that I have a new-to-me used Subaru, because I really LOVE Subaru Foresters, but I did NOT know that I NEEDED it when I simple was wanting it, because now my older red one is in limbo…

God filled the Gap that had not even opened.

No, it’s not about God’s perfection OF our lives, we won’t get to be perfect here on earth. It’s about God’s PARTICIPATION IN and plans and purpose and PATCHING UP of our lives… it’s not about perfecting earthly things in His plans, it’s about patching our paths day to day. He covers the Gap. He makes our path to walk on top of HIS overlap. 

I could be fine with any car, we all could be, sure, if it runs, but I have been blessed over 20 years with 3 Foresters…  So I mentally moved from wanting the green Subaru I saw online on Monday back to a blue choice seen online and in my price range, and drove away with that by Friday. I enjoyed working with my salesperson, a good indication is you feel like you always knew them… yup… I got much warranty coverage including Gap coverage for insurance, I HOPE that’s unnecessary, but I got it anyway. (I also got to involve my son in the teaching process, that’s priceless). 

After being in an unknown, a known is good to just get it done quickly once you know that you are on that track. Apparently I was. What’s most remarkable to me is that I was OVERLAPPED from a GAP that I DIDN’T see coming. When I was about 95% sure about buying the blue one, I learned that my red one (intended for my son) blew a cylinder compression test… the car does runs,  but so does the shining check engine light. RATS… In other words, I needed another Subaru before I knew I needed one! The red one will drive, but not ideal for the thousands of miles I drive. I have a loaner in the driveway now too, that is God’s faithfulness, three Subarus when I need one good one. So even when I doubt “was this a good buy? A good decision?” – I remember that I NEEDED one to keep moving, and I CAN and WILL (moving my daughter out of college etc etc)… didn’t miss much work either. Now, that’s a God who delivers…

Gap coverage.  Just like a Subaru can cover bumpy terrain, God can super-duper carry you thru.  

Jesus fills our sin gap, He took death’s rap.

God gives us GOOD THINGS, but I DON’T mean Subarus. I mean God gives us, me, TIME TO THINK, including when your car is on the failure brink.

Leave the stress to the side and enjoy the ride. 

Time to think.

Time to be.

Time to still be me.

Time in a broken world to keep moving…

Drive!  Love, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru. 

Love it God, THANKS. 

You fill my gap.          

AMEN AMEN AMEN

Show me, Tell me, Know me

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I have often asked for signs from God, but I have been reminded especially lately that I DON’T always NEED a visual reply. God many times replies by giving me NO SIGNS to “look for”. Yes, sometimes I HEAR what I need to hear, but these days instead I am reminded more that I should FEEL for ASSURANCE, trust in calming feelings, gut feelings but not heart flutters and of course KNOW what the TRUTH of the situation would be pointing at. 

Put your faith where your feeling is. I needed that yesterday, I will need that today.

I’m putting my money where my mouth was.

I’m putting my TRUST where my TEXT was. 

I’m praising God because I realized, like Peter, that I’ve stepped WAY out in the water in faith. There’s no boat and there ARE waves.

Yesterday, I praised God for my kids, house, family, plan, car(s)… oh… the car(s)… WELL… the red Subaru. Hmmm… not good news, but nothing earthly could seem like good news with a check engine light on. What I thought was a secure plan for a certain level repairs, still expensive, of the red one is now really expensive placing it in $$$ danger zone, when I already still owe $$ on it. There’s no way I could imagine that I would fail a compression test, be running on 3 cylinders and a have a check engine light that’s on for a car that runs fine. Seems that the shop also didn’t suspect. This car would fail inspection even if it runs fine and is not a safety problem. Hmmm…. My own gut-check engine light turned on just then.

I DO know that if you start any day in praise and TRUST, that the walk of Faith is not always going to be easy, but it is however still going to be SURE. I’ve also noticed each time the Lord had my back, He had a sure path under my feet, it was more than a path of cardboard over carpet, pontoon floats over water, the path was OVERLAPPING segments. He got me to slide rather than jump. He got me to the Blue Subaru – He knows how to be true.

One Day at a Time, one Subaru at a time. One gut-check at a time. One step at a time.

Of course there are jumping times too. Leaps of faith. Gut checks are important times of prayer.

If your gut says bread, don’t feed it candy. If you gut says water, don’t fool it with wine. It’s good to make sane decisions. Evaluate your game plans. Pray. Know. Do. Drive.

I’m shown, told, felt to be OK with my children stepping into life. God knows I could NOT have stayed up on this water of trust without Him. Safe thus far is from the Lord getting me this far. It’s His Hold and our reach. He has given us Himself to hold on to. He WILL take us the rest of the Way, His Way. Safe thus far.

Back to the Subarus, right now I am with keys to three, a loaner in black, a repairer in red, and YES, a new-to-me one in blue with all the bells and whistles and warranties wanted. I only need one but actually want two (one for me and one for my son, but that’s a new path of its own building walk…). And it “only” comes down to money. Yeah, “only”. IT’S ONLY MONEY I REMIND MYSELF. (grumble grumble).

Taking on a new used car is a leap of faith, YES, but God make this seem like taking an overlapping slide, more like it. I knew what I wanted AFTER I was in the process of looking for the car, one sat in my sights before I knew the other one was going down. God overlapped me. This all was a set up I am sure and came to fruition on the same day, all the while God reminds me to take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. How can I praise less when He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The devil wants us to sink, or at least start sweating. Peter saw Jesus, asked to hear Jesus say “come”, and ended up needing Jesus to pull Him up. He FELT that Hand. Jesus wants us to feel His Hand BEFORE we start sinking. He wants us to KNOW HIS PRESENCE while we are still thinking. Presence is priceless actually Presence is price-already-paid.

Show me, Tell me, Know me. I sat alone not alone in the car dealership, but knew You were there.

Lord, know me, hear me, show me, I’m making a slide not a jump. Lord, show me, tell me, YOU DO KNOW ME. I will praise You into this new wave of life. I mean this blue Subaru is Your Whale of my Walk, I don’t name my Subarus, but maybe I’ll call this blue one “Whale” for my Jonah moments. 

LEAD ME.

Amen 

Amen and I when asked for a psalm of a sign from the Lord, sitting in the seat at the dealer waiting for the financial paperwork, I FELT led to read this one:

Psalm 92

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High. Proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

For surely your enemies, Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Matthew 14:25-33

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Take Credit for Nothing

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It’s a JOY to have both kids home for the summer, we are not quite at summer yet, but this is a good season of busy, with a senior trip, graduation prep, job hunting, driver’s license and soon a car (a Subaru maybe?). Still scary for me but driving into the future is a blessing. Hold on tight, now going into the phase of me being in the passenger seat. Whew, my uncle always called the handle grips by the windows as “oh God!” bars. The insurance will be expensive, but God’s assurance is PRICELESS. 

Also, a good moment ALSO of summertime’s needed rest for my college student, classes done, still has few days back and forth at school or at home for a respite and painting and petting the cat and then adventures when she can hop up to the city. Definitely we plan on traveling. 

If I didn’t take full advantage of counting my blessings right now, I would be foolish, this is the JOY of them home and a hope of their futures. 

One thing this summer is guaranteed to be is: TOO SHORT!

Raising kids (and budding adults) is equipping them for unknown situations, for empowering them to make decisions while quietly teaching. It takes submission by us to God to ENCOURAGE when we want to criticize, to FORGIVE when we want to retaliate, to PICK UP laundry and our CROSSES for what’s still a long ride as a parent. Best, we do what God’s placed for us to be: PRESENT. 

There’s not these moments everyday for everyone, there’s still a war in Ukraine, covid lockdowns in China, and severe weather plus bad news that never makes the news anymore because it is now “old news”… How dare we not COUNT OUR BLESSINGS that we have both freedom of movement and safety. Even the issue of TP rationing is distant memory. Two years ago, I had both kids home and we prayed in huddled fear and thankfulness for that home base where we felt safe. Used to wash the groceries, shower as soon as we got home, and then leave our fear at the door. Now we think of traveling and moving forward. I pray in jumping joy.

But what’s the hitch? We must THANK GOD, He’s allowing us to breathe and be ok in a not so ok place of worldly earth. He’s given us tools to build or stockpile, tools and resources to share, ability to worship and THANK GOD in joy. And if things aren’t “perfect” then we should rethink what’s our definition of perfect. 

…the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

We must be sincere in not whining. Maybe we need to submit more to Him. Think that I never did run out of TP in the pandemic, I had already grabbed a 20 pack in the weeks before I even heard of covid.  How dare I run out of praise now!  We never ran out of God.

My joy may be viewed as a boast, but I can not take credit for circumstances or the situations of deciding to be OK – having been prepared by good parents and a good God to both help me in life “make due” and make better. Our Father in Heaven leaves daily bread of life in Jesus as guidance, like manna too, to be ENOUGH for each day. Jesus is enough. 

I can take credit for keeping my credit decent enough to buy a newer car, but I CAN’T take credit for the blessing of life nor the provided manna each day, and I CAN’T take credit for the physical presence of blessings that are to be CREDITED TO GOD. Especially the Lord who gave of Himself. I can’t even take credit for good sleep. I can’t take credit for nothing except appreciating everything, and even that is from the Holy Spirit pushing praise thru. 

Anything worldly is going to pass away. Not God.

Take credit for NOTHING, because credit of life is the extension of faith, like a car loan but from His payments. I will take joy in advance because I know that the Lord has promised good things to me in forever, these blessings are not anything more than to show me credit is extended to my joy from Him.

So what’s the hitch? It’s a cross and open tomb, that’s the truth hitching us to glory, linked by Jesus, not by our doing. He hooked us into His Hands and Hopes.

The hitch on a car loan is you have to be faithful to pay it. To have a life loan of raising God’s kids entrusted to us is to be present. That where we best believe in God’s continued provisions. It’s a leap of faith that builds on a known track-record of His provisions. Not too much and not too little. (The hitch on the new old car that I am buying is about 1500 pound tow capacity – that’s cool – hitches HELP US – so does our hitch to the Lord.)

I don’t take it for granted that the Lord will make Life perfect, because Life will NEVER be perfect and because this is a broken world. But have faith, He has overcome the world. He will urge us to look above. He will hitch us branches to His Vine – for He has faith in us to bear good fruit. 

Life is to HIS Credit. 

Amen 

Two Kinds of Wisdom *James 3:13-18*

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

God’s Rainbows Outshine

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God sets a rainbow in the sky, God promises He keeps His Promises. 

God’s Rainbows Outshine

God promises the end of the rainbow, yet God does not promise sunshine at every moment of every day.

God promises our rainbow will come out with sunshine, but God does not promise that we won’t have to weather a storm or two before we see it.

God promises His Shine, His Light, His Hope, yet God KNOWS other people have fakeness that will try to outshine His real shine. Wear your God Glasses instead of sunglasses. 

God promises our rainbow will come with rain, God does NOT promise we won’t get wet. 

We have to get wet. We have to muster our FAITH to walk into a storm, even one we didn’t create. We must walk WITH Him, not hide under a rock. If we believe in Him, we can have confidence that He will get us thru this storm, that storm, ANY storm. If we don’t believe He walks with us, then we never will see the brightest rainbows, actually we won’t even ever start walking. 

God sets a rainbow in the sky that we can see only based on our position, we must look up to see it. It does exist even if we don’t look.

We must go thru the storms of life to see His Rainbow. Better yet, we must be willing to let Him carry our burdens. We must know that we can’t get thru on our own. We need Him. We must have FAITH to visualize that His Promises are fulfilled. If we don’t, He will still put up His Own Rainbow, because He ALREADY knows how the storm turns out. He’s already made the Golden Promise on the other side. He already has Plans to take us there if we TRUST HIM. 

TRUST HIM. 

The brightest rainbows are JUST as the biggest storms are STILL passing by so plan to GET WET. Don’t be foolish but shelter in Him. WATCH FOR GOD. Maybe the darkness of our circumstance doesn’t feel right, on purpose, BECAUSE He asks us to look for His Guidance and Light. We must not hide under trees in lightning storms that fall easily, we should shelter in Him.

Believe in God’s Promises.

Believe in believing in God’s Rainbows.

WATCH FOR GOD. 

Amen 


(PS, this test drive in the end of stormy weather that cleared the evening for me, timewise. In so, I got me to see His BEAUTY of RAINBOW colors tower over the gray storm. This rainbow was the caboose of His getting us thru that physical storm. Imagine the Light trail in Heaven where He gets us thru all the REST of today’s troubles. Beautiful double rainbows outshine any clouds. Hope in His Majesty outshines fear.)

(PPS, And as for my Subaru shopping? God does not promise the rainbow’s gold as our spending money, sorry. His Money leant to us is still His tool. Even if you have the means, you best be smart in the spending. Also His Monday in our week is His Day. Even if we have the time, we best be smart in the spending. His money, time, Subaru are tools to use for Him. Pick wisely. Live wisely and well. DRIVE.)

A Prayer: While They Curse, May You Bless.

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A PRAYER

Lord – we know that saying that the only Bible verses that SOME people will read might be OUR OWN ACTIONS. You are to be the path of OUR WALK. May we always be displaying what you have called us to do – love everyone and especially love our enemies, those who seek to do us harm or simply bug us. May we pray like your servant David, even in venting outrage, “While they curse, may YOU bless;” – let us pray for our enemies’ hearts before we curse them back. Help us and all to know that they have forgiveness in you – and let us believe that too.

There is nothing Lord that we have done to make us more worthy than others, and like our enemies, we are broken too. You are the ONLY Way to Heaven – we are all on individual crosses next to You. Your cross next to us to get close to us – may we always remember that You are pursuing us AND our enemies equally.

Lord, “Create in us a clean heart”. If we struggle in ourselves for forgiving others – then may we tap into YOUR LOVE, sharing YOUR UNLIMITED LOVE. We are to love our enemies because You love them.

Teach us Lord, just as your servant David prayed: “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for YOU are God my Savior, and my hope is in YOU all day long.”

Let us display Your forgiveness for ALL.

We pray these things, Jesus, in Your everlasting, good, worthy and Holy Name,

Amen

Fathers and Sons

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I’ve really enjoyed this past week that I got to see one of my favorite musicians Sting perform, and his son Joe Sumner too. I like Joe’s bounding energy and zeal. He holds nothing back in brooding reserves like his father might display in attitude. Like father like son, BOTH put out tremendous energy and talent on the stage. It’s amazing how Sting is now 70.  This concert was GIFT from a friend (THANKS) and delayed 4 times but FINALLY found a time. It was fabulous and fun and just icing on my already busy blessed week.

The concert also featured father and son guitarists, and a drummer who looked like the son of original Police drummer Stewart Copeland, but really wasn’t. It was cool AND really sharp musical mettle. (And we SANG so many favorite songs!)

Father and Son.

A Biblical pairing of father and son are super interesting to learn about and although they did not remain perfect in God’s eyes, they were surely within God’s heart. David and Solomon. David’s life is detailed in the books of Samuel and also in his written down Psalms, which were musical. Solomon’s life is detailed in the books of Kings and in his written Proverbs. Neither were perfect, nor are we. Like Father like son, both were inspired by the Lord and shared His Way and Wisdom in verses… Each had to walk with God to hear God. So do we. David sang and so can we, about God wanting uslooking for us, Psalm 139, that’s one of my favorites from singing in the praise band. “Where can I go from your Spirit?“. David spoke about God always showing up, a Father to his children. 

There was a 1960’s newspaper clipping I read at the 100th anniversary of the fire company today which brought me to tears. These two boys were out playing and after being out too late, they slept near a tree. All night a hundred people searched. The father at 3am thought maybe they were afraid of coming home because they would be punished, so the father who just loved them jumped into the tractor and drove it away, hoping the boys would think he left, fear less and come home. The boys came back. The tears I have are for parents who lose their kids even for a brief minute. I can’t even imagine how God intensely longs for and looks for His children ALWAYS. Unlike the dark of night for the Farmer, God our Father knows where to look, how to look, and He ALWAYS embraces us with love.

This Father did not punish his sons this evening but cried when they came home, like his sons did. God our Father sent His Son to rescue and be ransom for us, to bring us Home. Even when we are not perfect, He wants us Home.

Amen 

Psalm 139:1-18 from David 

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me close.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Sting and Joe Sumner

Tri-Unity

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I appreciate a $2 bargain book sitting for sale, catching my eye, just moments after the pastor spoke of being wary of charismania over charisma. I appreciate the Holy Spirit shuffles the deck of cards He deals, but ALWAYS knows which card He stacks on the TOP of the deck to hand you.

As I imagined, I’ve already appreciated more than 2 dollars worth of education and inspiration from this book by Chuck Smith, the founder of the Cavalry church movement (teaching scripture by scripture, a needed education for me, in conjunction with my blessed membership in my other churches. I like being in multiple churches for the Lord blessings connect me, and I like to follow the Holy Spirit like a vein of a fudge stripe in ice cream all the way to the solid chocolate core.)

This thin large print book is called Charisma vs. Charismania. Easy to read. Catchy title, even more catching is the movement of the Holy Spirit. This book is ALL about the Holy Spirit,  if you don’t got Him, you got nothing. The book teaches the Holy Spirit lives in Divine Works and Divine presence, and is eternal, omniscient. omnipresent, just as God is. God gives life and love because God is these things. 

Jesus said to even his most cherished disciples: WAIT FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT. Can’t get there from here, without Him. God is revealed and our knowledge of Him is truly thru the Spirit. 

This book starts by describing the TRI UNITY, meaning God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are a triunity of a three Godhead in One. One God, all together One, a trinity of three in tri-unity. 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals One.

Charisma is good and a gift from God to have the Holy Spirit enable His work thru your hands. But charismania is mania, according to Chuck Smith, of faking the Spirit and/or using the selfish flesh to mimic the Spirit. In other words, my words, you’ve got to kick the tires on the vehicles people are driving around in the Spirit, and make sure they ARE filled with legit air. BUT as our many teachings instill in us, the Holy Spirit is not a gas, nor a dissapating vapor, but a PERSON.

Yes, this is deep, but not. The Holy Spirit will flow with ease when we stop blocking our pipes, ears, hearts. Our openness gives the Holy Spirit His desired head start.

Jesus said He had to leave so that the Holy Spirit would come. God the Father sends the Spirit just as He sent the Son.

Three, all in One. Let Him move you naturally with Charisma not mania.

Amen (and I’ll write more as I read more! A good book about the Good Book.)

Charisma vs. Charismania by Chuck Smith

God’s Rainbows Outshine

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God promises the end of the rainbow, yet God does not promise sunshine at every moment of every day.

God promises our rainbow will come out with sunshine, but God does not promise that we won’t have to weather a storm or two before we see it.

God promises our rainbow will come with rain, God does NOT promise we won’t get wet.  

We have to get wet. We have to muster our FAITH to walk into a storm, even one we didn’t create. We must walk WITH Him, not hide under a rock. If we believe in Him, we can have confidence that He will get us thru this storm, that storm, ANY storm. If we don’t believe He walks with us, then we never will see the brightest rainbows, actually we won’t even ever start walking. 

God sets a rainbow in the sky that we can see only based on position, we must look up to see it.

We must go thru the storms of life to see His Rainbow. Better yet, we must be willing to let Him carry our burdens. We must know that we can’t get thru on our own. We need Him. We must have FAITH to visualize that His Promises are fulfilled. If we don’t, He will still put up His Own Rainbow, because He ALREADY knows how the storm turns out. He’s already made the Golden Promise on the other side. He already has Plans to take us there if we TRUST HIM. 

TRUST HIM. 

The brightest rainbows are JUST as the biggest storms are STILL passing by so plan to GET WET. Don’t be foolish but shelter in Him. WATCH FOR GOD. Maybe the darkness of our circumstance doesn’t feel right, on purpose, BECAUSE He asks us to look for His Guidance and Light. We must not hide under trees in lightning storms that fall easily, we should shelter in Him.

God promises His Shine, His Light, His Hope, yet God KNOWS other people have fakeness that will try to outshine His real shine. Wear your God Glasses instead of sunglasses.

His BEAUTY of RAINBOW colors tower over the gray storm. This rainbow was the caboose of His getting us thru that physical storm. Imagine the Light trail in Heaven where He gets us thru all the REST of today’s troubles. Beautiful double rainbows outshine any clouds. Hope in His Majesty outshines fear.

God signs the sky with His Signature, a Rainbow. God promises He keeps His Promises. 

Watch for God.

Amen

Waiting at Home in Love

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One true thing about the Nature of God, God being our Father and we being His children, is shown in the Biblical story of the Father waiting for the son who is prematurely given his inheritance just to spend and lose it all. It is that the Father and the child EACH know the Way Home. That grown child knew home, the familiarity of it, even though he came to beg to be taken back as a servant. This means he knew that his Father had KINDNESS, would be FAIR, would LISTEN. He must have been in situations before where the Father had fair judgement. The Father in His hopes and his knowledge knew which Way his child could turn, should turn, to reach Home. The Father pre-knew rock-bottom and must have given His son coping skills to get back up. The Father ventures out to watch with open ears to hear. He welcomes without asking questions first. He proves to be a Father expressing LOVE that never diminished. And never will.

How are we being as teaching parents and welcoming parents? Do we keep home fires burning? Do we try to equip our children with skills? Will we remember to love more and gloss over snubs and brush offs? Will we remember that love is NOT a bargaining chip, real love just loves.

The returning child here trusts that at LEAST he could SPEAK to the Father, and the TRUTH here is that speaking and listening in LOVE, by the Father and by us, is always better than grudges and shunning and ignoring. 

Sometimes we, like this Father, have to wait years to hold the physical presence of the one we love. Sometimes we were the one to be distant. Eventually we all HOPE to find each other at Home. 

How filled with love is the Father? Filled with God-sized Infinite Love. If God NEVER changes, is incapable of NOT loving, then the LOVE He sets forth and thru us is the SAME whether we are nestled under His roof OR far away and seemingly estranged by our disappearance. Yet remember, each time we stray or a child strays, Lord God our Father, and Lord Jesus our Brother and their Holy Spirit all KNOW where we/they are and desire us/them to COME HOME. 

Who are we to love less if it is God’s Love we share. 

What we CAN do, is work at building Home, even as we wait at home. If not a physical home then a home of the heart.

You know that God, our Father, has prepared a place for us at His Home where He IS. He even placed His Love in our hearts. Now that IS Love.

AMEN 

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had COMPASSION, and RAN, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this MY SON was dead, and is ALIVE again; he was lost, and is FOUND. Luke 15:18-24

When a Tree Falls

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fallen tree and two flanking bushes

Apparently this big tree fell at the park, tore away some sidewalk as it went. I thought what a shame but it falling must have not been a huge surprise for it must have been precariously standing so close to falling into the creek for years, and it finally fell. 

“If a tree falls when no one sees it?” It DOES make a sound! And I might ask: what happens to those poor bushes? Awwww, I looked down at that fallen tree and surprisingly saw flanking bushes still leafing out. Not much soil, don’t know how they will survive but maybe will for now. I think long term it will be a lost cause for the bushes.

In these thoughts, I think of my own children. Children are a gift from God. We are caretakers of HIS children. Oh how wonderful we watch as they are growing, and I have joy for over 20 years to stay on His path best I can. I have been working His nursery raising them.

What would happen if I were to topple over, perish either unknown or known. Like a big tree expectedly or not. (No, I have no plans for perishing, but it’s good to think about preparations) What stability do my kids have if I were gone? What resources?  But of course my kids are not bushes next to me, that’s not even the same species of the tree, and my children are ALREADY their own trees standing TALL and growing UP in a suitable distance from their original parent tree. They would be established in their own patch of soil and far enough away that each gets light and rain, freedom from overbearing and blocks to their absorbed light. (Of course they are not trees, and we live in a village not alone in a forest. Thank the Lord they and we would find support.)

In other words, we have an obligation to let our kids grow up. Yet we try to establish the boundaries. They need space and you need yours. They need development and nourishment, yes, for we are NOT trees or bushes, we are people created in God’s Image thru His Love for His Love. We must teach them to survive (money doesn’t grow on trees you know). And of course we best help nurture the soil for their growth. We contribute to the village too.

We have a broken world. What happens when our trees, and our lives, lean and near fall? We ask to be uprighted. We rely on His Righteousness, not ours. We want to teach our children that thru love not just a life of hard knocks. We want to walk and grow in this broken world, yet Jesus must Right us with Righteousness. We must actively be listening, patiently be praying, still be still. On the flip side, we can not use His stability as our crutch, we must carry our own cross, not drag it.

Of course no tree feels human pain, but creation does grow as strong as it can with biological awareness of environmental cues. Yes, plants under stress will put all their energy into flowering and fruiting, even and especially when stressed. Their offspring…

We will too. Let’s grow ourselves to help our children, our collective offspring within this nursery of the Lord’s garden. Let’s then take a bird’s eye view to watch God work.

Thank you Lord for our children. Thank you Lord for we are Your children too.

Amen


Psalm 127:1-3 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat

for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.


Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Be Available

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Saturday again, ahhhhh…

So last Saturday morning I was free, that’s what made me BE AVAILABLE to let God plan the day… free to hear stirrings of how I could help and have a good time by going with girl scouts with a friend and 2 of her daughters to a big beautiful botanical garden, giving them a ride because our troop leader’s car was full. It was God’s timing! It was such a relief to our troop leader too, not for this mom to drive in all that rain. My availability but God’s timing, I had nothing to do with this planning!

I went from feeling slightly sorry for myself (but not really, just puzzled to have free time) to being in the car in a flash, then immersed in BEAUTIFUL flowers and relaxed even in the rain.  Ah, freedom of helping, blessing of being available…

Really isn’t that what God wants us to be? BE AVAILABLE!

I took lots of pictures naturally. We even sent the set to Walgreens before driving home, picked them up an hour later at home.  Cool conveniences…

Isn’t it nice to have stuff AVAILABLE? SO, why wouldn’t God want us to be purchased to be available for Him to use too…

I was freed up to be a helper but not an organizer. Youngest child with me, a double liver transplant 4 years ago this week, she was THRILLED to be with her troop, they trotted off.  We had 90 minutes “free time” – oh the smells and warmth and views!!!! 

I saw one orchid, named Angel Candy, well all blooms seemed like that. Gorgeous!

I got home with yummy take out food and a nap. Surely we are taken care of, clothed and fed, like the intricately detailed and beautiful lillies of the field. That’s for food, clothes AND activities. 

Be Available! GOD’S got you on HIS agenda. 

Yay!

There’s a StarMan

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I can not appreciate more that the Lord knows EXACTLY where we are mentally and where we leave stuff and where He wants us to be (mentally and physically). If we remain open to the Holy Spirit AND ask for “what’s next?” AND be willing to pick up the pen or the purpose, then we are ready for a lifetime of His Walk and Work.

Case in point: ME. I had this rare Friday night freetime and no work and no need to do anything – Friday night rest is the best – no guilt for work – no guilt for play – just sit and be OK  – especially as Saturday can be filled with dishes and shopping and errands.  Free moments – and Hmmm… So, what should I do Lord?

My recent memory told me to continue watching the Netflix intriguing show about Spock. My distant past memory told me I was forgetting something – a promise on my “to-do list” was ever so close to the top of my memory. I looked down at the pile of promises and remembered that I promised God – oh about 3 years ago to finish writing up notes I took at the Michael Card conference – a blessed event – a humbling event too with the coughdrop incident (ugh). But the notes? That blue paper WAS in front of me but buried so very deep. Yeah GOD REMEMBERED!  And so I sorted out to the bottom of the pile. BIG LETTERS on my scribbled page 2 said: “GOD SHOWS UP!!!” Yeah – tell me about it!

Back to Spock – I did finish that Netflix special (after a short nap) and yeah it was good. And so was the ending credits final song: a rendition of David Bowie’s Starman…  “There’s a Starman, waiting in the sky – He’d like to come meet us, but He thinks He’d blow our minds. He told us not to blow it, cause He knows its all worthwhile.”

God takes Holy Spirit actions, He can also give us theme music until we do what He wants us to do. I am always amazed that God shows up as He does. In baby’s smiles, in pieces of paper, in HOPE. The paper notes from Michael Card’s lecture says “God doesn’t give answers as much as He gives HIMSELF.” 

I turned the blue paper over (a list of local restaurants) and the notes speak of Psalm 51 and Psalm 25. “Create in me a clean heart” because we don’t want what we deserve in punishment for sin – but we should take confidence in our forgiveness “The Lord says: ‘JUST COME BACK TO ME’” – and oh yeah Psalm 109 – the enemy psalm – David venting outrage but reminding that we are to offer our anger to God so that we can then can LOVE our enemies. This is where I stopped dead (and risen) in my tracks. I was asked to write the opening prayer for next week’s church service and the theme is: LOVING OUR ENEMIES…. Cute God, Cute…  God gave me the cheat sheet of prayers – God gave me the chills of coincidence – God gave me the reminder once again that I too need to put aside any anger, ticked-off-ness, jealousy, rage, revenge. Out the window with the Holy Spirit whoosh…  “Give God’s Love if you can’t give yours” that’s what I wrote.

So – I got my prayer done (written at 4AM because I fell asleep on the couch and couldn’t re-rest) and I kept that song-theme reminder stuck in my head (probably will until I finish writing up these notes in the next couple days) – and I got my reminder: LET GOD PICK YOUR EVENTS… BE ON GOD’S SCHEDULE.

So, this David Bowie song Starman is about a savior-like man who would show up at some point, but this is POP-culture myth and I am sure just a thrill for David to have a great Ziggy Stardust character, a successful record and concert career and a fun story.  However, there is NO MYTH with GOD – and NO distance – and NO doubt He has a plan to come. And NO doubt that He already has done the Work – there is none of: “He told us not to blow it” because we CAN’T – HE did all the Work. HE IS THE WAY.

Jesus is not a starman in that He is sitting waiting out there in the universe to come back – He is integrated here and yet WILL come from Heaven to Earth in return – ON GOD’S SCHEDULE. The StarMan is the Star of it all and He IS a Man who gave it all.

Star Man, come quickly – but whenever God wants… Our Hope Lord is In YOU!

Amen


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2nd Peter 3:9


Psalm 25:1-11    Of David.

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Did Jesus have Good Hair? 06MAY

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An interesting set of vintage Easter stories on 60 minutes (now online) was an interesting watch – including a discussion of what Jesus would have looked like – hmmm…. 

A friend once showed me this stark drawing/painting, so life-like, dark hair and deep eyes, almost haunting in this image’s ability to pull you in. Intended surely a portrait of a beautiful handsome strong man, with good clothes and GREAT HAIR. I never imagined Jesus like that. Not to dissuade my friend, she wants to believe He looked that way, but this is not how I saw Him, nor from this painting did I really know what kind of “scholars” were referencing. Perhaps this painter just wanted to paint a beautiful portrait in love.

I do see Jesus as a gentle soul, tall enough to be taller than me, with hand outstretched. The real only physical presence I know and feel is of Jesus’s SMILE while waking me up. I see a smile in my heart, not my eyes. But hair? Hair??? Hmmm… 

The 60 minutes story from 1968, is called “What did Christ Look Like?” I recommend watching it. Correspondent Harry Reasoner essentially said that really Jesus is only described as non-descript in the scripture – and “this meant complete contrast with what came out of his mouth – which spoke the whole story He wanted to share.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/easter-stories-60-minutes-archive-2022-04-17/

“The Book of Isaiah says of Jesus: ‘He was devoid of Beauty and a Sufferer.’ Many of the earliest artists formed their concept of Him from this comment. A historian named Tertullian, who lived in the year 200, said of Him: ‘There was nothing outstanding about Christ’s flesh. And it was just this contrast with His personality which struck everyone. Far from emanating divine radiance, His body had not even simple human beauty. The passion and the humility He suffered left their mark and it was deprived of all charm by His suffering.’ “

Hmmm….

I looked up some of the scriptures, but surely I have not scratched the surface of them all, and no scholars for me have yet been consulted, because for me: HOW He looked then is less important a curiosity compared to everything else He did. Some say we couldn’t have picked Him out of the crowd. He did not walk elevated here on earth. And Jesus in Heaven, He is described as the slain lamb. He is described to be seen IN HIS GLORY. 

Personally, seeing His hair, flowing or not, is not where I expect to be eye to eye with Him. Glory yes, but hair? No. See, my view (eyes of my head) at the moment is just that I’m holding onto that thread of the hem of the bottom on His robe, in a healing touch (by feeling that, seeing that, with the eyes of my heart). Other times, we can see Him on having been on the middle cross next to us, telling us we CAN be with Him. And for sure, I pray that we ALL do see Him in GLORY. 

JESUS surely is holding us up, carrying us.

Speaking to us in His Word, thru His Word, which is Him Himself.  Jesus is our Word of healing GRACE. 

No splitting hairs, Jesus is our Savior, we need Him, He’s got us, that’s all we need to know. 

Amen 

Isaiah 53 KJV 53:1-6

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

—–

Isaiah 42:1-10

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:  I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 

Twists of God’s Plan

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Mesmerized by tornado coverage… there’s a famous storm chaser “Reed” whose Subaru has been smashed over and over by gorilla hail… he and a team of chasers capture amazing images and video, dangerous, yes, but sadly the more dangerous experiences it seems are the actual driving and potential hydroplane-ing on the rain. For 3 college kids died in a car accident recently, not from the tornadoes, but the chasing, driving back in bad weather.  We all know of “normal” car accidents… God rest their souls and comfort the families. 

We know how to warn others for these storms now, we also know the only thing to do is shelter if you can’t get out of the way. Plan ahead where you will go. Get safe. The storm chasers, however driven, do help weather predictions be confirmed with data. They give insight. They risk but for a reward: knowledge 

Well, tornadoes, is this is just nature being nature? If they only were in open fields it would be interesting and cool, but houses are now everywhere, the tornadoes are too, rapidly ravenously real. Lightning, hail, weather wicked or not wicked, just powerful. 

Does God have these storms planned or is it just random? If He knows the storehouses of snow, how about these harmful storms? We cannot expect Heaven on earth, YET. It will come, but there’s continuous work still to be done. Scripture does not paint a picture of constant peaceful times (now or in the past) but pockets of peace in harmony did exist, among major pockets of pain-filled times. God can take down storms or let them rage. God can miraculously save, or if He doesn’t then do we ask or assume He is letting things slide? I doubt that. I know enough to know that I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH about God’s plan in minutiae. I do know BIG picture, yet how He twists His paint brushes on the canvas of life are still often a mystery. 

I don’t have enough insight here. But I DO KNOW there were times where God had the punishments recorded for us to learn of people gone astray. God uses even the wicked for the day at hand. . . Aren’t you glad we have forgiveness from Jesus, covering us in His blood as not just shelter but purification thru any storms? We cling to His Good ness.

One story of drifting away from God involves Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and how the prophets knew the kingdom would mostly be ripped away by adversary Jeroboam, except one “house” structure standing,  of Judah the House of David, the lineage for the Light of the world, Jesus, to enter.

Israel and all creation had to wait out these twists of God’s Plan. Prophecy was given and fulfilled. (Ahijah a prophet took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me… 1st Kings 11) 

We are born into a broken world, but called into a wait-ful “system”.  All creation continues to wait thru these days too. We can see the storms, but can we focus above these clouds?

Can we wait out the remaining days of a wicked world? Can we be the storm chasers to help others navigate but also know when and where to shelter?

We can’t know every twist of God’s plan, but we can know He has one. Stay alert.

Amen 


1Kings 12

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”  So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,    what part in Jesse’s son?

To your tents, Israel!    Look after your own house, David!”

So the Israelites went home. But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them. King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.

How Conductive are You?

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Conductive of CHARGE.

How are you being asked to assist in the net casting and catching by Jesus, our Fisherman of men? Maybe even repairing nets for others to cast. Have you considered being part of His Net.

I learned something from a TV science documentary: the landing ropes that were dropped from the Hindenburg Zeppelin in the explosive fateful landing in 1937 in New Jersey, have been investigated as a source of the electricity spark that caused near instant devastation. The rain made them late and hasty, added to the danger. The fire engulfed the hydrogen-filled structure in seconds, nearly half the people died, the quick luxurious transatlantic flights were forever grounded.

Conditions were “just right” for the electricity to jump. There were design flaw elements that were maybe safe for most of the trips, but this time, the electricity jumped through conductive elements of rope and charged canopies, especially because they were wet. Ben Franklin would have said “I told you so”. The travelers assumed life had risks, this was one of them.

Wet ropes, ah…. there’s the analogy connection to our Connector for a conductive thought. With Jesus leading us as branches to His Vine, the net we work for catching fellow souls will conduct better when the Living Water soaks our steps and the Holy Spirit can find quick paths within our lives to touch others. We must pray to be fishers of men, pray for our branches to surge with Spirit, expanding our spiritual fruit with nourishing water, and for us be a worker in wonderment. Jesus knows where the fish are, knows how to catch them, sends the Word(s) to touch hearts.

How conductive are we? How also can we not short circuit? How can we be less statically charged in a shocking way and more grounded in listening, and more insulated to not lose electric charges. We want to surge support in a feeding way. Let the transfer go THROUGH US, and not just to us. Conduct.

How? Ask the Lord to make us useful, to find our connections. Ask the Lord which section of the rope net we should work on. Co-labor. Ask the Lord to put you where He needs you to be.

Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught….

Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Be on the lookout: I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 

And let the Lord pick out His catch, let Him sort AFTER you work the harvest.

Be Conductive for Him.

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-50

Amen

Amen


Luke 5:1-10

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.


John 4:28-38

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.  Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

Good Life Advice

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This is such an important passage of scripture, Romans 12. I find it especially important as a correction for myself and my attitude when I feel my nose get bent out of shape, when I  realize that I am not giving mercy or forgiving seemingly unforgivable things, or when I should be asking forgiveness of myself,  but don’t out of pride. Also when I stop counting my blessings and get distracted by worldly glitter or garbage. We must remember that we are just visitors here on earth, FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. Take the high road to clear your head.

There is to be no love or joy in you personally heaping COALS on your enemy’s heads. There IS love in God’s plan – God is love and if He commands you to LOVE your enemies then who are we NOT to do this. Yes, our feeding and loving enemies is LOVE’S WIN. Not your win for tolerating but LOVE’S WIN for Light overcomes darkness. Don’t block the Light.

The burning heat of coals on those who get them, who maybe feel pain, sometimes guilt, should NEVER equate to the level of burning LOVE that we have of God- for God. We LOVE because He loves. He aches for lost souls, so should we. 

Let us all LOVE today in a Godly way.

Amen 


Here’s Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:9-21 which also remembers Solomon’s Proverb 25

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. 

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

—-

Proverbs 25:15-28

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house— too much of you, and they will hate you.

Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.

Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.

It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.


LOVE in a Godly way.

Amen 

All that glitters is not Gold

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Unfortunately for King Solomon he turned the other way, he did not follow God with all his heart, his heart was turned to other gods, especially through his 700 wives 300 concubines…

Even one who has more gold than anyone can get distracted by the glitter. 

Solomon was wise, filled with the Lord’s Wisdom, especially in his proverbs and the rulings we read about.  God spoke with him twice directly.  Solomon was lured by the traps no one cleared before him. The peoples God commanded the Israelites to conquer were left to survive at the fringe. 

If we don’t clear our own traps from the fringes of our lives, they will fester and flourish even more ruthlessly, like a bad cold you can’t shake, like a bad penny that keeps showing up, like a nightmare that returns. Like a bad bug that mutates. Like an unwanted piece of glitter stuck in your eye.

Glitter is good to look at, but sometimes not to touch.

King Solomon had invented trouble for himself. God prewarned and pre-told of his earthly kingdom’s demise, except for One saved line, thru to Jesus. In this case, that Line could never be defeated. This was the Gold line that WAS True. 

There is truth in the Proverbs 16, in the life of Solomon, and us: “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

All that glitters is not gold but we know Whose Kingdom IS the Golden One. 

Keep my heart towards You, Lord. 

Your WISDOM is much better than Gold.

Amen 


Proverbs 16:1-16

King James Version

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!


1 Kings 11 King James Version

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:

Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.

Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.

And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.

And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 

And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

More after Easter = FOREVER

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Easter grows into Spring and INTO FOREVER.

April showers bring: May Flowers, Easter blooming flowers bring: FOREVERS

I always am amazed at how fast flowers come when the weather triggers just enough warmth. I place the easter eggs on the bare sticks and boom 3 weeks later, it’s hard to take them off because the redbud flowers and leaves are so prolific. Beautiful and tangled by the wind. Some did fall off, but those that held on are now bound in.

Flowers are often completely formed already folded and compacted inside their buds. Water is needed to unfurl the petals. Unleashing spring, not on our calendar cues but based on the weather, the right light, the warmth. The peonies are quickly up to my knees and the iris form as fast as the tulips fade.

We too blossom with the right Light, the Living Water, the Warmth. We too sing Easter songs and tie our ribbons on His Tree. We try not to fade, but embrace new phases of life.

But is there more? More after Easter? YES. Just like the eggs and flowers, there’s us growing up and out, leafing out, branching out – AND BEARING FRUIT. 

More after Easter? YES.  Jesus in crucifiction said “It is finished” meaning the prophecy fulfilled and the path to Forever opened. Then Jesus walked in Presence for 40 days and then CONTINUES to walk in Spirit with us today. There IS more after Easter, because we are to be in the Spring of Spiritual Growth, even through the Summer heats, Autumn closures, Winter rests.

Winter means we must pre-pare, pre-pare-down our excesses, drop the leaves and baggage that will hinder our walk. But now? SPRING IS NEW. BLOOM!!!

We must BLOOM.

We must BEAR FRUIT. 

We must prosper which later provides for harsher times. 

After Easter, someday we will see Jesus’s return. As we are caught up in the cloud, what is left here? People who missed His Hope. People who have yet to awaken. Potential martyrs. We have got to leave them some fruit too, dried, preserved, set aside. How will some see after? How can we help them now? Leave a few eggs on the tree. Leave some light to overcome their darkness. Drop hints of the Word scriptures in your walk. Drop the excess leaves but leave the tree visible. Hope they hold on to the tree of life and want to grow into it.

Pray for the un-saved. Pray for them reconnecting to the vine. Pray they are righted by His Righteousness. Pray their buds to start to bloom. 

Hold their unfurled HOPE in your prayers. For the sake of Forever. 

Amen 


Psalm 1

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

GOOD HUSTLE! GOOD HUSTLE!

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In the great weather this weekend, I was taking a moment to sit at a ballpark, ahhhhh… to sit…. (especially good to relax after 2 hours driving practice with my son, ahhhh nice, to sit NOT moving)

In the love of Jesus we could be sitting  or be active, but always on the lookout waiting, listening, learning, and being ready to help others, to SERVE.  I was thinking about preparing a brief welcoming for a church service, with a theme is that Jesus reminds us to be the Salt and Light and He teaches us how to live (Sermon on the Mount).  Hoping to live as scripture says: “Be ready for service and keep your lamps burning”… 

At the ballpark, I was NOT paying attention to the game but enjoying my “walking taco” snack, you know that great invention of hot taco meat and cheese placed in a smooshed Doritos chip bag? I even had salsa and sour cream to add. YUMMY. I wasn’t walking with my taco, but I was sitting in the shade, invested in eating enjoyment. Gratefully, someone yelled: “HEADS UP!!!”   Then I and everyone started PAYING ATTENTION! I was under an awning and was fine, but the pop-up ball landed right over me. Smash on the metal roof.   Later there was another “HEADS UP” shout – this time the ball stayed on the field and 3 players responded to the pop-up but foul ball.  Somebody yelled: “GOOD HUSTLE! GOOD HUSTLE!”

Isn’t that what Jesus taught? We should continue to live PAYING ATTENTION, doing the best we can to be salt and light. We need to have an urgency and awareness of serving others and glorifying Him. We need to stay IN the game. 

We are NOT in the game for the praise, but to be in the game for the sake of SHARING, helping, loving like Jesus, for the sake of life. Others can see our actions and give God praise. In the game, we need to encourage others on the field and on the bench in their faith walks. Encourage folks and essentially say “GOOD HUSTLE!”

We also can yell “Heads Up!” – “Pay attention.” whenever someone needs to hear it. 

And we need to be aware of the time when Jesus returns, any cloud now. Be awake. Wouldn’t it be great to hear Jesus say: Well done good and faithful servant, GOOD HUSTLE ! GOOD HUSTLE!

Amen

Matthew 5:13-16 (in the Sermon of the mount, Jesus teaching how to live.)

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Luke 12:35-36  Watchfulness (speaking of working and watching for Jesus)

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”

Because Jesus

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He lives

Because He IS.


He did and does

Because He loves. 


He listens

Because He obeys.


He teaches 

Because He obeys. 


He saved

Because He obeyed.


He came

Because we need Him.


He helps

Because we ask.


He heals

Because He loves.


He rescues

Because He rose. 


He will come again 

Because.


He is

Because He is.


Because Jesus

We live. 


We live 

Because He did.                             


Amen 

Clothed in His Glory

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I can’t figure out why I dream the way I do. One aspect of dreaming is repairing old scenes that never concluded, fixing weird loose ends, finishing conversations. I get that, and appreciate it. Our memories are editable, which means our future is also editable. There’s not fate as in you can’t fix things or change things, but there CAN be certain challenges that God wants to move you thru. Preparing to prosper you. God wants you to find peace from the past in preparation for His future. Give Him your burdens. 

Oh, the new scenarios in my dreams, the most vivid storylines. Some people are known, some are not. Weird scenes, movie quality editing, but then the cat wakes me up and I realize I have a strange double memory-making system going on while I sleep. If only I got the steps in, for exercise, while walking thru my dreams. I can’t figure out what this dreaming is going to be used for in my life. Sometimes situations I end up saying, “well, that’s a shame.” Or “I can’t do anything about that ” not in frustration as much as acceptance. Wisdom from God makes me appreciate acceptance. 

Maybe God repeats life lessons – yes, fix your memories and move forward. Approach life as: doing what you can, moving past what you can’t, accepting there exists what is unacceptable. But know troubles crop up in a worldly way, so you have to keep moving past them.

Editable living not fatalism.

Acceptance is not approval. 

Maybe our dreaming is for us to know the Lord is capable of entering our thoughts, is able to use multiple folds of our brain that we don’t. Maybe we are being practiced in thinking for Heaven, because if He doesn’t stretch out minds now, He will really blow our minds when we see Heaven. Can you imagine meeting the history of people, understanding the un-understandable, WOW.  Plus, He will heal our wounds, resolve our tears. WE WILL SEE HIS GLORY.

I bet God is stretching our minds, like Jesus is stretching our road for walking and the Holy Spirit is stretching our jar of clay stronger and deeper. (KNOWING HIS GLORY, let us ask for a HOLY SPIRIT FILLING). 

Here’s where scripture, for some reason, details a deep list of unfathomable wealth, supplies and wonder: King Solomon, 1st Kings. Details not of just King Solomon’s bounty AND wisdom, but also a visit from the rich Queen of Sheba and her blessings. (Isn’t that an old phrase?  “more X,Y,Z than the Queen of Sheba.”)

God seems to have allowed this accumulation of wealth and for some reason points out there was no silver as it wasn’t valuable. Gold as valuable as it is, is of course less precious than what God can give us in wisdom. 

Wisdom, that Solomon had, was more than what Sheba had, because that intense level of Wisdom WAS/IS a gift from God.

This is where the Queen said: “But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes.” – AH, MAYBE that’s why God takes our nights for us to dream, so He can show us things to our inside eyes so that we will TRUST HIM, now and in the future. Not faith by sight externally but faith by internal knowledge. Hopefully we will crave His wisdom MORE than worldly Gold, and certainly not see it as worthless silver. Faith is like wisdom to trust. 

What IS clear, is that we are taught this scripture for a reason. The lesson after this is that Solomon turned his thoughts and heart away from God, so sad. He is with nearly 1000 women, builds and worships banned gods, becomes warped in worship. Now wisdom withdrawn, the kingdom blessings wither. EXCEPT for the ONE PROMISE that God made to David, about Jesus. Forever King, Jesus’s birthplace and birth family came from their lineage. 

What’s the take home message here? God desires our devotion and love more than anything, God desires us being with Him enough to sacrifice His own Son, Jesus, for our ransom. God stretches our minds and teaches us patience, asks us to tap into His Wisdom, and not be wooed by the world (good or bad).

Jesus reminds us Our Father gives us what is MORE valuable and forever. We shall be clothed in His Glory. 

A simple flower is more beautifully dressed than Solomon yet fleeting and tossed into the fire (Luke 12), we however have something more valuable, FOREVER LIFE. God’s care.

Surely our wisdom can be used to appreciate HIM. 

Stretch our Faith, Lord. We are to know, we will be Clothed in Your Glory. 

Amen 

—-

1st Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.  But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.  How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

Solomon’s Splendor

The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.

King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.  The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.  The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 

They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

I Believe in Miracles

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We have to remember the miracles point always to the Word. The miracle is not more miraculous than Jesus. Gratefully Jesus is the MOST Amazing, so miracles can be too. It’s not always that miracles have to be instant. Miracles can be “everyday miracles”… Prayers work. God hears our prayers. Miracles Happen.

MIRACLES POINT TO AND SUPPORT THE TRUTH: GOD IS GOOD. God takes care of the birds, surely we are more valuable. My friend and her family are beautiful souls – and like us are most valuable and loved. She, the mom, has chronic heart failure and is not “getting well” but keeping going best she can. She wants to be considered for a heart transplant. I want and pray the Lord healing on this one heart – that it still will keep beating. 

A miracle here is here daughter, double liver transplant survivor,  and double growth in height it seems every time I see her. Healthy and smiling and more energy than the Sun. She is loving life. I got a HUGE hug. She gets AMAZING care – from doctors and nurses – and ESPECIALLY THE LORD

I remember the day I stood asking for signatures on a card for here (in between transplants) at a church gathering. I made my plea but my tears caught me off guard and unable to figure out how to close my message. My, there in front of me was a triple organ recipient, whom I never had met, who reached with his hands for the card, with his heart with a prayer, and with his voice with care. These are logistical miracles too. MIRACLES of TIME and PLACE, we do live in God’s SPIRIT SPACE. 

God is keeping ALL these sheep on their feet.

There’s an invisible miracle here too, but bursting out visible in their smiles and ours, SALVATION. Jesus is a promised MIRACLE for our eternal lives. We will rise with Him. Let’s never forget the HUGE miracle in Him. Let’s remember God’s Spirit moving us forward in joy. Embrace Jesus and His Love pours in and out.

Smiles, Easter, Christ is Risen. Miracles. 

I believe in miracles. I’ve seen them.  Aren’t we not ALSO living in one today? We are.

Amen 

—-

Deuteronomy 31:7-8  “Be strong and courageous … The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. 

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 

Isaiah 49:13  Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. 

Jeremiah 1:8  “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 

Lamentations 3:25  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 

Temple Oh’s

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It is so quiet and so empty in the old workplace that we are moving out of. Yes, our new place is expansive, well equipped, roomy, but I am truly sentimental for the old place, I probably will be for a time, but I will get over it. (I will always miss the windows!). I will remember 20 years of getting stuff done, having a place to be with friends, and of making the most of it. Maybe that’s what missing in the new building for me, I am missing memories that I have not yet lived, I am missing that feeling of the energy, like “we must make this work with the tools we have” making the most of what limited space we also had. The new areas will come together, I know they will, but wow the old rooms looks bigger empty. End of one chapter – start of another.

Yet, it IS time to move on. Even if there are growing pains in between. I am not super sentimental to a fault, I am not. I’ve had to move on from college, grad school, old favorite cars, old lives.  I’ve done it, sometimes run from it, but mostly appreciated it. Memories are portable. Moving forward is about taking the blessings with you yet leaving the baggage behind. 

The present we must embrace. Otherwise TODAY won’t ever get to be a fond memory too. 

That’s what’s missing in our lives now when we just focus either on the past or on future expectations rather than just live one day at a time. We need to be planning, yes, but be practical and JUST BE WHERE GOD PLACES US. (I just now had to pause for playing with the cat, it’s her request of morning time, and I can edit this anytime). We were made by God for this time and place. We must embrace this space. Make the most of it, even if this phase is ALSO short-lived in all ETERNITY. 

MAKE THE MOST OF TODAY. 


In 1st Kings, the story is SO descriptive of Solomon’s Temple. with the ornate Palace, Courtyard, all surrounding the Temple. So many Oh’s, as in WOW!!!

But really, how I must have been thinking of an Empire State Building sized place. Oh, huge. Oh! NOT!!!! These were ornate but their size was not huge like skyscrapers. These buildings were detailed and carefully made, yes, took years, but not forever. But why was it built? Not for the spectacle (or maybe for that too). Truly this was built FOR THE LORD, WITH THE LORD’S INSTRUCTIONS. For Worship… Oh…. AND A PLACE TO COME FOR FORGIVENESS. 

God wanted and wants attention and worship. God wants us to come to Him for FORGIVENESS. 

The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple.

The palace was built ornate, the cedar, the gold… In the Temple, the cherubim were 15 feet tall and wings spread 6 foot on each side. The Ark of the Covenant was placed inside with the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it, because the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.


“More than I imagine” – that’s a song lyric of seeing God’s Love. God sends His Love by dwelling WITH us. When the Lord arrived in a cloud, filling the ornate temple, the glory of the Lord was IN a cloud, and He filled His Temple. Solomon said, “I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” That physical Temple is gone today, some remnants remain of rebuilds but that is it. However, the Lord, who does not change, remains.  The Lord instructs building, He in dwells, but He is not contained by any building. 

Solomon built the temple and knew the promise that were made to his father, King David, and him for their line on the throne to continue. Well, God kept the promise, the Promise was, and IS, and WILL BE, Jesus on the throne forever. 

Jesus now risen. Jesus has asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to IN-DWELL in us, to carry God, God’s Will, God’s Word, IN us. Jesus was the ultimate rebuilt temple of risen self. We are now to be His temple for filling, as a cloud of Spirit can find all the room within us. We must make room. The room is much bigger when we empty it. Declutter us Lord. 

A temple, for worship and asking forgiveness, that’s in us too. We ask forgiveness as if we have anything to do with receiving it. No, we ask but it comes as a gift, from Jesus, covering us with His blood. Our Temple, His HOUSE, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ 

Hear the prayers of your servants, Lord.

Oh…. may You indwell in us forever.

Amen 

AMEN!


Part of Solomon’s dedication (1KINGS 8:23-30

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

“Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’  And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, FORGIVE.

READ ALL THE BUILDING HERE:

What’s Not to Believe, Do, or Know?

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Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3


Thru scriptures, we are taught to stop looking and thinking inside the box. 

Thru FAITH, we are to believe God made our path, plan, purpose and positions us for His Glory. 

We are taught God has EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL, even the corruption for the days of evil. Yes, even all that. It is BY FAITH we are to keeping doing what we are doing. Keep working, walking, believing, KNOWING BY FAITH.

We know often that we stop ourselves, we let the concept of the world against us (or a particular person against us) to stop us. Well, DON’T.  It’s an interesting to combine these scriptures: work hard as if for the Lord and run a good race, not letting the concept of ANYTHING, a perceived problem or a real one, get in your way of serving, believing, doing, or knowing. 

In other words, and because of the Word, know that the Lord is perfect and good and working things out. So just do what you would do in good faith, do what is right, do what you would do as if the system wasn’t broken. Do what is right because the earth’s system IS broken.

Just do it. Do life NOT on life’s terms, but in His.

God’s got this.

AMEN 


Paul to the Church at Colossians

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24.

Paul to the Galatians 

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. Galatians 5:7-8

Proverbs 16:1-9

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. 

Paul to Timothy 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2nd Timothy 4:1-8

Paul to the Galatians 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through loveGalatians 5:1-5


Paul in Hebrews 11 – BY FAITH 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Building Praise

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WOW – stepping into 1st Kings scriptures, I feel like I finished (with the Israelites) that 40 years of wandering and then 400 years before some real peace. And Peace IS what Solomon’s time on earth got to enjoy – and wisdom – and building…  The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him.

Building – they spent 20 years building – serious labor building – building not just a temple but a people – not just a people but a PRAISE: “But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.”

Solomon saw what his father David had hoped. We get to see what our Father has built thru His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit as His Advocate. 

We are many years after Solomon – but let us not forget what the Lord wanted to build in us, and still does: PRAISE. (and THANKFULNESS). The Lord also wanted to – and did – and showed – that he built us into His Priesthood, His Hands and Feet, His Loved Children. We have Jesus with us now – we were built into a Temple ourselves for Him. For Holding and Sharing His Spirit – able now to hold and share His Grace and Goodness and tell others too.

Reading 2 chapters (1 Kings 5-6), the writings have not even gotten to the temple yet, just the preparations. Not since Noah’s ark and the Ark of the Covenant have we seen such detailed instructions for building. WHY? 

AND here is the WHY: (and not JUST because the Ark needed to get placed somewhere) –  Because God is SERIOUS about building up His people to PRAISE, to LOVE, to LIVE, to WORSHIP. to BE HIS. TO LIVE AMONG THEM. 

The word of the Lord came to Solomon:  “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father.  And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.” So Solomon built the temple and completed it.

What now can God build in us and can we dedicate ourselves to giving a firm foundation? HIS PRAISE! We can ever be building PRAISE for what He has built in us, for us, with us, thru us. How can we not see that the Lord wanted to, and still wants to dwell among HIS people. Not only do we roll out our doormats, but we open our hearts. We find that He already dwells within but we needed to open ourselves to give room to allow Him to Breathe Life into us. The most the Lord can do for us is to walk with us, be with us, dwell among us, be there for us. The most we can do for the Lord is also the least we can do – give our lives and PRAISE.

God built for us His Temple in us – even though we are “wasting away” – we are not to let Him get squished out of our Temple. He will LIVE in us and we NEED Him.

Let us Build Praise today. Let us open our hearts and Let God Dwell There – AND THRIVE.

Amen

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Read part 1 here (a great read in chapters 5 and 6) knowing part 2 will be just as spectacular!:

And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name. Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household. So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.

And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year. And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.  And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work. And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.

And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.

And the house which king Solomon built for the Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house. And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.

So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar. And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. So Solomon built the house, and finished it.

And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.

And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long. And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen. And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.

So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold. And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high. And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits. And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.

The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub. And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house. And he overlaid the cherubims with gold. And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without. And the floors of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.

And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall. The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees. So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall. And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams. In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid, in the month Zif: And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.

Wisdom to Be Thankful

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Do we have the wisdom to simply be THANKFUL? 

I look at small worries in comparison to MIGHTY BLESSINGS.

God You ARE Good.

One example, I’ve had a job in the same place for 20 years. It’s unique in these times, but nothing compared to the 50 plus years my Dad had at his job, or 35 for my mom who balanced working and time at home… she’s even been retired for 20 years… As we need to work, the wisdom of the Lord teaches us to work hard as if for Him. I’m just grateful that I’ve enjoyed my time. 20 is cool, but hey, so is lots of miles on my Subaru. I DON’T need commending, just realize I am THANKFUL. 

Really, do we understand HOW blessed we are for just having the ability to be able and to be working? Do we count our blessings and have WISDOM to be THANKFUL?

We should be THANKFUL. I should be MORE thankful. The phrase “Grin and Bear it” is related surely to scriptures which state to tolerate (1Peter 2). Yes, trials, but wisdom says Grin and Bear it… Scriptures being the Word, being Jesus, is our primary example to tolerate and invigorate, forgive and live.

Solomon prayed for WISDOM. Not praying for wealth. God gave him both. The people were many, they provided 12 months year round for Solomon. Solomon had wisdom pour into and out of Him. It was a time of serving the kingdom and knowing the blessings of the Lord. 

I can only glimpse at blessings that will be immense when we get to the Lord’s kingdom. Let us remember those, especially in war-torn places, who are struggling. Let us not forget to count on the Lord’s WISDOM to light our way. If we use WISDOM (and ask for more of it), we must then be willing to use it, especially in thankfulness. 

Be Thankful.

Be Blessed. 

Be Wise. 

Be His.

Amen 


Lord, I am Thankful…


1 Kings 3:20-34

Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry. And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl. For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.

And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon’s table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.

Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.

And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

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Look! I made the big screen!

I am THANKFUL for a great place to work!

20 years anniversary at CRL Malvern and Wayne.

I am blessed!!! The BEST people, that’s what makes it the best place. Important projects, that’s what makes it important to go to work. A job that fed and housed my family, funds my Subarus, and gives such good flexibility, that’s a Godsend. (And NOW, a job to keep Mom busy while the kids do their own thing, LOL!)

20 is unique in these times, but nothing compared to the 50 plus years my parents did. 20 is cool, but hey, so are lots of miles on my Subarus. I DON’T need commending, just me realizing I am THANKFUL.

HOW blessed for the ability to be working, count blessings and have WISDOM to be THANKFUL.

Lord, I am Thankful…

What Else but Wisdom?

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Returning to my reading, I’ve crossed over from God-loved but flawed King David in 2nd Samuel to God-loved but flawed King Solomon in 1st Kings. (We are all flawed, in humanness, of course, ONLY Jesus is perfect, AND We are ALL loved by God, God IS LOVE)…

Solomon had avenged many situations for the hardships, killings, backhanded promises and grief dealt to his father David, securing the future of his house. After these “loose ends” were tied up, scripture states: The kingdom was now established in Solomon’s hands.

NOW WHAT? Solomon, you’ve just been made king, you’ve got your kingdom, legacy lined up, and not just any kingdom, but Israel’s Kingdom of what God promised would be established at that time, the earthly set up for Jesus to enter our earthly scene. NOW WHAT?

Solomon asked for WISDOM and DISCERNMENT. Not just for himself but for helping his people. The next BIG discernment we read about (1st Kings) is the two mothers who both want the one living baby.

Ah, if only we too would ASK FOR DISCERNING WISDOM (and use it well).

“Understanding to discern judgment”

King Solomon had to get from point A to point B. He had to rule a kingdom and was one of only a few who knew that the future was promised. Oh…. Wait, isn’t that us too? We know the promised future but need to get from here to there. That’s only going to go more smoothly if we ask for WISDOM and DISCERNMENT.

How many times does it seem we don’t have EVERYTHING falling into place the way we want it? Well the best prayer often is for wisdom. And how many times do things ACTUALLY fall into place,  what is ALSO the best “thing”, TO ASK FOR WISDOM.

This is a big issue in life, not just a snappy Alan Parsons song that sings “Where do we go from here?”

The mother of the story, whose baby was alive, came to quick discernment in herself when Solomon offered to divide the baby in half, as if it were not a living creature. That true mother both in grief and in love, lived in love and would rather have given up the baby whole than see devastation. The grieving mother who lost her baby could not see beyond her grief and lost connection to life and to life’s meaning beyond her own situation.  This is not just a story of them, but sadly of us. We must discern our day to day in the living state and not just mechanically go thru the motions. We must be like Solomon and want to be there for the people, to live outside ourselves and our needs or wants. To mother is to love. To love is God’s being. To recognize life is to recognize God’s purpose.

In Easter life, we remember God gave up His Son, like the mother would give up her child to preserve the whole. God gave up one Son for the whole of us.

In sin and death and brokenness, Satan causes chaos to control confusion. He wants people to be dejected in grief and make a rash agreement to slice the baby in half, Satan does not want wholeness. Nor does he want us thinking of the future, of others. He lost the connections and will take down whomever he can.

We know better. We know we are LOVED.

We know better. We must discern day by day our actions to bring hope to wholeness. We must live to love. From point A to point B, our living can be best lived by stitching in love to the net that holds us all. How will we strengthen our walk? by washing away worldliness.

As Solomon loved the Lord, he wanted to love His people. He knew that riches were not always peacekeepers. But God knew how to rule the people. Rulers must rule in love.

We must ask: What else would we want, but WISDOM.

Keep praying discernment. A to B.

Amen

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1Kings 2:4-16

And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

A Wise Ruling

Now two harlots came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him.  So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I, your servant, was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.  He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

Mundane No More

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Was driving home with my daughter a bit ago and I wondered if this really was the quality time that I would have picked or just normal time for helping. Well sitting in the Starbucks drive thru, I found it interesting timing that the school robo line called strangely on a Sunday, and I listened and my daughter listened… Sadly it was that a teacher’s aide staff member had unexpectedly died, and the vice principal asked us on the recorded message to ask our kids if they knew this person and if they needed support.  Well, my daughter (a graduate few ago) said “WOW”, she did know this teacher and she casually knew his son, her age. I realized that all my fretting about whether “normal” driving around and “chores” days was important became mute.  My concerns went out my mental drive thru window. It DID matter. It DOES matter to do the mundane, because I was IN the car WITH one child, and another at home, whereas this family of the same age had now unexpectedly LOST their dad. It DID matter because if I wasn’t doing the “normal” mundane things, who would? How would they live successfully as they are. And one more realization, that I got to be IN the car and BE THE CAPTIVE AUDIENCE to hear all about her days, her thrills, her ughs too, her mundane and not so mundane daily challenges over the last month when I saw her last, I got to hear them in person and provide her the space and place to share them…

I got to be there – I get to be there – where the mundane is no more mundane. I realize that God gives us this day to drive around in His Way: PRESENT.

Always let God do the driving.

Every “mundane” day as a parent is NOT. Every time I take my son driving, we choose a new road, keeps it fresh. The only same road is the road home. Every time God takes the wheel, He takes us on a road He wants to take us on, and eventually, if we stay in the car long enough, it WILL be our ride Home. So, look out the windows and be aware of the traffic, be present IN the car. Keep making those mundane trips because one day, mundane becomes a memory too. Your presence will be evidence.

Mundane no more.

Amen

Bugging or Blessing?

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One of my funny awkward moments of Easter Day was giving mega-church Pastor an Easter card, just after the 6AM service.  (I’m sure I had more 7AM energy than most, as you would expect!). I made a tiny palm cross and included it inside, because he said something funny about palms the previous week. I also included a copy of my writing of the Alpha and Omega words, which I had written months ago, actually meaning to give to him but didn’t. I think folks don’t want to bug him but have some questions that it would be good to chat about. He is gracious to the flock.

I am sure I could bug him A LOT, but he has 10,000 or more in his flock, and I simply feel for me to be a blessing to encourage him. You could say the same for a media star, just like I wait for a picture with a favorite DJ (which I just did recently). But a pastor? He’s not in it to meet fans or for publicity of himself, he’s there to teach. I am there to LEARN! (And how blessed am I with like a couple dozen pastor friends, I can just be an encourager here. I am SO happy when people pick up their callings. God knows people need to know Him. Jesus came both to save and to TEACH)

Me encouraging, sure, but is it a bit like a fan groupie? Well, is it blessing or bugging? Well, yes. Both. I’m excited about people sharing faith.

So, an Easter card, I think that’s just the right amount of encouragement without bugging. Encouragement for him to say “Hey, busy servant child of God, who is also an amazing pastor shepherd – I am praying for you.” I am sure he also likes it when you laugh at his jokes. As for what makes him surprised, is the POWER of God to rally the faithful. 

Encouragement is to say God Bless you, is simply to say: “Hey, I get you, you are DRIVEN by the Holy Spirit too, I APPRECIATE you allowing God to move you (not that you can stop God, but many don’t allow themselves to serve fully).

If we can remember Jesus IS our PRICE of Peace and Prince of Peace, we can push ourselves out of our comfort zone. There’s important balance between bugging and blessing. There’s an important blend of serving and stepping aside personally and reducing pride. Certainly there is a time and place for our humanness, that’s life. And certainly there’s always time to be respectful and not a burden.  

But the one true blessing that’s NOT bugging? PRAYER. ALWAYS PRAYER. 

Prayer is in private as well as public. Prayer is petitioning for Pursuit of Peace. It is so important for all of us to pray for Pastors. So important to pray for all of God’s servants.

PRAYER. Jesus NEVER runs out of ears, Jesus VALUES listening, so much He even repaired the ear of one in the garden who would then march Him off to capture. 

When I said to Pastor that I was praying for him, he said “thank you, I covet your prayers”. He’s human like all of us, and we know that the Lord is keeping tabs on us but MOST IMPORTANTLY fueling our faith and waking us up everyday. Praying is the one thing that never could be given in excess, if they are sincere, but could be too few. Prayer in private is God’s knowing that you are not in it for the recognition. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 

Prayers is like keeping track of perseverance. “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.”

Prayer is KNOWING God intervenes 


The Prayer of Faith

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” John 5:12,13-16

Paul thanked the church for prayers in his letter to the Thessalonians (1st:16-24). He wrote: “JESUS IS FAITHFUL.” That we believe!

We can all be thankful for prayers, we have many and won’t know it, but God does.

GOD DOES HEAR. 

Amen


Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Easter Salvation, Easy Sticky Notes, and Extra Sleepy Sheep

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Oh – so blessed to see another Easter – even though I had one just last week! I was blessed to visit an orthodox church, Eastern European, for Easter with my friend and her daughter. She was so happy to go – and happy that I would drive – so that she did not have to, because she suffers from chronic heart failure. Yes, the Lord is keeping her alive and walking too, because she is surely doing Heaven’s work on earth, being the best mom and wife she can be for her family. She is an AMAZING Child of God – and so Holy Spirit-filled. A blessing.

The service was traditional orthodox and unusual for me for it to be MIDNIGHT to 4AM, WOW! (Good thing I am a good napper!)

At the peak moments of the service, one of the older altar servers took out a cell phone to take photos for their website or facebook. There were others taking photos on occasion, so I felt OK taking pics of what I used to think was private and secret, I was wrong, it was open and OK. Then after the service we were able to walk around the sanctuary – so very ornate and beautiful. 

Midnight – sleepy sheep – but I had a 3 hour nap – and who am I to complain about late nights for the Lord – and even the night before I got up at 130 am to see a favorite radio DJ at a record store. Life is meant to be lived!  Live it!

We are blessed to experience all this diversity – in the many churches and denominations and “movements” (which are not technically denominations). It’s most important to be in the SPIRIT OF THE SPIRIT.  This night I WAS enchanted by the ornateness – but ALSO interested in the people watching too, both their faith and their ways. I am a student of people and was kinda surprised at some church things so human and modern – like the cell phones – and THE STICKY NOTES! The priest read from the Holy Book, very ornate, but also in his small prayer book, I spied the set of handwritten sticky notes – he took one for that section of the service while we were (outside) and stuck it to the back of the ornate cross which also carried flowers. He was able to proceed with teaching and preaching the liturgy of the stations of Jesus in procession from conviction to cross – by using his sticky note and not have to hold his book too. I thought that was cool, cute, human, real, ingenious. (Jesus did say we would see great miracles, and I think sticky notes are one small ones.) After he finished that section, he simply switched the sticky note. We then went inside after a ritual knocking at the door.

It was a whole singing service – the whole thing – 3 hours – the scriptures and prayers sung – the responses sung – then in both languages the priest chanted “CHRIST IS RISEN”.  

Before the service and throughout, people continued to light their candles from the priest and from each other. My friend said that some people hope for miracles by getting their candlelight directly from the priest during the service but others think it is slightly disruptive – Well, Jesus would understand ALL OF THAT!

Sleepy sheep – there were many families with kids and teens – teens hunched over in sleep on the pews by 2AM. One baby – a crawler – was the picture perfect cherub who only cried maybe once in 4 hours? AMAZING…  Some teens were giggly and that was good relief when one caught her hair on fire – YIKES.  Well, oh the quick action of mom – the smell was real – but the giggles were bigger than it all. whew…  I also ALMOST caught my hair on fire once – but didn’t – whew. I don’t think I have ever run thru a whole candle before – it took 2 hours of burning – and there were so many candles that people would get up for a replacement candle. Even saw people leaving at 4AM still with lit candles headed back to their cars. Light is a serious pursuit. I had a second candle handed to me.  These people were generous – open – friendly – and the service was in both languages.

There was much standing and sitting – singing and solitude but also it felt super normal for a human crowd that was going to be there 3 hours. The occasional cell phone, the occasional reshuffle of seats. I also fixed candles in the windowsill near me that kept getting knocked from a non-observant man who walked back and forth like 10 times. Hmmmn.

The pinnacle moment was to be of communion being shared. And I loved the prayers, the Apostle’s Creed, the known canter. This is also where I felt my old understanding of denomination differences creep back in. See, having been raised Catholic (but then attending other denominations and community churches and church movements), I knew the prayers and knew the liturgy, and knew the motions – yet I also knew this was not an “open table” – this was one of those times of  “only those of this faith denomination who followed the rules get this communion” – and then only if they fasted (if able). Yes – I know that Jesus said “You are Worthy because of me”, but this was NOT a time for me to grandstand for a gram of bread, this was NOT that at all. Never is time for any grandstanding in Christ anyway. I felt sad only for a half-second because instead I felt that humble feeling that communion is a GIFT, like Salvation is a GIFT. Jesus is a gift and so is the ability to worship Him at His feet and to say You are worthy and I am not – but You make me worthy. 

My friend said: “Stay here”, not judging, just factual. I guess I forgot for a second of our differences. It took me only a second to snap out of sadness because I switched importantly to WATCHING – and appreciating people of faith. Some of the ladies covered their heads with scarves – many kissed the portrait of Jesus, then took communion from the cup directly from the priest who used a stick that he placed in their mouths, then they kissed the cup, and kissed the priest’s sleeve. On the side there was a portrait of Mary with a bowl of “extra” bread cubes – not sure why there were there but people took a handful if they wanted and kissed that portrait too. ( I later got a cube of that bread so I considered it my communion this night, but my communion really was remembering Jesus). I watched in grateful joy that there were people of faith who were able to express it by devotion. I was able to walk around the church with the people at the beginning of the midnight service (about 200 to 300), and then I was able to have a seat inside. I was AT the TABLE – no need to be ungrateful – we ARE at the Table with Him – and Jesus says – you don’t need to worry – you are IN because of ME.

Happy – my friend came back and she was HAPPY! She was happy and said “I MADE IT!” – happy – she was able to come and stay 3 hrs for communion at the end – and happy that she was alive to be here – rough in her ailments but strong in her faith – the Lord HAS held her together. Happy – I was happy to hear “I MADE IT” – and we surely will say those EXACT words when we get to Heaven and say to each other; “I MADE IT!!!” Jesus, You Make our Lives Complete in You. Jesus, you will say: “You Made it!”

A cup of communion dessert? Well, at 3AM we finished the 3 hour service and got to go downstairs for fellowship – and after 2 covid years, you could feel the relief of fellowship. They had plastic cups, hundreds, of bread cubes in wine. wow and YUM, and the Priest blessed these all as well as baskets of food that the people brought for sharing with their family members. He spoke a few words of blessing then took the holy water and sprinkled all of us. I crossed myself in catholic fashion and many there crossed themselves over and over in orthodox fashion with hand to head, heart, right then left shoulders. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

A gentleman shared some of his blessed basket of goodies – some chicken and other meats and cheeses – so nice of him. A few ladies of the church brought gifts for my friend’s family, bread and toys. Many came to bless her. She blessed one person in particular on our way leaving at 4am. She stopped to console a father who had recently lost his young son (I am not sure, maybe cancer), he touched his fist to his heart in thanks to her – in praise to the Lord for support – in sadness but acceptance. 

Isn’t that what we must all have – some sadness for we only have a short walk in this world – sadness in brokenness – but acceptance that this IS our walk and we will not be without suffering just as Jesus was not without suffering. We DO have salvation as sheep – as sheep of OUR Shepard – salvation in sweetness of sorrow.

Sheep – we are not all the same sheep and we are also of many flocks but with one ultimate Shepard. We are to embrace the diversity of the world (not conform to it) and to share love with the people. All knees will bow at the Lamb of God one day. It reminds me of the sheep in Ireland, they roamed fairly free, and were marked with color spray paint on one patch of their wool. This meant that if they intermingled with other farmer’s sheep, they could just continue to live and then at the end of the season, the farmers would get together and exchange the sheep back. All sheep – all unique – all loved – all owned. We ARE able to be invited in to other sanctuaries and we should invite others into ours. We ARE those sheep – we are all unique and loved and owned by our Lord God and Father God, and we are all to be collected at the end. (We are to avoid being goats which Jesus will separate one day as non-sheep). We can be unique sheep. I know that the women who went to the front of the church who wore their scarves and sang their songs could easily be my cousins and ancestors in the Eastern European country of my ancestors. The women and men our brothers and sisters in Christ. Just because they have different colors of sheep paint on occasion, we are all sheep. All Sheep. One Shephard.

One last bible lesson, how sometimes we think we have to be dressed a certain way for church – or act a certain way – or fast even if physically not able – well, NO. We talked about the scripture that the thief to the side of Jesus on the cross came to Him at the last minute, came as he was, came a sinner, yet when he asked to be with Jesus, Jesus said TODAY, you will be with me in Paradise. Our SALVATION does NOT rely on us – only on our Shepherd who laid down His life as the Lamb Sacrificed. 

Sheep, Souls, Singing, Scarves, Sticky Notes, Singed hair, Sharing, and Salvation.

May we realize we are all sheep of our Shepard. 

Sleepy Sheep awake, Jesus came for us all. He IS coming again to judge the quick and the dead.

Jesus says: YOU MADE IT!

Amen! CHRIST IS RISEN! HAPPY EASTER!

Give it up for the Sheep

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Mercy, have we prayed enough for mercy for others and not just ourselves? God’s mercy is real. A dear friend always prays the blood of Jesus to cover people, meaning she asks on their behalf for Jesus’s forgiveness – given thru His blood to cover their offenses. May none of us lack this coverage. May we all extend prayers to even the worst offenders.

God’s Mercy is shown throughout the scriptures. God’s STRENGTH is in how He RESTRAINS His punishments, how He restrains the evil as well.  Mercy IS Jesus in saving us, being the Blanket of Forgiveness, a blanket of His own blood not a blanket of wool sheared from His sheep. He requires nothing of us but our following of Him as Shepard. To believe in Him because God sent Him. He is our Shepherd. We are His sheep.

We, the sheep, have wool, warmth, and surely wandering. Jesus the Shepherd has blood forgiveness, a burning LIGHT of HOPE, and TRUTH beckoning us to get back on track. 

Give it up for the sheep. Jesus did. 

David, the KING and once earthly shepherd, was the always returning servant. David realized when he went astray and he returned to petitioning and sacrificing for God. David knew he needed repentance (so do we).

“These are but sheep. What have they done?”

In David’s realization of wrong, he knew to ask to be in the Lord’s courts of trials (once again) because he KNEW the Lord to be MORE merciful than human man. God gave David choices but David left it up to God to inflict punishment with mercy.

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

AND the Lord SHOWED mercy and restraint for He could have destroyed more, as His anger burned against Israel, but at one point God stopped the angel who was dosing out the plague. 

When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.”

God, our Lord God, we beseech you to take these current plagues and roll back the forces of destruction. We beg if we have done wrong to become a repented land. We find hope in You Jesus. 

Restraint. God gives us restraining pens of hedges of protection. God puts up blockages for where we should not go. He restrains our free will with a will to be free in Him. God begs us restraint over retaliation by telling us to forgive and turn the other cheek. Restraint on our part will let Him work out long terms of His Grace over our hurried judgment. 

Wouldn’t it be best for us to pray mercy over all? Over those we don’t know and especially our enemies. Drop our grudges and give Him rights for His Judgments. Perhaps our trials are partially our training to pray, pray, pray – to pray mercy for our enemies and not just ourselves. Yes our anger burns, the Lord Himself has anger, but our prayers rise like incense to God’s pleasure even more.

Give it up for the sheep, Jesus did.

(And WE TOO must return to God knowing His mercy. Don’t stay out in the cold if you are drifting or have drifted. Be sure to come back, hear Jesus calling, be still and know His forgiveness and love.) 

Pray mercy. God is great. 

Accept mercy. God is giving it.

Give mercy. God is for all.

Amen


2nd Samuel 24

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel.

After crossing the Jordan, they camped near Aroer, south of the town in the gorge, and then went through Gad and on to Jazer. They went to Gilead and the region of Tahtim Hodshi, and on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon. Then they went toward the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba in the Negev of Judah.

After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.

Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.

David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’”

So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come on you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

So the Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, “I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family.”

David Builds an Altar

On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up, as the Lord had commanded through Gad. When Araunah looked and saw the king and his officials coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”

To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”

Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

TORN, NOT TORN, 19APR

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Still in Easter mode…

TORN and NOT TORN

Jesus was accepting that His time for the cross, this meant He was torn away physically from those He loved here on earth, but not in His love. They must have felt He was torn away from them. I think back to Simon seeing Jesus, the day Joseph and Mary brought Him for circumcision, Simon knew, warned and blessed Mary for her trials to come. Simon was NOT TORN from that temple even in old age, asking the Lord’s blessing to see the Messiah. 

TORN AND NOT TORN 

The curtain. The curtain TORN and no longer was the Holy Place separated from the worshipers, no longer was life separated by death from us. Jesus was NOT TORN away from His mission. The curtain TORN, the rocks TORN, the graves TORN back open. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

NOT TORN 

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s NOT tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled. Scripture has NEVER been TORN.

TORN AND NOT TORN 

Joseph was torn away from his fear but never torn away from his faith.

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead….there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 

NOT TORN AND TORN 

Mary, Jesus’smother, many Mary’s and women were not torn away from comforting Him, watching Jesus die nor from comforting each other. They did stay until Jesus was prepared in death for the tomb then placed in the tomb, by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. These women were the last to see His body. Mary of Magdalene was one of the first to see Him risen. These women were eventually torn from the tomb because of the sabbath, and they were not torn away from their duties nor their faith. 

TORN 

Nicodemus, the most famous and respected teacher of the Jews, whom had quietly come to Jesus in the night (John 3) was torn from his hiding, torn from his doubt. Nicodemus brought 100lbs of embalming spices, myrrh and aloes. As the rich man, He allowed Himself to be TORN AWAY from greed and instead gave. 

TORN and NOT TORN 

The stone was rolled away.

Guards watching the tomb were torn away from other duties and trusted to guard it. After they saw the stone rolled, and recovered, they were not torn away from the truth of what they saw happen there. Even if they were bribed to keep quiet, they knew truth. Truth is never torn. Stick with the Truth. 

The World is torn in torment and eventually will be TORN totally:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief… … what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” ButLove is NEVER torn away. 

God’s LOVE lasts forever. 

Amen

John 19:30-42

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Mark 15:39-47

The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”  Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

The Burial of Jesus. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

Matthew 27:50-61

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.

When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

—-

Luke 23:46-56

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

—-

2nd Peter 3:10-18

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.  Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen

Fear Him To Live Free

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Until Jesus comes on a cloud, any near day,

my goal is to read through the whole Bible before delay.

Gaining in knowledge of Him is necessary today,

knowing Him as merciful is a blessing, to learn of His Way.

Reading scripture is hearing what Jesus has to Say,

Living well, thru Jesus’s teachings, helps us not to stray.

Living Holy, in fear of the Lord, is necessary you see,

to learn of His Love, to understand what gives Him Glee.

We know that in His Love we are made alive and free, 

He has gifted all of His Love to stir within you and within me.

Fear Him to live Free.

Lord Jesus, You rescue me.

Amen

Someone to Talk To

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What’s a most appreciative part of our day? Someone to talk to.

Why did God make man and women? So we could find someone to talk to, someone different but the same. Women like to chitchat with each other. Men like to shoot the breeze together. Men and women can bond and talk about togetherness or dreams or nothing at all and just be. Friends can be friends. 

What’s a most appreciative part of Jesus’s day? 

Someone to talk to.

Why did the Lord Jesus walk the earth? 

To find us to talk to us.

Why did Lord Jesus come directly to us? 

To tell us of Our Father

What did Lord Jesus say of Himself? The Son can do nothing by himself – whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father LOVES the Son and shows him all he does. 

What did Lord Jesus say of us? That whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

Why did Lord Jesus become the inSPIRITation of the Word written down? The Bible Himself? So we too would HEAR the voice of LOVE thru the Son of God. That we would know He came to bring Heaven to us.

Those who hear will live.

Why is Lord Jesus willing to talk to us? Because the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. 

Why is Lord Jesus wanting to talk to us? To tell us He LOVES us, to tell us God, Our Father LOVES. 

Why do we NEED to TALK to Jesus to intervene for us with Our Father? Because Jesus said: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but HIM who sent me.”

What’s a most appreciative part of GOD’S Day? Someone HEARING.

LISTEN, HEAR TALK, LOVE.

Love talks.

Amen


John 5:17, 19-29

 “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 

……………………

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. 

Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 

Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

And Yet Mercy…

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David sang to the Lord:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me.

David had much to sing about to the Lord. He had praises as well as petitions for/from perilous moments. Us too. We have sticky situations and dangers… but we do have praises, above all.

We must praise and sometimes petition, especially when no one else understands us. We have to humbly cheer: “I’m glad the Lord understands me.” – We have to tearfully kneel: “I’m glad He has Mercy for me in His Majesty.”

There’s often surprise at how other people seem to be (including us) – the world wacky or wild, people are often good, bad, indifferent or scheming, ignorant or naive. Or people are just people living in a fallen world. It’s not just simply in modern soap operas (portrayed for our entertainment), nor in real deal modern war conflicts (of which power plays are prominent), this struggle of humankind to get the upper hand is DOMINANT in the pages of scripture.

One situation is especially deeply detailed as dangerous living in 2nd Samuel, where we find King David even more scattered away from his home by the hands of his son Absalom, similar to when he was chased by his father-like King Saul. David had mercy for his son as well. David walked often in those valleys of the shadow of death. 

David did much good but David also did many wrongs… And yet there is Mercy. God’s Mercy brought and brings reconciliation. God’s Mercy brought David, the shepherd and King back to being a sheep. God’s mercy brings us reconciliation. For David and for us too, reconciliation comes by a Redeemer in Jesus. David’s redeeming was both of his self and within his legacy. Jesus came as a descendant of the House of David to rule as King forever.

David showed his failings, his worldliness, in how he dealt with Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. His lust of her, and a cover up became a scheme to kill Uriah. Then things went spiraling out of control for David. David lost, he lost children, yes, and nearly except the legacy God laid out for him. David called out to God and God forgave David but warned him of this hard life path. Yet, David NEVER lost the LOVE of God – and God NEVER stopped LOVING David. 

God NEVER stops loving us.

The jealousy David had must have torn him away from appreciating what he already had. His mourning was real. The Mercy was even MORE real. God expressing MERCY is His message, here and forever. Tough love is but truth in love. Protection by discipline. 

We see conflict thru these chapters of David’s life, we see fights back and forth on the pages, terrible betrayals of brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, with disregard for the foundation and provisions given to them by God Himself. There is no war to end all wars here. There is no peace when these people want pieces of worldly pursuits. 

David became in danger and he unraveled. Yet, the strung-out unraveled life remained tethered to the Core of who he was, a child of God. 

It’s not like the immediate danger of a lion or a bear that stood in front of now King David, not even a Goliath, but it was the circling of conspiracies and swaying of innocent people one way or the other to make a mess of life. David had much trouble from his son, Absalom, but in the end he asked for mercy for his child. He was heartbroken by Absalom’s death.

You could say that our modern conflicts do the same, there is sway over people to one side or the other, whereas God watches and waits for all and each one of us to return to our senses. God weeps thru Jesus tears for “they know not what they do.” God waits and knows the brokenness in us, knowing that the people on the pages will just keep fighting until He blows the trumpet. At some point He will pick up the pages of time and blow it all away, keeping just those who He brought to Jesus, and Jesus netted up. Jesus never loses anyone. 

We who love Him will have a new song to sing.

God knows that we are so very human. Can we survive this world, this society? We must live above it. We must cling to the hope, the foundation, be glued to the pages on which the Word works. We must view beyond the conspiracies and calamities. We must tremendously remember God’s MERCY and spread that ourselves. 

People are in old conflicts, but God in all His Mercy does not change, and waits for His children’s return. 

We too must light a lamp of HOPE. Jesus gives us the opportunity to forgive and forge ahead.

We should not want to walk anywhere without JESUS. 

AMEN 

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Reading thru much of these trials, we realize we are in new conflicts are but in old evils, just with modern people.  David’s response to the Lord delivering him was real praise.  

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One of the songs of David:

2 Samuel 22

King James Version

And David spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:

And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me; In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.

Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled. The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice. And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them. And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the Lord, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils. He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters; He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.

He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.

Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.

And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.

For thou art my lamp, O Lord: and the Lord will lighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?

God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet. For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but he answered them not. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me. Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me. Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.

The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation. It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me. And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.