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 yiu 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 longterm. There’s no where to go if one keeps digging themselves 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. (I stepped away from my normal scene yesterday to help at VBS, and was so blessed, even got into water games. Let us all do the Lord’s Work and watch Him work!)

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 

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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 

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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 

—-

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.

Shepharded. 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)

—-

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

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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 

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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 

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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 

—-

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.  

—-

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.

Passionately, Jesus Speaks, Jesus Predicts

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This took me a couple days to write and get back to during Holy Week, I appreciate time to still study Jesus’s walk and work of those days and warnings and descriptions of the future… There is IMPORTANT focus on knowing what is yet to come for us and others, not just hints but direct teaching. Direct references to plans fulfilled, plans continuing and plans in end times. We need to get on board and start tossing life vests into the water for helping others.

It seems Jesus, in His Way to the Cross, ALSO tells us to appreciate what we do have, that things could always be worse. (Maybe the current times are showing this too). It’s important to teach what Jesus taught. It’s always important to know the “reason for the season” – we celebrate Christmas, Easter, but do we know there are also reasons for what will be experienced in the NEXT seasons of tribulations, millennium and forever…


Read Passionately

Written Passionately, Jesus Speaks.

Walking Passionately, Jesus Demonstrates. 

Living Passionately, Jesus Saves.

Taught Passionately, Jesus Predicts.

The Bible is to be read PASSIONATELY, because JESUS IS SPEAKING, speaking with purpose, and we can listen on His walk WITH the cross to complete the plan OF the cross. Jesus ALSO PREDICTS our and the world’s FUTURE.


PART 1: THE PLAN FULFILLED:

Jesus, after the last supper, spoke in the garden to our Father. Jesus made clear what He knew: He came for all, and He lost none of those given to Him, led to Him by our Father, including His disciples. Jesus then let them scatter free that night, knowing all but Judas would be found by Him again. Plan complete for them. Plan also set in place for His Mother, and just by His thoughtfulness and strength, acceptance and teaching proved with presence and signs that He was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. 

Jesus in being forsaken, sacrificed, and pre-provided as The Lamb to be slain, Jesus took on His Father’s Will for Him for us. When He died, HE ALREADY KNEW HOW FAR HE HAD GONE. Far enough to save us all. Jesus finished it before He said “It is Finished.” But He said it anyway. 

Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost noneJohn 18:8-9 fulfilling John 6:38-40: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

John 19:25-30 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.


PART 2: THE PLAN PRESENTLY:

Jesus took time to speak about what future believers would need to know and do. Hope and purpose.

We do want others to hear of His Hope and our home with Him in Heaven FOREVER…  We must carry HIS Light as a torch and also help those still willing to find His WAY within their walk. And He brings a powerful message for us to share of Him being sent to save. Presently we must also agree and show our beliefs. We teach because He taught. We love because He loves. We believe because He believes in us.

John 17:18-26 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”


PART 3: THE PLAN PREDICTED:

We do know that Jesus knew when “it’s my time”, because He knew when “it’s not yet my time”. That Last Supper, He knew the time drew near and would begin the crucial night into day walk to take – to complete God’s plan for His earthly walk. Then it went dark then light. And now, we will see dark cone again in the future BUT KNOW THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE FOREVER LIGHT

Jesus KNEW and even in His battered state, walking with the cross, He took time to speak of TIMES TO COME. He was speaking of how awful end times will be for those who do not follow God’s plan and how terrible the devastation will be. For He and we will be removed from this place and DRYNESS of Life will be the next season.  The lack of His Hope,  shunning the Spirit will cause even more anguish: “For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”

We are in the green season but our world and the world’s people show times are closer and closer to drying up…  Jesus does not change and God does not change, the LIGHT is still burning bright, but the season WILL change, our earth and our fellow men will continue down the path towards Rapture and post-Rapture days, many tribulations where there will be attempts to pull all back into darkness. But so many won’t know to look at the times. Jesus prays so all would know Him and BE WITH HIM. There are many who will miss the message.  For others, LIFE will be chosen, but by being martyrs is those times. The ones experiencing wrath, predictions of the Book of Revelation, will beg to have the mountains fall on them to be put out of their misery. Jesus spoke of these people even while moments from His death. 

Luke 23:26-29, 34 : And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

—-

Revelation 6:7-17 (shown to John): When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains.  They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”


When Jesus said: “Forgive them Father, for they do not know what they do”, at least the people there in Jerusalem and surrounding areas knew His name (or would shortly) – but what about the people in the future?

Jesus chose to educate, so should we.

Let us now CHOOSE JESUS, CHOOSE FOLLOWING, CHOOSE LIFE. 

Know the Plan, fulfilled, present and PROMISED. Keep sharing the Good News AND WHY we have HOPE. 

AMEN


Taste Easter AND Salvation

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To prepare our palettes for Easter goodies, it’s good to clean out the fridge, ESPECIALLY if you’re getting Amish market faire for all your side dishes and dessert. (I’m only cooking a ham, haha! awesome)

To prepare OURSELVES for Easter, it’s good to clear out our hearts and heads too and make them ready (and only fill them with LOVE not fluff). 

Shopping at the Amish market, means NO WORK to prepare the meal. Yes, it does cost some,  but minimal, and seriously it is NO WORK. 

Salvation gifted from Jesus cost A LOT, but we didn’t pay, He did.  WE DID NO WORK. This gift is ALL from His Sacrifice, from Him paying the price, seriously a ransom for us at the highest cost was still worth it to Him. We could NOT do anything for eternal life except accept it, KNOWING that we NEED Jesus to cleanse our sins. We DO need to believe in Him, JESUS, as the One God sent to hear our repent. 

So this Easter my prayer is for everyone to open up their hearts and their heads (and their refrigerators) and ACCEPT the BEST BLESSING OF ALL! JESUS JOY!!!!  Endless Easter in Eternal Life!!!  

God Bless You All and Happy Easter!

AMEN 

Enough for Today

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I do wish often to think of what Jesus was thinking this Holy Week, on the way, in His Way, to the cross.

But then I just realized, what if Jesus took His Own advice. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”   “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”

Yes! Jesus, who relied upon God to give Him direction and instructions, also would have been thinking and living in the present. He knew the future, thus saying and knowing: “each day has enough trouble of its own.”. 

Jesus knew the past, the future, IS Alpha and Omega, and yet Jesus took one step at a time, took time for those He needed to be with that day. He absorbed the day for itself and said each day was enough for each day.

Focus

I have been helping my son practicing driving. A BIG important skill is to pay attention to your depth perception. YES, Jesus had/has the ultimate depth perception of seeing thru time, thru people, thru His Journey.  He spoke to Our Father every step of the way. (I trust in God in this new day of driving, it’s the best way to walk with the Lord thru the day)

So, be like Jesus today, be WITH your family and friends, co-workers and those God needs you to be around, and those He wants around you. Be like Jesus and take time away to pray. Be like Jesus and perceive and know ahead, but keep your mind and emotions in today. How else could Jesus sit down to eat and to pray unless that WAS what he needed to do that moment of that day. 

Good Friday is the day Jesus picked up His Cross, but Holy Thursday is the day He picked up His Feet and kept walking for His Mission. Each day and Today IS a day for us to live thru the Word while walking in the World. Know next week is coming, but stay on task today. 

Be in the moment. Jesus is. 

Amen

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 NIV

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34 KJV

A Good Friday to Remember – Stationing Ourselves Because of the Cross

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I must say that walking the Stations of the Cross was one place as a child in the Catholic church where I felt walking IN faith, to feel my faith, to feel the drama, to witness the strength and determination of Jesus. To see. 

Now I walk NOT to see but TO KNOW. 

The Good Friday’s of my youth were with my catholic school taking a short walk up to church. One of the very vivid memories was the reading of the Passion scriptures – and that ALL the priests showed up to participate in the service at the same time – that really spoke volumes to me of the importance of the day – and the importance of remembering the day – remembering the walk of Jesus.

It was a Good Friday to remember. For Jesus to remember and save us is good. For us to remember Jesus is good, to appreciate the Passion of Christ – not that we could ever grasp the enormity of His Sacrifice.

Jesus made a commitment to us before we were even born. This also means He walks with us today. To walk while pondering Jesus allows the Holy Spirit to place us, and as believers, we can and should walk TO our stations, FOR the sake of cross, ALLOWING ourselves to be stationed not stationary. STATIONING ourselves in readiness and witness. 

The Stations of the Cross presented WITH the scriptures let us know that He wanted us to know His journey. He still does…

Turns out that some of the stations are imagined “traditional thought” (Jesus falling and the woman wiping his face) but most stations of the cross are scripture derived. I was pondering this during this Holy Week, really wanting to keep and know truth over tradition, when today I “found” a noontime outdoor “Stations of the Cross” service near my work. WOW, I “picked it” from google maps and websites but I am SURE the Holy Spirit knew all along where to send me to walk, because I LEARNED a NEW WAY to walk the Stations of the Cross. This church service walked a “new” 1990’s version of the Stations, based on Pope John Paul II’s “Biblical Stations”. I was FASCINATED – and appreciative – and IMPRESSED that the Holy Spirit KNEW my pondering – and we (about 50 to 75) walked in the beautiful sunshine among outdoor stations, set up as an eagle scout project. 

Before I left, I went to marvel at the stained glass windows – the color and symbolism – the beauty. The Lamb with a sword – that was the window that spoke to me – the Lamb of God whose Sacrifice took away the Sins of the world.

What a Good Friday to remember that He Has! “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

I appreciate the old time Stations, but what I really am excited about is when we will be STATIONED in witness around His Throne in Heaven. In the meantime, everyone take your stations today for witness!

Amen 


Biblical Way of the Cross – stations:

  1. Jesus prays in the garden
  2. Jesus is betrayed and arrested
  3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin
  4. Peter denies knowing Jesus
  5. Jesus is condemned by Pilate
  6. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
  7. Jesus takes up his cross
  8. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus
  9. Jesus meets the weeping women
  10. Jesus is crucified
  11. Jesus promises paradise to the crucified thief
  12. Jesus cares for his mother
  13. Jesus dies
  14. Jesus is buried

The Stinky Feet of Sleepy Sheep

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Ah, I was SUPER trepid, 

But the water was goodly tepid. 


The pastor offered to wash my feet, 

me the tired, scared, sleepy sheep. 


Stinky work feet certainly YES, 

she said it’s OK, this meant only to bless.


To symbolize, Jesus washed the feet. 

To save, Jesus won us back from sin’s defeat.


The choosing and saving of us was not thru our ability, 

that’s why my tears fell in humility. 


The water’s warmth says thru Him we are worthy, 

The Living Water’s cleanse comes because He is Holy. 


I was maybe embarrassed and silly afraid, 

but Oh that feeling, that warmth, Oh so blessed to be saved.


I want that warm loving feeling Forever.

Jesus, Your Embrace, I will always treasure. 


Now I too must wash other’s feet. 

That’s how we make Your Love COMPLETE.


Amen 


What a blessing, and a remarkable experience… oh how Jesus humbled Himself, not just for washing feet but for Saving those – both who already loved Him, but also those who would scatter. He also washed for the ability of those who never knew Him to sit with Him and feel His cleanse. He did this so we would remember Him as servant, and to be like Him. He loved and served us first. Amen Amen. 


John 13:3-15 KJV

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Mules and Thrones

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It’s interesting to note who’s one’s KING by where He sits. A mule. A throne. OUR HEARTS? Who is our King? An Easter Week reflection of two parades of an earthly king and our heart and Heaven King, in Jesus. 

Mules and Thrones 

Solomon was made king by David his father, but really by the Lord God’s appointment. David has Solomon ride his own mule to show the transition, which was needed because someone else was trying to steal the throne while David was weak and dying.

The Lord, our Lord, Jesus came likewise into Jerusalem on a mule, because He was to fulfill a prophecy, many prophecies, but specifically this prophecy. Yet He knew that the people mistook Him as an earthly King. Jesus wept over those people as He entered. He rode the mule, He had left the throne of Heaven to come here, for entering earth as a baby, walking in the world. Yet He really wanted, still wants, to occupy a throne sitting inside our hearts. My heart. Your heart. He becomes our King when we acknowledge Him as King Lord, fulfilling God’s Plan. A Servant Savior, Jesus. Can we, you and I, make Way for Him as our King? Will we, you and I, cheer and worship Him as He works through our hearts? Can we bow in submission yet feel risen in life?

When King David (also once a shepherd) made clear the succession of Solomon as King, he said:  ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.’” David was blessed for the Lord kept him safe all thru the years, many trials, now followed up on the promise of Solomon hus son to become King. When we bow down to worship God, we need to acknowledge that Jesus IS the Promise fulfilled.  We ourselves acknowledge and ask to see Jesus take His throne over us, within us, and hope to see this Kingship over the world. We have not seen all this yet, and there are going to be more struggles until the prophecy in the book of Revelation is fulfilled in Jesus’s return. It will get earthly worse before it gets better. But as we WILL see this New Jerusalem Kingdom roll in, we also now get to say: Praise be to the Lord, the God of ME, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor IN MY HEART, on my PERSONAL throne today.’”

Let us let Jesus be our King. For Easter week is a triumphant end to a week of trials. Let us remember our King will forever reign. 

Let us find the mule that Jesus has set up within our lives and let Him ride in to be our heartly King – let us appreciate we have seen Him take His throne over us as Lord, Shepherd, King, Savior. 

Let us cheer on our Savior, today. 

Amen


John 12:12-15

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

——-

1st Kings 15-53

King David and King Solomon 

Bathsheba went to see the aged king in his room, where Abishag the Shunammite was attending him.  Bathsheba bowed down, prostrating herself before the king.

“What is it you want?” 

My lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, to learn from you who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise, as soon as my lord the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, I and my son Solomon will be treated as criminals.”

While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. And the king was told, “Nathan the prophet is here.” So he went before the king and bowed with his face to the ground.

Nathan said, “Have you, my lord the king, declared that Adonijah shall be king after you, and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has gone down and sacrificed great numbers of cattle, fattened calves, and sheep. He has invited all the king’s sons, the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking with him and saying, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he did not invite. Is this something my lord the king has done without letting his servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?”

David Makes Solomon King

Then King David said, “Call in Bathsheba.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before him.

The king then took an oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out this very day what I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.”

Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground, prostrating herself before the king, and said, “May my lord King David live forever!”

King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then you are to go up with him, and he is to come and sit on my throne and reign in my place. I have appointed him ruler over Israel and Judah.”

Benaiah son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the Lord, the God of my lord the king, so declare it. As the Lord was with my lord the king, so may he be with Solomon to make his throne even greater than the throne of my lord King David!”

So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!”

And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.

Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they were finishing their feast. On hearing the sound of the trumpet, Joab asked, “What’s the meaning of all the noise in the city?”

Even as he was speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. Adonijah said, “Come in. A worthy man like you must be bringing good news.”

“Not at all!” Jonathan answered. “Our lord King David has made Solomon king. The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king’s mule, and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds with it. That’s the noise you hear. Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne. Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!’ And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today.’”

At this, all Adonijah’s guests rose in alarm and dispersed. But Adonijah, in fear of Solomon, went and took hold of the horns of the altar. Then Solomon was told, “Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon and is clinging to the horns of the altar. He says, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’”

Solomon replied, “If he shows himself to be worthy, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground; but if evil is found in him, he will die.” Then King Solomon sent men, and they brought him down from the altar. And Adonijah came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon said, “Go to your home.”

WDJK? WDJT? WDJD?

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It’s Holy Week, What Did Jesus Know? Think? Do? WDJK WDJT WDJD?

He KNEW it was time to start His journey towards the cross.

He KNEW the people did not understand why He was on earth.

He KNEW too many would never hear of Our Father. 

He KNEW too many would hate Him and hate the Father. 

He KNEW that love was stronger than hate, but hate came from the brokenness of this world.

He KNEW that He was mobbed with crowds but they could not understand He was not simply an earthly king to provide and heal sick, restore the earthly thrones and restore Israel and “just that”.

He KNEW He was working for God, Who was and IS more than “just that”.

He KNEW that to get to each person on earth physically and spiritually, God had a plan that included the Holy Spirit and us.

He KNEW God’s Plan to take His life in order to grant LIFE to us all.

He KNEW those who would beg for Him.

He knew those who would betray Him.

He KNEW those who would LOVE and Follow Him.

Jesus KNEW He had to leave Earth so that the Holy Spirit could come as the Comforter.

He KNEW He could and would come back.

WDJK?

What Did Jesus Know?

WDJT?

What Did Jesus Think?

We ask that question because we think over just knowing. 

We ask that question because we fear death. 

We ask that question because we value life.

We ask that question because we can not wrap our heads around Someone Who would and did give up His Life for us.

We ask that question because we can not imagine enough what the afterlife with the Lord will feel like.

We don’t always know even if we should. We don’t always think like Jesus, but He did. He KNEW and THOUGHT. WAS AND IS AND WILL BE.

Jesus was there at the beginning of time. The Word With the Father Wrote the Walk for the Father, Working the Way for the World. 

What Did Jesus Do? WDJD?

All the Father’s Requests.

Jesus WAS, IS, WILL BE.

Jesus IS COMING BACK too. 

It’s Palm Sunday, 

What Did Jesus Know?

What Did Jesus Think?

What Did Jesus Do?

“TIME TO GO TO WORK”. 

And He DID.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Amen

—-

John 15:12-27, 16:1-12

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friendsYe are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.

He that hateth me hateth my Father also.

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

Continue here:

The Anger of It All

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Anger, fits of rage, non-comprehensible pain… ANGER. 

It’s not easy or healthy to suppress anger. It’s not productive or good to let anger get out of control. It IS good to let God deal with our anger, He can control it, as HUGE as it is.

Anger is a real response, I long for the time anger will no longer show up in Heaven. After all the wrath poured out is complete. I fear for the unrepentant. I humbly tear up in His awakeness in me.

Anger. Anger comes naturally from brokenness, disbelief, unfortunate incidents and unfairness. 

Anger. I realize that one person’s anger mirrors what anger Jesus must have had, what God must rage. From the beginning, Jesus’s suffering was long and His endurance of His acceptance of God’s anger upon Himself REMARKABLE. 

Us? We now can SEE and KNOW the ANGER of iniquities of the world, of all the brokenness of people, of all God’s losses, were laid upon one man, JESUS. THIS Holy Week is when the Wholly Wreck of a broken world IS laid, controllably NOT uncontrollably upon One Man, Jesus. Our Easter is His message of forgiveness. Our Easter is His “Welcome Home “. 

Our ANGER is still in us to rage, but His ANGER was, is, will be vented in a controlled stage.

Controlled, calculated, calm, consistent, complete. Anger. All of it laid.

All of it.

The Lamb of God slain.

The pain of God rendered into sacrifice. 

The sadness of God to be appreciated. 

The Lamb of God slain, even for those who will never understand or know Him.

All in All.

Jesus came and WILL COME AGAIN. It was and IS finished with Jesus dead and buried. It was our walking path laid down and our coverage by His blood, but we ALL await God’s CLOSURE for the whole of the world still walking or wandering. We await the final Wrath of God poured out precisely (Revelation 16) but then CLOSED,  disappated. God will retreat from His anger and sadness and be done with His wrath. Jesus will complete their prophecy and we will be His bride. 

Then all mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. (Isaiah 49:26, old testament prophecy).

Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” Revelation 16:7

Walk don’t wander. 

The anger needs release and closure. The old will pass away. The Lord must come again to bring us Home. The Home of Heaven and of earth will be rolled away to make way for a New City, eternal, filled with the garden of life, filled with God’s love because it will be filled with us. The great banquet. The feast of forever. 

Don’t stay outside in God’s anger, come inside with Jesus within His Love. Jesus took all the iniquities of the world upon His own flesh and renewed our lives away from the flesh forever. 

Away from the anger, oh what a feeling that will be…

Amen Jesus, thank God for You rescue us to be free.

Thank You for an Easter, now, for us, for me, and thank you for a Revelation of what is yet to be.

Jesus, yes, Thank You for setting us free.

Amen 


John 19:28-30 

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Revelation 19:10-16

the angel guiding John in this revelation of our FUTURE said: “…and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.

John wrote: I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

—-

Restoration awaiting IN OUR FUTURE:

Revelation 22:1-5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.


This morning I awoke in anger, rare for me but real out of my dreams, real. My anger, I hated the feeling! It made me realize the anger of God multiplied, additive and yet He controlled it, He made the One in Jesus bear it, and Jesus took it. Jesus Was Is Will Be strong enough to take it because HE IS GOD.  God strength… thanks Lord for my processing of praise and pondering of Your Power. Double Amen!

Living in the Word yet Entrenched in the World, 06APR – #1445

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I’ve noticed those folks (including us often, me all the time) living in the world and not apart from it, who may value worldly things over those spiritual satisfactions of living in the Word. The Word being Jesus, the Word-living being us emulating Jesus in forgiveness of others, emulating Jesus in teaching/preaching/reaching, shining Jesus thru our spirit, in living a surrendered life that God wants us to live.  

When we live in the Word apart yet entrenched in the world, we can let go of worldly things. We can “not sweat the small stuff” as well as bear up to the beatings of cruelty. In war, and in small skirmishes, how much more does the Lord reward those who tolerate rather than retaliate.

I’ve noticed some people without money become very jealous of it – and some people with money live greedily for more of it. I myself often retract in penny pinching after God has given the dollars to dole out freely.  If we lived spiritually in the Word yet entrenched in the world, we would best see money as a tool. There’s a classic phrase: “money is a cruel master.” But we are all to know, “money is not everything.”

I’ve noticed some people without (or with) titles at work or seeming social rankings, who value them over simply just getting the best job done. I’ve seen climbers who have invented mountains. They don’t stay on anything that starts to crumble but are seen to jump ship,or supporting themselves with the stuff they ignored now piled underneath. I’ve noticed people looking for earthly glory, caught myself doing the same.

I’ve grown to appreciate instead, the people who walk the real ground under their feet. Don’t take time to self-preserve by separation. Who know all that previous earthly glory has crumbled. Theri attitude makes it easier for us to look at others with compassion and awareness. 

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

Let us follow Jesus’s example and do good, do Our Father’s Will and Love. Jesus looked at Peter LOVINGLY. Loved Peter who walked WITH Jesus even while he was often fumbling with his faltering faith. 

Peter grew up from these early days, he grew spiritually to live in outreach to the Gentiles and to us. He could teach: “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”, because Peter Himself grew upto taste the Lord’s goodness.

Peter and we can learn the ancient scripture: For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” Let us try to walk more with the Word, even if in the World but not of it. Let us walk alongside Jesus and see the people He needs us to see. Let our suffering be set apart as something we endure for HIS SAKE. 

AMEN

—–

1st Peter 2:10-21

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.  For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

—-

1Peter 1:13-25

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Our Potter and His Clay, His Light Way… 05APR, #1444

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But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us

Like a Potter, God is Master of the clay, His Clay. God is IN charge of the wetness of the slip. God shapes the vessels of us over and over again with His Hands. God makes us strong yet just from dust.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 

We do hit bumps in the road and our imperfections show. We are, however, OK, because God makes the clay smooth again when we let Him take charge of us, clean out our rough spots and loose clay outcastings. Then, when we rest in His Will, stop moving so fast, we can dry and lighten our load.

Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 

We are to know that the fire only strengthens us, makes us suitable for service. A kiln for ceramic pottery and our spiritual life clay both require constant stoking of the Fire, requiring us to remain in the heat for as long as it takes. Bake for His sake.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

We do know these trying times indicate evil abounds, but restrained evil, restrained by the Hand of God. We pray Lord Jesus come quickly back to earth and yet right now we must appreciate this time in our lives, to show Jesus being alive to others, THRU US. Reveal Yourself, Lord Jesus, in our every spin of the wheel, the circle game of life. 

made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 

We know Christ SHINES, how dare we NOT ask for a fresh filling of His Spirit. We KNOW that LIGHT leads. We must allow it to SHINE bright. Our vessels, our jars of clay must be held together in order to hold water too, the Living Water poured into us. When we hold HIS Water, we can feed the flowers of our faith. May our faith flowers ever be in full bloom.

“Let light shine out of darkness”

Amen

—-

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2nd Corinthians 4:6-10

Ukrainian Prayer Service

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from Psalm 59 in Ukrainian and English

I never felt more close to the Ukrainian people than when I was at the prayer service where they organized and brought together dozens of Ukrainian churches. Thousand people nearly, maybe more? PACKED. Well dressed and somber spoken. Prayerful and passionate. Loving and Longing for peace.

There is no weapon more powerful than prayer, both the local Ukrainian leader and the many pastors stated.

It was a packed house. I slipped into a seemingly empty row, middle back, but then realized and slid to the middle of the pew, because the first band who came off stage was to sit there. Cool, I was “with the band”. Holy Spirit cool too as I bumped into the same band leaving, with too much to carry and grabbed gear to help bring to their car. We can’t all be in the band but we can all be “roadies” of real support.

I was blessed to sing with these thousand folks all, as they put up lyrics in both languages and WOW the singing gave me chills, especially when the 50 choir members took the stage, their music so beautiful, harmonious and strong, CHILLS… We were all blessed to be knowing that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and how many churches come together and strengthen their brothers and sisters. And for me an opportunity to put aside my small life concerns to pray for other whole life situations.

Prayers were collective and they asked for small group prayers as we naturally divided into groups of five, without moving seats. That was something so powerful to witness and participate in. It was a spirit-moving event AND our lips and hearts moving too, plus the second prayer time, they asked you to gather with a new five people. Then each person spoke in English or Ukrainian in prayers in the circle. I prayed for the blood of Jesus to cover us all. 

The amazing power of collective prayer is experiencing how it is said prayers rise to God as incense rises (from the book of Revelation, as my band seat mate spoke of). The collective power of prayer this night prayed for God to bring us peace from bloodshed, for strength for medics firefighters soldiers, for the Ukrainian president and also for repentance of the Russian aggressors. 

We all prayed with passion. So I don’t think my ears have ever heard something like that few hundred circles of whispered prayers – like standing in a forest fire of incense rising. It was so cool and so inspiring and warm. There was one circle of older folks still standing that when we sat they continued prayers for a couple minutes and I watched a shaking teary older woman and the support next to her and in the room. What I also watched was how young people were watching their elders and each other in prayer. That’s something we rarely see these days, a packed house of prayer of all generations. 

About 40 to 50 pastors were in attendance and some did come read scriptures throughout, with translations posted. Then at the closing prayer about five gave prayerful pleas.

During the service, we had a live video link to a Ukrainian pastor in an Ukrainian “safe spot” where he was continuing to help those people including his adopted church kids and family members. (We had amazing translators throughout – translating the speeches but not the prayers). He described funerals and people telling him of the bodies found. His prayers were so tearful and his strength so holy-inspired.  The unfairness of it all resonates greatly, yet the prayerfulness of the Ukrainians shows the strength, resilience, resistance to evil, and power of “DON’T EVEN THINK DARKNESS COULD OVERCOME LIGHT” 

Next to me on my left was a soft-spoken man who just brought in his nephew from Ukraine yesterday. Behind me the gentleman was bringing his sister from Ukraine thru Mexico. The band member on my right, who works in a similar industry to mine (small world), he may take time to fly to be a translator for refugees. I honestly don’t know how many refugees are coming, but I know it will mirror with incredible hope and separation sorrow like my great grandparents trip to America from Eastern Europe. Likewise I know these communities are opening loving homes, wallets, and HOPE. 

As we left, they shared Ukrainian chocolates in the cafe. A display of floral headband, intricate embroidery, delicate Ukrainian easter egg. The chocolate amazing, yet the greatest sweetness for me was seeing the families together. The sweetness was knowing Jesus in all of them gathered and feeling their spirits. The sweetness of chocolate reminds us of the after-death sweetness of eternal life. 

I felt that in closing the Ukraninan-spoken prayers of one pastor were so passionate to be tear-bringing, but when the crowd stood to sing a Ukrainian prayer love unity song, I could see the SPIRIT rise stronger than the tears.

Sweeter than anything is knowing God is saying: LET LIGHT SHINE. 

God bless Ukraine’s LIGHT. 

Amen Amen 

—-

Psalm 59 – English Standard Version

Deliver Me from My Enemies

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;  protect me from those who rise up against me; deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see! You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Ukranian Ribbons, Egg, Chocolate

In SPIRIT In TRUTH In GOD

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In SPIRIT, we look for TRUTH. In TRUTH, we look for SPIRIT.

IN looking, we find HOLY SPIRIT looking for us.

Let us Know, Witness and Worship God – in Spirit and in Truth.

The Spirit moving in us will bring us to Witness and Worship. The Spirit can put our desires just to live in the flesh to death and give us LIFE. LIFE comes from Jesus covering us with His Blood.

Jesus is in us in Truth. Jesus is True in us because He is unchanging Truth. Jesus is Spirit in us because He is God. We grow because faith is more and more revealed in us if we ask Him to increase Him and reduce us. Jesus brings us the clean bill of health to get closer to God, our Father.

Our Father is God. God is looking for us. Loving us. We love because He loves.

In SPIRIT In TRUTH In GOD

IN ALL

Amen

Jesus said to his disciples (and us):“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17

Paul taught: But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:10-18

Be Satisfied, Be Hungry, Be Foolish, 01APR

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It’s not an April Fools (April 1st) day joke, but instead knowledge that Jesus wants us to both BE SATISFIED and BE HUNGRY. Both.

Not knowledge just from experience but from His existence. Yes, foolishness by believing in Him, in His Holy Way, was never a joke.  Foolishness in us, sometimes said by others, is for us to NOT being interested in appearance but in ADHERENCE…. Really, how smart it is in letting those worries go. The having of internal knowledge of God is not from our achievement in learning but from our allowing of filling, in letting the Spirit lead and interpret our HOPE. Be satisfied.

Be Satisfied and fueled up with Holy Spirit. 

Does the Spirit make us hungry? Yes. 

I had a partial dream this morning and a conversation of faith came up in the corner of the scen. It was a conversation with someone, but I don’t know with whom, perhaps just and wonderfully it was with the Holy Spirit Himself who told me: “Be satisfied”. He and I leaned into knowing that God is in control and we have life parts to fulfill.  It was not BE SATISFIED then stop moving, but just keep knowing to work IN UNDERSTANDING, in believing and to be SATISFIED with His instructions, purpose, plan. BE.

How many times we learn by the hard way to internalize our motives, moments, and more. To hide our hearts, first from the desire to not appear foolish then hide our hearts because we would be taunted by our peers or ourselves for not serving ourselves more. How much more in these times do we find the ONLY ONE who understands us is the ONE who created us. If we deny ourselves and open to His Will, we Will find the Way.

How can we survive, yet be cross-foolish? Because our survival is not dependent upon us. Let us hunger for more of Him, His Ways, His understanding of what’s important and BE SATISFIED. 

We do need to open our eyes to our REAL needs, versus what we thought we needed. We also retrospectively should know we are forgiven for our previous forever worldly following, we are forgiven. And the foolishness of forgiveness is believing God tells us: BE SMART today, for the new day.

This can be a deep philosophical introspection, or we can take this pondering in a light hearted look at our lives. We best live in the present moment. God who does not change, and the answer will ALWAYS be: Be still and know that I am God. Be still and let Me do what REALLY needs to be done. Be still.  BE. BE YOU, MY CHILD. 

Be

Be Satisfied. 

Keep going…

Amen 

1st Corinthians 18-21

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Man of God Movie

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This was a tremendous movie of a tremendous servant Nektarios: “Man of God”.  This was a special showing. Theater was mostly full, likely mostly greek orthodox folks, like my friend who invited me (please pray for a miracle healing of her heart in chronic heart failure, thanks.)

Nektarios was first a preacher, then also a healer. We hear of someone like Bernadette and her faith at Lourdes, healing pools of water, but this movie focused on the man himself not the miracles, until the last scene with Mickey Rourke’s character experiencing a powerful healing for paralysis, tears in his belief and repentance, quite moving. 

Nektarios walked the walk and talked the talk, including not talking, taking punishment for himself instead of inflicting others…. and we heard his conversations with the Lord for he was persecuted unfairly. His writing was powerful and moving, in the 1910’s and 1920’s, he had quite the following and even helped a group of women establish a convent monastery. They were pestered by accusations, but all cleared of any wrong… 

He was at minimum always repenting for being a sinner, even though we would call him super good. He always prayed for forgiveness. I was just reading about king David and inflicting pain and death unto Uriah, being reprimanded by Nathan (2 Samuel 12), and how opposite this Nektarios was, living simply and taking on punishment for others. 

This movie was special and riveting, set in Greece, and even miraculous happenings for its filming. 

I especially enjoyed the constant reminder of not the miracles but that they represented true faith. He kept saying: my faith is not up to me. That’s a central truth we also must realize. Our faith is God expressing His Truth thru us. We preach, He reaches…

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt6060964/?ref_=ext_shr_lnk

“Exiled unjustly, convicted without trial, slandered without cause. Man of God depicts the trials and tribulations of Saint Nektarios of Aegina, as he bears the unjust hatred of his enemies while preaching the Word of God.”

In SPIRIT, we look for TRUTH.

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In SPIRIT, we look for TRUTH. In TRUTH, we look for SPIRIT.

IN looking, we find HOLY SPIRIT looking for us.


Let us Know, Witness and Worship God – in Spirit and in Truth.

The Spirit moving in us will bring us to Witness and Worship. The Spirit can put our desires just to live in the flesh to death and give us LIFE. LIFE comes from Jesus covering us with His Blood.

Jesus is in us in Truth. Jesus is True in us because He is unchanging Truth. We grow because He is more and more revealed in us if we ask Him to increase. Jesus brings us the clean bill of health to get closer to God, our Father.

Our Father is God. God is looking for us. Loving us. We love because He loves.


Amen


Jesus said to his disciples (and us): If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17


Paul taught: But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:10-18

Price of Peace is the Prince of Peace

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I realized the typo in the previous post – ALPHA AND OMEGA – which is fitting and wonder-ful…

I wrote: Price of Peace instead of Prince of Peace.

So cool how our mistakes are even in His message – just like He always covers us.

He covers our mistakes because His life is the Price of Peace… as He is the Prince of Peace…

Cool, Lord, cool…

Thank You Lord, Thank You!


ALPHA AND OMEGA

Lord

Prince of Peace

Holy One

Almighty


Overcomer

Messiah

Emmanuel

God

ALPHA AND OMEGA


Bluebirds for the Word

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Placing flowers on my Dad’s grave for what would have been my Dad’s birthday, I enjoyed watching the birds and hearing God’s comfort. We remembered many blessings of my Dad. Here’s my devotion of remembrance: reprinted and condensed from last summer:

Bluebirds for the Word

It is said that miracles serve to bring us back to the Word.

While walking in the cemetery this morning, supporting my mom in placing flowers on my Dad’s grave for what would have been his birthday, I couldn’t help but hear the birds singing loudly. The Holy Spirit reminds us that God is active in our lives, the Holy Spirit “IS” MOVING in our midst… 

This reminded me of the BLESSINGS, after my Dad’s passing last summer, of spending time with family, in LOVE’S outpouring of support. Two days after he passed, we took a respite visit to the Farmers Market. The blue flowers caught my eye, I had 4 bucks left. SOLD. Carried it back to the car then I quickly looked at the tag and saw the name was BLUE BIRD. Haha Lord!!! The name of my Dad’s favorite bird: BLUEBIRD.

I don’t have to tell you all my many God-sightings (God winks) to convince you that God is paying attention, I know that you also have seen these Holy Spirit movements. One could wonder what is simply serendipity coincidence, but I knew at that very moment, this WAS the Spirit saying that He Himself IS taking care of my Dad. And Jesus taught us that if our Father takes care of the birds, how much more He takes care of us. 

Bluebirds are special and so was my Dad, this miracle points me back to the Word because if bluebirds require special houses, high off the ground, how much more does the Lord love us and prepare a room for each of us in His House, His Kingdom.

We pray in Jesus’s name, He sends the Holy Spirit. I prayed for His Spirit to help carry my father. God gave me Hope. I know not just because a little birdie told me, but because Jesus did.

Amen

—-

1 Corinthians 2:7, 10-12:  …we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery…. as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 

Seasons of Life

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A friend is a few weeks away from knee surgery, so this season finds her sitting on the bench today, but her new knee new season will be SO MUCH better soon… she will await the next season with anticipation. she has been reminded, like us, to number our days.

Like the old advice says, you CAN do everything, have everything, in life, but NOT necessarily all at once.

This also means to appreciate the season of your life now. Don’t let the coldness of the past keep you from enjoying today.

Sometimes seasons switch from spring-sprung to barely peeping. Snowdrops then the tulip trees as well as forsythia and daffodils. Next slice of the season will be flowering quinces – and this year they will be BEAUTIFUL because I didn’t overtrim the bushes at the wrong time last year. Yes, we need to know how to prepare for the next season. If the flowering quinces know when to bloom, when to fruit, and when to leaf-out, so can we. They have a cycle, they have seasons. Us too, like Joni Mitchell sings. A Carousel of Time, in The Circle Game… we can grab what seems to be a fast up and down horse or the stationary seat while on the ride of life, but the carousel will turn and move us at the same speed each time. It’s our time perception that changes. We realize at the end of the ride that we wish it were longer, or we spend the whole ride trying to win a brass ring for another ride that we forget to enjoy the ride we are on.

Our job is to realize which season we are in now and bloom OR spread our leaves, OR harden down for winter, or plant for summer… No one said you can’t do things off season, but it’s best to be IN SEASON with where you are now. Pick up on cues and clues….

Especially realizing earthly life’s being just a small slice of forever life hopefully makes us appreciate the beauty of the moment AND the OPPORTUNITY of the moment.

Opportunity, that is what the religious leaders of the time squandered in Jesus’s time. They were too busy to realize they were out of season and certainly were not watching for the next season. Simeon at the temple knew Jesus as Messiah as the baby approached, but all of Israel did not. They were stuck in their dry season. Jesus cursed a fig tree for not being in bloom, the symbolism is of Israel not being fruitful when they could have known the Messiah was on His Way.  We are also to know that Jesus is on His Way to us any cloud now. We are to be in current season ready, to bear fruit or use our harvest, and to prepare for the next season. Our preparation now will let fruits of this season benefit those in the next.

What can we know about today? That we are to make the most of it. Jesus also taught that if we ask in His name, we can move mountains.

Jesus also said: when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Like the old advice says, you CAN do everything, have everything, in life, but not necessarily all at once. Let us appreciate our life now. Let us not get stuck in last season but spring into life, one blossom at a time. Let us forgive to be forgiven. Forgiveness is the soil softening and soul softening we need all in one. All in One, due to One, our Lord.

Let us bear fruit in faithfulness and trust God to not only bring us thru this season, but prepare us for the next.

Amen


Mark 11:12-21, 22-25 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”


A Circle Game, Joni Mitchell

Yesterday a child came out to wander

Caught a dragonfly inside a jar

Fearful when the sky was full of thunder

And tearful at the falling of a star

And the seasons, they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We’re captive on the carousel of time

We can’t return, we can only look

Behind, from where we came

And go round and round and round, in the circle game

Then the child moved ten times round the seasons

Skated over ten clear frozen streams

Words like, “When you’re older” must appease him

And promises of someday make his dreams

And the seasons, they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We’re captive on the carousel of time

We can’t return, we can only look

Behind, from where we came

And go round and round and round, in the circle game

16 springs and 16 summers gone now

Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town

And they tell him, “Take your time, it won’t be long now

‘Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down”

And the seasons, they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We’re captive on the carousel of time

We can’t return, we can only look

Behind, from where we came

And go round and round and round, in the circle game

So the years spin by and now the boy is 20

Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true

There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty

Before the last revolving year is through

And the seasons, they go round and round

And the painted ponies go up and down

We’re captive on the carousel of time

We can’t return, we can only look

Behind, from where we came

And go round and round and round, in the circle game

And go round and round and round, in the circle game

King Solomon’s Mine

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My Dad loved the movie “King Solomon’s Mine” and longed to see it again, the 30’s version or 50’s I don’t remember, but back in the 80’s I remember him talking about it… Movies glamorized the storylines of intrigue, romance, power and wealth…. (the movie makers were interested in the wealth too)… The myth makers are still interested in the wealth of forgotten mines and captivating story lines… and yet what does the Bible say about King David and his son future King Solomon?  That even God is not interested in the palaces and the gold and the drippings of earthly wealth. God, in HIS LOVE, IS INTERESTED ABOVE ALL IN OUR LOVE!

God told David to NOT build a house for the ark of the covenant, which was carried for years, and dwelled under a tent. David thought of the reverence required for this precious cargo but God did not have David build anything more than what He already had. (God can take whatever we are too and provide our future). God promised David that He would LOVE his/His son Solomon, the one whom He would direct to build a temple, God would direct this and keep him safe and always love him even when he turned away. Love is a beautiful temple that never crumbles. Even Solomon’s temple was temporary and eventually crumbled. 

God was and is already on the go, not just cargo in an ark. Obviously God is everywhere and the ark that God maintained became a reminder keeper for Manna and the tablets etc. God’s presence was felt and He did show favor in those times when He was consulted. He DID want the people to know Him and especially to KNOW how He rescued them. He still wants us to know that.

What was and IS the Lord’s treasure IS still the Lord’s – US. And the Lord would continue to build the house of David which means the bloodline for Jesus coming as a baby into the world. Jesus being King brought His Kingdom here. Jesus ruling the Kingdom of Heaven came not simply as a king of Earth, as some thought He would direct in earthly power, Jesus came to secure our sin sacrifice for our souls.

Jesus mines SOULS.

Jesus also knew He would become broken and rise up. Jesus is the ultimate LOVE we are under. He came and already existed. 

King Solomon’s Mines are nothing like Jesus saying: Your Mine, Your Mine, Your Mine.  Jesus mines SOULS

Make mine Yours, Lord. 

Amen 


God’s Promise to David

2nd Samuel 7:1-17

After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.” But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning  and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:  When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.  But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”

Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

—-

Here’s a discussion of the mining myth:

https://www. penn.museum/sites/expedition/solomon-the-copper-king/

Awakening before Reckoning

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I was reading a blog that covers the book of Revelation and the great awakening that will come before the reckoning and last days… I find that so many people have not ventured into these pages of Revelation – I feel it is like the goldmine of knowledge – like what IS behind that giant locked door on the Price is Right game show – well – Jesus gave us the combination to open it – so don’t delay in turning the wheel and driving into the book…

The book of Revelation reminds me of how it pains me to say to people, when the conversation goes there, that things are only going to get worse before they get better. Yeah – that is a realist who is an optimist too. Optimist for the Great Awakening and doing what I can to help make that happen – and Realist for what I see and experience and because I do watch the news and I also watch the ignoring of news too…  How easily we forget of tragedies not in our daily views. We have the greatest expanse into media but we have no time to watch it anyway – nor do we know what to see and filter. 

The Bible is the ONE place that tells it as it is. AND we can go there because it IS in front of us.

We need Awakening before Reckoning – and they both are close around the corner.

We need to be a part of that Great Awakening… both by believing ourselves, showing our faith, and teaching about the Jesus we know and how others could dig into their own faith and see if they can talk with Jesus…  How will anyone know their faith unless they think about their faith… Now is not the time to reach to just those we already know who have faith but to reach to others to strengthen their faith and learn of faith…

If we don’t show reverence then we won’t ever show relevance to our situations. We got to show the world’s people that we know where to find support when times get tough. Like sheltering in the strongest part of the house when a tornado comes by. How best to speak of faith than show it!

This blog (link below) that I read speaks of the judgements and trials as described in Revelation and we have 2 responses from them – to draw closer to God OR to rebel…  Trust me, in these times, I think there is no time like the present to be present with listening to and for God. Draw closer.

Jesus speaking to the church at Sardis: which was not perfect: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee”. Revelation 3:2-3

This is the quote that sums up that blog: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!


This link was the blog I was reading (it is 10 years old but still relevant because it is based on the bible and that never changes) – i know nothing about this preacher or church or background or anything – but the blog is a good read of reaching into the book of Revelation and learning about the Lord’s plans: https:// ministry127.com/christian-living/the-last-great-awakening

PERSONALITY

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People 

Earnestly 

Realizing 

Self-Awareness

Opportunities 

Naturally. 

Always 

Live 

Increasingly 

True-to

Yourself 


If there’s one thing so unique to each of us, it’s PERSONALITY! Yes, my cat has a level of personality too, and LOTS of attitude, but it is NOT like humans, not classifiable as humors, aptitudes, energies, drives. I can say I have a smart kitty, but there is no drive like that of a person to “just be me!”

We each have God-given personality, and our world is more interesting and blessed because of it. How boring it would be otherwise! Personality is gifted as freedom within boundaries. That’s what God does for us: let us create us, with our free will. But when we realize He wants us to leave room in our tanks for Him to fill us, we will flow thru life much more powered by Him. Let us GROW in our GRATITUDE of ATTITUDE.

Amen 

“Don’t Copy Me!”

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It is with JOY that I joined into a new OLD church as a NEW member. It’s not simply that I like to go there (and I really do), but because I gave careful consideration that I felt the Lord Himself has placed me there, to worship, work, wait, wonder. “There are no coincidences in life”, my friend always says… This is the same friend who had invited me to visit outdoor worship one fall day in the Firefighters park, where I walked in, knew 6 people, including the pastor from our deep connection 20 years prior raising and nursing our baby girls those crucial early months, and walking in that day I felt it was a SET-UP by God Himself, I have no doubt!. New season, sprinkled by God into my scene. (I then bought a new old chair for the park to watch the Lord walk me into this!).

So yesterday (IN the church now for winter), the little boy next to me, joining officially with his parents, was as CUTE as he could be, as CUTE as he is rambunctious, always enlivening our congregation in his presence. He settled next to me at the altar and playfully participated in answering the Pastor’s questions. I did feel he spoke with real power from his soul in saying: “I DO” to the pastor’s questions of joining and confessing our need for Christ. I know we are to learn FAITH from the little children UNHINDERED. 

Sure, it was “whirlwind witness”, the quick ceremony, but we DID get the questions ahead of time to ponder. I PONDERED. I double checked myself, did I believe? Yes! (questions are posted below)… Yes, Lord I am a sinner even if I hate to admit it. I realize sin in retrospect and rescuing in flashbacks. I sin forward in commission and omission. Lord, I know I am working on my walking. Thanks for carrying me.

By the third question this little boy had increased his powerful “I DO” answers that made me CHUCKLE. The third or fourth time I answered a little late and he blurted out to me “DON’T COPY ME!!!” I smiled at my conviction just as much as his cuteness, because he IS right (my small friend) and He IS Right (the big H of Him Almighty “I AM”). We are NOT to be copycats or crowd followers, EVERYONE should answer on their own. EVERYONE must answer for themselves. (Not just answer the pastor but also answer the Lord’s Call on their lives.) Each person, according to His Will, powered by the Holy Spirit within us, should answer Truthfully of the Truth of worship while in worship, answer Spiritually while within the Spirit of worship. Witness your walk (and those days He has carried you too).

The Holy Spirit moves us, sometimes more rapidly than we could imagine, for multitudes of purposes we really can’t wrap out heads around. The Holy Spirit can CHANGE THE SEASON, that we are in, just as commonly fast as obtaining 70 degrees 2 days after snow. 

I do feel blessed that I could serve at this church. I do feel blessed that it can be a home base to bounce into the week. And yet it is MOST important in the binding of me onto their membership roles that we live with a SPIRITUAL STICK-TO-IT-NESS, especially and really say “I DO” to the Holy Spirit. Isn’t this like our whole life IS a build up wedding, the Bride of Christ (us) to our Bridegroom (Jesus) when He returns. (Got oil in your lamp? Fire in your heart?)

Let’s say I DO now in HOPE to His banquet feast, eternal peace, unity in knowing Him as Lord and Savior. 

These are the questions I pondered and will ponder. I underlined words enforcing of my need for Him and my LOVE of His Word:

Do you acknowledge yourself to be a SINNER in God’s sight, justly deserving His displeasure, and without HOPE, except through His sovereign MERCY? (“I do”)

Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and depend upon Him alone for SALVATION? (“I do”)

Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the GRACE of the Holy Spirit, to endeavor to LIVE as becomes a follower of Christ? (“I do”)

To the best of your ability, do you promise to serve Christ in His Church through it worship and work? (“I do”)

Do you submit to the government and discipline of the Church, and do you promise to further its unity and peace?  (“I do”)

I know it is important to NOT flippantly answer these questions, but speak with Spirit and Truth of the need for Jesus. PEACE and UNITY come IN HIS NAME and POWER. 

Worshiping thru the Holy Spirit allows and MOVES ME AND EACH OF US to become FOLLOWERS. This is why we HUNGER for SCRIPTURE, HUNGER for HOPE, kneel in His Mercy, BE HIS.

I DO. (But “DON’T COPY ME”, LOL)

Prayers for all to say: “I DO”…

Amen 

Amen 

Does my Temple have a Moat? 19MAR

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I’ve let my Temple stretch a little, Christmas carbs, January junk, February foodies, March madness and of course a total lack of exercise. Not too bad but can’t fit my fancy pants, need to reduce a layer of winter insulation. Spring means springing out into the world. Yes, our bodies are our Temples, actually our bodies are to be Temples for God, made by God for WORSHIP. Temples however that MOVE. I need to get moving. 

Temples in us should MOVE in motion. Moses moved the Tabernacle (many times), it was portable and contained no less interactions with God than Solomon’s Temple, built solid in the ground. Solomon was allowed to build this amazing temple for God, David,  before son Solomon, was not called to build it, and before them the wandering Israelites were not called to build a building that stayed “stationary”. Yes, the Israelites even had to pick up and CARRY the tabernacle. What they did build to STAY on the ground were mementos of items to remind them of God’s rescue (like stones from the middle of the Jordan River). That way they remembered everytime they walked by. (Do we remember times God sustained us when we had none? Money woes? Illness?  How about rescue from injuries? God helps us.)

Our Temples of our bodies should MOVE. Our Temples of our bodies should walk by these memories of God’s rescue.  Our Temples of sharing should open. Our worship of God should be our praise.

Yes, our worship of God should be our praise, and our faith and sanity should not simply rely upon a drawbridge to raise. If I wonder of my walk of faith, should I build my personal Temple into a fortified castle?  with a moat? Is my Temple all about defense? Block out the world? (Try not to gloat at the size of our protective moats.) Or is it best to bring our Temple out into the wilderness in a tent, camping away from everyone? Or should our Temple, trusting the process of putting on God’s Armor, be out in the open and walking among God’s people.  Probably a bit of each of these things. Mainly our Temple should be made like a clay pot, by God’s Hand, tough walls but open for Holy Spirit filling. And if it falls down? It can roll with the punches. 

Let us take a moment to spruce up the Temple grounds and place ourselves in a nourishing area of encouraging folks. Let us embrace this new springtime, warmer weather, flowers blooming, let us make best use of our Temples. 

Remember, our Temples ARE like Solomon’s Temple in one way, they will eventually CRUMBLE. So, try not to grumble at the crumble. 

Consecrate our Temples Lord for WORSHIP, let us pick it up and follow You!

Pick up the pace and finish this race!

Amen 

CHRIST IN – WHEW – Saint Patrick’s Prayer

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Stop being afraid, for I AM with you. 

They called upon me to go to the audit today – not just any audit but the BIG audit – BIGGEST one in 3 years of course and one that has the whole building all abuzz…  whew…  I knew it was a possibility to go speak, even kinda wanted the opportunity. 

I didn’t have to prep, we’ve been preparing for weeks, years. I had 30 minutes warning, I knew the ins and outs and loose ends and such, did not know however what they wanted but I really COULD talk for hours on the subject at hand, but the best advice for me and everyone was/is: just answer what they ask. SHORT, SWEET and SAIL OUT of there.

I felt the nerves but not the fear. I KNEW I KNEW WHAT I KNEW. Funny I felt the urge to brush my teeth! YEAH, and be calm and presentable and joyous and smiling, decked out in St Pattie’s green, and of course be SMART, the SME, Subject Matter Expert. 

The St Patrick’s prayer populated my palm, it really did land in my hand, in the form of a sticker. Yes in handing out a pack of stickers with shamrocks and secular St Pats sayings, whoda thunk there WAS one for me. God did, you see. A sticker to stick to me. I needed that prayer JUST THEN… Let’s say there’s no luck like blesses luck when the Holy Spirit hits like a mack truck.

Jesus says No Fear, Only Faith. 

You don’t get to know stuff so well unless you have lived it, walked it, which I have, for my time with this project was started so years ago!!! I’m old schooled…

Jesus walking with us? From the beginning of time? He’s old school schooled in handling US.

I had a sticker that I got that day – it was the prayer to calm and HUMBLE me, a St Patrick’s Prayer. I walked toward the audit, read it over again and my step slowed as it calmed me. I walked out of my ego, while reading it, the first lines, the middle lines, the last 2 lines are what really humbled me, a chance to be whatever God needed me to be at that moment. Sometimes we ARE placed for OK moments, shining times, just assurances for others. It was NOT me to praise, this is God’s walk that allows me to NOT trip up when I take a trip WITH Him..

The sticker:

Christ with me, 

Christ before me, 

Christ behind me,

Christ in me, 

Christ beneath me, 

Christ above me,

Christ on my right, 

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, 

Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

I walked in humbly jumbled prayer of excitement and knowing what to do, namely not let people down. I wanted to show well for the group, not for me. Obviously this sounds like a boast, but well, there’s no better time to hide under His Wing to show anything than Christ Himself, by walking in to SERVE. It’s better to NOT stand out as unknowing then be a standout for knowing. 

I walked out pumped up, short and sweet, answers answered in 15 minutes max, wee bit of St Patrick’s jocularity broke the ice first then the questions were laid out…  done.

I walked out and reread THIS GIFT. It’s now a sticker stuck on my lanyard and now in my heart. 

God saved me today in the God way. By taking my way out of His way. Let Him BE the Way. Christ KNOWS the Way. 

Yay.

Amen


Amen and here’s the whole prayer:

St Patrick’s Prayer,  5th century 

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, 

the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.


I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.


I arise today

Through the strength of the love of cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In service of archangels,

In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In the prayers of patriarchs,

In preachings of the apostles,

In faiths of confessors,

In innocence of virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.


I arise today

Through the strength of heaven;

Light of the sun,

Splendor of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of the wind,

Depth of the sea,

Stability of the earth,

Firmness of the rock.


I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me;

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s hosts to save me

From snares of the devil,

From temptations of vices,

From every one who desires me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,

Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that reward may come to me in abundance.


Christ with me, 

Christ before me, 

Christ behind me,

Christ in me, 

Christ beneath me, 

Christ above me,

Christ on my right, 

Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, 

Christ when I sit down,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation


Bloom Well

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When the Lord says: “Wait until Heaven to even the score”, He means it. He means both: ‘Wait!’ and ‘LET ME DO IT, not you.’ 

Know that evil has always existed in the world and just live the best you can anyway.

Jesus tells many parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, including how we must WAIT until God’s judgement and know that evil will be taken care of.  Therefore, even if bereft by evil, taken down by evil, devoted people will be taken care of. Jesus SPECIFICALLY says “At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn”.

If Heaven waits, then surely we can also wait for the harvest. Jesus HIMSELF will sort it all out. Jesus HIMSELF will divide the goats and sheep. 

It is always good advice to DO THE BEST YOU CAN, even in trying times. You can still BEAR FRUIT even if weeds and wackiness wrestle with you for water. 

Bloom well.

Amen 

Jesus told them a parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ – “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. – “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” 
Matthew 13:24-30

(And KNOWthe harvest of heaven might be soon, right around the corner!)

Amen

Polishing His Pearl – REPRISE

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Worth a re-post – a reminder that outside we are always wasting away while the Lord works on the inside of us most – leaving the outside up to us to show His Polish in our attitude and our lives and our love.

Worth remembering that we have a lot of sand in our midst – it could feel like polishing sand, or irritating sand like in our bathing suit or cars after a beach trip, or could be “good” but corrective sand on sandpaper to smooth things over on us – and it IS worth remembering that in the WHOLENESS of time in God’s Hand, we ARE sitting in HIS Oyster – if we get more polishing on His pearl it is because He is molding us into His Image, helping us become better….

Polishing HIS Pearl, REPRISE writing:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of LIGHT.” Matthew 6:21

Putting on my pearl necklace this morning, dressed up for the big boss coming to work today, I looked in the mirror and I smile at how God has changed me – first and most crucially inside – by growing Jesus in my heart and focusing my gaze inward to growing Him and shining Him, then later changed me outwardly by my weight loss and increased fitness… God plucked up the pearl inside me and started polishing.

I love to sing the praise band lyric based on Psalm 105:  “Make known among the nation’s, what the Lord has done! Sing to HIM! Sing praises to HIM… Tell all HIS wonderful acts!”…

I know it’s God’s timing but sometimes I wonder to marvel why Jesus was cultivated in me for SO long until God cracked open my oyster. I wondered why it wasn’t until the age of 45 that I awakened to the knowledge that God had claimed me for HIS own, drove me directly into Jesus’s arms to wake me up. I know HE waited until I was ready to open my eyes.  I marvel at the intensity of my love for Him and how rapid it developed… I know and appreciate it was HIS specific timed window of opportunity – not too early, not too late… And I know He STILL has work to do in me and now I must help Him help me – by asking Jesus to shine on dark areas of my ever human sinfulness.

Because of HIM and HIS LOVE. I was caught in the net where I previously had struggled with being caught. When I stopped struggling (and stopped scratching God’s polish on His pearl) and I became STILL, that’s when I let Jesus scoop me up WHOLE HEARTEDLY. He knew I needed HIM before I was even born. He knew I needed Him ever more, now and forever…

Jesus’s net is cast from the inside. His shining pearl is lovingly kept inside of us for all to see. When we open our eyes and our pearly smile we shine HIM thru us. The “key” – like those attached to my “I love Jesus” keychain – is that Jesus cracks us open from the INSIDE. Jesus is the pearl in our oyster. God waits until it is harvest time – then God polishes. We become the beneficiaries of HIS shining… His Grace… His LOVE…

Amen

John 6:37-39, 45 (NIV)
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.
… It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”

Stretch Lord Stretch

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Awkward my dreams can seem at first, mixed and jumbled, yet they must have a purpose for me to process. After the strange shopping/cleaning dreams, there was one in which I was putting together a wire storage unit, not unusual as I love IKEA. The top of the unit had to stretch and that pulled the loose wobbly pillars of legs together and voila it was strong, workable, together, in use. I said mentally “the top had to be stretched to strengthen” – SNAP,  I woke up and said THAT’S WHAT GOD IS DOING. 

STRETCH Lord, STRETCH

I realized that this loose wobbling world was like this furniture – undone – it needs the STRETCH of the Lord over it. God does not change, but He can reach into areas like stretching a big net – strong enough that it can support walking across. Like a rope being pulled, it becomes tight. Yes Lord, like You reaching by our reaching, we can (with You) make the stretch strong. 

We all have to stretch don’t we?? There are times we need to stretch the budget to pay the bills. There’s ALWAYS times to stretch our time to get everything done.  We stretch until we latch onto the next rock ledge when climbing. We stretch to reach what’s dropped on the floor. Because we reach and God reaches, we are restored to peace. 

It is because of brokenness we share life stories, it is because of His repair that we rise from them.

I thought of the war between Russia and Ukraine and what’s been cut off from communication and fuel and food. BUT, there, especially there (and everywhere) GOD STILL STRETCHES into and thru those regions. God grows the faith of those who seek Him more. They are strengthened and His Reach STRETCHES. He can NOT break. He CAN connect. Our Lord IS working a revival, one strand, one person at a time. Just because the phones stop working doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit stops. The thousands of years of life have had God-sustained, fiber-optic-faith, meaning the Fibers of His Net are optically seen in the heart, more and more. Faith reaches, not by sight but felt. Walk by Faith always. 

Pray for revival. Lord God, You are stretching out. Let us pray for the people, all people, to reach back to Him. Their stretch, like those wobbly furniture spokes, is a moment for them to get under God’s Plan, to find Him, to BE HELD CLOSE.

Under His Wing or out walking across and in His supporting stretch, WE PRAY REVIVAL. Our stretch is out from our comfort zones to REACH His people. He’s got us positioned to produce a powerful PRAISE. We must be part of the REVVING UP for Reaching Revival

God’s got this, LIFE in this broken world IS fraught with pain and unknown, but KNOW the KNOWN- that God’s Stretch is our saving capture. 

STRETCH LORD, STRETCH. 

Amen

AMEN!!!

Excerpts from prophet Zechariah about the Lord coming and coming again (I don’t know how it all will connect here, but I know it does because God Almighty, Lord of All, has been and WILL connect with His people. STRETCH LORD STRETCH!)

“…the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berekiah, the son of Iddo: “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord. Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?

“Then they repented and said, ‘The Lord Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’”

When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.

Do not be afraid. These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! 

Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.

He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

 …

Amen

Restore us Lord with Your STRETCH. 

Awakening before Reckoning

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I was re-reading a blog that covers the book of Revelation and the great awakening that will come before the reckoning and last days… I find that so many people have not ventured into these pages of Revelation – I feel it is like the goldmine of knowledge – like what IS behind that giant locked door on the Price is Right game show – well – Jesus gave us the combination to open it – so don’t delay in turning the wheel and driving into the book…

The book of Revelation reminds me of how it pains me to say to people, when the conversation goes there, that things are only going to get worse before they get better. Yeah – that is a realist who is an optimist too. Optimist for the Great Awakening and doing what I can to help make that happen – and Realist for what I see and experience and because I do watch the news and I also watch the ignoring of news too…  How easily we forget of tragedies not in our daily views. We have the greatest expanse into media but we have no time to watch it anyway – nor do we know what to see and filter. 

The bible is the ONE place that tells it as it is. AND we can go there because it IS in front of us.

We need Awakening before Reckoning – and they both are close around the corner.

We need to be a part of that Great Awakening… both by believing ourselves, showing our faith, and teaching about the Jesus we know and how others could dig into their own faith and see if they can talk with Jesus…  How will anyone know their faith unless they think about their faith… Now is not the time to reach to just those we already know who have faith but to reach to others to strengthen their faith and learn of faith… One of my favorite things about Easter is the families that do come back together for the services and grandkids can see what their grandparents are devoted to – and understand the relevance of faith. If we don’t show reverence then we wont ever show relevance to our situations. We got to show the world’s people that we know where to find support when times get tough. Like sheltering in the strongest part of the house when a tornado comes by.

This blog I read speaks of the judgements and trials as described in Revelation and we have 2 responses from them – to draw closer to God OR to rebel…  Trust me, in these times, I think there is no time like the present to be present with listening to and for God. Draw closer.

Jesus speaking to the church at Sardis: which was not perfect: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee”. Revelation 3:2-3

This is the quote that sums up that blog: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

This link was the blog I was reading (it is 10 years old but still relevant because it is based on the bible and that never changes) – i know nothing about this preacher or church or background or anything – but the blog is a good read of reaching into our readings in the book of Revelation and learning about the Lord:

https  ://ministry127.com/christian-living/the-last-great-awakening

Morning Star, a Fortress for the Broken Heart, 10MAR

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“Morning Star, Keep my heart.”   I sing that every morning when I see the star…

It’s a blessing to be up to see the “morning star”, planet Venus, shining brighter than all. It’s like someone poked a hole in the sky of black. The dark helps us see the LIGHT. The Morning Star of the Word is JESUS, He lights the day and our Way.

Now, at 5 am, it is not pure enjoyable to have been woken by the cat to start the day so early, nevertheless it does remind me of the blessings of quiet time, to have a quiet home, a sanctuary of living. HOPE. In life and strife, we are blessed to taste of His Hope, sing of it. Especially when we know from the news that so many are displaced right now, we must not complain about quiet mornings. Always we need to count our blessings because there are many previously ALREADY displaced, hassled, homeless, living in danger, most whom we don’t ever hear about. Some afraid to leave home, some afraid to stay home. Sad…

The blessings we have include that we find Peace in our pursuit of Peace. Searching for our faith is faith in itself. The GIFT of HOPE in the Lord is the GIFT itself. 

Morning also does bring me back to my reading of the Old Testament, that’s where the Lord wants my heart right now, in LEARNING… He wants all our hearts in learning more about Him, in learning the stories that dwell within His Heart. I pray that we are all in appreciation for His Broken Heart spills from these stories.

The broken heart stories of the Lord become fortress stones around our faith, they remind us of His LONG journey – and especially knowing that Alpha to Omega, He never ends, it means He always knew this pain. Yes, within this fortress of learning, Jesus pours out His brokenhearted memories of wars, famines, evil fights,  hearts turned away… He knew them before they started. Oh, Jesus, Morning Star, Keep my Heart – I want to share it with You for helping You piece together Yours… I want to keep faith as cement to Your desired Stronghold in me. I want to help build a Fortress around the collective broken heart of Your people.  I pray HOPE.

If you look to the news today, AND if you look to even the smallest of sections of the Old Testament, as I have been reading in 2nd Samuel about Saul’s death and David’s troubles, there is such unbelievable bloodshed, war, strife, innocents in trouble, souls searching, pain, and yet small palatable victories. Oh for us to understand that God IS in control, but He’s planning and using the good AND the bad for His Victory.  Even the wicked… The Lord works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.

It is for us to remember that the Lord rules, restores, remembers the hearts of good and of the wicked. We are to despise evil, but know that the Lord IS keeping score on what people do from brokenness and from their proudness. We should not turn wicked in response to wickedness. The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

David, the Lord’s anointed, is a story of returning to the Lord again and again, even after mistakes. He does become King over Israel, and establishes the House and City of David and grows in strength of being King. Remember that in his early days he only needed a sling and a few stones as a token to hurl God’s Strength. But now he must be in a retreat of a fortress. We build bigger and bigger war machines, strongholds, existences, fortresses, buffer zones, don’t we?. . But where will we find the Lord most close? To our broken hearts. If we quiet down to listen to past the war sounds, we should also try to hear and remember the Lord’s Word that was working inside the people who pulled thru or died in perseverance. His fortress is building blocks of our faith. 

Our faith builds when looking Light in darkness. Build a fortress around God’s Word inside your heart, protect your heart. Truly keep moving in learning and looking for the light. See the Morning Star and know Jesus, He starts you on your day. 

Today, Lord Almighty, be with those aching in war. Today, Lord Almighty, be also with us. Give us all HOPE. 

Amen 

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I’m often singing these lyrics by Paul Balouche: “Keep my heart tender before you, Lord.  Able to hear your voice and follow. Keep my heart yearning to know you more. Eager to hear your word and obey. Keep my heart, flowing in your direction Lord.  Keep my heart, holy light, so innocent and undefiled. King of love, Lord most high, so beautiful and bright.  Morning star, keep my heart.”

Proverbs 16:1-5

To humans belong the plans of the heart but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

2nd Samuel 5:7, 9-10

David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David…. David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inward. And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him. 

Best Father Mulcahy Sermon on Mash

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At the 3 minute mark of this video clip, after Father Mulcahy stayed up all night with a patient who just learned he had leukemia, made him late in an opportunity to impress the visiting cardinal, which of course is NOT what the Lord needs us to do… This IS the best MASH sermon… God got on TV…  Father Mulcahy said: “…God put us here so He could be here Himself, so He could exist in the lives of those He created in His image.” (really a great episode to watch in it’s entirety).

Yes God put us here to love us and to be here WITH US, to show sacrifice, love over loss, devotion to the depth of death…

Yes He did… I saw it on TV, but my tears knew it as truth… He IS here to be with us.

“…so He could exist in the lives of those He created…”

Amen 

Plundering, Persevering, Relying on God

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What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

That’s the question Jesus asks to those looking to living in this worldly life. Why?

There are no big small stories in the Bible that we can’t learn from. Our souls need sole-sourced sustaining. We are taught when to fight, when to fold, when to walk away. Plundering and perseverance teach us to Forever Rely On God (FROG as my dear friend says).

The last chapters of 1 Samuel finds David hiding out in enemy territory to escape a former friend now enemy, his previous boss in King Saul.  They spar on occasion and yet David seemingly respects Saul being appointed and anointed as special to the Lord. And from early on, David also loved him and acted as a servant. But now (and repeatedly), David was in danger for Saul had gone mad and stopped looking to the Lord. Saul went to kill David many times. David had opportunity at least twice to kill Saul but instead showed his superior skill as a soldier all while sparing Saul’s life. David even infiltrated the camp and stole Saul’s dagger and water jug while that encampment slept. But he did not kill him. Later, David taunted Abner, the warrior who was supposed to be protecting Saul. David showed that he spared Saul because HE COULD. David COULD take the high road, even in war. Perseverance. They made “peace” in pausing their pursuit, but more likely they went their own ways. Did David already sense the Lord will reward each person according to what they have done or not done? Here is where David (and we) have to admit,  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

David then went into the real enemy territory to get away completely, but actually he had to join up with the real enemy, Philistines. He had battled in a manner that destroyed everything and everyone, a sport of sparing, it was a plundering party… trouble for all… and even later the enemy Philistines, who had heard of David’s strengths, and perhaps heard about the power of David’s God, our God, turned back against him fighting alongside,  they could not trust their enemy in their midst, they asked him to leave. 

David’s whole army went back to base camp, but found it was taken, all was gone, carried off as plunder. He inquired of the Lord, a familiar retreat for David, and God said go fight for rescung your people. Only some of his men could go fight, what an exhausting battle to wage for men who lost their families and hope… “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep”.

Perseverance comes thru God’s power.

Strengthened by the Lord, and given a messenger of information in an Egyptian slave left for dead, but revived by David, the fighters won all the families back and took plunder plus. There are many big little stories here, including the saving of one man who in return helped them all, this sounds familiar – feed the One who gives you the source of information to win (sounds like Jesus), and the story of the men who followed David and won the day and got the unbelievable experience to regain their loved ones (sounds like us following Jesus), and the story of the plundering winners who did not want to share the winning plunder with those who stopped exhausted on the journey. However David commanded them to share. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Yes, sounds like Jesus sacraficing to share).

We too encounter people who are exhausted on their journey and in desperate times. May we have mercy on them as God has mercy on us.

Plunder is the taking of war trophies triumphs tokens in TOTAL. To destroy your enemies and then take their stuff too. There were opportunities to take much in the battles that David fought, back and forth war spoils went, but war is often waged at the cost of losing everything. How we fight is every much as important as who we are fighting. We too will encounter madmen like Saul, best to take the high road and even step away so one is not pulled into evil.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

War to rescue everyone, even those not of your seemingly immediate family, is the war we witness between evil and the power in God, gifted in Jesus’s commitment to save us over the separating powers of sin and death. Jesus came for all who would believe, Gentiles and Jews, all peoples who have opening ears to hear Him as Lord. The battles continue. Help where you can.

Our war is won, but we can not plunder what was not ours, what God gave as spoils WILL spoil if not shared. Don’t stumble. If we could keep listening to the Lord and divide our knowledge of Him to others, we will share of His Goodness to combat madness of the world. 

We also need to remember not to get pulled into the madness of madness, especially seeing Saul at the end of his life suffer because he lost his way. (He even got a medium to conjure up Samuel as a spirit, Samuel was not pleased.) We must draw the line and not partake in getting mired in what has already gone overboard. 

Be content. 

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Help where you can, but under the Lord’s direction only. Sometimes step away. If only for one day. Take another look at the situation, as if you were taking a step back from a painting and can see an image, like seeing a frog blending into the scene, but ready to jump out of the mud. So should we be ready. Take a look at the world from God’s perspective and rise above.

Walk in the Light.

Jump in the joy.

Persevere always.

Amen


1 Samuel 26-30 NIV;KJV – David, Saul, Plundering…
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Samuel%2026-30&version=NIV;KJV

Matthew 16:23-27

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

When Do I Hit the Gas?

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I wonder what the next phase of my (your, our) life will be in serving the Lord.

I know that the Lord has many plans for us (for me) and I humbly accept what I can handle, when I can handle it.  There’s always a learning curve to navigate, and seems in life, that is everyday. 

I took a first hour out with my son doing practice driving. We stayed only on the brake and did not apply the gas, and we just stayed in a parking lot. We have to build confidence and live safely with common sense. He did very well. Maybe next time, in a big open field, I will let him hit the gas, maybe.

We all have to learn how to let the Lord direct our way. We apply knowledge before we apply power. There are times when we DO need to let off the brake, but we do NOT need to put in any gas power into our path. The Lord knows EXACTLY how and when He wants to move us. Other times we do know the plan and are commanded to run with it – and making His clarity our reality, we then apply the gas and GO.

I know enough about the Lord that He has already planned what’s around the bend. I know enough about myself that whether I am on the brake or the gas, I best let Him drive me there. I also know that the Lord made the road itself over any terrain we will encounter together. And you know life will have many roads to take. Hands on the wheel, foot on the brake, eyes on the road. Thanks to the God who puts gas in our tanks.

Amen

My Lucky Charm or Our Savior’s Arm?, 17MAR

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My Lucky Charms are tasty, green and sugary. 

It’s artificial color, but real sugar makes us real jittery.

Limited edition means they will disappear from shelves. 

But you know the regular box, made by those leprechaun elves.


So are we lucky on St Patrick’s Day, or blessed every day?

Lucky to be blessed or blessed to be lucky, which is it today?

Will you count on today’s temporary charms?

Or continually be fighting too many life alarms?


Don’t let the seeming magic luck fool you.

The REAL TRUTH is what REALLY should school you.

Is my Life held safe by my Lucky Charm? 

Nope, HOPE is in us holding onto our Savior’s Arm.


We were blessed the days on earth He gave His best.

We are blessed today because in Him we rest.

We will be blessed tomorrow for starting fresh.

We are blessed in FOREVER LIFE now caught in His Mesh.


Amen (and Happy St Patrick’s Day!)

INVIGORATE

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Lord we pray,

 Invigorate

    Investigate 

       Identify

          Intensify 

            Illuminate

   Impact 

      Inform

        Impart

          Idealize

            In-dwell

Invigorate


Majesty not Mystery

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Many times we forget that God does not want us to view Him as a mystery.

His power IS mysterious and miraculous, yes, and because we cannot wrap our heads around how great He is, on how He does everything, we shy away from asking more about Him.

We fail to ask for help to follow His path.

And yet, He wants to be clear to us.

He does not always reveal everything to us all at once, He knows that we could not absorb all that information anyway.

Day by day, moment by moment, we are to live on His Word.

Let us not get lost in the mystery that we don’t know that HIS Majesty is our ALL in ALL.

Divided by War – The Torn Curtain Opened for All

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It is painful and unbelievable the tragedies of the Ukrainian people, including those displaced from their homes and those who are dividing their families to get them to safety in Poland or elsewhere. Families divided by war – we watch it firsthand on the internet, thru TV. This is a traditional war that maybe we never thought we would see – with hand to hand combat – inch by inch. My 80 year old aunt remembers WW2, the Korean War, how eerie that we have not advanced in our diplomacy since then, and that war is seen as the means to the ends that never ends.

These families are divided by war and the ones left on the other side become family to each other. We heard of a ministry program that would have left town in the Ukraine but they instead picked up 7 orphaned children and now all huddle together while the bombs are loud and close. 

War can be a curtain that divides – it is a block. There were many physical walls that went up in a blockade war – dividing families in Germany – in Korea. This separation by choice is unbearable necessity in families.

Now, imagine how God feels. We have been separated from Him by a war of evil. Imagine Him fighting His war ever since Adam. His tactic took many years to bring to fruition, His whole plan of living on this planet involved the tearing of the biggest curtain between us and Him. He brought Jesus to earth to CROSS the barrier. Lord, teach us to worship in Spirit and in Truth, and now thru this torn curtain we must venture within. We ARE His children and He is calling us back by walking us forward. He does not blockade the opening – no, the enemy does that. He does not close the curtain – no, we tend to do that. God OPENED the curtain so we can approach HIM. See HIM rise even thru the battle smoke. If there is terrible smoke in your life, keep looking for the light, crawl on the floor if you must – but know that the door is OPEN.

Many times we forget that God does not want us to view Him as a mystery.  His power IS mysterious and miraculous, yes, and because we cannot wrap our heads around how great He is, on how He does everything, we shy away from asking more about Him. And yet He wants to be clear to us. He does not always reveal everything all at once – He knows that we could not absorb all that info anyway. Day by Day, moment by moment, we live on His Word.

He is the One Who tore the curtain. He DOES want us to share in his Goodness and Majesty. God places all the mysteries of the universe in our heart. We can not fathom if we do not look. 

How will this Ukrainian war resolve? We don’t know. We do know that if one aggressive power takes power, it won’t stop there. We must know that the world in unravelling, that is predicted and dare I say predictable. We ask world peace yet know we live in worldliness. Pray awakening, pulling close to God, knowing Jeses

How will this war of the separation of God and us resolve? We know. He has set eternity in our hearts. We must know that we walk in this world but belong to HIM in HIS. He will come again. Jesus WILL come again and take us up with Him. This will be the second coming that we SHOULD see coming. 

God will not stay away from His people. He tore the curtain once – and He is again coming for us all.

Amen

——–

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Matthew 27:50-53

And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Mark 15:37

…because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:45
——–

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle Hebrews 9 :1-15, 23-28 (NIV)

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant….

It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Polishing His Pearl – Being in His Oyster

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Worth a re-post – but it is a reminder that outside we are always wasting away while the Lord works on the inside of us most – leaving the outside up to us to show His Polish in our attitude and our lives and our love.

It is worth remembering that even though we have a lot of sand in our midst – like sometimes irritating sand in your bathing suit – that in the WHOLENESS of time in God’s Hand, we ARE sitting in HIS Oyster – just need more polishing on His pearl….

Polishing HIS Pearl, AUG2016

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of LIGHT.” Matthew 6:21

Putting on my pearl necklace this morning, dressed up for the big boss coming to work today, I looked in the mirror and I smile at how God has changed me – first and most crucially inside – by growing Jesus in my heart and focusing my gaze inward to growing Him and shining Him, then later changed me outwardly… God plucked up the pearl inside me and started polishing.

I love to sing the praise band lyric based on Psalm 105:  “Make known among the nation’s, what the Lord has done! Sing to HIM! Sing praises to HIM… Tell all HIS wonderful acts!”…

I know it’s God’s timing but sometimes I wonder to marvel why Jesus was cultivated in me for SO long until God cracked open my oyster. I wondered why it wasn’t until the age of 45 that I awakened to the knowledge that God had claimed me for HIS own, drove me directly into Jesus’s arms to wake me up. I know HE waited until I was ready to open my eyes.  I marvel at the intensity of my love for Him and how rapid it developed… I know and appreciate it was HIS specific timed window of opportunity – not too early, not too late… And I know He STILL has work to do in me and now I must help Him help me – by asking Jesus to shine on dark areas of my ever human sinfulness.

Because of HIM and HIS LOVE. I was caught in the net where I previously had struggled with being caught. When I stopped struggling (and stopped scratching God’s polish on His pearl) and I became STILL, that’s when I let Jesus scoop me up WHOLE HEARTEDLY. He knew I needed HIM before I was even born. He knew I needed Him ever more, now and forever…

Jesus’s net is cast from the inside. His shining pearl is lovingly kept inside of us for all to see. When we open our eyes and our pearly smile we shine HIM thru us. The “key” – like those attached to my “I love Jesus” keychain – is that Jesus cracks us open from the INSIDE. Jesus is the pearl in our oyster. God waits until it is harvest time – then God polishes. We become the beneficiaries of HIS shining… His Grace… His LOVE…

Amen


John 6:37-39, 45 (NIV)
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.
… It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.”


Graham Nash! Teach Your Children Well, 05MAR

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This Graham Nash concert became OUR HOUSE for the evening. I bought these tickets last year and finally we were able to sit and relax and enjoy amazing live music

I knew I was blessed when I combed my Joni Mitchell hair, grabbed my singing sister concert fanatic like me, and off we went… I KNEW this was a BLESSING of being able to actually go to a concert, a blessing anytime and especially in an easing pandemic/endemic “return to normal”,  which you know life was and never is “normal”… don’t be fooled, and don’t be complacent: Jesus IS coming any cloud now!!!

Also knowing while there is war, we sat in peace, we are blessed and need to remember this. Immigration Man was a great song, as well as Cathedral, Bus Stop (a Hollies song), wow so many more, even covered Beatles songs for fun in the encore….

We did have one “thorn in the side” reminder of regular old issues: the tall guy in front of one of our seats was a chatterbox and constantly sliding his chair. We traded seats so each of us had one set in “peace”… I did kindly shush him just before the last great songs. It was all good… there will always be at least one thorn in life to keep us humble…

I only went with ONE song hope expectation – to hear “Our House”, the love song Graham wrote for Joni Mitchell… oh blessed to see a legend, now at 80 years old and hear him sing his love songs.

I sang in my heart and just lip-synced and didn’t sing out loud in many songs, because it was worth LISTENING to his harmonies with incredible guitar player Shane Fontayne (Michael Barakin) and their keyboard/organ player. Graham was so appreciative of the people singing along, especially to the last song: “Teach Your Children Well”…

We are always best in life to teach our children well. This scripture of Moses: “Love the Lord, talk about God’s commandments to your children” showed up this morning on Biblegateway. Of course it did. To NOT forget the Lord who brings you out of slavery, who brings you good things, that you did nothing to deserve. 

Yes…

Teach your children well, especially that you count your blessings. Teach your parents well: that you LOVE them, and appreciate all they have gone thru.

God wants us to remember Love and teachings… Remember to teach as well.

God wants us to know His Love. 

Amen 

—–

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7, 10-12 

—-

Teach Your Children – written by Graham Nash

You who are on the road

Must have a code- that you can live by.
And so become yourself,
Because the past is just a good-bye.

Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh,
And know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by.
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by.
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh, and know they love you.

Lent, Godly Prayers of Repent

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Ah, Lent… 

Pause in days of Lent.

Let us collectively call out in REPENT.

Let prayers be our symbolic rent,

For worshiping in God’s personal tent…

Ah Lent…

Spring thaw will be Heaven sent!

Winter blues have been spent,

Let us venture out with new intent.

God plans our lives, let us be content.

Ah Lent…

Peace is not something we can invent.

A painful SAVE given thru our Savior’s Greatest Life Event.

Recapturing Easter Hope is by our REPENT. 

Yes, we MUST repent.

Ah Lent…

Strengthen Strengthen Strengthen

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But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.

It was 3 to 4 months of Physical Therapy, after rotator cuff shoulder surgery, that my frozen shoulder continued to be frozen. All efforts dealt with every aspect around it, but I had no external rotation. I was stuck. I don’t mind now, that was long ago and I am better. The next couple months of PT (before the actual second surgery) became my strengthening time. If I had to go back into surgery, I was going to be as strong as possible, PT made sure of that. My doctor knew I had worked so hard and that PT worked me too, three times each week. Then, after all was done as best as it could have benn,  I jumped on that operating table for the second surgery. I was ready to be released from the stuck-ness. I was ready to do the operation and recovery ins and outs. I was knowledgeable and I knew the drill. I was already planning my recovery. (I was late in traffic too, but I gripped the wheel and delivered myself to my next moment)

My surgery and my PT was mechanical and emotional healing in so many ways.  And I had to work at it. Therapy of thousand-fold thoughts. I felt blessed to have had that 6 months solid of 76 PT visits, June to December, I even threw them a pizza party on my last day. I barely remember my issues now, but I know they were great to overcome. It was no cake walk, especially as I walked around carrying a kettlebell high in the air as long as I could stand it. I did the spider crawl with my fingers. I used the pully and helped myself get better. I encountered encouragers along the journey. I was reminded to be an encourager too. God had me there not JUST for me. God even sent a theme song, Eye of the Tiger, the day I was giving up. He would not fail me, why should I fail myself. 

Today I know that every paper that clutters the floor is a blazing landmine. I clear my house. I clear supermarket floors. I try to prevent the traps I lay for myself. That’s how we should pray to live thru life. There ARE issues, there ARE roadblocks, there are dead ends. We need to declutter what will take us down. And know there IS always a Way to wiggle through. And sometimes even take a clean surgical slice to separate the situation from itself. The shoulder did not need cutting off, only the bands of scar tissue holding it back.

I feel that way in life, we let the scar tissue hold us back. We need the saving slice. We need others to help slice it. We, like my surgeon, need take a stand that we WILL get better and keep reminding. My surgeon said not being 100% was NOT an option. The Lord says not being 100% is NOT an option. 

So, if you are struggling, hitting brick walls, roadblocks, unknown paths, you need to do what you can in the meantime: STRENGTHEN, STRENGTHEN, STRENGTHEN. You can strengthen what you can, keep working all while praying resolution.

Don’t get drawn offsides, like Abigail reminding David it would be foolish to go after a fool (in 1 Samuel 25), that there were bigger fish to fry, bigger future successes to partake in. Don’t let the little stuff catch you up into slicing off your whole future. Do what you can and let God do the rest. 

God knew and knows the plan. He has precise cuts in store. He will take care of the score. Don’t let the evil in the world hold you back, He takes care of all in His time. He will render the end in His Way.

Meanwhile, STRENGTHEN, STRENGTHEN, STRENGTHEN.

Amen 

—-

Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.

When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.

No Foolin’. 28FEB

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So many themes and symbols recurring in scripture: bread, stars, donkeys, blood, water, sheep, and FOOLS. Yes, fools… Bread I understand, Jesus is the Bread of Life, Jesus as Bread was broken and shared, Bethlehem as a city called the House of Bread, bread at the last supper, that dreamy rolling loaf of bread that allowed a victory for Gideon, and bread that Abigail shared to make peace… bread bread bread…

But FOOLS? No Foolin’… Fools show up everywhere. Being a fool for Christ, foolishness in serving others, foolishness in believing and following the understanding of the cross, these are appearances of being a fool in the word’s eyes, the view of devotion to others vs one’s self. The world does not “get” Jesus, only fools tread the road with Him and yet it is the fools who “get” Jesus meaning both they understand as they “get” Him AND He is a gift they “get”. We get Jesus if we accept His gift. He’s the gift of giving oneself. 

A fool play by David, trying to avoid an enemy, was a ploy, a tactic. He was escaping Saul but also all of his enemies. He wondered what God had planned next. In Gath, he did not like the ruler Achish, so David acted the fool, acted insane and escaped because he was NOT ready for measuring up to the rumors of his greatness. Isn’t that like us, not wanting to trust how God made us, not wanting to venture out as us, but rather pull back.

Do we need to act the fool? Our escape from our enemies is and was calculated by God BEFORE we were born. So we DON’T need to act the fool, but we do need to be TRUE to the ONE WHO SAVES. And we need to trust if He brought us this far, He will keep guiding us too.

Surely He has a plan for today, each step He will lead. We may look like a fool to those who don’t understand our commitments, our walk, our drive, but we are to know that we ARE delivered from evil. We do have worldliness in our human ways, but our save is from His Save, we are being delivered into His Hands. Keep walking there. Keep sharing the love He brought into the world for His purpose. 

No Foolin’.

Amen

David at Gath (1Samuel 21:10-22:5)

That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.  

Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.

But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

Caught in the Act of Presumptive Predisposition – Saving You from Yourself

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It takes a fool to fall for a fool’s folly… 

It’s like falling into a trap that you know that you should NOT fall into, but because of your anger blinding you, YOU FALL.

It is AMAZING when God intervenes to save you from yourself – not amazing for God but entering a moment that would make your heart skip a beat! What an example we have in the future King David (a man after God’s Heart), picked by God to keep marching for Him. David encountered a fool, the guy’s name even stood for “FOOL” !!! He was Nabal and his wife was smart AND beautiful, her name was Abigail. 

David asked for favor but the fool’s ignoramus was irritated and David became indignant and irate! He grabbed the swords! And David went now in peeved pursuit rather than peace. (Interesting that David needed only the Lord and some small stones against bears, lions, and Goliath – but now God had to STOP him from this fight).

Offsides – that’s like when in football you are in an illegal position and it causes a whole play to be drawn astray. Offsides sometimes happens when some players try to cause you to falter, they cause trouble, TRICK YOU… You must NOT fall for it. You must keep focused.  The evil one also tries to pull you offsides in life. Just try not to go there.

David was very lucky – yes BLESSED – because God sent an intervention, a hero in Abigail, a smart and beautiful woman. She ran interference for God AND FOR DAVID’S SAKE, not just for her folly-faltering fool of a husband. SHE DID THIS SIMPLY BY BEING GOD’S SERVANT. She first brought more than a gift, she called out David to do the right thing, TO TAKE THE HIGH ROAD, to not get pulled offsides to his bigger mission in life. 

Abigail brought a peace offering, a MIGHTY BIG gift, and delivered it herself (don’t the best servant gifts arrive on a donkey? Yes). Remember, SMART and beautiful. It WAS food, lots of it but also FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Abigail told him what he could see was true, his swords were too ready for a fool. She praised God for getting him back on the road to KINGSHIP instead of grinding gears in disgruntledness. 

As for the fool, God took care of him too. Nabal pretty much died from shock. David did not fumble that day, on THAT fool’s folly, thanks to God’s intervention. Abigail prevented him from going offsides. 

Don’t we all need to take the “s” off our fighting sWords and bring it back to trusting God’s Word? Cool our hot heads and warm our hearts instead?

my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself.”

Let us serve like Abigail and slow down like David. 

No fool is worth us faltering. None.

Amen 

—–

1 Samuel 26

A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.

While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

“‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”

When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited. Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”

David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.

One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”

When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent.  And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

“Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling.

When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

Jesus is Coming, 25FEB

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There are wars, what does it mean?

JESUS IS COMING. 

There are rumors of wars, what does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are earthquakes and storms, what does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are people of false pride, leaders with ego pursuing power, followers chosing blinders. What does it mean? 

Jesus is coming. 

There are haters, betrayers, deceivers. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming.

There is ignorance, incineration, intensification. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are shortened days, people elect, pre-warnings. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are normal days, ordinary moments, people pursuing life.  What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are good times, seasonal praises, new births. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are gospel preachers, great teachers, hungry listeners. What does it mean? 

Jesus is coming. 

There are pockets of peace, people coming and going, normal stuff. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

There are never-endings, Words, Hope. What does it mean?

Jesus is coming. 

Jesus IS coming 

JESUS is coming 

Jesus is COMING. 

Is Jesus coming? 

He never wasn’t coming. He’s just been waiting. Just like us.

JESUS IS WAITING.

WAIT LIKE JESUS. 

JESUS IS PREPARING. 

PREPARE LIKE JESUS. 

JESUS IS INVESTING. 

INVEST LIKE JESUS. 

JESUS IS WORKING. 

WORK LIKE JESUS. 

Amen

—–

From Matthew 24

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.

“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’  Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 

Lots of Urim and Thummim and Honey

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Honey. The Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey. Lots of Honey. Honey is such a powerful sweetener, made naturally by bees from the countless hours and seasons of work collecting from flowers. Wax too. Wax for candles to give light and sweet honey to nourish and delight. What a perfect gift of God: LIGHT and sweetness. Nourishment provided by His worker bees. Honey from flowers that live temporarily and wilt, even though they are dressed far more beautifully than kings… God provides. All life on earth is temporary, may it be sweet.

I saw a license plate cover that said: “Eat Local Honey”. True, local honey is good, and you KNOW where it came from. (Don’t buy unknown tainted honey). Light and goodness from God, you know where it came from. (Don’t look for tainted love or false hope). God’s LOVE is sweeter than sweet. 

Honey makes many appearances in scripture, a gift from God but got Jonathan into a sticky situation. Jonathan was King Saul’s son, and all were at battle against the Philistines. At a certain battle moment, God’s Hand confused the Philistines, allowing the Israelites to win over the Philistines. Later Jonathan (who started this latest battle) and his army walked thru the woods which flowed with honey, but there was an edict by his father King Saul not to eat anything during the day. Jonathan did not know this and yum, he scooped up some honey. He later learned of that forbidding edict during the day of battle.

Isn’t that one of those warning messages that Samuel (prophet and judge) gave the people who begged for a king, that a king could make crazy rules over them. God said – they have Me but they rejected me. Kings will take over and rule unjustly if they themselves don’t listen to God. It’s like the good gift of food was withheld by King Saul, even if for his own good reason. The honey gift from God was now trying to be withheld from the people whom were promised the honey in the first place. But earthly kings, especially Saul, were and are fallible. So are we.

There are very good health reasons why I shouldn’t and can’t eat the WHOLE jar of honey in my cabinet but really only a little is needed to sweeten my tea or plain yogurt. And adding honey myself, I can regulate the sugar. Unlike a sleeve of cookies, of empty calories, it seems I only need a little honey to satisfy. God’s gift to us is DISCERNMENT of proper things and if we pray, we ask for answers,  hopefully He gives us common sense and will power. Honey lasts like forever, almost like wisdom. 

Wisdom and discernment of God’s will, they never go bad… However there was a stretch of time that the Israelites used “drawing of lots” for determining what God’s answers were. If He didn’t speak advice, they “rolled the dice” assuming that He would answer. Urim and Thummim. Black and white rocks. Arrows up and down. Saul had to figure out WHY God was NOT answering his basic question, whether to go to battle or not, so he conjectured that someone had sinned or drawn them into more sin. They drew lots of Urim and Thummim. It was his son Jonathan. OH THAT HONEY. 

Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.  Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

A sticky situation. Saul even said: may God deal with you harshly… no forgiveness… But the army men knew that Jonathan was a good warrior and they rescued him, protected him from his own father’s edict. Protected him from his own failings. Who protects us from our own failings? Ah, the sweet Lord.

The Israelites continued in war, Saul had bitter days the rest of his life. God passed the Kingship to David who was a man after God’s heart. May we be like that too. May we look to our sweet Lord.

What’s the moral of this short long story?? The same lesson we’ve always known: listen to God, to the SWEET voice of God, the nourishing advice… the sweetness of Salvation comes from God keeping His Promise. Light comes from the glory of God, from the work of Jesus obeying his Father. We have been rescued. He WANTS us to taste HIS Promise.

Production of honey is not provided without cost or hard work, neither is Salvation. Yet God has flowed it to us for OUR PROMISED KINGDOM,  HIS!!!

Amen 

Listening:

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/1Sam.14

1st Samuel 14:20-52

Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords.  Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan.  When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.  So on that day the Lord saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey

Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food.

The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.”

Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.  How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?”

That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood. Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the Lord by eating meat that has blood in it.”

“You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.” Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the Lord by eating meat with blood still in it.’” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had done this.

Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.”

“Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied.

But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day. Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today. As surely as the Lord who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.

Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.”

“Do what seems best to you,” they replied.

Then Saul prayed to the Lord, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.  Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”

But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land. After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family

Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.

All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

Not a Soap Opera, 23FEB

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I hit the TV buttons by accident, I could not get back to the buttons in time and I was on a conference call for work from home. Ugh, but it was the news, ok.

But then later, the dreadful sound, ugh, the hourglass of time was pouring dreadful (to my ears). Oh that music and that distinctive sound of drama, too much drama. I knew from childhood that I had tipped past the noon hour – no more Price is Right or Card Sharks, now is the time the TV got switched off. TV drama that never changes but seems the room furniture is updated, the actors switched out, but the storyline seems to be the same… OLD… DRAMA. My apologies to those viewers who might be reading this, but I just have no time for extra drama.  I fnd my life has it’s own enough drama…  and you can’t switch it off at noon.

I found a different dramatic storyline, compelling to me, but this one IS biblical, it is my ongoing study of David, in the book of Samuel. There’s much to view of jealousy in Saul’s distrusting of David, yes, but also what makes it compelling and sad because David loved Saul (and God loved Saul too). 

There is also a great understanding of a companionship LOVE between Jonathan, Saul’s son, and David. Brothers in arms, brothers in the Lord. The compelling storyline is of a bond of KINDNESS and sacrifice between Jonathan and David, that’s the kind of LOVE that wins hearts but doesn’t sell movies, doesn’t run out like the sands of time… This is LOVE that remains the same today tomorrow and everyday. The DIFFERENCE here is this is not soap opera selling of soap or any product by keeping you glued to a guilty pleasure TV watch, this IS riveting and filled with human folly but also of LISTENING TO GOD. David returns again and again to listening to truth, seeking truth. The resolution always comes from seeking God.

Jonathan and David have to come to discuss a difficult subject, Saul, a father and father-figure, trying to kill David. He disobeyed the Lord and now drawn into paranoia, he is angry and jealous at someone who should be loved as a son. 

We sometimes find ourselves in DRAMA, yet can WE take a step backstage and pray for the people in the scene. Can WE take a step outside the theater and get some fresh air. Can WE take a look at the script and see that we don’t have to be in that scene. David a few times had to restrain himself, take his pride out of the scene, as Saul was delivered into his hands – once in a cave and totally vulnerable, but David saw that the plan (felt that the plan by God’s conviction) that Saul was NOT to be easily killed, but to be loved and even prayerfully rekindled to God’s love. David ws understanding that his own life was spared, selected and spared. David had the sense to sense the Lord’s desires.

Here also, we see the love was so deep between David and Johnathan, they encouraged each other in worshiping God, following God.  Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,”…. The two of them made a covenant before the Lord.

Perhaps we can cut thru our drama in life by finding that our worship of God helps us find strength, peace, forgiveness. And our actions are not from animosity, not from bitter jealousy, but to show mercy (sometimes pity) and to act upon our knowledge of God’s command to LOVE – even love until it hurts… 

The plan of God includes the use of our human hearts, however fallible, to accomplish His Will. If you find your humanness made you a softie, apply His Wisdom. If you find your humanness made you a rule follower, apply His Golden Rule first. Jesus said: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

David understood God’s power and provisions and protection. He witnessed His Love. David was not a perfect man, but He did return again and again to the One whose love was perfect.  God. Our love is made perfect in HIM.

“Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth! We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

Amen (and please read about Jonathan and David). 

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Ch 18

After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.

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Ch 19

Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there. I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”

Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The Lord won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”

Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be put to death.” So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him. But an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

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Ch 20

Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!” But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.” So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?” David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

“Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together. Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness between you and me forever.”

So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 

Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.” But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”

Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David. In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”

After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.

Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

Ch23

While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

Ch 31

Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa.  The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.  The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.

2 Sam Ch 1

After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor.

“Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.” –  “What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.” – “The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

David took up this lament concerning Saul and his son Jonathan, and he ordered that the people of Judah be taught this lament of the bow (it is written in the Book of Jashar): “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel. How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice. “Mountains of Gilboa, may you have neither dew nor rain, may no showers fall on your terraced fields. For there the shield of the mighty was despised, the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied. Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

“How the mighty have fallen in battle!  Jonathan lies slain on your heights. I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. How the mighty have fallen! The weapons of war have perished!”

Salt Support – Unjam Your JOY

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Payday with a shared bonus at work, JOY JOY!!! God rescues my wayward ways, credit card creepingness, my backroom of bills, oops-es of overspending. This one is for recovery, the taxes will be for repairs, but a small slice of this is for sillyness and sweetening my step.

Blessed are we to earn wages. I am blessed to work, to get to feel productive, and especially get in to see people socially. And although work is daily drudgery to some, it is all in your attitude. This past 2 pandemic years will eventually become yet another of the shortest memories from the longest trudgery years of stress, safety, and especially unknown. And yet our WORK was a known. Our work AT HOME also the HUGEST of hills to climb.  I grabbed onto it all and dug in.  Work as escape-ness as well as productive busy busi-ness.  I’m seeing lights at the ends of tunneling thru projects, but don’t stop digging now. I’m praising for when I actually get time to work and like today, I’m PRAISING WHEN I GET TIME OFF (it’s POLAR PLUNGING DAY). God granting opportunity to BREATHE, be BEAUTIFUL BEAMING JOY, but we need to take our JOY seriously. Witnessing is worthy work too.

A bonus… Please don’t take this as a boast… just want to remember that I am BLESSED… so, now, what amount for me to praise financially back to God? A certain % as tithe? Special ear-marked anything? nothing? something? I had already loaded my IKEA cart. I had already booked my Amazon boat. I have backlogged bills ready to unjam. I awoke early and excitedly clicked into banking app and IT WASN’T THERE… ahh… hmmm… One bank had the normal deposit, good to pay the mortgage, but the second bank must have been held up… waiting for SOMETHING to release. A log jam of the logs in my eyes likely… So true of God to make me WAIT until I RE-focused. FOCUSED on HIS PLAN for my pay. Focused on HIS PLAN for my day. Yeah, God, I get it. I will tithe in tilling the soil. How I want to help Your Garden Grow. 

It’s easy to lose our salt. Put it in the wrong piles. Over season the soup. Kill the plants by overdoing it. Look at a rainstorm that washes road salt away.  Look at us getting flooded with busyness and failing to find, let alone share, the SPARK of SALTINESS. We have to reapply. However look at how just a little salt makes a BIG impact. Salt made all the difference yesterday, the trees were iced but the roads fine. The salt melts ice IF the temperature is right.

Salt is pretty much FREE, and deposited under our lakes.  Salt is plentiful FREE in the ocean. It recrystalizes readily. However it takes time and money and commitment to harvest it, to bring it forth to where it is usable. Same with our commitment to use it. A pile inside does nothing to help the path. You have to go out to spread it.

Salt living for the Lord is witnessing to His Goodness. And He IS Good. I looked up from my bank app,  with no bonus, and the first two words I saw were “SALT” “SUPPORT”. Yes Lord, YES. I am to live, spend WISELY, be the supportive spender that will help You. (MONEY IS A TOOL, a favorite saying is: money is a good servant  but a cruel master)…. Being SALT SUPPORT means that our tithe fraction AND the whole kit and caboodle of our spending CAN HAVE REAL IMPACT on the roads of rescuing, resuscitation, reworking, restoration and recovery. REALLY. Go out and spread it.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

I readjusted my attitude and clicked again, this time I just waited until AFTER banking hours opened, someone physically probably had to click a button. And, there was the bonus. Whew. My head adjusted. THANK YOU. God gives good things, especially PAUSE. I needed God to sprinkle Holy Spirit on me. SALT SUPPORT means helping others spread the Word as well as spreading it yourself. Don’t let your bucket go dry. Be the spark to a ministry, a meal to a missionary, a Hand to Helping. 

We are called to be SALT and LIGHT. We are to SHINE hope and spice up life. God knows that the world needs us to be God’s Givers of Hope. Spreaders of Joy. Jumping Joybeans for Jesus. Just make a salt-water SPLASH. 

As a cat sits with you while you rest, your salt supports stack up while you work,  waiting for you, and then you can use them for the Lord’s work. As you know, the salt on food preserves it and makes it palatable. We are to be THAT salt. “Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” Leviticus 2:13

My salting today will be where the Lord says: “Sprinkle some salt here!”…

We are SALT SERVANTS. 

We are SALT SUPPORT. 

We are SALT SPREADERS. 

Unjam your JOY. 

Amen 

Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

BLESSED IS THE ONE THAT TRUSTETH IN THE LORD, AND WHOSE HOPE THE LORD IS. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah14

Giving Up our Pride – Taking Job’s Aside

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How much we think of ourselves, how much we have pride. I do. We do need to put that pride aside. The proudness of thinking about ourselves, that’s the cross we bear for conviction of having too much self-preservation of self-pride. Pick up the crucifying, walk in His abiding. 

I