Good Good God

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A dear friend just lost his pet, so many years a great companion…  Truly the dog was a gift from God to my friend, just as many of our pets are to us. He was a good dog. They took care of each other. To each other they were a Godsend. 

This friend was/is also a preacher and one day he was telling the special needs adult group at a church service about his dog and you could have heard a pin drop in the sanctuary, they intensely paid attention to him talking about his sweet dog. He was clearly conveying a message about the love of the dog.

Likewise, on the few weeks I visited, when my friend was preaching the gospel to these folks (and their caregivers), just about 5 or 10 minutes, it always seemed the special needs adults mostly calmed quietly. Less jittery. Less distractions. Less noise. It was mysteriously marvelous. They were clinically mentally challenged, but it seemed that when the Word of God was spoken, they were faithfully fulfilled by the Good Word in that good environment. That’s not just cool, that’s God. And how amazing that He IS a Good Good God. That’s the mystery of His Ways.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1Cor2

I also listened intensely and intently whenever my friend would preach the Word. I was drawn to TRUTH and even now realize I was living as if the Lord was cracking open the unopened unwrapped newness in my gift of Spirit. And my Spirit still has yearn to learn. One day, a separate moment, our pastor was saying how amazed he was that the Word, that this first preaching friend said, had touched him so deeply,  such perfect timing. My friend said: “Well you know that’s not me, right?” That’s truth for us to remember, the Spirit uses us to reach others. 

God not only has control of our situations, He has something to teach us about ourselves, and always something to say thru His Word. He calls us to listen, but it is how “in tune” we are that helps us comprehend what He means. Inside us is where we can comprehends the Spirit spoken. The Spirit hidden there wants to be aware, because God Himself placed and holds Himself protected inside us. Jesus asked God the Father for this Advocate to be with us.

The Holy 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. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 1Cor2

God’s servants serve the Spirit.

Another friend preacher, who listened to the Spirit within, made a move to an army training base as a chaplain. Great to follow him on Facebook. He’s been baptizing many many army recruits, as adults becoming aware of theircommitment to the LORD’S ARMY. So beautiful to see this movement of the Lord. Over the weekend this preacher moved up one soldier in the crowd watching the baptism line who was in full tears, knowing the movement of the Spirit. He was baptizing him in full uniform. All watching, by the Spirit, truly knew this was the life changing movement of the Lord’s Spirit FOR the Lord FOR that soul. 

God knows us, so He sent Himself to help. 

Each of us fully human are continually tapping more and more into our Spirit from Him, IF we listen and obey. Our Spirits get unwrapped from the protective wrapping inside, just in God’s Timing. This Spiritual awakening awareness can be heard as a continual crinkle inside our souls of the plastic wrap coming off, a need for our souls to ABSORB the Living Water of Jesus, hydrating and healing. We are a Spirit Sponge, actually we are spiritual mud made from dust which absorbs the water laid on us by our Potter, our Creator. Our vessels made stronger by the hard pressing of the world outside, but don’t crumble because of the building by the Spirit from within.  God’s dust holds water.

He IS a Good Good God. God holds His Hope for us inside. Our GPS, our God Positioning System, TRUST HIM. 

Amen 

(Just now, my Godsend of a cat jumped up as I finish, she sits patiently as if an angel told her to chill.)

I believe in God the Father, Jesus His Only Son, and the Holy Spirit, God three in One.

With Him, our dust has just begun. 

Amen Amen 

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.

With whom, then, will you compare God?  To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple.

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground,

than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:13-26

He IS

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I should make a poster of this song’s lyrics. “He Is“… I only first heard it just driving home from a blessed but BUSY weekend.  Whew. We keep going with God’s grace and power. He IS always there. He is all that we are needing. 

I played the song 4 times in a row. Powerful song. Powerful God. He is all these things, God just IS the GREAT I AM. He IS. 

God in Three, all powerful Thee.

He IS!

Amen and please listen and read the scripture lyrics. He does get you thru good and bad and everything. 

Amen 

He is, by David Crowder. 

Based upon many scriptures especially the names of God. 

He Is

If you’re troubled

Heavy hearted

Come to Jesus and find your peace

.

If you’re run down

Empty handed

Come to Jesus and find your strength

.

He is Hope for the hopeless

Rest for the weary

Help for the hurting

He is, He is

.

Mending the broken

Bearing the burdens

All that you’re needing

He is

.

If you’re wandering

In the darkness

Come to Jesus and find your way

If you want freedom

Need forgiveness

Just come to Jesus and find His grace

.

He is Hope for the hopeless

Rest for the weary

Help for the hurting

He is, He is

.

Mending the broken

Bearing the burdens

All that you’re needing

He is

.

Comforter, Counselor, Prince of Peace

Author and Maker of everything

Defender, Deliverer, King of Kings

He is, He is

.

Helper and Healer forevermore

Savior and Shelter through every storm

My Refuge, Redeemer and Lord of Lords

He is, He is

.

Child of Heaven and Son of Man

Provider, Protector, the Great I Am

Alpha Omega, Beginning and End

He is, He is

.

Hope for the hopeless

Rest for the weary

Help for the hurting

He is, He is

.

Mending the broken

Bearing the burdens

All that you’re needing

He is

.

All that you’re needing

He is

God Was NOT Stopped

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GOD WAS NOT STOPPED!!!!

I am an observer for sure, a scribe of my own witness as some have called me… so especially I know that the Lord has everything that we see (and do not see) all under control! Even if we can not fathom the short term, the long view is a MUCH better perspective anyway… the Lord has a long view and a long reach…

Interesting retrospective of my own battles that the Lord won. I have been re-reading an email to a friend from 3 years ago – when I moved to a new praise band in a new church… with that band, I started preparation for a dramatic reading for a substitute preacher, the reading was about Jehosephat, letting the Lord fight your battles… I had never heard of Jehosaphat and now I love being reminded of him! I knew his story related then (wow it really did) and wow I see how it relates here too because He STILL is fighting our battles ahead of us! And I can 100% say that 3 years ago I was dealing with many situations that the Lord has now resolved now…

So, in my reading thru the old testament – this is the chapter I wish everyone could be reading right now… THE CRUCIAL MESSAGE IS THAT THE LORD HAD JEHOSAPHAT SEND OUT THE PRAISE TEAM FIRST. Yes, Praises first and then God takes care of the rest. The next cool message to learn is that the PRAISES to GOD were used by God to make noise that scared the warring factions. They thought that the praises were the battle starting…  Well, that IS true, when we praise, God is already fighting our battles.

I always want to become more aware of how and why God wins. Plowing forward in His service, the take home message always is to keep moving and yet keep still, keep trusting the Lord, look for where He makes your paths straight…. 

As for three years and more,  it floors me the ways the Lord has been working healing ways into my days in new ways. For the new band, there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I was transported like Philip out of one scene into the next, with enough of an overlap and a clear path that became an explanation to me. And because of taking a servant attitude as opposed to “fighting for my agenda”, the Lord made it very clear a path… When covid hit, my time with that band also shut down and I moved forward into the Lord’s service at home with my children until the Lord moved me into another situation…  in all these things, He went ahead.

I was redirected, but God was not stopped.

He never will be.

Amen

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2 Chronicles 20

After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[d]and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

God Can’t Regret Love

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Well, this Facebook screenshot of a quote speaks volumes. It says “love difficult people, you are one of them.” Bob Goff. 

Now, we are to know THE TRUTH: GOD is love, God IS love, God is LOVE. And as difficult as people can be, us included, He still loves them.

God can’t regret love. 

So, we tend to add human emotion to God, but His essence IS love, He adds His Spirituality to us… God can’t regret love because He is Love.  God demonstrates that ALL THE TIME. We know difficult people and we too are difficult and yet He loves us. He just loves.

There is a classic issue when you want someone punished but God still blesses, well tough, we are supposed to forgive… We have all been there, judging and doling our love out in an eyedropper whereas God’s love is a great flood. So, WOW, isn’t it better that our God is a forgiving God to ALL? Forgiveness for us when we look to Him and ask.  Thank God!  God remembers and thru forgiveness we appear to Him as cleansed. That’s what it means to be washed in Jesus’s blood. God set up the whole system of loving the sinner, not the sin. Was it difficult for Jesus in death? Well it wasn’t easy, but to Jesus it was worth it.

God takes no pleasure in punishment, but must still follow thru with dealing with people who turn away from Him.

There are many stories of people “not getting away with murder” in scripture – so God knows the good the bad and the ugly… And yet for us it’s ALWAYS true that we should forgive and let God get His due. Not us. We don’t revenge for God, He’s quite capable of His Own Way.

A tremendous story example of God punishing is about Jehoram, son of King Jehoshaphat. Jehoram was REALLY bad, not just difficult. He killed his family, led his people astray, and he certainly got his due from God’s punishment, which was foretold told thru Prophet Elijah. YIKES. (Read the story below, ICK!!!).

David’s line, however, was promised to remain IN TACT. INTACT. that’s why we need tact in dealing with difficult people. We need God armor and God Grace.  “The Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever”That’s Jesus !!!

One fabulous verse about evil bad Jehoram in the Bible: “He passed away, to no one’s regret”… yeah that’s real human emotion, and we should be aware that since God deals with each person individually, we can say “I left it up to God... ” – That’s easier when we FORGIVE and walk away… walking forward because that’s what God wants us to do.  “I left it up to God with no regrets.. “

God gave us the HOPE of Jesus. God is LOVE. Don’t regret loving Jesus love if you find it tough to give your own. It may take a while, but it IS worth trying it God’s Way.

Always walk forward. 

Amen 

2nd Chronicles 21

Then Jehoshaphat rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king.  Jehoram’s brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son.

Jehoram King of Judah

When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father’s kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the officials of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.

In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.

Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the Lord, the God of his ancestors.  He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.

Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said:

“This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: ‘You have not followed the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. But you have followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your own family, men who were better than you. So now the Lord is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.’”

The Lord aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king’s palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest.

After all this, the Lord afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no funeral fire in his honor, as they had for his predecessors.

Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

Don’t Mess with the Message

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here’s “yes men”, and then there’s “yes prophets” – often we want to hear what we want to hear, but not the truth. Sometimes you ALSO don’t want to be a “yes man” to someone, and many times you shouldn’t condone what you feel is wrong. 

Silence is better than siding on the wrong side. Silence is even what Jesus held for the time He was already on His Way to die.

Yet before that silence, Jesus spoke His Peace. Jesus is the Message and the Messenger. 

Sometimes we stand on principles, sometimes on pride. Pride will trip us up. Pride is sin when we should be humble. Stepping into an unknown situation is just like stepping into a dark unknown cave, duck rather than hit your head. Don’t let “our way” stand in His Way. We are human of course and God knows that, we get carried away. So, what do you think God wants us to stand on, the Truth, the Rock which will not sway… that makes our narrow path navigate-able. Wide is destruction, narrow is necessary. If we take a moment to reflect with just God, for our life situations, especially consulting the scriptures over the “yes men”, we will hear the still small voice. Be quiet enough to hear.

King Ahab, of the northern divided kingdom of Israel, met up with King Jehoshaphat of the South, in Judah of the divided kingdom (Old testament Chronicles),  he called upon “yes men” prophets and wanted to ignore the one prophet Micaiah (whose voice he tried to “still” and eventually put in prison) who told him what he DIDN’T want to hear, that the king would die in battle. What’s worse, is that God allowed the “yes men” to lie, or only get out half the REAL story.

Only ONE out of 400 spoke the truth: Micaiah (having clear knowledge of God’s message, and having been kept apart from the others). One might think they too must have realized Micaiah had a truthful vision. But no. The 400 told King Ahab of a delusion that the king was buying into (like us hoping to get riches with a pyramid scheme of something too good to be true)… 

The prophet Micaiah even got slapped across the face. He chided the mocker by saying that he would hear it from the Lord in the quiet time, inner room. Micaiah chose to speak the truth, was imprisoned, and yes, the king died in the war with the neighboring lands. Why did God make the message of truth deeply needing to be sought after? Because the Way is narrow, we have to seek the Lord ourselves to hear. We need to listen to the still small voice. We need our inner room.

Don’t let death or punishment deter you from speaking the truth. Micaiah spoke, Jesus spoke, the truth wants to be known. 

Listen…

Amen 

2nd Chronicles 18

Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “Will you go with me against Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I am as you are, and my people as your people; we will join you in the war.” But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”

So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—four hundred men—and asked them, “Shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”

“Go,” they answered, “for God will give it into the king’s hand.”

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”

The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king should not say such a thing,” Jehoshaphat replied.

So the king of Israel called one of his officials and said, “Bring Micaiah son of Imlah at once.” Dressed in their royal robes, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor by the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them.  Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, “This is what the Lord says: ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are destroyed.’” All the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious,” they said, “for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the other prophets without exception are predicting success for the king. Let your word agree with theirs, and speak favorably.” But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.”

When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?”

“Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.”

The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’”

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’

“‘By what means?’ the Lord asked.

“‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

“So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.”

Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked.

Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.”

The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’”

Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

Ahab Killed at Ramoth Gilead

So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will enter the battle in disguise, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

Now the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone, small or great, except the king of Israel.” When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, “This is the king of Israel.” So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him, for when the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they stopped pursuing him.

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the breastplate and the scale armor. The king told the chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.”  All day long the battle raged, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Arameans until evening. Then at sunset he died.

God Goes Ahead

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“Do not be afraid or discouraged….. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

There’s nothing more clear when reading the Bible than to know the TRUTH that God goes ahead. Even the world ends (read ahead to Revelation) and yet God has our future planned. God goes ahead. 

This next section of scripture in Chronicles I knew was coming when I saw a distinctive name: King Jehoshaphat – and oh how amazingly God went ahead. It was not only next in my scripture readings, it was laid next in my heart, next in my walking the old testament with Jesus as if they are His home-away-from-Home movies. Jumping Jehoshaphat, it’s all about PRAISING GOD.

Of course like popup popcorn storms, the same message in real life situations started showing up in lots of ways this week.  Start praising God first was a message in one Bible story, Jesus as a Good Shepherd going first in one sermon, waiting upon God in another Bible study, and this next section of Jehoshaphat. Plus life itself, I’ve heard a lot this week: of “Wait, just let Me go first.” And trust me sometimes that is venturing inch by inch into some situations. Let God go first.

I’ve even been named Deborah, who in the Bible had said: God already went first. Praise Him first because He deserves it. Then listen to the plan. Be His. How many times has God gone first in your life? Defender is a great song to remind us He fights our battles so that we don’t. 

Jehoshaphat’s story I first heard when asked to read and praise as a praise band member in a new church that I felt led to. The sermonist, a retired preacher, seemingly was lined up by God for me to hear. I was translocated there for a season. God went first. King Jehoshaphat was King Asa’s son, they were both good kings in Judah, the south of the divided kingdom. Both were reforming the church behavior in ways as God asked Moses’s time to behave. Not everything got done, but they themselves dedicated themselves to listening to God. (And when you are in a battle, you need to.) Jehoshaphat was instructed to PRAISE FIRST and vast huge armies waring against him canceled themselves out by fighting each other, leaving Jehoshaphat to simply take all the winning plunder. God went first. “Cancel culture” has nothing on this, God’s ability to win is TOTAL and for His Good. Even God put words in prophets mouths to stack the deck (see previous chapters) in Jehoshaphat’s favor. 

How about us? Endless situations we all have can demonstrate God going first. If we hide under His Wing then surely before any fighting begins we can ride out of a situation with Him.

I know that we have faced many battles, but think of the ones we have NOT faced because God went ahead of us. Even death has lost its sting. 

If I do anything today, I should start my day WITH PRAISING HIM!

Amen

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More:

Here’s a devotion I already wrote! And a song so perfect by Keith Green -it really is about praising first. 

When I hear the praises start” Keith Green

And a great modern song “Defender”

2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat

After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:

Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.

Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

The End of Jehoshaphat’s Reign

So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.

The other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel.

Temptations

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Isn’t it hard to go back to work after a vacation? Or any stretch of time? Or maybe I need to get back to structure from this non-structured day… (or maybe need more of these open days to chase my cloudy blue head away). In either case, it’s good that I had a vacation break day.

Unstructured enough to both be relaxing but also too relaxing to make it feel unproductive… but I wasn’t unproductive and yeah, it’s good to simply not labor so much on a break day… of course we could say it’s good to not work too much on a work day too.  But my BIGGEST temptation for the start of the new week is to work work and labor labor and not consult God first. Love Love. 

Temptation is going in thinking that I have to deal with work all alone. Or any day all alone. I don’t. I shouldn’t. I won’t. 

Nothing will work anywhere without God’s love bringing us there and again back home.

Temptations cat treats are tasty but unfilling for a cat. The temptation of going it alone for a known or unknown, often leads to taking credit or blame… personal wins are temporarily tasty for your ego, but unfilling and unfulfilling… personal failures are prideful pitty parties. 

DON’T go it alone. GO WITH GOD.

Amen 

1 John 4: 2-6 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Woman Sitting in a Chair

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The woman sitting in a chair,

a constellation of which I am well aware.

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She sits forever in late summer night view.

It’s 5 or 6 stars in the shape of a “W”.

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Is she just sitting 

or is she knitting?

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Is she reading

or is she retreating?

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What and who and where is her view?

What in the world could that sitting lady do?

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Lady sitting in a chair, you are my view.

Maybe because you are me and I am you.

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And Lady sitting in a chair,

are you really aware?

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Do you know God’s sitting too?

He is sitting and watching you!

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Now I see why you, Lady, are sitting.

With God in charge, it is only fitting.

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Let us let God have His Way.

And you and I may rest in Him today.

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Stars, you do know.

God’s plan does flow.

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So now let’s rest.

because God’s Plan IS the best.

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Amen hooray!

God’s got this day!

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Amen

Grumble Crumble Humble

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I have passed into reading about Solomon again (again, because this section of the old testament goes over the same stories at least twice in King and Chronicles with a wisdom reminiscing in Psalms and Proverbs). So, I am now reading (again) about kings and battles in the Divided Kingdom… and with these names (again) it is TOUGH going… But I know WHERE we are going… These are all Jesus telling His-story history. 

I’m grateful for these timeline pamphlets, which show the parallel stories between Kings and Chronicles. Most importantly for me I have visualized clues to understand that all the kings in the north essentially were bad and drove those kingdoms into the ground, got defeated and sent the whole population into exile. Grumble, crumble, collapse. I also absorbed a very important nugget of knowledge about the southern situation, that after Solomon, his son Rehoboam was the 1st of some BAD kings that caused the divided territory.  Remember the finery of the temple just a few veres ago? Randsacked. Stolen. Solomon’s son Rehoboam HAD to move to the south for his safety. He moved to a region named for Judah, one of the 12 branches from Jacob.

So over half the kings in the south were “bad”. ALL the kings in the north were considered “bad”. It was because they didn’t listen to God… BAD!!!… and eventually everything crumbled in the north… exile by being run out of town, deportation, despair… not good… we should not be surprised that the old days weren’t so golden… our memories may want us to think life was more simple but clearly not.

Crumbled and yet from this collapse came Hope and rebirth for God’s sake, for our sake, God allowed and instilled into the scene some future Hope, spoken in prophecy, for Jesus’s earthly beginnings came from the areas in Judah. Hope of hope, a Light of the world foretold by prophets for the future. Hope held by David and known by Solomon. Hundreds of years, hope was passed on like a treasure much more valuable than Solomon’s riches. Hope was instilled even in Jesus’s disciples who asked if He came to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel then. Well,  Jesus was on a mission to restore God’s Kingdom forever – Heaven and earth… Rebirth…

We all have a privilege and duty to listen to God. We have a Savior but we must be willing to be saved. We must understand both God has Power and Sovereignty, and thus fear the Lord’s rule. Fear enough to understand the love in it, the best interests for us is the best interest of Gid. We must see the beauty in the sunrises and in the sunsets, even if the days are evil. We must know we were made for days like these, times like these.

I think about times now when clearly the wishy-washy nature of the world gets us collectively in trouble. The divided kingdoms of the past become less of a surprise. The extent of brokenness of people is sadly nothing new. Like the Hope of Jesus rising from the crumbled ashes in Judah, we must recognize the rising of the Spirit within us. The grumbles of life intended to crumble our dependency upon earthly riches and rules. 

We must be broken down to realize that our spirit rises best from shedding our selfish human skin, an exile to our human pride, a grumble then crumble of our groaning, to be reborn in the Spirit, humbly reborn in Jesus. 

Each day be reborn into the day.

We live in this world, but are not of this world. And we best walk not with kings of earth but by the side of the King who carries us. We do continue even if we don’t conform. Live in the day, let tomorrow worry about itself. 

Restore your Hope. You are rescued. Jesus is King.

Amen 

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers. 2nd Chronicles 13:18

One Body One God

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We are different from each other – we really are – and I was reminded of this recently by the similarities of two actors whom I thought were one person: Bernard Fox who appeared in Hogan’s Heros and Bewitched, and David Tomlinson who appeared in Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Well, they ARE different – both witty British comedic actors – both a delight to watch – but individual people. We are all individuals with real roles to play. 

God makes us unique. God knows what makes us into us, and knows every hair on our head, so He must also know each fold in our brain and feature of our face. Of course He knows every feature of our faith too. He knows what role we try to play but He knows us in truth, intimately in every way. We can not hide from Him.

In the time of the apostles, after Jesus came and was ascended to Heaven, there are two sets of people mentioned in the writings by Paul to encourage togetherness: Gentiles and Jews – two roles in God’s Real Play of people. God intended spreading of the Gospel of Good News to both groups, who had real divisions and real uniqueness. Paul reminded that Jesus did not come to abolished any role or make one type of person into another, but to make all these people into His people thru the advocate of His Holy Spirit. 

Paul in his letter to the Ephesians chapter 2:14-22 was describing what Jesus did and does: “For he [Jesus] Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups [Jews and Gentiles] one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.


Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

We are being built together to become a dwelling place for God’s Spirit! 

One of the biggest memories I have for my faith awakening is that the Lord Himself was in charge of it and He let me know that! He made me acutely aware that He knew where my faith was and wasn’t. His Holy Spirit knows and flows, but we must not clog our system with diversions and delusions! We may simply be unaware what the depth of faith in us could be, but we are as deep as He dwell in us. We must keep diving divinely deeper. The Lord knows how He tucked the folds of our faith inside each of us for when He chooses to unfold each crevices to open. He challenges us to walk new faith roads that have unfolded.

Your faith – my faith – our faith – He alone orchestrates the non-coincidences of placement of challenges and joys. He sends His Word to work in our lives… We need to share what we discover as we are given the command to spread the Good News. 

He alone is Whom we praise. We are not to elevate even His saints or fellow men over Him. We already have direct access Him… He knew us before He made us.

It is OK to ask for help in our faith journey, I sure did. No two folds or paths are the same – but the Path itself, being narrow and not wide, is laid down by the One who opens it to lead us to walk towards Him.

Jesus desired and desires to shine within each of us – let us realize we are all IN Christ as He indwells in us.

One Body, One God.

One Hope, One Peace.

Amen

Squeezing the Fist, Losing the Sand

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There’s the phrase and truth that squeezing a handful of sand won’t hold on to it, but it will be lost. If you hold your palm out and open, you will hold more sand. Don’t be evil, greedy, or you will lose it all.

That’s what happened with the split of the Kingdom of Israel. Rehoboam, son of Solomon, squeezed his fist, tightened the reign of hardships into further evil ways, and lost sands of people, they were scattered and split. North and South Kingdoms.

Solomon and his father David were blessed by the Lord, even if their paths were sometimes rocky in walking. On the flipside to the wisdom held by Solomon, the son of Solomon, Rehoboam,  consulted others in a wishy washy way – rejecting good advice and taking bad – “My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

And because Rehoboam was gaining in more evil of influences, which actually was allowed by God to fulfill prophecy, Rehoboam was rejected by the people who were supposed to be his subjects. This began the split of the Kingdom for centuries. The Kingdom of the South, in Judah, was made from the remnants of Solomon and David’s lines. The North was ruled by many kings. It was considered a time of Exile. 

Yes, there has been strife for the Israelites ever since. Yet God kept the Way clear for the people by rebuilding hope from a remnant of Judah, a Light in the darkness, and Heavenly Kingdom restoration by sending Jesus. Jesus opened His Hand for reaching us. If Abraham’s children became as numerous as grains of sands, then Jesus is our Sand Sculptor, refilling the Kingdom of God. Judah was in the prophecy from where God would rebuild His House. We are blessed to be sitting in the Palm of His Hand.

Jesus as the Word was/is the Way people would learn prophecy. Jesus as the Word made flesh was/is how people would understand that He came to fulfill prophecy. Jesus as Servant, Shepherd, Son, and Savior, serves us all. He takes on the yoke of the heavy weight on us all.

Rehoboam sent the people away for 3 days then punished them, making the yoke tighter. Jesus went away for 3 days to take our punishment away, making our yoke light. Jesus is our Save. 

Squeeze the fist, lose the sand…

Open the Kingdom, save the people.

Amen

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2 Chronicles 10-12

Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam

Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.”

Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked.

They replied, “If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked them, “What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, ‘Lighten the yoke your father put on us’?”

The young men who had grown up with him replied, “The people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”

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 them harshly. Rejecting the advice of 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 God, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

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Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light

A Way to Walk Through the Wishy-Washy World

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The Queen of England was long lived in human years, and reigned a long time in God’s blessings. I am certain her faith helped her (its what keeps me going!) and that her faith inspired all who knew her. The Queen of England lived many years through wars, peace and personal and public strife. There is praise for the service and devotion of the Queen to her people and her people to her. The lines stretched for miles for hundreds of thousands to get the 60 seconds “private” personal moment with the Queen as she lies in state. A memory of a moment in history. 

The history books contain long forgotten queens and kings, of both opulent and modest means, and it is said the average American lives just as well, having food and creature comforts, as kings and queens did back throughout the centuries. No doubt we are blessed. We do need to praise. The scriptures from King David and King Solomon tell us of opulent levels of gems, supplies, skilled workers, soldiers, food. 2nd Chronicles covers the riches upon riches of the Queen of Sheba and of King Solomon. Wow. 

The scriptures tell us of something MORE valuable than all this opulence, WISDOM. Possessing WISDOM is most blessed. 

Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave him more wisdom than we can imagine. God also gave him riches, even though he did not ask.

The Word is more wise than the world. Thus when we wonder and worry, we should wait upon the Word. Read the Word willingly, and wonder in it’s WISDOM. The Word IS the Way to Walk Through the Wishy-Washy World.

Wisdom of the Lord gifted to some is purposeful to allow others to appreciate God. Queen Sheba saw that Solomon’s God, the God of Israel, LOVED them and kept them well. She said: “Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.” This Queen of Sheba knew what blessings were and wanted to see with her own eyes what God-given wisdom was, and she PRAISED, learning the God of Solomon was so praise worthy. 

Modern day seems to fade even modern memories away let alone good ones. Strife of countries is seemingly forgotten in the good times. Good times are  broken by greed and strife as would happen in the generations after Solomon. It is written that God keeps kings and queens in power: to maintain justice and righteousness. (Even evil rulers are purposeful for God, He writes prophecy and fulfills it). For us in the 21st century, we must remember this too. For modern monarchies may or may not have political power directly, but there is always “soft diplomacy” – for them and for us – there is WISDOM to be shared. 

Our wisdom tells us that we can count our blessings and if God wakes us up in the morning. We best grab good shoes and work for Him. We work as an encourager to His people. We work for rulers and earthly bosses as hard as we work for Him. We give praise up to God too, so that others can see that we know that He is our source of strength. 

This is something that I must do more! Praise Him! I can’t imagine any other reason for my joy and energy than that He gives us strength and direction and hope and a Way to walk through the wishy-washy world

And one day, when we rest with our ancestors, rest with Solomon and David and Queen Elizabeth, we will rest in God’s peace and plan. 

Shine the Light, the world of weary travelers is watching. Walk in WISDOM. 

Give God the Glory. 

Amen 

2nd Chronicles 9:1-9, 30-31

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. Arriving 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 she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes 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 what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half the greatness of your wisdom was told me; 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 his throne as king to rule for the Lord your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness.”

Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. There had never been such spices as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

……Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.

See chapters 10-12 for the kingdom divides after Solomon’s son Rehoboam rebels against God. The people learned hard lessons: “… so that they may learn the difference between serving me [God] and serving the kings of other lands.”

Busy Eyes Busy Ears – Queen Elizabeth’s Service and Services

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I nestled in to sleep by 830pm Sunday, yes was so tired, a good tired from a busy weekend and a reflective Sunday, but really because my alarm was set 5 AM Monday. Surprisingly I woke earlier, 4 AM. Yes I was and am up so early for the funeral for Queen Elizabeth.

Busy Eyes and Busy Ears for all at the moment, at the service, by the security staff, by all family. Imagine what the great grandchildren will see and remember. 

It’s not morbid or ambulance chasing, on my part. No, it’s not obsessive although some surely think it is. But I am not embarrassed to have busy eyes and busy ears. Now I have 3 live video feeds, different camera angles, and maintain a click routine of NOT MISSING ANYTHING, even knowing I can watch it all on YouTube “tape-recorded” for years later. For me, to watch is respectful, it is healing, it is processing. If sovereign leaders of state can fly over to sit hours for the service, I’m privileged too to watch on “TV”,  in my pajamas, with a cup of tea. The cat doesn’t understand, she’s not stepping onto THIS laptop!

Was I ALSO awake SO early 41 years ago in 1981 (41 years ago??? Inconceivable WOW) for the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana as well? OH YEAH!!! I was 11 years old, an old TV in my room. Surely we were in fairy tale land with them. We (me, especially as a young teen) LOVED the spectacular spectacle. Fairy Tale. But shattered of course with the scandals and pain. It was not a Fairy Tale after all – and we all in life have realized: life without pain is not real life.

In comparison however to most people in the world, not sitting in cushy comfort like us, WE are their Fairy Tale. WE ARE BLESSED by privilege and provision. 

Today however, I feel to be not JUST witnessing and living in a Fairy Tale of media and provisions but in a Faith Tale, to tell others about. 

“Come Holy Spirit”

Billions just now heard “We beseech Thee Lord to raise us.”, “All in Christ shall be made alive”… Billions are being told of the Queen’s faith. Billions are learning there are church services filled with singing.

For this corruptible shall put on incorruptible… oh grave, where is they victory?… Thanks be to God… victory thru Jesus Christ… 

A commentator said all these leaders surely feel their equalness with common folks, all in awe of the Queen. And for sure, all will know our equalness at the moment of death, we all will be humbled and judged by the real and only Lord God.

Psalm 42:1-7 was read, scriptures and songs… the Lord’s Prayer… the hymns…

So beautiful and comforting…

And then… … I feel asleep. Powerful peace for sure.  Just a power nap but good enough rest, awaking in daylight at 7AM. My tea still warm. The cat resting now awaiting my wake up…

The videos I pause now and will rewind, watch again… Not missing the moments!!!  I will replay for a bit and then move on… Even the Queen has already “moved on”… She did not have to wait for a procession to arrive to Heaven, only take a pause of the closure of her eyelids. She awoke with Jesus in her sightline. Death and Rest are are just a pause. She was lowered into the vault under the church – powered down on an elevator – we all paused to watch.

The pause of life, maybe death to life everlasting comes in that power nap fashion. I believe there is a real peace-recovering moment after we ourselves pass away. “Death, where is that sting?” I do believe that IN CHRIST, we will awake from the “powering down” on earth to be “powered up” in His Presence and in His Light and in His Forever. 

In Jesus we live. We are not to fear death but we can not help but fear the pain leading up to it. Jesus knew this pain, Jesus knew this phase, Jesus knows our rescue was worth His death. Jesus knows our resurrection in Him will be worth it all. Peace is Jesus’s pursuit. 

Imagine Heaven, imagine our BUSY EYES and BUSY EARS then! Imagine God’s Peace – for us – for Him – for all.

God save us all.

God teach us to count our days…

God bless and rest the Queen. Her service and services, a life of dedication.

God bless us all.

Amen and Peace 

Precious

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What’s SO very special about gemstones, about gold and silver? The crown jewels of the UK, of many nations, are beautifully displayed as Royal crowns, scepter, orbs, swords and crosses, as we are reminded during this transition of the royal family. One of many crowns adorns Queen Elizabeth’s casket laying in state.  So many gems whether cut or polished raw are beautiful. The replicas of the Bohemian crown jewels were spectacular enough for me to see, and yet the real ones must be extra stunning and too precious to display all the time. They remain locked away. They are too precious to risk being stolen? Or too precious to invest the materials and staff needed to keep them safe? The preciousness is surely enhanced by their beauty. Their uniqueness created by God, but their commercial value created by man’s commerce. Such is the way of the world. Why did God make such jewel stones? Why are they beautiful? And why is a simple flower that fades away even more beautiful and delicately made just for one day?

King Solomon in all his splendor (and he had a lot of splendor, see 2nd Chronicles chapters 2 thru 5, could build only a place for sacrifices to be offered, he knew God was too big to contain. God had made a covenant with them, and God renewed His covenant with Jesus,  which was foretold in the scriptures. Solomon placed the Ark in the temple, a precious container containing the stone tablets of the Law from Moses and God. And then God came in to the place as a cloud. Surely God never left but the cloud here and the cloud and fire appearing in the wandering desert were a visual for God’s precious presence,  His leading and His blessings. How now we must realize that the splendor is but a shadow sliver of the beauty of the Lord. 

The temple so beautiful, the scale so precise and vast… the Lord so much more than all that. The Lord is precious beyond precious, His forgiveness infinitely more precious than all the earthly riches.

Solomon built a temple for worship, but God built the TEMPLE of His own Hope by placing Himself God thru Jesus onto earth, Jesus in human flesh. Jesus was there at the beginning and humbled Himself to be the sacrifice poured into and over anything offered in human-built temples. Jesus still offers this coverage of His forgiveness today. 

Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God. 

Chapter 6 of 2nd Chronicles continues with describing how Solomon is flabbergasted in awe and wonder. In the words spoken by Solomon, he speaks in praise and wonders out loud if God will really dwell on earth. In chapter 7, the Lord God speaks to Solomon, of what will happen representatively to the temple (both the stone one and Jesus’s body) in the crumbling crushing of both due to sin (sin of man crumbles both).

Reading Solomon’s prayer given in the format of worship in front of the temple, we can gain further meaning by instead replacing the spoken word “temple” locations with “Jesus”, in chapter 6 and 7, and see how truly fitting the prayer is for Jesus directly!!!

Jesus was and is the temple torn down and raised up. Read these precious Words and know preciousnessisin the Saving,  the Savior,  the Forever faithfulness.  

Focus on the “temple” and “altar” words underlined and realize that Jesus as the Word, as the Lord, as the Name above all names, IS the forgiveness and forgiving One:

But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!  Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence.  May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.  Hear the supplications 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.

Yes, God did come to dwell on earth, in the form of Jesus. He already existed and came. He will come again. Solomon knew and asked on behalf of the people: “then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.”

Jesus as Lord IS the forgiving power. Jesus is now the temple Sacrifice inside us to bring us forever home, to be His “very good” beauty adorning Heaven, even more precious than any gemstone. We are shining Him, the Rock.

Precious Jesus. 

Amen 

And please continue reading sections of Solomon’s temple praise of God and Jesus. 

When anyone wrongs their neighbor and is required to take an oath and they come and swear the oath before your altar in this temple, then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.

….

When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near;  and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’;  and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.

“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

See chapters 2 thru 7: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Chronicles%202-7&version=NIV;KJV

Catching up with Jesus – Queen Elizabeth Rests

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SO much stuff is on the internet – and so much stuff is on live TV – but a serious chunk of people (like me) have been watching the Queen’s coffin’s final travels and stops in so many wonderful cathedrals.  I have been able to watch on internet TV – in the evening- condensing full 5 hour or 12 hour or 1 hour increments – many are there without commentary – the best way to not have people talking over your watching of the real emotions. 

Some small commentaries are helpful – and fast forwarding is helpful because you really don’t have time to watch 12 hours…  So I find the “on demand” news that interests mevso much better than the regular news – so much more processing than tears – so much more interesting than not. 

This 20 minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQNPKyLmvAc is perfect capsule of a beautiful service entering Westminster Hall – and the singing is so perfect in young voices – singing the Psalms. Below I have posted the text of the service – the prayers are wonderful teaching scriptures. Oh what a blessing to have the Word layering into the World of houses and computers of so many people.  The website with the scriptures has other pages filled with advertisements etc but on THIS page it is the scriptures that Jesus knows are laying out –  not “In State” like the Queen – and not “In Static” like dead words – but “In Anticipation” for live people to pick up hearing the living Word – for Jesus wants to be heard. Living Word  

If we wonder at the age of 2000 years after Jesus – how amazed we are at the chapel building being constructed 1000 years ago – in 1097 – halfway to us from when Jesus walked the earth before crucifixion and ascension – then they too must havebeenin awe for a thousand years they knew people  kept the Word sacred for sharing.  We have to be amazed that the reverence is there – the dedication is there – the Word is there. And yet aren’t we all simply catching up with Jesus? Because Jesus is not “going places” but WAS THERE and is ALREADY THERE. Jesus the Alpha and the Omega came for us and is now waiting for us – for all of us.

Catching up with Jesus – in order to kneel – the Queen’s guards laid their flags down on the ground at her feet. the Beefeater and soldiers rested and leaned into their weapons to bow their whole bodies. They paid tribute. We too one day will pay tribute to King of Kings, alongside with all earthly “kings” of leaders – and bow our heads and knees – some in worship and some in defeat – to the Word.

Jesus is the One who laid down His Life to be raised again. He wants us to be raised with Him – He raises Kings and Queens to follow Him. We can too.

Amen

Here is the service:

As the coffin enters, the choir of Westminster Abbey and the choir of His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace sang the following from Psalms:

LORD, thou hast searched me out, and known me:thou knowest my down-sitting, and mine up-rising;
thou understandest my thoughts long before.
Thou art about my path, and about my bed:
and spiest out all my ways.
For lo, there is not a word in my tongue:
but thou, O Lord, knowest it altogether.
Thou hast fashioned me behind and before:
and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful and excellent for me :
I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go then from thy Spirit :
or whither shall I go then from thy presence?
If I climb up into heaven, thou art there :
if I go down to hell, thou art there also.
If I take the wings of the morning :
and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea;
even there also shall thy hand lead me :
and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Peradventure the darkness shall cover me :
then shall my night be turned to day.
Yea, the darkness is no darkness with thee,
but the night is as clear as the day :
the darkness and light to thee are both alike.
For my reins are thine :
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks unto thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made :
marvellous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
My bones are not hid from thee :
though I be made secretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect :
and in thy book were all my members written;
which day by day were fashioned :
when as yet there was none of them.
How dear are thy counsels unto me, O God :
O how great is the sum of them!
If I tell them, they are more in number than the sand :
when I wake up I am present with thee.
Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart :
prove me, and examine my thoughts.
Look well if there be any way of wickedness in me :
and lead me in the way everlasting.
GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
.
James O’Donnell (b 1961) Psalm 139: 1-18, 23-end

Following the song, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby opened with this prayer:
O GOD, the maker and redeemer of all mankind: grant us, with thy servant Queen Elizabeth, and all the faithful departed, the sure benefits of thy Son’s saving passion and glorious resurrection; that in the last day, when all things are gathered up in Christ, we may with them enjoy the fullness of thy promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Archbishop of Canterbury then read a Bible passage from John 14: 1–6 in which Jesus comforts his disciples:
LET not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Dean of Westminster David Hoyle then offered the following prayers:
O MERCIFUL God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die; and whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall not die eternally; who also hath taught us (by his holy apostle Saint Paul) not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him: we meekly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our sister doth; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight, and receive that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world: grant this, we beseech thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our mediator and redeemer. Amen.

As our Saviour Christ hath commanded and taught us, we are bold to say:
OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Next, the choir sang the following motet:
JESU, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest.

Edward Bairstow (1874-1946) Bernard of Clairvaux (c 1090-1153) translated by Edward Caswall (1814-78)

David Hoyle then offered this collect, which is a prayer meant to gather the intentions of the people and the focus of worship:
O GOD, the protector of all who trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

Welby then pronounced this blessing from Numbers 6: 24-26:
UNTO God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you: the Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you: the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Righteousness Braces and Graces

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I found these coloring card packs, of the Psalms and of the Proverbs. I like the compact advice, especially this in Proverbs 4:18 “The path of righteousness is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full of the day. ”  

I have started to understand righteousness by thinking of the mechanical process of being righted, and the spiritual process of being made more Jesus-like, that we will “look right” forgiven in God’s eyes. Being righted like a flag or anything that falls down, being made upright. Righteousness in the Lord BY the Lord. He burns brighter in us, we stand taller by His strength, we walk a more and more sure path. Not an easy path is promised but a sure one. Like the morning sun, the path becomes clearer within a cloudy foggy world. If anything, the ever increasing sunshine helps you know you are headed the right way in righteousness of Him who placed that Sun in perfect alignment for life.

There is a cute video of a baby giraffe who needed orthotic braces to walk until His legs healed – and then he was “righted”. The last video shot shows the giraffe ready to rejoin his family.

God gives us life BRACES to help start our walk, Jesus’s GRACES help us keep walking, and God’s Holy Spirit helps us complete our RACES. 

Amen 


“The path of righteousness is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full of the day. “


the giraffe: https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2022/05/13/giraffe-leg-braces-san-diego-zoo-lon-orig-tp.cnn


The Rain Delays of Life and Death

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Imagine I saw a whole professional football game in a big stadium with a roaring interactive crowd, park food, OUTSIDE FUN (75 degrees, no bugs!). Yeah food (Old Bay fries and cheese sauce, sausage, ice cream, yeah!) Fun. Except for I was not in a football stadium, I was in a baseball park in a rain delay watching on a jumbotron, not the football stadium, LOL. The crowd mostly was very light because both of the rain and because they wanted to be home to watch the football away game. Even the stadium workers wanted to watch. Haha, they did. Every jumbotron and elevator TV was reset to watch an EXCITING game.  So we waited with best attitudes as this was a rain delay of rain delays. And with life and death that’s what we do as well, WAIT with the BEST ATTITUDE. 

Essentially the “take home” message here is that we have to WAIT in life on Earth, it is a rain delay for Heaven, let’s make the most of it while God is preparing as many of His people as possible to come Home. Life in Heaven is a wait for the faithful. Life forever is worth the wait.

I think it’s fitting that I got a rain delay for the ballpark, a free game I won in a fundraiser, so I was careful not to over-hype my excitement to myself. Because if it didn’t go as planned, I wouldn’t be crushed. It didn’t, I moved forward anyway.  I was excited about a major league baseball game but did not know if it would become a rain delay, we wouldn’t know until we got there… really there’s no good online or radio source on whether they’re really holding the game or not, you simply had to go there to WAIT… THAT’S LIFE! We are in many rain delays of circumstances. It doesn’t go as planned, move forward anyway. 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Waiting. But complaining would not help this. Waiting in delays means making the most of the day. We were late, weren’t even settled in to watch the game before it got delayed. But our goal was eating our way thru the park anyway, being together, we achieved that.

In the preparation for a drive to the unknown delay, I was getting food for child number one (who came back from college special for the day) and in the drive thru there was a tremendous backlog of cars… Like no one wants to go out in the rain so they waited. And like no one wants to make expensive sugar drinks at home, so we all waited. And like even with 10 workers you were waiting 20 minutes. No one complained. I just kept praising the staff, it helped them.

Waiting. Complaining would not help. (The staff were working so hard too.) Waiting in this delay I found pause for the day. 

I was not complaining for many reasons this day, especially for the fact it was September 11th, we count blessings on this day –  that we pull our kids and loved ones more closely. That day, we cherished life, we waited. WAITED for news, hope, understanding. 

Waiting. Many are still waiting. God bless them in their wait on You.

Waiting this day at the ballpark in the warm rain, I decided I would NOT complain (free game, sept 11th, with my daughter) because I ALSO knew this day was sandwiched between 2 funerals: one for a mom with kids and one for a kid of a heartbroken mom and dad and family. Really, I was not waiting on my most important role that day, since I was actively being a mom at the moment (both to the one present and the one at home). That’s where I was. THAT’S WHERE I AM. There is no delay in being a mom. No wait. Worries yes, but my willingness to hand all to God helps. Gratitude goes a long way.

God helped me the day before too, in a mournful waiting at the funeral calling hours for a fellow church mom, just 6 years older than me, a sudden terminal illness… As I had time waiting, fittingly to ponder life, so many were showing an outpouring of love and support, so many were processing the active process of grieving. I happily thought about the last time I saw her at her house. She made me a cup of tea. Mint tea. I remembered that it was mint, years later, wow. And that memory waited inside me to make me smile at her hospitality and warmth. That memory waited long enough to drop in just at the right time to discuss the memory with her adoring husband who waited to greet each person. His processing will be in the waiting to see her again. The memories make the moment – the wait made better. 

At the ballpark, we waited to see how they rerolled the tarp and recreated the white lines. They swept water from the grass to hidden drains. They were excited the wait was over, and they worked double hard in excitement and know the game will go on…

Heaven awaits. You may think you are in a rain delay, because the truth is God already made the Heavens ready for us and yet He wants us here on earth for certain reasons known to Him. The Word, Jesus, was also made for the wait – He describes in His Words why we wait on God, what we are waiting for, and how we are to wait and know the game will go on…. The Word was made for the wait. And when we wait upon Him, we are in wonder-ful wait. 

If life is a rain delay for Heaven, just wait and make the best. Heaven is a wait for loved ones too, they wait for us WITH the Best.

In life, life WILL go on… in Heaven, life IS on. There is no Reign delay during a rain delay. 

Live best. Love best. Be.

Amen 

5 years ago… God Provided… He Still Does!

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5 years ago on Facebook today I wrote about God’s faithfulness in providing finances and also I wrote remembered the previous year when I was also worrying about money and saw coins all along my walk… Yeah God provided the reminder and the cash flow… He still does. 

How quickly we forget that we have YEARS of God’s provisions… He got us thru or at least will get us into a plan to rework the oops-es and uh-ohs… In this 2017 post I worried about shoulders and Subarus… the success stories we forget about… God came thru!

Now sure I have different bills (well still Subaru bills but not brakes), but All in All, I saw that God doesn’t change, and provided while I was relying upon Him! He is Faithful!

Amen


2017 Facebook 

Was walking up the hill stressing about money and this dime was on the road…

Money… as my car is in the shop for brakes and inspection…  I also was thinking about my next shoulder surgery and PT $$$ for October and thinking about the money for other stuff too –  and then I came across this dime on the ground…

and it reminded me last year [2016] I was walking with my neighbor and worrying about money and all of a sudden on our walk there was a quarter and a dime and a nickel and I knew it was a sure sign from God that He will provide… Just keep looking towards Him and He will provide…

And so yeah was thinking all that when I came across this dime… 

and the Subaru passed inspection with only brakes needed… Cool…

And the shoulder will get closer to 100%.. Cool…

And God will provide… Blessedly cool!

I’ll keep walking…. Yup! 

SMILES”

Satisfying Lunch and Learn

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I just needed to get something to eat and there’s lots of choices but anything really would suffice around here but might not be perfect. I chose a farm market which is new to me and believably busy and full of choices, my choice of a pretzel roll not super satisfying, bland, but was sufficient. 

However I grabbed my portable beach book in the car, even though I’m not on the beach, and in less than 2 minutes from One Page started thinking not about lunch but about Jesus and how He completes the Kingdom. Now Jesus IS Super SATISFYING… He is perfect. SUFFICIENT, YES. All we need is Jesus, yes. Jesus completes our connection with God Almighty. 

First this chapter in “Name Above all Names” is about about Daniel’s vision and who Jesus is as the SON OF MAN. This page 112 of the book, attached as a photo, describes God’s relationship with Adam and how He wanted “shared experiences”- yet the brokenness broke all that. Jesus brought it back to the Father in the Prescribed Way, nothing of Himself given except what and how the Father wanted to share. Jesus says I can do nothing without the Father. Jesus is as 2nd Adam (the dream of God making a connection with man) completing the situation, satisfying the brokenness with His own sacrifice and completing the opportunity for our sharing of the Kingdom. God now can have satisfaction in our love and Him giving us His Love. He knows perfection, He wants to share. He wants to share what He made Very Good. 

Jesus is the “Son of Man”, a description the book explains: “[Aiding God’s image, fulfilling the divine destiny that leads to world order, completing God’s garden extended to the ends of the Earth…]”  This is the destiny for man (you and me), which is now completed by Jesus, to have: “[creation as God’s image, fellowship with him in life, experiencing his love, and affection being given a glorious destiny.]”

Jesus satisfies. He is God, man, Son of Man, All in All. Jesus is Name above all Names. Given all authority yet is God’s Way to complete the Way for all. Jesus just IS – I AM – bringing God to us for God’s Will: being with us. Fellowshiping with us. Immanuel God IS with us.

Satisfying… I’ve learned that taking time with God is what God wants… now, and forever. 

God IS Satisfying. 

Jesus is Lord Healer.

Holy Spirit is our Helper.

Hope is in our Heavenly Home. 

Perfect. 

Amen

—-

Chapter 7:13-14 Daniel sees God and Jesus and he ASKS what it all means! 

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

God Rest the Queen

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I have certainly cried over the Queen. People loved her. God blessed her. God Saved her. And now, God rests her. Precious Lord.

God REST the Queen. 

What a legend, legacy, longevity, LIFE. Beloved. Now that’s a lady who was LOVED!

A life of service for sure, the Queen kept her country, family and us in awe. Plus it’s just cool that she was the Queen, without the party-crashing lifestyle, without overloads of the personal scandals of herself when the rest of the family was embarrassing. She was witty and kind. Now that’s what a lady is, KIND.

I always wanted to meet the Queen, always.  My college friend both met her and was friendly with her, even being made a member of the Royal Empire. Cool… Now that’s what a lady is, PERSONABLE. 

I remember the story of the lady who hugged the Queen in 1991, in DC, wow huge news… no one did that… I remember how graceful the Queen was during it. Now that’s what a lady is, GRACEFUL 

I teared up a few times, I did have a light bulb moment, when hearing of her passing, made me smile from the heart. I realized that I WILL get to meet the Queen! I WILL in HEAVEN! I know the Queen spoke often, especially in her Christmas messages, about Jesus. Her messages and ability to share always touched my heart. And because of Jesus, holding onto those who call Him Lord,  I will get to meet the Queen in Heaven. 

I AM going to meet her, thamks to “I AM”, and at that point, I am hoping to give her a hug! 

Now that a follower of Jesus,  SAVED. A rainbow showed at the palace. A promise kept.

God SAVED the Queen. 

God Rest the Queen. 

Amen

.—-

https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/queen-elizabeth-ii-and-dc-royal-visits-a-hug-and-her-own-street/3152366/

Empty Sky Day, September 11th

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I saw the back of the Statue of Liberty lit up beautifully today.

It was worth a 20 minute drive out of my usual way. 

Her back was not turned on me, I was not offended in any way.

In contrary, my whole life has been lived in Freedom’s play,

I’ve pursued happiness each and every God-blessed American day.

I saw the Train Station at Lady Liberty’s Park today.

She welcomed my ancestors, huddled masses that then moved over this way.

A train ticket brought their American Dream’s freedom just a few steps away. 

That’s why now I can stand here blessedly, gratefully, and knowingly say:

America was their dream fulfillment that then came my way.

It was here I touched the 9-11 steel girder sculpture to pray. 

Solid in silent memorial, they did not sway nor melt away.

The 3000 plus souls however were whisked away.

That was a horrible horrible unforgettable day.

Lord, I pray everyone reached for Your Healing Way.

Empty Sky is now glittering, filled in a lively way.

21 years since the towers fell that memorialized September 11th day.

The World Trade trades money and more here each and every day.

Because clearly ingenuity and progress is here to stay!

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness goes on without say.

God Bless the USA.

God Bless us today. 

Amen 

Grace and Glory on September 11th

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A prayer for Sunday service on September 11th:

Lord, we offer a prayer for Your Guidance, Your Hope and Your Stability. We know these days are often challenging for us, but also SO GOOD because we are SO BLESSED. As summer fades, we know for sure that these times and days are CHANGING. There are good times but there are painful changes in our lives also, yet we MUST remember that YOU DO NOT change. You, Lord, are the same yesterday, today and forever.

Just like us watching a beautiful Harvest Moon, ushering in a new season, we must remember You have a plan for us all, and we are to FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. You bless us in our short season here on earth because You want us to know Your faithfulness. You have sent Your Holy Spirit to guide us in our living.

This week alone we have seen such changes, from the death of a seemingly unmovable icon in the Queen, to losses of friends and family, to the anniversary of an unforgettable and unimaginable day, 21 years ago today, September 11th.

You reached for all those souls, Lord, simultaneously that day. GRACE and GLORY. May they have seen You as we ARE to see You, Good and Perfect. On that 9-11 day and today, You teach us PERSEVERANCE.

We must pray for our recognition of the REACH that You CONTINUE to have for EACH of us, including those who don’t know You, yet. Open their eyes Lord. Your sacrifice on the Cross means we can now TRULY LIVE. You model for us: Perfect LOVE.

Jesus, God with us, we are so grateful our sins are forgiven thru You and we will live eternally in Your Kingdom. You have righted our wrongs. Help us Holy Spirit to model our days as Jesus lives, and help us to keep Your commands. Strengthen us Lord. Bring us the Joy of the Morning.

Jesus You tell us to live WITHOUT FEAR of the world because You have overcome it. You tell us, Lord, that You have ALREADY done it ALL, defeating death and that You will come again. All evil will be defeated and every knee will bow. Help us holdfast until that day.

In the Word You shared thru Isaiah:
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Thank You Lord for Your Save.
Thank You for Your Faithfulness.

Because of Jesus’s GRACE and GLORY, in His SAVING Name above all names, we pray.

Amen

Not a Competition

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Life sometimes seems so full of opportunities and yet people compete for stuff that really is in plenty supply to be shared. Perhaps they haven’t found their niche and get into stuff reserved for others. 

Competition. Time is a big one and we know so much competes for our time. No wonder God set aside time to be with us and us with Him. He has created Time for reminding us to be with Him,  otherwise He wouldn’t need time. Each day is sufficient,  but we need structure. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, meaning for each ourselves to know that: being with God is better than anything. Every moment of knowing Him better, of loving Him more and more is worth our time. We could choose this pausing in prayer and active in praise more often than just on Sabbath days, we could choose seeking Him each moment, day by day, breath by breath if we can.

Compare living in our brokenness, a hectic life full of competition, with His complete care. God IS the One who has complete time for us yet we let other distractions take that time away. Remember we are not talking being idle in prayer, but active in service. Reading of Him, yes. Living in Him, definitely!

Reading and writing about the scriptures is a calling for me, even if I can not comprehend it all. There’s more stuff in the Bible than a thousand TV seasons, and certainly more info than we could ever absorb. But that’s not to make us unsatisfied in ourselves, that’s just so we can realize we are just scratching the surface of all things Godly and clearing the distracting debris

God wants us loving Him and His people. YES, just like we say at work, it’s the people who make a difference. God says: these are MY people. Remind them.

I wonder of course “Why are there so many names in the Bible?” Thousands mentioned and wow those remembered and traced lineages are all laid out. God says these are My people. Imagine the scribes having to hand write this all for thousands of years! That’s dedication! We barely keep records of paper to trace family trees more than a few generations, and people didn’t have such resources to preserve everything. So how does Jesus, as the Word, remember all this? He has us all written on His Heart. 

King David, when he was older, traces the Levite family lines for us to see who does what jobs in serving the Lord and His House, even down to who the musicians are. The Lord “gave rest” to those living in Jerusalem and those Levites carrying the load now were assigned services in the temple. “They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented…”

The names, wow… Jesus is the Word and wants to explain how we as people got from here to there. Not just wandering thru the desert here to there, but in service to the Lord – here AND there praising Him along the Way. 

The names (1Chronicles 23, 24, 25, 26, 27) are an exhibition to us. Exhibition not competition as God found jobs for them all. We don’t have to compete with the past or current servants, we just need to do our jobs, share the Good News along the way.  Be ready to praise. 

The Lord had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars in the sky. And He did.

The families were treated fairly and were re-assigned in restructuring in the restoration of David’s city, God’s city: Jerusalem. The names were so important to Jesus and that the people knew their history and heritage. Then and now, Jesus knows the names, as He is the Name above every name. 

David prepped this re-order restoration when he was old and had already appointed God’s chosen, Solomon, to be king. He listened and those many times when He didn’t, and he got distracted, God corrected him and called him back. God preserved the line and lineage for the future predicted earthly entrance of the Name above all names, Jesus, from this line. 

David even spelled out an appointment order of ministering from within the family lineage of Aaron, Moses’s brother, in who would be entering the temple of the Lord, according to the regulations previously prescribed for them, as the God of Israel, had commanded him…. In this, the Lord laid out a job, a place, a purpose. We know the Lord is Lord of all and we have a place, purpose. 

Us too, even if we are more numerous than we can count, Jesus counts us, and counts on us. We have history that Jesus knows even if we don’t know everything about ourselves, let alone our heritage. 

Most importantly we have a future. The restoration of the Kingdom is not by stones but by The Rock of Jesus. His service was not just in name but in LIFE, He wrote of God’s Plan alongside living it. Jesus, One with the Father, knew everything in His created Kingdom, name by name,  moment by moment, and in Himself. 

Your name, God knows you, Jesus calls you, the Holy Spirit moves you.

Be His, He already knew you before all was begun. He knows how you fit.

You were made for a time as this. 

Give Him praise and let Him pull you away from competitions to help you be saved from those “distractions of life” into the ATTRACTION of LIFE IN HIM.

Amen 

When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. David also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites. The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand. David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the Lord and six thousand are to be officials and judges. Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”

David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.” According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.

The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals.They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.

And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.

From 1 Chronicles 23-27

Spiritual Fruit is Not Too Heavy

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I marvel every year how bendable strong our Jujube tree is – it gets so heavy-laden with lots and lots of little fruits. But it stretches feet lower instead of breaking. Normally you can walk under the branches, not in fruiting season. 

Amazing.

I also marvel at how in a quick summer, a whole flowering to fruiting mission runs it’s course. With so little rain this year, spring and summer seasons still get the job done. Fall is fruit-fall for harvesting. Winter is perseverance and eating what preservation established. Sharing what you are saving. With this Jujube tree yearly excess in fruit, it may take a while!

Amazing.

These tree branches nearly touch the ground, but not in spring, they are inconspicuous overhead and you would never know the big job ahead. Now the fruits like shriveled apple dates will start falling and groundhogs and squirrels could sell the excess if they had the ability to cart this food around (imagine wheelbarrows instead of cheek pouches to transport). God gives in excess and what doesn’t get eaten melt back into compost naturally. God provides for all his creatures.

Amazing. 

I’m too afraid to eat these jujube, but I probably should try. 

Fruits of the Spirit are like that too, sometimes we are afraid to use them, but God makes them totally available. God hangs them on us after He makes us strong and flexible. We must bend so that we don’t break. The fruits may be few and huge or many and tiny. 

In a good season, the bounty probably is enough to touch many lives. We must share the wealth otherwise the fruit will fall at our feet and rot. Or sometimes we can run around shedding fruit, and creatures unknown to us will pick up the fruits which are still good. Sometimes we can take charge of the wheelbarrow and spread the wealth. Sometimes the people come to us. Sometimes it feels lonely that we have so much to give and who even wants any… Well, people are hungry for what they don’t know. Share anyway and grab a wheelbarrow instead of waiting for others to come to you. 

We have an opportunity to share what it means to share.  We can reach where we can stretch, so stay flexible. REACH.

Galatians 5:22-23 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
These sharings are huge difference makers in themselves, but perhaps fruit hung by God on you in small doses just like the jujube tree, so you don’t worry about delivering massive watermelons of blessings if you are simply asked to give small but meaningful doses of blessings. “No gift is too small.” And let the Holy Spirit be your guide. He knows how and where to share. He knows how you work in God’s Plan. Remember the tree does not make the fruit for its own consumption. God changes your season and will change your vision. Fruits of the Spirit are for blessing all. 
Be open to the seasons of Spirit and seasons of life. Get ready to use each of them for God’s Glory. Springing flowers show up, Summering flowers get to work, Harvest Fruits make for a Free-for-all Fall, Persevere and Preserve in Winter to help you start again. Seasons of life. Build up your muscles for each. 
Always be willing to SHARE. If God gave it to you, it is God’s gift for you to share. All good things come from God.
This tree is but one tree. It has been provided by God. So have you.
Fruit is not heavy to break you, just God being an opportunist thru you.
Amen

A Tree and Its Fruit

Jesus taught: “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:43-45

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. James 1:9-10

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

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Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;  apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 16 (of David)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 2:2-6

Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:14-15

The Kids are Alright

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Doesn’t matter if you are an empty nester (full or partial), a mom and dad of fully grown adults, or newbies with a newborn, (or you have rebound kids), or (you fill in the circumstance)…, you have to remember the lyrics of THE WHO song: “The Kids are Alright!”

Yes. GOD-WILLING (and He IS) the kids will be ALRIGHT. Whew! Put everything in His capable Hands. 

How can we instruct our kids to trust in the Lord, to do the best they can, and to pay attention to dangers etc etc? Or blessings? MODEL THAT GOD-TRUSTING BEHAVIOR OURSELVES. Give Him credit too when He pulls you out of something sketchy or puts you into something good.

God-fearing and God-trusting.  God-providing.

We can be instructed by successes and failures of King David. He was on and off-track many times like us, but always returned to remembering God was in control. King David realized that his son King Solomon would have to pick up not just the family name but the commitment to SERVE GOD for GOD’S SAKE and the sake of the people. Us too. 

We teach and correct our children (and sometimes our parents) and how often do we wonder: “Am I doing too much?” OR  “Am I not doing enough?” “Will everything be alright?”… In ALL cases, we have to trust more than just our gut, or peer pressure, but TRUST GOD. There is no one more ABLE than God to provide. (And He DOES provide you to help your kids too). “You are not the blessing, He is” is what I heard once – don’t take credit – take advice from Him.

King David was willing to build God a really good temple for placement of the Ark of the Covenant, but God said no. David did the next best thing he felt he could do: 1) tell his son Solomon to listen to and trust in God and 2) supply tons of supplies!

David provided – maybe he couldn’t help himself just after seeing God’s MERCY in stopping an angel with a sword punishing David’s people – and David wanted to provide a temple because he wanted God to have the BEST. God said “have I ever asked anyone for a house or temple for the ark”… NO… But because David thought his son Solomon was inexperienced, he ordered the supplies and set Solomon off on the best foot. He advised him: “now begin the work, and the Lord be with you” – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” – “May the Lord give you discretion and understanding.” We ask this for our children too. Set them up for success and then appreciate God’s gift of rest.

God blessed Solomon greatly, especially with wisdom. David did his best, God did the rest. 

God has told us even better NEWS, thru His prophets, that God would build the KINGDOM HOUSE (not just a temorary temple), and provide the SON, a real and permanent King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Name above all names. Knowing this, how can we not appreciate God’s provisions. He say we will be alright too! We are His children. 

God’s got this. God’s kids (us) will be alright.

Amen 


1 Chronicles 22

Then David said, “The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”

Preparations for the Temple

So David gave orders to assemble the foreigners residing in Israel, and from among them he appointed stonecutters to prepare dressed stone for building the house of God. 

He provided a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings, and more bronze than could be weighed. He also provided more cedar logs than could be counted, for the Sidonians and Tyrians had brought large numbers of them to David.

David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death.

Then he called for his son Solomon and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon: “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house for the Name of the Lord my God. But this word of the Lord came to me: ‘You have shed much blood and have fought many wars. You are not to build a house for my Name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in my sight. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomonand I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’

“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.

“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. You have many workers: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as those skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron—craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the Lord be with you.”

Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon. He said to them, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has he not granted you rest on every side? For he has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subject to the Lord and to his people. Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God. Begin to build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the sacred articles belonging to God into the temple that will be built for the Name of the Lord.”

Free Thinkers Free Praise

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NOW THAT’S SALADA TEA…

A lot of tea bags are tasty, but this SALADA tea bag advice tag is clearly whitty.  It says something that should be life philosophy: “Free thinkers don’t charge for advice.”

True. 

We have been given the ability to think and when we ponder freely, we can share freely, especially because what if God has a message for someone else thru us. Another reason to think more widely beyond ourselves is that we can make life decisions best for MORE than just us. We can set aside greed for GRACE and BLESS OTHERS FREELY. 

We are forgiven when we forgive. 

We are more blessed when we BLESS. 

Of course we work for a wage, and share advice at work to perhaps clients,  charging per the hour, but as a whole person floating thru day to day life, we should not hold back advice or warnings. Of course not everyone wants to hear us (namely teenagers, nor anyone really) but if God put it in your head, don’t withhold vital information for the world. And there might be just the right ears in earshot. 

King David realized so many blessings from God. God even told Him about how He would establish His forever Kingdom under a lineage of David to be forever King *speaking of Jesus *…

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

Who am I, Lord God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, my God, you have spoken about the future of the house of your servant. You, Lord God, have looked on me as though I were the most exalted of men. What more can David say to you for honoring your servant?…..  There is no one like you, Lord, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.” 1 Chronicles 17:16, 20

BUT DAVID could not keep away from an evil influence of pride and maybe greed but certainly foolishness. And David did NOT take advice of his counselors. David called for a census he didn’t need (Satan stirred up trouble). That’s like counting your money just to marvel at it). But this census request was repulsive to his advisors and to God. And they told him so. David realized too late and had to repent to God. His sin cost many lives in punishment. David was actually given a choice by God in 3 years slightly severe (dependent upon the Land) or 3 months mildly (dependent upon enemies) or 3 days most severe punishment under God’s heavy hand – and chose to be under God’s hand 3 days, knowing that God deals fairly and ALSO with Grace and Mercy. 

God sent an angel to punished and then stopped shorter than 3 days. David saw this severe angel and begged and took upon the blame.(wow, sounds like Jesus huh?)

David took God’s advice then. God’s angel told David’s counselor Gad to tell David to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David obeyed and PAID. David paid the price (of the place) to build an altar of praise and prayer (sounds like Jesus paying the price for the people – what praise we have).

David said in the purchase: “I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

David saw God accept his offer. David saw God’s mercy to His people. David wanted to set up praise. 

We too see God’s mercy. We see Jesus gave His life. We know and have tasted His goodness. We must praise.

Of all the free advice David could give us, and all His counselors could too, is the advice of the angels: PRAISE GOD.

PRAISE HIM

FROM HIM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW…

AMEN!


1 Chronicles 21, 22:1

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”

But Joab replied, “May the Lord multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord’s subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah.

But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.

Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”

The Lord said to Gad, 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, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But as the angel was doing so, the Lord saw it and relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was destroying the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the Lord was then standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth, with a drawn sword in his hand extended over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell facedown.

David said to God, “Was it not I who ordered the fighting men to be counted? I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Lord my God, let your hand fall on me and my family, but do not let this plague remain on your people.”

David Builds an Altar

Then the angel of the Lord ordered Gad to tell David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord.

While Araunah was threshing wheat, he turned and saw the angel; his four sons who were with him hid themselves. Then David approached, and when Araunah looked and saw him, he left the threshing floor and bowed down before David with his face to the ground.

David said to him, “Let me have the site of your threshing floor so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped. Sell it to me at the full price.”

Araunah said to David, “Take it! Let my lord the king do whatever pleases him. Look, I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, the threshing sledges for the wood, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give all this.”

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

So David paid Araunah six hundred shekels of gold for the site. David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. He called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt offering.

Then the Lord spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath. At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, he offered sacrifices there. The tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time on the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, because he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the Lord.

Then David said, “The house of the Lord God is to be here, and also the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”

Labor No More

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A prayer on our Labor Day Holiday for a young child’s family, for their perseverance and hope in life eternal as their young son passed away after a long bout with cancer twice.


Prayers…

Labor No More…

It’s Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. Unofficially, just the ending of a season…

Rest in peace, you are now in a NEW and FOREVER season of JOY. For as this season ends yet another life begins. Life in the Lord’s Love never ends, like summer, it just CHANGES VENUES: sweet Heaven.

It Labor-Ending Day, unofficially and officially. The ending of an earthly season… and sweetly the OPENING DAY FOR HEAVENLY PLAY.

Labor no More, dear one. You are loved. You were rescued into Jesus’s arms and you can now have Summer-Forever, Fall-Free-for-All, Winter-Wonders and Spring-in-Your-Step.

Spring now in your step. That’s because then and now you are always STRONG.

Amen and prayers for all.

LIFE, in God’s Prescribed Way

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As clear as day, God wants things done HIS WAY. 

In Heaven and on Earth, it’s God’s Way or NO Way.

Today, won’t you ask Him for direction? Won’t you surely pray?

He knows everything, the future for us too, revealed and detailed in a very prescribed WAY.

Won’t you inquire of Him? Everything little thing, simply ask Him TODAY. 

Today, do LIFE in God’s Way. 

Amen 


It was clearly fictitious in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” when the Ark of the Covenant “box” was carried out and ghouls steamed out of it when opened. It was fictitious to think that the Ark carried all the power of God in it, when it was God watching the people watching it. One truth is that God made the people make it. He had a plan and we still talk about that today. He made the people a memory box for them of His Faithfulness when they (as wandering rabble-rousers) walked through the desert 40 years. He made them make a very detailed plan of how to take care of the Ark too. And when the Ark went off plan, so did the people. 

We are that people fallen off of God’s original plan, by Adam’s derailment, but RIGHTED on the rails and CARRIED BY JESUS. We are those people given a FUTUREPRESCRIBED, detailed in the book of Revelation (an IMPORTANT read if you haven’t already).  We are the people of His Plan to be loved and to love Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. 

God takes care of us.

For taking care of the Ark, David admitted and stated: “We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.”  David brought back the people who were given exact jobs based upon their skills from God, like singing and music making. The Levites were to do the heavy lifting too, poles on their shoulders as prescribed by Moses retelling God’s instructions. Doorkeepers and gatekeepers, musicians and singers. GOD HELPED THEM. They asked and He told them. He actually told them before they asked.

Us too. God tells us a plan before we ask. Just be His.

Why would we in our memory box lives not trust Him for the next life steps too? We carry Him directly, Jesus inside of us. We are Holy Spirit guided. Certainly, “He brought us SAFE thus far!!!”…   So why wouldn’t we inquire of the next step and steps… 

Today, let us do life in God’s Way. 

Enemies? Oh yes. Michal, David’s wife, daughter of Saul, watched the whole thing, seeing finely dressed David dancing and leading the parade, and she DESPISED him. Hated. People will always be at odds with God’s plan for your life. Don’t let that deter you from carrying out God’s plan. Don’t let misery and jealousy and anger bleed into your life. Dance. Once you turn the corner, that person will be behind you anyway. Let them catch up with God.

Dance David, Dance. Us too. Dance

Make a joyful sound!!

Follow God because God is GOOD.

He prescribed our Way with Him on HIS WAY. 

Amen and Hooray!


1 Chronicles 15:1-4, 11-29

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it. Then David said, “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, because the Lord chose them to carry the ark of the Lord and to minister before him forever.”

David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it. He called together the descendants of Aaron and the Levites:….(many names)…

Then David summoned Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab the Levites. He said to them, “You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the Lord our God broke out in anger against us. We did not inquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.” So the priests and Levites consecrated themselves in order to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel.  And the Levites carried the ark of God with the poles on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded in accordance with the word of the Lord.

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals. So the Levites appointed Heman son of Joel; from his relatives, Asaph son of Berekiah; and from their relatives the Merarites, Ethan son of Kushaiah;  and with them their relatives next in rank: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel, the gatekeepers.

The musicians Heman, Asaph and Ethan were to sound the bronze cymbals; Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah and Benaiah were to play the lyres according to alamoth, and Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obed-Edom, Jeiel and Azaziah were to play the harps, directing according to sheminith. Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

Berekiah and Elkanah were to be doorkeepers for the ark. Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah and Eliezer the priests were to blow trumpets before the ark of God. Obed-Edom and Jehiah were also to be doorkeepers for the ark.

So David and the elders of Israel and the commanders of units of a thousand went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom, with rejoicing. Because God had helped the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed. Now David was clothed in a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and as were the musicians, and Kenaniah, who was in charge of the singing of the choirs. David also wore a linen ephod. So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.

As the ark of the covenant of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart.


As clear as day, God wants things done HIS WAY. 

In Heaven and on Earth, it’s God’s Way or NO Way.

Today, won’t you ask Him for direction? Won’t you surely pray?

He knows everything, the future for us too, revealed and detailed in a very prescribed WAY.

Won’t you inquire of Him? Everything little thing, simply ask Him TODAY. 

Today, do life God’s Way. 

Amen

The Window

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The sticker on the Dunkin drive thru window could not have been more PERFECTLY TIMED. Yes, a sign to tell God’s story of these days, this summer, right now.

The sign on this Dunkin window said: “Tell us about the window.” Hmmmm….

No, I’m not writing a review on this decent but not perfect Dunkin donuts locale, but we all need to understand the windows of time and circumstances that God puts into our lives.  There are seasons in life. There are windows of opportunities that close fast

“Life is short.” “Life is for living.” Life is for praising and pleasing God. Make the most of it. God will help you.

Just like with a break in the weather (cooled down or warmed up), there is usually an opportunity to get something done and an opportunity to appreciate the opportunity you are in. Right now have a break in the busy summer, now that my daughter is back at school, perhaps I get to get to lots of things done at my house, or spend time at my work, but most importantly refocus on my son. The day after she was nestled at school was his 18th birthday. All these things are set up to not dwell in earthly stuff but move thru it – with JOY – at God’s opportunity for you. It’s not an empty nest in any aspect, because there’s always mom feathers for a weekend respite for her, a visiting window God will line up for her (and the cat). College is more like a summer camp respite for mom (one week or month at a time)…

Windows. We wait for opportunity and then step thru them. 

Windows. I had an unusual open 2 weeks that I went on vacation. My weekends are now packed. That vacation opening must have been orchestrated by God. I still had to prepare for it. But He’s the cruise director, we are the help.

Windows. Queen Ester got a window of opportunity and with advice from Mordecai, she realized that she was chosen for a big move for her people, saving them at the right and certain time: “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Ester saved the Jews, her people. 

Windows. We could just hope for a small window of relaxation, indulging in rest as a necessity. Gearing up for next adventures as an opportunity. Knowing that God will figure it all out is priceless. Don’t just pay attention to the wind, like Mary Poppins, pay attention to Him.

Windows. King David got one for the Ark. King Solomon got one for a temple. You get windows for Him too. Move if the window is open. He opens up them in His Time. He closes them too. After David set up the tent for the Ark, and organized the servants to watch it, God’s window allowed David to return home to bless his family.

We need to BE A GOD OPPORTUNIST. Watch for the windows and tell others where He is leading you. He’s always got the best plan. 

Be His. 

Amen 

From 1 Chronicles 16:29-36 (from David who seized the opportunity and brought back the Ark, but the Lord said not to build a building for it, that would be son Solomon’s opportunity.  Not all opportunities are ours… but praising Him is. )

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”  Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”  Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 

Day by Day on Jesus’s Way

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It’s amazing to me that I made some decent progress over the summer when I physically measured the thickness of the Bible’s Old Testament that I have methodically read.  One could say the “Old ” Testament is the “Foretold” Testament for-telling Jesus’s arrival. The Way thru the Bible is seeing the reinforcement of His Way. The Way is the Way of Wisdom. Jesus is the Way. 

I never dreaded the inches but felt overwhelmed in my basic not knowing what was in it! I knew I needed/need to make a journey by myself first in wandering and wondering, no cliffnotes just cliffhangers. I wondered how dry the stories might be and how would I ever grasp so much history? Well I made progress, day by day, and I’ve certainly learned along the Way. And as for the dryness? I realize by adding Living Water to the stories, adding not-so-private-detective looks for prophecies of Jesus, I got HYDRATED in MY HEARING.

So my recent big revelation is this part is that there is a doubled back storyline, a huge section of reinforcement to the same stories! OH!!! Chronicles is retelling the stories again of Saul, David, etc… OH! I HEARD THIS BEFORE!!! These MUST be important. I love reinforcement and a really cool set of stories too! Once again of how people loyally followed David and how he took care of the Ark of the Covenant with memory items of God’s Faithfulness. And why? Jesus shows us that Way back to Him.

The Way thru the Bible is the reinforcement of His Way. And He reinforces and reinforces.

The Way, Jesus is the Way and part of His paving project Way, for His physical entry into our day, was to raise up His House of David.  Even though the road wasn’t wide for David, it was SURE, a firm-foundation like for us. And ever-fallible David still loved the Lord seriously and solidly, always looking for solutions. 

Jesus had to build the house on earth for Him to be born in. He wrote His Story, just as He writes ours. He has us in HIS House.

The Chronicles by the Chronicler are the details of loyalty. God LOVES loyalty in us too, believing, because He is LOVE and LOYAL. 

The Way of the Lord is the Way of Wisdom. 

Follow Jesus on your Way to His House. 

Amen


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you… Proverbs 9:10-12


1CHRONICLES 12:22-40

For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God. And these are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to the war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord.

The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war.

Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred.

Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred.

And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;

And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father’s house twenty and two captains.

And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul.

And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers.

And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king.

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.

And of Naphtali a thousand captains, and with them with shield and spear thirty and seven thousand.

And of the Danites expert in war twenty and eight thousand and six hundred.

And of Asher, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, forty thousand.

And on the other side of Jordan, of the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and of the half tribe of Manasseh, with all manner of instruments of war for the battle, an hundred and twenty thousand.

All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.

And there they were with David three days, eating and drinking: for their brethren had prepared for them.

Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: FOR THERE WAS JOY IN ISRAEL.

Continue on this link to chapters 12-17 all about David and the Ark:

Glitter and God’s Glue

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The other night cleaning up my own VBS messes at my friend’s church, I was especially thinking about Miss Bonnie, God rest her soul, our Sunday School nursery teacher and VBS craft lady extraordinaire. Glitter glitz going over the top in good ways FOR the sake of the children, for the sake of the Lord. (And I also remember her for teaching confirmation class and for the elderly she visited). 

I remember the day after VBS, our former Pastor PJ took the leaf blower into fellowship hall to move glitter out!!!. Trust me the gas fumes were worse than the glitter!

Glitter may be shed so that people may be led.

How overabundant her love was for the children. The lessons she taught were of Jesus’s Love. Lord knows both that I miss Miss Bonnie and yet I DO KNOW she is in such amazing Heaven, a MUCH better place especially for Jesus loves her immensely and has healed her. Bonnie was “unashamed of the Gospel” like Apostle Paul, because she knew Jesus was her amazing healer, helper, hold-her-together-er, hero and Savior. We all live lives where we all would attest it is “[better to be one day in Your court, Lord, than a thousand elsewhere]”. That’s because are saved in Jesus’s blood.  Yes, we are seen as pure and clean from Jesus’s washing.

So, Miss Bonnie’s legend lives clearly on in every child project still decorating grownup kids’ homes. Miss Bonnie loved glitter glitter glitter and kids love glitter. She loved sharing different art and craft materials and was very particular about tacky glue over Elmer’s, so projects would dry faster and stick better. She made sure the parents understood the “work” their children made amazingly. 

Children’s ministry is one of the glues of any church and Jesus’s Word says don’t hinder the little children. Trust me that children bring adults, Grandparents, friends to our churches. Miss Bonnie and dedicated teachers and preachers know God’s True Glue is His Word and the Working out of It.  When a child asks Jesus to grow in them, the Kingdom grows, the God Glue flows. The Glitter of God shining in that child encourages the faith growth of members of that child’s family. Endless stickers of Jesus and pages of scripture coloring sheets may be cherished and saved. 

His Spiritual Glue saves our lives.

I reached to clean up the floor at VBS that night at my friend’s church and picked up a child’s lost crafts, glued feathers and paper towel rolls. One solo Jesus foam piece? That WAS from a Miss Bonnie connection.  I moved that bag of those unique foam pieces myself years ago. God found just the right timing of an unusual something that I knew was from Bonnie and our old Sunday School classes. This night, I was at one of these churches where we parsed out many of Miss Bonnie’s excess craft supplies. We gave out her materials when we were required to move VBS/Sunday School storage at the old church, to make space (Whew!). Multiple churches, scout troops, the children’s hospital, and even foreign missionaries were given supplies we sorted, divided and donated. (I can still see my friends cleaning and sorting with me in a 4 hour marathon one Saturday, wow). I remember to honor her by keeping teaching and helping. 

Miss Bonnie still touches our lives with her love of sharing Jesus. All Sunday school and VBS teachers do make a difference, even if for the parents to say “Thank God” that their kids stay busy for an hour. There can still be praise in parts and in whole for the endless numbers of children benefitting from time that Miss Bonnie dedicated to them, to show them love, to tell them LOVE comes from God and LOVE IS God. GOD IS LOVE. 

Jesus, the foam piece, I stuck that to my car window today in morning dew, and will keep it in my Subaru dash. But it’s Jesus in our hearts who IS our Life Glue.

God’s Glue is True. 

Amen 

VBS Amen to Our Spot Cleaner Jesus

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You heard of sins of omission and commission… BUT now you will hear about the sin of chocolate cake. 

I titled this” SPOT CLEANER JESUS” but it also could be called “Why I should ONLY do vacation Bible school science experiment demos OUTSIDE”… LOL

So I THOUGHT it was a good idea, a chocolate cake to look like a rock and I DID have a tarp down but apparently it was not wide enough, and the kids climbed on it anyway.  I will always see in my head the kid who grabbed a piece to try to eat!…. Here I was worried about the oobleck being messy, but NO it was the CHOCOLATE CAKE that went too wild… 

I used cake layers for a demo of pretend solid foundations, like small tomatoes, jello, pudding, and oobleck (cornstarch and water as a non-newtonian solid) which my eager assistant awesomely tried by squeezing or punching these items to see if they are solid and would make a good foundation…. These were NOT solid foundation materials, building upon them would only give FRUSTRATION.

Yeah the kids laughed and of course oobleck was a hit! And as always the kids loved ALL of VBS. Big kids too! The most important moment is when they all prayed to let Jesus into their hearts. That’s the point of VBS, learning the LOVE of JESUS is always near.

Our lives, if not built upon faith, will only build our frustration. HAVE FAITH IN JESUS! He is heart-holding help.

VBS lesson #3 stuck with these children: “Jesus is my FIRM FOUNDATION!” Yes, the WISE builder, building upon SOLID ROCK, is our example of how we are to build our lives upon Jesus’s WordHis Truth, His Actions including LOVE, GRACE, and FORGIVENESS.  We are to be wise life-rs and reduce our frustrations by following Him. (This is so true!)

On my apologetic knees after VBS, cleaning the chocolate cake from the nice red carpet, alongside our 2 AMAZING shepharding pastors (also on their knees cleaning), I used a spot cleaner and a vacuum, and I praised God for their dedication and their calm cool demeanor (thank you God, we learned that at VBS day #1, a Moses example, God helps us keep our cool). They had an action plan with vacuuming then water then spot cleaner. It worked. This reminds me of our own GREAT SHEPHARD JESUS with an action plan before time began. Jesus works! Jesus is I AM.

Then and now, I can only think that JESUS will have a list of our many sins and be always holding a well used bottle of “spot cleaner” for us, but in TRUTH, He will have ALREADY washed us clean by His blood. Yes, we can and should ask Him each time we know of a sin we commit, yet He ALREADY did “the dirty work” and He went to the far reaches of the depths of separation of sin from God. He took on God forsakeness for sake of our unity back to God, our Father, bridging the chasm of separation. He filled in the cracks with Himself. 

With earthly oops we try remedies by making amends, which we should. Yet in all we do and don’t do, know and don’t know, it is ONLY in Jesus where all our sins are forgiven. You may want to stay in prideful “woe is me” – but you are ALREADY cleaned Heavenly. Jesus IS the One Who sets us free.

FORGIVENESS not from our AMENds but is by giving JESUS the great AMEN, saying I believe in You, Jesus. You are my Rock, my Savior, my Firm Foundation. I need Your Forgiveness and You tell me that You have given it just by my faith.


PSALM 103:8-12

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so GREAT IS HIS LOVE for those who fear him; AS FAR AS THE EAST IS FROM THE WEST, so far has he REMOVED our transgressions from us.


AMEN AMEN Thank God!

MAHALO GOD, YOU ARE AWESOME AND WORTHY OF PRAISE. 


The Wise and Foolish Builders – Matthew 7:24-28

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Pop your Corn not your Fuse, at VBS and in Life

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I could eat all through many bags of POPCORN before I figure out every kernel of information that God is assembling for me, trying to teach me, help me with. And I still wouldn’t grasp even a fraction. And there would be so many crumbs on the floor too…

Patience is what God has with us. Patience for us to learn – to LEARN our purpose to SHARE HIS LOVE. 

Moses BLEW HIS TOP, we learned in our VBS lesson, day one, at my home away from home away from home church family. Love this church and their Pastors, and love hearing the Bible Story. We learned that Moses BLEW HIS TOP overreacting to angry people COMPLAINING and their whining made him SNAP.  He was supposed to simply speak to the people (who were wandering the desert) assembled around a rock, he surely was simply supposed to thank God, and the Lord would provide water, and instead he chastised the people and hit it twice and didn’t give God glory for taking care of them. Yes, water still came out of the rock and the people and livestock drank and were saved, but that’s NOT how God wanted Moses to behave. Moses was punished in being prevented to physically cross into the Promised Land given by God to the Israelites. Moses messed up, like us, like me. Thank God for Jesus and GRACE. God took care of Moses, don’t worry, but like our overreacting, we have to sit in God’s timeout chair sometimes and WAIT.

VBS, I love Vacation Bible School, and that I was able to “pop in” again to my friends’ church to help. All day this direction filled me with joy and purpose and I felt a bubble of good protection driving thru unknown back roads, thick traffic and sketchy streets. I felt peace to what I could present even when I knew I should have taken more practice etc, but God purposes His PEACE over our plans, so “on with the show” we must go. His POP is not in our circumstance but in HIS FAITHFULNESS. I had lots of supplies yet it was the Holy Spirit who did all the work God needed.

And what a blessing of VBS energy. The BEST week of the year. And WOW, the welcoming hands and hearts of the children for Jesus to make entry into their lives. POP goes the Spirit. Give a big volcano WHOOSH cheer for GOD’S LOVE drawing near!

In my prep, I was especially intrigued by the ongoing theme of POPCORN.  ALL DAY. Corny? Well yes, but no joke that God’s been cooking up something, and He simmers the lessons for us too and keeps us coming back for more. Popcorn I thought was a good *and tasty* overreaction of explosive power, so I put on my popcorn earrings and went to the store for supplies and saw popcorn and popcorn movie supplies, but everything was stuck together and I just had to pass on it. God said it’s not needed, just go with what you have… I bought what I thought was needed for the wrap up show, but it’s Him whom we call upon to show up.

God’s plan continues even in mini failures and of course in “our” victories. All Victories are His. God has true control. My 1st experiment did not live up to my expectations. The popping bags didn’t pop, my science demo was a dud in my opinion, fizzled out, blew it but not up. Rats…  I stayed calm. Pop your Corn not your Fuse! Sure, at home it went great… and here I was afraid of an OVER explosion and never got it. However we got one good bag to pop, I had a fabulous volunteer scientist helper, and we had the fabulous drama therof. The show must go on. The kids LISTENED, which is amazing at VBS energy. The big volcano at the end was cool and worked… maybe I am just asking God for too much big excitement when I should just be one of His kernels of sharing. 

Pop your Corn not your Fuse.

My joy was in speaking freely of the comfort of Jesus and how He teaches us thru His Word, including the amazing ways to calm down, I was blessed at the attention of the crowd when I mentioned a key time God kept me calm from a road rage incident.  I used the Words I know come from Him: Forgiveness, Grace, Patience, Joy. God applied a bubble of His protection when approached. These emotional calming words are like scissors to cut open the bag and release the pressure. I still remember the display of the scripture: Proverbs 15:1 — “A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” 

I wrapped up and Pastor wrapped up VBS day 1 and it was all good and we wrapped up the clean up and made it to our cars with a storm looming overhead. Safe. A bubble of protection.

God showed me a bigger storm that evening and reminded me how blessed I was and am! I never used that popcorn I bought, only to stress eat. But in the school parking lot to the side of the street were a homeless man. I got back out of my bubble car and give him the bag of popcorn, couple dollars, and my dollar store Bible I had for the demo. I just felt blessed to have a warm car, a home to go to. We are blessed with a warm Savior and a Home to go to.

Storm – the lightning storm was SO INTENSE and really cool… I drove towards it 30 minutes nonstop, realized that it was OVER my house, my kids kept calm, the cat not so much. I took food orders and thanked God to fund them (and not cook). I said to my daughter: these are “popcorn storms” – ahhhh God, here’s another popcorn analogy.  Popcorn storms seem to come out of nowhere, just like in our lives. But God can handle them. Let us keep our wits about us. And yes, even a wrath of fierce proportions is no match for a God of protection. 

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:18-19

In life, we don’t need to constantly be inside the whole bucket of popcorn excitement,  which is great for the first five minutes, then too much. We need a steady pace. We need to know how God keeps us going DAY by DAY and we need to not blow our tops in overreacting to everybody and everything. We need to stay the course, stay calm, keep going. Each day is a new day.

I Lava Lava Love VBS teaching me.

I love God’s FAITHFUL children and HIS FAITHFULNESS. 

Thanks God, You ARE my Rock, my provisions from Your Living Water. 

Amen

Numbers 20:2-13

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

Get It? Got It? GOOD

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I’m starting a new Bible study in the book of Romans, a letter to friends (and us) by apostle Paul, some say the greatest apostle because, among other reasons, his preaching reached Gentiles and Jews in the crucial corners of the early church (thru personal visits and many letters written while God moved him to and fro)… and from those places the Gospel (Good News about Jesus) spread to the rest of the world and back. You and I are likely knowing about Jesus due to the Holy Spirit working thru Paul’s preach-reach. His testimony always spelled out the FULFILLMENT of the scriptures about Jesus being the foretold Messiah. The Old Testament is the Foretold Testament.

Paul is an example of tremendous achievements and STILL falling really short of perfection. (Be Still and still be needing Jesus). Face it, we too fall short and it’s never going to be where the definition of perfection changes. Jesus is perfection and instead of changing Himself (which is impossible) (and why would He), He changes us – both in how we behave but in especially how we appear to God our Father. “Covered in the Blood”.

Atonement needed and granted. Sacrificial Substitutionary Atonement, in place from Adam’s time, is given once and for all by Jesus’s sacrifice. Perfection poured out on those falling short. God knows we need it. God knew to give it. God bless that we got it.

A crucial Bible-based message I heard multiple times is that we don’t get right then come to Jesus – we come to Jesus then get right. And what doesn’t get right gets Jesus because we will never achieve perfection, no one will. Not Paul who came as a murderer and not us who come as we are. All sin is equal and falls short. Jesus doesn’t move the bar, He is the bar, He just makes the bar into a bridge. He wants us to be with God forever. 

Come as you are, let Jesus take care of the rest. To “get it” we have to “get” Jesus, understand that we can’t “make amends” but “get got” by Him, by His Sacrifice.

Get it?

Got it?

Good. 

Amen 

—–

Romans 1:1-6, 14-17

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures  regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

….

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Moses Rocking Anger, Jesus Rocking Stability

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Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  David in Psalm 16A new day. Trusting the Lord in every Way. He is our ROCK SOLID foundation!

Preparing for a friend’s VBS, I was reminded of the story of Moses and water from a rock. Another day’s story is remembering God is our rock upon which we are to build our lives. The VBS theme is about keeping your emotions in check! Listen to Him to find out.

I remember Sunday school, 15 plus years ago, teaching little kids about the water from a rock story, thought it was cool. Moses tapping a rock and water coming from it. I remember placing a milk jug with water inside a crumpled paper bag that resembled a rock and making it splash. I remember us reaching into the rock and pouring some water to drink, being grateful because the Israelites were so thirsty in the desert and God provided… cool story then and now… but what I NOW realize is that Moses was just supposed to speak to the crowd near the rock, NOT hit it. SPEAK and ACT to show God’s faithfulness, not chastise the people at that moment, even if you think they deserve your anger over God’s Grace. Accept a blessing and not over dramatize your hand in it.

Anger. Anger is one allowable emotion but vengeance and frustration and acting-out which goes over board – that was NOT on God’s agenda for Moses to display that day. Not usually what He wants from us too. God’s punishment to one of His favorite sons, Moses, was earthly harsh. Moses’s earthly future was severely affected and he was not allowed to cross into the Promised Land. (Don’t worry, God did not abandon Moses all together and blessed him.) 

In contrast with struggling in the desert, David a shepherd of God’s sheep and His people, future King, would write (in Psalm 16) what we also should realize: God’s faithfulness. We should tap into His ability to hold us safe BEFORE we blow our top or hit an anger overflow or cave after an entitlement challenge. We should realize that with God, “I will NOT be shaken.”  David had much personal experience of God providing and God rescuing. Perhaps we all need this reminder of God’s comfort. Perhaps we need to remember before we whine about the times that we are being displayed for others to see how we handle our lot in life. Others also notice when we don’t give thanks but they especially notice what shakes us up.

Moses (and that rock) were shaken up. The staff powerfully used in previous incidents was abused in channeling anger frustration in full view of the people whom Moses had been trying to convince to trust God. Frustration showed cracks in Moses’s faith, very visibly to the crowd. When we show our frustration, we show that we are not trusting God to deliver. Surely we are human and will need to vent, stumble, lash out. Thankfully we have Jesus, rescuing and recovering our sins.

Moses started a tough journey. David learned of Moses’s missteps and saw God’s faithfulness. We have all these examples, and the saving Grace of God thru Jesus. Let us rock our firm foundation rather than lash out to rock anger. Let us show that we honor Him as Holy. Let us hold onto our Lord as He is holding on to us. He IS our firm foundation. 

Amen 

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Psalm 16 of David:

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”  

I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.” Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

—-

Moses caving into anger and frustration:  Numbers 29:2-13

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. SPEAK to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”  Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

—-

Jesus teaching trust in God

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Matthew 7:24-29 

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Change of Shell or Scenery: Christmas the Crab, Apostle Paul, and Us

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Although the cat will contest that she was the MOST neglected those two weeks that we were away on vacation, it was actually Christmas the crab who had the least attention. And while we were away, Christmas took on a new shell, a lighter weight one for sure, and maybe more roomy? Maybe not. At any rate, it’s a different style and a change of shell (even temporary) when you are not afforded a change of scenery except a short few minutes out of the aquarium once a month or so… (The cat actually gets a lot more attention, including her “net time” outside. No, it’s not as good as exploring outside but it will have to do. She escaped yesterday but all three of us surrounded her as she slows down so curious about outside.) 

Christmas moved back to his regular shell a few days later, maybe just not the right fit, who knows. Christmas seemingly never gets a change of his limited living space. But we do! We often have an opportunity to step away from the norm, to take a vacation day, a weekend away…. at least hopefully we do and hopefully we take advantage of it.  Change of scenery is what I appreciated during my recent vacation with all the sightseeing activities and new opportunities for learning, and just sitting outside with no mosquitoes, unlike here. I’ve now had dozens land on me in just a few days back home. 

In our vacation destination there was a hum of life late until the evening. In the countryside there were birds chirping and the hum of quiet – yes quiet makes a noticeable buzz of a vacuum of removing stress, matched with brilliant sunsets. In the countryside I heard dogs yammering to each other.  Dogs are allowed in parks and dining patios, castles and everywhere. A dog’s life is not having to be working except companionship… however we have to work, and what a blessing for vacation… what a blessing when we become companionship and others to us.

Plus vacation meant knowing happily that I took the journey. One week later now home, the vacation feeling slips away but remembering to sit and relax remains, and knowing that entering storms does too. God will always be with us in all situations. We have to hit the ground running quite often. 

What most I noticed in me was reminding myself to NOT have to hussle (except for one airport connection, and when we had to get to that boat tour). I mentally had to say to myself, SIT HERE! Absorb the moment. Take advantage of the change of pace and to relax. I noticed that I didn’t need chewing gum at all this vacation to deal with stress!

Stress – we flee from it but sometimes the Lord sends us INTO the storms not just out. Sometimes He calms the child instead of the waves. My scripture connection is with Paul being moved around but with purpose. 

Apostle Paul was one of those people God sent into situations,  storms, changes of scenery. (Even many months, God said “Sit here” – and Paul took the time to write letters which are now crucially in the Word.)… 

Paul, traveling with Luke (Dr. Luke who wrote down the book of Acts), got a major change of scenery when he being taken prisoner to Rome, was held up in bad seas and crash landed in Malta. A change of scenery came happily when he recognized the people who loved him in Rome. A change of scenery purposefully when he was speaking to the Jewish leaders in Rome. God told Paul that he would go to Rome because God wanted him there.

Today, where will God take us or command us to go? Where will we crash land? What prison will still be purposeful? What people will He drop in front of us? Hmmmm…

Yesterday I got an unusual call, I didn’t even blink, it was like automatic motion. I was listening to a prayer service on the radio and the preacher teacher Pastor Joe said pray with the people who had stood at the service because they just were feeling at the end of their rope, throwing in the towel, needing prayer. Immediately I was driving by 3 people abandoning their broken down car on the turnpike, parked safe, they decided to start on foot. I felt the frustration on their faces before I saw them, just kinda knew to pull over and said hop in. I believe God’s timing is perfect and I believe we are all called into action if we pick up on tiny clues and big ones. It was about 20 minutes out of my way (10 up 10 back) but I still got my kids’ food orders in, pizza picked up etc. Three at home fed, got home fine). And they did have a destination of a brother’s repair shop and a plan and although someone else surely would have helped, this seemed like it was presented as a window God made available to me to do this. 

In the car we did have one of the best faith conversations that I think I have ever had, speaking of Jesus and Heaven, Revelation 22 and Rapture, mega churches and little ones, how we were raised, etc… (of course the music I had on and the cross dangling from my mirror probably cued the conversations). This was a bigger condensed conversation with strangers traveling than with close relatives nearby. I think this is how Paul felt his opportunities for preaching teaching conversations. Presented. God’s change of scenery brings opportunity. One of the three said he had just asked Him (the big Him) for a safe ride, and that’s when I pulled up. We ARE God’s taxi service aren’t we? as well as His passengers? Yes.. 

No, I don’t normally pick up strangers, but God just gave me the right feeling at the right time and action and ability, and a semi-empty Subaru too. It will be a distant memory soon, like my vacation memories fade, but the feeling of God calling me into service? So clear.

God’s change of scenery brings opportunity:

That’s a clear call. 

God knows all.

Answer God’s call.

Amen

—-

Acts 28:23-end

They [the Jewish leaders in Rome] arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God, and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets he tried to persuade them about Jesus.  Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet:

“‘Go to this people and say,

“You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.

Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!”  After he said this, the Jews left, arguing vigorously among themselves.

For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

Jesus Holds all the Cards

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Reading Chronicles in the old testament is more than just a laundry list of names of fathers and sons, heritages and genealogies. Reading the section (chapters 11 and 12) about King David and his gifted warrior followers is as if Jesus is reading the descriptions of each of His bubblegum baseball warrior pack edition cards… Jesus wrote the cards, the HIStories, and kept His cards hidden protected and safe. Jesus knew how to stack the deck for David. This deal of His Plan was not from cards up His sleeve but of those held close to His heart. 

David loved His Lord and was loved by his people as a shepherd. David, promised by the Lord to be made King of Israel, was also made into a House,  a line of descendants promise including Jesus in flesh. No wonder Jesus held and never traded away any of these cards. 

We too are held by the Lord and dealt into life scenarios. Our challenges overcome by God are recorded and we should give Him credit for His Victories. We should compare notes on our saves rather than our failures. Sometimes He shuffles the deck and reshuffles, and we need to trust His deal, even when we can’t understand why we are where we are. God knows how the cards fall, we should follow suit. He knows how to bring JOY to Himself in our gathering with Him.

Everyone loves a good leader, respects a coach, wants to trust the King. With David, the Lord set him up for success. If David drifted, the Lord took him back into His Hand. He drifted and we drift. The Lord kept His promise to keep His House, in and from the earthly house of David. What the Lord builds, stands. It’s not a house of cards, ready to fall, but solidly kept with the Lord, it’s a house of us all.

With Jesus our ultimate King, THE Lord, our Lord, we can be sure He DOES hold all our cards in His Hand. 

Amen

1st Chronicles 11-12 (beginning and end bracketing of scriptures):

All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel.

David Conquers Jerusalem

David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there said to David, “You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.

….. 

All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them. Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, olive oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.

1 Chronicles 11-12 NIV;KJV – David Becomes King Over Israel link:https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Chronicles+11-12&version=NIV;KJV

Chronicles of our Family Trees

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When I started over abundantly explaining our trip to an AMAZING vacation place to a couple fellow church goers back home, one just abruptly stopped me and chuckled at my zeal…  I get it, I am just still processing amazing times, but know the fleeting nature of memories. Another said “I hope you wrote this all down” – I have – but really of course it’s too much information for others unless you are me, with my eyes – and we are all our own eyes of the world. It’s too much info right now, but I have memories for later. I know that we all have vast memories that are all our own. Jesus too. And yet He DID write it down. Not everything and we will just “have to take His Word for it”…

My volumes of interesting memories that I could spew in words or with thousands of photos on Facebook are a tiny blip of eternal time, my family trees but minor representation of how Jesus’s Word spells out HIS family – not just trees but memories and knowledge and love.  In 1st Chronicles, Jesus’s Word says: All Israel was listed in the genealogies recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. They were taken captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. Then Jesus’s Word spells out their resettlement: Now the first to resettle on their own property in their own towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites and temple servants…

God all hoped theywere all accepting to be led. Loved, lost, led. That’s life.

So good, bad, unfaithful, all of the above, were chronicled in the Word, all were loved, both the lost and found. Can you imagine if Jesus as a 12 year old in the temple started listing out all these names!??!! WOW. If Jesus was at the beginning (He was) then He knew all and loved all, just as He loves us all today.  It’s mind blowing. Jesus’s Word lays down these tracks of genealogy for history sake but isn’t this just like knowing every artery and vein and hair and skin cell of Jesus’s genealogy includes knowledge of his brothers and sisters in intricate weavings of people and places… These are the recorded names that Jesus valued to have included in His memory banks, as He does for us now.

Aren’t you glad that thru Jesus, we are saved and presented to God as names cleared of sins rather than our laundry list of mis-steps? God has us on His lists. 

Then continuing names after name, the Word in Chronicles condenses the tales of King Saul and King David. And we see dedication in the writings of direct lineages and why the people rose and fell. It was based on faith and faithfulness.

Our memories are enhanced by love and physical presence, so is our knowledge of Him. Our devotion and worship comes from the Holy Spirit. 

We will lose our memories and mental health and our writings too – leaves do fall off our family trees – but we won’t lose our Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus will never lose us. We are written in Him.

Amen

—-

Here are small excerpts about Saul and David, a HUGE chapter in our own history of loving the Lord:

Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord your God said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’”

David gathered followers but it was the Holy Spirit of God who arranged the commitment:  

Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold. David went out to meet them and said to them, “If you have come to me in peace to help me, I am ready for you to join me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our ancestors see it and judge you.”

Then the Spirit came on Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: “We are yours, David! We are with you, son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you.”

So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.

To give God the GLORY

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What reason should I give God when I pray for good health? 

Because I want it? Maybe 

Because I deserve it? No

So that I can give Him the GLORY?! YEAH!


What reason should I give God when I pray for my family’s good health? 

Because I want it for me? Maybe 

Because I want it for them? Naturally 

Because we deserve it? No

So that when He delivers, I can give Him the GLORY?! YEAH!


What reason should I give God when I pray thankfulness for pulling me thru something, covering me, raising me? 

Because I also worked at it? Maybe 

Because I deserved it? No

So that I can thank Him for His Mercy? And give Him the GLORY?! YEAH!


What reason should I praise God when in trials? 

Because they make me stronger? Maybe 

Because I want out of it? Maybe 

Because I think I don’t deserve them? No

So that I can give Him the GLORY?! YEAH!


What reason should we love Him?

Because He deserves it? Well, YES

Because He wants it? YES

Because He waits for it? YES 

Because He loved us first? He did


Because He is LOVE, the LOVE, of LOVE and for LOVE?

Naturally YES YES YES YES. Faithfully YES. Forever YES. 

Love of fruition

Love of fruitfulness 

Love of faithfulness 

Love of God.


Glory for God’s Grace. 

Glory for God’s Gifts.

Glory for God’s Goodness.

Glory to God is good to give 

Praise to God be the Glory.

Give Him the GLORY. Yeah!

Amen!

Time to Trust God – Travelogue

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Yesterday I erased time – not really, I just switched timezones and flew from Europe to the US on an eight hour flight. Since I never was in darkness, even though my body clock said 2AM, I didn’t sleep on the plane.  Actually watched 2 great classic movies: “Robin Hood” 1938 with Errol Flynn and “To Kill a Mockingbird” 1962, one of my favorites with Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall. The theme throughout the movie was it was a sin to kill or do harm to something or someone who helps you and does you no harm – like it is a sin to kill a Mockingbird. It’s important advice as we roll thru life to not be disgruntled complainers or troublemakers when people are just trying their best. Good to be good travelers. It’s important to be “keep the peace” people and just know everything at the end, plusses and minuses will even out. Go with the flow! And we flew with the flow! Time enough to trust God! 

We ate REALLY well on the plane, 2AM body time was 8pm home time, so snack at the end of the flight was breakfast quiche and ice cream and more swiss chocolate, something for every time zone… It was a good traveling day,  although long… Train bus plane train train car ride home. 12 hours travel in 6 hours clock time due to 6 hour difference of time. Cat napped on the train. Good travel. Good to be home.

My time yesterday (erased, perceived or real) was a GOOD time for TRUSTING GOD, as well as on this whole trip – every moment was/is an OPPORTUNITY TO TRUST GOD. I did and He never left us, as my travel pouch scripture card reminded me: “I Am Always With You”. It caught my eyes in multiple financial transactions, each passport check,  etc. I trusted His presence, protection, planning and peace. Especially during plane takeoffs and landings, and realizing these people do this for a living and must trust the system for safety,  so should I.

Relying on God also came in REALLY HANDY – most handy – when the check-in agent of the most courteous Swiss airline told us that our big tickets from Zurich to the US were standby only – we were set for the first leg, an hour flight – but would have to check at the gate there and certainly trust our luggage would continue OK. Wow – I never expected that – seems a computer would know better, but there we were with a choice: Trust God or not. Glad I chose to trust Him!

We DID make the connection WITH a seat. We made the connection even if only a short planned one hour layover, which already COULD have put us on edge as American news outlets have been HYPING delays, but we had NO DELAYS and in hindsight,  we figured it was a minor glitch thing with the seat assignments (we meaning the dozen or so people on the same boat not assigned seats) and we saw MUCH efficiency and VERY courteous crews. (The only classic pushy airport agents were the active crowd control ones in the US, which is probably why they put those ladies in those necessary jobs, LOL). My scripture connection is here, 1 Chronicles 6:31-32: God assigns jobs to people, like us: caretakers, musicians, and yes especially flight attendants, customs officers, crowd control, AND CHOCOLATE MAKERS! We too have purpose and jobs to do, He gives us talents and skills.

And YES our luggage made it back safe, as verified by the smart “airtag” tracking devices that my smarter daughter installed… (and as verified by the travel chocolate I am about to eat right now. 6 hours of sleep, thank God!

I purposely chose Swiss airline and Zurich for the return trip. I decided the layover in Vienna, on our way over, was a safe choice because you could drive if needed, which we didn’t. We always arrived early for check-ins, hustled ourselves to step lively to the gates, be patient in security, and TRUST GOD. Just because God is IN CONTROL doesn’t mean you don’t cooperate and comply and do your part, check the flight trackers and hustle!

My part was trusting God and staying calm. I said that to the agent, to the fellow in the line with us who was from the US and the perfect chatty line companion we both needed. I said it to my daughter, who was absorbed in protocols for traveling (and cautioning me for not talking to loud, or not doing all those things which would embarrass her). I said if we are stuck, we were still on vacation, and we would eat MORE chocolate in Switzerland! Trust God and trust my word on the chocolates, it’s good chocolate! And we had plenty of both connection time and chocolates. (And blessedly packed 49.5lb suitcases home, each at the limit! Thank God for escalators and wheels and helpful co-travelers.)

My Facebook scrolling on the trip home brought me the sad news of one of my US cousins, My cousin’s death (a tremendous supporter encourager, she would have loved these travelogues), who passed from reoccurring cancer, age 66. She trusted God, I know she did, and was filled with joy through and through. She was a champion for ovarian cancer awareness, and a contagious JOY-germ. And through Facebook I just saw news of a church friend my age (whose daughter is the same age as my daughter) who is now diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I don’t know the whole story, but God does. This IS a clear time to TRUST GOD. My prayers for His Peace and plan.

There’s always plenty of time to Trust God and a need to trust Him. How many times do we realize that in hindsight. How many times does Jesus as the Word tell us to TRUST GOD! Endless times… and that’s the point, we ARE on an endless time continum WITH GOD, if we just take an opportunity to step on His conveyor belt, His escalators, and that eventual Heavenly Elevator. 

We prayerfully has much more time on this planet to keep making this time for travel. But if we don’t, we will accept and change conveyor belts. Trust God and He will book the plans! “Book the Plans”, get it? Jesus is the Word in the Book! Book my plans Lord!

Lord, Thanks for taking us on Your Flight.

Amen

PS God never goes on vacation, but He is always with you on yours…

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2 Chronicles 6:31-32

These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.

No Bugs – Travelogue

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I achieved something this vacation, sitting.  Sitting without need to scurry to the next event. I sat at lunch in the Old Town’s square and in the outdoor and inner courtyards under tents, and I sat and enjoyed both the company and the setting – and I appreciated the sitting.  

This old city feels both like an oasis of a hidden gem in a bubble and also the pulse of the most vibrant and easy city to visit. Huge but 100% manageable. It’s the city that doesn’t scare. Walking and trams and subways are easy. The people are amazing and history blends ingenuity with influences over a thousand years recorded and certainly longer into unknown times. The future? This city, it seems, could still run for a while if someone pulled the plug on the rest of the world. 

I would return and return…  How blessed on this trip to being a world traveler in an “easy” place with backup support as we are introduced to and revisit so much family, including some “world travelers” in my cousins, with whom we had dinner near a vast park stretched across the huge walking overlook (greens and flowers and skateboarding and young people hangouts) – which gave tremendous views accross the river. This is an area where people live, not just be touristy. And oh the views!!! There was even a local band concert setting up in that park overlooking the views.

The views of the city are from a different angle from each vantage point, we went north south east and west – and even UNDER things on this trip. Different angles and you notice different things, and I am meaning both the picturesque views and life point of views. We have different angles to see life. We often do need to sit in a café and ponder them, talk about them civilly and with experience.

No bugs… that’s a main reason I could really really enjoy outside this trip. No mosquitoes. Yes a fly found us a few times, usually just one, but I had a flyswatter and good skills from my childhood of swatting flies at my grandparents farm and house… SWAT. But outside? One fly on occasion, one yellow jacket here and there, some gnats at the woods, but no mosquitoes, none. We could sit. I could sit, I needed to sit!

This day needed to sit at the mall Starbucks WI-FI area because we walked and walked… 20,000 steps, 8 miles, 29 flights of stairs and we only did 2 towers! Good towers!!! A clock which is a marvel of longevity, even if the figures and mechanisms needed replacing time to time, especially when it was shelled by the Nazi’s at the closing moments of WW2. The protest/war/disgruntledness of sore losers, the last minute swipe of intending a mental attack on the nation’s spirits while on your way out. This clock walls and metal survived the fire, the sculptures were remade. The building (about half) was restored. One section was not.

We visited the art deco building next door to the mall (with the WI-FI) and the national museum a few blocks over, but those will have to wait for the next trip! We went to famous statue site of protests and victory gatherings when communism and the iron curtain fell. My cousin asked about the atmosphere in America with the changing presidential regimes, I said people are polarized and on opposite sides politically, separating us, but really people tried not to talk politics in mixed company to keep the peace. No bugging each other when you can keep the peace.

No bugs on the sitting in trip, but we did see spiders! I remember taking a peak in yet another root cellar from the 1700s, as a fortified mound in my cousin’s backyard, and there was a HUGE spider, size of a silver dollar. Spiders, however scary, are good for bug control. We too need to gobble up things that bug us to move our lives in peace. We need to set aside bugs and decompress on vacation. I’ve enjoyed this bubble of no bugging. Like walking the boardwalk one last time last night in perfect weather…

My scripture connection is to the attempt to dishearten the people by the Nazi’s (and yes there were concentration camps near here). War IS hell, but the people have survived and thrived… and the people who still worked the fields (farm fields, stone fields, trade fields) still stayed, and THRIVED.

It’s a beautiful city. God is good to let us be here.

See the world to see the uniqueness of each place. Enjoy the view!

Amen

Scripture from in 2nd Kings, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it…… 

Later:

He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.

Yes, St Nicholas, there is a Holy Spirit – Travelogue 

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We had delicious plentiful hotel breakfast in the “winter garden” after watching the sunrise on the beautiful famous bridge in this heart of the “Old City”, a great way to start the day. Our hotel is just 3 minutes walk to the bridge, and only 20 minutes walk UP to the castle. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.

Our first stop after just a 10 minutes walk, past the hundreds of shops and touristy snack to Starbucks shacks, is the special gorgeous Baroque St. Nicholas Cathedral – oh the opulence of ornateness – Marble prettier than Gold, and trust me there’s a lot of Gold! And Silver!

Church visits here are a MUST see. Many/MOST people don’t go to regular church, but tourists flock to these scenic ones… This one amazing is decorated and created old Baroque to the max. Worth the minimal entrance fee. Priceless are the views that don’t cost an arm and a leg to see, plus the exchange rate is so good, that the four star hotel is “inexpensive” in American standards – and breakfast is included. And each castle/church entrance fee has been less than $10. WOW.

I absorbed the energy of the effort put into creating this cathedral but the spirit was not in the marble only in the marveling. And then UP the steep hill we climbed to main attraction of the day – the 14th century Castle – WOW! We and many many people visit the church chapels and cathedrals within the inner castle as well as the golden lane of inner village and the vast old royal residence (extraordinary coat of arms paintings on the ceilings). Although you feel like on top of the world already in views, we made it UP the 287 steps within the tower, whew… Breathtaking views and steps.

OH THE VIEWS! Made us extra hungry for dinner – stylish fancy good, yummy, BEST cheeseburger I think I ever had, and those sweet potato fries! I have a spiritual connection to sweet potato fries, LOL.

Spiritual connections???

I wondered on our way back and forth walking, while wandering across the bridge sunrise and at peak tourist volume: What exactly IS the attraction to just a bridge? It IS historic 1300’s and it IS a nightlife and daytime hotspot! Tourists tourists tourists! A must see and must be. And yes the sunset was as special as the sunrise. But what’s SO special? If there’s anything that the stealth and open Holy Spirit understands, it’s that these Holy Statues DO teach a story, a story of Jesus and of FAITH. Also the castles teach perseverance and preservation, the castles all seemed to have a Cathedral or Chapel. These ornate stained glass windows do tell stories, if we seek to know what is pictured, otherwise we just marvel at the colors. The gold leaf paint does cover leaves of Bible Truth if we look past just the shiny gloss. There’s a connection to opulence of course (and perhaps the money back then could have been spent on something else more fruitful), then again the preciousness of all these works keeps them preserved today. These treasures can’t be taken up to Heaven, but perhaps some Holy Spirit connection can be squeezed into the view of the people seeing them today. Who knows what this person or that will gather from the grains of gold. We do know that each person has a Holy Spirit connection and Jesus bought their ticket.

As for all the “uncoolness” of church these days or people’s “cold shoulder” approach after seeing church hypocrisy in their lifetimes – all I can say is my fellow visitors who number in the hundreds of thousands to millions are CHILDREN OF GOD, in various relationships with Him, AND that they took thousands and thousands of photos of Jesus today, of God’s devoted saints, of mother and child, of Jesus’s anguished face, and of His angels JOY.  Even a photo of a bird on a saint tells a story of anguish in people not knowing, not understanding.

LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION – stained glass and these ornate story statutes ARE memory makers – maybe someday Jesus will appear to them and they will remember the smallest thread of faith from a facebook scroll or instagram instant.  OLD BRIDGES are on which people can NEWLY WALK WITH the HOLY SPIRIT, when they realize that call of God as His Children. If anything, we know that it was important enough then that these medieval and Renaissance people both built and protected these earthly treasures of thoughts divine – and that we preserve and persevere in trying to understand how something so ornate is just a vision now rather than a worship place. These are just flat rocks and gems without the spirit. No, I DON’T feel Holy Spirit in inanimate objects or marble – or gold – but because God has made that gold, and we have knowledge of it, let us now use it and all these items as lessons for faith. Now, let us connect the dots of teachings and items, of love in action because of our faith that can reach back into time before time began.

Yes, St Nicholas (formed later into Santa Claus), there IS Faith and our Holy Spirit fosters Faith. Yes Virginia, there is a FAITH TO FOSTER. 

It is said that the CROSS stands up and down to remind us that we connect to God in love, the CROSS left and right to remind us we connect to His PEOPLE in love. Let’s cross in our faith as a bridge. 

The bridge of Faith is well worth maintaining. 

Amen 

I’m With the Band – Travelogue

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There is no denying that I don’t look like my mom’s side of the family – as I don a bucket hat and slather sunblock on my freckles (from my dad’s side) for each day of sightseeing.  But we all mix and express gene-pools differently anyway – but in love we fit in.

My relatives are HARD WORKING! And they are loving and my great joy is to cause opportunities for get togethers and reminiscing and fun. Sunday morning was a MUCH needed late sleep-in before we packed to leave. Then breakfast pie, lunch (a traditional meal, yum!), and after travel 20 minutes we arrived to see cousins in another branch, for second lunch – grandma and mom, with kids my kid’s age – english speaking These are connections for future trips (both to and fro).

I pulled out the old photo album scans and family trees (going back to the 1700s) in front of all these young and eager cousins and watched their eyes pop! I watched them all connect their Instagram accounts to each other (FYI -Facebook is for the older generation, LOL)…

So cousins in these distinct branches are not knowing each other but living only 20 minutes apart and now are realizing how close they really are. That is something the Grandma’s knew and something for us to rekindle. They thanked me for connecting, but I said: “that’s just my job!” – yes it is… See, I think that I am both appreciative of these connections here on earth (love the hugs) and I am getting a jump start for Heaven where I pray my great-grandparents will introduce themselves to me and me to their great great great grand-familes… we are all connected back to Noah if we know-a it or not…

It was now time to leave these country cousins – car to metro to hotel… My cousins sat in the back of the reception room but I both wanted to check in American style, but personally since that’s me, as well as explain I am local connected too! “I’m WITH the band!” a roadie or groupie might say at a backstage of a concert. 

We all marveled at the closeness to the action, and beautiful CLEAN room. It was booked online and I mentioned that it was suggested by my cousin who really IS in the band, my cousin is the guitar player on the weekends for bringing patrons into the restaurant.

“I’m with the band” – but I am not saying I got better treatment because of it, because we all get great treatment here. My room however had only one set of stairs to climb, and a best view of the action,  and view of the quiet mornings. And no worries, the double windows make it super insulated quiet or open to be part of the scene but home… fun!

I will miss my family,  like I already do, on both sides of the pond. Gratefully we fly now rather than swim!!! Family creates the connecting bands of our heartstrings – I am thrilled to say both “I’m WITH the Band” – with Love – I’m IN the band!

We walked before bed to the town square attractions. The crowd CHEERS for the shows, not elaborate but it’s old and cool and a shared experience. We love connections! We sense connections!!!

My scripture connections…  recounting family histories is from 1Chronicles, the Lord traces names from Noah forward – roots of the family tree that bore Jesus in the flesh into the world. There were MANY family branch lines of kings of Jerusalem and Judah before and after exile. It starts with names we recognize then not so much, but bits and pieces of stories are shared again and ! In this scripture is the line to David, from the lines of Judah (son of Jacob, Isreal), where Jesus traced His earthly birth, it’s the people not the place, as they moved and moved and moved. Jesus too with Joseph and Mary moved and moved, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Egypt, the Sea of Galilee – moved so much the uninformed people said: how can you be Messiah?… You didn’t follow the predicted lineage! But Jesus did! His birth IN the lineage and Jesus also IS the lineage as the Word. You can take God out from Heaven but you can’t take Heaven out from God. 

Jesus IS with the BAND!

JESUS IS THE BAND!

Amen 

Don’t Miss the Boat – Travelogue

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Don’t miss THIS boat!

We were on time for the Prague cruise boat, and even got there early to have a seat at the cafe, but when Grandma gave the signal, we skedaddled to catch our ride! We didn’t speak her language but knew exactly what she meant! Time to go!

Don’t miss the boat! Or the bus! Or anything!

Saturday found us with the second half of a branch of our loved family that I stayed with in my previous trip – but now with many grandkids running around, we just visited for the afternoon and lunch the next day – And took the Saturday sight-seeing boat ride! A town organized tour by the retired “pensioners” as my cousin translated on her phone… That’s how we communicated all morning, my cousin translated using the Google app – the bus to the boat and as needed on the cruise, 2 hours down the river, UNDER the famous bridges, and with unique views of the scenery – old and new. We were even channeled thru a lock to move up then back, it was perfect weather. The heat broken by needed rainfall. 

Back on the bus, and we walked up the hill to the house with cousins to a barbecue party- wow it was a festival of enjoyment. Family is family. 

My great-grandparents came on boat to America, never to see their family again – a few photos came in the mail – but no hugs – never to feel hugs from their family again. One great grandfather was escaping being forced into an army in the turn of the century. They felt the need to leave. Little money was something preventing their travel back home later – but more of an issue were the huge world wars. They couldn’t travel. They wrote letters. They hoped. They accepted the separation. They put their energy into the next generations.

I feel this connection to family on both my mother and father’s sides, yet these hugs after the big party are hugs not knowing when or IF we will see each other again. I pray we do. I hope to travel frequently (money well spent in my opinion)! It’s more than quite the blessing, it’s the full circle of the boat to the plane to the boatload of family. It’s putting your energy into the next generations, just like this trip, just like raising or lowering a ship in a lock, just like anything – pay it forward.. 

I’m so much enjoying this boatload of family love !!! Never want to miss THAT boat!

Amen 

PS my scripture match with this is the bad rulers over Judah Israel and Jerusalem, 2nd Kings 21, etc… divided kingdoms and wayward kings…  my grandparents were escaping the bad ruler too… they hopped on the boat. Imagine my life would not exist if they didn’t. I am glad they didn’t miss the boat. God can use even the evil days for good.

Manasseh King of Judah, 2nd Kings 21:1-6
Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put my Name.” In the two courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced divination, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.

What’s in the Book? Travelogue

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I couldn’t understand the tour guide but it was a great tour of one of the oldest castles and chapels, just 20 minutes from homebase. It was 12th century wow, WOW WOW WOW! and we did get a tourbook to read in English about the place, so I wasn’t totally lost. (The torture chamber needed no explanation, yikes! The Rack! Water torture. Solitary confinement – they dropped you in from the ceiling for the guarantee of a long painful death. Ugh. Ugh!)

Gratefully the rest of the tour was a pleasure to see original 12th century beauty and 17th-18th century renovations. And oh the views! Here is where good king lived before he went away then returned to be King. There were not the rooms with the pure gold because this castle was for residence and it’s treasures were raided 4 times at least, and it had a fire about every 100 years. The thick walls survived but the treasures not so much. However the Chapel was so beautiful, restored in the 1700s, I think. The Gothic-era throne room is so large. They accumulated tremendous portrait paintings. And the library would blow you away, newest books are 1700s, oldest are 11th century German ones. There are German copies of the Bible (a page opened to the laws of Moses I am told) and tremendous spiritual paintings. I could see and know the meaning of the paintings because I have read The Book, the Bible, yet it’s the faces portrayed in joy and anguish that we appreciate mentally absorbing. These books stand like a library frozen. I kept wondering what info is in the books we don’t know. What’s in the books?

My cousin then took us home, we rested until her mom and extended family came by. They have a new memory album and want to fill in the book for the family tree, she remembered the package my great grandfather mailed from America up to the 1940s – he mailed clothes and other items, they mailed him mushrooms which are so traditional to harvest from the national forests here. In her book, she will organize her memories, in the trees organize what family she knows, hopes to fill in what she doesn’t know. What should be in the book?

This brings me to my scripture readings, old testament, the people found a book of info they didn’t know, the laws of Moses. King Josiah tried to understand these laws of love, pages of instruction maintaining connection with God. Scriptures are filled with connections and family histories and lineages too. Yes, the book is the direction and recording, but inquiry of the Lord is the connection. 

I have inquired of my family roots, and those connections have brought me love 1000-fold over and over. That’s what we need to research family trees for, not riches but reaches. Meeting cousins. Knowing love.

That’s what’s in the Book: LOVE!!!

Amen

2 Kings 22

The Book of the Law Found

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the Lord….

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it.  …. Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”

Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, she was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter. She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 

Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.  Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

Fruit of Our Family Tree – Travelogue

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Blessed to BE,

Blessed to SEE,

Fruit of the Blossoms 

From our Family Tree.

It is NO surprise that in the sky this mid-summer pre-dawn, the cup of the Big Dipper is upright and “holding its water” here in the countryside. (In the US, it’s tipped over by the end of summer, summer “runs out”). Here, my cup is FULL of God’s love and blessings, summer and family, experiences and JOY. This early wake up is no surprise God finds some time to write, I am BLESSED. Blessed to reconnect with family. Blessed to connect new generations with each other. Blessed to be on vacation, BONUS TIME. (Blessed to fund vacation with bonus money too) Blessed by having one more week here and more family to see. Super Blessed to BE and SEE the Fruit of the Blossoms of our Family Tree.

Our great grandparents born humble but ambitious made great families of hard workers. The overlook (in the photo) to the river was beautiful. Beautiful weather and view, we sat APPRECIATIVE.

Like I have said, this is a trip of a LifeLine, reconnecting us as opposed to a trip (once) of a lifetime. My daughter super blessed and ready for this trip – to take a vacation break like me – see architecture and history from the ground floor – and for her to meet her family, see where her roots are from (1/4 of her family tree). This tracing of family roots is the dream of many in America, the solid tracks written down by very appreciative children.

Love our family when we are together. These are hard working people who love their family, their gardens, house rebuilding, cooking, even know how to sew. My US family connects in perfectly. And as the generations absorb the info from their parents and grandparents, we all absorb the love freely given. Love is never supposed to be kept for yourself but shared. Fruits of the spirit are to be shared. I ate currents from the yard. And we had fruit pie and sauce from home-grown apples, fruit cobbler from home-grown blackberries, goodies from home fridges, LOL. Fruits of the yard even in drought. I appreciate this quiet time here. I urge you all: take vacation in parts, to decompress, to see, to connect and learn, all to bear further fruit.

We are family, and do it yourselfers, but I realized when I wrote: “This tracing of family roots, written down by very appreciative children” – that the statement 100% applies to our Lord and His/our Family Tree. Jesus being the Word wrote down, being the Tracts we must discover in us, being the Bible Himself, from His Our Father’s Love, He IS our Vine to nurture us. Our Vinedresser God prunes our lives, makes us stronger to bear His fruit. We ARE blossomed by His Love to bear His Fruit. Psalm 1 speaks of “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.” Jesus was the ultimate “do it yourselfer” – taking our sin burden so we could be home with God. I am SO APPRECIATIVE of my brother and Lord, Jesus, wanting the best for us forever.  No wonder we also want the best for our children. 

Cool… Fruitful… BLESSED!

Amen

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John 1:1-5

Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

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Psalm 1:1-3

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.

Good Kings Rule! Travelogue

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It’s more than folklore, good Kings are remembered for their goodness. 

We visited the castle of someone considered a really good king, AMAZING, my second trip but first inside the chapels. This was the first tour in memory for my young cousin. I thought so cool that he was able and eager to absorb history of his own land, and now appreciate its beauty, instead of just being a place to live. A tourist in your hometown. Yummy food and touristy village atmosphere below the castle too. Did I mention that I love being on vacation? Home was salad dinner and cake with the cousins around the kitchen table. Family is family!

This castle was not intended as a residence but as a fortress, each building a separate fortress, for preservation of the valuable relics and jewels. This king is portrayed as a preservationist and the ornate GOLD chapel a miniature homage to the New Jerusalem in precious metals,  stones,  and portraits of the saints. AMAZING. 

This good king traveled his whole reign to all the regions and strengthened the ministries. So key, that he was depicted as placing some relics, like a thorn from Jesus’s crown and a nail from His Cross, into the ornate jeweled Cross, part of the crown jewels now. There are said to be 3 relics preserved in the building, stones from the tomb, but 200 others lost, stolen, given away, like breastmilk from the virgin Mary. Yes, they may not be believable as relics in today’s reality to have been genuine, but the faith was real. The faith of the King was real as to believe if they kept good, they would be with the 144,000 saved in apocalypse Rapture return of Jesus, all on the way to the New Jerusalem. I’ve never seen before so much actual depiction of the Book of Revelation, most don’t teach it, these chapels depict it in painted wall murals.  WOW. The 4 horsemen to the earthquakes to angels… 

They kept this castle protected by taking all the trees down and able to visualize anyone trying to invade, worked well until 1600s and one army got all the way to but not in the main structure. They had stockpiled food, were under siege for 7 months, but prevailed. The wood bridge was purposefully burned to keep the invaders away. We walked the reconstructed bridge inside, first a cold basement used for food storage in the seige, otherwise used as a prison. Then up to the Holy Chapel. AMAZING. 

My scripture readings of Kings went from good king Hezekiah to bad king Manasseh, his son, (He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.) Bad kings ARE bad, leading people astray. Good kings lead people to worship. The best and ONLY King we need to worship is Jesus, who did it ALL. Nothing we can do, nor any earthly king, can take away what Jesus already did for us to save us. 

I am certain from walking around these castles and cathedrals (a confirmation of my feelings from last time) that God in the Holy Spirit indwells in the people not the buildings or relics, not in the Gold or money, but in the Spirit. The amazing things He has created are of Him, and Good, the people are Very Good. The people are whom He will save (not “good” people, but sinners who believe, saved by Grace).

One note in the gold chapel, with gemstones hanging representing the jewel stone types in the New Jerusalem, there are depictions of the sun and moon, but I know from the book of Revelation that those will pass away. I found one tourist, who was near the end of my English-narrated tour, to whom I could mention in Spirit and Truth that God Himself with Jesus will be ALL the LIGHT in the New Jerusalem.  All Light, no night. Now that’s a GOOD King!

Jesus is our KING!

Amen!

Good Bad and Indifferent – Travelogue

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

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

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

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

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

AMEN 


2nd Kings 20:17-21

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

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

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

Trust Trust Trust – Travelogue

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

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

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

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

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

Worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Trust IS the first step of worship.

Amen 

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

God is in Control

A Trip of a LifeLine

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 A Trip of a LifeLine 

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 


Letter of Paul to the Ephesians 4:7-13

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

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

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


Psalm 68: 18-20

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

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

In Good God Hands

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

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

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

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

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

In Good God Hands.

AMEN 

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

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

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

Reprise Post: The Whole Kit and Kaboodle

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

Hands down. Jesus gave it ALL. 

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

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

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

NO GRUMBLING ALLOWED FROM THE WHEEL WELL SEATS!

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

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

The ultimate bumper sticker: “GOT JESUS?”

Gotta go, “My Ride is Here”.

Amen 

—-

Philippians 2:1-15

Imitating Christ’s Humility

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

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

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

Do Everything Without Grumbling

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

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

Reprise Post: Stay on Track

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

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

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

A second gem:

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


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

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

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

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

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

Ears and Eyes OPEN!

“All Aboard!”

AMEN 


2nd Chronicles 30:1-27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reprise Post: No Baggage – Just Love

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No Baggage – Just LOVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————

2 Corinthians 12 (NIV)

Paul’s Vision and His Thorn

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

Reprise Post: Feel the Love – Fill the Bag

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

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

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

Just counting blessings… And Subarus…

and writings…

Reprise Post: God’s Recycling

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God’s Recycling, 28JULY

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

Yeah, God provides…

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

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

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

Amen


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

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

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

Reprise Post: What’s in Your Garden?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God keeps His promises. 

Let us also keep the HOPE. 

Amen 


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

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

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

Reprise Post: Broken Chains

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

Release…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step out of your chains. You are released.

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

————–

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

Acts 12 NIV

Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

Acts 16

Paul and Silas in Prison

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

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

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

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

Reprise Post: Ping

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Jesus is just adjusting your antenna…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ping…

Amen

Reprise Post: Devotion in a Car Wash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMEN!

GO!

Reprise post: Pollyanna

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Pollyanna

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

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

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

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

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

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

YUP… YUP…

Amen

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Reprise post: Guard Rail Prayer Rail

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

Seeking the Lord’s intervention…

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

And I got FRIDAY FOOD POISONING… UGH

And so I put my plans in His…

And God rallied me… 

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

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

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

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

He does.

Guard rail and Prayer rail… ALL GLORY TO HIM.

Amen Amen Amen

(Thanks God! Really, THANKS…)

Rest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

Blueberry Heaven

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I wonder…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

Hezekiah Isaiah Messiah – I Tell Ya!

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

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

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

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

Amen

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Isaiah 42:1-7

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

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

King Hezekiah 

2nd Kings 18:5-8

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

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

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

Hezekiah’s Prayer

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

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

Isaiah prophesied:

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

Small Fish Big Fish

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Small fish grow up. Little fish become BIG fish. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 

Isaiah 40:4-5,9-11

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

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

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


The Stones vs The Rock

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

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

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

The stones vs the Rock. No competition. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

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John 8:1-11

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

Jesus Applied

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In any situation where you find you are just human, 

too human to reply, 

Let us BE STILL and let Jesus APPLY. 

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

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

Know JESUS has been applied. 

When you struggle with stress.

Don’t.

Know Jesus WANTS to be applied.

When you wonder if things will turn out OK.

Don’t wonder. 

Know Jesus WILL be applied. 

When your train gets derailed. 

Don’t stay on the broken tracks. 

Know and switch to new tracks that Jesus HAS applied. 

When you wonder who will change your life. 

Don’t wait on anyone else.

Know Jesus DOES apply.

Jesus applied. 

Accept the offer. 

Amen

Christmas in July, 25JUL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AMAZINGLY. AMEN-ILY

Merry Christmas in July.
GOD BLESSEDLY.

Amen

Riddle Me This, Prophetman

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SO – a riddle and a repeat in 3 books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

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2nd Chronicles 32:24-26 

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

2nd Kings 20:8-11

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

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

Fishing at VBS

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

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

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

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

We ARE the catch of God’s Day. 

Amen

When

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When I don’t know what to do,

Lord, prioritize. 

Lord, organize. 

Lord, materialize. 

Lord, synthesize.


When I don’t know where I stand, 

Lord, rescue me.

Lord, ready me.

Lord, remedy me.

Lord, stand for me.


When I don’t know when to move,

Lord, still me.

Lord, steady me.

Lord, strengthen me.

Lord, start moving me.


When I don’t know why I am here,

Lord, clue me in. 

Lord, curb me in.

Lord, compete “me me me” out.

Lord, control my doubt. 


When I don’t know how to survive, 

Lord, be my Revive. 

Lord, be my Thrive. 

Lord, be my Eyes.

Lord, be my Alive. 


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

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE What.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE Where.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE When.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE Why.

Lord, YOU ALONE ARE How.


Lord, YOU ALONE ARE YOU.

Amen 


Keep the Faith! Hezekiah Held Fast, We Can Too

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

We must. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUST GOD!

Amen

Who’s Direction?

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

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

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

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

Direction. Leadership. Dust Collector.

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

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

Others can give advice, but Jesus IS the Answer.

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

Amen!

!!!


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

Lyrics BLESSINGS, Laura Story 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Do That, Do This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be His.

Amen 


2nd Kings 17:7-23

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

God Bless the Little Children, All are His.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forever and a day, God WILL have His Way. 

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

Health until that very day when we will pass away, 

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

Amen. 

God bless the little children. 

God, please bless this family with peace and comfort. 

Amen 

God Knows Summer

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

God knows Summer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen

Bounce Back

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

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

Bounce Back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 

Put Your Money Where Your Masonry Is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And always consult God.

Amen 

2nd Kings 12: 1- 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overlap the Gap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We love Him because He loved us first.

Amen 

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

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Teach me Lord, to know Your Ways. 

Teach me Lord, to count my days.

Help me Lord, to find Your rest.

Help me Lord, to be my best.

Grow me Lord, to depend on You.

Grow me Lord, to be made anew.

Lift me Lord, to raise my Spirit.

Lift me Lord, to reach You near it.

Reach me Lord, to forever be true.

Reach me Lord, to reach back to You.

Amen 

Divided, Disgusted, Dark, Directed, DELIVERED

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

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

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

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

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

DARK. 

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

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

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

We need to be messengers of HOPE. 

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

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

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

Amen 

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

Amen Amen 

Elisha and prophesy:

Book of Nahum video:

Writing a FORWARD Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 

Lead Me reprise

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Lead me Lord, to Know. 

Lead me Lord, where to Go.

Lead me Lord, when to say No.

Lead me Lord, to go with the Flow. 

Lead to help me to Grow. 

.

Lead me Lord, to follow in Your Stride.

Lead me Lord, to avoid traps too Wide.

Lead me Lord, instruct me where to Hide.

Lead me Lord, to give up my Pride.

Lead to help me feel for You, Inside. 

.

Lead me Lord, to You.

Lead me Lord, to work True. 

Lead me Lord, to hear Your Clue.

Lead me Lord, to give You Your Due. 

Lead to help me know me thru You.

Amen


Grow me Lord, to know You’re Ways

Grow me Lord, to count my days

Hold me Lord, to find my rest

Hold me Lord to be my best

Lift me Lord to raise my spirit

Lift me Lord to reach so near it

Life me Lord to forever be true

Life me Lord to find You

God Made Fridays

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

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

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

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

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

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

God made you HIS!

AMEN 

HAPPY FRIDAY! (as my friend Sheila always says)

—-

Psalm 37:16 of David 

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

1John 4:7-11

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

—-

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

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

“You Say” by Lauren Daigle 

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

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

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

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

Ooh-oh

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

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And you say I am held when I am falling short

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

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

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

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

Ooh-oh

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

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

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

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

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh, I believe.

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

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

Ooh-oh

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

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

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

And I believe (I)

Oh, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

Oh, I believe (I)

Yes, I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

I believe

They Have to Want It!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lead on Lord.

Amen 

The story:

Famine in Besieged Samaria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Siege Lifted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mountains into Molehills Reprise

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

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

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

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


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

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

Free enough for Fear or Faith?

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

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

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

Fierce enough to stand down. Free enough to free.

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s got this. 

Amen

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2nd Kings 8

Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Forgiveness Reign

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

Forgiveness. 

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiveness is Priceless.

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

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

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

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

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

God’s got this.

Let’s “Let Forgiveness Reign”.

Amen 

2nd Kings 6

An Axhead Floats

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

And he said, “Go.”

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

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

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

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

Remembering My Dad’s LIFE Much MORE than Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find Joy in the Journey. 

Amen

Psalm 16:5-11

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

God’s Secrets

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

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

Secrets…

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

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

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

And do ask God, especially ask God…

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

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

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

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

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

Restored Resurrected Rescued Reminded 

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

Let us NOT keep His Hope a secret. 

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

AMEN 


2nd Kings 4:8-38

The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s all right,” she said.

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

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

“Everything is all right,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAGE or Setting Up a Prayer Stage?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Curing the stew.

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

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

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

Amen 

2nd Kings 4:38-41

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

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

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

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

Oil Oil Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helping pay debts.

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

THE WAY

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

Let the LOVE, oil, and blessings FLOW.

Amen

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2nd Kings 4

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

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

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

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

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

Ready for Rapture? Book your Flight

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

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

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

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


Rapture predictions mean be ready for service day and night. 

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

His Rapture Revelation reveals that purpose of His flight.

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


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

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

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

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

Amen 


1 Thessolonians 4:16-18

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

Just for You

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“Just for you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 

—-

2nd Kings 3

Moab Revolts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmers of Faith, Harvests of Joy

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Farmers field ready for planting

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

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

Farmers of Faith. Harvests of Joy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvest Joy.

Amen

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

—–

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

—-

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

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

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

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

one pea on the dirty floor of the car

No Weapon Shall Prosper

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

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

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

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

NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER. 

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

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

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

Step to the high road:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. 

Amen 

——

Isaiah 54 NIV 

The Future Glory of Zion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lay It on Thick, Lord

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

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

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

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

Lay IT on thick.

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

LAY IT ON THICK LORD. 

Lay IT on thick. 

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

Today is a blank slate. Color well.

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

Amen!


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


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

In the Whole

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

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


In the hole, could mean financially.

In the hole, could mean security. 

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

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

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

In God’s hole is in God’s WHOLE. 

We ARE in His WHOLE. 

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

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

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


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

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

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

We must build on His solid foundation.

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

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

Amen 

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

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

Hold Ye Your Peace

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Either you know it or you don’t.

Sometimes you wish you didn’t. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace. 

Amen


2nd King 2:1-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Things Beautiful in His Time

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

God KNOWS Beautiful. 

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

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

Time.

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

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

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

I appreciate He invented time.

He owns time.

He is in charge of time. 

He can stop time. 

He can dissolve time.

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

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

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

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

Amen

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

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

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

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

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

Appreciating Father’s Day

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Time.

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

Amen 

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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 

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2nd Kings 1

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEWARE OF THE SHARK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen!!!

Jonah moments, Jesus messages

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

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

Call on Jesus to forgive you and He will. 

Call on Jesus to catch you and He will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 


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

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


The Word is Continuous

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

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

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

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

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

The Word is Continuous Flow. 

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

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

Amen 

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

Appreciate it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep scratching… appreciate the itch.

Appreciate it.

Amen 

His Handful

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

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

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

We are His Handful. 

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

Focus on things above.

Amen 

Big Strokes and Little Strokes, our Holy Spirit paints us

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

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

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

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

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

Amen


1st John 3:1-7  

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


Ephesians 2:4-10

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

My Prophetic Tom Petty

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

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

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

And Tom Petty?

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

Keep movin’,  KEEP MOVING ON.

Thanks Jesus. Thank you Tom. Thanks faith friend. 

Well done Holy Spirit, well done.

Amen and then some…

Tomorrow IS a new day.

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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.”