Paul’s letter to the Colossians chapter 2:9-12 relates to the notion in my head recently about Godly Spirit and human form, what was masked in Jesus on earth but not lost, but taken away from Adam with God’s actions after the apple bite of disobedience. Then we, after being cut out for God’s plan, take on our Spirit life again. The Spirit nature on earth not of earth. The letting of our Spirit shine when our humanness is pulled back.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Paul speaks of being cut out of your human self by God’s precise cut, your humanness pulled back as an action for spiritual revelation. Raising in you life invisible to human eyes.
The cut of the Lord to achieve an alive nature for our spirit to be free from human form, although always tied and hidden to and in His purposes. We are not cut out to be escapees but to be made more movable and malleable for making a difference. Our sinfulness and humanness cut out and hung to that cross like dirty laundry. Then our life relocated into the Spirit realm WITH CHRIST, so that we really ARE revealed to Him but hidden in Christ as visible to the world. That makes it more likely to not sweat the small stuff. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God!!! That makes His motivations over ours paramount and we take a step back from taking any of the credit.
V13-15 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Cut away from the rule of sin, we ask the Lord to continue cutting out our relapses of life, our scar tissue overgrowth and the gunk we accumulate. It’s easier to not get re-messed up in sin when we stay focused on above “Set your minds on things above” (probably one of my favorite things to say).
Ch3v1-5 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.
We can tell ourselves to “Cut it out!” Cut out that humanness for us Jesus, let out Spirit be yours, out for You to use and have unhindered and ALIVE.
I am often writing from “having to write” – but this time I simply want to write this – I am quite taken by the fact that I have approached then gone over 1000 devotions/blogs/processing writings especially since I begged the Lord to stop making me write at about 100 writings… Well, He said: NO!
But today I want to write this as a thank you note – specifically for the Lord picking up a task for me that I would have NEVER picked for myself – for showing me the better way when I myself was “in the way” – and for giving me an abundant feeling of blessings and a forever work-load which also feels light because Jesus takes our burdens. Whatever I am doing or supposed to be doing, I know that it becomes a puzzle piece in You Lord, and I pray that you move me to the parts of the picture where I connect. I often ask “Lord, where do I fit?” He says: “don’t worry where you fit – just be happy that you do.” – and I am Lord, I am happy to know You in me and me in You.
And I want to add to this a great Thank You to the Lord specifically for my friend with whom I first quietly shared my first 3 writings when I thought I was going crazy and didn’t know the Lord was taking over my brain. My friend doesn’t want thanks because He knows, like I know, that ANYTHING we do for the Spirit is FROM the Spirit… so I will say THANK YOU to the Holy Spirit for him, his service, his devotion, his availability. Thank You Holy Spirit for placing me in timing and space – moving me into place – and thank you for not moving him onto some other place before the Lord caught me up to catch up with him.
I would not be anywhere without the Lord – none of us would be, so with Holy Spirit place and timing, I had someone to talk to whom I sensed “got it” – even if I didn’t even really know him – but I had heard his sermons and I just felt he would not ridicule me, and I realized soon that he was not just randomly placed – but moved by the Lord to do his job. He didn’t dismiss me or even try to change or affect me – I won’t recap the whole story (which of course I have written out) but just state that he was just doing his job of teaching and reaching – He was placed – and paced. The best advice he gave me about serving the Lord, a year later when I was preparing my first sermon, was: “You just do the best you can to present the scriptures.” That’s true – God wants to use you – just do the best you can to help Him shine thru.
I will always need someone to talk to – that is my known brokenness to me – and I also LIKE to talk to people too. Lord, I can always talk to You, and please forever take my brokenness to shine You thru. Please take my writings or the fact that I must write and use them for Your Glory. You took my time because it is Your time anyway.
I don’t know what this writing journey will morph into, Lord, but I know it will continue, until You change what I do. I don’t know this next stage of my journey Lord, but I do know this: that You will push me thru – especially for me to understand more of You.
THE LORD UNDERSTANDS.
THE LORD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES.
THE LORD IS LORD.
AMEN AMEN AMEN
Whether 10,000 years or 1000 writings and forever more, we’ll have no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun…
Believe me, I have tears when I remember how God chose me to hear. Took many many a year. Am I special, no and yes. I am NOT special above others, I am not special. But without God’s timing, I would have never known how God connects in me and THRU me. So, I am SPECIAL in that I am His. Just that. He IS special in me. GUESS WHAT!!!??? YOU ARE SPECIAL TOO!!! GOD LIVES IN YOU!!! TRUE!!!
Do you know that? I didn’t know that, I knew I HEARD from God, thought about God, but was it thru Jesus? I had no clue, neither did anyone who knew me. But God knew and He knows for you too. He knows… He trying to reach you thru the Spirit IN you. TRUE!!!
It’s not ours to understand, but God IS the One who opens ears, stops blockages of Spirit and softens hearts. We can encourage and we CAN keep reiterating that when we believed and continue to believe in Jesus, our whole perspective of life changes… TRUE!!!
Why believe in Jesus?
He rescued us from darkness.
He IS the Light.
He IS God in the flesh and Spirit in the soul.
Why believe that Jesus is bearing fruit in you? Because you are connected to Life thru Him. God the Father is the Vinedresser. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. The fruit of our living comes thru us from Him. In abiding in Jesus and loving Him, we can do all things. Jesus is in you. (Read John 15)
The best reason for believing in Jesus is that He already believes in you.
He chose you! Special? YES. His? YES.
If you don’t know Him – at least know that He knows you – and that He wants for Him in you to grow TRUE.
TRUE!!! (and read the great description of Him in You in Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1:3-23)
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:3-23
“TRA-DI-TION, tradition,,, TRADITION” – I’m still singing with gusto after watching a Fiddler on the Roof special on PBS online – not traditional to watch it on a kindle like a personal TV, but what luxury! Broadway on Demand… “If I were a rich man”… I think we are rich in blessings, conveniences and yes, TRADITIONS!!! But in the play storyline, because of his traditions, the father had to try to shun his own daughter for marriage outside their faith, let alone be pained but eventually disregard the arranged marriage traditions for his other daughter… some traditions made life so constraining… some traditions hurt…
Just after the show finished, I listened to Keith Green speaking about a Christmas song that he wrote in tears, having felt the heart and tears of Jesus beating thru him, and how sad he was that the “musak” canned industry of Christmas music in the stores became more about buying influences over knowing the real meaning of Jesus and WHY He came.
(It is interesting to listen to Keith Green’s observation also about us worshipping the Christmas tree over Christ, quoting a warning from Jeremiah 10 (see below))… the point here is don’t lose the meaning of Christmas over traditions we invent. Don’t worship idols, including our ideas for ideals.
Tradition! TRADITION! Isn’t it now SO traditional to give gifts? How true that “hustle and bustle last year after year”, as Michael Card sings, “but this little baby won’t always be here…” it’s true, our windows of opportunity to soften our hearts is fleeting…
Woe to us when we forget to unpack our Spirituality first before the decorations. We need Christmas for Christ’s sake, we need to focus forward and help with a revival of renewal. This has to be demonstrated not dictated. This year, we have to be OK with breaking with some traditional events (ah how stubborn a people we are, ugh) and with full force return to the Lord all that He is due… and place love and peace over idols like the trees and the ornamentation and the purchases, which you know won’t last… We have to place others above our perceived needs, isn’t that what we witness when Jesus came?
And no worries, even if our Christmas is different, we can celebrate Christmas. We can cast off old moments, prepare mentally, rebuilding for future days, and yes dig deeper into our joy too.
I love the moment when I switch from shunning the work of decorating to snapping “into the zone”. At our house we alternate placement of the Christmas tree by the couch (my daughter’s choice) or by the stairs (my son’s choice). She’s away at college, and I have been gifted this time with my son – it is so precious to me – of course he gets star treatment and I know these days at home are not going to last. He directed the tasks after school was done, rearranging furniture, SWEEPING the floor WOW, setting where we will place the tree (it is a stairs year anyway), hanging lights, and oh such joy as we listened to his choice of Christmas music to prepare too (yeah!). I love the tree and the smell and the lights. Love comes in the logistics too for we are creating future memories filled with love. And a reminder, as I later sat in warm glow, that we carve out niches where we are not to be afraid even in trying times…
Ah, yes, don’t worship the traditions but work for and foster the peace. I sat quietly listening to the silent house and being okay with the alone moments this year and sat quietly listening to my heart and loving it. The lights twinkling my eyes and my heart thinking about the blessed moment of peace and security around me. The quiet of the morning now also reminds in gifted moments to ponder Him and His mission over all worldly things. How can we, especially this year, use our unusual circumstances to break traditions that hurt, forgo traditions that distract, and hold onto traditions that help… all while making it hopeful for our children. We are stubborn people and so many want what they want, like they DESERVE Christmas and all the glitz and grandeur. Well, then Christmas wouldn’t be the GIFT, would it? Can we get an Amen?…
Perhaps we best teach our children, this year and always, to delight in the Lord first… “This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24
Be Christmas, Be Christ-centered, Be Blessed.
Jeremiah 10:1-10 God and Idols
Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.”
No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not fear you, King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you.
They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple — all made by skilled workers. But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.
I saw a friend getting her mail today – she sure was happy about getting christmas cards – she sure was happy about the weight she recently lost and I saw her move effortlessly – she sure was happy to be happy! Plus it was 50 degrees out, OK for an outdoor visit and I brought her cheerful masks for her grandkids… When the pandemic first hit, this same lady was in TEARS thinking about her grandkids having to wear masks, and now such a change, she was cheerfully wearing hers and happy to be alive… Isn’t that what we all should be doing? Be happy to be alive and kicking and able to approach each day? And make a difference rather than a fuss? Tap into our life Spirit that brings life…. I bet it will so much LESS a hard winter for her because she will melt the snow with each of her cheerful steps… we should too.
It will only be a hard winter if we make it so – and around here there is barely any snow anyway… But it WILL be a brutal winter for others we know and SO many we don’t. The loneliness or loss of loved ones, and there will be lost battles for those in losing battles, and we know it will be hard for those losing hope. It has to be our mission to find hope, and shine hope, so how will we maintain hope? Soften our hearts as well as our steps and feel for these friends and strangers… Let the Spirit shine – darkness needs light.
Soften our hearts to let the hope spill out of them, and they may be held together better for the good of all. Humble ourselves to be OK. Hope in the Lord to push thru another day. It’s a Hanukkah now too, a thank you celebration to God for the light that lasted so much longer than it should have. So, like that light and thru His Light, let us prove that our HOPE lasts too.
FEAR can be real and fear can be masked of course, and some spout anger because of it. Fear can also be hidden by putting on a brave face. But Light and cheer can NOT be hidden. Light shines in the darkness and dark has NOT overcome it. Therefore, fear has nothing on CHRISTMAS CHEER. You can not block the cheer of the heart, even if the spirit can not smile it will be known thru the quiet joy of knowing the joy… So how will we tap into this joy? You have to SOFTEN your heart as well as your steps…
We can make it much less a hard winter if we soften the ground of others too, by not marking time but making it clear where our hope comes from. Clue in others on Who. My hope comes from the Lord.
Isaiah says,“The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will HOPE.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15.
Keep softening hearts, Lord, show us Your Love and Light. Show us how to SHINE.
I saw the moon, so beautiful and just a crescent this early morning. And why does the moon move? Why is it different everytime and everyday? Why does the moon affect the tides of the oceans which are so crucial to earth. And why do we have only one moon, not many?
I wonder why we wonder.
The Tweedlebugs wondered, on Sesame Street. Ernie wondered what they were doing and would look into his windowsill flower box to see their latest adventure. Make believe, yes, but always the Tweedlebugs were involved in a situation that required thinking and discussion and collective ideas and we could watch them through their mental thought processes, have discussion and make progress. Often they didn’t get far on their way, but the ideas made sense to them even if we thought they fell short of finishing their ultimate goal. We think they never got to reach the destination intended, like the beach or the zoo, yet we saw they were satisfied with the answer they discovered that day. Then they moved out with joy to accomplish it. They certainly always discussed the problem together. They wondered then THOUGHT, they THOUGHT then decided. They decided together.
Togetherness, perhaps that’s the point of wondering.
Satisfaction, perhaps that’s the point of wondering.
Joy in simple and complex solutions, perhaps that is the point of wondering.
I wonder why we have joy.
I wonder why we wonder.
God only knows.
That’s not a wonder to me, but a wonderful GIFT of knowing that He knows.
I wonder why it frustrates me when I don’t know everything, as if I should. But there is NO reason why we should. So, when I do know something, it’s not just because I took time to learn but also my brain is wired to learn certain things and not others. I can remember emotionally connected situations, like where people were sitting in a heated meeting, or when everyone was laughing at something someone did. I can’t remember many things, but I can remember being in the room where things happened. Does God know everything or is God simply complexly everywhere or perhaps the point is not where He is but where He gives us free will.
I wonder why we have free will.
We certainly do. We can choose to not even go with what we know is a good idea. We can be stubborn to a fault. We can have hindsight to a problem. We can see our failures. We also can see when God intervenes despite ourselves to make something happen.
Now that I have RAMBLED, and surely this is a ramble thru the randomness of my brain, I realized what I was missing was reading the scriptures. See when we wonder we often wonder “about me” – “were do I fit” – “how does this affect me?”… perhaps, no for sure, we are supposed to have the thoughts of “how does this help Thee?”
Someone remarked at me that I always look on the bright side, and in a down situation always looked where I myself could have an impact turning it to the positive. I already did that naturally, it’s not like I think why I do that, I just do. We are to think, not be rash but work at working things out…
Now I have read and found the scriptures which found me. See Philippians 4
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
REJOICE, BE GENTLE THINK. Ahhhh….. THINK…
When we are given wonder to think about Godly things, He wants us to not think the same but think of Him and His Ways. We are given moments to give back our mental energies for togetherness thinking. Not lone souls, but always together. Like Tweedlebugs who didn’t seem to get far, yet they ALWAYS got to a moment of togetherness, they made one decision, one step at a time. They would still be in progress achieving their collective goal, even as a functional family, and they are together in all kinds of weather.
How DIVIDED we are in this land. How tangent-driven we are. Surely if we stop to find peace, the common ground, we must acknowledge that it’s not the ground that brings us together. The ground grounds us, but the Lord lifts us. If we find peace, we must acknowledge it can ONLY be HIS PEACE. How much easier for me to move through my day by doing and thinking about God and what He would do. Oh, we have a model in Him too. What really would Jesus do? And remember, Jesus took time NOT to think about His next step, He took time to PRAY. He didn’t wonder what, JESUS KNEW, He prayed in free will for alignment under God’s Will. WE SHOULD TOO.
We should pray that same prayer.
In all things, do what God would have us do, and keep moving….
Put into practice thinking of good things.
Think of God… And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9, 11-13
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I CAN DO ALL THIS through HIM who GIVES ME STRENGTH.
The scripture I read just now (Philippians 2) tells us that God KNOWS the way and also the TIME when every knee will bow to Jesus, 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.
We THINK that we know His timing but we don’t and we think that we need to do to work to hurry His system along for Him, and we worry when we fall short, but HE is really aiming to use us in big and small things – and work us FOR His purposes in His timing... so we simply are to abide or work hard at abiding and let Him do the positioning…
It doesn’t have to be BIG work, for God is in all the small stuff too… Yesterday, I was feeling like every plate was spinning at the same time with me trying to work from home in meetings, taking care of my son – and making more Christmas cookies too – full spinning plates will hurl stuff off of them and crash to the floor – and then I just decided to give it up to the Lord and go grocery shopping at lunch time. So, I pulled up to my normal full-service station (I love full service gas stations) and the attendant had a sign in the window (be back 10 minutes) and I waited a bit… I thought to just leave, actually pulled out, but then backed my car back in because I saw the little old lady next to me, with her handicap window hanger on her mirror, and I said to myself: “Why am I being so silly thinking that I am out of sorts when I am NOT, especially when I am SO BLESSED.” So I just got out and pumped her gas for her (and then pumped my own)… She was thankful – it was so minimal of a thing for me to do – and reminded me to stop thinking that small tasks are nothing… small tasks are still God’s tasks…
I think sometimes God also likes to have us wait just long enough so that we get out of our own heads and into His service… Just like I also shiver at the cold and then remember I am from upstate where it is MUCH MUCH colder than this and I am being silly and could simply put a hat and mittens on to go outside…
If God can exalt Jesus, then surely He can move us into position to be His helpers: even if just to pump gas and humble our heads… And bow our heads when we realize that our lives are lived for Him. Just keep working for Him.
“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.” Philippians 2
PS, after I got home from shopping, my son wanted to bring out the Christmas stuff (really to earn money for chores LOL) and so we worked hard together in rearranging and cleaning, and putting stuff out, even spoke about his friends and school and lots of stuff… what a blessing… I got back to work work later, but that was SUCH a blessing to be with him!! Yay! And guess what? Christmas stuff is out!!! God’s timing and silver linings!!! Ask for the desires of your heart!
Life is not perfect, but that doesn’t matter this year. The house is a mess, the dishes undone but really no one is here to leer or sneer.
Christmas is coming, too fast to even fear. Some cookies are smooshed, some decorations dented. Even some will stay in their boxes. Oh dear! Regretfully some cheer might be held back until a non-covid year.
Yet it’s a BABY coming, NOT the fancy folks, my dear.
He wants your head to stop spinning, and actually for you to get your heart in gear.
He really loves you. He wants to give you PEACE and draw you near.
He also tells us it is God our Father, we should all revere.
Jesus will take our burdens and hold us wherever we shed a tear. He will be the founder of your cheer.
No cookies were ever needed for Jesus, He knows EXACTLY what He wants from you this year.
Jesus simply wants to BEND YOUR EAR.
Jesus gives you forever life, you are made new in Him. All He wants is for you to HEAR.
That’s why Christmas is still a blessed Christmas, even THIS year.
I love Paul’s message to the Philippians, chapter 2. It’s an anti-rant teaching… A cajoling… A HOPE for a HUMAN CONDITION TO COMPLAIN…
This year, every year, it is good to think about NOTGRUMBLING… Not just because Santa’s watching “you better not pout” – but I KNOW it IS better to count blessings. It is better and best to not only count blessings but hand them back out to others. Let them see the Spirit SHINE like the stars – and in this light pollution of our times, show Spirit Shine brighter than bright, with all your might!
Smile and serve.
If life inconveniences you, count your blessings. If people infuriate you, count your blessings because you CAN take a LONGVIEW. It’s not being a Pollyanna and forgetting the past as much as it is being a future-looker seeing fulfillment in the forever… SO MUCH to praise but not to boast. God gives us the power within His Spirit from His Spirit to simply smile, simply keep our mouths shut except to boast in God’s faithfulness…
If people wonder how – how you can be you – perhaps it is better if they will see humility displayed in you so that they may give credit to God. It’s not being a pushover if you are already kneeling in servant position to God. For it is God within you to help you be you.
Imagine putting others in front of yourselves… anti the rant with a prayer for others. Imagine that others have been doing that for you! Others have put you before themselves. Why? Because Jesus did too.
Did you ever see the news after a fire tears thru someone’s dwelling? They are often praising that they are still alive. Imagine how much more praising we could do when we are still OK.
(And imagine when we are not OK, but we praise anyway.)
If we count blessings, they spill out everywhere. If we fall on our knees in prayer and thankfulness, our cushioning is covered by the blessings that can’t be contained…
Amen (and please read Paul’s anti-rant letter)
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 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Paul to the Phillipians chapter 2
It’s cool how two planets are coming closer together as Christmas approaches. One is brighter than the other because of distance and size, making them distinct. But there were much brighter lights in motion tonight as I traveled down the highway, BIG beaming lights, with flashing red and green side lights. One after another gliding down from the sky. When I caught glimpses of the 2 planets again, sometimes they were mixed up in a show of 5 lights, sometimes there were 3. See, those were all headlights! BIG airplanes descending, dotting the night sky in a distance, coming in for a landing at an international airport… Busy busy busy and certainly BRIGHT.
Objects in motion – stay in motion – and you have to pay attention. Car lights also – EXTREMELY important to pay attention to them… they all move FAST.
It has always fascinated me that people pay attention to some fanciful moments but miss others. And now this significant planet alignment is cool, but not apocalyptic, is in motion. Yet, how about us remembering that Christmas has ALREADY been in motion, 2000 years, because Jesus has already been born. It’s not different or special this year, but every year is uber special. And the difference is in us! Yes, Christmas IS the motion, we are the objects all around, ready to be moved – needing to be moved – praying to be moved.
We are sentimental people, and always looking for a sign. This Christmas, let’s look MORE for the big motion and not the nuances. Let’s look for the objects in motion to stay in motion, yes according to Newton’s Law, and then REALLY look at Jesus in motion in our lives, for Christmas in motion is UNSTOPPABLE and BRIGHT. God’s plan, His Light, our life. Christ is the revealed Way. Nothing could be brighter than Him or more monumental a movement for God to come with us, Immanuel. God for us, for Him, thru Grace.
Movable… let us feel those tender moments of being emotionally and spiritually moved by the Lord. Mary, Jesus’s mother, was moved too… emotionally and spiritually moved, plus physically moved (to her cousin’s place and then to Bethlehem). Likewise, Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin was in motion and even her womb carrying John the Baptist moved, filled with the Holy Spirit, when hearing Mary’s voice. And then Mary sang of her Lord, moving the people closer to Him.
Yes, we are the objects, the people, that God wants to place into motion. Oh, how movable can we be? Lord only knows. Only as we humble ourselves can He lift us this Christmas and always… Let us look for the Holy Spirit moving in us.
Be in motion.
Watch for God.
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
I love watching the planets Jupiter and Saturn as they inch closer and closer to each other each night and will become a star pair just before Christmas… This will be the visually closest that they come together for like hundreds of years… they don’t change brightness on each other but together they may look that way.
We too are inching closer to Christmas, so will our brightness and joy amplify? We may not think we are ready for Christmas, but Christmas is ready for us. There IS One who makes us brighter, wiser, and more at peace. Our Prince of Peace, Christ is revealed and ALREADY ready and ALWAYS bright… He never stopped being with us, but since the Christmas spirit captures and softens our hearts, we want to meet Him fresh.
Then we may foster that freshness for others and plant the seeds of growing faith.
Honestly, don’t you feel we NEED to think about Christmas more than ever this year? Not the presents but the presence.
Perhaps we need to explain Christmas in terms of how it gives us peace. We can show that we love and are even MORE relying on God this year for Christmas Hope. Yes, we need to remember that Jesus came into the world with a very tough mission, with a very important mission, with a mission only He could fulfill. He made a Way where there was no way. The stars aligned to announce the Way, the angels sang to celebrate the Way, we are called to be reminders OF THE WAY. Jesus IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.
As Christmas approaches, my prayer is that your star(dust) inches closer to the star (of the morning) Jesus.
Pulling on my favorite jeans, clean and WARM from the dryer – ahhh… They slip on tight and feel alright.
Isn’t that just like the Lord to make things seem and feel better? Better than OK. Better than alright.
Sure it was cold and is cold outside, BUT let’s not be blue, let’s stay OK knowing that the Lord stays with us, He IS forever and true. He IS our Light.
Slip on warm jeans, oh it gets better than that: let the Lord slip into, over and thru you, warming our hearts and hopes. Isn’t that better, better than OK for you? It is now alright.
Sipping a cup of tea. Slipping my hands around the warm cup – my Jesus and me – His Hands hold us to a T – how blessed to know that in Him, we are free. Slipping deeper into my favorite sweater – watching the world go by (wrong or right)… The world may look a fright, however, in HIM, life and we will be alright.
Yes, the world aches, creation groans and we don’t always get things right. But the Lord keeps working day and night. It will take time to weed out the worries, it will take work to keep sharing His news of glories. It’s not always going to be pleasant – not always going to be an easy sight. Yet we can be sure for everything we endure, He will help light the Light.
So, it WILL be OK. Today, it will be OK. Same tonight.
Tomorrow we will worry about tomorrow on another day – remember that each day has it’s own light.
Isn’t that just like the Lord to make things better? To right the right?
Better than OK, the Lord will light the light, today, tomorrow and tonight.
I love watching the movie the Bishop’s Wife. I love Cary Grant’s style as “Dudley” and his sureness as an angel, I love Julia’s sweet innocence and I love the joy that permeates the lives of everyone when the angel arrives, joy that had been slipping away from the stressful living under strongheaded people’s individualist plans. Joy returned, making it easier to then share that joy forward – experienced by the dog to the professor to the house staff to little Debbie. I especially like little Debbie, she was allowed to be a child, allowed to be in joy… and how about the strong-arm snowball throw that the angel gave her? “She pitched a curve!” She didn’t know what came over her. She didn’t know her own strength. She looked back at the Angel in her new friend Dudley, knowing this was NOT from her, and kept running to join in the snowball game. She knew something had changed and this was an opportunity for fun and inclusion. Really muscles and miracles overcoming gloom and doom make for good movies. Good moves make for meaningful messages. And messages are all around from this movie…
Now, I’m not saying this movie is a documentary, LOL, it is JUST a movie, taking lots of liberties, but it has a message that IS tender and soulful. It warns of slipping away from the Lord. My how our hearts ache with the Bishop’s wife Julia, how they get soothed with hope from the choir boys singing, and how ours skips a beat when Dudley tells a story then recites Psalm 23 to little Debbie as King David’s thank you song to the Lord. Not knowing an angel helped him, but for sure knowing the Lord cared.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.
The Bishop sees his life slipping away. The others see it too – and don’t know how to bring Him back. Well, who restoreth my soul? Who restoreth our souls? Our Shepherd. Our Lord.
I go back to the scene with little Debbie being pulled into the snowball game unexpectedly because of what the angel did for her and how much she loved it. Did the angel HAVE to do that for her? No. Did she have a startling good time? Yes. Did she get to be in the fray of life and love it? Yes. Did little Debbie know her new strength was of a non-human source? That’s me too – that’s maybe you – or might be a new thought for you. Did the Lord or some of His angels pull you out of your stuck corner? Did they put you back into the game? Give you the strength? Did you have to navigate the fray? Will you always have to navigate? Does life get messy? YES on all counts. When angel Dudley answers mom Julia’s question: “Do you think she will get hurt?” with a statement of truth: “Yes, but she will love it.” – well, YES, that IS us and life. Will we get hurt? Yes, probably. But we wouldn’t choose to NOT be in the play. Life is not for slipping away. Life is not simple like snowballs and defending forts, but we ARE strengthened by the Lord, by the Armor of God, and we never know what can happen when angels are guiding us. Not knowing when an angel helps us, but for sure knowing the Lord cares.
Am I still in love with this movie? Yes
Am I forever in love with the Lord? Forever… Life is for Living – He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We can do anything thru Christ who strengthens us.
Go enjoy Life. Don’t be slipping away/ Make the most of today.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. —- Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Mary was surprised by the Angel who told her she would be pregnant.
Mary was then prepared for the pregnancy and birth by visiting her cousin Elizabeth to help with her pregnancy.
Joseph was surprised by Mary’s pregnancy.
Joseph was then prepared by the Angel’s instructions to not divorce Mary.
Mary was surprised to be the chosen mother of the Savior.
Mary chose to become prepared to be her Lord’s handmaiden servant.
Joseph was surprised to be the father of the Savior.
Joseph chose to become prepared to take care of his/His family.
The scene, 30 years later, saw surprise by being introduced to the Son of Man who was prophesized to be Savior. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” they said.
John the Baptist beckoned others to prepare: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
John’s audience was surprised by this chosen moment.
But the prophet Isaiah had prepared them (700 years prior) to hear: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ “
The paths to Him surely were surprised by their straightening.
The Lord was prepared to make His Way.
The skeptics were surprised that they were not saved simply by being children of Abraham.
John the Baptist boldly spoke to prepare them for demise or repentance. “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
The surprise of deliverance brings desire of repentance and baptism.
The humbling thru repentance prepares us to be baptized “with the Holy Spirit and fire”.
We are surprised in life by the voice of Jesus calling us to come to Him.
We are prepared for life when we hear the unchanging voice of Jesus saying “I am already here with you”.
We are surprised by our own experiences.
We are prepared by the Lord to keep going.
We are surprised by God’s love.
We are prepared for God’s plan.
We are surprised to be chosen.
Jesus was prepared to choose us.
We are surprised, but we are MORE prepared to be blessed.
Was listening to the podcast of the radio preacher who said people were arguing with him in discussion of whether there were only some predestined to be saved and others who would never be saved. So, his answer to the arguer was: “Get saved”… good answer… if we know enough to argue then we should know enough to educate ourselves… then we should know enough to listen and witness and hope to hear God closer and closer.
We get to help. We get to love. I love the explanation my dear friend Pastor PJ, said to me long time ago: If I am not allowed into the pearly gates – at least I can be one of the people holding my hands for a foothold for others to step on and climb over. Yes. How humble and sweet PJ was and is. If he is still there when I get there – I would help him up and over for sure too…
That is why we work for the Lord now – to let those predestined get prepared. And to beg mercy for everyone else. I’m always praying for a last minute moment for all.
In Romans 8:28-30, Paul teaches: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
I believe that our “conformed to the image” includes both politeness and boldness. And for sure includes us KNOWING that the Spirit is placed INSIDE of us, to use us and move us. So we are too polite to tell people that God’s looking at them or much anything – gee if we are too polite to tell people to put a mask on in our presence (which shocked me twice this half week alone – the car repair shop and the grocery store – not just behind the scenes folks but out-front folks required to but not wearing masks), then I am NOT surprised that we simply don’t jump right out and speak scripture to everyone. But we CAN walk in scripture, walk in faith, show them we are Christians by our love…. I want to try to be better and more educating to anyone who will hear, but I KNOW that I am being watched as a Christian for my actions.
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
I thank God that I get to write. I thank God that of the many ways He forced me to stop seeing things “my way” and into seeing His Way, is that I simply want to share cool stuff that I read and that I experience. How blessed I feel in a pandemic that the Lord gave me a “backup” task – grew me into this way of serving – wakes me up and gives me rest so that I can get on with the rest of His work in me, for me, for others… I might be too polite in blasting my Facebook page every day with scripture – but God is FIRM in WHY He wants us to share. Remember the Holy Spirit doesn’t come simply “to us” – but “thru us”. We are to share… In writing to the church folks in Ephesians 4: 12-13, Paul says: “…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.“
I appreciate those scriptures that tell us to be ready for Jesus coming again – I appreciate the workload because our work is a way we help the Way. Actually, another pastor’s sermon this week said “God doesn’t actually need our help”- True, but He wants it anyway! and so as we see the Way – we encourage others, the masses of people who have not heard. To reach unity in the faith, we are tasked to be sometimes polite and affirming and sometimes not even polite at all but always FIRM in sharing so that: “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Each part does it’s work.
Paul continues in chapters 4 and 5 to say:, “don’t give the devil a foothold” – I see that as taking a moment to listen to the Lord on how to react and not rashly react – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”…
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.“…
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”… “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
I heard the news report about the weather, such terrible storms rolled through!!! And the newscaster told of a roof HVAC system that is now in the middle of a parking lot. “But was it a tornado?” Isn’t it interesting that we always ask that question!!!
I am a weather junkie, and I do care – BUT a tornado diagnosis vs straight line winds makes NO DIFFERENCE to the HVAC system or the people affected. The weather did make a difference whether it was which weather or what.
Does God make a difference?
Does it matter our perception or not?
Well, yes, of course He makes a difference whether you or anyone thinks He does or not. See, God makes the difference, the equals, the quotient and the sum. God multiplies and divides. God adds it all up in one lump sum because He never DIDN’T make everything. He always had everything. He then SHARED everything. We are made from His discernment. We ARE the dust in HIS Tracks.
So, the splitting of hairs on semantics is not of importance in the long run with weather or even with descriptions. But what IS important to how we live and feel about life is how we perceive God. If we see God only as a force of nature that is different and incomplete than seeing God as Creator of nature (which He Is). And it goes much more personal than that. If we see God as making a difference in our lives, we will look for Him more and more. And then we will realize He was there always, we just didn’t notice. And better yet, we won’t ask Him to lead as much as we will ask Him: HOW CAN I BETTER FOLLOW?
God has always been making our dust particles into someone making a difference for Him. He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the coming of our Lord Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Perhaps the better question to ask is: how can I see the answer that You have already written on my heart: Let me see what you have made me to be: Yours.
I was thinking about Luke, the doctor in the bible, who identified with and told the stories of some of the invisible people from history: including the women, the shepherds, the slaves, and how they all “got Jesus” when they were in direct interactions with Him… The servants and the hidden folks… God sees them, Jesus knows them, and they are willing to be known to Him.
With Covid these days, it is the nursing homes that are both the hardest hit and the hardest to keep safe from viral spread… It has always been a shame that the nursing home folks are kinda invisible to the world in a normal day – let alone these days… My grandmother was in a home for over 10 years in the 70’s and 80’s – I helped sing at the communion services in nursing homes here – the people are wonderful, the staff do the best they can – but they are coldspots of warm visitations… there were never enough visitors… Now there are practically none. Sad.
My isolated hometown had so few deaths pretty much this whole time and now a nursing home there became a hotspot with 52 cases, 3 deaths in one week… my prayers for all… With advancements in testing, it’s hopeful that somehow a hedge of protection will be possible to contain everything and regain control as we are in a spiral of non-containment right now. Yes, it is going to be tough…
My work sent a note about something that could happen to any workforce – putting the same critical people in a room together without taking enough precautions. They used the example of the Denver Broncos having to play a game without a starting QB as one of their QBs tested positive for Covid during the week and the other three QBs on the roster had been in a film room session with him and didn’t follow protocols like mask wearing, so they were not allowed to play due to contact. They said in the article below that they thought being forced to still field a team with no quarterback meant they were being used as an example… well, whether they were used as an example or not is irrelevant to them being an example (and they lost the game) – a reminder to not put all your eggs in one basket, or your good eggs at least…yup… That is a visible result from an invisible issue. here’s that article: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/30418190/quarterback-less-denver-broncos-rolled-saints-kendall-hinton-finishes-1-9
The last article I read today, related to all this, was about the South Dakota American Indian reservations – that they were putting in more strict rules for people who visited or crossed their lands, than the state wanted them too… it is hard to protect people when there are invisible communities… the Native Americans have always felt invisible…
I don’t know where we are going to end up in the fight of covid before the vaccinations take place – I don’t know how invisible people can become visible – but I do know that the Lord knows them all… I pray the visible parts of our society catch on to help those less visible. I do know that the Lord has ALL the power to make Himself known to all – but He will do that one person at a time.
I am comforted to know that the Lord has not stopped being present with the forgotten folks – they are first on His visitation list.
Certainly, your Facebook feed is a diverse set of friends. Certainly some people are more venting than others. Same would be true at a big party, say a new year’s eve party, where you meet friends of friends and decide to chat or move far to the other side of the room.
On Facebook there’s a snooze button. I use it. So that what I see doesn’t make me upset. I like to stay friends with all, but wow some with their visceral wall.
Apostle Paul saw these attributes in his time and longed for people learning and maturing. Yes! We, like Paul writing to Ephesians, are all at different stages of reaching unity in the faith. Honestly, I think that we are walking up many ladders – I hope they are built strong.
Paul spoke of listening to the gifted servant teachers who: 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.
Paul wanted all of us to “Grow up!”
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Paul wanted us to GET REAL and speak truthfully to our neighbors, as members of one body in Christ. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Yeah, I bet Paul would have liked to see not the rage of the “information age” but growth in the spiritual age of the information… I bet if Paul had a Facebook page, he would post this:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Naturally when I watch my all-time favorite movie, Miracle on 34th Street, I am reminded of my faith journey, and how I came to believe in Jesus, because I didn’t… six years ago, I didn’t.
How my tears flow in awe-filled JOY that Jesus was really patient and waited, and even if God presented His case over and over again, I didn’t get it – until I saw it – until I felt it – until I knew it – until I believed. Actually, He had to reveal the missing links in my logic, then He gave me the facts to fill them in. No one knew. He knew how to get thru. I could not deny anymore, even if I had no idea what i was denying.
No one makes you believe. You have to see it for yourself, an unreal reveal that is real. Really.
This time watching the end of my favorite movie, a fresh revelation: the time and place was determinant upon all factors coming together JUST RIGHT… winning the case in court, the morning Christmas party wrap up with a start of a reconciliation of Doris and Fred, their driving thru the suburbs not the city, see, this all lined up the necessary prevenient stage… but little Susie, even all while trying to convince herself of faith, was still not buying it. Then with all pieces in play, when she sees WITH HER OWN EYES the house that she has dreamed of, that no one knew but her and “you know who”, it is an amazing movie moment – it is an amazing non-coincidence – it is a moment of an unreal reveal that is real. Really.
She saw… she believed…
I saw… I know…
I don’t know what God had/has up His sleeves in your faith journey. But in mine? Not tricks, just truths. Not silly moves, but mountain moves.
Here’s writing #16, 6 years ago, half way thru my awakening 2 months. I wasn’t quite there – to have faith when common sense tells you not to… I wanted to, I wanted to drop thinking it was silly. He knew what to do.
How blessed to write my own – I mean HIS own – Way…
Miracle on 34th Street – “I Believe, I Believe, it’s Silly but I Believe”, 04JAN2015
My favorite movie – not just Christmas movie – but all time movie – is Miracle on 34th Street. Not the ’70’s version, not the colorized version but the original 1947 version – Edwin Gwynn as Kris Kringle – Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood as mom and daughter… and Fred Gailey the lawyer (John Payne). yes my favorite movie of all time – ever since I was a teen…
Little Susie says “I believe, I believe, it’s silly but I believe”. She was talking about Santa Claus – but the movie goes much deeper than that – see Santa (Kris Kringle) was looking for belief in people – in everyone who didn’t believe – looking for hope to continue in his line of work – to continue hoping for the world. Fred was asking Doris (Maureen O’Hara) to believe – to believe in him – to believe in anything – she swore off fairy tales, swore off any belief in what she wasn’t in control of. she suffered from too much reality check – “should be realistic and completely truthful with our children and not have them growing up believing in a lot of legends and myths” … “And by filling them full of fairy tales they grow up considering life a fantasy instead of a reality.” Fred will work on Doris – Kris Kringle work on Susie too – together they can make this happen – it is a movie after all – together we will see how it all unfolds…
At the pinnacle of the movie – Doris is upset that Fred throws away his career by taking on the seemingly win-less case of proving that Kris Kringle is indeed Santa Claus – the one and only Santa Claus… Fred urges her “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. It’s not just Kris that’s on trial. It’s everything he stands for. It’s kindness, joy, love, and all other intangibles.” “Someday, you’re going to find out that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover they’re the only things that are worthwhile.”
Fast forward to Doris trying to reassure Susie that Mr Kringle will be ok – Doris is not sure she yet believes what she is telling her daughter – but Doris tells little Susie that she has to have faith – Doris even adds to Susie’s letter that “I believe in you too” – win – Kris Kringle gets the letter and all the other dead letters at the post office and Fred wins the case – Kris is recognized by the federal government to be the “One and Only Santa Claus” – WIN!
Susie has asked Mr Kringle for something big – bigger than a normal present – she asks for a house – one of those Long Island cape cod’s – similar to the suburb house that I live in today quaint, quiet and family friendly… Susie expects Mr Kringle to deliver – big time – expects a miracle – expects that snap and she will have this house – puts it as a test to him… No – she doesn’t get it at the Christmas morning party – Doris has to say – “You must believe in Mr. Kringle and keep right on doing it. You must have faith in him.” … “you’ve still got to believe in people. I found that out.”
“I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe” – Kris has orchestrated a car ride home with Fred – down a quaint quiet street – in a family neighborhood. “I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe” – Susie repeats and repeats – and then – oh snap! there it is – the house – on a quaint and quiet street – the perfect house – it’s for sale – it’s unlocked – with a swing in the back – WIN.
Fred learns from Susie that Doris told her “Mommy said if things don’t turn out right at first, you’ve still got to believe. You were right Mommy!” – WIN – Doris to Fred “I never really doubted you. It was just my silly common sense.” WIN – BIG WIN. Kiss – realization that believing is seeing – believing came first – then seeing Kris Kringle’s cane in the house – hmmm….
Believe – it was and is that belief has to be there first – the rest follows – you have to believe – to have faith when common sense tells you not to… BELIEVE
You know what the best Thanksgiving leftover is? (And I have some GREAT leftovers in the fridge)… No. It’s not food.
The best Thanksgiving leftover is THANKFULNESS.
Just in this relaxing weekend and great weather, I have had unusual moments of pause, but what is NOT unusual is my thankful spirit prodding me to thank the Lord even more. And as I remember WHO, the Great I AM, who gives peace and pause… I ask why? FOR HIS CAUSE, lest we forget.
What is another so thankful leftover I just now had? Well, time to catch up listening to Pastor deliver a deep Thanksgiving Eve message of what he is NOT thankful for, and what he is.
What struck me as a Holy Spirit combination was that I had just read an article of the horrible bombings in the UK in WW2, and here Pastor mentions the horrors of WW2, and so many other times that really were much worse than now… yeah, I agreed so much with his statement that times ARE stressful now, and yet for many of us, we have a cake walk now, even thru covid, compared to the intense level of other people’s lives then (and even now). I agree that we have blessings beyond blessings, ESPECIALLY knowing that we have JESUS. And He has a personal connection with us.
To me, when I read this old article about the villagers of Coventry, and how EXTRA anxiety ridden they were in the bombings, the line that struck me was it felt worse to them because of the nearly 600 people who died, knowing many of them in a small knit village, it felt so personal. As a war strategy, and an evil-related tactic, the disillusionment was just as bad as the damage, and infighting started to take place. They recovered from the devastation, but not without people coming to help – including Americans who felt a personal touch of their hearts to help intercede in the war. The statement in the article was that the CHRISTMAS SERVICE FROM A BOMBED-OUT CATHEDRAL drew the international news broadcasts. Light from dark won.
And I thought that isn’t it interesting how compliance with covering their windows was not only so important in wartime but they probably didn’t fight it, and they did it for the sake of all. (I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but I hope it was). My thoughts are that blackouts were not the stressors, but the bombings were. Yeah, we have no idea how bad those people were shaken, but I believe that they pulled together: blackout curtains pulled together, people pulled together. I recently saw the YouTube video of the 96yr old Queen knighting Captain Tom who did 100 laps of his garden for his 100th birthday, raising money for the English healthcare system. Well, he knew the British Spirit to pull together, and raised 30 million pounds!!!. Here’s a 96 yr old and a 100 yr old who got to chat and count their own blessings. They both did their part then in WW2, they both do their parts now in encouragement. How can we not? How can we not???!!!
What’s our biggest part to play? SHARE THE LOVE. See, with God, it’s ALL PERSONAL. He knows and created EVERY ONE of us. Not just all people who love Him, He knows all.
Pastor’s sermon also reminded about how we are to LOVE on people to bring God’s peace to fruition… that is so true, how will hearts change? Not thru hate, thru LOVE. How will this be achievable? Not thru anything else but JESUS. How will He be known? How about us helping!
We still have Thanksgiving leftovers, and Christmas is coming fast. JESUS is not lost in the shuffle, especially if YOU deal Him and His peace into your next hand. DEMONSTRATE HIS PEACE. We don’t have time to keep stirring up angst of “woe is me” – let us trade that strategy into “wondering where God is needing me”. Let us trade the “I can’t wait until this is over” into “I have many missions over my mumblings”. And what perfect timing for us to get as PERSONAL in our praise as we can. For Jesus, PEACE IS PERSONAL!
Don’t bemoan the bothers, be in thankfulness for the blessings. Be the example of the Lord raising you up, because you know that He will, that He did, that He does.
I always say that God pays me to smile. HOW DARE I SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. I’m human and I do whine, but God PERSONALLY reminds me to be THANKFUL EVERY TIME.
I was thinking that we watch the world of people who do things that we would NEVER dream of, and instead of giving in to the temptation to say statements like: “I told you so.”, “what did you expect?” – and taking the stance, that is SO tempting, of: “they were asking for trouble!” – that instead we should ask God for mercy over them… bless them too…
Yeah, wake them up Lord, but bless them please while I avert my eyes from their train wreck. (Wouldn’t you be happy if others prayed against your train wrecks too?) That crash that you DON’T hear? That is from Jesus blessing you and blessing them too… He’s got the SAVING GRACE, and who are we to withhold ours. Who are we to pray for less. (When we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. The Spirit can not help but intercede.)
We should forgive, pray and ask the Lord to bless them too.
God never shuts His eyes. Jesus says: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” The Spirit in us already knows.
Jonah, as so famously is known for being forced to go to Nineveh, carried in a whale, also is known for wanting/expecting to watch the people suffer. He didn’t like them, what they did, but when he delivered God’s message, they themselves repented. Jonah thought: Huh? Where’s the train wreck? The Lord said: I can and will save my children… God has first and final say.
In the book of Ephesians (chapters 3, 4 see below), Paul is praying for those working for spreading the good news among the gentiles. Imagine if collectively we could pray this same level of blessing to whom we perceived as those masses of misguidedness, those throngs of wrongs, those neighbors of naysayers.
We SHOULD pray for all, especially for those whom we disagree.
Lord, bless the mess.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:2-6)
THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
A tremendous bible study teaching I heard on the radio today, from the book of Romans (that HUGE book of Romans, how convenient to have this teaching), explained about Apostle Paul’s observations of the WRESTLING back and forth in our consciousness of spiritual battles between us being slaves to sin and to the Lord.
Paul gives an “if this, then that” detailed sense, in an almost mathematical proof, of how he wishes that he didn’t do sinful things, knows better, and yet his mind and body does them anyway. Romans 7
The bible study pastor also spoke of how this IS an example of our born-again nature. To accept Jesus and know we are dependent upon Jesus, we are born again of the spirit (John 3). That we are made aware of our wrestling back and forth, this means that our fight within us makes for moments as Christians which may feel like our “long sufferings”. These could be intense moments of mental stress – even for what used to be simple decisions which were simply NOT thinking but human nature default actions, These could things that we see others doing and say “well, so and so is doing that”. Remember that we were all born into original sin, God has been pulling us back out of the mud ever since. (And remember that the evil one can not touch us, being sealed by the Spirit. We are HIS!)
THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
I can think of personal examples, I’m sure you can too. And can I urge delighting in God and His power to pull me thru them. (I’m not intending to detail them lest I glamorize my sinfulness, we do that too much). I will say that we do wrestle with many things… more than I could or should list… you get my point… we are human.
THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
How about how we treat people?
How about how we focus or don’t?
How about how about????????
THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
(And don’t dwell on the list, because you become fodder for the devil as if he was playing bingo and saying gee, since you mentioned your sin, let’s take you down that road of not feeling worthy)… LET’S NOT. Answer instead with Paul’s words and OUR born-again blessing: THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
Like I said (and the radio pastor said), this list of our humanness is long. Paul details humanness to explain that we all go thru wrestling… and because our hope IS, and has to be, IN JESUS, we put ourselves back on track of denying our sinful selves and reaching for Jesus to live within us less cluttered. Jesus will bring the joy over the junk. He will take care of your sin, live in Him.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
THANKS BE TO GOD, WHO DELIVERS ME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!
Once again as I start reading a new book of the bible, Ephesians, I find it to be such a gem of a chapters. Lot’s of THANKS-GIVING in this!!! Paul writes of the whole of God’s mercy and how it happens. “For He Himself is our peace” speaking of the unity Jesus desires and makes – not only wants but essentially takes it upon Himself to accomplish, by giving of Himself over death, and by being the cornerstone in a new temple where we are the building blocks that God is making new. We are all included, we have grace to save us – even while we were and are sinners.
Not much more I need this Thanksgiving day to say about this great chapter, except to say I’m so thankful for Jesus – so thankful for the Holy Spirit – so thankful for Our Father – from whom all blessings flow.
Thank you for allowing me to share my musings and my thanksgivings and even my endless processing… Thank you for being moved by Christ to be His, there is not much more encouraging that an encourager can see… Alive in Christ is Thee!!!! “For He Himself is our PEACE!”
Ephesians 2 – Made Alive in Christ
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 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.
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups 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.
I don’t think there is a more apt scripture lesson for today’s covid-era Thanksgiving celebrations, yours, mine or others (whether small or large, mixed family units or basic bubbles) than this: “Don’t Judge“.
I don’t think that we can stand on our idealized thoughts of ourselves doing everything right and others being wrong – we are all a mix of each – we must take the specks out of our eyes (Matthew 7:3). We are all in this together and we are all human and certainly in a broken world. Yes, spiritual battles abound, and the Bible instills in us that God loves us ENORMOUSLY enough to forgive us – SO MUCH to give His only Son for us – Forgiven and THEREFORE we are to forgive others. Forgive and Don’t Judge.
There is no one who can love as much as He loves us, individually and collectively. We are loved and therefore we love. Love, Forgive, and Don’t Judge.
We are not perfect. We are not even close. We are fraught within a spiritual battle over the world. We must participate in this fight by praying and not only put on the armor of God, but also choosing offensive tactics of speaking and believing in the Word of God, the most powerful of all. The Word IS Jesus, the Word made flesh. We must believe in Jesus to win our ultimate battle. Believe, Love, Forgive, and Don’t Judge.
We Believe – as God believed in us first.
We Love – as God loved us first.
We Forgive – as God forgave us first.
We Judge – whoops – we are human and we do judge… perhaps if we spend time counting blessings we would run out of time to look at what others do.
God could judge us now – BUT, if we believe in Jesus and Salvation, we are judged only to know how deeply He needs to save us. End times may be tough and we want to be in the sheep rather than the goats, so we want to take Jesus as our ONLY WAY, apologize, and recommit to LOVE another day.
Today the Way is looking for you, so we best try not to be a judge of the people in the fray. We have a better Way. Let us say: we simply Loved, Forgave and Believed in this day.
Thanksgiving – giving thanks for our Way.
Matthew 7:1-2 Jesus said:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Hard to believe that it is just one month until Christmas. Time to open the windows of the church. Brrrrr…. Wait, isn’t that COLD? Actually no, that’s the warmest thing you can do. It is always a JOY to “Spill the Spirit” out from the church to those whom God needs us to reach. Loving the lyrics by Paul Balouche: “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord – I want to see You”. Yes, He is in view when we look – He will come close to us especially when He is using us to get His message to others – yes we want to see Him in action. We must invite the people in and BETTER YET: go to meet the people where they are. Jesus did.
I was sitting in a recently re-opened church, still in covid-times, and oh that sharp breeze… in November?? Bring not a good sweater but your winter coat! Actually, we are having a warm autumn, and I do have many warm coats, so whom am I to complain. These windows are open for the breeze to enter to increase airflow to combat and break up the potential pockets of airborne Sars2 virus. The “solution to pollution is dilution” – this takes on a whole new meaning today.
The other of my church families is having extra Christmas eve services inside the building, to reduce close quarters and for one mid-afternoon service they are bringing a big circus tent to their parking lot (and heaters), complete with Living Nativity. The airflow will be good for the health of the people and the outdoor openness will be good for the flow the Spirit and to warm the hearts. I was THRILLED to attend Easter sunrise service in my car there and went to many outdoor events all over the place all summer. This time we won’t wear an Easter bonnet but our Cheerful Christmas Caps). And a mask is a must. I wear mine, even outside, it keeps my rosy cheeks less chapped. Whom am I to complain as I have knowledge to play it safe, comply and smile with my eyes.
Recently, I visited a hilltop church graveyard near my work, where I walk occasionally. It was a brilliantly blue-sky day, so loving the fresh air and good exercise. Sheep usually roam this church yard but it is quiet now, the playground is empty, the services online. Pulling up the quaint tree-lined path there are cute signs – spaced like the Burma shave road sign advertisements of old – “Help Us With” – “Our Godly Task” – “Now’s The Time” – “Put On Your Mask”. Yes so cute. This church surely has seen its share of challenging times, more than most, having been built in 1711 (YES!) Pre-Revolution – before King George was even King – 20 years before George Washington was even born! And the gravestones are old, sometimes just marker stones next to the main family headstone. Scattered among them are the Revolutionary soldier grave markers, these stand as testaments, like the trees, that those peoples would have seen MUCH MORE tough times than we could ever imagine. Can you see the stark contrasts of cultures and yet praise from these people who had it tough yet praising the Lord enough to build a church. It has withstood the test of time and the Lord certainly was sustaining these people. If their gravestone could cry out, we would hear tales of lives lost young and praise for long lives lived. We too should praise the Lord in our modern times, for He has gifted us worldly conveniences and improved health.In this cemetery, the people may have died from something that you take for granted is curable and now preventable. Like from every virus in your immunization chart.
Historically there was another time where church windows were opened – holes placed in walls – to allow attendance of those who suffered anything that was thought to be leprosy. The windows were called leper squints. (FYI Mycobacterium Leprae infection is now treatable and curable with courses of antibiotics – believe it or not, it still affects 250,000 people worldwide). In Jesus’s time and for a thousand years plus, the lepers were also forced to live isolated from the rest. Unclean – but allowed to listen to the gospel by the church servants who knew that everyone could be cleansed eternally by Jesus’s Love.
Are we open now to helping those who perceive themselves “unclean” and bring them the Good News of Jesus? Are we open now to making the best we can in the circumstances that we have? It is NOT JUST by putting on our best Christmas Cheer, but by us opening the windows for new ways to worship – to walk – to wait on the Lord – to share the Good News.
I heard a saying that Christmas is not cancelled this year. True! Because Christmas IS the birth of the One who saves us all. We must adjust logistics, sure, but isn’t our best mentor in the ONE who changed His logistics but not His Will to accomplish saving us.
So, put on your cheerful Christmas cap, and your Godly task of a mask, and get OUTSIDE – open the windows of the churches and pray the Lord to open the eyes of our hearts.
I am thinking that Facebook, in becoming our latest system for venting, shows us that people who speak nicely in person and during the day, can then online endlessly swear and be filled with dissent and these days folks partake in conspiracy theories like never before. You never saw such harsh words from old and new restrictions due to the pandemic, you never saw such divisions fueled by the devil in this election season, you never saw such GRUMBLING!!!!!!! However, we do know Someone to Whom this is nothing new… Jesus has seen it all, been there, felt that. Oh how painful, so sorry Jesus… and yes, Jesus taught despite all the bitterness in the world… Because of the dangers and trappings of living in this world, He gave advice for rising above it. It wasn’t unity in the government or in the fads of the day, but unity in the Spirit. One Lord. One mission of LOVE.
It’s like questioning if you spend time stopping or gawking about all the bitterness battles one by one OR spend time speaking about the One who Won it All.
I doubt that I have ever seen so much griping about what people want to do over what’s good and prudent to do. The grumbling about stopping liquor sales at 5pm on the biggest party night of the year, during a pandemic, just now seems to have exploded my newsfeed… “People want what they want when they want it !!!”… I drove by the liquor store and wow it was crowded. I might get something too, but in moderation of course… Corrective Scripture that comes to mind: “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, as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Paul writing to his Godly penpals in Philippians)
We are observers and walk in this world, but we tend to be grumblers too – I don’t think we can help it even though we should. We of course are told to take the logs out of our own eyes to help anyone with a speck in theirs, meaning don’t pick on others without knowing you yourself are acting just as bad, and worse. Just as we have to know the different audiences that we are talking to, we have to know the One-ness of the Lord.
I am reading in Galatians today, and I appreciate the long-windedness of Paul, the writer and writer and writer…. but WHY were there so many writings? Oh, because they are letters to different groups, different start up churches, different issues, different failings. And there was no cut and paste on a computer program to make it easier. Letters from Paul were to be an education for all, but tailored to the right audience. Paul says to the Galatians, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.”
A corrective penpal, at minimum, Paul wanted to warn and teach… Yikes how people these days have opinions. People are people…. Paul knew that and all while under threat for teaching, he had to hone the tactics of sharing the UNCHANGING message for personally reaching folks. Paul reflected: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Paul details how it took him a long time, YEARS, to consult privately with the Lord. When Paul awakened (only Jesus was and is that One who shakes your world all while holding you, His touch is on a personal level as needed), Paul before all these letters was a changed man, ruthless Saul met Jesus – blinded and had to re-see. So Paul commissioned by God did not FIRST go to people, he went straight to God. He realized God Himself “who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.”
Paul continues: “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
We have divisions in the world now, and forever more. There will be MORE division based on the riches we have rather than on the things we lack. Before we fuel fires, let us bring our concerns to the Lord.
Galatians, grumblers and God penpals alike:”Set your mind on things above.”
“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces.” (Paul to the Galatians)
Lord, I’m a grumbler too. Lord forgive me. Make me a Thanksgiving giver and not just the Turkey. Open up my eyes to the goodness and glory, and not distracted by the grumbling, lest we all become goats… Lord, Morning Star, shine Your love, and help Your people Shine You.
There’s no place like home – except an even BETTER HOME, brought to us by Jesus in forever reign, at end times of the earth but a new Jerusalem of Heavenly gifting. There’s nothing that doesn’t sound as AWESOME as the New Jerusalem, the Holy City, where all who love the Lord will dwell WITH HIM forever.
Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3
John, the beloved disciple, many years after Jesus was resurrected and ascended, was told to record these observations when he was “carried away in Spirit”. He was NOT having an imaginary vision, or sleeping into a dream, this was real and a revelation. The Spirit of living in the Spirit transcends our earthly existence. John was told, shown, and experienced the future NEW EVERYTHING, so that we would know – and this will encourage us to go with Spirit Flow! We too have God’s Spirit indwelling, in us, with us.
With the new hope, we are NOT told to cast off all precautionary living, we are NOT told to abandon our senses. We are always told to ABIDE IN HIM. YES, ALWAYS. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
We will be judged to acknowledge Him as Lord and evaluated how we served Him. We will then be inhabitants of a new and stunning Kingdom where the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are in residence. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
There’s nothing I can add to these glorious descriptions in the last bits of a long chapter of Revelation -please read for yourself of this new life (posted below).
A life in Spirit forever. Yes, we too can be carried away in Spirit! (Read ahead!)
The Judgment of the Dead
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21 A NEW EVERYTHING!!!!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits thick. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:1-11: A NEW EDEN
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
John and the Angel
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
“Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
Oh WOW! The description of Jesus is AMAZING in Revelation 19 scripture: “Kingof kings and Lord of lords”! FIERCE WARRIOR!!! Eyes like fire, a mouth of a sharp sword – riding a horse. Ready for battle winning. Which is next in chapter 20 on…. This is the Winning Word of Jesus. And with battle, the birds were called in to scavenge, to eat the flesh of those killed by the warrior. Eww, but a mighty image of huge scavenger birds of prey. Except they didn’t have to do the killing. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Hone in (and Harvest).
It triggered in me another thought of scavenger birds, little birds I imagine, when Jesus taught interested listener ears about the four soils, as the capacity for one’s faith (Luke 8). If you have dry soil, meaning His scripture and teachings will bounce off you, and not sink in to do any good, you will not grow your faith at all. When the spiritual seeds bounce off, there are scavenger birds who will eat those wasted seeds. Gone. Those are birds eager for the Word… and didn’t have to work for it. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Partake (and Grow).
Birds – Jesus also told us about birds who are taken care of by our Father, who eat and sleep and don’t worry. (Matthew 6) And being a monitoring bird Himself, Isaiah taught that: “The LORD of Heaven’s Armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it like a bird protecting its nest. He will defend and save the city; he will pass over it and rescue it.” chapter 31. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Abide (and Serve).
Actually so many bird scriptures abound, and we are also captivated by the birds today. My father loves watching the birds from the porch, many folks do. The feeders are full, hoping to keep the squirrels at bay, the birds come in. We have to be aware when we partake in life too, be on the lookout for the evil schemes and pitfalls. Our Heavenly Father loves feeding the birds, taking care of His children, reminding us of harmony with Him. We need to be IN HIM to be safe from the snatches. Jesus needed to come slay the evil in the beasts, the false prophets, dragons, which ruled on and off for times calculated and ruinous. Jesus always triumphed and the birds still ate. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Watch.
Are we not MORE LOVED and valued than the birds? God created man and said: “VERY GOOD”. Man, you and me, are for whom Jesus WENT TO BATTLE, gave His Life, came again. Birds are called to hover and go. We are called to learn, to grow. The Lord would not have revealed the end without both being in control of everything and triumphing over evil. The Lord would not have told us to stay close to Him for any other reason than to keep us UNDER HIS WING. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Listen.
I heard a sweet interpretation of the first of Jesus’s miracles, the turning of water into wine. It was not just any wine, but the best. They exclaimed that usually in history, when the wedding guests are drunk from the first wine, they bring out the worst wine. This is akin to the devil attempting to tempt with cheap stuff that does damage. But thru Jesus making the wine, maturing the water, the BEST wine was kept until last. This pastor (on the radio each weekday) spoke of how if we follow Jesus, remain in Him thru trials and the devil’s schemes, we will see the BEST come to fruition. We will take part in the triumphant time after continually stirred up evil has been defeated – a few times and once and for all. That is a GOOD WORD for us to learn: Wait.
Chapter of Revelation is Revelation of The Future, but we can get started in the present day and listen for the Lord now. If the birds can listen, so can we.
He will reign, because He does. That’s the Good Word of today. That is a VERY GOOD WORD for us to learn: Jesus.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
king of kings and lord of lords.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Even life has a continuation after death, when our loved ones pass, we pray they find their way. The Way finds them. The Way finds us – the Way has always been asking ahead of time for us to find the Way…
When my aunt passed away, I didn’t feel “a disturbance in the force” – like Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi when they sensed a whole planet being destroyed by the dark side in fictional movie form. I didn’t think she had disappeared into nothingness. Her soul was searching whether she was or not. I know that she didn’t display book knowledge faith, but her simple lifestyle and pure heart registered her as eligible for Jesus as anyone, to show Himself unveiled and the “as plain as plain could be” GOOD decision. He could and would be in those last moments, to be the explaining voice when she slipped away. She was a great and good person, the Spirit won’t leave her as a loner. Jesus, I pray her found.
I believe that we do intercede for others with our prayers. What is not named in people’s faith is still identifiable as good and bad attributes. Some may have denials but many simply have “un-reveals”. The blockage from open eyes does not mean their hearts are not already open for good influences. My aunt was as good as you could get. She certainly heard of Jesus thru Christmas time and Easter. She was on the good side, not the dark side.
(Fictionalized, the Dark side Darth Vader also could sense the Force. Even though evil reigned, the light never was gone… and yes even the biblically described evil-spirits, knew of and know of Jesus as powerful and as God even if they didn’t call Him Lord.)
So, I didn’t feel a disturbance that day, actually I didn’t know until the whole next day that she had passed, my Mom didn’t want to disturb my sleep. I didn’t tell my daughter until the end of that next day, she’s deep in college deadlines. Neither my mother nor I wanted to disturb the flow on earth. But did I sense that disturbing earthquake in a distance, the shift of souls when she passed? I did not. Certainly, I can say that I am too distant in miles away and not feeling the major impact for those closest. They physically deal with the loss, as I only emotionally deal with it. Yet spiritually I had felt connected and relieved that I had talked to her, if only briefly, three times that week. Even the zoom video just watching her for a moment was comforting to my soul. I will always want to call her up – but at least she can see now and not just hear.
So my point to this long experiential explanation is that I hold onto the truth that earthly death is part of Heavenly life. A pastor I heard, in a recording that same week, sermonized his sense of Heaven being: “just one breath away” – and how this is true before life on earth and after – the Spirits of our souls never “didn’t exist” or “won’t exist” – ALL IS CONNECTED.
Babies born (and not born) are all accounted for in the Spiritual world. That’s what the recorded sermon spoke of, and that’s where the minister of my aunt’s funeral looked to understand my aunt’s faith, having never met her. He sought to understand the family’s connections to each other, spoke to each person, and found out about her love to a stillborn older baby brother, not unusual for the early 20th century, and he was buried in the baby section of that cemetery. This was evidence to the pastor of her faith thru love to this baby that that he could hang his hope on for knowing that she had a spiritual connection. There was LOVE in the longing. There was spiritual-generated love transferred back and forth. All this is knowing that Heaven is only being a breath away. Love as deep and as wide as love could ever be, in the crossings of the Spirit across the Heaven-earth-Heaven barriers of life in flesh. There’s no barrier for LOVE.
My aunt’s funeral at this lake overview cemetery, overlooks down the hill. (I was on zoom and stayed away for logistics and covid reasons). The site of family plots on this curvy turn on a steep cliff gives quite the view, I can see it with my eyes closed. I’ve spent more time in that cemetery in memory and in honoring, in learning family history, in taking care of the flowers, than attending actual funerals. More time living in memories and learning more than mourning passings.
My future grave plot is also there, waiting for me (even if I am not waiting for it!)… it is on the hill near my aunt’s plot, they opened the section special to raise extra funds, still it was an inexpensive location on the cliff of the roadside across from the first generation of our family to enter America. Us next generations would be lucky if that hill holds up in torrential rain! I am sure they will catch the caskets. I’m sure of the soul Catch ahead of time by Jesus as well. I’m not wanting or waiting to die, but logistically we should all be ready – not JUST by physically preparing our wills (updated and kept in a firesafe), by paying for life insurance, and by buying a funeral plot ahead of time to make it easier on our children. I’m talking about preparing ourselves emotionally, registering within our “wills” a strong WILLingness to be led to Heaven (even in torrential life storms), and our desire to share Heaven ahead of time by us bringing Heaven on earth best we can… Take the time telling and showing those around us how much we love them – that is time well spent. And time spent talking about, knowing, acknowledging, speaking of, and pursuing the LOVE of the Lord, the Owner and Creator of ALL, especially LOVE. Showing and believing in our worth thru Him AND speaking of our connection to Jesus in terms of His connection to us. Jesus is already at the ready, we have to make ourselves ready to realize.
My funeral is not planned, neither is yours. But your forever future IS planned, thanks to Jesus, LIFE with the Lord. You won’t fall off the cliff of life, no free-fall, if you are tied to His free-saving gift: extending the Grace of God. You do have to say Yes, but know He never stops asking.
It’s not “May the Force be with you” but “May you know the Grace within you.”
We know it is going to get worse before it gets better – and we know it is going to be bad.
That is an explanation of the covid cases yes, but that is ALSO an explanation of the coming ending of the world too – before Jesus comes again. Likewise (but different), we will see the worst – but we WILL see the Better.
We know that there is a remedy coming soon in a vaccine that will reduce cases, we don’t know when we will personally get it, but we at least hope that as many people can get this preventative measure before the cases rise and rise. That is an explanation of covid vaccines, yes, but that is ALSO an explanation of the coming of Jesus once again. Likewise (but different), we don’t know when He is coming, and we hope that as many people can get to prevenient Grace thru Jesus, and He to them, before it too late.
We won’t know how bad it COULD get with covid, because the timing will bring a vaccine soon. Likewise (but different), we won’t know how bad it COULD get for each of us within the Revelation Ruinous Realm, because Jesus will save many BEFORE they are lost. We won’t know how bad it would be without knowing God, because Jesus already knew to grab us.
We do know it will get worse before it gets better, but with everything – we know that we need to be ready – and we know Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the Way regardless if we talk about calamities or calm.
In Revelation 18 and 19, we hear that Babylon figuratively stands for so much that will be destroyed, never to be inhabited by the faithful who stood strong despite all the crises. but in chapter 19:6-10, we learn the time that Jesus HAS come to meet His bride, the church, that is us.
John writes in witness: “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
We ARE blessed as we have Jesus to follow and as slaves to the truth, we will be set free. We won’t know how bad it will get, because He already found us, and He already won.
James 5: 7-11 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! 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.
This writing is spilling so fast in my brain, it’s like the Lord chomping at the bit for me to wake up.
Life is NOT a Raffle, but money is a tool for God to use.
Raffles, I enjoy raffles. Yesterday at work, they held a fundraiser for the foodbank netting 1500 dollars for raffling off two expensive Yeti coolers. Big prizes, big excitement. I didn’t win, but that’s ok. I didn’t need it anyway. I bought some extra tickets for my immediate coworker crew, as thank you’s. It’s good to simply say thank you for all you do.
Why does John Wesley, of the Methodist church making, thought to frown on raffles? Gambling? I was raised catholic so this intrigued me, and whether that’s now a relaxed view or not, the good intention was and is to not tempt people who have few means into an addictive gambling moment, or to not take money from your neighbor, or to not fall into a destructive lifestyle. And whether John Wesley said it or not, I heard once: no gambling because life is not up for chance. That’s where I will pick up on the current running thoughts… Life IS secured by Jesus and our belief in Him as Savior. Our buy-in to believing is paramount. And of course, we cannot buy, purchase tickets for, or steal salvation. That is the gift of God to Himself to have all His children (us) come home. The ultimate price He paid was Jesus for the necessary prize of saving us all.
I agree 100%. I believe in Jesus. I need Jesus. I love Jesus. We are chosen by Jesus before He chooses us. Not a coincidence or chance.
Yet I still enjoy raffles, my family had a one-armed bandit for nickels as a kid. I still enjoy bingo. I was raised catholic and in catholic school that was the lifeblood of fundraisers for education. Tuition was minimal then, outrageous in cost now, but necessary to run a building. Most schools have closed. It’s expensive. My parents helped at bingo, the cigarette smoke in the gymnasium rafters was thick in the 1970s, the Sunday night smoke was often still there Monday morning when gym classes started. Ugh. Bingo once only on Fridays became twice a week, Friday and Sunday. That was gambling some quality of life for exchange of money to run gym.
God choosing us by chance? No. Life is not a chance. Jesus is not a fluke. I liken fundraisers like this: you are hoping to win but you are ok if you don’t win. Some purchase and never check their tickets. In raffles, you like helping others, and really you could have given the money straight but that excitement about winning builds jackpots. How different is giving money directly to the church building? Well, similarly different. God bought you and your tickets and handed them to you, but if you never use your ticket, never open your eyes of your heart, even crumple your tickets, you miss out in knowing Him. If you lose your tickets have you lost your way? Well the WAY is already looking for you. JESUS WILL ALWAYS WANT YOU.
In Christian living, you are supposed to tithe, 10% of gross income, plus talents and time, that is the interpretation of many biblical scholars. Tithing is straight off the top giving – giving back the best to God who owns it all anyway. He doesn’t want leftovers, not bottom of the barrel. The first fist fruits, and directly to the house of God. Jackpot of life is salvation, so are we buying our ticket to heaven? Nope.
No ticket could be bought to send yourself to heaven. Why give money and time and talents to the church? Are you buying for yourself? Nope. You are not buying tickets but you ARE funding the means to get the message out. You ARE helping others. You are fueling the fire keepers of the Word, the pastors of purpose, and the workers for the Way. Perhaps you could see the giving as sacrifice for others in all this. So perhaps or YES, you see Jesus, the first born, first top cream of the crop, a blessed gift giving of Himself because He knew He was from God for God for us forever. No sacrifice of our money could ever equate, but regardless, we are a gift to give back. We are to steward that money as well. An investment not a tax.
Tithe for life that is not just your own. Help the others see the Way. Dust off your dust and join in for fellowship for fueling faith-sharing. And not just money, but your time and talents. Your time reading the Word is time well spent, pondering the Word is golden time, writing and wondering, then acting out the Life gifted to you by living from the Word. Salvation secured, get back out there and see to the church helping secure more souls. The world is not your prize, but seeing workers being able to work is a win.
It’s not a raffle, but there IS excitement in saving souls. It’s not you saving others, it’s God who waters the seeds you plant. He does give you plenty of reasons to plant: the whole Kingdom of His Love is awaiting awakening of His children. It’s not what He gambles because Jesus already won it, but it’s His mission and therefore ours too. Jesus finished the bridge between sin and death to freedom and life. We get to help spread the Good News. We get to Watch For God. Bingo – He’s got out number as planned, not pop-up.
So, we give unto the Lord for Him. We cheer as He is winning souls for re-claimed lives.
Amazing Amen !!!
John 15:16-17 NIV
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
James 1:17-25 KJV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
So much evil in the world, but we knew that. So much stubbornness in the world, that’s what’s sometimes surprising. “I don’t want to” – “You can’t tell me what to do” – “I don’t deserve this”…. you understand… we have to remember that we are subject to God’s wrath just as much as the worst (or growing worse) folks you could imagine. We have mercy and forgiveness, but we could all use some cleaning up of our act. But it is God’s wrath, not ours…
Revelation 14 states that an angel calls out: “Babylon has fallen” – and reminds that the evil in Babylon spread to all nations and those worshipping evil will “drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented“… “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.”
Patient endurance… I heard once in a bible teaching that all nations will eventually become Babylon-like. And we do know that evil is epidemic in the world. We are called to ask for the Lord’s help: “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24 God’s wrath, not ours…
I’ll attest to say that it’s a gift and a necessity to ask Jesus to help remove the evil in us and keep us safe and keep us from spewing. We are to clean up our own houses before criticizing others. We then have to be patient in all, not losing focus on Jesus, keep forgiveness and mercy, speak up to injustice, call it out, but let God avenge in His own way the wrongs, wrath is HIS not ours. Easy? No. Imperative? Yes.
God’s wrath awaits according to Revelation 14-15. The earth people and all will be harvested, and God’s wrath will be in a cup, thru a winepress, after more plagues. Earth will be harvested. “Seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head……. swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.”
“Another angel… too had a sharp sickle…. swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.”
Within these extended periods of harvesting, there will be SINGING, from those victorious over the beast of evil, singing: “the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: ‘Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?’ “…
The wrath of God, is real and planned out that it will touch all evil-following, unrepentant people and kill the false prophet, the dragon and the beast. This occurs with the opening of the ark of the covenant, releasing seven angels with seven plaques to be given “seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”
Wow, God’s wrath will be fine and dandy? No, severe and scary. Who are we to wrath on others ourselves? Jesus says turn the other cheek for good reason, let God handle it. If anything, our forgiveness will stand out.
The next Revelation chapters explain these symbolisms and events. I’ll get to those tomorrow… whew…
I knew God meant business, but the business God that means was new to me.
How blessed are we with Jesus as example and Savior?
More than we could ever know…
How important to speak of God’s power and glory over singling out our strife? Paramount.
Pass the peace today. Jesus gave you peace to share. It’s God’s wrath, not yours.
Someone must have moved the Ark of the Covenant out of storage, remember that Indiana Jones movie scene? That government warehouse vault, boxed up and hidden in plain sight of endless boxes, lost in artifact lockdown? Safe keeping? Eh, it is a clever movie moment but God’s vault, always was and is where God could reach it.
We too are nowhere God can’t reach. (Psalm 139)
Revelation 11 – 14 scriptures tell us after the seventh trumpet sounds, that the Ark of the Covenant was opened. That sounds scary enough, but surely the next intense moments are more awe-filled: a dragon with a tail that knocks a third of the stars out of the sky, fighting in heaven against Michael and his angels, being hurled from the heavens to the earth, only to pursue a woman who birthed a child taken up to the throne. The earth, being merciful, swallows the woman who flew with wings to escape. The beast then has a meeting on the sea with a beast of 10 crowned horns and 7 heads.
I’m surely reading this yet NOT understanding the reality or symbolism or non-symbolism, and I can not comprehend even the length of these battles either, given with specific days. The fight between creatures being bloody and cruel, I get that. The causes of evil vs good, or evil vs evil, continues in all realms. The second beast appears urging more worshipping from those on earth being deceived. These creatures and their deceptions, that’s just sad and mayhem mania. This chapter ends with me not understanding either the symbolisms or the plain actuality. The confusion and distractions that existed? That I see painfully always.
What I do understand is the deceiver always aims to deceive. That evil plots against God’s children. The dragons would be clearly seen, but today’s evils linger deep and stealth as distractions and derision. Division, bickering, bad-mouthing, bleh…
I started to read the next chapter but will pause here to listen more deeply for where I can make and promote peace in my small realm of life. Where can we take a step back and NOT get swept up in distractions from our peacemaker positions or from our worship. How can we remain as un-defiled as possible? How can we keep our mouths shut and our hearts open? I only know the best advice: that we are to REMAIN IN HIM. Armor of God and all, Jesus is the Only Way, Truth, Life.
Chapter 14 of the Book of Revalation tells us the truths of us remaining in Him being played out: The Lamb appears with 144,000. An angel says in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” Another angel speaks of the wrath against anyone who follows the evil one. Then a voice speaks to John from Heaven says, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” – “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
WE WHO ABIDE IN, REMAIN IN HIM WILL REST IN HIM AS WELL.
God has us, we must remain strong in our faith, not waiver in walking with Him. Keep going… Jesus showed us the Way, we are not uninformed. Sure, the heavens and earth battle, it IS a broken world, but we are to walk where we are led.
Let us: Worship Him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.
PRAY to see hear know – most importantly, where Jesus leads, GO.
The book of Revelation is very REVEALING, except there’s one part that John is told to NOT write down.
I can imagine there is so much he understands and so much more he doesn’t, nor could we, since the vastness of God is immeasurable. The “second WOE” is recorded but John is told to not record what the seven thunders said. No.
John and we see a Heavenly pause, before the seventh seal is opened. Yes, Heaven rolls thru a great plan, but there’s a classic God pause – WHY? A pause as the Lamb opens the 7th seal.
That’s mysterious and comforting, as I believe that God will pause anytime He wants. God’s plan does not mean He won’t wait for us to catch up. (but don’t wait too long). God does not change but His power is His. With God, I can always imagine His LOVE winning. I can’t picture all the destruction described in the book of revelation, but I can FEEL the LOVE to those who made it thru. And I see the harshness to those who denied His sovereignty as well as His existence.
“But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
Woe 2, it seems, still has God’s mystery within it to accomplish. God’s mystery, His Majesty, His Own.
See, even having never read these passages and the destruction, I still knew, I KNOW, IN TRUTH, ABOUT JESUS. Jesus may be shielded in mystery to some non-believers, reluctant believers. But JESUS IS THE MYSTERY GOD WANTS US TO KNOW. Jesus is ready to be revealed to anyone whose eyes will open, whose ears will hear.
In Revelation, even John asks questions! So, for Heaven’s sake we should be asking questions about earth and about life and about believing even stronger in the Lord. How will we scratch the surface of understanding if we fail to dig into it. I believe that we are never going to understand everything (yet), but we can always try to learn more. Endless references to spiritual maturity are flooding my flooded faith right now. The “what now?” is replaced by the “what don’t we know yet?” What can you do? Read more. Love more. Abide more.
Yes, there is a second woe (and a third), but if we “remain in Him“, Jesus, His Love and being Jesus-like in our love to others, these are our revealing our Way to go and our Way to know. We can ask for revelation, but truly the greatest mystery is solved: Jesus was, IS and will be THE ANSWER all along.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2nd Peter 3
I remember a really adamant pastor friend who said that we really DON’T want to be around when Heaven starts the plaques and signs of advanced Revelation events… uh,,, ugh… NO! They may be ONGOING – but I doubt we would have gotten to any of that really rough stuff yet!!!
Have you read these scriptures? WOW! John has recorded a GIFT of knowledge for us. A Preview of Pure Power over strife. Oh the strife!
Sure, I would like to see Jesus riding in on a cloud, but ugh and WHOA to all those “woes” before that. How awful will that be? Awe-filled in an AWFUL way. If the Bible calls them woes, you bet it’s NOT going to be fun.
Revelation chapters 8 and 9, WHOA! Hail, fire mixed with blood??? And we think the insides of our microwaves looks disgusting… we have no clue… a battle in heaven for sure… and heaven will be silent for a half an hour just before this starts? Wow, I will accept the sound of howling wind and rain and thunder and lightning anytime now in comparison.
People dying from bitter water, a third of sea turning to blood, a third of the moon, sun, stars dark? And I’m worried about milk going bad. a little mold on cheese never looked so good.
And 5 months of torture for anyone without the seal of God on their heads… I’ll complain less about the 5 months of cold winter… Waiting for something? Just accept the pause! Bundle up and be glad.
Locusts like horses prepared for battle with hair and lion-like teeth? Maybe I’ll stop complaining about the leaves blowing in my door, cluttering my floor. And those people blowing leaves out back into the street – not taking care of them – really? How annoying is that? and yet we have NO IDEA what annoying really is – OH, how bad those Revelation times will get.
If people in those days “seek death and can not find it”, WHOA, who are we to worry about our aches and pains. Painful refining is not to be ignored but attended to, pain is purposeful if it gets you to act. If creation is groaning, then our groaning means we CAN do something about spreading the Good News about Jesus while waiting, even if we can’t ease the speed. I am so glad my friends and family who have passed won’t see these things in horror, but in fulfillment.
And UGH and WHOA, those horrors John saw were ONLY in “woe #1″… I bet “the 2nd woe” and “the 3rd woe” are not as pleasant either so I certainly won’t rush listening for those trumpets 1 thru 7. If I think I am going to be sitting on the side, like John was, as if we were watching movies and get a scroll to eat that tastes like honey – well, I would say to myself now: “Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Yes, Yes I am looking forward to Jesus coming again – but We have time – we need to take the time – we need to remember to be thankful for TIME – as it will be may only be a day or maybe years and years more than we can humanly imagine before Jesus comes again…
SO, why are we STILL here on earth, when it has not yet happened? Why does John get this backstage (upstage?) (Preview?) Pass??? Because GOD DOES NOT WANT US UNINFORMED!!! God is merciful to try to get everyone – all His children gathered – in His Merciful Grace. God LOVES us to let us know!!! we are to share that information and be the retro Noah and get everyone on board for the Lord!!!
Will I complain about waiting? About inconveniences? About life? Yes, likely yes, because I am human… But today I have an opportunity to say: “Sorry for my complaining Lord!” Yes, THANK YOU LORD for toughening me up! Thank you because You HAVE made us INFORMED.
Do WE get to pick and choose who we are to educate and get to listen about these warnings and workings? Well, God puts certain folks in our earshot – but God is responsible for the ear openings. Our jobs are to pray pray pray for their opening today.
PRAY PRAY PRAY!!!
Where is our HOPE? our HOPE is in JESUS.
JESUS JESUS JESUS
HIS ARMS are so strong holding us – He is the WHOA of all WHOAS! The Alpha and Omega! The Prince of Peace! Thank You, Jesus, for calling us your own. Your Vine extends our lives for all time. Thank YOU for giving us the TIME to know You.
The links of these sections of the Book of Revelation are here chapters 8 and 9. Going to need more than popcorn for these stories – sitting back and watching for when they happen, it will be too late then to read ahead…
2nd Peter 3:3-18
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
How beautiful my red maple decorates my life and my driveway. Intense color is revealed as GLORY-full goodness that was always there. These discarded leaves of the trees are SO beautiful and then they get scattered and returned to dust. Therefore imagine how MUCH better the Lord is finishing GOOD WORKS IN US, while we are still alive and in our prime, before we go back to His dust… and even post prime we can still feel unbelievably a blessing to be alive and to be able to complete some of His Work thru us… Oh, so Good of God to Golden us in age… GLORY in HIS glorification.
So appreciative of our opportunities to GLOW for Him FROM Him. The leaf colors in the fall reveal the inner workings of pigments, masked all spring and summer by the green. We didn’t see them until now, but God did. Our inner GLORY of God working in us and thru us is masked all along by our humanness from Adam forward. That fall for Adam affected us all. We didn’t see it, but God saw all. Original sin, not our fault but our flaw, which heaven will forgo when we accept Jesus, who brings us back. Shedding sin is like leaves falling, we are exposed and ready to bear new growth and new fruit as new renewed creations. Otherwise Adam and we would always be walking in GLORY all along thru the world. Jesus came into our world to save us, not judge the weight of sin against us. Jesus came in measure of how much GLORY it would take to bring us back. John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Jesus was telling Nicodemus about being re-born and how we reach the Father, our Father, thru His Son.
A prayer warrior recently thanked me for my prayers, I said God must have laid his name on my heart “out of the blue”. It was as if Holy Spirit ANGELS ARMIES are always praying for all of us (they are), especially him at that/this moment by name, and when the right ear hears the right message from the right whisper down the lane, they become prayerful moments – the Spirit connects – heaven on earth is and will be and can be full of GLORY – and that’s how good words get continued along the way – completing a spiritual circuit. No wonder Jesus many times said: “Let all who have ears hear!!!”
We can choose to see NOT the worldliness in glory but attempt to see the GLORY shining thru beauty placed into the world, and yet all this is so temporary. Then, when we leave the world, we can leave it MORE beautiful because we get to share the glory of God overflowing into the moments that catch our eyes, move our hearts, and fill our souls. That’s most GLORY-fulfilling.
Glory is all around, just reconnecting heaven and earth.
Glory is heavy like the cloud of God flowing through.
Glory is catching the Spirit of God even when we are failing, falling like leaves, fulfilling life, then returning to dust. Let us leave the world more Glory-full in our dust…
God dust is Golden. Shed some today thru His Special Way.
A letter from Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
When I share about the Lord, I still have a filter of me. I know that what I say is not for everyone but God knows it is coming thru me.
It’s like we move in our own circles, but the Holy Spirit moves us out into the world of other circles to touch family members of others who may achieve deeper understanding of Him thru us. The family of believers realizes their family of His blood not theirs. Therefore He can call in all cousins to complete the family tree.
I’ve had so many blessings from writing, and life. Perhaps other writers also experience that we sometimes write in joy but it can be taken differently by others. Also, what is sometimes released in grief can be considered joy of processing… either way Jesus understands – we just serve the Lord and look NOT to disregard the others, but work to look above the fray. We pray to be placed and paced in His best interest. I wrote nearly 1000 devotions so far – yes 1000… processing and praise – some personal and some for a generalized audience, or maybe just you since it is the Spirit that I pray directs what I do. I am not looking for accolades or fortunes, but I see spiritually and humanly that I write probably from the need to express myself coupled with the Spirit pushing my forced processing thru me, out thru my fingers and to achieve peace known in places unknown. The Lord is as personal as personal gets. The Lord will parlay our hearts and our work for Him into the world for us, we really can just let it go and let God…
Yes, Jesus experienced all the same things we experience… And Jesus ALWAYS gave credit to the Father and drew attention away from Himself (as if He could).
Matthew 12:46-50 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 13: 54-58 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
I’ve often wondered if it is MY job to do my job for Him. Actually, NO!!! It is our job to let Him do His Job thru us. Change the format and He can change the world. Find the peace, don’t force it. Be His. Remain in Him, and rest on things until He settles your dust. Whose Dust? His Dust. Let Him be in charge of your pile of His dust.
I love the scriptures that tell us the Lord can make things more obvious for us – if we just pay attention to our deep gut feelings. There are things and notions and directions that we get torn between but when we settle down and just pray, He shows us the Way!!! Maybe that’s why we often must sleep on decisions, so He can sort out our thoughts. (Classic example is me editing this in the morning when I am fresh and not falling asleep, but this pertains and includes major decisions today about weighing travel concerns and family things, honestly I can’t think of a better time to hone our hearing for trusting the Lord)…
I came across this old devotion I wrote about taking big and little steps and trusting the Lord – especially since I was riding a motorcycle that day (now years ago!). Riding any motorcycle is foolish to some, adventurous to many and a basic need to a few.
Decisions in life, with big and small steps should have considerations before we make a choice. Sometimes decisions will affect our peace, sometimes they will affect others, always Jesus wants us to put others before our own wants. Decisions we may make, about what we say or do, can involve putting other people’s calmness first even if you think they are overreacting.
It’s ALWAYS a good time to simplify the choices and give our burdens of decisions to the Lord. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
When we look to Him, we get clarity (sometimes we wait for that) and ALWAYS PEACE (sometimes that waits for us). “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:7
See it’s not peace in a vacuum, we shouldn’t be searching for neatly tucked away problems, we really should significantly stuff our stress further out than we place the peace of Jesus nearer in. It can feel like we are pressing that jar of clay stronger and filling our souls with Spirit.
Can you know Jesus? Yes. Is He always there? Yes.
Then press on… (Amen)
Here is an excerpt of the motorcycle devotion (and the whole thing) So totally fitting for more than just that day’s ride:
Clarity of mind and balance of life…We pray: Clarify for us, oh Lord, the path… Clarify your WILL… so that we can loosen our fear of this world and walk in line with your LIGHT. Clear the fog from our lines of sight Lord, to see ourselves – actually so that we can see YOU in us. To balance us Lord, we need YOU ahead of our steps, we need to rest our fears in YOUR precious gentle hands. We need to hear YOUR voice inside, please quiet the clamor…
1 John 4:4, “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.”
So, yes I am ever blessed…. I had a sweet motorcycle ride today… only the fourth in my life.
It’s a balance between faith that you won’t get hurt and the thrill of life on the edge… And I mean that for BOTH riding the bike and loving life… Honestly, I knew and trusted the safe care of my wonderful generous friend (who knew I just needed to clear my mind that day)… I felt very little fear… I was likely more safe on that bike than some other thrill situations I could have put myself in… I was being taken care of the best I could be, and we rode a sweet fifteen minutes thru beautiful fall foliage over back roads, past flowing water, into the valleys, and warmed by the Sun… Yes, I went from initially gripping tightly for my life to soon feeling the balance. I was nestled on this massive (and new) Harley and my fear dissipated… but as ALWAYS my respect remained for I was being held in the balance of life by both the bike and by the firm hands of God’s faithfulness…. I do respectfully fear the Lord, I trust in HIM, and because of that, I found how (both in life and on the bike) I was able to loosen my gripping fear of death, relax and enjoyed the ride…. Life is for enjoying the ride…
With God, we will overcome. We will overcome this world and the evil ways of torment because God blesses our journeys when we walk with HIM… We have the One who overcame in our souls – that’s Jesus… Yes it is… Yes HE is… He is right there, homegrown in our hearts, ready to lead us home.
Clarity of mind and balance of life…We pray: Clarify for us, oh Lord, the path… Clarify your WILL… so that we can loosen our fear of this world and walk in line with your LIGHT. Clear the fog from our lines of sight Lord, to see ourselves – actually so that we can see YOU in us. To balance us Lord, we need YOU ahead of our steps, we need to rest our fears in YOUR precious gentle hands. We need to hear YOUR voice inside, please quiet the clamor… Oh our precious Lord, rise us above this world… when we overcome fear to find peace IN YOU, then we will know we are made OF YOU…
I will wait on YOU, Lord, and trust in your WILL. I will return myself back to YOU, and then I will be balanced and whole.
I might be buying a WIFI extender – and that thought, to remove dead zones around the house, extends me to think about the truth that Jesus brings us life – and thru the Spirit, we have life extenders. Unlike WIFI repeaters, we are to be Jesus-extenders, not a copy but reaching others FROM His Spirit THRU US. The signal strength is hopefully getting stronger and stronger, especially as we approach end times and are reminded to keep strong in the faith. The Book of Revelations tells us all about those – but right now as far as we know we are in the midst of the middle, where God is rallying and herding and nurturing and feeding. Our earthly life will end, but how we are being made into His Kingdom is what eventually will be the recounting of us for the “rest of the story” like Paul Harvey would say on the radio…
I don’t like nitpicking facts with scripture writers – not a good idea – but this one statement gave me pause just now – that “Jesus is firstborn from the dead” – recorded in Revelation which is a fitting name for revealing the end of the “rest of the story”. Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. Gee, I haven’t even gotten off the first 2 paragraphs of this chapter and I have had to write 2 devotions so far! This one started as nitpicking, which led to questioning, which led to pondering, which leads to God being right (because He always was and is), and this always leads to me being taught!
John says in Revelation chapter 1:4-5: “…Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” The King James version of the bible uses: “the first begotten of the dead.”
Jesus surely is the witness, ruler and raised from the dead. But at first I actually thought to nitpick (I either have too many questions or not enough) and say: Hey, but what about Lazarus? What about Jairus’ daughter? What about – what about??? Weren’t they ALL risen from the dead – and weren’t they all early – earlier than Jesus? I had to DISMISS that notion right away, because it is not a simple thing, and even though I know they were risen back up into our earthly world again, they technically were not raised into eternal life, as of yet… See, that is where this notion in my head is going – that Jesus was double born – or never unborn – or repackaged – or clothed in flesh until glory revealed again – or don’t even worry about these things in terminology or logistics – Jesus is the Word and our words (lower case w) won’t describe the God reality – but dead we all were and dead we all will be here on earth – dead in transgressions and dead in flesh – and born and then reborn we all can be in Jesus. We MUST be reborn – be awakened – “get it”. And raised? Jesus Firstborn of the raised? Yes. Ah, I am thankful for Google because it told me that in the Greek, John wrote the word prōtotokos, a word that literally refers to birth order—the first child born…
We have not enough language in the world to describe Jesus, let alone God and the Holy Spirit. We have the bible written in multiple languages from the start, Hebrew and Greek. And Jesus Himself spoke in the local dialect as well, a common language of Arameic… Jesus must have said so many things that we don’t have captured, as He did so many works on Earth that it is said there aren’t enough pages of books to describe it all (John 21:25) – and Jesus thru the Holy Spirit is STILL working and will not rest until all work for the Father is done by helping us realize His Way.
The statement RAISED from the dead means something else too. The dead are the people dead in sin, all of us. So life in and thru Jesus is not physical although He can alter that too, life thru Jesus is spiritual – and raised from the dead really is raised away from the physical aspects of life. Raised from sin. I bring this notion in from a radio message podcast Pastor Joe, where he described aspects of Adam, who lived to be 900 yrs old humanly, and life before the fall – that Adam was in the image of God, clothed in light – multidimensional – and all spiritual access to God. Therefore, we will all be risen from the dead – we will be light and back in God’s image. (Death in Adam, Life in Christ Nov 11th https://subspla.sh/fzkznqs)
Raised from the dead, means reared away from sin, brought up in the faith, fed with spiritual milk and meat, raised away from earthly trappings. We have to leave this dead zone to extended life (just like the wifi extender).
Jesus was first born of those who walked the earth because Jesus was and is Alpha and Omega, existed at the beginning and will forever be the LIGHT. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” –
“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!” Rev 1:17-18
Love sound bite scripture that pops up in email, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” So the longer version of the whole scripture from Joshua is VERY important, it’s about throwing away false idols and fearing the Lord, it’s about remembering how the Lord brought the people to the promised lands, and how He is a jealous God. It’s about the grumbling they did that kept them wandering, and it’s about promises made. Joshua, before he died, well over 100yrs old, had them make a promise to serve the Lord over ALL the false idols.
We have false idols too, including ourselves and our perceived worlds. We worship our schedules and desires, we want what we want when we want it! The Lord has given us brains and skills to serve, but He also wants us to be sheep, yes, and be led. Yes, bear fruit, but let God place the fruit. Be His and be humble servants.
I loved running the science station at a kid’s fest yesterday, oh fun. Made foaming elephant toothpaste and oobleck and SLIME!!!! One recurring observation is that the kids get extra excited when they can get their parents to join in – to feel the slime or participate in some way. One kid said “my mom never lets us do this” – so I invited mom to join in too! Oh the scared looks on the parents, loved it. Oh the joy on the kids’ faces. Oh the good messy fun. Isn’t that fitting for God wants us to have faith like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and we are to enjoy the joy of the moment. If we are stuck in our agendas, we won’t see the sunset or the sunrise and know that we were gifted another day. We won’t know the path unless we look for the Way.
We can serve the Lord with our skills – and in doing so, if we can give moments that give memories to people and families, then we are finding the niche that is increasingly hard for them to find. If you go to an amusement park or pumpkin patch, hordes of families, herds of sheep just wanting to be together. Church can be this way too – and we do have the resources, we just have to direct them. I took my own moment to be a sheep too, and go see the actual sheep, get some popcorn and enjoy some cider (I missed the smores, rats), and to be with my church family. North, South, East and West, as long as we are anchored (which was on the t-shirt I wore yesterday) I believe that we all can be led to serve wherever the Lord fits us in! Be portable and flexible.
The evening fell so quickly but brought me many helpers to clean up in the dark while we watched a brilliant sunset. I was seeing it over my shoulder, but spent the last moments with teenagers. One said “oh no my mom is coming” – so I said “come here mom”, and handed her a slime cup. Good times! Then it was my time to go.
A helper made me stop and look at the sunset. Yes, we need to pause our agendas and choose to see the beauty of the Lord in all. The sun will set and rise, so as for me and my eyes, I will look for the Lord! I will try to remember that I want to be His sheep. Lead on…
We are all children of God.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you,then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
Then Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
“Yes, we are witnesses,” they replied.
“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.”
On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem he reaffirmed for them decrees and laws. And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord.
“See!” he said to all the people. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God.”
Then Joshua dismissed the people, each to their own inheritance.
We are waiting and waiting… I’m not just talking about election results waiting, but people are waiting for medical reasons and diagnoses and game plans, the imminent decline of a loved ones health, waiting for improvement for health, waiting for perfect timing for special occasions, waiting for everything, waiting for what WE THINK that we need to know. We don’t always NEED to know… perhaps we are waiting and God is busy rallying something without us even knowing. (I’m even waiting for things I can’t control, are you?)
Blessed are the people who keep busy and have a game plan, no matter what the future. Blessed are the people letting God pick some future focus for themselves… blessed are those not waiting for God to reveal what He ALREADY told you to do.
Fittingly, I am listening to the book of REVELATION and we are all waiting (not that everyone pays attention) for the end of times and beginning of the New Jerusalem… I find an audio reading of the bible, by David Suchet, so convenient and it really makes the word come alive in certain ways… Honestly the whole book is so deep and vast, that you have to take it in small chunks.
Revelation 6:9-11 John writing all this about what he saw:
When he [Jesus, the lamb worthy to break the seal] opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’. Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
Yes, wait… Jesus had to wait, we have to wait, these martyrs have to wait… and wait we shall, until God has said it’s time.
Yes, but wait before you complain and think we have seen tough times, there are tougher times ahead, and wait before you just give up waiting, because there are many things to be done. And wait before complaining because there are many things to get lined up and lived up.
Wait because we have it easy compared to those who don’t… Things we complain about would be a dream scenario in other parts of the world. And those martyrs? they are working in the world for the WORD, under punishment of death… Let us remember them today. Wait it out WITH them… even better, pray for them…
AND DO SERVE GOD… NO WAITING REQUIRED.
God’s timing is worth the wait… GOD PRAISE IS WORTH THE TIME.