A Prayer: While They Curse, May You Bless.

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A PRAYER

Lord – we know that saying that the only Bible verses that SOME people will read might be OUR OWN ACTIONS. You are to be the path of OUR WALK. May we always be displaying what you have called us to do – love everyone and especially love our enemies, those who seek to do us harm or simply bug us. May we pray like your servant David, even in venting outrage, “While they curse, may YOU bless;” – let us pray for our enemies’ hearts before we curse them back. Help us and all to know that they have forgiveness in you – and let us believe that too.

There is nothing Lord that we have done to make us more worthy than others, and like our enemies, we are broken too. You are the ONLY Way to Heaven – we are all on individual crosses next to You. Your cross next to us to get close to us – may we always remember that You are pursuing us AND our enemies equally.

Lord, “Create in us a clean heart”. If we struggle in ourselves for forgiving others – then may we tap into YOUR LOVE, sharing YOUR UNLIMITED LOVE. We are to love our enemies because You love them.

Teach us Lord, just as your servant David prayed: “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for YOU are God my Savior, and my hope is in YOU all day long.”

Let us display Your forgiveness for ALL.

We pray these things, Jesus, in Your everlasting, good, worthy and Holy Name,

Amen

Fathers and Sons

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I’ve really enjoyed this past week that I got to see one of my favorite musicians Sting perform, and his son Joe Sumner too. I like Joe’s bounding energy and zeal. He holds nothing back in brooding reserves like his father might display in attitude. Like father like son, BOTH put out tremendous energy and talent on the stage. It’s amazing how Sting is now 70.  This concert was GIFT from a friend (THANKS) and delayed 4 times but FINALLY found a time. It was fabulous and fun and just icing on my already busy blessed week.

The concert also featured father and son guitarists, and a drummer who looked like the son of original Police drummer Stewart Copeland, but really wasn’t. It was cool AND really sharp musical mettle. (And we SANG so many favorite songs!)

Father and Son.

A Biblical pairing of father and son are super interesting to learn about and although they did not remain perfect in God’s eyes, they were surely within God’s heart. David and Solomon. David’s life is detailed in the books of Samuel and also in his written down Psalms, which were musical. Solomon’s life is detailed in the books of Kings and in his written Proverbs. Neither were perfect, nor are we. Like Father like son, both were inspired by the Lord and shared His Way and Wisdom in verses… Each had to walk with God to hear God. So do we. David sang and so can we, about God wanting uslooking for us, Psalm 139, that’s one of my favorites from singing in the praise band. “Where can I go from your Spirit?“. David spoke about God always showing up, a Father to his children. 

There was a 1960’s newspaper clipping I read at the 100th anniversary of the fire company today which brought me to tears. These two boys were out playing and after being out too late, they slept near a tree. All night a hundred people searched. The father at 3am thought maybe they were afraid of coming home because they would be punished, so the father who just loved them jumped into the tractor and drove it away, hoping the boys would think he left, fear less and come home. The boys came back. The tears I have are for parents who lose their kids even for a brief minute. I can’t even imagine how God intensely longs for and looks for His children ALWAYS. Unlike the dark of night for the Farmer, God our Father knows where to look, how to look, and He ALWAYS embraces us with love.

This Father did not punish his sons this evening but cried when they came home, like his sons did. God our Father sent His Son to rescue and be ransom for us, to bring us Home. Even when we are not perfect, He wants us Home.

Amen 

Psalm 139:1-18 from David 

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me close.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

Sting and Joe Sumner

Tri-Unity

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I appreciate a $2 bargain book sitting for sale, catching my eye, just moments after the pastor spoke of being wary of charismania over charisma. I appreciate the Holy Spirit shuffles the deck of cards He deals, but ALWAYS knows which card He stacks on the TOP of the deck to hand you.

As I imagined, I’ve already appreciated more than 2 dollars worth of education and inspiration from this book by Chuck Smith, the founder of the Cavalry church movement (teaching scripture by scripture, a needed education for me, in conjunction with my blessed membership in my other churches. I like being in multiple churches for the Lord blessings connect me, and I like to follow the Holy Spirit like a vein of a fudge stripe in ice cream all the way to the solid chocolate core.)

This thin large print book is called Charisma vs. Charismania. Easy to read. Catchy title, even more catching is the movement of the Holy Spirit. This book is ALL about the Holy Spirit,  if you don’t got Him, you got nothing. The book teaches the Holy Spirit lives in Divine Works and Divine presence, and is eternal, omniscient. omnipresent, just as God is. God gives life and love because God is these things. 

Jesus said to even his most cherished disciples: WAIT FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT. Can’t get there from here, without Him. God is revealed and our knowledge of Him is truly thru the Spirit. 

This book starts by describing the TRI UNITY, meaning God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are a triunity of a three Godhead in One. One God, all together One, a trinity of three in tri-unity. 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals One.

Charisma is good and a gift from God to have the Holy Spirit enable His work thru your hands. But charismania is mania, according to Chuck Smith, of faking the Spirit and/or using the selfish flesh to mimic the Spirit. In other words, my words, you’ve got to kick the tires on the vehicles people are driving around in the Spirit, and make sure they ARE filled with legit air. BUT as our many teachings instill in us, the Holy Spirit is not a gas, nor a dissapating vapor, but a PERSON.

Yes, this is deep, but not. The Holy Spirit will flow with ease when we stop blocking our pipes, ears, hearts. Our openness gives the Holy Spirit His desired head start.

Jesus said He had to leave so that the Holy Spirit would come. God the Father sends the Spirit just as He sent the Son.

Three, all in One. Let Him move you naturally with Charisma not mania.

Amen (and I’ll write more as I read more! A good book about the Good Book.)

Charisma vs. Charismania by Chuck Smith

God’s Rainbows Outshine

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God promises the end of the rainbow, yet God does not promise sunshine at every moment of every day.

God promises our rainbow will come out with sunshine, but God does not promise that we won’t have to weather a storm or two before we see it.

God promises our rainbow will come with rain, God does NOT promise we won’t get wet.  

We have to get wet. We have to muster our FAITH to walk into a storm, even one we didn’t create. We must walk WITH Him, not hide under a rock. If we believe in Him, we can have confidence that He will get us thru this storm, that storm, ANY storm. If we don’t believe He walks with us, then we never will see the brightest rainbows, actually we won’t even ever start walking. 

God sets a rainbow in the sky that we can see only based on position, we must look up to see it.

We must go thru the storms of life to see His Rainbow. Better yet, we must be willing to let Him carry our burdens. We must know that we can’t get thru on our own. We need Him. We must have FAITH to visualize that His Promises are fulfilled. If we don’t, He will still put up His Own Rainbow, because He ALREADY knows how the storm turns out. He’s already made the Golden Promise on the other side. He already has Plans to take us there if we TRUST HIM. 

TRUST HIM. 

The brightest rainbows are JUST as the biggest storms are STILL passing by so plan to GET WET. Don’t be foolish but shelter in Him. WATCH FOR GOD. Maybe the darkness of our circumstance doesn’t feel right, on purpose, BECAUSE He asks us to look for His Guidance and Light. We must not hide under trees in lightning storms that fall easily, we should shelter in Him.

God promises His Shine, His Light, His Hope, yet God KNOWS other people have fakeness that will try to outshine His real shine. Wear your God Glasses instead of sunglasses.

His BEAUTY of RAINBOW colors tower over the gray storm. This rainbow was the caboose of His getting us thru that physical storm. Imagine the Light trail in Heaven where He gets us thru all the REST of today’s troubles. Beautiful double rainbows outshine any clouds. Hope in His Majesty outshines fear.

God signs the sky with His Signature, a Rainbow. God promises He keeps His Promises. 

Watch for God.

Amen

Waiting at Home in Love

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One true thing about the Nature of God, God being our Father and we being His children, is shown in the Biblical story of the Father waiting for the son who is prematurely given his inheritance just to spend and lose it all. It is that the Father and the child EACH know the Way Home. That grown child knew home, the familiarity of it, even though he came to beg to be taken back as a servant. This means he knew that his Father had KINDNESS, would be FAIR, would LISTEN. He must have been in situations before where the Father had fair judgement. The Father in His hopes and his knowledge knew which Way his child could turn, should turn, to reach Home. The Father pre-knew rock-bottom and must have given His son coping skills to get back up. The Father ventures out to watch with open ears to hear. He welcomes without asking questions first. He proves to be a Father expressing LOVE that never diminished. And never will.

How are we being as teaching parents and welcoming parents? Do we keep home fires burning? Do we try to equip our children with skills? Will we remember to love more and gloss over snubs and brush offs? Will we remember that love is NOT a bargaining chip, real love just loves.

The returning child here trusts that at LEAST he could SPEAK to the Father, and the TRUTH here is that speaking and listening in LOVE, by the Father and by us, is always better than grudges and shunning and ignoring. 

Sometimes we, like this Father, have to wait years to hold the physical presence of the one we love. Sometimes we were the one to be distant. Eventually we all HOPE to find each other at Home. 

How filled with love is the Father? Filled with God-sized Infinite Love. If God NEVER changes, is incapable of NOT loving, then the LOVE He sets forth and thru us is the SAME whether we are nestled under His roof OR far away and seemingly estranged by our disappearance. Yet remember, each time we stray or a child strays, Lord God our Father, and Lord Jesus our Brother and their Holy Spirit all KNOW where we/they are and desire us/them to COME HOME. 

Who are we to love less if it is God’s Love we share. 

What we CAN do, is work at building Home, even as we wait at home. If not a physical home then a home of the heart.

You know that God, our Father, has prepared a place for us at His Home where He IS. He even placed His Love in our hearts. Now that IS Love.

AMEN 

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:3-4

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had COMPASSION, and RAN, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this MY SON was dead, and is ALIVE again; he was lost, and is FOUND. Luke 15:18-24

When a Tree Falls

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fallen tree and two flanking bushes

Apparently this big tree fell at the park, tore away some sidewalk as it went. I thought what a shame but it falling must have not been a huge surprise for it must have been precariously standing so close to falling into the creek for years, and it finally fell. 

“If a tree falls when no one sees it?” It DOES make a sound! And I might ask: what happens to those poor bushes? Awwww, I looked down at that fallen tree and surprisingly saw flanking bushes still leafing out. Not much soil, don’t know how they will survive but maybe will for now. I think long term it will be a lost cause for the bushes.

In these thoughts, I think of my own children. Children are a gift from God. We are caretakers of HIS children. Oh how wonderful we watch as they are growing, and I have joy for over 20 years to stay on His path best I can. I have been working His nursery raising them.

What would happen if I were to topple over, perish either unknown or known. Like a big tree expectedly or not. (No, I have no plans for perishing, but it’s good to think about preparations) What stability do my kids have if I were gone? What resources?  But of course my kids are not bushes next to me, that’s not even the same species of the tree, and my children are ALREADY their own trees standing TALL and growing UP in a suitable distance from their original parent tree. They would be established in their own patch of soil and far enough away that each gets light and rain, freedom from overbearing and blocks to their absorbed light. (Of course they are not trees, and we live in a village not alone in a forest. Thank the Lord they and we would find support.)

In other words, we have an obligation to let our kids grow up. Yet we try to establish the boundaries. They need space and you need yours. They need development and nourishment, yes, for we are NOT trees or bushes, we are people created in God’s Image thru His Love for His Love. We must teach them to survive (money doesn’t grow on trees you know). And of course we best help nurture the soil for their growth. We contribute to the village too.

We have a broken world. What happens when our trees, and our lives, lean and near fall? We ask to be uprighted. We rely on His Righteousness, not ours. We want to teach our children that thru love not just a life of hard knocks. We want to walk and grow in this broken world, yet Jesus must Right us with Righteousness. We must actively be listening, patiently be praying, still be still. On the flip side, we can not use His stability as our crutch, we must carry our own cross, not drag it.

Of course no tree feels human pain, but creation does grow as strong as it can with biological awareness of environmental cues. Yes, plants under stress will put all their energy into flowering and fruiting, even and especially when stressed. Their offspring…

We will too. Let’s grow ourselves to help our children, our collective offspring within this nursery of the Lord’s garden. Let’s then take a bird’s eye view to watch God work.

Thank you Lord for our children. Thank you Lord for we are Your children too.

Amen


Psalm 127:1-3 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat

for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.


Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Be Available

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Saturday again, ahhhhh…

So last Saturday morning I was free, that’s what made me BE AVAILABLE to let God plan the day… free to hear stirrings of how I could help and have a good time by going with girl scouts with a friend and 2 of her daughters to a big beautiful botanical garden, giving them a ride because our troop leader’s car was full. It was God’s timing! It was such a relief to our troop leader too, not for this mom to drive in all that rain. My availability but God’s timing, I had nothing to do with this planning!

I went from feeling slightly sorry for myself (but not really, just puzzled to have free time) to being in the car in a flash, then immersed in BEAUTIFUL flowers and relaxed even in the rain.  Ah, freedom of helping, blessing of being available…

Really isn’t that what God wants us to be? BE AVAILABLE!

I took lots of pictures naturally. We even sent the set to Walgreens before driving home, picked them up an hour later at home.  Cool conveniences…

Isn’t it nice to have stuff AVAILABLE? SO, why wouldn’t God want us to be purchased to be available for Him to use too…

I was freed up to be a helper but not an organizer. Youngest child with me, a double liver transplant 4 years ago this week, she was THRILLED to be with her troop, they trotted off.  We had 90 minutes “free time” – oh the smells and warmth and views!!!! 

I saw one orchid, named Angel Candy, well all blooms seemed like that. Gorgeous!

I got home with yummy take out food and a nap. Surely we are taken care of, clothed and fed, like the intricately detailed and beautiful lillies of the field. That’s for food, clothes AND activities. 

Be Available! GOD’S got you on HIS agenda. 

Yay!

There’s a StarMan

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I can not appreciate more that the Lord knows EXACTLY where we are mentally and where we leave stuff and where He wants us to be (mentally and physically). If we remain open to the Holy Spirit AND ask for “what’s next?” AND be willing to pick up the pen or the purpose, then we are ready for a lifetime of His Walk and Work.

Case in point: ME. I had this rare Friday night freetime and no work and no need to do anything – Friday night rest is the best – no guilt for work – no guilt for play – just sit and be OK  – especially as Saturday can be filled with dishes and shopping and errands.  Free moments – and Hmmm… So, what should I do Lord?

My recent memory told me to continue watching the Netflix intriguing show about Spock. My distant past memory told me I was forgetting something – a promise on my “to-do list” was ever so close to the top of my memory. I looked down at the pile of promises and remembered that I promised God – oh about 3 years ago to finish writing up notes I took at the Michael Card conference – a blessed event – a humbling event too with the coughdrop incident (ugh). But the notes? That blue paper WAS in front of me but buried so very deep. Yeah GOD REMEMBERED!  And so I sorted out to the bottom of the pile. BIG LETTERS on my scribbled page 2 said: “GOD SHOWS UP!!!” Yeah – tell me about it!

Back to Spock – I did finish that Netflix special (after a short nap) and yeah it was good. And so was the ending credits final song: a rendition of David Bowie’s Starman…  “There’s a Starman, waiting in the sky – He’d like to come meet us, but He thinks He’d blow our minds. He told us not to blow it, cause He knows its all worthwhile.”

God takes Holy Spirit actions, He can also give us theme music until we do what He wants us to do. I am always amazed that God shows up as He does. In baby’s smiles, in pieces of paper, in HOPE. The paper notes from Michael Card’s lecture says “God doesn’t give answers as much as He gives HIMSELF.” 

I turned the blue paper over (a list of local restaurants) and the notes speak of Psalm 51 and Psalm 25. “Create in me a clean heart” because we don’t want what we deserve in punishment for sin – but we should take confidence in our forgiveness “The Lord says: ‘JUST COME BACK TO ME’” – and oh yeah Psalm 109 – the enemy psalm – David venting outrage but reminding that we are to offer our anger to God so that we can then can LOVE our enemies. This is where I stopped dead (and risen) in my tracks. I was asked to write the opening prayer for next week’s church service and the theme is: LOVING OUR ENEMIES…. Cute God, Cute…  God gave me the cheat sheet of prayers – God gave me the chills of coincidence – God gave me the reminder once again that I too need to put aside any anger, ticked-off-ness, jealousy, rage, revenge. Out the window with the Holy Spirit whoosh…  “Give God’s Love if you can’t give yours” that’s what I wrote.

So – I got my prayer done (written at 4AM because I fell asleep on the couch and couldn’t re-rest) and I kept that song-theme reminder stuck in my head (probably will until I finish writing up these notes in the next couple days) – and I got my reminder: LET GOD PICK YOUR EVENTS… BE ON GOD’S SCHEDULE.

So, this David Bowie song Starman is about a savior-like man who would show up at some point, but this is POP-culture myth and I am sure just a thrill for David to have a great Ziggy Stardust character, a successful record and concert career and a fun story.  However, there is NO MYTH with GOD – and NO distance – and NO doubt He has a plan to come. And NO doubt that He already has done the Work – there is none of: “He told us not to blow it” because we CAN’T – HE did all the Work. HE IS THE WAY.

Jesus is not a starman in that He is sitting waiting out there in the universe to come back – He is integrated here and yet WILL come from Heaven to Earth in return – ON GOD’S SCHEDULE. The StarMan is the Star of it all and He IS a Man who gave it all.

Star Man, come quickly – but whenever God wants… Our Hope Lord is In YOU!

Amen


The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2nd Peter 3:9


Psalm 25:1-11    Of David.

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.

I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.

For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

Did Jesus have Good Hair? 06MAY

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An interesting set of vintage Easter stories on 60 minutes (now online) was an interesting watch – including a discussion of what Jesus would have looked like – hmmm…. 

A friend once showed me this stark drawing/painting, so life-like, dark hair and deep eyes, almost haunting in this image’s ability to pull you in. Intended surely a portrait of a beautiful handsome strong man, with good clothes and GREAT HAIR. I never imagined Jesus like that. Not to dissuade my friend, she wants to believe He looked that way, but this is not how I saw Him, nor from this painting did I really know what kind of “scholars” were referencing. Perhaps this painter just wanted to paint a beautiful portrait in love.

I do see Jesus as a gentle soul, tall enough to be taller than me, with hand outstretched. The real only physical presence I know and feel is of Jesus’s SMILE while waking me up. I see a smile in my heart, not my eyes. But hair? Hair??? Hmmm… 

The 60 minutes story from 1968, is called “What did Christ Look Like?” I recommend watching it. Correspondent Harry Reasoner essentially said that really Jesus is only described as non-descript in the scripture – and “this meant complete contrast with what came out of his mouth – which spoke the whole story He wanted to share.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/easter-stories-60-minutes-archive-2022-04-17/

“The Book of Isaiah says of Jesus: ‘He was devoid of Beauty and a Sufferer.’ Many of the earliest artists formed their concept of Him from this comment. A historian named Tertullian, who lived in the year 200, said of Him: ‘There was nothing outstanding about Christ’s flesh. And it was just this contrast with His personality which struck everyone. Far from emanating divine radiance, His body had not even simple human beauty. The passion and the humility He suffered left their mark and it was deprived of all charm by His suffering.’ “

Hmmm….

I looked up some of the scriptures, but surely I have not scratched the surface of them all, and no scholars for me have yet been consulted, because for me: HOW He looked then is less important a curiosity compared to everything else He did. Some say we couldn’t have picked Him out of the crowd. He did not walk elevated here on earth. And Jesus in Heaven, He is described as the slain lamb. He is described to be seen IN HIS GLORY. 

Personally, seeing His hair, flowing or not, is not where I expect to be eye to eye with Him. Glory yes, but hair? No. See, my view (eyes of my head) at the moment is just that I’m holding onto that thread of the hem of the bottom on His robe, in a healing touch (by feeling that, seeing that, with the eyes of my heart). Other times, we can see Him on having been on the middle cross next to us, telling us we CAN be with Him. And for sure, I pray that we ALL do see Him in GLORY. 

JESUS surely is holding us up, carrying us.

Speaking to us in His Word, thru His Word, which is Him Himself.  Jesus is our Word of healing GRACE. 

No splitting hairs, Jesus is our Savior, we need Him, He’s got us, that’s all we need to know. 

Amen 

Isaiah 53 KJV 53:1-6

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

—–

Isaiah 42:1-10

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:  I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 

Twists of God’s Plan

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Mesmerized by tornado coverage… there’s a famous storm chaser “Reed” whose Subaru has been smashed over and over by gorilla hail… he and a team of chasers capture amazing images and video, dangerous, yes, but sadly the more dangerous experiences it seems are the actual driving and potential hydroplane-ing on the rain. For 3 college kids died in a car accident recently, not from the tornadoes, but the chasing, driving back in bad weather.  We all know of “normal” car accidents… God rest their souls and comfort the families. 

We know how to warn others for these storms now, we also know the only thing to do is shelter if you can’t get out of the way. Plan ahead where you will go. Get safe. The storm chasers, however driven, do help weather predictions be confirmed with data. They give insight. They risk but for a reward: knowledge 

Well, tornadoes, is this is just nature being nature? If they only were in open fields it would be interesting and cool, but houses are now everywhere, the tornadoes are too, rapidly ravenously real. Lightning, hail, weather wicked or not wicked, just powerful. 

Does God have these storms planned or is it just random? If He knows the storehouses of snow, how about these harmful storms? We cannot expect Heaven on earth, YET. It will come, but there’s continuous work still to be done. Scripture does not paint a picture of constant peaceful times (now or in the past) but pockets of peace in harmony did exist, among major pockets of pain-filled times. God can take down storms or let them rage. God can miraculously save, or if He doesn’t then do we ask or assume He is letting things slide? I doubt that. I know enough to know that I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH about God’s plan in minutiae. I do know BIG picture, yet how He twists His paint brushes on the canvas of life are still often a mystery. 

I don’t have enough insight here. But I DO KNOW there were times where God had the punishments recorded for us to learn of people gone astray. God uses even the wicked for the day at hand. . . Aren’t you glad we have forgiveness from Jesus, covering us in His blood as not just shelter but purification thru any storms? We cling to His Good ness.

One story of drifting away from God involves Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, and how the prophets knew the kingdom would mostly be ripped away by adversary Jeroboam, except one “house” structure standing,  of Judah the House of David, the lineage for the Light of the world, Jesus, to enter.

Israel and all creation had to wait out these twists of God’s Plan. Prophecy was given and fulfilled. (Ahijah a prophet took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me… 1st Kings 11) 

We are born into a broken world, but called into a wait-ful “system”.  All creation continues to wait thru these days too. We can see the storms, but can we focus above these clouds?

Can we wait out the remaining days of a wicked world? Can we be the storm chasers to help others navigate but also know when and where to shelter?

We can’t know every twist of God’s plan, but we can know He has one. Stay alert.

Amen 


1Kings 12

Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, he followed the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.”  So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the Lord, to fulfill the word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:

“What share do we have in David,    what part in Jesse’s son?

To your tents, Israel!    Look after your own house, David!”

So the Israelites went home. But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them. King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.

When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered all Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—a hundred and eighty thousand able young men—to go to war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.

But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to all Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.’” So they obeyed the word of the Lord and went home again, as the Lord had ordered.

How Conductive are You?

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Conductive of CHARGE.

How are you being asked to assist in the net casting and catching by Jesus, our Fisherman of men? Maybe even repairing nets for others to cast. Have you considered being part of His Net.

I learned something from a TV science documentary: the landing ropes that were dropped from the Hindenburg Zeppelin in the explosive fateful landing in 1937 in New Jersey, have been investigated as a source of the electricity spark that caused near instant devastation. The rain made them late and hasty, added to the danger. The fire engulfed the hydrogen-filled structure in seconds, nearly half the people died, the quick luxurious transatlantic flights were forever grounded.

Conditions were “just right” for the electricity to jump. There were design flaw elements that were maybe safe for most of the trips, but this time, the electricity jumped through conductive elements of rope and charged canopies, especially because they were wet. Ben Franklin would have said “I told you so”. The travelers assumed life had risks, this was one of them.

Wet ropes, ah…. there’s the analogy connection to our Connector for a conductive thought. With Jesus leading us as branches to His Vine, the net we work for catching fellow souls will conduct better when the Living Water soaks our steps and the Holy Spirit can find quick paths within our lives to touch others. We must pray to be fishers of men, pray for our branches to surge with Spirit, expanding our spiritual fruit with nourishing water, and for us be a worker in wonderment. Jesus knows where the fish are, knows how to catch them, sends the Word(s) to touch hearts.

How conductive are we? How also can we not short circuit? How can we be less statically charged in a shocking way and more grounded in listening, and more insulated to not lose electric charges. We want to surge support in a feeding way. Let the transfer go THROUGH US, and not just to us. Conduct.

How? Ask the Lord to make us useful, to find our connections. Ask the Lord which section of the rope net we should work on. Co-labor. Ask the Lord to put you where He needs you to be.

Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught….

Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.

Be on the lookout: I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 

And let the Lord pick out His catch, let Him sort AFTER you work the harvest.

Be Conductive for Him.

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:47-50

Amen

Amen


Luke 5:1-10

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.


John 4:28-38

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

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

Good Life Advice

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This is such an important passage of scripture, Romans 12. I find it especially important as a correction for myself and my attitude when I feel my nose get bent out of shape, when I  realize that I am not giving mercy or forgiving seemingly unforgivable things, or when I should be asking forgiveness of myself,  but don’t out of pride. Also when I stop counting my blessings and get distracted by worldly glitter or garbage. We must remember that we are just visitors here on earth, FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. Take the high road to clear your head.

There is to be no love or joy in you personally heaping COALS on your enemy’s heads. There IS love in God’s plan – God is love and if He commands you to LOVE your enemies then who are we NOT to do this. Yes, our feeding and loving enemies is LOVE’S WIN. Not your win for tolerating but LOVE’S WIN for Light overcomes darkness. Don’t block the Light.

The burning heat of coals on those who get them, who maybe feel pain, sometimes guilt, should NEVER equate to the level of burning LOVE that we have of God- for God. We LOVE because He loves. He aches for lost souls, so should we. 

Let us all LOVE today in a Godly way.

Amen 


Here’s Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:9-21 which also remembers Solomon’s Proverb 25

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. 

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

—-

Proverbs 25:15-28

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit.

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house— too much of you, and they will hate you.

Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.

Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked.

It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.


LOVE in a Godly way.

Amen 

All that glitters is not Gold, 02MAY

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Unfortunately for King Solomon he turned the other way, he did not follow God with all his heart, his heart was turned to other gods, especially through his 700 wives 300 concubines…

Even one who has more gold than anyone can get distracted by the glitter. 

Solomon was wise, filled with the Lord’s Wisdom, especially in his proverbs and the rulings we read about.  God spoke with him twice directly.  Solomon was lured by the traps no one cleared before him. The peoples God commanded the Israelites to conquer were left to survive at the fringe. 

If we don’t clear our own traps from the fringes of our lives, they will fester and flourish even more ruthlessly, like a bad cold you can’t shake, like a bad penny that keeps showing up, like a nightmare that returns. Like a bad bug that mutates. Like an unwanted piece of glitter stuck in your eye.

Glitter is good to look at, but sometimes not to touch.

King Solomon had invented trouble for himself. God prewarned and pre-told of his earthly kingdom’s demise, except for One saved line, thru to Jesus. In this case, that Line could never be defeated. This was the Gold line that WAS True. 

There is truth in the Proverbs 16, in the life of Solomon, and us: “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

All that glitters is not gold but we know Whose Kingdom IS the Golden One. 

Keep my heart towards You, Lord. 

Your WISDOM is much better than Gold.

Amen 


Proverbs 16:1-16

King James Version

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

A just weight and balance are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!


1 Kings 11 King James Version

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites:

Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.

Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.

Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.

Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.

And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom. For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, after he had smitten every male in Edom; (For six months did Joab remain there with all Israel, until he had cut off every male in Edom:)

That Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him, to go into Egypt; Hadad being yet a little child. And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran: and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt; which gave him an house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. And Hadad found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh.

And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country.

Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit let me go in any wise.

And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a band, when David slew them of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephrathite of Zereda, Solomon’s servant, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow woman, even he lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.

And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)

Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes.

And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.

Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 

And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

More after Easter = FOREVER

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Easter grows into Spring and INTO FOREVER.

April showers bring: May Flowers, Easter blooming flowers bring: FOREVERS

I always am amazed at how fast flowers come when the weather triggers just enough warmth. I place the easter eggs on the bare sticks and boom 3 weeks later, it’s hard to take them off because the redbud flowers and leaves are so prolific. Beautiful and tangled by the wind. Some did fall off, but those that held on are now bound in.

Flowers are often completely formed already folded and compacted inside their buds. Water is needed to unfurl the petals. Unleashing spring, not on our calendar cues but based on the weather, the right light, the warmth. The peonies are quickly up to my knees and the iris form as fast as the tulips fade.

We too blossom with the right Light, the Living Water, the Warmth. We too sing Easter songs and tie our ribbons on His Tree. We try not to fade, but embrace new phases of life.

But is there more? More after Easter? YES. Just like the eggs and flowers, there’s us growing up and out, leafing out, branching out – AND BEARING FRUIT. 

More after Easter? YES.  Jesus in crucifiction said “It is finished” meaning the prophecy fulfilled and the path to Forever opened. Then Jesus walked in Presence for 40 days and then CONTINUES to walk in Spirit with us today. There IS more after Easter, because we are to be in the Spring of Spiritual Growth, even through the Summer heats, Autumn closures, Winter rests.

Winter means we must pre-pare, pre-pare-down our excesses, drop the leaves and baggage that will hinder our walk. But now? SPRING IS NEW. BLOOM!!!

We must BLOOM.

We must BEAR FRUIT. 

We must prosper which later provides for harsher times. 

After Easter, someday we will see Jesus’s return. As we are caught up in the cloud, what is left here? People who missed His Hope. People who have yet to awaken. Potential martyrs. We have got to leave them some fruit too, dried, preserved, set aside. How will some see after? How can we help them now? Leave a few eggs on the tree. Leave some light to overcome their darkness. Drop hints of the Word scriptures in your walk. Drop the excess leaves but leave the tree visible. Hope they hold on to the tree of life and want to grow into it.

Pray for the un-saved. Pray for them reconnecting to the vine. Pray they are righted by His Righteousness. Pray their buds to start to bloom. 

Hold their unfurled HOPE in your prayers. For the sake of Forever. 

Amen 


Psalm 1

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

GOOD HUSTLE! GOOD HUSTLE!

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In the great weather this weekend, I was taking a moment to sit at a ballpark, ahhhhh… to sit…. (especially good to relax after 2 hours driving practice with my son, ahhhh nice, to sit NOT moving)

In the love of Jesus we could be sitting  or be active, but always on the lookout waiting, listening, learning, and being ready to help others, to SERVE.  I was thinking about preparing a brief welcoming for a church service, with a theme is that Jesus reminds us to be the Salt and Light and He teaches us how to live (Sermon on the Mount).  Hoping to live as scripture says: “Be ready for service and keep your lamps burning”… 

At the ballpark, I was NOT paying attention to the game but enjoying my “walking taco” snack, you know that great invention of hot taco meat and cheese placed in a smooshed Doritos chip bag? I even had salsa and sour cream to add. YUMMY. I wasn’t walking with my taco, but I was sitting in the shade, invested in eating enjoyment. Gratefully, someone yelled: “HEADS UP!!!”   Then I and everyone started PAYING ATTENTION! I was under an awning and was fine, but the pop-up ball landed right over me. Smash on the metal roof.   Later there was another “HEADS UP” shout – this time the ball stayed on the field and 3 players responded to the pop-up but foul ball.  Somebody yelled: “GOOD HUSTLE! GOOD HUSTLE!”

Isn’t that what Jesus taught? We should continue to live PAYING ATTENTION, doing the best we can to be salt and light. We need to have an urgency and awareness of serving others and glorifying Him. We need to stay IN the game. 

We are NOT in the game for the praise, but to be in the game for the sake of SHARING, helping, loving like Jesus, for the sake of life. Others can see our actions and give God praise. In the game, we need to encourage others on the field and on the bench in their faith walks. Encourage folks and essentially say “GOOD HUSTLE!”

We also can yell “Heads Up!” – “Pay attention.” whenever someone needs to hear it. 

And we need to be aware of the time when Jesus returns, any cloud now. Be awake. Wouldn’t it be great to hear Jesus say: Well done good and faithful servant, GOOD HUSTLE ! GOOD HUSTLE!

Amen

Matthew 5:13-16 (in the Sermon of the mount, Jesus teaching how to live.)

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Luke 12:35-36  Watchfulness (speaking of working and watching for Jesus)

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.”

Because Jesus

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He lives

Because He IS.


He did and does

Because He loves. 


He listens

Because He obeys.


He teaches 

Because He obeys. 


He saved

Because He obeyed.


He came

Because we need Him.


He helps

Because we ask.


He heals

Because He loves.


He rescues

Because He rose. 


He will come again 

Because.


He is

Because He is.


Because Jesus

We live. 


We live 

Because He did.                             


Amen 

Clothed in His Glory

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I can’t figure out why I dream the way I do. One aspect of dreaming is repairing old scenes that never concluded, fixing weird loose ends, finishing conversations. I get that, and appreciate it. Our memories are editable, which means our future is also editable. There’s not fate as in you can’t fix things or change things, but there CAN be certain challenges that God wants to move you thru. Preparing to prosper you. God wants you to find peace from the past in preparation for His future. Give Him your burdens. 

Oh, the new scenarios in my dreams, the most vivid storylines. Some people are known, some are not. Weird scenes, movie quality editing, but then the cat wakes me up and I realize I have a strange double memory-making system going on while I sleep. If only I got the steps in, for exercise, while walking thru my dreams. I can’t figure out what this dreaming is going to be used for in my life. Sometimes situations I end up saying, “well, that’s a shame.” Or “I can’t do anything about that ” not in frustration as much as acceptance. Wisdom from God makes me appreciate acceptance. 

Maybe God repeats life lessons – yes, fix your memories and move forward. Approach life as: doing what you can, moving past what you can’t, accepting there exists what is unacceptable. But know troubles crop up in a worldly way, so you have to keep moving past them.

Editable living not fatalism.

Acceptance is not approval. 

Maybe our dreaming is for us to know the Lord is capable of entering our thoughts, is able to use multiple folds of our brain that we don’t. Maybe we are being practiced in thinking for Heaven, because if He doesn’t stretch out minds now, He will really blow our minds when we see Heaven. Can you imagine meeting the history of people, understanding the un-understandable, WOW.  Plus, He will heal our wounds, resolve our tears. WE WILL SEE HIS GLORY.

I bet God is stretching our minds, like Jesus is stretching our road for walking and the Holy Spirit is stretching our jar of clay stronger and deeper. (KNOWING HIS GLORY, let us ask for a HOLY SPIRIT FILLING). 

Here’s where scripture, for some reason, details a deep list of unfathomable wealth, supplies and wonder: King Solomon, 1st Kings. Details not of just King Solomon’s bounty AND wisdom, but also a visit from the rich Queen of Sheba and her blessings. (Isn’t that an old phrase?  “more X,Y,Z than the Queen of Sheba.”)

God seems to have allowed this accumulation of wealth and for some reason points out there was no silver as it wasn’t valuable. Gold as valuable as it is, is of course less precious than what God can give us in wisdom. 

Wisdom, that Solomon had, was more than what Sheba had, because that intense level of Wisdom WAS/IS a gift from God.

This is where the Queen said: “But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes.” – AH, MAYBE that’s why God takes our nights for us to dream, so He can show us things to our inside eyes so that we will TRUST HIM, now and in the future. Not faith by sight externally but faith by internal knowledge. Hopefully we will crave His wisdom MORE than worldly Gold, and certainly not see it as worthless silver. Faith is like wisdom to trust. 

What IS clear, is that we are taught this scripture for a reason. The lesson after this is that Solomon turned his thoughts and heart away from God, so sad. He is with nearly 1000 women, builds and worships banned gods, becomes warped in worship. Now wisdom withdrawn, the kingdom blessings wither. EXCEPT for the ONE PROMISE that God made to David, about Jesus. Forever King, Jesus’s birthplace and birth family came from their lineage. 

What’s the take home message here? God desires our devotion and love more than anything, God desires us being with Him enough to sacrifice His own Son, Jesus, for our ransom. God stretches our minds and teaches us patience, asks us to tap into His Wisdom, and not be wooed by the world (good or bad).

Jesus reminds us Our Father gives us what is MORE valuable and forever. We shall be clothed in His Glory. 

A simple flower is more beautifully dressed than Solomon yet fleeting and tossed into the fire (Luke 12), we however have something more valuable, FOREVER LIFE. God’s care.

Surely our wisdom can be used to appreciate HIM. 

Stretch our Faith, Lord. We are to know, we will be Clothed in Your Glory. 

Amen 

—-

1st Kings 10

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.  But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.  How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”

And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)

King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.

Solomon’s Splendor

The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.

King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.  The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.

King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.  The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.

Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 

They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.

I Believe in Miracles

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We have to remember the miracles point always to the Word. The miracle is not more miraculous than Jesus. Gratefully Jesus is the MOST Amazing, so miracles can be too. It’s not always that miracles have to be instant. Miracles can be “everyday miracles”… Prayers work. God hears our prayers. Miracles Happen.

MIRACLES POINT TO AND SUPPORT THE TRUTH: GOD IS GOOD. God takes care of the birds, surely we are more valuable. My friend and her family are beautiful souls – and like us are most valuable and loved. She, the mom, has chronic heart failure and is not “getting well” but keeping going best she can. She wants to be considered for a heart transplant. I want and pray the Lord healing on this one heart – that it still will keep beating. 

A miracle here is here daughter, double liver transplant survivor,  and double growth in height it seems every time I see her. Healthy and smiling and more energy than the Sun. She is loving life. I got a HUGE hug. She gets AMAZING care – from doctors and nurses – and ESPECIALLY THE LORD

I remember the day I stood asking for signatures on a card for here (in between transplants) at a church gathering. I made my plea but my tears caught me off guard and unable to figure out how to close my message. My, there in front of me was a triple organ recipient, whom I never had met, who reached with his hands for the card, with his heart with a prayer, and with his voice with care. These are logistical miracles too. MIRACLES of TIME and PLACE, we do live in God’s SPIRIT SPACE. 

God is keeping ALL these sheep on their feet.

There’s an invisible miracle here too, but bursting out visible in their smiles and ours, SALVATION. Jesus is a promised MIRACLE for our eternal lives. We will rise with Him. Let’s never forget the HUGE miracle in Him. Let’s remember God’s Spirit moving us forward in joy. Embrace Jesus and His Love pours in and out.

Smiles, Easter, Christ is Risen. Miracles. 

I believe in miracles. I’ve seen them.  Aren’t we not ALSO living in one today? We are.

Amen 

—-

Deuteronomy 31:7-8  “Be strong and courageous … The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. 

Isaiah 12:2  Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. 

Isaiah 49:13  Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. 

Jeremiah 1:8  “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 

Lamentations 3:25  The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 

Temple Oh’s

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It is so quiet and so empty in the old workplace that we are moving out of. Yes, our new place is expansive, well equipped, roomy, but I am truly sentimental for the old place, I probably will be for a time, but I will get over it. (I will always miss the windows!). I will remember 20 years of getting stuff done, having a place to be with friends, and of making the most of it. Maybe that’s what missing in the new building for me, I am missing memories that I have not yet lived, I am missing that feeling of the energy, like “we must make this work with the tools we have” making the most of what limited space we also had. The new areas will come together, I know they will, but wow the old rooms looks bigger empty. End of one chapter – start of another.

Yet, it IS time to move on. Even if there are growing pains in between. I am not super sentimental to a fault, I am not. I’ve had to move on from college, grad school, old favorite cars, old lives.  I’ve done it, sometimes run from it, but mostly appreciated it. Memories are portable. Moving forward is about taking the blessings with you yet leaving the baggage behind. 

The present we must embrace. Otherwise TODAY won’t ever get to be a fond memory too. 

That’s what’s missing in our lives now when we just focus either on the past or on future expectations rather than just live one day at a time. We need to be planning, yes, but be practical and JUST BE WHERE GOD PLACES US. (I just now had to pause for playing with the cat, it’s her request of morning time, and I can edit this anytime). We were made by God for this time and place. We must embrace this space. Make the most of it, even if this phase is ALSO short-lived in all ETERNITY. 

MAKE THE MOST OF TODAY. 


In 1st Kings, the story is SO descriptive of Solomon’s Temple. with the ornate Palace, Courtyard, all surrounding the Temple. So many Oh’s, as in WOW!!!

But really, how I must have been thinking of an Empire State Building sized place. Oh, huge. Oh! NOT!!!! These were ornate but their size was not huge like skyscrapers. These buildings were detailed and carefully made, yes, took years, but not forever. But why was it built? Not for the spectacle (or maybe for that too). Truly this was built FOR THE LORD, WITH THE LORD’S INSTRUCTIONS. For Worship… Oh…. AND A PLACE TO COME FOR FORGIVENESS. 

God wanted and wants attention and worship. God wants us to come to Him for FORGIVENESS. 

The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple.

The palace was built ornate, the cedar, the gold… In the Temple, the cherubim were 15 feet tall and wings spread 6 foot on each side. The Ark of the Covenant was placed inside with the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it, because the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.


“More than I imagine” – that’s a song lyric of seeing God’s Love. God sends His Love by dwelling WITH us. When the Lord arrived in a cloud, filling the ornate temple, the glory of the Lord was IN a cloud, and He filled His Temple. Solomon said, “I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” That physical Temple is gone today, some remnants remain of rebuilds but that is it. However, the Lord, who does not change, remains.  The Lord instructs building, He in dwells, but He is not contained by any building. 

Solomon built the temple and knew the promise that were made to his father, King David, and him for their line on the throne to continue. Well, God kept the promise, the Promise was, and IS, and WILL BE, Jesus on the throne forever. 

Jesus now risen. Jesus has asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to IN-DWELL in us, to carry God, God’s Will, God’s Word, IN us. Jesus was the ultimate rebuilt temple of risen self. We are now to be His temple for filling, as a cloud of Spirit can find all the room within us. We must make room. The room is much bigger when we empty it. Declutter us Lord. 

A temple, for worship and asking forgiveness, that’s in us too. We ask forgiveness as if we have anything to do with receiving it. No, we ask but it comes as a gift, from Jesus, covering us with His blood. Our Temple, His HOUSE, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ 

Hear the prayers of your servants, Lord.

Oh…. may You indwell in us forever.

Amen 

AMEN!


Part of Solomon’s dedication (1KINGS 8:23-30

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

“Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done.’  And now, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.

But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, FORGIVE.

READ ALL THE BUILDING HERE:

What’s Not to Believe, Do, or Know?

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Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3


Thru scriptures, we are taught to stop looking and thinking inside the box. 

Thru FAITH, we are to believe God made our path, plan, purpose and positions us for His Glory. 

We are taught God has EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL, even the corruption for the days of evil. Yes, even all that. It is BY FAITH we are to keeping doing what we are doing. Keep working, walking, believing, KNOWING BY FAITH.

We know often that we stop ourselves, we let the concept of the world against us (or a particular person against us) to stop us. Well, DON’T.  It’s an interesting to combine these scriptures: work hard as if for the Lord and run a good race, not letting the concept of ANYTHING, a perceived problem or a real one, get in your way of serving, believing, doing, or knowing. 

In other words, and because of the Word, know that the Lord is perfect and good and working things out. So just do what you would do in good faith, do what is right, do what you would do as if the system wasn’t broken. Do what is right because the earth’s system IS broken.

Just do it. Do life NOT on life’s terms, but in His.

God’s got this.

AMEN 


Paul to the Church at Colossians

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24.

Paul to the Galatians 

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. Galatians 5:7-8

Proverbs 16:1-9

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. 

Paul to Timothy 

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2nd Timothy 4:1-8

Paul to the Galatians 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through loveGalatians 5:1-5


Paul in Hebrews 11 – BY FAITH 

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.