No Weapon Shall Prosper

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

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

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

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

NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST ME SHALL PROSPER. 

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

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

Even from life strife, take a moment away to work for the Lord. You AND the Lord have bigger fish to fry. Spend your time of making a difference in someone else’s life and that will make a difference in yours. (I stepped away from my normal scene yesterday to help at VBS, and was so blessed, even got into water games. Let us all do the Lord’s Work and watch Him work!)

Step to the high road:

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

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

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

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

declares the Lord.

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

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

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

FOCUS ON THINGS ABOVE. 

Amen 

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Isaiah 54 NIV 

The Future Glory of Zion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lay It on Thick, Lord

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

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

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

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

Lay IT on thick.

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

LAY IT ON THICK LORD. 

Lay IT on thick. 

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

Today is a blank slate. Color well.

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

Amen!


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


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

In the Whole

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

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


In the hole, could mean financially.

In the hole, could mean security. 

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

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

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

In God’s hole is in God’s WHOLE. 

We ARE in His WHOLE. 

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

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

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


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

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

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

We must build on His solid foundation.

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

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

Amen 

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

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

Hold Ye Your Peace

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Either you know it or you don’t.

Sometimes you wish you didn’t. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace. 

Amen


2nd King 2:1-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Things Beautiful in His Time

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

God KNOWS Beautiful. 

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

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

Time.

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

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

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

I appreciate He invented time.

He owns time.

He is in charge of time. 

He can stop time. 

He can dissolve time.

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

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

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

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

Amen

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Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

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

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

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

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

Appreciating Father’s Day

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Time.

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

Amen 

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Psalm 103

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

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

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

The Word of the Father

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 


Let’s get about our Father’s business!


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

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

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

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

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

Three Times a Charm but Not Really

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

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

Resist the Devil and he will flee!

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, no testing required, Jesus already will help.

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

Amen 

—-

2nd Kings 1

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEWARE OF THE SHARK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen!!!

Jonah moments, Jesus messages

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

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

Call on Jesus to forgive you and He will. 

Call on Jesus to catch you and He will.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen 


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

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


The Word is Continuous

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

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

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

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

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

The Word is Continuous Flow. 

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

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

Amen 

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

Appreciate it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep scratching… appreciate the itch.

Appreciate it.

Amen 

His Handful

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

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

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

We are His Handful. 

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

Focus on things above.

Amen 

Big Strokes and Little Strokes, our Holy Spirit paints us

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

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

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

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

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

Amen


1st John 3:1-7  

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


Ephesians 2:4-10

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

My Prophetic Tom Petty

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

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

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

And Tom Petty?

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

Keep movin’,  KEEP MOVING ON.

Thanks Jesus. Thank you Tom. Thanks faith friend. 

Well done Holy Spirit, well done.

Amen and then some…

Tomorrow IS a new day.

—-

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

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

Rubik’s Rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rubik’s Rescue. 

Puzzle no more.

Amen 

John 6:28-40

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be the Word IN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amen


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

1st Kings 18:41-46

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st Kings 21:20-28

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upload Me

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

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

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

Jesus is coming. 

Spirit Up move me.

God Uphold me.

Jesus UPLOAD me.

Amen

Isaiah 41:8-11

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

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

Say the Word

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

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

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

I am not all-knowing, but sent the Teacher and I shall learn.

I am not focused, but send the Reacher and I shall be found.

I am still wandering, but lead, dear Jesus, and I shall be led.

I am now listening, call me dear Jesus and I shall be Yours.

Amen
Amen


Psalm 1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

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


Psalm 1: I Will Delight lyrics
“I will delight in the law of the Lord.
I will meditate day and night.
Then like a tree,
firmly planted I’ll be,
grounded in Your Word.
Blessed is the One
who follows the Way of the Lord.
Blessed is the One.”

Why is Forever FOREVER?

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I can do a lot of philosophizing about how fast life goes just by looking/feeling at the early summer we are having. We went from snow to full bloom flowers, grass that grows too fast, hot temps and cool nights, mosquitoes before lightning bugs. Summer will also go faster than it got here. Life is too short, too fast, too temporary. Maybe that’s the point.  We will appreciate Forever MORE as we realize how precious and fleeting EVERY moment is now. 

Forever extends to FOREVER, I cannot wrap my head around that. Wouldn’t that be nice if strawberry season did too? I lost most of my strawberries from last year when I had quarts and quarts. Sure I could buy them, but how delicious in your own patch. I love playing in the garden, however now it’s mostly weeds to deal with first. Life is too short, you can’t get to all the weeds. But FOREVER will already be gone of weeds and worries. Forever there WILL be time to see, feel, love, live.

I stopped mowing the grass to stand where I used to push the kids on their swingset, such a short forever ago. Reminising. That’s key to what “temporary travellers on this earth” is in a nutshell, before you blink that phase of life is gone. No one plays in this yard anymore, perfectly long for sports, which is one of the direct reasons I bought this house in this picture postcard neighborhood, known to be good for raising kids. No balls get tossed into the garden, requiring careful stepping to extract them. Perhaps, maybe eventually (I’m NOT rushing things) other kids will enjoy this yard, but for now, it rests… 

I DID appreciate the resting (after the weeding and mowing). You are my God, and I will praise you. The memories of moments last.  Then in FOREVER? The actual moments will last.

Forever… I bet there are strawberries galore, and useful plants that are never weeds. I bet even the good plants we consider weeds, like pokeweed, will be considered good. God planned GOOD. We, as God’s children, He calls VERY GOOD. He wants to be with us.

I bet the Lord God is looking forward to His kids playing in His Garden once again. He’s looking for those moments to walk with us. Forever. 

I know that He made FOREVER for Him to spend WITH us. What’s in FOREVER? HIS LIGHT, HIS LOVE. HIM, HIM loving us. Let us rejoice and be glad. 

“Forever and a Day”, let’s start now by letting that “Day” be TODAY, let’s spend it with Him. 

His love endures forever.

Amen 


Psalm 118

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

Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say: His love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.”

When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place.

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down.

I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.

The Lord is my strength and my defense: he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the LordThis is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.

The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will praise you;  you are my God, and I will exalt you.

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

Chariots of Fire – Buffers of Blessings – Prayers of Mercy

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I’m skipping ahead of the 1st Kings to 2nd Kings for stories of prophets Elijah into the stories of Elisha, prophet continuation as Elisha was called by the Lord. This is a MOST tremendous concept/reality that sometimes even devout Christians forget about. We know there are angels,  but do we remember that their are ARMIES all around us? There’s a battle close but invisible. Elisha saw Chariots of Fire. Sometimes we DO need to step into a battle that helps another. But always we need to WAIT for God’s instructions. 

Chariots of Fire, and yes Angels of Mercy. In this day and age, I think there must be angels who cover children in a car crash, ample buffers of blessings in blocking catastrophes, the simple blowing up the wind outside to prevent virus spreads in open spaces, and any and all angels that are leading your cat or dog to come sit by your side when you are feeling blue.  Angel armies. 

Chariots of Fire – I wonder what’s around us right now…  this is what Elisha saw and shared with his servant to STENGHTHEN: And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA. 

But the opposite army? God allowed Elisha to have mercy on them. Blindness and travel to another place. Fed them and set them free. Mercy.

Is not that what God is leading now? Us in blindness being directed to open space, war-free zones, and feasts. Lord have mercy on us so we can see.


I offer a prayer for all of us:

Lord, You go ahead of us. You will never leave or forsake us, just as Moses told his people, and as he told Joshua. 

Lord, we best try to tune into Your Plan for our lives and be accepting and appreciative of Your Will.  When we lose focus from serving You, we can also forget that our forever home in heaven above is where we belong. Sometimes instead we can get caught up in worldly pursuits and distractions, even though we are told to just be temporary travellers in this world. There are invisible battles and angel armies and chariots of fire to help us now. Knowing that,  help us give mercy to others, even our enemies. 

Jesus’s brother James says You, Lord, jealously long for the Spirit dwelling in us. When we don’t submit, we find ourselves trying to be friends with the world, which makes us an enemy from You. HELP US LORD. Our desires will battle within us. You can SETTLE the fight by gifting us Your precious mercy. You calm our battles by winning our war.

May we always allow you to GO first, AND want You to be first. Humble us,  Lord, so that we deny our pride. Help us to submit and seek You fervently each day, everyday, today.

Thank You for Your Grace.

We pray these things, Jesus, in Your Holy, Everlasting and Forgiving Name. Amen.

Amen 


1 Kings 19:19-21

The Call of Elisha
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

2nd KIngs 6:8-23

Horses and Chariots of Fire
Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”  And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

Psalm 91:11 – HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU TO KEEP YOU IN ALL YOUR WAYS

Word in a Whisper

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How quickly we lose hope and confidence in what we know of God – we forget what He had done in our lives, even just a short time before we forget. Elijah experienced this – he was able to go up to King Ahab and risk death by just being there with hundreds of people who were against him – and then Elijah became afraid just based on words of Jezebel, threatening to kill him. Just one person and just words. Real threat but just with words, lowercase “w”.

He ran, he hid, he slept. An angel came to him twice – to feed him and to wake him. Then he travelled 40 days and nights to hide again. He tried to be zealous for the Lord all the time – and yet even one of the greatest prophets needed more that just words of encouragement, Elijah needed and got the Word. The Word of God spoken into His life. That is our journey too – we are fed and we get woken. We are hungry even after being fed. We are waiting for God to speak His Word into our lives.  And when we trust that Word to save us, then we are born again. What a time to come out of our caves and listen for the Word in a Whisper.

A real Word, namely the Word of God came to Elijah: “And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ ” – this probably certainly actually means that Jesus Himself came speaking to him – Jesus Lord, the Word, said: ‘What are you doing here? akin to ‘Where are you in your brain space? What in your life are fleeing? Where are you not trusting? Where do you need to remember me to strengthen your faith???’

Not only did the Lord appear to Elijah, He instructed him to go seek direction from Him even more – and to listen: The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

The Lord talked about the Lord – well, yes. The Word speaks about the Word, yes, all over the scriptures the Word IS the Word.. and then the Whisper? A Whisper of the Lord is even more powerful than earthquakes, the wind, and even the fire. The Whisper of the Word is still the Word. 

And Elijah finds that even though he was “the only one left” – Who had NOT left WAS/IS the Lord.  The Lord never leaves us either… And what did the Lord give Elijah? a direction – and a purpose – go call the next prophet, Elisha.

Direction, Purpose, Confirmation.

Let’s listen for the Whisper of the Word into our lives.

Jesus has something to say. 

Amen

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1 Kings 19

Elijah Flees to Horeb
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

Fire the old gods, part 3

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This is the story that I know Elijah from (one of the best stories in the bible in my opinion): the making of fire in a soaking wet situation. God sent fire down that not only burned the one thing that was offered, it also dried up all the water in the trench too. Elijah also predicted the drought and then the rain.

Why do I know this most famous story? Because I learned it by teaching vacation bible school or teaching Sunday school. Those of us who teach must learn… And teaching children should be a number one priority for all of our churches. I can’t say I ever heard this story in a sermon, but I can envision it from reading it now due to some portrayal aimed at children, making it super interesting.  We must teach ourselves the full ins and outs of Word, because if we don’t, who will? Plus, it’s God’s Way for us to have our journeys explained to us. This is why He puts us smack dab into a broken world to see what IS working: God IS working…  He will send the rain and the fire…

Lesson number one here? Believe in real God, not the fake ones, FIRE those old gods, especially Baal or whatever and whomever is leading you astray. Lesson number two? Step up to meet your enemies, don’t cower away, take your life into God’s Hands, not yours. Be brave AND resourceful of AND respectful of God’s fire power. Show them the Stuff God IS Made Of. And show your willingness to hold your tongue but not your example, demonstrate love over hate.

To BELIEVE that God IS Sovereign in your life, this goes back to that scripture of not being friends with the world. Follow God knowing He IS a jealous God. Why?  He knows better AND He wants you on FIRM ground, HIS ground. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Elijah challenged the people, we MUST challenge ourselves to stay on track believing God is sovereign and on plan.

Elijah didn’t just set this up on his own, God had already told him to go to those people. God already had made him a prophet (one that survived and was bold enough to approach King Ahab where he might have been killed). God was setting up the whole scene, and Elijah asked for ALL the prophets of Baal to be witness to what would fire up the crowd but throw water on their hope in Baal. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire — he is God.”

Elijah set up a challenge right then for whose god/God is real. The world of people who rely on anything but God will be lost, are already lost unless their eyes are opened to their stray ways. They dance around the truth that the world and worldly pursuits just won’t fulfill them. We get pulled astray too – but when the earthly music stops, and the devil pulls out the chair from underneath you so you have nothing to sit on, God will ALWAYS give you a place. God wants you on His firm ground.

As you read the story below, please visualize it all, God sent fire on a water-soaked scene just at the timing that Elijah set up FOR GOD. 

WHY? Why demonstrate God’s FIRE POWER?  So these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

CRUCIAL!!! It is not to judge and condemn the people, but to WIN THEM BACK by doing the turning Himself. We today are to share the news that God wants to turn our hearts back to Him. This is not for anyone to say “I told you so”. Sovereignly, God CAN do this, wants to do this, and WILL do this. LOVE is why God WANTS to do this, He is keeping faith in His people to turn back to Him and know they are forgiven in the process. 

Let us all look for His Fire and turn back to Him. 

The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!”

Amen (and please read below)

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1 Kings 18:16-46

Elijah on Mount Carmel
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.”  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 

So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.“There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

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

Fire the old gods, part 2

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There’s been simmering a scripture in my brain and ears for a while now: Don’t be friends with the world. Being friends with the world means being an enemy of God. This doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to people, actually you ARE to be salt and light. This is a warning from James, Jesus’s brother teaching his people and us: Don’t follow the crowd, be with the Lord. Know your Shephard. AND this is crucial advice for getting the devil to flee from us. Know that God is jealous for us. Know that God gives us GRACE to draw close to us. 

Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.

This connects with Proverbs 34 from Solomon’s time: He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.

I find this is TOTALLY relevant in these days, just as it was in the days of Elijah (hey, that’s a song: “These are the days of Elijah – Declaring the word of the Lord”.) GOD WANTS TO DRAW CLOSER TO US, that’s why He sent Jesus, ultimate servant to bear our sins and we have GRACE. Now God sees us unblemished. We can be HOME.

So, Elijah, the famous prophet (written in the book of Kings), was hearing firsthand first ears from God then declaring God’s Word to others, including God’s desires, warnings of jealousy and instructions. Well known was the rift between King Ahab of the split kingdoms and Elijah. Ahab was continuing to serve fake gods like Baal. God said it was time to send rain (literally in a drought) and the rain would be a reminder of Reign as well to the people. God used Elijah to send a CLEAR message. Obadiah who loved the Lord and was brave enough to hide 100 prophets in two caves, was still so afraid of King Ahab that he begged Elijah to not make himself known to the king. Obadiah (read below) was trying to be friends with the world at this moment. 

We can’t be friends with the world and listen to God at the same time. We must have ONE God. Our gods, lowercase are the shrines and desires that we make our pursuits in life. Instead we need to listen to God and realize that we don’t belong in this corrupt world. 

Elijah went where the Lord sent him, we should too. We don’t have to wait out droughts when we listen and read and drink of the Word. Living Water is better that fake gods. Fire the old gods…

Amen (and to be continued)

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1Kings 18:1-17

After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

“What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’  I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.  When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

Continues at:

Fire the old gods, part 1

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Some precious time to read over the long weekend. My daughter wants to read thru “War and Peace”, the HUGE novel, as her “summer reading” because it’s the backstory for her favorite musical “Pierre Natasha and the Great Comet of 1812″… WHEW, that book is as thick as it is tough, takes pages to just explain the characters. 

I have a different summer reading (and fall, winter, spring…), also of war and peace, A GOOD BOOK, the scriptures of the Old Testament. I’ve hit some great meaty bits in the Book of Kings. Yes also lots of names, but they are explained as we go… individual stories that are bite-sized and digestible. Inspirations in just a few verses that essentially say: DAY BY DAY we need to trust God, listen, follow. 

In the parallel storylines of the kings of Israel/Judah, we learn of a WELL KNOWN prophet ELIJAH. Jewish folks leave a chair for his return. John the Baptist was likened to Elijah. We know Jesus spoke with Elijah and Moses in front of Peter and John. It is said in the book of Revelation that two important figures will have a major part, experts say Moses and Elijah. We profit from prophets. 

Prophets speak for God, not for themselves. And all were saying: Fire those old gods, the fake ones…

Elijah is known for much, including FIRE but also interesting storylines of ravens and angels bringing him food, the Lord providing daily bread making materials to a widow so he also could eat. The LORD thru him raised the widow’s son from the dead, God thru Elijah made drought predictions and Elijah fought thru the myths of the perceived god Baal. Elijah and all the prophets were fighting fake fire with REAL FIRE. And in Elijah’s story, there’s the favorite reminder to us for us to be listening for God NOT in an earthquake and NOT in a fire, but IN A WHISPER… I should make that small case… in a whisper… God speaks for us to hear.

These are all examples of God’s provisions, God’s sovereignty, God being in control. Teaching moments of realization that God IS God rather than events happening spuriously as if Elijah were a magic man. Like when the widow’s son is raised from the dead: Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

So much to read here in the 3 chapters (17, 18, 19) of the 1st book of Kings at this link:

The beginning of this story of Prophet Elijah and King Asa, 1 Kings 16-17 – MORE TO FOLLOW…

In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.  In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him:  “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.”