In 1988, three friends and I climbed Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. Our base camp was less than 2,000 feet from the peak, but the clinb to the top and back was to take the better part of a day, due in large part to the difficulty of the glacier we had to cross to get to the top. The morning of the climb we started out chattering and cracking jokes.
As the hours passed, the two more experienced mountaineers opened up a wide gap between me and my less-experienced companion. Being competitive by nature, I began to look for shortcuts to beat them to the top, I thought I saw one to the right of an outcropping of rock- so I went, deaf to the protests of my companion.
Perhaps it was the effect of the high altitude, but the significance of the two experienced climbers not choosing this path did not register in my consciousness. It should have, for thirty minutes later I was trapped in a cul-de-sac of rock atop Lyell Glacier, looking down several hundred feet of a sheer slope of ice, pitched at about a fourty-five degree angle… I was only about ten feet from the safety of a rock, but one little slip and I wouldn’t stop sliding until I landed in the valley floor some fifty miles away! It was nearly noon, and the warm sun had the glacier glistening with slippery ice. I was stuck, and I was scared.
It took an hour for my experienced climbing friends to find me. Standing on the rock I wanted to reach, one of them leaned out and used an ice axe to chip two little footsteps in the glacier. Then he gave me the following instructions: “Ben, you must step out from where you are and put your foot where the first foothold is. When your foot touches it, without a moment’s hesitation swing your other foot across and land it on the next step. When you do that, reach out and I will take your hand and pull you to safety.”
That sounded real good to me. It was the next thing he said that made me more frightened than ever. “But listen carefully: As you step across, lean out a bit. Otherwise, your feet may fly out from under you, and you will start sliding down.”
I don’t like precipicies. When I am on the edge of a cliff, my instincts are to lie down and hug the mountain, to become one with it, not to lean away from it! But that was what my good friend was telling me to do. For a moment, based solely on what I beleived to be the good will and good sense of my friend, I decided to say no to what I felt, to stifle my impulse to cling to the security of the mountain, to lean out, step out, and traverse the ice to safety. It took less than two seconds to find out if my faith was well founded.
To save us, God often tells us to do things that are the opposite of our natural inclination. Is God loving and faithful? Can we trust him?
He is. We can.
Is it time for you to step out from where you are? (from the safety of where you have been or from the danger of your ill-advised short cut?)
It is for me and I will share with you my new venture in a few days.
Let’s take the step and lean out!
1, Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching from Leadership Journal – Edward K. Rowell; Faith, pg. 62
Imagine, if you will, a boxer in the ring having withstood twelve, grueling rounds; he is weak and wounded, but he is still standing. This is such a fitting description of God’s people in the last scene of Isaiah 51, the chapter we have been studying.
Staggering about the ring, having trouble standing on their own, and trapped within the ring of punishment, their pain radiating, are God’s people. Overwhelmed, pounded, briused and weak, they are seemingly at the mercy of their opponent and about to go down.
Isaiah describes it as Israel being staggering drunk without anyone to help them get home, no help, no comfort, seized by disaster and devastation and overcome by God’s anger. He describes what they have experienced as “drinking from the cup of God’s anger”. He says they are weak and wounded because of their intoxication on God’s anger. Isaiah 51:17-21
The Bible is clear, and states in many places that there will be days of God’s anger, His judgment. Days when He will pour out His wrath and judge mankind for their works. These are the days Isaiah is identifying for the nation of Israel, and the days that they were living in – the days of God’s jusgment.
Yet, right in the middle of that, look what it says,
“So listen, you who are weak and wounded, This is what your sovereign ruler, Lord Yahweh, your God, the Mighty Defender of his people says, “Look! I have removed from your hand the intoxicating cup that made you stagger. You will no longer drink from the bowl of my anger. Instead, I will put that bowl in the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, “Lie down so we can walk all over you! For your back became like the ground they trample on, like the street for them to walk on.”
Isaiah 51:22-25 TPT
God removed that judgment filled cup from Israel’s hands, they were no longer going to be drinking from it. His judgments, however justified and timely, were now going to be lifted from them, but not removed altogether. Why?
Because those very oppressors and tormentors, who had been pounding them, were now going to get pounded. They were going to be the recipients of the cup of God’s wrath and anger. Those who had walked all over them were now going to be trampled, by the Lord! The cup of His anger was being placed in their hands and those very tormentors and oppressors were going to drink from it. He was going to judge THEM!
The Assyrians were well known for their cruelity and psychological warfare, they had mastered the art of war and torture. History thoroughly documents this. And now, they were about to get a taste of their own medicine.
God’s Word is true. The very gallows that Haman built to kill Mordecai on, was where he died. Esther 7:10 The evil that Joseph’s brothers intended for him, came back on them. Genesis 50:20 Evil people fall into their own traps. Proverbs 29:6 Wicked people fall into their own nets. Psalms 141:10 Our enemies may set a trap for us, but they will fall into it. Psalms 57:6
I believe what God did in removing the cup of His anger from Israel, He has done for us. In my Spirit, this past week, I sensed a major shift, and it could very well be just that. That God’s releived His people from the burden of the two year oppression of being walked all over and is reassigning His wrath upon our oppressors. We have been released and freed!
So let us,
“Wake up, wake up, get up... you who have drunk enough from Yahweh’s cup of anger…”
Isaiah 51:17 CEV
The days of our oppression are behind us now! It is time for us to wake up out of our despondency and despair. Shake our heads, stir ourselves, revive our weary hearts and stand on our feet like the Army of God that we are. No more dry and dead bones, being walked on by the enemy. God’s people are arising, for the tide has turned!
” …the hour has come for you to wake up from sleep… so then, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime…”
God has lifted you up and the enemy can no longer walk all over you. It is time for you to crush Satan underneath your feet. Romans 16:19 Turn every weapon He has used on you, around back onto him. Start praying this way and see things change in your life, your family, your neighborhood and your nation. Your neighborhood needs you. Your nation needs you. Wake up and start stomping!
It’s time for the people of God to rise and walk jn faith, speaking His word, and believe for His Kingdom to overthrow and defeat that of our spiritual enemies. Lets live like more than conquerors.
He has restored more than your hope. He has restored your soul your power, your vitality and your victory. You are no longer weak and wounded, your turn around has come!
I feel to share with you a vivid set of pictures that came clearly to my mind this week. (1.22.22)
I first saw this blue and white bag of bbq briquettes.
Then I saw a group of people coming from many locations to one central gathering. I knew them to be people when traveling there, but they became briquettes when they arrived. And thus, the gathering was a bunch of bbq briquettes, which we’re going to be set on fire in the gathering.
They were each one set ablaze, and together became an enormous bonfire. Burning ever so intense, hot and powerful.
This powerful fire then became mobil as each briquette took its burning passion with them to their home, workplace, neighborhood and church.
There then, in those homes and workplaces other briquettes joined them, and formed yet another mass of briquettes that were set ablaze with that same powerfully intense fire. There was a bonfire burning brightly in that home, or workplace were the briquettes had gathered.
From those homes & workplaces, just like the first bonfire, each burning briquette left to return to their home. Where again more briquettes would gather to be ignited.
This was repeated endlessly. Briquettes (people) gathering together and being ignited. Then leaving the bonfire with the fire burning within, to meet up with other briquettes who in turn would be ignited by the group of gathered briquettes.
Soon, the whole geographical area was dotted with burning, powerful bonfires. These fires were making a positive difference in the area, as their intensity, demonstration and brightness could not be ignored.
End of the pictures.
I believe we have entered a time spiritually in our nation and neighborhoods where spiritual bonfires are being set by hungry and flammable briquettes that are gathering together or will be gathering together.
This is not the time for solo briquettes to remain isolated from the bonfire gatherings.
You are that briquette. Consider where you need to gather to be set ablaze and go there, get lit. Then consider who you need to gather in your home or workplace, and share your fire with them. There are many waiting and wanting to be ignited by something powerful. Invite them.
We have turned a corner spiritually, and it is time to join with other burning briquettes to see the bonfire explode.
Looking in on today’s thoughts from a chapter that we feel is prophetic for this year, 2022, our focus is on Isaiah 51:9-15.
In it we see a people who are being harrassed and oppresed by tyrannical edicts spoken by national and state rulers. These people are discouraged, in despair, and depressed, for their struggle has been unbearable. They live each day constantly worrying, and living in fear of their angry oppressor.
They see the opposition against them as the generation past saw the Red Sea – a wall of impossibilities and hoplessness. Their enemy is powerful, and fearful and they are toast. They seem to see a silent God, unmoved and inactive. Their desperate cry is to arouse Him on their behalf, surely He has forgotten them, look at their state!
It is not only from these circumstances, but from this mindset that God’s people (of Isaiah 51) call out to Yahweh/God and dare I say, even lash out against Him. Take a look.
“Awake, God, awake! Arm of Yahweh, put on your robe of strength! Awake and do the works of power as in ancient days, as in generations past! Wasn’t it you who smashed the sea monster… who pierced the dragon in generations long ago… wasn’t it you who dried up the Red Sea, and made a path through the sea to rescue the redeemed? Do it again!”
Isaiah 51:7-11a TPT
Folks, let’s be real here.
Does God sleep? Does He need to be woken up from some kind of short little power nap? Does He even need to be reminded of what was done in, through and for past generations? Does He forget? Is He some kind of elderly sage who drifts off or rambles off topic that needs our help realigning himself, getting back on track?
These discouraged people think that God is asleep. Notice the urgency of their double imperative, “Awake, awake”. They are doubting that God is active, they are afraid He is asleep at the wheel. I wonder who it is that is really asleep and needs to be awakened.
This all sounds eerlily familiar, or is it just me?
Following their pleas for God to wake up and reveal His power, comes God’s response.
“I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, … and have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who set himself to destroy?”
Isaiah 51:12-13 ESV
Look how he responds. Remember how they cried out, “Awake, awake!”? He heard them, because His responce begins with, “I, I am“. THAT is powerful! A double imperitive meets a double I, I AM! Wham. He answers their repeated request with His name, repeated!
The “I am” God, reminds them that He is the God who not only brings them comfort but also created the heavens and earth. He was and still is omnipotent. They urgently cry awake, He urgently responds I Am!
Then He rebukes their fears and particularily their fear of the people, who were their oppressors. They are afraid of man but not of God. They have forgotten the Lord. Notice the question mark at the end of that passage. God is questioning them, why are you fearing man and not me?
God is giving these people a stern reminder that He is the Great I AM, He is their comforter, He is the creator of the universe and He is the one that they should fear in reverence and humility. Not the leaders, government, oppressors, or other loud and anrgy voices. HIM!
He continues speaking in the passage telling them that in fact, those suffering would soon be released and those feeling imprisonment will not die or go hungry. Isaiah 51:14 His voice reassured them that what they were seeing was indeed not going to last, and things were going to turn around for them.
These folks of Isaiah 51 had feared Babylon, but not God. Babylon wanted to make them captives, God wanted to set them free. These people had misplaced their fear and their love.
In the passage, it follows that He thunders with this:
“For I am Yahweh, your faithful God, who split the sea with its roaring waves. My name is Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies! And I have put my words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth and saying to Zion, “You are my people”.”
Isaiah 51:15 TPT, ESV
WOW. Drop the mic!
Our Isaiah 51 people had forgotten the Lord, their Maker (and the maker of the heavens and earth, as they were reminded) and because they had forgotten Him, they had succombed to worry, fear, accusations, and unbelief. They prayed from that mindset in an attempt to wake up God. Look at the silliness of that sentence even. But that’s what our mindset is and does.
Our mindset can filter out the truth that we are His people and He is the God of the Angel Armies, the Great I Am. The truth that He has protected us in the shadow of his hand, where we sit, as His child. The truth that He has put His word in our mouths. We have the Living Word of God to shape our mindset and not the words and power of man.
Here, in this passage, we see a picture of ourselves really, don’t we?
At this time in our nation comes the same Voice of the Lord, saying, ” You have forgotten the Lord, your Maker.” Until and unless we choose to remember Him with our words, actions and position of our heart, we will speak foolishly from a mindset of fear, worry, and unbelief.
We will be overcome by our circumstances and edicts until we humble ourselves before the Lord, and revere Him with holy fear. He is the One who still has all power and He is the One who alone will comfort, protect and rescue us. Our faith in Him and love for Him must be renewed.
What really needs to happen is that we need to wake up to the awesome Power of God and His purpose to do it agian. To awaken His people, to awaken all hearts to turn to Him, to visit the earth in powerful demonstration, to speak through His people, to have a people fully dedicated to Him.
God is awake and powerfully able to do what He says He will do. He is looking for those who will focus on Him, remember Him, trust and believe in Him. He is waiting to do it again.
The History Files 1.17.22 – The History of Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Why do we celebrate this man, Martin Luther King Jr., alongside of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington with a federal holiday? Let’s lean in and see…
Most of us will have to image living in the days of segregation – when blacks (including other non whites) and whites were, by force and law segregated.
“Segregation = the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
But such were the days in America, with tensions peaking in the 1950’s.
In 1954, The Supreme Court of the US ruled in the famous Brown vrs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, that establishing segragated schools was unconstitutional. This decision therefore called for the desegregation of all schools throughout America. But this desegration decree would take time, not only in schools but in the nation.
Meanwhile, at Boston University, the 25 year old, exceptional, intelect and fervent Bible scholar, Martin King was working on his Ph.D in Theology, having received his undergraduate degree in Sociology in 1948 from Morehouse College, and having also become valedictorian of his Seminary class in 1951.
During this time King met and married Coretta Scott and they eventually had 4 children together. He became Pastor of Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
It was also during this time, in 1955, that a 42 year old woman, Rosa Parks, refused to give over her bus seat (which was in the front row of the “colored” section) to white men who were standing. She was arrested and booked for violating the Montgomery City Code. In a 30-minute hearing, they called her trial, she was found guilty, fined $10. along with the $4. court fee.
It was then, (1955) that the NAACP (National Accosication for the Advancement of Colored People) chose Martin Luther King to lead a boycott of the transit system in Montgomery. Which he did, and within a short time, 60 other ministers joined him and formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which coordinated nonviolent protests of all kinds, and giving the civil rights movement a voice.
Despite threats to his life and his home being bombed (no one was hurt), King pleaded for nonviolent solutions to the nations racial tensions. His earliest Washington DC speech at the Lincoln Memorial called for equal voting rights and a Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom in 1957.
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
He met with US Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Prime Ministers Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nehru of India and other notable figures. He also appeared on the cover of Time magazine.
King served jail sentences, false charges, (and true charges) and in April of 1963 he wrote his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Here’s an portion:
He led peaceful, protest marches in Selma and avoided conflict with the state troopers, in Birmington, Alabama where he marched to end segregation at lunch counters. It was his march and rally in Washington DC, where he gave his famous ” I Have a Dream” speech in 1968, that was attended by over 200,000 peaceful people.
But it was in July of 1964 that noticable progress was evidenced, when President LB Johnson signed into law the “CIvil Rights Acts of 1964. In it, it outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Not a bad year so far, but it was capped by receiving the Nobel Peach Prize in Oslo, on December 10, 1964. In addition, that year he was named “Man of the Year.
During the later part of 1964, King became critical of the FBI’s faiure to support civil right workers, and was denounced by the FBI Director (J. Edgar Hoover) as “the most notorious liar in the country”. Subsequently, Hoover called the SCLC a Communist group.
In his final year of life, 1968, he led another march in support of sanitation workers in Memphis. This became violent and Dr. King had to be escorted away. The next month, on April 3, 1968, King delivers his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”.
On April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his Memphis Motel, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed.
What resulted was an outbreak of violence and a manhunt for the shooter. James Earl Ray was tracked down in London, (his fingerprints as evidence found on the rifle used) while seeking a flight to Belgium. He was extradited to the US, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in prison.
It was President Ronald Reagan, in 1983, that signed into law, that the third Monday of January be set aside to honor Baptist minister, Civil Rights leader, and Activist – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
May we have the courage, and resolve of this man to speak up for injustices and act on them peacefully, nonviolently and in mass. May we not allow anyone’s well intentions to again divide us, separate us and segregate us from our one human family with the inalienable rights of life, and liberty for all.
May we live out his dream and not cease to battle his battles.
Cheers to you,
thekingcenter.com/about Dr. Martin Luther King
History.com/The interesting history of Dr. Martin Luther King
Usatoday.com/TImeline: The Life of Martin Luther King
Fear has a tendency to control us, it freezes us, paralyzes us, and will eat us up if we let it. This issue of fear is the heart of today’s message, but the body of the message is much bigger and more powerful than fear.
As we continue to look at a chapter that I feel encapsulates the challenge for us in 2022, let’s flip to Isaiah 51:4-8 and glean from it 6 relative points to help you through this day, this month and this year.
” Listen to me, my people; pay attention to me, my nation.”
Isaiah 51:4a TPT
Point 1- My Nation
Here, we hear the voice of God calling to His nation, Israel, and because all scripture is useful for teaching and happened as examples to us, (2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 10:6), we can understand that God is calling to our nation as well. Because I live in and love America, I realize that God is saying to His nation, America, “Listen to me, my people… my nation”.
The first point that we must remember and contend for is this – America was founded on a covenant with God. The Mayflower Compact, signed on 11.11.1620, aboard the ship, Mayflower by the Separatists and the Strangers (Pilgrims), stunningly stated this –
” Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith… a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and of one another,Covenantand combine ourselves together in a Civil Body Politic…”
excerpt The Mayflower Compact, 1620
The intended purpose of this journey across the Atlantic by these separatists, was to establish religious freedoms in a new nation, dedicated to the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith. May we never forget this or allow this founding intention to be stolen, rebranded, or destroyed. America began on a covenant with God, we are indeed His nation.
God is calling to His nation, America – Give Attention to Me; turn your focus, choose to listen, intentionally pay attention, harken to me. “America, give ME your eyes and your ears“.
Oh, that we heed His call.
Point 2- My Power
” For I release my teaching to the nations, and I will cause the light of justice to rest on them. My righteousness is coming closer, and my salvation has gone out. My mighty arms will govern the people. The islands will trust in me and put their hope in the unveiling of my might.”
Isaiah 51:4b-5 TPT
When we choose to pay attention to God, here’s what we are focusing on, looking to and recognizing:
my law will go out from me
my justice will be a light to the people
my righteousness comes near
my salvation has gone out
my arms will judge the people
the coasts and islands hope for me
and the are waiting for my arm
We are focusing on the power of God, the might of His arm, the justice of His law, His right (as opposed to wrong) that is coming close, his ability to save, and bring hope.
Our God is powerful, His ways are right, His law is truth and He is our focus. His ability. His power. It is in His strong arm that this nation will find law and order, justice, right living, and true judgement. His strong arm is what we hope and wait for.
Point 3- My Reign
“Lift up your eyes to the heavenly realm and look at the Earth far below. Though the heavens disappear like smoke, though the Earth wears our like a garment, and though all the people die like gnats, my salvation will endure forever and my righteousness will never end!”
Isaiah 51:6 TPT
Lift up you eyes, dear reader, to see Earth from from heaven’s realm, from God’s perspective. From there we understand that Earth and the skies will vanish and people will die. What we see will not last, it is temporary; things will dissipate like smoke and wear out like your old, comfy hoodie.
So, LIFT UP YOUR EYES. Shift where you are looking. Lift up your head, look up to God in the heavens. See things from His point of view, from heavens perspective, from the eternal. Don’t be Earth bound and driven by what you see – Look up! Earthly things are temporary.
“My salvation will be forever“. The word “salvation” here means, “welfare, prosperity, & victory” God’s wellbeing, and God’s prosperity will lead to His lasting and eternal victory!
“My righteousness will never be dismayed“. Although we don’t use the word dismayed anymore, here it means – “be abolished, break down by violence, confusion and fear”. Debbie’s translation – God’s right ways will never be abolished by any amount of violence, confusion or fear.
God’s kingdom will reign forever and ever, hallelujah…. (Revelation 19) Of His kingdom there will be no end. (Isa. 9:7) God will reign forever!
“He is the Head of every kingdom and authority in the universe.” Colossians 2:10
When we look up, we see things from an eternal point of view.
Point 4- My People
“So listen to me, you who care for that which is right, who treasure my teaching in your hearts…”
Isaiah 51:7a TPT
You who have the Word in your hearts, you who care about right and wrong… Listen to the whispers of your conscience, listen to the truth pounding in your heart. Listen to my voice within you, my people. I am speaking to you from your heart and through your thoughts. Listen, my people.
Most of the time the truth that we seek, is already in our hearts and mind. God has embed it there. He has set eternity in the hearts of His people. It is in our DNA.
Point 5- DO NOT FEAR
“Do not fear the insults of others; do not be dismayed when they revile you. They are nothing for you to fear, for the moth will eat them up like a shirt and the worm will consume them like wool… ”
Isaiah 51:7b-8a TPT
Holy schmokes, doesn’t this fit these days? We believers, but not only believers, tend to fear the insults of leaders. Revilings too… because revilings are “criticisms, and verbal abuse”. We hate being made fun of, canceled, shut down, and disrespected. We may even fear what “they” can do to us. We fear their terrible acts and the impacts on our belief systems.
Do not be “dismayed” in this sentence actually means, “don’t be shattered, broken or scared by their reviling”. Their insults and abuses are not to be feared, or revered. Colossians 2:8, tells us, “Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you…”
Why? Because they are also temporary! And to prove it, we are given a picture of a moth eating a shirt. In the same way that “they” are eating at us, with insults and abuses, the Lord will send a simple, little moth, who also loves dark places too, and stays away from the light, and that hungry, winged instrument of God will eat away at them! The ones hurling insults, abuses, criticisms, and judgment will themselves be consumed.
And to strengthen this point about the moths – I learned that there are 2 kinds of moths.
the webbing moth
the casemaking moth
Similiarily, there are voices who create webs of lies and voices who make cases of falsehoods! God’s moths will eat up the webs that have been spun and the cases that have been made, and His justice will prevail.
My friend, we are charged to not fear these voices, to not be shattered by them or scared of their rantings. God will send His moths to eat away at the fabric of their falsehoods and destroy the caseload of evil intentions.
Colossians 1:13 reminds us, “He has rescued us from the tyrannical rule of darkness…” God knows what’s planned in the secret places of darkness, and His powerful, kingdom reign will always bring victory and light.
God says to His people, His nation – that His power is forever, so DO NOT FEAR. (what man can do to you.) God will fight for you, if you do your part. (Exodus 14:14-15)
Point 6- My Salvation
“ BUT my righteousness will last forever and my salvation from generation to generation.”
Isaiah 51:8b TPT
(Or as The Message paraphrase puts it, “my salvation will last forever, my setting-things right will never be obsolete.”)
I love the BUTS of the Bible!
Criticism, insults, verbal abuses, yes.. BUT. Wham! That big “but” just turned everything around!
While all this mouthy abuse is happening, we are reminded that God’s setting-things right will never be obsolete and His salvation from knuckleheads with loud and big mouths will last forever. His answers and saving power is for us, our kids and their kids. Every generation has access to His saving power and Kingdom reign.
So, let’s wrap this up –
God’s nation, His people are being called on to focus their attention on His power, His kingdom reign, and to NOT FEAR what man can do to them, because His salvation and setting-things right is for today, this year and forever.
“Do not fear, people who care about what is right. Do not fear, my nation. Do not fear, my people”.
“This is a year of my powerful arm being displayed and My kingdom reign on Earth as it already is in heaven. So look up, change your perspective, look to me and listen to my Words, and do not fear the insults and criticisms, which are temporary.”
You see, fear is not the real issue. The coming of the powerful, Kingdom of God into this nation, through His people who have heaven’s perspective is the real issue. They will not fear the abuses of man because their allegiance is to the King of Kings, who reigns forever and whose salvation is enough for them and their kids, and their grandkids.
Exactly two years ago today, (1/10/20) our first blog post was written. Since that faith-filled, yet anxious first post, we have experienced remarkable support, loyality and clarity.
Here’s what experts tell us about some other 2 year anniversaries. For instance, did you know that:
your sheets should be replaced after 2 years of use
sunscreen, as well, has a lifetime expectancy of only 1 to 2 years
towels and pillows too, should be replaced after 2 years
even your food storage containers should be replaced after 2 years
Or, how about these animals, who generally have a life span of 2 years or so:
rat, 2-3 years
water snake, 2 years
mouse, 3 years
mosquito-fish, (whatever that is), a year and a half
betta fish, 3 years
Better yet, how ’bout looking at some animals of longevity:
Bowhead whales can live 100-200 years
tubeworms can live 300 plus years
or, on the shorter, but long-life side, the rhino- living 40 years
The point? We are celebrating our 2 year anniversary of blogging inspiration and hope to have many, many more.
In those 2 years we have:
reached 66 countries
on 6 continents
with over 5,000 views
in 255 published posts
gained nearly 400 combind followers
a new follower being added every 3-4 days
hundreds of likes
scores of comments
expanded to include Instagram and IGTV with 160 followers
Twitter and GETTR followers
YouTube subscribers with 91 videos
and a (paused) Podcast with over 200 plays
It has been a truly remarkable and humbling experience. To those precious 9 friends, who have been with me from day one, I say a humble and hearty THANK YOU! (Den, Mark, Kim, Becca, Lorine, Linda, Paul, Denise and Charisse). Your support has meant the world to me and is faith’s fuel. To those who have joined along the way, my heart is grateful for your interest, curiosity and faith.
Although 2 years ago, I worried that my blogging might have the 2 month life span of a housefly, I am confident now in my mission of inspiring and am trusting to go beyond the frogs, 6 year life span, and maybe even reach that of a dog, 12 years. 🙂
Thank you to all of our readers for making these the most popular posts.
Give Us a Discerning Heart
A Most Beautiful Heart
On the Lighter Side
Elephants and Camels
After You Have Done All to Stand
Are You and Influencer
Standing at the Hinge of Hisory
It’s Time to Pray
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Thank you so much for joining me on this journey.
Cheers to another year of blogging (and maybe even reaching that untouched continent of Antarctica. ha ha) .
What good is one person, one voice, one idea? Can one person really make any difference in the world today? One is outnumbered in every field, demeaned among ruling class, and considered impossible odds for any victory. As the song goes, “one is the lonliest number.” (1)
But one is also uniquely powerful and necessary. Consider if you will, the number 1 in mathematics. It is:
the only number that is the same in binary, base 10 and Roman Numerals
the only positive whole number which is neither prime nor composite
the first odd number, the first triangular, square, pentagonal and hexagonal number
the first tetrahedral, cube and Fibonacci number
used to make up all other whole numbers (2)
The number one, shall we say, is the building block of all other numbers. Oh, the power of one!
Furthermore, where would we be without these singular men of history and their contributions?
Alexander the Great
Martin Luther King
Oh, the power of one!
I can hear some of you thinking, ok, but, but I’m not a DaVinci, Socrates, Alex. Albert, or Jesus. There’s no way lil’ ole me is gonna make any meaningful impact on the world. It is to you and every reader, I would ask to continue reading, to the end of this blog, and see if, in fact YOU, really can make a difference. Oh, the power of one.
As I was seeking the Lord on January 1, of this new year (2022), I was drawn to this chapter of Isaiah, chapter 51. In it, I believe lie strong words for us in this coming year. Here’s how it starts:
” Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking God. Ponder the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug. Yes, ponder Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you. Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied. Likewise, I, God, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of God, a place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.”
Isaiah 51:1-3 The Message
IF you are serious about living the right way and committed to seeking God’s way, then this word tells us to consider Abraham and his barren wife, Sarah. Think about him and reflect on his life. As believers, those who have been called to the faith, Abraham is considered our father – for scripture declares him to be the father of the faith. Genesis 17, Romans 4. (for Jews, Christians and Muslims)
Here was one man who was going about his life, tending his flocks, loving his barren wife and believing in Yahweh to meet his every need. Here was one man alone with his faith in something bigger and better than what his eyes observed. Here was “one solitary man, when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied.”
God, taking note of the faith of this one man Abram, told him that he would indeed be blessed and have a son and he would be the father of a great mutitude. Then God told him to look into the night sky and count the stars; for his offspring would be more numerous than those stars. Later he spoke again and told Abraham (his name got changed too) that his long-time barren wife would bear him a son and they would call him Isaac.
That’s a heartwarming and compassionate story – a couple will be blessed and have a baby. Yay, God. But let’s not forget, they were both very OLD – and having a baby at their age was impossible. Geesh! Abraham was nearly 100 years old and Sarah nearly 90. That baby-making ship had sailed a loooooong time ago.
After Abraham and Sarah laughed at the impossibility before them, we are told this about their faith:
Abraham believed against hope- that means that even when it seemed hopeless, Abe believed Yahweh
He did not weaken in his faith, considering Sarah’s barren womb
No unbelief made him waver in God’s promises
He grew stronger in his faith
He was fully convinced God could do what He promised
Romans 4:18-21 ESV
(Just a side note, on the human side, imagine a 99 year old man and his 89 year old barren wife acting on this promise for a pregnancy and baby boy. THAT took some faith!!)
No wonder we are encouraged to consider, think about and remember Abraham (in 2022). Why? Because, just like our father Abraham, we face impossibilities. We face years of endless barreness and hopeless situations. We face old desires unfulfilled and we need comfort in our wasteplaces and wildernesses.
We too, when all hope seems gone, must believe in Yahweh. We too, must remember that there is no barren womb, when God plants the seed of promise, vision and dreams there. We too, will grow stronger in our faith when we lean fully on God’s promises.
Because Abraham, one man, choose to believe in God, do the right thing and seek God’s ways, God built from that 1, all other people of faith through the generations! Through Abraham, every nation on earth has been blessed. Oh, the power of one.
My friend, you are but one small voice of the 107 billion that have ever lived here, but oh the power of that one.
Noah, Abram, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, David, Rahab, Esther, Isaiah, Peter and YOU- one voice, one man or woman – yielded in unwavering faith, fully convinced that God is able to do what He says, no matter the impossible circumstances. The twelve disciples were singular individuals as well, who determined to join with others and follow one man – Jesus. Of these it was said, “They (Paul and Silas) have turned the world upside down.” Acts 17:6
Our world needs to be turned right side up, because it is awfully upside down right now. Wrong is considered right. Injustice is considered justice. Lawbreakers are considered innocent. Innocent are considered guilty. Men are considered women and vice versa. Isolation is considered freedom. Our world is upside down and it seems impossible to change.
Not, however, for the ONE who remembers Abraham and reminds him or herself that we serve a God of the impossible and we will not waver in our trust of Him.
No one else sees through your eyes, hears through your ears, feels deeply like you do, senses intuitively like you do. No one else has your vast experiences of pain, joy, victories and failures, no one else is you. You are ONE of a kind and you have influence and opportunity where no one else does.
God sees you this new year, 2022. May He see in you the unwavering confidence in Him that chooses to turn this world right side up, one conversation, one idea, one person at at time. If you see only impossibilities, remember Abraham our father and Sarah our mother…. there’s nothing impossible with God.
You can and will make a difference in 2022.
Oh, the power of one.
Go with God,
“One is the Lonliest Number”, Three Dog Night, 1969
Once again, as in the previous years, I have been given pictures that are symbolic to show us lessons in 2022. And again, each of these were visually highlighted to me as I was out for a prayer walk today. I will show you 5 pictures and then share the signifigance for each in this new year.
#1 Dying palm leaves – This palm tree was so fascininating. It actually had more dead things hanging from it than it did green, live things; and the dead things seemed to be pulling the whole tree lower, downward. Plus, it was so ugly.
Palm trees with dead or damaged branches should be removed from the tree. As the branches die, new leaves cannot grow in that same spot and therefore must be pruned for optimal growth and beauty.
+ 2022 is the year that we must remove from our life those things that are dead and damaged. Sin, grudges, shame, failure, anxiety, depression, fear, gossip… the same ol’ way of doing things, same ol’ reading, same ol’ prayer. It’s time to clean our house, our life and prune off the ugly, dead branches that haven’t produced fresh life in years but have been bringing us down and making our life ugly. (John 15;2)
#2 Seedtime – I was shocked how many of these seeds were lying along the sidewalk, for the whole 4 miles of my walk! 1000’s! These acorn seeds were all smooth, brown, in shells that were pointed. There weren’t the usual top caps, they looked like bullets.
+ 2022 – is SEEDTIME! God promised that his pattern of growth is seedtime and harvest. (Genesis 8:22) The seed that is planted is our words. If we plant words of hope, we will harvest hope. If we plant seeds of fear we will reap fear. It is seedtime! What are we planting? If we don’t plant, we won’t reap. If we plant His Word, speak His Word, we will reap a harvest of His blessing. What are we speaking? Planting? (Our words are indeed like bullets)
#3 Cut down trees – I saw no less than a dozen fully grown trees that had been cut down. There stood only their stump, a very small trunk. It struck me powerfully. Why were so many trees cut down?
+ 2022 – Trees represent people and even rulers and leaders. Ezekiel 31, Isaiah 14, Daniel, Job. I believe God was reminding me that He will cut down the pride and arrogance of man. God will cut down the groves where idolatry is practiced and perpertrated. This year we will see fall many who participate in wickedness as God’s righteousness rises upon our land. May He cut to the ground Lucifer and those who follow him.
#4 1967 – I saw this slip of paper but initially walked by it. Not getting too far, I was prompted to go back, take a look at it and consider it. So I did a 180. Walking back & looking more closely at it, the 1967 was embolden, and although I tried to figure out where it had come from, the message was loud and clear 1967. I walked a long way wondering what this year could mean or these numbers could mean. I believe the year is important and a picture of what lies ahead for us in this next year.
+ 2022 – I remember 1967 well. It was the beginning of the Jesus movement, 1967-1972! Along the beaches of CA were gathering of hippies, singing and praising God. They had given their lives to Jesus and were rocking the churches of the day. Summer of 1967 was the “Summer of Love” in Haight-Ashbury where this counter-culture was bursting forth from. Also in 1967 “The Living Room” was started, a Christian street mission that housed these hippie converts and discipled them for Christ.
I believe a Jesus movement like that of 1967 is approaching and will break upon the shores of CA and other states in this new year of 2022! Harvest always follows seedtime my friend. Homes will be aflame with vibrant prayer and fellowship and lives are changed and filled with His power. Let’s not just watch this outpouring but be involved in it.
#5 A clear view of mountains – Walking back home the saddleback mountains of Santiago Peak and Modjeska Peak were clear and large; in fact, Santiago Peak is the highest point in Orange County. (5,689 ft.) Interestingly enough, you can hike to it from the OC on a 17.2 mile trail called the Holy Jim Trail. It is because these peaks form the shape of a huge saddle silhouette against the sky, that they were called old Saddleback.
+ 2022 – There are two take aways from these mountains for us in 2022.
1- there will continue to be big mountains standing in our way this year. Jesus promised in Matthew 17:20, that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can say to the mountain MOVE and it will move. I believe this is the year we will see seemingly impossible obstacles disappear, because of our faith-filled prayers and words. (Remember those seeds, those words??)
2. 2022 will be a year of the rising of the Mountain of the Lord, the highest of all mountains. Isaiah 2:1-5 This mountain is His remnant of believers, His church, His ecclesia, His called out ones. 2022 will see the awakening and arising of His people walking in faith and victory.
Regardless of how spiritual or unspiritual you may consider yourself to be right now, I emplore you to consider these 5 word pictures as you walk through 2022. I believe that they are pictures from the Lord for us and will help us focus our prayers and walk in the things that please Him.
Get involved in what He is doing. Speak what He is speaking. Prune your life. Plant seeds. Pray to cut down wicked rulers. Pray for and work in the Jesus people harvest. Exercise faith and be identified with His mountain in 2022. This is going to be the best year yet! Get ready!
So glad to be looking with you at these prophetic word pictures for 2022.