Month: January 2023

Serving Our Own gods – part 2

Whether it be, “I don’t believe in god”, “I believe in God. I go to church every week”, “I don’t know if there is a god”, “I believe in God, but serve Him in my own way”, or any other similiar stance, everyone of us is serving some god.

Even Carl Jung, the one credited with developing Analytical Psychology has said,

You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others.”

Carl Jung 1957

Those who profess to not believe in god, or to not know if there is a god, surprisingly, may find that their god is actually themself. Their own ways, ideas, desires, feelings, and goals become not only their foundation for values, purpose, worth and direction but also their god. Self-serving wishes and desires permeate their every breath as they seek to make sacrifices for their personal will and choice.

Even those 58% of American’s who claim to believe in the God of the Bible, (according to Pew Research 10/21) find themselves wrestling with serving their own ideas/gods, or the God of the Bible and His ways. And add to this group, those 9 in 10 Americans who believe in “some higher power”- and there is no doubt that we as American’s are serving our own gods.

This is not a new phenomenon of course, but it is a relatively new one for America. America, as a nation was born from the seedbed of The Great Awakening and the preaching of the likes of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who preached to common people, slaves, Native Americans and even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic. (1) Their whole purpose was to awaken the Christian faith of those in the colonies. The Second Great Awakening followed and so impacted our fledgling colonies that several religious colleges, seminaries and mission organizations were formed.

The climate in the colonies 1730-1790’s was definately religiously charged as all people were encouraged to have a personal connection with God and not just to rely on the church. From this, men and women of deep religious conviction were involved in The Revolutionary War, the writing of our founding documents, the formation of our national government and the leading of our states and nation. Embedded into our documents, memorials and monuments are expressions of thanks to and reliance upon “our benevelent God.”

And although she is not today, she once was a country whose laws, leaders and laymen sought to glorify God and even seek His counsel and wisdom.

We have turned to our own gods now. We have forgotten our roots.

Much like what we see in the history of Israel –

  • One place of worship and one God was specified Deut. 12:8-11
  • Yet, they served their own gods 2 Ki. 17:32
  • They intermarried with pagans (compromising their own faith)
  • And worshipped their idols
  • They adopted their idolatrous religions
  • Their idols involved prostitution
  • Their idols involved sexual & pornographic activities
  • Their idols involved child sacrifice
  • Their idols involved offerings to Baal, Chemosh, Molech and Astoreth and others
  • They worshipped nature, the heavenlies & beasts

Sadly, in America today, we too have turned to such gods. In fact, as we mentioned last week, the gods being worshipped today, are many of the gods of the past, pagan nations. They have infiltrated our nation, and been set up on high places for all to see, unashamed and unaware of the consequences of serving our own gods.

Could it be though, that there is a loving God, who knows man’s inclinations and still chooses to love him?

Yes.

But knowing man’s inclinations just may be the very reason that this loving God’s first of ten commandments is –

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME.” (Emphasis mine.)

Exodus 20:2-3 ESV

A God who knows us, and loves us so much, that He does not want us to stay the same, searching for something to make sacrifices to, searching for something to offer our life for, to sacrifice to, searching for fulfillment, pleasure, reward or success.

Our own gods are man made and impotent. They cannot receive love nor are they capable of giving love. Our own gods are empty and temporary, incapable of lasting love, fulfillment and happiness.

But the God of the Bible is real, present, and powerful enough for anything you’ll ever face. He is full of love, grace and mercy to the one who turns toward Him, to the one who simply turns away from his own idols, and turns toward Him; who turns away from his own ways, and begins walking His.

Towards the end of the New Testament, we find this warning –

Keep yourselves from idols”

1 John 5:21 ESV

May we become more aware of those things (idols) that might take God’s place in our hearts. May we learn to rid ourselves of the things that we look to for help, rather than looking to God.. May we divorce ourselves from fixating on anything more that the One true God. May we rid ourselves of our own idols..

No man can serve two masters”

Matthew 6:24 ESV

Never has a word been truer. Never has this truth been more needed to be heeded.

I believe that God is calling for us to remove all the high places in our life where we have set up things, or people as idols. They are the things that get our full attention, energies, efforts and money. If God is not at the heart of those things then they have become idols to us. Shoot, last year I realized that I had made the Dodgers an idol in my life. They were getting more of my time than God was. I was definately serving my own god.

Those are the things that God is doing in our heart if we let Him. He is helping us to be His wholehearted followers and to have no other gods before Him. The days of honesty are upon us.

Won’t you allow Him to show you where you have idols in your life? Won’t you join so many of us who are no longer serving our own gods?

Debbie

Sources

  1. TheHistoryChannel.com – The Great Awakening

Serving Our Own gods

#1 in the series

It’s hard for me not to see our progressive society of today (2023) and how closely it aligns with the pagan societies of days gone by. “Commonly accepted ideas – God does not exist, the Bible is not divinely inspired, all religions are equally valid, absolute values of right and wrong do not exist and there is no such thing as sin, were all expounded by pagan philosophers.” (1)

And don’t even get me going on the acceptablitiy of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, and infanticide – secular humanism dominates our society today my friend, and could also be called – neopaganism.

According to the Pagan Federation paganism: (4)

  • is not dogmatic
  • pursues their own vision of the divine as a personal experience
  • represents a rich diversity
  • refuses to judge others ways of life as wrong because they’re different
  • respects all life
  • follow a polytheistic or pantheistic nature

Paganism has become a god of our society and many have chosen to serve it, as their own god, not even knowing the full ramifications.

As people today serve their own gods, let’s define some of those beliefs-

  1. Monotheism – the belief that there is only one god
  2. Polytheism – the belief that there are many gods
  3. Atheism – the belief that there is no god
  4. Agnosticism – the belief that the existence or non existence of a god is unknowable or unknown
  5. Pantheism – the belief and worship of all gods
  6. Panentheism – the belief that god and the world are interconnceted – the world being in god and god being in the world
  7. Animism – the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena and the universe have souls
  8. Paganism – spiritual beliefs and practices other than those of Judiasm, Christianity or Islam
  9. Neopaganism – new paganism developed from preChristian or anti-Christian religions

It is clear today we see these beliefs mixed in and around us. We see and know of people who hold these beliefs and are serving their own gods. This mixture of beliefs about god is what alerts us to the seriousness of our standing as a society, and as a nation even.

In 2021, Pew research found that 58% of Americans describe God as the God of the Bible. Another 32% believe in a god or spiritual power – although not that of the Bible. (2) And, 43% of millennials don’t know, care or believe that God exists. (3)

I am going on record to say that what you believe about God matters. It is not an incidential issue for you to deliberate at some future date in your life when you are more prepared, older, wiser or facing death. The god that you chose to serve matters now, as well in the life that is to come.

And lest you say, “I don’t serve any god, really”, let’s all be reminded that where we spend our time, money and energies reveals what our god is and who we serve.

If we are being honest, we just may find in our own life a mixture, the same kind of mixture revealed in generations past. One in which –

we fear the Lord, but serve their (our) own gods…”

2 Kings 17:33, 41 ESV

Throughout the Ancient writings we find that phrase – “feared the Lord, but served other gods“. In fact, over 40 times we find the phrase, “they served other gods”.There is a difference you know, between “fearing” and “serving” the Lord.

Because we are afraid or maybe even respect or revere the Lord, we “fear” Him. But it is more like a kid fears when Dad comes home, because he knows that is when he will be punished. We are fearful of the Lord and his judgments, so we do our best to appease Him, not because we love Him. We seek to appease Him but don’t bother serving Him.

At what point does that fear blossom into love? Should it? Can it?

That, my friend is the difference between monotheism and what all the other gods of this world have to offer.

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image … you shall not bow down to them or serve them… for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…”

Exodus 20:3-5 ESV

The Jehovah God, Almighty, Creator of all things, revealed in the Messiah – Jesus Christ is a personal, loving and relational God. Desiring to have personal, intimate conversation and exchange. This wonderful God, pursues us, longs for us, and is ever-present in our affairs, steps and amusements. He never leaves us, never slumbers in His watch over us, and is fearfully powerful, He could wipe us out in an instant. Yet, because He is love, His mercy is everlasting and His forgiveness endless. His ear is ever bent toward our cry and always listening for our hearts desire. He is jealous in His love for and toward us. Oh what wondrous love!

THIS God, is the great “I AM”, who is, who was, and who always will be. THIS God is Jesus Christ, He who said, “I Am He.” THIS is the God who you and I must must chose to serve – not just fear.

In these days, every man must choose the god he will serve. Fearing is not enough. Whom do you serve? Your self, your job? Money? Status? Prestige? God? Pleasure? Freedom?

We are living in days when men (women and children) are serving “their own gods”. What god are you serving?

I am not interested in serving my own, man-made god. Lord, please help me, remove my idols.

Debbie

Sources

  1. Tomorrow’s World, Douglass S. Winnail; 11.2019
  2. B. Mark Anderson.com
  3. Cultural Research Center @ Arizona Christian University
  4. The Pagan Federation – Prudence Jones

Who Do You Trust with Your Life?

One of the goals for me in 2023 in regards to my teaching videos is for them to be wise and easy to swallow, inspirational words. (Proverbs 13:2 TPT) Translation – short, easy to follow, revelation-knowledge posts.

These will be shared on other social media sites in their required formatting, but will also be shared here for you to glean from. Again, I trust that you will find inspiration and refreshment here Under Debra’s Palm.

Here’s our first video for the year –

Trusting Him through another year together,

Debbie

Celebrating 3 Years of Blogging

Three years ago I stepped out into the unknown, into a world I knew very little about, to do something that I felt inspired to do and passionate about. I entered the world of blogging – writing for my newly developed website and sharing personal reflections, videos, and photos with “followers” and those that stumbled upon my blog.

It has been a tremendous adventure and personal challenge to write and post regular inspirational blogs and vlogs. Some I have been super happy with, and others were simsply the best I could do at the time. But all, both written (blogs) and visual (vlogs) came from my heart and the inspiration that I rely upon daily.

Here is a short video recap of 2022 with some specific stats.

We have grown in every way through these 3 years. Our followers, our likes, our comments, & our subscribers. I have grown too in so many ways. But always, my heart’s desire is that you too, would grow, and find inspiration here.

Under Debra’s Palm is meant to be that place where shade, refreshment, and encouragement can regularly be found.

So, from the depths of my heart I thank you for taking your valuable time to read or listen to what I have to say. I trust that you will continue to find inspiration here.

One last thing, you have things to share too. You have a passion within your heart and inspiration brewing inside of you. Let that passion motivate you to step out and into a wonderful world of challenge, fulfillment and faith. You will find your true destiny and purpose as you do, I promise.

I am excited for what this next year holds. So please stick around.

Lotsa love,

Debbie

Heart Disease – It’s About More than You Think

Consider this your personal angiogram to start 2023

After the recent Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest on the field during his Monday Night Football game last week between the Bills and the Bengals, who hasn’t found themselves thinking about the heart? He was resuscitated twice they say, once on the field after 9 minutes of CPR and another time at the hospital. It was all horrible to watch and even worse wondering how he was doing after they took him off the field in an ambulance and later suspended the game.

It’s been over a week now, and he has been transfered to a Buffalo hospital, where he is talking, moving, laughing and walking around with seemingly no brain damage. He apprears to be on the road to full recovery. Some have called it a miracle. Doctors have called it “a fairly remarkable recovery.”

So, with that as our backdrop for the start of 2023, let’s look more into this issue of the heart, and heart disease, cuz there is more to it than you think.

Sudden death heart facts are:

  • 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 80,000 athletes will die suddenly in a year, and most are due to an underlying cardiac condition.
  • In those under 35 years this sudden death is generally from congenital or genetic conditions
  • In those over 35, sudden death is caused by coronary artery disease (due to atherosclerosos)

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a very common heart condition and happens over decades, when the coronary arteries struggle to send food, blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Their struggle is caused by the build up of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of the arteries. They form hard structures called “plaques”. Now, some amount of hardening is natural as we age, but unhealthy lifestyle habits speed up this “hardening of the arteries”.

Cardio vascular disease in the number ONE leading cause of death worldwide.

Hang with me here, we’re going somewhere, and it’s about more than you think.

As I’m sure you have heard, heart disease causes lots of complications – irregular ryhthms, heart infection, and stroke to name a few. (Not to mention death) And it often displays these symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue or heart attack.

We also know that those with lifestyle habits of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obsesity are more likely to get CAD. In fact, in 2015, CAD affected 110 million people with 8.9 million deaths.

Doctors attempting to detect that hardening of the arteries (artery blockage), will perform a diagnostic test called an angiogram. Short version of how it works is – it takes xrays of the blood vessels that reveal where the blockage lies and shows just how big it is. I remember when my Dad had a heart attack. They showed me the angiogram that revealed 96% blockage! He died very shortly after that.

Phew, enough of the medical jargon already! Because it is about more than you think. Let me explain what I see.

I have come to see our nation and most of the inhabitants in it as having spiritual heart disease. Through unhealthy lifestyles of indulgence, their heart has hardened towards God and their life is showing signs of pain and pressure, difficulties catching their breath amidst their rat race life, and weariness in the daily demands.

But we hold within our power the ability to combat such hardening of the heart/arteries. If we are willing, we can exercise our will and discontinue the unhealthy practices. Just like we do when dieting, we clean out the fridge and cupboards, and replace them with healthy options.

Spiritual heart disease is no different. For long, healthy and happy life, we must remove those things that will build up in us and cause a hardening of our heart. Most importantly, instead of saying ‘No’ to God we say, “Yes”. Everytime we say no when God is speaking to us, hard “plaque” builds up in our spiritual heart. And if not dealt with, we become hardened in our disease of disobedience toward God, and will eventually have a spiritual cardiac arrest.

Just like Pharaoh’s heart was hardened in the days of the Exodus, people today have heardened hearts toward God and His ways.They actually refuse His healthy lifestyle options, and chose what they think is best and healthy for them. Not realizing it is a heart issue and their spiritual aterties in their spiritual heart are filled with unhealthy plaques. It is a heart issue, it is heart disease, my friend.

I find it no small coincidence that there are so many news stories about heart issues these days. Be they young people dying suddenly, althetes, vaccine controversies, or whatever. There is an emphasis of the Holy Spirit in 2023 on the condition of our heart. Heart disease is about more than you think, it is about the spiritual condition of your heart towards God.

Have you become hardened towards God or is your heart disease free and one that is soft and sensitive to Him and His voice?

Which of these describe your heart?

  • Plaque causers
  • discouraged heart Num. 32:7
  • obstinate heart Deut. 2:30
  • hardened heart Exodus 19 x
  • naughty heart 1 Sam. 17:28
  • a heart of stone 1 Sam. 25:37
  • pride & stoutness of heart Isa. 9:9
  • deceit in his heart Pro. 12:20
  • wicked heart Jer. 4:4
  • stiffnecked and uncircumsized heart Acts 17:51
  • err in their heart Heb. 3:10
  • Healthy heart –
  • willing heart Ex. 35:5
  • upright heart Deut. 9:5
  • inclined toward God Jos. 24:23
  • wise and understanding heart 1Ki. 3:12
  • penitent 2Ki. 22:19
  • not a double heart 1 Ch. 12:33
  • courageous heart 2 Ch. 17:6
  • tender heart 2 Ch. 24:37
  • clean heart Ps. 51:10
  • contrite Is. 37:15
  • a heart to know me (God speaking) Ezk. 11:19
  • a new heart Ezk. 36:26
  • good heart Lk. 6:45

I pray, that as we begin this new year, these thoughts will serve as your own personal angiogram and maybe even shock your heart to a reset for a healthy spiritual lifestyle in 2023. (Like an AED -automated external defibrillator does.)

Heart disease (spiritual and natural) will cause complications in your life and will often reveal signs and symptoms, too. Wise is the one who will pay attention to the symptoms of your own spiritual heart disease.

God’s patience and grace is upon us now, but it will not always be so.

Let’s be wise and heart healthy.

Happy and healthy new year,

Debbie

Resources:

  • Verywellhealth.com – Sudden Cardiac Deaths
  • Mayo Clinic Coronary Artery Disease
  • The Gullen Report 11.22.22 Sudden Death on a Massive Scale
  • Sudden Death Mystery of Healthy People
  • NBCnews.com – “Evidence grows Stronger”, Erika Edwards
  • The Holy Bible

Seeing Things From a Different Angle

As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.

Therefore, I have selected to share this encouraging video again, in hopes that it will encourage you as you set out in this fresh new year.

May you have new eyes to see how He wants to use you this year.

Lord. open our eyes to see…

Debbie

Dream Big in 2023

A New Year’s Challenge for You

I know of a man who was extremely wealthy and a highly influencial politician; in fact he came from a family of monarchs. He was very well connected within his country and with the surrounding countries.

He was not a particularily nice guy, in fact he was quite wicked. He had some evil practices, one that included child sacrifice – actually sacrificing his own children. This guy was was an odd mix of prestige, evil, and wheeler-dealer.

At one point in his life he actually had two kings plotting against him and his kingdom. He was facing extermination, as was the royal line. His whole kingdom was panicing as their hearts were overcome with fear due to the damage that had already been inflicted on their nation.

In response to this impending attack, he chose to survey his city’s vulnerable spots and so he started at the water supply. It is there that we hone in on Ahaz and what happened next. It is there we find a new year’s challenge for you to DREAM BIG!

It is there that the prophet Isaiah (and his son) meet with Ahaz, to deliver to him God’s message. Knowing what you know about Ahaz now, what would you expect God’s message to be?

Believe it or not, God gave Ahaz four assurances. We find them in Isaiah 7:4.

  1. Be careful
  2. Be quiet
  3. Do not fear
  4. Do not let your heart be faint

Knowing Ahaz’s pending conflict and the people’s fearful panicing, knowing the kingdom’s devestation already, God tells the prophet to tell Ahaz to be careful and be quiet. Think of it. God was saying, “Settle down, calm down.” God was telling them all to not be rash or impetuous, but to take a deep breath and chill out for a minute. Stop, collect yourself and settle down.

He went on to tell them the number one salutation to humans in the bible – Do Not Fear. Don’t look at the two armies, don’t look at the devestation, don’t look at the circumstances. Do Not Fear.

Then Isaiah tops it off by telling Ahaz to not allow his heart (or the people’s heart) to be faint. He tells them to guard what their heart feels, and believes. He encourages them, comforts them, and offers them peace and hope.

But that’s not all. After Isaiah delivers that hope to Ahaz and the people, he goes on to tell them more of what God says to them. He tells them that the plans of the two terrorist countries (that are after them) –

… shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.”

Isaiah 7:7 ESV

He continues by saying that within 65 years, they (the terrorosts countries) will be defeated themselves. That’s remarkable, foretelling the future to Ahaz! Hang in there dude, they’ll be gone soon. Settle down and trust me. Wow. But then, there’s another dinger –

If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

Isaiah 7:8 ESV

Isn’t it interesting how God responds to Ahaz in his time of fear, trouble and uncertainty. First He gives him assurances, then He shares the futute and finally He reminds Ahaz, to be strong in faith. A-MAZE- ING.

That would be a trememdous story if it ended there. We all could take lesson from it, find encouragement from it and recheck our faith. We could be confident that God was still with us, even in our not so nice state, and we could be thankful that God was still talking to us in spite of our wicked ways. We could be encouraged that God was in charge and could be trusted.

But there is yet another incomprehensible offer that God gives to Ahaz. You won’t believe it –

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God: let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”

Isaiah 7:11 ESV

God was still wanting to encourage Ahaz that He was in control and told him to ask for a sign to prove it. Basically, God was saying, think big Ahaz, dream big – think outside the box. Go as deep as hell or as high as heaven. Ask me for a sign, no matter how big or hard you think it is. Ask. Dream. Go for it.

Remember that little lesson from above about being firm in faith? Ahaz should have remembered that now. Here Ahaz was being offered a blank cheque for any kind of miraculous or crazy sign that he could think of. Go big or go home, Ahaz. Now’s your chance. Call on your faith and God’s ability and let’s see something wonderful, something miraculous. God wants to prove Himself to you. A-MAZE- ING!

And here is where Ahaz proved his alliance.

He refused God’s offer to dream big, he refused to ask any sign of God or “put God to the test.” v. 12 His lame excuse of “putting God to the test” was evidence of his own alliance against God, and later proved to reveal his alliance with a terrorist country. (Which was eliminated in 65 years, as God said.)

Ahaz’s refusal to dream big at God’s request resulted in the destruction of his country and the extinction of his royal blood like. Ahaz heard God’s call and chose not to answer, obey or follow through. Ahaz proved he did not trust God or in God’s ability to deliver his nation. Ahaz did not believe that God was in control, he believed in man’s abilities and the Assyrian war machine.

My friend, I believe with all of my heart, that God is saying to YOU at the beginning of this year, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God.” Make it a big one, outside of the box of hell and heaven – think BIG. Dream BIG. Use your faith, stand in it and ask BIG.

This year, amidst the turmoil, uncertainties, financial stresses and political unrest, God would say to you – be careful, be quiet, do not fear and don’t become fainthearted. He sees you, He knows your situation and need, He knows your heart and deeds. He offers you peace and hope.

And He says to you, Ask me for a sign….as deep as hell or as high as heaven… Let me prove myself to you. I am in control and I love you. Place your trust in Me and not in man. “If you are not firm in your faith, you will not be firm at all.”

Dream Big this year, my friend.

Debbie

Starting this New Year Debt Free

Happy New Year to You!

As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.

Therefore, I have selected to share the number 1, most viewed video that I have posted, in hopes that it will encourage you (again) as you set out in this fresh new year. It’s topic is timeless and powerful.

There are many types of debt, aren’t there? In this video, we will address what I consdier to be the most important debt we have – the debt of forgiveness. So, here again is, “The Power of Forgiveness”.

May we all walk this year debt free and abounding in mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

God Bless,

Debbie