Author: debio7

Elephants and Camels

I want to share two stories with you.

#1 Elephants

When walking through an elephant camp, a man noticed that these elephants were only secured with a small rope that was tied around one ankle. He wondered why the elephants didn’t break free from the rope, as the elephants we certainly strong enough.

He asked the trainer why, and the trainer said that they use the same size rope for baby elephants all the way up to adulthood. Because they’re too small when they are babies to break free from the rope, they grow up thinking that the rope is stronger than they are. As adults, they think the rope can still hold them, so they don’t fight it.

#2 Camels

A mother camel and her baby were lying down, soaking up the sun. The baby camel asked his mom, “Why do we have these big bumps on our back?” The mom stopped to think and then said, “We live in the desert where there is not much water. Our humps store water to help us survive on long journeys.”

The baby camel then stopped to think and said, “Well, why do we have long legs with rounded feet?” His mother replied, “They are meant to help us walk through sand.”

The baby asked a third question, “Why are my eyelashes so long?” The mother replied, “Your eyelashes are long to offer you protection from the sand when it blows in the wind.”

Finally, the baby said, “If we have all of these natural abilities given to us to walk through the desert, what’s the use for camels in the Zoo?’

Allow me to play Aesop, for a minute.

From each of these stories, we can glean important life lessons, and encouragement. Listen to your heart and hear what application lies there for you. At the very least, I will offer these:

All of us, like the elephants, have grown through and are learning to fight our own programmed, learned helplessness. You know, that thing or those issues that we believe are stronger than us and so we don’t bother fighting. Be they family traits, ingrained scripts, perceived weaknesses, or whatever; they are tied about our feet, trying to keep us from moving forward. FACT: you are stronger than your childhood programming and you are strong enough to break free from it all.

Our perceptive baby camel offers us the simple truth that you have been designed to withstand what comes against you. You have all that you need, if you are in the right place. The camel is designed for the desert and is therefore fully equipped for sand, wind, dry and waterless situations. Out of that environment, he doesn’t quite fit. He doesn’t really belong in a zoo, does he? FACT: Our design is perfect and fully utilized when we are in the right environment.

I am certain that the elephant and the camel are speaking to many, and I trust that from their stories you will see yourself as strong, and well equipped for whatever you face. Break free and live life to your fullest, where you are s’posed to be!

Oh, what we can learn from the elephant and the camel.

Cheers to you.

Set

Sunday Sermon 2.27.21

Seized through the night with this word “set”, I awoke, pondering, reflecting and eventually investigating it more deeply. So let me begin by asking you, the same way I began, in what ways do we use the word set? Go ahead, think about it and begin your mental list. DON’T READ ON ’til you’re finished, k?

cement setting

Here are my “set” phrases and uses:

  • you set stones
  • in volleyball you set the ball
  • racers get set for a race
  • cement sets
  • jello sets
  • as do other desserts and foods
  • prisoners are set free
  • you can set your heart (or face) on something
  • decision, plans are set
  • broken bones are set
  • sails on a boat are set
  • then I went to the dictionary…..

How did you do? Wish I could hear your list.

That word, as you guessed is our focus today, because it is the call of the Spirit to you and me and everyone else on the planet. Seriously, everyone.

What is it that we have set our hearts on?

This setting represents a locking in on, fixing on; like a broken bone or ring setting; similar to jello but stronger and more permanent, like cement.

Set” is used 695 times in the Bible and is interesting in each setting, but in the form that we are using it, let me share this powerful verse.

  • Isaiah 50:7 – because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like a flint and I know I will not be put to shame.

In Isaiah’s image here, we have a picture of someone who, supported by the help and power of the Lord, has lasered their focus and cemented their course, as hard and sharp as the flint rock, and will not be deterred! Nothing is going to distract them, pull their focus or sidetrack them. Their face and heart is SET. Period.

It is worth mentioning that flint is a hard rock used to make hammers, chisels and knives. It is also used to start fires, because when flint hits a piece of steel or another hard object it produces sparks.

flint

So, to set your face like flint honestly means, that no matter the hard opposition in front of me, I am firm in my resolve and let the sparks fly, I am flint! The Lord is helping me and I am set, focused on Him.

Daniel set his heart, too. Scripture tells us that he “purposed in his heart”. This is the same type of setting your heart that we are discussing here. Other situations where setting occurs are:

  • Jacob set his pillow (where he dreamed of angels on a ladder) as a altar (of commitment and remembrance)
  • Moses set the laws before them
  • The serpent was set on a pole for all to look at for healing
  • Israel was to set their heart on all of His words
  • The Lord set a plumb line among His people

The call of the Spirit throughout history has been for a people to set their heart on the Almighty Jehovah. To set their faces toward Him, His Words and His ways. To set their desires on Him, to set their hope in Him and to set themselves like flint, immovable and firm on God, no matter what.

I find in interesting that the last Old Testament verse using our word “set” is in Amos 7:8:

“And the Lord asked me, “What do you see Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos- the prophet

A plumb line is a measuring device used by builders to assure the wall is perfectly vertical, and is at maximum load bearing capacity.

plumb line on a wall

So the Old Testament closes with the Lord’s challenge that He is setting a measuring device up, and he is now measuring just how vertical related His people are and if they are able to bear His load, weight, and yoke.

Why?

Because the New Testament begins with the setting of a city on a hill.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid”

Matthew 5:14

Jesus’ coming to the world, brought light, life and the plumb line to bring us into vertical alignment with the work of the Spirit here on earth. He wastes no time, for in Matthew 25, he does this –

“He will set the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.”

Jesus, teaching the parables

Let’s regroup. The question is, what is your heart set on? It is being measured, the plumb line is hanging beside us revealing our vertical connection and setting.

Scripture is clear there will be those who’s heart is set on abominable things, committed to idols, and have not set their heart on God. There will be those who actually set their face against God, and set themselves to worship at shameful altars. In those cases, scripture is also clear, that He (God) will set His face against them. THAT is a fearful place to find yourself in.

I believe we are living in the days of preparation. Kinda the “Ready, Set, Go” days. The Spirit of God is calling us to ready ourselves, measure ourselves, judge ourselves, and to get SET. Set our hearts on Him and His Kingdom alone, set our faces like flint, immovable and with sparks! It is time to check what our hearts and faces are actually cemented, set on. If it is anything other that Him, if we don’t change, judgment is coming. Time are shortening. The plumb line is speaking and we must check our set.

Digest these truths about our set, its purpose and power:

  • Acts 13:9 – the Holy Spirit set his eyes on him and said come out of him you child of the devil
  • Acts 13:47 – He has set you to be a light and to bring salvation to the world
  • Colossians 3:2 – set your affections on things above not on earthly things
  • Hebrews 6:18 – take hold of the hope set before us
  • Hebrews 12:1 – let us run the race set out before us
  • Revelation 3:8 – He has set before us an open door
  • Revelation 4:2 – there is a throne set in heaven

The Lord wants people’s hearts set on Him. Not because He is an egomaniac, but because He loves them and always has their best interests on His heart. He alone can bring the lasting happiness and fulfillment they each seek. He also wants no one to perish. He wants all to be included in His eternal home in heaven around His throne.

These are serious, spiritual introspection and evaluation days.

Check your set. What is your heart set on?

He wants you to be set on Him.

Go with God.

Not Many Wise

How many people in your immediate circle of family and friends would you consider to be wise?

Wise= “having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgement” Webster

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Knowledge is knowing what to say; wisdom is knowing whether or not to say it.” And I would add, and knowing when to say it. If knowledge is power, then wisdom is using it the right way.

Wisdom, is considered by many, as the prominent virtue to be sought after and exercised.

“Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.”

Sophocles

Wisdom is not innate however, it is acquired through experience. Wisdom acts in relationship to previous experiences and knowledge. Wisdom does not stand alone, it is intertwined with all of your life events and all you have learned.

Wisdom applies relevant knowledge with insight. Wisdom analyzes and reflects on experiences, files that info away and then recognizes the time it needs to be shared. Wisdom is on time and precise.

“Wisdom is the daughter of experience.”

Anonymous

Wisdom learns from past experiences and is not afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes make us better people, help us learn faster and more permanently. Therefore wisdom is willing to try new things and talk to new people, for in doing so opportunities to learn, analyze, and reflect are provided.

No one likes to mess up. Our brain doesn’t even allow us to move on until a mistake has been corrected, so wisely are we wired. But in those mistakes, as humbling as they are, data is being collected, spread sheets in our brain are being populated and we are being loaded with what will become insight and wisdom in our future encounters. Those mistakes are important and valuable for those seeking to move in increased wisdom. Wisdom learns from mistakes, risks, criticisms & errors.

Those who make the attempt to process adversity are able to gain meaning from it. Those who are able to adapt to events, situations & suggestions will find themselves being equipped with more wisdom, because wisdom is always seeking the broader picture, analyzing for applications and improvements.

Scientists tell us that wisdom rises until our mid 20’s, then stabilizes until age 75 when it declines. However, old age doesn’t affect wisdom’s decline, it is the motivation to pursue development that declines. (Psychology Today) So we could say that when we stop pursuing new experiences, ideas, or opportunities and stop taking risks, when we hold back for fear of failure, wisdom stops developing in us. That would be whether we are 75, 45 or 25.

When we, or anyone steps out to learn and analyze a new experience, then put that info to the test later, we become wiser. Becoming wiser is a noble goal and surrounding ourselves with wise friends also is a prudent goal.

I trust that through these thoughts you have reflected on your own wisdom first and then made note and given thanks for those in your life who are wise friends and family members.

Because, there are not many wise, today.

Cheers to you.

What Comes from the Cave of Confinement?

Sunday Sermon 2.20.21

There are people struggling under a chaotic world where authorities are hostile to God; zealous, local governors have enacted laws against the church, and the faithful are targeted as scapegoats. Believers are pressed to question, “Is God in control?”, if so, “Is He working all things for our good?”.

In some places there is violent persecution of the church, in other places lawless violence. The church is under pressure to conform to the society norms and are assaulted with false doctrines and calls to practice idolatrous worship. Most people have become comfortable with their affluence and face a variety of challenges to their faith.

Banished to caves/rooms of confinement, government officials seek to silence voices of truth, all the while elevating their prominence above everyone else. False charges, events sparking revolts, economic instability, blaming and instability of governmental heads, and trouble between the elites and the commoners are the marks of this society.

Are the above paragraphs describing the events of these days or another era?

Remarkably, both.

The details given above are an accurate account of what is happening today, yet is also point on in representing the events of 95AD in the Roman Empire. The parallels are actually mindboggling.

In the first century the struggle between Caesar worship/The Roman Empire and Christianity was severe, persecutions were great and martyrs were many. The Church Father, Polycarp, was burned alive for refusing to say, “Caesar is Lord.”

All of the disciples/Apostles were tortured and killed, save one – John, who was banished and confined to a small island called Patmos, where he lived in a cave approximately the size of your living room, 23 ft. x 20 ft., and slept on a hard pillow, a rock every night.

It is John, in the midst of these dreadful conditions, that I want to zoom in on today.

Here he was confined to a barren, volcanic, island. It is believed that Patmos was a penal colony in the Roman Empire, hard labor there wasn’t necessary, for the isolation, barrenness, and heat were punishment enough.

Expelled here and restricted in movement, opportunity, influence, and expression what did he do?

Revelation 1:10 says,

I was in the Spirit realm on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice…”

John, The Elder

The simplicity of his verse has always challenged me.

Here you have John, in exile and isolation, yet he chose to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. Choosing the Spirit over surroundings and circumstances drove him, empowered him and placed him in the position where God could reveal Jesus to him. Additionally, whether “the Lord’s day” was the Sabbath, or any day matters little. In fact, it would be an even more powerful image if John viewed every day on that island of isolation as the Lord’s day.

Those who study such things believe that John’s room of isolation, the place where he slept, is the place that he received The Revelation. There, through a crack in the ceiling, he received the vision of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. There in that Patmos Cave of confinement he heard the voice of God. It was there, that he chose to be in the realm of the Spirit, rather than the realm of the natural.

There was no denying where he was; on that rocky island, in that dark, lonely cave, cut off from others, persecuted by political edicts, or any number of other worldly circumstances. Each of them were very real and affecting the Roman Empire at large. His focus was not on them, though.

He chose to see into the spirit realm, and live in that realm regardless of the hard realities of his life in that cave. The payoff was enormous! Because of his choice, we have a powerful and beautiful, (albeit confusing,) revelation of who Jesus is and the victory that He brings to His church, His bride in the end. (I’ve read the end of the book, and we win!)

I am extremely challenged by John’s choice in his cave of confinement.

Great things come from caves of confinement. Look at Jonah confined within the whale; that brought deliverance to Nineveh. Remember too, Joseph’s multiple confinements yielding freedom for all of Egypt! No matter the prison, restriction or confinement in our lives, we can chose to see “in the Spirit”, not in the cave.

It was being in the Spirit, in confinement that he saw and wrote; Revelation 1:4-8

  • all the best to you from the God who is, the God who was and the God who is about to arrive
  • Glory and strength to Christ who loves us
  • who made us a Kingdom of priests
  • He is coming, riding on the clouds
  • people from all nations will see Him
  • He declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m the God who is, the God who was, and the God about to arrive”

And those are just the first 8 verses of His Revelation! His choosing the Spirit realm over his circumstances, caused the Spirit to explode within him with clear vision, and hearing on Earth as it is in heaven.

My Spirit is challenged and that challenge I want to share with you.

Some say there are parallel ages of man. Maybe so, but I think we can agree that The Roman Empire of John’s day and America, the world of today share many similarities.

I trust that another one just may be that in your cave of confinement, you too will “be in the Spirit realm on the Lord’s day” – today, everyday, and especially the Sabbath. May you too find a new, and powerful vision of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and His love and purpose for you. May you see beyond your cave and circumstances.

What comes from the cave of your confinement?

Go with God.

Simplicity

When I was in middle school, a hundred years ago, I had to take Home Economics class. It was a class in which I would “learn to sew”. Ha!

I dreaded it in advance, hated it in the process and afterward had a “skirt” that I made using a Simplicity pattern to show for my halfhearted efforts.

What a joke it all was. Seriously. Two things I remember from that class. 1. I never finished the skirt 2. That Simplicity pattern

Simplicity patterns have been around a long time. In 2017 they became part of CSS Industries along with all the other pattern companies, (Butterick, McCalls, etc.) and so there actually is no more Simplicity.

That’s kinda fitting, tho’, because haven’t you also found that simplicity, the simpler life has also disappeared?

I’ll never forget the time my husband and I spent in Kenya. Man, how we loved it, loved the people and LOVED the simplicity. It was, they were, amazing. Being there, changed our perspective and outlook forever.

How complicated our Western society has become. How consumer driven and comfort seeking we are.

We seemingly can’t live without so much superfluous stuff.

We are more stressed than ever, less active, less present, less healthy. Projects, appointments, events, and others wishes frame our days activities. We have trouble keeping up, then procrastinate which only adds to the stress.

World events, national politics, virus news, etc. only add more layers to our complicated life.

Simplicity. We need it. Our brains need it. Our health, physical and mental needs it. Our family needs it. Look around, is there any place or anyone who would not benefit from a good, strong dose of simplicity?

I really don’t have any magic beans to sell you here, nothing profound to expound upon or advice to give. You’ve heard it. You know it already. You get it.

May simplicity be our pattern for life.

Simple message today, simplicity. Start somewhere. Just start.

Cheers to the simple life.

“A simple, humble life with peace and quiet is far better than an opulent lifestyle with nothing but quarrels and strife at home.” Proverbs 17:1

Let Him

Sunday Sermon 2.13.21

Love is a powerful force. It’s potency is beyond measure and it penetrates all boundaries, obstacles and fears. Love can see what the human eye misses, and what our mind struggles to understand. It is transforming, refreshing, empowering, and yes, sometimes frustrating.

Decades ago (yes, I’m THAT old), there was a fad called “Glamor Shots”. Those of us who gave in to it found ourselves going to the mall, and into the Glamor Shot store for our appointment. We were then made over with a new hairdo, makeup and clothes for a photo shoot. Photos were taken in silly poses with props and looks that were s’pose to be glamorous. Then you chose which shots you wanted prints of, ordered them and went home to wash off the make up. (and try to figure out what to do the rest of the day with THIS hair!) I knew my husband wanted one, which is why I was there.

Yes, I caved and bought one (maybe more, I don’t remember). I remember the one because to this day, it sits on my husband’s night stand, in our bedroom! I’ve tried to replace it, throw it away, you name it. He’ll have none of it.

For years I asked “why”, and always got the same response, “Because THAT is the way I see you. You are beautiful and glamorous to me and always will be, nothing will change that.” (Talk about humbling…)

I have had to learn to let him keep the picture and let him keep his perception, because his love is powerful and sees what others don’t. (like me)

Perhaps that is why, in the greatest love song of all time, The Song of Songs, Solomon’s love song to his bride and an allegory of Jesus and His bride- the church, Solomon begins his song with the bride/Shulamite saying this:

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.

Song of Songs 1:2

In order for love to have affect we must let it, allow it. In order for Jesus love to permeate your life, you have to let him love you. He lavishes His love on you, chooses you, desires you, sees you as the theme of his love song and yet, you must yield to his love and let His love touch you deeply.

We each hold the key to how close we become with Him, and how much of ourselves we allow Him into. Isn’t that the dance of love relationships? Fear, trust, yielding, opening up, changing, safety, love.

Will we allow Him to express His love for us, faith in us and delight over us? Will we allow His picture of how He sees us to become our picture, too?

Love is a powerful force. His love is inescapable.

In Solomon’s Song, we have a vivid picture of how He sees us. Let’s take just a peek.

In this allegory, Jesus is the Bridegroom wooing His chosen maiden, the Shulamite. Male or female, Jesus is wooing you and speaking in tender words of love, affection and devotion to you. You are being called to come close and let him have your whole heart. Let Him have your passion, focus, love.

Scripture says, “What a person desires is unfailing love.” Proverbs 19:22 This is the love that Jesus lavishes on you. Unfailing, unconditional, pure, and holy.

Digest these descriptions of how he sees you, as written in just the first 2 chapters of Song of Solomon.

  • adored
  • lovely
  • beautiful
  • radiant
  • dear one
  • thrilling
  • strong
  • regal
  • leading
  • tender
  • graceful
  • darling
  • a rose
  • the theme of His song
  • companion who stands out
  • pure in the midst of sin

YOU. That is you, glamorous you. His love sees you always and only this way!

Over and over in Song of Songs, He, Jesus, the Bridegroom calls to His bride, us and says, “Come away, my beloved.” We are His beloved, His dear one, His tender love. He gently woos us to come away with Him, to come closer, to let him love us. To trust Him. To step beyond our fear and insecurities and trust Him and His love.

I’m here to tell you my friend, that the seasons have changed. This is the season of His love and season to love Him more deeply. Listen to the call of the Spirit (to you) in Song of Solomon 2:11-15:

  • The bondage of the barren winter is over and gone
  • The season of hiding is over
  • Rains of refreshing have come
  • It’s time to bloom
  • It is a season of singing
  • A season of pruning
  • A new day of destiny is breaking forth around you
  • My purposes and plans are bursting forth
  • It’s time for buds
  • It is blooming everywhere
  • Change is in the air
  • Arise, my companion, run with me
  • Let me see your radiant face & hear your sweet voice
  • How beautiful is your worship
  • How lovely is your prayer
  • You must catch the troubling foxes that hinder our relationship
  • They raid our budding love
  • They ruin what I’ve planted within you
  • Will you catch them and remove them?
  • We will do it together

These phrases are taken directly from Song of Solomon and the Passion Translation version.

These are His words to you. This is His love and desire for relationship with you. It is a new season. He wants to hear our voice, prayers, worship. He longs to see our face as we spend time with Him. He desires for us to bloom and blossom and bud with all that He has planted inside of us.

He also wants us to check for spoilers in our relationship. He called them the “troubling foxes”, those things that will eat up our time and focus, keeping us from Him, keeping us from fruitfulness. He asks us to catch them, then He tells us we will do it together.

He is absolutely willing to help us identify our foxes and then work with us in being free of them. He longs for our freedom in relating with Him. We have nothing to fear and a wonderful, intimate relationship with Jesus to gain.

Change is in the air. His love is in the air, it is inescapable and powerful.

Will we let Him love us? Will we let him change us? Will we let his picture of us become ours? Will we see ourselves through His eyes and in His love? Will we catch those troubling foxes and let Him help us be free of them?

Let Him love you, more.

Go with God.

Finding Your Jet Stream

Who would have imagined that a sixth grade, Oklahoma farm boy drop out, armed felon, ex-con, suffering from severe depression, blinded in one eye, would become a highly decorated, world famous pilot?

Who would have imagined that in the midst of his modest life filled with adversity, he would find his jet stream?

At the age of 15, he went to the county fair with his parents and there he saw what he had never before seen – a beautiful plane. With his love for mechanical devices and now the sight of this airplane, he knew then that he would become a pilot.

At the age of 26, his flight path in aviation began, not as you would expect however. He joined a barnstorming troupe as a skydiver. In that capacity, he made over 99 jumps, and for the very handsome fee of $200 a jump, but he never lost his dream of becoming a pilot.

It was in 1926, two years later that an accident on the oil rig occurred, where a flaming piece of metal pierced his left eye. The doctors thought he would be blind, but eventually the left eye was removed and he wore a patch over that eye from then on.

Now with no depth perception, while learning to fly, he used telephone poles and 2-story buildings to gauge the height of things. This made for extremely difficult landings, but he learned by practicing over and over and over. (In today’s setting he would never even be allowed to earn his wings.)

With pilot license in hand, he became a personal pilot for oil men and flew them to their sites and barnstormed on weekends. Having received $1,800 settlement for his eye injury, he bought his first airplane.

In 1930, he entered and won the Men’s Air Derby Race from LA to Chicago by more than an hour and a half and he even had a faulty compass.

It was in 1931 that he set his first world record for the first successful aerial circumnavigation by a single engine monoplane. After 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes, stopping only eleven times, in the “Winnie Mae” he had made it around the world!

He received a hero’s welcome and was celebrated at the White House and with a ticker tape parade in NYC. Following this flight, he bought another plane and wrote a book.

Not content or satisfied, he continued to press himself. Not knowing what was above him, only knowing he had to go higher and faster. (this turned out to be prophetic)

In 1933 he repeated his flight around the world, this time accomplishing it alone and using instruments that he had invented – auto pilot and the aerial navigational compass. This set another record.

Yet, still above him was his jet stream.

Even though a Japanese meteorologist had used weather balloons in the 1920’s to track upper level winds around Mount Fuji, our guy is the one who first began exploring high altitude, long distance flight. Working with Goodrich and Phillips Petroleum he was able to design a high pressure suit. This allowed him to fly at high altitudes, which had never been done before.

He was now able to fly at altitudes of 40,000 – 50,000 feet above earth’s surface. He was the first to fly at these altitudes.

While on one of his practice runs (remember, he practiced and practiced and practiced), he noticed that his measurements for speed on the ground and speed in the air were different. This told him that he was actually flying in a current of air.

He had found the jet stream.

Although the term “jet stream” wasn’t officially used until a German meteorologist used it in a research paper in 1939, it was our guy, Wiley Post, who made the first practical advances by actually flying in it in 1934.

He had discovered his jet stream. Literally.

If you have even flown on an airplane cross country, you, too have probably flown in the jet stream.

The jet stream is what makes it possible for me to go and see my sister from CA to NY in 5.5 hours, but coming home it takes 6 plus hours!

The jet stream is a fast flowing, narrow band of air currents high in the atmosphere, approximately 5-9 miles above earth, thousands of miles long, and a few hundred miles wide. They blow from West to East, which is why flights going East will always be faster.

Thanks to Wiley Post, now all airlines, and aviation industries have found themselves depending on and utilizing the jet stream. So too, do weather services, because the jet stream pushes weather patterns around the world. The position of jet streams helps meteorologists forecast future weather events.

Wiley Post’s life exhibited what he “discovered”.

You have your own forward speed BUT if you continue in it in an environment that is moving, it propels you faster.

He was propelled forward, through much adversity by his vision and dream of being a pilot and inventing devices to help him fly. The environment that dream created was like a moving walkway at the airport. As he stepped on it, it moved him faster in the advancement of his dream.

Then, one day, he flew into that moving current in the air, and there, he was propelled faster through the sky.

He had found his jet stream.

I trust that you have found your jet stream, and if not, it is still above you, waiting to be found by you.

Cheers to you.

Transformed

Sunday Sermon 2.6.21

No, not the amazing story of Remi Adeleke and his unlikely path to becoming a Navy Seal. (although it is worth the read, 2019), and definitely not pertaining to alien pods arriving in Hong Kong as portrayed in the 2017 movie.

Sorry, Chris Brown, this is not about your song “Transform Ya”, nor a spin off of Michael Bay’s movie franchise “Transformers”, either.

Transformed, it’s what is expected of believers, those choosing to walk with Jesus. Transformed, it is what happens to make a lowly grasshopper into a powerful swarm of locusts. Let’s put them together to get a picture of what could be happening in these days in the lives of those who are pressing into what God is doing. They are being transformed.

God’s Word is clear that if any person is “in Christ”, that is, wrapped in His love and forgiven of their sin, that person is a new creation. They are still human, of course, but they are now a spiritual creation not just a physical creation. They are a new creation in Christ, the old is gone and the new is come. 2 Cor. 5:17

The Word further tells us, that the new creation involves a transformation, one in which our mind is transformed, our thoughts and worldview is changed. Rom. 12:2

Keep reading- the grasshopper, locust part is coming up and very cool.

It is clear throughout the Word that Christians (those in Christ) are expected to grow, change, and mature in their relationship with Jesus. We become born again, start like babies, but then need to grow up to spiritual adulthood.

  • 1 Cor. 3:1 -infants in Christ
  • Heb. 6:1 – move beyond the elementary teachings… go toward maturity
  • 1 Pet. 2:2-3 – like newborn babies crave spiritual milk
  • Heb. 5:12-14 – solid food is for the mature
  • Col. 2:6-7 – rooted and built up in Him

As Christians, our mission is to be like Christ, that is the transformation that we seek. To be transformed into His image. This cannot happen with the waving of some magic wand and poof, we are miraculously transformed. It is a daily process of choosing and deciding to do what He wants, live His way, rather than our own.

In doing so, we are transformed, “metamorphoo” – changed into another form, inwardly, permanently by the work of the Spirit, all the while our daily, earthly, transformation is preparing us to take flight with Him one day to heaven, where we will see Him face to face, because we will be like Him – transformed.

Now onto the grasshopper and locust, because there is a connection, I assure you.

I don’t know if I knew and forgot, or didn’t know (age has it’s drawbacks), but grasshoppers and locusts are related. In fact, Wikipedia tells us that there is no taxonomic distinction between locust and grasshopper species. What?? The basis for definition is whether a species swarms or not.

grasshopper

Locust are grasshoppers that have entered into a migratory phase, swarming phase. Grasshopper and locust look alike but their behavior is different.

Why is this important to me, you ask?

Well, 1,400 years before Jesus, a report was given in which God’s people were said to be like grasshoppers in the eyes of their enemies; and in fact in their own eye site. Numbers 13:33

God’s people saw their enemies as giants, and they were right, (they were over 9 feet tall!), but they saw themselves as grasshoppers and therefore projected that view onto their enemies.

700 plus years later, the people of the earth are described as grasshoppers. Isa. 40:22

Later in Joel, 600 years before Jesus, we read about a locust army which God calls “his great army.” Joel 2:25

And the prophet Nahum, another 63 years after Joel, talks about guards and officials being like swarms of locusts. Nahum 3:17

locust

To clarify – God’s people are compared to grasshoppers and locusts. Not just the Israelites, as in Old Testament days, but believers today. All of God’s people.

If that is so, then what in the world do we as believers, new creatures in Christ have to learn from these invertebrates?

Transformed. That’s what.

Big groups of grasshoppers, prompted by drought conditions, actually transform into migratory locusts, which have developed a new brain chemistry, by having rubbed together when crowded on grass. Their bodies harden, they eventually develop wings and fly off in a swarm a billion strong.

a swarm of locust

They are transformed into a new creature.

In a crowded place of limited grass, the grasshopper shifts from “solitary life” to a group lifestyle called the “gregarious phase”. In the solitary phase, he doesn’t collect in groups, has a low metabolic rate and is sluggish. During the gregarious phase the grasshopper gathers in large groups, has a high metabolic rate and is active and nervous. He transforms many times in this state -first to a non-flying nymph or hopper, molting 5 times until he transforms into a strong, flying adult and ready to join a swarm.

The solitary phase is normal for the species. The gregarious phase is a physiological response to “violent fluctuations in the environment”. Reread that. He transforms from solitary to gregarious in response to the violence in the environment. (I feel like a locust now.)

This massive group of now mature, gregarious flying locust become a swarm. A swarms size can pack into a 1/2 square mile, but are as large as 40-80 million locusts. Locust can eat their weight in plants daily, so a swarm could eat 423 million pounds of plants every day. They have been known to devastate countries in Asia, Africa and the middle East.

locust swarms

So swarms of locusts are serious business.

The locusts ability to transform in response to serotonin being released is amazing. That serotonin triggers their Central Nervous System and the process of development from a solitary grasshopper, to strong flying locust swarm is mindboggling. For over 4 hours, the back legs of the grasshopper rub against the others in that packed space until eventually his entire inward system is transformed. He has become gregarious, no longer solitary. He is no longer a hopper but can fly, albeit not yet strong. Talk about a transformation?!

A gregarious locust/grasshopper will continue to mature and become stronger and larger and eventually join a band.

Terms worth mentioning about locust. When the gregarious bands get together, they are called outbreaks. And when outbreaks join together that is an upsurge.

These bands, outbreaks and swarms do not form where growth is favorable, no that would be too easy. Instead they actually grow where suitable habitats are scarce. When the bands expand, individuals are actually forced into marginal areas. (Are you seeing parallels here?)

Additionally, the sound of a locust swarm is deafening. The humming is overwhelming and in itself is an alarm that they are on the move. You hear them before you see them.

It is important to point out that locusts navigate using the sun. When individuals at the front edge of the swarm settle to feed, others fly past overhead and settle in for their turn leading. The whole swarm moves like a rolling unit with an ever changing leading edge, following the sun.

No wonder King Solomon said, “the locust have no king, yet they advance together in bands.” Prov. 30:27

Finally, at any point a grasshopper can become gregarious, if the conditions are right. Additionally, their transformation can be reversed or persist, and be passed on to their offspring. It all depends on the conditions. Now think about that! Wow!

Putting this all together.

I believe God is calling His people from the solitary, sluggish, grasshopper phase of being small in our our sight and only seeing insurmountable giants. He is calling us to grow, change, mature and be transformed into a gregarious, active, swarming and powerful Body of believers.

This transforming, maturing process has not been in favorable circumstances, but dry and violent ones where we have been pressed together and rubbing against one another. But in it and from it emerges a new creature seeking to follow the Sun as His mighty swarming army.

And the sound of His mighty army, is a sound of praise, and worship; the heavenly sounds of humming, singing and praise to our God. “The sounds of many rushing waters”.

The Kingdom of God is about to explode on the earth in outbreaks and upsurges. I feel it, I sense it, and by faith see it. That is why we are being transformed during these “unfavorable” and dry times.

Will you be a hopper or a flyer?

It’s time to be transformed.

Go with God.

You Can Do More Than You Think

It’s been just over a year ago that I sat down to do something I had never done before. Filled with questions, uncertainties, hope and worry, I stepped into unchartered waters trusting that it would work out for the best.

Driven by desire and conviction I set out to write; to share uplifting, challenging and humorous stories, lessons, and facts; to do what I thought I could, but wasn’t entirely sure.

They say, the first step is the hardest, and I believe it to be true. I am certain you could attest to that fact as well given your own experiences. But the truth is, you can do more than you think you can. We all can.

We are our own worst critic. We don’t forget our failures, and can rattle off our weaknesses in a split second. But ask us to note our strengths, and we all to often stall out and have trouble recognizing any that stand out, much less actually speak them out loud in front of other people. (maybe the dog or cat, tho’) We have been duped!

Psychologists tell us that it is necessary to have some degree of inner critic because it helps us to monitor our behavior. “We doubt ourselves in order to check ourselves”, as the saying goes.

Of course, a total lack of insecurity can be a sign of a narcissist or psychopath, and we certainly don’t want that either, do we?

But again, we can do more than we think that we can.

Who was it that said, “If you think you can’t, you’re right”?

We can always do more than we think that we can, but we won’t find out if we’re not willing to try.

Trying means accepting the possibility of failure, or hurt; but it is also your way to win! It is your way to take a risk on you.

Taking that risk, believing in yourself solves the biggest problem of all – taking that first step.

I don’t know what you’re facing, struggling with, or considering, but I do know that you can do more than you think you can. So much more!

Who knows, everything that you have ever wanted might just be behind that door that you haven’t had the nerve to open yet.

In this case, take advice from Nike – just do it, cuz you can do more than you think you can.

Cheers to you.

Word Pictures for 2021

Sunday Sermon 1.31.21

At the beginning of a new year, I suspect most of us do some sort of evaluations, projections and/or goal setting. For the last couple of years, that process for me has gone a bit differently and I’d like to share it with you.

Last January, (2020) when out walking and praying I saw a very unusual sight along my path. So, of course, I took pictures. Here’s what I saw:

Trail sign post cement foundation
Foundation up close

Here on the trail I was walking was a cement sign post foundation totally dug up, uprooted and laying exposed rather than firmly planted.

It’s job was to hold signs and point the way but the foundation had been dug up and it was no longer functional.

Trail sign post

The Lord used these images the rest of my walk to help me see what my purpose was to be in 2020. I was to be one who re-established the long lasting foundations and pointed the Way.

Now, as I look back over last year, I realize what I saw on that path last January was not just for me, but was a picture of our nation. Our foundations would be uprooted and signposts broken down in an attempt to remap America’s course. As you reflect on news images of tearing down statues and the like, isn’t that what we saw?

So this January, when I had the same sense that the Lord was speaking to me with pictures, I really paid attention. Could it also be that what He was showing me was a bigger picture for 2021? You decide, as I share.

Last week, I was in prayer, asking the Lord to show me His heart, and help me to see things the way that He does. Later that day, while at work, my glasses broke. The frame snapped and I caught the lens in my hand. My boss was on hand and assisted with the magic of super glue. I have since had to reglue the frame and see the eye doctor for new glasses.

Broken eyeglass frame

But within seconds of my frame breaking, I had the definite sense that He was telling me that He was breaking my framework of seeing things and replacing it with His framework for seeing things. I knew then and there, standing at Art Sea in Dana Point Harbor, that the Lord was wanting to break my way of seeing things. He was indeed answering my prayer to see things the way that He does. He wanted me to get new glasses, and I’m sure a new set of eyes altogether.

That very same week, I went to the boat to cover the dinghy in preparation for the coming rains. As I approached Lady Debra, I realized she was moving about the slip more than normal. I opened her up and then inspected her to find out what was going on.

Walking around the bow it was obvious that she was not secured tightly. The bow pulpit was bobbing and nearly bumping into the dock box. As I turned to the port side, I clearly saw why.

dock line, perfect curl

Do you see why?

Broken dock line, coiled perfectly, up close

How bout now?

Brocken dock line, obvious

The dock line had been broken in the high winds that we had just gone through. I had to replace it.

Dock lines are meant to be attached to the dock at one end and to the vessel at another end. Like this:

Red white blue dock line

Several days after the dock line incident, following a personal time of singing, “Take Me Deeper into You”, I had that sense again. That sense that the Lord was using this picture to speak to me. The message was, if you want to go deeper Debbie, you have to remove the dock lines.

If I want more of Jesus, more understanding of His Word and ways and more walking in obedience to Him; if I want to go deeper in my Christian faith and walk, I have to leave my comfortable slip in the safe harbor and “launch out into the deep.” Luke 5:4 I must cast off my insecurities and trust His direction out in the unfamiliar waters. I must release my dock lines, those things that keep me tired down to the safe and predictable Christian life.

Four dock lines have to be released before Lady Debra can leave her comfortable and safe slip. In my life, I am sure that there are those things that I hold to, believing they are my security; when all the while they need to be broken or released in order for me to launch out deeper into what God has for me.

These two visual experiences, the broken glasses and broken dock line are my personal word pictures for 2021. They will fuel me, challenge me and remind me of what I believe the Lord wants of me through this next year.

But could it be, that they are for US, too?

I am convinced that everything that can be shaken in 2021 will be shaken. Hebrews 12:27 That means, things that we don’t need will be broken off of us, whether we like it or not. The way we see things will change and and our lens must adjust. He is truly wanting us to see the world and all its people, plots and plans as He does. So we need a new framework.

Could it be that we need a new framework, a new way of seeing things because he is taking us to a place we have never been before. He is taking us out of our comfortable Christianity, where we have lived within the safe confines of our home or church and He is pushing us out into the deep, unknown, exciting life on the high seas of the Kingdom of God. Is He breaking our secure attachments so that we will trust Him while voyaging the unknown?

I do believe that 2021 will be another, different, rollercoaster ride, and for believers will be an even greater sifting time. What and how we see coupled with staying comfortable is up to us. Hot, cold, or lukewarm is our personal decision and one we will be held responsible for. Revelation 3:16

2021 will be exacting. I do not believe any of us will be immune to the Call of the Spirit to come closer, see from His perspective and move freely in the depths of His love, purpose and joy.

I’m in.

I’ve lived 66 years and I know that the best is yet to come. God is up to something fantastic and I want to be a part of it. These word pictures have helped to reaffirm that to me, even if I must leave my comfort zone.

I hope they have helped you too, visualize truth for 2021.

Go with God.