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
Please visit the archives at the updated website to check out any of our 253 blogs.
If you would, please leave a comment or send me a message, I’d love to hear from you.
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 vert 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.
As I share this blog post with you today, I feel compelled to remind you that you are not getting any younger. That’s profound, I know, (she said facetiously), but important for you and me to hear as we sit on the perch of another new year. No matter your age, you are not getting any younger and you are advancing in years.
This new years eve, as we turn another calendar month and introduce the new year of 2022, we see all too clearly it confirmed, that the years just keep on advancing. But as we keep step with our advancing calendar, are we truly making forward progress? Are we truly advancing, moving on, walking forward, and going on from where we were?
Because remember, we are not getting any younger.
Let me share with you why this is the absolutely, perfect time for you to truly advance from where you have been. First we will look at 2022 from a numerological perspective, then 5720 (2022’s Hebrew counter part) and close with a quick look at three people, who are perfect examples of advancing in years.
As basic numerology teaches us, the calendar year dates have numerological signifigance. “The first two numbers set the stage for the year and the last two direct that influence in a particular direction. So, the 20 in 2022 will remain powerful through 2099. 20 carries an energy of opposition from two contending forces with the challenge to find common ground.” (1)
22 – “is the most powerful number of all, as it is a master builder. It is associated with building the base or structure.” It is a combination of 11 but aslo 4, which are both powerful building numbers. (1) And let’s point out, that the Hebrew alphabet itself, has 22 letters.
It is based on these premises that Josh Siegel, states, “The future will be challenging but better.” He beleives that the next year will be all about getting back to normalacy and rebuilding our lives, especially focusing on balance in work and relationships. 22 is about bringing balance to the opposing forces in our life and working together. (1)
So, in 2022, it is time to get off the easy chair of our life and begin to seriously advance through the opposition that may stand before us. We have a powerful future to build, and we are not getting any younger.
On September 7, 2021 began the Hebrew new year of 5782, and it too contains insight for what the year ahead will hold. As you may or may not remember, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet each have 3 values. They have a phonic sound, a numerical value, and a prophetic picture or sign. This has been for me a fantastically, wonderful mystery to unfold and enjoy.
Each of the numbers (5782) has a pictoral and prophetic signifigance, but I will focus on just the 82.
We are living in the decade of the 80’s. (5780’s that is, not legwarmers, big hair, spandex or neon colors) The Hebrew letter “pey” has the numerical value of 80 and it’s picture symbolizes an open mouth. It has all to do about our mouth and language.
My friend, wasn’t that exactly what broke upon us in 5780/2020? It was all about the mouth. Cover your mouth, don’t share, speak, canceling mouths, etc. We seem to be living in a decade of this, as we can attest to what we have seen in these last two years. There may be slight changes, but it is still all about the mouth.
The Hebrew number 2, the second letter of the alphabet is “bet” and its name means “house”, or tent, and is saying very loudly that God is the strength of the house, and wise are those who build the house. Two also represents to divide, difference or oppose. We can understand that ideally there should be two that mirror one another, (as in the 2 shall be one flesh); thus making a true pair that works together like ears, eyes, nostrils, hands and feet. When 2 isn’t reflecting the positive side of one (unity), it denotes division rather than multiplication. (2)
Here are my takeaway from all these dates and numbers.
2022/5782 is a year for what comes from our mouth to be in alignment with God’s Word. The fullness of His word (22 letters) and what comes from our mouth should be building His house, and our family. Our words should be strengthening our family tent, members and thereby lending strength to the churches, synagogues or temples that we attend. What we say, reflects what is in our heart and this is the year for it to be dominated by faith. It is time to change the words we are speaking and build up our family, community, temple and nation.
This is why I was so moved to write about the tongue- eating louse a few days ago. We have allowed parasites to steal the power of our tongue and the freedoms that our speech has been granted. (See my previous blog, “An Awful Animal Allegory”)
During these days of division, and of opposing forces contending with each other, what we speak reveals what we are aligned with. Are we speaking Covid protocols, variants and mandates? Are we speaking faith, hope and God’s Word? Are we multiplying or dividing?
In the decade of the mouth and especially this new year of the family and house of God, where do our loyalities lie? Are we really advancing through the years or just surviving. Are we building up our homes, and their relationships or have we given up?
Lastly, I am reminded of three biblical characters who have modeled – advancing through the years.
“… both were advanced in years.”
Luke 1:7,18 ESV
These two, although probably well past 60, were no candidates for retirement. (nor for having children.) And yet, they were hanging onto every promise they had about their family and weren’t about to cave in because of opposition, division or long waits! Their family was gonna advance, by golly!
” And there was a prophetess, Anna, … she was advanced in years…”
Luke 2:36 ESV
Anna was cut out of the same fabric of faith that Zack and Liz were. She knew she wasn’t getting any younger and she still chose to contend for every promise that God put in her heart. She was definately advancing and not retreating.
At age 40, Caleb was recruited for a spy mission, with 11 others. He reported back after the mission that they were well able to take the land that they had spied out. He immediately faced opposition with a loud and convincing report to the contrary. After another 45 years of patiently waiting, look at his statement,
“… the Lord has kept me alive these 45 years… And now, I am 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength then, for war and for going and coming.”
Joshua 14:10-11 ESV
Caleb knew he wasn’t getting any younger, and he also knew that he was advancing in years and in strength and had been for 45 years! I want some of that!
To wish you a happy new year would be cordial, (and that I do), but my wish for you dear one, is that through this new year of 2022, you will truly advance in faith, and not just in years, that you will use a bold, open, faith-speaking mouth, and that you will multiply blessings in your family and not division. I pray that regardless of opposition, you will advance, grow, move forward become better and stronger.
May 2022/5780 see you strongly advancing in years. (cuz you’re not getting any younger.)
” Allegory = a story, picture, or poem that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning – typically a moral or political one.”
Beware, the material you are about to read is true and graphic and can be verified by any google search or research in science and nature, especially that of Parasitology – the study of parasites.
The poor snapper and carpenter fish are common hosts for this parasite, “cymothoa exigua” – or as it is affectionately called, the tongue – eating louse. It is a parasitic isopod (a crustacean with a body of seven segments each bearing a pair of legs). Growing a from 8 – 20 mm long, it is usually found in the ocean in the gulf of CA to Ecuador and parts of the Atlantic, in depts between 6-200 feet, but also identified in ground water, caves and even deserts.
That’s the animal part, now here comes the awful part.
This little louse lives in and around the gill of a fish. They are all males until maturity, at which time he may change to female. (protandrous hermaphrodites) This female then, enters through the gills into the fish’s mouth, and anchors herself to the tongue of the fish with her 7 pairs of scorpion like stinger legs.
With her 5 sets of jaws, each with long, lance-like teeth, she slowly drains the blood from the fish’s tongue until it antrophies from the tip to the back.
Having severed the fish’s blood supply, the tongue will eventually fall off leaving only a muscular stub. The parasite replaces the fish’s tongue by attaching to the muscles of the tongue. The louse has now effectively and functionally replaced the hosts organ.
As she eats the steady stream of nutrients from the fish, it too is still able to gain enough nutrition to survive with the parasite having replaced its tongue.
The slow and small blood loss doesn’t harm the fish, and the replaced tongue actually becomes sort of a prosthetic for the fish. The male parasites, still outside on the fish gills, will join her and reproduce, eventually having babies on the parasitic tongue of the fish.
After producing her babies, she will eventually release them to the sea for their survival. She will eventually release herself to the sea where, because she is now unable to swim, will herself die. A fish without a tongue has no chance of survival and too will soon die. Both the parasite and the fish won’t survive, this is a picture of true parasitism.
Tongue-eating louses are not harmful to humans (unless you see the movie, The Bay, 2012) but there once was a lawsuit against a large supermarket chain, in which a client ate a cooked snapper and claimed the tongue-eating louse (in the snapper) poisoned him. The suit was dismissed.
From this awful animal allegory of cymotha exigui, may we each gleen the hidden meaning intended for us to not become the clown that yields to a parasitic take over of our tongues and speech.
In this series we have found reassurances (from the lives of Job, Eliju, Esther, and Daniel) that even though our circumstances may seem to the contrary, we can still find ourselves in the right place at the exact right time.
As we close this topic, we will add the young lives of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus Christ, to those who have lessons to teach us.
#5 – Mary and Joseph – Carriers of Jesus
What were you like when you were in high school? How firm was your faith and trust in Jehovah God? Looking back, would you have considered yourself to be just, or righteous? How often did you attend synagogue, temple or church? Could it have been said of you that you “found favor with God”? Were you a servant of The Most High God? Did you obey God when He spoke to you? Did you do as He told you?
Most scholars believe that Mary was 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus and that Joseph was 20 or so. In our culture, that would have put Mary smack dab in the middle of high school, and Joseph barely out and finding his carreer path. Yet these two, were the chosen carriers of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Could they possibly be in the right time and right place?
Mary and Joseph – Betrothed
” Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin bethothed to a man whose name was Joseph… And the virgin’s name was Mary.”
Luke 1:26-27 ESV
What appears to be an ordinary, lowly, and young Middle Eastern couple on the surface reveals something much deeper and extraordinary.
These two were betrothed to one another. They were promised to each other, perhaps even an arranged marriage. The cultural norms of the day made it illegal to be married before 12 years of age or to live with a husband before 12.5. What ages they were isn’t specified in scripture, other than the hint given when Joseph offered 2 pigeons as an offering at Jesus’ dedication. (that suggests that Joseph was 20, as required in the Law).
What we do know is these two were extraordinarily devoted to Jehovah God and therefore we surmise to the covenant of marriage. A few paragraphs ago, I asked you about your high school descriptors, those descriptions – firm in faith to Jehovah God, trust in God, just, righteous, regular temple attendance and celebrations, “found favor with God”, obedient to what God tells you; these are all ascribed to either Mary or Joseph in the Gospel of Luke. These “kids” were in right relationship with God. They knew Him and wanted to please Him and were planning on doing that together in the covenant of marriage.
They were young people of impeccable character and moral fiber. What would have been ok for others to cheat on or lie about was not okay for Mary and Joseph.They were doing things the right way, God’s way, and they were doing it in their youth.
Mary and Joseph – Believed
Mary was just hanging out in her room when this angel appears and says,
” Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.”
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.””
Luke 1:28-38 ESV
Try as we may to understand and apply this to our lives, we will be forever baffled and amazed at this supernatural encounter. When God speaks the impossible to a lowly teenager and when she genuinely and humbly receives it and submits willfully to Holy Spirit’s overshadowing, our minds are blown!
Yet, not Mary’s. She asked how, God told her how, and she said, bring it on God, I am yours. Do what you have said, I trust you.
THIS IS WHAT FAITH IN GOD LOOKS LIKE.
Mary believed God. This high schooler was exactly where she was s’pose to be when Gabriel appeared, heard exactly what God was going to do and believed that God was able to do it in and through her. No doubt Mary was in the right place at the right time.
But how do you explain this pregnancy to your fiancee, family and friends?
Somehow, she found the words and told Joseph about the angelic encounter and the blessing of her womb with the Son of God. His response?
” And her husband, Joseph, being a just man, and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly . But as he considered these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ” Joseph, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you will call his name Jesus. Joseph woke from his sleep, and he did as the angel commanded him.”
Matthew 1:18-21, 24
No doubt overcome with questions himself, Joseph believed God. He beleived the word from the angel and he kept his commitment to Mary and their pending wedding. Joseph believed, too. Together, Mary and Joseph would become the carriers of Jesus Christand together they believed.
When you each have an angelic visitation, you can pretty much bank on the fact that you are in the right place at the right time, can’t you?
It is interesting to note, that not only did this young couple choose to believe, but there is an elderly couple in this story too, that believed!
Luke 1:7 describes Elizabeth and Zechariah as “both were advanced in years.” That for sure means not young. Hidden away in Mary and Joseph’s young life of being in the right place at the right time, is an elderly couple, also being in the right place at the right time. This elderly couple also believed God’s voice and promise. (Well, Zechariah believed after he didn’t believe. ha!)
Young Mary and Joseph believed. The advanced in years Elizabeth and Zechariah also believed.
Mary and Joseph – Became
Because of their faith, trust, and obedience, Mary and Joseph became the guardians of God. They were to steward if you will, (cuz that’s what all parents are called to do) their child who was really God in the flesh. They became the parents of Jesus. They became the family for Jesus. They became the tutors of God, the man.
This extraordinary, young couple, of impeccable moral fiber and godly character, fervent for temple, Jewish tradition, and Jehovah God were called to become the carriers of Jesus. They have become the cornerstone of Jesus’ earthly family, because they were in the right place at the right time, doing the right things! Therefore, the favor of God rested on them.
I believe that Mary, Joseph and even Zechariah and Elizabeth speak to us clearly of what God is looking for in these days, our days.
He is looking for those who will be carriers of Jesus to a lost and broken world
He is looking for those who will believe what He says
He is looking for young, old and everyone inbetween to believe his word and act on it
He is looking for those who will become like Him and become the family replacement to the dysfunctional family template of this world
He is looking for those who are committed to Him, as in betrothed to live and love only him
Now, and into 2022 is the right time to be carriers of Jesus. Now and through 2022, wherever you are is the right place.
Will you be a carrier of Jesus? Now is the time, where you are is the place.