Before refrigerators, people used ice houses to preserve their food. Ice houses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In the winter, when streams and lakes were frozen, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the ice houses, and covered with sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer.
One man lost a valuable watch while working in an ice house. He searched diligently for it, carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile. A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the ice house during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch.
Amazed, the men asked him how he found it.
“I closed the door,” the boy replied, “lay down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”
Often the question is not whether God is speaking, but whether we are being still enough, and quiet enough, to hear.
Cheers to your listening,
Excerpt taken from Phillip Gunter/Fresh Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching
There will be those who say that God no longer visits men as He did in days of old, but I am not one of them. The God I serve is the great I AM, which means that He is in every moment that we live. He is not confined to the pages of the Bible or the times that they reflect. These too, are the days when God is visiting (and wanting to visit) man(kind).
It is my opinion that what lies ahead for us, and I mean imminent, is a powerful, thurderous, outpouring of the presence of God on men and women. His presence brings release, revelation, fear, awe, miracles, judgment, wonder, and so much more. Could it be possible that the Great I AM would again visit people on Earth?
Could we see Him again like this –
” Now when the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightening and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled and they stood afar off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die. Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin. Then the people stood afar off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.”
Exodus 20:18-21 ESV
It is possible. But what is also possible is that this account has in it some truths for us. Let’s look into them.
We can say without a shadow of a doubt and support it with scripture, that there is nothing more powerful than the presence of God. Scripture is full of ways that His presence is demonstrated, including the description from Exodus 20. We read of thunder, lightening, splitting of cedars and seas, winds of fury, fainted men and women, fallen armies, foes defeated, miracle provisions, and overwhelming awe. People respond to such power by falling down, bowing down, covering their mouth, and crying out for mercy and forgiveness.
The first truth for us to hold onto from this is – God’s presence is real and powerful and we each must come before Him. None will be excluded.
The second truth to chew on is this – God’s presence brings fear. And if we look more closely at Exodus, we see His presence is intended to bring a level of fear to us in order to motivate us to not sin. When we have the proper “fear of the Lord”, we are gripped by it in a respectful and honoring way, so as to desire to please Him, and that we can demonstrate by choosing to not sin.
Scripture is full of what “the fear of the Lord” produces in us and it is all pleasant, peaceful, amd productive.
But there are those, who are like the guys in Exodus 20, who, out of fear choose stand afar off from God. They really have no desire to get close to that thunderous God, they are afraid of Him, and step away from Him, rather that toward Him like Moses did. They fear His voice, don’t want to hear it and don’t want to enter into God’s presence.
This then, is the third lesson. Out of fear, we can choose to step closer to God’s presence or away from God’s presence. And in these days, I am hearing that call… Step closer to His presence, closer to Him, and allow His presence to work in you all that pleases Him. This is a process of constant surrendering to His presence, but in doing so, in choosing to be with God, we are changed. The fear of the Lord does motivate us to live a life that pleases Him. And, by the way – it is a life of abundant joy, provision, happiness and strength. It is NOT burdensome or even close to boring!
Our final lesson from the account is this.
God is looking for more Moses-type people. By that I mean, those who willing choose to move to the place where God is. Those who intentionally mark their steps toward God and not away from Him. Those whose delight it is to be in His presence, be close to Him and hear what He has to say. Those who are not frightened to come near to this powerful God, because they know Him personally to be loving, just, kind, compassionate, as well as powerful, intimidating and holy. God is calling to those who will as a magnet, be drawn to where God is.
Although the book of Exodus was written in 1440 BC, in it we can find plentiful truths that have weight and significance for today. We can still learn from it and we can still be visited by a powerful God in a very personal way.
That Great I Am, who consumed in fire and smoke that mountain in Sinai where Moses met Him, is the same today. He is calling for us to face our fears and come to Him, admitting our sin, yielding it to Him, and allowing His passionate love to consume us and all of our fear. He is calling us to step near Him. He is drawing us to come closer and trust His powerful, lifechanging fire.
In these days, when God visits men, what will you do?
Perhaps you have heard of this tendency, or perhaps it is more easily recognizable because you have lived it. It is rooted in the neuroscience behind the power of our words and basically says,
” any word we hear, read or speak daily has more truth to us… we don’t care if it is true or false, we believe it.”
Icytales.com “The Power of Words”
Neruoscience supports the power of words, both positive and negative.
Researchers, while monitoring brain responses to auditory and imagined negative words, discovered painful or negative words increase IMP (Implicit Processing). What that means is, negative words release stress and anxiety inducing hormones in subjects. Imagine that now, on a daily basis and its affects upon you, me, us. Those negative words produce not only anxiety and stress in me, but also in the way I see my world. They have built for me the lens through which I see people, events and my world.
” Positive and negative words affect us on a deep psychological level and have significant impact on the outcome of our lives.”
“The Neuroscience Behind Words” – Business Relationship Management Institute
But positive words have effects too, positive effects!
” A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.”
Dr. Andrew Newberg- “Words Can Change Your Brain”
Dr. Newberg states that exercising positive thoughts can quite literally change one’s reality.
In fact, those positive words and ideas produce not just an illusion of truth, but a positive view of ourselves; and a positive view of ourselves, trains our brain to see good in others, because over time, our brain starts to change. (Dr. Newberg)
There is power in repetition. The more we read, speak or listen to a thing or idea, the more it controls us. Our brain uses repetitive words and phrases to search for meaning and make connections for us. That’s why –
” A repeated weak message is more powerful than a strong message heard only once.”
One single, repeated message can change your mind! (and life)
I know you beleive me. Look into your life and the words that have bombarded you. Look at their affects. Whether it be from a parent, teacher, friend, spouse, pastor…whether it be from the news, government, or CDC. ONE SINGLE, REPEATED MESSAGE CAN CHANGE YOUR MIND.
Words build present and future, but our thoughts are what become our words. That’s why I would like to challenge you to consider your thoughts. Because by exercising consistent, positive thoughts and speech, we change and how we see the world changes.
Therefore, I am calling on you to be intententional about what words you are reading, listening to and speaking. Turn off, shut out, and stop the negative words that have controlled your life. Now is the time. You can do it.
But then, your focus must be shifted to positive words and energy. Here’s a suggestion.
Write these 5 word pairs on a 3×5 card, or post-it. Heck, use several and make more than one. Then place these cards where ever you spend the most time. At your desk, on the bathroom mirror, on the car dash, near the remote control or game controller. Wherever you need to see these positive words repeatedly.
Authentic and Real
Honorable and Admirable
Beautiful and Respectful
Pure and Holy
Merciful and Kind
THESE are the words and thoughts that can change your mind, your outlook and world. These repeated messages will cange the way you see yourself and others. By focusing on the positive, the good, real, honorable, beautiful, pure and kind, we will begin to believe those things. It won’t be an illusion. It is truth.
The influences in our society are repeating ideas and words that are becoming reality to some of us. What a tradegy.
But we hold between our ears the world’s most powerful computer with the ability to reframe reality. Words predict behavior. Words become thoughts. Thoughts become actions. Actions become habits.
Let’s take the first steps to begin retraining our brain – away from the negative, ugly and destructive and turning to the positive, beautiful, and hopefilled.
Now, go get those cards or post-its and start that list. 🙂 Today, a new, repeated message begins, because we are thinking on these things, speaking these things, and watching only these types of things. We are shutting out and turning off all other negative words, ideas and influences. We are choosing to focus on those things that are:
I’d like to give you a visual metaphor that I hope will stay with you as a reminder each time you see these.
Powerlines of all shapes and sizes are scattered throughout the landscape of your life. Have you given much attention to them? Typically they only require our attention when they are not standing as they should, but rather, have been damaged in some way or their line has beed damaged, right?
Those electrical cables suspended between towers or poles provide energy to homes, businesses and everything needing power. They are power lines, they carry power and operate at voltages above 765,000 volts between conductors. That’s alot of power available, alot of power that you and yours are nestled under.
In these lines and supports we have a helpful, spiritual reminder of the power that is always over our heads and avaliable to us. Here’s what I mean –
Those lines represent the Omnipotence of our fearful and loving God, that is always hanging just above our heads. Here’s the meaning of His power, of His “dunamis” that is available to us:
” Dunamis = Strentgh, ability. Inherent power residing in a thing. Power for miracles, moral power, excellence of soul, influence, resources and resting on armies, forces and hosts.”
Strongs G #1411
His power lines are always energized, charged and flowing at full capacity. His power is not low voltage, high voltage or even ultra high voltage. His power created the power and energy in our sun, and it’s temperature is 10,000 degrees F at the surface, and millions of degrees F in the center. His power put those crazy atoms and their electrons orbiting with their energy in every single thing known to man.
Matthew 6:13- … yours is the power, oh Lord
Mark 12:24 – men don’t know the power of God
Luke 4:35 – the power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary
Luke 9:1 – Jesus gives us power and authority over all devils and diseases
Luke 10:19 – we have power to tread on serpents
Acts 3:12 – it’s not by might… but by the power of the Spirit
Romans 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel… it is the power of God
Friend, you are nestled under the power lines of God. They are surrounding you. Everywhere you look or find yourself, you will see His power lines. They are over your head and so, so close. (Unless, of course, you are living in a place without electricity, then you won’t see the power lines, but the power will still be there for you.)
But notice please, that those power lines, in order for them to be effective, are supported by structures. Each structure is designed to not only carry the load imposed upon it, but also withstand the elements.
Let’s look at the structure of these two poles first.
These two poles, supporting the power lines can respesent the two pillars needed in our life of:
Prayer – prayer has great power, James 5:16 tell us, and our prayer life supports the power of God in our life. Without the foundation of prayer, our power is not energized.
The Word – His Word is living and active, sharp and powerful. When it is hidden in our hearts and we live by it, the power of God flows in and through us, as does His power. Hebrews 4:12; Psalms 119:9
Our personal prayer life and the time we spend reading, listening to and studying the Bible are the supports in our life we must have in order to experience the fullness of the power of God.
There’s another type of structure that supports these power lines tho’. It is called the tower.
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.”
Jesus is our tower of strength. The Lord, Almighty, is where I run for strength, refreshing, renewal, hope, peace, and happiness. And THAT, dear reader, is the support I must have, to expereince His power in my life. The tower that supports my power is Jesus, and His name alone. There is no other name under heaven….
So let’s put it together,
God’s power for the miraculous, for moral rightness, for influence, healings, excellence and even the release of angel armies is available to us, always. And what sustains, supports, and releases that power is our personal prayer life, bible reading, and finding our refuge in His name.
You see, my friend, you are nestled under His power lines, but it is time for that power to flow in your life and be shared with those around you. The power is there, available and sufficient for any need that you or those near you may face. Jesus is omnipotent, and you are connected to Him. Let His power flow through you.
How then, are your support structures?
Your prayer life? Your personal reading of the Word? Finding your refuge in Him and not other sources or influences in your life?
I pray that everytime you look around and see power poles and power lines, that the Holy Spirit will remind you of these ideas and encourage you to tap into God’s power, allowing Him to flow through you, rather than just be nestled under the powerlines.
Last evening I was sitting on the patio just before sunset, when my vision was filled with hundreds of birds flying overhead, flocked together, and headed the same Southward direction. This was not the first time I have noticed these fancy fliers.
At our previous house, about 8 miles away from here, and 2-3 years ago, is when I first noticed these flocks, seemingly following the sunset. I found that I could darn near set my watch by them, 6:30 PM, October – March. It was then that my curiosity was stirred, but it piqued today, as I gave way to study for an explaination.
Why do they do this? Where are they going? What allows them to do so in such a scheduled way? How does such a large group of birds come together and head the same direction – happily chatting along the way, I might add.
They look something like this, except thousands fly overhead… they just keep coming and chatting. They don’t usually swarm and do fancy manuvers until they are over their roosting spot. My home, isn’t their roosting spot. So, all I see is bunches of squacking birds in the sky.
This is called a “crow murmuration”.
What’s happening is:
The birds are returning to their roosting site. They leave in the morning to feed, and return in the evening. Their roosting and feeding spots can be far from each other.
They fly in circular patterns to confuse predators, but actually their sheer size alone connfuses predators. Hence, this is literally called, “The confusion effect”.
They are flying to find their roosting spot and warmth during the cold winter nights.
These murmurations can number from 100’s to 1,000’s of birds, all flying at sunset.
During these frenzied flight patterns some pretty cool things are actually happening. The birds are exchanging information on feeding sites that they found during the day. But some are making their territorial mating calls – telling their partner where they are. Scientists tell us that birds communicate more intensively during sunrise and sunset. And, they are loud and noisey too!
Crazy, smart and loud birds, right?
How do they know where to go? And what about those birds that migrate 1,000’s of miles, non-stop? How do they do it and know their course? The smart ones, who study such things, tell us that these birds can detect the energy of the Earth’s magnetic field. Built within them, is some sort of navigational compass that helps them to travel long distances.
I remember teaching Life Science years ago, at the middle school level and teaching about the magnetic particles, thought to be in the birds beak. These particles provided a navigational map used in conjunction with the Earth’s magnetic field that kept them on course. These tiny particles are so small, the magnetic pieces in the bird haven’t even been located yet. Scientists aren’t sure where they are.
But the most recent studies tell us that there are proteins in the birds eyes that allow them to visualize magnetic fields. And so, their sense of direction is associated with this field. There is even some research to suggest there may be parts of the birds inner ear that picks up on the currents of magnetism in the Earth’s atmosphere.
So, is the bird equipped with what it needs to navigate in it’s nose, eyes, or ears? We really don’t know for sure.
You know what else we don’t know? We don’t know how their brain processes all this. Scientists don’t know the part of their brain that handles this process and they don’t know how it actually processes these signals which are translated into directions for the birdie. The area of the brain where magnetic directional information is processed is still not clear.
Even the homing ability of the homing pigeon is based on the “map and compass” model – which detects Earth’s magnetic field. That smart lil bird has served as messengers to deliver communication, signals and even compete in long distance races. They too, have an inate homing ability that most often allows it to return to it’s nest, using, you got it, magnetoreception.
So, whether it be in the ophthalmic nerve in the upper beak, a protein in the eye, or a current buzzing in it’s ear, these birds have been created with a device within them, to bring them home, that science does not understand.
Why would we think we are any less than these birds?
“He has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
We too, have been created with a device within us, to bring us home, that science does not understand.
We would be wise to learn this lesson from the birds.
This is the classic line, spoken (yelled more like it) by Tom Hanks, in the role of the coach of an all ladies baseball team, the Rockford Peaches. You’ll remember, Evelyn had made a bad throw and takes the loud and very emotional correction of Coach Jimmy when arriving back on the sidelines, and in front of everyone. This, of course, breaks her and she starts crying. The Coach, unable to process her feelings expressed in liquid words then quips, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
Doesn’t she know the rules? How can she cry? That’s not allowed. No matter the crushing feelings, there’s no crying allowed. Every tear, whether liquid words or not, must be stuffed, capped, controlled and shut down. That’s how you play the game!
Well, let’s step back from that great movie of 1992, “A League of Their Own”, and ask, is that how we play the game? Are those the rules that we are trying to live by?
no crying allowed
stuff those emotions
cap those feelings
control that pain
shut down that sensitivity
hide your soul
I recently attended a study that challenged those “rules” afresh for me. In that study, Christina said,
“Emotions are like children. We don’t lock them in the trunk and we don’t let them drive.”
Christina at OasisOC
She went on to include these statements…
” Feelings buried alive will never die” and “You have to feel it to heal it.”
I am telling you, these truths have rocked my world recently. They have challenged the lies and rules that have crept into my thinking that say, “Just suck it up”, “It’ll get better”, “Grow up”, “Take control”, “That’s not spiritual” and so on.
You see, our emotions are God-given. He has them, too. He gave them to us. If we lock them in the trunk and ignore their screaming, we are ignoring what He is saying to us. We are limiting Him. But neither do we allow them to drive our life. Somewhere there is a balance. Somewhere the rules have got to change.
This week, after setting out a while back to study the Psalms again, I had to press the pause button on that study, only a third of the way through the book. Why? There were waaaaaaaaay too many emotions and feelings being shared and I was kinda feeling overwhelmed. David and the other writers were sharing so raw and real, I was having trouble processing it all.
Look at some of these statements –
I was in distress
can you hear my groaning?
their words are unreliable
smooth talking deceivers
my eyes of faith won’t focus anymore
please deal with me gently
they give birth to lies
Lord, you seem so far away
don’t forget me
why have you hidden yourself
everyone lies, everyone flatters. everyone deceives. Nothing but empty talk, smooth talk and double talk. Words are weapons, twisted tongues, lying lips, high minded talk THIS IS JUST 1 PSALM, PSALM 12
Folks, these phrases come directly from the first 12 Psalms. (And there are 150 of them!)
Here too, is a short list of other emotions that we see in the Psalms.
We see clearly raw and ugly emotions expressed and not covered up or locked in the trunk of these writers. What we can learn from them is that our emotions and expression of them comes as no surprise to God nor do they carry judgment or shame from Him. They are our emotions, and it is for us to process them in His truth and mercy and not allow them to be stuffed.
Those emotions are like a check engine light in our cars. We need to discover the issue that is causing the light to come on. Not simply seek to ignore the light. Damage will ensue should we not find out why that emotion is lighting us up. (Thanks again to Christina for this picture)
Jesus is taking us down the path of alignment. He wants our head and our heart to line up. That means our heart must be connected not detatched from feelings and emotions. Therapists call it being “affected”. Allowing yourself to be affected brings your head and heart into agreement.
” I’ve wanted my words and my ways to always agree.”
David, in Psalms17:3
In these days, so many of us are dealing with feelings that are just plain overwhelming and the “rules” that have been engrained into us about the expression of those feelings is becoming unmanagable as well. Well, guess what… who made those rules and why are we playing by them?
We are made for so much more! You were made for authentic, whole, and perfectly aligned body, soul and spirit. But that does not come from playing by the “throw the kids in the trunk” philosophy. Learning to allow the kids/emotions into our car/life and seated in their rightful place is a lasting work that only God, our designer can help us with.
Our emotional God wants to heal in us the cause of that emotion, the actual issue lighting up the check engine button. Why we tend to feel that way, why we respond that way. He wants to take our hand and with us look at it, see it in His truth, and walk away from it free and embraced by His love, peace and purpose.
In our heart is the secret of it all. In our heart lie the secret issues that have led us to believe we cannot express or be free from certain feelings. Buried in our heart are the lies of our shame, fear, lonliness, betrayal and hurt. His truth must shine there and realign our feelings to His truth.
Your Heavenly Father wants you to be healed, whole, and live in the truth of His love. That means being emotional but Spirit led. That means recognizing and admiting those feelings but not letting them drive your life.
Today, you are one conversation with God away from freedom and authenticity, alignment of Spirit and soul. He cares for you, feels for you, longs to see you happy and free, not stiffled or shut down. Please don’t bottle things up anymore. Have that conversation with Him.
And one more thing, there can be crying anywhere your liquid words need expression, even in baseball.
I have been to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and our local Pechanga Resort Casino, but have never considered the liklihood of my winning big to be motivation enough for me to actually play the odds at any machine or table. I’m a square, I guess, I’ve never even purchased a lottery ticket either. Not like my brother-in-law who is a VIP winner or my sister who generally does pretty good. Guess it’s not in my DNA.
And on that topic of DNA, have you ever seriously considered the actual odds of you being born? Let’s talk about odds.
What are the odds of you being struck dead by a falling coconut? Consider – that hard ole shell of a fruit is about 3 pounds, and falling from say a 35 foot tree. That means it will reach a speed of 49 mph in it’s descent. When it hits you, it is carrying a metric ton of force – that means you will die on the spot. They do kill 150 people worldwide in a year according to a 2002 study.
The odds: 1 in 250 million
How ’bout your odds of finding a 4 leaf clover, or even that rare 5 leaf clover?
The odds: 4 leaf = 1 in 10,000; 5 leaf = 1 in 1,000,000
What are the odds of you being struck by lightening?
Odds: 1 in 500,000
All of these demonstrate crazy odds of happening and yet they happen. Yes, rarely, but they do happen and we have the statistics (and photos) to support them.
Well, back to that DNA related question we asked earlier.
What are the odds of you being born?
Here are the things that must be considered in order to calculate those odds.
The probability of your parents meeting – we could spend time here with hypotheticals, but we know our own parents’ stories. So I will just give you the numbers according to the mathematicians. The odds : 1 in 20,000
Then, the chances that they developed some type of relationship, enough for offspring to result. The odds:1 in 2,000
Next, 1 egg and 1 sperm getting together. A woman possesses 100,000 viable eggs and a man 12 trillion sperm. Considering only childbearing years that makes The odds: 1 in 400 quadtrillion
But we are not done yet. All of your ancestors had to live long enough to reproduce through the generations. That means, accroding to scientists through 150,000 generations!
Each of your ancestors had to be exactly who they were (through the exact same odds making gauntlet) in order to provide the DNA for you to be you. The right sperm and egg meeting for 150,000 generations of reproduction – that means one in 400 quadtrillion times 150,000 generations. The odds: 10 with 2,640,000 zeros!
Now, my precious reader, the odds of all of those steps happening, and you being born are
The odds: 1 in 400 trillion.
Dr. Ali Binazir describes it this way:
“Imagine a city of 2.5 million people (San Diego for example) getting together and each of them rolling a trillion sided dice, and all rolling the same, exact number – say 555,343,279,001!”
Dr. Ali Binzazir – Huffpost.com
Talk about the odds! Whaaaat? How could that be even fathonable?!
Let’s bring it back to you, now. The odds of you being born are what we are talking about. You.
Talk about overcoming the odds. Talk about destiny. Talk about purpose. Talk about value.
You were not an accident. You were an on purpose. Now be encouraged to find and live out that purpose.
Family is our topic today, so let’s start off differently, shall we? Play along with me…test your knowledge of some of the top 20 TV families. What’s the TV show called?
# 20 – A cartoon family about the Griffins.
# 19 – This real life family is of mom, dad and their 8 kids.
# 12 – The Bundy’s sought to bring humor to married life.
# 10 – Yet another cartoon family, this time with a snarky protagonist.
# 8 – A rich family raising a nephew.
#5 – Who didn’t love these adorable twins?
# 2 – This became one of the first blended famillies on TV.
#1 – The Arnold’s showed us a slice of down home wonder in a young boys family and life.
If you want to see how you did, scroll on down to the bottom where I’ve listed these TV shows.
There is another family, (of course, many other families) portrayed on TV that I want to mention – The Addam’s Family. Do you remember it? It was a TV series from 1964-1966, then again in 1973, and 1992-1993. This family was based on a fictional household created by American cartoonist – Charles Addams in 1938.
It’s members were Gomez and Morticia, famously in love, bizzar and even frightening to their neighbors. Their kids were Wednesday and Pugsley, and then there were the close family members, Uncle Fester and Grandmama. Let’s not forget the butler, Lurch, or Thing (that disembodied hand), cousin Itt, or the pets – Aristotle (octopus) and Kitty Kat (the lion).
Of this famed family, it is said, “Their influence on society ranks with that of the Kennedy’s and Roosevelts”. (Glamour Magazine)
“Their house (on Cemetery Ridge) was a wreck, but they were a close-knit, extended family. Supportive, friendly and hospitable to visitors.”
Accept that description or not, it is a remarkable statement. Stellar in fact, if you ask me.
Family is meant to influence society! Family is the basic buiding block of society. Family is the single, most powerful tool to build a strong, thriving cuture, and civilization.
Family. Familia. Jiating. Gajog. Familie. Famille. Sem’ya. Usra.
In every language, culture, and nation, the family is needed. Vital. Required. Wanted. Essential.
Let me emphatically add, that your family is essential, just as it is, with it’s personalities, and characters. Your family does not and will not follow the paths of the dynasties –
The Barrymore’s – Hollywood movies
Ford’s – automotive world
Mellon’s – banks & steel
Manning’s – football
Koch – business
Lauren – retail
Murdoch – media
Rockefeller – banking
Kennedy – politics
Walton’s – superstores
But the influence of your family, on society is JUST AS IMPORTANT as theirs.
Families come is all shapes and sizes, we recognize that. And so does God.
In fact, the Hebrew word that is translated by NIV and other translations as “family”, really means – “a circle of relatives; family; a tribe of people.” The word is “mish-paw-khaw” in Hebrew.
That means a family, is a circle of relatives, a tribe of people who surround each other.
For many, that will be a biological family relation of some sort. For others, that tribe surrounding you is not biolofical but perhaps spiritual or emotional relationships. None the less, these are a circle of people who have your back and you theirs. They are family.
All of us have times in our life that we scrutinize our family relations. We may even question our place in the family or the value of it or possibly even our own value. This is part of life. Part of maturity and growth. Look at these guys who did just that:
Gideon said to God, “Pardon me Lord, how can I… my clan is the weakest and I am the least in my family…” Judges 6:15
Saul too, questioned his family, his clan, his circle – “… is not my clan the least of all the clans?” 1 Samuel 9:21
Could you insert your name there, for Gideon’s or Saul’s? Or do you identify more closely with The Addam’s family, The Brady Bunch, The Kennedy’s, The Ingalls, or the Kardashians?
It has always been God’s plan to use your family to shape you. And that it has. No family is exempt. Weakest clan or strongest/most famous clan, God’s purpose is to use it to shape you into who He has designed you to be. Using the good, the bad, and the ugly in our clan, it develops in us the person and personality we allow. Our responses to those rubbings within the family clan, provide for us choices. Opportunities.
Hang with me here –
That “mish-paw-khaw” word for circle of relatives, family comes from another Hebrew word that means:
” to abrade, to stick out.” It literally means, to scrape or wear away by friction or erosion. To irritate or roughen by rubbing. It is the root from which we get our word abrasion.
Strongs concordance H 8192
Dear reader – doesn’t that sound exactly like your family? My famly? All families?
That circle of relatives who rub us the wrong way, irritate us and cause friction, who have bruised and scraped us raw…. Yeppers! That’s family. The ones who God uses to shape us, and rub off the rough edges of our personality and erode away those things that stick out from us that don’t belong. That is family. And that is what God designed families to do. (In addition to alot of other things…)
God placed each of us into our family of origin. We had no choice. But we do have choices now and how we choose to respond to the rubbing and abrasions of family will make or break us.
But more importantly, our family (and responses to it,) is what makes the backbone of our society. No pressure there, right? But it is true. Our families are meant to display the love of God, grace and mercy of God to the world.
God has chosen families from Adam’s family to yours to reveal His purposes and plans. Let Him rub, and refine you in your family setting and let His light shine through you and reflect off of you and your circle of relatives.
“Trashed” – not a pretty word. It carries all sorts of meanings, I know. But, let’s just take it at face value, shall we? When something is trash, it is used up, worn out, maybe even broken, old, and just plain done with. Right?
Well, it is my sense that those descriptors just may fit you or someone you know.
Allow me to expand that list:
can’t seem to focus
in the dark
You see, I know of a man, who’s life, I actually took each of these descriptions from. He used each of them to paint for us his feelings of being trashed. Check out one of his quotes,
” I am totally forgotten… discarded like a broken dish thrown in the trash.”
From his poems – chapter 31
Seriously, this guy was in bad shape. Every single description in the above bulleted list, comes from his poem book. He is totally trashed! He was squeezed beyond measure, hurting deeply and seeing chaos all around him.
His enemies were actually chasing him in hot pursuit to kill him. Physically kill him. This is not metaphor.
This guy understood being trashed on every level. He knew being squeezed, emptied, worn out, broken, used up and spent. He lived ups and downs, highs and lows, depression and ecstasy.
He had visions of where he wanted to be, what he wanted to be doing and the life he was currently in was NOT it. His dreams were dashed, his desires dried up and his drive destroyed.
So, if you, or that one you know is feeling trashed, you are not alone and not the first, unfortunately.
C’mon, at some level and for some duration all of us have been in the dumps – been trashed, haven’t we? Of course, we have.
So let me use his words, to encourage us all:
“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep waiting – for he will never disappoint you!”
Psalm 27:14 TPT
Such good advice to us:
don’t give up
don’t be impatient
be entwined with the Lord
never lose hope
He (the Lord) will never disapoint you
OKAY! I needed that. Such wisdom and insight, from someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be trashed. Thanks, David. (well before he was King David)
In my view, there’s probably nothing more calming and soothing than the sounds of a river babbling through it’s bed or a gentle waterfall over the smooth rocks. With it comes a deep sense of tranquilility, clarity, purity, refreshment and power.
It was during the Feast of Tabernacles (which, by the way, is approaching Sept. 21-27), that Jesus stood and spoke:
“On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit…”
John 7:37-39a NIV
Imagine a rustling, babbling river flowing through you, through you and the riverbed of your life, over every rock embedded in your personality. Imagine it’s tranquility, clarity, purity, refreshment and power.
THAT my friend, is the Holy Spirit flowing through you. And that, dear one, is what Jesus promised to those guys back then, and to you and me today. Rivers of living water flowing through those that believe.
So we must ask ourselves, is that river flowing in and through us? Is that waterfall of the Spirit, overflowing and toppling down, over the boulders, bushes, birds of the air?
Chances are the flowing is a mere trickle. Or worst-yet, a dry riverbed, lacking even the slightest bit of moisture. My new hero of the faith says this –
“Dear brethren, our eyes are dry, because our hearts are dry.”
Leonard Ravenhill – “Why Revival Tarries”
Are our hearts dry or is there a river of life flowing through it?
The Lord used this event and picture in my life this week to teach me a thing or two about this flowing river from within us.
I had determined to go for a walk with my husband yesterday and when we returned, I was going to clean the house. You know, mop, vacuum, dust, etc., etc. So we went for our walk and had a wonderful time outdoors, together.
When we returned home, I opened the door to the sound of a waterfall in my kitchen. Now mind you, we have no water fountain or any such water feature in our home, much less in the kitchen.
When I rounded the corner to the kitchen, this is what I saw…
Overflowing from the filled sinks was filthy, black water! It was flowing from the sinks, over the kitchen counter, down the cabinet wall, into the dining room and all over the kitchen floor. Under the cupboard was a collection of water, and the pipes were shooting this disgusting water from the lines.
And the SMELL. WAS. DISGUSTING!
I wish there was an APP for smelling, luckily for you tho’, you can use your eyes instead.
Short story now, the tenant above us was having plumbing work done, this we knew. We had previously had no blockage problems (last November we had a plumber out to clear the lines), so we thought we were good. Until we got home that is. Another plumber came out, cleared the line and we were left to clean up the mess. After 4 hours, we were on the road to “back to normal”.
But here’s the lesson I feel the Lord had for me in this.
“You Debbie, were content to clean the visible part of the house, but I am wanting to clean what is unseen. I am wanting to unclog the lines between us, unblock the emotions between us, clean up the stinch of lies that have polluted your image of how I see you, and open you up to the clean, refreshing, tranquil, pure and powerful flow of the living water of the Holy Spirit through you.“
WOW! WOW! WOW! I was undone.
You see, the Lord has been working on me, challenging me to allow Him to walk with me through past experiences that have shut me down, distorted my image of the Father, and misshapen my stand as His beloved daughter. So when this picture played out yesteday in my life, it was powerful.
The stinch, the blockage, the sight of unclean water all were used to help me see what He was doing in my life. What He was doing to clean not just the outside but clean the inside of my life, because from me (and YOU) is to flow rivers of living water!
Refreshing, calming, life-giving, powerful, rushing pure rivers of the Holy Spirit flowing through me. But first, I gotta get unclogged, unstopped, roto-rootered… I gotta allow Him to clean me up to feel, sense, think and act like Him. So all that smelly, grungy, flesh-life has got to go.
We could mention hundreds of bible verses here, but I won’t. I will offer this one that has been so magnified in my mind and prayers these past weeks,
“Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on the altar and wait for your fire to fall upon my heart.”
Psalm 5:3 TPT
You see, I am surrendering every area of my life to Him, afresh. Allowing Him to examine, reveal and walk me through the healing that is needed so that my heart will be passionately on fire for Him and clean, refreshing and powerful rivers of living water of the Spirit will flow through and from me.
It took a waterfall in my kitchen to speak powerfully to me and I hope that through it, He has spoken to you too.
Flow through us in purity, Holy Spirit. Unstop and unclog us. We yield to you.
Pick a song with heart in the title. Go ahead, think of one.
Did you pick one of these top 5 or from another genre?
My Heart Will Go On
This is How a Heart Breaks
Un-break My Heart
Cold, Cold Heart
We sing about the heart often, don’t we? And we even have tons of phrases and idioms about the heart, like:
a big heart
eat your heart out
out of the goodness of your heart
with all your heart
But do we think about the heart very often? Seriously? What consideration do we give to that organ so critical to our survival? Well, today, I’d like to change that.
Let’s consider your amazing heart –
That one pound, fist-sized muscle that sits toward the center of your chest, that pumps blood through your body, bringing fresh, new oxygenated blood to each organ, while removing waste products and keeping them away from your tissues.
It is the work horse of your body, beating 100,00-115,000 times a day, circulating 2,000 gallons of blood every day, through a network of over 60,000 miles of stretched out blood vessels. (That’s enough for 2 times around the world!)
Think about what it does everyday within your chest, and most likely without you even being aware.
Your heart’s main function is to keep blood full of Oxygen and circulating through your body. It pumps blood through a system of blood vessels and that’s called circulating. The vessels are elastic, muscular tubes that carry blood to the entire body. Blood of course, is essential for life.
The heart carries fresh blood, filled with Oxygen, from the lungs and keeps wastes like CO2 away from our tissues. Arteries are the highways that carry the blood away from the heart. Veins take the blood back to the heart for their dose of Oxygen and waste removal. The capillaries are small, thin blood vessels that connect arteries and veins and it is through the capillary walls that the wastes leave.
I NEVER think about this stuff. (Unless I have a lesson to teach on it) Do you? The heart just does it’s job, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub. It just keeps on ticking…
That heart beat itself is triggered electrically! There are specialized cells called the SA node (sinoatrial node), that actually generates an electrical stimulus, 60-100 times a minute. Then there’s another set of cells that coordinate the speed of the signal, by slowing it down, so that the blood gets ejected from the atria to the ventricles before the ventricles contract. Otherwise, you’ve got big problems.
Then there are those ventricles and antrim. You remember them from Biology, right? The four chambers on the inside of your heart…
The four chambers of your heart are hallow and divided by a wall called the septum. The top two chambers are the atria, and the botom chambers the ventricles. Connecting each of the four chambers, are four, one-way valves, whose job it is to keep the blood from flowing in the wrong direction. Each valve has two or three leaflets or cusps.
Blood enters the right side of your heart and empties Oxygen poor blood into the right atrium. The atrium contracts, the ventricle fills, contracts and blood leaves through the pulmonary valve. It is Oxygenated and returned to the left atrium.
On the left side, the pulmonary veins empty Oxygen rich blood from the lungs into the left atrium. The atrium contracts, blood flows to the left ventricle, then contracts causing the blood to leave the heart through the aortic valve to the body.
In the lungs, in those tiny air sacs, Oxygen travels through the walls of the capillaries into the bloodstream. And, CO2 leaves the body when you exhale! Whew…
Again, all this happens without so much of an intentional thought about what miracle is occuring within our chest.
Although blood circulates beautifully through the heart receiving Oxygen and ridding itself of wastes, the health of the organ itself is maintained by specialized arteries on the right and left outsides of the heart. They are called coronary arteries.
These arteries become diseased when plaque builds up in them and prevents the heart from getting what it needs. This is called Coronary Artery Disease, CAD. My father passed away due to this, with a 96% blockage in his artery. I can still remember the nurse showing me the image of the blockage!
This is why, for the health of our heart, we are encouraged to exercise, eat a well balanced diet and avoid damaging causes (like smoking).
So, whether we are talking about the smallest of all hearts, as found in the Fairy fly, or the largest, as found in the whale, the heart is amazing!
Whether it is pumping in a person’s chest, or has been disconnected from the body, and is still beating, the heart is amazing.
It’s design, function and efficiency is amazing.
Whether the heart of that 1 minute old baby, the youngest to undergo heart surgery, or in the 3,500 year old Egyptian mummy, the earliest to be identified with heart disease, the heart is amazing.
To know CPR and be able to bring back “to life” a heartbeat, is amazing! (We all should know CPR, in my opinion)
So, my friend, I know your heart is in the right place, and I pray, that out of the goodness of your heart you will take heart, and with all of your heart be grateful for your amazing heart.
In 2015 the Collins English Dictionary chose “binge-watch” as the word of the year. Wow!
According to research, “this is an observable cultural phenomenon that has become popular”. 61% of Netflix peeps say that they binge-watch regularily. Are you one of them? (No judgements here, jus’ wondering…)
I believe there are lessons to be learned from observing and evaluating cutural trends and happenings. So, what about binge-watching?
Well, let’s look at it… in it, (binge-watching), we are not just watching but over watching or marathon watching. In other words, there is an over emphasis on what we watch and are watching. What types of things do we watch?
Could we say that there is an “overwatching” of these things? An overemphasis on some or all of them? I agree that the prolonged watching of these is a cultural phenomenon. But I also believe that there just may be a spiritual reason behind the why? (or maybe, more that one reason) Here’s why.
It is clear that we are living in days that we must be on watch, and aware of what is going on around us. There is a call in our spirits to be watchful, aware, on guard and awake. The verses from the Bible, both Old and New Testaments are being trumpeted, “WATCH and PRAY”.
Mat, 26:41 – Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation
Lk. 21:34-36 – Be careful or your heart will be weighed down…be always on the watch and pray
Mk. 13:37 – Be on guard, be alert…therefore keep watch…
Eph. 6:18 – praying always with all prayer… being watchful
1 Thes. 5:6-8 – let us watch and be sober
Rev. 3:2-3 – be watchful and strengthen the things that remain
Rev. 16:15 – blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments
2 Ki. 9:17 – keep watch and warn the townspeople
Ezek. 33 & Hos. 9 – watchmen be on guard and warn God’s people
Could it be that the Call of the Spirit to believers, to watch and pray in these days is being inverted by the enemy? Could the rise in binge-watching, and even its declaration of or designation as “word of the year”, be a perversion of the Call of the Spirit to watch and pray?
Could the enemy be terrified of believers who would actually hear that call to watch and pray, and rather set a plan in motion to distract them by any means possible, including his counterfeit – binge-watching?
Would you agree that since 2015 the need to watch and pray has increased exponentially? I think that the enemy knows his end is eminent and has unleashed every lie, plot and strategy to delay his demise. Folks, it is time to watch and pray.
How do you watch and pray, Debbie? What do you mean?
Think of the two words:
WATCH – open your eyes, look around, notice things close and far, notice the visible and be alert to the invisible/spiritual. Look up, turn on the light, and keep looking closely in the dark.
PRAY – offer prayers of all kinds to God
All of us can do this. It is not difficult, but it is costly. It costs our time, energy, and interest.
With all that there is to observe today in our world, in our life, watching should be easy. But our interest must be there, because to pray to God takes more than our interest. We don’t need any special qualifications, we just need to do it. Offer prayers, plural, to God on behalf of what we are seeing, what we have observed, what we are watching.
When we do that, we are acknowledging that we see what’s happening and are powerless to do anything about it, our God is not, however. Therefore, we offer it to Him for His help. We pray to Him. The self-righteous person won’t do that though, for he thinks that he “can handle it.”
When we choose to watch and pray, we are admitting that we can’t handle it but we know who can and we willingly ask for His help in that needy situation.
Whatever you are watching happen in your life right now, I am asking you to pray about it. I don’t care what it is. If you have watched it happen or are watching it happen, please pray. Lift your heart and prayer to God. Yield to His way and power. I promise you will experience a tremendous lifting and peace.
If you can see it (physically or spiritually), you can pray about it. YOU can.
That place we have just described is the starting point of prayer for all of us. Keep awake, watch, notice and then pray about it.
But for some of you, there is more.
You are called to be a watchman! A person who’s job it is to stand guard on the wall of your family, or city, or church or nation and sound the alarm when you see enemy invaders coming. When you see these invaders you move into intercession – deep and passionate prayer for that one, city, church or national situation. You, the watchman, challenge wrong laws, morality, and teaching through prayer and strategic intervention. You watch and pray, but you are a watchman.
With three short blasts, the watchman calls for his supervisors to come and he reports what he has seen to them. Oh watchmen, will you blow your trumpet, and sound the alarm, and signal for the hosts of heaven to come and bring aid?
Today, from their stations, the Israeli Defense Forces guard the local residents of the villages against unwanted attack. They are the “shomer” (Hebrew) security guard; the same Hebrew word used in Psalm 121, when it speaks of Jehovah, the One that watches over us.
God is watching over us, but He is looking for those who will “stand in the gap” and pray when they see invaders. Ezk.22:3
My new favorite hero, Leonard Ravenhill said, “No man is greater than his prayer life.” Folks, your prayers don’t have to be pretty or flowery – geesh, have you read the prayers of the Bible? But your prayers do have to be authentic, intentional and directed to God.
Where can you improve and increase your prayer life?
I believe the word of the day spiritually is – WATCH (and pray), (three words, I know). Don’t let the devil’s counterfeit distract you – you are made for more than binge-watching.
Go with God,
PS- Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be accused of over binge-watching and praying?! Ha!
Twenty years ago, America was a different nation, not just because George Bush was president or Tony Blair UK’s Prime Minister. We traveled freely without security checks, walked people to their gates at airports as they departed, and greeted them at their gates as they arrived. Tickets and photo ID’s weren’t required for entry to the gates, laptops were’t checked, liquids weren’t restricted nor metal dectors used to screen passengers.
We did not live in a surveillance state, calls were’t hacked nor written communications filtered. There was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or The Patriot Act. There was no war in Afghanistan or heated tensions in the Middle East. Things were different in America.
What changed things so drastically? September 11, 2001 did.
On that beautiful, clear, and sunny Tuesday, the unthinkable was about to happen to America.
September 11, 2001 was the day that nineteen terrorists of Al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and used them as guided missles in their plot against America. Two airplanes were flown into the Twin Towers in NYC, one into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and one in the fields of Pennsylvania.
At 8:45 AM EST, a Boeing 767, with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, crashed into the North tower at the 80th floor, creating a hole to the 110th floor.
Most watched in horror as they considered this unbelievable accident that must have just happened, for a plane to veer off course and mistakenly hit this tall landmark in Manhattan.
Eighteen minutes later, the South tower was hit at the 60th floor. It was now clear, that this was NOT an accident.
America was under attack.
At 9:45 AM EST, the Pentagon was hit on the West side. While this was burning, fifteen minutes later the South tower of World Trade Center collapsed due to the heat of the jet fuel.
At 10:30 AM, the North tower fell. Only six in the towers at the time of their collapse lived.
In flight at this time was the fourth plane, which was hijacked after leaving New Jersey bound for San Francisco. Because of it’s later take off delays, passengers aboard Flight 93 were receiving calls and texts from loved ones telling them what was going on. Although on board, they were told that their flight had turned around and was returning to the airport, passengers knew differently.
So they planned to overthrow the hijackers. It is believed they stormed the cockpit in an effort to abort the evil attack that had been planned for this guided missle. As they did, the plane flipped and sped to the ground at a speed of 500 mph. It crashed in the fileds of Shanksville, PA at 10:10 AM. Fourty-four on board will killed. It is believed the intended target was the White House, or the Capital.
In NYC, the casualities were enormous. 2,763 died at the WTC, including 343 Firefighters and Paramedics, 23 NY police officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Officers. Citizens of seventy-eight countries were employees of the Towers and lost their lives that day.
At the Pentagon, 189 were killed. 125 were killed on the ground and 64 on the plane.
Nearly 3,000 innocent’s died that day.
President Bush led America’s response by initiating Operation Enduring Freedom, a US led coalition to oust the Taliban and destroy Osama Bin Laden’s network, on October 7, 2001. Two months later, the Taliban was removed from operational power in Afgahnistan.
Osama Bin Laden, the money and brain behind the attacks was tracked down and killed on May 2, 2011.
Additionally, The Department of Homeland Security was formed as a Cabinet post, the TSA was formed and the Patriot Act was passed, allowing for surveillance of citizens and others.
The impact of that day was far reaching.
The “Pile” of rubble that remained in NYC took 9 months to remove. From its burning fumes and toxic particles, the first responders and people working and living in Manhattan were exposed to cancer causing elements. By 2018, 10,000 people were diagnosed with 911 related cancers.
A 911 Victim’s Compensation Fund was formed and funds set to stop in 2092.
In December, 2001, Congress approved a bill calling for September 11 as Patriot’s Day.
Since that horrific day, memorials have been built at each site. They are each well worth visiting.
At The World Trade Center site, two reflecting pools were built with 152 engraved, bronze panels, surrounding the pools with the names of those lost that day. It is called, “Reflecting Absence”.
On September 11, 2011, the museum opened up, taking you a level below ground to view the violent distruction that tore our hearts that day. It’s power rivals only that of the Holocaust Museum. It is heartwrenching.
In November of 2014, The Freedom Tower, at One World Trade opened, standing proudly at 1,776 feet tall!
THIS day in American history, was MY Pearl Harbor!
In Honolulu, on December 7, 1941, they lost 2,403.
Both have changed America and the world.
It is my sincere hope, that we will never forget September 11, 2001, not out of vindictiveness, but out of a call for remembering truth and the patriots who gave themselves in that pursuit. Most of them unknowingly that day.
We know and we must never forget. THAT is the duty and privilege of a partiot.
On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed into law and act that made Labor Day a legal, federal holiday. Why? What’s the story behind it?
During the 1800’s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the US, the average American worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week to eke out a basic living. Kids as young as 5 worked in mills, mines and factories across the country, earing a fraction of what the adults were making, yet still, working to help support their family.
Conditions for these work places were unsafe, there was no fresh air, sanitary facilities or even breaks allowed. As manufacturing replaced agriculture, the labor unions increased, seeking to provide better conditions for the American worker.
Strikes were organized, rallies and protests promoted and the workers stirred to speak up for better hours, waged and conditions.
Riots broke out in various places, such as the Haymarket Riot of 1886, in CHicago, where several police officers and workers were killed. (Some things never change in Chicago..)
Or the protest of 10,000 workers in NY who marched for their rights.
But it was on May 11, 19894, that the Pullman Palace Car strike changed things. After the American Railroad Union called for a boycott of this RR, (June 26) traffic was crippled nationwide and riots broke out. Federal troops were dispatched and there were more than a dozen deaths.
On June 28, 1894, President Cleveland signed the act of having a “working holiday” into law. It has since been called Labor Day.
None of us can appreciate the unbelievable sacrifices, long hours, unhealthful, and even brutal conditions of these early workers. There was no such thing as working 9-5, with required 15 minute breaks, PTO, benefits, and a break room with food and drink.
Today, we have the US Department of Labor, which was formed on March 3, 1913 and (grudgingly) signed off by President William Taft to protect our rights and privilidges as an American worker or employer. Formed to help workers, job seekers and retirees by creating standards for occupational safety, wage, hours and benefits, we all have benefitted from it’s oversight.
But it wasn’t always so. Like most things we enjoy today, someone else, before us, paved the way for us. They have paid a price and sacrificed. They lived a harder life and we have learned and grown and improved from their experiences.
So, the first Monday of September, we celebrate Labor Day. A day when we remember the American worker and their progress, advancement and hard work. We take “a working holiday” and say good bye to summer as we may BBQ, and enjoy the privilege of working in America.
The fact that you are reading this right now is super exciting, because God has something to say to you. Yes, YOU, and YES he does.
He is calling to your heart, speaking to your spirit and inviting you to come closer to Him. Step closer, lean in towards Him with total confidence and peace that He will not reject you. You will receive total acceptance from Him.
This is the verse for you to consider –
” Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you.”
James 4:8 TPT
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
James 4:8 NIV
Reverberating through my spirit is His deep longing for you and me to come closer to Him. Closer than we have ever been. Lean in to Him and not away from Him. Bring our heart closer and closer to His heart. There is a strong yearning that He has to be close to you, to share with you, hear from you and love on you. There is no shame, judgment or anger – He just wants to be your Heavenly Father, in a perfectly loving relationship.
Whatever thoughts or emotions you have that war against His invitation to be close to you are simply lies!
There is no act of comssion or omission that His love for you cannot forgive and remove. There is no need for shame, guilt, or humiliation before Him, He despised it and conquered it on the cross of Calvary for me and you.
He will not reject or expose you if you come near to Him.
We all carry our sin and shame and yet He conquered it and removed that barrier when the veil of the temple was torn at His death. He destroyed that shameful separation forever.
At first, we come near to Him asking Him to forgive us of our sins, for Jesus paid the price for our sin on the cross. When we do, He, the Father, forgives us and washes us clean of our sin. In Him now, we are a new creature. The old is gone. We have taken the first step in coming near, bringing our heart before Him and He has come near to us. This is the greatest experience that any human can experience on earth!
But that is not the end of coming near to Him. Not at all.
From there, we each must learn to not just come near to Him, but stay near to Him. Remember, we move closer and closer to Him.
John, the disciple is called “The Beloved”. Why? It is said, because he loved Jesus the most – he laid his head on Jesus’ chest. (at the Last Supper) John, truly leaned in to Jesus. John couldn’t really get much closer to Jesus. He was actually touching the Savior, leaning into His chest. Hearing His heart. Feeling His breath.
I hope this isn’t odd to you or misinterpreted. But John is showing us what it truly means to “Come near to me”.
David, in the Psalms, says this –
“There is a secret place reserved for the lovers of God, where they sit near Him and receive the revelation-secrets of His promises.”
I wanna sit in that secret place with Jesus, where He and I talk and share, where I feel His heart and experience the power of His breath. Gosh, could it be that He would reveal to me “revelation-secrets”??? David experienced this, this place, this intimacy with Jesus. This close place.
David’s son, Solomon, says this,
“… every tender lover finds friendship with God and will hear His intimate secrets.”
Proverbs 3:32 TPT
Friend, God is tenderly and relentlessly calling you to “Come Near” to Him.
Wherever you find your relationship with God today, He is calling you closer. He is calling you to “Come closer and closer”, closer than you have ever been. Lean in to Him. Come near to Him.
We have an open invitation. In my view, we would be foolish to refuse it.
I feel many have been in a perpetual holding pattern for the past fifteen months. So many things have been placed on hold, deferred, declined, shied away from or just plain canceled. This has affected all areas of life, personal, professional and most seriously spiritual. Many have put off things that are now time to get going.
There is merit in addressing lost jobs, vacations, and the like, but I’d like to focus on lost spiritual ground, spiritual assignments and spiritual standings. What in that arena do you need to get going?
Can you visualize an ox goad?
That wooden tool, about 8 feet long, with an iron spike at one end. It was used by the herder to goad or spur the oxen as they carried the cart. When the ox was poked, it’s response was to sometimes kick against it in resistance. This of course was not only futile but also painful for the ox.
The dictionary tells us that a goad is:
” an agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimuls. Anything that acts to stir or incite.”
Cambridge dictionary says this:
” to make a person or animal react or do something by continuously annoying or upsetting them”
It is my strong, personal sense that we are being urged, prodded, poked and perhaps even annoyed or upset by the sharp end of the goad. We are being encouraged and stirred to do something, change course, and redirect. The prod and poke of the Spirit is urging us to get going.
Let me suggest to you the following acronym that came to me as I considered the goal of the goads.
The Goal of the G.O.A.D.S.
G – get us going (in the power of the Gospel): stirring us to act, move and speak in line with the gospel and it’s truth, light and power
O – optimize the oxen’s strength (our stength!) : the oxen has strength to carry a heavy load and yet it often chose to rest, sit, and stay put. The goad poked him to action and to utilize the strength that he has. We are that oxen oftimes.
A – assess the actual progress : weight bearing oxen had to advance and make progress each day, there was a job to be done and his progress was vital. No forward motion led to a poke or a prod to get them to gain ground an move forward. Progress was expected everyday!
D – direct away from danger, to deter certain actions: the goad often guided and directed that ox away from predators, or any other dangers in the road ahead. That nagging, sharp, annoying voice (goad) was protecting and redirecting
S – spur us on: as annoying or upsetting as the goad can be, it was only intended to spur the ox in the right direction, on the right path, pulling the load is was meant to with the strength it has been given.
I have trouble visualizing an ox kicking against that ox goad. How could its hoof and leg actually manage to hit that pointy, poking, prod? Really?? It’s kinda funny.
But isn’t that what we do? We kick back at those subtle pokes of the Spirit because we know that He is calling us to get moving and get with it. We are being encouraged to do something that what we are not comfortable with and our stubborn as an ox spirit oftimes resists.
But God said, to the soon to be Apostle Paul:
“It is hard for you to kick against the goads”
Acts 26:14 NIV
“You are only hurting yourself when you resist your calling.”
Acts 26:14 TPT
Dear reader, when we resist the pokings of the Holy Spirit goad, we are only hurting ourselves. We are resisting the very calling He has placed on our lives.
Remember, those promptings and pokings are intended to get us going with optimal strength on a path forward, actually making progress and guarded from danger. That goad is spurring us on and stirring us up.
Geesh, if we were walking fully submitted to the GOAD (voice of the Spirit), we could be doing the same as Shamgar, who is said to have killed 600 with an ox goad. Or perhaps even be as the wise one in Ecclestiates, of whom it is said their wise words were like ox goads.
All I know folks, is it is time for all believers in Jesus to get going! You cannot be doing now, the same things you were doing fifteen months ago! If nothing has changed in your spirit, then you have not responded to the goadding of the Spirit in your life. If you are stuck, it is time to yield to the goad and get going. If you are resisting that goad, you are only hurting yourself. There will be futility and pain.
The world needs you, and the time for ignition is short. The call of the Spirit is strong and is indeed urging you to get going. What are you waiting for?
I have to laugh when I’m told by a “young” person that there is “nothing on TV”.
You see, I vividly remember the nights when the TV would turn to static at midnight, then change to color bars until 6:00 AM the next morning. THOSE were the days of nothing on TV. Ha Ha Those were also the days (nights) of making it nearly impossible to stay awake while babysitting. Oh, and getting paid a whopping .75 cents an hour!
I’ve seen alot change.
This week, I proudly boast that I trun 67! So, allow me if you will, to recall some of those changes.
This is the city I was born in, in the early 1950’s, and it’s famous bridge that we frequented.
In those days schools taught memorization, discipline, and the 3 R’s. Books were read and used in the classroom and in homes and we all walked to school each day.
Those days, too, were powerful years for religion. Remember, this was the generation coming out of WWII and their desie to return to roots, family and community were driving forces. 97% of people those days had some type of religious affiliation, whereas today, 77% do.
The role of women has changed, too. In those days most women were housewives, today, 60% of women work outside of the home.
Families then were larger. My husband comes from a family where his mother had 12 siblings, and his father 13 (or was it the opposite, I dont remember). I have 3 siblings, so we were a smaller family in comparision.
Within the home, things have changed as well.
There was one telephone, and it was in what was considered a central location. Everyone in the family used it, although the children had absolutely no reason to (and usually no permission). When those teenage, long and dramatic calls came in, it was not without shouting, and recalls, and call backs – because your parent actually NEEDED the phone. Sometimes even the dreaded “party line” was picked up or listened in to. Now, those were the days!
Communication has changed alot.
Talking on the phone has been replaced by texting. People don’t sit face to face for hours to talk, plan or do much of anything else. Now it is sceen to screen, swipping, scrolling, or blocking. Letter writting is antiquated, and handwriting as a form (pennmanship, when I was going to school) is not really taught anymore. Keyboarding skills and shortcuts are emphasized instead.
Then, there’s the internet, where we literally have the knowledge of good and evil at our fingertips. It is the tree or web that connects us to anything we want whenever we want it. Oh my goodness!
Nightly news has become the daily news cycle. A repetited loop of partisan, talking points with very little informational value and no nutritional benefit. Twenty-four hour news with virtually nothing new reported.
Cars drive themselves now, and that cool Dick Tracy watch you talked to is on my wrist today. Very Cool!
TV has evolved.
Gone are the days of The Lone Ranger, I Love Lucy and Abbot and Costello. They have morphed through Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Partridge Family, MASH, The Walton’s, Cheers, Growing Pains, The Wonder Years, and Magnum PI.
In the early 1990’s in marched the world of witches and vampires with Sabrina, Buffy and others. Then Harry Potter exploded in 2001.
I remember seeing for the very first time on a screen in my living roon scenes that just 10 years ago were unacceptable and morally repudiated.
I’ve seen alot change.
Selfies, fewer smokers, eating healthy, going green and even what it looks like to grow old.
CBS News even declared that 60 is the new 40! So how ’bout that? It simply means people are living longer today and they are healthier. And for alot of them, looking good at 60, too. Life expectancy today is 78.6 years.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
You too, I’m sure have seen your share of changes. It is inevitable. But John Maxwell has such a solid point here, growing through and along with the change is optional. Growth is a choice only I can control.
The old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is one that I have single handedly set out to disprove in my life. Seriously. Whether it’s learning a new skill (like sailing), a new program (like Final Draft), a new vocation (like retail), I am choosing to keep growing and keep up with the changes.
Change is inevitable, often sad, and sometimes infuriating. We have seen alot of it.
Learning which changes to adjust to and grow with and which changes to buck requires wise evaluation. Somethings ought NOT to change and that too is optional and up to us.
I’ve seen alot change and I hope to continue to be wise in my growth through even more, and buck what is unacceptable. Won’t you join me?
It seems like in every arena of life we see people seized with passionate resolve to walk a path they are conviced is right, and yet, somehow, in the broader picture with added light and insight that path was horribly wrong.
Whether we look to politics, or the heated issues of the day involving what our children are being taught, or the traditions within our religious communities, or across the seas to a nation under seige by a violent sect of extremists, we cannot help but be gripped with the zealous threatenings and assaults on what is right by that which is wrong.
I am reminded of a man who’s zeal for his God put him on a path with authorization to capture and imprison all believers of The Way. He is described this way –
“____________, (his name) full of angry threats and rage wanted to murder the disciples of the Lord.”
This man, was zealous for his God, and had lived a pretty blameless life, according to his religious beliefs. He was a Roman citizen, raised in the strictest Hebrew teachings, and was well respected within his community of religious adherents.
He was on a manhunt for believers and followers of The Way. He believed what he was doing was pleasing to his God. He was firecely passionate, so much so, his passion turned to rage. His anger boiled over and in it he believed He was doing the right things.
But he was oh, so wrong.
The Passion Translation notes in Acts 9, where his story is told:
“The conversion of Saul the legalist into Paul the grace preacher has a significant lesson for us. We can be amazingly wrong while thinking we are doing right.”
Acts 9:11-12 TPT notes
So, what’s the lesson?
This man Saul, was a passionate persecutor of believers. This man Saul, was the one who was in agreement with the stonning of Stephen and watched it happen as he guarded the murders’ clothes. This man Saul, was on a mission that he thought was right. And this man Saul, gets knocked off of his high horse by a blinding light and booming voice.
A voice from heaven spoke to him, as his entourage listened, and told him his passion was misdirected, his efforts off course, and his beliefs out of whack. So, for three days, he blindly waited without eating, for more clarity and direction. He had heard the voice of The Lord, and he would wait for further instruction from that powerful voice.
It came via a messenger, sent by God. Ananias went to find this blind, angry man, and delivered God’s message to him.
” Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me to pray for you so that you might see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately he got up and was baptized… and within the hour he was in the synagogues, preaching Jesus is the Son of God. Those who heard him were astonished, saying, “Isn’t this the Saul who furiously persecuted those who called on the name of Jesus?”
Saul was amazingly wrong but God spoke to him redirecting his passion, re-charting his course, and realigning his beliefs. Giving him light, inspiration, revelation and boldness, God took this man who was so passionately off course and set him straight. There on Straight street, Saul was shown the right, true way.
Friends, this account gives me such hope!
God sees our heart. If that heart is desirous of pleasing Him, faith-filled, and honestly willing to change, He will show up in that life/heart. He will speak and knock us off our high horse, to realign us with what is right in His eyes.
There is hope!
Whether in the political arena, educational, international, or personal, God is able to reveal what is truly right in His eyes to those who are so amazingly wrong today.
Within an hour God can open blind eyes, change the passions of a man, and the course of history.
Let’s not give up hope on any situation or person.
If God did this for Saul, who was so amazingly wrong, there is no one beyond His reach.
Years ago I was asked to speak to a gathering of young people, so, after thoughtful consideration, I settled on the topic, “When you’re squeezed, what comes out?”.
That title has come back to ME hundreds of times since then, and so it has again for this particular blog today.
It’s relevance is timeless, and ageless, and it’s pertinence for us today.
Working in retail and interacting with other workers, managers and owners, all have spoken of how high strung, uptight and stressed people today are.
Customers are exploding in anger at the server over the smallest hiccup in their order, sending the server to recompose from tears in the restroom.
Or in my case, berating and accusing me because an item wasn’t made in the USA.
I recently spoke with a dear friend who spoke of their short fuse with their child; a family member “so over all the crap” with another family member; and have dealt myself with the short length of my patience.
What’s happening here?
The last year and a half has taken a toll on all of us. It has put pressure on us that is unbelievable and unexpected. We must accept that. No matter the level of success or failure we have had with the pressure, let’s recognize that we are being squeezed.
The truth is, what comes out of us, our responses comes only from what is inside us. And that’s the humbling part because often what comes out is anger, bitterness, accusations, and blame.
Something has to be in you to get squeezed out. Right?
Consider that lemon, or orange… it can only give the juice of what lies within it.
Psychologists tells us that our auto responses go into effect with stress. Yep, I agree, I’ve seen it in my life. They also tell us that those responses are programmed from our youth, when we are unaware and unable to change them. They are actually hardwired into us by the age of 3! (according to Dr. Christine Bradstreet)
Geesh…. That means your auto response at ______ years old ( your age now) is actually your 3 year old reaction! (Unless you have spent intentional time working on changing it.) Those reactions are as familiar as your face and seem to just be who you are.
Imagine that 3 year old learning responses. Poison and nutrition both have been fed those responses. The poison comes from the wounds, low self esteem, etc. nutrition comes from love, acceptance, boundaries, etc.
So are we stuck there, with our 3 year old responses? You know the answer…. NO.
Our responses can be changed. If you don’t like what you see when you’re squeezed, choose what you want to see instead. The next time the pressure is on, you get to choose your response. It will be awkward and difficult and maybe even silent for a while, but it is possible.
I told you a while back that I have been working on a response of mine, and I am pleased to report, that it has improved greatly! But it took a conscious choice and regular practice to build a new response, one that I was proud of. Like a muscle it grew stronger with persistent practice.
There will be setbacks and screw ups, and in those times we see just how serious we are about reprogramming our auto pilot responses.
We can change our life by changing what’s inside of us. It is totally our choice.
Remember, something has to be in you in order to get squeezed out.
Are you looking for courage, leadership, peacemaking, honesty to come out of you, they have to be in you first.
As you face the pressure of these days, try selecting just one response that you want to change. Focus on it by choosing a different response you want to display. Work on it, practice, exercise that new response muscle, let it become strong and replace your 3 year old response.
You can do it. We can do it. We can become the people we want to be with responses to pressure that we can be proud of.
It all starts with answering the question, “when you’re squeezed what comes out?”.
So happy to be journeying with you in this process of becoming our best self.
On our computer keyboards return and enter are synonymous. The return key moves the cursor to the beginning of the next line, yes, but it also returns control to whatever program is currently running.
Additionally, the return key activates whatever is highlighted or selected.
Our computers are even designed to insert a “hard return”. And did you know that hitting return and 1 tells the main brain that the program has not executed successfully and there is some error?
Keeping with this theme of return, August 7 began the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that preceeds Rosh Hashanah, and is a month of self-examination, repentance and returning to God. During this time, in preparation for the Day of Atonement, we reflect on the previous year and look forward to the next year. It is a month of returning to God and receiving a clean slate, receiving forgiveness.
The Jewish sages tell us that the relationship between God and man during this time is pictured as between two beloveds with a yearning to connect. God is actually yearning for man to return to him to connect with Him.
During this month of returning, in Jewish families and synagogues the shofar is blown each day as an invitation to wake up and seek a deeper connection with God.
Could it be that in your life it is time to hit the return button and return control to God’s program? Could your brain be signaling return 1… notifying you there is an error somewhere that needs addressing?
I truly believe that we are living in a season of return.
Return is a call to all people and all nations. We here in America have turned away from God, we have removed God. Yet those who return to Him will find forgivenenss, will find a new faith activated, sin deleted, and a hard return inserted into our main drive. It is time to seek the Lord and return to Him.
Hear Him calling you, urging you to come close and connect with Him:
Zech. 1:3 – return to me and I will return to you
2 Chron. 30:9 – the Lord is gracious and compassionate, He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him
Joel 2:12 – return to me with all your heart with fasting, weeping and mourning
Hosea 14:1-2; 9 – Return to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall. Take words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, forgive our sin, receive us graciously. Who is wise, he will understand this. The ways of the Lord are right. The righteous walk in them but the rebellious stumble in them.
We cannot be certain how long this season of returning will last, judgment will follow, but we can be certain that He is calling us now to return. As a beloved spouse, He yearns to reconnect deeply with you, to highlight and activate you in His program of life, peace and joy.
Let’s hear the shofar blowing, alerting us to wake up! Let’s diligently enter this month of self examination and repentance and let us return to God who is gracious and compassionate. Let us use our words to highlight our sin, ask for forgiveness and return to walk in God’s ways.
Return and enter into all God has for you. He loves you so.
And I ask Him to remind you to return and enter every time you see a computer keyboard. May the visual on that keyboard serve as a constant reminder to return and enter.
It’s not a star and it’s not a planet, but it is so bright it is confusing the border between the two. So, what exactly is it?
It was moving so fast, faster in fact than anything ever before seen, and it was illuminating the sky as it went, which made it really weird to astronomers.
Blazing through the sky, 50 light years away at 200 KM per second was what was soon to receive the name WISE 1534-1043. After more close study of its characteristics and the fact that it was discovered “on accident”, it has since been renamed “the Accident”.
What astronomers believed they discovered was a brown dwarf – a failed star, because it is lacking size to begin nuclear fusion within it, but “the Accident’s” size, speed and temperatire has blurred the lines between star and planet, and has left the brotherhood of astronomy shaking it’s head in puzzlement. In fact, even the name, brown dwarf is inaccurate, for in fact it is more of a orange or red in color.
According to Nolan Grieves of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, “we don’t know the true nature of these objects.”
Science facinates me. In all of its fields I marvel that so much is still unknown. Man is doing his very best to figure out the things that surround us, and technology is helping in this endeavor, but let’s face it, we really don’t understand what is going on either.
So much of what comes into our lives seems to be accidental or unintended. doesn’t it? It impacts our little world, lights it up if you will, and then quickly leaves a heated trail behind, leaving us shaking our heads saying, “What just happened?” or “What was that?”.
We quickly attempt to identify it and place a label on it. Yet, before long, after closer examination, we see the defining lines blurring and our understanding more and more obscured, as we have to admit we really don’t know the true nature of the object.
My heart today, is not to talk to you in veiled images, but to encourage you to keep looking deeper into “the Accidents” in your life. I believe they are not without meaning, purpose and signifigance to you. You may not fully understand that brilliant flare up whizzing through your orbit, but it is more than an accident, and is meant to show you something, teach you something and help you discover more about what it all means.
There is revelation available to those who seek it as to the true nature of these “accidental” objects in our little world.
Living in peace in these days, is a skill and life choice not only worth pursuing but vital to your all round health.
Alot is being said about mental health and praise is offered in support of those who take steps they deem needed to ensure their own mental health.With or without athletic competition in your life, how to live in peace and not anxiety is important.
So, how’s YOUR peace? What’s your anxiety level? How can you manage to live in peace? Let me offer my own suggestions, that I have lived by and found able to keep me in the peace zone.
Slow down – does it ALL really have to be done NOW? Be realistic and objective.
Don’t over schedule – is it really needed and if so, when is the best time for it?
Don’t over think – spending too much time considering every little option along with every related possibility will sabotage and paralyze you
Don’t make mountains out of molehills – is it really that big of a deal?
Get to the root – remove all of the layers and see what the root cause is
Be present in each moment – enjoy the moments, share the laughter and pain
Set filters and boundaries – take active control of what influences you and distracts you
Be thankful – show gratitude with your words and self talk
I have lived what I consider to be a pretty peaceful life and am not driven by anxiety or stress very often. I don’t always get these right, and when I do get them wrong, I am very aware of what I am missing and needing. It is then “easy” for me to focus on what I need to do.
My freind, do what it takes, focus the effort and energy needed for you to live in peace and not anxiety.
Our life goes through seasons and who of us has not experienced a season of just being spent, used up, exhausted, maybe even feeling unusable.
Luckily these times are temporary, even through we don’t see it at the time. But as we grow older, this feeling of being worn out is not so temporary.
We become worn down by the daily grind, increased responsibilities, multiplying demands, unforeseeable events, changing expectations, or any number of pressing issues on us.
Often we wind up shutting down and shutting out people. Or perhaps even retreating to complete isolation. Our vision and hope for the future is shaded by this cloud of dark uncertainty.
Energy levels are low, strength wanning, and motivation to do anything is lacking. In our mind we wrestle with, “Is this it, am I done? I don’t think I have anything left.”
Whether young or old, this feeling of being worn out and the thoughts that accompany it are very real.
It was a hot day as he sat under the oaks, outside of his home when he saw 3 men approaching him. He ran out to meet them and pleaded with them to stay with him and share a meal. They agreed to stay and as the meal was prepared, the following discussion ensued:
“Where is your wife, Sarah?” He answered, “Over there, in the tent.” Then one spoke up and said, “I will return about this time next year, when your wife Sarah shall certainly have a son.” Sarah overheard it, for she was at the tent door. Now both Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.
Sarah laughed to herself with disbelief, saying, “A woman of my age- … after I’m worn out?”
Sarah’s laugh and disbelief revealed the truth of her circumstance. She was indeed worn out, fatigued. Other renderings say she was withered, dried up, decaying, even failing. Sarah thought her fruitful days were behind her, and God had no further plan for her or pleasure in her.
I believe for years Sarah had wrestled within herself about her fruitfulness. Her thoughts, desires, and hopes all colliding with the reality of her barren body. And now, this promise of life springing from her, “at her age”, was more than she could handle.
She laughed! Out loud. In that moment it all burst forth. Her pain, questions, hopes, disappointments, and shame. After years, the promise of fruitfulness was now at her doorstep.
God was NOT done with her.
She may be worn out, but God was not. God’s response to her was,
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?
So, a 90 year old, worn out, used up laughing woman, with the help of her 100 year old husband, gave birth about the same time the next year to a baby boy, who they named, “laughter” aka, Isaac.
Nothing is too hard for God.
My friend, we are living in days of fruitfulness. We are living in days of fulfilled promises. We are living in days of God doing the impossible for those who believe him.
No matter how worn out you may feel. God is not done with you! Let me say it again, God is not done with you.
You have fruitful days ahead. Days of birthing new ideas, and endeavors. The time of producing new life is upon you.
Sarah said, “After I am worn out????”
God said, absolutely! Nothing is too hard for me!
May you arise to walk in new hope and strength today, knowing that your fruitful days are still ahead of you.
A favorite hobby, a memorable location, a special loved one?
Over fifty years ago I started teaching. At first it was in Sunday School classes of primary children, and through those early years I realized just how much I loved teaching. I mean really LOVED teaching.
At age 16 when I was considering a “life verse” 3 John 4 captured by heart and determination:
“ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
I wasn’t a mother of course, but in my heart was such a compelling drive to do whatever I could to teach the truth to my classes, my “kids/children”.
Through the years, no matter the class, the age, or setting, I knew in my heart of hearts I was to teach the truth, and I also knew that there was no greater joy than to see the light bulb go on over those students’ heads, or see that facial expression change from just listening to “Wow! I actually understand that, now!”
3 John 4 has been a life verse for me since those days.
But today, it takes on a whole “new” enhanced meaning.
Many parents would say that their greatest joy is their children. I would join them.
As our son turns 30 today, and we have joined with family & friends to celebrate him, I am so proud to say he is my greatest joy, AND he walks in the truth! Proud mama here, for sure.
There is a legacy to be passed on and parents, we cannot afford to drop the baton. Not for our sake, but for the sake of our children, we must speak the truth, live the truth and teach the truth. We are only stewards of those precious lives and are responsible for what we have imparted to them.
Whether or not we are parents, our responsibility to what we teach remains. Are we teaching the truth to our students and are we living it before them?
In these days, those teaching opportunities are growing exponentially. Let’s be ready and do everything in our power to assure that our children are walking in the truth.
Everyday, in every decision that we make, we unconsciously weigh the consequences of our decisions. Even sometimes consiously. In the smallest of ways, ie: I’m gonna hit the snooze for another 9 minutes, or on a grander scale, ie: what if I make that move, take that job or or forfeit that option, somewhere in our mind is the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
On a parrallel note, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Lose your child, lose your spouse, lose your health, a limb, your home? Consider it. In the big scheme of life what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?
In our nation, with the tends of the day, policies of our government, allowances for and acceptance of behaviors, ideas, and intentions – what is the worst that could happen to our nation?
In each of these settings, personal and national, what is the worst possible end game, the worst that could happen?
We teach our children that while you can choose your action or behavior, you cannot choose the consequences of that action. Consequences are automatically set in motion as principles of the universe designed to corolate with divine order and purpose. So, in that divine order of the universe, what is the worst thing that could happen?
Let me answer by sharing a story –
In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were in dialogue with God about their disobedience, the worst thing wasn’t the guilt and shame they felt. It wasn’t their dishonesty in trying to hide it from God. It wasn’t even their punishment as pronounced by God on their childbearing and working the land. No! In all of those God’s love and covering for them was ever present, just as a Dad loves his children.
The worst, possible end game and consequnce for them was,
” …He (God) drove them out of the garden.”
In the case of their murderous son Cain, what was the worst thing?
“God banished Cain from the land…and Cain said, “Now I must hide from your presence…””
The worst thing that could happen to Adam, Eve and Cain, did happen – they were removed from the garden of His perfect relationship, presence of the Lord. They were sent away from His presence. Cain in his response even cried out, “My punishment is more than I can bear!” Geneses 4:11
Fastforward to the days of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In the book of 2 Kings we have a startling picture of God’s chosen people and their condition and attitude towards God, their God, Jehovah – the Great I AM.
“The Israelites had sinned against the Lord…they worshipped other gods and followed the practices of other nations… They secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right…they did wicked things…they worshipped idols…they would not listen and were stiffnecked…they rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with them…They imitated the nations around them…They forsook the commands of the Lord, they bowed bown to the starry hosts and worshipped Baal… They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire… They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil.”
2 Kings 17:7-17
This picture of a people so calloused against God is astonishing! Could they be any worse? We might even say, they deserve the worst possible outcome, consequence or punishment. What is the worst that could happen?
“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”
2 Kings 17:18
“…He THRUST THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”
2 Kings 17:20
“The Lord REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”
2 Kings 17:23
In God’s view the worst thing that could happen was removing his children from His presence. Having to separate Himself from His children. Removing His presence, covering, protection, and blessing from His children is the worst thing that can happen.
The blessing of His presence brings peace, joy, protection. His presence brings a respect for Him, a desire to seek Him and please Him. His presence creates a hunger in us for more of Him, more of His presence.
To be removed from His presence is a direct consequence of sin and disobedience. All sin brings death – physical, mental and spiritual. It is our iniquities (inner perversions) that separate us from God. Isaiah 59:2 That unconfessed sin leads to the time when His presence will be removed from you, and your covering, joy and peace will be gone.
In Sampson’s life, he didn’t even realize when God’s presence left him. He continued doing what he always had done, expecting God’s blessing, totally unaware God’s presence had left him on his own. Judges 16:20
When God lifts His presence from an individual or nation, then we have hit rock bottom. We have discovered the worst that can happen. That is why Kind David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11
To live a life apart from His presence is not living at all. Apart from His presence we are dead, dry, religious, wanderers without peace, purpose or protection. It is the bleakest of lives, constantly shadowded by fears, worries and threats without hope for anything better – ever!
In His presence there is fullness of joy, but so much more. It costs, yes, but it doesn’t even compare, in the slightest, to the worst that could happen.
I am concerned for you, for our nation, for the presence of the Lord upon us. I don’t wanna loose His presence, because that is the worst thing that could ever happen.
Few are the circumstances or events that have the potential to unify peoples across national, ethnic and social lines. Although no attempt is perfect because there always seems to be naysayers, I still believe that the Olympics are one of our best efforts in bringing the world together.
What other opportunity is there that brings over 11,200 people together, from 206 different nations or territories to compete in 339 athletic events, 33 sports that represent 50 disciplines?
Seriously! In my opinion, when the Olympic Games are at their best, they are a force to be reckoned with in promoting global unity.
So, after a postponment from the summer of 2020, the 32nd Olympiad will be held this month, from July 23 – Aug. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a huge Olympic fan, who had the honor of attending the 1984 Games in LA, as a dream come true! So what can we expect in these games?
There are five new sports this time, they are: skateboarding, karate, surfing, sports climbing, and baseball/softball. New names to watch in these sports are: the 16 year old CA girl, skateboarder, Brighton Zeaner, who won the X games at 13, and the 17 year old, CO rock climber, Colin Duffy.
Other young athletes to watch are the youngest Olympian in competition, the 12 year old, Syrian table tennis competetor, Hend Zaza. Japan is also sending young ones, a 12 and 13 year old who are both in the hunt for a medal in skateboarding.
The US’s oldest competetor is 57 year old, 7 time, equestrain, Philip Dutton. While our youngest representative is 15 year old, Katie Grimes, a top contender in the pool on the swim team.
Our women’s gymnastics team will be headed by our brilliant Simone Biles but also on that team is the oldest woman’s gymnist, Makayla Skinner, who is just a tad bit older than Simone.
Other US athletes leading the way in age, are 44 year old Abdi Abdirahman, a runner, with 4 previous Olympics to his credit and the oldest basketball player, Sue Bird, who at age 40, will play in her 5th Olympics.
Team Canada will be sending the largest contingent of 371 athletes and coaches. But in my opinion, isnt’ it more inspiring to see those countries with a handful of competitors marcing in?
The ancient Olympic Games were first held in 776 BC, when an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their city-states to Olympia safely. The big draw was a single race, called “the stade”, which was a short sprint. The runners were only men and they ran nude. No girls were allowed to attend for that reason. So many gathered from surrounding city-states to see the “stade”, the venue was named the stadium. Yes, our word stadium is derrived from the stade of the ancient Olympic games. Cool, right?
I am well aware that there have been controveries and protests through the years, banned nations and suspended athletes, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, shall we?
Let’s celebrate the unity of nations for 2 weeks, shall we? Not for the sake of NBC’s 7.7 billion dollar contract but for the joy of sport.
Let’s celetrate those medal recepients, because they have worked hard and made great sacrifices to achieve their goal. We can also celebrate those medals because Japan had a campaign from 2017-2019 to collect old devices to melt down the metals to make “everyone’s medal”. A total of 6,210,000 phones were donated to make those Olympic medals.
Our support and celebration is so very important. It is so sad to me that Tokyo has declared a state of emergency, due to Covid again, and therefore NO SPECTATORS are being allowed at the venues. Even the outside venues, like marathon, spectators are being asked NOT to cheer!
What in the world is going on here??? Imagine YOU are the competitor, acheiving the goal of a lifetime, with no one to audibly cheer you on. Yes, TV cameras will catch it, but cameras are silent.
Not me. I will be cheering. I will be excited about those who are striving toward bringing the world together.
It is always so exciting when a wonderful event happens in the family. Be it a new birth, graduation, new job, or wedding, we are thrilled for the joy and challenge that it brings.
Can you recall a promotion you received? Remember it’s excitement, awe, and the uncertainty too that accompanied it?
Do you remember when you made your commitment to Jesus? What feelings, emotions and thoughts did you deal with?
Events are set in time but emotions and feelings change, don’t they?
We have this story of Elisha receiving a huge job promotion.
Here he was a farmer, and a wealthy one at that, out plowing the field with a yoke of oxen, accompanied by 11 other yoke also plowing. Out of the blue, a man walks up to him, who happened to be the reigning number 1 prophet in the land, and this man approches Elisha, takes off his outer coat (of goat hair, representing his prophetic status), and places it on Elisha’s shoulders. He then turns and walks off. No words were spoken. Just a coat drop and off he went.
Elisha immediately realizing what had just happened, (he was being chosen to become Elijah’s replacement), left the oxen and took off running after Elijah. When he reached him, he said, “Please, let me first go and kiss my mother and father good-bye, then I’ll follow you.”
Elisha’s odd reply to him was,
” Go ahead, but, mind you, don’t forget what I have just done to you.”
1 Kings 19:20
It seems that permission was granted for good-byes, but with a sharp challenge, DON’T FORGET this moment. In the midst of the hugs, kisses, tears, stories, celebration, sadness of loss, and excitement of new ventures, DON’T FORGET this moment and what I have done to you. DON’T FORGET to focus on the future, DON’T FORGET to focus on your call, DON’T FORGET to come back to this release and empowerment. DON’T FORGET the meaning of that hairy coat on your shoulders.
All too often, when we choose to go back, we do loose focus. We forget. We get entangled in the mire of what was and is rather than the hope and purpose of what will be. That is probably why Jesus told us,
” No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom.”
” Anyone who loves Father and Mother more than me is not worthy of me.”
And yet, Elijah told Elisha, “Go ahead”. “But don’t forget…”
Amazing contrasts here.
How did this new, heir apparent respond? Now THIS is remarkable!
“Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”
1 Kings 19:21
Talk about a serious, all in commitment!!
Elisha totally destroyed everything from his past way of life to which he could return. He left no plan B, if this “prophet in training” thing didn’t work out. He was fully committemt to the future and what God was calling him to. He would not look back, or love his family more. His farmer life was over, his past vocation now in the rear-view as he walked, NOT FORGETTING the hairy coat on his shoulders and what it represented. He allowed his past to become a blazing inferno.
He now was the right hand man to the number 1 prophet in the land and was being trained to step in to even greater works and miracles than Elijah had done.
He was not about to forget that experience in the field, that calling to a new vocation. He was not about to forget its weight, severity, hope, and inspiration. He would not forget, get sidetracked or loose focus.
He was called to something bigger and better.
My friend, so are you. You are called to something bigger and better. What is it? Don’t forget your calling. Don’t get distracted.
You have been given a promotion from God, don’t forget it. Let go of any plan B’s you may still be clinging to. Burn ’em up, slaughter ’em.
There are greater miracles for you, more power for you, many more adventures for you as you walk as His servant and right-hand person.
Thirty five years ago today, my husband and I took that step of love and faith, and committed to love each other “until death do us part.” Entering marriage in our “older” years (he was 39 and I was 31) and each of us for the fist time, we began our marriage marathon.
As part of our vows, we committed to be “forever by your side”, running this marathon, not sprint.
In spite of the reported increase in domestic violence, Covid stressed lockdowns, finanical strains, political discord and declining marriage and divorce rates we are still running our love race.
We have survived the bruises of that brutal first year together, when two lives are thrown together in marital bliss only to discover that two being made one is a painful and pertetual process. During those days I remember looking at Den and thinking, “Oh my goodness, how are we ever gonna make it a lifetime?” We were (are) both so strongwilled. We had lived on our own, doing things our own way for a long time. We were both “successful” in our careers and involved in leadership away from our careers.
The following years continued to rub off edges, smooth our dings, and sharpen us up, as “iron sharpens iron, and so a man his friend.”
At year five, we had our son, after some pregnancy challenges, and prenatal medical forcasts. He was perfect! Now our family was complete. We were elated and still running our marathon.
Somewhere around year 8, 9 or 10, (I can’t remember exactly) suffice it to say, we were dangerously close to dropping out of this marathon. I told a friend I was ready to, and without her love and commitment to pray us through, we may have become a statistic. Perhaps we were mistaken and this race was really a sprint!?! Den and I went to counseling, (after much opposition) and found our way back to each other and continued the marathon.
The next 10 years we lived life as a happy family, with focus on our son’s activities, and managing our own differences and issues as best we could.
As our son grew into manhood, becoming his own person, the focus in our marriage shifted now. Our careers became the focus and lots of time was spent in logging hours on work projects. Lots of introspection too, on who we were, who we wanted to become and where we wanted to go together. What was important to us had to be shifted through and priorities set or renewed.
As eventual empty nesters, there was nowhere else to focus the spotlight now. We had each other. Is that what we wanted, is that who we desired? Were we still committed to running this marathon together?
YES! A resounding, yes, pierced our hearts.
When Den retired, again things changed. He was now “on the sidelines” from what he had known and done for over 50 years. Who was he, what was he, where was he going? So many questions swirling for him. The best I could do for him was be there and support him, encourage him. Ya know, “Forever by your side.”
Years later, I retired and now we were full time together, with no other focuses. Would we kill each other? How would we manage those two strongwills in the same house all the time?
It has been an amazing welding together these past 3 years. We are closer than we have ever been, on every level. We share deeper, talk more, laugh more, cry more, and pray more – together. I can proudly say we are running together, in stride toward the same goal, supporting each other along the way.
Marriage will be like a freeway. There should be a destination in mind for your marriage and you both should travel towards it together. But, along the way there are off ramps. Some are rest stops and vital for completion of the journey or relieving of wasteful buildups. Others are off ramps that will change your direction and still others are off ramps that will take you out of the race altogether. Your marathon will come to an end if you take that off ramp.
The traditional 35th Anniversary is said to be coral.
Let me close with making a comparison.
Coral takes a long time to form with a lot of dying polyps along the way, just like a 35 year, bond of love has alot of dying to self. Both take a long time to form. But, healthy coral are able to withstand 97% of a waves energy as it buffets the shoreline, taking the rough current, waves and storms. Additionally, when corals are stressed by changes in conditions like temperatures, light, or nutrients, they expel an algae that lives in their tissues, thus causing them to turn completely white. This is called bleaching. The coral is not dead, when it is bleached, it can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and subject to mortality.
Whether it be through the pounding waves of life, the death of ideas, or the stress of conditions and bleaching out, Den and I have survived and are growing stronger. We’ve taken off ramps but always choose to re-enter the marathon.
We continue to be “forever by your side” through this marathon called marriage.
On July 4, 1776, it was an unusually mild, mid-summer day in Philadelphia. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson’s detailed weather journals we know that the temperature was a pleasant 76 degrees at 1:00 PM, a normally hot and humid time of the year.
What seemed to be a pleasant day was far from it. This summer was raging with a full scale war that began at Lexington and Concord, MA, with “the shot heard around the world”. In April of 1775, when the British marched to Concord to seize arms, Paul Revere and others rode to sound the alarm, but with that shot The Revolutionary War had begun.
The Brits, over spent securing new territories in the new world for the Crown, and in particular, The French and Indian War of 1754-1763. This war, between France and Great Britian in North America was for control of the colonial territory. Great Britian having “won” the war, now looked to recoup their finincial losses by taxing their 13 colonies.
The Stamp Act, Townsend Act, Tea Act, (to name a few) were met with colonial protest, due to lack of representation in Parliament (in England). In responses to the grievences, George Washington, John and Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay along with others met in Philadelphia in September of 1774 to give voice to their grievences and denounce the taxation and quartering of troops without consent. They issued a declaration that included the statement that the rights due to every citizen include life, liberty, property, assembly and trial by jury. They voted to meet again in May of 1775.
Battles were fought, lives were lost, properties were seized and taxes continued through the ensuing months.
In May of 1775, when this body met again, The Second Continental Congress, they voted to form a Continental Army and appointed George Washington Commander. Included in this second meeting were the notable Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
The month following Washington’s appointment, the Congress issued “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms”. Congress sent this along with an olive branch to King George III asking him for help in resolving their differences. Needless to say, the request was ignored.
The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle for the colonial forces, and they inflicted heavy losses on the Brits. Although it ended in a British victory, it encouraged the cause for revolt. The colonists were being stirred by writers too, like Thomas Paine, who were writing pamphlets like “Common Sense”. In it reasons are listed for the need to separate from Britian – it was only common sense! From this, the population developed a convincing arguement for independence.
In the spring of 1776 requests were being made of congress to draft a declaration of independence. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee complied. Congress postponed the final vote until July 1 and appointed a 5 man committee to draft the final document. It consisted of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams but the document was mainly the work of Thomas Jefferson.
In it he included the natural rights of all people and charged the Parliament and the King of depriving the Americans of these God given rights. He also included an article on the institution of slavery, which was later removed.
On July 2,1776, Congress voted in favor of independence, and 2 days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Congress then ordered it to be sent to the printer where 200 copies were made. Today, 26 copies remain.
John Hancock was the first and largest signer, he said, he wanted the King to be able to read his name clearly. (Amazing, because he was committing treason). Following John Hancock, another 55 brave men signed their treasnous document of independence.
The Declaration was sent to various battle fronts, where it was read to the troops. Additionally it was read in large cities and hamlets throughout the colonies. When George Washington read it to the troops in New York, a riot broke out, tearing down a statue of George II. The statue didn’t go to waste tho’, it was melted down and made into 42,000 musket balls.
This is where we, in this modern day stop thinking. Independence! Yay! We’re free. Not so fast, tho’.
This day, marked a line in the sand for the colonists. They were now at war with the most powerful empire of the day! Their lives, homes, possessions, families, reputations, and yes, their sacred honor were at stake.
Consider just the signers of that declaration:
5 were captured, tortured as traitors before they died
12 had their homes ransaked and burned
2 lost their sons in the war fight
2 others had their sons captured
9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war
These were ordinary men living in an extraordinary time demonstrating unbelievable courage and passion for what they believed in. OUR FREEDOM!
They were lawyers, merchants, farmers, plantation owners and men of means and education, but they signed the Declaration knowing full well their lives were on the line. They had security, but they valued liberty more.
The Revolutionary War waged on through ebb and flow, losses and gains, setbacks, traitors, and British occupation until Great Britian formally surrendered on September 3, 1783, in what is known as The Treaty of Paris.
American Battlefield Trust estimates that during The Revolutionary War 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded and more that 20,000 taken prisoner. Add to those the deaths due to disease, or who died while prisoners of war another 8,000-12,000.
On June 14, 1777, during this war, Congress approved the design of the national flag. It’s red, white and blue forever speak of those who fought for it, even before it came into existence. Those who in purity stood up for independence with bravery and courage, paying unmentionable valor and spilling immeasurable blood, those who united as 13 independent colonies with a cause against tyranny, injustice and freedom for all.
Don’t allow anyone to tarnish or dampen the cost and value of that freedom, or to shame you for your patriotism.
This is the history of The United States of America and we can stand tall, proud and very partiotic.
The Asaph Files- Collected and shared because you need to know
I confess, there are hot button issues in our society that I shy away from speaking out about, mainly because I don’t want to step on toes or offend.
The time has come on one now and I cannot and will not keep silent.
This time, I speak out of a strong conviction in my Spirit and by God’s Word. Burning in my heart are these words,
“Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior! Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death? And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”? The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive is also the keeper of souls- and not just yours! He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.”
Abortion is my business. Those lives that are being threatened are my business. Those lives that are perishing are my business. Why do I stand back and make excuses? God is holding me responsible.
For 619,591 unborn Americans in 2018, there was no happy birthday, because their lives were brutally taken away before given the opportunity to celebrate their birth.
Yes, I realize that not all births are celebrations, but for those minimal numbers, why is death the chosen option?
Too many rationalize that early in pregnancy the “baby” is not viable, and cannot live outside the womb without assistance. Therefore it should not even be identified as a baby yet. A ball of cells, embryonic, or fetal, these lives are being threatened and snatched from us and robbed of their right to live.
Additionally, I am actually pro-choice, (sort of). Ladies, you do have a choice what you do with your body. So choose to use birth control. Abortion should not be considered a birth control option. Your choice will affect the new life you conceive, and then it is no longer just your body, it is theirs too. You are responsible for that new life so choose wisely.
America is complicit is this practice and her laws and policies have allowed it and even allowed for monetary benefit to come from it. This is disgusting!
The abortion industry in America is a 1.3 billion dollar industry with $530 million coming from government funding according to Wikipedia.
And that, dear reader, is not the worst part about abortion funds and money making schemes!
Recent documents have revealed the fees being charged for those aborted body parts, organs and tissues for research. Yes! Aborted baby parts are being sold and used in research. What kind of humans have we become?
There is big business and the demand for these “items” is outweighing the supply.
Here is just one request, in writing!
The research being done is not always in the best interest of humanity either, as seen by this document.
Folks, this is inhumane! This is barbaric! Have we become so desensitized that we cannot feel this atrocity anymore? How are we any different from the Nazi’s in those German labs, experimenting on fetal tissues? Tell me!?
If you have never investigated the types of abortions available, how they’re done and the details of what happens to that baby, (and Mother) you should.
I taught Sex Ed in Middle School and could barely scratch the surface of the dismemberment and torture performed in the womb in each type of abortion. I even had a girl faint in class during one lesson. I am not kidding! It is gruesome.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is murder, because God says at conception is when life begins. At conception is when He begins to form us in the womb. At conception is when the plans and purposes he has had for us from eternity begin to been seen finally, here on earth. His will in heaven, for us to be born, is being done on Earth.
Our soul and spirit are alive at conception and soon thereafter our body develops until it is our birthday!
For millions though, there has been no happy birthday.
And that is our business. We must keep silent no longer. Tell everyone.
the scars left on the mother’s who choose abortion are permanent and deep. But so too is the forgiveness of a loving Heavenly Father who offers love, healing, and forgiveness to all who seek it.
I remember times in my life when I decidedly committed myself to being a true contender. Bear with me as I list some:
Young softball pitcher
16 year old female table tennis champion
Award winning French Horn student
Champion drum major
Honors college student
Ace volleyball server
In each of these stages, my focus, energy, effort, thoughts and time was (mostly) willingly given to improving, becoming stronger, better, more accurate and fluid in what I was contending for.
Training, discipline, and a long term goal, pushed aside laziness, discouragement and cheap talk. I was purposed to contend and be the best I could in an effort to win the prize.
If you’re looking to be a contender, your daily decisions are what put you on the road to that prize, not your words.
Contenders and pretenders look alike on the surface, but it is their actions that set them apart.
Pretenders take the path of least resistance, while contenders take disciplined training and overcome. There’s no achieving that championship belt by sitting quietly and watching others in the ring.
Pretenders allow laziness to take over and then the comfort zone anchors them in.
Here’s why it matters, whether you are a contender or pretender…
“… I felt the need to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for the beliefs that we cherish.”
Judah, was Jesus’ half brother and it is he that is speaking here. He was writing to the early believers because he wanted to challenge them to contend for the things that Jesus had taught them. Fight for them, for their truth, for their preeminence, for their validity. He was calling them to be contenders for the faith not pretenders.
No words of the Bible could be any truer today. Judah is calling to us, to remind us to contend for the beliefs we cherish, not become lazy and allow them to slip from our minds, lives, and national awareness.
Contend, with the same discipline as an athlete for Christian beliefs that are under attack. Focus on them, exercise with them, spur with others- as an athlete and true contender for the faith, not just some lazy “Christian”.
Here is a quick list I made of Christian messages that are under attack:
God as creator
All are created equal and in God’s image
God loves all mankind
The Bible is his word and divinely inspired
The inerrancy of the bible
There is truth and there is absolute truth
There is life after death lived in heaven or hell for everyone
Right and wrong
Power and freedom come from God not government
Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman
The church is God’s institution designed to execute God’s will on earth
Life begins at conception
We are told to contend for these beliefs! Judah tells us to vigorously defend these!
What are we doing Christians?
We cannot allow the influences of this society to sweep away these beliefs that we cherish!
Think too about the values and beliefs brought to this nation by our founding fathers. We must not let them slip or be retaught guised in lies. This is serious.
This word and concept keeps popping up all around us. 51% of Americans are now using some form of contactless payment. We use it at:
The grocery store 85%
The Pharmacy 39%
Retail stores 38%
Fast foods 36%
On public transit 9%
Are you part of the 51%?
We are being told by economists that there is a consumer shift occurring leveraging contactless products.
How many of us used delivery of foods, and products during the lockdown that we normally would not have?
Pretty much this contactless shift happened due to the desire toward cleanliness. “Let’s do as much as possible without touching”, seemed to be the driving force.
Unfortunately, after 16 months of conditioning and shifting thinking, it is not only our payment methods that have become contactless.
“Social Distancing” has become a fear of close contact with other humans for way too many. It appears that we may be developing into a contactless society with nobody touching or talking closely in public.
Touch plays a very important role in human development. We are social beings and herd driven. Our brains are built to socialize. Lack of consistent human contact leads to:
Conflict with others
Risk of heart disease
Risk of stroke
Rise of blood pressure
Leads to balance problems
We all want to be alone sometimes. But not all the time. We do not really want to be contactless.
Michael Bond tells us that, “When people are isolated from human contact, their mind can do truly bizarre things.”
Studies on sensory deprivation have been done as far back as the 1950’s, when word was the Chinese were using it to brainwash American POW’s in the Korean War.
In the landmark study done by Donald Herb, professor of Psychology at Montreal’s McGill University , he sought to see how sensory isolation affects human cognition. His theory, the brain would deteriorate if it didn’t have a continue stream of sensory input.
He had hoped to study his volunteers for months. Most candidates never made it a week. It was so brutal, as to the level of sensory clamps they were put through. Here though are some of their findings-
Temporary mental impairment
Poor performance on arithmetic, word association and pattern regcognition
Restless, childish emotional responses
He concludes, “depriving a man of sensory input will break him in days.”
His colleagues noted, “ the mind unravels when we are truly on our own. Isolation is physically bad for us.”
Here are my thoughts, dear reader- our brains have been trying to break free from the foolishness and restrictions of Covid, from the isolation, fear, worry and contactless- ness. Our brains are wired for contact, socialization, conversation and human interaction.
So let me encourage you to intentionally make plans with friends. Intentionally plan a coffee time, or lunch date, maybe a hike or long walk. Purpose to make contact with someone each week.
Let’s be gone with this contactless nonsense when it comes to our personal relationships and mental health.