As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.
Therefore, I have selected to share this encouraging video again, in hopes that it will encourage you as you set out in this fresh new year.
May you have new eyes to see how He wants to use you this year.
Lord. open our eyes to see…
A New Year’s Challenge for You
I know of a man who was extremely wealthy and a highly influencial politician; in fact he came from a family of monarchs. He was very well connected within his country and with the surrounding countries.
He was not a particularily nice guy, in fact he was quite wicked. He had some evil practices, one that included child sacrifice – actually sacrificing his own children. This guy was was an odd mix of prestige, evil, and wheeler-dealer.
At one point in his life he actually had two kings plotting against him and his kingdom. He was facing extermination, as was the royal line. His whole kingdom was panicing as their hearts were overcome with fear due to the damage that had already been inflicted on their nation.
In response to this impending attack, he chose to survey his city’s vulnerable spots and so he started at the water supply. It is there that we hone in on Ahaz and what happened next. It is there we find a new year’s challenge for you to DREAM BIG!
It is there that the prophet Isaiah (and his son) meet with Ahaz, to deliver to him God’s message. Knowing what you know about Ahaz now, what would you expect God’s message to be?
Believe it or not, God gave Ahaz four assurances. We find them in Isaiah 7:4.
- Be careful
- Be quiet
- Do not fear
- Do not let your heart be faint
Knowing Ahaz’s pending conflict and the people’s fearful panicing, knowing the kingdom’s devestation already, God tells the prophet to tell Ahaz to be careful and be quiet. Think of it. God was saying, “Settle down, calm down.” God was telling them all to not be rash or impetuous, but to take a deep breath and chill out for a minute. Stop, collect yourself and settle down.
He went on to tell them the number one salutation to humans in the bible – Do Not Fear. Don’t look at the two armies, don’t look at the devestation, don’t look at the circumstances. Do Not Fear.
Then Isaiah tops it off by telling Ahaz to not allow his heart (or the people’s heart) to be faint. He tells them to guard what their heart feels, and believes. He encourages them, comforts them, and offers them peace and hope.
But that’s not all. After Isaiah delivers that hope to Ahaz and the people, he goes on to tell them more of what God says to them. He tells them that the plans of the two terrorist countries (that are after them) –
… shall not stand, and it shall not come to pass.”Isaiah 7:7 ESV
He continues by saying that within 65 years, they (the terrorosts countries) will be defeated themselves. That’s remarkable, foretelling the future to Ahaz! Hang in there dude, they’ll be gone soon. Settle down and trust me. Wow. But then, there’s another dinger –
If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”Isaiah 7:8 ESV
Isn’t it interesting how God responds to Ahaz in his time of fear, trouble and uncertainty. First He gives him assurances, then He shares the futute and finally He reminds Ahaz, to be strong in faith. A-MAZE- ING.
That would be a trememdous story if it ended there. We all could take lesson from it, find encouragement from it and recheck our faith. We could be confident that God was still with us, even in our not so nice state, and we could be thankful that God was still talking to us in spite of our wicked ways. We could be encouraged that God was in charge and could be trusted.
But there is yet another incomprehensible offer that God gives to Ahaz. You won’t believe it –
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God: let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”Isaiah 7:11 ESV
God was still wanting to encourage Ahaz that He was in control and told him to ask for a sign to prove it. Basically, God was saying, think big Ahaz, dream big – think outside the box. Go as deep as hell or as high as heaven. Ask me for a sign, no matter how big or hard you think it is. Ask. Dream. Go for it.
Remember that little lesson from above about being firm in faith? Ahaz should have remembered that now. Here Ahaz was being offered a blank cheque for any kind of miraculous or crazy sign that he could think of. Go big or go home, Ahaz. Now’s your chance. Call on your faith and God’s ability and let’s see something wonderful, something miraculous. God wants to prove Himself to you. A-MAZE- ING!
And here is where Ahaz proved his alliance.
He refused God’s offer to dream big, he refused to ask any sign of God or “put God to the test.” v. 12 His lame excuse of “putting God to the test” was evidence of his own alliance against God, and later proved to reveal his alliance with a terrorist country. (Which was eliminated in 65 years, as God said.)
Ahaz’s refusal to dream big at God’s request resulted in the destruction of his country and the extinction of his royal blood like. Ahaz heard God’s call and chose not to answer, obey or follow through. Ahaz proved he did not trust God or in God’s ability to deliver his nation. Ahaz did not believe that God was in control, he believed in man’s abilities and the Assyrian war machine.
My friend, I believe with all of my heart, that God is saying to YOU at the beginning of this year, “Ask a sign of the Lord your God.” Make it a big one, outside of the box of hell and heaven – think BIG. Dream BIG. Use your faith, stand in it and ask BIG.
This year, amidst the turmoil, uncertainties, financial stresses and political unrest, God would say to you – be careful, be quiet, do not fear and don’t become fainthearted. He sees you, He knows your situation and need, He knows your heart and deeds. He offers you peace and hope.
And He says to you, Ask me for a sign….as deep as hell or as high as heaven… Let me prove myself to you. I am in control and I love you. Place your trust in Me and not in man. “If you are not firm in your faith, you will not be firm at all.”
Dream Big this year, my friend.
Happy New Year to You!
As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.
Therefore, I have selected to share the number 1, most viewed video that I have posted, in hopes that it will encourage you (again) as you set out in this fresh new year. It’s topic is timeless and powerful.
There are many types of debt, aren’t there? In this video, we will address what I consdier to be the most important debt we have – the debt of forgiveness. So, here again is, “The Power of Forgiveness”.
May we all walk this year debt free and abounding in mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
Part 5 – God Says Now
Complete these famous phrases:
- Here and ___
- Anytime ___
- ____ what?
- ____ hear this
- ___ or never
- All together ___
- Don’t look ___
- For ___
- or from Queen, “don’t stop me __”
- or Shakespeare’s “___ is the winter of our discontent”
The missing word of course is NOW. Not the National Organization for Women, but the adverb meaning, “at the present time or moment. At this point in the series of events.” (The Free Dictionary)
This small, powerful word, “now”, has the potential to drastically change the immediate situation. Consider a fully pregnant woman who says to her spouse, “It’s time to go to the hospital, now.” Or a father who has given instructions for his child to follow, who loudly and emphatically, says, “NOW!
“Now”, being an adverb modifies (limits or restricts) the meaning of a verb. Remember what they taught us in school, it answers the question when, where, how, how much or how long.
- When will you release your people from Egypt, God? Now.
- How much longer will we be enslaved? Now.
After Moses and the people experienced things getting worse instead of better, they had reached their last straw, And in fact, God, too, had reached His last straw. Geesh, after 430 years, I guess you could say, “Now, was the time”. Check it out –
And the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh…”Exodus 6:1 ESV
You’ll remember, in the previous 4 lessons of this series, we saw:
- Part 1 – God Sees
- Part 2 – God Shows Up
- Part 3 – God’s Signs
- Part 4 – God’s Last Straw
And now, finally, after five chapters of prepping the Israelites and their leadership, God says, “NOW“. “Now” is the time for you to see what I will do. “Now” is the time for you to see what Pharaoh will do. “Now” is the time for you to leave Egypt. “Now” is the time for you to step out of slavery and into freedom. “Now”.
That short, little adverb was about to drastically change Moses’, Aaron’s, and Israel’s immdediate situation.
For generation after generation they had been in bondage to Egypt. That’s all they had known and what they had learned to live with for 430 years! Growing within Egypt from 70 people in the days of Joseph to anywhere from 200,000 – 2 million in Moses’ day.
NOW YOU WILL SEE WHAT I WILL DO, God says. What a powerful statement, and what a long awaited one, too.
My friend, I don’t care how long you have struggled with family issues that have enslaved your mind, will or emotions, and ancestral ties that have bound up your Spirit. God is speaking into your heart right now, “Now, you will see what I will do.” Now is the time of your exodus. Now is the time God wants to totally deliver YOU from your own personal Egypt, from your own years of personal bondage and compromise and set you totally free.
He has heard your cries, and is showing up on your behalf with powerful signs for you to see and be encouraged by. Your last straw is His last straw and today, He says to you, “Now you shall see…”.
After Noah built the ark, the day finally came when God said to the rain, “Now“.
After Abraham was given a miracle son, God said to Abraham, now, give him back to me.
After Sarah, and Rebekah failed to conceive, God released the seeds to meet one another and said to them, “Now“.
After Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and abandoned in prison, God said, “Now, go interpret Pharaoh’s dream.”
We could name others, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, David, Elisha and the prophets all were told at their appointed time, “Now”.
John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, and Paul, each came on the scene at their appointed time and brought deliverance to thousands, when God gave the word, “now”.
Our God lives beyond time and functions on an eternal clock that we hope to one day understand and experience. But He works by design and intentionality according to His time. His appointed time, His set time, and it is often called suddenly. (Although it had been in the works for thousands of years…)
- 2 Cor. 6:2 – now is the set time…
- Rom. 13:11 – now is the set time…
- Gal. 4:4-7 – in the fullness of time
- John 13:1 – Jesus knew that His hour had come
- 2 Chron. 29:36 – God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly
- Gen. 18:14 – at the appointed time next year
- Psa. 75:2 – when I select an appointed time
- Acts 7:17 – as the time of promise was approaching
- Eph. 1:10 – in the fulness of time
- Mark 1:15 – the time is fulfilled
- Hab. 2:3 – the vision is for an appointed time
- Ecc. 3 – there is a time and season for everything under heaven
If God plans it, it happens on time. His time. “He makes everything beautiful in it’s time.” Ecc. 3:11
God had been preparing His people for over 430 years for their great escape from Egypt, and now their time had come. It was the fullness of time, their set time for freedom. They were as ready as they were going to be. It was show time.
In Moses’ days, like in Jesus’ days, transgression and sin had degraded people to the lowest level of morality. People were given wholly over to the dominion of the devil and his violent works. The social and political conditions were ripe for God to make Himself known. Ripe for God’s powerful arm and acts of judgment. Exodus 6:6 (1)
Is our day really any different?
Sin and depravity are rampant. Violent and destructive demonic actions have been released upon our generations, including the youngest of the young. Social norms are no more. Wrong is touted as right and right derided as wrong, Political conditions have simmered and are now boiling over with deception, shame, harrassment, cancelling, and lies.
Dare I say it again, NOW is the time for God to show up and display His powerful hand. Now is the time for Him to lead His people from bondage to freedom. Now. Now. Now.
When God says, “Now”, look for Him to drastically change your immediate situation.
I believe this coming year, 2023, will be a year when our hearts and minds fill with those proverbial questions of when, where, how, how much, how long. And God will give instructions to His children, emphatically stating, “NOW!”.
Now hear this – God has been preparing you for your exodus, NOW get ready to move out, my friend. It’s now or never. All together now. Here and now. You are now free to move about the country.
The time is now,
1 – Bibleask.com
The Beatitudes, or Sermon on the Mount conclude with Jesus giving us four warnings. We spoke last week about the first two: 2 Gates: Choosing either the narrow gate or wide gate and 2 Prophets: Choosing either fales teachers or truth teachers.
Here are the last two warnings: 2 kinds of disciples and 2 foundations. Check it out and spend some time in self-evaluation.
Thank you for your time and interest, I truly appreciate it.
Please message me if you have any ideas or requests for topics that you would like to see addressed, that would help to equip you spiritually.
Grateful for you,
I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, this 2022.
During this wonderful season of Christmas I’d like to encourage you with three thoughts from that very first Christmas.
#1 Mary and Joseph lived in the days of Herod the Great. He was a cruel puppet king over Judea who brutally killed family, friends and foes indiscriminately. The land feared his edicts, and were severly oppressed by his unfair taxes and decrees. It was not “Happy Days” living during this time.
#2 Zechariah and Elizabeth, childless priests, were told they would give birth to John the Baptist – the voice. Thinking that they were beyond the age of being birthing parents, nevertheless, they bore a son named John, who grew as a prophet and became the voice pointing to Jesus.
#3 Mary, the young, favored and overshadowed virgin, was chosen to bring forth the Savior of the world. With questions in her troubled heart and mind, her response to the angel was to allow the Holy Spirit to empower her to bring forth what had been planted within her.
What this means to you, today:
#1 These days that we live in are wrought with fear, oppression, increased taxes and ungodly decrees. And if we were to look only at the rulers in the political arenas it would be easy to grow weary and become discouraged. But like Mary & Joesph’s days, this is the exact time that God will bring forth good from evil, light from darkness, a voice and the Savior.
#2 Alive right now, are many godly believers/priests who have yet to see the fulfillment of the promises that God has spoken to them. They are ripe now and ready to bring forth their promised VOICE to the world. The roaring voice from deep within them, that of a lion, pointing to Jesus – the way. This is a season of the release of the VOICE of the people of God.
#3 The seemingly impossible circumstanes you face, the troubled heart and questioning mind within you will all be overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit. That power will ignite to life the seed of the Heavenly Father within you and produce the Savior – Jesus. YOU, will burst forth, with the life of Jesus and you will share that life with those in your world.
You see, Christmas time is the season of darkness and oppression that produces a voice in that wilderness that points to Jesus, the only Savior of the world.
Are you a voice pointing to Jesus or are you a carrier of Jesus? Both are birthed at Christmas time.
Part 4 – God’s Last Straw
Although my head tells me this should be a Christmas blog, (I am writing this Dec. 20 after all), my heart knows we need this very important part 4, and next week’s conclusion, before the new year is upon us. All of this, is a very firm Word in my Spirit for this next year.
So, where are we?
We’ve been looking at the setting for the great Exodus from Egypt led by Moses, as found in the book of Exodus chapters 1-6 and understanding the many similiarities between what happened to them then, and what is happening and about to happen to us in these days. Please catch up, as you wish by reading the previous 3 blogs:
- #1 – God Sees
- #2 – God Shows Up
- #3 – God’s Signs
As we pick up today’s portion we find Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh of Egypt-
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.”” But Pharaoh said, ” Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”Exodus 5:1-2 ESV
Notice, God wanted freedom for His people. That is His desire for all of us, to be free from slavery. But Pharaoh didn’t know God, so he refused. In fact, in Egypt, it was he who was considered a god, a child of the Sun and friend of the gods.
Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh in the authority they had been given by the Lord God of Israel. They spoke those words as a reminder to themselves and all listeners that their words would be acted on by that very God.
Pharaoh’s refusal was an attempt at exerting his own authority over God’s. But God’s response was, these things will happen so that you will know me, the God of Israel and you, too, will obey my word. You don’t know me now, Pharaoh, but you soon will, because I will set my people free.
With this dueling authority, the gauntlet is laid.
I must insert here, there is no authority greater in your life than the Lord’s. Whether you know Him or not, His desire is to see you freed from sin’s slavery and make His power and name fully known to you and the world. He will be known as the Omnipotent Creator.
Things from here on out get worse for the Israelites. In fact, things got much worse before they got better. They were expected to keep making their daily quota of bricks but now, because of Pharaoh’s fury, they were to do it without being given straw. If they wanted straw, they had to get it themselves.
Finding straw of course, took more time, which prohibited them from producing the same amount of bricks. And so, because straw makes for stronger bricks and because of it’s acid content helps the mortar stick together better, they went off to find straw, roots, and other things to mix in for their bricks.
Archaeology confirms that bricks of all kinds have been found in Egypt. Some have chopped straw, rough roots and other odd things. Some have been found that have no straw at all.
The results of Moses first visit were defiance and further hardship. The trouble that came upon the Israelites seemed like evil. The immediate effect was to make it worse. What God allowed made it seem even worse. The Israelites couldn’t believe making things worse could be part of God’s plan.
There are times in our life and in the life of our society that is seems things are getting worse and not better. Trouble increases. Authority duels are obvious in many areas of life. Our workload is unfairly increased and our God seems absent.
Things commonly go backward with the saints before they come forward, so the corn groweth downward ere it grow upward.”John Trapp
“It is the darkest before the dawn.”
The Israelite leaders blamed Moses.”You’ve put a sword in their hand to kill us”. The people, in their trouble called out to Pharaoh for help- not God, or even Moses. Pharaoh seemed like a friend when they were his slaves. In the previous chapter, they believed God was with them, but now their excitement was gone.
But Pharaoh was cruel and did not care about them. He called them names, insulted them, commanded more work and allowed no time for religious duty to God. He punished them for it and for even wanting it.
Even Moses, with his insecurities ressurfacing, asked God,
O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?… You have not delivered your people at all.”Exodus 5:22-23 ESV
From their perspective, their world was topsy-turvy.
God, however, does not see as man, nor are His ways like man’s.
God is interested in way more than just freeing Israel. He knows they need transformation to become His people, fit for the Promised land. He knew they needed to learn endurance, patience, and complete trust in Him. He knew defeating Egypt’s evil would not come quickly or easily. And He knew their faith & trust would come with countless opportunities for surrender and obedience.
What He was interested in was them trusting Him in their trouble so He could use it for their good and His glory.
No Israelite was exempt from this. Not Aaron, and not Moses. Moses’ fears of inferiority came rushing back when things got worse not better. He still doubted that he was the right guy – Why did you ever send me? He hoped the liberation would be easy and now that is wasn’t he doubted who he was and whether God could really use him. (he’s not anything like us, right? ha ha )
God was working through the trouble, hardship, and worsening conditions to produce a people who would trust Him and His ability to use them for good and His glory. 2 Peter 4:12-14, 19; 3:8-9, 14-15
There was blame enough to go around, but God deserved none of it.
He was seeing beyond the immediate, to the long term victory. To the wandering and complaining years, To the warring and possessing years. To the reigning and prosperous years. To the years it would take for these people to be His people. To you and I. To our struggles. To this day. To our times. And to eternity, when His son would have for Himself a spotless Bride, fully devoted to Jesus.
The the Israelites and their leaders believed that God had done evil to His people by allowing such trouble. They believed because it was getting worse and not better, it could not possibly be God’s will.
But these events in Egypt were demonstrating God’s last straw. The straw that would set in motion a massive exodus. For them, then and I believe for you now.
God is at work in our nation, and although it appears things are getting worse and not better, let’s let Israel remind us that He is at work in the now and for the long term. He is preparing us, transforming us and equipping us.
We are facing the days of God’s last straw in our lifetime. The days of His preparation for our exodus from slavery into complete liberty. But first, we must learn to trust Him and be wholly confident in Him and obedient to His voice.
Don’t lose heart as things get worse. He’s working on us in the midst of things getting worse, preparing us for our exodus.
Submitting to His fashioning,
2 Gates & 2 Prophets
We are living in serious days, spiritually and this video lesson does not pull any punches in calling out compromise. I trust because you are reading this, you will follow through and hear it all. Click play and prepare for self reflection.
Walking the narrow road,
Part 3 – God’s Signs
In this third of our five part series, you will see how God chooses to use you in bringing deliverance to others and helping them to believe. But first He will give you signs that will scare you, encourage you, and teach you to listen to and obey His voice.
These thoughts are based on Moses and the Exodus account you will find in Exodus chapter 4.
After “God shows up” (in Exodus chapter 3 & our previous lesson), we find Him telling Moses that he has been selected to be the comissioned leader and carry His name to lead His people out of Egypt into the land God promised to give to the Partiarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Moses is given a project, one of seeming impossibilities, with ridiculous odds of failure, and that required 100% faith and focus on God. Moses questions whether he is up to the task and responded to God with a series of questions all of which revealed his doubt in God’s decision.
Moses first said to God,
BUT they won’t believe me or listen to me…”Exodus 4:1 ESV
I love the BUTS of the Bible, they reveal so much about humanity and God’s amazing dealings with us. Moses doubted that anyone would listen to him. Who was he afterall? Here he was just a shepherd going before the King of Egypt with all of his powerful magicians and political advisors.
God answered Moses, “What’s in your hand?” The same thing that God asks of us, “What’s in your hand, Debbie?” “What’s in your hand _________ (your name)?” Moses was holding his shepherds staff.
“Throw it down” Moses was told. And when he did, it turned into a snake and scared Moses away. Then God spoke again to Moses and told Him to pick up the snake by the tail. Which Moses did, and the snake turned back into Moses’ staff.
“What’s in your hand?” is how God uses people. He uses what people have. The years of sheep tending were not wasted for Moses. He didn’t need a scepter to go before the King, he needed his staff. He needed what God had put in his hand, because God uses what is in our hand. (Check out Shamgar, David, Sampson, and the little boy with fish and bread.)
The staff turning to a snake was not part of Moses everyday experience, and so it was a sign given as confirmation to Moses of God’s power to use what God had given him, but it was also a sign that the people would believe.
After running away from the snake, Moses learned to listen to God’s directions and to take it by the tail – the most dangerous place. Moses learned how to do what God told him to do even if it was dangerous and uncomfortable. Moses learned that God could transform something good into evil and back again, IF Moses would trust and obey the voice of God.
Then, what Moses held in his hand was called the rod of God! And with the rod of God, Moses would eventually part the sea, strike the rock and defeat the enemy in the valley.
Sign #1 – Staff to snake – Watch what God will do with what’s in your hand
God uses what you have in your hand. Your years of doing it, your experience, your skills, your heart and your dreams. Nothing is wasted. You need nothing more than faith in what He has given you. Faith that will trust Him with uncomfortable encounters, maybe even dangerous ones, but faith that you are doing what you have heard Him say to you.
When you decide that in your heart, and take action, you begin to move in a new freedom but so do those that God has sent you to. The signs are for you and for them too, to believe!
You would think that one sign was enough to boost Moses’ confidence in God. But God gave Moses another sign in which his healthy hand became leprous and then was restored to full health again. This sign was again to reassure Moses of God’s total and unstoppable power to restore even the most disgraceful, shameful, and horrible sin and disease in his life. God was saying, trust me Moses, to use ALL that you are – even the diseased and broken parts.
Sign #2 – The leprous hand restored – God will restore and use even our diseased and broken parts
There is no sin or shame God will not forgive or restore you from and use for His glory. He will do it as a sign for you to believe in and fully trust Him, and He will use you to share it with others so that their hope can be restored and they will believe in the power of the Almighty God.
But God is not through giving Moses (or you) signs.
He next tells Moses to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground and it will become blood. Guess what happens? Yup. He does and it does.
Blood always represents judgment. God’s message here was that if transformation didn’t work (staff to snake and hand to leprosy) then perhaps judgment would convince them to believe.
Sign #3 – Water to blood – God will bring judgment to the land
Our land, like ancient Egypt will face judgement. Our lives will face judgment and the Blood of the Lamb will cover and protect us during this time if we believe. The purpose of the blood is to make believers.
After these three persuassive signs, Moses still objects by saying –
I am not eloquent… I am slow of speech…”Exodus 4:10 ESV
Let’s be real here, Moses had spent the first 40 years of his life being trained in all the wisdom of Egypt. Acts 7:22 The real issue for Moses was his confidence was gone! That was way back then and now, he only spoke sheep talk. And while we’re being real, he’s not really complaining about his speaking ability but his inability to be a leader to God’s people.
Even though God had promised to be with him, and teach him what to do and say, Moses was comparing himself to those smart guys in Pharaoh’s court and coming up on the short end. Which is all we need to understand that Moses’ focus was in the wrong place, on himself and not on God. God provided Aaron, to be the speaker for Moses and promised to teach them both.
Sign #4 – God provides us the support we need – because He sees more in us than we do
Who of us has not dealt with a lack of confidence? Especially when we see a task before us with seemingly impossible odds of failure and requiring more faith than we think that we have? And yet, God, who hears the groans of the needy around you and the cries from the lonley, broken and lost who you come in contact with – provides for you all you need to bring them to faith, by means of your faith.
Lastly, here’s the bottom line of this long story.
After these 4 signs, and Moses listing disqualifications, doubts, and lack of confidence, he reveals the real issue in his heart. Without anymore excuses cuz God has dashed them all to pieces, Moses says to God –
Please send someone else…”Exodus 4:13 ESV
This made God angry. (v. 14). You know why? He was angry at Moses’ unwillingness not his questions or doubts. Moses revealed, by this request, that he was unwilling not unable.
Sign #5 – God reveals what’s really in our heart – He uses the willing heart
Whatever it takes, God will whittle all of our excuses down to reveal our willingness to obey His voice. When all is stripped away, are we willing to do what He has called and equipped us for?
God has demonstrated by these signs that He can and will work with what He has created. He will first deal with our own doubts and insecurities showing Himself strong on our behalf so that WE believe. Then, he uses us to affect other people’s beliefs.
God is intending a tremendous exodus of people from bondage into freedom and fulfilling of His promises. He has been preparing you for this exodus by hearing your desires, showing up in your life, and revealing signs like these to you, verifying His desire to use YOU!
What’s is your hand? Allow Him to restore the broken parts of your heart and judge you in His love and mercy. He has provided all you need for victory and deliverance if only you are willing.
Joining you in following His voice,
See you Next week for #4 God’s Last Straw
Part 1 – God Sees
This is one of those times I write under the impact of what I hear The Spirit saying to us – to you and me, to believers, and to our nation.
He is preparing us for our exodus, our depatrure from things as we know them, our going out and being set free from our oppression and affliction.
With that theme in mind, it is clear that we can look at the ancient exodus of Israel, after their 430 years in slavery, and draw some comparisons and parallels. So, from now ’til the end of the year, in a 5 part series, we will look at and draw those comparisons with the intention of inspiring you to see that now is the time for you to prepare for your exodus.
The overriding theme of the book of Exodus is God fulfilling His promise to the Patriarchs to make their descendants a great nation, (despite the oppression of the world’s greatest superpower (Egypt) and their own unbelief and disobedience.) Their exodus was so impactful, Israel’s national identity and even their calendar reoriented around the month that they came out of Egypt. And, their success was totally ascribed to God’s power and God’s character, not their own power, or weak and godless character. (So too, will be our exodus and the display of God’s power.)
As we begin this comparison, let’s start right there. What God is preparing to do is fulfill His promises to raise up His Church, His Ekklesia, despite economic forums or governmental overreach, who will walk in relationship to the Omnipotent God and reveal His character here on this planet, wherever they are. This will be so impactful it will change national identities, and will be marked on all calendars as The Great Outpouring and Harvest.
My friend, this is a personal freedom being offered to you. A freedom from years of oppression and bondage. A freedom to walk in the fullness of God’s promises fulfilled and God’s power revealed. This isn’t some imaginary or delusional hope, this is what God has promised to those that believe Him. He is preparing us for our exodus.
In Exodus 2:23-25, we find our first lesson, preparing us for our exodus. Here’s what it says,
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”
It is clear from these verses that God sees exactly what the Israelites are going through and have gone through. God sees. In fact, there are four facets listed here to God’s seeing.
- God hears
- God remembers
- God saw
- God knew
God hears the groaning because of slavery. God hears the cries for help. God hears the cries for rescue. God hears the prayers offered up to God. Whether it be 3,468 years ago by the ancient Israelites or today, by the Yahweh believers around the world, God still hears.
With believers increasing mightily and threatening governmental leaders, like Pharaoh, taskmasters have been appointed to burden down with heavy loads the people of God. Still the faith filled ones prosper, despite the oppression, all the while the taskmasters treat them ruthlessly.
Making their lives bitter and forced into hard service, even releasing a death decree to kill babies, the Egyptian magistrates dreaded the Israelites, just like many of our governmental leaders make our lives bitter and decree death to our babies. Their dread tho’, will not keep us from multiplying in strength and numbers and faith!
God hears. He sent Moses, the one drawn out of the waters. And so it is, God hears us, and is preparing to send yet another drawn out remnant to free those suffering from bondage. God hears.
God remembers. He is not forgetful like an old person, or dull because of age. He is sharp, precise, and fully cognizant of all He has said and promised. He remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make their descendants a great nation with countless sons and daughters. They will not be defined by years slavery, but by their covenant with God.
- Abraham’s covenant – Genesis 12:2
- Isaac’s covenant – Genesis 17:15, 21
- Jacob’s covenant – Genesis 26:3-5
God is a God of covenants. He is a God- keeper of agreements. A fullfiller of promises. He is not a man that lies. If He said it, He will do it. Numbers 23:19 He remains faithful, even if we are unfaithful because He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 God remembers!
God remembers that He made you for a specific purpose. God remembers the plans He has for your eternal happiness and hope He has for your eternal fellowship. He remembers the giftings, skills, and even weaknesses He put inside of you and He remembers all of it is being used to fashion you into a highly valued and treasured vessel of honor for Him. God remembers that He is not done with you yet.
God saw the people of Israel. The whole mess of slavery, bitterness, oppression, ruthless rulers, death decrees, and unjust treatment. God saw the worldwide mess of Covid, the harsh treatment, the fruitful years in rapid decline. God saw the favor turned to fury. God saw the big picture, not just the immediate.
God saw the victory, freedom, blessing, and fulfillment that lie ahead. God saw it all. Past. Present. Future. He is The Great I Am.
God knew. He knew their suffering and He knew their deliverance was coming. God knew that the promised land lay ahead. God knew it was a fruitful place, full of provision and enemies. God knew their future. God knew what they had. God knew what they needed. God knew what lie ahead. God knew their successes and their failures. God knew.
In what ways are we any different? In what ways is God different? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever?
As we approach this new year, I believe it is time to prepare to exit the past years of oppression, bondage and silencing. A new season of promises fulfilled, God’s people rising up, and God’s power revealed in signs, wonders and miracles.
He has seen our situation and is redirecting our focus to His powerful deliverance. It will be epic, because our nation, like Israel is in crisis.
Rest assured, God Sees! And when He sees, He hears, He remembers and He knows. Our God sees a massive exodus of sons and daughters, walking in His miraculous power and fully dependant on every Word that proceeds from His mouth.
This is what He is preparing to do in our nation and the nations of the world. This is what He is preparing to do in and through His people, the followers of Yahweh. The land of promises lie ahead to those who are preparing themselves for the exodus.
In continuing preparation for our exodus, please check back for the next 4 parts of this series.
- God Shows Up 12/10
- God’s Signs 12/17
- God’s Last Straw 12/24
- God Says NOW! 12/31
Before you go, please remember that God sees everything that you are going through and He has heard your cries for help. He remembers well all He has promised you and He sees it happening because He knows your victorious destiny.
God sees YOU, and He is preparing you for your exodus.
I have been facinated with the not so patriarch, Jacob.
This guy was a hustler from the womb. Not willing to allow anyone ahead of him, even in the womb. Upon delivery with his twin brother, he grabbed the heal of his brother when he arrived and kept on grabbing after things his whole life.
You may remember these, his greatest hustles:
- He bargained for his brother’s birthright
- He deceived for his brother’s firstborn blessing
- Schemed for more of his uncle’s herds
- sent bribes to his brother hoping for acceptance
To those familiar with how his story ends and him becoming one of the Partiarch’s of the Faith (in Judiasm & Christianity) these hustles are well known. But his proclivity for scheming, deception and cheating puzzles me. His swindling, or as one could say, the art of his deals amaze me.
This guy had to run away from his family because of his dishonest dealings with his brother and dad. He hid out with his uncle for 20 years! That is some serious time to allow family anger to subside. And all the while God blessed him! In spite of and on top of who he was inside, a cheater, God still promises to bless him for generations to come.
But there came a time in Jacob’s life, where he was left alone with who he was. In his account in Genesis, we read:
During the night, Jacob arose, woke up his wives, his maidservants, and eleven sons, and had them cross the ford of the Jabbok River. He sent them across along with everything he had, and Jacob was left all alone. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man appeared and wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he was not winning the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint, leaving it wrenched as he continued to wrestle with him. Eventually, the man said to him, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob refused. “No! Not until you bless me!” “What is your name?” asked the man. “Jacob,” he replied. “Not anymore.” the man said to him. “Your new name is Israel, for you have struggled both with God and with people and have overcome.”Genesis 32:22-29 TPT
There is so much in this passage, so let’s unpack it.
Jacob came to a place of emptying out himself of everything, his spouse, children, and servants. He released all he had only to be left with all he was. Alone, in that place, he wrestled with a mysterously appearing man (many believe the man to be God, some say it was the guardian angel of Esau and still others say it was satan.) What matters here for me is that Jacob, all by himself is wrestling with his identity, his walk, and his very his name.
And isn’t it interseting that his wrestling happens at Jabbok, which means “emptying”. The Jabbok River emptied into the Jordan River above the Dead Sea. Here, is where Jacob emptied himself and wrestled with God for His blessing. It was at daybreak that Jacob’s breakthrough came. Having prevailed as he did in the womb, he did not relent and grabbed his blessing – a new walk and a new name.
At Penuel, having first emptied himself, he wrestled with who he was and he actually saw the face of God, and lived to tell about it. This encounter marked him for life, his name and his walk.
This is Jacob’s story, but what puzzles, amazes, and facinates me is this:
- God fearfully and wonderfully made each of us Ps. 139:13-14
- He made us in His image GEn. 1:27
- He thinks innumerable thoughts of love and blessing for us Ps. 139:17-18
- He has chosen us & helps us Is. 44:2
- He named us Is. 49:1
- He redeemed us Jn. 3:17
- He calls us His children Jn. 1:12
- He accepts and empowers us as we wrestle with our own weakness & shor comings 2 Cor. 12:9
- We have this divine treasure in our earthen vessels 2 Cor. 4:7
How can it be that the very God who made me in His likeness still loves, accepts and uses me, the one who is so prone to sin, manipulation, dishonesty, judgment, compromise, selfishness, pride and arrogance? How can it be that Jacob’s story is really mine? I too have personality traits far from godly.
His whole life he was known for certain traits, by his family, associates and city. Jacob, the deceiver. And yet, Jacob emptied himself in that moment, and stood alone before God, wrestling for a bigger blessing upon his life. From that place he emerged as a Prince with God, his true destiny as our Partiarch.
And so it is with me, with you. Those very traits, designed into our personality by God, He refines and uses them for His will. He sands off our prickly, rough edges and causes us to hold the weight of His presence. He sharpens our iron sharp wills and galvanizes us with His will, unshakable, unmoveable. We hold this treasure in earthen, weak, vessels, that His power can show forth in spite of our weaknesses. In fact, His power is made perfect in our weakness.
When I look within, I cry with the prophet of old, “O, wretched man that I am!”. I am wrestling with who I am. I am wrestling with who I want to become. I, like Jacob, will not let God go until He blesses me, and changes my walk and empowers my new name.
Emptying myself of those “warts and all”, I see His face and what I want to become. I want more! More of Him.
If you too, have wrestled or are wrestling with who you are, please know that you are not alone. Remember Jacob. Remember me. Join us in the match of a lifetime and be confident that in the end, you will walk away changed, and very much alive, having seen the face of God.
Won’t you join us as we wrestle with who we are and who we are becoming.
It seems that we are fairly familiar with the causes and even the symptoms of the anxiety that we experience. But are we as familiar with and open to the coping secrets that Jesus provides us? Are we anxious enough to finally yield to His solution for human anxiety?
Sit for a spell and give it some thought, won’t you?
Cheers to your new found peace.
Today’s title is a summary of some overwhelming thoughts that I was recently wrestling with. I couldn’t hear what I needed to hear because of all the other noise that was coming at and overcoming me.
Hearing is essential to all animals and we humans can distinguish 400,000 different sounds. All of these sounds are actually frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hertz, but we are most sensitive to sounds between 500 & 4,000 Hertz and we are most sensitive to frequencies that are crucial to speech recognition. (So, most of us really do hear what they are saying. Ha ha)
The loudness of these sounds is important too, and is expressed in decibels, dB. Prolonged exposure to louder than 85dB will damage our ear and cause hearing loss. Just for your reference, a gas powered lawn mower loudness is 85-90 dB!
“In 1999, the World Health Organization determined in a 24 hour period, exposure to 70 dB would produce minimal hearing loss in 95% of people.” (1) For clarity, that means that if you were exposed to 70 dB of noise for 24 hours straight, 95% of people would experience minimal hearing loss.
Hang with me here, we’ll tie some things together shortly.
Our very mechanism of hearing is a complicated and marvelous design. Here’s a quick review:
- 2 identical units – right and left ear
- external ear – the pinna, ear canal and eardrum
- middle ear – malleus, hammer, incus, anvil, stapes, stirrup
- inner ear – oval window, cochlea
- auditory nerve
- the brain – not part of the hearing mechanism but the power that turns what we hear into a sound that we recognize and understand
The pinna acts as a funnel, collecting all those sound waves, and sending them along the 2-3 cm ear canal where they will bounce off the ear drum and onto those 3 tiny bones in the middle ear. Those lil’ guys amplify those “good vibrations” and send them on to that snail shaped cochlea that has fluid inside. That fluid stimulates tiny hair cells causing them to move. When they do move, these pore-like channels open up and chemicals rush in creating an electrical signal. The auditory nerve then carries this electrical signal to the brain and voila, our brain decipers what we are hearing.
The fact that we can hear at all is a very complicated process we ought not take it for granted.
But here’s the deal. Because we can hear, we are hearing all sorts of noise, facts, issues, voices, and news. Sometimes, like I experienced last week, there is so much noise, we can’t seem to hear with any clarity what is really important. We have trouble filtering through all the noise. (Is it just me?)
If we continue to expose ourself to loud and frequent noise it should come as no surprise that we would experience hearing loss. We become dull in our hearing first and then our heart even grows dull, heavy burdened. Then, sensitivity is lost, All because of the noise constantly bombarding our ears and taking root in our heart.
From the early first century, we have writings speaking to this very issue.
“Your heart has grown dull of hearing and your ears can barely hear.” Matthew 13:15 ESV
“You have become dull of hearing…” Hebrews 5:11 ESV
“Dull” in the original languages in the Hebrews text means, “sluggish, lazy; stupid, dull & slothful.” “Dull” in the Matthew text means, “heavy, weighty, burdensome, grave. Grievous, heavy.” And it is taken from a word meaning, “going down; a load. Abundance, authority – burdensome, weight.”(3)
The writers here, in the first century are speaking of people’s hearing becoming weighed down, burdensome, and even stupid with an abundance of authority loading on weights. Humph, sounds very familiar…
Here’s a look at how another first century writer describes the things that dull people’s hearing.
In the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV
No wonder my hearing had become dull. The noise coming at me was alot of this garbage! It was loud. It was constant. It was burdensome, heavy and stupid! It had found it’s way into my hearing mechanism and further complicated my hearing process. (Just what I needed… NOT!)
I did as the audiologists (2) suggest – “If you have normal hearing and want to keep it that way…
- avoid loud & constant noise
- use healthy practices when listening to music
- avoid substances that harm your ears
- don’t let stuff (ear wax) build up
- be aware of infections
- check your heart condition
So I: turned off my 1 hour a day news show, the radio and canceled certain streaming. I choose to listen to only things, videos, and podcasts that would build up my faith. I avoided all things negative or harmful to my hearing and faith. I got rid of stuff building up inside of me, perhaps causing infections by having more serious prayer time. I asked the Lord to heal my heart and remove all hardness and infection.
I realized that my faith, personal convictions and reliance on Christ was dependent on my hearing. “Faith comes from hearing…” Romans 10:17 ESV
I couldn’t hear because of all the noise, so I cut the noise and increased those things that would build my faith. I listened to uplifting, encouraging, and spiritually nutritional things cuz I wanted by faith and reliance on Jesus renewed, and cleaned up.
My hearing has improved but only because I never again want to say or experience, “I can’t hear for all the noise.”
How’s your hearing?
- Centers for Disease Control cdc.gov
- Audiologynow.org – Sandra WIlliams 10.25.22; New Hampshire Hearing Institute, NHHI, nhhearinginstitute.com
- The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, James Strong, LLD. STD.
If you’re old enough to be reading this (and interested too) then you are old enough to be making investments. And I am just wondering, how are your personal investments? If one were to look into your account, what would they find?
I hope you either already are or will consider making lasting investments.
I’m sure you remember that we here on Earth have our seasons all because of the tilt of the earth.
Our tilt is not like that of Uranus which sits sideways. Nor is it like Jupiter, whose tilt is only 3 degrees. Our tilt, slant or “axial tilt” is 23.4 degrees and decreasing. It is usually between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees.
It is because of that tilt that our planet has it’s seasons. As the North pole tilts toward the sun we have summer in the Northern hemisphere. Conversely, when the South pole tilts toward the sun we have winter in the Northern hemisphere.
It’s amazing to me that at any one time, earth is going through two distinct seasons. One in the Northern hemisphere and one in the Southern hempsphere. Yet, we only are experiencing the one that we are in.
Also interesting to note is whichever hemisphere is pointed towards the sun receives more energy and light from the sun.
It is precisely that tilt that gives us our winter, spring, summer and fall. Three months each, with specific starting and ending dates makes earth’s seasons measured, predictable and purposeful.
Spring – seeds take root, things begin to grow, warmer weather, animals awake, melting snow and rain
Summer – temperatures increase to the hotest time of the year, heat waves and droughts
Fall – temperatures cool, plants grow dormant, animals prepare for cold storing food or traveling, harvests
Winter – brings chill, snow, ice, rain, animals seek warmth
Seasons are those periods of the year with disctinct conditions and day lengths but the timing and characteristics of seasons depend on where you are on earth.
One other note before I make some applications to your life. Earth’s axis rotation is changing. In fact, a complete cycle is 26,000 years. In 13,000 years earth’s seasons will actually reverse. It will take another 13,000 years for them to return back again. This change is gradual and we never notice it. But it does cause our summer solstice to arrive 20 minutes early every year. In 70 years, it will arrive a full day earlier.
Why the astronomy lesson? Why should I care?
One thing we know for sure is that as long as there is an earth, there will be seasons. Genesis 8:22 promises that. And I would add, as long as we are living, our life will go through seasons. (And I don’t just mean those 4 seasons each year.)
Each of us personally experience seasons in our life. If we don’t recognize what season we’re in we tend to feel lost and without purpose. So it is important for us to recognize the season that we are in.
Each season has a specific purpose, something that must be accomplished. Also, remember, “if we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” Anne Bradstreet
“Life is not one long race, but many short ones in succession.” And those short ones are the seasons of life that we all pass and grow through. Seasons help us plan and manage expectations. Seasons remind us that there is a time for everything. Ecclestiastes 3:1 It is frustrating though that the seasons of our life are not as clearly defined as our tilted, earthly seasons, isn’t it?
Most importantly, every season has a beginning and an end.
The season you are currently in is not permanent. The season you are in does have a purpose to accomplish in your life. The season you are in is exactly because of the tilt and lopsided orbit of your life. The season you are in is part of a much larger cycle with a much bigger purpose than you are now seeing. The season that you are in may be producing incremental changes for you but big and lasting changes for the generations that follow you. You may or may not see your seasonal change, but it is happening.
Lastly, the amount of light and energy that you experience in your seasons depends on what direction you are pointed. Are you pointed toward the Son? There is where you will find energy and light for your seasonal changes.
You may have times when you think that your life is off kilter, lopsided or having been hit by some enormous object that threw you off course. I imagine Mother Earth thought that 4.5 billion years ago when something crashed into her and caused her to tilt 23.4 degrees. But without her tilt, there would be no seasons. Without her tilt the only habitable place for humans would be the equator. So whatever has crashed into your life is part of a master plan, and it has a definate purpose.
It really is all about the tilt and seasons of your life.
Cheers to your growth through each season,
- Nasa Science Space Place – spaceplace.nasa.gov
- On Star Register – osr.org/blog/kids
- The Holy Bible
There’s alot of talk these days about fasting, specifically intermintent fasting. There are tons of positive benefits fasting brings to your life and I’ve experienced them. How ’bout you?
There seems to be signifigant value in learning to deny our appetites for a season. Science has spoken.
But I submit to you the value of denying our appetites goes way beyond our physical well being. I am confident it brings emotional, spiritual, intellectual AND physical health and wholeness to those who give themselves to fasting.
Please take a few moments and see how you can benefit from fasting.
God bless you on your journey of self denial.
Where do you go for help?
I think that we could agree that it depends on the problem you are facing, right?
If the sink is stopped up and overflowing we’d seek out a plumber. If our car engine is misbehaving, we’d seek an auto mechanic. If our child is severly depressed we would waste no time in calling for a mental health specialist. Where we go for help depends on who has the problem, the nature of the problem and the symptoms being experienced.
Let’s leave for now the self diagnosed, “easy” to fix problems like the sink, and the car, and delve deeper into the kinds of problems mentioned above with your child. Depression, anxiety, fear, financial worries, illness, relational conflict, political unrest, and the like. Let’s focus on those types of problems.
Where do you go fo help?
I want to offer you a song, one that will take you higher (than where you are now). One that provides you with a clear Source of help and a well paved path to that Source.
The song is one of 15 listed in the ancient Hebrew writings of poetry. It was sung by the Hebrews as they made their annual trek to Jerusalem for the Feasts. This song was intended to instill confidence to those on the long and dangerous journey. Faced with dangers and bandits along the arduous road these travelers sang this song that lifted their spirits higher, encouraged them in their journey and reminded them that although they felt alone they definately were not.
Interestingly, their song serves as a parable for us and our journey through life. It answers the question, “Where do you go for help?” by revealing the Source and the path. Let’s look at that song, now.
I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth.”Psalm 121:1-2 TPT
On the trek toward their destination, they looked up and saw the surrounding hills and mountains. Were these hills and mountains places to fear? Were they there to keep them from finishing their journey? Did they represent dangers, distractions, or reminders of previous victories? Were these large and overshadowing pillars where they would get their help from?
They sang about looking to the mountains, and arriving at the City, but that is not where their help came from. They saw beyond the hills, looking to the One who made those hills and mountains, the Creator of each hill and even the valleys. The Creator of heaven and earth.
They saw the Creator, Jehovah God looming far superior to those puny mountains. THAT is where their help came from. THAT is how they would finish their journey. That is where their confidence came from. THAT is the song they bravely sang. THAT is the song took their spirits higher.
The song continues,
He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; He will never forget or ignore me. He will never slumber nor sleep; He is the Guardian-God for His people, Israel. “Psalm 121:3-4 TPT
Help wasn’t in the City, the powerful mountains or their own personal strength, their help came “only from the Lord”. The Creator. He was the One who would guard them on the trail, and guide them along the dark path. He was the One who watched over their steps and provided a stable, firm foothold for them. He was the One who empowered them to stand up, walk forward and not slip.
The Lord was their Keeper, their watchman. He was the one who watched over them and would never forget or ignore them. He was the One who didn’t take naps, or disappear in the darkest times. He would guard them, He would keep them. THIS was their confident song. THIS is who they looked to for help, whether in the sunlight or the moonlight.
This song rang with faith and confidence in the One who had delivered them in the past and who would do so again as needed. Their song resounded as they continued singing –
Jehovah Himself will watch over you; He’s always at your side to shelter you safely in His presence. He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night. He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity. As He watches over you. you will be guarded by God Himself. You will be safe when you leave your home and safely you will return. He will protect you now, and He’ll protect you forevermore.”Psalm 121:5-8 TPT
Jehovah Himself will watch over us, in every circumstance along life’s journey they sang. Their voices were lifted high to match their vision as they declared His presence to be their shade and protection. No bandit-stealer, or ravenous beast need they fear, for He was their Keeper and Guardian along the Way.
Melodic notes of thanks and praise filled their journey on life’s road for they were confident in His eternal protection whether at home or away. They knew where their help came from, not just for this journey, but for their life.
They knew the hills they originally looked to were to serve as reminders of the places where the Lord had done mighty wonders for Abraham (on Moriah), Moses (on Nebo), and on Carmel (defeating Baal). Yet, perhaps some even saw prophetically to the hill Jesus would sit on and teach the multitudes, the Mount of His Transfiguration and the hill of ultimate redemption – Golgatha.
Although their eyes were lifted to those hills, they knew that their help did not come from those strong hills and mountains. No government, god of nature, or overwhelming obstacle would be their helper. Their help was in the name of the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth.
This God, with unbounded power was their protector, watchman, helper and their confidence could not be stronger. THIS lifted them. THIS encouraged them. THIS empowered them as they headed to their destination.
THIS was the song that took them higher.
No matter the problem, no matter who is struggling with it, and no matter the symptoms, the Source of your help is found in the Lord who made heaven and earth. And the path to that Source begins by lifting up your eyes – no longer seeing the dangerous mountains, but seeing your Source of help, strength, confidence, peach and hope.
Today, as you walk the road of life, may you too lift your eyes to the hills that reveal all He has done for you in the past, and find the same confidence that He watches over you everyday, everywhere, and every step. He is your helper in daytime and in the darkest hours.
He is the song that takes you higher.
“Sang it, girl, Sang it, boy.”
It seems to be a given that at some time we all will find ourselves uttering a prayer, whether we are religious or not. There are 3 things we are told to do, when we pray. Check it out…
You can handle those three things, I know you can.
Now, let’s pray.
Tis the season for evaluating your plan and updating your benefits. Is your current plan sufficient, has it changed, do you need more and better coverage, do you know the full extent of your coverage?
Recently, on a call with our insurance broker, my husband was asked these and other quite specific questions regarding our Medicare plan. (Yes, we’re THAT old.) My husband was made to list specific medicines, doctors, procedures, dates, and desires. It was a thorough evaluation of his needs. I was next, and Den answered for me as well.
When the questions were finished, our guy confidently told us, “I can help you, and, it won’t cost you a thing”. Now that was super exciting because we had been paying nearly $400./month for supplemental insurance coverage.
Needless to say, the following week we took advantage of our open enrollment period and upgraded our benefits for FREE! Medical, Vision, Dental, Hospitalization, and more… for free!
The next morning I woke up with this in my mind,
… forget not all His benefits.”Psalms 103:5 ESV
During this season of spiritual open enrollment, let’s take a moment here to compare our current plan and the benefits that are available for free to us because of Jesus, who –
Daily loads us with benefits.“Psalms 68:19 KJV
What are the benefits available to us, at no cost to us? For a simple and concise list, take a look at Psalm 103:3-19. We will focus on verses 3-6.
- He forgives your sins – every one, verse 3. TPT says, “you’ve kissed my heart with forgiveness, in spite of all I’ve done”. There’s nothing that you have done that He will not forgive. Every one of your sins will be forgiven, IF you ask Him. No matter what you have done.
- He heals your diseases – every one, verse 3 Every sickness, malady and agony, every worn, weak and wounded part of you – inside and out He can heal.
- He has rescued you from hell, saved your life, verse 4. He actually bought you back from the devil and acted as your next of kin, to redeem you from the dark forces. He stood in for you and your deserved death. He saved you from eternal punishment in hell and banishment from His presence because He wants to spend eternity loving you.
- He has crowned you with love and mercy, verse 4. As His son or daughter, His love and mercy is our eternal crown, forever covering us and reminding us of all of His benefits. He is full of love and abounding in mercy toward us.
- He satisfies my every desire with good things, verse 5. He fills you up with more than enough, and totally to your complete satisfaction, AND with things that make you happy and please you. Your satisfaction is guaranteed and provided ONLY by Him.
- Your youth is renewed like the eagles, verse 5. TPT says – “You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again.” “Eagles” in this passage actually means “Griffon Vulture Eagle” (H5404) These eagles are the second largest bird in Europe and are the highest flying bird in the world. They have unbeleiveble eyesight, can eat anything and are very fast. These vulture/eagles while juveniles can migrate far and embark on long distance movements.
Griffon Vulture Eagle
This chapter is filled with MORE benefits that you are provided at no cost to you. AND the Bible in entiretiy is packed full of benefits to the believer who seeks to please the Lord. (Please print out the partial list of bible verses that I have added, showing some of His many benefits for us. )
Now is the time for you to consider, “Is your current plan sufficient?” Whatever it is that you have been depending on for your health and well being, is it enough? Is it time for you to update your benefits?
There is no need for you to be wrestling with guilt and shame over what you have done. YOU ARE FORGIVEN. It is a benefit that He has provided at no cost to you.
You have no sickness, malady or wound that He does not care about, feel your pain for, and provide healing from. It is included in His benefits for you.
He stepped up for you when the price was demanded for your sin, and paid it all, setting you completely free. Oh what love this benefit demonstrates for us!
The crown of the curse that permeates our thoughts, and seeks to keep us from believing in His mercy and acceptance for us has been replaced by an eternal crown of love and nutrure, as that of a womb cherishing a fetus. THIS is a benefit of being covered by God.
Those deep rooted desires that you have, unknown to all, were given to you by Him, and therefore He will surprise and delight you as He satisifies each one. You will get plenty of satisfaction! Who can match this benefit that the Lord provides to those that love him?
No matter your age, He will supercharge you and make you like the (griffon vulture) eagle. The one bigger than nearly all others, flying higher than any other, and with vision and strength superceeding most others. I know you are human, but this benefit empowers you to fly higher than most humans with strength that is not on the human spectrum
My friend, consider these benefits. Do you need to take advantage of these for the first time? Do you need an upgrade in your benefits? Do you need to better understand of each benefit? It is open enrollment so the time is now.
Jesus Christ paid your premium for full access to health, vision, dental, medical, and so much more. Your peace, hope, and purpose are included as your benefits. Your daily strength and provision is itimized in your coverage as well. Joy unspeakable, life abundant, and love that never fails are standard with God’s benefits.
God can help you, my friend, and it won’t cost you a dime. It is free to you because Jesus paid the full price. But we must accept His offer and daily walk in the benefits that He loads upon us. Knowledge of the benefits and faith attatched to each one, brings full coverage to us as we walk covered by the blood of Jesus.
Let’s take advantage of this open enrollment season to upgrade our benefits where needed and to more fully understand and apply His benefits in our life. OK?
Let’s not forget all His benefits.
Do you have what it takes to challenge a system, take on a cause and bring radical change? I believe many of us deep down want to be a rebel, a revolutionary. But do we have what it takes? Click on and see if you have what it takes.
Let’s go. Revolution!
In this, our last review of the U.S. Constitution, we will address a couple more items: Amendmends 11-27 and a hot button issue, The Electoral College. If you care for more about our Constitution, please see my previous posts: Constitution Day, Constitution Review parts 1,2 and 3.
Remember, the first 10 amendments are called The Bill of Rights and were ratified as a package deal, as prescribed for amendments in Article V of the Constitution. Those first 10 were ratified in 1791. Each of the remaining 17 amendments have been added to the document from 1795 to present day.
Since the ratification of The Bill of RIghts, some 11,000 other amendments have been proposed through the years. Of the 27 amendments that are part of our Constituion, 25 of them are currently active. The 18th – having to do with prohibition and the 21st – dealing with it’s repeal are inactive.
Lastly, before we dive into those last amendments, let’s recall that as prescribed by the Constitution, it can only be changed (amended) in the following, complicated ways. Complicated because the Framers did not want this document to change with the shifting winds of society or the latest fads of the people. There are four ways prescribed but one of these two procedures were used for every amendment since the Bill of RIghts.
- A proposal by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress or
- Ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
So, let’s review Amendments 11-27, shall we?
Amendment XI – 1795 – bans lawsuits brought by citizens of one state against another state. This was introduced to overrule a Supreme Court decision in a Georgia case.
Amendment XII – 1804 – electing the President and Vice President, electors, tallying votes and certifying votes. Again, this one was introduced to deal with an issue in the previous election.
Amendment XIII – 1865 – abolished slavery. Proposed during the raging Civil War, it became the law of the land!
Amendment XIV – 1868 – Rights of citizenship, the states obligations and due process. Suffice it to say, this, one of the meatiest amendments, is also one of the most controversial. Included in this amendment are these issues – equal protection laws, state or federal citizenship, age discrimination, capital punishment, segregation, busing, affirmative action, and gerrymandering. The four sections in this amendment have been torn apart, redefined, scrutinized, and agrued over for over 150 years.
Amendment XV – 1870 – Bans racial discrimination in voting.
Amendment XVI – 1913 – Congress is granted power to collect income tax
Amendment XVII – 1913 – Senators seats and their vacancies
Amendment XVIII – 1919 – Prohibition of intoxicating liquors
Amendment XIX – 1920 – Women’s right to vote
Amendment XX – 1933 – New inaguration date for President and terms date for Congress
Amendment XXI – 1933 – Repeal of Prohibition – Amendment 18
Amendment XXII – 1951 – Limits President to 2 terms
Amendment XXIII – 1961 – The Disctict of Columbia, (Washington D.C.) is granted voting rights
Amendment XXIV – 1964 – Poll taxes are banned
Amendment XXV – 1967 – Vice President takes over for President in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacity
Amendment XXVI – 1971 – Voting age is reduced to 18
Amendment XXVII – 1992 – Pay increases for Congress shall take effect after elections
It’s been thirty years since any new amendments have been ratified. Are we due? What issues do you think should be addressed by amendment to the standing rule of law for our federal government?
There are really too many controversial issues attached to portions of our governing document for me to address. But I have one that I chose to address. That is the issue of the Electoral College.
I know of many who still do not even understand what the electoral college is much less it’s purpose and why the framers included such a convention into our election process. Allow me, if you will to attempt explanation.
Understanding the Electoral College
- The Framers took 60 ballots to settle the election process involving electors
- The President and Vice President shall be chosen by the casting of ballots of the electors, not upon popular vote
- The term electoral college is NOT in the constitution
- “electors” are though, and refered to in Article II and in the 12th Amendment
- these electors are appointed in each state according to the number of representatives and senators. example: CA 55 representatives and 2 senators = 57 electors
- Electors cast their vote based upon the popular vote of their respective state. So, if the majority of CA voters voted for candidate A, that one would receive all 55 electoral votes for CA
- This is based on the “winner take all system” which is used in all but 2 states.
- Nebraska and Maine do not use this “winner take all” system
- This is why is it possible for a candidate to have a lead in popular votes but not in electors (and vice versa)
- 270 electoral votes are needed for a candidate to be elected President of the US. (regardless of if they received the most votes in the popular vote)
- The Framers fought to make sure that each state had equal say in the election of the nation’s president. Not just the bigger, more populated states.
On a personal note here – Many are inclined to do away with The Electoral College believing that the popular vote should decide the presidental winner. They put forth the problem as The Electoral College itself. I DISAGREE. The problem is NOT with the electors and that process, it is with the winner take all distrubution of votes by the states.
Again, in the winner take all system, it does not matter whether the candidate wins by few or many votes. If he/she wins, then they are allotted ALL of the electors. THAT IS THE PROBLEM in my view.
I believe Nebraska and Maine, have it closer to right by allowing votes within each district to be tallied and the state’s electors split if needed, thereby dividing their electors between candidates based on the number of popular votes.
It’s no wonder that The Framers took so many ballots to try and get this right.
The bottom line to remember, when you vote (and I sure hope that you do), your vote is telling your state’s electors who to vote for. If you live in a winner take all state, then all of your electors will go to the candidate with the most popular votes.
If you don’t like the winner take all system, rally, write, and speak up in your state to change it.
I appreciate your support for these blogs and trust that your vote will be well informed and your patriotism renewed.
God bless America, the land that I love.
Are you like teflon or velcro when it comes to offenses, abuses and hurts? Do you abide more by The Law of Relatiation or The Golden Rule? Click on to receive some powerful and freeing principles.
Let’s be teflon, shall we? He’s enabled us to be just that.
Today’s review will focus on The Bill of Rights section of the US Constitution. Do you recall what The Bill of Rights includes? Can you name some of those rights?
Because I am a teacher of over 40 years, let’s take a little quiz, to review what we have studied so far. Skip ahead if your quizzing days are behind you for good.
- What are the major parts of the Constitution called?
- What do the first three Articles tell us about?
- Where do we find the phrase, “We The People”?
- What was the original intention of the Constitutional Convention?
- Why is The Constitution such an important document?
For the correct answers and your score, scroll to the end of this post. Good luck.
As mentioned in an earlier post, there were many to The Constitutional Convention who refused to sign the Constitution unless it contained rights for the individual. They were equally sure that the rights of the American individual must be upheld and enshrined as they were that the federal government be strengthened. Therefore, a Bill of Rights was drafted and included in Constitution soon after it was ratified.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS – was ratified on December 15, 1791 as a package deal. In the deal were the first 10 Amendments which were designed to stop Congress from taking away rights that already existed. The rights listed in these 10 amendments were not new rights granted by the Framers, but ones the Framers assumed already existed for everyone. They wanted them codified.
The First Amendment – The wording of the 1st Amendment begins like this –
Congress shall make no law…”Amendment I – The US Constitution
This first amendment is clearly directed at the Congress and they are instructed that they shall make no laws regarding these personal rights:
- establishing a religion (The US did NOT want to have a church sponsored religion like The Church of England had),
- prohibiting the free exercise of religion (worship as you choose),
- after religion, the next freedoms assumed were
- free speech and expression
- freedom of the press
- freedom to assemble peacefully and
- freedom to petition the government with grievances
Each of these rights, are listed in Amendment I of our Constitution and are the binding, supreme law of our land for all. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and press, and freedom to peacefully protest against our government are guaranteed to American citizens in our Constitution.
Although, these statements seem pretty simple and straightforward, suffice it to say, that through Supreme Court rulings their interpretations have established new precedents for what these amendments may actually mean. Agree or disagree, these rulings have affected us today.
The Second Amendment – the right of the people to bear arms, or own firearms shall not be taken away.
Again this seems clear, you have a right to own a weapon and that right cannot be taken away. But the argument arises, is this amendment speaking to the colonial days when a militia was made up of farmers and common people who possessed their own guns, or to anyone today who chooses to own a weapon for recreational or any other purpose?
The Third Amendment – during times of peace no soldier can stay in your house without your permission. In times of war, soldiers can invade and stay in your home “only as prescribed by law”. Yippie.
The Fourth Amendment – your right against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and warrants may be granted only for probable cause and specific locations detailed within it.
This is the amendment that supposedly keeps the Feds off of your back and out of your house. But it also opens up issues like surveillance, court orders, excluding evidence, and police fishing expeditions for a vast array of information that is unspecified.
The Fifth Amendment – With five weighty issues herein, this amendment deals with these oft-times controversial issues:
- the right against self-incrimination (I plead the 5th…don’t have to answere against myself)
- the grand jury – a group of 16-23 people that form a bigger jury to determine if a person should be indicted or not. These people are involved in felonies and before a trial jury
- double-jeapordy – you can’t be charged twice for the same crime; you can’t be convicted for a crime you’ve already been convicted of; and you can’t be given a second punishment for the same offense
- due process – you are guaranteed a fair process in a trial or legal proceeding. (This is a fairly meaty concept with many more nuances, that I don’t care to go into here).
- eminent domain – your private property, desired FOR PUBLIC USE by the government, cannot be taken from you without you being paid a fair price. (Think about the homes beside an expanding freeway. These are for public use and must be paid a fair price.)
The Sixth Amendment – guarantees you a fair “speedy” trail by jury and an attorney for your defense. It also adds the fact that you are considered innocent until proven guilty by the jury. There are a variety of other guarantees to you should you go to criminal trail.
The Seventh Amendment – you are guananteed the right to a trial by jury in civil cases as well.
The Eighth Amendment – excessive bail nor fines shall be imposed on you and no cruel and unusual punsihments shall be inflicted. Goodie.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments – neither of these really deal with personal rights. Both are generalizations and often misunderstood, so I’ll give it my best.
Ninth Amendment – The 21 words comprising this amendment are given to help us interpret the Constitution and tells us that if something is not mentioned in the Constitution specifically, then that right belongs to the people. Within the Constitution are certain rights but those aren’t the only rigts an individual has. Before the Constitution even was, the people had rights, and the Constitution shall not deprive people of those always held rights.
Tenth Amendment – tells us that either the federal government, state government or the people have the power. Even though the power began with, We The People, we delegated some of it to the federal government, and what they didn’t receive was for the states. If a certain power wasn’t specified to either of those, then it still belongs to the people.
Our freedoms are not to be taken lightly by us or given up, yielded or snatched away by another. They are if you will, God given liberties. May we value them and hold firmly to them, not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren.
See you next time for our final review.
Quiz Review answers
- Preamble, Articles, Amendments
- Our 3 branches of governmemt – Legeslative, Executive, & Judicial
- In the Preamble
- to improve The Articles of Confederation
- it is the supreme law of our land, above all others. It tells us how our government is structured and how it is run.
Grading – if you tried at all, you get an A for effort. Way to go! If you got them all right, then you get an A+, now go and share what you know and your love of country. 🙂
In these days, few and rare are the ones who live with integrity and are honest in character. Telling the truth has morphed into something unrecognizable as truth, in these “post truth” days.
If you are game, click this on and remind yourself that you want to be that person of integrity and character.
Here are the notes.
Let’s commit to be the ones who “tell the truth in love” as we let our light shine in this dark world.
The framers knew that liberty is a fragile thing, and so should we.”William J. Brennan
A primary object… should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing… than… communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?’George Washington
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”Ronald Reagan
So, here we are passing it on, communicating it, because it is our pressing duty to pass on the knowledge of America’s fragile freedom.
In this review we will look at the last four Articles of the US Constitution. (Previously we reviewed the first three, The Preamble, and The Constitutional Convention. You can read those for a full picture of our review.)
Remember, there are seven Articles to the Constituion. The first three deal with our structure of government – the Three Branches: Article I- Legisative, Article II- Executive and Article III- Judiciary.
Article IV contains four sections and deals with how states are to relate with one another. It contains the famous “Full Faith and Credit” Clause. This means that every state has to recognize the laws and court decisions of the other states. It is because of this clause that states can make differing laws which may be contradictory from other states. ie: same-sex marriage, abortion, etc.
Article V spells out four intentionally complicated ways in which the Constitution can be changed or ammended. The two most used ways are:
- a proposal by 2/3 majority in both houses of Congress
- ratification by 3/4 of the state legislatures
Since the ratification of the Constitution in 1791 there have been 5,000 amendments introduced. Only 33 have received 2/3 vote in Congress and only 27 made it all the way through to become part of the Constitution. Of those 27, the first 10, called The Bill of Rights were voted on together, as a set in 1791, which means that only 17 amendments to the Constitution have been made from 1791 to present day. That’s 231 years!! Amazing. It must be working then, to make a “more perfect Union”. Right?
Article VI gains it’s fame from it’s “Supremacy Clause” which states that the Constitution is the supreme law of our land. It also clarifies that federal law is above state law and international treaties are above state law. Additionally, herein lies the issue of national debt.
Article VII stipulates the ratification process for the Constitution. Of the 13 states, 9 shall approve the document to make it legally binding.
It is interesting to note, that all 13 states eventually ratified the document, but it was not without a long battle with Rhode Island. (Remember too, it was Rhode Island who failed to send a delegation to the Constitutional Convention. Hmmmm, I guess the “Hope” state was holding out hope???)
Following the 7th Article you will find the signature of George Washington – President (of the convention), deputy from Virginia.
Following his signature is a list of the states present, with their representatives names listed. Twelve states, 38 representatives are named in the document. Some of the names you may recognize:
- Alexander Hamilton
- Roger Sherman
- Benjamin Franklin
- Robert Morris
- James Madison
What these men created, a brand new form of representative government based on the will of the people is truely remarkable. To have the forethought and understanding of not only law, government but also people’s wishes for freedom and liberty surely must have come from a higher Source. Our Constitution is a gift for the generations.
Have you gotten your copy of the Constitution yet or gone online to check it out and make sure I am not telling you falsehoods? ha ha
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”Eleanor Roosevelt
Next week we will address the first 10 Amendments- The Bill of Rights.
Let freedom ring!
It’s no secret that there is a current emphasis on the Constitution in these days. For many are claiming one thing or another that the Constitution says and guarantees. So, it is vitally important to know the document itself, it’s pieces, principles, and powers. Our purpose in this 4-part review is to look at those pieces, principles and powers so that you can be refreshed in your understanding of our great document and equipped to support and defend it.
There are only 3 pieces to the Constitution.
The 1st piece is the Preamble. This is like an opening or introductary paragraph.
The 2nd piece is the Articles. There are 7 articles and each of them explicitly lays out the details of how our government is structured, who makes up each part, what their responsibilities are, and their qualifications. Additionally, these articles deal with how the nation does business and deals with other nations, and how the federal government and each state government work together.
The 3rd piece is the Amendments. These are now 27 amendments, or changes that have been made to the Constitution since it was ratified.
As far as guiding principles found in the Constitution, we would have to mention these:
Self-government – the framers were firm in their resolve that America NOT be like their former homeland, with a Monarch, and where the people had little voice. Therefore, they chose to create a government in which the people’s voice directed the shape and direction of the leaders in government and the nation.
Liberty – Giving the people as much individual freedom as possible was a priority of the framers. That is why, in the ratification process, there were states that refused to ratify the Constitution unless and until a Bill of Rights was added that would ennumerate the freedoms provided by and protected by this new government.
Federalism – This gives certain, clearly defined and limited powers to a strong, central government but also specifically reserves the other powers to the states.
Separation of Powers – Not wanting any one person or branch to have too much power, our framers set out a structure of government that keeps three branches separate but equal. Included here comes the responsibility of those separate powers to check on the other two branches.
Let’s look now more closely at The Preamble.
“WE THE PEOPLE” is the best known phrase from the Constitution and is the first three words of the Preamble. Listed in this brief, introductory paragraph are the 6 purposes of the entire document. Perhaps you had a History or Social Studies teacher who taught you the Schoolhouse Rock song? (I was that teacher… ha ha)
The 6 purposes are:
- to form a more perfect union – we’re making what we had even better
- establish justice – justice for all
- insure domestic tranquility – insure peace and protections for the inhabitants of the nation
- provide for the common defense – defend all states and the nation
- promote the general welfare – tend to the welfare of its citizens
- secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity – make the nation strong not just for us, but for the generations to come
How would you say we are doing living up to this remarkable Preamble?
In our last section for today, we will look at the first three Articles.
Article I- Congress/Legislature is the longest article & tells us about the legislative branch called Congress, and it shall consist of the Senate, elected every six years, and the House of Representatives, elected every two years. The Senate shall have 2 elected representatives from every state and representation in The House is based on each state’s population. Totaling 435 members of Congress.
It’s important to note here, that “The Great Compromise” that was reached when settling this Two House government came with huge debate. The larger states and the smaller states wanted equal representation in Congress and via this compromise they got both, equal representation (in the Senate) and propotional representation (in the House).
Each of the 10 sections in Article 1 clearly spell out qualifications, how they are elected, duties, responsibilities, how a bill becomea a law, how Congress is run, and limits on Congressional powers. There are actually 18 listed powers that the Congress has. (see Article 1, section 8) Funding, declarations of war, and states importing and exporting with Congressional approval are some highlighted responsibilities.
Article II – The Executive/President The chief executive of the U.S. is the President, who is elected every four years, along with the Vice President. How he/she is elected, their qualifications, duties and responsibilities are listed. Additionally, how she/he shall be removed from office, what happens when the office is vacated, and how he/she is sworn in , is clearly articulated in this second article.
Article III – Judicial power of the U.S. is invested in one Supreme Court, and many inferior Courts. Particulars regarding trials, cases, juries, and crimes are innumerated in the 3 sections of this article. Treason is spoken of in this article, what it is and how it should be judged.
A very signifigant point to make regarding The Supreme Court involves the issue of “Judicial Review”. This, a main responsibility of The High Court is when a law is presented to them in a case, and their task is to determine if, in fact, that law is “Constitutional”. They must determine if that state or federal law violates the constitution. If it does, (as determined by a majority vote of the 9 Judges) then it is deemed unconstitutional and reversed.
Many believe that these Judges have “legislated from the bench” (thorugh the years), thereby changing laws and resulting in a changed national outcome from what elected representatives have passed. The phrases to watch for are :
- Strict Constitutionalist – one who believes the text of the constitution is not open for or to interpretation, it’s words are literal.
- Judicial Activist – one who believes the Constitution is a living document and should be interpreted based on present situation.
These three Articles define what we often refer to as the Three Branches of Government, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial; and they clearly tell us who they are, what they do, and what is allowed in our government.
This document, our Constitution is the supreme law of our land. All persons and politicians are bound by it and no one is above it. Therefore, we best know it. Not know of it, not believe everything we hear about it, but know it. Know the document itself.
You can easily find it online at https://constitution.congress.gov
Paperback copies of the Constitution can be purchased as well. If you visit Washington D.C. or your Senator’s local office, they often give them away as well.
Please, if you are a citizen of the United States, of if you care deeply about America, do your due diligence and be familiar with this document. It is our responsibility as citizens to vote, and uphold the laws of the land, so we should know them as outlined in the Constitution.
https://momsforamerica.us has posted a short little constitution quiz which may be fun for you to take.
Whatever you do, I hope you’ll check back next week, for part 2 of our Constitution Review.
God Bless America,
US Constitution for dummies, Dr. Michale Arnheim
The Constitution of the United States of America
September 17, 1787
Here it was, four years after independence had been won by the colonies, (the Treaty of Paris was signed Sept. 3, 1783) when this pronouncement was made,
It appears to me then little short of a miracle that the delegates from so many different states… should unite in forming a system of national government…”George Washington, delegate to the Convention in Philadelphia, September 1787
Fifty-five men, from twelve colonies, (Rhode Island did not send representatives) had just spent months of debate (May – September), in the Pennsylvania Statehouse, located in Philadelphia, during the heat of summer, to produce a federal system of government that included checks and balances. Their finished product was called the Constitution of the United States. This was the miracle to which George Washington referred.
It was apparent in 1786, two years after the Revolutionary War ended that the Union would break apart without a fix to the standing national government called The Articles of Confederation. This document had been drafted during the War by the Continental Congress to help guide the colonies through war and provide some sort of central government. It was obvious now, something more needed to be done for the sake of the new, fledgling nation.
At the pleading of the Annapolis Convention, (5 states with Maryland) in 1786, a Convention was called for in Philadelphia, May, 1787. On May 25, 1787, what we call the Constitutional Convention met with those fifty-five delgates at the statehouse in Philadelphia. Their intended purpose was to amend The Articles of Confederation.
After some time, it was clear that amending the Articles was to be scrapped. Something new had to be created. In this closed meeting house, with windows and doors shut tight for privacy (and sweating in wool coats and vests), without AC, these partiots hammered out the structure, form, and substance of our federal government. They built consensus, offered compromise, all within secrecy and never even threw a punch! (now that’s a miracle!)
Alexander Hamiliton, one of the delegates writes,
For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God (Luke 11:20) never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”Alexander Hamiliton, upon the signing of the Constitution
James Madison, another delegate, writes,
It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it the finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution.”James Madison, upon signing the Constitution
What these men came up with, our Constitution, is what governs our land now. It is what has inspired and modeled for other nations their constitution. The similiarities between ours and theirs is often identical in wording.
This document, the Constitution, was signed by thirty nine of the delegates on September 17, 1787, and as per the specification in the Constitution, later ratified by nine of the thirteen colonies to become effective. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it on June 21, 1788. It was agreed upon that this new government would begin March 4, 1789. (Which is why Inaguration Day was in March for so many years. In 1981 it was changed to January 20.)
Our Constitution provides for:
- 3 Branches of government
- Legislative/Congress – make laws, checks on other branches
- Executive/President – manages daily operations of the government, checks on other branches, enforces the laws
- Judicial/Federal courts, Supreme Court – courts, judges, checks on the other branches, makes sure the laws are constitutional
- Personal freedoms as stated in the Bill of Rights/first 10 amendments
- Ways to amend or change the Constitution
- Separation between the federal and state powers
- all the qualifications for elections, candidates, how laws are made, where money comes from, treaties, citizenship, emprisonment, trails, searches and seizures, how a republic is run
- and so much more
This document, our Constitution, has been and continues to be the “the law of the land”. All federal employees, military personal and so many other employees, upon entering their positions take an oath “to faithfully defend the Constitution”.
It is sacred, above all other ideologies, and worth every effort of patriots to defend. It is the law of our land, not immutable however, as provisions to change it are also addressed.
What the founding fathers and the framers created is a clearly laid out form and structure for our government. It has come under much scrutiny, debate and with much compromise and it still stands today, as Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration says, ” as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of a Divine power.”
It behooves us then, We The People, to stand in the spirit of those patriots- who pledged their best hopes, strongest intellectual pursuits, and good faith in the creation of that Constitution, to do the same.
On this Constitution Day, 2022, 235 years after it’s signing, may we fully understand and promote, but also strongly defend The Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
In keeping with this challenge to understand, and leading up to the elections in 8 weeks, I will be presenting a 4 week follow-up refresher on The Constitution, walking us through the body of the Constitution, and examining the parts. They will be as follows:
- Week 1 – The Preamble & Articles 1-3 Legislative, Executive & Judicial Branches
- Week 2 – Articles 4-7 –
- Week 3 – The Amendments, 1-10 The Bill of Rights
- Week 4 – The Amendments, 11-27
You can see original copies of The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Indepenence at The National Archives in Washington D.C.
I hope you will sharpen your understanding and appreciation of this great document and our great nation and check back in to join us in that endeavor.
God Bless America,
Britannica – The Constitutional Convention
National Archives – The Framers
Most honest people, I believe, would admit to asking themselves this question. It just seems so impossible and frustrating.
Well, give me a few minutes and we will seek to alleviate some of that frustration.
Go in the grace of the Lord,
We could be talking about the great cliffhanger spoiler alerts of the TV shows such as Dallas, Lost, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, but not today. My favorite, however, was “Who shot JR?” from Dallas, 1980, how ’bout yours? Whether it be a sports playoff game, a reality show, or the unexpected end to a storyline, we appreciate being alerted to what is spoiling our expectations, don’t we?
Following a time of introspection and self-evaluation, I concluded that in my life I was greatly and easily distracted. It was obvious there were very few straight lines in my life, nearly everything I was doing was being infringed upon by something else. I couldn’t sit and focus without my mind jetting to another place or thing. I couldn’t read, study, or even talk with someone without some sort of mental distraction. (It’s always embarrasing to have to pull yourself back to the present when you find yourself wandering while in personal conversations. Geesh.)
How many bunny trails or peripheral issues have enticed us away from what is most important?
How many calls or appointments have we avoided because of less important distractions?
How many times have we given way to the immediate when on course for long term?
Today, I want to alert us to the spoilers in our life because I have seen them run rampant in mine.
There is a metaphor used in ancient writings that compares little foxes to the spoilers in our life. Cute, little, social, fast, and cunning foxes. Here’s the quote,
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”Song of Songs 2:15 ESV
Let’s talk about those cute, furry foxes, shall we?
Foxes are omnivores, that means that they eat up everything. They feed on anything. They have no prefered food group. They eat it all at will and with pleasure. They are also very light and fast on their feet, and as social creatures live in packs, called a leash, skulk or earth. Their eyesite is fantastic and they live a very flexible life. (LiveScience.com)
“What does the fox say?” was a popular phrase that kids sang a while ago… I’m not sure what it says, but I do know these things about about that pesky lil’ creature; they:
- dig holes & passages that loosen the soil of the vines, thereby preventing a stable root system
- trample vines looking for prey with no care for what they destroy while looking
- are speedy, fast in and fast out while gaining their prey/fruit
- are cute but not tameable
- are little & therefore we think they are insignifigant
- are so cunning that they often work in pairs, one to distract the other to steal
Foxes are adoreable destroyers. Cute little, seemingly insignifigant spoilers that wreck an entire vineyard or garden. Living such flexible lives, their dens/burrows have multiple exits, so they rarely leave the way they came in. These smart spoliers, having stolen the fruit, leave the roots exposed, gnawed down and severly weakened.
SPOILER ALERT! There are little foxes loose in our life!
What are they? They could be:
- our phones, devices – notifications, social media, updates, email, texts
- “little” habits or attitudes that we often overlook of defend
- people or places
- anything that is stealing your fruitfulness
- whatever is spoiling your relationships
For you, what are they? For me, almost all of my spoiling, little foxes come from my iPhone. Like Eve, I have bitten bigtime into the “apple” and am finding myself not only deceived but overrun with distracting, annoying, rabbit holes, bunny trails, and lost fruitfulness. I am bigtime distracted by what’s in my hand.
Here’s the thing tho’, I am wise now to those sly little fox-like distractions. But being wise or aware that there are foxes/distractions ruining my fruitfulness is not enough. I have to get rid of them, because I have been chosen to bear fruit. John 15:16 He is the Vine and I am the branch, and our goal is fruitfulness. John 15:5-8
ALERT -Those spoilers have got to go.
It is interesting to note that when The Potter puts a lump of clay on His wheel to fashion it and make it, He notices that the clay is spoiled.
And the vessel He was making of clay was spoiled in the Potter’s hand and He reworked it…”Jeremiah 18:4 ESV
Could it be that the spoilers, the distractions that we continually allow into our life affect, and or delay the working of God in our life? Could we, by our following those spoilers, be thwarting our relationship to the Vine and our ability to produce the maximum fruitfulness He has called us to?
In my life, I say a resounding, “YES!” This piece of clay has been spoiled by distractions. “Please remake me, Master Potter.”
I believe He will respond to a heart’s cry like that, don’t you?
But I also believe, He will require action on my part. So, to help me with that, I’m gonna look to Sampson.
You’ll remember, Sampson was one of the 12 Judges of Israel, before the days of having a king. In fact, he was the last Judge of Israel. He was also the strongest. Given a supernatural power from God, he was able to perform amazing physical feats. You can review them in Judges chapters 13-16.
One of those amazing feats was the catching of 300 foxes! I kid you not. He actually rounded up and caught 300 wild foxes! (Did I say supernatural power? WOW.) Then he turned each pair of foxes, tail to tail and tied a torch to the tail pair. Having their tails fired up, they were released to run free and torch all the grain fields. Judges 15:4-5
Moral – we must personally round up those (potential) threats, distractions and spoilers to our relationships. It is up to us to identify them, acknowledge each one, be truthful and catch each distraction. Then, we gotta restrict the spoilers. Put restrictions on your phone use and response times. Repent of bad habits and attitudes. Illuminate all those cute little distractions and let them go. Stop holding on to them. They are spoilers to all that is the best in you. They are spoiling your relationship and your fruitfulness.
I have work to do, how ’bout you? (I’m placing my phone on restriction!)
Your life is designed to blossom. If it is not in bloom as it should be, check for those cute little foxes that are spoiling your life, your relationships. Then, restrict them. Tie them up, cut them off. Don’t let them into your vineyard to spoil anymore.
These are real and hard words, I know. I need them. But, I trust you can appreciate being alerted to what may be spoiling your fruitful expectations. I told you this would be a spoiler alert.
Let’s go catch those foxes,
On this Labor Day weekend, I am challenging you to not stop working, but actually get dressed for work. (If you are interested in the history of our National Labor Day, see my “What is Labor Day” blog from September 2021.)
I once knew a man, who each morning would prepare himself and dutifully walk out the front door of his home to work. He did this even after He was fired from his job, just to fool his wife. He was dressed for work and pretended to be going off to work, but the truth was, he was neither.
Could that be an accurate description of many believers today? Being dressed and pretending it’s for the Lord and then pretending to be doing His work?
Here’s where this challenge comes from –
But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you.”Jeremiah 1:17 ESV
Another, translation makes it even clearer –
But you – up on your feet and get dressed for work! Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say. Don’t pull your punches or I’ll pull you out of the line up.”Jeremiah 1:17 The Message paraphrase
The context of these Jeremiah verses is the beginning of a 50 year period in which Jeremiah spoke to Israel of their shameful and persistent sins. God had called this man, Jeremiah before he was even born, Jeremiah 1:5 to speak God’s words, even though Jeremiah claimed to not know how to speak or what to even say. Jeremiah 1:6-10
Jeremiah’s nation was headed for judgement because it had forsaken the Lord.
And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshipped the works of their own hands.”Jeremiah 1:16 ESV
Then, turning on a dime, we find the next verse – BUT YOU – DRESS YOURSELF FOR WORK.
It is in the darkest days, the seemingly most hopeless and discouraging situations that the challenge comes – Up on your feet! Stand up and say your piece. Speak out and tell my Word. Don’t pull any punches. Tell things God’s way. Even when no one else is, or living it, or even desiring it. You, and me, are to dress ourself and get to work. He has put His Word in our heart and on our lips.
I find it interesting that the Message paraphrase says, “don’t pull your punches”.
According to Quora, the root of this phrase comes from a boxer who pretends to punch, makes it look believable, but without full force. The boxer begins to retract his fist right before the punch has connected, therefore it looks like a punch but is severely weakened. Punching with full power begins in the feet and hips and is literally like throwing a punch.
In other words, my amplified translation would read like this,
“But you believers, stand your ground, Ephesiams 6:14, set yourself (like Daniel) and throw your punches – aka = say what I tell you, what My Word says. Do not pull back your powerful punch (Word), or withhold My Word in any given situation. Tell them everything that I tell you.”
You see, in these days, pretending to be dressed and pretending to be doing God’s work will not cut it. You might be able to fool others but you cannot fool God.
“Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Give yourselves to the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
“Present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“God will not forget your work and love you have shown Him.” Hebrews 6:10
Some of you have things, conversations or assignments that you have been putting off – not giving yourself to fully. It is time to speak out and stand up.
So, my friend, on this Labor Day 2022, in the spiritual realm, it is time to get dressed and get to work.
Go with God,
Today, one of the most significant mental issues facing all of us is learning to deal with shame. In this video lesson we take a deep dive into this important topic for every person’s growth, well being and emotional stability.
Please take the steps needed to be free of shame. It is possible, through Jesus – the one who carried it all for you because He loves you.
Go with God,
a science that deals with the genesis and propagation of light, the changes that it undergoes and produces, and other phenomena closely associated with it”Merriam-Webster
So what do we know about light, and why should I care? How ‘bout these factoids?
- Light is a natural energy produced to make things able to be seen
- Light energy is always moving
- Light is an electromagnetic wave, one of 7
- Light travels at 186,000 mph
- Light is plants sole source of food – therefore light provides food to all life
- Light is vital for growth, sleep and body rhythms
- Light is stored in all carbohydrates, therefore vital to our nutrition
- All objects produce light (electromagnetic waves), we just can’t see them
- Visible light accounts for less than one ten-billionth of the electromagnetic spectrum – so that means there is waaaaaaay more to be seen than is actually being seen.
We should care about light because as shown by the above facts, without light, life on earth would cease. The end. Fin. La Fin. Mwisho. Das Ende. Fim. Ang Dulo.
Allow me to remind you of some interesting features of light.
Light travels in waves, and always in a straight line. If an object gets in lights way – the light wave will bend, refract or get absorbed by the object. The actual wave or light beams, are made of zillions of air packets of light – called photons.
Visible light is what allows us to see colors and beauty. You actually see things when light enters your eye. That light can be from one of two sources – a light bulb or refracted light, which is much more common. If no light enters the eye, you see black – darkness. And to restate, all objects produce light, they create electromagnetic waves, the problem is that humans can’t see them.
Light not only benefits all life but is absolutely needed for life to exist. In addition, light is needed for drying and evaporation on earth. It is needed for sanitation on and scavenging in earth. Light actually raises earth’s temperature and therefore maintains not only temperature but life.
Light is used in medicine and in all sorts of human applications.
Two more light tid bits and then we will drive this all home, okay?
Plato, the great philosopher once thought humans could shoot light from our eyes. Boy, what would this world be like if we could? I guess you can’t always be a genius, Mr. Plato.
A “jiffy” is a unit of measure that dictates how long it takes for light to travel up to a centimeter. So, when we say, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”, we’re making a pretty fast trip! ha ha Light travels so fast (186,000 mph) that if a human were to travel at the speed of light, in one second they could circumnavigate earth 7.5 times!!!! That’s MORE than a jiffy. Geesh!
We’ve shined the light on light’s characteristics, let’s focus now on another aspect of light.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
As we have been for the past few weeks, we peek here into The Sermon on the Mount, preached by Jesus some 400 years after the close of the Old Testament era. Here, He was, newly introduced by his cousin John, as the worthy Lamb of God, who was the One spoken of. He went up to a mountain, and Sat down where thousands gathering around Him to hear Him teach about His kingdom ways.
BAM! The first words out of His mouth are eight values of the kingdom of God. (poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness sake) Then, He uses the analogy that these values are like salt, and as His followers live by them, they are actually salting, seasoning and presevering the earth. (For more see the past 3-4 Sunday Sermon blogs.)
Now, He makes another analogy or metaphor comparing the followers in His kingdom to light.
Your lives light up the world.”Matthew 5:15 TPT
Wait. What? How can I, a simple little human living in Southern California light up the world? I just get up, go to work, love my family, and try to be kind to others, then get up the next day and do the same. “Light up the world” is a rather hefty statement, Jesus. But is it?
From the very beginning of creation, God’s focus has been on light.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”Genesis 1:3 ESV
And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to separate the day from the night…and let them be lights to give light upon earth…And it was so…And God made two great lights – the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night…and God set them to give light on the earth… to rule over the day and the night… to separate light from darkness.”Genesis 1:14-18 ESV
Light’s design on earth has always been to give life, to give light to the earth, to separate light from darkness, and to rule.
It’s funny that God said in Genesis 1:14 – “let there be lights” and Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light”. Jesus was telling us that as we live His kingdom values, and under His kingdom authority, we shine as light does in the world. We light up the darkness, we are the light. But how?
With Jesus, the light of the world, John 8:12, living in us, our kingdom actions and choices are seen by others. They are a light pointing the way in darkness. They are energy waves, illuminating from us, picked up by people, bouncing off of them, or being absorbed by them. Our words and actions, our auora even, distinguishes us, separates us, as “different” – because we are carriers of The Light. Sometimes people, really can see our light and they should. It should be giving light to all in the house. It should be on a stand for all to see. We should be standing for the Light of the kingdom.
As light, our course is a straight path. His Word is our true North, and we don’t waver off course. We bounce off of some people, bring clarity to others, and expose still others. Our light sanitizes or helps to clean up dirty places in people (and us), while at the same time bringing warmth to the cold hearts of some walking our earth.
Our light is earth’s medicine. Earth’s life. Without our light, the earth would be enveloped in total darkness.
But our light is meant to give life, bring light, separate and rule the darkness. Darkness will never overpower our light or even understand it. John 1:5
God has set the lights in the sky, just as he has set brightly lit cities on hills. Those cities are filled with zillions of photon-people, like YOU, litting up not only their city, but the darkness. In much the same way that the Israelites’ homes were filled with light, during the ninth plague of darkness that gripped Egypt. Exodus 10:23
Our light helps all to see beauty, color, distinction. Our light can be like a light bulb, shining when needed in a dark space or refracted light- shining and bending back. Refracted light will change – and speed up, depending on the substance it is entering. It adjusts to the object. Without refracted light, focus is lost.
It matters little whether you are a light bulb or being refracted, as long as you are shinning.
Don’t hide your light.”Matthew 5:16 TPT
These may well be days of darkness, but they are too, days of separation and distinction. They are days of waves of light beaming upon our earth, once again bringing light to the earth, and ruling over the darkness. Just as God originally intended.
May these words serve as a prism for you which will inspire and challenge you to burst forth in colorful, visible light upon your world.
Our world needs a brief lesson in optics.
Afrilcate.com facts-about- light
Light – studyread.com/uses of light
Wired.com – light
One of the most significant things that we can learn in life is how to accept love and open ourselves up to being loved. Opening yourself up to God’s amazing love will melt, change, warm, strengthen and amaze you and is the most important experience of your life, bar none.
See what I mean in this video. You’ll never be the same.
Let Him love you,
Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your saltiness be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled by others.”Matthew 5:13 TPT
So, what do we know about salt? If our life is like salt, then it would be worth our time to take a look at Na (sodium) + Cl (chloride) = salt. Let’s dive in.
There are several approaches we can take in looking at salt. The first would be in the context and setting of this passage in Matthew.
Salt shards were gathered from the Dead Sea during Jesus’ time and brought back to the home for multiple uses. Dead Sea salt of that time was often “contaminated with other minerals, causing a weakness in flavor or bland, unpleasant taste.” (1) But one of it’s primary uses in the home was for flavoring the water pot for stew. The salt shard would be dipped into the pot of water to flavor the water. After too many dips, the salt shard would have lost it’s flavor. It would then be taken ouside and used as pavers to walk on.
It was also possible that a flavorful salt shard would get rained on. That would dissolve the salt, leaving only the contaminants which were of little use.
Another approach when looking at salt is the scientific perspective.
Salt is an inorganic compound, not from living matter. As mentioned earlier, it is the combination of Na – sodium + Cl – chloride. Sodium chloride = table salt. NaCl is a very stable chemical substance. In fact, the only way for salt to lose it’s salinity is through a chemical reaction with another substance. (My teaching 8th grade, Physical Science is coming in handy now.) Salt can however be diluted in water and will then loose it’s pungent saltiness. It does not form a new compound when combind with water, it forms a mixture. But in it’s crystal form, it is non-reactive.
Salt may become bland by the presence of impurities, interation with other components or exposure to humid environments. All of these, cause harm to the flavor of salt. Salt will become “bad” only when it gets deteriorated due to some external factors. “There is no such thing as horrible natural salt in the world of salt.” (2)
Another part of the science of salt is salt’s many uses.
We are told that there are 14,000 known uses for salt. It is much more than a flavor enhancer or preserver. Salt carries iodine which aids the thyroid function, and fluorine which helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, adults need 4-5 grams of common salt a day. (Which with balanced nurtition, is found in our meals.)
Our body actually needs salt to:
- absorb & transport nutrients
- maintain blood pressure
- maintain the right balance of fluid
- transmit nerve signals
- contract and relax muscles (3)
Your body needs salt, but too little or too much can be harmful.
Remember too, that on your tongue are 5 primary taste modalities. Can you remember them? Sweet, sour, bitter, savoriness (now called umami), and saltiness. Matter of fact, the brain detects the taste from salty foods as “pleasant“, and from the others as “unpleasant”. No kidding, a chemical event on your tongue that determines what is pleasant?! Crazy.
The internet is filled with lists of uses for salt. I’ve read most of them and written down many. But to summarize here, human comsumption of salt represents only 6% of the 250 million metric tonnes of salt that is used world wide in a year. The majority 94% is used for: softening water, de-icing roads, and in agriculture; with the largest amount used in manufacture of PVC, plastics, & paper pulp. (4) In 2020 the salt industry was valued at 28 billion US dollars.
Please hang with me here, you know we’re gonna drive this all home. But one last thing worth mentioning about salt.
There are 3 methods of sourcing salt – getting it out of the earth. They are:
- evaporation of sea water
- mining rock salt formations in the earth
- creating salt brines (6)
Each of these is interesting in itself, but for sake of time, I want to mention only one – mining rock salt formations.
To mine rock salt, specialized equipment is used underground, that cuts the salt beds into large blocks. The method that is commonly used for this is called the “room and pillar” method. The equipment extracts large “rooms”of salt (a block at at time) from the salt beds with unscathed “pillars” left behind. The Sifto Salt Mine in Ontario, Canada is the largest salt mine in the world and it is 2,000 feet below earth’s surface.
I will close now with looking at salt from the spiritual point of view, applying what we have learned about salt to our lives and seeking your answer to our opening question.
It is no accident that after Jesus taught his disciples “The Beattitudes” in Matthew chapter 5, (which we talked about in 2 previous blogs), that He then tells them,
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost it’s taste, how shall it’s saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”Matthew 5:13 ESV
He was telling them, YOU are the salt shards, pulled from the earth, and now dipped into every homes’ nourishment and sustainence. Stay salty, flavorful, not dilluted, or contaminated and don’t allow yourselves to become those road pavers that are walked all over by men. Too much dipping will cause you to be bland. Be wise. Be salty. Keep your flavor.
He is telling us, as salt shards, our flavor will deteriorate only when we succomb to external factors. (Stress, worry, fear, unbelief, depression, etc.) We are stable when our relationship with Him is crystalized and found to be without mixture or dillution. We are put in this world as salt, a nonreactive, stable and needed compound intended to affect everything that we are dipped into.
Indeed, your saltiness in this world has at least 14,000 uses. Your impact as salt in your home is more than just seasoning, it is vital to a healthy family life. Your saltiness at work, school, or in your neighborhood has untold influence in more ways than you may ever see. Just a dash of your saltiness can treat irritations, melt hard hearts, and put fires out. Your saltiness will bring healing and even deoderize smelly situations. Your body will prosper and be in good health, as you are salty. As you, yourself are seasoned with the salt of His presence.
We humans, in abundant supply on this planet carry the capacity to majorly affect our world and that is indeed God’s intention for us as the salt of the earth, if, we have not lost our saltiness. And let’s not forget that saltiness is detected as pleasant by our brain, so let’s share our salty pleasantness with our neighbors.
One last thought – Do you recall Lot’s wife? The one who looked back and “turned to a pillar of salt”? Genesis 19:26 Do you recall the common method for mining rock salt? “Room and pillar“, right? Could it be that Lot’s wife had lost her saltiness and become a pillar because all of her salt had been mined out of her by living in such close contact with and deteriorated by the perverted people of Sodom? There was no room in her that contained salt. Her salt was empty and depleted. She had been dipped and mined and had nothing left but a stationary, singular pillar. Just wondering…
Wrapping this up, Mark tells us “to have salt in yourselves” Mark 9:50. Paul in Colossians 4:6 tells us, ” that your speech be seasoned with salt…”. Jesus said, “You are the salt…”.
As believers, we should be able to retain and live the very “beattitudes” or salt of the kingdom, as listed below, free from external forces, mixture, deterioration, dissolving away, or being mined out of us. These salty crystals are what keeps us stable and nonreactive in this world.
- poor in spirit – unable to live spiritually without God
- mourn – feeling genuine sadness for sin
- meek – accepting God’s dealings with us, humble
- hunger & thirst for righteousness – craving what is right before God
- merciful – compassionate
- pure in heart – free from corrupt desires
- peacemakers – bringers of peace
- the persecuted – harassed, troubled, maltreated
So, do you see it now, the link between those salty beattitudes of kingdom living and us being the salt of the earth? Those values are what fires our saltiness. No wonder Mark 9:49 says, “everyone will be salted with fire.”
So here we are, again asking you, are you salty?
- “Salt in the Bible” – Wikipedia
As a believer in Jesus, this is a question that we all must grapple with and settle. To lead you through the basics, click in and evaluate where you stand on the issue.
I hope you have taken the plunge and are ready to live a life of freedom and victory because you buried your old, smelly man.
Continuing our look at the kingdom of God from above, being lived out here on earth below, let’s review for a moment.
There is a kingdom in heaven, fully functioning under the reign and soverignity of Almighty God and His son, Jesus who is the King of Kings. This kingdom is of or from heaven, and is intended to be fully demonstrated here on earth by humans, who are living the values, principles, and “doms” (see part 1) of our King Jesus.
We get a glimpse of this kingdom when we look at the “Beattitudes” of Jesus, as found in Matthew chapter 5. These beattitudes reflect the nature of life in the kingdom of God which is evidenced by the supreme state of well-being when walking in relationship with God.
So, as we look at the last four beattitudes (there are 8, see the first 4 in part 1), imagine life here on earth, if these characteristics were to be truly demonstrated. What a world we would have, here below, if we lived as it is above in heaven.
Blessed are the merciful, they shall receive mercy.”Matthew 5:7 ESV
Those who, from their deepest heart are able to demonstrate tender mercy to others, themselves will be shown mercy by God. This pictures someone, who “from their womb” – the birthplace of new life, new ideas, new ways – expresses and displays compassion and mercy to others. This one, because of what he or she sows, will not only be satisfied but will reap back the same compassion and mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”Matthew 5:8 ESV
The “pure in heart” is one who pursues purity and uprightness; that which is right, true, just, and pure in God’s eyes. They are not soiled or sullied by the filthiness of worldly affects and actions but “have kept themselves” from such influences. They have chosen a better way, a higher standard. They have set themselves apart to God and for His pleasure and have aimed at his favor and acceptance rather than that of man.
It is no wonder then, that they are the ones who not only see God now but progressively see Him more and more. Because their hearts are pure before God (and that does not mean sinless!), which is the most important thing (not external traditions), God honors them by revealing Himself to them. There is NO GREATER HONOR OR HUMBLING STATE for a humnan being than to experience God. That is beyond a blessing!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”Matthew 5:9 ESV
These peacemakers start within themselves. They are at peace with themselves before Almighty God. You cannot be at peace within yourself, if there is no accountability to God. Those who try to find peace without God awareness, sensitivity and willingness to follow His ways are only fooling themselves. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and brings peace to those willing to make peace with Him. That is where peacemaking begins. Then peacemaking will flow from the personal peace that we have found with God out from us to the community. This peace then, is both personal and communal.
These peacemaking folks, are the sons of God. These peacemakers, defined by their peace with God, are adding to and expanding God’s eternal family, as His sons and daughters, by bringing peace to others and making peace between others.
Are you able to see and image a world ruled and governed by these attitudes, characteristics and values? Can you imagine earth here below, under the influence of the kingdom of God?
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 5:10 ESV
Could it be that those who are living by these kingdom values will be persecuted? Could the challenge be to those believers who have chosen to live as citizens of God’s kingdom and under his constitution, it’s time to buckle up. Not everyone is gonna like these values, ideas and ways of life. There will be those who not only contradict these values but persecute those who live by them.
“Persecuted” here in the Greek means, “to harass, trouble, molest; to make one run, drive away, maltreated.” The Apostle Paul was persecuted. All the other disciples were pesecuted. Jesus himself was persecuted. Christians through the ages on every continent have been persecuted. Why, oh why, would we think we are any different or walk a different walk? How could we if we are truly living for the kingdom here on earth?
Compared to the suffering saints and martyrs of the past, I tend to think we, ourselves ain’t seen nothing yet!
Our comfort? Our motivation? Our strength? The kingdom of God! We receive eternally and live forever in the kingdom of God. The very one we have lived here on earth. We step from this earth into the kingdom of our inheritance, the one of God’s vast domain.
In closing, let’s remember these things about these beattitudes: (we mentioned them in part 1)
- they are a code of ethics for disciples & standard of conduct for all believers
- they contrast kingdom values with worldly values (eternal vrs. temporary)
- they contrast superficial faith (of the Pharisees) with the real faith that Jesus wants
- they show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in His new kingdom (1)
My prayer is that believers all over the world continue to stand strong in faith and courage as they choose to display on earth what is being lived out in heaven now.
May we, live here below as it is above.
- Life Application Study Bible – Zondervan
This is what Jesus actually taught us to pray, (on earth as it is in heaven) Matthew 6:10 What are we actually praying for? I mean really.
Jesus’ instructions on how to pray begins with seeing Our Glorious Father in heaven and His fully functioning kingdom there being extended to and demonstrated here on earth. He taught us to pray to live here below as it is above.
When Jesus began His ministry on earth, this was His message –
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent fro the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Matthew 4:17
And throughout his entire time on earth, He preached about the kingdon of heaven, aka, the kingdom of God. He taught his disciples, the crowds and the skeptics about what it was like to live by kingdom values and principles. He modeled it with His life of example. He admonished them to live here below as it is above, in heaven.
The kingdom of God is where His authority is acknowledged, it is the realm of His influence. It is in our midst, Luke 17:21, and entered into by spiritual birth, Matthew 18:3; John 3:5. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17 The kingdom of God is not about words but about power. 1 Corinthians 4:20
When one experiences the salvation that Jesus provides, we are translated into the kingdom of His dear son, Colossians 1:13 and have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Hebrews 12:28
So what does this kingdom deposit that has been placed inside of us look like? How is the kingdom of God seen by others? What was it that Paul spent three months preaching about in Ephesus? Acts 19:8 And another entire day in Rome preaching to his house guests about? Acts 28:23
The kingdom of God. Geesh. There must be alot to say about that kingdom then – the one above to be lived out here below. We will go there in a minute, but first let’s look at the old English word derivation.
The old English background for kingdom means the king’s domain, where his kingdom activity occured. The king wrote laws and circulated them for all to obey, they were called his “doms”. The King’s doms were the rules for his kingdom.
Well then, what are the kingdom of God’s rules? The “doms” of God’s kingdom?
Matthew 5, part of The Sermon on the Mount has been called the Constitution for citizens of God’s kingdom. For in this exhaustive teaching of Jesus we find those attitudes from above (from God) that should be demonstrated here below, by followers of Jesus. They show what Christ followers should be like. The Sermon on the Mount is the standard for all Christians. It is the standard for the kingdom of God and reveals the values, and principles of the kingdom of God. This sermon describes what the kingdom of God is really like. These beattitudes reflect who God is through His people. Thus, truly, as above, so below.
These standards of the kingdom of God are not multiple choice, pick what you like, they must be taken as a whole. They are our code of ethics and clearly contrast kingdom values with worldly values. They contrast superficial faith with real faith. And they show that those who live by the King’s “doms”, will be blessed – fully satisfied, well off, and fortunate.
Let’s look at a four of the “doms” of our King.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”Matthew 5:3 ESV
The first of eight “beattitudes” listed in Matthew 5 is the blessing that comes to those who recognize their need for God. It has nothing to do with financial poverty or being poor, but everything to do with admitting you need God’s help and cannot do without Him. We begin our life in God’s kingdom by admitting we absolutely need Him, everyday. We begin by submitting to The King and His ways and yielding to His kindgom values and principles. To those – the blessing that comes is access to the kingdom. WOW!
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”Matthew 5:4 ESV
Contrary to popular usage, this passage about mourning has to do with being sorry for your sins and the sins of others. You see, the one who is truly sorry for violating their conscience and God’s “doms” will receive comfort and the help of the “parakleto” – the Holy Spirit – who will strengthen and encourage.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Matthew 5:5 ESV
These meek ones of the kingdom are ones who rely on God’s strength, not their own, and accept God’s dealings as good, without disputing or resisting. Their meekness doesn’t make them push overs or whimps, but ones who trust the King who is soverign over all and on whose strength they can depend.Their abundant blessing comes in the end of all, when they will inherit a new earth.
One last one for today…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”Matthew 5:6 ESV
The kingdom of God is populated with those who crave righteousness and eagerly thirst for more and more of it. Not satisfied with low, worldly morals and standards, these kingdom royals will be satisifed only with more of God’s righteousness, not man’s filthiness and perversions. No compromise is reached because the standard of the kingdom stands supreme.
These first four “attitudes” – admitting we need God, being grieved for sin, accepting God’s will and strength, and craving righteousness are the fabric of God’s kingdom. These demonstrate God’s kingdom here on earth.
As you can see, these first four kingdom values in the beattitudes, fly in the face of worldly values and clearly demonstrate an eternal perspective and code of ethics from above, that we believers are chraged with living and pulling down for here on earth.
Perhaps you share my disgust with what is being strutted before us as wholesome, what is being herladed as virtuous, what is being declared as truth, and what is being propped up as leadership, or perhaps not, but what still stands is the stark contrast between what we are seeing in this earthly realm, compared to God’s heavenly kingdom – the kingdom of God.
I choose to proclaim and live as John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul, “The Kingdom of God is at hand”. As royals, blood bought believers in Jesus and heirs of the King, we are rising up in demonstration and power because the kingdom of light within us, is breaking forth from within us. The King’s “doms” are being lived out by us, they are our standard, our ethics, and our kingdom contsitution.
It’s important to remember these kingdom characteristics, these beattitudes and keep yourself aligned with them. It is so easy to lose track of kingdom principles when there’s nothing but garbage and lies being promoted, right? Remember too, God promises to supremely bless those who align with the standards of His Kingdom.
So when we pray for “it” to be done on earth as it is in heaven, all this is what we are praying for and rising up to live out.
May it be here below, as it is above in heaven. Now is the time.
Cheers to YOU,
P.S. – Next week we will continue with the remaining beattitudes and our kingdom theme. Hope to see you back, then.
Sitting here, I’ve been attempting to see and sync historical connections and have them make sense. I was wrestling, pondering, & researching until this sense settled on me, “It’s not about history, as much as it is about now,” the Lord spoke clearly. “Ok, what are you saying about now, Lord?”
“I have a blessing for my people.”
Allow me to go back for a moment.
Over six weeks ago, I began studying the events within the book of Numbers. From the first six chapters, I clearly heard the Lord speak, “This is for today”. Each of those first six chapters of Numbers began with the phrase, “And the Lord spoke…” The word was clear, this is what the Lord is speaking to us today too.
So, seizing that impression of the Spirit, I proceeded to write six Sunday Sermon Blogs, sumizing what the Lord is saying today, to us. They are:
- June 18, 2022 – Father’s Are Essential
- June 25, 2022 – Under What Banner Are You Camping?
- July 2, 2022 – Gardians of the …
- July 9, 2022 – Calling Out Those Who Are Called to Carry
- July 16, 2022 – Clean Up in America
- July 23, 2022 – A Holy Nation
Thinking that I was done, (because chapter 7 begins a different way & goes in a different direction), I paused and reviewed Numbers chapters 1-6. Tucked away, in the last 6 verses of chapter 6 is the one of, if not the most powerful blessings of the Old Testament. “The Priestly Blessing” or the “Aaronic Blessing”.
It reads –
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ” Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: You shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”Numbers 6:22-27 ESV
The Lord wasn’t done speaking to me, or them or YOU! He had a blessing yet to be released upon His people – a blessing for us, in our wilderness. For you, in your wilderness.
Let’s look at it more closely.
- The Lord – bless & keep you
- The Lord – make His face shine on you & be gracious to you
- The Lord – lift up His countenance on you & give you peace
Notice, three times The Lord‘s name, Yaweh, is mentioned? This represents emphasis and carries force with it. It also represents the fullness of God and His promises. Three in one Lord – Jesus, God and Holy Spirit. This blessing, the favor of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit is all in all here. Wow.
Each verse then, conveys two concepts of blessing. The Father God, 2 concepts. Jesus, the Son, 2 concepts. And Holy Spirit, 2 as well.
The promise and favor of God is promised to bless you and keep you. An invocation of blessing is being spoken upon you by God and a hedge of protection is being built around you to guard and keep watch over you.
The blessing that flows from the Lord, Jesus is His light breaking into your darkness and bringing His illumination and glory, and as a loving bridegroom, bending down and bestowing kindness, grace & favor upon His beloved.
This blessing from the Holy Spirit brings a lifting up, as the flood lifts up the ark and with it complete contentment, soundness, safety and prosperity.
Look at what is spoken over you by the Lord. Look at what His promise is to you. Look at all He provides to His people, those who listen for and follow His voice. Blest indeed are we.
What more could we possible need? Why do we seek anything else?
We must remember that the Lord is faithful and rewards those who deligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 Their reward is His blessing, favor, protection, peace, illumination, kindness, grace, contentment, prosperity and soundness.
The power of this amazing priestly blessing is for us, not just the Israelites. It is for the fathers, the families, the carriers of His presence, the guardians of His presence, the cleaned up (by repentance) and set apart ones. (mentioned in chapters 1-6) God’s blessing is promised AND spoken upon them, upon Us.
Could it be that the reason the number 1 video, “THE BLESSING”, was circulating in every nation during the 2020 pandemic is because that is what THE LORD was speaking to His people worldwide? The Lord was speaking The Priestly Blessing over His people worldwide. Jesus, our high priest was speaking His blessing, favor and peace upon His people in the midst of their wilderness experience.
The Lord was blessing His people worldwide by setting His name upon them and marking them with His honor, authority and character. I believe it was released worldwide in 2020 and is still settling upon those who choose to follow Him.
God was blessing them in the wilderness in 1440 BC and He is offering that same blessing in our wilderness of 2022.
“The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22
Let’s open ourselves up and fully receive it. Let’s walk in the blessing of the Lord in our wilderness.
Receive right now, your blessing in the wilderness.
It is no secret that “a holy nation” has been the desire of God since ancient times. From Exodus to 1 Peter, we see-
…you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9
So it really didn’t surprise me in my study of Numbers, to find that the 6th and final topic “the Lord spoke to Moses” in the wilderness about was holiness.
Holiness, is the the 6th time “the Lord spoke”… do you remember the other five?
- Fathers Numbers 1
- Standards Numbers 2
- Guarding Numbers 3
- Carrying Numbers 4
- Cleansing Numbers 5
- Holiness Numbers 6
Let’s begin by establishing the difference between cleansing and holiness. ( 5 & 6) Cleansing is the removal of dirt. Holiness is to not play in or near the dirt. Cleansing is a repeated act as needed. Holiness calls for intentional separation.
God is more than faithful to forgive and cleanse our sin, yet His heart longs for a people, a nation if you will, who choose to separate themselves to Him in holiness. Because He is holy. Leviticus 11:44-45;19:2; 20:26; 20:7; 21:8; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Deuteronomy 23:14
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink… All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head… he shall not go near a dead body. All the days of his separation, he is holy to the Lord.”Numbers 6:1-8 ESV
In His quest for a holy nation, there is a opportunity given to any man or woman to voluntarily submit themselves to the “Vow of the Nazarite”. The length of this vow was up to the individual, but what it involved was specifically outlined in Numbers 6 :
- The individual was to separate themself to the Lord
- The individual was to separate from wine & grape products
- The individual was to separate by not cutting their hair
- The individual was to separate from dead bodies
There are two separations to holiness revealed here and they both still apply.
- Separate to the Lord – motivated by an inner call to holiness and devotion to the Lord, these men and women set themselves apart FOR THE LORD. “They choose to distinguish themselves, by going beyond their own power and become extraordinary with wonderful acts in judgment and redemption. They choose to do a difficult thing by the surpassing power of God”. (This sentence uses the full Hebrew word meanings)
- Separate from – this second separation involved holding off or abstaining from certain things. They were:
- wine & vine products = represents the inner strength to stand against social pressures
- not cutting hair = hair, a symbol of intimacy and covering of the Lord. A growing reminder of one’s time spent with God. Intimacy with Him. Relationship with Him.
- dead bodies = represents purity and the desire to be free from contamimation that comes from dead works and things
These Old Testament men and women voluntarily choose to be separated to the Lord in a visible and marked way. Their vows were public and respected by the community. Their choices fulfilled their holy vow, and their length of separation was entirely up to them. This was a personal decision with national consequences.
So too, is the choice we have. It is a willing choice we make, to walk in holiness.
Do we choose to stand against social pressures? Is our intimate relationship with Him growing, uncut and unhindered? Is our lifestyle one of purity, free of contaminating dead works?
Paul echos these questions as he writes to the believers in Corinth. He calls out these mismatched alliances – 1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 TPT
- righteousness verses rebellion
- light verses darkness
- Christ verses satan
- believer verses unbeliever
- God’s temple verses demons
He calls believers to stand out in society and be separate, the exact same call to the Numbers 6, Nazarite vow volunteers.
He even uses the same words when he exhorts them to ” touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…”
1 Coringthians 6:17 ESV
In these days, is there a distinction on those who have allied themselves with a life of separation to the Lord. There should be! Not only not touching unclean things, (cleansing), but voluntarily signing up to live a life separated to Him and abstaing from worldly contaminates. (holiness)
Where are those who will accept the invitation to share in His holiness. Hebrews 12:10 And run swiftly toward holiness. Hebrews 12:14 Those who will come closer to God with an open heart, fully convinced nothing will keep them at a distance from Him. Hebrews 10:22
Will you join the ranks of Sampson, Samuel, John the Baptist, and even the Apostle Paul in the Nazarite vow of dedication to the Lord? He’s not looking for Nazarites, He is looking for holiness, those who will separate themselves to Him. Those who will abandon everything morally impure. James 1:22
You decide. This is a personal, decision. But remember, it has national consequences.
I believe holiness will retore a conscience to society. Holiness will restore a moral conscience to our decadent culture. Holiness will restore the presence of God to our nation, because that is where He lives, in holiness.
May millions arise who will join with saints of old in not only cleansing ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, but also in bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord. 1Corinthians 7:1 ESV
May you and I be a part of an emerging holy nation revolution, a counter culture that carries God’s manifest presence. I can think of nothing more exciting or challenging, but I’m in.
Sign me up!
Whether it be, “I don’t believe in god”, “I believe in God. I go to church every week”, “I don’t know if there is a god”, “I believe in God, but serve Him in my own way”, or any other similiar stance, everyone of us is serving some god.
Even Carl Jung, the one credited with developing Analytical Psychology has said,
You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others.”Carl Jung 1957
Those who profess to not believe in god, or to not know if there is a god, surprisingly, may find that their god is actually themself. Their own ways, ideas, desires, feelings, and goals become not only their foundation for values, purpose, worth and direction but also their god. Self-serving wishes and desires permeate their every breath as they seek to make sacrifices for their personal will and choice.
Even those 58% of American’s who claim to believe in the God of the Bible, (according to Pew Research 10/21) find themselves wrestling with serving their own ideas/gods, or the God of the Bible and His ways. And add to this group, those 9 in 10 Americans who believe in “some higher power”- and there is no doubt that we as American’s are serving our own gods.
This is not a new phenomenon of course, but it is a relatively new one for America. America, as a nation was born from the seedbed of The Great Awakening and the preaching of the likes of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who preached to common people, slaves, Native Americans and even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic. (1) Their whole purpose was to awaken the Christian faith of those in the colonies. The Second Great Awakening followed and so impacted our fledgling colonies that several religious colleges, seminaries and mission organizations were formed.
The climate in the colonies 1730-1790’s was definately religiously charged as all people were encouraged to have a personal connection with God and not just to rely on the church. From this, men and women of deep religious conviction were involved in The Revolutionary War, the writing of our founding documents, the formation of our national government and the leading of our states and nation. Embedded into our documents, memorials and monuments are expressions of thanks to and reliance upon “our benevelent God.”
And although she is not today, she once was a country whose laws, leaders and laymen sought to glorify God and even seek His counsel and wisdom.
We have turned to our own gods now. We have forgotten our roots.
Much like what we see in the history of Israel –
- One place of worship and one God was specified Deut. 12:8-11
- Yet, they served their own gods 2 Ki. 17:32
- They intermarried with pagans (compromising their own faith)
- And worshipped their idols
- They adopted their idolatrous religions
- Their idols involved prostitution
- Their idols involved sexual & pornographic activities
- Their idols involved child sacrifice
- Their idols involved offerings to Baal, Chemosh, Molech and Astoreth and others
- They worshipped nature, the heavenlies & beasts
Sadly, in America today, we too have turned to such gods. In fact, as we mentioned last week, the gods being worshipped today, are many of the gods of the past, pagan nations. They have infiltrated our nation, and been set up on high places for all to see, unashamed and unaware of the consequences of serving our own gods.
Could it be though, that there is a loving God, who knows man’s inclinations and still chooses to love him?
But knowing man’s inclinations just may be the very reason that this loving God’s first of ten commandments is –
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME.” (Emphasis mine.)Exodus 20:2-3 ESV
A God who knows us, and loves us so much, that He does not want us to stay the same, searching for something to make sacrifices to, searching for something to offer our life for, to sacrifice to, searching for fulfillment, pleasure, reward or success.
Our own gods are man made and impotent. They cannot receive love nor are they capable of giving love. Our own gods are empty and temporary, incapable of lasting love, fulfillment and happiness.
But the God of the Bible is real, present, and powerful enough for anything you’ll ever face. He is full of love, grace and mercy to the one who turns toward Him, to the one who simply turns away from his own idols, and turns toward Him; who turns away from his own ways, and begins walking His.
Towards the end of the New Testament, we find this warning –
Keep yourselves from idols”1 John 5:21 ESV
May we become more aware of those things (idols) that might take God’s place in our hearts. May we learn to rid ourselves of the things that we look to for help, rather than looking to God.. May we divorce ourselves from fixating on anything more that the One true God. May we rid ourselves of our own idols..
No man can serve two masters”Matthew 6:24 ESV
Never has a word been truer. Never has this truth been more needed to be heeded.
I believe that God is calling for us to remove all the high places in our life where we have set up things, or people as idols. They are the things that get our full attention, energies, efforts and money. If God is not at the heart of those things then they have become idols to us. Shoot, last year I realized that I had made the Dodgers an idol in my life. They were getting more of my time than God was. I was definately serving my own god.
Those are the things that God is doing in our heart if we let Him. He is helping us to be His wholehearted followers and to have no other gods before Him. The days of honesty are upon us.
Won’t you allow Him to show you where you have idols in your life? Won’t you join so many of us who are no longer serving our own gods?
- TheHistoryChannel.com – The Great Awakening
#1 in the series
It’s hard for me not to see our progressive society of today (2023) and how closely it aligns with the pagan societies of days gone by. “Commonly accepted ideas – God does not exist, the Bible is not divinely inspired, all religions are equally valid, absolute values of right and wrong do not exist and there is no such thing as sin, were all expounded by pagan philosophers.” (1)
And don’t even get me going on the acceptablitiy of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, and infanticide – secular humanism dominates our society today my friend, and could also be called – neopaganism.
According to the Pagan Federation paganism: (4)
- is not dogmatic
- pursues their own vision of the divine as a personal experience
- represents a rich diversity
- refuses to judge others ways of life as wrong because they’re different
- respects all life
- follow a polytheistic or pantheistic nature
Paganism has become a god of our society and many have chosen to serve it, as their own god, not even knowing the full ramifications.
As people today serve their own gods, let’s define some of those beliefs-
- Monotheism – the belief that there is only one god
- Polytheism – the belief that there are many gods
- Atheism – the belief that there is no god
- Agnosticism – the belief that the existence or non existence of a god is unknowable or unknown
- Pantheism – the belief and worship of all gods
- Panentheism – the belief that god and the world are interconnceted – the world being in god and god being in the world
- Animism – the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena and the universe have souls
- Paganism – spiritual beliefs and practices other than those of Judiasm, Christianity or Islam
- Neopaganism – new paganism developed from preChristian or anti-Christian religions
It is clear today we see these beliefs mixed in and around us. We see and know of people who hold these beliefs and are serving their own gods. This mixture of beliefs about god is what alerts us to the seriousness of our standing as a society, and as a nation even.
In 2021, Pew research found that 58% of Americans describe God as the God of the Bible. Another 32% believe in a god or spiritual power – although not that of the Bible. (2) And, 43% of millennials don’t know, care or believe that God exists. (3)
I am going on record to say that what you believe about God matters. It is not an incidential issue for you to deliberate at some future date in your life when you are more prepared, older, wiser or facing death. The god that you chose to serve matters now, as well in the life that is to come.
And lest you say, “I don’t serve any god, really”, let’s all be reminded that where we spend our time, money and energies reveals what our god is and who we serve.
If we are being honest, we just may find in our own life a mixture, the same kind of mixture revealed in generations past. One in which –
we fear the Lord, but serve their (our) own gods…”2 Kings 17:33, 41 ESV
Throughout the Ancient writings we find that phrase – “feared the Lord, but served other gods“. In fact, over 40 times we find the phrase, “they served other gods”.There is a difference you know, between “fearing” and “serving” the Lord.
Because we are afraid or maybe even respect or revere the Lord, we “fear” Him. But it is more like a kid fears when Dad comes home, because he knows that is when he will be punished. We are fearful of the Lord and his judgments, so we do our best to appease Him, not because we love Him. We seek to appease Him but don’t bother serving Him.
At what point does that fear blossom into love? Should it? Can it?
That, my friend is the difference between monotheism and what all the other gods of this world have to offer.
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image … you shall not bow down to them or serve them… for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…”Exodus 20:3-5 ESV
The Jehovah God, Almighty, Creator of all things, revealed in the Messiah – Jesus Christ is a personal, loving and relational God. Desiring to have personal, intimate conversation and exchange. This wonderful God, pursues us, longs for us, and is ever-present in our affairs, steps and amusements. He never leaves us, never slumbers in His watch over us, and is fearfully powerful, He could wipe us out in an instant. Yet, because He is love, His mercy is everlasting and His forgiveness endless. His ear is ever bent toward our cry and always listening for our hearts desire. He is jealous in His love for and toward us. Oh what wondrous love!
THIS God, is the great “I AM”, who is, who was, and who always will be. THIS God is Jesus Christ, He who said, “I Am He.” THIS is the God who you and I must must chose to serve – not just fear.
In these days, every man must choose the god he will serve. Fearing is not enough. Whom do you serve? Your self, your job? Money? Status? Prestige? God? Pleasure? Freedom?
We are living in days when men (women and children) are serving “their own gods”. What god are you serving?
I am not interested in serving my own, man-made god. Lord, please help me, remove my idols.
- Tomorrow’s World, Douglass S. Winnail; 11.2019
- B. Mark Anderson.com
- Cultural Research Center @ Arizona Christian University
- The Pagan Federation – Prudence Jones
One of the goals for me in 2023 in regards to my teaching videos is for them to be wise and easy to swallow, inspirational words. (Proverbs 13:2 TPT) Translation – short, easy to follow, revelation-knowledge posts.
These will be shared on other social media sites in their required formatting, but will also be shared here for you to glean from. Again, I trust that you will find inspiration and refreshment here Under Debra’s Palm.
Here’s our first video for the year –
Trusting Him through another year together,
Three years ago I stepped out into the unknown, into a world I knew very little about, to do something that I felt inspired to do and passionate about. I entered the world of blogging – writing for my newly developed website and sharing personal reflections, videos, and photos with “followers” and those that stumbled upon my blog.
It has been a tremendous adventure and personal challenge to write and post regular inspirational blogs and vlogs. Some I have been super happy with, and others were simsply the best I could do at the time. But all, both written (blogs) and visual (vlogs) came from my heart and the inspiration that I rely upon daily.
Here is a short video recap of 2022 with some specific stats.
We have grown in every way through these 3 years. Our followers, our likes, our comments, & our subscribers. I have grown too in so many ways. But always, my heart’s desire is that you too, would grow, and find inspiration here.
Under Debra’s Palm is meant to be that place where shade, refreshment, and encouragement can regularly be found.
So, from the depths of my heart I thank you for taking your valuable time to read or listen to what I have to say. I trust that you will continue to find inspiration here.
One last thing, you have things to share too. You have a passion within your heart and inspiration brewing inside of you. Let that passion motivate you to step out and into a wonderful world of challenge, fulfillment and faith. You will find your true destiny and purpose as you do, I promise.
I am excited for what this next year holds. So please stick around.
Consider this your personal angiogram to start 2023
After the recent Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest on the field during his Monday Night Football game last week between the Bills and the Bengals, who hasn’t found themselves thinking about the heart? He was resuscitated twice they say, once on the field after 9 minutes of CPR and another time at the hospital. It was all horrible to watch and even worse wondering how he was doing after they took him off the field in an ambulance and later suspended the game.
It’s been over a week now, and he has been transfered to a Buffalo hospital, where he is talking, moving, laughing and walking around with seemingly no brain damage. He apprears to be on the road to full recovery. Some have called it a miracle. Doctors have called it “a fairly remarkable recovery.”
So, with that as our backdrop for the start of 2023, let’s look more into this issue of the heart, and heart disease, cuz there is more to it than you think.
Sudden death heart facts are:
- 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 80,000 athletes will die suddenly in a year, and most are due to an underlying cardiac condition.
- In those under 35 years this sudden death is generally from congenital or genetic conditions
- In those over 35, sudden death is caused by coronary artery disease (due to atherosclerosos)
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a very common heart condition and happens over decades, when the coronary arteries struggle to send food, blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Their struggle is caused by the build up of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of the arteries. They form hard structures called “plaques”. Now, some amount of hardening is natural as we age, but unhealthy lifestyle habits speed up this “hardening of the arteries”.
Cardio vascular disease in the number ONE leading cause of death worldwide.
Hang with me here, we’re going somewhere, and it’s about more than you think.
As I’m sure you have heard, heart disease causes lots of complications – irregular ryhthms, heart infection, and stroke to name a few. (Not to mention death) And it often displays these symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue or heart attack.
We also know that those with lifestyle habits of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obsesity are more likely to get CAD. In fact, in 2015, CAD affected 110 million people with 8.9 million deaths.
Doctors attempting to detect that hardening of the arteries (artery blockage), will perform a diagnostic test called an angiogram. Short version of how it works is – it takes xrays of the blood vessels that reveal where the blockage lies and shows just how big it is. I remember when my Dad had a heart attack. They showed me the angiogram that revealed 96% blockage! He died very shortly after that.
Phew, enough of the medical jargon already! Because it is about more than you think. Let me explain what I see.
I have come to see our nation and most of the inhabitants in it as having spiritual heart disease. Through unhealthy lifestyles of indulgence, their heart has hardened towards God and their life is showing signs of pain and pressure, difficulties catching their breath amidst their rat race life, and weariness in the daily demands.
But we hold within our power the ability to combat such hardening of the heart/arteries. If we are willing, we can exercise our will and discontinue the unhealthy practices. Just like we do when dieting, we clean out the fridge and cupboards, and replace them with healthy options.
Spiritual heart disease is no different. For long, healthy and happy life, we must remove those things that will build up in us and cause a hardening of our heart. Most importantly, instead of saying ‘No’ to God we say, “Yes”. Everytime we say no when God is speaking to us, hard “plaque” builds up in our spiritual heart. And if not dealt with, we become hardened in our disease of disobedience toward God, and will eventually have a spiritual cardiac arrest.
Just like Pharaoh’s heart was hardened in the days of the Exodus, people today have heardened hearts toward God and His ways.They actually refuse His healthy lifestyle options, and chose what they think is best and healthy for them. Not realizing it is a heart issue and their spiritual aterties in their spiritual heart are filled with unhealthy plaques. It is a heart issue, it is heart disease, my friend.
I find it no small coincidence that there are so many news stories about heart issues these days. Be they young people dying suddenly, althetes, vaccine controversies, or whatever. There is an emphasis of the Holy Spirit in 2023 on the condition of our heart. Heart disease is about more than you think, it is about the spiritual condition of your heart towards God.
Have you become hardened towards God or is your heart disease free and one that is soft and sensitive to Him and His voice?
Which of these describe your heart?
- Plaque causers –
- discouraged heart Num. 32:7
- obstinate heart Deut. 2:30
- hardened heart Exodus 19 x
- naughty heart 1 Sam. 17:28
- a heart of stone 1 Sam. 25:37
- pride & stoutness of heart Isa. 9:9
- deceit in his heart Pro. 12:20
- wicked heart Jer. 4:4
- stiffnecked and uncircumsized heart Acts 17:51
- err in their heart Heb. 3:10
- Healthy heart –
- willing heart Ex. 35:5
- upright heart Deut. 9:5
- inclined toward God Jos. 24:23
- wise and understanding heart 1Ki. 3:12
- penitent 2Ki. 22:19
- not a double heart 1 Ch. 12:33
- courageous heart 2 Ch. 17:6
- tender heart 2 Ch. 24:37
- clean heart Ps. 51:10
- contrite Is. 37:15
- a heart to know me (God speaking) Ezk. 11:19
- a new heart Ezk. 36:26
- good heart Lk. 6:45
I pray, that as we begin this new year, these thoughts will serve as your own personal angiogram and maybe even shock your heart to a reset for a healthy spiritual lifestyle in 2023. (Like an AED -automated external defibrillator does.)
Heart disease (spiritual and natural) will cause complications in your life and will often reveal signs and symptoms, too. Wise is the one who will pay attention to the symptoms of your own spiritual heart disease.
God’s patience and grace is upon us now, but it will not always be so.
Let’s be wise and heart healthy.
Happy and healthy new year,
- Verywellhealth.com – Sudden Cardiac Deaths
- Mayo Clinic Coronary Artery Disease
- The Gullen Report 11.22.22 Sudden Death on a Massive Scale
- Sudden Death Mystery of Healthy People
- NBCnews.com – “Evidence grows Stronger”, Erika Edwards
- The Holy Bible