Are You Worn Out?

Sunday Sermon 7.31.21

Our life goes through seasons and who of us has not experienced a season of just being spent, used up, exhausted, maybe even feeling unusable.

Luckily these times are temporary, even through we don’t see it at the time. But as we grow older, this feeling of being worn out is not so temporary.

We become worn down by the daily grind, increased responsibilities, multiplying demands, unforeseeable events, changing expectations, or any number of pressing issues on us.

Often we wind up shutting down and shutting out people. Or perhaps even retreating to complete isolation. Our vision and hope for the future is shaded by this cloud of dark uncertainty.

Energy levels are low, strength wanning, and motivation to do anything is lacking. In our mind we wrestle with, “Is this it, am I done? I don’t think I have anything left.”

Whether young or old, this feeling of being worn out and the thoughts that accompany it are very real.

It was a hot day as he sat under the oaks, outside of his home when he saw 3 men approaching him. He ran out to meet them and pleaded with them to stay with him and share a meal. They agreed to stay and as the meal was prepared, the following discussion ensued:

“Where is your wife, Sarah?” He answered, “Over there, in the tent.” Then one spoke up and said, “I will return about this time next year, when your wife Sarah shall certainly have a son.” Sarah overheard it, for she was at the tent door. Now both Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.

Sarah laughed to herself with disbelief, saying, “A woman of my age- … after I’m worn out?”

Genesis 18:9-12

Sarah’s laugh and disbelief revealed the truth of her circumstance. She was indeed worn out, fatigued. Other renderings say she was withered, dried up, decaying, even failing. Sarah thought her fruitful days were behind her, and God had no further plan for her or pleasure in her.

I believe for years Sarah had wrestled within herself about her fruitfulness. Her thoughts, desires, and hopes all colliding with the reality of her barren body. And now, this promise of life springing from her, “at her age”, was more than she could handle.

She laughed! Out loud. In that moment it all burst forth. Her pain, questions, hopes, disappointments, and shame. After years, the promise of fruitfulness was now at her doorstep.

God was NOT done with her.

She may be worn out, but God was not. God’s response to her was,

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Genesis 18:14

So, a 90 year old, worn out, used up laughing woman, with the help of her 100 year old husband, gave birth about the same time the next year to a baby boy, who they named, “laughter” aka, Isaac.

Nothing is too hard for God.

My friend, we are living in days of fruitfulness. We are living in days of fulfilled promises. We are living in days of God doing the impossible for those who believe him.

No matter how worn out you may feel. God is not done with you! Let me say it again, God is not done with you.

You have fruitful days ahead. Days of birthing new ideas, and endeavors. The time of producing new life is upon you.

Sarah said, “After I am worn out????”

God said, absolutely! Nothing is too hard for me!

May you arise to walk in new hope and strength today, knowing that your fruitful days are still ahead of you.

Whether or not you are worn out!

Go with God,

Debbie

No Greater Joy

Sunday Sermon 7.25.21

What is it that brings you your greatest joy?

A favorite hobby, a memorable location, a special loved one?

Over fifty years ago I started teaching. At first it was in Sunday School classes of primary children, and through those early years I realized just how much I loved teaching. I mean really LOVED teaching.

At age 16 when I was considering a “life verse” 3 John 4 captured by heart and determination:

“ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

I wasn’t a mother of course, but in my heart was such a compelling drive to do whatever I could to teach the truth to my classes, my “kids/children”.

Through the years, no matter the class, the age, or setting, I knew in my heart of hearts I was to teach the truth, and I also knew that there was no greater joy than to see the light bulb go on over those students’ heads, or see that facial expression change from just listening to “Wow! I actually understand that, now!”

3 John 4 has been a life verse for me since those days.

But today, it takes on a whole “new” enhanced meaning.

Many parents would say that their greatest joy is their children. I would join them.

As our son turns 30 today, and we have joined with family & friends to celebrate him, I am so proud to say he is my greatest joy, AND he walks in the truth! Proud mama here, for sure.

There is a legacy to be passed on and parents, we cannot afford to drop the baton. Not for our sake, but for the sake of our children, we must speak the truth, live the truth and teach the truth. We are only stewards of those precious lives and are responsible for what we have imparted to them.

Whether or not we are parents, our responsibility to what we teach remains. Are we teaching the truth to our students and are we living it before them?

In these days, those teaching opportunities are growing exponentially. Let’s be ready and do everything in our power to assure that our children are walking in the truth.

Oh, and, Happy Birthday, Karrington.

Go with God,

Debbie

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Sunday Sermon 7.17.21

Everyday, in every decision that we make, we unconsciously weigh the consequences of our decisions. Even sometimes consiously. In the smallest of ways, ie: I’m gonna hit the snooze for another 9 minutes, or on a grander scale, ie: what if I make that move, take that job or or forfeit that option, somewhere in our mind is the question, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

On a parrallel note, what is the worst thing that could happen to you? Lose your child, lose your spouse, lose your health, a limb, your home? Consider it. In the big scheme of life what would be the worst thing that could happen to you?

In our nation, with the tends of the day, policies of our government, allowances for and acceptance of behaviors, ideas, and intentions – what is the worst that could happen to our nation?

In each of these settings, personal and national, what is the worst possible end game, the worst that could happen?

We teach our children that while you can choose your action or behavior, you cannot choose the consequences of that action. Consequences are automatically set in motion as principles of the universe designed to corolate with divine order and purpose. So, in that divine order of the universe, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Let me answer by sharing a story –

In the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were in dialogue with God about their disobedience, the worst thing wasn’t the guilt and shame they felt. It wasn’t their dishonesty in trying to hide it from God. It wasn’t even their punishment as pronounced by God on their childbearing and working the land. No! In all of those God’s love and covering for them was ever present, just as a Dad loves his children.

The worst, possible end game and consequnce for them was,

” …He (God) drove them out of the garden.”

Genesis 3:24

In the case of their murderous son Cain, what was the worst thing?

“God banished Cain from the land…and Cain said, “Now I must hide from your presence…””

Genesis 4:11,13

The worst thing that could happen to Adam, Eve and Cain, did happen – they were removed from the garden of His perfect relationship, presence of the Lord. They were sent away from His presence. Cain in his response even cried out, “My punishment is more than I can bear!” Geneses 4:11

Fastforward to the days of the Kings of Israel and Judah. In the book of 2 Kings we have a startling picture of God’s chosen people and their condition and attitude towards God, their God, Jehovah – the Great I AM.

“The Israelites had sinned against the Lord…they worshipped other gods and followed the practices of other nations… They secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right…they did wicked things…they worshipped idols…they would not listen and were stiffnecked…they rejected his decrees and the covenant he made with them…They imitated the nations around them…They forsook the commands of the Lord, they bowed bown to the starry hosts and worshipped Baal… They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire… They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil.”

2 Kings 17:7-17

This picture of a people so calloused against God is astonishing! Could they be any worse? We might even say, they deserve the worst possible outcome, consequence or punishment. What is the worst that could happen?

“So the Lord was very angry with Israel and REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:18

“…He THRUST THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:20

“The Lord REMOVED THEM FROM HIS PRESENCE.”

2 Kings 17:23

In God’s view the worst thing that could happen was removing his children from His presence. Having to separate Himself from His children. Removing His presence, covering, protection, and blessing from His children is the worst thing that can happen.

The blessing of His presence brings peace, joy, protection. His presence brings a respect for Him, a desire to seek Him and please Him. His presence creates a hunger in us for more of Him, more of His presence.

To be removed from His presence is a direct consequence of sin and disobedience. All sin brings death – physical, mental and spiritual. It is our iniquities (inner perversions) that separate us from God. Isaiah 59:2 That unconfessed sin leads to the time when His presence will be removed from you, and your covering, joy and peace will be gone.

In Sampson’s life, he didn’t even realize when God’s presence left him. He continued doing what he always had done, expecting God’s blessing, totally unaware God’s presence had left him on his own. Judges 16:20

When God lifts His presence from an individual or nation, then we have hit rock bottom. We have discovered the worst that can happen. That is why Kind David prayed, “Cast me not away from your presence and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:11

To live a life apart from His presence is not living at all. Apart from His presence we are dead, dry, religious, wanderers without peace, purpose or protection. It is the bleakest of lives, constantly shadowded by fears, worries and threats without hope for anything better – ever!

In His presence there is fullness of joy, but so much more. It costs, yes, but it doesn’t even compare, in the slightest, to the worst that could happen.

I am concerned for you, for our nation, for the presence of the Lord upon us. I don’t wanna loose His presence, because that is the worst thing that could ever happen.

Go with God,

Debbie

Bringing the World Together

Few are the circumstances or events that have the potential to unify peoples across national, ethnic and social lines. Although no attempt is perfect because there always seems to be naysayers, I still believe that the Olympics are one of our best efforts in bringing the world together.

What other opportunity is there that brings over 11,200 people together, from 206 different nations or territories to compete in 339 athletic events, 33 sports that represent 50 disciplines?

Seriously! In my opinion, when the Olympic Games are at their best, they are a force to be reckoned with in promoting global unity.

So, after a postponment from the summer of 2020, the 32nd Olympiad will be held this month, from July 23 – Aug. 8 in Tokyo, Japan.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a huge Olympic fan, who had the honor of attending the 1984 Games in LA, as a dream come true! So what can we expect in these games?

There are five new sports this time, they are: skateboarding, karate, surfing, sports climbing, and baseball/softball. New names to watch in these sports are: the 16 year old CA girl, skateboarder, Brighton Zeaner, who won the X games at 13, and the 17 year old, CO rock climber, Colin Duffy.

Other young athletes to watch are the youngest Olympian in competition, the 12 year old, Syrian table tennis competetor, Hend Zaza. Japan is also sending young ones, a 12 and 13 year old who are both in the hunt for a medal in skateboarding.

The US’s oldest competetor is 57 year old, 7 time, equestrain, Philip Dutton. While our youngest representative is 15 year old, Katie Grimes, a top contender in the pool on the swim team.

Our women’s gymnastics team will be headed by our brilliant Simone Biles but also on that team is the oldest woman’s gymnist, Makayla Skinner, who is just a tad bit older than Simone.

Other US athletes leading the way in age, are 44 year old Abdi Abdirahman, a runner, with 4 previous Olympics to his credit and the oldest basketball player, Sue Bird, who at age 40, will play in her 5th Olympics.

Team Canada will be sending the largest contingent of 371 athletes and coaches. But in my opinion, isnt’ it more inspiring to see those countries with a handful of competitors marcing in?

The ancient Olympic Games were first held in 776 BC, when an Olympic Truce was enacted so that athletes could travel from their city-states to Olympia safely. The big draw was a single race, called “the stade”, which was a short sprint. The runners were only men and they ran nude. No girls were allowed to attend for that reason. So many gathered from surrounding city-states to see the “stade”, the venue was named the stadium. Yes, our word stadium is derrived from the stade of the ancient Olympic games. Cool, right?

The ancient “stade” race
The Olympic stadium

I am well aware that there have been controveries and protests through the years, banned nations and suspended athletes, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water, shall we?

Let’s celebrate the unity of nations for 2 weeks, shall we? Not for the sake of NBC’s 7.7 billion dollar contract but for the joy of sport.

Let’s celetrate those medal recepients, because they have worked hard and made great sacrifices to achieve their goal. We can also celebrate those medals because Japan had a campaign from 2017-2019 to collect old devices to melt down the metals to make “everyone’s medal”. A total of 6,210,000 phones were donated to make those Olympic medals.

Our support and celebration is so very important. It is so sad to me that Tokyo has declared a state of emergency, due to Covid again, and therefore NO SPECTATORS are being allowed at the venues. Even the outside venues, like marathon, spectators are being asked NOT to cheer!

What in the world is going on here??? Imagine YOU are the competitor, acheiving the goal of a lifetime, with no one to audibly cheer you on. Yes, TV cameras will catch it, but cameras are silent.

Not me. I will be cheering. I will be excited about those who are striving toward bringing the world together.

Won’t you join us?

Cheers to you,

Debbie

Don’t Forget

Sunday Sermon 7.10.21

It is always so exciting when a wonderful event happens in the family. Be it a new birth, graduation, new job, or wedding, we are thrilled for the joy and challenge that it brings.

Can you recall a promotion you received? Remember it’s excitement, awe, and the uncertainty too that accompanied it?

Do you remember when you made your commitment to Jesus? What feelings, emotions and thoughts did you deal with?

Events are set in time but emotions and feelings change, don’t they?

We have this story of Elisha receiving a huge job promotion.

Here he was a farmer, and a wealthy one at that, out plowing the field with a yoke of oxen, accompanied by 11 other yoke also plowing. Out of the blue, a man walks up to him, who happened to be the reigning number 1 prophet in the land, and this man approches Elisha, takes off his outer coat (of goat hair, representing his prophetic status), and places it on Elisha’s shoulders. He then turns and walks off. No words were spoken. Just a coat drop and off he went.

Elisha immediately realizing what had just happened, (he was being chosen to become Elijah’s replacement), left the oxen and took off running after Elijah. When he reached him, he said, “Please, let me first go and kiss my mother and father good-bye, then I’ll follow you.”

Elisha’s odd reply to him was,

” Go ahead, but, mind you, don’t forget what I have just done to you.”

1 Kings 19:20

It seems that permission was granted for good-byes, but with a sharp challenge, DON’T FORGET this moment. In the midst of the hugs, kisses, tears, stories, celebration, sadness of loss, and excitement of new ventures, DON’T FORGET this moment and what I have done to you. DON’T FORGET to focus on the future, DON’T FORGET to focus on your call, DON’T FORGET to come back to this release and empowerment. DON’T FORGET the meaning of that hairy coat on your shoulders.

All too often, when we choose to go back, we do loose focus. We forget. We get entangled in the mire of what was and is rather than the hope and purpose of what will be. That is probably why Jesus told us,

” No man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom.”

Luke 9:62

” Anyone who loves Father and Mother more than me is not worthy of me.”

Matthew 10:37

And yet, Elijah told Elisha, “Go ahead”. “But don’t forget…”

Amazing contrasts here.

How did this new, heir apparent respond? Now THIS is remarkable!

“Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”

1 Kings 19:21

Talk about a serious, all in commitment!!

Elisha totally destroyed everything from his past way of life to which he could return. He left no plan B, if this “prophet in training” thing didn’t work out. He was fully committemt to the future and what God was calling him to. He would not look back, or love his family more. His farmer life was over, his past vocation now in the rear-view as he walked, NOT FORGETTING the hairy coat on his shoulders and what it represented. He allowed his past to become a blazing inferno.

He now was the right hand man to the number 1 prophet in the land and was being trained to step in to even greater works and miracles than Elijah had done.

He was not about to forget that experience in the field, that calling to a new vocation. He was not about to forget its weight, severity, hope, and inspiration. He would not forget, get sidetracked or loose focus.

He was called to something bigger and better.

My friend, so are you. You are called to something bigger and better. What is it? Don’t forget your calling. Don’t get distracted.

You have been given a promotion from God, don’t forget it. Let go of any plan B’s you may still be clinging to. Burn ’em up, slaughter ’em.

There are greater miracles for you, more power for you, many more adventures for you as you walk as His servant and right-hand person.

Don’t forget.

Go with God.

Debbie

Marriage is a Marathon

July 5, 1986

Thirty five years ago today, my husband and I took that step of love and faith, and committed to love each other “until death do us part.” Entering marriage in our “older” years (he was 39 and I was 31) and each of us for the fist time, we began our marriage marathon.

As part of our vows, we committed to be “forever by your side”, running this marathon, not sprint.

In spite of the reported increase in domestic violence, Covid stressed lockdowns, finanical strains, political discord and declining marriage and divorce rates we are still running our love race.

We have survived the bruises of that brutal first year together, when two lives are thrown together in marital bliss only to discover that two being made one is a painful and pertetual process. During those days I remember looking at Den and thinking, “Oh my goodness, how are we ever gonna make it a lifetime?” We were (are) both so strongwilled. We had lived on our own, doing thigs our own way for a long time. We were both “successful” in our careers and involved in leadership away from our careers.

The following years continued to rub off edges, smooth our dings, and sharpen us up, as “iron sharpens iron, and so a man his friend.”

At year five, we had our son, after some pregnancy challenges, and prenatal medical forcasts. He was perfect! Now our family was complete. We were elated and still running our marathon.

Somewhere around year 8, 9 or 10, (I can’t remember exactly) suffice it to say, we were dangerously close to dropping out of this marathon. I told a friend I was ready to, and without her love and commitment to pray us through, we may have become a statistic. Perhaps we were mistaken and this race was really a sprint!?! Den and I went to counseling, (after much opposition) and found our way back to each other and continued the marathon.

The next 10 years we lived life as a happy family, with focus on our son’s activities, and managing our own differences and issues as best we could.

As our son grew into manhood, becoming his own person, the focus in our marriage shifted now. Our careers became the focus and lots of time was spent in logging hours on work projects. Lots of introspection too, on who we were, who we wanted to become and where we wanted to go together. What was important to us had to be shifted through and priorities set or renewed.

As eventual empty nesters, there was nowhere else to focus the spotlight now. We had each other. Is that what we wanted, is that who we desired? Were we still committed to running this marathon together?

YES! A resounding, yes, pierced our hearts.

When Den retired, again things changed. He was now “on the sidelines” from what he had known and done for over 50 years. Who was he, what was he, where was he going? So many questions swirling for him. The best I could do for him was be there and support him, encourage him. Ya know, “Forever by your side.”

Years later, I retired and now we were full time together, with no other focuses. Would we kill each other? How would we manage those two strongwills in the same house all the time?

It has been an amazing welding together these past 3 years. We are closer than we have ever been, on every level. We share deeper, talk more, laugh more, cry more, and pray more – together. I can proudly say we are running together, in stride toward the same goal, supporting each other along the way.

Marriage will be like a freeway. There should be a destination in mind for your marriage and you both should travel towards it together. But, along the way there are off ramps. Some are rest stops and vital for completion of the journey or relieving of wasteful buildups. Others are off ramps that will change your direction and still others are off ramps that will take you out of the race altogether. Your marathon will come to an end if you take that off ramp.

The traditional 35th Anniversary is said to be coral.

Coral

Let me close with making a comparison.

Coral takes a long time to form with a lot of dying polyps along the way, just like a 35 year, bond of love has alot of dying to self. Both take a long time to form. But, healthy coral are able to withstand 97% of a waves energy as it buffets the shoreline, taking the rough current, waves and storms. Additionally, when corals are stressed by changes in conditions like temperatures, light, or nutrients, they expel an algae that lives in their tissues, thus causing them to turn completely white. This is called bleaching. The coral is not dead, when it is bleached, it can survive a bleaching event, but they are under more stress and subject to mortality.

Bleached coral

Whether it be through the pounding waves of life, the death of ideas, or the stress of conditions and bleaching out, Den and I have survived and are growing stronger. We’ve taken off ramps but always choose to re-enter the marathon.

June ‘21, Den’s birthday

We continue to be “forever by your side” through this marathon called marriage.

Cheers,

Debbie

Happy 245th Birthday, America!

The History Files

On July 4, 1776, it was an unusually mild, mid-summer day in Philadelphia. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson’s detailed weather journals we know that the temperature was a pleasant 76 degrees at 1:00 PM, a normally hot and humid time of the year.

What seemed to be a pleasant day was far from it. This summer was raging with a full scale war that began at Lexington and Concord, MA, with “the shot heard around the world”. In April of 1775, when the British marched to Concord to seize arms, Paul Revere and others rode to sound the alarm, but with that shot The Revolutionary War had begun.

The Brits, over spent securing new territories in the new world for the Crown, and in particular, The French and Indian War of 1754-1763. This war, between France and Great Britian in North America was for control of the colonial territory. Great Britian having “won” the war, now looked to recoup their finincial losses by taxing their 13 colonies.

The Stamp Act, Townsend Act, Tea Act, (to name a few) were met with colonial protest, due to lack of representation in Parliament (in England). In responses to the grievences, George Washington, John and Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay along with others met in Philadelphia in September of 1774 to give voice to their grievences and denounce the taxation and quartering of troops without consent. They issued a declaration that included the statement that the rights due to every citizen include life, liberty, property, assembly and trial by jury. They voted to meet again in May of 1775.

Battles were fought, lives were lost, properties were seized and taxes continued through the ensuing months.

In May of 1775, when this body met again, The Second Continental Congress, they voted to form a Continental Army and appointed George Washington Commander. Included in this second meeting were the notable Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

The month following Washington’s appointment, the Congress issued “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms”. Congress sent this along with an olive branch to King George III asking him for help in resolving their differences. Needless to say, the request was ignored.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle for the colonial forces, and they inflicted heavy losses on the Brits. Although it ended in a British victory, it encouraged the cause for revolt. The colonists were being stirred by writers too, like Thomas Paine, who were writing pamphlets like “Common Sense”. In it reasons are listed for the need to separate from Britian – it was only common sense! From this, the population developed a convincing arguement for independence.

In the spring of 1776 requests were being made of congress to draft a declaration of independence. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee complied. Congress postponed the final vote until July 1 and appointed a 5 man committee to draft the final document. It consisted of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams but the document was mainly the work of Thomas Jefferson.

In it he included the natural rights of all people and charged the Parliament and the King of depriving the Americans of these God given rights. He also included an article on the institution of slavery, which was later removed.

On July 2,1776, Congress voted in favor of independence, and 2 days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Congress then ordered it to be sent to the printer where 200 copies were made. Today, 26 copies remain.

John Hancock was the first and largest signer, he said, he wanted the King to be able to read his name clearly. (Amazing, because he was committing treason). Following John Hancock, another 55 brave men signed their treasnous document of independence.

The Declaration was sent to various battle fronts, where it was read to the troops. Additionally it was read in large cities and hamlets throughout the colonies. When George Washington read it to the troops in New York, a riot broke out, tearing down a statue of George II. The statue didn’t go to waste tho’, it was melted down and made into 42,000 musket balls.

This is where we, in this modern day stop thinking. Independence! Yay! We’re free. Not so fast, tho’.

This day, marked a line in the sand for the colonists. They were now at war with the most powerful empire of the day! Their lives, homes, possessions, families, reputations, and yes, their sacred honor were at stake.

Consider just the signers of that declaration:

  • 5 were captured, tortured as traitors before they died
  • 12 had their homes ransaked and burned
  • 2 lost their sons in the war fight
  • 2 others had their sons captured
  • 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war

These were ordinary men living in an extraordinary time demonstrating unbelievable courage and passion for what they believed in. OUR FREEDOM!

They were lawyers, merchants, farmers, plantation owners and men of means and education, but they signed the Declaration knowing full well their lives were on the line. They had security, but they valued liberty more.

The Revolutionary War waged on through ebb and flow, losses and gains, setbacks, traitors, and British occupation until Great Britian formally surrendered on September 3, 1783, in what is known as The Treaty of Paris.

American Battlefield Trust estimates that during The Revolutionary War 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded and more that 20,000 taken prisoner. Add to those the deaths due to disease, or who died while prisoners of war another 8,000-12,000.

On June 14, 1777, during this war, Congress approved the design of the national flag. It’s red, white and blue forever speak of those who fought for it, even before it came into existence. Those who in purity stood up for independence with bravery and courage, paying unmentionable valor and spilling immeasurable blood, those who united as 13 independent colonies with a cause against tyranny, injustice and freedom for all.

Don’t allow anyone to tarnish or dampen the cost and value of that freedom, or to shame you for your patriotism.

This is the history of The United States of America and we can stand tall, proud and very partiotic.

Happy 245th birthday, America.

Debbie

No Happy Birthday

The Asaph Files- Collected and shared because you need to know

I confess, there are hot button issues in our society that I shy away from speaking out about, mainly because I don’t want to step on toes or offend.

The time has come on one now and I cannot and will not keep silent.

This time, I speak out of a strong conviction in my Spirit and by God’s Word. Burning in my heart are these words,

“Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior! Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death? And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”? The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive is also the keeper of souls- and not just yours! He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.”

Proverbs 24:11-12

Abortion is my business. Those lives that are being threatened are my business. Those lives that are perishing are my business. Why do I stand back and make excuses? God is holding me responsible.

For 619,591 unborn Americans in 2018, there was no happy birthday, because their lives were brutally taken away before given the opportunity to celebrate their birth.

Stats from the CDC
From the CDC

Yes, I realize that not all births are celebrations, but for those minimal numbers, why is death the chosen option?

Too many rationalize that early in pregnancy the “baby” is not viable, and cannot live outside the womb without assistance. Therefore it should not even be identified as a baby yet. A ball of cells, embryonic, or fetal, these lives are being threatened and snatched from us and robbed of their right to live.

Additionally, I am actually pro-choice, (sort of). Ladies, you do have a choice what you do with your body. So choose to use birth control. Abortion should not be considered a birth control option. Your choice will affect the new life you conceive, and then it is no longer just your body, it is theirs too. You are responsible for that new life so choose wisely.

America is complicit is this practice and her laws and policies have allowed it and even allowed for monetary benefit to come from it. This is disgusting!

The abortion industry in America is a 1.3 billion dollar industry with $530 million coming from government funding according to Wikipedia.

And that, dear reader, is not the worst part about abortion funds and money making schemes!

Recent documents have revealed the fees being charged for those aborted body parts, organs and tissues for research. Yes! Aborted baby parts are being sold and used in research. What kind of humans have we become?

Recently obtained documents from the FDA received by a FOIA request.
“Price list” for aborted baby parts

There is big business and the demand for these “items” is outweighing the supply.

Here is just one request, in writing!

The research being done is not always in the best interest of humanity either, as seen by this document.

Folks, this is inhumane! This is barbaric! Have we become so desensitized that we cannot feel this atrocity anymore? How are we any different from the Nazi’s in those German labs, experimenting on fetal tissues? Tell me!?

If you have never investigated the types of abortions available, how they’re done and the details of what happens to that baby, (and Mother) you should.

I taught Sex Ed in Middle School and could barely scratch the surface of the dismemberment and torture performed in the womb in each type of abortion. I even had a girl faint in class during one lesson. I am not kidding! It is gruesome.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is murder, because God says at conception is when life begins. At conception is when He begins to form us in the womb. At conception is when the plans and purposes he has had for us from eternity begin to been seen finally, here on earth. His will in heaven, for us to be born, is being done on Earth.

Our soul and spirit are alive at conception and soon thereafter our body develops until it is our birthday!

For millions though, there has been no happy birthday.

And that is our business. We must keep silent no longer. Tell everyone.

Debbie

Post script-

the scars left on the mother’s who choose abortion are permanent and deep. But so too is the forgiveness of a loving Heavenly Father who offers love, healing, and forgiveness to all who seek it.

Contender or Pretender

Sunday sermon 6.26.21

I remember times in my life when I decidedly committed myself to being a true contender. Bear with me as I list some:

  • Young softball pitcher
  • 16 year old female table tennis champion
  • Award winning French Horn student
  • Champion drum major
  • Honors college student
  • Ace volleyball server
  • SUP 10Ker

In each of these stages, my focus, energy, effort, thoughts and time was (mostly) willingly given to improving, becoming stronger, better, more accurate and fluid in what I was contending for.

Training, discipline, and a long term goal, pushed aside laziness, discouragement and cheap talk. I was purposed to contend and be the best I could in an effort to win the prize.

If you’re looking to be a contender, your daily decisions are what put you on the road to that prize, not your words.

Contenders and pretenders look alike on the surface, but it is their actions that set them apart.

Pretenders take the path of least resistance, while contenders take disciplined training and overcome. There’s no achieving that championship belt by sitting quietly and watching others in the ring.

Pretenders allow laziness to take over and then the comfort zone anchors them in.

Here’s why it matters, whether you are a contender or pretender…

“… I felt the need to challenge you to vigorously defend and contend for the beliefs that we cherish.”

Jude 3

Judah, was Jesus’ half brother and it is he that is speaking here. He was writing to the early believers because he wanted to challenge them to contend for the things that Jesus had taught them. Fight for them, for their truth, for their preeminence, for their validity. He was calling them to be contenders for the faith not pretenders.

No words of the Bible could be any truer today. Judah is calling to us, to remind us to contend for the beliefs we cherish, not become lazy and allow them to slip from our minds, lives, and national awareness.

Contend, with the same discipline as an athlete for Christian beliefs that are under attack. Focus on them, exercise with them, spur with others- as an athlete and true contender for the faith, not just some lazy “Christian”.

Here is a quick list I made of Christian messages that are under attack:

  • God as creator
  • All are created equal and in God’s image
  • God loves all mankind
  • The Bible is his word and divinely inspired
  • The inerrancy of the bible
  • There is truth and there is absolute truth
  • There is life after death lived in heaven or hell for everyone
  • Right and wrong
  • Power and freedom come from God not government
  • Marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman
  • The church is God’s institution designed to execute God’s will on earth
  • Life begins at conception

We are told to contend for these beliefs! Judah tells us to vigorously defend these!

What are we doing Christians?

We cannot allow the influences of this society to sweep away these beliefs that we cherish!

Who’s winning? Are you contending for the faith?

Think too about the values and beliefs brought to this nation by our founding fathers. We must not let them slip or be retaught guised in lies. This is serious.

I can’t help it, what are we doing?

Are you a contender or a pretender?

Go with God,

Debbie

Contactless

This word and concept keeps popping up all around us. 51% of Americans are now using some form of contactless payment. We use it at:

  • The grocery store 85%
  • The Pharmacy 39%
  • Retail stores 38%
  • Fast foods 36%
  • On public transit 9%

Are you part of the 51%?

We are being told by economists that there is a consumer shift occurring leveraging contactless products.

How many of us used delivery of foods, and products during the lockdown that we normally would not have?

Pretty much this contactless shift happened due to the desire toward cleanliness. “Let’s do as much as possible without touching”, seemed to be the driving force.

Unfortunately, after 16 months of conditioning and shifting thinking, it is not only our payment methods that have become contactless.

“Social Distancing” has become a fear of close contact with other humans for way too many. It appears that we may be developing into a contactless society with nobody touching or talking closely in public.

Touch plays a very important role in human development. We are social beings and herd driven. Our brains are built to socialize. Lack of consistent human contact leads to:

  • Conflict with others
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Risk of stroke
  • Rise of blood pressure
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Leads to balance problems

We all want to be alone sometimes. But not all the time. We do not really want to be contactless.

Michael Bond tells us that, “When people are isolated from human contact, their mind can do truly bizarre things.”

Studies on sensory deprivation have been done as far back as the 1950’s, when word was the Chinese were using it to brainwash American POW’s in the Korean War.

In the landmark study done by Donald Herb, professor of Psychology at Montreal’s McGill University , he sought to see how sensory isolation affects human cognition. His theory, the brain would deteriorate if it didn’t have a continue stream of sensory input.

He had hoped to study his volunteers for months. Most candidates never made it a week. It was so brutal, as to the level of sensory clamps they were put through. Here though are some of their findings-

  • Temporary mental impairment
  • Poor performance on arithmetic, word association and pattern regcognition
  • Restless, childish emotional responses
  • Vivid hallucinations

He concludes, “depriving a man of sensory input will break him in days.”

His colleagues noted, “ the mind unravels when we are truly on our own. Isolation is physically bad for us.”

Here are my thoughts, dear reader- our brains have been trying to break free from the foolishness and restrictions of Covid, from the isolation, fear, worry and contactless- ness. Our brains are wired for contact, socialization, conversation and human interaction.

So let me encourage you to intentionally make plans with friends. Intentionally plan a coffee time, or lunch date, maybe a hike or long walk. Purpose to make contact with someone each week.

Let’s be gone with this contactless nonsense when it comes to our personal relationships and mental health.

We truly need each other, and maybe even a HUG.

Here’s to contact,

Debbie

Everything You Could Ever Need

Sunday Sermon 6.19.21

What if you were promised everything you could ever need would be given to you?

Add to that the promise of always being productive and useful.

But wait, that’s not all, top it off with you will never fall away.

I was struck this week with these three superlatives.

And my thoughts went something like, “ I am being promised everything I could ever need, in a useful and productive life, that will last forever… what kind of fool would say no to this offer?” Fully realizing there were countless numbers doing just that and I too have refused the offer or at least parts of it at times.

Here’s the context.

Peter, the walker on water, cutting off the ear, denier, disciple wrote these promises in his second letter, and first chapter.

There, in verse 3 he says,

“Everything we could ever need in life and godliness has been given to us.”

2 Pet. 1:3

Wait, whaaat? I already have everything I could ever need???

Peter says yes!

How is that so?

Pete tells us that when we come to know Jesus, in Him, we find and have everything we will ever need for life and godliness.

Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? Why do we think we know better and God’s way isn’t enough? Why do we think living for Jesus is hard and boring and not for us?

Getting to know Jesus, spending time with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His word IS everything we could ever need. In HIM, knowing Him, is where we find all we need. In Him is where we find all we need for our life and living godly.

Peter calls this, “the rich experience of knowing Him.” This is the foundation for everything; our needs, hopes, questions, desires… the experience of knowing Him is vast, deep, precious, enlightening, puzzling, amazing, fearful and beautiful all at the same time. All we need is found in Him.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

Peter goes on to say,

“If you possess these qualities they will keep you from being inactive and unproductive”

2 Pet. 1:8

What qualities? Are they something unrealistic, hard to do, out of reach?

These are the qualities he lists: faith, goodness, understanding, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mercy and love.

Are they unrealistic? Are they impossible and out of our reach to display and practice in your life?

The promise is if we possess these qualities, they will keep us from being inactive and unproductive.

They are not unrealistic qualities if we are enjoying the experience of knowing Him. If we are in touch with Him, His Word and voice, these qualities should be abounding in our life. If we are out of step with Him, chances are pretty good these qualities will be lacking and so too our productiveness.

Check it, though. If we possess these qualities, we will not be inactive or unproductive. Wow.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

The final trifecta promise is you will never fall away. Never! Think of that. Never stumble. This of course is speaking spiritually. Stumbling spiritually is falling down, tripping up.

What’s the prerequisite for this NEVER stumble promise?

“If you do these things you will never stumble.”

2 Pet. 1:10

What things? So, what things, exactly do I need to do?

The things listed above-

  1. Knowing Him
  2. Possess those 8 qualities

If we are in relationship knowing Him and those 8 qualities are springing from our life, we will never stumble. We will be secure.

Isn’t that so true? Haven’t you found that when you are NOT in relationship with Him and some or all of these 8 qualities are absent from your life, you trip up all over the place?

Why do we fight so hard against living a spiritual life? In it we have all we need, we are active and productive and we won’t trip up!??

In our relationship with Jesus, we have everything we could ever need.

What kind of fool would say no to this offer?

Go with God.

Debbie

What is Juneteenth?

The History Files

You’ve probably seen it appear on your calendar, heard about it on the news and now seen it signed into law as a national holiday. So, just what exactly is Juneteenth?

Short for “June 19”, it basically memorializes the end of slavery in the United States.

June 19, 1865 marks the day when federal troops showed up in Galveston, Texas to seize control of the state (Texas was a southern, Confederate state in the Civil War that had just ended two months earlier) and see to it that the enslaved people were indeed freed.

The Civil War had raged from 1961-1865, until Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia, in April of 1865.

During that time, President Abraham Lincoln had signed The Emancipation Proclamation that freed all enslaved peoples in the Confederate south. (They were already free in the Northern states, that was a big reason for the Civil War.) This freedom was not enacted however, due to obvious disagreements.

When the war ended, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved peoples were still relatively unaffected. It was then, that General Gordon Granger entered Galveston, Texas and read General Orders No. 3:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

General Orders No. 3

From that day, Texas’ 250,000 enslaved peoples were free. In some places celebrations broke out immediately, in others, even that news was withheld until after the harvest. Nonetheless, Juneteenth had been born.

Early Juneteenth celebrations

It was in December of 1865 that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted that formally and forever abolished slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth, also called Jubilee Day, is celebrated with barbques, parades, prayers, music and other activities.

Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday and today, President Joe Biden signed it into law marking Juneteenth a national holiday.

Cheers to you.

Debbie

The Red, White and Blue

Why we celebrate Flag Day, June 14
The History Files

It was first carried into battle at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and first saluted by foreign naval vessels February 14, 1778 when John Paul Jones arrived in the French port.

Brandywine Flag

Since then, it has sailed around the world, gone to the moon and Mars, flown on fields of battle and marked resting places.

Our Old Glory is the most recognized and respected flag in the world.

In June of 1775 the Continental Congress had gathered together to form a unifying continental army and needed a unifying symbol, because our fight for liberty began with each colony fighting under their own flag. That led to the creation of the first American flag, “The Continental Colors”. With it’s 13 red and white altering stripes and Union Jack, it was too similar to the British flag, and George Washington realized it was not good.

George Washington did not approve

On June 14, 1777 a resolution was passed stating that the US flag would be one of 13 red and white stripes, with the union being a blue field with 13 white stars.

Although Betsey Ross has traditionally been credited with making our first flag, there is lack of evidence to support it.

Flag Day recognizes and celebrates the adoption of our flag by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

There have been 27 versions of the flag, but the colors have remained, red, white, and blue. The colors selected by our founding fathers were chosen to not just be visually nice but meaningful.

  • Red- hardiness, valor (not blood)
  • White- purity, innocence
  • Blue- vigilance, perseverance, & justice

It was a Wisconsin school teacher, Bernard Cigrand that originated the flag day celebrations at his school in 1885. He also was the first to petition Congress to call for national celebration of flag day.

President Wilson, in 1916 along with President Coolidge in 1927 issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day. It was not until August 3, 1949 however, when Congress, under President Truman signed it into law.

Since that time, Congress has passed The Flag Protection Act of 1968 which states that it is illegal to burn or deface the flag. Additionally, there is a Flag Code which spells out rules for proper handling and displaying of the US flag. The overwhelming context presents that “the American flag shall be shown no disrespect and should not be dipped.” (Lowered)

America is one of 195 countries on the planet, each with their own flag, history and traditions. But this is the story of my flag, our American banner of freedom, honor, courage, pride, and patriotism.

Long may she wave, long may we see her proudly standing through the rockets red glare. Long may her beauty and freedom inspire generations toward patriotism, unity and service.

Long may our Red, White, and Blue stand “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Cheers to you.

Debbie

What is D Day?

This will be the first in a new Category of blogs I will write and I will call them The History Files.

My heart aches for the loss of understanding and knowledge of our American history and events that have made us who we are. Loving history and teaching, this is my attempt to bring those two together and help inform or remind the reader of important events in our history.

June 6, 1944

WWII was raging as Hitler’s Nazi’s were advancing through and occupying Western Europe. But the Allied forces of UK, US, Canada and France had something up their sleeves.

Together, the Allies had been planning for years a massive invasion of Normandy, France and as their “D day” approached Operation Bodyguard went into action. This plan was to keep the Germans guessing as to the exact day and location of the suspected invasion.

On that “D day”, morning weather conditions were so bad that the attack had to be pushed back a day.

So, on the morning of June 6, 1944 Operation Overlord, or code name Operation Neptune began the largest seaborne invasion in history. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Commander of 156,000 Allied troops, 5,000ships and landing crafts, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes.

Paratroopers began the assault by landing behind enemy lines by the thousands to blow up bridges and roads. At 6:30 AM the beach landings began.

Hitler thought he was ready, but his defenses focused in the wrong place. In 1942, the Germans began construction of the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400 mile network of bunkers, pill boxes, etc. on the French coastline. Normandy was less defendable.

Even tho’ it was less defendable, there were plenty of Nazi soldiers in place along the shores of Normandy to cause the battle to be a bloody one.

Things didn’t go as planned for the Allies. Despite the set backs, the troops pushed forward.

As the tanks carrying soldiers prepared to open their gates in the water, those ramps that were their shields would be dropped and so too would be the soldiers defense from a flurry of bullets. Soldiers, all young, we’re killed instantly. Bodies fell everywhere and those that didn’t had to find a way out, maneuvering those courageous and gruesome sacrifices.

By the end of that day the Allies had taken the beachhead but at a very high price. It is estimated that 4,400 Allied soldiers lost their lives that day with another 9,000 wounded or missing.

This day though, became the turning point for WWII in Europe.

Hero’s abounded that day, and stories, books and movies are written about them. But I would list each and every soldier who prepared and was there that day as a hero.

Eisenhower was told in advance that the paratrooper deaths could reach 75%. Other leaders were well aware of the cost and the soldiers themselves were too.

These men, from the lower in rank and age to the more seasoned professional military minds, all took an oath, and then, their oath took them. Some from this life and some to another phase of this life. They gave their all, not only that day but in the days leading up to and following it.

Just 11 months later, WWII ended in Europe on May 7, 1945 when the Allies accepted the full and unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. This is called VE Day- Victory in Europe day, when all hostilities in Europe ended.

A few months later, on September 2, 1945 documents were signed on the USS Missouri by the US and Japan that put an official end to WWII.

The importance of what they did for the world cannot and should not be understated. It changed the future of countries as well as families. They won more than battles and wars, they won influence and perception.

The deadliest of all wars had ended, with an estimated 3% of the worlds population having died in it, approximately 60-80 million people. Among them, those young men who bravely and selflessly turned the tide in Europe on the beaches of Omaha, Juno, Hold, Utah, and Sword.

May we carry their tenacity to fight for truth and along with them win the battle for influence and perception.

That is why we remember D Day. every June 6.

Let’s remember our history.

Debbie

What’s the Smallest Thing You Can Think of?

Sunday sermon 6.5.21

Think for a moment, what is the smallest thing that you can think of?

An ant, bacteria, atom?

What’s the largest thing? Go ahead, think it through.

Our sun, our galaxy, something else?

Now, please, think about you, all of you, (que up John Legend singing “All of Me”) your insides, your brain, mind, emotions. Your curves and all your edges…. 🙂

For fact seeking readers, the smallest thing that we (the smart scientist people “we”) know of are Quarks.

Quarks, the building blocks of matter are a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter in diameter. But if you zoom in a billion times more, where units run out of names and keep going 100 million times smaller still – you finally hit bottom. This is where you will find The Planck length; approximately 1.6 x 10 to the negative 35 meters. THIS is the smallest possible length in the universe. The Planck length.

Our brains can’t comprehend these sizes, we overload with the enormity of the smallness.

On the other side- the largest known object in the universe is Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall. This is a galactic filament, which is a vast cluster of galaxies bound together by gravity. This guy is a mere 10 billion light years across! Talk about Hercules??!!

Again, our brains explode even trying to comprehend 1 light year, right? But 10 billion of them? Owwie.

Now on to you, my dear. Your physical body with its 11 finely tuned organ systems, 724 trillion cells, 86-100 billion neurons, and about 1 gallon of blood works mostly perfectly almost every day. Consider too your soul, spirit, mind- those intangible parts of you that make you who you are every bit as much as your physical packaging, probably even more.

From the smallest part of you to the largest part of you; from the Planck length to Hercules… Great Wall, where did it all come from?

Ephesians 1.18-19 says, “That the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened to know the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.”

We could say it this way- that our eyes would be open to fully understand God’s OMNIPOTENCE.

Omnipotence- all powerful. That describes the creator of the universe.

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Genesis 1:27, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; make and female he created them.”

Omnipotence. All powerful.

God saw to every detail of the Planck length, Hercules… and YOU, created it and called it forth at creation. He is omnipotent. Nothing to small for his attention nothing too big.

And yet, He is so much more.

He is Omnibeneveleant, which means he is all loving. 1 John 4:8, “God IS love”.

Psalm 86:15, “You, God are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” God’s love never runs out on us and He keeps no record of our failings. His love for us is eternal and unrestrained.

He is Omniscient, too! That means he is all knowing. He knows everything, about everything and everyone, including me and you. There’s nothing he has yet to learn or uncover or discover. He already knows about it all, from the smallest to the largest. He knows inside you, inside me, inside the galaxy, inside the known and unknown universe . He knows it all.

And to top it all off, he is Omnipresent. God is literally everywhere. He is all present all the time! He is the great I AM. Not I was, or I will be, but I am. I am present, I am now. I am everywhere, present.

Psalm 139 asks where can we run from His presence or where can we hide. If we go up to Hercules in that galaxy cluster, he’s there. If we go down, into that smallest quark and even into the Planck length, he is there, too.

But my friend, as wonderful and grandiose each of this qualities of our God is, hear this…

“ When our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that GOD IS MUCH GREATER and more merciful than our conscience and he knows everything there is to know about us.”

1 John 3:20

Dear one, when our conscience accuses us, and holds us to task; when our memory is only of our failure and shortcomings, God knows already AND HE IS GREATER and more merciful than our conscience. He loves, He is compassionate, He is gracious, He abounds in love for you.

He is with you and nothing you do will drive him away.

His power is more than you need in every situation of your life and heart, and he stands within your reach whenever you call out for him.

How could this omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibeneveleant, omniscient God take notice of me, care to assist me, love me, empower me? He manages the smallest measurements of the Planck and beyond the Hercules Borealis, yet he loves me!

Incomprehensible, unbelievable, head shaking awe… never forget who he is and how he cares for the smallest thing that you can think of.

Go with God.

Debbie

Daily Growth

What’s growing that we can see and what’s growing that we cannot see? What is it that demonstrates positive growth and which things bring negative growth?

Yesterday my husband had an emergency gall bladder surgery in which they removed it. After 2 days of excruciating pain, an urgent care visit and 3:00 AM emergency run, it was finally concluded that his gallbladder was enlarged and infected. It had been growing daily.

One of the questions he was asked was, “What did you last eat?” His response, “A taquito and salad”. To which the doctor said, “That’ll do it!”

Do what, I’m thinking.

Come to find out the gallbladder’s bile helps to process and breakdown fatty foods. (I thought salads were good for you… oh… you mean taquitos are fatty??!) 🙂

Obviously, 1 taquito is not going to cause a gallbladder to become inflamed and start screaming for attention. But what had been growing daily just might.

Den & I reconsidered our “retired eating habits” and determined to reshape them, albeit if that had been done earlier he still may have his gallbladder. Humph.

Whether we see it or not, growth is natural, and that means growth of negative things as well as positive things.

One of our dear friends has a luscious garden and was sharing this same idea with us as she proudly described the daily growth of her beans, cucumbers, and squash. From small, fingernail sized stubs they grow daily into large, nutrient rich, foods.

The garden takes intentional attention, effort and time to assure that daily growth. Just as a healthy, nutritious diet requires similar attention, effort and time.

Inattention, lack of effort, or intentional ignoring of issues in our life, will lead to an infection with painful side effects. They will just keep growing daily, building up, becoming bigger and bigger until…..

There are issues in and pressing upon our life & there are events that have occurred in our past, that have been planted within us. These seeds will grow daily, starting as hidden within the soil of our heart. Then as they begin to sprout and we notice them, the actions we take will determine their fruitfulness.

Should those sprouting attitudes be of bitterness, anger, pain or hurt, they will grow daily if unattended. Until one day you have an infection that spills over into every conversation and each relationship. Overflowing from that wounded heart is an inflamed sickness that must be removed, or it could be terminal. It will grow daily until it explodes and releases poison that kills everything inside and every relationship.

But should those sprouting attitudes be on the positive side, peace, understanding, self-control, love, what blooms and grows is fruit that sustains your life and the lives of those around you.

Much is growing daily inside of you. Much is building up and perhaps even sprouting out. Give careful attention to it, tend it, uproot or cut it out as needed. Pay attention, lest the poison of infection within you cause pain and sickness.

Feed and water regularity those positive seeds. Take the time and energy needed to see your daily growth be nourishing, vibrant and beautiful.

Remember, whether positive or negative, daily growth IS happening.

Cheers,

Debbie

How Well Does God Like You?

Sunday sermon 5.30.21

What a weird question to ask right? He doesn’t play favorites, and like someone over another, does He? I thought He shows no favoritism and wasn’t a respecter of persons.

What the heck??

Did it get you thinking, I hope so?

Look how this Psalm begins-

“How well God must like you- “

Psalm 1:1 The Message

THAT got me thinking too!

My first thought, “Does He like me?”, followed quickly by “WAIT! he doesn’t play favorites. But does He like me?”

This whole psalm and its opening statement reminds me so much of my relationship with my son, and really any parent with their child.

As parents, we love our children, no doubt, unconditionally, in every circumstance, right? We love them period and nothing will change that unquestionable, locked in fact.

There are times, however, when we are busting our buttons PROUD of them. Something they did, said, acted on, became, earned, or decided lit us up a with smile ear to ear, head shaking, teary eyes joy, peace, pride and satisfaction. Deeply sighing, “Yes, that’s my son!” We don’t love them more, we are just so darn proud of them!

I remember as my son was growing up and going out with friends or to activities, my parting words to him were always, “Be wise.” In those two words I was asking him to think things through and make good decisions in everything he was going to do.

I knew the importance of every little decision he was going to make that night, and I wanted him to be wise and think ahead, consider the consequences and be a wise young man, not a foolish young man.

It was his decisions that made me proud then and to this day. I don’t love him more or less for his decisions, but goodness, how proud I am of him when he stands strong with wise decisions. Proud Momma, for sure!

Psalm 1 is that kind of moment. That moment when God says, “Be wise” to us, his kid, and then reveals his pride in us when we make good decisions and are wise.

Let’s look at the entire text of Psalm 1-

“ How well God must like you- you don’t hang out at Sin Saloon, you don’t slink along Dead-End Road, you don’t go to Smart Mouth College.

Instead you thrill to God’s Word… you are a tree planted that bears fruit every month…never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.”

Psalm 1:1 The Message paraphrase

Other translations put it differently but what remains common is that here we see three things to NOT do (to be wise and receive God’s “pride”), and three things To Do ( to be wise and receive God’s “pride”).

Three things God is proud of us for NOT doing:

  1. Not hanging out at Sin Saloon- other translations say not walking with sinners or in step with sinners. When we decide to not walk in step with or agree with the ungodly influences in this world- GOD IS PROUD.
  2. Don’t slink along Dead-End Road- others say: share the sinners way or stand in the way that sinners take. GOD IS PROUD of you when you choose to keep out of the way of dead end conversations and life styles.
  3. Don’t go to Smart Mouth College- other ways of saying it are- sit in the company of mockers. Spending our time sitting and chiming in with what mockers & scorners are chirping about does NOT MAKE GOD PROUD.

He doesn’t love us any more or less, we are His kids and He always, unconditionally loves us. But when we make these three wise choices He is busting His buttons proud of us!

Furthermore, there are three choices that we can make by what we DO that also make Him proud of us.

Instead we:

  1. Thrill to God’s Word. We take time and pleasure reading His Word- the Bible. We think about it, we savior it, we seek to understand it and love it. This makes God Very PROUD of us.
  2. Are planted, standing firm, like a tree in His ways and His Word. Nothing blowing us over or uprooting us, we are strongly planted and nourished by God, just like a tree. We even produce healthy fruit every month for others to enjoy.
  3. Are always in blossom, never wilting, dry or barren. We are healthy spiritually and produce evidence that nourishes others.

You see, God gets super proud of you when you choose these things. Three to do and three to not do.

The choice is always ours. Walk with those people and do that, sit there and participate in that, go that way….

Actually spend time reading the Bible, think about it, mull it over, stand firmly on those principles of the Word, yield to the growing process of that Word in and through us with evidence being produced from us .

Make God proud of your wise choices.

Making these six wise choices will not necessarily cause God to like you more, cuz He already loves you like crazy. But making these six wise choices will cause Him to smile on you with even more joy and favor and “pride”.

Look at these six again- what choices can you make that will make God even more proud of you, today?

Go with God.

Debbie

Your Worldview



The Joshua Files Podcast 5.28.21

I am very anxious to talk about world views on this Friday’s podcast and for you to consider your world view with its implications.

This principle is so valuable in our lives. Please listen in when you can, and let me know what your think

Thank you for your continued time and support.

TGIF,

Debbie

Twinkle, Twinkle lil’ Star

Have you looked up into the dark, night sky lately, and viewed the vastness of space with it’s sprinkling of twinkling stars and bright objects?

Our nearest star- Proxima Centauri, whose light we see at night, that very light left the star 4 years and 3 months ago! It is so far away, we are actually looking at what shined 4 plus years ago.

Even the light from our sun, the solar in our system, takes 8 minutes to reach us. And that sun is so big it comprises 99% of our systems mass! Geesh! Think of that. Earth, the other 8 planets, the space and mass of other stars only equal 1% of The Solar System’s mass. Incredible!

Model of the sun and planets size

The twinkling of the lights that we see are amazing, the reality of what lies beyond our galaxy is unbelievable, and the sheer enormity of the “observable” or “known” universe is mind boggling!

Milky Way Galaxy

And yet, humans on this “Pale Blue Dot” think that they are supreme. It’s actually laughable.

The size of the universe, between Earth and the edge of the universe is estimated to be 46 billion light years, and in diameter 93 billion light years.

Consider this.

You live on Earth, Earth belongs to the Solar System, which is a part of the Interstellar Neighborhood and that belongs to the Milky Way Galaxy. That part we understand well.

Our galaxy is one of about 200 billion galaxies and belongs to the Local Galactic Group of galaxies. Then that group belongs to the Virgo Supercluster, which belongs to the Local Super cluster as the final piece of the Observable Universe.

It looks like this.

Twinkle, twinkle lil Star?? There is nothing little about the star(s). Nothing. Including measuring distances. Even a new measurement needs to be used- a light year.

The Eye of God Nebula, The Eagle, The Great Nothing, Bootes Void and Standard Candles are all identifiable objects in our “observable universe” and millions of light years away. Their size is incomprehensible, their brightness mind blowing.

Yet, in this vast unknown of immeasurable and silent space sits our planet, with you upon it.

And in it, you and I have been charged to “let your light shine”. The creator of all light, who spoke light to our pale blue dot, passed that light on to us and told us to shine in the darkness.

So I remind you- twinkle, twinkle YOU little star.

Cheers.

Debbie

Finishing Strong

Last week I received these two pictures from my son, showing off his completion of the Hawaii Hapalua Half Marathon.

What a proud moment for him and then of course for me! He was a finisher of running 13.5 miles, and a strong finisher at that.

Congratulations again, Karrington. What an amazing accomplishment.

Of course, it got me thinking about the importance of not just finishing what we start, but finishing strong.

We are nearing the end of a tremendously challenging school year. Some have already finished and I hope have finished strong.

As a retired educator, helping kids to finish strong was always a challenge. Drained engines, run down batteries, and fighting off those thoughts of summer were a constant hurdle, and not just in the students. The staff and faculty dealt with it too- finishing strong was our war cry!

For my husband and I, we have recently faced this as well. Together we had accepted a task, and were running our race toward the finish line. Knowing the finish line was in sight, we continued to choose to perform our job with all our strength, energy, passion and wisdom that we started with.

We were challenged, as I’m sure Karrington was in his race to compromise or let up, or maybe even quit early. But we didn’t. It was important for our end, finish line moment to be strong and one that revealed our best effort and was one we could be proud of.

Finishing strong is a sign of commitment, integrity, and excellence. It’s about choice. How we choose to perform a job or task.

We each have many opportunities to choose how we finish, or IF we finish at all. Finishing is very important. Finishing strong reveals who you really are on the inside.

I don’t know where you’re at… which list needs completing or what task is yet unfinished. But your brain wants you to finish it, and your continued well being depends on it.

Let your brain celebrate you with it’s dopamine burst as you set out to finish strong.

Cheers to you.

Debbie

Back to 1

Sunday Sermon 5.15.21

When our son was working in the entertainment industry, there was a phrase that we heard often, learned it’s meaning, and have ourselves implemented on many occasions. It is –

“Back to 1”

At the end of a scene or run through of a section, the director would call out, “Back to 1”. Everyone would then move and return to the start of that scene, their original positions. They would return to their first and beginning spot by readjusting everything to where it all started. People, costumes, props, equipment, lights, sound, crew – it all returned to 1, the original start spot (of that scene). Lines, marks, and brains all had to return to 1.

As I consider this, I realize that most, if not all of us could benefit from this practice.

What is our 1? Why do we need to return to it?

In the many scenes of our life, we find ourselves spending our energies, ideas, words, and feelings on those we love or things we love. We give, do, help, and speak almost constantly. And then, eventually, we notice our speech, feelings, attitudes and maybe even our actions are not filled with love.

Note taken, but we still continue with all we are doing, because after all, it still has to be done, and who’s gonna do it?

That is why, we need to go back to 1. That is why we must return to love.

Number 1 is love, and in this context I do mean love of God.

You see, I am a better wife, when I am loving God. I am a better mom, the more I love God. I am a better sister, when I am closer to God. I am a better friend as I have talked with God.

As I love God and fill up with His love, this enables me to step into each scene in my life fully equipped to pour out what He has poured into me.

When I go back to 1, back to God and His love for me, back to talking with Him in prayer, and in His presence, then I can do the things that I need to with love and motivated by love – not obligation.

Years ago, I was reading my bible and was in Matthew 22, I was reminded of what Jesus said about this when He said the number 1 thing in life is to:

“Love God…….and love others as yourself.”

Matthew 22:37-39

I was so impressed with that challenge, that I drew a target in my bible over those verses to remind me that this was my focus, this was my target in life and this was my number 1.

Back to 1 is returning to the greatest commandment, returning to what is most important, and checking our love. How is our passion for God? How are we doing with talking to Him, hearing from Him and receiving His life changing love in our life?

The way we face everything and everyone in our life will be based on our number 1 relationship – with God. All other relationships flow from our relationship with Him. If we are filled up with God and His love and ways, that will flow from us. If we are empty of God’s love, so too will be our relationships and responsibilities.

Look at the full text of what Jesus answered, when he was asked, what is most important –

“Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40

What you do is important. Who you are helping is important. The job you are doing is important. But what is MOST important is loving God. Your love for and relationship with God is number 1. Is it your focus, your target, and your priority?

The Apostle Paul told us this about love,

“If I speak…. and don’t have love… I am a gong, … if I have understanding…. and don’t have love…I am nothing… if I give all …. and do not have love, I gain nothing. These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians13′:1-3;13

Matthew mentions in the last days –

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold”

Matthew 24:12

In the end of the New Testament age, John the revelator, saw a church in Laodicea and said this to it:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Revelation 3:15-16

Perhaps Matthew and John were seeing into these days, into our lives. Seeing times when love grows cold, when it no longer offers refreshing. Seeing times when love is hot, full of passion, healing and health.

The picture in John’s revelation of the lukewarm being spit out of the mouth, is an Aramaic idiom that means, “I am about to give you my mouth.” Or, we would say, I’m gonna give you a piece of my mind. I’m gonna say a few things. In other words, God has a few things to say to the lukewarm, He’s about to give them a piece of His mind.

Going back to 1 involves checking our “love for God temperature.” Hot- passionate for Him? Cold – offering the refreshment to others that He gives us? Or cold, in the way Matthew put it, Cold- towards God and the things of God. Cold – overcome by things that have put our love for God out.

Our love for God is our number 1. Love is the most important thing in all we do. Love is the motivation and motor for what we do. Love will sustain us in the long and tiring deeds of the day. Love, love, love.

I hear the Director calling, “Back to 1!”

Go with God,

Debbie

Your Core Values

The Joshua Files Podcast 5.14.21

Building your life on core values, choosing to live by them and make decisions based on them is challenging, but you will find the greatest fulfillment, pride and happiness doing so.

Click on this Friday’s episode of my podcast to hear some important truth.

Subscribe, leave a message, give it a star rating and spread the word – all I would greatly appreciate.

TGIF!

Cheers.

Debbie

You Are What You Breathe

Walking through the supermarket I wasn’t even aware what was happening. The same thing happened when I was sitting down with the family this weekend and again when I was at work, in that smoke filled room.

Without even my awareness or effort, the most important thing that I do was being done.

I was breathing!

16 breaths a minute totaling 13 pints of air every minute,17,280 breaths a day, 5,000 gallons of air every 24 hours and exhaling 17.5 mL of water each hour. My lungs were doing their life sustaining job, keeping me alive, and naturally expelling toxins that would harm me.

My lungs!

Those amazing, spongy organs on either side of my chest, were processing that air and filtering it through my body. The two bronchi, the 300 million alveoli in each lung, the layer of fluid surrounding each lung (the pleura), and the bronchioles, all preform their duties each and every day with little notice or fanfare. Yet, without them, we would cease to exist. (Although, our human design is so wonderfully planned that we could survive and thrive with just one functioning lung.)

We think of our lungs as being like balloons, filling up with air and releasing it. In fact, that is true. But if you were to open up those spongy balloons, and lay them flat and measure the surface area, you would find them to be as large as a tennis court. The total length of the airways running through them is 1,500 miles!

Your lungs are one of the largest organs in your body. Oh… and they are the only organs in your body that float! But I digress…

It is interesting to note that 70% of the waste in our body is eliminated through our lungs. (again, who knew?)

Which brings us to our title – you are what you breathe.

We breathe in air pollution, smoke, and other toxins that damage our lungs. COPD, Emphysema, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Asthma or any number of other lung diseases can affect those spongy, filters of ours, making the unnoticed breathing of everyday life much more complicated, debilitating and even scary. Ask one of the 235 million Asthma sufferers if they have ever been scared?

Therefore, keeping healthy, clean lungs is important for life.

Did you know that there are actually ways that you can clean/clear your lungs? I didn’t.

They are: stream therapy – inhaling water vapor to open up the airways, controlled coughing, discharging mucus, exercise, green tea, and anti inflammatory foods. Each of these will provide some level of temporary assistance in clearing out toxins and clearing those tissues and membranes in our lungs.

Can I share one thing? It’s about mucus. As gross as that stuff is, that stuff is powerful! I mean it. It is cleaner than our blood and will actually kill the bacteria it surrounds. Blood will not kill, it allows the bacteria to grow. Mucus traps harmful particles so it can be coughed up and out. Think of that.

Amazing lungs!

Why the lesson on lungs? Consider this.

In what ways can you draw parallels between the toxins and pollutants that you are bombarded with via the news, social media, academia, friends, family, associates, colleagues and your need to breathe clearly? In what ways have the toxic voices in your life acted like COPD on your chest?

Phil Collins, and The Police said it best, “With every breath you take”, you are taking in way more than you need or that is even healthy. If you are finding your breathing labored, you are becoming inflamed with issues, or there is some kind of build up in your spirit or blockage in your peace – (like those that cause lung disease), it is time for a lung cleansing. You need to breathe deeply and clearly and remove those toxins and pollutants from your environment. Your personal survival is dependent on it.

Just like my choice to smoke or not is affecting my physical lungs, in the same way, my choice to expose myself to toxic people and ideas is affecting the clarity and strength of my daily breathing and energy.

Find the time, find a way and place to rid yourself of those deadly pollutants that are damaging you on the inside. Allow your “spiritual mucus” to surround that harmful particle in your life and get it out of you. Your life depends on it.

You are what you breathe and I want you to have a healthy life in every way with every breath you take.

Breathe deeply.

Cheers.

Debbie

The Thing We All Share

Sunday Sermon 5.8.21 – Mother’s Day

The United Nations tells us that there are 385,000 babies born each day, equaling 140 million babies a year. According to the Population Reference Bureau the total number of people born total, over all time is 108 billion. That means those of us alive now, represent 7% of the total number of humans who have lived.

Of those births per year, in the United States, 1-2% of them or 4 million, are by IVF – In Vitro Fertilization. This is the process by which the sperm and the egg are handled in the lab, where fertilization occurs, and then placed as embryos in the uterus 2-5 days later for full development and delivery.

Although, sadly, there are 1 in 4,500 females who are born with an underdeveloped or nonexistent uterus, (MRKH, a uterine factor infertility), the vast majority of girls and thereby women possess the very tool used to house each of us from conception to birth- a womb (uterus).

Each of us can trace our beginnings to a womb. It is the only thing that we all share.

When King David wrote Psalm 139, there was only one way for a child to be born and that was from a sperm and an egg coming together and implanting in the womb. In his day there was no such thing as IVF, GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer, ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer, or FET (frozen embryo transfer). None of these Assisted Reproductive Technologies existed as they do today.

But does that change the power and impact of Psalm 139:13-16? I think not. Please read it:

” For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

King David

This organ, which David called the womb, is that hallow muscular organ in which we each developed and grew until we reached our 40 week gestation period (or thereabouts). This amazing organ, God actually borrowed from your birth mom to carry you, because He could not. Think of it.

Think of it – of the thousands of sperm and thousands of egg possibilities that could have coupled, the sperm and egg that made YOU, came together! Psalm 139 tells us that God knit us together in the womb. He brought those exact eggs together for YOU to be conceived and eventually born. He saw your unformed body in that dark womb, nothing was hidden from him. As cells split and grew and you developed and became more and more complex, it was His hand directing your formation. His hand guiding their progress, and His will for you being written down, each and every days events- all before you started crying that very first day!

He chose for you to be born. He chose those eggs to meet and for fertilization to occur. Not another set, but the one that made YOU. He chose the sperm from your dad and the egg from your mom, because he longed to share His love with YOU. That is why he borrowed your mom’s womb, to carry you for Him, until He could smile upon you and your life with His mighty love and power.

You are not a mistake, an accident, an oops! You are not an unwanted birth! You are not here because of the will of a man or a woman! You are not here because a couple “planned you”.

You are here, because GOD PLANNED YOU. He wanted YOU. You are an ON PURPOSE, because God wanted you to share in His everlasting life. You are here, on this Mother’s day, because your Heavenly Father loves you and everything about you. He loves you so much He wants to spend eternity with YOU. He loves you so much, He will help you change. Geesh, if He can help you change and help you develop in the womb, the change outside the womb is a piece of cake for Him.

The womb that you were carried in is an amazing organ, designed by God specifically to carry YOU. It shifts around to make space for you. It grows bigger, from the size of an orange to the size of a watermelon. It actually expands up up 500x during pregnancy.

Even the 9 or so months of pregnancy is a pretty amazing journey for you and the one who carried you for God.

Your mom’s blood volume increased 40-50%, her heart enlarged to pump the increased blood, joints loosened and hormones softened ligaments, that made the pelvis more flexible. Even the things she ate affected you, like spicy food, especially garlic. You recognized her voice at 18 weeks and within another week or two you responded to noises while you were still in the womb.

You were able to cry in the womb and if you did, your loving Heavenly Father was right there, in those dark days with you in the womb.

God even equipped your mom to grow an additional organ to provide for you all the nutrition and waste removal that you needed. Know what it was called? The placenta.

He also designed the female bones to be able to separate during birth. The pelvic bone actually separates during the birthing process just so that YOU could come into the world and be loved by God.

Psalm 71:6 says, “You have brought me forth from my mothers womb.”

Job 31:15, “God… who made me in the womb.”

Psalm 22:10, ” Yet, you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

Psalm 100:3, ” Know that the Lord is God. It is He who had made us, and we are His…”

Isaiah 49:15-16, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

I am totally overwhelmed when I think that it was God who wanted me to be born and not my parents. Whether or not they did or whatever other circumstances that surrounded my conception, I am an ON PURPOSE. God wanted ME (and YOU) to be carried in that womb and born on that day.

I am astounded that God knew that there would be some mom’s that would “forget” their children. In modern terms we may say neglect, abuse, or refuse; but He is quick to point out that HE WILL NEVER FORGET US.

In fact, that can be said of the 7.5 billion people alive today as well as those 108 billion that have ever lived. God planed a purpose for each one and lavished his love on each and every one. Including you. He will never forget us.

So whether your birth cost the average $5,000-11,000 for a vaginal delivery or $10,000 for IVF, God chose that womb to carry you so that He could love you for all eternity.

God chose the womb to carry you. Hand picked the DNA ahead of time, so that YOU would be born. Knit every part of you together in that dark place. He supervised your development and wrote about your days in His book. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Then he brought you forth out of the womb so that He could shower His love on you for all eternity.

That is the thing that we all share.

Happy womb day!

Debbie

Finding Your Purpose

This Friday’s Podcast of The Joshua Files 5.7.21

Is it time to reevaluate, or maybe even establish for the first time?

Finding your purpose and living with it as the compass for your life is one of the most basic foundations of adulthood. In this podcast we address all of these issues and offer some serious thoughts to consider. Please check it out:

Feel free to share the word or leave me a message. I’d love your input and feedback.

TGIF,

Debbie

Your Amazing…

FEET !

That’s right, your amazing feet. They are marvelous body parts that we give too little credit and probably too little attention to. And yet without them, we would have no support or balance.

I was reminded of their immense value last night when I got home from work after spending 12 hours in my black, (very stylish, of course… ha ha ) “combat boots”. Seriously, from 7:45 AM to 7:45 PM I wore them. AND, while at work from 1:00-6:00 PM, I was literally on my feet the whole time. No sitting, only walking, and standing.

When I walked in the door after work, I couldn’t get my poor size 8’s free fast enough. Ahhh, relief! What ever was I thinking when I left in the morning, or was I even thinking at all?

Well, that night, I thought alot about feet and their overlooked importance to us. (as mine were throbbing severely)

Lets talk about feet, shall we? Do you realize jus’ how amazing they are built and what they endure for us?

Did you know that:

  • You have 8,000 nerves in your feet, more per square centimeter than anyplace else in your body
  • Your daily walking cause your feet to experience forces totaling tons, actually equaling a fully loaded cement truck
  • Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight
  • And when you run, up to 5 times your weight
  • There are 28 bones in your feet, a quarter of all the bones in your body!
  • You have 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons in your feet
  • there are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet that are capable of making a half pint of sweat a day

Your feet are AMAZING! Their design is a masterpiece able to withstand and adapt to uneven surfaces. Able to flex and twist and carry you wherever you choose to go.

These finely tuned pieces of machinery have two important functions:

  1. weight bearing
  2. propulsion

Both of which require stability during your walk, run, jumping, balancing, climbing or any number of other activities that you do. Without your feet, your life would have no support or balance.

By the time you are 50 years old, the average person will have walked 75,000 miles and sustained sprains, strains and possible fractures. But your feet got the job done for you. One stat even said that if you walk 8-10,000 steps a day, that makes 115,000 in a lifetime; or equal to 4 times circling the globe.

And the hero is – YOUR FEET.

Add to these astounding facts that the bones in your feet don’t actually harden until your 21, and that these natural shock absorbers grow totally new toenails every 6 months, (slower than fingernails, which grow .01mm a day) and I think that we have established the fact the you have amazing feet.

Our feet stand us up.

So the next time you’re wondering if you can take a stand, or feel like you are lacking the support that you need – consider your wonderful feet. You are standing, and you do have support!

When you are evaluating your life and wondering if things are in the right balance for you – consider your feet.

Our dependable feet- constant for support and balance, our unsung hero’s for allowing us to stand up.

Your amazing feet!

Cheers to your feet,

Debbie

Get Ready to Cross

Sunday Sermon 5.1.21

For the past four months, there has been a sense in the Spirit that we are on the edge of something; a break through, a release, a new and powerful outpouring, taking on some promised land, if you will.

Actually, on December 10, 2020, I wrote this in my Bible –

” I sense in the Spirit we’re at a point of preparing to cross over into new territory.”

That was confirmed by others that very day, and since then it has been boiling and brewing more and more in people all over the world. Perhaps you are even one…

What does that mean, get ready to cross over?

Well, for starters, it is based on the story of Joshua in the Bible.

In Joshua 1, we find that Moses has died, and along with him, perhaps the hopes, expectations, faith and trust of the nation of Israel. After all, he was the one who went up on the mountain and spent 40 days with God- AND LIVED. He is the one who received the commandments. He is the one who had led them through the Red Sea and all those nasty plagues in Egypt. He was the one that God talked to God and then delivered the message to Aaron. Moses was THE MAN of GOD.

He’s dead now tho, what now? Imagine the confusion in this conflicted people. Really, what do we do now?

They recognized that they were at a crossroads. They knew they had to cross into the land they were promised. They were aware their journey had not yet been completed. That now was a valid fear and worry for them.

“What do we do now?” may even express what you have been feeling lately. “Where do we go form here?”, “What’s next?”. Perhaps for you too, fear and worry have crept in as you realize the precipice that we are standing on and the danger that lies ahead.

Returning to Joshua 1, we see what the response was to that concern and fear.

“After the death of Moses… the Lord said to Joshua… Moses is dead. Now then, you and all these people get ready to cross over the Jordan River into the land I am about to give them…”

Joshua 1:1-2

God spoke. He spoke the obvious – Moses is dead. (duh) Then He told them to get ready to cross over because He was going to give them the land He had promised to them.

When they didn’t know what to do or what was next, God reminded them that His promise is true so get ready to cross over and see it fulfilled.

When we don’t know what to do because the old ways are done with, God’s promise is that He will give us the new land if we prepare and cross over.

There are some very powerful statements made in Joshua to Joshua and the people of Israel and those words need to resonate in our heart and minds as well. These are the days for them to ring loud and clear and dispel any fear and unbelief.

These are the things for us to be believing and practicing if we are to cross over from the old ways into the new days:

Check them out:

  • I will give you every place where you set your foot Joshua 1:3
  • No one will be able to stand against you Joshua 1:5
  • As I was with Moses so I will be with you, I will never leave you or forsake you Joshua 1:5
  • Be strong and courageous Joshua 1:6
  • Be careful to obey all my law Joshua 1:7
  • Do not turn to the right or to the left Joshua 1:7
  • Keep this Book of the Law on your lips Joshua 1:8
  • Meditate on it Joshua 1:8
  • Be strong and courageous Joshua 1:9
  • Do not be afraid or discouraged Joshua 1:9
  • For the Lord is with you where ever you go Joshua 1:9

My friends, something wonderful in the Spirit realm is about to explode upon us, upon the Earth. God has promised it, we are expecting it. But we must be spiritually awake, spiritually hungry & spiritually empowered to both see and participate in it. This is the call of Joshua and the Joshua generation of believers.

Gone are the days of quietly sitting in family gatherings, or silently enduring community planning meetings, or phone conversations denying the power and relevance of the Christian message. Gone are the days of quiet believers letting go of opportunities to speak the Word, return the focus to God and His abilities and stand up for what is right and just.

It is time to cross over!

It is time to take the cross over into every relationship, every meeting, every conversation, every idea. It is time to cross over. Prepare yourselves, get ready, delay no longer. It is time to cross over.

That means, for those of us willing to accept that challenge, that:

  • our personal faith is growing, not diminishing
  • we recognize the Lordship of Jesus in our every day life and that He is with us
  • we may grow weak or faint, but find our courage and strength in Him and His Word
  • voices may tell us values are changing, but we are holding to the absolute truth of the Word of God
  • we talk about the Word, we think about the Word.
  • we are strengthened by Him
  • we find courage in Him
  • we know He is with us, no matter where we go or what happens

These are mindsets for the believer and I hope for you.

Times are changing. Our country is changing. Views are changing. It appears that the old is dead and gone.

But I refuse to let go of God’s standard, His promises and His end game. It is time to cross over!

The river is at flood level, it seems impossible and beyond human achievement to cross now, I know. What do we do? What’s next? The old is gone? We’ve never gone this way before. This is new territory.

There is in you, a ray of His Word, a splinter of of truth, or a wealth of Word. It is time for you to release it. Let it out, everywhere you go, in every setting. Let it out. Cross over that barrier and be strong, courageous, the Lord is with you.

Speak hope, speak life, speak truth, speak strength, speak faith. Step through that barrier and into a new season. Cross over. You have it in you, let it flow out of you.

It matters little the storehouse of Word that is in you now. What matters much is how you are using and sharing what you do have. Please, don’t think that you have nothing to share, or that you are not a qualified vessel to say anything at all. We all are to share what we have, our own personal story, and when we do, more will be given to us. But it is true that “to whom much is given, much is required.”

It is time, my friend, for those that call themselves believers to cross over. To break free from fear and begin sharing the message of the Gospel, the message of hope, the message of life where ever they go. He is with us. Be strong and courageous. He is with you.

Keep your eyes and hearts open. Along your path He has placed ones that need what you have. Don’t pass them by, don’t overlook them. They need exactly what YOU have. It is time to cross over.

Be strong and very courageous, get ready to cross over.

Go with God.

Debbie

One Hit Wonders

While recently reading a passage in an ancient manuscript, the linguistic comment stated that a certain portion of it was a “hapax legomenon”.

A whaaaat?

Now, I confess that I’m old enough to have valid reasons for forgetting things I have learned, so I don’t know if I learned what a “hapax legomenon” is and forgot it, or if I slept through that English class in middle school, high school and again in college or if I honestly never learned it. (Yep, it’s the teacher’s fault. ha ha)

Do you remember what it is? (It has nothing to do with legos. :-))

“hapax legomenon is an expression that occurs only once within a context: either the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or in a single text.”

Merriam-Webster

Ohhh, got it. “One and done. Only said once. One hit wonders.” – my mind quickly translated and applied.

Here are a couple examples from literature, then we will move on to more fun ones…

  • flother – a synonym for snowflake used by Shakespease
  • honorificabilitudinitatibus – another one of the Bard’s words, who knows what it means
  • nortelrye – used by Chaucer, it means education
  • satyr – we have heard it, but it occurs only once in Shakespeare’s writings

So, you get the point.

Now, for the fun “one hit wonders”. Be they songs or inventions, these are people with only one big success to their name. They are human hapax legomenons, if you will.

Do you recall these one hit wonders?

Devo’s song – Whip it. Or The Weather Girls song, “It’s Raining Men”?

How ’bout this one from the 1981…

Emo Rubik had only one hit as well, and who hasn’t played with his Rubik’s Cube?

Did you know that the Rocket Chemical Company was trying to invent a degreaser for rockets and on the 40th try, they came up with a useful solution – they called it WD40. We have nothing else from them after that, but I bet you have a can of WD40 nearby, don’t you?

Required reading for all is “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. She made Atticus the protagonist of the century, and yet, THAT book is her one hapax legomenon.

Being a child of the 60’s, let’s go to 1969 and pull out one of my favorite one hit wonders. This one by Norman Greenbaum.

Here’s another favorite from 1985 and the band Aha.

It is amazing that most of us, if not all of us have heard of these one hit wonders. And yet, that is pretty much the only thing that the artist is known for.

Crocs, the shoe belong in that category. So does penicillin. Some even say that President James K. Polk is a one hit wonder because although he only served one term, he is the only president said to have fulfilled all of his campaign goals. Now THAT is a statement!

Winnie the Pooh’s author, a well known scholar, A. Milne, had a hard time finding work and writing again after his children’s book. Seems that “they” didn’t think that it was very scholarly.

So we can see, whether a songwriter, with the number one, one hit wonder of ALL TIME, Los del Rio’s Macarena,

Or one of the world’s richest people – “Notch”, the no name developer of the one hit wonder “MINECRAFT”, there is no shame in being a hapax legomenon.

Truly, folks, we are not expected to do everything well. We are not expected to even do many things well. But each of us can find one thing, just one, that we can do well. May your world be a better place because of the one thing that you bring to it.

May YOU be (at least) a one hit wonder, a human hapax legonmenon.

Cheers to you,

Debbie

Do You Not Know?

Sunday Sermon 4.24.21

This phrase has been playing over in my mind and heart for days now. Why? Join me with your thoughts for a moment.

We would probably simplify it to say, “Don’t you know?”, right? When do we use this phrase? Do we use it?

It seems to me its usage hinges on the context of sharing something I know with you in case you don’t already know it.

For example, you might say, “Don’t you know, the chili will be done in 15 minutes”, because I think it will take hours before it’s done. (Don’t judge, this really happened, right sister?)

Or maybe, “Don’t you know you’ll wind up paying twice as much for it if you buy it there?”

In any case, it is the focus phrase for today, don’t you know?

Do you not know” is a phrase used 46 times in the Bible, in 22 different translations. 17 times it is used in the Old Testament and 29 times in the New Testament.

I’d like to focus on a few of those.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth…”

Isaiah 40:21

What a tremendous truth to have verified in our minds and be reminded of. God is ruler over everything! He is enthroned over it all! He is in charge! Period.

It is also very powerful that Isaiah asked 4 questions of us, the reader, before he reminded us of the fact. He is reminding everyone of what they may have been taught, or heard, or told or understood. But he is also taking the opportunity to say, hey, I know this and I wanna make sure that you know it too, just in case you don’t.

God is in control just in case you didn’t know or forgot.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

Isaiah 40:28-29

Yet again, the prophet, Isaiah nails it. That same God who is ruler over all, Isaiah says, He does not ever tire out – because He understands everything. Therefore He gives strength to those who do get tired and power to those who grow weary, knowing they don’t get it and don’t understand it all.

God doesn’t get tired, understands everything and gives us strength when we are weary – Just is case you didn’t know or forgot.

” Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him? the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks. “

Jeremiah 23:24

These questions, written by Jeremiah and his scribe, were asked by the Lord – powerful interrogatives for sure.

Just is case you didn’t already know, Jeremiah says, the Lord God is everywhere. No one can hide from Him. No matter who tries or who thinks differently, no hiding on God, cuz he found you long ago.

God is everywhere – in case you forgot.

” Test yourselves to discover whether you are true believers: put your own selves under examination. Or do you not know that Jesus Christ is within you, unless you are insincere?”

2 Corinthians 13:5

This time Paul picks up the phrase with the charge to test yourself to see if you are a true believer. Only you and Jesus can make that determination, so be sincere, he says. Examine yourself to see if Jesus Christ is in you.

In essence, he is saying look guys, you are demanding proof that Jesus is speaking through me, examine yourselves, your life, your words. Is He speaking through you?

Jesus lives in you, but examine yourself for proofs– don’t you know?

In each of these settings, the question posed is to a. verify that you know it or b. remind you of what you may have forgotten. How are you doing with your responses? Good reminders, right?

There are 2 more times worth mentioning.

In James 4:4, he says,

Do you not know that being the world’s friend (that is loving the things of the world) is being God’s enemy?

And John, the beloved wrote –

“Because you are saying, That I am rich and have increased in riches, and have need as to nothing, and do you not know that you are miserable, and pitiful, and poor, and blind, and naked?”

Revelation 3:17

These last two passages pose strong challenges to the hearer and reader. Again, they are personal and can only be determined by you and the Lord.

The message is clear however, in case you didn’t know:

  1. you cannot be a friend of the world and love God
  2. some may think they are rich and need nothing but they are miserable and pitiful

May we verify all these truths mentioned here today as alive and active in our life. And if they are not, please do not hesitate to take the necessary steps to embed them in you heart and mind and allow them to flow from your words and actions.

Let faith rise up as you grab these truths and establish them in your life.

Don’t you know that life is exciting when you walk in all that you know of Him?

Go with God,

Debbie

Resilience

The Joshua Files Podcast 4.23.21

As I have evolved through these first few podcasts, I appreciate your patience as we’ve settled on the platforms that will host the weekly podcast and they are easy to access.

You can find “The Joshua Files with Debbie Chaney” on: Spotify podcasts, Google podcasts and Apple podcasts, as well as https://Anchor.fm/debbie-chaney

If you enjoy it, please subscribe to the weekly episode on your favorite platform.

Here is the link for this week’s episode that I think you will find informative and uplifting.

topic of the day – resilience

I would love your feedback, questions, and voice messages (that you can leave right on the front page of The Joshua Files.)

We surely appreciate your help in spreading the word, sharing the love as we seek to influence and encourage others to healthy living and powerful leadership..

Thank you for your love and support.

Cheers to you.

Debbie

Break Out

“an escape, often with the use of force, as from a prison or mental institution”

Dictionary.com

Has complacency set in? Is nonactivity the norm? Have you become more sedentary? Are you struggling to talk yourself (back) into exercise, and adventure? Is it time to break out?

It sure was for me, and today I did (again)!

You see, our brain NEEDS change. It is designed to grow new cells (neurongenesis) even in our older life. Our brain has a great capacity for change (neuronal plasticity) and in fact physically changes in adults that are learning a new skill.

That is why it is so important, no matter our age, that we keep escaping the rut of daily life and break out. Try new things, foods, restaurants. Find ways to engage your brain again, maybe a new location, activity, puzzle or recipe.

Today I broke out. I got in my car and drove to an unfamiliar place that I had heard of, parked and started exploring. A brand new location stimulated my brain through the use of every sense. I saw things I’d never seen before, heard new stimulating sounds, touched and felt unfamiliar textures and I smelled the fragrances of nature.

I witnessed the creativity of people, and experienced the fear of the unknown.

my husband says it’s a CA King snake

And all the while my brain was exploding with stimulation and growth, along with neural pathways and electrical impulse activity. My brain was celebrating adventure. My brain was happy. My brain was challenged and creativity was unleashed all because I broke out.

Every one of us NEED cognitive and social engagement for our own mental health. All of us, at one time or another need to break out.

Need some ideas for breaking out? Here are a few:

  • engage in physical activity of some kind
  • learn a sport or dance step
  • learn an instrument
  • learn a language
  • take a class
  • paint, write
  • arrange flowers, garden
  • volunteer
  • explore
  • try a new food or restaurant
  • take a different route while driving
  • use your opposite hand to brush your teeth
  • chew with your eyes closed and listen
  • listen to new music

Most people hate change and boredom. Yet change is what we need for a healthy mental outlook. So whatever it takes for YOU, find the time and break out. You will feel the surge of inspiration, energy and clarity.

Cheers to you,

Debbie

Nothing is Impossible with God but, Pleasing Him Without Faith is.

Sunday Sermon 4.17.21

I used to have this picture of faith as being like a pair of glasses that we put on to see things differently, from God’s perspective, but that’s not really accurate. Faith is more like the default of our personal hard drive that has been intentionally built and added to.

Faith is the CORE processor of our heart and thereby directs every issue of our life. Every.

We are told in Luke 1:37:

“Nothing will be impossible with God…”

Luke, the doctor

I believe that word, don’t you?

I am struck however, that although nothing is impossible with God, pleasing God without faith is impossible.

Let that sink in. It is absolutely impossible to please God without faith. No way ever, in anything that we do, will we ever please God if we do not have faith. Ever. Faith is the CORE processor of our heart and directs every issue of our life – or it should.

Faith is an active trust in God and His Word. There is no such thing as “blind faith” because faith is anchored to trust in something (someOne) that we cannot see and an unwavering confidence in the promise of His presence and promise. It is all the evidence we need to prove what is still unseen. (TPT Heb. 11:1)

Faith is an issue of the heart and not an external thing we “put on” to see things differently. If that were so, then when I take off, those “faith glasses”, I no longer see clearly what I should. But with the heart core tethered to the Word, then it matters little the external issues, because my heart is set on Him and His Word and I shall not be moved.

There is much seeking to destroy our faith, but stated another way, there is great opportunity these days to confidently display the faith that keeps us, and in doing so we are pleasing God. By adhering to faith in all we do, say, think we are really, truly pleasing God.

To muddle through life’s encounters and daily routines without faith, is not pleasing to God. In fact, we are not pleasing Him. How many days have been wasted like that? How much power and encouragement, answers and wisdom has been lost, because our CORE was not set in faith?

We know that Hebrews 11 in the Bible is known as the faith chapter and in it are listed “heroes of faith”. It is from this chapter we read about the impossibility of pleasing God…

Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Hebrews 11:6

In this chapter over 18 people are mentioned as having faith, their exploits are listed, the prophets are listed, “people” are credited with faith, as are women. In fact there are at least 50 incidents of faith listed that cover every spectrum of life from basic assurances to jeers, to family blessings, imprisonment, to discovery, to justice, to wisdom and revelation, and more.

I want to present what I call FAITH’S 50 to you, for you to see just how far reaching faith is and how it touches every imaginable situation. It truly is the CORE processor of our heart and directs every issue of our life.

Hebrews 11:1-40, FAITH’S 50 (what faith provides and in what situations you will find it)

  1. confidence
  2. assurance
  3. gives understanding
  4. moves us to better places (Abel)
  5. keeps instructing beyond death (Abel)
  6. takes us to the next life (Enoch)
  7. pleases God (Enoch)
  8. opens up revelation (Noah)
  9. motivates obedience (Abraham)
  10. unleashes discovery “
  11. strengthens immigrants “
  12. enables God’s miracle (Sarah)
  13. offers God everything (Abraham)
  14. blesses children (Isaac)
  15. prophecies over grandkids (Jacob)
  16. opens eyes to the future (Joseph)
  17. prompts hope (Moses’ parents)
  18. guides choices (Moses)
  19. helps us keep sacraments (Moses)
  20. opens up impossible situations (people)
  21. pulls down walls (Joshua)
  22. provides escape (Rahab)
  23. conquers
  24. administers justice
  25. gains promises
  26. shuts mouths
  27. quenches firey flames
  28. escapes danger
  29. strengthens the weak
  30. empowers for battle
  31. routes the enemy
  32. resurrection life
  33. torture
  34. jeers
  35. flogging
  36. chains
  37. imprisonment
  38. stoning
  39. sawed in half
  40. killed with sword
  41. humiliation
  42. destitute
  43. persecuted
  44. mistreated
  45. wandering
  46. hiding
  47. we are invited to join these “heroes”
  48. to live in something better (for us)
  49. and better than “they” experienced
  50. together with them our faith is perfected!

I realize that this is a long list, but it is my hope that in it you will find instances that you can relate to that will reset your faith CORE, so that you too, will please God with your faith.

We are all journeying in our faith walk and find ourselves in differing situations needing our faith. Let your faith muscle be exercised in these situations, let that tiny mustard seed of faith be watered and grow into a mighty tree. Let your voice be joined with the disciples as they said, “Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

With greater use comes greater faith and greater confidence. In the hard times, in the happy times, when pressed and emptied and when full and overflowing – may the CORE of our heart be pleasing to God as we walk in faith, in all situtations.

These are exciting times to be alive! We stand on the brink of a tremendous visitation and outpouring of God, and those who live by faith will not just be on the front row but be used by God, because they please Him with their faith.

“The just will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Let’s live to please Him.

Go with God,

Debbie

We Must Speak Up

The Asaph Files– collected and shared because you need to know.

Sometime back, I created this category for my blogs (The Asaph Files) with the sole intention of using it to make known information that I have collected that I feel is important for you to know about. Whether or not you are in the loop on the issue or unaware of it, my intention is to shed as much light on it as I can. So that you too, can speak up.

HR 5 – The Equality Act

U.S. Representative, David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island of the 117th Congress has authored this bill that has already passed the House on February 25, 2021, and now is in committee in the Senate.

Here is the cover page of the Bill THAT I HAVE READ in entirety. Phew…

screen shot of the HR 5 bill cover page

After reading the whole, dang thing, it is clear beyond a doubt that what this bill is proposing to do is CHANGE THE LAWS of America. Many very specific laws are addressed and particular sections are highlighted for language change, with the specific language that must be amended in the previous law.

Here’s an example-

section of HR5, changing the language of previous laws

This happens dozens of times in HR5. Civil Rights Laws are being rewritten with the stroke of a pen with this bill.

Here is the stated purpose of HR5 –

  • to define sex, sexual orientation and gender identity
  • expand the definition of public accommodations to include places and establishments that provide exhibitions, exercise, amusement, gatherings of displays, goods, services or programs
  • allow the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in Federal Court
  • prohibits an individual from being denied access to shared facilities, including rest rooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms that is in accordance with their gender identity

All under the banner of nondiscrimination protections provided for all LGBTQ people.

According to Theo Santos from the American Center of American Progress –

“The Equality Act would meaningfully expand civil rights protections for many Americans and advance treatment for LGBTQ people, women, people of faith and people of color. It’s time to extend these benefits of equality to all.”

Center for American Progress

Now, I’m for freedom for all and as you know, I believe all men (and women) are created equal. I just happen to believe there is a better, more permanent way to achieve equal justice for all under the law, other than HR5.

Because here’s what HR 5 would really do

  1. redefine sex under civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity – overriding basic biology along with millennia of tradition
  2. make it illegal to distinguish identity from biology thereby prioritizing transgender people over women
  3. erases sex as a distinct legal category
  4. forbids policy makers from ever making a distinction between male and female ( which is necessary of course for providing safety and equality of the sexes)
  5. thrashes the Civil Rights Acts of 1964
  6. guts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
  7. threatens constitutional freedoms by eliminating conscience protections for employers, doctors, educators, & religious groups
  8. have the government dictate how Americans think about gender and sex
  9. use the Department of Justice to punish those who violate the government imposed beliefs
  10. violates constitutional freedoms and weaponizes civil rights laws
  11. expands the scope of accommodations to any establishment and opens them up to liabilities for discrimination claims
  12. biological males will be allowed to participate in female only activities
  13. all single sex spaces will be open to both sexes and adds sexual orientation and gender identity
  14. doctors and counselors could be punished for violating their conscience in gender identity treatments
  15. undermines parents rights

After researching from many different sources, I created this list with the data I gleaned from: The Wall Street Journal, The Heritage Foundation, Congress.gov, and AmericanProgress.org

new definitions of sex in HR5

OPINION

This bill would not only drastically change the country that I live in and love, but more importantly it would seek to reshape and redefine the very nature of mankind. It would discard our Judeo Christian foundation and belief in God creating male and female with the intent of them becoming one to reproduce and steward the Earth.

It would threaten faith based organizations and expose them to federal prosecution. It would stigmatize long held, virtuous and godly views about sex and marriage and the sanctity of life.

In fact, discrimination would be the law of the land.

I do not want to live in that America, that is why I am speaking up.

I cannot remain silent.

I urge you to do the same and join me in writing and calling your government representatives and speaking out against this bill and its passage.

Contact your Senator at:

https://www.senate.gov

Many times I have asked you to rise up, step up, branch out, take risks, or to do something different, here is another with easy steps you can take that WILL make a tremendous impact on our nation.

Please, please, we must speak up.

Cheers.

Clear and Present Danger

Sunday Sermon 4.10.21

Our title phrase came from the American Sedition Act of 1918 and not the 1994 movie with Harrison Ford that may have first came to your mind. However, it vividly describes our current situation in the world today.

When the phrase was first used, it ultimately was viewed as the government overstepping its bounds of First Amendment freedoms. Again I say, that vividly describes our current situation in the world today.

But this blog today, is our weekly Sunday sermon, why the “political” opening?

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the churches and believers in Rome wrote these concerning words –

” And now, dear brothers and sisters, I’d like to give you one final word of caution: Watch out for those who cause divisions and offenses among you. When they antagonize you by speaking of things that are contrary to the teachings that you’ve received, don’t be caught in their snare!”

Romans 16:17 – TPT

In the midst of the huge Roman Empire and its extensive influence and power, Paul was warning believers to WATCH OUT for the clear and very present danger of divisions, offenses, antagonizing words and tearing down of valued teachings. Again, I say, doesn’t this vividly describe our current situation?

It is vital for us to be on guard and watch out for those things that cause divisions. From every corner of our society, we see and hear the evidences of a divided nation. The Greek word used here for divisions means, “dissension, division and sedition”. It would not take long to list those things that are causing us dissension, division and sedition, would it?

But we are told to watch out for them. In other words, according to the Greek, “take aim at them”, to shoot them down! Don’t swallow them, accept them or promote them. Watch for them as a spy (the original meaning) and take them down!

In addition, we are to watch out for offenses (TPT) or obstacles (NIV) that are put in our way. The picture is clear, someone or some thing has put a K-rail, an obstacle in front of us to stop our forward motion. This not only serves as a divider, but also as a barrier to make us stop. Paul is emotionally urging believers to be on guard for such things!

What is the barrier trying to stop? What forward momentum is being pressed against?

Paul’s words, “obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching that you have learned.” NIV

Well, what have I learned? What values was I taught from childhood and onward as I grew? Here are 20 things that immediately came to mind:

  • God loves everyone the same
  • color of your skin doesn’t make anyone better than another
  • respect authority
  • hard work pays off
  • nations have laws to obey
  • obeying laws is right
  • all people are flawed
  • everyone’s voice matters
  • don’t quit
  • money isn’t everything
  • relationships matter
  • choices have consequences
  • be truthful
  • there is good and evil
  • character counts
  • I am responsible for my actions
  • don’t follow the crowd
  • America is a great nation
  • America was founded on noble values
  • in a republic, the voters make policy

What values have you been taught?

Is it possible that there are obstacles being put in place to stop the advancement of these?

Geesh! We could list all kinds of moral values, religious values, human values. What about American, constitutional republic values? There are all kinds of things and values that we have been taught.

Paul is urging believers to KEEP AWAY FROM THESE OBSTACLES! Don’t allow them to stop what you have been taught. Don’t allow the K-rails to derail truth.

Here are some Godly truths that we have been taught: (or I hope we have been taught)

  • In the beginning God created
  • God created male and female in His image
  • God is no respecter of persons
  • God is love
  • God gave His son for our redemption
  • God does not condemn
  • We are all sinners
  • We have eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ

These truths put us all on a level playing field. Therefore, it is altogether fitting for us to say “we are all created equal” because equality comes from God and not man. Wasn’t that the cry of Dr. King?

1 Corinthians 1:9-10 tells us to keep yourself steady and strong. Live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart.

2 Samuel 23:10,12 reminds us of 2 different men who STOOD THEIR GROUND and to whom God brought a great victory.

The clear and present danger we are facing is one that is seeking to divide us and get us to abandon the things that we have been taught.

Humans are designed for change. America is equipped to change. But the kind of change we allow is up to us.

Are we willing to stand our ground and “fight” for the values that matter to us? Or are we too lazy to confront those enemies that are attacking the very values our life is built upon? This is an urgent cry! Not only from the elder statesman – Paul, but from the call of the Spirit.

This is a very clear and present danger to you, in your sphere of influence.

You have been taught about your rights as a citizen. You have been taught of your rights as a believer. What are you allowing to stand in the way of the forward advancement of those? What will you allow to divide you from another human?

One of the characters from 2 Samuel 23, Eleazar, fought so hard to defend his territory that his hand froze to his sword. He didn’t stop until the job was done, victory won and his hand had to be pried from his sword. Will we stand against the antagonization, against being silenced and cancelled until our Sword has to be pried from our hand? Will we allow the roadblocks to stop the advancement of what we have learned?

I believe we must stand our ground to see these values and truths not be lost, watered down, removed, or devalued. It is incumbent upon us to be on guard for divisions and obstacles and “fight” against them, just as unyielding as Eleazar.

In 1967, vandals broke into the Capitol building and slashed along the bottom canvas of the 20 x 30 foot oil painting called, “Signing of the Constitution”. It was subsequently removed and repaired in 1968 and eventually returned to the Capitol where it continues to hang.

In my humble opinion, I see what happened to that historical painting in 1967 as a foreshadowing of what is happening now to and in our nation and its constitution. Attempts are being made to slash away at it, damage it, and remove it.

The cornerstones of that document, free speech, free exercise of religion and freedom of the press are being slashed. K-rails are being installed to keep these things that we have learned from advancing. Obstacles have been placed in our way causing divisions and antagonizing speech has been leveled incessantly at those who hold to such values.

Scriptures calls to us to WATCH OUT. KEEP AWAY FROM THEM (such things), because there is a clear and present danger for all of us. BEWARE.

Scriptures calls for us to keep steady and strong against all forces that seek to bring division and tear us apart. Scripture empowers us to “fight the good fight of faith”. Scripture warns us of such a clear and present danger.

Will you heed the call? Will you “fight” for what you have learned?

I pray you will and are…

Go with God.

The World Turned Upside Down

If you are a musical theatre junkie, then that phrase will bring to life the lyrics from Hamilton’s – Yorktown-

“I’m not throwin’ away my shot! I’m not throwin’ away my shot! Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwin’ away my shot! Til the world turns upside down, ‘Til the world turns upside down.”

The World Turned Upside Down (Yorktown); Lin-manuel Miranda

Although that song wasn’t the first thing to pop into my head, I have been thinking alot about how the world has been turned upside down, particularly in this past year. I really love that phrase – the world turned upside down and want to spend some time with it, but not as you might expect. It can be a depressing topic, so let’s turn it upside down, and make it not depressing.

So, let me present you with some things you probably believed were true, but are in fact NOT TRUE – I’m gonna turn your world upside down. 🙂

  • Sloths are slow and lazy creatures. Although they are slow – walking 2 meters per minute on the ground, they are 5 times faster under water. Because their metabolic rate is so slow, they can hold their breath for 40 minutes underwater and swim 5 x faster than they walk!
  • You can see the Great Wall of China from space – (I have even taught this.) NASA confirmed that this in fact is false, but our textbooks have not yet caught up.
  • It takes 7 years for your body to digest bubble gum. According to Healthline, the ingredients in gum will pass through your body without digesting at all.
  • Carrots improve your vision. The beta-carotene in carrots converts to vitamin A which does improve your sight. However, once your beta-carotene limit is reached, it stops making that conversion.
  • Toads give you warts. Nope, warts are caused by HPV.
  • Coffee stunts your growth. Nope again. It is linked to calcium loss but even that isn’t enough to affect your bones.
  • Bats are blind. In fact, they can see 3 times better than humans, according to Rob Miles, at Bat Conservation.
  • Cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. I don’t like the sound of this, but what I am hearing is the nitrogen bubbles bursting in your synovial fluid. It does not lead to arthritis.
  • You swallow 8 spiders a year in your sleep. Gosh am I glad this is faaaaaaaarrrrr from truth! Scientific American deemed this as untrue because spiders view humans as rocks and if that rock is vibrating (snoring) it is warning them to stay away.
  • Einstein failed math. He did fail an entrance exam to a school in Zurich, but he nailed the math section of that test.
  • The toilet flushes in different directions in different hemispheres. (another one that I have taught) Live Science reports that the only thing that changes the direction is the shape of the toilet and the angle that the water enters.
  • Alcohol warms you up. You may think you’re warming up after a drink, but is slowing your circulation and making you colder. (my husband was right!)
  • Mount Everest is the tallest mountain. Yep, I taught this one too….It is the tallest mountain AT SEA LEVEL, but the tallest mountain from base to peak is Mount Kea in Hawaii. It winds up being a mile taller than Everest when you factor in 19,700 feet of it exists in the Pacific Ocean!
  • Dogs are color blind. In fact, a Russian scientist has proved that dogs see blue and yellow as good as we do.
  • An apple fell on Newton’s head (and thus prompted the theory of gravity). Much like Adam and Eve’s story, an apple wasn’t mentioned, only a fruit. In Sir Isaac’s case, a fruit fell and prompted his inquiries.

See, that wasn’t depressing or discouraging was it? Hopefully it was even a little insightful.

We need these little brain breaks from time to time, so that we will have the needed creativity, focus and prioritization to make the changes really needed to turn our world upside down.

Cheers to you.

New Endeavors

Just a quick moment of shameless self promotion in announcing the start of my new Podcast- The Joshua Files

Would love for you to follow and pass the word as I seek to equip and encourage these next generations to step up and lead.

Thank you for your overwhelming support.

Cheers to us!