Category: Encouragement

Sharing support, courage & hope

Constitution Day

September 17, 1787

Here it was, four years after independence had been won by the colonies, (the Treaty of Paris was signed Sept. 3, 1783) when this pronouncement was made,

It appears to me then little short of a miracle that the delegates from so many different states… should unite in forming a system of national government…”

George Washington, delegate to the Convention in Philadelphia, September 1787

Fifty-five men, from twelve colonies, (Rhode Island did not send representatives) had just spent months of debate (May – September), in the Pennsylvania Statehouse, located in Philadelphia, during the heat of summer, to produce a federal system of government that included checks and balances. Their finished product was called the Constitution of the United States. This was the miracle to which George Washington referred.

PA Statehouse, Independence Hall
George Washington and the delegates

It was apparent in 1786, two years after the Revolutionary War ended that the Union would break apart without a fix to the standing national government called The Articles of Confederation. This document had been drafted during the War by the Continental Congress to help guide the colonies through war and provide some sort of central government. It was obvious now, something more needed to be done for the sake of the new, fledgling nation.

At the pleading of the Annapolis Convention, (5 states with Maryland) in 1786, a Convention was called for in Philadelphia, May, 1787. On May 25, 1787, what we call the Constitutional Convention met with those fifty-five delgates at the statehouse in Philadelphia. Their intended purpose was to amend The Articles of Confederation.

After some time, it was clear that amending the Articles was to be scrapped. Something new had to be created. In this closed meeting house, with windows and doors shut tight for privacy (and sweating in wool coats and vests), without AC, these partiots hammered out the structure, form, and substance of our federal government. They built consensus, offered compromise, all within secrecy and never even threw a punch! (now that’s a miracle!)

Alexander Hamiliton, one of the delegates writes,

Alexander Hamilton

For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system which without the finger of God (Luke 11:20) never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.”

Alexander Hamiliton, upon the signing of the Constitution

James Madison, another delegate, writes,

James Madison

It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it the finger of that Almighty Hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the Revolution.”

James Madison, upon signing the Constitution

What these men came up with, our Constitution, is what governs our land now. It is what has inspired and modeled for other nations their constitution. The similiarities between ours and theirs is often identical in wording.

The U.S. Constitution

This document, the Constitution, was signed by thirty nine of the delegates on September 17, 1787, and as per the specification in the Constitution, later ratified by nine of the thirteen colonies to become effective. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it on June 21, 1788. It was agreed upon that this new government would begin March 4, 1789. (Which is why Inaguration Day was in March for so many years. In 1981 it was changed to January 20.)

Our Constitution provides for:

  • 3 Branches of government
  • Legislative/Congress – make laws, checks on other branches
  • Executive/President – manages daily operations of the government, checks on other branches, enforces the laws
  • Judicial/Federal courts, Supreme Court – courts, judges, checks on the other branches, makes sure the laws are constitutional
  • Personal freedoms as stated in the Bill of Rights/first 10 amendments
  • Ways to amend or change the Constitution
  • Separation between the federal and state powers
  • all the qualifications for elections, candidates, how laws are made, where money comes from, treaties, citizenship, emprisonment, trails, searches and seizures, how a republic is run
  • and so much more
Outline of the contents of the Constitution

This document, our Constitution, has been and continues to be the “the law of the land”. All federal employees, military personal and so many other employees, upon entering their positions take an oath “to faithfully defend the Constitution”.

It is sacred, above all other ideologies, and worth every effort of patriots to defend. It is the law of our land, not immutable however, as provisions to change it are also addressed.

What the founding fathers and the framers created is a clearly laid out form and structure for our government. It has come under much scrutiny, debate and with much compromise and it still stands today, as Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration says, ” as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of a Divine power.”

It behooves us then, We The People, to stand in the spirit of those patriots- who pledged their best hopes, strongest intellectual pursuits, and good faith in the creation of that Constitution, to do the same.

On this Constitution Day, 2022, 235 years after it’s signing, may we fully understand and promote, but also strongly defend The Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

In keeping with this challenge to understand, and leading up to the elections in 8 weeks, I will be presenting a 4 week follow-up refresher on The Constitution, walking us through the body of the Constitution, and examining the parts. They will be as follows:

  • Week 1 – The Preamble & Articles 1-3 Legislative, Executive & Judicial Branches
  • Week 2 – Articles 4-7 –
  • Week 3 – The Amendments, 1-10 The Bill of Rights
  • Week 4 – The Amendments, 11-27

You can see original copies of The Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Indepenence at The National Archives in Washington D.C.

National Archives, Documents on display

I hope you will sharpen your understanding and appreciation of this great document and our great nation and check back in to join us in that endeavor.

Debbie

God Bless America,

Sources

Britannica – The Constitutional Convention

History.com

Yahoonews.weather

National Archives – The Framers

BrainyQuotes.com

Spoiler Alert

We could be talking about the great cliffhanger spoiler alerts of the TV shows such as Dallas, Lost, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, but not today. My favorite, however, was “Who shot JR?” from Dallas, 1980, how ’bout yours? Whether it be a sports playoff game, a reality show, or the unexpected end to a storyline, we appreciate being alerted to what is spoiling our expectations, don’t we?

Following a time of introspection and self-evaluation, I concluded that in my life I was greatly and easily distracted. It was obvious there were very few straight lines in my life, nearly everything I was doing was being infringed upon by something else. I couldn’t sit and focus without my mind jetting to another place or thing. I couldn’t read, study, or even talk with someone without some sort of mental distraction. (It’s always embarrasing to have to pull yourself back to the present when you find yourself wandering while in personal conversations. Geesh.)

How many bunny trails or peripheral issues have enticed us away from what is most important?

How many calls or appointments have we avoided because of less important distractions?

How many times have we given way to the immediate when on course for long term?

Today, I want to alert us to the spoilers in our life because I have seen them run rampant in mine.

There is a metaphor used in ancient writings that compares little foxes to the spoilers in our life. Cute, little, social, fast, and cunning foxes. Here’s the quote,

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

Song of Songs 2:15 ESV

Let’s talk about those cute, furry foxes, shall we?

Foxes are omnivores, that means that they eat up everything. They feed on anything. They have no prefered food group. They eat it all at will and with pleasure. They are also very light and fast on their feet, and as social creatures live in packs, called a leash, skulk or earth. Their eyesite is fantastic and they live a very flexible life. (LiveScience.com)

“What does the fox say?” was a popular phrase that kids sang a while ago… I’m not sure what it says, but I do know these things about about that pesky lil’ creature; they:

  • dig holes & passages that loosen the soil of the vines, thereby preventing a stable root system
  • trample vines looking for prey with no care for what they destroy while looking
  • are speedy, fast in and fast out while gaining their prey/fruit
  • are cute but not tameable
  • are little & therefore we think they are insignifigant
  • are so cunning that they often work in pairs, one to distract the other to steal

Foxes are adoreable destroyers. Cute little, seemingly insignifigant spoilers that wreck an entire vineyard or garden. Living such flexible lives, their dens/burrows have multiple exits, so they rarely leave the way they came in. These smart spoliers, having stolen the fruit, leave the roots exposed, gnawed down and severly weakened.

SPOILER ALERT! There are little foxes loose in our life!

What are they? They could be:

  • our phones, devices – notifications, social media, updates, email, texts
  • “little” habits or attitudes that we often overlook of defend
  • people or places
  • anything that is stealing your fruitfulness
  • whatever is spoiling your relationships

For you, what are they? For me, almost all of my spoiling, little foxes come from my iPhone. Like Eve, I have bitten bigtime into the “apple” and am finding myself not only deceived but overrun with distracting, annoying, rabbit holes, bunny trails, and lost fruitfulness. I am bigtime distracted by what’s in my hand.

Here’s the thing tho’, I am wise now to those sly little fox-like distractions. But being wise or aware that there are foxes/distractions ruining my fruitfulness is not enough. I have to get rid of them, because I have been chosen to bear fruit. John 15:16 He is the Vine and I am the branch, and our goal is fruitfulness. John 15:5-8

ALERT -Those spoilers have got to go.

It is interesting to note that when The Potter puts a lump of clay on His wheel to fashion it and make it, He notices that the clay is spoiled.

And the vessel He was making of clay was spoiled in the Potter’s hand and He reworked it…”

Jeremiah 18:4 ESV

Could it be that the spoilers, the distractions that we continually allow into our life affect, and or delay the working of God in our life? Could we, by our following those spoilers, be thwarting our relationship to the Vine and our ability to produce the maximum fruitfulness He has called us to?

In my life, I say a resounding, “YES!” This piece of clay has been spoiled by distractions. “Please remake me, Master Potter.”

I believe He will respond to a heart’s cry like that, don’t you?

But I also believe, He will require action on my part. So, to help me with that, I’m gonna look to Sampson.

You’ll remember, Sampson was one of the 12 Judges of Israel, before the days of having a king. In fact, he was the last Judge of Israel. He was also the strongest. Given a supernatural power from God, he was able to perform amazing physical feats. You can review them in Judges chapters 13-16.

One of those amazing feats was the catching of 300 foxes! I kid you not. He actually rounded up and caught 300 wild foxes! (Did I say supernatural power? WOW.) Then he turned each pair of foxes, tail to tail and tied a torch to the tail pair. Having their tails fired up, they were released to run free and torch all the grain fields. Judges 15:4-5

Moral – we must personally round up those (potential) threats, distractions and spoilers to our relationships. It is up to us to identify them, acknowledge each one, be truthful and catch each distraction. Then, we gotta restrict the spoilers. Put restrictions on your phone use and response times. Repent of bad habits and attitudes. Illuminate all those cute little distractions and let them go. Stop holding on to them. They are spoilers to all that is the best in you. They are spoiling your relationship and your fruitfulness.

I have work to do, how ’bout you? (I’m placing my phone on restriction!)

Your life is designed to blossom. If it is not in bloom as it should be, check for those cute little foxes that are spoiling your life, your relationships. Then, restrict them. Tie them up, cut them off. Don’t let them into your vineyard to spoil anymore.

These are real and hard words, I know. I need them. But, I trust you can appreciate being alerted to what may be spoiling your fruitful expectations. I told you this would be a spoiler alert.

Let’s go catch those foxes,

Debbie

Get Dressed for Work

On this Labor Day weekend, I am challenging you to not stop working, but actually get dressed for work. (If you are interested in the history of our National Labor Day, see my “What is Labor Day” blog from September 2021.)

I once knew a man, who each morning would prepare himself and dutifully walk out the front door of his home to work. He did this even after He was fired from his job, just to fool his wife. He was dressed for work and pretended to be going off to work, but the truth was, he was neither.

Could that be an accurate description of many believers today? Being dressed and pretending it’s for the Lord and then pretending to be doing His work?

Here’s where this challenge comes from –

But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you.”

Jeremiah 1:17 ESV

Another, translation makes it even clearer –

But you – up on your feet and get dressed for work! Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say. Don’t pull your punches or I’ll pull you out of the line up.”

Jeremiah 1:17 The Message paraphrase

The context of these Jeremiah verses is the beginning of a 50 year period in which Jeremiah spoke to Israel of their shameful and persistent sins. God had called this man, Jeremiah before he was even born, Jeremiah 1:5 to speak God’s words, even though Jeremiah claimed to not know how to speak or what to even say. Jeremiah 1:6-10

Jeremiah’s nation was headed for judgement because it had forsaken the Lord.

And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshipped the works of their own hands.”

Jeremiah 1:16 ESV

Then, turning on a dime, we find the next verse – BUT YOU – DRESS YOURSELF FOR WORK.

It is in the darkest days, the seemingly most hopeless and discouraging situations that the challenge comes – Up on your feet! Stand up and say your piece. Speak out and tell my Word. Don’t pull any punches. Tell things God’s way. Even when no one else is, or living it, or even desiring it. You, and me, are to dress ourself and get to work. He has put His Word in our heart ond on our lips.

I find it interesting that the Message paraphrase says, “don’t pull your punches”.

According to Quora, the root of this phrase comes from a boxer who pretends to punch, makes it look believable, but without full force. The boxer begins to retract his fist right before the punch has connected, therefore it looks like a punch but is severely weakened. Punching with full power begins in the feet and hips and is literally like throwing a punch.

In other words, my amplified translation would read like this,

“But you believers, stand your ground, Ephesiams 6:14, set yourself (like Daniel) and throw your punches – aka = say what I tell you, what My Word says. Do not pull back your powerful punch (Word), or withhold My Word in any given situation. Tell them everything that I tell you.”

You see, in these days, pretending to be dressed and pretending to be doing God’s work will not cut it. You might be able to fool others but you cannot fool God.

“Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Give yourselves to the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” 2 Timothy 2:15

“God will not forget your work and love you have shown Him.” Hebrews 6:10

You are the person that God wants to use!

Some of you have things, conversations or assignments that you have been putting off – not giving yourself to fully. It is time to speak out and stand up.

So, my friend, on this Labor Day 2022, in the spiritual realm, it is time to get dressed and get to work.

Go with God,

Debbie

Dealing with Shame

Today, one of the most significant mental issues facing all of us is learning to deal with shame. In this video lesson we take a deep dive into this important topic for every person’s growth, well being and emotional stability.

click on to watch

Please take the steps needed to be free of shame. It is possible, through Jesus – the one who carried it all for you because He loves you.

Go with God,

Debbie

A Brief Lesson in Optics

light through a prism

Optics –

a science that deals with the genesis and propagation of light, the changes that it undergoes and produces, and other phenomena closely associated with it”

Merriam-Webster

So what do we know about light, and why should I care? How ‘bout these factoids?

  • Light is a natural energy produced to make things able to be seen
  • Light energy is always moving
  • Light is an electromagnetic wave, one of 7
  • Light travels at 186,000 mph
  • Light is plants sole source of food – therefore light provides food to all life
  • Light is vital for growth, sleep and body rhythms
  • Light is stored in all carbohydrates, therefore vital to our nutrition
  • All objects produce light (electromagnetic waves), we just can’t see them
  • Visible light accounts for less than one ten-billionth of the electromagnetic spectrum – so that means there is waaaaaaay more to be seen than is actually being seen.

We should care about light because as shown by the above facts, without light, life on earth would cease. The end. Fin. La Fin. Mwisho. Das Ende. Fim. Ang Dulo.

Allow me to remind you of some interesting features of light.

Light travels in waves, and always in a straight line. If an object gets in lights way – the light wave will bend, refract or get absorbed by the object. The actual wave or light beams, are made of zillions of air packets of light – called photons.

Visible light is what allows us to see colors and beauty. You actually see things when light enters your eye. That light can be from one of two sources – a light bulb or refracted light, which is much more common. If no light enters the eye, you see black – darkness. And to restate, all objects produce light, they create electromagnetic waves, the problem is that humans can’t see them.

Light not only benefits all life but is absolutely needed for life to exist. In addition, light is needed for drying and evaporation on earth. It is needed for sanitation on and scavenging in earth. Light actually raises earth’s temperature and therefore maintains not only temperature but life.

photosynthesis

Light is used in medicine and in all sorts of human applications.

Two more light tid bits and then we will drive this all home, okay?

Plato, the great philosopher once thought humans could shoot light from our eyes. Boy, what would this world be like if we could? I guess you can’t always be a genius, Mr. Plato.

A “jiffy” is a unit of measure that dictates how long it takes for light to travel up to a centimeter. So, when we say, “I’ll be back in a jiffy”, we’re making a pretty fast trip! ha ha Light travels so fast (186,000 mph) that if a human were to travel at the speed of light, in one second they could circumnavigate earth 7.5 times!!!! That’s MORE than a jiffy. Geesh!

We’ve shined the light on light’s characteristics, let’s focus now on another aspect of light.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

As we have been for the past few weeks, we peek here into The Sermon on the Mount, preached by Jesus some 400 years after the close of the Old Testament era. Here, He was, newly introduced by his cousin John, as the worthy Lamb of God, who was the One spoken of. He went up to a mountain, and Sat down where thousands gathering around Him to hear Him teach about His kingdom ways.

BAM! The first words out of His mouth are eight values of the kingdom of God. (poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness sake) Then, He uses the analogy that these values are like salt, and as His followers live by them, they are actually salting, seasoning and presevering the earth. (For more see the past 3-4 Sunday Sermon blogs.)

Now, He makes another analogy or metaphor comparing the followers in His kingdom to light.

Your lives light up the world.”

Matthew 5:15 TPT

Wait. What? How can I, a simple little human living in Southern California light up the world? I just get up, go to work, love my family, and try to be kind to others, then get up the next day and do the same. “Light up the world” is a rather hefty statement, Jesus. But is it?

From the very beginning of creation, God’s focus has been on light.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis 1:3 ESV

And God said, “Let there be lights in the heavens to separate the day from the night…and let them be lights to give light upon earth…And it was so…And God made two great lights – the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night…and God set them to give light on the earth… to rule over the day and the night… to separate light from darkness.”

Genesis 1:14-18 ESV

Light’s design on earth has always been to give life, to give light to the earth, to separate light from darkness, and to rule.

It’s funny that God said in Genesis 1:14 – “let there be lights” and Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light”. Jesus was telling us that as we live His kingdom values, and under His kingdom authority, we shine as light does in the world. We light up the darkness, we are the light. But how?

With Jesus, the light of the world, John 8:12, living in us, our kingdom actions and choices are seen by others. They are a light pointing the way in darkness. They are energy waves, illuminating from us, picked up by people, bouncing off of them, or being absorbed by them. Our words and actions, our auora even, distinguishes us, separates us, as “different” – because we are carriers of The Light. Sometimes people, really can see our light and they should. It should be giving light to all in the house. It should be on a stand for all to see. We should be standing for the Light of the kingdom.

As light, our course is a straight path. His Word is our true North, and we don’t waver off course. We bounce off of some people, bring clarity to others, and expose still others. Our light sanitizes or helps to clean up dirty places in people (and us), while at the same time bringing warmth to the cold hearts of some walking our earth.

Our light is earth’s medicine. Earth’s life. Without our light, the earth would be enveloped in total darkness.

But our light is meant to give life, bring light, separate and rule the darkness. Darkness will never overpower our light or even understand it. John 1:5

God has set the lights in the sky, just as he has set brightly lit cities on hills. Those cities are filled with zillions of photon-people, like YOU, litting up not only their city, but the darkness. In much the same way that the Israelites’ homes were filled with light, during the ninth plague of darkness that gripped Egypt. Exodus 10:23

Our light helps all to see beauty, color, distinction. Our light can be like a light bulb, shining when needed in a dark space or refracted light- shining and bending back. Refracted light will change – and speed up, depending on the substance it is entering. It adjusts to the object. Without refracted light, focus is lost.

It matters little whether you are a light bulb or being refracted, as long as you are shinning.

Don’t hide your light.”

Matthew 5:16 TPT

These may well be days of darkness, but they are too, days of separation and distinction. They are days of waves of light beaming upon our earth, once again bringing light to the earth, and ruling over the darkness. Just as God originally intended.

May these words serve as a prism for you which will inspire and challenge you to burst forth in colorful, visible light upon your world.

Our world needs a brief lesson in optics.

Debbie

Sources

Factcity.com facts-about-light

Afrilcate.com facts-about- light

Study.com/academy/lesson/factsoflight

Light – studyread.com/uses of light

Wired.com – light

Are You Salty?

Your lives are like salt among the people. But if you, like salt, become bland, how can your saltiness be restored? Flavorless salt is good for nothing and will be thrown out and trampled by others.”

Matthew 5:13 TPT

So, what do we know about salt? If our life is like salt, then it would be worth our time to take a look at Na (sodium) + Cl (chloride) = salt. Let’s dive in.

There are several approaches we can take in looking at salt. The first would be in the context and setting of this passage in Matthew.

Salt shards were gathered from the Dead Sea during Jesus’ time and brought back to the home for multiple uses. Dead Sea salt of that time was often “contaminated with other minerals, causing a weakness in flavor or bland, unpleasant taste.” (1) But one of it’s primary uses in the home was for flavoring the water pot for stew. The salt shard would be dipped into the pot of water to flavor the water. After too many dips, the salt shard would have lost it’s flavor. It would then be taken ouside and used as pavers to walk on.

The Dead Sea

It was also possible that a flavorful salt shard would get rained on. That would dissolve the salt, leaving only the contaminants which were of little use.

Another approach when looking at salt is the scientific perspective.

Salt is an inorganic compound, not from living matter. As mentioned earlier, it is the combination of Na – sodium + Cl – chloride. Sodium chloride = table salt. NaCl is a very stable chemical substance. In fact, the only way for salt to lose it’s salinity is through a chemical reaction with another substance. (My teaching 8th grade, Physical Science is coming in handy now.) Salt can however be diluted in water and will then loose it’s pungent saltiness. It does not form a new compound when combind with water, it forms a mixture. But in it’s crystal form, it is non-reactive.

Salt may become bland by the presence of impurities, interation with other components or exposure to humid environments. All of these, cause harm to the flavor of salt. Salt will become “bad” only when it gets deteriorated due to some external factors. “There is no such thing as horrible natural salt in the world of salt.” (2)

Impurities in salt

Another part of the science of salt is salt’s many uses.

We are told that there are 14,000 known uses for salt. It is much more than a flavor enhancer or preserver. Salt carries iodine which aids the thyroid function, and fluorine which helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, adults need 4-5 grams of common salt a day. (Which with balanced nurtition, is found in our meals.)

Our body actually needs salt to:

  • absorb & transport nutrients
  • maintain blood pressure
  • maintain the right balance of fluid
  • transmit nerve signals
  • contract and relax muscles (3)

Your body needs salt, but too little or too much can be harmful.

Remember too, that on your tongue are 5 primary taste modalities. Can you remember them? Sweet, sour, bitter, savoriness (now called umami), and saltiness. Matter of fact, the brain detects the taste from salty foods as “pleasant“, and from the others as “unpleasant”. No kidding, a chemical event on your tongue that determines what is pleasant?! Crazy.

your tongue

The internet is filled with lists of uses for salt. I’ve read most of them and written down many. But to summarize here, human comsumption of salt represents only 6% of the 250 million metric tonnes of salt that is used world wide in a year. The majority 94% is used for: softening water, de-icing roads, and in agriculture; with the largest amount used in manufacture of PVC, plastics, & paper pulp. (4) In 2020 the salt industry was valued at 28 billion US dollars.

Please hang with me here, you know we’re gonna drive this all home. But one last thing worth mentioning about salt.

There are 3 methods of sourcing salt – getting it out of the earth. They are:

  1. evaporation of sea water
  2. mining rock salt formations in the earth
  3. creating salt brines (6)

Each of these is interesting in itself, but for sake of time, I want to mention only one – mining rock salt formations.

To mine rock salt, specialized equipment is used underground, that cuts the salt beds into large blocks. The method that is commonly used for this is called the “room and pillar” method. The equipment extracts large “rooms”of salt (a block at at time) from the salt beds with unscathed “pillars” left behind. The Sifto Salt Mine in Ontario, Canada is the largest salt mine in the world and it is 2,000 feet below earth’s surface.

room and pillar salt mining

I will close now with looking at salt from the spiritual point of view, applying what we have learned about salt to our lives and seeking your answer to our opening question.

It is no accident that after Jesus taught his disciples “The Beattitudes” in Matthew chapter 5, (which we talked about in 2 previous blogs), that He then tells them,

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost it’s taste, how shall it’s saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Matthew 5:13 ESV

He was telling them, YOU are the salt shards, pulled from the earth, and now dipped into every homes’ nourishment and sustainence. Stay salty, flavorful, not dilluted, or contaminated and don’t allow yourselves to become those road pavers that are walked all over by men. Too much dipping will cause you to be bland. Be wise. Be salty. Keep your flavor.

He is telling us, as salt shards, our flavor will deteriorate only when we succomb to external factors. (Stress, worry, fear, unbelief, depression, etc.) We are stable when our relationship with Him is crystalized and found to be without mixture or dillution. We are put in this world as salt, a nonreactive, stable and needed compound intended to affect everything that we are dipped into.

Indeed, your saltiness in this world has at least 14,000 uses. Your impact as salt in your home is more than just seasoning, it is vital to a healthy family life. Your saltiness at work, school, or in your neighborhood has untold influence in more ways than you may ever see. Just a dash of your saltiness can treat irritations, melt hard hearts, and put fires out. Your saltiness will bring healing and even deoderize smelly situations. Your body will prosper and be in good health, as you are salty. As you, yourself are seasoned with the salt of His presence.

We humans, in abundant supply on this planet carry the capacity to majorly affect our world and that is indeed God’s intention for us as the salt of the earth, if, we have not lost our saltiness. And let’s not forget that saltiness is detected as pleasant by our brain, so let’s share our salty pleasantness with our neighbors.

One last thought – Do you recall Lot’s wife? The one who looked back and “turned to a pillar of salt”? Genesis 19:26 Do you recall the common method for mining rock salt? “Room and pillar“, right? Could it be that Lot’s wife had lost her saltiness and become a pillar because all of her salt had been mined out of her by living in such close contact with and deteriorated by the perverted people of Sodom? There was no room in her that contained salt. Her salt was empty and depleted. She had been dipped and mined and had nothing left but a stationary, singular pillar. Just wondering…

empty rooms only pillars

Wrapping this up, Mark tells us “to have salt in yourselves” Mark 9:50. Paul in Colossians 4:6 tells us, ” that your speech be seasoned with salt…”. Jesus said, “You are the salt…”.

As believers, we should be able to retain and live the very “beattitudes” or salt of the kingdom, as listed below, free from external forces, mixture, deterioration, dissolving away, or being mined out of us. These salty crystals are what keeps us stable and nonreactive in this world.

  • poor in spirit – unable to live spiritually without God
  • mourn – feeling genuine sadness for sin
  • meek – accepting God’s dealings with us, humble
  • hunger & thirst for righteousness – craving what is right before God
  • merciful – compassionate
  • pure in heart – free from corrupt desires
  • peacemakers – bringers of peace
  • the persecuted – harassed, troubled, maltreated

So, do you see it now, the link between those salty beattitudes of kingdom living and us being the salt of the earth? Those values are what fires our saltiness. No wonder Mark 9:49 says, “everyone will be salted with fire.”

So here we are, again asking you, are you salty?

Debbie

  1. “Salt in the Bible” – Wikipedia
  2. FactsAboutFood.com
  3. Healthline.com
  4. FoodUnfolded.com
  5. Statista.com/thesaltindustry
  6. FoodUnfolded.com

Part 2 – As Above, So Below

Continuing our look at the kingdom of God from above, being lived out here on earth below, let’s review for a moment.

There is a kingdom in heaven, fully functioning under the reign and soverignity of Almighty God and His son, Jesus who is the King of Kings. This kingdom is of or from heaven, and is intended to be fully demonstrated here on earth by humans, who are living the values, principles, and “doms” (see part 1) of our King Jesus.

We get a glimpse of this kingdom when we look at the “Beattitudes” of Jesus, as found in Matthew chapter 5. These beattitudes reflect the nature of life in the kingdom of God which is evidenced by the supreme state of well-being when walking in relationship with God.

So, as we look at the last four beattitudes (there are 8, see the first 4 in part 1), imagine life here on earth, if these characteristics were to be truly demonstrated. What a world we would have, here below, if we lived as it is above in heaven.

Blessed are the merciful, they shall receive mercy.”

Matthew 5:7 ESV

Those who, from their deepest heart are able to demonstrate tender mercy to others, themselves will be shown mercy by God. This pictures someone, who “from their womb” – the birthplace of new life, new ideas, new ways – expresses and displays compassion and mercy to others. This one, because of what he or she sows, will not only be satisfied but will reap back the same compassion and mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8 ESV

The “pure in heart” is one who pursues purity and uprightness; that which is right, true, just, and pure in God’s eyes. They are not soiled or sullied by the filthiness of worldly affects and actions but “have kept themselves” from such influences. They have chosen a better way, a higher standard. They have set themselves apart to God and for His pleasure and have aimed at his favor and acceptance rather than that of man.

It is no wonder then, that they are the ones who not only see God now but progressively see Him more and more. Because their hearts are pure before God (and that does not mean sinless!), which is the most important thing (not external traditions), God honors them by revealing Himself to them. There is NO GREATER HONOR OR HUMBLING STATE for a humnan being than to experience God. That is beyond a blessing!

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”

Matthew 5:9 ESV

These peacemakers start within themselves. They are at peace with themselves before Almighty God. You cannot be at peace within yourself, if there is no accountability to God. Those who try to find peace without God awareness, sensitivity and willingness to follow His ways are only fooling themselves. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and brings peace to those willing to make peace with Him. That is where peacemaking begins. Then peacemaking will flow from the personal peace that we have found with God out from us to the community. This peace then, is both personal and communal.

These peacemaking folks, are the sons of God. These peacemakers, defined by their peace with God, are adding to and expanding God’s eternal family, as His sons and daughters, by bringing peace to others and making peace between others.

Are you able to see and image a world ruled and governed by these attitudes, characteristics and values? Can you imagine earth here below, under the influence of the kingdom of God?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:10 ESV

Could it be that those who are living by these kingdom values will be persecuted? Could the challenge be to those believers who have chosen to live as citizens of God’s kingdom and under his constitution, it’s time to buckle up. Not everyone is gonna like these values, ideas and ways of life. There will be those who not only contradict these values but persecute those who live by them.

“Persecuted” here in the Greek means, “to harass, trouble, molest; to make one run, drive away, maltreated.” The Apostle Paul was persecuted. All the other disciples were pesecuted. Jesus himself was persecuted. Christians through the ages on every continent have been persecuted. Why, oh why, would we think we are any different or walk a different walk? How could we if we are truly living for the kingdom here on earth?

Compared to the suffering saints and martyrs of the past, I tend to think we, ourselves ain’t seen nothing yet!

Our comfort? Our motivation? Our strength? The kingdom of God! We receive eternally and live forever in the kingdom of God. The very one we have lived here on earth. We step from this earth into the kingdom of our inheritance, the one of God’s vast domain.

In closing, let’s remember these things about these beattitudes: (we mentioned them in part 1)

  1. they are a code of ethics for disciples & standard of conduct for all believers
  2. they contrast kingdom values with worldly values (eternal vrs. temporary)
  3. they contrast superficial faith (of the Pharisees) with the real faith that Jesus wants
  4. they show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in His new kingdom (1)

My prayer is that believers all over the world continue to stand strong in faith and courage as they choose to display on earth what is being lived out in heaven now.

May we, live here below as it is above.

Debbie

  1. Life Application Study Bible – Zondervan

As Above, So Below

This is what Jesus actually taught us to pray, (on earth as it is in heaven) Matthew 6:10 What are we actually praying for? I mean really.

Jesus’ instructions on how to pray begins with seeing Our Glorious Father in heaven and His fully functioning kingdom there being extended to and demonstrated here on earth. He taught us to pray to live here below as it is above.

When Jesus began His ministry on earth, this was His message –

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent fro the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

And throughout his entire time on earth, He preached about the kingdon of heaven, aka, the kingdom of God. He taught his disciples, the crowds and the skeptics about what it was like to live by kingdom values and principles. He modeled it with His life of example. He admonished them to live here below as it is above, in heaven.

The kingdom of God is where His authority is acknowledged, it is the realm of His influence. It is in our midst, Luke 17:21, and entered into by spiritual birth, Matthew 18:3; John 3:5. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans 14:17 The kingdom of God is not about words but about power. 1 Corinthians 4:20

When one experiences the salvation that Jesus provides, we are translated into the kingdom of His dear son, Colossians 1:13 and have received a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Hebrews 12:28

So what does this kingdom deposit that has been placed inside of us look like? How is the kingdom of God seen by others? What was it that Paul spent three months preaching about in Ephesus? Acts 19:8 And another entire day in Rome preaching to his house guests about? Acts 28:23

The kingdom of God. Geesh. There must be alot to say about that kingdom then – the one above to be lived out here below. We will go there in a minute, but first let’s look at the old English word derivation.

The old English background for kingdom means the king’s domain, where his kingdom activity occured. The king wrote laws and circulated them for all to obey, they were called his “doms”. The King’s doms were the rules for his kingdom.

Well then, what are the kingdom of God’s rules? The “doms” of God’s kingdom?

Matthew 5, part of The Sermon on the Mount has been called the Constitution for citizens of God’s kingdom. For in this exhaustive teaching of Jesus we find those attitudes from above (from God) that should be demonstrated here below, by followers of Jesus. They show what Christ followers should be like. The Sermon on the Mount is the standard for all Christians. It is the standard for the kingdom of God and reveals the values, and principles of the kingdom of God. This sermon describes what the kingdom of God is really like. These beattitudes reflect who God is through His people. Thus, truly, as above, so below.

These standards of the kingdom of God are not multiple choice, pick what you like, they must be taken as a whole. They are our code of ethics and clearly contrast kingdom values with worldly values. They contrast superficial faith with real faith. And they show that those who live by the King’s “doms”, will be blessed – fully satisfied, well off, and fortunate.

Let’s look at a four of the “doms” of our King.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Matthew 5:3 ESV

The first of eight “beattitudes” listed in Matthew 5 is the blessing that comes to those who recognize their need for God. It has nothing to do with financial poverty or being poor, but everything to do with admitting you need God’s help and cannot do without Him. We begin our life in God’s kingdom by admitting we absolutely need Him, everyday. We begin by submitting to The King and His ways and yielding to His kindgom values and principles. To those – the blessing that comes is access to the kingdom. WOW!

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4 ESV

Contrary to popular usage, this passage about mourning has to do with being sorry for your sins and the sins of others. You see, the one who is truly sorry for violating their conscience and God’s “doms” will receive comfort and the help of the “parakleto” – the Holy Spirit – who will strengthen and encourage.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:5 ESV

These meek ones of the kingdom are ones who rely on God’s strength, not their own, and accept God’s dealings as good, without disputing or resisting. Their meekness doesn’t make them push overs or whimps, but ones who trust the King who is soverign over all and on whose strength they can depend.Their abundant blessing comes in the end of all, when they will inherit a new earth.

One last one for today…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Matthew 5:6 ESV

The kingdom of God is populated with those who crave righteousness and eagerly thirst for more and more of it. Not satisfied with low, worldly morals and standards, these kingdom royals will be satisifed only with more of God’s righteousness, not man’s filthiness and perversions. No compromise is reached because the standard of the kingdom stands supreme.

These first four “attitudes” – admitting we need God, being grieved for sin, accepting God’s will and strength, and craving righteousness are the fabric of God’s kingdom. These demonstrate God’s kingdom here on earth.

As you can see, these first four kingdom values in the beattitudes, fly in the face of worldly values and clearly demonstrate an eternal perspective and code of ethics from above, that we believers are chraged with living and pulling down for here on earth.

Perhaps you share my disgust with what is being strutted before us as wholesome, what is being herladed as virtuous, what is being declared as truth, and what is being propped up as leadership, or perhaps not, but what still stands is the stark contrast between what we are seeing in this earthly realm, compared to God’s heavenly kingdom – the kingdom of God.

I choose to proclaim and live as John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul, “The Kingdom of God is at hand”. As royals, blood bought believers in Jesus and heirs of the King, we are rising up in demonstration and power because the kingdom of light within us, is breaking forth from within us. The King’s “doms” are being lived out by us, they are our standard, our ethics, and our kingdom contsitution.

It’s important to remember these kingdom characteristics, these beattitudes and keep yourself aligned with them. It is so easy to lose track of kingdom principles when there’s nothing but garbage and lies being promoted, right? Remember too, God promises to supremely bless those who align with the standards of His Kingdom.

So when we pray for “it” to be done on earth as it is in heaven, all this is what we are praying for and rising up to live out.

May it be here below, as it is above in heaven. Now is the time.

Cheers to YOU,

Debbie

P.S. – Next week we will continue with the remaining beattitudes and our kingdom theme. Hope to see you back, then.