Category: Inspiration

Peaking your desire, enthusiasm & courage to do/be something

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

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

Healing From What We Are Harboring

Recently in my reading, I was struck with a phrase that has been reverberating through my spirit, mind and soul. It was this:

Because you harbored an ancient hostility

Ezekiel, the Prophet, chapter 35 verse 5

Other renderings put the same phrase this way –

  • because you kept this age-old grudge. The Message
  • because you kept eternal hatred. NLT
  • because you cherished perpetual enmity. ESV
  • because you maintained perpetual hatred. CSB
  • because you have had everlasting enmity. NASB

The challenge to me was to inspect within myself, those areas that may be harboring any type of grudge, resentment, or bitterness; those unresolved, concealed or secret hurts, or offenses. God was calling me to identify them for what they are – hurts, painful events, and to let them go by allowing Him to uproot their poisonous taproot of resentment and bitterness.

I believe this same experience is what He would have for all of us. He is wanting to completely heal us of all of our grudges, bitterness and resentment. He wants us to be whole and unhindered by negative, past feelings, memories and experiences. Letting go of the anger, bitterness, hurt and pain of the past allows us to focus on the present.

When we hold on to grudges and resentment, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.

Piedmont Healthcare, Angela Buttimer MS, NCC, RYT, CPC

In the book of Hebrews, we find this very same issue being addressed:

Make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.

Hebrews 12:15 TPT

The Apostle Paul adds this piece of insight to this whole issue of anger, bitterness, resentment and grudges:

In your anger, do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV

It is apparent that unresolved anger leads to poisonous roots growing in our heart, and yields a place for the devil with his toolbox of sins to grow.

One last quote and then we will look at a story.

James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote the book of James, and also knew a thing or two about envy, and selfish ambition left us this piece of wisdom: (geesh, can you imagine dealing with the envy, bitterness, resentment, and misunderstanding in this home between these brothers??!)

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts….such wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, demonic…”

James 3:14 NIV

All of us have had conflicts from which grudges have grown. Those grudges sorta become our consolation prize- we were wronged and now we get a grudge. It seems to serve us as a way to compensate for our negative feelings.

A perfect example of this is found in the story to which Ezekiel was referring in our opening statement about harboring ancient hostility.

The story begins in Genesis 25, where we see Rebekah about to give birth to twin boys who we now know as Esau and Jacob.

Even from the womb these boys were jostling, wrestling and competing. Gen. 25:22 As they grew, they developed very different likes and lifestyles. Esau was an outdoors, hunter kinda guy, while Jacob was a stay at home, cooking in the kitchen type. Esau and his Dad were close, Jacob and his Mom were close. Gen. 25:27

The first glimpse we have of growing tension between Esau and Jacob is when Esau comes in from a long and exhausting hunt and is famished. Cooking in the kitchen is, guess who? Yep, Jacob. Esau asks Jacob for some of his yummy, red, stew, so Jacob finagles a deal – food for your first-born birthright. Esau easily caves and swears an oath to Jacob, stew for my birthright. Genesis 25:34 says that Esau hated his birthright.

Esau had given up his firstborn position in the family. Some would say Jacob tricked Esau out of it. What do you think?

Either way or both ways, Jacob was now considered the firstborn son with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. And so it begins, the grudge holding, bitterness and resentment.

Some years later, when Isaac, Esau’s dad was old and blind, he asked Esau to hunt him some game and prepare him a meal, because it was time for Isaac to pronounce his Fatherly blessing on his sons. Overhearing this request, Rebekah called for Jacob and told him to fix up Dad’s favorite venison meal. While Esau was out hunting, Jacob was cooking in the kitchen.

Making a long story short, Jacob and Rebekah hatched a plan that worked and one in which the Father’s firstborn blessing would be pronounced upon, you guessed it – Jacob!

When Esau returned to Dad and heard that Dad’s blessing had been given to Jacob, he vowed to kill Jacob. This was not a happy family. His grudge was now exploding and all of his pent up anger, bitterness, resentment came cascading from his lips and life. Jacob was gonna be toast if Esau had his way. This was no small grudge anymore, this was a pot boiling over with anger, hatred and bitterness.

Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

Genesis 27:41

Mother Rebekah realizes the depth of Esau’s anger and seriousness of his threat and arranges for Jacob to steal away and live with her brother in a distant city “…for a while, until your brother’s fury subsides… when your brother is no longer angry…and when he forgets…” Gen. 27:42-45

So Jacob is on the run to uncle Laban’s while Esau is seething with anger and resentment towards his younger brother.

Insert your family story, change the names & context, but make it yours. At some point each of us has had to deal with some sort of family tension, event or encounter that has presented us with holding onto a grudge.

It’s past time to let it all go. It’s past time to be healed and to heal the broken relationships as much as possible. Pull up the anchor at this harbor and sail on a new course free from those hindering grudges. Freedom and healing will not come unless and until we do.

Jacob and Esau met again, they didn’t kill each other and they weren’t best bros either. But they got over it and more importantly, God used it in both of their lives to bring about good. That is what you can trust Him to do for you too.

Cue up Elsa, “Let it Go”.

The doctor is ready to heal you from what you are horboring.

Debbie

A Blessing in the Wilderness

Sitting here, I’ve been attempting to see and sync historical connections and have them make sense. I was wrestling, pondering, & researching until this sense settled on me, “It’s not about history, as much as it is about now,” the Lord spoke clearly. “Ok, what are you saying about now, Lord?”

I have a blessing for my people.

Allow me to go back for a moment.

Over six weeks ago, I began studying the events within the book of Numbers. From the first six chapters, I clearly heard the Lord speak, “This is for today”. Each of those first six chapters of Numbers began with the phrase, “And the Lord spoke…” The word was clear, this is what the Lord is speaking to us today too.

So, seizing that impression of the Spirit, I proceeded to write six Sunday Sermon Blogs, sumizing what the Lord is saying today, to us. They are:

  • June 18, 2022 – Father’s Are Essential
  • June 25, 2022 – Under What Banner Are You Camping?
  • July 2, 2022 – Gardians of the …
  • July 9, 2022 – Calling Out Those Who Are Called to Carry
  • July 16, 2022 – Clean Up in America
  • July 23, 2022 – A Holy Nation

Thinking that I was done, (because chapter 7 begins a different way & goes in a different direction), I paused and reviewed Numbers chapters 1-6. Tucked away, in the last 6 verses of chapter 6 is the one of, if not the most powerful blessings of the Old Testament. “The Priestly Blessing” or the “Aaronic Blessing”.

It reads –

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ” Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: You shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

Numbers 6:22-27 ESV

The Lord wasn’t done speaking to me, or them or YOU! He had a blessing yet to be released upon His people – a blessing for us, in our wilderness. For you, in your wilderness.

Let’s look at it more closely.

  1. The Lord – bless & keep you
  2. The Lord – make His face shine on you & be gracious to you
  3. The Lord – lift up His countenance on you & give you peace

Notice, three times The Lord‘s name, Yaweh, is mentioned? This represents emphasis and carries force with it. It also represents the fullness of God and His promises. Three in one Lord – Jesus, God and Holy Spirit. This blessing, the favor of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit is all in all here. Wow.

Each verse then, conveys two concepts of blessing. The Father God, 2 concepts. Jesus, the Son, 2 concepts. And Holy Spirit, 2 as well.

The promise and favor of God is promised to bless you and keep you. An invocation of blessing is being spoken upon you by God and a hedge of protection is being built around you to guard and keep watch over you.

The blessing that flows from the Lord, Jesus is His light breaking into your darkness and bringing His illumination and glory, and as a loving bridegroom, bending down and bestowing kindness, grace & favor upon His beloved.

This blessing from the Holy Spirit brings a lifting up, as the flood lifts up the ark and with it complete contentment, soundness, safety and prosperity.

Look at what is spoken over you by the Lord. Look at what His promise is to you. Look at all He provides to His people, those who listen for and follow His voice. Blest indeed are we.

What more could we possible need? Why do we seek anything else?

We must remember that the Lord is faithful and rewards those who deligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 Their reward is His blessing, favor, protection, peace, illumination, kindness, grace, contentment, prosperity and soundness.

The power of this amazing priestly blessing is for us, not just the Israelites. It is for the fathers, the families, the carriers of His presence, the guardians of His presence, the cleaned up (by repentance) and set apart ones. (mentioned in chapters 1-6) God’s blessing is promised AND spoken upon them, upon Us.

Could it be that the reason the number 1 video, “THE BLESSING”, was circulating in every nation during the 2020 pandemic is because that is what THE LORD was speaking to His people worldwide? The Lord was speaking The Priestly Blessing over His people worldwide. Jesus, our high priest was speaking His blessing, favor and peace upon His people in the midst of their wilderness experience.

The Lord was blessing His people worldwide by setting His name upon them and marking them with His honor, authority and character. I believe it was released worldwide in 2020 and is still settling upon those who choose to follow Him.

God was blessing them in the wilderness in 1440 BC and He is offering that same blessing in our wilderness of 2022.

“The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22

Let’s open ourselves up and fully receive it. Let’s walk in the blessing of the Lord in our wilderness.

THIS is the only place that we will find true unity and brotherhood. In the blessing of the Lord – worldwide.

Receive right now, your blessing in the wilderness.

Debbie

A Holy Nation

It is no secret that “a holy nation” has been the desire of God since ancient times. From Exodus to 1 Peter, we see-

…you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9

So it really didn’t surprise me in my study of Numbers, to find that the 6th and final topic “the Lord spoke to Moses” in the wilderness about was holiness.

Holiness, is the the 6th time “the Lord spoke”… do you remember the other five?

  • Fathers Numbers 1
  • Standards Numbers 2
  • Guarding Numbers 3
  • Carrying Numbers 4
  • Cleansing Numbers 5
  • Holiness Numbers 6

Let’s begin by establishing the difference between cleansing and holiness. ( 5 & 6) Cleansing is the removal of dirt. Holiness is to not play in or near the dirt. Cleansing is a repeated act as needed. Holiness calls for intentional separation.

God is more than faithful to forgive and cleanse our sin, yet His heart longs for a people, a nation if you will, who choose to separate themselves to Him in holiness. Because He is holy. Leviticus 11:44-45;19:2; 20:26; 20:7; 21:8; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Deuteronomy 23:14

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink… All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head… he shall not go near a dead body. All the days of his separation, he is holy to the Lord.

Numbers 6:1-8 ESV

In His quest for a holy nation, there is a opportunity given to any man or woman to voluntarily submit themselves to the “Vow of the Nazarite”. The length of this vow was up to the individual, but what it involved was specifically outlined in Numbers 6 :

  • The individual was to separate themself to the Lord
  • The individual was to separate from wine & grape products
  • The individual was to separate by not cutting their hair
  • The individual was to separate from dead bodies

There are two separations to holiness revealed here and they both still apply.

  1. Separate to the Lordmotivated by an inner call to holiness and devotion to the Lord, these men and women set themselves apart FOR THE LORD. “They choose to distinguish themselves, by going beyond their own power and become extraordinary with wonderful acts in judgment and redemption. They choose to do a difficult thing by the surpassing power of God”. (This sentence uses the full Hebrew word meanings)
  2. Separate from – this second separation involved holding off or abstaining from certain things. They were:
    1. wine & vine products = represents the inner strength to stand against social pressures
    2. not cutting hair = hair, a symbol of intimacy and covering of the Lord. A growing reminder of one’s time spent with God. Intimacy with Him. Relationship with Him.
    3. dead bodies = represents purity and the desire to be free from contamimation that comes from dead works and things

These Old Testament men and women voluntarily choose to be separated to the Lord in a visible and marked way. Their vows were public and respected by the community. Their choices fulfilled their holy vow, and their length of separation was entirely up to them. This was a personal decision with national consequences.

So too, is the choice we have. It is a willing choice we make, to walk in holiness.

Do we choose to stand against social pressures? Is our intimate relationship with Him growing, uncut and unhindered? Is our lifestyle one of purity, free of contaminating dead works?

Paul echos these questions as he writes to the believers in Corinth. He calls out these mismatched alliances – 1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 TPT

  • righteousness verses rebellion
  • light verses darkness
  • Christ verses satan
  • believer verses unbeliever
  • God’s temple verses demons

He calls believers to stand out in society and be separate, the exact same call to the Numbers 6, Nazarite vow volunteers.

He even uses the same words when he exhorts them to ” touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…”

1 Coringthians 6:17 ESV

In these days, is there a distinction on those who have allied themselves with a life of separation to the Lord. There should be! Not only not touching unclean things, (cleansing), but voluntarily signing up to live a life separated to Him and abstaing from worldly contaminates. (holiness)

Where are those who will accept the invitation to share in His holiness. Hebrews 12:10 And run swiftly toward holiness. Hebrews 12:14 Those who will come closer to God with an open heart, fully convinced nothing will keep them at a distance from Him. Hebrews 10:22

Will you join the ranks of Sampson, Samuel, John the Baptist, and even the Apostle Paul in the Nazarite vow of dedication to the Lord? He’s not looking for Nazarites, He is looking for holiness, those who will separate themselves to Him. Those who will abandon everything morally impure. James 1:22

You decide. This is a personal, decision. But remember, it has national consequences.

I believe holiness will retore a conscience to society. Holiness will restore a moral conscience to our decadent culture. Holiness will restore the presence of God to our nation, because that is where He lives, in holiness.

May millions arise who will join with saints of old in not only cleansing ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, but also in bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord. 1Corinthians 7:1 ESV

May you and I be a part of an emerging holy nation revolution, a counter culture that carries God’s manifest presence. I can think of nothing more exciting or challenging, but I’m in.

Sign me up!

Debbie

Are You Picking Up God’s Voice?

Radio waves are those electromagnetic waves that are transmitted by an antenna and received by a receiver, which then converts the signals (EM waves) into audio or visual form for you to see or hear. You’ve used them, you tune your radio to 101.3, and pick up that frequency, that specific signal. In fact, every wireless technology has it’s own little band with which it receives it’s assigned frequencies.

  • garage door opener 40 megahertz
  • cordless phones 40-50 megahertz
  • wildlife tracking devices 215-220 megahertz
  • cell phones 824-849 megahertz
  • GPS systems 1227-1575 megahertz

Although most raidos are single purpose radios (AM only receives AM signals, FM only receives FM signals, etc.) a scanner receives a wide range of frequencies and can be set to a specific frewuency.

Your brain has similiar capabilities to a radio receiver. Your brain can choose what you hear. For example, if there were many people talking a foreign language at the same time around you, you’ll hear noise. If one person speaks in a familiar language, you’ll be able to hear that one, even if the others are louder, because our brains react differently when we hear understandable language, thus allowing you to hear it clearly. Your brain immediately pays attention to it and turns it into waves.

Our brain never stops hearing. Even when we’re sleeping, the brain is still hearing frequencies and signals. Our ears can distinguish between 100’s of 1000’s of different sounds. No one has an ear or set of ears like yours. Ears are completely individual – like fingerprints. So you have your own little band for hearing that is uniquely yours and singular in purpose. You can scan a wide range of frequencies or tune in on a specific frequency.

In some ways, we could be compared to a car with its antenna raised. Fully functional – it can tune in and out of AM, FM, XM, and car play waves. But with a broken antenna (like my car), signals are limited and static ridden.

We have been manufactured with a built-in spiritual antenna capable of picking up spiritual signals – or God’s voice. We can choose which of the 1000’s of signals we will listen to. We can scan right by God’s voice or we can choose to set our scanner to the frequency of God’s voice. What do we do? Do we tune it out? Is our antenna broken? Do we hear it and respond?

I am encouraged by this insightful verse –

“… long ago God spoke by the prophets, but in these days he has spoken to us by Jesus…”

Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV

God not only spoke to men and women long ago, but He is speaking to men and women in these days. That means we need to tune in to His frequency, and be picking up His signal.

“Therefore, we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

Hebrews 2:1 ESV

“Paying careful attention to what we hear”, is not scanning over or past what we hear God’s speaking to us, it is tuning in and locking His channel down. Even making it a pre-set in our spiritual, brainy, receiver.

There are two useful scripture passages to mention here.

1 Samuel 3 tells of a young boy, named Samuel who was sleeping in the Temple. He was under the tutoring of the priest of the day, Eli. Samuel was awakened 3 times by the voice of the Lord talking to Him. Each of these times he had no idea it was God because the days he was living in were dark and desperate, a time when the revelation of God was rare. Samuel didn’t even know God yet.

But that didn’t stop God from speaking to Samuel. Matter of fact, God even spoke to Samuel a 4th time and this time Samuel said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” And guess what, scripture tells us that God came and stood by him as before and called his name. Then God said, “Listen carefully…” 3:11

Another important scripture along this vein is 1 Kings 19:11-12. Here Elijah, the prohet is listening for the voice of God. He says that God’s voice is NOT in the hurricane, the earthquake, or fire. But God’s voice is like “a gentle & quiet whisper.”

The noise of life drowns out God’s voice. His signal is beaming down upon us for us to pick up on and hear. But are we hearing it, that gentle, quiet whisper? Is His voice above the background noise so that we can hear it? It is but a whisper in our head, a pounding in our heart… are you picking up on it?

“Oh, that my people would listen to me…”

Psalms 81:13 ESV

“My sheep hear my voice…”

John 10:3-4 ESV

As we close, it is interesting to note that the very last book in the Bible places a very high priority on paying close attention to what the Spirit says. Seven letters were written to seven churches and each of them ends with this phrase –

“… he who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…”

Revelation 2:7; 11; 17; 29; 3:6; 13; 22 ESV

Additionally, twice in the last chapter of Revelation it speaks to those who hear, and a warning is given. Revelation 21:17-18

Dear friend, I firmly believe that God is speaking in these days. He speaks through Jesus, and His words. He speaks through the Bible, and He also speaks in a gentle, quiet whisper into your heart and mind. His voice will never contradict or violate the Bible and will always encourage your relationship with Him. He speaks to you in your prayers, through other people and will always align with your spiritual calling. As you choose to draw near to God, you will hear His voice clearer, because He will be drawing closer to you too. To that one, the signal of God’s voice is strong and steady. There is no static, no doubt.

We can choose to repair a broken antenna, by turning back to Jesus. We can choose which of the thousands of signals we will tune in to. We can be a scanner that scans a range of frequencies or we can be a scanner that is set to a specific frequency – that of God’s, loving and firm voice.

We can be like Samuel. Whether it be the first, second, third, or fourth time that God speaks to us, we can choose to say, “Speak Lord, for I am listening.”

It is no accident that the greatest command to every Jew is –

HEAR, O ISRAEL : “

Deuteronomy 6:4

“Listen carefully”.

Are you hearing God speak to you? Are you picking up God’s voice?

Go with God,

Debbie

How Would You Spend Your Last Night?

“Maundy Thursday”

Knowing that tomorrow he would be beaten, whipped, tortured, mocked, falsely accused, betrayed, forsaken, sentenced to death and die, what did Jesus do on his last night? What were His priorities, and more importantly, what are the implications for me?

1. He had dinner with His disciples

At this dinner, it was filled with tradition, sacred remembrances and new insight. For Jesus took their yearly Passover celebration and brought new significance and relevance to it. He took the bread and the cup and explained how they represented his body which was about to be captured and his blood that was about to be shed. And now, as they ate these, they were to remember Him, as their perfect Passover Lamb.

He said it was a new covenant. Not only did they have the old covenant but He was introducing them to something new- a new covenant of love. So when each of them took the bread and drank from the cup, they we’re initiating the new covenant. The one where His life and death would fulfill the old Passover requisites, but also provide the new covenant promises of healing, eternal life, forgiveness, mercy and grace.

It was a dinner full of power, surprises, and sadness. But it was a priority before He left earth.

2. He washed their feet

How could this humbling and seemingly unimportant act make its way to number 2 priority on Jesus last night?

They were looking for a King with powerful rule in His kingdom and they were expecting a place with him in it. Often they sought that place and asked if this was the time for it to come forth. Jesus was now showing them the nature of His kingdom and the King. He was a servant. Serving in His kingdom was its foundation. Serving others and meeting their needs is the path to “greatness” in His kingdom.

Jesus modeled what service looked like. He bent Himself, stooped before them, lowered Himself to help them with their walk. He refreshed them and prepared them for what lie ahead. Serving them, touching them, humbly, He honored each and every one in the room.

Demonstrating servant hood that night was a priority. They would never forget it and hopefully would live a life of service to others.

3. He agonized in prayer

After dinner, they all went with Jesus to the garden where He often prayed. He asked them to pray with Him, even tho’ He would go and pray “a little further”. They didn’t make it very long before they fell asleep. But He went on, falling to His knees and even on His face. He prayed like no one has ever prayed. He agonized, sweated and even bled, it was so intense.

His prayer wasn’t for His course to change, but that His strength, grace and purpose would fully accomplish God’s perfect plan. He prayed for God’s continued grace upon Him and redemptions reward to come to fruition. He prayed for those involved in the next 24 hours and those in the next 2,400 plus years!

His agony was for us, as well as Him, and it was vital for the fulfillment of all that the next 24 hours held.

What He did on His last night is a model for our life, to prepare us for our last night. These three actions, are to become the core of our Christian experience. He was telling us-

1. Prioritize family gatherings and traditions and remember Jesus. Share the new covenant- take communion together and remember all He’s done for you.

2. Serve each other. Don’t seek to be served. Humbly meet others needs and seek their refreshment.

3. Pray with passion. Don’t fall asleep or forget to put passion into your prayers. Kneel, bow, fall on your face before your Heavenly Father.

Like I said, these are the heart and practice of every believer. They are meant to prepare us not only for heaven but release the King and His kingdom here on earth.

May we prioritize as Jesus did on His last night and: celebrate communion often and with our family, serve others humbly and pray with passion.

Thus making His last night priorities, ours.

Happy Easter season,

Debbie