Category: Personal Growth

Seeking personal improvement

Serving Our Own gods – part 2

Whether it be, “I don’t believe in god”, “I believe in God. I go to church every week”, “I don’t know if there is a god”, “I believe in God, but serve Him in my own way”, or any other similiar stance, everyone of us is serving some god.

Even Carl Jung, the one credited with developing Analytical Psychology has said,

You can take away a man’s gods, but only to give him others.”

Carl Jung 1957

Those who profess to not believe in god, or to not know if there is a god, surprisingly, may find that their god is actually themself. Their own ways, ideas, desires, feelings, and goals become not only their foundation for values, purpose, worth and direction but also their god. Self-serving wishes and desires permeate their every breath as they seek to make sacrifices for their personal will and choice.

Even those 58% of American’s who claim to believe in the God of the Bible, (according to Pew Research 10/21) find themselves wrestling with serving their own ideas/gods, or the God of the Bible and His ways. And add to this group, those 9 in 10 Americans who believe in “some higher power”- and there is no doubt that we as American’s are serving our own gods.

This is not a new phenomenon of course, but it is a relatively new one for America. America, as a nation was born from the seedbed of The Great Awakening and the preaching of the likes of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, who preached to common people, slaves, Native Americans and even Benjamin Franklin, a religious skeptic. (1) Their whole purpose was to awaken the Christian faith of those in the colonies. The Second Great Awakening followed and so impacted our fledgling colonies that several religious colleges, seminaries and mission organizations were formed.

The climate in the colonies 1730-1790’s was definately religiously charged as all people were encouraged to have a personal connection with God and not just to rely on the church. From this, men and women of deep religious conviction were involved in The Revolutionary War, the writing of our founding documents, the formation of our national government and the leading of our states and nation. Embedded into our documents, memorials and monuments are expressions of thanks to and reliance upon “our benevelent God.”

And although she is not today, she once was a country whose laws, leaders and laymen sought to glorify God and even seek His counsel and wisdom.

We have turned to our own gods now. We have forgotten our roots.

Much like what we see in the history of Israel –

  • One place of worship and one God was specified Deut. 12:8-11
  • Yet, they served their own gods 2 Ki. 17:32
  • They intermarried with pagans (compromising their own faith)
  • And worshipped their idols
  • They adopted their idolatrous religions
  • Their idols involved prostitution
  • Their idols involved sexual & pornographic activities
  • Their idols involved child sacrifice
  • Their idols involved offerings to Baal, Chemosh, Molech and Astoreth and others
  • They worshipped nature, the heavenlies & beasts

Sadly, in America today, we too have turned to such gods. In fact, as we mentioned last week, the gods being worshipped today, are many of the gods of the past, pagan nations. They have infiltrated our nation, and been set up on high places for all to see, unashamed and unaware of the consequences of serving our own gods.

Could it be though, that there is a loving God, who knows man’s inclinations and still chooses to love him?

Yes.

But knowing man’s inclinations just may be the very reason that this loving God’s first of ten commandments is –

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD’S BEFORE ME.” (Emphasis mine.)

Exodus 20:2-3 ESV

A God who knows us, and loves us so much, that He does not want us to stay the same, searching for something to make sacrifices to, searching for something to offer our life for, to sacrifice to, searching for fulfillment, pleasure, reward or success.

Our own gods are man made and impotent. They cannot receive love nor are they capable of giving love. Our own gods are empty and temporary, incapable of lasting love, fulfillment and happiness.

But the God of the Bible is real, present, and powerful enough for anything you’ll ever face. He is full of love, grace and mercy to the one who turns toward Him, to the one who simply turns away from his own idols, and turns toward Him; who turns away from his own ways, and begins walking His.

Towards the end of the New Testament, we find this warning –

Keep yourselves from idols”

1 John 5:21 ESV

May we become more aware of those things (idols) that might take God’s place in our hearts. May we learn to rid ourselves of the things that we look to for help, rather than looking to God.. May we divorce ourselves from fixating on anything more that the One true God. May we rid ourselves of our own idols..

No man can serve two masters”

Matthew 6:24 ESV

Never has a word been truer. Never has this truth been more needed to be heeded.

I believe that God is calling for us to remove all the high places in our life where we have set up things, or people as idols. They are the things that get our full attention, energies, efforts and money. If God is not at the heart of those things then they have become idols to us. Shoot, last year I realized that I had made the Dodgers an idol in my life. They were getting more of my time than God was. I was definately serving my own god.

Those are the things that God is doing in our heart if we let Him. He is helping us to be His wholehearted followers and to have no other gods before Him. The days of honesty are upon us.

Won’t you allow Him to show you where you have idols in your life? Won’t you join so many of us who are no longer serving our own gods?

Debbie

Sources

  1. TheHistoryChannel.com – The Great Awakening

Celebrating 3 Years of Blogging

Three years ago I stepped out into the unknown, into a world I knew very little about, to do something that I felt inspired to do and passionate about. I entered the world of blogging – writing for my newly developed website and sharing personal reflections, videos, and photos with “followers” and those that stumbled upon my blog.

It has been a tremendous adventure and personal challenge to write and post regular inspirational blogs and vlogs. Some I have been super happy with, and others were simsply the best I could do at the time. But all, both written (blogs) and visual (vlogs) came from my heart and the inspiration that I rely upon daily.

Here is a short video recap of 2022 with some specific stats.

We have grown in every way through these 3 years. Our followers, our likes, our comments, & our subscribers. I have grown too in so many ways. But always, my heart’s desire is that you too, would grow, and find inspiration here.

Under Debra’s Palm is meant to be that place where shade, refreshment, and encouragement can regularly be found.

So, from the depths of my heart I thank you for taking your valuable time to read or listen to what I have to say. I trust that you will continue to find inspiration here.

One last thing, you have things to share too. You have a passion within your heart and inspiration brewing inside of you. Let that passion motivate you to step out and into a wonderful world of challenge, fulfillment and faith. You will find your true destiny and purpose as you do, I promise.

I am excited for what this next year holds. So please stick around.

Lotsa love,

Debbie

Heart Disease – It’s About More than You Think

Consider this your personal angiogram to start 2023

After the recent Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest on the field during his Monday Night Football game last week between the Bills and the Bengals, who hasn’t found themselves thinking about the heart? He was resuscitated twice they say, once on the field after 9 minutes of CPR and another time at the hospital. It was all horrible to watch and even worse wondering how he was doing after they took him off the field in an ambulance and later suspended the game.

It’s been over a week now, and he has been transfered to a Buffalo hospital, where he is talking, moving, laughing and walking around with seemingly no brain damage. He apprears to be on the road to full recovery. Some have called it a miracle. Doctors have called it “a fairly remarkable recovery.”

So, with that as our backdrop for the start of 2023, let’s look more into this issue of the heart, and heart disease, cuz there is more to it than you think.

Sudden death heart facts are:

  • 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 80,000 athletes will die suddenly in a year, and most are due to an underlying cardiac condition.
  • In those under 35 years this sudden death is generally from congenital or genetic conditions
  • In those over 35, sudden death is caused by coronary artery disease (due to atherosclerosos)

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a very common heart condition and happens over decades, when the coronary arteries struggle to send food, blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. Their struggle is caused by the build up of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of the arteries. They form hard structures called “plaques”. Now, some amount of hardening is natural as we age, but unhealthy lifestyle habits speed up this “hardening of the arteries”.

Cardio vascular disease in the number ONE leading cause of death worldwide.

Hang with me here, we’re going somewhere, and it’s about more than you think.

As I’m sure you have heard, heart disease causes lots of complications – irregular ryhthms, heart infection, and stroke to name a few. (Not to mention death) And it often displays these symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue or heart attack.

We also know that those with lifestyle habits of smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obsesity are more likely to get CAD. In fact, in 2015, CAD affected 110 million people with 8.9 million deaths.

Doctors attempting to detect that hardening of the arteries (artery blockage), will perform a diagnostic test called an angiogram. Short version of how it works is – it takes xrays of the blood vessels that reveal where the blockage lies and shows just how big it is. I remember when my Dad had a heart attack. They showed me the angiogram that revealed 96% blockage! He died very shortly after that.

Phew, enough of the medical jargon already! Because it is about more than you think. Let me explain what I see.

I have come to see our nation and most of the inhabitants in it as having spiritual heart disease. Through unhealthy lifestyles of indulgence, their heart has hardened towards God and their life is showing signs of pain and pressure, difficulties catching their breath amidst their rat race life, and weariness in the daily demands.

But we hold within our power the ability to combat such hardening of the heart/arteries. If we are willing, we can exercise our will and discontinue the unhealthy practices. Just like we do when dieting, we clean out the fridge and cupboards, and replace them with healthy options.

Spiritual heart disease is no different. For long, healthy and happy life, we must remove those things that will build up in us and cause a hardening of our heart. Most importantly, instead of saying ‘No’ to God we say, “Yes”. Everytime we say no when God is speaking to us, hard “plaque” builds up in our spiritual heart. And if not dealt with, we become hardened in our disease of disobedience toward God, and will eventually have a spiritual cardiac arrest.

Just like Pharaoh’s heart was hardened in the days of the Exodus, people today have heardened hearts toward God and His ways.They actually refuse His healthy lifestyle options, and chose what they think is best and healthy for them. Not realizing it is a heart issue and their spiritual aterties in their spiritual heart are filled with unhealthy plaques. It is a heart issue, it is heart disease, my friend.

I find it no small coincidence that there are so many news stories about heart issues these days. Be they young people dying suddenly, althetes, vaccine controversies, or whatever. There is an emphasis of the Holy Spirit in 2023 on the condition of our heart. Heart disease is about more than you think, it is about the spiritual condition of your heart towards God.

Have you become hardened towards God or is your heart disease free and one that is soft and sensitive to Him and His voice?

Which of these describe your heart?

  • Plaque causers
  • discouraged heart Num. 32:7
  • obstinate heart Deut. 2:30
  • hardened heart Exodus 19 x
  • naughty heart 1 Sam. 17:28
  • a heart of stone 1 Sam. 25:37
  • pride & stoutness of heart Isa. 9:9
  • deceit in his heart Pro. 12:20
  • wicked heart Jer. 4:4
  • stiffnecked and uncircumsized heart Acts 17:51
  • err in their heart Heb. 3:10
  • Healthy heart –
  • willing heart Ex. 35:5
  • upright heart Deut. 9:5
  • inclined toward God Jos. 24:23
  • wise and understanding heart 1Ki. 3:12
  • penitent 2Ki. 22:19
  • not a double heart 1 Ch. 12:33
  • courageous heart 2 Ch. 17:6
  • tender heart 2 Ch. 24:37
  • clean heart Ps. 51:10
  • contrite Is. 37:15
  • a heart to know me (God speaking) Ezk. 11:19
  • a new heart Ezk. 36:26
  • good heart Lk. 6:45

I pray, that as we begin this new year, these thoughts will serve as your own personal angiogram and maybe even shock your heart to a reset for a healthy spiritual lifestyle in 2023. (Like an AED -automated external defibrillator does.)

Heart disease (spiritual and natural) will cause complications in your life and will often reveal signs and symptoms, too. Wise is the one who will pay attention to the symptoms of your own spiritual heart disease.

God’s patience and grace is upon us now, but it will not always be so.

Let’s be wise and heart healthy.

Happy and healthy new year,

Debbie

Resources:

  • Verywellhealth.com – Sudden Cardiac Deaths
  • Mayo Clinic Coronary Artery Disease
  • The Gullen Report 11.22.22 Sudden Death on a Massive Scale
  • Sudden Death Mystery of Healthy People
  • NBCnews.com – “Evidence grows Stronger”, Erika Edwards
  • The Holy Bible

Starting this New Year Debt Free

Happy New Year to You!

As we embark on another trip around the sun, I will be taking these first 2 weeks to prayerfully consider our direction for 2023.

Therefore, I have selected to share the number 1, most viewed video that I have posted, in hopes that it will encourage you (again) as you set out in this fresh new year. It’s topic is timeless and powerful.

There are many types of debt, aren’t there? In this video, we will address what I consdier to be the most important debt we have – the debt of forgiveness. So, here again is, “The Power of Forgiveness”.

May we all walk this year debt free and abounding in mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

God Bless,

Debbie

The Last 2 Warnings (of the Beatitudes)

The Beatitudes, or Sermon on the Mount conclude with Jesus giving us four warnings. We spoke last week about the first two: 2 Gates: Choosing either the narrow gate or wide gate and 2 Prophets: Choosing either fales teachers or truth teachers.

Here are the last two warnings: 2 kinds of disciples and 2 foundations. Check it out and spend some time in self-evaluation.

Thank you for your time and interest, I truly appreciate it.

Please message me if you have any ideas or requests for topics that you would like to see addressed, that would help to equip you spiritually.

Grateful for you,

Debbie

Preparing For Your Exodus

Part 1 – God Sees

This is one of those times I write under the impact of what I hear The Spirit saying to us – to you and me, to believers, and to our nation.

He is preparing us for our exodus, our depatrure from things as we know them, our going out and being set free from our oppression and affliction.

With that theme in mind, it is clear that we can look at the ancient exodus of Israel, after their 430 years in slavery, and draw some comparisons and parallels. So, from now ’til the end of the year, in a 5 part series, we will look at and draw those comparisons with the intention of inspiring you to see that now is the time for you to prepare for your exodus.

The overriding theme of the book of Exodus is God fulfilling His promise to the Patriarchs to make their descendants a great nation, (despite the oppression of the world’s greatest superpower (Egypt) and their own unbelief and disobedience.) Their exodus was so impactful, Israel’s national identity and even their calendar reoriented around the month that they came out of Egypt. And, their success was totally ascribed to God’s power and God’s character, not their own power, or weak and godless character. (So too, will be our exodus and the display of God’s power.)

As we begin this comparison, let’s start right there. What God is preparing to do is fulfill His promises to raise up His Church, His Ekklesia, despite economic forums or governmental overreach, who will walk in relationship to the Omnipotent God and reveal His character here on this planet, wherever they are. This will be so impactful it will change national identities, and will be marked on all calendars as The Great Outpouring and Harvest.

My friend, this is a personal freedom being offered to you. A freedom from years of oppression and bondage. A freedom to walk in the fullness of God’s promises fulfilled and God’s power revealed. This isn’t some imaginary or delusional hope, this is what God has promised to those that believe Him. He is preparing us for our exodus.

In Exodus 2:23-25, we find our first lesson, preparing us for our exodus. Here’s what it says,

During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.”

It is clear from these verses that God sees exactly what the Israelites are going through and have gone through. God sees. In fact, there are four facets listed here to God’s seeing.

  1. God hears
  2. God remembers
  3. God saw
  4. God knew

God Hears

God hears the groaning because of slavery. God hears the cries for help. God hears the cries for rescue. God hears the prayers offered up to God. Whether it be 3,468 years ago by the ancient Israelites or today, by the Yahweh believers around the world, God still hears.

With believers increasing mightily and threatening governmental leaders, like Pharaoh, taskmasters have been appointed to burden down with heavy loads the people of God. Still the faith filled ones prosper, despite the oppression, all the while the taskmasters treat them ruthlessly.

Making their lives bitter and forced into hard service, even releasing a death decree to kill babies, the Egyptian magistrates dreaded the Israelites, just like many of our governmental leaders make our lives bitter and decree death to our babies. Their dread tho’, will not keep us from multiplying in strength and numbers and faith!

God hears. He sent Moses, the one drawn out of the waters. And so it is, God hears us, and is preparing to send yet another drawn out remnant to free those suffering from bondage. God hears.

God Remembers

God remembers. He is not forgetful like an old person, or dull because of age. He is sharp, precise, and fully cognizant of all He has said and promised. He remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to make their descendants a great nation with countless sons and daughters. They will not be defined by years slavery, but by their covenant with God.

  • Abraham’s covenant – Genesis 12:2
  • Isaac’s covenant – Genesis 17:15, 21
  • Jacob’s covenant – Genesis 26:3-5

God is a God of covenants. He is a God- keeper of agreements. A fullfiller of promises. He is not a man that lies. If He said it, He will do it. Numbers 23:19 He remains faithful, even if we are unfaithful because He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 God remembers!

God remembers that He made you for a specific purpose. God remembers the plans He has for your eternal happiness and hope He has for your eternal fellowship. He remembers the giftings, skills, and even weaknesses He put inside of you and He remembers all of it is being used to fashion you into a highly valued and treasured vessel of honor for Him. God remembers that He is not done with you yet.

God Saw

God saw the people of Israel. The whole mess of slavery, bitterness, oppression, ruthless rulers, death decrees, and unjust treatment. God saw the worldwide mess of Covid, the harsh treatment, the fruitful years in rapid decline. God saw the favor turned to fury. God saw the big picture, not just the immediate.

God saw the victory, freedom, blessing, and fulfillment that lie ahead. God saw it all. Past. Present. Future. He is The Great I Am.

God Knew

God knew. He knew their suffering and He knew their deliverance was coming. God knew that the promised land lay ahead. God knew it was a fruitful place, full of provision and enemies. God knew their future. God knew what they had. God knew what they needed. God knew what lie ahead. God knew their successes and their failures. God knew.

In what ways are we any different? In what ways is God different? Is He not the same yesterday, today, and forever?

As we approach this new year, I believe it is time to prepare to exit the past years of oppression, bondage and silencing. A new season of promises fulfilled, God’s people rising up, and God’s power revealed in signs, wonders and miracles.

He has seen our situation and is redirecting our focus to His powerful deliverance. It will be epic, because our nation, like Israel is in crisis.

Rest assured, God Sees! And when He sees, He hears, He remembers and He knows. Our God sees a massive exodus of sons and daughters, walking in His miraculous power and fully dependant on every Word that proceeds from His mouth.

This is what He is preparing to do in our nation and the nations of the world. This is what He is preparing to do in and through His people, the followers of Yahweh. The land of promises lie ahead to those who are preparing themselves for the exodus.

In continuing preparation for our exodus, please check back for the next 4 parts of this series.

  • God Shows Up 12/10
  • God’s Signs 12/17
  • God’s Last Straw 12/24
  • God Says NOW! 12/31

Before you go, please remember that God sees everything that you are going through and He has heard your cries for help. He remembers well all He has promised you and He sees it happening because He knows your victorious destiny.

God sees YOU, and He is preparing you for your exodus.

Debbie