Sunday, September 30, 2012


There's an account in the New Testament. It's a day where I can just picture Jesus ambling along a dusty road with His disciples. He's teaching them. He's telling them one parable after another hoping they will some day remember all He's taught them and continue, not only to live as He has told them, but to share this information for such a time when He is no longer with them.

This is all found in Matthew 18. He teaches, they listen, they question. Some of it may make sense, some may not. In time, however, they will understand.

Peter speaks up. He has a question about forgiveness. "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" (Matthew 18:21) I wondered where he got the up to seven I did a little research. Hah, why I didn't catch it since it was part of a thought process I'd had earlier in the day, I don't know! It's all about those biblical numbers and their number of perfection or the six days of creation and on the seventh God rested saying it was all good. So Peter would have understood the meaning of the number when he was thinking seven times, being perfection would suffice and it would be complete.

But Jesus surprised Him by saying, No, you must forgive 70 times 7. (Matthew 18:22)  Wow.

All that to say this: Although I knew the answer, this was the reminder I was given in my spirit when I asked, "Oh, Lord, how many times do I need to pray for the eyes of this world to be opened to see? How often do I pray that the truth will be known and understood?" The answer was 70 times 7. But I realized it to mean that we continue until we see results of the prayer. We are not to give up. We are to be relentless. 

Relentless prayers may not always bring about the desired results, we must understand, but it is our persistence that God desires. It's almost like it's more about our obedience than the subject of the prayer, although He is interested in both.

Relentless in our asking for forgiveness of our daily sins. Relentless in asking for God to purify our hearts and bring transformation to our lives. Relentless to see His will done in the world. Relentless regarding eyes opened, hearts softened, ears unstopped and souls saved. Relentless in our reminding God (not that He needs reminding) of specific promises for us, in addition to all the other promises He gives us as His children. Relentless in our study of His Word.

Relentless. Even if we think all we do is request the same things, providing they are not just senseless, useless prayers for our own trivial, self-centered needs (although He's interested in all areas of our lives, we needn't ask to win the lottery...He already knows what we get the point). God wants to hear from us. He loves to hear His children speak. He loves to know we are communicating with Him. He loves to know we need Him.

Be relentless. Let the prayers go beyond 70 times 7 if need be. It's what we must do. He is relentless in His pursuit of us. Let us relentlessly pursue Him...through prayer and worship. 

Forgiveness 70 times 7 times is important. Like with anything else with the Lord, being relentless in prayer too has its rewards.

God does not relent in His love for us, as many scriptures attest. He purposes and His will is done. Although we sin if we turn from our evil ways He will relent from disaster He has brought.

1Peter 3:12 - For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Truth

Galatians 1:8,9 - But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed...if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Oh, the resounding words Paul spoke...twice. Paul, who said he was an apostle but not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead (verse 1). This is a man God used to spread the truth of the Gospel.

Remember, Paul, as Saul, used to persecute the Jews until God revealed Himself to him. Within three days he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the same vigor as he persecuted Jesus' followers, but not through his own words but through the words of God.

Oh, what happens to us when we meet face to Face the Man who changes lives and brings about a true hope (so unlike the empty promises of man). Our convictions change. We see how skewed the world is. We see the evil in the world. We understand why things are the way they are because we have begun to understand and learn about the things of the Bible and see how events of the past were showing us how we would become.

What happens when we take a stand for Jesus even in today's so-called tolerant society? We are scorned and mocked, like Jesus was. We are looked at as different. We are even asked, Why do you have to change??  (This happened to me.) The answer is, because; it's what happens. And that may be why so many do not really want to know Jesus. They like the way they are and don't want to change.

I still need a lot more changing. We all do. Sometimes it seems like no change is taking place at all. But the conviction I have grows stronger the more I see what's happening today because I now know where we're headed. This is where I lose some people. They don't see what I see and don't believe that the world might really be crumbling. And that sets me apart.

Oh, but what are we told...But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1Peter 2:9-10) This may sound like it is speaking of the nation of Israel, but it refers to all who follow Christ, those who have received Him as their Savior.

We are special only because of the blood of Christ. Only?? It is a privilege we have. It's a privilege available to anyone. But it comes at a price...being different, not seeing as the world sees anymore. This is not an arrogant thing, in God's eyes. It is the right thing.

If I back down in my convictions, I turn my back on God. If I give in to the ideals of the world, I give up on Jesus. If I don't speak the truth of God's Word, I am in effect a traitor. Like Paul says later: For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Oh, there's a word that will rub many the wrong way: bondservant. See, we knew following Jesus was considered weakness. No one is going to tell me what to do. I'm my own person. I think on my own. Hey, maybe that's why the world is like it is...because we think on our own, we make up our own rules and cast the rules of God out the window because...they are too strong, too harsh, too convicting, too old fashioned in today's tolerant world, and besides, aren't rules made to be broken??

Whoa, where did all those lies come from, I wonder?! Someone who is the father of lies, a deceiver, wanting all to perish where God wants none to perish.

A bondservant, by the way, means just what you might think...a slave. But to whom would one want to be a slave to, God or man? God, Almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, Who knows the beginning from the end, Who's ways are far superior to man's because He created all things. Oh, how this world has it all backwards. In Christ we have freedom. Through Christ we have life because it's not a worldly life but spiritual...unseen by human eyes. I would rather know my spiritual future is secure through Him than to not know what my future holds.

Look at this:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to  the point of  death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name... (Philippians 2:5-9)

What's this? Jesus taking on the form of a bondservant? If it's good enough for Him shouldn't it be good enough for us? It's all about the pride we carry that causes us to not see or receive Christ. Pride causes strife. And don't we see a lot of that in the our country? God will exalt the humble and bring down the proud.

There is a narrow road that Jesus walks on. There are few people who are on it...because of pride. Because we don't want someone telling us what's wrong with our lives and what right looks like. But to some right is too narrow and wrong is more comfortable.

I am not arrogant in my thinking, as some would believe. Paul shows us that. When he met Jesus on the road to Damascus he was blinded by the Light of Christ. He was instantly shown his sins and changed. He taught, preached only what he was given through his knowledge of Jesus Christ. It can happen to anyone. It happened to me. And what does it do? It glorifies God. Do I see myself glorifying God? No. It's not necessary. I just want to speak the truth as best I can. See further what Paul says:

2Corinthians 4:2 - ...we do not act with deceit, nor do we falsify the word of God. In the full light of truth we live in God's sight and try to commend ourselves to everyone's good conscience.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Ephesians 1:11-14 - In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Don't skip over the verses above. Read them again, slowly. Take them in. Eat these words. Taste and see that the Lord is good and that what He tells us is good, what all He does is for good. We all are offered an inheritance. (Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!) (Jeremiah 15:16, Psalm 119:103)

We pretty much all have inherited something or will someday. Families pass on down prized possessions or what money they have earned, grown and saved. We can inherit good genes...or not. Whatever. You get the point.

Here The apostle Paul is telling the followers in Ephesus what they have inherited. In Christ we have the greatest inheritance, although we won't see it until our days are done. But we can know it is there during our days on earth and look forward to it. There are offshoots that we can enjoy here on earth: peace that passes all understanding, wisdom of the mysteries of God, God's presence in our lives...and more. But the greatest inheritance is eternal life.

Somehow, in ways only God knows, those who choose to follow Christ were predestined for being a follower. I'm not going to try to pretend I understand how it works! I'm thankful that God hounded me for years before one hour...I could not hold back any longer. I submitted, giving Him the go-ahead to begin a work in me. He still has a long way to go... came the blinders, down came the veil, the wax was removed from my ears and my heart changed! In no time I was realizing truth and seeing where He had been prodding me, steering me from one disaster or another to clear the way for His grand entrance into my life.

What are you experiencing that might just be His prodding? What dead ends...what disasters...what illness...what turmoil...what unhappiness? He could very well be working them into His plan for your life. He will turn that thing that seems like a thorn in your side, that thing that is constantly on your mind to unsettle you, to work in His favor to open your heart to Him.

He wants as many as possible to receive the inheritance He has to offer. No matter what sort of earthly family you have or have had, His is far superior and definitely the most important. What makes you predestined for this inheritance is your acceptance of it! That's it! He will give you His seal of promise, His Holy Spirit. Imagine, the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the grave can do the same for you! Life to death. He will live inside You to perform wonderful things.

This same Spirit is the only guarantee for eternal life. We need to question what happens after life on earth. We need to know there are two eternal lives. We don't just die and that's it. One is this eternal life with Jesus. The other is eternal death, a torturous time of agony that is never consumed, never ends. Which would you prefer? God and satan are both jealous after us. Only they are different types of jealousy. God is jealous after us in that, according to the definition, He has a passionate intensity to protect or defend those who are jeopardized. He wants to save us.

Satan's jealousy originated long ago when he was kicked out of heaven for thinking he could be God and trying to replace Him! His pride and arrogance got him the boot. He will not have eternal life and it's his goal to take as many with him as he can. He's doing a good job... satan's jealousy is the jealousy we're more familiar with: covetousness, enviousness, resentment. For what? Whatever our pride and arrogance determine we should be or have, what WE think we rightly should possess. Satan wanted to be God. What is it we want to be? Remember, God lifts up the lowly and brings down the proud.

Jesus purchased our redemption. He died on the cross for our sins. Now He offers it as a free gift to all who receive. He did it so that anyone who chose to receive WOULD receive through Him the perfect eternal life, not the opposite that our enemy has to offer...the temptations of the world, wrapped in glittery paper and tempting little bows. satan promises the best the WORLD has to offer but can offer no more. When death comes, all the "good" stuff is gone and we are destitute in our eternal death because we did not choose the free gift that Jesus has to offer.

Which do you want? Will you be among those predestined to receive the inheritance? 

The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him [prophesying about Jesus], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. [And] if the [same] Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Isaiah 11:2, Romans 8:11)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

If Only

Genesis 12:3 - I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you...
My thoughts are on Israel this morning. If only people would understand the importance of this small country. If only they would take the time to learn about her importance. If only they would recognize that our Christian roots originated there (which may be part of the problem for those who hate Christians and Jews). If only they would realize that not only was Jesus born there, but He will return there in what appears to be the not-so-distant future.
A lot of our troubles come from a jealousy which arose back in Abraham's day between his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael became the middle eastern people group. Isaac was the only son God swore Abraham and Sarah would conceive, the son who was promised to secure the fact that Abraham would be the father of many nations. Ultimately Abraham could not just abandon Ishmael and asked God to bless him as well. So we have two great people groups: Jews/Christians and Muslims. Oil and water.
I am also reminded how God doesn't need to use big things to bring about His plans. He uses the ordinary. He uses the lowly. He used David, a youth supposedly small in stature to kill a giant. He used Gideon's army which He pared down to 300 to destroy an army of 135,000. His own disciples were not all great men but common fishermen or dreaded tax collectors, ordinary men. Jesus hung out with sinners, not saints! He even used women of various standings, including a harlot...and one of His converted followers was purportedly once a prostitute.
You see, as you'll probably get tired of hearing me's all about God. 
So, in the last days before Christ returns, Israel is going to be under siege by the countries around her. The Bible tells us they are comprised of middle eastern countries and it must happen to fulfill what is written. Psalm 83 gives us a clue as to what happens: For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.” Who said, “Let us take for ourselves the pastures of God for a possession.” (Psalm 83:2-4,12) Sounds a bit like what we hear on the news today, hey? 
Israel, the Jews, and Christians are in for a rough time. God has allowed this nation to be small and despised so that His glory will be seen! No one will completely annihilate this little country, this people group, because they are supernaturally safe in God's hands. Yes, lives will have to be spared. But God...will seek and save those He will. Israel, however, whether one likes it or not, will not fade to extinction. They are God's people. It is where Jesus WILL return some day. And anyone who turns their back on them, who wishes them extinct, will pay the penalty. So it behooves us as a nation to stand behind Israel. If only we would get this.
Why? Deuteronomy 7:6 gives us the answer: “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth."
Remember, Israel was freed from Egypt's captivity, crossed over the Jordan River into a land God had promised would be their land. That is today's Israel. Dimensions are shown in the Word. If God promised it, He will not allow it to be taken away. God's people are Jewish so He will not abandon them. It might only look like destruction will come, but looks can be deceiving, as in the case of David and Gideon and certainly other biblical accounts where the underdog came out on top. If we are serious followers of Jesus, we will not be harmed either. Even unto death we are saved. 
Again, this is all about God...His will, His strength, His guidance, His plan. In the end all will see what has transpired, all will finally understand. 
God is greater than any man. His power far surpasses man's. His wisdom, His's all good. His will WILL be done. No person going against this small nation will survive unless they repent of their foolishness. 
God has told us that He will curse those who curse Israel. Let that sink in. If we as a country are not standing behind Israel, what does that say? I believe that those in a cursed nation who continue support Israel will reap the same consequences. Just because we are His children doesn't take us out of trouble. It is our faith and trust in Him that we must have in difficult times. God has told us if we are part of His people through adoption, we will be watched over...even if it means being martyred. The death will bring a glorious future for those who stand firm in God's will. 

If only people would get this. If only they wouldn't turn up their noses at the hard truth. Israel's enemy is gaining control in the world and is planted even within our land. We cannot keep our heads in the sand. We must be wary. We must realize that satan disguises himself and speaks lies to deceive. If we do not get this, our heads are buried deep in the sand and one day we will be quite surprised.

Israel will NOT be consumed. The people will NOT become extinct. God's will WILL be done. It is our thinking that must change. It is our belief that God will bring about the last days as He has shown us.  
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.. (So) do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (2Timothy 4:3, Romans 13:11)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Type of Revival

Psalm 71:20 - You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. 

Our Women's Ministries is doing the study of Esther again on Tuesday mornings. I loved it the first time so I expect it will be just as good this time. As I was reviewing my workbook I saw something I had written in a margin. 

This is what I wrote; it could be a quote by Beth Moore, the writer of the teaching, I'm not sure: When you experience God's distance, remember His promises. Call them out. Praise Him. Worship Him. Then a huge revival of the Spirit will come. 

It could also be seen as, then a huge revival of the spirit will come. 

There is something to be said about our worshiping and praising God...especially in the difficult times when one doesn't sense God's presence. If one is a child of God, He is always there. He tells us He will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes He is quiet that we might dig deep into our trust and faith and when we come through whatever it is, we can see where He has been guiding us, unseen, all along. 

And we know He has been there! We can see where even though we have felt alone in our illness or struggle, He was there all along to hold us up, even at times when our human frailty got the better of us and praise was not part of our vocabulary.

But as the quote above says...if we praise God in the midst of whatever, a revival of the spirit, our spirit one could believe, takes place. Oh, corporately if a whole congregation, or even a close knit group of prayer warriors, worships and exalts the name of God, the Spirit of God will descend to let us know He has heard us! September 16 blog.

Esther had no idea what great things God was going to use her for. She was in the midst of the worst time of her life with the fact that she was being asked to possibly give her life to save her people, the Jews.  But GodO saw her through and used her in the midst. When we have come through something that brings sorrow or agony or even a touch of discomfort, when we come through we can have a revival is spirit. It's joy to our soul. 

I've not been feeling well for several days and have been on vacation. The two don't mix but you make the most of it. I've prayed for relief, although sometimes I think it was more like words of frustration more than prayer. Last night after all the hectic travel and activity was done, I felt like I'd hit a wall. I was convinced I'd be heading for the urgent care facility in Gold Canyon. But then I miraculously slept the night without any disturbance and awoke feeling much better than I had in days. Better but not 100%.

God got me through even though it was not only frustrating but sometimes uncomfortable. Thanks are given to a concerned husband and understanding friends. There was a high five with Jim this morning followed by a hug. That's how I then responded to God. A high five to the sky and a imaginary hug with thanksgiving in my heart for even the smallest relief.

Our God never gives us more than we can handle, and although this wasn't the worst thing in the world, it was enough to take the wind out of my sails for awhile. The psalm above shows how in the deepest despair or the slightest of discomforts He stands along side us. He cares about every aspect of our lives. Now comes a time of rest and hopefully recuperation.

God spoke to my spirit this morning: I have been with you. I have seen you through and I will continue to be by your side. Trust Me. I WILL see you through. Keep praising and trusting.

Luke 12:6-7 - Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Could I Say, What Could I Do?

Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

My mind is reeling again. I wish I could express all the emotions that are running through me. But I really cannot. But that's okay. God knows, God understands. No one else needs to.

Whaaat? I've been weepy for weeks now. Not sure why. Things I've not figured would cause me to become emotional, either through anger or weeping, are doing just that. It's a mystery. 

As I drove to church this morning I felt an amazing sense of peace. Like I knew it would be a good day. I was not disappointed. Our worship was off the charts, out this world, knee-weakening and emotional. It was, in a word, amazing. And definitely not long enough! The power of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Lord, was heavy on us. It wasn't about the songs we sang. It was raw power in the atmosphere. There was one song, however, that had so much meaning, at least for me. It was like I was, once again, really pouring my heart out to God in song, prayer and worship. It was like I had become a new person all over again. 

The song was The Stand by Hillsong. As we sang the song the words started out: You stood before creation, eternity in Your hand. You spoke the earth into motion, my soul now to stand.

The words gripped me like I'd never seen them before. Take them in. God stood before creation...already knowing the beginning from the was all in His hand. Then He spoke and all things came into being...not through evolution, mind you. He spoke and it was good. I came into being; you came into being. He knew me, and you, before creation, then created us (knit us in our mother's wombs...picture that in your mind's eye) and He knows the plans He has for us. Some will see the good plans He has set before us, some will avoid those plans like they were a plague. Some know where our souls are bound, some could care less...but they should...because they are eternal.

I have been overcome over the last couple weeks with the stuff that is happening in this world. In Sunday school we discussed how the world is in a spiritual battle yet many don't see it that way. I've mentioned time and again how I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but not sure what it will be. It might be about ready. And how I sensed it could only be considered spiritual. 

We blame political parties, we blame religious fanatics, we blame our friends, family, spouses, the weather. We point fingers here and there. But what if this has nothing at all to do with people at all? Huh? I said it's a spiritual battle. And yet because we only see it being played out physically we don't look at it that way. Huh? Not making any sense? 

There IS a spiritual battle being played out. It's been a spiritual battle since Adam and Eve. That slithering, slimy snake... Evil has taken over the world. It has wormed its way into all things. We have an enemy who is greater than any physical enemy we point our fingers at...political or religious. He has a name. It is satan. He is known as a deceiver and it is his job to steal, kill and destroy...and he's doing a very successful job of it. But the good news is: Jesus will be the final Victor and all those who follow Him will be victorious as well!

The enemy takes the truth and turns it around to make it sound good. He takes evil and makes it easy to the eyes for many to fall into. If we can't recognize it, we don't know what truth is. We don't know Jesus Christ, to be quite honest with you. The only way we understand truth is to know Truth and Jesus is Truth. 

The song went on: 
You stood before my failure, carried the cross for my shame. My sin weighed upon Your shoulders, My soul now to stand.

Jesus did it all. I was a failure until I met Him. Although I'm not perfect, He carried the cross for my shame and for the sins of the world. Every sin I would ever be guilty of He knew about before the cross! But He went just the same. Every one of your sins, past, present and future, He knew about before the cross. Does this mean anything to anyone?? How can He do that? How did He do it? He knew what He was getting Himself into and He died on the cross willingly, lovingly, shamefully just so we would all be free. 

And the song went on: 
So what could I say? So what could I do? But offer this heart oh God completely to you.

This is where I fell apart. This is when, I believe, the Holy Spirit of God came so strong to open eyes and hearts, to revitalize and reconnect and hopefully to draw new people to Him. There were people worshiping who have not lifted a hand in a long time. Hearts were being poured out all around. All that Jesus has done for us...for me. Where have I gone with it? What have I said, what have I really done with it? What could I say or what could I do? All He wants...ALL HE our complete devotion to Him. When we allow this, He will give each one of us exactly what we need. My need may be different from yours, but He knows that and He gives accordingly. How could we turn such love and provision away?

I hear and read hateful words being spewed across the internet, on Facebook, on YouTube, against any and all things and others that people disagree with. And I have fallen prey to "liking" some of it. Shame on me. Why? Because there's a spiritual battle and the enemy is working hard to bring division among us all. Amazing how he can deceive through blindness and delusion...and amazing how he has succeeded. And what does Jesus want?, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Where are any of these in our hateful words?

Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. Satan causes us to wander the wrong paths, learn a lie and then live it and he brings death in the end. And yet people don't understand this. Because he has deceived them!! Some even think Jesus is a fraud. 

What could I say, what could I do? What could anyone say or do? Offer our hearts completely to You. It's time to stand up for the truth. It's time to stop hiding behind whatever we hide behind. The darkness of the world is overtaking us. Funny, as our pastor was praying about the darkness this morning, I had a very vivid vision of darkness all around me...yet there was a light that surrounded me, lighting the way for me. That light is the light of Christ. It is the light of His truth. It is the light that causes darkness to stay at arm's length or farther from me. It is the light that is available to any who seek Him.

How did the song end? A declaration, my God:
So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One who gave it all. So I'll stand my soul Lord to You surrendered. All I am is Yours.

Are we all surrendered? Surrendered to the One who will dispel the darkness when it rises around us by the power of His Spirit within us? Surrendered and about His business, watching His plans play out in our lives...or are we watching as life looms heavy and creating chaos in our lives? With Christ there is no chaos. What can you say or do? You can say you trust in Jesus. You can stand for the truth of His Word...plain and simple...and be in His will. There will always be darkness but those standing closest to the Lord will be victorious in the end. 

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Test of Fire

Zechariah 13:9 - I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, "This is My people'; and each one will say, "The LORD is my God."' 

I wept as I watched a powerful video, Test of Fire, I receive via email. Here it is. These days my heart has been contemplating all this nation has been, how it was originally started and for what reasons. It was to escape oppression. It mimics the escape God allowed Israel when they were held captive, in bondage and slavery in Egypt. And God allowed their exodus with the hope of the Promised Land. 

Although they wandered 40 years because they managed to quickly forget Who removed them from their oppression, the next generation, who wasn't even in Egypt, made it to the Promised Land which is now known as Israel where they would create for themselves a new life in a new land in new freedom. Isn't that like what those first pilgrims did when they came over the Atlantic and toughed out their first years in America but established a new life? They came here for their religious freedoms. God wanted even disobedient Israel to have the opportunity to turn back to Him and removed them from their bondage that they could worship Him in freedom.

And so we became what the world has known as a Christian nation. However, I wonder how many people around the world see us that way now? We have distorted truth, blatantly going against the commands of our God, the One who is supposed to be our highest authority and who has been booed and eliminated and trampled on by those who do not recognize Him. Oh yes, we came here to freely worship and little by little that freedom is being removed. I will hold my tongue regarding the matter of others' ability to worship angers me too much.

Trust me, God sees. God knows. God is keeping track. In this video were the words that struck me the most: Your vote will affect your freedom…and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? How we vote WILL be seen, known and kept track of by an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God. Although neither party is perfect, one stands more strongly for morality and biblical principles. In order to understand those biblical principles we must believe that God is our true authority. We must put Him on the throne of our lives as well as our country. We must trust in Him for our provision. We must know Him intimately. We must know His Word and what He tells us about who we are in Him, how He takes care of His children, and the nation(s) who call Him their God.

Removing God, voting against His principles is not a good idea. Eternal futures are determined on our choice. Although many know the difference between right and wrong, there is an even greater understanding of why we should be making wise choices when we know God's view on them. We can read the Bible and read the words, but that greater knowledge comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, which indwells each person who has received Christ. Just like the Holy Spirit indwelt Jesus, when He shed His blood on the cross, that same blood spiritually begins to flow through our veins when we receive Him. 

This week I also saw an article with a reminder that it is God who appoints and deposes rulers. Those who have not read these biblical words may say it is we people who vote them in. But there is so much about God we just do not fully understand. He directs even those individuals' votes. Like I said, there's a lot of God's word we have to take by faith. If the Bible says it, it's true. Period.

The article used these scriptures that explain this: Daniel 2:20-21 - Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. As the article went on it was a sharp word on our upcoming election. Even the media are saying it will be a close election. And no matter what the outcome, we must believe that God has a reason. 

Whoever God appoints as our leader in the next election will be part of His plan. It gives me chills up my spine, either way. And it came to mind also that we are, as difficult as it might be, to be obedient to the "king" not matter who it is because it is our duty, because he IS God's servant, His choice, His will. We are seeing the last days being played out before our very lives. Our Lord is getting closer to His second coming. Life is all about Him. It's not about us, our desires, our power. In a way life is a test to see who will respond to God's call. It's about knowing the truth about eternal life and living here on earth following His commands and sharing Him with others. It's our relationship with the Almighty God.

Truly we are being faced with this Test of Fire. It is imperative that at every election that we vote godly principles. That is our command. Whether our votes bring in the candidate of choice or not, if we have done this, we have done God's will. 

I praise my God for His infinite wisdom, for His grand design, His plan for us. My prayer is that more people will begin to understand His ways, recognize His truths, submit to the King of all kings, the Almighty Ruler, full of integrity...not at all like any man.

Psalm 7:9 - Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tests the hearts and minds. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


2Chronicles 7:14 - If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

My, my, my. If this scripture which seems to be one rolling off many people's tongues these days, isn't just what we need to do. With all the stuff going on election-wise between RNC and DNC it's mind boggling. Platforms. Sadly, neither party is far from perfect. But one party did, no doubt, made a great faux pas recently.

Haven't we heard a lot, maybe more than enough, about platforms lately? As I sat in various areas of church Sunday (prayer, Sunday school and sanctuary) the word platform came up time and again. The definition of a platform as Merriam Webster states is a plan or design; a declaration of the principles on which a group of persons stands; especially: a declaration of principles and policies adopted by a political party or a candidate.

So what was the faux pas? Well, unless you've been in outer space or without any form of power, you know what I mean...the removal and party-splitting reinstatement of God and Jerusalem this past week in one platform! As someone I know wrote: Actually, I think the references to God in the platform were reinstated. Uh, yes, but did you notice the reaction? Was it a 100% vote, I ask? There is no way something like what transpired can be just whisked under the rug like it did not happen...or that it has been truly rectified. The decision still leaves a cloud over it all. Damage has been done.

If my people who are called by my name... We had better do this. This is the better tack to take for this country. Asking God's forgiveness for, as I also recently heard stated, kicking God to the curb once again. How many times can this nation do this without some repercussions?

How many times did Israel do this? And how many times did they suffer the consequences? Will we as a people ever get it right? It's something we can only do one person at a time. It comes with receiving Christ as Lord of our life, acknowledging Him as Supreme Authority over all life. It's declaring the principles for which one Person stands. Godly principles. A godly platform. The solid platform.

Jesus cannot run for election, though He would have my vote. If He did run His principles would not be very popular. They would be extreme compared to how we live today. And then there's all the differing opinions as to just exactly what He meant when He said _____ (you fill in the blank). Even we would not get it all right.

We are all sinners with differences of opinion, even when it comes to understanding Jesus' words and God's commands. But that's why He gave of Himself for us. His death, His blood has cleansed those who call Him Lord and have given their lives to Him. He knows how imperfect we will always be, but through Him we are made righteous.

Judging by the reaction opposed to putting God and Jerusalem as Israel's capital back into the platform there are some who are quite offended at the idea. Those opposed to God are His enemies. If God is removed we could surely see the destruction of our freedoms...we are already seeing them being eroded.

James 4:4 shows us what we are when we oppose God...Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Romans 8:7 puts it another way.  ...the corrupt nature has a hostile attitude toward God. It refuses to place itself under the authority of God’s standards because it can’t (God's Word Translation). Strong words? You bet. Maybe it's why the mention of God is offensive. In our human pride and arrogance we can bristle at times when we know we are those imperfect souls.

The name of God is to be exalted in all the earth, not kicked to the curb, and no matter who we are some day every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is God! 

But here's the good news! If we DO humble ourselves, ask for forgiveness for how we've felt or what we've done or been, He is quick to forgive in return.

My platform in life is the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Call me fanatical, call me anything you want. This is only strengthens my stance. I believe I am on the winning team in the end. I'm thankful for that too. No one is going to tell me that God does not exist nor that it is a weakness to cling to such a belief. My trust will be in Him. His platform is sure. His platform is truth. His platform has and will stand the test of time.

We can come together and pray for our own forgiveness and the forgiveness of this nation. But it's still God's will that will be done. (Another blog on this!) We are a nation in peril. Thankfully, those who know the Lord need not fear, even if things get difficult. He will protect and provide for His people. He will give them strength when it is needed most. Praise God for that!

James 4:10 - Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Without God...

Psalm 27:8 - When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."

Time and time again Israel strayed from God even though they knew and experienced His provision. Like in our country's past years, when life became rich and the way of the world seemed prosperous, like Israel, God was turned aside for the things of the world set before them. Many today have forgotten He is our provider.

But think back...when God was ignored, what happened? Things fell apart. Lives became more difficult...provision was removed. What was God doing? Psalm 27:8 above explains what He desires...we come back and seek Him...for His provision, His mercy, His grace...then He will hear and take us back.

One nation without God will see disaster. One nation without God becomes divided. Aren't we seeing this? We must seek His face and we must humble ourselves and do what is right in His eyes for this nation.

He pleads for us to return, but it falls on many deaf ears. He will be merciful if we humble ourselves and seek Him. He promises good, not evil, but it seems evil will prevail and there will be consequences. His heart is saddened and angry, but desirous of mercy toward us. But it is up to us.

Hear Him speak. There is nothing better than to hear the direct words of God. Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. His heart went out to Israel; his heart was an expression of God's disappointment in His people. Jeremiah's words are as applicable today for all. They are God's words spoken through Him. Although God weeps for His people and His words are hard, He will have compassion IF they turn from what they have sought and seek Him again.

The United States was formed by God's hand, bringing us into a land of freedom. It was developed with the belief that there was a Divine Authority over it, that it would prosper (and it has) as long as He was deemed the ultimate authority. Well, it seems there are some who want nothing to do with God. And as a nation we are beginning to listen to those who want His name to be removed from all things public...because it is an offense.

Listen to an excerpt from Jeremiah. Remember this is speaking about it as if it were speaking of our country. Remember Israel and her time of captivity in Egypt and how God freed them? It's much like this country's history. God gave us this land. All of earth is His. We could very well come under judgment ourselves if we do not turn back.

(Jeremiah), go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, "Thus says the Lord: I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of His increase..." Thus says the Lord: "What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters? Neither did they say, 'Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?' I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination. Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory [God] for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate," says the Lord. "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you," says the Lord God of hosts. (Jeremiah 2:2, 3, 5-7, 11-13, 19)

I'm sure there was always a remnant of God's people, as there is today. A remnant on their knees pleading for His intervention in our lives and our the lives of those who have forgotten...or need to know the importance of God in life.

God will hear our pleas if we just call out to Him. There still is a remnant. Despite what happens in the world, they are safely under His protection. Psalm 27:13 speaks the heart of all who believe and trust in Him: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. All our hearts can be strengthened through knowledge and worship of Jesus. Let us as a nation stand against the omission of God. Let us look to Him for our provision. Seek Him, seek goodness...or evil will prevail.

Amos 5:14 - Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you...