A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth


June 21, 2024

Like the Disciples, Will We "Get It" in Time?


As so often happens, when I'm inspired to write a blog post it becomes a confession of sorts; my working out a spiritual issue that the Lord has put on my heart. I wake up at 4 in the morning, seeking understanding from Jesus and asking for clarity on how to solve a crisis of faith. And because I've clearly heard His instruction that He made me to write to please Him, I find I can express myself the best when writing my thoughts and conversations with Him -- much better than in my contemporaneous speaking. So, I invite you to partake in what He has revealed to me this time about the level of faith we experience.  

My newest questions for the Lord began to surface after watching the highly emotional last scene in episode 4 of The Chosen. I know there are many hyper-religious Christians who would tell me that they find this series unBiblical and unworthy of being accountable to the life and times of Jesus. But I discern that it is not the intention of the series to report every word of Scripture concerning Jesus, but rather to illustrate and link the themes of Jesus's teachings in the Bible; to give us a fuller scope and range of what Jesus was conveying to His Disciples [including us]. 

So, whenever I hear this criticism, I am always brought back to Proverbs 25:2 ... It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out, and John 21:25 ... And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were recorded one by one [or in detail], I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. This is why the scenes regarding the faith of the Centurion [in comparison to the faith of the Disciples], and Jesus's responses to both have touched me so deeply. 

Because I am a student of the Bible, I can recognize how the writers of the show have interwoven verifiable Scripture with interpretations of the precepts the Bible is trying to teach us. It is here that I subscribe wholly to the suggestion in Isaiah 28:10... that the Bible must be understood "line upon line, and precept upon precept". In other words, God's truth is sometimes revealed in one comprehensive sentence, but also in small principles which build upon one another to form a more thorough or broad understanding. That is what I discovered as I watched certain Biblical scenes being played out on the screen. So, let me share what I discerned and how it provided a new and significant benefit to my faith.

Let's consider the evidence of faith in the Disciples, particularly the brothers James and John in Chapter 10 of Mark -- and then the proof of faith in the Centurion, from Luke, Chapter 7 . Jesus has been increasing His pressure among the Jewish community to understand His mission and its purpose for the Kingdom of God. His miracles are becoming more widely known, even as the religious priests and elders are becoming more dissatisfied with His teachings. And so He begins trying to prepare His Disciples for what was going to happen to him. He gives them a very pointed lecture, saying, "Listen very carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and hand Him over to the Gentiles [Romans]. They [the Romans] will mock and ridicule Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise [from the dead]."    

And what is James and John's response? They tell Jesus they want Him to do something for them; whatever they ask of Him. When Jesus questions their request, He finds they desire to be seated next to Him [in His glory] in His Kingdom; one on His right and one on His left. But you can hear the consternation in Jesus's voice as He tells them they don't have a clue about what they're asking for. "Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism [of suffering and death] with which I am baptized?"  When they answer that they are able, Jesus informs them that they will indeed drink from that difficult cup, but that to be seated next to Him is not His to give. It is only for those for whom it has been prepared by His Father. He further advises them this power and authority they are asking for belongs to the world. Those who wish to become great in His Kingdom become servants and slaves; to serve others, not to be served. And He makes it clear that even the Son of Man will give His life for the sake of others.

So, where was their faith? And what were they putting their faith in? Certainly doesn't sound as if they yet understood Jesus's overriding mission, [or their own] does it? Now, let's take a look at Luke 7 and the faith of the Gentile Centurion, who was a citizen of Rome. From this account we see that the Roman military commander had a slave, "who was highly regarded by him, was sick and on the verge of death. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to Him, asking Him to come and save the life of his slave". This is an interesting passage. From it we can discern that this Roman soldier had been following the miracles and deeds of Jesus in which He healed the sick. But instead of condemning Jesus [as a rebel-rouser] which much of his Roman overlords would do, He believes that all Jesus has to do is "just speak a word and my slave will be healed". He has faith in Jesus's power to heal! 

But what he also possesses, is something that the Disciples have yet to grasp. As a military man, he recognizes the structure of the power which Jesus delegates. He recognizes that, like himself, Jesus is subject to a higher power. He understands that Jesus's purpose is to do the work of the Father, as He is instructed; that He is under orders from this higher Power. He understands the power which Jesus possesses, where it comes from, who He is, and what that means; how He operates. John and James only recognized power and authority as the world gives it. They and the other Disciples did not yet understand Jesus's purpose, nor what constituted His Kingdom. 

That's why Jesus was "amazed" or "marveled" [as some versions say] at what the centurion spoke, and proclaimed "not even in Israel have I found such great faith [as this man's]!"  -- not even among His Disciples, who had traveled the breadth of Israel with Him and lived night and day with Him; who witnessed all His miracles and had spent so much intimate time with Him! The centurion had more faith and understanding than all Jesus's Disciples! 

And it was at this point in Episode 4 that The Chosen was able to express what I have missed and failed to discern in reading the Scriptures. The show was able to communicate how alone [and perhaps defeated] Jesus felt; how frustrated and disappointed. And yes, how fearful His thoughts might have been.... Will they "get it" in time? They were headed to Jerusalem next and He was barreling towards His excruciating death. He had warned them several times that this was going to happen and He would be leaving them, yet John and James's request showed that they still seemed hyper-focused on what mattered in this world -- their status, their power, recognition, pride, and ego.

For the first time, before my eyes, I saw a deeper level of Jesus's humanness and how tired He must have felt -- the anguish He must have experienced, and the burden His spirit carried as He and the Disciples began to make their way towards Jerusalem. And I felt some of that anguish in my own spirit at 4 in the morning. My heart was burdened with grief for Him and wondered aloud, Lord are we doing the same to You now? Have Your followers disappointed You? Do they still not "get" the purpose of  Your Kingdom, and will they understand in time? Have I failed You in any areas of my own understanding?  

As Jesus entered Jerusalem 2000 years ago, the world was on the verge of a new paradigm. And I am totally convinced that we are on the threshold of His return, which will usher in the biggest spiritual and physical battle the world has ever seen. So, Lord I pray for more understanding and clarity of my purpose for You and Your Kingdom. Unlike John and James [at that time in their journey with You], I am actually aware of the cup I must drink, and I pray to have Your strength to see my purpose fulfilled. But just like the Centurion, I am well aware that I am not worthy of Your grace and mercy, and I know what I believe, and You are my Savior and Redeemer and I will trust and serve You all my days.

In conclusion, I sometimes think we 21st Century Christians are no better in our doubts, deception, and self-serving beliefs than our 1st Century brethren. As discouraged as I may get over the ways we have hurt Him, I am glad it leads me to know the heart of my Lord in a deeper and more intimate way. He is closer to me than ever before, and I cannot wait for Him to come again and take me to Himself. Knowing His pain, hurt, disappointment, and anguish has only made me more determined to encourage all Christians to examine their faith. Do you truly know who He is? Do you know what He asks of you? And are you willing to walk the path He walked? If your answer is "Yes", then own your faith. Stay true to it, and BELIEVE in the One who is worthy of it!  

Ephesians 1:17    That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him   

June 17, 2024

We Must Guard Our Faith; Don't Let Your Love Grow Cold!


I want to make it very clear that this post is not about any one person, or persons. In fact, if anything, it is a self-indictment from my own experiences and how I had to come to terms with my own lack of faith in my process of maturing in Christ. The questions and issues I discuss are the result of where God has taken me in my journey, and I believe are valuable lessons that Christians desperately need to learn today! Perhaps you have had some of the same thoughts or issues. So, I invite you to do a self-examination and shore up your faith in order to stand for these times we are entering. And I hope you will leave this post with the understanding that we can endure because we are not alone!      

I'm already starting to see it. Hard times are beginning to fall on people; believers and nonbelievers alike. I hear the warnings spoken by the prophets, both the true and false ones ... "We are in the End Times". All the signs are there: wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation, famines and earthquakes, and the increase in lawlessness. Throughout history there have been seasons that have met these requirements, but somehow this time it feels heightened because the hate and the death of millions across the globe seems particularly calculated by those who bow down to Evil.

It shouldn't surprise us. The Bible says it will happen. But I believe we are only in what Jesus calls "the birth pangs" stage. And because of that, I'm beginning to see doubt and fear -- and as much as I hate to say it ... unbelief is starting to creep into the Christian community. I'm sure we all know someone who is suffering financially. Our economy is on the verge of collapse; the nations are fleeing from the dollar, which has been the world's primary reserve currency since 1944. The result is soaring inflation, and the American people are struggling to meet the rising costs of everything that sustains our physical lives -- food, electricity, gas prices, and the cost of goods that are the underpinnings of business and our economy. 

And just because you are a Christian, it does not mean that you escape these hardships. Jesus tells us we won't! But it's not only our physical life that is under attack, but our spiritual life, as well. And this is where I am deeply concerned. As Christians, we are repeatedly told throughout Scripture that we must prepare to endure and persevere through extremely perilous times! What part of the following admonition from Jesus do we not acknowledge or believe? At that time there will be a great tribulation [consisting of pressure, distress, and oppression), such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will [again]" (Matthew 24:21).

Is it because Christians don't know their Bible? Or do they believe they don't deserve it, and will therefore be spared? Do they think because we are under the New Covenant and declare themselves Christians and go to Church every Sunday, that they will be raptured out of here before the really bad stuff happens? Perhaps it's all of the above. But Jesus says we, who follow Him, will be hated because He was hated. We are not guaranteed to escape what is coming upon the earth. If we truly identify with Christ, then we are baptized into His death and resurrection, and are a target for the Enemy and all who follow him

But back to where my concern lies ... it's the appearance of the spirits of fear, doubt, unbelief and lack of knowledge [in the Scriptures] that I see rearing their ugly heads that has me praying for renewed faith to sweep the land. I know that Christians are being laid off from their jobs and the death count from Covid continues to rise. I know that dreams for the future are being destroyed, and the younger generations are losing hope, while the older generation is fearful of becoming destitute. 

But this is where the rubber meets the road! This is where the depth of your faith comes into play! You say you have faith -- but do you? Are you just saying it, or is your faith active? Having faith is a verb! Can you still praise Jesus and the Father in the midst of your trials? Or do you quickly ask God why He isn't coming to your rescue? Many will declare to Him that they have been good people and don't deserve what is happening to them. And I totally believe that is true in a lot of cases! And they will get angry at Him for allowing them to lose their comfortable life -- whether it is through the loss of health, wealth, or material goods. And they will expect Him to restore it all to them because they didn't do anything wrong. Again, that may be true! But is that asking God to serve them, instead of asking how they can serve Him? And did they make those things an idol? Do Christians covet the things of this world, rather than seek the imperishable eternal rewards that await us in Heaven?

It deeply saddens me to see the depression and despair that are beginning to attack Christians. And, please don't misunderstand me -- I am not making light of the pain and misery that accompanies the loss many are experiencing. When you have worked so hard to achieve things for yourself and family, only to see corrupt and greedy men steal it out from under you, it is only natural to want to blame someone. But we must remember that it is always God's will to bless us. He doesn't "allow" bad things to happen to us. We have an Enemy who is jealous of our position in the Family of God and is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. If your faith is strong, like Job, you just might become his target.

And here's another thought that Holy Spirit has prompted in my own spirit ... what if God has ordained a glorious purpose for your life during your time on earth, and the Enemy is determined to deter you from reaching that divine goal? What if during that trial and oppression from the Enemy, God is also testing the strength and durability of your faith, refining and purifying you in order to see you reach that goal for His Kingdom? Remember, Jesus and the Father want you to reap all the inheritance that has been written on your scroll in Heaven! But we have to sometimes be pruned to become the Conquerors, Over-comers, and Victors we are meant to be. He's not going to move you further along if you aren't mature enough [or strong enough] in your faith to represent Him or achieve your purpose.

I do not want to minimize the struggles that my fellow Christians are going through now, and the physical and spiritual battles we may all soon encounter. But what we are currently seeing is only a blip on the radar screen compared to the scale of trouble and suffering that has never been seen before. These are just the "birth pangs" that precede the intensity, anguish, great discomfort and pain that accompanies the actual labor of giving birth. 

But we can look forward to what this time of crisis will give birth to ... it has a designated purpose on God's timeline that will bring the joy of a new life and the hope of restoration and reconciliation in the fullness of God's plan for His people. So, be mindful of where we are in the history of the world. Be determined to guard your faith against the attacks of the Enemy; be dedicated to your love of God and His Son; and remain unfaltering, unwavering and unshakeable as you persevere and declare your obedience and loyalty to the One who chose you to represent Him in this climactic Age of the world! 

Don't be one of those whom the Bible says will be shaken and "fall away" from their faith when Satan and his lawlessness claim the earth. The Bible says upon His return, Jesus will ask, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth"? Let us be one of the determined Faithful, who is able to stand and say, "Here I am, Lord! I am still standing on my faith and Your promises! My love has not grown cold, and I am still willing and able to serve You for all of eternity"!  

Ephesians 6:13     Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].

      

June 13, 2024

What Is To Be Expected When A Nation Abandons the One True God?


This is a question that I have been asking myself for quite some time, as I watch the growing split within our own nation. It's hard to deny that we are seeing division increasing within our democratic republic -- which is, in fact, an indivisible union between 50 sovereign states. But the lines are being drawn; between the lawful and the unlawful; between the moral and immoral; between those who honor our national heritage and those who want to tear it down; between those who love our country and those who hate it; and finally, between those who love and obey Jesus Christ and those who detest and mock Him. And those voices are getting louder and louder.

The reason I ask the question in the title of this blog post is that I am deeply concerned that we are quickly going so far down the road of an apostate nation, that God is coming to the end of His patience with us. Yes, I understand that our God is patient and slow to anger. But Scripture makes it very clear what happens when we show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that His kindness is intended to lead us to repentance... and then we don't repent. Nahum 1:3 says The LORD is slow to anger but [is] great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. He has His way in the whirlwind and the storm, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.

There are times I think that, as Christians, we often look at the state of our nation through rose-colored glasses. By that, I mean that we assume those who have been given authority in governing this country follow and believe the same principles of God's government in Heaven. And because we believe [by faith] in the promises of God, that our personal covenant with Him will override our national sins and we will escape any punishment that God deems the nation deserves. But all we have to do is look at the example of how God reacted to His chosen nation of Israel to see that He does not promise to intervene when destruction comes upon a rebellious and apostate nation. And we must look beyond our own vision of our country, and see it as God sees it.

Israel went from receiving the blessing of freedom from their enslavement in Egypt and experiencing the miracle at the Red Sea to defying their Defender by building temples to false gods and engaging in pagan practices of fornication and unholy rituals in the occult. They had abandoned God's Laws for generations and their youth no longer knew the One True God who had established them in righteousness. Although YHWH repeatedly called them to repentance, they ignored Him, and He sent judgment upon them by sending invaders from foreign lands who took them into captivity and destroyed their cities and occupied their land. They eventually lost the blessings God had given them.  

What does that have to do with us, you might ask? Israel's story in the Old Testament conveys the Heavenly principle that Sin brings negative consequences. And how mankind honors the covenants they make with our Holy God can result in His blessings or curses. So what do you think the US deserves? Let's take a look at the foundation this country rests its legal and belief system upon. In our Declaration of Independence, our Founders made it clear that "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" were the backbone of this unique document. But did you know that this phrase came from a law book widely used for years before our American Revolution and was regarded as the final authority on human law. So here, according to this distinguished law book, is the meaning of those eight words that established the guideline for governing our nation ... 

Man is considered as a creature, [and] must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being. And consequently, as a man depends absolutely upon his Maker for everything, it is necessary that in all points he conform to his Maker's will; this will of his Maker is called the Law of Nature.

This law of nature being co-equal with mankind and dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior to any other. It is binding to all the globe, all countries and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this. This then is the Law of Nature. It is the law of God expressed through His creation.

If our reason were always clear and perfect, the task would be pleasant and easy. We would need no other guide but the law of nature. Every man now finds the contrary in his own experience; we find that our reason is corrupt and our understanding is full of ignorance and error. This has given manifold occasion for the benign interposition of divine providence which has been pleased at sundry times and [in] diverse manners to discover and enforce His laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The Doctrines thus delivered, we call the revealed or the divine law and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.    

In other words, the writers of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution made it clear they were not founding a secular nation, but rather a nation established on God and His Word. Relying on the Law of Nature and Nature's God, meant that "man does not have the right, nor the capacity to institute any other laws outside of God's laws" [Sir William Blackstone]. So, how do you think we're doing? Based on God's Word which tells us that God most often gets angry when those who have pledged to follow Him and His commandments break their covenants to seek their own will. His wrath is the rightful expression of His Judgment when we mock Him by choosing sin, wickedness, and evil instead of walking in His Holy ways. 

We must face the truth that because God called America into existence, and we established a covenant with Him through the Mayflower Compact, He has the right to determine if we have kept that sacred agreement with Him. Obedience to Him and His commandments guarantees us blessings. But just as Israel abandoned God and would eventually experience the consequences of their disobedience, so might we lose our right to remain a nation before God if we continue to abandon Him. And in case you need to be reminded, our leaders and government began that process of abandonment in the 1960's:

1962: The end of school prayer, and this was the prayer that parents objected to: Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country. Amen. And the stage was set to begin our nation's turning away from God; we began to believe in ourselves as "little g" gods, capable of determining our own path. 

1962: A change in national abortion law is advocated by the American Law Institute.

1963: Lower Court rules the Bible is no longer allowed in public schools. Supreme Court rules that prayer is not allowed in schools.

1965: Homosexual activists begin to challenge the Constitution

1966: Time Magazine declares that "God is Dead".

1967: The Summer of Love begins in San Francisco and free love is celebrated with no regard to the consequences.

1973: In the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, abortion becomes the law of the land.

1973: Feminist leader Gloria Steinem declares, "By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God".

1976: Parents and spouses are no longer included in the decision whether to have a baby aborted.

1981: The Supreme Court decides that a law in Arkansas requiring that Creation be taught alongside Evolution is unconstitutional. Evolution only is taught in public schools.

1987: The life of Jesus Christ is mocked in the movie: "The Last Temptation of Christ", and Martin Scorsese receives an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

1992: The Supreme Court rules that a graduation prayer violated the Establishment Clause.

1998: America's President, Bill Clinton, has sex in the Oval Office with a White House intern, but still enjoys 65% approval rating from American people.

2001: 2,977 Americans are killed in an attack on the Twin Towers in NewYork City

2005: Hurricane Katrina kills 1,833 people in one of the deadliest storms in US history.

2009: Newsweek magazine announces "The Decline and Fall of Christian America"

2012: Democrats remove God from their Party platform as well as all references to God during their convention

2015: Supreme Court makes Same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

2015-2018: Mass shootings rise exponentially in the nation

2018: Transgender individuals are allowed to join the US military

2020: The Covid pandemic begins in US

2023: Over 104 Million Americans have died of Covid, per statistica.com

These facts are by no means conclusive; there is so much more that points to our moral, physical, and economic decline as we have removed God from our national profile. As we increasingly abandon His ways, and continue to lose our way, and refuse to repent [as a nation], why would we expect to escape His righteous anger and holy wrath? Do we really expect to exist as a free people if we have allowed His moral standards to be corrupted and adopted as laws of the land? 

Yes, it is important that we continue to pray and declare the glory and might of Jehovah God, but we must also recognize that the Bible tells us that there are Sheep Nations and Goat Nations that will stand before the Lord to be judged. And all the peoples of those nations will be judged according to how well they served Him. I trust our Redeemer to know those of us who followed His heart, and not to condemn us. But I still believe we will have to endure the consequences of our nations apostasy and rebellion.

So, please join me in praying for our leaders and fellow citizens. Let's join our voices and let Heaven hear us repent for the ways that our nation and our Churches have allowed Him to be removed from our national conscience. Let us vow to enter this spiritual conflict and turn our generations back to Him, the One who created and purposed this nation for His glory. We resolve to never give in to the Evil One and his minions, but to rise in our identity as citizens of heaven on earth , returning our land to righteousness in the Mighty and Holy Name of King Jesus! Amen!

I want to give credit to https://robertcliftonrobinson.com/2015/06/30/when-america-abandons-god-the-signs-and-the-consequences/ for confirming that my discernment is on target and providing historical background of the founding of our country.

Romans 1:18     For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 


June 9, 2024

How Are We to Understand God and War?


If you were like me this past week, your heart was drawn to the images of the D-Day survivors as they were honored for liberating France and Europe during WW2. The pride with which these men [aged 98 to 104] struggled to stand from their wheelchairs to receive the Legion of Honor, France's highest distinction, from French President Emmanuel Macron, spoke volumes of their principles and moral standards. I have no doubt they would fight for freedom yet today, if called upon. When you looked into their eyes, you could still see the teenage boys who never backed down from the inconceivable task of storming the beaches of Normandy under heavy machine gun fire from the dug-in German forces. You could see the indomitable spirits that drove them to scale the 110-foot cliff at Pointe du Hoc from which they were fired down upon from the German bunkers.    

They are known as "The Greatest Generation" for good reason. The world would look completely different today if they had not answered the call, and I thank the Lord that we still have these few men who survived that terrible war in which it is estimated 50-75 million died worldwide (including both military personnel and civilians). The numbers of the Greatest Generation are dwindling fast, and soon we will have no one to give their testimony and provide evidence of the reasons and consequences for war. And it is vitally important that we understand why war exists and how we should take it into consideration.

Of course, our human minds often come into conflict with our hearts and spirits when contemplating war. Most of us would agree that war is undesirable. It leads to fear, disruption in our lives, destroys our peace, threatens our lives and those we love, and for many, results in death. It would be the last resort for most of earth's peace-loving citizens. But we cannot ignore that from the beginning of time, we've had an Enemy that stirs the passions of men for war, for when he can incite the nations to war against each other, "the minds and hearts of the people are diverted from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God" [Ellen G. White]. And we cannot deny that there are men who take advantage of such passions for war for personal gain and profit. Obviously, God does not condone nor approve of these motives.

But does that mean He never advocates war? I think everyone would agree that He grieves over the misery, misfortune, and affliction that accompanies war. He did not create us to experience such adversity. But because sin has entered His creation, and the Enemy still rules on the earth, man's rebellion against God and his fellow man will inevitably result in wars. And that possibility introduces a new conflict to our moral psyche... the clash of opposing options, if you will -- Knowing that God abhors war, do we compromise in order to avoid war? But that leads me to a series of questions that I have asked before. If there is a battle between Good and Evil, doesn't God want us to take a stand and defeat Evil? And does that necessitate war to gain victory? If it's true that we can't compromise or concede our way to a complete and fulfilled victory -- we tried that with Hitler in WW2 --  then don't we have to be willing to fight and go to war?  

From God's perspective, let's look at a couple of texts in Scripture. King David, who was a man after God's own heart, wrote Praise be to the LORD, my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me [Psalm 144]. During our lifetimes, God is always training us for warfare - both physical and spiritual, and in each battle, He is trying to teach us something: how to live righteously in the midst of increasing evil. 

And then there is Ecclesiastes 3, in which King David's heir apparent, King Solomon, received superior wisdom in order to discern between good and evil. He wrote, There is a season [a time appointed] for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven. And who appointed these seasons? God!! Solomon goes on to write, [There is] a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Now, Scripture says these appointed times and events  come from God for His purpose under Heaven. It's easy for us to question the reasons for some of God's decisions, but if we believe that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, then we must accept that there may be wars that He finds justifiable.

To the extent that you can accept these arguments, let me remind you of a quote I posted from Messianic Pastor Asher Intrater in Israel shortly after the October 7th atrocities in his country. The Good Pastor said, "God wants you to know war. That is hard for some to grasp. Fighting in moral, spiritual, and military warfare is part of walking in faith. To fear God is to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13). If we haven't been through war, we miss some aspects of faith: Fighting a war demands obedience, discipline, holiness, faithfulness, courage, sacrifice, a victorious spirit, punishment of evil, justice, and salvation". [I guess this is where what Satan meant for evil [war], God can use for His good -- all the aforementioned]. The Pastor went on, "Messiah Yeshua is not only the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); He is also the Commander of the Armies", as stated in Revelation 19:11, And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who was riding it is called Faithful and True (trustworthy, loyal, incorruptible, steady), and in righteousness He judges and wages war [on the rebellious nations].  

When I was a child the enormity of WW2 and how it encompassed the entire world seemed like ancient history, yet here we find ourselves only 80 years later with even more devastating prospects and consequences of war at our doorstep. Are the nations so far gone that Almighty God is ready to command the angelic trumpets to sound and send Jesus to tread the wine press of His fierce wrath, in judgment of the rebellious world? At His first coming, Christ was dipped in His own blood for mankind's redemption. Is He now set to mount up as the Head of Heaven's armies, dressed in a robe dipped in the blood of the wicked for mankind's judgment?

Only God knows when that time or season of His appointment to the Final War will take place. But I cannot dismiss that we may [or will] experience a cataclysmic war on the way to our ultimate Victory against Satan and Evil. I only know that however and whenever war comes, I must remain steadfast in my hope and trust in the Lord. I will proclaim His Greatness, Mercy, Love, Glory, Justice, and Righteousness in all the circumstances that may befall our nation. I am ready to receive His judgment as well as His compassion and to represent Him to foe and friend alike, to the best of my abilities. I will take captive all thoughts of fear and anxiety; any feelings of hate or revenge, and I will endeavor to stay focused on the Holy Spirit [in me] to guide me in the ways of my Deliverer. Lord, let me stand ready to fight or to lay down my sword -- whatever you command me. Just let Your Goodness and Your Peace cover this world. We are growing weary of the Enemy and his dominance over men's hearts. We long to see You manifest in the earth once more. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Hebrews 10:37, 39     For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay... But our way is not that of those who shrink back to destruction, but [we are] of those who believe [relying on God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by this confident faith preserve the soul.      

June 5, 2024

"Everybody Wants the Mountain; But Nobody Wants the Wilderness"


The title of this blog is a quote by Pastor and activist Jonathan Tremaine Thomas, who appeared on the docu-series, Jonathan and Jesus, which records a pilgrimage of faith by Jonathan Roomie, who stars as Jesus in The Chosen. The comment is made in response to a conversation the two had regarding what it's like to experience a season of testing in your faith.

First, I want to clarify what it looks like when you're in the midst of a mountaintop experience. For many Christians, the subject of faith is academic -- we intellectually know all the theological language about faith ... it is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). We can also go through the motions of getting baptized and doing all the religious sacraments that we are asked to do as evidence of our faith. But all this can be a cerebral understanding of faith [or head knowledge]. God seeks a heart understanding of faith. 

To have a mountaintop experience requires that we have a very real encounter with the living Christ. It is a moment of revelation and supernatural disclosure from Heaven, where our spiritual senses are overcome with the reality that He is near; that you are feeling His touch and absolutely know [and are convinced] that He is with you and for you. It's like the experience Moses had with YHWH on the mountain; coming face to face with the knowledge that Jesus is truly your Savior and the King of the Universe.

For some that happens easily and quickly; for others it takes diligent practice of your faith -- lots of prayer and studying of the Word; seeking daily communion and relationship with the One who Saved you. Whether your mountaintop encounter happens quickly or slowly and gradually, it will happen, if you are consistent and persistent in seeking it. But here is a truth that you must discern whenever that blessed encounter happens ... everything that God anoints and approves, He tests. And that's when we often will find ourselves undergoing our wilderness experience.

So, what does that look like? It's interesting to me that both experiences are often linked. After enjoying your spiritually transformative experience on your mountaintop, you may suddenly find yourself in a period of intense isolation and trials. Think of the Israelites, who having been set free from 400 years of slavery and bondage in Egypt, suddenly found themselves being tried and tested in a desert-like wilderness. They were to take possession of the Promised Land, trusting God to provide a way for them. But through their doubt, unbelief and lack of faith, their disobedience led to the wrath of God and a punishment of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness until that unbelieving generation died off.  

The Bible also tells us that Jesus, Elijah, Job and Paul were among many other Biblical figures who experienced their own wilderness experiences. And it can look different for different people. Personal struggles can come in the form of temptations, personal loss, physical attacks, and extreme isolation. You can experience profound burdens upon your body, soul and spirit. It is a severe testing of your faith and you are forced to surrender to God, relying on [only] Him to mature you and grow you in your walk with Christ. As Paul says, when you find yourself in your wilderness of testing, you will "be hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed". But if you can surrender to the work that God wants to do in you, your life will be a testimony that it is the unsurpassed power of God [in you] -- and not by your own power -- that He accomplishes a renewal and strengthening of your faith and accomplishments for His Kingdom.

I can personally testify that as wonderful and joyous as the few mountaintop experiences have been to grow my faith, it is the wilderness episodes that have had the most dynamic effect. I experienced a particularly trying time when I spent seven years in what I call my "most personal and difficult wilderness encounter with God". I have shared it before on this blog, but I hope that this latest depiction will resonate with someone and they can learn something from my experience. 

God had ordained the steps of my husband and myself after we married, and sparked a desire to know more about the Word and what our relationship with the Lord should look like. He led us to a small group of older, faith-filled Believers in a big church in Austin, where we found the discipleship and equipping that we were desperately seeking. I cannot say that we were anywhere close to gaining the maturity in our faith that God desired, but we were growing in our knowledge of the Lord and His heart for us to step into our purpose for His Kingdom on earth. Just as we were feeling confident that we were "going places" in our faith, we found ourselves moved to 129 acres west of San Antonio in a small, rundown farmhouse that needed lots of repair, and totally isolated from everything that had fed our "comfortable" lives.

We not only found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, but removed from everything and everyone that had provided all of our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs... no big grocery stores, no movie theaters or bookstores, no church family, and what felt like solitary confinement away from God, Himself.  We tried the small country church in a nearby town, but the rigid, religious spirit in that church only served to make me feel even more alone. I was also confronted by fear, doubt, and unbelief that we would be able to prosper in this place. It was right after September 11th, 2001 and our financial situation was dire, to say the least. My husband was beginning his career as a professional artist, still in the phase of "paying his dues", and we struggled to pay the bills each month.

I praise God, to this day, that He gave my husband a firm faith that never doubted that God would take care of us. I, on the other hand, was struggling to remain established and settled in my faith. I fought against doubt and unbelief and the whispers of the Liar that I couldn't count on God to be my Jehovah Jireh. Yet, each time that God provided and a painting sold, I would praise Him and believe in His goodness towards us -- until the next month when things got tight again. I never doubted that we were following the path He had set before us, I just found myself trying to solve our lack of resources myself, instead of trusting that He would not abandon us. But He never gave up on me! I would stumble, then renew my commitment to trust Him, and with every step backwards, I found His grace to take two steps forward in my faith. And then one day, after fervent prayer and telling Him I was tired of the doubt with which Satan tempted me, and I wanted to let it go for good, I heard [in my spirit], "If you will be faithful to Me, I will be faithful to you". 

From that day forward, it has been a journey of surrendering to Him and trusting in Him. And I can now say that I know my Jehovah Jireh [the God who provides]!  I don't just know about Him, but I surrendered myself and allowed my spirit to be put in a place where I had to meet Him in order for my faith to survive. My wilderness journey lasted 7 long years, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! It's where I learned to live in quietness, solitude and intimacy; a place where I heard Him speak to me and received His reassurance that He has me and will never let me go. Yes, the Mountaintop is a glorious place to be; full of the magnificence, splendor, joy and wonder of being close and connected to Almighty God. But the Wilderness offers the opportunity to fight for that relationship and grow in your identity in Christ in order to understand that God-ordained testing comes when you have been approved for His purposes. His goal is to refine you, strengthen you, and prepare you for a life of service to Him. My advice is to enjoy the mountaintop, and embrace the wilderness. He will meet us in both places! Hallelujah!

Psalm 63:1    O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You; My soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.                

June 1, 2024

How Do We Walk In The Power of Jesus?


As to the question I've proposed in today's title, our culture actually makes it hard to walk in the true essence of Jesus's power. Our culture and the world tell us we should ascend in stature and position as we grow in power. We use terms like, climb the ladder, rise to the top, work one's way up, rise to power, gain [or grow] in power. We have examples throughout history of men who ascended to the pinnacle of world power; Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Constantine, Napoleon, Vladimir Lenin, Winston Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, George Soros to name just a few. [NOTE: I acknowledge that there have been women of power throughout history, but for the sake of this post, I will refer to men in the fact that I am comparing them to Jesus, a man]. 

But how did they get their power and what does it consist of? I recently read an article titled Obedience, Power, and Leadership that started me on this journey of understanding how Jesus's power was so radically different than what the world had experienced before His arrival on earth. In my limited expertise and simple understanding, I see the psychology of power like this: power in our cultures is founded in the ability to influence society, even when the people being influenced may attempt to resist those changes [Fiske, 1993; Keltner, Gruenfeld & Anderson, 2003]. Although this article is highly focused on social psychology and the ability of leaders to create conformity and obedience, it showed me that man's view of how to exercise power is far removed from Jesus's.

While the world teaches us we gain power as we ascend to a height of influence, Jesus says we gain power as we descend from the world's definition and become more humble; we seek to become a servant to others, and not their master. While the world leaders throughout history have used their power and influence for personal gain, Jesus had no interest in accumulating wealth or material things. 

Man's purpose on earth is most often focused on what he can gain here, on the physical earth, during his lifespan; what he has to show for his life at the end of it. Jesus, on the other hand, had an eternal perspective. He didn't come to build up a storehouse of treasure on earth. He knew His assignment here was temporary and to be short-lived. He would be returning to Heaven soon, and anything He amassed would be meaningless to His purpose. He didn't seek to climb the mountain of fame and influence to benefit Himself -- although He certainly could have. No, instead He lowered Himself by emptying Himself of all the benefits of His deity, by taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7). 

[NOTE: We need to understand that emptying Himself  implies that He did not renounce or diminish His deity, but only temporarily gave up His divine equality with the Father, and His rightful dignity, in order to take on the likeness of men]. Philippians continues to reveal the beautiful part of this Truth in that He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death on a cross for us! So how does His humility translate to His power? And if we are to walk in this world like Jesus, what does that look like in relation to our humility and our power? 

If you will recall, Jesus spent a lot of time in solitude with the Father. He often left His disciples to go off by Himself to confer with the Father on how to best complete His assignment. I can only imagine those conversations and the desire of the Lord to proceed with mindfulness and forethought to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit not only the Name of the Messiah/Christ, but also to protect His ultimate purpose: to die for our sins, offering us a way into an eternal and reconciled relationship with God. And because of this attentiveness to His purpose and assignment, Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men [Luke 2:52]. 

So, as always, Jesus is our model. He walked in confident humility, having spent time with the Father, receiving His instructions and being obedient to follow them through. He walked as a servant to others, offering to everyone the word of Life, while also being responsible to do what He had been called by God to do. The same should hold true for us! Spend time with the Father and Son, asking questions, and discerning how best to carry out our purpose, all with a servant's heart for God and our fellow man. Furthermore, we don't overuse the authority Jesus has given us to trample on the Enemy. We don't seek wealth and success for their own sake, knowing they have no value in eternity. And we don't sow our spiritual power into political or military endeavors because eternity is a bigger goal than those transient pursuits.

In the end, walking in the power of Jesus looks nothing like what the world offers. Seeking my personal gain for the short time I'm here on earth is such a waste when compared to my eternal gain by walking in the example of Christ. It won't be easy, because our culture and the world are constantly tempting us to follow them. But my joy and peace can only be found in what Jesus makes available to me. If power truly comes from the ability to influence others in our society, I believe I can best do that by following in Jesus's footsteps of humility, serving others, and being obedient to seek the fulfillment of my purpose on earth. He was given the ability to do signs and wonders to express the power of Heaven over the power of darkness, and Jesus has transferred that divine power to us. We have all we need to influence the world for the Glory of God. Don't quit or give up! Don't think you are incapable! Do what Jesus did ... pray and ask for the strength of Heaven. And above all else, get quiet and meet with the Father. He will lead you into His wisdom, strength, favor and power. Jesus is a testimony of that! 

Ephesians 1:19 ... [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is, in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength...

May 28, 2024

Love Like Jesus Loved!


I am constantly amazed as to how God connects the experiences throughout my day to teach me something that I desperately need to know. I'm sure many of you can relate when I say that the TV series The Chosen has opened up new spiritual principles that I either was never taught, or never sought. And I have experienced profound emotions as the Bible has opened up to me on a whole new level.

I feel as if I'm in a new season of diving deeper into my relationship with Jesus. So as I am rewatching this amazing series, I find that my spirit is awakening to Jesus's teachings in almost a revolutionary new way. To be precise, I was watching an episode in which Jesus's capacity to love is so evident. And the way in which He loved was  contrary to how our human spirits would respond. Furthermore, the people He was coming in contact with were not particularly lovable. They certainly were not loved by their community or the religious institutions of the day. And they didn't respond in any form of reciprocal love. But Jesus responded with patience, sharing the Father's love for the Lost and the Religious in equal measure. And He came to show us how to extend that love to others.

I daresay that those of us who identify as Believers are very familiar with God's commandments to love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). But it is Jesus's words in John 13:34 that has captivated [and challenged] my heart, mind, soul, and spirit .... "I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another". Wow! It is that last sentence that brought such new and profound conviction to my spirit! 

AS HE HAS LOVED ME, I AM TO LOVE OTHERS! Such a simple concept, right? But do we truly know what that looks like and understand the breadth and depth of His love? And how are we capable of imitating that in our humanness? To love others as He has loved us sounds like such a simple precept, but my friends, how many of us can actually accomplish it? During this last week, God aligned several experiences to highlight the importance of following this commandment from my Savior. The first was while watching the episode of The Chosen in which the woman with the bleeding issue forced her way through the crowds for the opportunity to simply touch the hem of Jesus, believing He could heal her. This has always been a touching testimony for me because I suffered so long with endometriosis and all the emotional and physical suffering that accompanies this disease. Like the woman in the Bible, doctors were unable to help me, and it often left me feeling disheartened and discouraged. 

I longed for that deliverance myself, and even experienced a vision in the night of being bowed down before Him [in Heaven] as He walked past me and I saw (in reality, in the spirit) the Hem of His robe, close enough that I could reach out and touch it. It was so powerful, that the adrenaline shocked me out of the vision and I sat straight up in bed! But it was the ability of the actor who plays Jesus to touch my spirit so that I finally recognized My Lord's genuine and compassionate love for ME! I saw the Lord's heart and the depth of His love in that scene for that woman, and understood, for the first time, that that is how Jesus loves me! As He bends down to her, Jesus calls her "My Daughter", at which time all the years of suffering I had experienced responded to the nuance of his voice and the compassion in his eyes so that I couldn't stop the tears. I have known, intellectually, that I am His Daughter, but I felt it in the depth of my being. And when the character Jesus tells her that her faith has healed her and He is so glad they found each other, I was overcome with the conviction that Jesus was glad we have found each other, too! The intensity of His love was like nothing I thought I would ever understand!

But here's where God doesn't leave me in the emotion of my deeper understanding. The next morning [after watching that episode] was our Home Church and we were studying Romans 14. In this chapter, Paul is talking about the situation that existed in the early Church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians in regards to following the religious regulations of the Law; in this case, specifically the dietary laws. The Jewish Christians wanted to still follow the regulations regarding the eating of meat, while the Gentile Christians were set free from those obligations by the Coming of Jesus who gave them the freedom of their conscience to choose what they ate. The bottom line is that Paul was teaching them all not to criticize or judge one another in the matter of what they ate or drank. "Do not, for the sake of food, tear down the work of God [in a person's life]". The Kingdom of God is not based on what food we eat, but on "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." So, as Believers, instead of judging each other for our choices, we should be building each other up, which leads to our spiritual growth and mature relationships with God. If we are offending each other by our criticisms and judgments, then Paul says we are no longer walking in love toward our brothers and sisters in faith.

Which brings me right back to AS HE HAS LOVED US, WE ARE TO LOVE OTHERS! I quickly became convicted of how many times the Body of Christ engages in disagreements over theology and denominational doctrine and man-made religious rituals. I have been guilty of seeing the differences between Believers, instead of celebrating our mutual love of Christ. Yes, we see things differently regarding how we celebrate Communion, whether we celebrate the Feast Days or not, whether speaking in tongues is a prerequisite for being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. I have not been guilty of focusing on those things, but have still been guilty of noticing them. None of that matters to Christ or the Father! What matters is how well we are loving each other! As Paul says in Romans 14:4, "Who are we to judge the servant of another? Before his own master he stands approved or falls out of favor... Let everyone be fully convinced [assured, satisfied, convicted] in his own mind". Jesus is each Believer's Master and it is through their relationship with the Lord that they will stand or fall. We are responsible for ourselves, no one else. Our job is to love each person as Jesus loves them, encouraging them to grow in their relationship with Him so that they will be convicted in their hearts, minds and souls as to what He requires of them. That is what will expand the Kingdom of God across the world and defeat Satan's dark kingdom. 

Because in the end, as Paul points out in Romans 14:10, We will all stand before the judgment seat of God [who alone is judge]. We will give an accounting of how well we have represented Him, and what we have done for His Kingdom. How well have you shown what it is to love others? How well have you loved My people? It won't matter whether we are Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Catholic. It won't matter what religious titles we held. And it sure won't matter what we accumulated in this world, or how well we succeeded by the world's standards. Did you show the Lord's unconditional compassion and mercy to others as He has exhibited to you? Did you share His Agape love -- the highest form of love, because it is given whether it is returned or not; it is the spiritual love of Christ to humanity.

So, I admit that I am far from walking in the love of Christ, but I see so clearly and deeply how selfless His love has been towards me. And I want to grow into that image and love others in the same way. I am convicted in my own heart and mind that others deserve what He has given me, and I will earnestly work towards their own personal recognition of just how much He loves them. We all know the foundational truth that God so loved us all that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. But I want everyone to experience that deeply personal and emotional moment of hearing Him call you "Daughter" or "Son", like I did. You will never be the same!

John 13:35       By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.

        


May 24, 2024

Take My Advice ... Please! A Letter To The Next Generation


I have recently suffered an injury to my shoulder that severely inhibits my ability to sit at the computer and type. So, I have been contemplating how to overcome this obstacle while I am healing. And I realized that after writing this blog for over 12 years, that perhaps, there are some creditable essays worthy of re-consideration. The following is a post from just two years ago, yet I find its message even more urgent and important to share. In just the last two years, we have slid even further towards grave consequences for our nation and the world. More people are awakening to this truth, but it is for our future generations that I want to focus upon our reality once again. And for those who choose to ignore my comments, I'd like to offer you a piece of advice ... you can deny reality, but you won't escape the consequences. I pray that you will seriously contemplate what I have to say and seek the One who can deliver us all from evil.

My husband and I had a conversation this morning about what the future looks like and how concerned we are for the next generation -- on so many levels. We feel blessed to have lived in this country and to have experienced the height of prosperity and innovation that few citizens of the world have known. We are old enough that we have heard what "hard living" looks like from our grandparents who experienced the Great Depression and an attack on our homeland. We can at least understand that the "American Dream" [that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their version of success by working hard] is under threat, and that we can no longer take for granted that it will exist for the coming generations. We are also well aware that the Founder's idea of the "American Experiment" is on the verge of collapse; an experiment that believed a nation of people could govern themselves without need of a ruling or privileged class; that we are born with unalienable rights that are not granted by a government, but inherently endowed within each being by a divine Creator.

Are these ideas that the Millennial Generation and Generation Z can comprehend? Do they understand how important it is that they know these historical concepts and why they are significant in defining their freedoms and future? Sadly, I would suggest that being the recipients of modern technology, many have been seduced into measuring the boundaries of opportunity and success by whatever the social media giants have told them is acceptable. Their ignorance of world history is setting them up to become slaves to a system that will crush any idea of innovation, individuality, originality, or "blazing your own path" -- all characterizations of the American spirit. Generation Alpha (born in the early to mid-2010s) will be our last chance to retain this distinct persona. But being the tech-savvy children born to Millennials, they have been subject to our corrupt educational system who has done everything in its power to destroy the unprecedented American identity. And it is to these latter generations that I wish to address a letter of counsel and admonition...

To The Next Generation(s):

I hope you are able to consider my words as more than the ramblings of what you most likely consider "an old woman". I understand that tendency; I, too, used to think that those of previous generations were outdated, irrelevant, and unsophisticated in the ways of "the modern world". But I have had the opportunity, as I have advanced in years, to understand that what they imparted to me was worth more than I ever imagined it could be. They taught me values and skills that we are in desperate need of in this "modern" world -- values such as personal responsibility, moral obligation, character, and faith. And I learned skills that I thought were "old-fashioned", but I now perceive will be virtually life-saving as we enter an alarming phase of our national and world experience -- skills such as knowing how to grow food, how to preserve food, how to light a fire, basic first aid, how to sew and repair clothes, how to repair machinery, how to read a map or compass. 

You may think that none of this applies to you... you don't need to know how to do any of these outdated practices, because all you have to do is pick up your cell phone and there's a YouTube video that will instruct you how to do it; and that's only if you are unable to hire someone to do it for you. But, sadly, you need to know that you are only one EMP, solar flare, or grid-down scenario away from being stripped of the advantages of that mini-computer in your hand. All the benefits of modern technology will be gone in an instant. Imagine how you would fare if you were suddenly living in the 19th Century, because that's what it will be like.

And have you considered how foreign oppression might affect your life? If you haven't, you should. All the efforts of the global elite to put the governing powers of individual nations into the hands of international organizations has resulted in the loss of national sovereignty. There is a growing trend towards globalization as a means to dismantle and control independent self-government. That's a wordy way of saying that the freedoms you have enjoyed and taken for granted are slowly dwindling away. And while you, the younger generation, boast of being more accepting of diversity, globalization actually threatens cultural diversity by drowning out some cultures, local economies, and discouraging development of culture-specific ideas. Globalization affects trade throughout the world, and in seeking lower production costs in order to be competitive in the global market-place, companies are reducing labor staff or replacing them altogether with robots, so that job insecurity is a real worry among your generation. And then there is the very real issue of cyber security. The internet has been a wonderful invention for all kinds of reasons, but it has also increased the threat of identity theft. Our lives are subject to interference and intrusion by uncontrolled entities. And need I point out the unfathomable numbers of undocumented foreign individuals who have stormed our southern border?  

I know that you may be thinking that I don't know what I'm talking about, but there is one axiom that I hope you hear, if you don't consider anything else I've said, and it is this: "Those who don't learn from history, are doomed to repeat it". As hard as it may be for you to comprehend, you are no smarter or more creative or better capable of leading than other generations. Why? Because human nature is what it is. From the Garden forward, generations of human beings have chosen [out of their own free will] to abandon the knowledge of God and gratitude for what He has done for us, His creation. When that happens, we look only to ourselves for our preservation and prosperity. Each generation is willing to criticize the one before it for its failings, but they don't learn from those mistakes. Instead, every generation, out of pride and self-importance seeks to increase their power, status, and wealth over the previous one, without the benefit of counsel and guidance from God.  When that is the path generations take, the history of the world has shown us that humans will devour each other in endless patterns of prosperity and war. 

So, I hope you will take a good hard look at the state of this nation and the world at this date in time; in your generation. Take the time to study history and note the differences between times of peace and prosperity, and times of war and destruction. Learn from the mistakes of my generation and all the ones that have come before. What does your generation plan to do to change the directory of the patterns of history? It is clear to me that the world is approaching a climactic event that can either redeem it or destroy it. Are you ready? Do you know the One who can determine that outcome? That is the most important and consequential decision you can make for your future. You must decide where your hope lies, because your future, and the existence of future generations depends on it.

Deuteronomy 32:7  Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.




 

May 20, 2024

What Does God Demand of Us, and What Does the World Tempt Us to Covet?


As I have expressed in past posts, I want less of what the world has to offer. And as I advance in my faith [and my number of years on this planet], I yearn, instead, for more of the Kingdom in my life. Furthermore, as I learn what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, I can discern the differences in a life lived surrendered to Him, and one that answers the call of the world.

So, these considerations have led to an awakening in my spirit of the ways our Enemy diverts the paths of Christians and steals our peace and joy. It's easy to see how the Unbelievers respond to the world. For them, there is no contemplation of what the Lord might ask of them, or how He might desire they live their lives. Instead, those with little or no faith simply are drawn to what the world tells them has value, or that promises them they will receive validation from their fellow men. 

What does that look like? It's easily seen with spiritual eyes. The world sets the standards ... you must have a big house with a pool; hundreds of followers on social media; the latest hairstyle, clothes, and weekly pedicures; belong to the "right" club, group, or clique; climb the corporate ladder; have a title, whether it's in the boardroom, the community, or the church. And above all else, the world teaches us that we put ourselves first; that self-gratification is our means to achieve happiness, success, wealth and power -- it all culminates in the indulgence or satisfaction of one's own desires. 

But did Jesus teach any of that?? What does God demand of us? What does He desire our lives to look like? If we call ourselves Christians, there is an obvious Bible verse that shines a light on what God desires. It's Micah 6:8 ... And what does the Lord require of you except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness [compassion], and to walk humbly with your God. Put simply, God wants you to live a lifestyle that shows you know right from wrong. Such a lifestyle is characterized by being just [ethical, moral, righteous, principled, full of integrity] in an unjust world. Jesus is our example. Consider how He conducted Himself in the midst of Roman autocracy. He did not respond as the world would have responded. He hit the mark on every one of those descriptions that I used to describe what just means. But the world would have us react out of anger, pride, and vengeance. Just turn on the TV and watch the News channels, talk shows, and the live broadcasts of our Congress in action.   

Secondly, God desires that we love others and practice kindness, compassion, and mercy. Remember that at the time Micah wrote this, Israel's religious focus was on their rites and sacrifices as the way to curry favor with God for forgiveness of their sins. But their emphasis was all wrong! They were convinced by hard hearts to add to the sacrifices sanctioned by the Law of Moses. They followed the pagan culture and began sacrificing their firstborn sons as a means to cover their sins. That gives such a profound meaning to Jesus's quote in Hosea 6:6 ... I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I think God's most intimate desire is that we know His love and how to share it with others. That is the most important thing to Him; He sent His Son to model that for us. He does not demand rigid, religious rites. He desires changed hearts which reflect Him to the world; justice, mercy, and love are the foundation of God's Holy Nature. The modern Church has sadly compromised with the world, and too often subverts God's holy commandments in order to listen when the world's culture whispers "diversity, equity, and inclusion".   

Thirdly, Micah 6:8 tells us God desires us to walk humbly with Him. Again, this shows a heart fully surrendered to God; one that sets aside worldly pride to stand committed to showcasing God's glory and His attributes, rather than our own. Let's be honest, it is easy to recognize a person who puts God first in their life. They do not call attention to themselves [as the world tempts them to do], but rather, they simply do what is right, and people are drawn to them because of their loving heart. Their walk with Jesus is their way of life. And that brings us to another thing God desires of us: that we walk in all His ways in our steadfast relationship with Him. That requires a healthy fear [or reverence or awe] of the Lord, rather than idolizing what the world holds up for our entertainment and worship. His goodness should motivate us all to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and spirit because He is worthy of such adulation and respect. Walking in the ways of the Lord means it is incumbent upon us to seek knowledge of His Word, and to walk in obedience to do what He calls us to do, wherever He sends us, giving all honor and glory to Him. The world, however, encourages us to love ourselves and what it defines as worthy -- money, fame, beauty, material things, power.

And anyone who has experienced life with Jesus knows that those things are empty and meaningless in the Kingdom of God. Regrettably, I have seen those very temptations draw people [that I love dearly] further away from a life that will lead them to God. The world speaks lies that these idols are worthy substitutes for a life lived in the midst of God's love, and the joy and peace it brings. It doesn't mean our life in the world will be a bed of roses -- in fact, our Enemy will do everything to persuade us to abandon our allegiance to God and His ways. But, I will continue to pray that I grow more into the image of Christ, that they may have the dirty veil removed from their eyes and see the world in all its decay and deceit. Until then, I will do my utmost to live a righteous life; show kindness, compassion and mercy to others; and to walk in humbleness before my Lord. I know I am not perfect and there will be times I fail [a lot], but I also trust that He knows my heart because I know He is full of forgiveness for the repentant.

So, join me in praying for the world; pray that we who desire to please the Lord by following Him in all His ways can be a righteous influence and role model for those who desperately need to know Him. Let's show them that they don't need to follow any religious rules, but just allow Him to come close to them. They are His delight and His joy, and He paid everything for them to restore their relationship. And then let us invite them to tell them how we know!

2 Peter 1:4     And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.  





May 16, 2024

Prophets and the Pagan Gods


I am aware that this blog post may not be everyone's cup of tea. I think the peoples of the world are so hungry to be free of what they innately discern is the crumbling structure of their lives that they only want to hear what makes them feel good. And I understand that! Too often, I am awakened in the middle of the night with discouraging thoughts, and it is only through focusing my soul and spirit on Jesus that I am able to take those thoughts captive and receive His peace. 

But that doesn't mean that I ignore the reality of what I clearly see as the truth of our situation. And I want you to know that I am cognizant of the whispers of the Father of Lies, so I am careful to vet the Source of what I am seeing [and hearing]. We no longer live in the times of the Old Testament when God primarily spoke to His people through the prophets [oftentimes in dreams and visions]. Today, He speaks to us through His Son, who has given us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us in His ways. And you can count on the Spirit speaking the Lord's truth... When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you in to all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.

It has become apparent to me that it is not just any spirit that speaks the truth and prophesies what is coming, but the Holy Spirit! It is not my spirit, or another man's or woman's human spirit, but the Spirit that is God! And it most certainly is not a demonic spirit who owes its allegiance to Satan. We cannot trust the latter two spirits to be speaking truth. And it must be discerned among the people of God that the demonic spirits can come from worshipping false [pagan] gods who love to fool our human spirits into accepting what "sounds like" it's coming from the One True God. I often think it's inherent among the human race to always be looking to replace what they don't like about the state of their existence with a new vision of their own creation, instead of looking to the perfect existence in the True Creator. 

And that takes me to an unlikely reference to what I'm trying to express. The 70s anthem, "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who, communicates the need to be critical in our assessment of whose voice we are listening to as we strive for truth and transformation that is real and lasting in the Lord. The song is a picture of Satan's unchanging and predictable plan of causing chaos that leads to rebellion, and then convincing people it's all new. It could be the anthem for today ... There's nothing in the street looks any different to me. And the slogans are effaced, by-the-bye. And the parting on the left is now parting on the right. And the beards have all grown longer overnight...I'll get on my knees and pray we don't get fooled again.  

You see, the prophets of old were called by God to be His spokesmen and share His message to His people within the historical context of what was happening in their lives. They reported the will of God in the particular situation. The prophets not only exhorted and challenged men to obey God's will, but entailed His plan for the situation, and either encouraged the righteous according to God's promises or warned the people of coming judgment -- all according to what God revealed to them, the prophets. Because of the people's preponderance to follow false gods, worship idols, and disobey God's laws, the prophets of old spent lots of time rebuking sin [and repeating God's warning about the punishment He intended] if they didn't answer His call for repentance. 

They also announced what God told them regarding their deliverance that would come with the Messiah and His kingdom. The difference between a true and false prophet could be discerned by which prophecies were fulfilled. And that is an interesting detail in light of today's "prophets". How many of our modern-day prophets were proclaiming worldwide "revival" and the Third Great Awakening just a year ago? And how many of those same prophets have now reversed course and are warning that worldwide war, persecution, and dark days are coming? 

I guess my basic question is this: Are you truly hearing from the Lord? Are your prophesies coming from your own discernment? Or are you prophesying what the people want to hear? And because our Lord predicted that false prophets would abound in the Last Days to lead us astray, I am careful to observe if today's prophets are only relating conditions and events in the world without pointing us to Jesus and His promises. I am not a prophet and do not claim to have the last word on whether a proclaimed prophet is the real deal or not. But I am able to see evidence of their fruit [or not]. I have simply been assigned to stand on the walls of this nation and warn against what the Lord shows me are the dangers we are being tempted to participate in. I do NOT require people to believe me. They must take what I've been equipped to see and ask the Lord for confirmation and act accordingly.

Both my husband and I are particularly sensitive to the idolatry the Lord is highlighting as our nation is influenced by the pagan gods of old to adopt spirits of greed, perversion, ungodly rituals, sacrifices of children, and a reliance on the pursuit of Religion instead of the Kingdom. You see, in ancient history, those gods were worshipped as Mammon, Moloch, Baal, Chemosh, Astarte, etc. Today, we know them as Wealth, Power, Lust, Abortion, Knowledge, and again, Religion with a capital "R" [which Jesus never brought, nor asked to be exalted]. The names and means of worship may be more sophisticated, but the results are the same: suffering and a painful separation from God. Our Bible tells us that any elevation of a false god above the One True God comes with consequences. You shall have no other gods before Me makes that pretty clear. 

And I want to make it clear that I have not heard from the Lord as to His plan of judgment or punishment, and am not called to prophesy of their certainty. At the same time, my God repeatedly points me to His Word for confirmation that both are grave possibilities when He shows me what He wants me to see from my position on the wall. But I am to only report what I see, and what could happen, not declare what will happen. Hopefully, that makes us all take stock of where we are in our obedience to God's will.

In conclusion, this is what I know for sure ... God can [and has] delayed His judgment; sometimes for hundreds of years, in the hope that peoples' hearts will change and they will return to Him. But He will not be mocked and He will not be patient forever. The Word says that there will come a time when The Restrainer's hand will be removed. For now, I pray that I will continue to clearly see what the Lord is pointing out to me, His Watchman; and that the true prophets will be easily discerned as authorized mediators who speak for God. I read somewhere that even in Elijah's time, there were 450 false prophets for every authentic one anointed by God! One anointed prophet is more than enough to overcome Satan's strategies of delivering false warnings and/or promises. I pray that we come together with pure hearts and reject every false god, false prophet, and false religion, all for the glory and power of the Kingdom of God! From my view on the wall, the time is now! Amen!

Philippians 2:10-11      ... so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord [sovereign God], to the glory of God the Father.