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

Showing posts with label Angel Chefs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Angel Chefs. Show all posts

July 31, 2020

Are We At An Isaiah 3 Moment In Time?

     Before we can have a conversation on the prophecy of Isaiah 3, we must take a look at it. In it's historical context this chapter of Isaiah describes how the corrupt leadership in Judah brought about the collapse of the social conditions of the nation and Jerusalem. It contains Isaiah's prophecies that "For the sin of the people, God will take away the wise men, and give them foolish princes". But it is also an excellent profile of a society under judgment. Since our God is Immutable [He never changes], we can expect that His standards of Righteousness and Justice are constant, steadfast, firm and unwavering, right? So, let's read Isaiah's prophecy and see what we can discern ...

For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah support and supply, all support of bread, and all support of water;
the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder,
the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms.
And I will make boys their princes, and infants shall rule over them.
And the people will oppress one another, every one his fellow and every one his neighbor; the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”;
in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.”
For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.

For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.
12 My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

13 The Lord has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples.
14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: “It is you who have devoured the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord God of hosts.

16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.

18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

24  Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle.
26 And her gates shall lament and mourn;  empty, she shall sit on the ground.

     Can you recognize the judgment that has come upon the nation of Judah and her capital city, Jerusalem, for the mistreatment of its citizens? Isaiah warns that there will be a shortage of food, water, and competent government leaders, as well as military commanders, judges, church leaders, advisors, and even those involved in the art of deception. They will be deprived of godly, capable leaders in all these areas. In their place will rise up immature, child-like leaders to rule over them.

     To make matters worse, oppression and conflict arise between the people; the youth disrespect their elders, and men of good reputation are treated with contempt and disdain. Does any of this sound familiar? Not only are we seeing shortages in our food supply, but we suffer from a vast poverty of righteous men to lead this nation. That includes those who practice the art of deception, as in the Media. Not to mention the incredible insolence and rebellion of the younger generation on the streets of our nation, and the deplorable treatment of the Attorney General of this nation by members of Congress.

     Isaiah's pronouncement of God's judgment is against a sinful and rebellious Judah. And remember, that God never changes. Because of our rebellion against YHWH's righteousness [through our practices of abortion, sex trafficking, pornography industry, and general immorality and debauchery], might we not expect God to bring judgment upon our nation by imposing ungodly, incompetent leaders, resulting in a breakdown of order in our society? We are certainly seeing it in cities like Portland, Seattle, and Minneapolis! Oppression among the people is evident everywhere!

     As verse 6 shows us, the people become so desperate for a return to normalcy, that they will accept even the smallest image of competency as qualifications of a leader. But things have deteriorated so badly, that no man wants the job. The words and deeds of people declare their rebellion against God, and sin is openly displayed; there is no shame or recognition of their offense against YHWH. But we cannot blame God for the mess we're in; we've brought it upon ourselves. God just left this nation to the desires of its heart.

     We are a nation that revels in its prosperity. But the leaders have become rich on the impoverishment of its citizens. The middle class is disappearing and the rich get richer. The Lord asks, "What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the face of the poor?" A nation such as this will find themselves subject to the judgment of the Lord God. And I find it interesting that the prophet Isaiah spends a good portion of his prophecy warning against the gluttony and haughtiness of the women of Judah. I can certainly attest to the change in attitude and of women in my lifetime. I lived through the "Women's Liberation" era that fostered the intellectual concepts that women were equal to men; that they had a right to do with their bodies as they wished; to seek after power and influence; and that in the end, they didn't really need men to be whole or successful or fulfilled as women. Somewhere I have read that when the women of a culture become degenerate and ungodly, then the hope for the next generation is gone. But when the women of a culture turn to the Lord and His ways, then there is hope for the future.

     Please, do not misunderstand me -- I do not subscribe to women being mindless subjects of men. But our God has designed us all, both men and women alike, with a purpose for His Kingdom, and we are the most fruitful for the Kingdom when we honor and respect each other, seeking to raise Godly children together, and to glorify the Lord in humility and service. Outward appearances; lust for power and luxury; and rebellion instead of obedience, never result in a thriving culture.

     So, while I hope and pray that God will grant us mercy, I recognize that, by His Holy standards, this nation deserves any judgment He might decide to inflict upon us. I hope that a great revival might sweep this land, but I'm afraid I'm not as clear on that probability as many of today's modern prophets. I certainly do not see that prophecy in the Bible. There are plenty of prophecies of revival and reformation from the Old Testament prophets, but my discernment reveals them as pertaining to Israel and/or Jerusalem. That being said, I DO take great comfort and hope in Isaiah 3:10, Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

     We know, that as the truly righteous, we do not share the same fate as the wicked and rebellious. I believe God's promises to protect and bless those who obey His commandments. If we truly "Seek the Kingdom first [make it our priority] and righteousness, all our needs will be met". That includes safety in times of peril; nourishment in times of impoverishment; health in times of illness; and faith in times of doubt and unbelief. We will receive the rewards of our work on behalf of the Kingdom; if not in the present, then certainly in eternity.

     In summation, we must not ignore the righteous standards God has established since the beginning of time. And we must understand that He is a Righteous and Just God, and judgment is coming on those nations that do not turn away from rebellion against Him and His holy principles. I know that Isaiah 3 is aimed at Judah and Jerusalem, but we are foolish if we are unable to look in the mirror and see the unsettling likeness.  God will not cut us any slack! Lord God, deliver us from our rebellious nature and flagrantly and obstinately refusing to change our course of action. Have mercy on us!

Matthew 5:44-45    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,



April 11, 2013

Report on Fisher House

     I have returned from our mission trip to the Fisher Houses at Fort Sam Houston, and as always, I am drained physically, mentally and emotionally.  But I never fail to be inspired and this trip was no different.
Angel Chefs with PLW in background
    PLW and I, along with four other seasoned servants, plus two friends that we introduced to the craziness called Angel Chefs, worked our tails off hauling boxes of food and supplies, cooking, serving and cleaning up for our Wounded Warriors, their families, and various support and rehabilitative staff.  And it seems like our menus get more and more elaborate.  It's always fun to see new residents at the Fisher House respond to the expansive spread of food laid out in their common kitchen for all to enjoy.  I know it beats the sandwiches or frozen foods that so many of them endure between endless rounds of appointments at the hospital.  But Angel Chefs are about more than food.
     As usual, our mornings started at 6:00 with all of us spreading out between the four Fisher Houses to prepare breakfast for the early risers.  Sometimes it's a haggard parent who has just flown in to care for their wounded son or daughter; or it's a grandma who has come to make sure her grandchildren are cared for and gotten off to school while their mother sits round the clock with their critically injured father.  Or it could be a wounded vet who is struggling with multiple amputations, and waiting for the long road toward prosthetics and recovery.  We see them at all stages of grief, depression and recuperation.
     We're there early in the morning with a hot pot of coffee, fresh fruit, home-made muffins and a warm smile.  There are days the tears flow as we ask if there is anything we can pray for them, and oftentimes we find ourselves hugging complete strangers who just need to know that someone acknowledges their pain.  The mornings we serve sausage and pancakes are the mornings that they seem to get up out of bed earlier and find their way downstairs to the kitchen.  It's amazing what the smell of sausage or bacon will do to initiate a relationship.
     Lunches and dinner are no different --- just more hectic, more complicated, and more people!  But what an opportunity to engage in giving back to those who have served this great nation.  Each time I go, the stories touch me in ways that mark my soul.  I just wish there was a way to paint you a picture of the incredible effect each of these individuals has on my heart.  The only way I know how to do it, is to give you a short synopsis of those whom God put in my path.
Chaplain Casteel
     It is part of the Angel Chefs routine that, after serving breakfast, we meet at 8:30 for a short devotional time.  One morning we had a visit from Chaplain Bryant Casteel, who is a favorite of mine.  Each time he visits us, his dedication to the inerrant Word of God and his commitment to standing for Christ is an inspiration.  He keeps us spellbound as he openly and frankly talks about the challenges of representing God in the military.  He spoke to us of his ability to call on the First Amendment if he is asked to participate or endorse anything that goes against his Christian faith.  But he says the military is far from being a Christian-dominated organization.
     He affirmed the stories I have reported here on this blog that there are Wiccan groups that are allowed to meet on Post, and that if he has 20 soldiers show up for a monthly scheduled Bible study, that it is a good turnout.  He said he has great concerns about the lack of the Church to engage our young people in exploring the Christian faith.  He relayed one incident where he had staged a fellowship gathering, and noticed two young women soldiers get up and leave before the event ended.  When he asked them where they were going, one of the young ladies looked at the other and said, "You tell him."  After some prompting, they finally admitted, "Chaplain, the Bible just isn't that interesting."  When asked where they were going, they told him the Muslim services were more exciting.  He said they are more attracted to the History Channel's program Ancient Aliens than they are to the story of Joshua and Gideon, both resourceful and successful warriors.  Somehow, we have failed to make the Bible come alive to this generation.
     Another morning, I had just finished presenting a 5-minute devotional on how serving God means serving others, with Jesus as our role model.  I had just finished sharing how being part of Angel Chefs and working with our Wounded Warriors has affected my walk with Christ, when I became aware of a hand on my shoulder.  I turned to find a frail, gray-haired woman standing behind me.  She leaned down and whispered, "I'd like to say a few words."  Apparently, while our group was meeting, she and her two sons (who looked like they were right out of Duck Dynasty), had slipped into the dining room and were eating their breakfast at a table behind us.  PLW said he noticed that she stopped eating while I was speaking and sat intently watching us.
     We handed her the floor and she introduced herself as Viola Pickett.  She said she was so encouraged to see that there were people who boldly proclaimed their faith at this military installation.  She was there because her 80-year-old veteran husband was very ill, and likely would not survive the day.  He was eligible for care at the hospital on Post and she had been so discouraged at the lack of faith among those she had come in contact with.  Her voiced faltered a bit, but she regained her composure and then gave a short testimony of her life and the saving grace of Jesus.  She apologized for interrupting us and then encouraged us to keep doing what we do, and representing Christ to this microcosm of the world, who needed so badly to know Him.  It was moments like that when God appeared in our midst and washed away our fatigue and feelings of inadequacy.
      But, believe me, when I say He guides us throughout our time at Fisher House.  There were the parents of a recent Air Force Basic Training graduate who had locked his knees at graduation ceremony and slammed face first into the concrete, shattering his jaw and countless facial bones.  She approached our serving area in the kitchen, unfamiliar with who we were or why all this food was being prepared.  We gave our short little story and asked why they were at Fisher House.  That's all it took.  She began sobbing, and one of our Angel Chefs, Joyce, just instinctively enveloped her in a hug.  Her son's story spilled out, and between the tears and the expressed fears for his recovery, we were able to get his name and give her a promise that we would pray for him.  We encouraged her and her husband to come back and eat a good meal with us and to report to us each day on her son's progress.  The next day, she greeted us with a smile as she told us his lethargy was gone and he was beginning to try to eat.  The surgeons had also expressed their optimism in repairing all the damage to his jaw and face.   Another mother thanked us for our prayers and encouragement.  She said she didn't feel so alone and told us how much it helped to just tell their story.
Jerry, Rachel and Alex
     And each of them have a story to tell.  Jerry was a helicopter pilot and instructor, and stationed at an FOB in Afghanistan.  While sharing lunch with him and his wife, Rachel, and their adorable baby, Alex, we asked him, "What action did you see that resulted in your being here at Fisher House?"  Jerry has an infectious, boyish smile and he sheepishly answered, "It was nothing exciting.... I was sleeping in my tent."  It seems that going to sleep with the sounds of mortars is nothing unusual, except that on this particular night, the screaming whistle of the mortar got louder instead of fading away.  He was blasted out of his bunk and has spent the last six months rehabilitating at Fort Sam.  But on this very day, Jerry and Rachel learned that he had been cleared to return to his original post in Tennessee, so they were packing to "go home".  We had a reason to celebrate.
     That's the way it is with Angel Chefs.  You meet people that touch your heart, and you share a part of a season of their life, and that creates a connection that is not easily erased.  Each time we return, we hope to hear some news of each of these people who affect our spirits.  More often than not, they have moved on; either returning to their home base of operations, or graduating back to some form of active duty, or their injuries are so severe that they are forced to take medical retirement.  But they are never forgotten.  Every once in awhile, there is one who we all cannot let go of.  Such is the case with Dan Burgess.
     If you will recall, during our last visit, Dan was in charge of his beautiful daughters Kaylee and Gracie, while their mom, Ginnette, was back in Ohio frantically arranging for all their worldly possessions to be moved to Texas, which would now be their permanent home.  I remember the calls back and forth as Dan promised her he was getting enough sleep, the girls were being fed well, and he was able to handle all the physical requirements of fathering two active young girls.
Dan and Ginnette
     This trip, Dan heard through the grapevine that we were going to be at the Fisher Houses again, and made it a point to come say hi.  He was instantly enveloped in a series of motherly hugs and we all gathered around to be entertained by his witty sense of humor.  He soon had to leave for a rehab session and Ginnette remained behind to chat with us during a short afternoon break.  It soon became an emotional disclosure as she revealed how stressed she had been to be away from Dan, and how she worried about her girls being fed a proper breakfast before catching the 6:30 bus for school.  Then tears began flowing down the face of this strong, kick-your-ass Army wife as she told us that she knew her family would be OK because we, the Angel Chefs, would be there to take care of them.  She said, "I can't thank you enough for being there for us.  You don't know how much all you do means to us."
     Somehow, they still don't get it that we are there to thank them.  In fact, we can't do enough to thank them for their sacrifice for us.  And so we will continue to endure the burning feet, the aching back, and  the lack of sleep to do our small part in serving these heroes.  I am fully aware that these few words can't express what this experience means to me.  All I can say is, if there is a Fisher House anywhere near you, please don't hesitate to get involved.  God can use you to offer a shoulder to cry on or a hand to help.  And I promise you this ..... you will receive so much more than you give.

Isaiah 49:13     "Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones."