Category Archives: HOPE

Bouquets from the Lover of your soul

I put my cup of chamomile on the side table by the rocker and settled in. Gazing out the window as the light of day advanced, I saw the cluster of crepe myrtle blossoms framed just so, in the patch of sky not encroached upon by the building next door.

As I contemplated the simple beauty of bare branches silhouetted against sky, soft piano and violin intertwined in ethereal complexity, touching my mind, at once as tender as a loving hand on the cheek, as sublime as mountain peaks undulating to the horizon and beyond, and as majestic and unrestrainable as the waves of the sea. A flock of sparrows fluttered into leafy branches, making fuchsia blossoms sway.

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“Oh, Father! You could not be more real than if You were human. Thank You for the gift of being aware of Your presence. Oh, help me stay aware, Lord! Please don’t let the busyness of the day separate me from You, Lord. I’ll never understand how You do it but just to know, just to feel, that You are here with me, just to somehow feel Your love, just to know You love me and accept me as I am, failures and weaknesses and all. It’s beyond words.

Oh, Father! I appreciate You so much. Help me be worthy, Lord, of Your love. Help me walk holy. Show me how You want to use me today for Your kingdom, no matter the cost.

Image result for public domain picture of crashing waves But this one thing, my beloved Father, my Treasure, I do ask, yes I beg for it, as David did – don’t take Your presence from me! Your loving kindness is better than life.  At your right hand indeed are pleasures forevermore. 

Dear, dear Father, You Who are love, help me love You better. Show me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness. Be my Rock, my Fortress, hide me in the shelter of Your presence. Unto You and You alone, oh Lord, do I bring my life. Thank You, Father, thank You . . . “

Thoughts to ponder. . .

“The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship of the Lord have they who fear – revere and worship – Him, and He will show them His covenant, and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. (Psalm 25:14, AMPC)

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“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after, inquire for and [insistently] require, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord, and to meditate, consider and inquire in His temple.

For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5, AMPC)

“We look for heaven and never realize
God is in the commonplace things all around us.” Anonymous

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Help stop Texas schools from honoring sexual perversion

Dear reader,

You are NOT helpless! Perhaps you have felt helpless against the evil that is threatening America. I hope you have been watching the conservative news outlets recommended on the “What is God doing?” page of this website. If so, you have been hearing specific ways you can take part in God’s battle for America and for righteousness.

Dangerous proposed changes to the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Here is one way that is urgent. I am begging you to take action to help stop the Texas Board of Education from revamping the Texas K-12 curriculum so that it rewrites Texas and American history and requires students to learn definitions and distinguishing characteristics of homosexuals and transgenders and what is “fair” treatment of such individuals.

The proposed revision “Gives a globalist view that omits mention of American resilience, trust in God and celebration of our declaration of independence WHILE introducing and expanding concepts of LBGTQ, sexual orientation and gender identity. It also removes Texas history from fourth and seventh grade curriculum WHILE adding a REQUIREMENT for students to define sex, gender, and sexual orientation and differentiation among their distinguishing characteristics and to learn a gender inequality index.”  (Victory News 4 p.m. podcast, 8/29/2022). Hear the Victory News podcast at www.govictory.com

A petition has already been turned in asking the Texas State Board of Education to reject this radical revamp of the TEKS. But your voice is needed! Your call will make a difference. You need to call now!

You can make a difference! Below are phone numbers of nine Republican Texas School Board Members. (There are fifteen members total.) Please call each one and ask them to reject this radical revamp of the TEKS and return to teaching American history, government, economics and geography.

  • Will Hickman 832-304-0051
  • Kevin Ellis 512-710-7915
  • Pam Little 972-342-6697
  • Matt Robinson 281-635-1962
  • Tom Maynard 512-532-9517
  • Sue Melton-Malone 254-749-0415
  • Andrew Young 936-662-4264
  • Pat Hardy 817-732-1786
  • Jay Johnson 806-680-3245

Please call the state School Board members during office hours. When I made my first call last night at 9, it went directly to the person.

Also call Governor Abbott (512-463-2000) and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (512-463-5342). These calls go to an office.

I suggest you say something like:

Hello. My name is (    ).  I live in Texas. Thank you for your work on the school board of education.

I am calling to ask you to do all you can to stop the proposed revamping of the TEKS curriculum. I do not want my children taught about homosexuality and transgenderism. I do not want parts of Texas and American history cut from the curriculum. Thank you for whatever you can do to stop this attack on our children and their future.

Your phone call will make a difference. If this vile change to the TEKS curriculum is approved, your children, grandchildren and other children you love will not be taught about the real America. Instead, during that time they will be forced to study sexual perversion.

Will you please take time to call?

ANOTHER CRITICAL ISSUE THAT MUST BE STOPPED BEFORE SEPTEMBER 11. And there is one other issue that demands action NOW. I also beg you to listen to the August 24 podcast on www.givehim15.com.  Here is a link to the podcast. August 24, 2022 (givehim15.com)

You will see a link at the bottom of the podcast that makes it easy for you to make your voice heard regarding proposed changes to Title IX.  Here is that link Title IX – Child & Parent Rights Campaign (childparentrights.org)

Some of the vile consequences if this proposed federal law is not stopped by September 11 include requiring K-12 to college schools to allow males—people who are biologically male–who “identify” as female to use girls bathrooms and locker rooms and to compete with females. Also, calling a male “he” rather than “she” if that person “identifies” as a girl is considered sexual harassment. Also, it will mandate as policy that students be taught some children are born in the wrong body and should “transition” to the other gender. Also, Title IX coordinators will become federal law enforcement officials, able to enforce the new mandates, able to file complaints against school officials and students.

I urge you to go to the website and read. The horrors are real. The Biden administration did this covertly, purposely, so as to leave only a matter of days before this becomes FEDERAL LAW.  YOUR VOICE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Here are the steps to follow on the website.

  • Read the opening page of the website.
  • Starter comment letters are at the bottom. Click on the one for you (parents, for example). You can download and personalize a letter and save it to your computer.
  • Go back to the opening page and click in the red bar across the page — “Submit your comments to the Federal Register”
  • Click the green “Submit a formal complaint.”
  • From there, you can cut and paste your own letter or fill out the form and upload your letter from your computer
  • At the bottom of the page, click the “I understand…” box and then click submit.

Is it worth 15 minutes of your time to stop a girl from being raped when a boy is allowed to enter a girl’s bathroom? It is already happening in some schools.

Which do you value more – God’s agenda or something else on your to-do list today? If I irritate y ou and thus provoke you to action, then I say good. A few years ago, I told a fellow believer I did not want to hear about the horrors of child sex trafficking and other unspeakable evils (like the ones addressed above) because it was so upsetting. She said, “Well, so you want to just stick your head in the sand and ignore it all?”  Yes, I was offended. Greatly.

A pastor recently said “A hot poker to the heart really hurts but sometimes that is just what you need.”

Thinking about such vile things does hurt and upset our emotions.  It disturbs me greatly to even think about  what is happening but how dare we not wake up and take action after hearing even part of the truth?

God says we must speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.  (Proverbs 31:9, NLT)

 Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.  (Isaiah 1:17, AMPC)

The comfort of His presence

Image result for Public Domain picture Of Sunrise in Woods. Size: 135 x 100. Source: creativemarket.comThat which goes beyond understanding. Sometimes, whether because of the “tribulation and trials and distress and frustration” of this earthly life (John 16:33, AMPC), stumbling with spiritual disciplines or the unavoidable hardship of God’s loving discipline (Hebrews 12), I cannot feel God’s presence. I know—beyond all doubt—that He is always with me but sometimes a cold fog of feelings blinds the eyes of the soul.

Then suddenly, having done nothing but persevere, shafts of light pierce the veil. Like the light of dawn grasping earth by its edges to shake the wickedness of night out of it (Job 38:13, AMPC), the light that comes from awareness of His love shakes distress away. Love Himself pierces the heart afresh from the inside out and, like a mother tenderly brushing away baby tears, He collects our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56:8). And He comforts us.

Friend and fellow pilgrim, I truly doubt human words will ever express how awareness of His love feels any more than words can describe that peace that exceeds human understanding. I pray you know that peace that “garrisons and mounts guard over our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7, AMPC). Awareness of His presence, His love, and His peace is His desire for us.

I share the following personal experience, in detail. I pray it enriches your awareness of His constant presence and unfailing love today and whenever trials of this life cloud your own heart, those times of your own high places. May this help us both remember that God lovingly uses hard times to equip us. He makes us “able to stand firmly and make progress on our dangerous heights of testing and trouble” just as He equips the deer with feet able to stand firm and move on high and dangerous mountains.

33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.  (Psalm 18:33, AMPC)

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! (Habakkuk 3:19, AMPC)

Trying to be grateful, trying to be strong. Oh, Father! Thank You for this couch. You had just the right one, brown and long enough to stretch out on, ready for me. Thank You for our lovely condo. Thank You for helping me find that picture of the path and that mirror. Thank You for helping me learn to be grateful and for teaching me that stopping to thank You for things around me turns my heart to You and away from the hard things of life. Thank You that I know this heaviness will lift. Thank You that. . . “

Seated on the couch, I faced the tiny alcove framing the fireplace I had hidden with a bookcase. Atop the bookcase, perched on a brown and gold set of nesting boxes my grandsons had played with (perched on the boxes because nails would not penetrate the gray tile of the alcove), stood an unframed painting of trees bordering a path leading into bright light. Impressionistic, and using only shades of brown, white and gray, it carried the eye outward, expanding the room. Next to the painting of the path stood a mirror, framed in deep brown wood embellished with ornate scrollwork. A lavish peace lily in a brown pot and an ivy in a white pot stood in front of the mirror, next to the oscillating fan which compensated for the lack of an overhead fan. In front of the bookcase stood a floor lamp, ornate scrollwork adorning its wide base and top. Coffee-colored fringe trimmed its octagonal lamp shade.

In front of the alcove, a luxe pillow sham—its shades of nut brown, buff and black a feast to my eyes as the pattern swirled in mind-relaxing complexity—hung over the white fabric of the rocker. Khaki tassels trimmed the area rug which consisted of squares of brown and gold and beige patterns. Alternating panels of solid cocoa and white embroidered with beige flowers hung from an ornate curtain rod, with the tassel my youngest grandson had loved to play with hanging from the end. The rich, old world look of my front room, in soft and rich browns, with touches of white, had been achieved over a span of more than two years and with thrift store items.

“Thank You, Father, for getting all this together. It is beautiful to my eyes. Father, help me be grateful! I am grateful but the effects of this long summer, being trapped inside much of the day because of the heat and all the stresses lately have done something. Forgive me for feeling frustrated and impatient with all the health problems. I know You are working! Thank You for keeping me moving forward, though it feels like one inch at a time. Oh, Lord! Help my ungrateful heart!

See the source imageNever alone but feeling like it. I had just returned from a 7:30 stress test and echocardiogram. All the way home I had fought a familiar and despised self-pity about one more doctor visit and one more procedure alone. A long-time single, it was hard not to think how comforting it would be to have someone to just go with me or to come home to and talk about it all with. I resisted those thoughts because I knew God was with me. I also knew married people can feel as lonely as singles, sometimes more so. Yet, feelings are feelings, and I wanted just to be with someone. I had stopped at a cafe for tea and a treat, which usually lifted my spirits but today had only accentuated my solitude and now, now I was at home and alone.

And I was trying, I was trying to be grateful.

“Lord, I am so sorry for how I feel. I do thank You for all You have given me, including my wonderful, loving family who live so close. Help me, Father. I know my thoughts are not pleasing. I am complaining just like Israel did when You gave them manna. Oh, Father! Forgive me and help me get my attitude right!”

Image result for public domain picture of toddler handsStirred memories . . . overwhelmed emotions. The drive to the stress test had been down Lamar Avenue, the urban street that traverses the spine of Austin. Rich memories had been deposited all along its circuitous route. Sixteen years ago, I had first visited Austin when my daughter and son-in-law relocated there. On my visits, we often drove down Lamar to go to Whole Foods. Four years later, when I relocated to Austin, to be a happy grandmother, I had driven the length of Lamar to get to the chiropractor, until I found one on my side of the river. It was along the southern end of Lamar that I had taken my first grandson every week to buy diapers and baby lotion and such at the department store. Eighteen months later, Ben and I had driven the full length of Lamar to pick up some baby equipment for his newborn brother while Papa was with Mama at the hospital. As Ben grew, we still made those weekly diaper runs down Lamar to the department store but he was soon old enough to sit with me in the orange and white booths of the café in the corner after we shopped.  He played with coffee stirrers and cup wrappers as we each had an oatmeal cookie.

Mama and I alternated days with the boys once little brother Ansel was older. One especially memorable day when I had Ansel he and I drove down Lamar to that same supply store to get some more equipment and we stopped for French fries after. When Ansel went with me on the diaper run, he liked to stick coffee stirrers into his crackers and play with the tiny coffee creamer cups I had emptied. Such sweet, sweet companionship with my boys!  It had been wrenching to see them start kindergarten.

For the last five years, I had driven down the south end of Lamar, alone, for school pickup, the highlight of my day. Driving through that stretch of Lamar this morning had reinforced the painful truth that school started next week. The summer, filled with wonderful days with the boys, was ending. I was not ready to see them move up another grade, to grow a little older, a little further away from me. I felt the loss ripping at my heart with each hug, each “I love you, Nana”. Ah love! Such pleasure when experienced and such pain at its loss! The looming separation from my boys had brought the fog of self-pity over my heart.

The miracle of loving. I leaned over and picked up Lily and carried her to the kitchen counter. Speaking softly, I dampened paper towels with warm water and gently wiped her eyes, then her face and ears, our anti-allergy morning routine which had been overlooked in the rush to get out the door.

“My sweet Lily bugs,” I crooned as I picked her up and pressed her close to my chest under my chin. I walked to the couch murmuring “My sweet, sweet baby girl.” I sat down with Lily by my side and began brushing her face and neck, stroking the velvet of her sides and back. As soon as I released her, she jumped to the floor and swiped at the mouse on a string propped against the basket of cat toys.

“Okay, girl. Here we go.” I swished the mouse back and forth, another daily routine. I knew it helped keep her happy and active.

“Father,” I prayed. “Thank You so much for my darling Lily. She is such good company and it helps so much to have someone to take care of and to love on. . . “

That’s when it happened, that overwhelming awareness that God was right there with me, that unexplainable knowing that He understood, and felt, just what I was feeling. My throat tightened. Tears fell.

He feels our feelings. “God, I guess when you give love to someone and take care of them it feels almost like someone is caring for you. That’s why you gave me Lily, and all the other cats through the years, isn’t it, for all the hours alone at home. That’s why you gave me my family, each one of them. I remember how comforting it was to hold my Sharon and take care of her all those years so long ago. Loving my little Lily helps so much, Father. Thank You! I cannot see Your face and I cannot touch Your hand and I cannot hear Your physical voice but I know You are here.”

I sniffed, blinked and continued staring straight ahead. Two Scriptures came to mind.

“The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you; but if you [become indifferent and] forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2, AMPC)

10 And they who know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy] will lean on and confidently put their trust in You, for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You [on the authority of God’s Word and the right of their necessity]. (Psalm 9:10, AMPC)

Image result for public domain picture of father whispering to childI paused in my thoughts. The awareness that God was there was something like what you sense when someone comes up behind you but has made no sound or when you sense that someone is watching you. It felt like God was saying to me . . .

  • I love you, My little child.
  • I see you. I always see you, and I am always, always, always with you.
  • I am pleased with your efforts to please me. They are as precious in my sight as the pictures Ben and Ansel draw for you.
  • I adore you just as you are.
  • You need do nothing to earn My love.
  • Just as you adore your grandsons, so I adore and accept you, and far, far more.
  • I know your heart. I understand your struggles with fear and worry and keeping life going as you make your way in this dark world. That is why I touched your mind as you loved Lily. I want you to feel the comfort of My love. I want you to feel My presence.
  • You have not displeased Me. I have not removed Myself from you. I am with you and I will always be with you.
  • Some times and some seasons of feeling separated from Me are necessary. This is just as when you train a child. But see! I have prepared you with all you need through the Word we have together planted and nurtured in your heart! My living Word has sustained you through these last weeks when darkness seemed to cover My face and you do often felt I was not with You.
  • Know this truth, My child: I AM with you always!

Our loving God of all comfort. So, dear friend, I am posting this narrative though it seems a bit too personal. I want you to know that whatever you are feeling today, God is right there with you and He understands and He longs to communicate His love to you. He longs to take care of whatever need you have. He is our perfect Father. If human fathers are moved when seeing their children in need how much more is the Father of our spirits moved by our distress?

God has made a special way of loving you that is for only you and Him, a way that no one else in the world shares. Yes, He is that involved in each detail of your life and He has taken that much care to make the way that He can comfort you and love and guide you. That way is as unique as the pattern of whorls on your fingertips. I sincerely pray that He broaden and deepen that channel of communication between you and Him.

One last thought about God’s love for you. One of my favorite passages about God’s comfort is 2 Corinthians 1:1-11. I found this verse more than forty years ago when I was reading the Bible through for the first time after being saved. Back then, my deepest pain was fear that I could not take good enough care of my daughter alone. God has never once let us down and never ever failed to give comfort when I turned to Him.

Today, I noticed that the NIV clearly shows God’s comfort produces patient endurance of sufferings.

If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (AMPC, emphasis added)

Then, while reading the AMPC, I noticed that each time the word comfort appears in the text, “consolation and encouragement” follow in the amplifying parenthesis. Consolation means to lessen the grief, sense of loss or trouble” of someone. And encouragement means, of course, to inspire, or to breath, courage and hope into someone.

So, I pray that God, through letting you perceive His presence and through your study of His Word, lessens whatever distress you feel. I pray that He breathes fresh and abundant courage and hope into your soul, and that He works your individual experience out for your good, to produce even greater endurance–with greater awareness of His presence–in the very midst of your trials.

But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted (consoled and encouraged), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement), which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.

And our hope for you [our joyful and confident expectation of good for you] is ever unwavering (assured and unshaken); for we know that just as you share and are partners in [our] sufferings and calamities, you also share and are partners in [our] comfort (consolation and encouragement). (2 Corinthians 1:6-7, AMPC, emphasis added)

“The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity], He will be found by you.” (2 Chronicles 15:2, AMPC)

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What is happening to our world?

Image result for public domain picture of jesus and the worldGood things ARE happening!  You might not know it, but in the midst of all the evil seeming to take over our nation and our world, God has started the greatest spiritual awakening of all time. Unless you have been hearing truthful and Godly news sources, you likely will not believe that. You likely see no way out of the current darkness and possibly feel Armageddon is fast approaching. I say: take heart!

For about two years, I have listened only to truthful, Godly news sources, like those listed on the “What is God doing?” tab on this website. This is where I learned that God is NOW pouring out His Spirit, with signs and wonders and miracles and hundreds of salvations in big tent meetings, through the ministry of evangelists like Mario Murillo. Grassroots America has begun speaking out against things like our schools blatantly grooming our children for sexual perversion—which is nothing less than outright pedophilia. Believers and patriots are running for local and national offices and winning. Many organizations have obtained documented proof that the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump and that proof is even now moving some states toward decertifying the 2022 elections.

God is doing so much for His beloved America! When I first thought of writing this littleImage result for public domain picture of america summary, America still awaited the SCOTUS decision on abortion. Other rulings—like prayer on school grounds–have also supported the U.S. Constitution, which as I hope you know is based on Biblical principles, no matter which twisted way liberals try to rewrite the history of America, the only nation beside Israel which is devoted to God.

I beg you:  Get informed and then get involved! There is much you can do, yes, ordinary you.

Following is a brief overview of what has been happening to America. If you have not been following truthful Godly sources of news, it could take a while before you grasp the big picture. So, I pray this provides a framework into which you can add more knowledge as you start listening. No doubt, I will not get everything exactly accurate and someone who spends full time on telling truth would add much to this outline, but I believe it is a good start if you need a foundational understanding.

See the big picture.  Understand first that there are levels of attack. The topmost leader of the evil we see today is, of course, Satan, who has been scheming against God and His beloved humans since Eden. Under Satan are “rulers, authorities and the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan and his evil horde are pulling the strings of their human puppets.

The next highest level of evil is the deep state. A handful of unbelievably wealthy people have worked for decades to do Satan’s evil bidding and to depopulate the earth. Satan has promised them they will have it all. This includes people like George Soros and Bill Gates.

See the source imageThese people are pushing a globalist socialist, communist agenda. They want to destroy America and other countries and bring in the “New World Order” – a one-world government. Sound like the book of Revelations yet? What do you think mandatory vaccinations are preparations for? In Canada, the wicked despot Trudeau cut off all finances for truckers who protested against the vaccine.

The deep state aims to control the entire world, but especially Israel—the apple of God’s eye—and the United States, which was founded upon and dedicated expressly to God and religious liberty. “America was raised up to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.” (Dutch Sheets, givehim15.com, July 27, 2022).  No wonder Satan is so bent on destroying America.

They have been playing the long game for decades. They are responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (because he was trying to return America to the silver standard for our currency). They are responsible for the stolen 2020 election because they hate President Trump.

Their agenda. ­ They push socialist communism so that they can have control over the world. And they do this through political leaders and other influential, powerful leaders. This is why they are creating such chaos. Chaos makes people desperate for peace and safety. Make a country desperate enough and they will submit to anything.  Their ultimate goal is to wipe out much of the earth’s population so things will be better for them. That’s why the vaccines Bill Gates gave “generously” to a struggling nation made the children sterile. That is why Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, openly targeted the black race for abortion and why the vast majority of such death clinics are in black neighborhoods, the easiest, most “productive” target. Their agenda to wipe out much of the human race—especially God’s people–and bring in the “New World Order” is why they used the plandemic to wipe out so many Americans and others.

Image result for Public Domain picture of Churches. Size: 150 x 225. Source: www.publicdomainpictures.netWhat they did to churches.  The church in America has long been rotting, becoming progressively more silent against evil. This is the fault of the church but what put gasoline on the fire of unholiness was the Johnson amendment, which came about because LBJ replaced John F. Kennedy as president. The Johnson amendment gives churches a tax-break but on the condition that churches stay out of politics. Now you know one reason pulpits have been silent about all kinds of evil for so long.

Pastors have chosen to serve the god of money and popularity rather than the Holy One of the Bible. They have not spoken out against the evil things happening in our land because they do not want to lose their tax break and they do not want to “offend” their congregation and lose their church. And they have led their sheep into the same evil path, staying silent about and even affirming all kinds of evil.

Image result for public domain picture of pasttor at pulpitBesides that, the pulpit in America largely stopped preaching the power of the blood and holiness many years ago. Not only that, the church stayed in its four walls and out of the pillars of society. Consequently, the foundations of our society were corrupted and that corruption has, like the contaminating filth it is, spread. Did you know pastors were heavily involved in America’s initial fight for freedom? They were called “The black coat regiment.” Did you hear that on mainstream media?

“But we are not to oppose authorities” you say.   Multitudes of churches and believers are cowering behind Romans 13:1-2 which states: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV) This verse applies to righteous rulers. Verse 3 explains that this applies to “rulers who hold no terror for those who do right, buy for those who do wrong.”  Most of our world’s rulers today support those who do wrong and violently oppose those who do right.

See the source imageWhat did Peter and the apostles do when the authorities persecuted them for preaching Jesus and gave strict orders not to teach in the name of Jesus? “Peter and the other apostles replied: We must obey God rather than men?” (Acts 5:29, NIV)

They own the media. The deep state owns mainstream media and seeks to spread its evil agenda and to silence all those who speak for righteousness and truth. This is starting to change as God gives truth a voice through individual believers who speak out and through believers who create platforms that get the truth out.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Mainstream media is still covering up most of the evil currently operating in our world.

The evil you see happening is by design. The covid epidemic—and other evil and destructions we now see, like the invasion of our southern border — was planned. Yes, covid is a real disease but it is a manufactured sickness, a test to see how quickly the deep state could control the world, to see how much we would put up with. What did the world do? We wore masks, forsook church, got vaccinated and believed the lies – like children are in grave danger and must wear masks in school. Did you know that the percentage of children who died from covid is miniscule? You will not hear that on mainstream news.

While they had everyone terrified of covid, they killed millions world-wide, especially among the elderly and those with health issues; did much to start ruining our economy, damaged the lives of a whole generation of children; and trained much of the world to submit to whatever they say to handle the next virus they are waiting to unleash.

This attack by the deep state, incidentally, prepared the way for them to use mail-in ballots as part of their theft of the 2020 election. Don’t believe it was stolen? See the documentary “2,000 mules.” And just wait. God is even now exposing evil, and His arm is lifted high.

Image result for public domain picture of white houseThe jackal sitting unlawfully in our White House is systematically destroying our economy through planned inflation, which he began by shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline immediately upon beginning his charade as our lawfully-elected president.  Besides that,

  • He abandoned American troops and civilians in Afghanistan as well as Afghanis who supported and had fought alongside the U.S.
  • He created and continues to deepen the gas shortage because he sold out to the hyper-radical environmentalists who funded his campaign and so is pushing “green” energy.
  • There are too many horrors to list and they grow daily.
  • All this, plus, the media is no longer covering up his incompetence and the world laughs at the leader of the most powerful nation on earth, God’s nation.

Image result for Cute Elementary ClassroomsWhat Satan wants to do to our children. Because the deep state controls the media, you are not hearing about the sexual perversion being taught in our public schools and the pedophilia teachers are committing using curricula approved by principals and school districts. To further the perverted homosexual agenda, teachers are preparing children to accept homosexuality and transgenderism by teaching them, in detail, about homosexual practices – under the guise of being “inclusive” and “gay rights.” THIS IS PEDOPHILIA! When parents protested at school boards, the jackal’s administration labelled them “domestic terrorists”.

More parents are speaking up and the tide is turning in some states but last week I saw a podcast on Victory News where a teacher explained to other teachers the correct pronouns to use on report cards so that a child who “identifies” as being of the opposite sex while at school can continue to pose as the sex they want and the teachers will not, inadvertently, let the parent know what is going on at school with their own child. Some children have begun sex change treatments which were deliberately hidden from parents.

Image result for public domain picture of school childThis is all part of a planned attack by Satan. Go online and search “We are coming for your children.”  A San Francisco gay men’s choir spells out exactly what the left wants to do with YOUR children and grandchildren. It is disgusting and I hope it infuriates you.

This is one more reason why you need to start listening to conservative, Christian, patriotic, righteous news and stop listening to and believing the enemy.  Are you mad yet?

Why the deep state supports violence, defunding the police, and taking our guns. If the only people allowed to have guns are criminals, then the only people with guns will be criminals. Then, the evil, totalitarian, socialist progressives and the deep state can control Image result for Public Domain Picture of Police. Size: 180 x 101. Source: www.publicdomainpictures.netus. Then America would be in a situation like Australia, where people were forced into covid camps for not obeying the governments covid rules. The right to bear arms is the second Amendment to our Constitution. Yes, gun violence is horrific beyond words, but the solution is to allow law-abiding citizens to bear arms. Mainstream media has not told you that since the tragedy in Uvalde at least two other potential mass shooters were stopped by citizens using their legally-permitted guns.

Blind justice. The deep state worked years ago to get corrupt judges and prosecutors and legislators into office. That is how Congressman Lee ZeldIn could be attacked with a knife, during a political rally, and his attacker immediately released from jail. Such things are happening all the time. You just do not hear about them on the media that the globalist, communist, socialist deep state owns.

Image result for public domain picture of united states mapBorders. The jackal’s puppets have purposefully moved him to allowed millions of illegal aliens to cross our southern border. And they are being relocated throughout the US. Many of these are sex traffickers, drug traffickers, terrorists and other criminals. Thousands are dying as they are smuggled across the border by the drug cartel. Fentanyl use has exploded as it has flowed like a river across the border. Why does the administration do nothing? They are planning for the illegals to be grateful for being allowed into the US and to vote for them.

January 6 theater. This is a blatant attempt to stop President Trump from running in 2024. I will not give it the dignity of explanation but start listening to conservative news outlets and the truth you hear about this sham will seem unbelievable. And what about the rampant violence in our cities which is not covered in mainstream news and about which the left does nothing?

See the source imageWhat they are doing to our beloved military.  I say “beloved military” because I am deeply, deeply grateful to the men and women and families who have sacrificed and are even now sacrificing so we may live in a free country. Satan is working to weaken and destroy our military. Thousands are being discharged because they refuse to take the vax.  Leaders are spending resources teaching our military how to use the “proper” pronouns lest they offend someone who is deluded into thinking they can change their sex. They have been forced to work alongside homosexuals and do you really think the trouble this perversion causes is reported by mainstream media?

In China the government removed ALL “girlie” boy effeminate movies and tv shows for children, replacing them with media that teaches boys to be men. Communist China is raising up a generation of men who will fight like men. What is our media teaching our young boys, our future soldiers? How to be weak, intimidated, and to tolerate that which is disgusting and vile in God’s sight.

God puts an instinct into males to be men and fight to protect females and children. What will our future soldiers be if that instinct is beaten out of them by years of lies and punishment for following their God-given instincts?

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Distractions! All these and many more distractions are coming now, before the 2022 midterms and who knows what else they have planned? They are already making noises about another plandemic. And look at the hatred unleased against abortion.

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Ultrasound. Size: 188 x 100. Source: radiationepal.blogspot.comThe curse of abortion over the United States. When our Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, returning this issue to the states, where it should have always remained because it is not a constitutional “right”, a curse was lifted off our land. Abortion is a blood sacrifice to the god Molech. That is why you see such unbelievable hatred from those who support it. They are demonically controlled and influenced. How else do you account for the violence and hatred? It is demonic control and it is also the flesh. People do not like it when they have to pay the consequences for their sin. They want abortion so they can continue their sexual immorality without the consequence of raising a child. So Satan has brutally murdered millions of babies in the womb. Their blood has cried out to God and He is bringing justice.

Did you know some states were approving abortion up to 30 days AFTER THE BABY WAS OUT OF THE WOMB?

See the source imageIf you vote democrat, you are supporting this abomination. One hundred percent of democrats in the House voted to keep Roe v. Wade intact.   Think about that. If you voted for the jackal now in the White House you voted for abortion and for all the evils now seeming to prevail.

Wake up! You can do something! You can repent of that and start praying for and supporting righteous leaders and righteous endeavors. You can make a difference!

The tide is turning, God is already doing mighty things. Look at the other Supreme Court decisions that defend righteousness. Look at the truths that even mainstream media is starting to proclaim (because they have no choice.)  Just this should convince you.

But if you listen to the prophets, you have been hearing them say, for years that God is doing many things behind the scenes, exposing and destroying evil. Prophets have been saying for months now that the Third Great Awakening has already begun, with signs and wonders and hundreds of salvations happening in tent revivals as in former days. They also predicted the many ways righteousness is starting to flow in our nation.

Image result for public domain picture of niagaraEveryday Americans are waking up and taking action. Grassroots efforts and organizations that oppose evil and promote righteousness are exploding. God is about to unleash a Niagara of justice and righteousness. (Amos 5:24)

Will you get involved? I beg you: will you get involved? You are alive at this time by God’s design. He has things for you, personally, to do in this fight, just as God had things for Esther to do. And He will equip and supply you as you stand and start fighting.

I ask you: Do you want to look back and remember that you did your part in God’s fight? Or do you want to remember that fear and disbelief kept you from taking your stand against evil?

How do you think the Holocaust happened? Little by little, one lie at a time.  People believed lies because they were repeated over and over and those who could help the Jews stayed silent. And the Jewish people themselves, these precious souls who are the apple of His eye? What about them?

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The last exhibit in the Holocaust Memorial Museum is the “shoe pile”, a pile of 4,000 shoes of holocaust victims.  May we never forget and may we never cease to pray for Israel and the peace of Israel. What happened to God’s beloved Jewish people is a warning for us. They were deceived, and those who suspected evil was being done and who could do something remained silent.

Socialist and communistic leaders promise people things will be good if they just submit and obey the government. Think about it.

Here is part of an article from the October 12, 2021, Seattle Times.

The 4,000 shoes on display are on loan from the State Museum of Majdanek in Lublin, Poland,” said Steven Luckert, curator of the permanent exhibition. “In general, the shoes are the objects that leave the most profound impression on the visitors. It shows the magnitude of Nazi murder through something so deeply personal.”

Men’s loafers, children’s bootees and women’s two-inch heels are piled in a disordered heap. The women’s shoes, once beautiful, may be the most shocking remnants in the exhibition. They are the reminder that some victims were hopeful, taking their finery and most-feminine footwear on trains that led to this.

“Some of the shoes are very elegant, and the variety gives the sense of the deception at work to fool the victims,” Luckert said. “Jews were told they would be building new lives someplace in the East, not told they were being sent to be killed.”

In the 1930s, the quotation below appeared in many public addresses of the German pastor Martin Niemoller:

“First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews – and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one to speak for me.”

If you are doing something, keep doing it and even more! If not, I must ask: how long will you remain passive and indifferent?

Specific things to do – now:

  1. At home alone, with in-person prayer groups or on-line. Put your boots on the ground and go to places and pray.
  2. Get informed – go to the “What is God doing?” page of this website and start listening regularly to conservative, Christian media. Besides speaking truth, they give ways to get involved in God’s fight for righteousness and justice in our land.
  3. Send letters and emails and call your government representatives, at all levels. millionvoices.org has made this easy. Check it out.
  4. Serve at polling places, run for local offices – yes you!
  5. Go to school board meetings, city councils, legislative sessions – whatever is available to you — and pray and speak as the Lord leads.
  6. Speak up to your pastor. Just writing a respectful, but truthful letter to your pastor can move him or her to start speaking up for righteousness.
  7. Start a prayer meeting for your city, state and nation – just you and one other person can move mountains.
  8. This is just a starter list. As you seek God and get in the fight, He will lead you personally.

Fellow believer, I have been bold and I wish I could be even bolder! We must be about God’s work and do our part to destroy the works of the enemy. (I John 3:8) We cannot remain passive and silent. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30, NIV)

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Where are you planted? Part One

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Car on Street. Size: 184 x 206. Source: www.photos-public-domain.com“Do not call conspiracy [or hard or holy] all that this people will call conspiracy [or hard or holy]; neither be in fear of what they fear, nor [make others afraid] and in dread.” (Isaiah 8:12, AMPC)

“Well, Father, I am not sure what the first part of this verse means but you are surely telling me that my fear can make others fear.”

Midmorning traffic was light as I drove down Manchaca, past the high school, the community college, and the string of small businesses, repeating my current Bible verse. At the light, I glanced at the next phrase on the printed page spread on the passenger seat, next to my purse.

“The Lord of hosts—regard Him as holy and honor his Holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety].”

As I made the left turn onto Jones, a little side street lined with homes, conviction came so strong I almost pulled into a driveway to stop and think.

“Oh, forgive me, Father! I see that I dishonor You when I do not depend on You alone as my only hope of safety. Oh, forgive me, Lord!”

I sped up along the entrance ramp and then the slow, arcing single-lane turn, ignoring the unsettling feeling of being suspended in midair. Although focused on driving, part of my mind repeated “The Lord of hosts—regard Him as holy and honor his Holy name [by regarding Him as your only hope of safety.” All the while, a familiar undercurrent of gratitude flowed along at a semiconscious level, gratitude for the path the Good Shepherd had led me to follow.

“Thank You, Lord, for all the times the boys and I drove along this road on our way to the gym back when they were preschool. Thank You that diligent Bible study and meditation in my areas of need healed the depression and fear when nothing else worked. Thank You, Father, for the thirst You have given for Your Word! What an unspeakable gift!”

Image result for public domain picture of handwritten noteA personal message of deep love and concern. Friend, this piece of writing came about, with a strong awareness of God’s presence. It interrupted work on another subject. I do not, of course, claim to hear God’s voice perfectly, but I do know when I feel His presence especially strong, as I did when writing this. I plead with you to receive these words in the spirit in which they are written– keenly aware of my own weaknesses and with deep love and concern for your spiritual welfare and your life eternal. So, I ask you today. . .

  • What are you doing with the Word?
  • Are you planted in a desert?
  • Are you planted in a fertile area?
  • Do you have deep roots? Any?
  • Do your roots seek a cistern or the Source Himself?
  • Blinders?
  • Do you know about two more dangers?
  • Do you hear “The full counsel of God”?
  • Do you do personalized study for personal needs?
    • God wants to teach you personally
    • Only God knows my heart and what my heart needs
  • A personal regret

What are you doing with the Word? Are you purposefully studying the Word, diligently, and in your areas of personal need? Are you purposefully meditating on the Word you find each day, all day? If so, press on!  But if diligent Bible study and diligent, purposeful meditation are not part of your daily routine or if your Bible study consists only of trying to absorb Truth others have mined, I beg you, consider – where is the tree of your heart planted?

Image result for public domain picture of tree in desertAre you planted in a desert? Are you planted in the desert of rebellion and disobedience regarding God’s command to “study and show yourself approved to God?” (2 Timothy 2:15)? Do you consider personal, serious Bible study and meditation unnecessary? While listening to preaching and teaching, do you play with your phone? Do you think about the week ahead? If so, if you seldom study or even read the Word for yourself and if you do not pay close attention to what preaching and teaching you do hear, then you rarely get rain and your heart is shriveling as is your soul although you do not perceive it.

You remain spiritually alive only by His grace, and, like a cactus, your trifling bit of life-sustaining moisture is hoarded deep inside, with thorns blocking the way of any fellow parched soul seeking sustenance. You bear no good fruit and provide no shade under which weary ones may rest. You are in grave danger.

Image result for Public Domain Picture of Rainforest Trees. Size: 137 x 100. Source: www.flickr.comAre you planted in a fertile area? You say, “No! I am like a tree planted where it receives abundant rain. I regularly study my Bible and gather with others for preaching and teaching.  I eagerly stretch out my branches and let the rain revive my leaves and, thus, I am watered abundantly. My roots bring water to my soul and I bear good fruit.”

Ahh! That is well and good and you may be a fruit-producing tree but receiving life-giving water through leaves and shallow roots drawing on pooled rain water is a “backward sort of way for a tree to absorb water . . . At least 70 different species of trees in seven different ecosystems have been identified as using a back to front water transport mechanism like this. This is most common in rainforests where mist forms near the treetops, making an environment suitable for this type of water consumption.” (www.wildlifeinformer.com)

Friend, are you getting your spiritual nourishment—like trees feeding on the moisture in the treetops–only from the rain and from the atmosphere created by other believers as you discuss the Word that has been fed to you?

See the source imageDo you have deep roots? Any? God obviously intends for us to be instructed. Every tree does indeed get some of its necessary moisture from rain and from close proximity to fellow believers as well as via shallow roots drawing on rainwater held in the ground. However, God also intends for every believer to diligently study the Word individually and to meditate on His Word continually. It is not God’s plan for believers to be watered with the Word only by what they hear from others, no matter how sound. What happens during drought, when water from rain fails?

Friend, I must ask: Do you have deep roots? Any at all? Do you take time regularly and consistently (not perfectly, but consistently) for diligent Bible study and diligent meditation? Or is your sustenance only from that treetop mist and shallow soil soaked with rainwater?

With love, I must ask again: Do you have any deep roots? Think about it. What if your source of water, of God’s truth, is now tainted or becomes tainted?  God wants you to fully, from the heart, obey Scripture and become like a tree “planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1), so that you will be continually watered not only from others but from below, from the unseen depths of the Spirit directly. God wants you to have deep roots. And He wants your roots to connect to the spring, the Source Himself, of Living Water.

Do your roots seek a cistern or The Source Himself?  Spiritual roots must not only burrow deeply into the soil but they must burrow in the right location. Otherwise, you will draw from a source that, like rain, is secondary to the True Source.

What do I mean? You may be drawing from a cistern. A cistern is an underground reservoir to hold rain. You may get good water, from sound teaching and your own diligent study and meditation upon about what you have heard, but you still are not getting water from the Source Himself. Why?

Roots grow toward water. If a tree, even a deeply-rooted tree, is planted far from a river, its roots will grow toward and inevitably draw from secondary underground sources, like cisterns or ground water.

See the source imageIf I establish myself, if I plant myself, in the habit of getting all my spiritual water from the teaching and preaching of others, I am planting myself above a cistern or a water table.  Even though my roots do go deep, if my mind is open only to what I have been taught—all my roots reach sideways, into that cistern or groundwater, into that reservoir of the teaching of others. I will not hear from God through His Word directly. Friend, every human, no matter how holy, is but a “broken cistern” (Jeremiah 2:13). God wants us to hear from Him directly.  

Unless I am planted close to the water so that my roots connect directly to the underground water that is part of the river itself, the Living Water cannot do His full work in me. The Living Word cannot uncloak truth as I study new Scriptures and He cannot reveal new depths of familiar Scriptures. He is limited to the interpretation of the person who taught me.

Suppose someone taught me that one has to be baptized in water to be saved. When I read that Jesus told the thief on the cross “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43, KJV)”, I will not perceive that this verse shows water baptism is not mandatory for salvation. If someone teaches me that the gifts of the Spirit demonstrated in the New Testament are not for today, I will read with that veil over my eyes.

Suppose my pastor only preaches Romans 13:1 (“be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established”). Study Romans 13:1-6 for yourself, and you will see God is saying obey rulers who do right, not wicked rulers. Was it right for God’s people to worship King Nebuchadnezzar when they were commanded to do so? No!  And what did the apostles say when the governing authorities commanded them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus? The apostles said “We must obey God rather than men!” (Romans 5:29b)

Further, we are not to say silent in the midst of evil, as so very many are doing today. Proverbs 25:26 is clear. “Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields and compromises his integrity before the wicked.” (AMPC)

Image result for public domain picture of horse with blindersBlinders? A horse with blinders walks where he is allowed to see, blind to all things except what is right in front of his eyes, which is what his master has chosen for him to see. This was the sin that kept most of Israel from perceiving Messiah for Who He was and is and will ever be—God Himself. They believed someone else’s teaching, were blinded to all else, and rejected the teaching of the Living Word Himself.

In Matthew 23, Jesus called the teachers of the law and Pharisees, “hypocrites, blind guides, snakes and a brood of vipers”.  Jesus told them:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matthew 23:13-14, NIV)

Jesus was addressing teachers of the law and Pharisees who were blocking the way to salvation. Why were they doing that? They were enslaved, controlled, by their own fleshly lust for power and wealth.

Beloved, today’s pastors and teachers are made of the same flesh as those teachers and Pharisees more two thousand years ago.

I am not saying the pastors or teachers you hear are teaching you lies or using you or purposefully leading you away from Truth, but I must ask: if you do not search the Word yourself, how will you tell? A child accepts whatever his parents tell him because he trusts his parents. Who does God tell you to trust, Him and His Word or those who claim to know His Word?

Selective Focus Shot Of A Male Standing And Speaking From The PulpitAgain, I must ask, is it not possible that, though they have good intentions, some pastors and teachers are not connected with the Source of Truth and so are speaking only revised versions of what they themselves have been taught? Is it not possible that their own blindness and pre-judged interpretations cause them to err and, thus, lead you into error?

Suppose one is following another down the road and they both fall into a ditch. The leader says, “Oh, we are fine right here. This is the best place for us. No, no, don’t try to climb out. I know best.“ If the follower believes what the leader says, both will remain cold, wet, and miserable, mere inches away from the bright, warm, sunlit path God prepared for them.

Besides that dangerous kind of pastor and teacher, sadly, many so-called Christians today use and abuse God’s people and serve Satan just as much as the teachers of the law and Pharisees.

I beg you: let God open your eyes. Let Him teach you from the Word directly, not through the filter of anyone else’s understanding.

Two more grave dangers. As stated, if all I hear an know of the Word comes through someone else’s interpretation, I am planted above a cistern. Holy Spirit will not be able to show me fresh understanding of familiar Scriptures nd will be unable to open unfamiliar Scriptures.

Besides those grave dangers, (1) I will not hear the full counsel of God and (2) God will be unable to fully cleanse my heart of sin, bring full healing, and bring me to full maturity. Why? Let’s look first at the matter of hearing the full counsel of God.

Image result for free clipart Of holy fire. Size: 150 x 208. Source: clipground.com“The full counsel of God, Acts 20:27”. There are many kinds of sin. We are ignorant of most of them until we learn God’s laws and He personally teaches us how His laws apply to our individual lives.

Most preaching and teaching in the United States today focuses on self-improvement and other humanistic self-centered themes. Most preaching and teaching does not call sin sin. Think. When was the last time you heard a sermon on sexual immorality, homosexuality, abortion, jealousy, or lying? These sins are so obvious that even most unbelievers know Christians are not to do such things, but how often do you hear preaching on these sins?

Even rarer are sermons and teaching against filthy language, immodesty, self-centeredness, the consequences of neglecting the Word, the need for holiness and our responsibility as believers to shine into the darkness of our current wicked culture and to fight for the Kingdom and our freedom.

God has called us ALL to live “upright and godly lives” in this current dark world.  But if we do not hear preaching or teaching against sin—in all its forms—and if we fail to diligently study and meditate on the Word for ourselves, letting Holy Spirit speak to us personally, how will we live holy lives? How will we be changed from glory to glory? How will we gain a renewed mind? How will we conquer “the world, the flesh and the devil?” How will we hear God explain, through Biblical principles, what is happening in our world and what we must do about it?

Do you want to merely wipe the outside of the dish or do you want to clean the inside as well? (Matthew 23:25) The Great Physician has filled the Bible with His prescriptions for “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)—right living in each aspect of human life.  God has called us ALL to be holy because He is holy.

(14) [Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel].

(15) But as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.

(16) For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. (I Peter 1:14-16, AMPC)

Part of holiness is maturity. In many places and with persuasive words, God urges us to press on to maturity, in verses like 2 Peter 1:5-11, Hebrews 6:1 and Colossians 2:6-8, to name a few. We can only do that if we hear what He says about each aspect of life—His full counsel.

Do you do personalized study for your personal needs? Finally, fellow sojourner, unless I seek unfiltered, fresh truth directly from the Word, through the teaching of Holy Spirit, for my particular needs, I remain—unknowingly—vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. I remain enslaved by (and reaping the consequences of) sin and iniquity concealed from my own awareness. And this can be in spite of decades of following God. (I stumbled at that point for many years)

Merely listening to teaching from others is like blindly grabbing a shirt from a huge rack holding every possible size. My need will be met only marginally and possibly not at all. Letting God teach me is like having the world’s best tailor make a garment for me.

Image result for public domain picture of two people studyingGod wants to teach us personally. Pressing on to maturity—until Christ is fully formed in us–is essential for every believer and possible only by the Living Word of God.  Our loving God longs to speak to you personally, through His Holy Spirit opening His Word to you, about your personal troubles, like fear, temper, depression, or addiction. He wants to give you victory over every “trouble, trial, distress and frustration” (John 16:33). God invites us to reason together with Him, and to let Him cleanse every crimson stain of sin until we are white as wool (Isaiah 1:18). Holy Spirit longs to study the Word with you. If you seek Him, He will be as clear as if you were studying with a human friend.

Only God knows my heart and what my heart needs. Pastors and teachers do not know my heart. Neither do I–because “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

It is part of human nature to conceal sin. Consequently, so very much of our sins and iniquities are hidden. Thus the psalmist cried: “Who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.” Psalm 19:12, NIV).  God does use sound preaching and teaching to convict us of much sin—glory to God!!—but most of every iceberg is hidden.

You have never and never will hear a pastor or teacher tell you the precise occasion when you committed adultery as you allowed lustful thoughts, like birds, to build a nest in your hair. But God knows and His Word will convict you of that.

Image result for public domain picture of an earYou have never and will never hear a pastor or teacher tell you that you are holding resentment and unforgiveness toward someone from 25 years ago – but God’s Word will.

Despite nearly four decades of weekly preaching I never heard a pastor explain how lies I believed about myself and God had created depression. But studying and meditating on the Word exposed those lies and replaced them with Truth, which set me free indeed. (John 8:31-21)

Sometimes prophets do bring God’s conviction to individuals, as Nathan did for David, but for most, God convicts us of our sins and iniquities through teaching and preaching AND personal study and meditation of His Word.

God says “I search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10). In that same passage, in verse 13, God sternly warns us through Jeremiah who said,

“Lord, You are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame; Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.” (NIV, emphasis added)

Only washing with the Word, from the inside out, will reveal and cleanse hidden sin. Only washing with the Word, from the inside out, will bring living water to hidden areas of weakness and needed growth, transforming dust into malleable clay, useful for the Potter. Only truth can expose and destroy lies and tear down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). Only the Word can shine light in caverns in your soul where, despite your best efforts, darkness yet reigns.

God longs for us to be healed and whole and living in peace as we labor, joyfully, in our work with Him.  And He has made the way. That way is through the cross, the way of letting God’s Living Word crucify your flesh and then wash you and keep you clean.

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A personal regret. With deep regret I confess that I did not truly study and meditate diligently—and in my individual areas of need—until two years of deep depression forced me to. Then I began studying passages phrase by phrase, slowly, carefully and digging deep to see the complete thought God was expressing. Often that involved the entire chapter as well as chapters before and after. And, finally, because God had put me in a dessert and I was desperately thirsty, I not only studied diligently but I also meditated diligently. I thought all day about truths God had revealed, repeating those passages and verses until I “accidentally” memorized them.

Only diligent Bible study and diligent meditation healed the depression and fear. Why? Because although I was outwardly obeying everything I knew about God and every command I heard and (thought I) had studied, the enemy’s lies living in my heart kept me in bondage to hidden sin, sins like doubting God’s faithfulness, His power for my life and His good intentions toward and promises to me.

Until I dedicated time and energy—and all my heart–to letting God teach me personally from the Word regarding my personal sins and weaknesses, until I then meditated on truth He revealed, until those truths renewed my mind, many areas of healing and needed growth remained hidden. So did many sins of which I was unaware – because I had heard no preaching or teaching about them even though I had pursued God with all my heart for nearly four decades.

Praise God that through diligent Bible study and meditation, Holy Spirit used the Living Water of the Word to reveal the precise portions of Truth I needed. Some need to have God’s truth flow in their hearts regarding a temper or lust or whatever. But I needed to have certain of God’s truths imprinted on my heart, the truths hat God loves me just as I am, that He truly will take care of all my needs, and that when I perceive His presence, His peace and love always drives out all loneliness and fear. I had heard those things but until I personally searched out Scriptures then studied and meditated upon them, letting the Living Word show me—or judge—which of my thoughts and intentions were true and which were false–I remained in darkness.

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Let’s review. In Part One, we have seen some conditions regarding the Word in which believers may be trapped. Believers, even with good intentions, may be:

  • Planted in a dessert – Not paying attention to the Word they hear and doing no personal study.
  • Planted in a fertile area – Paying attention to the Word and doing some personal study but drawing strength and light mainly from the Word they hear taught and interactions with believers.
  • Growing deep roots . . . but planted above a cistern – doing serious Bible study on their own but unknowingly interpreting all they study through the lens of what they have been taught.
  • Not hearing the full counsel of God – Hearing and studying only what is taught in sermons, group study, or what others have written.

I pray that you and I will ever pursue the path of:

  • Personalized teaching from Holy Spirit – Thirsting for and satisfied by teaching from Holy Spirit through the Word that reveals and heal personal sins and weakness and leads one to maturity.  Then we will joyfully live as that “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1b, NIV)

In Part Two, we will continue investigating this vital topic, starting with these questions:

  • Where is God telling you to look?
  • “Where can you get this living water? (John 4:11b, NIV)

 

See the source image

 

Watering works!

Image result for public domain picture of watering can(5) What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (6) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. (7) So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (8) The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will be rewarded according to their own labor (9) for we are co-workers in God’s service . . . (I Corinthians 3:5-9a, AMPC)

Planting, watering, and rejoicing. As I walked beside the pool, my hands full of mail, I waved at Joe walking on the other side.

“Hey,” he said, “thanks for praying for me the other day.”

I smiled, turned the corner and walked toward him.

“So, what’s happening? Do you know when you’ll move yet?”

“Well,” he replied. “I don’t know. There is a social worker helping me but it’s taking a long time. After you prayed the other day I’m feeling better and things are quieter.”

“That’s wonderful!” I replied, as the wind rustled through the trees, a flock of sparrows fluttered from one nearby bush to another, and the heat of the Texas midday sun pressed into my scalp and bare arms.

“Tell me about it.”  So, for the next few minutes, I listened, commiserating about dealing with large government agencies and the frustration of waiting.

The habit of planting and watering. I live in a condominium complex and make it a habit to get to know my neighbors and to work God into our brief conversations whenever I can. I had seen Joe for two years, waving at him and his two buddies every few weeks or months when they sat on the curb by the dumpster, sipping from tall cans tucked into wrinkled brown paper bags.

In early spring, I had seen Joe at a neighborhood drug store, and we had talked while we stood in a long line. I learned a bit about his background and current problems. As the clerk bagged his purchases, he turned back to me and said, “It was good to talk to you.” As I smiled and said “Likewise, Joe!” I remember thinking at the time “Joe may not have anyone to offer a kind and listening ear.” And I had thanked God for letting me offer a bit of friendship and concern from a fellow human being. And I had, of course, prayed for him.

Image result for public domain picture of homeless man drinkingBy God’s grace alone. Like three others in the complex, I knew he had some kind of disability and I took extra care to speak a word of encouragement whenever I saw him in the parking lot or by the mailboxes.

“There but for Your grace, Lord, go I. Help me be Your smile and Your voice.”

Today, as Joe talked, resting one thin arm on the fence by the pool, I was praying the same prayer.

“Let’s pray again,” I said, and I did, briefly thanking God for helping, asking for guidance about making decisions, and asking God to keep Joe in peace.

“Thank you,” Joe said. “You know, I think He listens to you because last time you prayed for me, things got a whole lot better.”

I smiled. “Thank you, Joe. That makes my heart happy! He loves us all so much and He wants to help us. He has taken good care of my daughter and me for many years and has never let us down once.”

We shared a warm smile before we parted and went our separate ways.

Image result for public domain picture of watering sproutsA little more water sprinkled. “Thank You, Lord, for that chance, for being able to sprinkle a little more water on those seeds You’ve planted in Joe’s heart. Thank You for letting me sense what he was ready to hear. Keep him safe, Lord, help him . . . “

As I walked upstairs, I pondered afresh the message of 1 Corinthians 3, that each of us who labor in the kingdom plant seeds and water seeds but it is God alone who makes things grow.

(5) What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (6) I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. (7) So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (8) The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will be rewarded according to their own labor (9) for we are co-workers in God’s service . . . (I Corinthians 3:5-9a, AMPC)

I opened the door, walked over to the rocker and sat, staring out the window. This month has been the hardest this year, with one problem after another—all in the stressful atmosphere in which our world is currently bathed. I paid out $800 for a fender bender that was my fault, I fell and got some interesting bruises (but fortunately only bruises), I got scammed, and the air conditioner had to be repaired. All month, handling fallout from those problems had interfered with the writing, which is a source of delight and great peace. Earlier that morning, while waiting on the air conditioner repair man, was the first time I was able to sit down and write for more than a few minutes.

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Planting Seeds. Size: 142 x 106. Source: www.publicdomainpictures.netLike a tangible pat on the head. I continued staring out the window, into the glare coming off the building ten feet away.

“Thank You, Father, so much. That is a pat on the head I can almost feel.  What a privilege to help draw Joe toward You a bit more! What a privilege to be involved in kingdom work in my own back yard and in the middle of these problems, which I know are much less than what many are enduring.”

I sighed and scratched Lily’s head, then I smiled.

“And it’s an affirmation of the verses in Psalm 37 that I’ve been trying to memorize these many weeks now, especially verse three.”   

“Trust (lean on, rely on and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.” (Psalm 37:3, AMPC, emphasis added)

Thank You, Father, for giving me the opportunity to do good today while I, along with millions of others, take my place in the battle for the Kingdom and wait expectantly for Your deliverance in the midst of our present troubles. Thank You for Your faithfulness, Thank You for Who You are, for Your loving kindnesses, Your tender mercies, Your compassion. . . “

Image result for public domain picture of jesus holding the worldLord, although the whole world is greatly afflicted at this present moment, we who know You have hope and expectation because we, as did Jeremiah, recall:

(22) It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness. (24) The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore, will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.

(25) The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquiring of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of His Word]. (26) It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22-26, AMPC, emphasis added)

Image result for public domain picture of watering sprouts

God still reigns — right now!!!

“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] hand of rightness and justice.” (Isaiah 41:10, AMPC)

Are you discouraged and fearful?  I pray not! Beloved, no matter what seems to be happening, GOD IS IN CONTROL OF THIS WORLD! And, as you obey and trust Him, He will help you, as He promises in Isaiah 41:10.

If fear torments you, part of the reason could be listening to mainstream media, which is more blatantly than ever opposed to God and more than ever filled with lies. If you still listen to mainstream media, I beg you to stop and start listening to voices that give you the news from God’s perspective, voices like Victory News (govictory.com)  and Flashpoint  (govictory.com) and Give Him 15 (Give Him 15 | GH15 Prayer). Feed yourself with the Word and God’s truth about what is happening and take action against the evil trying to destroy America and the world. How? A good place to start is to implement the suggestions on the “What is God telling you to do?” page on this website.

Make the effort to learn the truth, and then make the effort to get involved. Passivity feeds fear. Taking action feeds faith. I pray you will get informed and get involved. God WILL show you what YOU can do to fight for righteousness.

Following is an updated blog post (published on February 26, 2021) that I pray gives you courage—from God’s Word—to believe that our Most High God has always been, is now, and will always be “. . . sovereign over all the kingdoms on earth.” (Daniel 4:17b, AMPC).  Be confident in God! Get in the fight! God always, always, always wins! He cannot be defeated!

GOD STILL REIGNS!! I sat motionless, eyes closed, feeling the power of Holy Spirit in the thundering crescendo of instruments and voices raised in exultant praise.

He sits high above the mountains, King of kings and Lord is He, and all power is His forever! He still reigns! An empty tomb is there to prove, death could never hold our King. He still reigns, He still reigns!”

I first heard “He Still Reigns!” thirty plus years ago, when still a fairly new Christ follower. Just thinking about the truths in that song has stirred my soul ever since. Thirty or so years ago, the enemy was busy seeking to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) anything and anyone he could. Today, however, his efforts are even more obvious because God is revealing and thwarting the plans of the evil one and those who serve him. Today, I pray this message encourages and strengthens you and brings you the comfort with which God has comforted me (2 Corinthians 1:4), which is that blessed assurance that I am His and He is mine and HE STILL REIGNS!

Consider this:

  • The world, our nation, and many individuals are now in battles where it seems that evil has won.
  • But the battles will last only for a while.
    God will get Himself glory through and because of what is happening.
  • God remains in complete control.
  • God’s plans and purposes will be fulfilled in every way, in the world, our nation, and our individual lives.
  • God will enable us to stand our ground and fight, with confident expectation of victory and with His joy in our hearts.
  • God so often delivers at the last moment.

Three stories of last-moment deliverance by God. Let’s search for understanding in three Bible stories where God delivered His children from seemingly impossible situations, at the last moment. Because of those situations, God got Himself honor and glory and the enemy was made to know that God is the LORD. (Exodus 14:18). These stories are:

  1. Exodus 14 — The parting of the Red Sea
  2. Daniel 3 — Three Hebrews in the fiery furnace
  3. Daniel 6 — Daniel in the den of lions

Image result for free picture of red sea deliveranceExodus 14: The parting of the Red Sea. Read Exodus 13:17 through Exodus 14:31 to get an overview. Then consider the following observations. (Unless indicated otherwise, quotations are from the NIV.)

Ex. 13:17 God knew the Israelites might return to Egypt if they faced war with the Philistines, so God led them toward the Red Sea. He knew they needed a demonstration of His power on their behalf.

Ex 13:21-22 God led them by day and by night and never stopped leading them for a moment.

Ex 14:2-4 God told Moses, His leader, that Israel was to encamp by the Red Sea so that Pharaoh would think they were wandering around in confusion. God would harden Pharaoh’s heart to pursue them which would result in glory for God so that the Egyptians would know He is God. (Think about it – Egypt did not pursue them again, though Israel traveled in a nearby dessert for 40 years. God did indeed make Egypt learn that He IS God.)

Ex 14:5-12 Israel was at first “marching out boldly” (v. 8) but when Pharaoh approached “they were terrified and cried out to the Lord and turned on Moses (v. 10)

Image result for Free Picture Of American Flag Flying. Size: 157 x 110. Source: www.freestockphotos.bizLet me ask: How many have turned against our President, Donald John Trump–from whom the 2020 election was stolen –and others who are fighting for righteousness because it looks like evil won and is about to destroy our nation?

Fear and believing the threats and lies of the enemy made the Israelites turn on their leader. Looking at the enemy brings fear. Looking to God brings light to your eyes and courage to your heart. 

Ex 14:13 Moses told the people “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see a gain. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Image result for Public Domain Picture of Pillar of Cloud. Size: 123 x 206. Source: thescripturesays.orgEx 14: 19- The angel of God moved behind the Israelites, and the pillar of cloud (which means this event began during the day) also moved behind them and “throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” (Emphasis added)

Notice this: God protects His people while He is preparing their deliverance. I believe this is where our nation and our world is at this moment. Verse 21 says “and all that night, the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

Notice this: Going through the Red Sea happened at night and all during the process of Israel walking through the divided waters, many of them were still close to the Egyptians, waiting on the dangerous side, with only God’s pillar of cloud and fire keeping them safe. It took a while for deliverance from evil and into freedom to be complete. And during that time, all the Israelites who could not fit into the dry passage through the sea, had to stand still and wait and stay on God’s side. Had they turned back toward Egypt, rather than waiting on God’s process of deliverance to be completed, they would have become captives again.

Notice this also: The deliverance through the Red Sea took most of the night. Verse 24 says “During the last watch of the night” God confused the Egyptian army and took the wheels off their chariots and the Egyptians understood that God was fighting for Israel and against them.

I believe that perhaps the Egyptian army was getting close to the last of the Israelites who were walking to freedom. God could have had the Israelites walk faster or the Egyptians move slower, but maybe He wanted the Israelites to look into the midst of the Red Sea and observe what He was doing to their enemies. Maybe He wanted His children to have a picture to carry in their memory of mighty Pharaoh becoming terrified. Maybe He wanted them to see that even when the enemy was so very close, that He was still in control.

Image result for free picture of red sea deliveranceReturning to the text, in verse 26, God told Moses to again stretch out his hand over the sea and at daybreak, the sea went back into is place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. Not one of them survived.” (emphasis added.) “And Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant. (30b, 31)

Notice this: God planned the entire event. He was in control the entire time. Because of the enemy’s efforts to destroy God’s people, God got Himself glory, and in so doing taught His people to fear Him and trust Him. Because of what happened, God destroyed Egypt’s entire army and put the fear of God into that wicked nation.

Daniel 3: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Image result for Free Picture of Nebuchadnezzar and idol. Size: 79 x 101. Source: www.pinterest.comDan 3:3-6 During the time when Israel was taken captive into Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to bow down and worship a nine-foot tall idol he had made. He threatened that anyone who did not would be thrown into a burning furnace.

Dan 3:7 Most of the people complied.

Dan 3:8-12 Some men brought malicious accusations against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, reporting to King Nebuchadnezzar that these three did not serve Babylonian gods nor did they comply with his order to worship the idol Nebuchadnezzar had made.

Dan 3:13-15 The king was furious and gave the three a chance to comply, else they would be thrown into the furnace.

Notice this: The enemy was threatening them with what looked like certain death if they did not turn away from God. The enemy of our souls wants the worship that is due God and will do anything he can to turn us away from God.

Dan 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied “If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image you have set up!”

Dan 3:19-23 The king was so enraged that he had the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual, had the three tied up and had them thrown into the furnace. It was so hot that the flame killed the strong men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Flying American Flag PoleNotice this:  The enemy threatens and does all in his power to make the situation even worse. Consider our nation and our world this very day. Is not the enemy doing all in his power to destroy everyone who stands for righteousness and truth?

Dan 3:24-26 For a while, the three Hebrews were in the furnace; HOWEVER, when the King looked in, he saw a fourth man with them and they were walking around!

Notice this: The three Hebrews had to actually go into the furnace and stay there for a while. BUT. . . God Himself was with them, in the furnace, and the king saw God.

Image result for Free Picture of Four Men in The Furnace. Size: 184 x 110. Source: fim-carol.blogspot.comDan 3:27 After the king told the three Hebrews to come out of the furnace and the king and all his rulers saw the “the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scored or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.” (AMPC)

Dan 3:28-30 The king said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who believed in, trusted in, and relied on Him! And they set aside the king’s command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” (See also Romans 12:1-3, which instructs us to be living sacrifices and to be transformed by renewing our minds so that we can understand God’s will.) Then the king threatened death to anyone in his kingdom who spoke against the God of the three Hebrews.

Daniel 6: Daniel in the den of lions.

The Bible tells of another time during the Babylonian captivity when God got Himself glory because someone stood strong in the midst of great trial for a while, until God worked deliverance.

Dan 6:1-9 “Daniel so distinguished himself . . .by his exceptional qualities”. . . that King Darius planned to “set him over the whole kingdom”. (Verses in this passage are from the NIV.) The other government officials, realizing they could not find any corruption in Daniel unless it concerned the law of Daniel’s God, persuaded King Darius to decree that no one could pray to any god or man but King Darius for thirty days, else they would be thrown to the lions.

Image result for free picture of american flag flying

Notice this: Daniel was highly successful but government officials did all they could to destroy him. Does that not sound like what has happened recently to our true President, Donald John Trump—from whom the 2020 election was stolen? He was doing a superb work as President, but then many powerful people attacked him, seeking to destroy him.

Take heart, friend! God will restore President Donald John Trump to his duly elected and God-appointed seat and God will restore America to righteousness. The Third Great Awaking has already begun. GOD IS NOT FINISHED WITH AMERICA!!!

Dan 6:10 Upon hearing the decree, Daniel went home, opened his windows to Jerusalem and prayed, “just as he had done before.” Observe that Daniel continued living the righteous life as had been his habit. We need to develop solid spiritual habits before disaster strikes. If you are not doing so, get busy friend!

Dan 6:11-17 Daniel’s enemies reported Daniel’s actions to King Darius who was “greatly distressed. . . and made every effort . . . to save him.” However, as the enemies of Daniel reminded the king, no decree or edict of the king could be changed, so Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. King Darius said to Daniel, “May your God whom you serve continually rescue you!”

Dan 6:18-21 After a sleepless, tormented night, King Darius “hurried to the lions’ den.”

Notice this: Daniel was in the apparent grasp of the enemy for a while – the entire night. FIor a while, it looked like evil had triumphed. But, in the morning . . . 

King Darius called out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your Glod, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” The phrase “Whom you serve continually” appears in verses 16 and again here in verse 20, urging us, I believe, to strive to be like Daniel so that everyone knows we serve God continually.

Image result for free picture of daniel in the lions denDan 6:21-23 Observe that, even in this situation, Daniel is respectful. Daniel says, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” (NIV). The king was overjoyed and had Daniel set free, and the Scriptures tell us “No wound was found on him, because he had trusted in His God.” (v. 23b)

Dan 6:22-24 The men who had falsely accused Daniel were themselves and their families thrown into the lions’ den and were devoured before they reached the floor of the den. This last piece of information is included, I have heard many pastors state, to show that the lions were starved and would indeed have devoured Daniel but for the angel of God’s protection.

Dan 6:25 God gets Himself glory because of the hard situation in which Daniel was placed for a while. King Darius orders all in his kingdom to “fear and reverence the God of Daniel” for, or BECAUSE, King Darius states ”He is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; he performs signs and wonder in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (NIV)

Daniel 6:28. “So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

These three Bible stories encourage us to stand strong. Reread them and talk them over with God. See what Holy Spirit tells you.

Image result for free picture of the throne of godGod still reigns. God is in the process of getting Himself glory now, in the very midst of what seems hopeless. God delivered the Israelites, the three Hebrews, and Daniel, and He will deliver us! Read I Peter 1:1-12. Notice that verse 5 says ,”And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” (NLT)

Rejoice, fellow believer! We have the hope of eternal life, and we have God protecting us this very moment. Nothing that has happened the last two years has surprised God. I believe He has allowed certain dire things to happen SO THAT evil would be exposed.

The song “He still reigns!I have walked with God for 39 years. Our awesome God has never, no never, no never failed me in any way whatsoever, in any degree, not for one moment! (Hebrews 13:5-6). Our God sits in heaven and laughs at the wicked (Psalm 2), “But what joy for all who take refuge in Him!” (Palm 2:12c) 

Now, today, in my home, I worship God as I listen to “He Still Reigns”, and my spirit and all that is within me rejoices and exults in Him. I feel the power of the One who speaks and mountains move, I hear the sound of the One who roars and lays bare the depths of the ocean, and I am in the presence of the One who created and sustains the universe and all that exists, the One who loves us, our soon-coming King, our King of kings and our Lord of Lords! Find a video of this powerfully anointed song, like the one at the link below, and be strengthened. Give our God the glory due His name! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fESjsMgzYTE

This old world’s in such confusion, hearts are failing everywhere, and sometimes it seems that God just doesn’t care. But don’t you fear! He holds our future. Let all heaven and earth proclaim He still reigns, He still reigns! An empty tomb is there to prove, death could never hold our King. He still reigns, He still reigns!” (Verse 2 from “He Still Reigns!”)

Jesus is coming back and until then–this very day, in the very midst of all that is happening–we are to be busy with our Father’s business, shining like lights and living with peace and confidence in our Most High God, and doing our part in His army!

Image result for free picture of jesus returning on white horse

God is good to those who wait – Part Seven

Image result for public domain picture of waiting with hopeThe Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. (Lamentations 3:25, AMPC)

Review of Parts One through Six: The afflictions Jeremiah saw “under the rod of God’s wrath” were so terrible that he was weak and had lost all hope. Remembering all the past troubles made Jeremiah sad BUT recalling God’s mercy and loving kindness gives Jeremiah hope. Because of that hope, Jeremiah’s heart chooses God; THEREFORE, he has hope and he will wait. Life in our present world requires like precious hope. Such hope comes from dwelling on and believing Truth! God promises to e good to us when we search diligently for Him in our times of need. We can know with confidence that our true needs will be met, because the Word says so.

We can, like Jeremiah, wait with hope and expectation of God’s goodness if we seek Him as He says to seek Him and if we know the power of the right of our need and the authority of His Word.  It is good to readily submit to the Father’s discipline because He lays the “yoke of divine disciplinary dealings” upon us for our ultimate good and, though He does cause grief, He will “be moved according to the multitude of His loving-kindness and tender mercy. (Lamentations 3:32, AMPC)

In Part Six, we saw that because God is sovereign, we must not complain but rather examine ourselves and pray. In Lamentations 3, God teaches us a godly attitude toward affliction, whether that affliction comes because of God’s loving discipline, our own sin, the sin of the people with whom we are connected or our nation and world.

Outline of Part Seven.  Lamentations 3:49-66 shows us that we can, like Jeremiah in the midst of great affliction, be confident that God will manage our affairs, protect us and our rights and rescue and redeem our life. (Lamentations 3:58)

  • Weeping until God sees
  • Recalling past afflictions
  • Recalling God’s faithfulness
  • The light of seeing what God has done for us
  • God HAS seen the wrongs
  • I know You will answer, O God
  • Am I a channel for God?

Weeping until God sees–verses 49-51.  Jeremiah is weeping and says he will keep weeping until God answers. He says “My eyes overflow continually and will not cease until the Lord looks down and sees from heaven.” (Lamentations 3:50, AMPC)

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God has moved on Jeremiah’s heart to do just what Jesus would teach His followers hundreds of years later. In Luke 11, when Jesus’s disciplines asked Him to teach them to pray, He began with what is now known as the Lord’s prayer (Luke 11:2-4). Jesus then continued teaching them how to pray with the parable of the man who at midnight asks a friend for three loaves of bread because he has nothing to give his guest who has just arrived at his house. The friend replies at first, saying “Do not disturb me; the door is now closed, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and supply you with what you [with anything]” (verse 7). Jesus emphasized that the man in bed would get up and give his friend as much as he needed not because of the friendship, but “because of his shameless persistence and insistence.”

To reinforce this idea, Jesus continues with the well-known ask, seek, and knock passage. The KJV, ESV and NASB use the words ask, seek, and knock, but it is instructive to me that the AMPC and NLT use say keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking.

(9) So, I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you.

(10) For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking the door shall be opened to you.”

Image result for public domain picture of prayerI think it is an indication that Christ is being formed more fully in us (Galations 4:19) when we pray for more than just ourselves and those we know and when we persist in prayer, as Jesus told His disciples to do and as Jeremiah did. For more about persistence in prayer see Colossians 4:2, Ephesians 6:18, and 1 Chronicles 16:11 – and pray persistently!

Recalling past afflictions–verses 52-54. Halley (p 410) observes that it is difficult to specify the subject of each chapter of Lamentations. “The same ideas, in different wording, run through all the chapters, the horrors of the siege and the desolate ruins, all due to Zion’s sins.” (Halley’s Bible Commentary, p. 410).  After resolving to pray until God hears, Jeremiah’s thoughts seem to turn inward as he recalls the time his enemies tried to destroy him by putting him into a pit.  Read Jeremiah 38:1-13 and see how God delivered him that time.

Recalling God’s faithfulnessverses 55-57. But Jeremiah is not just recalling a time of great personal affliction – he is also recalling how God heard and rescued him during that affliction, when he was literally in a cistern. Jeremiah recalls that when he called on the name of the Lord, God drew near, delivered him, and calmed his fears. Jeremiah says:

(55) “I called upon your name, O Lord, out of the depths [of the mire] of the dungeon.

(56) You heard my voice [then]; [Oh] hide not Your ear [now] at my prayer for relief.

(57) You drew near on the day I called to You; You said, ‘Fear not.

Everyone who fears the Lord and hopes in his unfailing love (Psalm 33:18) can recall similar instances of God’s deliverances, times when He made a way through the Red Sea of impossibility, sent ravens of supply, shut the lion’s mouth of unjust accusation, walked beside us in the fire and illumined dark valleys with the light of His Word and His presence.

Image result for public domain picture of solomons templeWe who walk with God are a blessed people. We can, like the psalmist Asaph enter the sanctuary of praise (Psalm 73:17) and perceive God’s ways and be encouraged that, even though we foolishly get bitter at times, we still belong to God and He holds our hand and guides us (v. 21-24). When we enter the sanctuary of God’s presence, then we can say to God:

“Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.” (v. 25-26)

The light of seeing what God has done for us– verse 58. When we step back and gain God’s perspective on affliction, when we recall His previous works as Jeremiah did (and as Psalm 105-107 teach us to do), we can see how good God has been. We can say:

“Oh Lord, You have pleaded the causes of my soul [You have managed my affairs and You have protected me person and my rights]; You have rescued and redeemed my life! (Lamentations 3:58, AMPC)

As long as our mind is focused on misery, our own or others, we keep ourselves chained in the darkness of sorrow. But when we do as God says and fix our eyes on Jesus (Colossians 1), when we think on good things (Philippians 4), when we re-affirm and declare out loud our praise for God and our trust in Him–this mighty One Who never, no never, no never forsakes us—then we are free from the darkness.

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When we step into the light of truth, when we enter the house of praise, then we see our life and the circumstances of and surrounding our life accurately. Then we see that, even though previous times were hard, God was there and He was working all things out.  The one who focuses on external things is never satisfied, but “to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7, KJV)

When our heart is right toward God, when we “find wisdom and gain understanding (Proverbs 3) ah! Then we have treasure “more precious than rubies””! We have the treasure of His presence and the treasure of seeing things from the viewpoint of His wisdom. Then, along with Jeremiah, we recall all God has done for us in previous times of affliction. Then, we have strength to continue praying, as Jeremiah did, with confident expectation.

God HAS seen the wrongsverses 59-64.  In verses 59-64 Jeremiah continues his conversation with God. He says to God,

(59) You have seen the wrong they have done to me, Lord. Be my judge, and prove me right.

(60 You have seen the vengeful plots my enemies have laid against me.

(61) Lord, your have heard the vile names they call me. You know all about the plans they have made.

(62) My enemies whisper and mutter as they plot against me all day long.

(63) Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, I am the object of their mocking songs.

Jeremiah had been attacked by the evil people of his day, those evil ones in his own country and city, because of his messages from God. Yet, “Through all this God protected Jeremiah so he could continue to warn the wicked and comfort those who trusted in God” (Introduction to Jeremiah, NIV Bible, page 654).

Evil kings and people living in wickedness and rebellion hated the corrections and warnings of coming judgement given by God’s Old Testament prophets.  The Old Testament prophets lived in a period when God’s people had long worshipped idols and, because they refused to heed God’s constant warnings, then reaped what they had sown. They were enslaved by their own sin and taken captive, just as we are enslaved when we choose to obey Satan. The Word clearly says: “Don’t you realize that you become the salve of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave o sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (Romans 6:16, NLT)

Image result for Public Domain Picture of Ancient Shackles. Size: 199 x 106. Source: www.invaluable.com

Are we not in the same situation in America? And may we not be in places of personal affliction because God is either convicting us or else guiding us to higher, safer ground?

What is our appropriate response? Regarding affliction caused by our sin or God’s guiding, it is of course to repent and turn toward God.  Regarding affliction caused by the sin of our nation and world, it is to pray for our enemies and the enemies of our God, but–if they do not repent—to cry out to God for justice, as Jeremiah did.

I know You will answer, O God!–verses 64-66.  Jeremiah cried to the Lord for justice upon the wicked who opposed God. He said:

(64) Render to them a recompense, O lord, according to the work of their hands.”

(65) You will give them hardness and  blindness of heart; Your curse will be upon them.

(66) You will pursue and afflict them in anger and destroy them from under Your heavens, O Lord.”

Jeremiah pleaded for justice and he expressed his confidence that God would indeed bring justice. Jeremiah had given similar messages his entire life. So had the prophets who preceded him and who lived in the same time period he did.

Am I a channel for God? Let us, like God’s prophets of old, be a channel for God’s mercy and reach out to others by speaking the truth in love, in the hopes that God may, through us “by every possible means, save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) As we do so, let us be aware that it will sometimes mean suffering because of our beliefs. We know that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil doers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13-14, NIV)

Beloved, we are living in the days of the third chapter of 2 Timothy 3. We must be about our Father’s business – all day, every day!

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Let us cry out that our loved ones, our neighbors, our churches, and our nation will repent and learn to “hate evil, love good; (and) maintain justice in the courts.” (Amos 5:15)  And we must intercede for the Body of Christ and our world. Intercessors for America is a rich source of information on how and what to pray for.  See https://ifapray.org.

Father, while we wait in time of affliction, be it personal, national or world-wide, may we be in the company of those who “know Your name [who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy]” so that we may lean on and confidently put our trust in You, for we know that “You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek (inquire of and for) You on the authority of Your word and the right that our necessity gives us. (Psalm 9:10, AMPC)

 We see, Lord, how you are exposing evil everywhere and we rejoice that revival is even now breaking out across America and Your world. We say, “let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24, NIV)

Image result for public domain picture of niAGARABeloved, our Mighty Father, the God of angel armies, has already released a niagara of justice on the evil of our world. Stand firm in your faith and be confident in the God Who created you and Who loves you with unfathomable, undying passion. You will see the salvation your God is bringing about for you! (Exodus 14:13)

 

 

 

 

God is good to those who wait – Part Six

Image result for public domain picture of hopeThe Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. (Lamentations 3:25, AMPC)

Review of Parts One through Five. The afflictions Jeremiah saw “under the rod of God’s wrath” were so terrible that he was weak and had lost all hope. Remembering all the past troubles made Jeremiah sad BUT recalling God’s mercy and loving kindness gives Jeremiah hope. Because of that hope, Jeremiah’s heart chooses God; THEREFORE, he has hope and he will wait. Life in our present world requires like precious hope. Such hope comes from dwelling on and believing Truth! God promises to be good to us when we search diligently for Him in our times of need. We can know with confidence that our true needs will be met, because the Word says so.

In Part Five, we saw that it is good to hope and wait quietly with confident expectation for God’s salvation, for His safety and ease, and it is also good to readily and meekly submit to God’s discipline BECAUSE God will not abandon us forever BECAUSE even though He does cause grief yet He will be compassionate without measure BECAUSE He does not enjoy hurting people or sending sorrow. In Part Six, Lamentations 3:37-48 remind us of God’s sovereignty.

Outline of Part Six.

  • God is THE Supreme Power.
  • Is God really in control? of everything?
  • God IS sovereign – verses 37-39
  • Let us examine ourselves
  • Let us pray
  • HE STILL REIGNS!!!

Image result for public domain picture of crownGod is THE Supreme Power.  Take time now to read Lamentations3:37-48 and listen to what God says to you.

Verses 37-48 tell me that, because God is sovereign, when we are in affliction we must examine ourselves and submit to Him. God sends evil as well as good and man must not get discouraged or complain when our own sin is punished or the sins of others or the world.  Rather, we must examine ourself and pray and return to God. We should pray to God, on our own behalf when we have sinned or, like Jeremiah, on the behalf of others, saying:

We have transgressed and rebelled and You have not pardoned. You have covered Yourself with wrath and pursued and afflicted us; You have slain without pity. (verse 42-43)

The love of God in Jeremiah moved him to feel compassion for Israel and to identify with sinful Israel. God moved through Jeremiah’s love to give correction and encouragement to His people. He can do the same through us today. We can intercede for others, and God may give us a message for them. The gifts of Holy Spirit are in operation today!

Image result for Public Domain Coffee Cup and Bible. Size: 158 x 105. Source: pixabay.comIs God really in control? of everything? I carefully carried my coffee from the kitchen to the bedroom and placed the chipped mug at the back corner of the desk, the same desk I had used as a child and which my parents had given me after the divorce. After glancing out the window at my daughter and her friend playing in the sheltered center of our apartment complex, I resumed reading the book of Job where I had stopped yesterday. A new believer, I was working my way through reading the Bible, carving out thirty minutes each evening while my daughter played in the long afternoon hours of early autumn in Florida. Every other waking moment was spent working or else focused on her, except for the hour or so before she woke when I had Bible study and prayer.

My eyes stayed wide open as I read the first two Chapters of Job. “Wow, Father!” I remember thinking. “You say clearly that You really are in absolute control of Satan! What a relief!” That question, which had arisen in Sunday School the previous week, had troubled me for days. But the truth of God’s Word planted in my heart that long ago evening, sitting alone with God, bore the fruit of peace immediately and has done so ever since, for more than four decades.

I pray that if you doubt this truth you will take time to study and meditate on God’s truths about His sovereignty until it is engraved on your heart. Certainty that God is sovereign and that He is working all things out for our good will keep us in His peace, even in the midst of dark afflictions, trials and distresses like Jeremiah speaks of in Lamentations.

God IS sovereign–verses 37-39. Reread verses 37 and 39 of Lamentations 3. With his questions, Jeremiah is stressing that God is the king of Kings and lord of Lords (Revelations 19:6). Jeremiah says “Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? (NLT) May we, like Jeremiah, keep in mind that God is sovereign in all affairs of men. Both Old and New Testaments verses clearly proclaim that God is Ruler of “all that was and is and is to come” as John declares in his prologue to Revelations. Just read Job 1:1 to 2:7, as I did years ago, and be grateful that God lets us see the truth of the matter. And consider Colossians 1:16-17.

“For in Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rules or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

In the NLT, the little word “then” connects Lamentations 3: 38 with verse 39. After proclaiming that God is sovereign, Jeremiah says “Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?” There again is that attitude of appropriate humility before God.

The amplifying phrases in the AMPC show that sometimes our afflictions are part of God’s loving discipline and sometimes they are punishment for our sin.

“Why does a living man sigh [one who is still in this life’s school of discipline]? [And why does] a man complain for the punishment of his sins?” (AMPC)

Image result for public domain picture of thinkingLet us examine ourselves–verses 40-41. Instead of complaining, Jeremiah urges us to examine ourselves and turn back to God. Notice the implication that if we have been complaining, we have turned from God.  God lovingly instructs His children to examine themselves in Psalm 119:59-60, 2 Corinthians 13:5, and James 1:22-24. We are to test ourselves, or ask ourselves questions about, our walk with God. Holy Spirit is our Counselor, our Helper, and He will speak to us and teach us (John 14.) God says we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13).

Let us pray—verses 42-48. Read verses 42 through 48. Sounds like the last two years does it not?  And how is Jeremiah affected as he thinks about his beloved people and city? Jeremiah is deeply moved, and in verse 48 he says “My eyes overflow with streams of tears because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.” We, too, must be moved to deep compassion because of the affliction of others, our nation and our world, not only because of our own afflictions.

In poetic language, Jeremiah says “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands [and then with them mount up in prayer] to God in heaven.” (verse 41, AMPC) Prayer is one of the most, if not the most, uplifting activities available to man. We have one heart and one mind. We can either let our soul and spirit stay mired in the clay of this earth or we can, like the eagle, mount up with spiritual wings to our Most High and awesome God.

And how are we who are in the midst of affliction to pray? We are to pour out our hearts about the situation, being honest because we are talking to our Best Friend and our loving and perfect Father. God despises complaining and made complaining, unbelieving Israel wander in the desert for forty years until all those who doubted and complained had died. However, God urges us over and over to talk with Him, to reason with Him, to pour out our hearts to Him.  I know clearly when I am complaining and when I am casting my cares on Him. I feel separated from God when I complain but when I just talk with Him, sharing my thoughts about my life and talking things over with Him, ah!

HE STILL REIGNS!!! We are indeed to be people of compassionate, prevailing prayer but it is essential, in times of affliction, to read about and ponder the magnificence of God. This helps keep us in peace. I still remember, from all those long years ago, the thrill I felt when I first read the last few chapters of Job, where God teaches about His wonders in nature. Job 36:24-26a says, let us “remember to extol His work, which men have praised in song. All mankind has seen it; men gaze on it from afar. How great is God—beyond our understanding!

Image result for Public Domain Picture Of Sunrise. Size: 165 x 100. Source: christianzennaro.blogspot.comThe last chapters of Job show us that God commands clouds, storms and lightning, He laid the foundations of the earth, gives orders to the morning, sets the borders of the sea, stores up snow and hail, leads out the constellations in their season, watches when mountain goats and the deer give birth, gives the horse his strength, tells the eagles when to soar and controls the great creatures of the deep. Read these chapters and know with me that:

The One who commands the eagles to soar
love you forever, forevermore.
Therefore, take heart! Be strong in your trust,
for the One Who has made you
is mindful you’re dust.

Yes, He knows your frame,
knows just how you’re made,
and He longs that you know
your price has  been paid.

Image result for public domain picture of soaring eagleThrough Jesus, we have power to live a joyful life of peace even in the midst of affliction. Ponder the power of God and worship Him with reverence and awe. Let His presence fill you with His peace, yes, even in the midst of the furnace of affliction! He is the Fourth man in the furnace – yesterday, today, and forever! He does not change!

In Part Seven, we will see that Jeremiah is moved to pray without ceasing until God “looks down and sees from heaven.” (v. 50)

 

God is good to those who wait – Part Five

Image result for public domain picture of waitingThe Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. (Lamentations 3:25, AMPC)

Review of Parts One through Four. The afflictions Jeremiah saw “under the rod of God’s wrath” were so terrible that he was weak and had lost all hope. Remembering all the past troubles made Jeremiah sad BUT recalling God’s mercy and loving kindness gives Jeremiah hope. Because of that hope, Jeremiah’s heart chooses God; THEREFORE, he has hope and he will wait. Life in our present world requires like precious hope. Such hope comes from dwelling on and believing Truth!

God wants us to diligently search for Him. He cares about our needs and He has made provision concerning our needs in His Word. Remember that God’s truths in Lamentations apply whether the affliction comes because of God’s loving discipline, our own sin, the sin of the people with whom we are connected, or the sin of our nation and our world.

Outline of Part Five:

  • It is good to hope in and wait quietly for God.
  • The appropriate attitude during affliction.
  • “The yoke of divine disciplinary dealings.”
  • A real-time example
  • An attitude of humility and meekness
  • Our compassionate, tenderly merciful Father
    • God will not let affliction last forever
    • Our God will be compassionate
    • It is not His desire to afflict us
  • God’s promises encourage His people
  • Weeping and praying.
  • Our world today

Verses 26-30. It is good to hope in and wait quietly for God. Keeping in mind what we learned in Parts One through Four (verses 1 through 25), take time now to read verses 26-30.

Did you see that verses 26 through 36 seem to be all one thought? Verses 1-25 assured us that God is merciful and kind and that His compassions toward us never fail.  Verse 26 tells us that for that reason alone, while we are in a place of affliction we can hope in Him and wait quietly. “It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (safety and ease) of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26, AMPC”

Verse 27-36 explain that it is good to hope in and wait quietly for God because God is using the discipline of affliction for our benefit. These verses tell us to endure affliction humbly, knowing that God “does not willingly or from His heart afflict or grieve the children of men.”

The appropriate attitude during affliction. Verse 27 demonstrates what our attitude is to be during affliction.

“It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke [of divine disciplinary dealings] in his youth.”

While we wait and hope, we are to “bear the yoke of divine disciplinary dealings” and, furthermore, to bear it meekly.  And the sooner we do that, the better. “It is good to submit at an early age the yoke of His discipline” (NLT).

Image result for public domain picture of yokeGod uses this metaphor of a yoke to demonstrate an appropriate attitude during affliction.  We are to bear the yoke of affliction as a humble beast of burden.  The humble ox submits to its master– who is the source of its life– with no questions, just blind trust and obedience. So are we to submit to our Master, the One who is the source of our life, knowing that—although life in this world is hard and filled with “troubles, trials, distress, and frustration” (John 16:33, AMPC)–our Master will always feed and care for us just as the master of the ox feeds and cares for it. As an ox must be trained to bear the yoke, so must we learn obedience through what we suffer, even as Christ did. Consider Hebrews 5:1-10, especially verses 8 and 9.

(8) Although He was a Son, He learned [active, special] obedience through what He suffered. (9) And, [His completed experience] making Him perfectly [equipped], He became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him.

Where else but in the discipline of God’s stripping away the external do we learn to value the unseen but eternal and the “little” things in life?  The school of affliction, regardless of the causes of it, teaches lessons learned nowhere else.

“The yoke of divine disciplinary dealings.” Verse 28 says clearly that “the yoke of Divine disciplinary dealings” is for our benefit.

“Let him sit alone uncomplaining and keeping silent [in hope], because [God] has laid [the yoke] upon him [for his benefit].

Divine disciplinary dealings are indeed a yoke. They require us to carry the load our Master wants us to carry and to go where our Master wants us to go. As an ox must be yoked in order for its power to serve its Master’s purpose, so must there be a means for the power of God in our lives to be used for the Master’s purpose.

<<<The yoke is the connection and the controlling force between the power of the ox and the load to be moved. Discipline is the connection, the means, by which God’s power through us moves us to a new place spiritually and achieves His desired work in us and our area of influence.>>

See the source imageThe horse pulls the plow that tills the ground so its master can plant seed for hay that will feed the horse. Even so, as we submit to our Master’s yoke, He guides us so that our work turns out for our own benefit.

A real-time example.  Today, my recent yoke of affliction (breathing problems and fatigue) forced me to the couch, where I just rested and prayed and thought about this verse. In five minutes, God gave deeper understanding of this verse, understanding I would not have seen had I not been forced—by my yoke of the affliction of breathing difficulties and fatigue—to go where my Master wanted. God apparently wanted me to take more time to ponder this verse than I would have been had I been sitting at the computer. The yoke of His discipline is for our good.

An attitude of humility and meekness

(29) “Let him put his mouth in the dust [in abject recognition of his unworthiness]—there may yet be hope. (30) Let him give his cheek to the One Who smites him [even through His human agents]; let him be filled (full) with [men’s] reproach [in meekness].

Verse 29 pictures one falling down on one’s face. This recognition of our unworthiness is the attitude Jesus addresses in Luke 17:7-10. Jesus said that when we obey God, we should not expect thanks or praise for doing what God tells us to do. Rather, when we obey God, our heart should say “We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.” (Luke 17:10, NLT). That, I think, is one part of true humility.

Image result for public domain picture of the crossAnother part of humility is to bear insults meekly. To be slapped on the cheek is a humiliating insult that provokes the flesh toward retaliation. Yet, what did Jesus do? Jesus was no doubt aware that the Father was smiting Him through “His human agents”. Perhaps our Lord had this verse in mind in those cruel hours of His mock trial and torture before the cross. Jesus trusted His Heavenly Father during the horrors of His affliction because He knew His Father. He was One with His Father. And Jesus has given us the privilege of being one with Him if we love Him and obey Him.  “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20, NIV)

And Scripture certainly suggests, in my opinion, that during His afflictions Jesus had the truth of Lamentations 3: 31 in mind – for the Lord will not cast off forever! Jesus knew the ultimate end of His suffering. (Hebrews 12:2)

Our compassionate, tenderly merciful Father. Verses 31 through 36 explain why we can wait quietly with hope during afflictions – because God will not let it last forever (31), He will be compassionate (32) and it is not His desire to afflict us (33-36). Let’s look at those three statements.

God will not let affliction last forever—verse 31.  To cast off means to throw something away. The NLT says “For no one is abandoned forever.”  To cast off or abandon (a modern term for forsake) means “to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in.” It also means “to withdraw protection, support, or help from” (Webster’s 1828 online dictionary.) God promises in Hebrews 13:5, that He will never, no never, no never, in any degree—and most assuredly not!—forsake us.

Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] [Hebrews 13:5a, AMPC]

In the midst of affliction, it is easy to feel abandoned or rejected by God and others as well. But if we meditate upon God’s promises, God’s truth will shine the light of hope into the darkness of our affliction, no matter how dark. He guides our steps through the dark valleys (Psalm 23) as well as on the dangerous heights.

“The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet. And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].” Habakkuk 3:19, AMPC

See the source imageOur God will be compassionate-verse 32.  This verse shows clearly that sometimes God does “cause grief” but the word “yet” is an essential part of the truth in this verse. “Yet” can mean at a later time, in addition to what has been said” or “in spite of that” (www.merriam-webster.com)

“But though He causes grief, yet will He be moved to compassion according to the multitude of His loving-kindness and tender mercy.”

God is telling us that even though He sometimes does cause distress, He will also show great compassion on us and that compassion will be according to, or consistent with, the great number of His loving-kindnesses and tender mercies. God reminds us here that He shares our distress and wants to relieve us of it. And the ways He can relieve it are boundless. We may feel compassion for the homeless and give according to the finances we have, but a wealthy person, with the same degree of compassion, can give much more material help.

It is not His desire to afflict us–verse 33-36. And why will God be moved to such compassion? The NLT says “He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.” On the contrary, God wants to do good for us; He is our good, good, good Father!  In Matthew 7:8-11, Jesus urges us to ask for what we need and reassures us He will give us good things.

Image result for public domain picture of father feeding child(7) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (9) Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (10) Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? (11) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to you children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (NIV)

In Jeremiah 29, God speaks through Jeremiah to the Israelites who had been carried from Jerusalem into captivity in Babylon. God tells His people to settle down and live good, righteous lives right where they are because in 70 years, He will fulfill His promise to bring them back home.  Then comes the well-known verse 11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

God’s promises encourage His people. God continues with these promises that His rebellious, wicked people do not deserve any more than we do. God says:

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” (12-14a)

Image result for public domain picture of father listening to childThe attitude of God’s heart is never to hurt us. God does not crush us completely and does not deprive us of justice or twist justice, as He is often accused of. God does not approve of these evils described in Verses 34-36 because He is altogether good. “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving kindness” (Psalm 145:8, AMPC) If something or someone is full, that means there is no room for anything else. If a basket is full of wheat, there is no room for grass, hay or anything else. Our God is completely good and He overflows with mercy and tender, benevolent affection toward His children.

Weeping and praying. Halley’s Bible Handbook (p.409) says “the last chapter of Jeremiah should be read as an introduction to Lamentations.” Jeremiah is weeping over the city he tried to save but Jeremiah also “expresses his faith that Jerusalem will rise again.” Jeremiah wept over the great afflictions of his beloved city of Jerusalem and he delivered God’s directive to the people regarding how they were to live while under the affliction of captivity. In this case, the people were being disciplined by God for their repeated, willful sins. Jeremiah shared their affliction although he did not share their sin.

Pause and reflect. Are not we in America now suffering much affliction because the church in America for decades watered down the gospel, failed to preach Jesus and Him crucified, forsook holiness and embraced the wickedness of secular culture instead of working with God to redeem it?

Our world today. We, like Israel, are being led toward captivity by evil leaders who pass laws allowing the murder of babies and teaching our children that homosexuality and trying to change one’s gender are good. The entire world is reaping the consequences of sin.

When affliction comes because of our own sin, or when God is training us, let us examine ourselves, repent and/or refine our walk and obey God with greater purity of heart. When affliction comes because someone with whom we are connected sins or when God is using us to demonstrate His love to that person, we must hear from God and perhaps bear it silently or perhaps “speak the truth in love” but in any case we are live toward that person as Jesus would.

Image result for public domain picture of the worldHowever, in affliction that comes because of the sin of our nation and the world, we are to be doing our part to fulfill the purpose of Jesus in coming to earth. In “Vessels of Fire and Glory” Mario Murillo says:

“Jesus is the one with a purpose and we have an assignment within that purpose.”

“What is Christ’s purpose on earth? First John 3:8 says, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

Your assignment in the army of God is your individual expression and extension of Christ’s destruction of the works of the devil. You are a destroyer of the works of the devil. God will give you a way to do it that is all your own.

Until that gets through to you—until you admit and agree to those terms—God will remain silent about your assignment.” (p. 116-117)

I urge you to read this book. It will put fresh fire in your life.

And how might we, as individuals, work to “destroy the works of the devil?”  Get and stay informed about what God is doing today and seek God for concrete action to take. You can start getting informed by listening to news from a Christian perspective. Resources are listed on the “What is God doing?” page of this website. God will certainly lead you o pray and may lead you to help in a political campaign of a righteous person, speak at your school board or run for a local office yourself.

May we, like Jeremiah, be moved to action and to compassionate prayer for our world, our nation and people we know who are undergoing affliction.

Image result for public domain picture of hANDS LIFTED IN PR AYEROh, our loving Father in heaven! Thank You for Your tender mercies and compassion that prevent You from consuming us when we sin. Open the eyes of our heart so that we may purge our sin and walk in holiness before you. Oh, Lord! Have mercy on our nation, our world and those who persist in doing evil. Shine the light of Your truth into every dark situation and turn hearts toward You and Your holiness.

Help us, Lord, have a humble and meek attitude toward whatever troubles we now face. We know You are working all things together for good. Help us wait quietly and with hope for Your safety and ease but also show us where to do our part to “destroy the works of the devil.”

We know and are deeply confident that You will yet be “moved to compassion according to the multitude of Your loving-kindness and tender mercy.” (Lamentations 3) Amen and so be it!

Part Six. In Part Six, we will examine what Jeremiah says about the sovereignty of our loving Father and why that gives comfort to those who follow Him whole-heartedly.