Good Morning, Earth!

I absolutely adore Spring, especially the mornings. Today as I followed the pups outside, the birds were singing and the breeze was tousling the blossoms on the berry bushes while gently brushing through the fruit trees, almost as if they were waving at me. I felt like it was GOD saying ‘Good morning’…..

We live in a flawed world. The earth itself groans and cries as it creates giant fissures in itself and pours out fiery lava onto the land and in the sea. Things of agony, but also things of incredible beauty. Who, having seen the wonders of the Grand Canyon or the surreal beauty of Carlsbad Caverns, the wild beauty of the wilderness of New Zealand, or the rawness of the heights of Mount Everest, can truly believe that there is no GOD? Man has built wonderful and amazing things, but how can they compare to GOD’s handiwork? He has given us the time of renewal, the time we call Spring. After a season where things go dormant or hibernate, a time when the earth rests, we see plants that appeared bleak and dead burst out in blossoms and leaves. Birds start singing and building nests, animals prepare for new life, sea creatures come together, all for the renewal and celebration of life. Can this just be chance? A thing that just happened?

I was reading about the “Big Bang” Theory as presented on Discover at http://www.big-bang-theory.com, and I admit, I laughed when I read the conclusion. Here is what they have to say:

Big Bang Theory – What About God?
Any discussion of the Big Bang theory would be incomplete without asking the question, what about God? This is because cosmogony (the study of the origin of the universe) is an area where science and theology meet. Creation was a supernatural event. That is, it took place outside of the natural realm. [Emphasis mine] This fact begs the question: is there anything else which exists outside of the natural realm? Specifically, is there a master Architect out there? We know that this universe had a beginning. Was God the “First Cause”? We won’t attempt to answer that question in this short article. We just ask the question: Does God exist?

While admitting Creation is, indeed, a supernatural event, they then ask, does God exist. I ask, then, how was there a supernation event, Creation, without a supernatural being? And WHO is that supernatural being? While many scientists (figuratively) scratch their heads and try to figure it out, those of us who know the Creator get to enjoy knowing Him and His Creation. 😁 All of the seasons, for those of us who get to enjoy them, can be almost magical. I imagine that Spring is especially magical for people who have cold, snow-filled, dark winters!

So welcome Spring, whether you are in middle America or deepest Antarctica, whatever part of the Earth. Take time to thank GOD for the amazing world we live in. Even with all of the damage and havoc we have caused because of allowing sin into our world and our lives, you have to admit it’s a pretty incredible place.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1 NLT

Who Do You Trust?

“Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. ….. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” – Proverbs 29:1‭, ‬25 NLT
“Then JESUS said, ‘Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.‘ ” – Matthew 11:28 NLT

I have learned who and what to trust the hard way, in the school of hard knocks called Life. That’s how I’ve always done it: physically and verbally abusive relationships, demeaning bosses, condescending ‘friends’. I’ll probably continue to have lessons on trust for for the rest of my life. I have learned that there is ONE person that you can trust, implicitly and wholeheartedly, and that person is JESUS. He will never leave me, He will never forsake me, and He will never, ever, hurt me. Hear what the psalmist says:

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is Good! His Faithful LOVE endures Forever. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” – Psalms 118:1‭, ‬6 NLT

What can mere people do to me, he asks. Compared to what my GOD can do, people have no power. They can do harm to my physical body, they can take all of my worldly goods, they can hurt me emotionally, all in this life on earth – but in the overall scheme of things, anything that happens to me here pales in view of eternity with my JESUS. I may moan and cry and complain because that’s what we humans do, and I may ( okay, I do ) pray and even beg for deliverance from the circumstances. Deep inside me, I know that whatever is happening is temporary. Even events that drag on for years, uncomfortable things and memories that last a lifetime – it will all go away and turn to ash when exposed to the GLORY of my Saviour!

I may never trust another man, and I will continue to be cautious with new friendships because of my experiences. It is incredibly freeing to know that that ONE, the CHRIST, has my back and my complete trust. I pray you can experience what real trust through JESUS CHRIST means. As the Apostle Paul says, “May GOD our Father give you Grace and Peace {and TRUST}. We always pray for you, and we give thanks to GOD, the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ.” – Colossians 1:2‭-‬3 NLT

AMEN.

If Your Heart Turns Away

“The LORD your GOD will delight in you if you obey His Voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the LORD your GOD with all your heart and soul……. Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your GOD and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your GOD will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your GOD, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” – Deuteronomy 30:10‭, ‬15‭-‬20 NLT

Even though the LORD gave these words to Moses and the rest of the Old Testament for His chosen people, the Israelites, He intended for successive generations of both Israel and the rest of the world to heed them. He created all people, and He wants us all to know Him, regardless of race or nationality or gender. He expects nothing less than total devotion to Him, and that looks putting Him first in our lives….. over family, over our jobs, over OU / OSU football ( or whatever sports team sucks you in…. ) This means putting Him first financially. Do you spend at least as much on Him as you do eating out, shopping, buying tickets to sports events, pampering yourself? Do you resent the time spent in church? I’ve known so many people who complained about going to spend time in God’s house for a few hours a week, but had no problem spending 3 or 4 times more hours in a bar. “….. if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed.”

What turns your heart?

Michelangelo’s Moses

Oops.

“….. make every effort to respond to GOD’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.” – 2 Peter 1:5‭-‬9 NLT

Sidewalk Prophets have a song called “Come to the Table,” that has a line that says “Come meet this motley crew of misfits…. ” Doesn’t that just ring true for about any group of Christians coming together? I wonder, why is is that people who claim to follow CHRIST, people who are Christians, are so harsh on people who are broken? How is it possible to go from utterly broken sinner to self-righteous judgemental ‘Christian’? When we become that person; when we do life our way, are we truly in love with our Saviour? No matter how hard we try, we will always fail when we try to do life on our own. Doesn’t it mean we are taking on the role of GOD when we don’t defer to Him? If you are able, read the book of Romans, especially chapter 12, because it is laid out very clearly how CHRIST-followers should live.

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of GOD. For the Scriptures say, “I WILL TAKE REVENGE; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.” – Romans 12:17‭, ‬19 NLT ( Deuteronomy 32:35 )

When we take on the role of judge and jury, deciding on our own what we can do to that person to punish them and get revenge, we sink to the enemy’s level. He – Satan – wants us to be judgemental. He wants us to be ugly to others, because it takes us away from our LORD. Even if we get physical revenge, we hurt ourselves much, much more than the person we do it to. Forgive them, pray for them, and rather than ‘getting even’ with them, do this instead:

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:20‭-‬21 NLT ( Proverbs 25:21-22 )

We may not see the ‘heaping coals’ on their heads in this life, but GOD will punish them. He will also punish me, and you, for the judgement, revenge, and evil thoughts we have had on our enemies ( and I am guilty, guilty, GUILTY! ). Not a great thought, but this blog is about telling the truth, and the ULTIMATE TRUTH is this: JESUS will return and vanquish the enemy, once and for all, and then GOD the FATHER will sit in judgement of every one of us. I’m so far from perfect, and I am such a sinner, facing the ALMIGHTY GOD should – and does – have me scared and shaking. I can’t think about the judgement I should receive, or the judgement I deserve, but I can think on this: When that time comes – and it is coming, no doubt about it – I don’t have to face it alone! Because of the sacrifice JESUS made, and because I have given my life to Him, He will be my Advocate, my Saviour, showing GOD the FATHER where my name is written in His Blood in the Book of Life. Are you in it, too? I pray it is! I can’t even contemplate or consider what happens to those who aren’t represented by JESUS, with their names written in the Book. I pray that you aren’t an ‘oops,’ left out for eternity.

( Picture credit to Lamb and Lion Ministry )

Thirst No More

“I have seen Your Salvation, which You have prepared for all people. He {JESUS} is a LIGHT to reveal GOD to the nations, and He is the Glory of your people Israel!” – Luke 2:30‭-‬32 NLT

Listen to “Come to the River” by the Rhett Walker Band

What an outstanding message. JESUS, the LIGHT of the world, reveals GOD to us all! When you have seen JESUS, you have seen the Face of the Almighty: the Creator of all things, the Holy God, YHWH, Yahweh, Elohim, El-Shaddai, Jehovah, Adonai, Ancient of Days, Father, Abba, ….. “Most High.” The LORD is given many names, but today, I believe the ONE Name that is most important to us is the Name of JESUS. He alone has the power to save us from the certain death subscribed to us by the first man and woman, Adam and Eve ….. and yet so, so very many, even countless people, deny that JESUS is the CHRIST, the Messiah. We are such a GLORIOUSLY stubborn group! What was GOD thinking, as He formed Adam from the mud of the new earth? Since He is Omnipotent and Omniscient, He KNEW that by giving Adam, and by extension, Eve, free will, they would choose to betray Him. The LORD gave free will to them, and to us, in spite of knowing the outcome. He wants us to choose to love Him, without being forced or coerced.

Short but sweet, GOD created us to Love Him. He then gave us the choice of Loving Him or not. He gave a part of Himself through JESUS to be sacrificed to cover our sins, and He gave us His WORD in the scriptures to show us exactly how we should live to optimize His Love for us.

“For this is how GOD Loved the world: He gave His One and Only SON, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have Eternal Life. ….. All who do evil hate the Light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the Light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” – John 3:16‭, ‬20‭-‬21 NLT

Care To Elaborate On That?

“Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and Assurance about what we do not see. By Faith we understand that the universe was formed at GOD’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:1‭, ‬3 NIV

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your GOD will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

Faith. Dictionary.com describes it as a “strong and unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence.” ( I think someone who was creating words and definitions in the early 1200’s was very familiar with the scriptures. ) When we have real Faith; a strong belief in GOD, it is easier to be strong and courageous in our lives. Easier, not easy. But, how, you ask? Where does Faith come in? How do I get faith? First, you must believe firmly that there is a God, ONE GOD, the Supreme Being, the One Who created the Universe. ( Go back to Hebrews 11:3b …. and Genesis, esp chapter 1 ) It shouldn’t be too difficult to believe in GOD, as even Satan and his followers believe in the One True GOD. They are, however, sadly misguided and mistaken as to who will win in the end. If you are curious, read the Revelations of John, especially chapters 20-22. ( They are awesome! )

You must believe that JESUS was more than a ‘good man’ or a prophet….. He was those things, only this is what He really was – and IS – He is the Son of the Most High, the Living GOD, part of the Triune GOD, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Believe that JESUS left heaven and came to earth to live as a human, to be brutally murdered upon the cross so that His Blood would cover our sins forever, and to conquer death and rise up from the grave after three days. He did all of this for me, as if I were the only human to ever live, and He did it for you, as though no one else but you existed. – ” ‘No one has ever gone into heaven except the ONE Who came from heaven – the SON OF MAN. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the SON OF MAN must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.’ For GOD so Loved the world that He gave His One and Only SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have Eternal LIFE.” – John 3:13‭-‬16 NIV

It is through belief that we find faith, and it is belief in the LORD JESUS CHRIST as our Saviour that we receive the Faith and Peace to make it through this life. It is through Him that we receive the Joy that goes alongside the Belief and Faith that JESUS will ultimately conquer sin and death, and the HOPE of being externally with Him.

“And it is impossible to please GOD without Faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that GOD exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 NLT

“Growth is how we partner with GOD to make life count, to give life purpose.” Elizabeth Laing Thompson, http://www.LizzyLife.com

AMEN.

GOD Blesses Those….

“GOD Blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the Crown of Life that GOD has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12 NLT

I don’t like this verse. “Patiently endure….” GOD knows I want His Blessings, and I know that He hears my prayers for deliverance from the physical and financial issues I face. He also knows I have ZERO patience! I get really angry at the LORD when He doesn’t give me the answer I want, and when He makes me wait for His answer, well, let’s just say that I’m not always very gracious about it. In spite of the countless Blessings He has bestowed upon me, I want more Blessings and fewer tests and temptations! As a former pastor would put it to me : “And how’s that working out for you?” Not so great, if I’m honest with myself and don’t sink into denial. Ever since our ancestors were booted out of the Garden because of their original and extraordinary poor choice to ignore the one rule the LORD gave them, all of humanity has followed their lead, heaping bad decision upon bad decision, ad infinitum! Due to that one incredibly bad decision, we live in a society and a world that is full of trials and temptations. (Thank you, Satan, and Adam and Eve for listening to you …… and yes, that is sarcasm ….. )

Despite the history of bad decisions and the onus of sin that is upon us, the Creator GOD has given us the solution to our sinful humanity in the form of JESUS. He took on Himself a human form so that He could become the ultimate sacrifice; to be tortured and to die in order to cover our sins with His blood, and then to conquer death When He rose from the grave! He did this so that we could be freed from the endless cycle of sin and death that was bestowed on us by the enemy. As long as our earthly bodies live; until JESUS returns, we still have to dwell in this corrupt and imperfect body and earth.

How much longer, LORD?

Because I know the Truth, and because I have surrendered my life to Him, I know I’m free from death and hell ….. but how much longer before Isaiah’s propecy is realized? I’m ready, are you?

“Sing for JOY, O heavens! REJOICE, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.” – Isaiah 49:13 NLT