I’m Asking …. I’m ASKING, LORD and I’m Listening

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What man among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your FATHER in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them – this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:7‭-‬12 HCSB

“Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for – believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” – Mark 11:24 HCSB

What are you asking for? Is it to be recognized in your field, or to make lots of money; that you get a bigger, more impressive house or car/truck? Is your prayer, your ‘ask’, that you succeed as an entrepreneur or business person? Is your ‘ask’ that your sports team or favorite athletes win? Is it wrong to pray for these things? I don’t have an answer to that question. Like others, I have prayed for and worked towards all those things, and my LORD has provided me with countless blessings throughout my life.

Now, my prayer is just to have enough. I don’t want, or need, a big house or a fancy automobile. Right now I’m caught, stuck, in the web of my own making, a big one. I can’t see a way out, but my GOD sees the bigger picture, and because He loves me, He hears my prayer. Like the father of the boy who was possessed cried out to JESUS, I also cry out to my LORD, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24 HCSB

Just enough, LORD, just enough. I do believe, and I’m listening!

Apathy, Oh, Apathy

I am emphatically NOT a morning person. This is a fact which is rather ironic considering that I’ve spent the majority of my working life starting work by 6-6:30 am, including over 4 years of operating a Bed & Breakfast, getting up by 5:30 to start preparing. It’s a dichotomy, because I love the early morning as the world around me wakes up, especially when I’m holding a steaming hot cup of coffee. If I could somehow manage it, my ideal sleeping arrangement would consist of my bed on a screened porch, open to the sounds and smells of nature (i.e. the ocean and surf) with a coffeepot right next to the bed, ready to flip the switch. Could it be any better? Snuggled under the blankets with the indoor critters, and all with that beauty around you?

Eventually, I know, I have to get up and stop dreaming….. but I don’t want to! I want nothing more than to lie there, boneless and driftting, letting apathy carry me along. Why get up when it feels so nice to stay where I am? Reality creeps in, steps in, screams in, or sometimes stomps in, shattering the peace. I can jump up in anger and frustration, or I can take a deep breath and focus on this selection from the Psalms:

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalms 121:1‭-‬2 HCSB

My personal peace is rather fragile right now. I’m really struggling financially and haven’t found a job since I left my last job (involuntarily) over 2 years ago. I’m in a rather deep hole of debt, and there are things that need to happen quickly for me. I’d be lying if I said I’m not concerned, and I tend towards worry at times, but my GOD is so good at reminding me that HE is in complete control of the situation. The situation looks hopeless to me, so I have to look for my Hope in Him and remember, again, David’s words: “My help, my HOPE, comes from the LORD….”

Where do you find your hope? In your spouse? That’s dangerous. They can change their minds and leave in a heartbeat. In your children? They have to make their own way in the world, and even though they can stay close, they cannot be your everything. What about your job? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our jobs and careers and feel like we are on top of the world, only to have someone higher up decide you are no longer relevant. Is the hope in financial security? Financial security in this day is an oxymoron. Perhaps your hope comes through religious rituals and the rote repetition of prayers and petitions to a priest or some vague ‘higher power’. All of that is man-made and doomed to failure because of man’s fallibility.

The only Hope we can depend on, no matter where or what or when, is the Hope we find in the SAVIOUR, our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Not in man, who will always fail us and disappoint us.

“My help – my HOPE – comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Blue-Footed Booby and the Platypus

It’s almost the end of July here in the center of the contiguous United States. The average temps run in the mid-high 90’s, and we’ve been topping out the 90’s for the past several weeks with equally high humidity….. Today, it feels more lke October – it’s chilly!

I’m not complaining!

Our Creator GOD has a sense of humor; I am thoroughly convinced of it. Who else would have the creativity to make a snowquakenado? (FYI, that’s when you have snow, an earthquake, and a tornado, all at the same time. Only in Ooooooook-lahoma!) Who else has the genius (and sense of humor!) to make the Platypus, the Blue-Footed Booby, or the Pangolin? Who else could have engineered the complex, precise mechanisms of the human body; not only physically complicated, but the brain. And especially, what human would make something to be their companion, and then give them free will? In all of the Robot novels by Isaac Asimov, robots are limited in the scope of what they can do. They are constructed to never be able to harm a human (e.g. The First Law of Robotics: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.)

When humanity was created by GOD, it was designed to be companionship for Him, never causing harm to each other or to GOD’s incredible earth. The difference between humanity and robots is that we are not constrained by a similar law. Instead, our Creator gave us free will, and we have been making poor choices ever since. Still, despite our best efforts to belittle and minimize the LORD, He continues to love us, forgive us, and reach out to protect and save us. I certainly wouldn’t be open to any person who treated me as badly as I have treated my Saviour!

He has kept His sense of humor throughout the ages, regardless of mankind’s actions. Look at the variety of humans! We come in a plethora of colors and shapes and sizes and abilities. In our wildest imaginings, could a mere human have done the same? Oh sure, we’ve manipulated gene pools and adapted, but we haven’t created anything. After humanity’s diversity, there are the animals…. really, a Platypus??? A Blue-Footed Booby??? And that’s just barely tapping the surface! I haven’t even started on the lanscape or the ocean or the stars and planets…. You’ll never be able to convince me that GOD is a dour, grumpy old man 😁 that doesn’t enjoy laughing with His people!

P.S. Don’t pet the Platypus!!

To The Unknown GOD

“For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The GOD who made the world and everything in it — He is LORD of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek GOD, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Being GOD’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, GOD now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the MAN He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:23‭-‬31 HCSB

I found this on eBible.com, written by S. Michael Houdmann (http://www.gotquestions.org/normative-ethics.html).

CHRISTIAN ETHICS

Unlike the other normative ethical schools, Christian ethics answers the questions. It identifies truth (God), outlines the basis of ethics (principles found in the Bible), and even lists some universal laws that apply directly to the unchanging truth.The problem with manmade ethics is that they start with a false assumption of truth and try to build from there. Deontology says ethics are based on obligation, without basing that obligation on God’s truth. Consequentialism says that “good” is truth, but then can’t define what “good” is. Relativism says we cannot know the truth. And virtue ethics claims that we can work to embody truth ourselves. Only Christian ethics says that truth exists (Psalm 51:6), truth is knowable (Proverbs 3:3), and we will need help from the Creator of truth to find it (John 14:16-17). It is foolish to base a standard of behavior on our feeble notions of the truth of the cosmos when the Truth Himself is willing to guide us (John 14:6).

I love research!

Our LORD GOD is Absolute, the Alpha and the Omega, and He will sit as the Final Judgement on all of His creation. Are you prepared to stand before Him? I know I have been forgiven and redeemed by the MAN our GOD has appointed, and I know that this MAN, JESUS CHRIST, will be my Advocate and show me as Righteous in front of the ALMIGHTY at the Great White Throne Judgement. NO ONE is Righteous without the Covering of the Blood of JESUS, and the Saving Grace and Mercy this MAN JESUS CHRIST has provided us. I ask again, are you ready? Remember, only HIS Judgement matters!

JESUS, Friend of Sinners

Are you like the little girl, who, when asked if she would like Jesus in her heart, said No! I don’t want Him in my heart!” When we are young, we take words literally, and she thought it would be like in Alien, having something living in her and preparing to burst out of her chest. As adults, we know that isn’t what it means to have JESUS inside us, but have you considered how we tend to phrase things? We talk about inviting JESUS into our hearts and having the HOLY SPIRIT residing inside of us; giving our life to GOD, letting GOD have control of our lives, being broken, letting His Light shine in us…. We talk about things like our hearts breaking for JESUS, and then add Satan and demons to the mix.

Sounds a little scary to a 7 year old, don’t you think?

Casting Crowns sings JESUS, Friend of Sinners,

Let our hearts be led with Mercy, …. make our hearts break for what breaks Yours….
And I was the lost ’cause and I was the outcast
Yeah
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

(Lyrics by Mark Hall and Matthew West)

Let our hearts break for the children who don’t understand the gospel as couched in adult terms. Pray for all of the teachers who work with our children, both in the school classroom and at church, and offer assistance whenever you see the need. Even those of us who have been the lost cause, the outcast, the societal ‘leper’ have a tremendous responsibility to share our stories – age appropriately, of course. Don’t refuse anyone based on their past; instead, listen to their story and see them where they are today. Whether the ‘child’ you are teaching is young in years or young in learning about the LORD, remember those words from tne song and let your heart break for the unsaved, no matter what age they are.

My prayer is that this all makes sense, and may be the catalyst for someone to open their eyes to the LORD and His call…..

Photo credit: Heaven Ministries

Did I Say That???

Recently I wrote a post titled Fear Defeated. Did I say fear was defeated in my life? If I did, I apologize! As I write this, I’m listening to (and dancing in my chair!) to Matt Maher sing “What A Friend We Have In JESUS” …. oh, what glorious Truth! Even on days lke today when apathy seems to have set up like concrete in my veins, I cling to the Truth of the song. I have a Friend in JESUS; more than a friend, a brother and constant companion. It’s surprising, in a way, that even someone secure in their salvation can fall into depression. After all, knowing that we are held in GOD’S Hands should take care of any off or down feelings, right? I wish it did! (And if wishes were horses, I’d be a wealthy woman 😉 ) ….

I doubt there’s a human alive or dead who hasn’t wished for something they don’t have. Even David, the great king of the Israelites, a man who commanded great wealth and armies, wished for something he didn’t have. Despite his many wives and concubines, David desired a woman who was married to someone else. To solve his ‘problem’, he had the woman’s husband murdered, freeing her to marry him. He paid a heavy price for her, too. Their firstborn died, and eventually David lost his throne to his son, Absalom. Here is David’s accounting of how he felt when he went against the LORD:

“When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night Your Hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat.
Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You took away the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.
Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the LORD will have Faithful Love surrounding him. Be glad in the LORD 0and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” – Psalms 32:3‭-‬7‭, ‬10‭-‬11 HCSB

Even the great king David experienced fear and depression, but he knew with Whom his salvation lay, and where he needed to place his trust. Fear has to be defeated daily. It might seem trivial to someone else, but I assure you that our fears are real and have to be recognized. Until we can do that, it’s going to be difficult to give it to GOD or to defeat it. How do you defeat something you don’t recognize? How about these Scriptures for guidance against fear?

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your GOD Who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 HCSB

“In GOD, whose Word I praise, in the LORD, whose Word I praise, in GOD I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” – Psalms 56:10‭-‬11 HCSB

“Do not fear, for I Am with you; do not be afraid, for I Am your GOD. I Will strengthen you; I Will help you; I Will hold on to you with My Righteous Right Hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 HCSB

“For GOD loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only SON, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 HCSB

And this one is one of my favorites:

“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” – Micah 7:8 HCSB

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN, FOR JESUS IS ON MY SIDE!


AMEN!

WHAT? Me, Worry??

I grew up hearing my parents and grandparents say different derivative of this phrase, usually in the form of not to ‘borrow trouble’ or to ‘bring tomorrow’s troubles to today’. According to Wikipedia, the phrase debuted in 1954 in Mad Magazine as a slogan for the character Alfred E. Neumann. Although Mad used it as sarcasm and in derision, the source is actually from scriptures. JESUS taught the crowds who followed Him, saying to them:

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? …. So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly FATHER knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of GOD and HIS Righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25‭, ‬31‭-‬34 HCSB

Worry comes so easily to us. I was having a conversation with my sister about circumstances we are facing, and she said that whenever she starts to worry how the situation will work out, she hears this little voice reminding her that GOD is in control of the situation. I hear that same voice whenever I begin to worry about my own situation. GOD isn’t telling us to just lie back and let the world run over us, or that we should expect to be taken care of without doing any of the work. Contrary to popular belief, He also doesn’t say anywhere in scripture that He ‘takes care of those who take care of themselves.’ I’ve found that when I’m ‘taking care of myself,’ I’m not leaning on Him!

I read the most inane comment on Twitter this morning. Avery Edison @aedison tweeted this “Remember babes, there’s nothing moral about work, and you are have {sic} basic human rights to food, water, shelter, health care (among other things) whether or not you work.” (Emphasis mine.) Now, I also read that she’s a comedian, and I suppose the comment could have been made solely for the purpose of getting people to respond – which it definitely achieved – but…… really? Someone has to work to build shelter, someone has to raise (or hunt) food and find a good water source, and someone has to acquire the knowledge to care for people. Sounds like ‘work’ to me. I’m also guessing that ‘among other things’ she’s including clothing, which also requires work. The truly sad thing about this tweet is that even if it is, indeed, made tongue-in-cheek, there are so many people today who assume that it is a truth; that they can coast along and expect society to take care of them.

What an apt analogy for socialism and the state our world is in today. While GOD doesn’t want us to waste our time in worry, neither does he intend for us to sit around and expect to be waited on. Look at Proverbs 12:24, 19:15, and 26:15, and Hosea 12:12. These are just a few examples of hundreds of scriptures referring to work and lifestyles, and especially in Psalms 107:

“Let them give thanks to the LORD for His Faithful Love and His wonderful works for all humanity. They saw the LORD’s works, His wonderful works in the deep.” – Psalms 107:21‭, ‬24 HCSB

Even the ALMIGHTY, the LORD GOD works! He spoke the universe into existence, but then He put His Hands in the dirt to create the clay and mold Adam, the first man, and He reached into Adam’s side to take the rib to create the Eve, the first woman, always to be at man’s side. Who are we to expect that we can do any less than the LORD?

(Photo credit to Vocations Journey – WordPress.com)