Are You Ready?

Are you ready, prepared for disaster and break-ins and violence? We frequently hear about being prepared; being safe, through the media. We put burglar bars on our doors and windows, we have alarm systems and safe rooms, we have our emergency stash of food and water. We know to evacuate in certain circumstances, and to barricade ourselves in others. Not knowing when a burglar is coming, we attempt to thwart them before the act. I am a firm believer in having a plan, and a back-up plan. My late husband and I taught a personal safety course alongside a firearms safety course, focusing on being ready for danger so that our students wouldn’t be caught unaware. I still offer private lessons, because I want people, and specifically women, to understand what to do in an emergency and the best form of defense for each individual.

JESUS is our ultimate teacher of self-defense. He teaches us throughout the scriptures how and why we need to prepare for His return, and also, for the death of our physical bodies.

“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the SON of MAN [JESUS] will come when least expected.” – Luke 12:39‭-‬40 NLT

It’s very different to be prepared (or think we are prepared) for a physical attack as opposed to a spiritual attack. We should prepare for physical attacks, but that doesn’t need to be our focus. We have to be ready for the constant, incessant, spiritual sneak-attack from the enemy, whose desire is to keep us off balance and unprepared for our LORD’s return. We have the WORD of GOD to instruct us on keeping us ready, but we ae constantly ignoring it and doing our own thing – but “our thing,” as opposed to GOD’s “thing,” isn’t our thing at all. It is the enemy, putting those thoughts in our heads.

Rather than letting down our spiritual defenses, JESUS is all about keeping the devil in his place. He came to do battle with the enemy for our souls, and He will return to claim those souls as His own. Jesus is not a peacekeeper; He knows that the only way to defeat the enemy is through warfare. We see it in our physical world, too. People who consider themselves peace ‘keepers’ want to negotiate and make concessions to avoid conflict, while true peace makers know that the only way to peace is through battle. Whether spiritual or mental or physical, we who are followers of CHRIST are locked into the battle!

“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!” – Luke 12:47‭-‬48‭, ‬51 NLT

Do you yearn for peace? Are you a pacifist and your stated goal in life is to “give peace a chance;” to do away with conflict; is it “peace on earth?” Those who choose pacifism over JESUS are like the servants in verse 47. I’m sorry to burst your pacifist bubble, but your “peace on earth” is not gonna happen as long as Satan has his foot on this earth. We are fighting the Good Fight, preparing for JESUS to return, whenever that might be; maybe while you are reading this, maybe in an hour or a decade or an eon, but rest assured, JESUS will return!

Are you ready?


Revelations 19:11-16

Greedy Little People

“Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.” JESUS replied, “Friend, who made Me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then He said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” ” – Luke 12:13‭-‬15 NLT

It breaks my heart to see the families, the friendships, and the relationships that are damaged beyond repair because of greed. I suspect that most of us have witnessed this behaviour firsthand. I have experienced what greed can do in my personal life and in my extended family, and I have seen the consequences of greed in my own and in other’s lives. My Dad had four siblings, and came from a family that was, if not wealthy, certainly well off. When his mother passed, and when he was finally able to go to her house (he was the only sibling who didn’t live in the same city with the rest), he found it stripped of almost everything of value. No, no burglers, just certain family members who decided they would take whatever they wanted. A similar thing happened to my Mom when her mother passed on. I have seen it to a much smaller extent in my immediate family. I have also seen it in wealthy friends (really, multimillionaires – I don’t comprehend that level of wealth!), who were terrified that someone would take advantage of them or scam them to gain access to their money. Paranoia, distrust, bitterness in relationships were the result. Ironically, they were being taken advantage of by the people who were closest to them because of greed.

That kind of behaviour, i.e. greediness, causes hurt and division. People, nothing on this earth is important enough to lose family or friends because of greed. Whenever I die and pass into heaven, what good will it do for me to have all the best and brightest things? Absolutely no good, because nohing from this earth will go with me then. I am blessed to have some little things from my Dad and my grandparents; they have no monetary value, and I am fine with that. I like them for the memories they evoke. My response to greediness is to lable items with whomever I want to have them, to keep a list in my will, and to give things away now. I certainly won’t need any of it, but I especially don’t want to see any grasping greediness in those close to me!

“Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

You may be experiencing sadness, and you might be hurting and becoming bitter because you weren’t left what you wanted, expected, or thought you ‘deserved’. Sometimes it is accidental (not leaving a will or written directions for the survivors), and sometimes it is intentional, sadly. Read the parable of the rich man in Luke 12: 13-21, in fact, read the entire chapter.

“But GOD said to him [the greedy rich man], ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich Relationship with GOD.” – Luke 12:20‭-‬21 NLT

JESUS replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of GOD and put it into practice.” – Luke 11:28 NLT

I often feel like I don’t have much, and then I look around and see how absolutely Blessed I am with family and friends. I have an abundance of ‘things,’ including much of I don’t need. Downsizing is the topic du jour in social and print media, yet it seems that everywhere I turn there are bigger and fancier homes being built. It’s pretty obvious to me that our society is permeated by greed. As for me, I want to sell my (too large) house and get into a smaller one, closer to family…. my priorities have changed, and I attribute any good that has happened to my life to my LORD, JESUS. It is no longer ‘necessary’ to compete with the ‘Jones.’ Earthly weath no longer appeals so much to me. If I possessed monetary weath, I would do everything I could to help my family and friends, and my passions: my church, K-Love radio, the Salvation Army, the National Rifle Association. For me, I want my prayer to always be “Just enough, LORD, just enough,” and “The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not want” – with NO ‘BUTS’!

YES!!!

The End …. or A Fresh New Beginning

What happens when we die? Is there a heaven – is there a hell? Where is heaven? Absolutely. Both the Old and New Testaments record their existence. A classic example is the story JESUS related to His followers in Luke 16:19-31, telling of the rich man and the poor man. The story is impressive in the Truth that is shared, and a very poignant warning to those who reject our LORD JESUS CHRIST. As the rich man can see into Heaven, or Paradise, I see that as a part of the eternal torment of hell. He gets to see throughout eternity how beautiful is. The poor man doesn’t reply, and I think that goes to what John has written in Revelations 21:4.

“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” – Luke 16:31 NLT

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” – Revelation 21:4 NLT

Read that second part of Luke 16:31 again, and consider the person telling the story – JESUS. He knows that He will be crucified and buried for three days, and that He will rise from that grave, and people will still reject Him. Because of this story, it is clear that as soon as a body dies, the soul is instantly transported to the heavenly banquet – aka Paradise, Heaven – or as quickly, the ones who reject CHRIST go directly to the place of the dead – aka Hell, Sheol, Hades. If we die before JESUS returns to destroy Satan, our corrupted bodies are buried and our indestructible souls go to one of these two places. We aren’t going to be in limbo, we aren’t going to purgatory, and we won’t be reborn into another physical body. After the Second Coming of our LORD, when He defeats the enemy forces led by Satan, then Heaven, the dwelling place of GOD ALMIGHTY, will come to our new earth. Those who have acknowledged JESUS as their LORD and SAVIOUR will come to abide in the House of the LORD, with the Creator FATHER GOD, JESUS the SON, and the HOLY SPIRIT. IMAGINE! Look at how John describes it:

“Then I saw a NEW Heaven and a NEW Earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down from GOD out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I saw no temple in the City, for the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY and the LAMB are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the Glory of GOD illuminates the city, and the LAMB is its Light. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty – but only those whose names are written in the LAMB’s Book of LIFE.” – Revelation 21:1‭-‬2‭, ‬22‭-‬23‭, ‬25‭, ‬27 NLT

Will I finally get to meet you there?I pray it is so!

Hippies, Rock ‘n Roll, Free Spirits

Anybody relate to those words? I do! Livin’ the life, free to live, free to love…. I wonder how many others felt the tugs and restraints on their hearts that I did whenever I immersed myself in that life? I know it was GOD, holding me back from utter destruction, but I wrestled and fought Him enough to put myself in spiritual and physical danger many times. It is only by His Mercy and Grace that I am here today. There was more than one occassion where I know that the only reason I did not die was because of the angels who surrounded me and protected me. Satan had a tight grip on my soul and he did not want to let me go! An old (figuratively speaking 😎) rock and roller, Zach Williams, co-wrote a song called “Survivor” that resonates with my soul. The chorus goes like this:

“God Your Love came crashing in, And pulled me out of the the fire …. You’re my GOD, You’re my Fighter, You make me a survivor.”

I love that last sentence! I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor. Satan does his best to make us victims; GOD and GOD alone makes us survivors. What are you, victim or survivor? Just changing that word in your thinking can go a long ways to getting your heart free from the enemy! In the recovery program I was involved in, that distinction became very important, even critical, as I worked with women in the throes of their hurts, habits, and hangups. Changing your mindset can help you get started on the road to recovery. Taking the next step and accepting JESUS; asking Him to be your partner on the journey is the most important thing anyone will ever do. His Love will come crashing in, and He will pull you out of the fire….. I testify to that!

“Whoever believes in the SON has Eternal LIFE; whoever disobeys the SON will not see Life, but must endure GOD’s Wrath.” – John 3:36 NRSV

Free spirits, free love, rock and roll – we thought that would set us free in our lives. Instead, the enemy used those things ( and still does!) to bind us in chains. The only way – hold on, I need to repeat that, with emphasis – the ONLY WAY to break the chains, the ONLY WAY to escape the fires of the enemy, the ONLY WAY to be a true survivor rather than a victim, is to turn to JESUS CHRIST as your LORD and SAVIOUR. He is the Great Physician Who can heal our hurts and afflictions; He is the Lover of our Souls, and He wants only one thing: for us to accept Him so that we can spend eternity in the true paradise of Heaven. People say that we have ‘hell on earth’. I’m here to remind you that hell is not here, although it certainly seems like it sometimes. No, Hell is a very real place, a place of unimaginable horror and agony, and it, like Heaven, exists now and forever. If you truly think this is hell on earth, I shudder to think how you will perceive the reality of Hell when faced with it.

I encourage you to turn to JESUS today, right now. There’s an old hymn that my Dad had sung at the end of so many services; a hymn that I adore. Listen closely to these words:

  1. Just as I am, without one plea,
    But that Thy blood was shed for me,
    And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  2. Just as I am, and waiting not
    To rid my soul of one dark blot,
    To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  3. Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt,
    Fightings and fears within, without,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
    Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  5. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
    Because Thy promise I believe,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
  6. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
    Hath broken every barrier down;
    Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Sing Like Never Before

“The LORD is Righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness. The LORD is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them. The LORD protects all those who love Him, but He destroys the wicked.” – Psalms 145:17‭-‬20 NLT

“The LORD is RIGHTEOUS.” That statement, standing alone, should make every living human and creature shake in their boots. He is RIGHTEOUS. He acts in accord with moral, divine Law. The LORD is free of any guilt or sin. What man has ever lived who can claim true righteousness? There is one, and only one, Who can claim it, and that man is JESUS. Are you in tune with JESUS LORD? Claim the Salvation He offers to us, freely and equally to every human. Ask Him to be in your life on earth, so that you can spend eternity in Praise, rather than in agony with the enemy. Praise His Holy Name.

“I will praise the Lord , and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.” – Psalms 145:21 NLT

Listen to Matt Redman “Sing Like Never Before.”

Nobody Knows…..

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” – James 1:2‭-‬4 NLT

There’s an old Negro Spiritual from the 1800’s that fits here:

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

Sometimes I’m up
And sometimes I’m down
Yes, Lord, you know sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord, still

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus

We – all of humanity – love to judge people. You can deny it, but denial doesn’t make it untrue. I know I struggle with it, even after a lifetime of being judged by others, sometimes rightly, but more often they were wrong. To judge someone fairly, you need to know their bsckground and their situations intimately. Think you know me well enough to judge me and my actions? No, no more than I know you well enough to judge you. Our pasts, our troubles, may be known in generalities to those who are close to us, but nobody truly knows the troubles, the trials, you or I have endured. Like the psalmist says, “My eyes are straining to see Your Promises come true. When will You Comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey Your Decrees. How long must I wait? When will You punish those who persecute me?” – Psalms 119:82‭-‬84 NLT

Right here, right now, my mind struggles to believe my heart and my Faith in my LORD. My mind is screaming “How will things work out? What am I to do?” My heart is saying “Trust in the LORD, for He is in control. There’s no need to worry.” I KNOW this to be true, but I often have a difficult time believing it. My puny little human brain wants to grab my circumstance and situation away from the Almighty GOD, the One Who created us and Who Loves us beyond understanding….. can I solve anything that GOD can’t? No. No. And NO.

“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: ‘CHRIST JESUS came into the world to save sinners’ – and I am the worst of them all.” – 1 Timothy 1:15 NLT

As long as I worry, I’m telling people through my words and actions that I don’t fully trust in JESUS. I am the worst of sinners, yet He Loved me so much He left heaven to cover my sins with His sacrificial blood, to save me (ME!), once and for all time. I am Forgiven, and not to be judged. Who am I to judge anyone else?

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LetsSingIt – The Internet Lyrics Database}

Angel / Son

For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus: “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father. ” God also said, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” – Hebrews 1:5 NLT

I believe that we are constantly in the company of angels, both exalted and fallen. God sends His angels to watch over us and to protect us from the enemy, who goes by many names. He was named Lucifer, the morning star and the shining star. Because of his rebellion against GOD, he has become known as the devil, the enemy, Satan. This fallen angel took a third of the angels in heaven with him when he fell from Grace, and their entire beings are eaten up in the ugliness of envy and pride. We have to constantly be on guard sgainst them, and we (humans) cannot fight them off on our own.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of GOD: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the MOST HIGH. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” – Isaiah 14:12‭-‬15 KJV

Can you imagine how incredibly angry he became over that? Being kicked out of heaven….. the closest thing I can imagine is this: born to an incredibly wealthy family, raised in opulence and beautiful surroundings, never knowing hunger or thirst or loss – to be escorted out by security and thrown out because I wanted to control it all, to take it over in my greed; suddenly thrust into poverty and pain and want. Revenge? Anger? Envy? I think I would feel all of those things and more! In this imagined place, I would want to harm the other occupants; to turn them against the Father.

That’s exactly what the enemy and his followers, the falllen angels, are doing. In the process, all the evil has twisted them into hideous caricatures of their original forms. If you think about anyone you’ve ever known who was angry and bitter, you know that it transforms their entire being. A good actor can hide all that ugliness for a time, but truth always comes out. ALWAYS. The enemy is a great actor. He can appear as a beautiful, empathetic being in order to turn you / me from the LORD. He’s been doing it for millenia, so he’s had lots of practice in the arts of deceit and persuasion; he is the father of lies.

I believe God has assigned His angels the task of guarding His Children, the ones saved by His Mercy and Grace through the sacrifice of His Son, JESUS CHRIST. I believe that the day JESUS returns to earth, He will be surrounded by His Angel Armies, and He will defeat the enemy. I want to see the defeat of the creatures who have given human-kind hell (pun inteneded!!!) since the beginning, when our Almighty LORD, CREATOR of all things, punishes them for the remainder of time. He will claim revenge and Victory! Come on, JESUS, let’s get this party for the Father started! Hallelujah!

What is JESUS to you? Angel, prophet, a good man ….. SAVIOUR?