“Blessed Are ….. “

What do you believe? Deep in your heart, what do you hold dear? Are your actions consistent with your beliefs? Does your behavior follow your heart? Is Love guiding your thoughts and actions? “Love God; Love people.” Is that reflected in your life?

I confess that I really don’t like a lot of people. Often, they annoy me. I’ve thought that I would be happy far out in the wilderness, with only me and my animals…… but truthfully, I like electricity and refrigeration and all the modern conveniences (like hot water on demand!) More importantly, God doesn’t intend for us to be alone. Even though I don’t have a life partner, I have a lot of partners to share life with. God created the Christian family and community so that we aren’t always alone. Across political beliefs, economic boundaries, health, housing, family size ….. God binds us together.

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Romans 12:9‭, ‬14 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.12.9-14.NASB1995
  1. Hypocrisy, noun, defined by Merriam-Webster: 1. a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not : 2. behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feelHis hypocrisy was finally revealed with the publication of his private letters.especially : 3. the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religionour conventional morality often serves as a cover for hypocrisy and selfishness

We are moving into an unprecedented state of affairs. It is more important than ever for Christians to band together and support each other. Government is stepping into areas never before seen, dictating where we can meet and how many can meet, what we wear (masks), and what substances we put in our bodies (“vaccines”). It’s all for “the good of the people”. In order to shop for food and to travel, it’s becoming more common to have to produce a “vaccine passport”. It is being suggested that without this “passport”, you soon won’t be able to receive your social security, SSI, unemployment benefits, or any other government assistance.

You say that doesn’t affect you? Are you quite certain?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.5.3-10.NASB1995

I’m no better than anyone else. Neither am I any worse than anyone else. I’m not a particularly bad person. I have been – and still am – very blessed. I try really hard not to be a hypocrite. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, or a survivalist. I believe that government has it’s place, and I believe that we have an obligation and a responsibility (especially as Christians) to live in such a way that it does not harm or infringe upon others. Our lifestyles should encourage and enrich others, and bless others, and not harm others.

The book of Revelations reveals the taking over of the earth by the beast, and of him requiring every person to receive the mark of the beast. I’m not a Bible scholar, and I don’t interpret scriptures. There are plenty of people out there doing that. All I can do is read and study and pray that God reveals the meaning to me. What I see happening right now is perhaps not the mark described by John, but it is absolutely a precursor to it. Many people have been convinced or coerced into taking it. Is it “the” mark? I don’t think so, but in good conscience, having read and studied about this current “vaccine”, I cannot (will not) take it. I can’t say what will happen in the future, but I pray for those of us who haven’t received it. Whether you agree or not, I hope you will pray also.

And remember, it isn’t a conspiracy theory if it is true.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”Proverbs 15:1

There’s a whole lot of bitterness and anger, sarcasm, and spiteful speaking in the world today. Mask or don’t mask. Vax or don’t vax. Guns or no guns. Illegal aliens or migrants. Woke or not woke. Two sexes or multiple sexes. One God, or no god. Stand for the flag or kneel. Freedom or submission.

I don’t mask. I’m not anti-vaccine in general, but I choose not to get the covid vax. I believe strongly in the First and Second Amendments, and I think that every American should be trained in handling firearms. I am not Woke. Life begins at conception, and abortion is murder. If someone wants to come to the United States, they should come through legal channels – otherwise, they should be sent back. I believe that God created man and woman. Period. I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus died for me. I proudly stand for the flag, and in the (famous) words of my ancestor, “Give me Liberty or give me death.”

I try really hard to be respectful of other people. It can be difficult, especially when they are disrespectful of the things, and the people, I hold dear to my heart. It’s really hard when they disrespect my Saviour. The following is from my devotional today, and it struck me right where it needed to: in my heart.

Words can be used in many ways. They can be meaningful and healing, offer optimism and encouragement to someone in despair, and resolve disputes. A kind, compassionate, thoughtful, or caring word can calm troubled waters, give hope to the hopeless, heal a broken heart, and be a light to those around us. However, hateful, cruel, harsh, or careless words can be used to wound, discourage, or create disagreements by being a disgusting odor that echoes what is in our minds while stirring up strife. When someone provokes anger, their words feel like a sharp knife that leads to pain, and even in some cases, revenge. When you provoke someone to anger with words or actions, at that moment, you are unconcerned with their well-being, the condition of your soul, or the glory of the Kingdom of God. If you love God, why would you want to provoke anger in someone who is also made in His image? Those who love God are careful of their words, so their tongue does not lead to sin by provoking others to anger (Psalm 39:1). 

“Let Love Turn Us Away from Our Wicked Ways” 
By: Dante Bowe & Andrea Fisher

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31‭-‬32 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.4.31-32.NASB1995

LORD, help me today, tomorrow, and each subsequent day to put all the bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander in this world away from me, along with all malice. Help me, LORD, to be kind to others, tender-hearted and forgiving, especially to those who try to get under my skin and trigger me, just as You have forgiven me. Amen.

Listen. HEAR.

I have a really hard time keeping my mouth shut. (Really????) All my life, I have struggled with listening. I’m going to blame it in part to being ADD (or ADHD) – my brain has a difficult time focusing. Anyway, I listen, but when I hear a point I want to respond to, my mouth immediately starts moving before the person can finish what they are saying. I’m quick to hear, but equally quick to speak. My Dad would say “Think before you speak.” In his first letter to the church, James says to be quick to hear and slow to speak.

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
James 1:19‭-‬20‭, ‬26‭-‬27 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.1.19-27.NASB1995

“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
James 4:1‭-‬3‭, ‬17 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jas.4.1-17.NASB1995

I know that speaking before thinking is wrong. A sin. I’m actually much better now than I was, and I strive to continue to be better at listening first, and hearing what is really being said, rather than reacting to the first thing that hits me. Responding, instead of reacting. As Christians, we need to be able to do that. There are so many conflicts that the enemy is throwing at us and threatening us with. Prayerful responses. I’m talking to me, especially.

LORD, be with me as I struggle to find Your voice instead of my own. I pray for those who read this, and who might struggle as I do to listen and to think before speaking. Help me, help us, as Your children, to promote You rather than us. I love You, LORD, and praise You. Thank You for the life You have given me. In the Name of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray. Your will be done. Amen.

Shielded by GOD

“Finally, be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with Truth, and having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD of GOD.”
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬17 NASB1995

Who’s in Charge?

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”
Matthew 16:21‭-‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/mat.16.21-23.NLT

Are you looking at life like Peter was? I know that for the majority of my life, that’s how I’ve seen and done things. Strictly a human view, and not waiting for God’s view. Too impatient. I still find it difficult to slow down enough in my thoughts to consider what God would think or want. Who’s in charge of your life? If you consider yourself a Christian, like I do, a follower of Jesus Christ, should we be saying “Get away from me, satan!”?

What are you facing today that you need to pray about and wait for God’s leading? Where are you looking at things from the human view, from our human feelings, instead of leaning on the LORD? When do you need to say, “Get away from me, satan!”?

Love God, then yourself. It’s the only way.

Prayer for God’s Mercy on our Nation

“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we are a nation gone under.” – Ronald Reagan

Restore us, O God of our salvation, And cause Your indignation toward us to cease. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger to all generations? Will You not Yourself revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your lovingkindness, O Lord, And grant us Your salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will say; For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; But let them not turn back to folly. Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, That glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, And righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him And will make His footsteps into a way.”
Psalms 85:14-‬13 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/psa.85.1-13.NASB1995

The psalmist wrote this for the nation of Judah, but I see it in the the United States of America. From school boards and town councils to the Oval Office, Christians are going to have to join together, on their knees, to restore our nation to it’s greatness. We have to denounce – not deny – the godlessness that is rampant in our country. If it is not scriptural, it is wrong. Are we as Christ followers guilty of sinning against God? Absolutely; every day. That doesn’t mean that we can just sit back on our hands and say, “well, I tried.” Prayer is immensely powerful, so if someone says that all they can do is pray; well, that’s the best thing any one of us can do! Take action. Do whatever you can.

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel.” — Patrick Henry at Virginia`s U.S. Constitution ratification convention

“The said Constitution [shall] be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” — Samuel Adams at Massachusetts` U.S. Constitution ratification convention, 1788

We must fall back to the Founding Fathers and listen to them. The majority of them followed Christ. ALMIGHTY GOD gave us the greatest country in the world. We must fight the enemy of God and of man to protect and preserve her. I stand with other Christians and Patriots, and I am not ashamed.

And all the people said ……

What Am I Doing???

It’s your responsibility to lead yourself well by knowing exactly what you’re good at, what bothers others about you, and what your blindspots are. So ask someone today:

1) What am I good at?

2) What is holding me back?

3) What are the blind spots in my life?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalms 139:23‭-‬24 NASB1995

What am I doing to add value to my family, my team at work, my friendships?

Jesus said to the disciples “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” John 13:13‭-‬17 NASB1995

If you are are a Christian, you know that Jesus is God. As God, He is immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible. As man, He is subject to everything that we feel and experience. He felt the weight of responsibility to obey and satisfy His earthly parents just as we do. His ministry was a huge responsibility, to teach His followers the Truth. He experienced hunger and thirst. He got hot, and cold, and was physically uncomfortable. He knew His “job”, and didn’t shirk from it. He spent hours in prayer with the Father, leaning on His relationship with Him to clarify what to say, where to go, what to do. He knew what He was good at, and He wasn’t above doing the lowest jobs. (Think: washing feet) I think He talked to His disciples and listened if they had any criticisms about Him. I don’t think Jesus had any blindspots like we do, and even though we know that He was perfect, He still suffered.

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 NASB1995

The bottom line is this. When you are struggling with these questions of what am I doing, what am I good at, what is holding me back, and what are my blind spots, take council from someone who will honestly help you, and pray. Jesus has experienced everything we have, plus more. He has the answers!

Righteousness / Sin / Slavery

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

Warren Wiersbe, in his book Be Daring, wrote, “In 1973, Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the world’s leading psychiatrists, published a startling book, Whatever Became of Sin? He pointed out that the very word sin has gradually dropped out of our vocabulary, as he puts it, ‘the word, along with the notion.’ We talk about mistakes, weaknesses, inherited tendencies, faults, and even errors; but we do not face up to the fact of sin.”

God removes our sins and puts them on Christ. Then he takes the righteousness of Christ and puts it on us, and it’s all done through the cross. And that’s the gospel: how sinners become right and righteous with a holy God. It’s the best news ever.” – from The Core of the Gospel by Jeff Wells

Who is a the descendant of slaves? That’s a big question these days, with the whole question of reparations and who should pay them and who should receive them. Slavery has been around almost since the the beginning of history. It has been in every country and involved every color and ethnicity of humans. Abraham, Father of Israel, had slaves. The Egyptians had slaves of all nationalities. The Romans, Greeks, Gauls, and Picts owned slaves. Many, if not all, African tribes owned slaves. The American Native peoples of the different nations owned slaves.

As much as we want to deny it, slavery still exists today. There are people who deal in human trafficking, maybe in your neighborhood. Instead of focusing on the past and what has occurred, we need to be focused on now. There are many other forms of slavery, and we need to acknowledge that fact. Human bondage is real and present. Slavery to an addiction, and that isn’t limited to drugs or alcohol. If you have personally experienced any bondage, and been freed from it, congratulations! God is GOOD! Be careful about boasting, though. For someone still stuck and fighting to get out, or to the one who can’t see a way out, remember to give Grace. Slavery, just like any addiction, isn’t something we can just choose to walk away from. It requires help from God and from His people.

“Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is ONE. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.” Romans 3:27‭-‬31 NASB1995

Reach out to someone you know is hurting, and keep in mind that hurts can be covered up and hidden. A smile and a hug can go a long way! (Pandemic aside, it’s time to start hugging people again!)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.” Colossians 3:23‭-‬25 NASB1995