We The People….

I’m reading a book set in 1860, before Abraham Lincoln was elected President, and the controversy of slavery. It wasn’t just slavery, but a way of life for the southern states. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was popular in the North and loudly disputed as lies and falsehood in the South. Our nation was divided by state, but also within families. Parents were divided, children, brothers, sisters, cousins were adamant that their side was the right side. We know from our history that this led to the Civil War, a terrible, bloody war that destroyed families and lives. North v. South; the Republican antislavery party v. the Democratic proslavery party.

Think about that for a minute. How close are we to something very similar today? Once again, we have families divided over issues like abortion, the Black Lives Matter movement, mask and covid shot mandates, Critical Race Theory in schools, more government control/Socialism v. less government control/Freedom. Defund the Police. What’s right? What’s wrong? Is it a conspiracy theory if it’s true? All Christians should be united on all of these issues, shouldn’t they? Seems like we should be, yet I find myself at odds with Christian family members and friends over just these issues! I ask, how can a Christian support taking the life of an unborn baby? How is a person more valuable because of skin color? Should a government be able to tell me I must mask up or take a shot when the science doesn’t support it? Yes, we should “render into Caesar what is Caesar’s”, but at what point is it too much?

Many, many people are literally preparing for a civil uprising to protest against tyranny. Peaceful protests are already occurring in many cities across our nation. Personally, I’m afraid that in order to stop the tyranny occurring in our capital, it’s going to require more than these peaceful gatherings, but I continue to pray that our leadership will get the message and make the changes needed. Are Christians involved in this movement? Absolutely. Unfortunately, there are also many others involved in the violence that is happening throughout the nation.

What can we do? I believe in being as prepared as possible for this recession we are swiftly headed into. It is critical that Christians unite in prayer for our leaders, and for guidance from God on what to support, and how to support it. I try not to engage in debate with family on subjects that I know we feel strongly about, but I cannot completely back down when I know that my beliefs are biblically correct. The only answer I have to the question is to pray. What would God have me do? We each have to be patient and pray and wait for His guidance. If His answer is to resist tyranny, then that is what I will do, to the best of my ability. Remember, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the enemy.

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.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬13 NASB199

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.10-13.NASB1995

Give THANKS to the LORD

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 1 Chronicles 16:34 NASB1995

https://bible.com/verse-of-the-day/1ch.16.34/652

He is good! Give thanks for your life! Give thanks to the LORD.

For what, you ask?

Most of all, more than anything else, thank the LORD for His Son, Jesus Christ, and His life-saving Salvation!

Is your life good? Give thanks to the LORD!

Are you healthy? Give thanks to the LORD!

Are you alive? Give thanks to the LORD!

Is your life a mess? Give thanks to the LORD!

Is your body sick, ill, diseased? Give thanks to the LORD!

Are you alone, lonely, yearning? Give thanks to the LORD!

Easy to say; hard to do. Thank God today for what you have. Thank God for the hard life you have. Thank God that you can feel. Thank God for your doctors! Thank God for pharmacists and nurses and medicines; for hospitals and rehab! Thank God for the roof over your head, and for the clothing you wear. Thank Him for the good landlord and the bad one. Thank Him for the service members who protect us. Thank God for living in a free country, and thank Him for the good and the bad politicians…..

The Most Difficult Trial

While reading my devotional this morning, it asked this question: “What is the most difficult trial you’ve gone through? How can you use your pain to impact someone else?” My first thought was that I’ve had so many, how could I choose a “most” difficult? If you’re familiar with my story, you’ll understand why I say that. I know I’m not unique in having had a difficult life, and for many of us choosing one “most difficult” is, well, difficult.

Reflecting back, though, it would be losing my husband, Ron. Our life together wasn’t easy, but we had much to be thankful for. We were in our “forever” home, we had a thriving business, we were active in the local church, and we were content. When he lost his health, and began losing the battle with addiction, our life together became difficult at best and untenable at worst. The day I left him was one of the worst days of my life. I was a failure as a wife, and a failure at marriage – I hurt, bone deep. He was in unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and I couldn’t fix it. His rage at life became all consuming, until nothing (especially me) was safe from him.

I was active in the church before it all fell apart, and I thought I had a strong faith. Friends from the church took me in and protected me until I could live the area. My family rescued me. All of these wonderful Christians came together for me, and they reached out to try to help him, too. How did I react? I got back on my feet, new job and apartment, new church, and new friends added to my life, I thought I was good. I was angry, though, and began to blame God for Ron’s behavior and the destruction of my good life with him. My behavior over the next few years was full of denial, and I was determined to “fix” the world. Needless to say, it didn’t end well, but it did get me back to church and connected with strong Christians who showed me the path back to God.

Through those people and the program, I worked through a lot of my issues, and was able to assist other women going through difficult trials. No one’s life is the same, and we cannot judge anyone by what they are going through. I know this: if we can help someone find the courage to open themselves to Jesus Christ, we are blessed right along side them. He is the Comforter, full of Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness like we can’t even imagine.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2co.1.3-4.NASB1995

Listen to the song Scars by Casting Crowns. https://youtu.be/qCdevloDE6E

Troubles All Around Us

“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2 Timothy 3:12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/2ti.3.12.NASB1995

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.16.33.NASB1995

“In the world you have tribulation….” That is true for every one of us. No matter how much money we might have, or what country we live in. Doesn’t matter what color our skin. Whether of indigenous heritage, or recent immigrant, or long established family; farmer, herder, town or city dweller, we will always have tribulation. People we love will die. We lose our livelihood. We will be persecuted for what we believe, or what color we are, or for how we live. Why?

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/1pe.5.8-9.NASB1995

Almost since the beginning of time, satan, the devil, has been after God’s Creation. He wants it for himself. He wasn’t satisfied with being the most beautiful creature that God created, he wanted it all. Does that sound familiar? In history, so many leaders and rulers have been greedy, narcissistic, evil, and cruel, but no one compares to the Enemy of God’s people. Once the most beautiful, and now the ugliest.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!”
Isaiah 14:12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/isa.14.12.NASB1995

The Darkest Day in America. The day thousands of Americans were killed – massacred – on American soil by a small group of terrorists. That’s the anniversary we just marked. We can lament and weep over this day, following the example of the prophet Jeremiah. His people and his city, Jerusalem, were captured by the Babylonians. The city was destroyed and left as a pile of rubble, just like our twin towers. Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet, the man of sorrows”, wept over his people, just as we should weep at the ongoing attack on christianity. September 11, 2001; Nine eleven, is a symptom, a beacon. We can relate to how broken Jeremiah was when he wrote this:

“I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. In dark places He has made me dwell, Like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot go out; He has made my chain heavy. Even when I cry out and call for help, He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked. He is to me like a bear lying in wait, Like a lion in secret places. He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drunk with wormwood. He has broken my teeth with gravel; He has made me cower in the dust. My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness.”

Lamentations 3:1‭-‬10‭, ‬15‭-‬17 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/lam.3.1-17.NASB1995

God is unfailingly faithful, and the purpose of a godly lament is the regeneration of hope in your heart. God wrote this book through Jeremiah to remind people of the complete destruction, of not glossing over sin, and of total confession. The transgressions of Israel were laid out from A to Z. Can you imagine if he were writing about America? Jeremiah pours out his lament to God, then he writes this:

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.”
Lamentations 3:21‭-‬26 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/lam.3.21-26.NASB1995

How could this happen? How did we get here? How did this happen? Verse 12 says “He bent His bow and set me as the target of His arrow….” God did this, God is in the midst of it. Jeremiah isn’t showing defiance, but asking God “how is Your covenant going to survive?” Samuel Johnson said “People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.” We need to constantly reminded to trust God; to allow Him to work His will in our life. How will God’s covenant survive if we don’t live it? Remember the scriptures. God’s faithfulness is on display not because of the destruction but in spite of it. God PROMISES.   Consistency in discipline shows affection; He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful.

God’s unrelenting faithfulness, His lovingkindness, abounds and overflows. The compassions and mercies of God are unlimited, and they are brand new every day. They are immeasurable. Have confidence in God’s faithfulness – change your thinking from “great is HIS faithfulness”, to “great is YOUR faithfulness”. In verse 24, “my portion” means “God is everything”. In verses 21 and 24, we read “I will hope in Him”, and in verse 25, “I will wait for Him”. We must be patient, as we are assured that GOD IS FAITHFUL. He provides. Wait for Him!

The Commandments of God

God created us and He knows us. In knowing us, He also knew that we needed guidance and rules – Commandments. Exodus 20:1-17 lists the Ten Commandments as given to Moses. Everyone knows them, but, do we really? They are listed in descending order of importance.The first four are about God. The fifth pertains to our family. The last five are about our community.

  • Worship only God
  • No idols
  • No use of God’s Name in cursing
  • Keep the Sabbath holy
  • Honor our parents
  • No Murder
  • No Adultery
  • No Stealing
  • No Lying
  • No Coveting

God is GOD alone. He is not shared. The Bible is clear that He is monotheistic: “In the beginning GOD” – singular. There are no other gods out there, but there are many things that we elevate to that status. We are not to worship, or sacrifice to, or put any of those things in front of God, especially the false god of self. To dislodge any false gods we have to pursue the LORD – the positive counterpoint to the second and third commandments of “do not” or “no” is to love Him first and foremost. In Isaiah 45, five times God says “I am the LORD, there is no other.” Many times in scripture He reinforces that we are to love Him first. If you deny Jesus you deny the Father because He is a Triune God, THE Triune GOD. Look at the positive counterpoint to the “do nots”.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/deu.6.5.NASB1995

When we put God first, worshipping only Him, it’s easier to keep the remaining nine commandments, but we are often like the Pharisees. We keep busy showing the world how religious and righteous we are. The thing is, no matter how much we love and reverence the LORD, we will break His Commandments. Peter, who was Jesus’ right-hand man, was adamant that he would never forsake his Lord. Hear His response, because Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself. Then read Peter’s reaction, later, after being asked if he knew Jesus.

Then he [Peter] began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.
Matthew 26:74 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.26.74.NASB1995

Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
Matthew 26:34 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mat.26.34.NASB1995

The truth is, we all have broken the Commandments. We have all broken the law. Is there anyone who hasn’t, at some point, said anything derogatory about their parents? Even the smallest thing? Can you honestly say you have never put anything or anyone above God, even for a moment? Have you ever disregarded your sabbath? It doesn’t have to be Sunday (or Saturday), but we do need a day of rest. God did it. Are we better than Him?

As for the rest, murder, adultery, stealing, lying, and coveting, we are all guilty. I certainly am! I haven’t committed the physical act of murder, but I have murdered in my heart. I have committed adultery in my heart. I admit to stealing. If you have even taken so much as a piece of paper or a paperclip, you have stolen. Picked flowers without permission. That’s stealing. Lies. There is no “white” lie. Withholding information is a lie. Being jealous of someone – looks, clothes, wealth, spouse – we are guilty of coveting.

“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:9‭-‬13 NASB1995

There’s good news! Yes, we are all guilty. We have all sinned. God knew it before we did it. God knows it….. and He loves us and forgives us anyway. Jesus left heaven and came to earth, knowing that He would be put to death in the cruelest imaginable way. He did it to cleanse our sins with His blood. I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. But I know it, and I am forgiven. Inexplicably, unimaginably, gloriously forgiven.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name,
John 1:1‭, ‬3‭-‬5‭, ‬12 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/jhn.1.1-12.NASB1995

Receive Christ. Accept His Love and His forgiveness. We can’t do life on our own, but we can with Jesus.

My Power?

My power? What power? I don’t have any. I used to think that I could make things happen, and change my world to suit the way I wanted things. Do you think that you have gotten to where you are through your own effort and power?

“Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
Deuteronomy 8:17‭-‬18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/deu.8.17-18.NASB1995

I was very busy making my circumstances conform to what I wanted, so much so that I alienated my family. Does your family support you in your power? We weren’t at the point of feuding, but my actions were enough to create a gulf between us. I wasn’t concerned about God’s will, only mine. In my journey through life, I’ve come across several families separated like mine, but there were a few who were feuding, and it tore them apart. I didn’t want that for my family.

He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. …. Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”
Luke 11:17‭, ‬23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/luk.11.17-23.NLT

Finally, I came across a church with people who could see me, and who helped me to see how my destructive behavior was harmful to me, and to my family. Did my younger sisters and brother see me, and use my behavior as a reason for their own rebellion? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that my behavior harmed our relationships. I wasn’t working for the LORD. I was working for me, for my heart, and it didn’t work out too well for me.

How is your heart? Are you in control of your life? Is the power in your hands, or have you relinquished it to God? He loves us, and He only wants the best for us. So why are so many people in bad situations? There are consequences for our actions. Sometimes they are immediate, but sometimes they are delayed. I am dealing with the consequences of my actions from years ago, and they will stay with me until I die. Often, we get to deal with the consequences of our parents, grandparents, and so on. All of humanity has to live with the decision, the exercise of their free will, of Adam and Eve. Sin was introduced in the Garden, and runs rampant throughout the world today.

God gave us the solution when Jesus, His only Son, came to earth to have His Blood cover us and cleanse us. I need that cleansing, and I have received it. Does that mean I’m now perfect and my life will be filled with rainbows and butterflies from now on? No, I am forgiven, but I still have those consequences for my actions.

Are you forgiven?

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.

All for one; ONE for All

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.3.28.NASB1995

All for one. One race, the human race. Ordained by God, the Creator. He created Adam, then he created Eve, and he told them to go and procreate and populate the earth.

Because of Adam and Eve’s bad decision, human kind were banished from the garden and placed in the world ruled by the enemy. Not because God wanted us gone from the garden and His Presence, but because man chose to separate himself from it. That hurt God, and we have continued to hurt Him with our bad decisions ever since. But the ALMIGHTY God wasn’t going to let us, His finest creatures, created in His likeness, to be destroyed by the enemy. He sent His Son, His own being, to earth to atone for our sins. ONE for ALL; once for all.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.8.38-39.NASB1995

All you need to do is accept His sacrifice, and you can never be separated from the LORD ever again.