Speak of the devil…. Nah….

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.18.NASB1995

This verse hit me. The enemy of GOD and all His Children. The leader of the fallen angels. The devil. Satan. Lucifer. Old Scratch. He’s out to get us. Me. You. Any and every person. He only wants to win, and he can’t do that when we pray. I really like the way The Message presents the verse.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Ephesians 6:13‭-‬18 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/eph.6.13-18.MSG

We are not on our own anymore! When we accept the Gift of Salvation from our LORD Jesus Christ, it’s like painting a bull’s eye on our backs. But see, here’s the thing. Satan may have painted on that bull’s eye, but we have a mighty shield to protect us! Not only has GOD assigned His angels to watch over us, but we have the Holy Spirit on our side. We have GOD’S Word and we have prayer. How’s this for a mental image: if you are leaning against GOD, your back is against Him and the enemy can’t even see the target! If he does get in a shot, we know it can only penetrate us and do damage if we aren’t protected.

Bottom line: Pray. Pray while driving to work or school. Pray while cleaning the house and cooking the meals. Pray (silently) for the person in the store or restaurant who is helping you. Pray before you go to sleep and pray when you wake up. Pray while walking. Pray while waiting. Mess up the enemy’s day! Go through your day with a high hedge of protection from the LORD.

It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen. In fact, it will spur the enemy to try all the harder to hurt you and discourage and destroy you. So why pray? It will keep your mind where it belongs, on Jesus, and on what is to come – not what’s happening here. It’s the only way to live.

I Can’t Keep Up

I’ve been texting with my “little” brother this morning. He’s sending pictures of their place. The garden and greenhouse he built for them. My attempts are so feeble compared to his. It’s not that I don’t want to do better and have better, I just can’t keep up. There was a time when I could. My body has betrayed me, and I hate it. I look at my yard, and I can see how I want it…. and that’s where it remains. In my mind.

Then I opened my devotional by Max Lucado to today’s selection. Tears came. God knew I would be upset, and He arranged this for me to read today. It’s in God is With You Every Day, for May 22, titled Your Best Days. He tells the story of a little boy trying to keep up with his family in an airport, until he plops himself down on his bag and shouts, “I can’t keep up!”

That’s how I feel. “GOD, I can’t keep up!”

Max Lucado goes on to say this: “Sometimes the challenge is just too much. You want to keep up. You try. It’s not that you don’t. Life has a way of taking the life out of us. When you run out of fight,remember that the promises of God are your to claim. God’s Word dares you to believe that your best days are ahead of you. God promises you a Promised Land.”

Thanks, Max. I needed that today. My Promised Land is coming. I know that, and I need to be reminded sometimes. It may not be on this earth, but someday, I’ll have a garden that defies anything I can imagine now. Remember that. Whatever your dream is. Your Promised Land may not be on this earth. Are you confident that you will reach it? Are you a Child of the King, to claim your inheritance?

“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your GOD gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
Joshua 23:14 NIV

https://joshua.bible/joshua-23-14

What I Deserve…

Satan is devious. He wants us to question God and rebel against Him, but if we forget God, that’s even better. He wants us to succumb to the lusts and pleasures of the flesh. He knows how dark and depraved our human nature truly is. BUT he doesn’t “make us” do things – he can’t force us to do anything, ever … it is OUR choice. “But God,” made us ALIVE. We DESERVE death, but because of God’s Mercy we have LIFE instead of hell and damnation. 

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Micah 7:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mic.7.18.NASB1995

But GOD Who pardons our sins and rebellion, Who is limitless, unending, and Who loves us in spite of who and what we are.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of GOD; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which GOD prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.2.1-10.NASB1995

Compare: Buddha’s dying words, which were to “strive without ceasing” to the dying words of The CHRIST, Jesus, whose words were “It is finished.” By Grace and through Faith in JESUS we can receive Salvation …. Both of these are gifts of and from God; there is nothing we do can earn them. Because He died…. it was never because of anything I could say or do. No justification.Just like the thief on the cross, it is always just because “the Man on the middle cross told me to come.” We are HIS workmanship; we are HIS Masterpiece!

But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.8.NASB1995
All you have to do is take His Hand…..

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

O LORD, GOD of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to You at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left. They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from Your care. You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths. Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave You have engulfed me. You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape. My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for Your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to You for mercy. Are Your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise You? Can those in the grave declare Your unfailing love? Can they proclaim Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of Your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about Your righteousness? O LORD, I cry out to You. I will keep on pleading day by day. O LORD, why do You reject me? Why do You turn Your face from me? I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before Your terrors. Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me. They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely. You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.
Psalms 88:1‭-‬18 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.88.1-18.NLT

If you stop reading here, you’ll probably be filled with hopelessness and despair. This Psalm was written by Heman the Ezrahite, a Temple musician, song leader, and a wise and worshipful man. This psalm shows that anyone can suffer from depression. Even the great scholar and preacher Charles Spurgeon suffered terribly from depression. No matter how strongly you believe in God and salvation, depression can be a serious issue. There are many possible causes: situational, systemic (chemical imbalance), physical issues, satanic, or spiritual, but there are things God can teach us in the darkness that we cannot learn in the light. Like in verse 7, it can feel as though God is pouring out His wrath on us, even though we know He doesn’t do that. This Psalm shows that God truly knows how we feel.

Did you know that depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.? Statistically, we are the saddest, most depressed nation in the world. There’s plenty to be depressed about. Man made viruses, abortion on demand, war and rumors of war, violence threatened against conservatism, out of control inflation, food shortages, the highest gas prices in decades (ever?), and the utter confusion our kids and young people are dealing with with multiple genders and the LGB+ agenda being crammed down their throats from every side. Christians are constantly being attacked, in print and in the news as being bigoted. Being white or light skin automatically labels you as racist. It isn’t okay to be patriotic for our own country or to want our own country safe from invaders ….. but you’d better support sending billions of dollars to other countries to defend their borders! (It’s kind of depressing to me to even write about it!)

What can we do? How do we deal with depression? Keep talking to GOD! Tell Him everything. Cry to Him and with Him. Even our hymns show that other Christians struggle with depression and understand our needs from being depressed: “I need You, Oh, I need You….” “I must tell Jesus”…. Be reverent, but also be honest with God. Be persistent in prayer, even if you are being repetitious. Let the Spirit speak when you can’t form the words. We deserve the darkness because of our sins, but because of JESUS, we don’t have to dwell in it! “No pit is so deep, that He is not deeper still” – Corrie Ten Boom. Don’t be ashamed or let anyone embarrass you for needing antidepressants to help you out of the pit of depression. God gave us doctors for a reason. Let the LORD set you free from the darkness!

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
Psalms 89:1‭-‬2 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.89.1-2.NLT

And GOD…..

“But when the fullness of the time came, GOD sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, GOD has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “ABBA! FATHER!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through GOD.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.4.4-7.NASB1995

For His Name’s Sake

For the sake of Your Name, LORD, Forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great.
Psalms 25:11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/psa.25.11.NASB2020

For HIS Name. Not my name. His Name.

In 50 years (or probably less), no one outside of a few family members will remember my name, or any of my so-called achievements. I won’t be in any history books, and there won’t be any statues or streets named for me. No holidays to remember my life. My reputation and my relationships won’t be of any consequence. That’s okay. I’m not looking for fame.

Here’s what is important. GOD’S Name. His Name is eternal, and immortal. His Name is Holy. David is asking God to for his, David’s, wrongdoing for the sake of the Name above all names, the Name of God Himself. When we call ourselves Christians, everything we do reflects on God, reflects on the Name of God. Going forward, maybe we should be more concerned about the way people see GOD’S Name in us, rather than how they see our name.

The Prophesy of Ezekiel

And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog (central Asia), the prince of Rosh (Russia), Meshech and Tubal (Turkey), and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Sudan), Put (Libya) with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah (Russia/Turkey) from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you. “Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.” Ezekiel 38:1‭-‬8 NASB1995

Read chapter 37 regarding the Jewish people coming back to Israel. Persia became Iran in 1935, and the Republic of Islam in the 1970’s. In the Battle of Gog and Magog – Gog is an individual, but he is not the antichrist. Satan wants to change and control the outcome of this prophecy. He is using the Mullah regime to attempt to fast track the Apocalypse by destroying the Great Satan, which is the USA. GOD won’t be rushed! It will happen, but only in His timing. We are seeing prophecy fulfilled, but it hasn’t all come to pass yet. Israel is populated and prosperous, but not yet at peace. In the Panorama of Prophesy…. will the battle of Gog and Magog happen before or after Second Coming?

(12) “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan, and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates, to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’ Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?’ ” ’ “Therefore prophesy, son of man, and say to Gog, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On that day when My people Israel are living securely, will you not know it? You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army; and you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It shall come about in the last days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.” ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Are you the one of whom I spoke in former days through My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring you against them? (18) It will come about on that day, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD, “that My fury will mount up in My anger. In My zeal and in My blazing wrath I declare that on that day there will surely be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground. I will call for a sword against him on all My mountains,” declares the Lord GOD. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the LORD.” ’
Ezekiel 38:9-‬23 NASB1995

The invaders will come for plunder and to control the middle east. Starting in verse 18, the greatest battle of all time is described; Armageddon.

How do we respond and prepare as Christians?
1. Receive Christ as Saviour – He is coming! WHOEVER will call upon the Name of the LORD will be saved….
2. Remember, GOD is in control. He knows the future. Jesus said “And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24:6‭-‬8 NASB2020
3. Remain alert and awake. Prophesy is there to keep us disciplined, transformed, and focused on the Blessed Hope.
4. Witness more. Encourage others. Pray.

Pray for the people of Israel, and all of the Middle East; Russia, Ukraine and all of that region, and China, for those people are living in the lands that the prophet Ezekiel testified about.

Stealing My Identity

Recently I was told that calling myself a native American was offensive. I was born in America; therefore, I am a “native”. I’m not Apache or Hualapai, or Choctaw or Sioux (although I do have some Cherokee and Delaware blood), so does that negate my native status? What am I, then, if not a native American? Am I “native” to another land?

When are we going to get over this obsession with labels? “Black” America…. why do you feel the need to identify by the color of your skin? If I call Navajo friends “Red” Americans or Indian Americans, would they be offended? Probably. How about calling my friends of Hispanic or Mexican descent my “Brown” American friends? Or my friends of European descent, my “White” friends? I think this would be considered wildly offensive by most people! I could say I’m a European American, but what is the point?

I’ve written about this before, but it is really going beyond any common sense. Congress is having laws introduced calling for segregation, and the Democratic “leadership” is actually considering it. What was the Civil War, that War between the States, fought for!? What did Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King die for? They died for freedom for all Americans of all colors, to end the disparity, and to unite us. Now people want to go backwards!

You may have dark skin or light skin; kinky hair or curly or straight – blonde, brown, red, black, and all colors in between; a big bent nose or a flat nose or a pointed nose, big ears or small; blue, green, brown, hazel, or black pupils; or your ancestors may have come over on the Mayflower, or by foot across a land bridge into the North American continent thousands of years ago. Here’s the truth, straight from the Word of the LORD:

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:27‭-‬28 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/gen.1.27-28.NASB2020

We all share the common ancestry of the original man and woman. We are all one tribe! I am human, descended from the original couple, and I am a native American. I don’t claim membership in any particular tribe, but I don’t begrudge anyone for being proud of their ancestry, or for claiming it. My ancestry is such that I could claim to be a European American, or German American or Irish American, but I prefer to known as an AMERICAN. Proudly proclaim that you are Chickasaw or Choctaw or Paiute or Hopi, claim your Hadzabe or Zulu heritage, Kirwan or Osraige, Aniza or Saluba, but don’t tell me I’m not native American! I wasn’t born in any other country but America, and I am 100% American. By definition, I am native.

Native: (adjective) being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being: one’s native land.

Dictionary.com

There’s a song by Imagine Dragons that goes like this:

It’s been a long time coming, coming
Seeming like we all been running, running
Feeling like the wild west, gunning, gunning
Listen to our elders shunning, shunning

All we see is faces, color, color
All the other races, other, other
Why couldn’t you just be my brother, brother?
We don’t have to kill one another, kill one another
All around the world, we are one, we are one
All around the world, we are one

So where did we all go wrong?

“…. He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,”
Acts 17:25‭-‬26 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/act.17.25-26.NASB2020

Can it be any clearer than that?