Witnesses

“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 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.” 1 Corinthians 10:12‭-‬13 NASB

I’m tempted every day, and many times I think that I can handle it instead of looking for the way God wants me to deal with it. My biggest? Not talking about Jesus.

What is it that makes it so difficult to speak about my Saviour? I believe in Him. I know He is the Son of the Most High God, and that He is alive. When I say He is alive, I mean He is alive. He died, yes, a horrible death on a cross, one of the cruelest ways known to kill a person. His body was annointed with the normal spices for burial, and then wrapped in strips of cloth, as was the custom in His day. His body was in the tomb, with door sealed shut, for three days. After all that, Jesus walked out of that tomb and was with His friends, His disciples, and was seen by over 500 people. Eyewitness accounts.

And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Luke 24:38‭-‬39 NASB

Easter Sunday is approaching. Now is the perfect time to talk about Jesus. Let’s be part of the ”

“Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NASB

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, ….” Hebrews 12:1 NASB

Worship the Creator

“Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 66:1‭-‬2a NASB

Who are we to question the Creator? Who is man, to build fancy buildings and claim that they are GOD’S house? How do we become so arrogant as to believe that something we put together is sufficient for Him?

I have been blessed to be able to travel some in Europe, and see some of the stunning, soaring architectural features of many cathedrals. I’ve been in the backwoods of middle America, and in the Southwestern states, and witnessed majestic churches and humble adobe ones. The awe that I felt was the same for all. Stepping into a building that is dedicated to the LORD brings a sense of worship to me. I have felt His Presence.

BUT.

I have felt the majesty of my God even more profoundly out in His Creation. Have you ever stood on the edge of a mountain at sunrise, or sunset? Have you witnessed the unspeakable grandeur of the Grand Canyon? Have you stood in a creek at daybreak, witness to His creatures waking to a new dawn? Have you been in a field, listening to His breath as it brushes across your skin? Watching clouds as they appear to boil up on the horizon, or been caught out in a summer rain shower? It amazes me that anyone can see these things, and still refuse to acknowledge our Almighty God!

For all of history, man has been trying to impress God with buildings. I’m not against church buildings. They serve a necessary purpose for the gathering together of fellow believers. It’s when we try to out-majesty the Majesty of our God that we often begin to go astray. Are we trying to impress God, or people? I’m not against pretty churches. I attend a pretty (in my opinion) church. I have enjoyed visiting God’s church buildings across the U.S. and Europe. I’m just afraid that we get too caught up, sometimes, in “going” to church. Especially now, in this weird time of social distancing and not being able to join together in our usual manner, we have the opportunity to observe God in His Creation and worship with Him there.

If you are able, take your online worship outside. Use our Savior’s beautiful creation to enhance your time. I think He will be pleased with us. Even my humble backyard is a part of His glorious world.

Anxious Thoughts

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” Psalms 94:19 NASB

In 1872, a young wife and mother named Annie Hawks penned these words:

I need thee every hour,
most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine
can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to thee.

In times like today, when so many people are frightened and worried, these words offer Christians the comfort that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. For those of you who want that comfort, it’s within your reach. I know how it feels to believe that you’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. I know what it means to be standing on the outside looking in, deep in sin and wondering how He could possibly reach me – and thinking that there was no way the LORD would even want to reach me.

Please, listen.

No matter what, God knows you and loves you.

He forgives, no matter what. Liars, cheaters, adulterers, thieves, even murderers. Don’t take my word for it! Read the Bible! The greatest people in it are sinners. Moses was a murderer. King David was greedy and an adulterer. Rahab and Mary Magdalene were prostitutes. Peter lied. Paul persecuted the early Christians! There are many, many more, too. Nothing can separate you from the Love of the LORD, once you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. He is our salvation. No one, and nothing, here on earth can save you. Not Buddha, not Mohammad, or Joseph Smith, or any of the other thousands of imposters.

“For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His ONLY Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have ETERNAL LIFE. For GOD did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16‭-‬17 NASB

Believe it. Believe HIM.

Courageous

I wrote this on March 26, 2014, and it popped up in my ‘memories’ on Facebook, and it is completely appropriate for the crisis we are facing today!

From Billy Graham:

Courage to Stand

“A great problem in America is that we have an anemic and watered-down Christianity that has produced an anemic, watered-down, and spineless Christian who is not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue. We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die, if necessary, for his faith. We need Christians who are ethical, honest, gracious, bold, strong, and devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I realize how spineless and pampered my Christian walk is. Give me Your courage, Lord Jesus, to follow You more devotedly.”

“But suppose you suffer for being a Christian. Then don’t be ashamed. Instead, PRAISE GOD because you are known by that name!” 1 Peter 4:16

Fearful?

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You. I said to the LORD, “You are my LORD; I have no good besides You.” The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips. The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot. I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4‭-‬5‭, ‬8 NASB

Are you worried about your health and safety because of this virus called COVID19? Are you fearful that the world as we know it is ending?

I will say this. Yes, the world as we have known it is over. We can’t go back. I’m not convinced we should want to. My fears aren’t because of a biological “bug”. I’m much more concerned about the actions of people, and especially of those who are “in charge.” Government, whether it’s your local town or those in Washington, doesn’t easily let go once they have taken over something. Is it necessary for the powers that be to pass resolutions to order people to stay at home except for going out for essentials? Apparently so….. but for the criminals, and those people who consider themselves above the law, will it make a difference? Probably not, and those are the very people who are creating issues for the rest of us. Politicians have turned it into a political issue. I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.” We are so busy bartering for all of our everyday gods that we have forgotten the GOD Who is in control.

I will continue to protect my family and my home to the best of my ability, but I will not fear or be intimidated by the enemy’s actions.

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6 ESV

Still Running

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord . So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:2‭-‬3 NASB

Try this again:

“Arise, go to [insert the name of your *city/town/place of business] and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But [insert your name] rose up to flee to [insert the name of the your happy place] from the presence of the LORD. So [your name] went down to [your *town], found a ship which was going to [insert your happy place], paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to [insert your happy place] from the presence of the Lord.”

I’m Jonah. I don’t want to go. With all this craziness, I’m perfectly content to hang out at home with my dogs. Who needs people, anyway? (I’m an introvert so I love it.) I have a part time job at a little local grocer, so I get to interact with one or two people when I’m there. We’re not doing any walk in business, just call in orders, so there’s very little customer interaction. It’s been busy, so that’s my excuse for not talking to my coworkers much. My excuse. That’s all it is. My late husband would say “Any excuse will do when you need one.” It’s not a reason. I know that several of my coworkers are really worried about this virus. I’m really not. If I should get sick (not that I want to!), and even if I should die from it, I’m not worried. God is in control, and I know what happens when my earthly body dies. My life will improve immeasurably without this earthly body. Don’t we Christians owe it to the nonbelievers around us to share that confidence?

Just asking.

Quarantines and Social Distancing

“When the supreme being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be. For as God, when he created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when he created man, and endued him with free will to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free will is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.” – William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul said “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” Romans 13:1‭-‬2 NASB

Honestly, I struggle with this. As a young adult, two of my favorite quotes were “Resist Authority!” and “Why Be Normal?” My “normal” is still very different from people’s around me, and that’s okay with me. I confess that I still struggle with the whole authority situation, too. How many people do you know who can claim that they were introduced to the Commander of a military base that was involved with nuclear weapons, while wearing a shirt proclaiming “You Can’t Hug A Child With NUCLEAR ARMS” …..? (Yes, that actually happened, and I think I made an impression on him.)

While I think that this situation with the current health issue has gone to an extreme, I don’t wholly disagree with the amount of care being taken. Of course I don’t want people sick. For the already sick, and for those most susceptible to a virus, by all means they should be protecting themselves. I wouldn’t want my 93 year old Mom out in public right now, simply because her immune system probably wouldn’t be (isn’t) very efficient at fighting off infections. I don’t want my brand new baby great niece around people for the same reasons. I agree that taking precautions is a good thing for all of us. I mean, who hasn’t had a cold or other virus at some time?

We have to be watchful with the chaos around us of people who are fearful and apparently think the Zombie Apocalypse is on us. Hoarding supplies, fighting over toilet paper, afraid to touch anyone or anything; I believe these are from the enemy.

The saddest part of all this? The healthy among us, and those of us who are cautious and have already been diligent about hand washing and cleanliness, are caught in the same restrictions as the susceptible. I’m an introvert, so “having” to stay home isn’t a real imposition…… as long as it’s my choice. My rebellious self says “How dare you tell me I can’t go out and eat or shop or meet up with friends?” My Christian self says to listen to the LORD, and He says to do what is right and proper, and to obey the authorities. I don’t have to like it, I just have to do it. (However, know this: if the authorities overstep their own boundaries as laid out in the Constitution of the United States, I will not sit by and passively allow it. Just sayin’.)

And the LORD said to Joshua “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NASB