Kiss of Friendship

“A judge who says to the wicked, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them. An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Don’t testify against your neighbors without cause; don’t lie about them. And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!” ” – Proverbs 24:24‭-‬26‭, ‬28‭-‬29 NLT

I can’t think of anything that bothers me more than finding out a friend/family member gave me an answer to a question that wasn’t honest. Telling me what you think I want to hear isn’t being honest! Telling someone else that you think I’ve made a bad decision and not telling me, or getting frustrated with me and not telling me ….. that’s not being honest with me, either. I would rather hear the truth, even if it is upsetting to me, and know that you said it because you care.

Really.

I’ve been reading through social media posts (again), then I read the verses (above) from Proverbs. I wish that every commentator, every blogger, every politician, every news person, would read them, then apply them.

Just my 2 cents.

Advertisements

Truths, Halftruths, or Lies?

Talking Heads. That’s one way of referring to reporters. I remember when we believed that the reporters told the truth, and we didn’t need to second guess them, or research to determine the real truth. We trusted that whatever Walter Cronkite said was right; true. Unfortunately, it is no longer true that we can believe whatever is said. The news now is full of blatant partisanship, outright disdain, lies, and halftruths. Nighttime talk show hosts are among the worst offenders, and are so prejudiced that I refuse to watch them. Making a couple of offensive jokes is one thing, but making the entire monolog about disrespecting our elected officials is not acceptable. Even when I cannot stand a person or their politics (and there have been many!), I still should respect the office they hold.

There are reporters whom I hold in great respect, and they are the recorders and reporters of the scriptures; the writers of the Bible. When GOD spoke, they listened and accurately recorded His messages alongside first-hand accounts of their history. In the New Testament, the Gospels are eye-witness accounts, and well researched accounts, of the Life and Testimony of the One known as JESUS CHRIST, MESSIAH. Luke, a physician, began his account:

“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.” – Luke 1:1‭-‬4 NRSV

“Then He [JESUS] said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the SON of MAN, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the SON of MAN be in His day. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.” – Luke 17:22‭-‬24‭, ‬33 NRSV

We should give serious thought to who we listen to, whether on the nightly news or in the pulpit on Sunday, or on social media, 24/7. What is the real TRUTH? Are we listening to GOD’s Truth or the half-truths and lies of the world? I try to follow Luke’s example and investigate, but we all fall victim to the propaganda and outright lies being promoted, at least part of the time. A couple of days ago, we had the opportunity to vote for a number of political offices. For months beforehand, there was a huge amount of rhetoric (i.e. lies and halftruths) that went on from the candidates, their PAC’s, and the groups who supported – or opposed – them. Lines were drawn between parties, and I think people failed to look at the candidate’s records, choosing from emotion rather than fact. As a result, I believe our country lost people who were much better suited for the job at hand than some who were elected. We desperately need to look to GOD for guidance through His Word, rather than looking to the news pundits; the Talking Heads.

JESUS is coming back, I believe sooner rather than later. The earth and all of her people, all of humankind, are in the throes of great trials and tribulations. Just look around! Research it! Matthew 24:4-29 describes how bad things will get here on earth, and it is all happening now. John was a great reporter, and in his book of Revelations, chapters 6-18, he tells in detail everything that will occur before JESUS returns, and in Revelations 19 reveals how JESUS returns:

“Then I [the Apostle John] saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its Rider is called Faithful and True, and in Righteousness He Judges and makes war. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name inscribed, “KING of kings and LORD of Lords.” ” – Revelation 19:11‭, ‬16 NRSV

What does this all mean to me? It means that I need to take everything I hear and carefully weigh it against GOD’s Holy Word, the Bible. I need to be quiet and listen, try to discern the truth behind the rhetoric, and look to the recorders of Truth. Remember this:

The NAME

“The Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name in a curse. And they brought him to Moses—now his mother’s name was Shelomith, daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan— and they put him in custody, until the decision of the Lord should be made clear to them.” …… “Take the blasphemer outside the camp; and let all who were within hearing lay their hands on his head, and let the whole congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying: Anyone who curses God shall bear the sin. One who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.” – Leviticus 24:11‭-‬12‭, ‬14‭-‬16 NRSV

Walk around any public venue today, and you will hear GOD’s Name used every way possible, except in Praise. Blasphemy isn’t a term we hear or use much anymore, but that is exactly what we are doing. I’ve had my stint at cursing, and was good enough at it to make people reel at my words (years ago, and it was a terrible habit to overcome). Despite the garbage coming out of my mouth, subconsciously my mind prevented me from cursing GOD directly. Even in those days of shaking my fist at Him, I feared His wrath. WHY, do you think, that so many people curse GOD, but you rarely hear Satan’s name used to curse? Perhaps we are afraid of him, but primarily, I believe it’s because the enemy is already cursed and he encourages blasphemy as part of his plan to subvert us.

Judging from the current language standards, I’d say that the enemy is succeeding in a huge way. It has become the norm to curse and be disrespectful of the LORD; so much so, that we hear it from newscasters, athletes, politicians, teachers, actors, and bosses; on tv and in movies. Even people professing JESUS as LORD use foul language as part of their every day, ‘normal’ speaking patterns. I shudder to think of all those people (including myself) facing the Day of Judgement and confessing our use – no, our misuse – of our language, especially for those who don’t have an Advocate in JESUS. This verse from Proverbs states it well:

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20 NRSV

We have to determine who we will walk through life with. Most, if not all, of us chooses badly at some point in our lives, or maybe many times, like I did. Without choosing JESUS as our primary partner in life, I’m not even sure it’s possible to walk with the wise, but I can testify to the folly of keeping company with fools! Do you choose life with the companionship and wisdom of the LORD, or are you past all that and making your own choices? I promise you, choosing to walk through life with JESUS may seem to be more difficult than life without Him, but the Peace and Joy – and Mercy! – more than compensates for our difficulties. The thought of having a Glorious Eternity with Him keeps me going!

Are you confident of your eternity? Take a Salvation check – are you ready? Let’s be Radical Christians together.

“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have Eternal LIFE. “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His Only SON, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” – John 3:14‭-‬16 NRSV

Image credit: http://www.charlesspecht.com

I Stand At The Door And Knock

The LORD said to John: “I reprove and discipline those whom I Love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear My Voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with Me. …. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the SPIRIT is saying to the churches.” – Revelation 3:19‭-‬20, 22 NRSV

JESUS is a gentleman, unlike His/our enemy who will slither into our lives through the slightest opening – just like the cockroach he is! Here in these verses from Revelations, JESUS is inviting us to the greatest banquet of all time! There’s no entrance fee, no tickets to buy, no bribes to be paid; just walk in through the door He is knocking on, the door to our souls that He is anxiously waiting to hold open for you – for me. No tricks, no lies, no fooling. Those things belong strictly to the enemy, who constantly bombards us with them. Why should we enter with the LORD now, rather than waiting? We need to be prepared, because we have no way of predicting exactly when JESUS will return and shut the door forever. He tells us what will happen if we aren’t ready when He returns in Luke 13:25 (NRSV).

“When once the Owner of the House [JESUS] has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘LORD, open to us,’ then in reply He will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ ”

Are you willing to take the chance of being locked out; left behind? Satan is busy busy busy these days, filling our ears with the lies that there’s no hurry to give up our sins or to go to JESUS now; after all, He’s been promising to return “soon” for over 2000 years! If you listen to the father of lies, he will convince you that it’s fine to stick with whatever we are doing, however sinful GOD says it is, because we are here, and JESUS isn’t. Lies; Liar! I tell you the truth; I lived that way for years until I finally recognized the deceitfulness and ugliness of the enemy of GOD. When we open our hearts to the LIGHT, all of the lies are illuminated in all of their darkness, to be seen for what they are. Being human, we want to slam the door shut so we can hide the blackness within – but it doesn’t work that way. Once seen, we cannot “un-see” the ugliness, but we can ignore it and pretend it isn’t there. (I tried that way, too. Tried and failed.)

Part of our journey with our LORD is to be transparent with others and to let the LIGHT of JESUS, our Salvation, show through all of our cracks and brokenness. He puts us back together, but I believe He leaves those imperfections on purpose. How else could we serve Him effectively when we are reaching out to sinners like us? We have the opportunity to let His LIGHT shine – or we can throw a blanket over it to hide it. It is a beautiful sight when that covering we put over the Light catches on fire. Talk about the LIGHT of the LORD! Where are you in your life journey? It’s said that there are two types of people: those who are in recovery, and those who need recovery. Let that LIGHT Shine! Open the Door quickly, before it is too late.

I Am Shocked, I Tell You, SHOCKED

We have it made. Regardless of what is happening in your life right now – financial issues, skin color issues, socioeconomic issues, family issues – we have it made. In the United States, even our poverty level is a huge step up from middle or even upper middle class in many countries. That in itself should have many of us on our knees, thanking GOD for the privilege of being here.

We have it made. Animal sacrifice is no longer needed to absolve us from our sins, because the LAMB of GOD made the ulimate sacrifice for all of our sins, past, present, and future. We only need to accept His freely given gift of LIFE so that we can spend forever, eternity, with Him! Why are we so stubborn, so ridiculously stupid in this reality; so much so that we have become (I believe) the most egocentric society to ever exist? Remember Rome? It was THE world power of the time, and the Romans had become completely self-absorbed when JESUS came to earth the first time. The United States, the premier world power today, might be even more egocentric, elitist, and “all-about-me” than Rome ever was, and look at what happened to Rome. That mighty nation was absolutely destroyed by barbarians, and we (the U.S.) are being taken over on so many levels by people whose goal in life is to destroy us.

“I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from GOD, who called you to Himself through the loving Mercy of CHRIST.

You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning CHRIST.

Let GOD’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.

I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” – Galatians 1:6‭-‬10 NLT

As a Christian, a CHRIST-follower, it is my duty, my responsibility to please my GOD, never man. Sometimes in the course of this duty I will please people, because my responsibility is to 1. Love GOD and 2. Love people as JESUS did. I fail at both pretty constantly, but I know that as long as I keep my priorities straight and acknowledge JESUS CHRIST as my LORD and SAVIOUR, at least occasionally I will please my GOD. I think verse 10 sums it up nicely – we might need this on our mirrors where we will see it every morning! We are charged with sharing the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST as it is written in scriptures, and not making it something it is not. I strive to follow GOD’s Word, and as an imperfect person I make mistakes. It’s possible to twist scripture to defend whatever we want it to, and that is exactly what Paul is writing here.

The Bible is not about how to make money; it is about being a good steward of whatever money we have. It isn’t about thinking how good and righteous we are, it’s about what we can do for others to make their lives better, and not looking for credit and approval. The most important lesson we should take away from scriptures is learning the gospel, backwards and forward as written, in order to be able to share the story snd the LOVE of JESUS CHRIST, anytime, anywhere. Paul was shocked at quickly the Galatians turned from the True Gospel to a twisted version of it. There are so many “options” of gospels to choose from. How do we know the real Truth from the twisted versions, the ones that Satan has carefully crafted to tease us from The Way, The Truth, and The Light of JESUS? It’s easy! Listen to John:

“Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the SPIRIT. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from GOD. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the SPIRIT of GOD: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that JESUS CHRIST came in a real body, that person has the SPIRIT of GOD. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the Truth about JESUS, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” – 1 John 4:1‭-‬3 NLT

Keep those words close to your heart, and remember:

AMEN!

Did I Say That???

Recently I wrote a post titled Fear Defeated. Did I say fear was defeated in my life? If I did, I apologize! As I write this, I’m listening to (and dancing in my chair!) to Matt Maher sing “What A Friend We Have In JESUS” …. oh, what glorious Truth! Even on days lke today when apathy seems to have set up like concrete in my veins, I cling to the Truth of the song. I have a Friend in JESUS; more than a friend, a brother and constant companion. It’s surprising, in a way, that even someone secure in their salvation can fall into depression. After all, knowing that we are held in GOD’S Hands should take care of any off or down feelings, right? I wish it did! (And if wishes were horses, I’d be a wealthy woman 😉 ) ….

I doubt there’s a human alive or dead who hasn’t wished for something they don’t have. Even David, the great king of the Israelites, a man who commanded great wealth and armies, wished for something he didn’t have. Despite his many wives and concubines, David desired a woman who was married to someone else. To solve his ‘problem’, he had the woman’s husband murdered, freeing her to marry him. He paid a heavy price for her, too. Their firstborn died, and eventually David lost his throne to his son, Absalom. Here is David’s accounting of how he felt when he went against the LORD:

“When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long. For day and night Your Hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat.
Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You took away the guilt of my sin.
Therefore let everyone who is faithful pray to You at a time that You may be found. When great floodwaters come, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.
Many pains come to the wicked, but the one who trusts in the LORD will have Faithful Love surrounding him. Be glad in the LORD 0and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” – Psalms 32:3‭-‬7‭, ‬10‭-‬11 HCSB

Even the great king David experienced fear and depression, but he knew with Whom his salvation lay, and where he needed to place his trust. Fear has to be defeated daily. It might seem trivial to someone else, but I assure you that our fears are real and have to be recognized. Until we can do that, it’s going to be difficult to give it to GOD or to defeat it. How do you defeat something you don’t recognize? How about these Scriptures for guidance against fear?

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the LORD your GOD Who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 HCSB

“In GOD, whose Word I praise, in the LORD, whose Word I praise, in GOD I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” – Psalms 56:10‭-‬11 HCSB

“Do not fear, for I Am with you; do not be afraid, for I Am your GOD. I Will strengthen you; I Will help you; I Will hold on to you with My Righteous Right Hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 HCSB

“For GOD loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only SON, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 HCSB

And this one is one of my favorites:

“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” – Micah 7:8 HCSB

GET BEHIND ME, SATAN, FOR JESUS IS ON MY SIDE!


AMEN!

Lies, Deceits, Untruths

“Rescue me, O LORD, from liars and from all deceitful people.” – Psalms 120:2 NLT

I’m angry.

Nope. Try again.

I’m ANGRY!!

Better…..

One lie I’ve heard over and over is that we are where we are by our own choices. NO. I did NOT choose for my late husband to spiral into a pain-filled opioid addiction, exacerbated by VA doctors, which led to increasingly irrational, irresponsible, erratic, and dangerous thinking, and ultimately his death. I did NOT choose to lose our business as a result of his illness. I’m angry because he left me here alone, to deal with life on my own. I’m angry because he lied to me when he said he wouldn’t leave me, that we would face the world together. Even 20 years later, the hurt sometimes tries to overwhelm me.

Nope, it’s just not right. How can we pledge “to have and to hold … for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part,” never knowing when sickness will strike? When death will take our partner? We did them all, but death? Death is too final. When we say those vows, I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority don’t even register the ‘death’ part. I didn’t, because I knew he wouldn’t leave me alone. He pledged all those things to me, but it wasn’t true. He did leave me. I guess I lied to him, too, because I put my physical safety over him and left him to face his last year on this earth, alone. I’m angry about that, too. I deserted him when he needed me most.

Most of all, I’m angry at the serpent, the belly-dragging, dirt- eating deceitful creature we know as the enemy. The father of lies, the false accuser, adversary…. I won’t even give him the satisfaction of saying his name here. This lowest of the low, this creature introduced lies and deceits, trickery and untruths, ugliness and evil, into our world. He resorts to these tactics to pull us away from GOD. I’m angry at the illnesses, the evil, the creature has introduced into our beautiful world. The Liar has perfected his methods over the millennium to the point where he knows what to do to cause us to doubt GOD; to doubt the TRUTH that JESUS is LORD, and that the HOLY SPIRIT will carry us out the muck of lies, deceitfulness, and untruths…. IF we allow Him to.

I find the strength to forgive Ron through the work of the LORD in my life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. Sometimes, like today, as I reflect on my life, I remember the anger and sorrow and the feeling of being deserted, even before he died, because of the illness and addiction. I miss him and the things we shared; the laughter and the adventurous spirit, the incredible talents he had. I miss his willingness (and patience!) to work with me, to answer my questions, and teach me. I miss his strength, and I miss his presence. I don’t miss the frustrations of his illness and addictions.

Jesus said, “Get away from Me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to Me….” – Matthew 16:23 NLT

Thank You, JESUS, for putting the deceiver behind me! Listen to “Point to You by” sung by We Are Messengers at https://g.co/kgs/eJqUCB