Abide With Me

“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2 NASB

“Abide With Me”, written Henry Lyte 1847, begins with these words:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Are we in the last days? Has the Apocalypse begun? There are Bible scholars who say that yes, we are, and others who no, it hasn’t begun yet. I don’t know. All I can do is read the Scriptures and tell you what I believe. If we are not in the Apocalypse (and I don’t really believe we are), we are getting close. Before the Apocalypse happens, or at the beginning of it, the antichrist has to make an appearance, and I’m not convinced he has done so.

Jesus said “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” and “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:9‭-‬11 NASB (Also Matthew 24:4‭-‬8, Revelation 6:1-8)

John wrote that in his vision, he saw “an ashen [decomposing] horse, and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades [“grim reaper”] was following with him . Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword [warfare] and with famine and with pestilence [illness, death] and by the wild beasts [military and political leaders, the antichrist, or wild beasts transmitting disease – according to the CDC 75% of new diseases come from animals] of the earth.” Revelation 6:6‭-‬8 NASB

Regardless of whether or not the Apocalypse has begun, we know this as fact. Jesus Christ is the ONLY refuge. We know exactly what lies ahead for us. Heresy, rivalry, calamity: these are the initial signs that that the end is near, and we are currently inundated with all three.

“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the LORD will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ….” 1 Thessalonians 5:2‭-‬3‭, ‬9 NASB

Never lose faith in the end of the story, and remember that this time is not the end of our story. “Everything will work out in the end. If it is not working out, it is not the end.” – unknown author (but used by many!)

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God; Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!” Job 19:25‭-‬27 NASB

This is the final question, and the most important question you will ever be asked: Am I ready for Jesus to return?

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.

Why Did Jesus Come?

“For [GOD] did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying, “What is man, that You remember him? or the Son of Man, that you are concerned about Him? You have made Him for a little while lower than the angels; You have crowned Him with Glory and Honor, and have appointed Him over the Works of Your Hands; You have put all things in subjection under His feet.” (Psalms 8) For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, JESUS, because of the suffering of death crowned with Glory and Honor, so that by the Grace of GOD He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author [the pioneer, the trailblazer] of their salvation through sufferings. For both He Who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim your name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in Him.” And again,”Behold, I and the children whom GOD has given Me.” Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a Merciful and Faithful High Priest in things pertaining to GOD, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:5-‬18 NASB
(For more on angels, go to Hebrew 1, 10, and Revelations 4-22)

Why did God become man?
*To Restore Man’s Dominion Over the Earth: Genesis 1:28 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.” 

*To Taste Death: His death was a Crown of Glory and Honor – God cannot die, nor can the angels, so Jesus became man in order to experience death for us so that we – man – wouldn’t have to. His Grace was His motivation: His death was for EVERYONE. We are so dearly loved, He died for us.

*To Bring Many Sons to Glory – Ephesians 5:2b “….. love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” 

John Donne (1572–1631), an Anglican minister, in a sermon on Psalm 2:10-12, asserting that the One who with the Father and the Holy Spirit creates and sustains all things has become our brother; the inconceivably transcendent God is present among us.

There is no person so near of kin to you as Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus your father created you; he is your brother because he took your nature. He is your father because he provided an inheritance for you; he is your brother because he divided this inheritance with you. And because he died to give you possession of that inheritance, he is the Nourishing One, your foster father who has nursed you in his house, in the Christian church. He is your twin brother, so similar to you that his Father and yours in him, will not know you from one another but will mingle your conditions: he finds your sins in him and his righteousness in you. “Kiss this Son” as your kinsman.


*To Disarm Satan and Deliver Us From Death – JESUS came to save us; therefore He had to defeat satan and render him inoperative. 1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”  We have no reason to be afraid of death…. we are delivered from satan’s control!

*To Make Propitiation For Our Sins – JESUS became a Jew – the most hated race – in order to become a high priest who would perform sacrifices, and to become the ultimate, final sacrifice. Christ was born and He died to turn around God’s wrath. Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a Merciful and Faithful High Priest in things pertaining to GOD, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

*To Help Those Who Are Tempted – God isn’t angry with me, because I believe in Jesus Who died to cover my sins. The angels can’t relate because they cannot die, cannot be tempted. That’s why Jesus became man, so that He could experience life as a man and suffer as a man. He has been tempted, lonely, broke, abandoned, hurt – to BE with us …. and He understands what we are going through. Jesus is “God with skin on.” Since sin comes into the world through the man, Jesus was conceived without man to keep His human body pure. Adrian Rogers: “JESUS is all God and all man; man to be able to die, God to pay the ultimate price for our sin.”Once and for All. AMEN!

Jesus and The “Littles” …

How did Jesus treat children? Not, as some people do, expecting them to “be seen and not heard!” Blessing children is scriptural from Genesis and on throughout the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.

“And they” (the Greek word used indicates the fathers as spiritual leaders bringing their families, their children) “were bringing children” (infants up to 12 year olds) “to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them.” (The disciples are blocking people instead of being a bridge to Jesus. They were acting as bodyguards, trying to hinder or stop anyone from coming to Christ, when they should have instead been encouraging.)“But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant” (angered) “and said to them” (His disciples), ” ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child” (with empty hands, coming as they – weak, helpless, dependent) “will not” (the Greek word translates as never ever) “enter it at all.’ And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” – Mark 10:13‭-‬16 NASB (also see Luke and Matthew)

** Side note: This passage is not about infant baptism; it is about blessing the children. Baptism is an outward, public declaration of putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ; i.e. entering the kingdom, by being immersed in water, representing the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.

We must come to Jesus as a child; we can offer nothing to Him because He is the Creator of all things. Without Him, we have nothing. From the hymn Rock of Age, written in 1763 by the Reverend Augustus Toplady:

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Thy cross I cling
Naked, come to Thee for dress
Helpless, look to Thee for grace
Vile, I to the fountain fly
Wash me, savior, or I die

Self Love

This is worth repeating! Who do you love? Do you love your self?

What is the greatest commandment?

Jesus said, ” ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire Law and all the demands of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 NLT

This shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering that Jesus’ entire ministry is built around loving God and putting Him first. In fact, verse 37 is probably one of the most well-known verses in the entire Bible. I know that as a Christian, my heart and soul and mind belong to Jesus Christ; that He should be the Rock I base my life on. We’ve got that part down pat.

But what about verse 39? How are we doing with this one? You’re probably wondering about my title “Self Love,” and what it has to do with loving God. Over the years, I’ve struggled with self worth. I still do. Who am I, what am I, and what have I accomplished with my life; does anyone even care? I turned to outside sources – self help books, non-Christian counseling, meditation, astrology, exploring “past lives”, séances and other secular avenues. You know, not a single thing I did improved my so called self worth. I was still the same insecure, searching soul as I was when I started that journey, and the beginning of that journey was very inocculous. At a slumber party, one of the girls had a ouija board, and we didn’t see any harm in playing with it.

I knew Jesus. I grew up with Him being a strong presence in our home, but something inside me was missing. I loved Jesus, and I wanted to follow Him, but I didn’t give my entire being to Him. I doubted my self worth, and I believed the lies the enemy was whispering inmy ear. I opened the door to my heart and let Satan in. There is nothing innocent or innocuous about a ouija board! The door had been cracked open the night we “played” with that board, giving the enemy an easy way into my mind. If it was so easy for him to get into the mind of someone who loved Jesus, imagine how easy it must be for him to get into a mind who doesn’t know Jesus. Scary thought.

We know the first and greatest commandment. You must “…love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Pay attention to the second in verse 39 “…love your neighbor as yourself.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Your “neighbor” is not just the person or family who lives next door. Our neighbors extend beyond our dwellings, and encompasses every person on the planet earth. Every. Person. Our physical neighbors; our family, friends, coworkers; the staff at the coffee place or resturant or convenient store, even to – maybe especially to – the smelly, homeless person on the street.

You have to love yourself before you are even capable of loving another person, but we have to keep in mind that loving ourself doesn’t mean what the world wants it to mean. It isn’t selfish, “me me me” love. Self love doesn’t mean spending money you don’t have (i.e. credit card debt) to compete with others. It doesn’t mean spending hours at the spa being pampered, and it doesn’t mean that dream car/job/wardrobe, unless you have the income to enjoy those things after taking care of your responsibilities. I can’t condemn anyone for wanting to better their quality of life, because I do it, too. I really believe the lesson is treat each individual you come in contact with as a fellow human being. How we treat others is how we want to be treated, or it should be. Jesus also said And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31 ESV (Read verses 27-36) “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 NASB

We don’t know their circumstances or how they came to be where they are. Our cab driver might have a PHD, and be unable (for whatever reason) to find work in his field. Our barista could be a person trying to make ends meet on a limited retirement income. We shouldn’t judge unless we are planning on living a perfect, mistake-free life. Minimum wage clerks should be treated with the same respect we give to sports figures, the CEO/CFO of our company, or anyone else. It’s difficult when dealing with certain situations to remember this. The next time a clerk is rude, tell them you’re sorry they are having a bad day, but Jesus loves them. When someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of cursing or flipping them off, think of the time you cut someone off. When we treat others rudely or with disdain, we aren’t loving ourselves or them. But for the Grace of God, we could be in their situation.

Seems like we all have something to work on.

Addendum: I first posted this a couple of years ago, and when I read it, I knew I needed to make some adjustments (so I did). I also have to admit to spending too much of my time lately feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have the thing I yearn for, a partner to share my life with. I count my blessings of friends and family, and even with the struggles I face daily, I am blessed. I still want that partnership, and although I am exploring a friendship (long distance for now) and praying it (he!) is the one I’ve been waiting on, I am also working on praying and resting in my LORD, and trusting in His timing. Pray with me on that!

To Honor Those Who Serve….

I wrote this 4 years ago, but I think it’s worth sharing again. I want to acknowlege a few of the pastors who have touched my life and helped me in my journey through life: my Dad, Bill Henry. Mark Hitchcock. Dennis Newkirk. Chuck Robinson. Lonny Lee. There are many others, and I’m not leaving you off to offend you!

As a nation, we have several designated days for remembering. Yesterday was the anniversary of an unfathomable tragedy for these United States. In May, we honor our fallen service men and women; in November, D-day.

EVERY day of the year is an anniversary for honoring someone who has given their life for another. It is Army and Air Force, Marines and Navy; Police officers and firemen. Ambulance personnel, EMT’s and ER doctors and nurses. Airline pilots and personnel. Everyday, ordinary people. Pastors.

Why would I add “Pastors” to this list?

Have you looked at your pastor lately? REALLY looked? I’m not speaking of preachers who stand in the pulpit on Sundays and lead separate lives during the week, or the ones who are all about appearance and wealth. I’m talking about Pastors, and missionaries who devote their lives to service. Men who love their spiritual flock as their own families. Men – and their wives – who sacrifice themselves to God and His work.

We, as their flocks, their congregations, are doing better these days to recognize their need for respite from their service, I think – but our pastors need our care and support. Physical care and support, obviously, but even more importantly they need our emotional and spiritual support.

My Dad served in the United States Merchant Marines as a radio officer during WWII. Over the course of his life, my Dad gave his life in total to serving his Lord and his flocks at the expense of his health. Wherever, whenever he was called, he gave everything he had, even at times at the expense of the family. Even during his last days on this earth he was witnessing to his health care workers. He gave all. What an example.

To me, he was and is a great example of a hero.

Every day, I miss him. I can’t wait to see him and have his arms around me in heaven. Let’s dance, Daddy. I love you.

GOD Will Chase You Down….

“Then they called on the LORD and said, “We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased.” So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.”

Jonah was a Prophet, a spokesperson for the LORD to the nation of Israel. He was respected and revered by the people because of his prophesy that Israel would be expanded back to its original borders (2 Kings 14:25) He was the first prophet to be sent specifically to preach judgement to another nation….. and he refused to go. Instead, he ran the opposite direction, boarding a boat to take him far away. He was self-righteous, he had no compassion, and he thought himself better than the people of Nivevah; that they didn’t deserve to be saved. To Jonah, God was a means, not the end – he loved the recognition, comfort, prosperity, and the blessings he received but not the worship of God, and yet in spite of Jonah, God saved the sailors. Those pagan sailors demonstrated more compassion for ONE man than Jonah did for the entire city of Ninevah. Jonah said No to God. Jesus said Yes. I want to be more like Jesus and less like Jonah….. tuned in, listening, paying attention to what God is saying.