Thank you God for bringing Daniel in 15 minutes beforethis 45’sissoo tree cracked at the root and fell acrossour yard,striking NOTHING when the wind toppled it!
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.Colossians 4: 2-6 NIV
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9: 4-5
Twice in as many days, and this isn’t to honor me ,but to brag on God and His timing and open doors, his loving, caring, compassionate heart, and what happens if we’ll just be, as Patsy Clairmont said in the title of her humorous devotional book,”Cracked Pots” who let the Light shine through our humanity. On Tuesday morning at the opening women’s ministry meeting, I hung my purse on a chair, only one woman I didn’t know sitting there , brought back a plate of fruit, and began engaging in conversation with the four other women at the table. Nothing earth-shaking – just friendly conversation. That led to me connecting with Peg. She told me later she was a bit unsure but got the Holy Spirit’s nudge to talk with me. And the result was me being able to drive Peg to the Tuesday night Healing Room at Two Rivers Church, to intercessors who’ve blessed me many times, so she could get some words from the Lord. When I heard the laughter coming from the prayer room, I knew I’d done the right thing, and Peg indeed got her “socks blessed off.” Way to go, Abba God!
Then this morning, for whatever reason, I decided to pop into the grocery store I’d visited on Tuesday to see if any of the reduced price protein drinks were still there. so I pull into a parking lane and wait for the older (says she who is 68!!) woman to walk by before I pull into a spot. She’s getting a cart at the entrance as I walk up, and she motions me to go ahead, but I say,”No, please go ahead.” As she walks in, she jokingly says, “Open sesame!” and I reply, ”Oh, you must be magic !” That silly little exchange opened the door for her to share that she’dpaid a large bill by check, put it in the mailbox, but the letter carrier dropped that envelope, someone picked it up, “washed” the pay to line, and chased her check. Now she was in a tight financial bind. I touched her shoulder and prayed with her for God to bring her vindication, and restitution, and she thanked me and said, “Amen!”
Twice in two days straight, after Carol had shared on Monday about being Holy Spirit-nudged to pray with a woman in the produce section of Wal-Mart, motivated by the lack of plastic bags readily available! And Melanie on Tuesday driving back to give some encouragement and affirmation to a woman she’d passed, standing on the sidewalk, who said thanks after Melanie simply said hello to her! Linda’s had those encounters, and so have Donna, Libby, Lily, the other Carol, Yolanda, Val, Debbie, Julia ……
It ain’t me! It doesn’t just happen to me! It’s God pouring out HIS light, love, encouragement, empathy, compassion, smile, validation, affirmation, acknowledgement to people who need a bit of light, a word of cheer, and breath of hope from The Almighty Himself, just poured out through us “cracked pots”!! All we need to do and be – all YOU need to do and – is available and ”cracked” enough to get over yourself and your insecurity (yes, I get it; me, too!) and start a conversation! I’ve lost track of how many times God has done this through. (See my past post about “Connect the Dots” for a few more).
Oh,Rose and ________________ (fill in your name), why do you ever doubt Jesus loves you?Why do you ever doubt the Holy, Almighty, Creator and King of Kings DOES want to live and love through you,to be a vessel of His Light and Love and Truth and Word on Earth?! Why do you think you’re the power that moves in these Divine encounters? As in the opening words of the book The Purpose-Driven Life, “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!”
Soooo …… as Jesus told us, HIS “disciples” meaning “sent ones,” “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9: 4-5 Carry HIS Light! Be that “cracked pot” that God’s Light can shine through. Night IS coming, and we need to get out into the Harvest fields of people all around us and share God’s Love through Jesus, by the Holy Spirit who DOES live in you and me and us who call ourselves Christ Followers, not just Sunday morning pew warmers.
Your”…BUT…”to pray: God, I admit it ,sometimes I’m downright too insecure and chicken and people-pleasing/people-fearing to open my mouth and say hello to someone, much less pray WITH them, BUT YOU ARE ABLE, so help me get over myself and_______________________________________and help me SEE the next open door YOU open in front of me so I can help someone who needs to see and experience YOUR LIGHT of LOVE right then and there. Holy Spirit – gulp – I know YOU will help me, so I ask this in Jesus’ Name, amen!
Yesterday morning the sky was SO blue! Clouds to the north and east and above us, but such intense blue over our heads. Of course, that started a chain of thought in me. How do we humans see color? It’s just energy, frequency of light waves, photons…..Of course, we have receptors in our eyes to take in that energy,but to take in that energy and REGISTER/INTERPRET IT AS COLOR????!!!
Here’s the science of vision, from Wikipedia:The visual system in animals allows individuals to assimilate information from their surroundings. The act of seeing starts when the cornea and then the lens of the eye focuses light from its surroundings onto a light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye, called the retina. The retina is actually part of the brain that is isolated to serve as a transducer for the conversion of light into neuronal signals. Based on feedback from the visual system, the lens of the eye adjusts its thickness to focus light on the photoreceptive cells of the retina, also known as the rods and cones, which detect the photons of light and respond by producing neural impulses. These signals are processed via complex feedforward and feedback processes by different parts of the brain, from the retina upstream to central ganglia in the brain….
However, the following applies to mammals generally and birds (in modified form): The retina in these more complex animals sends fibers (the optic nerve) to the lateral geniculate nucleus, to the primary and secondary visual cortex of the brain. Signals from the retina can also travel directly from the retina to the superior colliculus.
The perception of objects and the totality of the visual scene is accomplished by the visual association cortex. The visual association cortex combines all sensory information perceived by the striate cortex which contains thousands of modules that are part of modular neural networks. The neurons in the striate cortex send axons to the extrastriate cortex, a region in the visual association cortex that surrounds the striate cortex.
The human visual system is generally believed to perceive visible light in the range of wavelengths between 370 and 730 nanometers (0.00000037 to 0.00000073 meters) of the electromagnetic spectrum. However, some research suggests that humans can perceive light in wavelengths down to 340 nanometers (UV-A), especially the young.
Right…. got all that technical terminology? The ONE truth that resonated in my spirit as I beheld that astounding blue – those photons that my cornea, lens, photoreceptive cells of my retina, optic nerve, ganglia and lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex received,translated and somehow gave me appreciation for that beauty – is that GOD IS AN INCREDIBLE, WONDROUS, GLORIOUS, KIND, LOVING, AWESOMELY ABLE CREATOR! You can’t tell me that the mammalian eye just somehow evolved over eons from a single-celled glob of slime that “magically”changed over time to become a WALKING, STANDING, SEEING,WARM-BLOODED, CHILDBEARING, COMPASSIONATE, CARING, LOVING, GENEROUSLY GIVING, COMPUTER CREATING COLLECTION OF CELLS WE CALL HOMO SAPIENS!
To believe we came to be by some cosmic accident takes so much more “faith” and “willing suspension of belief”that it’s almost comic to me. I don’t mean to insult evolutionists; I totally agree that adaptations happened and still happen – but the ONE question evolutionists can’t answer is the origin of life from chemicals. Life – even slugs and jellyfish – is something SO MUCH MORE COMPLEX, so much more CREATIVE and AMAZING than an “accidental” perfectly right combination of chemicals that somehow sparked LIFE: the capacity to receive input, interpret it, think, have language to express, wonder, procreate,create, and CARE that I find it incomprehensible that people can’t allow for an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER behind it all. Oh, but that would mean SOMEONE to whom they are now accountable for how they invest, spend, live the life given to them NOT created by them themselves ….
Hmmm….does the real question, then, come down to 1) somehow lacking the spiritual/emotional/relational receptors to perceive the evidence of a loving Creator God or 2) wanting to BE “gods” ourselves so we don’t have to answer to anyone? Hmmmm…..
….since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1: 17-23
…. images made to look like humans …. fast,flashy cars, fancy houses, glaring designer jewelry, gilded diplomas, stock portfolios ….. boy,we humans worship a LOT of things (ourselves included) that aren’t the SOVEREIGN CREATOR GOD.
Yep, all that from a patch of very blue sky, which just goes to show me that God IS speaking, all the time all around us, if we great and powerful (till our health goes haywire or the banks go under) humans humble ourselves enough to see, listen, and agree. But catch this, too ….God created you to know him and his love, his great, deep desire for relationship with you, yes with YOU! SOLI DEO GLORIA – TO GOD ALONE BE THE GLORY!
A “…but…” to pray: Holy, gracious heavenly Father,Creator God,author of my existence and lover of my soul, I confess that I don’t always listen when you speak o me, and sometimes I dismiss what I do hear and see, BUT you show your mercy to a thousand generations to those who fear (reverence) you, so help me truly experience holy,reverential awe of you and thankfulness that YOU ARE, and because YOU ARE, gratefully, I am. Here’s my confession and my thanks ____________________________________________________________________________________and thank YOU for your forgiveness, gracious unmerited mercy, long-suffering patience, and passionate love!Holy Spirit, I’m listening ___________________________ and in Jesus’ mighty name, amen!
“I see a generational line of pastors and teachers in your family line. I feel a sense of culmination to this point in history, that you are facing a giant, a battle, which has been ordained that you should fight ….” She’d never met me before, had no idea who I am, and yet the words Charity spoke were solid, right on. How could she know there are pastors and preachers in my mother’s mother’s family line, including my great-Uncle, and many before him?
Even with this heritage,though, I know that I know that I know that I can’t call myself Christian because any of my ancestors were.Christianity is not an ethnicity, not an inheritance passed down by your parents. Sitting for decades in church doesn’tmake you Christian any more than sitting weekly in the garage makes you a car or wading in the ocean till you’re pruny makes you a tuna! Christianity, being a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, not just a lip-service pew sitter, comes down to one thing and one thing only: a personal choice to acknowledge that 1)yes, I am a sinner, 2)yes, sin (even one) separates me from relationship with a Holy God, 3) no, I can’t possibly DO anything to merit God’s grace 4) Jesus made the ONe and ONLY fully adequate, fully covering, fully atoning sacrifice of his own life on the cross to pay the Blood price for my forgiveness required by my sins and 5) I have to REPENT AND CHOOSE and daily choose to live in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for me, receiving God’s unmerited grace, favor, unfathomable mercy, forgiveness and matchless love.
MY SINS – CHRIST’S DEATH ON THE CROSS. What an almost unimaginably priceless, inconceivably costly gift, freely given by Jesus! And all I have to do is agree with God that I’m a sinner in desperate need of His grace to receive it and walk forever, here and in Eternity, in joyful fellowship and relationship with My Righteous Father God Almighty! No, that doesn’ t give me license to keep on willfully sinning. What a slap in the face to Jesus that would be, to think I could presume upon his boundless, pure mercy and live in a way that dishonors, trivializes, and disgraces God’s costly gift to me! I receive his unmerited grace, mercy, forgiveness and love, and out of reverential gratitude and eternal thanks, I choose to live to please, honor, serve and worship God Almighty, helped daily by God’s Holy Spirit present with me.Do I blow it sometimes? Yes, and then I’m right back on my knees confessing, repenting, and staying in relationship with God as his chosen daughter. Yes, God chose every single one of us before the foundations of the Earth, that we should come to know his boundless love and live in fellowship with HIM. And yes, God “recklessly” gave us the freedom to accept His Gift or go our own way, trusting in our own goodness, which God’s Word says is like filthy rags, instead of in the freely given Righteous Blood of Jesus ALONE.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. Who do YOU choose to worship, choose, revere,love, follow, and trust? Today I quote an entire chapter. These aren’t just my thoughts, but thoughts straight from God’s Holy Spirit, yes through a human being, but not humanly reasoned out! We’d think “religion” is enough. God knows how inadequate anything but the Blood of Jesus truly is (my bold):
The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2 Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3 But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. 4 It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6 with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”[a]
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
A Call to Persevere in Faith
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”[f]
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
So yesterday I’m driving to the house of a friend,and I’ve never been there before. I plug in the address on Google Maps on my phone and click “start”, but all I’m getting is the audio instructions as I drive. I don’t see where I am, and I don’t see where I’m going. then I notice the little box that says “RECENTER.” Voila! Now I see where I am, where I’m hoping to go, and what’s ahead of and around me.I know where I am, and I know where I need to go.
Fast forward to today on my elliptical on the back porch. I’m striding on ”Ellie,” as we fondly call it, listening to my inspirational playlist, starting with Michelle Tumes “Lovely,” and moving on to “Be Thou My Vision,” when Voila! I realize that for too long, and too often still, I’m “centered” on the wrong person/place/thing. In astrophysical terms, I’m”orbiting” the wrong”sun.” Ineed to remind myself dailyto RECENTER and train, focus my vision and spiritual eyes on the “star” I truly need to “orbit,” the”destination” I need to focus my life journey upon: the One and ONLY SON Of GOD, Jesu Christ, Yeshua, “My Messiah and King” as the next song comes up.
Oh, people can shine so brightly in our lives and the “clutter” all around us can disorient us so easily! How do I know? Because it still happens to me sometimes! My Gracious Lord and God, Father,the only truly Righteous One in my life,thank you for your nudges and reminders that I need to RECENTER my life map, my day, my journey, my hopes, my trust, my destination in YOU ALONE!
Short and simple today, but I know this is true! O God my Father, the Lover of my soul,help me RECENTER on WHO YOU ARE, WHO YOU SAY I AM, WHERE YOU WANT TO TAKE ME ON MY ROAD TO YOU! Here’s somehelp for us all, on “Bible Maps” :
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 8:1 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:6 ESV
And raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
1 John 5:20 ESV
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3: 14-19 NIV
Yesterday a whopper of a thunderstorm/dust storm/rain storm moved through the metro Phoenix valley. Our house was on the eastern end of the “summer monsoon” storm and caught the brunt of it, though other areas of town saw powerful winds and microbursts, too. I wasn’t home when the storm came through, so it wasn’t till the winds died down and it was safer to drive that I made the drive east down Baseline road, with huge downed trees alongside the road nearly all the way. Yikes: when I got home, I heard the whole story that led me to praise God on at least three levels and sense the urgency to share the spiritual parallel I saw in our back yard.
Back story: when we bought this house, the back yard was shaded by a sissoo tree, nearly 45 feet tall, as well as a tall mesquite and a pepper tree. Shade in Arizona is a prized commodity, but (isn’t there always a “ …but…”), the roots of that lovely Indian Rosewood tree were huge AND visible atop the ground. One huge root – and I’m talking 28” in diameter where it comes off the tree base, 20” going under the fence – cracked the block wall on the east side of the lot, and one equally large shallowly digs down under the foundation of the house.
Your botany lesson for the day: Dalbergia sissoo, known commonly as North Indian rosewood, or shisham, is a fast-growing, hardy deciduous rosewood tree native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southern Iran. D. Sissoo is a large, crooked tree with long, leathery leaves and whitish or pink flowers.D. sissoo is a medium to large deciduous tree with a light crown which reproduces by seeds and suckers. It can grow up to a maximum of 25 m (82 ft) in height and 2 to 3 m (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) in diameter, but is usually smaller. They have a long tap-root and numerous surface roots which produce suckers.D. Sissoo is native to the foothills of the Himalayas. It is primarily found growing along river banks below 900 metres (3,000 ft) elevation, but can range naturally up to 1,300 m (4,300 ft). The temperature in its native range averages 10–40 °C (50–104 °F), but varies from just below freezing to nearly 50 °C (122 °F). It can withstand average annual rainfall up to 2,000 millimetres (79 in) and droughts of 3–4 months. Soils range from pure sand and gravel to rich alluvium of river banks; shisham can grow in slightly saline soils. Seedlings are intolerant of shade. Its wood is used for cabinetry, veneers, musical instruments, plywood, and flooring. The twigs can be chewed and used as a toothbrush.The fruit has ethanolic extract, a pesticide. The wood is also used for fuel.
Such a helpful, useful tree! And from our back yard yesterday afternoon, what a potentially dangerous tree! My first PTL is that several weeks ago we had an arborist stop by to assess the tree, give us suggestions, and cut through that root going under the block wall. Why praise God? Because if that root hadn’t been cut, when the blast of wind came through that took down that 30’ tall tree in one whoosh, ripping it up at the base, the uprooting would have taken out the block wall entirely! And praise God again that the tree fell diagonally across our back yard, entirely clearing the house (and it was planted MUCH too close to the house for safety!) and falling just short of the back block wall, and even somehow sparing our new little lemon-lime tree planted just last fall. Yes ,the “limon” bent over under an upper branch, but it didn’t break.
Praise God BIG TIME, number three, that just fifteen minutes before the tree fell, Daniel felt so hot from working on the drip lines and emitters in the back yard (finishing up on the little limon tree) that he came inside to cool off and wring out his T-shirt. Fifteen minutes later, he would have been under the falling tree! Holy, holy, holy, righteous, glorious, merciful, majestic, gracious, good, powerful, loving God Almighty! Can I get an “AMEN”??!! I shake even as I write this.
Pause to praise and worship, falling before YOUR Throne:
So what’s the analogy I take away? Refer to the scripture at the beginning: ….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ…..
This house is 17 years old,so that 45’ tall sissoo tree is only that old. Unfortunately for the tree and for us, it evidently was never deeply watered, so its tap-root couldn’t go down deep into the soil, securely anchoring the tree. If it HAD been deeply watered, it wouldn’t have fallen to the wind. Watered only with the drip irrigation, its roots grew shallowly, and even though they grew large, shallow roots can never securely anchor a tree.
Where’s the parallel? I’m going to say something unpopular: Don’t be a “sucker” coming from a shallow root, falling for cultur al compromises! Our culture continually “feeds” us with a “drip” of shallow, empty, deceptive philosophy based on the traditions of men:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. Colossians 2: 6-9a NIV
PLEASE DON’T HEAR JUDGMENT in what I’m saying; rather, hear a warning out of a compassionate, empathetic heart that doesn’t want to see ANYONE taken down by threatening winds that, let’s face it, come against us all, sometimes out of the blue like the storm here yesterday. The weather warning didn’t come till 3:30 on my phone, and by then the storm had already struck east Mesa. Daniel certainly didn’t hear a storm warning before he came inside! True confession time here: God gave me two warnings, one word I didn’t fully understand in 2000 and one dream in 2003 that I thought was just a nightmare, but I didn’t press in hard and persistently enough to God’sHoly Spiri counsel to discern what those warnings meant. Out of God’s great mercy and enormous kindness, he’s never left me on my own despite my all-too-human “Pollyanna” head in the sand, ignoring the ”storm warnings.”
So no, I don’t judge anybody who pays more attention to the flawed “wisdom” of our western contemporary culture that tells us “If it feels good, do it” and “Just follow your heart,” than God’s Word when God’s deep water pool of TRUE wisdom tells us :
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17: 9-10 NIV
There is nothing reliable in what they say; Their inward part is destruction itself Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue.Psalm 5:9
Do not drag me away with the wicked And with those who work iniquity, Who speak peace with their neighbors, While evil is in their hearts. Psalm 28: 3
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.
Proverbs 26:23-25 Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross Are burning lips and a wicked heart. He who hates disguises it with his lips, But he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, For there are seven abominations in his heart.
Isaiah 44:20 He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside And he cannot deliver himself
1Timothy 3:13 Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived….
Does ANY of that truth sound like “If it feels good, do it”??!! Showing my age here, “Danger,Will Robinson!”
That crabby, God’s Word denying, “I did it my way” “Doctor Smith” of contemporary cultural compromise wants to shut me up by telling me ”Aw, don’t you want their ‘happiness’? You’re spoilling their fun!” and keep me and you enslaved to hollow, deceptive, flawed, mis-directing, shallow-root-producing “drip irrigation” lies and half-truths and prevent your true safety-ensuring anchoring tap-root from digging down DEEP into the pool of Living Water of God’s eternal, transforming, saving, redeeming, cleansing, nourishing TRUE WORD!
Well, the strong storm winds will come one day, and one last one for each of us, and all you’ve anchored yourself in will be tried and tested at God’s throne, if not before. Go ahead and call me Noah or fun-squashing Jeremiah or Malachi or habakkuk or Isaiah, but those deriding voices who scorned God’s prophets weren’t laughing when the floods came (yes, in geologic history and even in the Epic of Gilgamesh, there WAS a catastrophic flood the region of modern Turkey/Iran!) or when Assyria attacked or Babylon came and sacked Jerusalem and took Israel captive to Babylon. The real warning goes out to Jericho, behind those “impregnable” walls that fell to the Ark of the Covenant and God’s PRESENCE, to the praises of the priests and Levites, and to the HOLY POWER OF ALMIGHTY God, OLAM EL, YHWH ADONAI that IMPLODED the walls of Jericho without the Israelites lifting a finger or sword against them.
That wasn’t the first time God showed up for HIS Chosen People:
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground…19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lorddrove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Exodus 14: 13-15, 19-22 NIV
Jesus told us who God’s chosen ones are:
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me…. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 18-20, 34 NIV
What I say in the post, I say out of the love for mankind God put in my heart in an overwhelming eruption of God’s passionate LOVE in me at 2 a.m. in June, 2009, that woke me up with my heart exploding out of my chest. Please, please, don’t be a “sucker” on a root that can’t feed or anchor you, one of those who turn back from God’s merciful TRUTH AND GRACE, both of them endlessly, purely loving. Accept God’s Truth, yes about your sinful nature (I’m a sinner saved by Grace, too, not by my works or my “righteousness,” BUT ONLY by the Blood of Jesus), that is able to save you through the totally atoning, totally perfect, completely pure and justice-satisfying Blood of Jesus poured out for you WILLINGLY on the Cross, and turn to God’s mercy in genuine godly sorrow and true repentance so you can drink deeply OF and root your life IN the passionate, true, purely loving MERCY OF GOD.
No “but’s” about it:
Wow, and again, wow. God proves his Word is true, alive, active, and powerful.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” …. 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Corinthians 12: 12-21,25-27 ESV
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4: 15-16 ESV
Yesterday morning just before I awoke, God’sHoly Spirit put a face and a name into my consciousness: the face of a Believer I’d met about five years ago, briefly knew, and hadn’t seen or heard from since then. Immediately I woke up and wondered why God brought that face and name into my spirit and mind. My first thought was this person might need prayer, God’s help in something, or perhaps to know God was thinking about him and wanted him to clearly know and trust that God was hearing his prayers and moving to answer them.
I’m two cell phones away from the one I had five years ago, and some of my contacts got lost in the transitions,so I had no way to contact this person. I thought I remembered the church he attended then, looked it up online, and called and left a message with the receptionist, who said she’d pass the message along to the right person on staff. Still the God encounter stayed fresh in my mind all day, and last night I thought to check an online social site to see if he was there. Sure enough, so I sent a friend request,which he replied to shortly after.
Gathering my courage – and yes, I need it at the times I sense God wants to share something with someone else through me (still saying yay, Jessica, for that “accidental” meeting in the street, and Cate, for “coincidentally” sitting behind you and Len at church that one Sunday morning, that connected dots to connect me with some amazing sisters in Christ !) – I messaged him with the story about God waking me up with his face and name in my thoughts. Wow, God! He responded with two issues he’s been praying about recently. So …. I “coincidentally” me him in 2013-ish, lost contact, and five years later God plants a prayer in my spirit when I didn’t know for sure that’s why God nudged me???!!!
Holy, Sovereign Lord Jesus, truly YOU are the head of YOUR BODY the church, and we ARE all members of each other, connected by the same “neurons” and ”central nervous system” and “BLOOD flow.” Why, oh why, do we ever focus on our doctrinal differences or ignore God’s call to minister/deliver/do/send something from our HEAD JESUS to another “cell” in the body? If God puts a brother or sister in Christ (or for Heaven’s true sake, an unbeliever or neighbor or that person in the grocery store or on the walking path) as a blip on your “radar” and into your thoughts, even if his voice is a whisper or a “hmmm….” or a whoosh in a dream, listen, ask our Head/LORD Jesus, and then GO! SPEAK! SHARE! GIVE! DO! DARE TO BELIEVE YOU ARE HEARING GOD’S VOICE, AND YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO THE WELL-BEING OF THE ENTIRE BODY OF JESUS CHRIST!
Other people, total strangers, have relayed God’s messages to encourage me, and every one of them (Don, Charity, Karen, Joyce, Jasmine, Joy, Jane, Gary, Wei Wei, Clarissa, Gary, Steve … and unknown intercessors and the lady I never met at Living Water Church who sent the index card to me via Benjamin) has blessed me and helped me to stand on the waves with Jesus in the storms in my life and not go under.
So, cells of Christ Jesus’ WHOLE BODY, get over yourself and your uncertainty and “what if I make a fool of myself or they think I’m weird” insecurity, belong to JESUS THE KING, stay connected, hear him, come alive and BE there for each other through HIM!
The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples,
That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. Isaiah 50: 4 NASB
and “A disciple of Christ is one who (1) believes his doctrine, (2) rests on his sacrifice,(this does not mean rests from living as/does nothing as an active servant and messenger of Jesus) (3) imbibes his spirit, and (4) imitates his example” (www.biblestudytools.com)3101 mathētḗs (from math-, the “mental effort needed to think something through”) – properly, a learner; a disciple, a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications). biblehub.com/greek/3101.htm
He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven…. 2: 9 for in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority… 2: 13-14When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 1: 14-23, 2: 9, 13-14 NASB
So “sent ones, imitators of jesus’ example” are you going? And Denny, I’m glad I got the message for you, and yes, God hears the prayers of your heart and wants you to know so!
A big “…BUT…” to pray and move: Oh, God, Lord Jesus, yes I’m just one person, one hash mark on the census chart and anonymous face on the street to other people, BUT YOU ARE LORD AND GOD AND GOOD, ALIVE AND MOVING, CARING, LOVING, AND SPEAKING, and Jesus, YOU ARE MY LORD, MASTER, TEACHER AND EXAMPLE, AS WELL AS THE ONE WHO MAKES ME ABLE, so help me get over my own ______________________________________________, and if some people think I’m weird, so be it, for the sake of those WONDERFUL times when you truly do want-long-desire for me to carry your words, your Word, your love, your truth, your hope, your caring, your “Hey, I do see and hear you” to another person to spread YOUR glory, victories, hope, encouragement, faith and persevering, pursuing, relentless love to people bobbing in the waves and storms who need what YOU can say and do and share and give through me your hose, your empty bucket, your vessel today, in Jesus’ name, by Your Holy Spriit, give me the guts to do it, Soli Deo Gloria, amen!