Psalm 124 – RE-worded and applied specifically to me

If the LORD had not been on my side – [watching over me from my mother’s womb; all of my life]

Let everything within me say, if the LORD had not been on my side – [giving me grace and mercy to endure my childhood]

When people hurt me – [when so many people hurt me and those I loved]

They would have swallowed me alive – [they would have won through the pain I endured]

The flood would have engulfed me – [my many years of abuse, neglect and abandonment would have led me to drown in sorrow and anger]

The torrent would have swept over me – [I would have never been able to hear GOD]

The raging waters would have swept me away – [the rage and unforgiveness would have kept me from any trust in GOD]

Praise be to the LORD Who has not let me be torn by their teeth – [Thank You LORD for not letting them be the death of me]

I have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare – [I become more and more free from the enemy’s lies and schemes]

My help is in the Name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth – [The LORD’s Name comforts me and gives me sweet peace because He knows all of my ways and loves me still]

— May His joy and my joy in Him be my strength —

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Nehemiah, the walls and the end of the line..

During the time of the prophet Nehemiah the walls of the city were rebuilt. I found it interesting that the people were told to spend 7 days in celebration and festivities and THEN on the 8th day they humbled themselves and confessed their sins. The thought that by them celebrating first they weren’t as susceptible to grieving too deeply came to me. When you feel rotten and guilty it’s hard to come out of that sometimes to be joyful. But by being joyful first, the confession of your sins doesn’t overwhelm you and you don’t end up depressed. There is less of a chance of getting trapped by the enemy and his desire to steal, kill and destroy a Christian’s soul.

He will use anything and everything possible. He uses scriptures to bring false guilt. He gets you to think you’re a “good” person so you never see yourself as fallen and seek God. He rolls out as many distractions, pleasures and worries in life to keep you too busy to see what is real and what isn’t. He tells you it’s your right to get whatever feels good [as long as it doesn’t “hurt” anyone, even though the truth is any time we are self-seeking someone ends up being hurt] or whatever looks good and desirable in your mind. He leads you to believe that being intelligent makes you a greater person than you might have been otherwise. He divides people by emphasizing their differences and tempts us to judge them out of pride. He is sneaky, deceitful, extremely “smart” and knows every human weakness there is and which ones each person is the weakest about.

However, there is hope. Because God is Truth and when we submit to Him in truth, the enemy will run away. He can no longer be in God’s presence because he was cast out of heaven. That’s why he uses everything [of] this world to keep us from the Truth and separated from God. He knows that his time is running out and the closer the end gets, the more desperate and angry he becomes. Yes, this world will not last. Our DNA is degenerating, we’re destroying the things we need and man becomes more and more wicked as time goes on. Natural disasters are almost common place now. Yet, people will continue to be led down the wide road because they don’t want to believe there is anything inherently “wrong” about them. So, my brothers and sisters in Christ let us be diligent in praying for our loved ones. Let us work toward reaching the finish line of our lives. The bride and the Spirit wait with joyful expectation for the return of Jesus. To the end of suffering, sadness and evil. When God will wipe every tear from our eyes and we will live in perfect harmony, peace and joy forever with our God. Amen.

The Lost Boys of America (BSA)

As of yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America decided to officially begin accepting boys who openly behave as homosexuals inside their organization.

I am not a psychologist. The things I’m about to say are gathered from hearing, reading and personal observation.

Values are instilled in children and are continually challenged. If you have a child that keeps company with one that has radically different values, that will affect your child.

Scouting involves more than just the official events. Personal friendships are made that may continue for a boys lifetime. Boys have sleepovers and other non-scouting interactions and these will pose even more dangerous situations for your child.

The dynamics of friendship and the formation of boundaries in a child’s life put serious choices in front of them as it is. Being in a situation where an adult is not allowed to point out immoral behavior will cause a child to subconsciously believe it is acceptable. Then it is merely a step forward to conscious acceptance by repetition.

This is spoken of many times in the scriptures.  We reap what we sow and if we allow our children to be around immoral people/situations on a regular basis they will reap what we allowed to be sown by others.

While the decision of the BSA was heralded as a step forward within some circles of society, the sad truth is that they decided to put away one of the major tenets of the Scouting organization as it was first founded.

I’m speaking of “duty to God” specifically.  Tragically, I believe this has happened because of several things:

1) The “religious” people within Christianity, Judaism and Islam have decided to not adhere to their own scriptures and have turned away from the Truth.

2) The ones who do adhere to their scriptures have not made as much effort as the ones who don’t nor have they stood proclaiming Truth in the public square.

3) The world is winding down and the signs of it are among us now.

Please don’t mistake me for someone who thinks I know the year, month, week, day or hour of our Lord’s return. No one does as the bible clearly states. But we have been given signs and we are told to watch for Him.

Until He returns we are called to live holy lives unto Him, in the world, but not of it. That is SO easy to say and truly not easy to live. I’ve battled off and on with this over the years. There is a mindset that claims an existence of a balance between the two. I’m just not so sure anymore.

I’ve heard things said that are challenging to me in this life and my sinful nature wants that so-called balance.  There are also questions, such as..”How much of the things of the world do you want”? or “How far can you go without sinning”?

It’s in our nature to see what we can get away with and still be considered children of God.  Idolatry can entail anything from religion to football. It is a way of thinking and living. Someone in a bible study joked about not having his time watching football intruded upon. Everyone chuckled, but in my pride I wanted to take the humor out of it and show it for what it was, idolatry.

Yet, how many hours do I sit in front of this computer? How many hours do I spend doing anything and everything but living out my death in Jesus?

I think there is a line one can cross.  Which now convicts me, because that means it is actually a choice of paths. The only paths with lines are wrong paths and the lines are each point where we justify continuing on to the next line of compromise. But on the true path there is only turning to the left or right.

It was just revealed to me why we have the “left side” and “right side” in politics and in life as well I suppose. While they may not see the origin of it being related to “the path”, both sides are turning from it. The left being willfully and openly rebellious to God and the right being self-righteously rebellious toward God.

In conclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have gone off of the path and I personally don’t believe there is hope for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

As a child I had someone to pick up after me off and on.  I must admit it was really nice while it lasted.  When I turned 15 it all stopped and I just didn’t care until I had children of my own and HAD to do it, for safety reasons.

My mother used to say, “cleanliness is next to Godliness” to make me feel guilty about my room being a disaster area.

Once I became a Christian and had read through the Bible for the first time I was surprised that the phrase wasn’t even in there.

So of course, I had to go to mom and gloat that she was wrong. It felt good to toss it in her face at the time. It was one of the few things she said that I could actually refute. The other one was, “Do as I say, not as I do“.

Needless to say the latter one didn’t stick at all.

But the first one, I was a real jerk about it when I went to her. Then, as the years went on God showed me what it actually meant. It wasn’t about cleaning my room, although that was certainly a good habit, it was about a relationship with Him.

Cleanliness comes from the heart, soul and mind. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus says that from out of the heart come evil thoughts. It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to make the connection between the heart and our actions. I’ve found that if I don’t ask Him every day to clean me that I end up having more evil thoughts than I’d otherwise have.

Like the ones that have tempted me to get back at my neighbor for being a jerk. I actually considered blocking one of their cars because they parked in my space. I could imagine how ticked off they’d be and blast if it didn’t make me giggle. Of course, immediately after that thought came the one from the Holy Spirit that convicted me about devising wicked schemes.

In all honesty, I practically groaned out loud because the thought wasn’t funny anymore. Then I had to give up the idea of tattling on them for breaking rules in the lease. Finally, I had to stop plotting anything and that was when I was able to see I’d had a bad attitude because they didn’t treat me the way I expected.

In my naivety, I had thought that if you were nice to everyone, they’d be nice back. But I found that sometimes you just don’t click with people. It’s not your fault, necessarily, but that’s life.

I couldn’t believe it had taken me so many years to figure out that it wasn’t me sometimes. Although, most times it was me; if I’m going to be honest here I have to confess I’m not the greatest person to be around. It’s okay, I know everyone here thought I was a neat person. 🙂

I have to tell you though, I had no idea just how wicked I was. In my stubbornness and rebellion I watched other people who just weren’t behaving like Christians. I must have given tons of people a concussion from the plank in my eye.

While it’s an amusing mental picture, it isn’t at all an amusing way to be. So, I had to humble myself, (as much as my prideful heart can manage), and apologize and try to make amends. Now, there is a verse that talks about using money to buy friends. (Luke 16:9) I can definitely say that when you give people things they tend to think better of you.  That’s why there are verses that talk about giving gifts, mostly in Proverbs.

But there is also Deuteronomy 16:19 which speaks of bribes. I prefer the Complete Jewish Bible’s translation the best – “You are not to distort justice or show favoritism, and you are not to accept a bribe, for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of even the upright”.

So, now my neighbors and I get on a little better. I feel a little better about my thoughts and behavior toward them. I can’t say we’ll ever be “friends”, but at least we’re no longer enemies.

I now leave you with something to consider:

Have some of your friendships started with getting a gift?

I’ve been known to give someone more consideration as a nice person because of one, especially if it’s unexpected.  Blast, now I’m going to have to examine my heart to see how guilty I am of esteeming some more than others because they’ve given me things. *groan*

Uzziah (Azariah) and I

This morning I knew it was past time I needed God to speak to me. So, I asked Him whether it be rebuke or encouragement, to please speak to me.

I was given one word – Uzziah

I didn’t recall anything about him, so I had to look him up in the Scriptures. I found the account of his reign over Judah in 2 Kings Chapter 15 and 2 Chronicles 25.

Uzziah began his reign when he was 16 and it ended when he was 52 years old.

The first part of his history as king began with him doing what was right in the eyes of God. He did a lot of positive things during the first part of his reign. However, he did not get rid of the high places where people sacrificed and burned incense.

His downfall began when he became powerful. He developed pride and was unfaithful to God.

Ironically, his downfall culminated when he went to the Temple to offer incense. He was warned by priests not to do this, but he became enraged at them then his forehead broke out in leprosy. The priests hurried him out and once he realized God had afflicted him he was also very eager to leave the Temple.

He had leprosy and had to live separately until the day he died and his son had to take over running the kingdom in his stead.

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In the beginning of my Christian life I was hungry for knowledge and didn’t know the difference between that and wisdom. I was fed such filling spiritual food. But I was rebellious and kept high places (idols) and sacrificed valuable and needed time spent with God to once again do things I enjoyed most.

Because I became puffed up with knowledge, I became prideful and unfaithful. This lasted for too many years until, through His merciful grace, He began to break through my hardened heart to show me the wickedness and reveal to me just how deep it was.

I have been rebuked many times for being unfaithful and prideful. Yet, even with all of the rebukes I still struggle with it and I see no reason to be prideful, but it is still there nonetheless.

It’s disgusting and disturbing to see it. It causes me to fear I’ll never be rid of it and that is so discouraging to me.

Which then led me again to Proverbs 12:9

“Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant, than pretend to be somebody and have no food”.

God had to use this Scripture to rebuke me years ago, yet I still struggle with it. It was initially given to me because I wasn’t managing my money well and was buying things for some of my neighbors that I couldn’t afford.

However, it has now been used to speak to me on a different level.

I have wanted to be someone wise who is capable of humbly rebuking others, but it was always out of pride. I think I suspected it, but didn’t know the extent of it until the last couple of years.

So, rather than being humble (skipping the servant part here), I wanted to be someone wise in the eyes of others and was starving from lack of spiritual food.

I don’t know if I’ll be afflicted, but if so it will be because I have sinned and God would do it so I could learn and honestly repent of it.

All of His judgments are righteous and just. Whatever He decides I must thankfully accept because He rebukes and disciplines those He loves.

Empty faith, empty obedience and the will of God

A prophet stated: “Rule upon rule, precept upon precept”.  If righteousness was dependent only on laws, why would he say this?

Faith and obedience go hand in hand when you are in a relationship with God. Your faith equals obedience and is credited to you as righteousness – (i.e., Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness because he trusted God and was willing to obey what He told him to do, even though he didn’t understand it).

Even though Abraham knew that murder was wrong (reference Cain), still he did not judge God’s command or assume He was going to give him another child. He believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead because God said Isaac was the one to follow Abraham.   Who are Abraham’s children? Those who are willing to disobey the very laws God put into place because God said so. THAT is faith and obedience. Faith in God’s perfect nature and righteousness.

God told Hosea to marry an adulteress. Even though God had said adultery was sinful and the one who committed it was to be punished by death, He told him to do it. He even told him to take her back after she had done it again, instead of being obedient to the law and having her stoned. Hosea was obedient to God alone. The law is NOT God. Isn’t choosing the law over what God is saying idolatry?

So, was God wrong to tell them to do this? Absolutely not!  To think that God is wrong in ANY way is to call Him a liar, God forbid! Both things He said to do are wrong according to the laws He set up for US, but God is above the law in every way.

God is not accountable to anyone! How dare we judge HIM by the laws He gave Israel! If He shows us the Truth and we won’t accept it because we think it’s wrong, what does that say to Him? That isn’t faith in Him, that is faith in our own understanding and passing judgement ON Him.

How dare we decide to know His will by our foolishness? How dare we tell Him He cannot do something because we don’t agree with the way He chooses to do it. He is the potter and we the clay. He is the Creator and we are the created.

But back to faith and obedience. It is common to try to have faith without works and works without faith, but you cannot honestly have one without the other. Consider the people who don’t believe in God. Those people obey what their spirit knows are righteous acts because we are made in His image and likeness, but without faith in God they are empty works. Things done to make themselves feel like a “good” person in an attempt to fill the spiritual void that is made for God alone.

So, you have faith in God and know that He is gracious, merciful, forgiving and loving, are you PRESUMING a true  relationship with Him without joining faith and obedience? But one will not work without the other. Can you please God without both?

He is faithful and just. We are not and cannot be like Him.  We only know what He has shown us about Himself. Without the Holy Spirit we are left in the dark because it is He who opens our eyes and ears. He is the one who illuminates the Scriptures to show us the true meaning in life; that our finite minds can’t comprehend any Truth on our own. We can scratch the surface of things but even this understanding is a gift, but we cannot fathom the depths or breadth of them.

When our heart and soul cry out to Him in honesty and humility He hears us. Not because we are doing something good or righteous, but out of His very perfect nature, love and faithfulness to His covenant, He hears. King David spoke of having a broken and contrite heart and it being pleasing to God. When we look at our obedience without faith, we insult Him. When we say we trust in Him, but don’t show it by obeying Him alone, we lie to Him and ourselves.

Everyone knows as children we learn by example, not just by someone telling us it is right or wrong. With God, we learn by His nature as revealed by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit. We learn what is right and wrong by what He says AND what HE does.

Without an understanding of the intent behind the law and statues we can’t truly see why they were given and that is where we decide to be obedient, or stubborn and rebellious.  Stubbornness and rebellion are like idolatry and witchcraft. When we will not allow our eyes to be opened, nor our ears to hear we are being stubborn and rebellious.

When we presume to know the mind of God and His plans, we are being stubborn and rebellious and not trusting Him. Is there nothing that God cannot do? Is He required to abide by our “alleged” understanding or our limited interpretation of His holy Words?

We are unworthy servants and there is nothing we can do to be worthy. We cannot attain His righteousness, no matter the level of faith or our best ability to obey the law. But He in His love and mercy accepted our poor offerings of faith and obedience, even though they never made us worthy.

Therefore, as we can never be worthy, He alone had to  provide One who is worthy for us. The One who can fulfill His requirement of perfection in every way. What mere man could ever do this? NO ONE, EVER ! So, in order to provide that requirement of worthiness, One had to come who could attain it. Have we ever known anyone who has done this? There is only the One and no other. Yet, we in our stubbornness and rebellion will not accept His One because in our foolish human wisdom it goes against what we “think” we understand about Him and the law.  Again, who are we to question how He provides His will?

Nothing is beyond His power to do. We slap Him in the face when we refuse to accept how HE provides to justify us.  That’s why God told us to walk humbly with Him.

What true prophet spoke on his own merit? How many men have claimed to be the Messiah, yet spoke and acted according to his frail understanding and even failed at that?

If we cannot see that faith and obedience will never make us worthy, how will we ever understand it is the humble, honest heart and spirit of man He desires, but accepts only out of His mercy and grace?

If God spoke through mere men who were sinful, how much more will He provide the One who is not?

No one can forgive our sins, but God alone. So, we remain unworthy, even if we listen to Him, obey the law and repent through what He said to the prophets He provided.

What do we think is most important to Him? Physical things, or spiritual things? Establishing physical peace on earth only covers a portion. How will He establish peace for His people spiritually?

If we, as the created, only go by what we perceive He has planned, we in fact are saying that God cannot do His will unless we approve of how He chooses to do it. We are NOT and never will be privy to His infinite power and wisdom.

Therefore, if He has decided to reveal Himself physically and spiritually through someone who IS worthy, who are we to say no, you cannot do this thing? If stubbornness and rebellion won’t accept His ways, how much more does it reject His Provision?

As we cannot fully understand Him, we have no right to tell Him how He must do something. If He chooses to provide Someone who IS sinless, that person will be as perfectly holy as He is. They cannot be less, or they are only men.

If angels can appear as men, how much more the Son? God is spirit and He shares His glory with no one. Therefore, if Someone comes down to earth according to God’s will who is Holy, Sinless and Worthy, is it not God who enclosed this Someone in a physical body so we can interact with Him on a more physical level? Rejecting the Son is rejecting our Heavenly Father, our very creator. Again, we are the created and have no right as sinful, stubborn, rebellious and wicked creations to judge Him or His ways.

So, we now have the choice. Do we trust Him and His Providence or do we use our pride and the law to judge Him and what He chooses to do?

No, we humble ourselves, search the Scriptures and learn through the Holy Spirit what He wills and has done on our behalf. So, let us now seal our mouths, examine our hearts, lean not on our own understanding and receive HIS wisdom.

God said, “Come let us reason together” – not ‘here is the law you guys go reason it out and get back to Me’

May He be glorified forever and His will be done.

The Original Sin(s)

In Genesis 2:16 – 17  God told Adam and Eve they were free to eat from any tree in the garden, with the only exception being the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  There is no mention of them being forbidden from eating from the tree of life although both were in the center of the garden. For all we know they did eat from the tree of life.

God told them both that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would die. This is the first mention of death as a consequence of sin.

After the encounter with the “serpent”,  Adam and Eve sinned by doing what God expressly forbade them to do.

They had committed the first [original] sin(s).

Psalm 51:5 states: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me”.

1 John 1:10 states: “If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us”.

Would these apply to the disbelief of “original sin”?  That’s something to be considered.

So by sinning, they reaped the consequences that God told them would happen. Hence, death was brought into the world.  The ground was cursed, as were both Adam and Eve.

If they had not been forced to leave Eden, they could have lived forever by eating from the tree of life. Obviously, God knew what would happen if they were to eat from it and He also knew how He would provide eternal life for mankind. Our finite human reasoning cannot fathom exactly how He will choose to bestow eternal life. However He does it, we must be humble and very, very careful to not presume to know the mind of God.

Proverbs 3:18 states that wisdom is [a] tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

While it doesn’t seem to be a reference to THE tree of life, I’m not convinced it has no relation to it. Consider this, Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden with the knowledge of good and evil, but there is no mention of them leaving with wisdom.

The sin of idolatry (putting their desires above God) and rebellion (by not obeying what He said) were the original sin(s).

So, the original sin(s) encompassed lust of the eyes (the fruit was pleasing to the eye), lust of the flesh (it was good for food) and the pride of life (wanting to be like God by knowing good from evil).

This is the account of the “Original Sin(s)”