A couple of “silver-lining” stories for you today!
A couple of “silver-lining” stories for you today!
Hi folks! Praise the Lord, Hubby’s next chemo will be the halfway point in his treatment! Last session went a little smoother, it seems, which we attribute to the I.V. steroid he got when he had what may have been a slight reaction. I got to go home and see my Mom for the first time since Dad died. It was a quick and bittersweet trip, but my brother, one son, one nephew, and I got some work done around the place that Mom can’t do herself.
Spring seems to have finally arrived, that wonderful time of year when I can open the doors early and let some sunlight and fresh air into the house. The flowers have bloomed gradually and it’s not been a real colorful showing this year, what with warm days interspersed with freezing nights and all. Of course along with the buds, comes the pollen and sniffling and sneezing. My house has an old-fashioned front porch, screened it, with a swing, and I have yet to get out there and do the spring-cleaning. But this time of year, I can mop and wipe it all down, only to have a brilliant green coating of pollen out there again by afternoon.
After finishing my blogged book last week, I had one day of just feeling the rotten emotional toll of it, but it feels very much like I have reclaimed something. The overnight trip to West Virginia, with the sitting for hours in the car, then the physical work we did while there, all sort of took a toll on my body and I was in rough shape yesterday, but I thank the Lord that this morning I’m moving a little better. I am still shocked how bad my symptoms can get at times, but PTL it’s not like last year when it lasted months and months on end. Got some sad news a couple of days ago. A dear friend and neighbor will be moving away. Life is just full of changes these days, it seems, and I’m not getting any better at that, even with all the recent “practice”. But God never changes, and He remains the anchor that keeps it all together.
The rhetoric over North Korea just keeps heating up. Some of the “back-channel” sources indicate that our Government and military see the current threat as a very real concern. Myself, I am still in awe of the fact that nothing major has “broken loose” in all of the many volatile situations that are in play around the globe right now, and I continue to feel that this reinforces the notion that it is all waiting on one thing; the removal of the Bride. That is still not to say that something catastrophic can’t or won’t happen before hand. It certainly could. I re-blogged a good piece written by Terry James (of Rapture-Ready) on here yesterday in which he refutes the notion that America will (necessarily) go through some major collapse and “re-set” before the Rapture. Steve Quayle has this up today:
Obama has sold this nation “up the river” and the many foreign troops which are here right now, are probably the real purpose of all the ammunition that our government has bought. The preppers, patriots, Oathkeepers, etc, have made it very clear they’ll not go down without a fight. Everyone who is the slightest bit awake, knows a fight is coming.
As I reported on Monday, NoKo and the little troll in charge over there, are threatening a Nuke strike tomorrow and they apparently still plan to follow-through.
On the grander scale, this WND piece addresses the link between the coming one-world religion, and the UFO phenomenon.
As to the economy, well, yesterdays news was full of stories of the faltering economies all over the world. After they register all the gun-owners, they’ll go after the assets.
Bills to Require the Registration of Gold & Silver : Gold & Silver Confiscation Next?
Posted: 09 Apr 2013 02:42 AM PDT
The link includes video. As I have pointed out recently, I still expect an exponential explosion in technology/science/knowledge right before the end of the age. We have seen a lot, but I think there is more coming, and it will change things at a speed and on a scale the likes of which we could never have imagined.
The rise of evil in our midst has never abated, but it seems lately there have been a number of articles involving cruelty to children and babies. Babies shot by their own parents, and of course the horrors of abortions.
The situation in Syria grows more dire by the minute, but for the first time there is an open and intentional move on the part of the Obama administration to publicly intervene as John Kerry meets with rebel forces leadership:
Curiously enough, there was an earthquake near the Iranian Bushehr nuke site today, and several reported in the recent weeks near the New Madrid fault, as well as Pacific Rim. How much more does the Lord have to shake this Earth before mankind pays attention? The fact that Kerry is meeting with the opposition, and Al-Qaida has openly joined forces with the rebels, puts the U.S. and other international backers of the anti-Assad rebellion in a sticky situation, with renewed fears that ousting Assad will lead to an even worse situation in Syria. Which it will.
Yesterday was a heavy-posting day. Some days the scripturally/prophetically significant news is extremely prolific and on some days things just seem to hover in a suspended mode. I honestly visualize in my mind, the prayers of Gods people going up and I believe they have an effect. The world is definitely on a trajectory that is headed straight for the fulfillment of the Age of Grace, but how fast or slow we get there and what devastation is suffered before then, is largely subject to the fervency of our prayers. We do not manipulate God. He is fully in control. But we know that He would rather have mercy than pour out His wrath. Still, that day of wrath will come.
Even as we continue to watch the drama of fulfilled prophecy unfold, and continue to work to share the gospel while there is still light, our hearts are burdened for the lost, and yet an irrepressible joy and anticipation grows in our hearts as we await the blessed hope of the catching-away of the Bride of Christ. So today I want to leave you on that high note, with this piece by one of my favorite Christian Bloggers Elizabeth Prata. Something wonderful to meditate on: Thoughts on the Tree of Life
1And he shewedme a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which baretwelve manner of fruits, and yieldedher fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.3And there shall beno more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall bein it; and his servants shall servehim:4And they shall seehis face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.5And there shall beno night there; and they need no candle , neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveththem light : and they shall reignfor ever and ever.6And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets senthis angel to shew unto his servants the things which mustshortly be done . 7Behold , I comequickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.8And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heardand seen , I fell down to worshipbefore the feet of the angel which shewedme these things.9Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I amthy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worshipGod.10And he saith unto me, Sealnot the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.11 He that is unjust , let him be unjuststill: and he which is filthy , let him be filthystill: and he that is righteous, let him be righteousstill: and he that is holy, let him be holystill.12And, behold , I comequickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be .13I amAlpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.14Blessed are they that dohis commandments, that they may haveright to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.15For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever lovethand maketh a lie.16I Jesus have sentmine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.17And the Spirit and the bride say , Come . And let him that hearethsay , Come . And let him that is athirstcome . And whosoever will , let him take the water of life freely.18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall addunto these things, God shall addunto him the plagues that are writtenin this book:19And if any man shall take awayfrom the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take awayhis part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are writtenin this book.20 He which testifieth these things saith , Surely I comequickly. Amen. Even so, come , Lord Jesus.21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Words: rubber maid containers that corral and contain the chaos and clutter of life. Words have grown tricky and sticky in today’s relative world, and stripped of all nuance and cues, by layers of electronic barriers such as e-mail and text messaging. Now even the most carefully selected and censored words can somehow mysteriously mutate between your lips and someone else’s ear, into something wholly other than what you intended, never mind the careless ones.
Words are my oar in the rapids, my life-jacket in the overwhelming flood.
So what was I to do when words failed me?
I grew silent. Even inside my own head, I lost the will, the nerve, the ability to bring order to the churning and tumbling and shaking of my world.
I had no choice than to just let things just “be”. No measuring, no sorting, no classifying, no reconciliation, no resolution.
Just sit in my dingy in a tumbling ocean of upheaval, hanging on for dear life, and perhaps occasionally vomiting over the side, as my one means of relief from the turbulence and inner discombobulation. Funny thing though, about vomit. Doesn’t inspire examination. Just release the poison, and good riddance!
Artists express things wordlessly all the time. Doesn’t matter the medium; music, dance, paint, pencil, wood, metal, garbage.
I used to paint. My medium was acrylics, most often on stone. It was the one thing I ever did that transcended the drudgery of regimented thought, expressing things without all that processing, a state of abandon that rendered me unaware of even the passage of time.
In recent years, my eyesight has grown poor, my dexterity has been greatly hampered, my stamina has been poor and faltering, and as life is wont to do, my creativity has suffered significant dehydration.
But I still had the medium of words which I could count on. It served me well in resolving conflict, ministering comfort, maintaining relationships, handling matters of business, as well as self-expression for the sake of itself. It served me well, that is, until…
First a misunderstanding snowballed into a catastrophe, and a years-long friendship became a casualty.
Then a ministry went an unplanned, unanticipated way, and though God’s intent prevailed, the living of the experience was personally costly on a daily basis for 13 months with a fiery crash and burn at the end.
And then came our stroll along the edge of the “valley of the shadow of death”.
And for the first time in my life, words failed me.
Words are like the air my own personal spirit breathes. So it was as if my spirit, that essence of me, had suffered a stroke or something. Words were no longer at my beck and call. They just wouldn’t fall in line. It was possibly the most decimated I ever felt, and that is saying a lot, considering some of the things I’ve been through.
Words being no longer at my disposal, I went and dug out the words I’d saved on paper. My poems, my personal devotional notes, and what journal pages I’d held onto. I took those words and like bread, cast them upon the water as an offering to God. I didn’t have a design in mind for them, no plan or agenda. But I know that only what is consecrated to God can have any real worth, I mean the eternal kind, not the passing-away kind.
You know, God sends the storms. Not some storms. All of them. The storms and the waves do His bidding. He doesn’t dispatch them from a distance. He’s in them when the come.
Just because I can’t trace His hand, doesn’t mean I can’t trust His plan.
It all comes down to settling a single question. Just one; Is God who He claims to be, or isn’t He? You settle that in your mind, once and for all time, and buddy you will have simplified your life in one stroke. Very simple, but far from easy.
If He is who He says He is, then let God be true and let every man, every circumstance, every thought, every pain, every wound bow down to Him and be revealed as the lie that they are. For faithful are the wounds of a friend.
You say “Cruel is the God who would snatch the newborn child from it’s mother’s arms”
“I’m so depressed I just want to die!”
Your earthly father abandoned you, your marriage fell apart, there is no peace to be had.
That, also, is a lie.
When a child is young and tends to whine, we sometimes have to remind that child to “use your words, please, so Mommy or Daddy can know what you need and can help you get it so you will feel better”.
Putting things into words requires effort. It’s not always easy. For me, the nearer my heart the subject matter, the harder it is to articulate. But otherwise, words have generally come pretty easily.
Words can be mundane, they can be tedious, they can be inspiring, beautiful, hurtful, and indeed quite harmful. In short, words are power.
Power entails responsibility. To whom much is given, much is required.
I have been “on the bench” for a while. Not only in terms of administering my words, but a time-out in general. I’ve taken some blows, had some injuries that needed to be babied for a time. It is not good for the long-haul, for us to stay in the game injured. Though it is often necessary, (unlike soccer and baseball, the game of life isn’t condusive to prolonged side-lining), but eventually it will be to your own detriment to “suck it up and continue playing” on a bum knee, wounded shoulder, or broken heart.
As my dear friend Snerdley pointed out a couple of days ago, long-term pain and strain literally alters the structure of the brain.
I “played inured” for lot of years. And as a result, I’ve spent a lot of years rehabilitating. Extensive recouperation often must happen piecemeal, you push a while, then you rest a while, push some more, rest some more.
Why bother? Because life lived less than fully just isn’t worth as much.
What do you do when you are a “skinless” person, a whole-heart kind of person whose heart is battered? Live life without heart? Offer up what is left, at the risk of having it fully consumed? I think living a heartless life is what most people choose. I might have chosen it too if I had never experienced “whole-heart-living” by virtue of nothing other than the fact it is the way God originally designed me. When my heart and soul and spirit took a pretty big hit in my 20′s, I tried living the safer way. I tucked my heart way inside and constructed an external shield so foreign to me that family and friends were baffled by it.
But it was no use. Once you have lived with your heart wide-open, though you know the inherent pain, you find that living any other way is not really an option, and there is no such thing as a middle ground of compromise. Living any other way has never been an option, no matter how much I might have wished it could be.
I am not sure how that sounds to the reader. Arrogant? Self-promoting and prideful in some back-handed way? An attempt to seem more virtuous than I am? Or just sincere.
The truth is, I wouldn’t mind having a tougher heart. I would dearly love a skin. A nice, thick one.
I once heard the story of a 4th grader in a Christian school, when defining “skin” on his science test, wrote “It’s that thing God gave you so people when they have to look at you, they won’t throw up”. I guess he had seen the muscle diagrams, I don’t know, but kids have a way of shedding insight.
Skin is great as a cover-up for hiding the unpalatable “innards”, but it’s real purpose is for protecting the delicate and vulnerable things that lie underneath. It is the first line of defense against germs and viruses and other invaders. It is probably one of our must indispensable, under-appreciated organs.
My heart is not pure, but I do recognize that God has a standard of purity that surpasses our concept of pure and of good, by a dozen country miles, and I don’t want our version of clean and good. I want His.
A lot of people, if they were to peer into my life, would likely say “that’s not what I call living”. Living life to the fullest to most folks is “going full tilt” from sun-up to sun-down, taking risks, tasting the entire smorgasbord that life has to offer. And sure, there is a lot to be said for living life fearlessly. I joke about the unnecessary stress some people seem to go looking for, the stunt-riders and base-jumpers and those guys in squirrel suits who jump off of cliffs and ride the thermal currents like Eagles with nothing else between them and certain death, except a stiff breeze, their knowledge of aerodynamics, and an irrepressible passion for adventure.
When I was strong and healthy,, my bucket list included buying a motorcycle, parachuting, and traveling to see the world.
Da bucket got a hole in it!
What happens to dreams like that? There are a whole lot of people who would have you believe that letting anything stand in the way of achieving your dreams is blasphemous. That we owe it to ourselves, the world, the universe, and whatever God we believe in, to “discover and meet our full potential”.
I don’t care what anybody says, if life doesn’t hurt, you ain’t doing it right. If you haven’t failed you haven’t been trying, but if you haven’t realized there are walls and ceilings, and boundaries and limits, well, just keep on. You’ll find out eventually and then where will that leave you? Crushed? Broken? Disillusioned? Angry?
The world applauds those who are brave and daring with their body, their money their mind, and even their eternal soul, while simultaneously disdaining the offering up of one’s heart as a fools errand.
But I say, the bravest thing anyone can do is give of your heart. In my book, real living means living real. It means accepting the boundaries, acknowledging your insufficiency, admitting you need others, that you are not invincible, not infallible. But you don’t quit. You keep trying, aiming for that higher calling, even when you know it is not attainable in this life. Even when you know you’ll be hurt again, will fall again.
Success in life doesn’t come in looking around, finding the tallest mountain, and conquering it. It comes in making the best of what life hands you, learning to be content whether you abase or abound. Learning how to find your way back to abiding peace even when some “earthquake” rattles your world and flings you far away from any semblance of peace. Knowing where, or more accurately, in Whom, that peace remains, unshaken, always available.
I spoke of the friendship that became a casualty of misunderstanding. The following poem was an attempt, even as words themselves seemed to have betrayed me, to still use them to express my bewilderment and grief, that words themselves can be so damaging, turning lethal even when the intent is anything but, because a “wounded” receiver receiving a message from a wounded “sender” leaves much room for misinterpretation, and particularly in a world where real communication grows increasingly rare. It is an expression of broken-ness in a broken world from a broken heart, over a broken friendship.
The grape sits under the glare of the sun. Exposed. With prolonged heat it ripens to sweetness. But the sweetness comes forth only in the crushing. If the grape remains hard it will elude that reducing process and it’s juice remain bitter. Redemption comes only in the yielding.
The Word is alive and sharper than a two-edged sword. Created in His image, He gave us all the gift of the word, written and spoken. Sharp. Able to penetrate deep unto healing or destruction. The more finely-honed that edge, the more intricate places it can reach. Words can sever things delicate and tenuous.
Under the guardianship of human nature, the administration of bestowed gifts results in Adam, Eve, an apple and death. Laid on the alter and death’s stinger removed, the gift can be anointed and used for its’ proper purpose.
Words are a precious gift.
From childhood we anticipate the long-awaited day we will make our own choices, only to one day discover that we have been making them all along.
© S.T.Lloyd 2010
Matthew 7: 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Amos 9:13Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
Proverbs 25:11A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 7:2Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye
I don’t know what season it is where you live, but as the cold of winter begins to lose its hold, and green tips of crocus and daffodil begin to poke up between the dry brown winter brush, the coming of spring, like the changing of all seasons, is bittersweet. As a way-marker, another season passes away, and yet a new one begins. How many more will there be?
I fixed my family a hot breakfast this morning. There are many days that doesn’t happen because my boys are teens, they sometimes want to eat before school, and sometimes they don’t. And hubby isn’t picky, cereal, oatmeal, a bagel, it’s all fine with him. Me, I don’t even get hungry til eleven or noon. Standing over a hot stove for 20 minutes or more, then having to deal with a plumbing issue, I got a little too warm, so I went out and sat on our front porch swing for a while to cool off.
We have a nice porch. Not fancy. But inviting. Screened in. A work crew is putting up a new house across the street, so I rocked in the swing, watching them for a bit, before coming back inside. I love the seasons we have in Virginia. I would go so far as to say that I don’t think I could happily live anyplace that didn’t have those distinct seasons.
The years of my husbands and my life together have not been easy. I came into the marriage with a great deal of woundedness. I really and truly had not dared to hope that the love he and I share, would ever be available to me, much less that I’d be blessed with motherhood, with 2 such great sons. This world can be a cruel place, and I think that people are tired. I’d been through so much by the time my husband and I met. I know he got cheated. The first years of our marriage where fraught by devastating interference on the part of my mother-in-law, at the same time that I was still healing from prior abuse. It took the unconditional love of both my Lord, and my precious husband, for me to feel safe enough to work though all that. I do have several medical conditions which, in combination are impairing. But I have no doubt that the years of stress that I endured in my 20′s are the very thing that set the stage for the later physical mal-functions. Being so depleted, I did suffer depression for a long time. And yet I fought it tooth and nail because by God’s grace and wisdom, He gave me a stubborn streak a mile wide. The cyclic nature of my depression and mood issues was really almost like an echo of the instability of my life in general for so long. It was like when my mind got so weary it could no longer manage the burden, it was handed off to my body. So the body compensated for a while, as the mind de-compensated. Mental illness, depression, call it what you will. There is no darkness darker, and I’ll take physical pain any day of the week over the excruciation of deep depression.
I was sick in mind, body and spirit. Exhausted and depleted. I was that way as a newlywed, as a full-time RN with a new baby, and then two. All through my 3os. I was a good nurse. I loved the job. I loved my patients. But when I got to the point that I was internally empty, to where even the “needs” of my patients caused me to feel resentment because I was so needy myself, when I could no longer keep a running “task manager” in my brain, and keep up with the demands of nursing, I knew I had to step back because my integrity would not allow me to give less to my patients. The job of a nurse is much too serious a business to do any part of it “halfway”. I expected it to be temporary. Little did I know that although I would work in the capacity of an RN intermittently again, that this was the beginning of the end of my hard-earned nursing career.
I mourned that for a long time. But I had my babies. And I was grateful that the trade-off was the gift of being mostly a stay-at-home mom. Few moms have that luxury anymore. But it is a sacrifice. We have lived in a house which was built in the 40′s, and maintenance, (much less improvements) has been minimal. Thank goodness houses built in the forties were built to last. Good, good bones! So, it’s been a homey home. Not a showcase, but lived-in and inviting, and not taking itself too seriously. I have never been a frou-frou kind of gal anyway. Neat and tidy is my standard, but I like things with some age and experience and history. I learned from my Mama how to see the good in pre-loved furniture and decor, and how to spiff things like that up, way before “shabby chic” became a household word.
Winter has always been hard. When my kids started school, I stayed involved as a room mom and volunteering frequently, and after some years of working on boundary issues, being on medication and ever striving to maintain an exercise program whether it entailed some gym time, swimming or walking, I saw some improvement in my over-all well-being. Yet could never quite get over the hump in regard to fatigue and body pain. With diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, and at first Sleep apnea and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and then only a few years ago finally discovering that I have Narcolepsy, a certain degree of permanent damage had already taken place in my body, not the least of which in my spine and joints. Depression continued to be a problem and winter months, with short days, and cooped up indoors, I literally had to turn on all the lights in the house some days. I would light candles and play instrumental music, all of which helped me overcome the inertia and get moving. I learned to spend at least 15 minutes outside getting sunlight no matter how cold it was, and even invested in one of those lamps with the whole spectrum of light. Those things all helped, but it was a constant vigilance. I would hold on and wait for those daffodil green tops to poke out. When I saw that, it was my sign that I had survived another dark season, and could soon look forward to working in my flowerbeds and being outdoors more. So, as a survivor, Spring has a special place in my heart. Counting as the seasons pass, moving from youth into middle age, watching my kids grow, losing my Dad, I’m in a different season now, but my awareness of the world and history and scripture, also tells me that the advance of seasons and years is moving forward for the world itself. Times they are a-changin’, and not just in the way they always do from one generation to the next, but in ways the Good Book told us they would when the end was near.
Like most struggling families today, there were dreams of trips and vacations that never quite came to be. Plans for home improvements, the financing and budgeting of which never quite came to fruition, due to some setback or other. There were times we were disillusioned. But we learned to concentrate on the blessings. And we had so many. As a couple my husband and I have always been able to laugh. There were times we could be in the middle of an argument and we’d both be so weary from the struggle that one or the other would just decide to get over it and do something silly to make us both laugh, and that would be that. Arguing is just not worth the energy. But these were things we learned IN the struggles and wouldn’t have learned otherwise. As a family we have always been able to laugh together. The antics of our boys provided plenty of material. And as a family we have always prayed together, discussed things, expressed our love, and been straightforward and honest. My kids have never had to guess whether we loved or approved of them. But they also have never been allowed to take that love and approval for granted. Dad is the softer one. Mama don’t give an inch. They knew if they misbehaved, their teachers had my phone number and permission to call me right then and there. Heck one year I was their school nurse during the elementary years. (My last full-time position). They are in high school now and their friends STILL come up to them and say, “man, why did your mom quit being our nurse?”. I guess because I treated all of them the exact same way I did my own. Tough love.
Yeah, it’s a time for counting blessings, as I am daily aware that both in the natural course of raising a family, the times we share together are finite and we are nearing that time when the little eaglets will leave the nest, but also “time” universal is winding down.
Life is beautiful but if you do it right, it isn’t easy, and even if you can manage to put a little aside along the way, the best it can provide is a false sense of security. Treasures on earth are eaten by moths, corrupted by rust. The honest guy doesn’t always come out on top. People are tired of war, and crime, and struggle, and violence and hatred. We all long for peace, but it seems there’s precious little peace to be found. Everyone is looking for somewhere to place the blame. Government. Those dad-blamed Republicans. Those dang Democrats. Those corrupt Congressfolk. The Muslims, the Jews, The church. Many hate a God they don’t even believe in. The homosexuals hold in contempt those who believe the Bible and it’s indictment of such. Some professing Christians act as if they themselves are less of a vile sinner than the gay person, which is not true. God’s law is one law. Like the chain that holds up my porch swing, if we have broken one “link” the chain no longer upholds the swing, so if we break any commandment, we are in violation of God’s law. I do not doubt that the feelings and attraction two gay men or women have for one another are real and powerful. I just am aware that feelings can be deceptive, and most of all, they can be manipulated. Homosexuality is no more wrong than any other deviation from God’s design for sexuality, though it does reside on a continuum of sorts. We have so gotten the cart before the horse in the area of mates and “mating”. There is no restraint and whatever causes the most sparks to fly, has become the acceptable indicator of what we choose to pursue. Animals are ruled by their drives. Humans are capable of more. Yet risky or risqué, trumps most things anymore. The “pleasure button” has been so over-stimulated that people have ceased to be able to feel.
A people who are only guided by impulse and urges, will invariably seek the “greater thrill” to the basest nature. When “straight sex” and self-gratification without cost, effort, or commitment are so freely attainable that they become boring and no longer titillating, the greater risk will be sought to maintain the “high”. Each advance in degradation serves to only heighten the drive, but never satisfy. As those who participate in these things ignore their conscience, the conscience dies within them, because they despise the truth, (that what they do is wrong) they begin to believe the falsehood that what they are doing is okay. The current generation can hardly help being much more vulnerable to the temptations of “same-sex sexuality” because preceding generations insisted on throwing off the taboo. For those who indulge the flesh, the “need” of their flesh consumes them and becomes their master, and in search of satisfaction, their “passions” seek that which is even lower, the violation of children. This produces children who are damaged and who grow up confused. Girls used by men, become women who can’t trust men, who seek solace in other women. In their hurt they justify the aversion to the opposite sex, and the sin of the “fathers” are visited on the next generation in the form of same-sex attraction. Because the female child looks to the father figure to cherish and affirm her, being sorely disappointed as she seeks a life mate, she has already ruled out the male half of the species, feels safer bestowing her love and affection upon a female, or in determination to never be victimized, may reject her femaleness and aspire to the relative safety of exhibiting masculinity within herself. Because the male child looks to the father figure to set the example of how to be a man, yet the abusing male uses his power to dominate and violate, the male child rejects the notion of masculinity and waxes effeminate, or may go on to be a predator because he thinks doing what the dominant male did to him, constitutes “being a man”. In each instance, it was the abandonment of God’s order that led to the alternate concept of what it means to be a male or female, and the abandonment of the “natural use of the opposite sex” for that of same-sex. Sex and sexuality were meant to be powerful, to bind together two mates for life, and powerful they are. Much “potential energy” is contained within the essence of sex and sexuality. But just like atomic energy, such potency is volatile, and very dangerous, and fraught with potential for damage and harm on a massive scale if mishandled or misappropriated.
But regardless of whether we are dealing with the issue of homosexuality, or human rights or politics, or religion, we are all deceived regarding who is our true enemy. Some folks have no idea at all. While even those who know that satan is the enemy of our souls, still fall prey to his efforts to rob, destroy, and kill. He pursues us relentlessly, and though some seem to walk willingly into his arms, most of us never come to understand that it was satan and sinfulness that manipulated your abuser, it is satan and sinful human nature, that culminate in the loss of “rights and privileges endowed by our creator” at the hands of corrupt leaders. The only safety or hope of redemption is to turn the opposite direction and run back toward God. That, in a nutshell, is what it means to repent of sin. At one time, Humanity knew their God. It is the sin nature that rebels, and evil waxes worse and worse until subsequent generations never even heard of their creator. They think they came from nothing. So they abort their babies and euthanize their elderly and handicapped, and then either shake their fist at God because breaking laws has consequences, or thumb their nose at God because they’ve convinced themselves that they’ve managed to throw Him off.
You know, I don’t know many “radical, militant” gay people. Most gay people I personally know, are regular folk. I have no desire to hurt them or to even dissuade them from their preference. That’s not my job. I am happy to accept the things I cannot change (and the will of another person definitely falls into that category) but I reserve the right to maintain my own convictions on the subject. I don’t think that a man should “marry” a man and call it the same thing as a woman marrying a man. Civil unions instead? I guess, but the purpose of marriage is procreation. Many gay people want to have a family but it’s not physically possible so there must be artificial intervention of some kind. No matter what you call your arrangement,(nor the method you use), the “ingredients” for making a baby, remains God’s original “recipe”.
I went to nursing school with a gal whose grandmother was Mrs. Fearnow. Of “Mrs. Fearnow’s Brunswick Stew” fame. I don’t know if that is merely regionally known, or if it’s a hit across the nation. But my point is, the stew is now made in a factory, by “The Fearnow Brothers” who may or may not be actually named Fearnow or related to Mrs. Fearnow in any way. The recipe may be the same, but I bet you Amy would beg to differ with you if you said “I have eaten your grandma’s stew”. Now, there’s a chance Amy Fearnow has actually eaten her grandma’s stew. And what comes out of that can, though delicious, will never be the stew made for Amy by Grandma Fearnow’s own hand.
We can call a union between two men or women a “marriage” and the state can artificially “bestow” upon that “couple” the same privileges as a man/woman union, but a union between a man and another man will never be a marriage. But most marriages between a man and a woman today don’t meet the Biblical definition of marriage either. Compromise is a slippery slope. Absolutes are considered evil by most of the world today, but if there are no absolutes, there are no reference points, all order breaks down, and what we are left with is the chaos before us today.
Gay people say “I was born this way”. Yeah. You were. You were born a sinner. That’s the point. I was born a sinner too. That doesn’t make my sin acceptable to God. That’s why Jesus had to die. But his dying would mean nothing if He had not also risen up to life again.
No matter what mankind tells himself, the unchanging facts are; in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created you, He designed your body. “Male and female He created them” and charged them to be fruitful and multiply. It’s His call. Don’t think of His laws like civil law. They aren’t like that. They are more like the “law of gravity”, “the law of diminishing returns”, the laws of physics. Who set those? Do you have a choice in obeying the law of gravity? Can any Supreme Court judge or United Nations counsel overturn the law of gravity? Is it “all relative” really? Jump off your roof and see. I’ll sit here and wait.
God will not tolerate sin. Sin is a violation of law. The wages of sin is death. Wages are not a penalty, they are simply the natural outcome. God’s not threatening you when He says that, He’s WARNING you. We all age, we all deteriorate, and we all die. After death comes judgment, and you and I have no advocate, no counsel, no scapegoat, but Jesus. He is the Way. He is Truth. He is Life. And no man comes unto the Father but by Him.
Man thinks he will transcend his own humanity within a few years. The capability is, in fact, within mankind’s power. But God will not allow it.
This old world is winding down. The Bible tells us that a period of tribulation is coming. God will place your life on the scales. It will not have “all the good you did” on one side, and “all the bad” on the other. It will have His righteousness on one side, and on the other side there will be placed one of two things which will attempt to measure up to His righteousness and balance the scale.
It will either be the sum total of your doings in this life, or it will be the righteousness of Christ placed on your side of the scales. Fair? Not to Jesus, yet that’s the offer. He did not forfeit His perfection, but God accredits it to those who are willing to humble themselves to receive it.
God, knowing we are incapable of overcoming our own sinful state, arranged for His own sinless son to endure the “wages of sin” for all sinners. A substitutionary death on the cross, dying so we didn’t have to. The wages of sin is death, the loophole is God willingly accepts the death of One who is infinite and sinless, to atone for the infinite sinfulness of the sinner. Then He credits to the sinners account, the righteousness of Christ. Which will sit in opposition to the righteousness of the Father on judgment day and balance that scale, deeming you acceptable to enter into God’s eternal presence. That is, if you are willing to accept it. There is a catch, though. It is free. You can’t earn it or pay for it. You have to accept God at His word, that He is willing to extend this deal to you. It means you have to nail your sin to that cross with Jesus. You can’t have your sin nullified while still clinging to your “right” to remain oriented to your sin-nature. Be your sin adultery (sex with someone you are not married to, whether male or female), lying, taking the Lord’s name in vain, stealing, coveting, failing to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, murder, or having some other god. Anything that you refuse to relinquish is your god.
Think about these things because you know, and I know, something is up in this world. You may not be ready to accept the things I’m saying, but that doesn’t change facts and laws and principles. You know as well as I do that we as humans are capable of being wrong. The world is not flat. The appendix actually does have a purpose, blacks, Jews, and the disabled are not a subhuman species, yet these are all “beliefs” that were once embraced as fact. Optical illusions fool our brains all the time, we even enjoy it when done by a talented magician. There is good and there is evil. We may not agree on what constitutes each one, but Someone must be the arbiter if truth and the very fact that “good and evil” are universal principles, is an indicator that there are absolutes so moving the visible boundary markers doesn’t actually altar which territory is which. We merely fool ourselves. It takes a heck of a lot more faith than I have, to believe everything came from nothing, than to believe there is a sovereign Creator who designed everything with purpose.
Think about it.
Almonds trees in blooms As people celebrate Christmas with all its symbols regardless of what they think the exact time and year of God’s divine condescension among us are, this is what this season represents to me as a spiritual reality.
45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. (NIV) So this Christmas season until the beginning of 2012 and beyond, I invite you to remember with grateful and humble hearts, that the tiniest and most humble manifestation of life, a human seed, a tiny baby in his or her mother’s womb is infinitely precious and worthy of protection and nurturing because it was made in God’s image. Psalm 139. I invite you also to let your hearts and minds expand onto other amazing dimensions of life and consider all the stages of the life of the Savior in His birth, His death, His resurrection, His going back into the glory of Heaven and His coming back to give us glorified bodies, for we have already been resurrected if we have been born again, starting as a tiny seed wrapped up in a small and fragile package that we all are, as pilgrims on this earth.
http://youtu.be/6v2L2UGZJAM Link Shared by Lyn Leahz. (Thanks Lyn!)
(Read Part I HERE)
Though we tried to be agents of reconciliation this go-round back at Church #1, (knowing firsthand the painful fallout that can happen in major disagreements), the pastor and his family ended up being cruelly forced out by the very same group of elders who had officially vetted and “called” him a year earlier.
Let me tell you, it was enough to cause us to contemplate forsaking the assembling-together! We were thrice-stung, heartbroken, and talk about disillusioned! But God is very economical. Ever-molding and teaching us, there was a mosaic of wisdom that He was piecing together for us with all those shards. The next chapter in this personal crash course, would be revolutionary for me in my personal walk with the Llord! Because I had walked away from the Lord in my 20′s, this did not become an issue of doubting faith, God, Bible, any of that, for me. I’d already learned life ”my way” didn’t work. (but I was pretty bewildered about the church). It did cause some pause and reflection for my husband in His walk, but in a needful way. It definitely caused us both to realize that “eyes on the people” and not on God Himself, is the WRONG way to approach church. Well, if you aren’t part of the solution, you are probably part of the problem, right? Lots of examination was in order.
I have been blessed to know the Lord from a young age. My husband was saved in his teens, myself at age 9. I had the advantage of plenty of hours in the Word by virtue of my always having been a book-nut with an enormous appetite for words, reading, and studying, had a great youth group with several Godly youth leaders, good Sunday School teachers, and a year in Christian school. More recently, I’ve had plenty of time for reading and studying, due to physical limitations taking me out of the workforce, and our kids getting into the independent teen years.
When we found ourselves “out in the cold with no church home, scratching our heads and shouting, “True Church, WHERE ARE YOU?”, I was expressing my frustrations to my Dad, bemoaning the fact that sometime between when I left the church in my 20′s and came back, the church seemed to have changed quite a bit, and Most of the “leaders” now seemed to know very little about scripture, or were at the very least, confused. My Dad, who is not known for his profundity, said to me, “Honey, you ARE the church”. Well, my Dad is a simple man. And in his retirement, he spends a lot of time reading his Bible and the wisdom of what he said, embedded deep in my gut and in my spirit. He also said, if you feel like there aren’t knowledgeable teachers, maybe you’re supposed to be teaching. I am not a “speaker” but I recognized that, yes, I could be an instrument to help others understand and grow, by way of my writing.
Well, not having a church at all was not an option, of course, and we next took a short foray into the “Home-church” movement. According to those we knew who were home-churchers, it is meant to be a return to the roots of the church at her inception, meeting in the homes of believers, no one person raised above the others on a platform doing all the speaking, all gifts exercised and honored, everyone studying, coming to church ready with something to share that God had shown them, and all of that followed by breaking bread together in a noon meal. Still, there were some very mature believers who emerged naturally in an unofficial leadership. It was a good experience, all in all we enjoyed it and it was a large part of my personal springboard into getting back to roots, and better understanding of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but we were not led to join this body. Our kids had never had what we had growing up, which was a church that was “home”, growing up with the kids of other church families who were like an extended family of cousins and uncles and aunts, and consistent foundations in the Word of God. That really saddened me.
We were still a little ignorant (dense?) of the fact we as parents could and should have been instilling those foundations to a much greater degree in the home. We did read Bible stories to them as kids, we did have family devotions, though we often faltered and re-started the habit. It has become consistent now, in their teens, though we are still praying for it to become a habit they “own” and follow for themselves without our prompting. We see some initiative in the older one on that score, so hopefully it’s taken root. There should have been verse memorization, and more exposure to the Bible at every turn. Of course we assumed that as our kids attended VBS and Sunday School they were getting a good bit of that like we did as kids. It took a long time to fully grasp just how much “church” has changed since we grew up.
Practically extinct, are the old hymns that become so familiar by sheer repetition, that you didn’t even need the hymnbook to sing them, and so chock-full of scripture verse and Bible principle that you were learning, absorbing and internalizing the Word without even realizing it.
At that point in our life, we had finally gotten some competent Medical help and figured out correct diagnosis of some of my health issues, and that was stabilizing some. As far as things spiritual, I was pretty much finished being hurt, but I was pretty upset about the mess the church was in. The feeling was directed less at people, and more at the proper culprit, satan himself. As a hospice nurse, and by God-given personality, I am pretty sensitive, and have a “radar” for the hurting. But between illness, losing my ability to remain in my field of work that I’d studied for and was good at, and other hurts, years of my own emotional and spiritual pain had piled up. It was very tempting to shut down and drop out of life. It seemed to me, like few people remained in the world who cared about the important things like personal relationship, loyalty, sincerity, truth, accuracy, sanctity of life, honesty, integrity. People just didn’t seem to care about anything other than a good time, and self. (The Bible tells us it will be this way at the end times). To me, “not caring” was not an option. I felt pretty empty and wrung dry. I didn’t know where I was going to find the energy, but I remember the day that I lay keening in grief and said to God, and then to my husband as well: ”I don’t care if I’m the last person in this world who cares. I am going to continue to CARE, if it takes my last ounce of strength”.
For the most part, people decide to stop caring. We are born with tender hearts and compassion, although in cases of extreme abuse and neglect, this can be conditioned out of a person. This world is a painful place. But in too many cases people choose to simply care most about themselves, or only about themselves.
The next part of the story is yet still a little fresh and harder to write about. In every case, as wounds healed into scars, as all non-lethal wounds eventually do, God was steadily making object lessons out of our experiences, and teaching us things about sinful human nature, about the nature of forgiveness, and about Himself. The next section of this life-course would expose us to some of the plagues destroying the modern church. It would also include a very supernatural element, and some intense spiritual warfare. I look back now and know that period was nothing less than a minefield that God deliberately waked me through. I promise I will actually get back to what all of this has to do with Ezekiel, as well.
Tune in tomorrow for the continuation!
I have posted on the topic of college education a couple of times. I happen to live in a town that got its start as a factory town and which has remained as such, to some extent, even today, as far as the economic base of it. The working class and blue-collar nature of most of the folks in my immediate surroundings, has afforded these folks the basics and then some. It has not allowed them to trade up to the McMansion, therefore most of the homes in this area have not depreciated quite as much as others in more “affluent” areas, simply because their value was not over-inflated to begin with (unless it was for the purpose of banks offering what amounted to essentially unsecured lines/loans of equity).
We keep reading about the massive wealth reduction that is coming. (The ”super-rich will lose up to 50% of their net worth” so the stories say). But let’s get some perspective on this. If you don’t have millions, and have learned how to live on oh-so-much less, this is not going to effect you the same way it will affect the Warren Buffet, Donald Trump types. I’m not saying that we down at the bottom of the food chain aren’t going to feel it. But we will have the advantage of already knowing how to make do. So many things in our world have ballooned to grotesque and ludicrous proportions. One would be hard-pressed to look around and find much of anything that is reasonable anymore. And the premium placed on “higher education”, in my opinion, is one of the things that has become overly exaggerated, (to say nothing of the price) Again, I am not against education. I am only against the version of it that has been packaged and sold to young people in this country for several decades. It is an inferior product and yet the establishment has created a false “rarity” or value by repeatedly raising the cost. I graduated from High School 30 years ago and here in the U.S. the cost of college tuition has quadrupled since then. There are many ways to get an education. And though a degree does sometimes lead to a higher salary, it does not gaurantee it “right out of the starting gate”. Especially now, in this economy. The entry-level plaing field has become, well, more ”level”. So who is going to be ahead in 15 years? The guy who started without $50k-$100k in student loans, or the guy who started out getting to keep what is left of his paycheck after Uncle Sam gets his cut (which is also unreasonable, but thats a topic for another post).
Too many waitresses and line cooks are paying huge monthly student loan payments for 4 year (or greater) degrees in specialized fields in which no jobs are availabe. Many financial forecasters began predicting 12 or more months ago, that the student loan “bubble” will be the next to burst.
At one time owning a home was the best and most important investment for families starting out. It was gauranteed equity. Now that equity has been eaten up. And just as Americans have had to change their thinking about that particular investment, these times may call for young people, and parents of young people, to change their thinking about the best route to career training and proficiency, and what the demands will be, down the road. I realize what follows in this post is essentially an advertisement. Still, in the interest of high school graduates knowing their options, I like to pass along things like this when I run across them:
Five Unconventional Careers You Can Prepare for in the Army National Guard
Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out for business, sales, or high finance. Not all of us are wired to learn a trade. Some of us balk at being a restaurateur, retail manager, or copier repair professional. All honorable pursuits, certainly. Especially if it helps pay the bills. But what if the call of the unconventional beckons?
If your requirements for personal fulfillment are just a little different, look into training programs for these exciting careers available with the help of the National Guard:
What it comes down to is this: Consider what kind of job you really want. Perhaps it is in a traditional field (the Guard can help with that, too). But if what really floats your boat is the unconventional, check out jobs.nationalguard.com and contact your Army National Guard Recruiter today to get the training you need to pursue the career path less traveled.
My previous posts on education and career paths:
This post is a little more off the top of the head than most I’ve done. So bear with me if I meander. Think of it as organic, lol.
I have a strange mind. I’m kind of an eclectomaniac. (I made that word up). I have lots of interests, a short attention span, and a bad memeory. My mind can jump around. A LOT. It’s just how God made me. (ok, maybe middle age and parenthood played a part too). Anyhoo, I am rather inquisitive, and kinda quirky in my way of looking at things. Sometimes I think God gets tired of my incessant questions and tosses thoughts to me like a new toy just to catch a few minutes break. “There, chew on that and see what comes to you”, He seems to say. So here’s a peek inside my head from today:
My Dad is a fairly simple fellow. He firmly believes in reading the Bible and believing it for what it says. Yet a pet peeve he harps upon is this idea that heaven is full of shiny pretentious mansions. I’ve always sort of chuckled, wondering why the idea of mansions in heaven offended him so much. He says, “well, it’s going to be perfect there. No harsh weather, extreme heat or cold. Why would we need a “shelter”, a great big old mansion for every single person in heaven?” (Probably the idea of it makes him feel a little claustrophobic. He’s a country boy and likes the outdoors and open spaces).
We picture Jesus, (a carpenter when here on Earth) up there hammering, sawing, measuring, and taking great pleasure in building a house with all our preferences in mind, anticipating our delight. We forget that before Jesus was a carpenter, He was The Creator God. Still is.
Just out of the blue this morning, the Lord turned my mind to a familiar verse I’ve heard all my life and prompted me to “just think about it for a minute”. So I did, and Sha-Zam!
The scripture God brought to mind was 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that morality might be swallowed up in life.
Now, our friend Pastor Mike Hoggard says, take a principle or word and “chase it down” throughout the scriptures if you want to understand it. The Bible is its own best and most exhaustive commentary and dictionary.
So I compared 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 to John 14:2, the verse which no doubt inspired the famous song: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
In both passages the word “house” is οἰκία- pronounced oy-kee’-ah, and means residence or abode. (Strongs G3624).
In John 14:2 the word “mansions” is μονή-pronounced mon-ay’, and means residence or abode. (Strongs G3438).
The word “house” is used 2026 times in the King James Bible! 206 times in the New Testament, and 10 times in John. That has nothing to do with my point, I just think it is a cool factoid and it may fool you into thinking I’m smarter than I actually am, lol.
The word “mansion” appears only ONE time in the whole Bible: in John 14:2, and the meaning is the same as that in 2 Corinthians 5.
A tabernacle is, of course, a tent, or temporary residence. That’s beside the point too, but what can I say? I love words. I’m a word nerd.
Could it be that the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”, the much-anticipated upgrade from what we are “clothed upon with” here, to the “mansion” we shall be “clothed upon with” in heaven, is not referring to our own personal “palace” up there?
I understand the commonly accepted explanation of this passage comes about by parallel with the known marital customs of the ancient time and culture of Jesus day, wherein the bridegroom returned to His father’s land or house, and built an addition or dwelling for His bride, and when it was complete he would go fetch her. That’s really cool and all, but lets forget about that for a minute. Think about it! What is it that we groan for? Is it not that moment in time, in a twinkling of an eye, when we shed this corrupt earthly body and are clothed upon with the new incorruptible one!
Like turtles carry their “abode” with them everywhere they go, perhaps this “abode”/”house” or “mansion” spoken of is the new, perfect deluxe model body we will inhabit! Maybe that’s what Jesus has been up there working on and preparing for us all these years!
A tent is to a mansion, as an earthly body is to a glorified heavenly body. There’s really no comparison! Ha! Who needs a castle?
Well, whether mansion means mansion in the plain sense of the word, or in the sense of a house-abode-upgraded body with which we will be “clothed upon”, Glory hallelujah, I say bring it on! Either way it is going to be incomprehensibly awesome!