What is Truth?

Bing Images – Jesus before Pilate

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

I am subscribed to T.R. Nobel’s blog: http://www.nobledevotionblog.wordpress.com, and on April 25, 2022, she shared the following imbedded video. Melissa Dougherty is creating a series on Jehovah’s Witnesses, explaining how to understand, love, and speak truth to them. I also recommend her short 16-minute video: The Time A Chrisitan Visited a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall. T.R. Nobel shares on her blog questions to look at that go along with the following video.

Forgive me for being absent for a few weeks, we took a two-week break at our daughter’s home in Los Angeles, and after a bout of COVID, we ended our trip with a long stay at both JFK and Boston airports which made our return trip twice as long as we expected. We hit the ground running with a busy schedule and this is the first time I’ve had to catch my breath. This blog and videos hit home for me because I studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses for a short time as a young mother and new believer in Jesus. I share that story with you now.

A cousin of mine was addicted to drugs. While in drug rehab, he was visited by some Jehovah’s Witness members who helped him recover. He fell in love with the daughter of one of the leaders, they married and then went to NYC to work at The Watch Tower. My aunt was just glad to have him off drugs.

In the fall of 1983, we moved into the village of Lowville with our daughter 20 months old and our son three months. For the first time in our short married life, we got cable TV and I was able to watch my first episode of The 700 Club. Growing up in a Presbyterian church, we did not talk about ‘being born again’, but this show explained it and each episode ended with Ben Kinchlow leading us in ‘The Sinner’s Prayer’. I began repeating it with him on Monday, then each day until on Friday, Ben noted, “You may not feel anything different, but if you said this prayer, believe God heard you.” A light went on in my head and heart and I realized I had to take salvation by faith.

About a month later, a couple of grandparent-ish Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up at my door with a briefcase filled with books and papers. The woman remarked on my young ones and asked if I’d like to have her do a Bible study in my home. I had been going to the first Bible study our new Pastor had started on the Book of Revelation at church on Thursday evenings. It was hard to get out with my babies, and I knew my cousin was Jehovah’s Witness and I didn’t know much about it, so I said yes.

She came in with a benign looking book which I think had Adam and Eve in the garden on the cover done in sepia tones. It was like an older child’s story book. She would sit at our kitchen table as I was feeding my children breakfast and we read the book and did the questions together. She quickly taught me their beliefs that you cannot pray to God and to Jesus or that’s praying to two Gods. Also, Easter, Christmas, the cross… were all pagan celebrations and symbols. Easter was Estrus, Christmas was a Druid mid-winter festival, Jesus died on a stake, not a cross and because of the verse that says:

Matthew 24:19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

… you should not have children or not many. My cousin and his wife have never had a child. Very sad for my aunt! Oh, one day I was at Mom’s house when my aunt was there, she told me not to fool with the Jehovah’s Witnesses unless I was really serious about it. Next…

Leviticus 17:11a. For the life of the flesh is in the blood

Because of this Scripture, they believe you should not donate your blood. I marveled, with a bit of disgruntlement, that my young daughter could easily answer the questions in the readings we were doing. I also threw away my blood donor card and the fancy cross necklace I’d been given from my church. I came under a fear that if I didn’t come under the Watch Tower, the end was near, and I would not be saved. The woman invited me to a sledding party they were hosting, and I seriously thought of going to their Kingdom Hall. As a new believer in Jesus, I had not begun Bible reading on my own and did not know how to speak about my salvation and had no idea what it all meant.

I began to back off from wanting them to come into my home. The day they walked in to see I had put up a Christmas tree and was noticeably pregnant with our third child, she was not happy with me. Shortly after this we moved to the other end of town, and I did not tell her our new address. The Adirondack Home News, a free weekly paper, came into our new apartment. Looking through the classifieds, I saw an ad, “Are you involved with Jehovah’s Witnesses? Do you need help? Call Cheryl ‘555-666-8888′” I cut that ad out and never saw it in the paper again, but a few weeks later I got up courage to call the number and Cheryl answered. She said she’d love to come visit me and we’d talk. She came a few days later and gave me some cassette tapes that talked about abuses JW’s had done and told me her story and encouraged me in my young motherhood. She said she had hated going door-to-door and prayed no one would be at home when she had to knock. She gave me a couple of Scriptures that are supposed to speak truth to Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I used them the next time the couple came (yes, a kind neighbor near our old apartment told her where we’d moved). After telling her these things, she finally quit coming to my house.

I got into a good Bible believing and teaching, Spirit led church soon after and spent years trying to search out what the Jehovah’s Witnesses had taught me to see which things were true and which were not and what really mattered as far as truth in Jesus. Yes, we need to have a firm handle on what we believe and why. Even the Bible says that zeal without knowledge is no good. Remember, God’s will is that none should perish, so we need to love people that have been deceived like this and share truth with them. In the 16 minute video above, Melissa shares clips of former Jehovah’s Witnesses that were never told the truth by any Christian. We need to learn how to lovingly share truth with those who are hurting like this. There are kernels of truth in each cult/false teaching. As they do, we should be witnessing to people in Jesus’ name and living a godly life that shows our faith. Yes, it is biblical to go out two by two.

When I began attending Airport Chrisitan Fellowship Church in Dexter, I found out that Cheryl, the woman who came out of JW’s, had been part of that church when it was called Dexter Faith Fellowship. What a small world it is, especially if you are connected in Christ! I leave you with an amazing sunset I captured through a friend’s window last evening.

Glory to God in the highest!

(Sorry for all the little spring bugs that were swarming on the screen!)

Mazel Tove!

A blessing on your head, Mazel Tove, Mazel Tove! Just thinking ahead to Passover beginning and Good Friday, Easter… the time to celebrate what the Lord has done for Jews, Christians and the Messianic. Mazel Tove is a blessing upon your head, which I pray for all my readers as Psalm 139:5 says.

I am thinking about how God set the times and seasons at the beginning of this world He made for us. Also, about boarding my flight from JFK to California, where I came upon a young Jewish boy with his black yarmulka on his head. I greeted him with “Shalom dear brother” while wearing my t-shirt that says,” Jesus is my happy place”. I proceeded to tell him I had a Jewish grandmother. Needless to say, I was not well received, although he didn’t say anything to me.

God established the rituals of Passover as a reminder of how He brought them out of Egypt-the term Seder actually means order-it revealed to me how much symbolism is part of the order of things. This meal was to remind the children of what a great and mighty God we have, telling and showing how the first Passover was celebrated. Children, even adults, need to have things acted out in a way they can remember, and this celebration is one of several in the Jewish calendar that do that.

In Christian society, we celebrate the Last Supper, remembering how Jesus Christ suffered and died as the perfect Passover Lamb. His agony and triumph mean we no longer have to pay for our own sins as long as we accept what He did as payment for all. When we celebrate communion, Jesus said it’s to remember what He did until He comes back. At this time in this universe, I believe the “fullness of the Amorites” sins are coming to a close, being exposed and dealt with, to make room for God’s glory to come down. Remember, God does not share His glory with anyone else, so hold on tight and stand in faith!

Which leads me back to my word for the year, forgiveness. I have not taken the time to research the word yet, so I will begin here with the dictionary definition.

forgiveness (noun)

  1. the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven: “she is quick to ask forgiveness when she has overstepped the line:
  2. synonyms: pardon · absolution · exoneration · remission · dispensation · indulgence · understanding · tolerance · purgation · clemency · mercy · pity · lenience · leniency · quarter · reprieve · discharge · amnesty · delivery · acquittal · clearing · pardoning · condoning · condonation · vindication · exculpation · shrift · shriving
  3. antonyms: mercilessness · punishment

Jesus, the spotless, sinless Lamb of God, tells us to forgive others, or He cannot forgive us. Many people have been healed physically, emotionally and spiritually by the act of forgiving those who wronged them. Unforgiveness is like a cancer that grows over time and corrupts your body, soul, and mind. Unforgiveness breaks apart relationships and damages many things. I have heard it likened to eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die!

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (NIV)

When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.”

from Forgive and Forget by Louis Smedes

Ephesians 1:7–8
He [God] is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (NLT)

People ask how they are to deal with the person they have forgiven. Some people are so toxic that you cannot totally reconcile, cannot take them back into close fellowship. If you are being abused, get out and deal with things as the Lord gives you grace.

I watched a documentary called The Conductor on the plane. Marin Alsop was a pioneer in women conducting symphony orchestras. She shares how lonely it was growing up as an only child with two professional musicians as parents. Marin has accrued many hurts and disappointments over her life, but the last scene shows her putting flowers on her parents’ grave. She has finally forgiven and is thankful for the things they sowed into her life. She realizes the great love they had, dying close together, from a broken heart. I pray that you can forgive those who the Lord brings to mind, releasing them from the cage you’ve held them in. Shalom dear readers!

From the window seat as we got close to LAX

Communication and Relationship

I draw your attention to the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians. It has a lot to do with communication and relationship. Our first relationship should be with God, then with the people around us. Jesus died to restore our access to Father God, which was lost when Adam sinned, and also the power to join Jew and Gentile into one body.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

Christ’s body is made up of many members, no matter what your background, no matter what your strengths and weaknesses are.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

Yes, we have diverse giftings, different ministries, different activities, but we are all one in the Spirit of God. Which leads me to the book I’m reading this week. I met Dayna E. Mazzuca on LinkedIn. She did a two week zoom seminar on defining which of the five ministry gifts you belong to and mentioned her book, Write to be Read, Speak to be Heard A Communication Guide To The Five Filters. As a writer, I was interested!

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 

Dayna introduces you to The Scholar, The Social Connector, The Change Agent, The Adventurer, and The Mystic. Each of these types of readers has a filter they use when they read or listen. If you want your writing or speaking to be relevant, you need to know how these filters work, for yourself as well as them. The book is written in three sections. The first defines the types of readers, the second describes how these filters work in each type. The third section gives you a checklist to use when deciding how to reach your reader.

I quote two things Dayna points out at the end:

The onus is on you, the person aiming to be heard, to accommodate your various listener’s filters.

Page 82

Communication is an art, but it’s also work. The work of a committed soul hoping to reach another soul.

Page 83

Dayna Mazzuca has a passion to help us communicate with each other, to help us fulfill 1 Corinthians 12 by understanding what God has given us, how it fits with what others have been given, and using it to build up the body of Christ. This is a short 84-page book I recommend as a teaching and a tool, and you can get the Kindle edition for $2.99. Here is her website:

I leave you all with a photo of our yard with its latest snow, which has already melted, and encourage you to read through 1 Corinthians chapter twelve this week. Be blessed and be a blessing!

The Thrill/The Agony

The Agony

Luke 9:23 Then He [Jesus] said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

The Commission

Luke 10:2 Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.

The Joy

17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”

The Truth

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

The last book I finished reading, The Thrill of Victory The Agony of Defeat from Randy Clark’s Message Series is one I got when the Global Awakening team came to our church. Randy Clark has spent decades learning about healing and shares his experiences. This short book explores our responsibility Jesus gave us to heal the sick and what that looks like. We receive power and compassion from Jesus and in His compassion, Randy admits there is a high emotional price tag that comes with praying for the sick. A man who came to Randy’s Baptist church to lead a healing workshop said this:

“Don’t say this doesn’t work until you have prayed for at least 200 people because some of you will start praying for the sick and will not see anybody healed a few times and will quit. But I am telling you, do not quit or say you did not get anything until you have laid your hands on 200 people and you, yourself have prayed for them. If you will do that, I promise you will be hooked for life because you will see people healed.”

page 6

Randy has found that victories and defeats go hand in hand with healing, as ABC’s Wide World of Sports used to say, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. I encourage you to read the quote from page 6 and take some time thinking how it applies to you.

Randy shares five principles for healing, cautioning that principles cannot be made into laws. The five principles are:

  1. faith

2. sin blocking healing

3. the anointed person

4. feeling the anointing

5. moving with compassion

Healing can work through anyone willing to let the Spirit flow through them. All these principles are true, and these things give confidence to step out in faith, but they don’t always work. Healing works even if there’s little faith on your part or the other person’s, even if there’s unconfessed sin, if you are not anointed to heal, don’t feel the anointing, or feel no compassion. I see this as key to walking out the Christian life. If something works, we take the principle and make it a law. Since God can’t live in a box we make, we cannot pin down what will work every time and have to be open to the flow of the Spirit. Randy says:

“The whole point of this two-part booklet is for you to believe that God can use you. That you personally can experience the thrill of victory.”

page 21

Randy Clark shares many examples of his experiences. Many healed, others who were not. It’s a real taste of the victory and the agony he has personally experienced. I recommend this book as great encouragement for anyone wanting to see God move in and through them to keep going.

Every day is a new day to serve the Lord, every night is time to give thanks and let God speak to you in your dreams.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a well-known figure from recent history. How much do you know about her life and ministry? After reading this book, I know a bit more and would like to share some of the things I gleaned from this book. Father Leo Maasburg, from Austria, was Mother Teresa’s close companion for many years, beginning when he was new to the Priesthood. She always wanted a Priest handy to give the sacraments as she travelled and ministered, and Father Leo accompanied her often.

Although I do not agree with all Catholic church doctrines, I do agree with the core of Mother Teresa’s ministry, the first of which is: we are all created to love and to be loved. She ministered with her Sisters of Compassion to the poorest of the poor, seeing Jesus in the most decrepit and caring for them without any desire for recompense. She believed that you learn humility by being humbled. If she sensed pride creeping in, she would clean toilets; the dirtier the better! Her three rules:

*Loving trust (in God)

*Total surrender (to God)

*Cheerfulness (due to the first two)

We all seem to ask God to fill us, but she said, “Even God cannot fill someone already full!” And what’s the problem with the church today? You and Me! Our selfishness and lack of love bring divisions. Her view of abortion was the topic for her Nobel Peace Prize speech as well as the one for the National Prayer Breakfast. Abortion means the mother and/or father hating the baby, trying to dispose of “a problem” creating ‘A Problem’. She offered to take any baby that wasn’t wanted and supported adoption.

Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

This was one woman showing what being bold as a lion, wise as serpents, and harmless as doves looks like. She would walk up to a communist leader flanked by armed guards, soften his heart by loving on him, and secure permission to open a House of Mercy in their area. One account is told of a couple of her Sisters of Charity who walked up to a man with a gun and killed him with kindness, displaying no fear!

When finding a new place for the Sisters of Charity to have a house, the first room she designed was the sacristy so they could have their prayer and devotion times. She hung a crucifix and under Jesus’ arm she had “I thirst!” which she saw as the humility of God displayed on the cross. Mother Teresa’s goal was to fill Jesus’ thirst by humbly bringing people to their knees and to love whomever they could love for Jesus. “We are only pencils in God’s hand.” And again, “You don’t need to come to Calcutta at all to discover Jesus in the poorest of the poor. The poor are right there where you are, very often in your own families. Look for them, find them and put your love for Jesus into a living action for them.” [page 145]

What about us? The two laws Jesus left us with: love God with all your heart soul and strength, love your neighbor as you love yourself. When you give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, you are ministering to Him. I’m reminded of the old song: “I don’t like spiders & snakes, but that ain’t what it takes to love you!” We live in a hurting world, and we have the solution. Jesus left us with all we need to love the unlovable. Let us draw on the treasure He has put inside each of us who believe and be His hands, feet, mouth… even ‘God’s pencil’!

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I leave you with a final Mother Teresa quote to ponder from Page 157: “… our witness for Christ must always be of such a kind that people cannot decide against Him by mistake!”

Unexpected Journey

This week I finished reading Heaven an unexpected journey by Jim Woodford with Dr. Thom Gardner. The subtitle: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, & The Afterlife. Each chapter ends with Take The Journey[TTJ] written by Dr. Gardner. He brings you into the main part of each chapter and helps you meditate on what Jim has shared from his heavenly experience. There is a prayer written at the end of each TTJ. I want to share a couple things from Jim’s story here.

Chapter 6 is titled: The Sticky Love of God. Jim was shown horses in heaven. Everything is made of light. When he touched the horses, the light radiated out of them as he began to pull his hand away. The essence of God’s love is the light! Like some of the gooey things our kids play with, it sticks. God’s love is sticky, elastic, drawing us back to Himself. He knows how we are made because He made us. It was out of His love that we were created, that all things in heaven and on earth were created. The light and love of God is in each of us. Jim found out the angels recognize it, and all creation in heaven recognizes it and reaches out to us to connect with the love of God that is part of the way God created us.

After experiencing heaven, Jim can love himself as God does, and love all people as God loves him. Jim hung in the balance on the precipice of hell. A demon even tore at his back with its claws as a voice from hell was beckoning him, “Jim, come with us, We’re here for you! This is where you belong!” (pg. 56) When Jim found himself outside his truck, outside his body, he said, “God, forgive me!” When he was on the precipice between heaven and hell he said, “God help me!” Those six words saved him and changed his life on earth and eternity forever.

Psalm 10:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

Have you heard the evil one speaking to you as those in hell spoke to Jim? Have you wondered if Jesus could cover ALL your sins? If your soul can be healed from the damage done to you by other people by yourself or others over your lifetime? Have you come deep enough into God’s love expressed in Jesus Christ’s suffering, dying and being raised to life that you can love those around you?

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Have you come to Jesus? Have you come close enough to learn from Him? have you found rest and the light burden when you share it with Him? Enter into the rest of the Lord. It’s the best place to be! I recommend Heaven an unexpected journey to anyone who wants to understand the love of God, the light of God, the encouragement we need to live this life and truly trust that you have a home in heaven.

2 Corithinans 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

In other news, I want to thank the Global Awakening team from the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) for coming last weekend to do a conference at our church. You can catch the services on our church website or connect with the ministry with the links below.

http://www.airportchristianfellowship.org/church-events/

https://globalawakening.com/

Photo by Mu0103lina Su00eerbu on Pexels.com

During the conference, I was given a word from the Lord about being a sunflower. It had to do with turning toward the Sun (God) and many seeds, multiplying my giftings and sharing with others to raise up others to come into the things God has planned for them. It encouraged me, the Lord assured me He knows I’m growing closer and is pleased with the time I am setting aside to connect with Him.

How is your time going seeking the Lord while He may be found? Currently, I use the timer on my phone and set five minutes for singing to the Lord, ten minutes for praying/singing in tongues, fifteen minutes for reading the Bible and praying. Sometimes the thirty minutes spreads to an hour, sometimes it’s cut short. The Lord is happy with whatever you can purpose to bring to the relationship Jesus died to give you. Remember, it’s not a religion, it is all about relationship!

Psalm 40:16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”

My prayer for you is that you will rejoice and be glad, that your mouth continually be filled with praise, and you find your strength in the stillness. Also, that you will daily experience the Joy of the Lord, our strength. Amen. Jim says Joy is defined as ‘living on the edge of a huge laugh’! (pg. 166) Have you ever tasted that joy?

Let us all unplug for a bit each day!

Early March Musings

I am busy doing a big editing job. The manuscript comes from a local Vietnam Vet who wants to share his personal account of a year in Nam and lay out the failure of our Nation to deal with the “police action” and its aftermath so the festering wound many veterans and activists- our nation as a whole-have can be cleaned out and reconciliation may come. The author’s wish is that we would learn from and correct the mistakes to keep from repeating them. I will let you know when this manuscript becomes a book; the author has wanted to speak out for decades and could use the encouragement!

Since I didn’t share any books I’m reading last post, here is one I finished over the weekend: 8 Keys to Kingdom Resources by Shawn Bolz. He begins with this:

“I have heard it said (and have said myself) that Heaven has an economy. A better statement is that Heaven is full of the best economic principles in existence.”

Shawn Bolz in 8 Keys to Kingdom Resources page 3.

This book is a condensation of Keys To Heaven’s Economy An Angelic Visitation from the Minister of Finance. In 8 Keys, Shawn covers:

1. Giving And Generosity

2. Finance, Resources, and Time

3. Favor, Relationship, and Influence

4. Hard Work

5. Creativity

6. Education

7. Risk and Faith

8. Intimacy With God

Have you ever thought about this many things being involved in Heaven Economy? It’s more than:

Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Add to it:

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

The parable of the talents in Matthew 25, adding:

Daniel 1:17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

And so much more. As we discover God’s storehouses are overflowing and He is our Father who loves to give good gifts to His children and what Mark shares about the abundant, and more abundant, life Jesus died to give to us,

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

8 Keys is a simple, but deep little book that goes far beyond the false “Prosperity Doctrine” many churches have adopted. Jesus does not want us to be poor, but to put our trust in Him to use what we’ve been given as the man with the five talents and the man with the three talents did. If you live in fear and hold tight to what God has given you to give away, invest, or share with others, the Kingdom cannot advance. This is illustrated by the man with the one talent who buried it because he knew it was a hard taskmaster that it belonged to.

Heaven’s economy has no lack. That means wealth is a renewable resource; the more you give, the more you have to give. The more you get and use knowledge, the more knowledge you have to give. It’s worth the risk, as long as you are intimately involved with God’s plan for you and those around you. The Gospel is free, but it takes finances to spread it! Let us do all things in the spirit of God’s love!

God’s Love Is All In All!

It is all we need!

Ephesians 4 Unity

Snowy view out my window

After my post last week, I have been thinking about unity in the Body of Christ and in the world. Purity comes to mind and the snowy weather this week reminds me that Jesus’ blood washes even the vilest sinner whiter than snow. Ephesians chapter 4 is the spot I’ve been reading all week and I want to share it with you.

Ephesians 4:1 I, (Apostle Paul) therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace… walk worthy… with all lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering… bear with each other in love. So, this is how we walk worthy of the calling of Christ on our lives. This bearing with each other is what brings unity, all wrapped up in the love of God.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism… one God who is Father of us all… He is above all, through all, in all. Unity! Bought with the price of God’s Son Jesus.

Spiritual Gifts

4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

Spiritual gifts? They are not given according to our efforts, but a free measure of grace gifted to each of us. Jesus led captivity captive, allowing us to become free from what captures us besides His grace. Think about Christ’s gift: all loves excelling, all hell defeated, the full measure of the Godhead residing inside the Believer!

4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 

So, Jesus gives mankind these gifts and callings to equip us to minister, to edify the body of Christ. The Unity of the Faith and Knowledge of the Son of God. We are to become perfect as He is perfect, attaining… by grace… the fullness of Christ.

4:14 … that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

As we expect our own children to do, we must grow up in the Lord so we will be carried by the wind of the Spirit of God instead of the wind of doctrine and trickery of men… trickery… cunning craftiness… deceitful plotting…. Father, forgive us for being led astray, not walking in Your Spirit and submitting to these things that bring fear and division. Amen.

4:15… but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

How then shall we walk? Speaking the truth in love. This will cause us to grow up in Christ. We are His Body, joined… knit together… How? By what each joint supplies. Every part of His Body, every member of His Church, must work in unity. The synergy of a congregation as each member recognizes the gifts within and walks in them, each doing its part, causes the growth of the Body of Christ. Each of us in position to edify the others in love.

Ukraine is in the news this week. Instead of repeating the dire predictions of Russia pounding Ukraine’s Warriors, blow the Shofar! Today the Spirit prompted me to remember Gideon’s army, David’s battle with Goliath, all the “ites” that were defeated by Israel when they sent Judah first, putting the worshippers, musicians, and singers before the army. It’s high time to war in the Spirit and see a great miracle in Ukraine as big as when God parted the waters of the Red Sea. The Egyptian chariot wheels that got stuck in the mud as the waters came back together after God’s people passed through on dry land can still be seen at the bottom of that Sea today!

The Glory of the Lord shines around us! Let’s go forth

in unity and victory!

A Queer Quandary

NOTE: I love all people because God made each one of us and loves each of us the same. Walking in love does not mean condoning sin, even my own!

Queer: denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially heterosexual.

According to Wikipedia, “Queer is an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. Originally meaning “strange” or “peculiar”, queer came to be used pejoratively against those with same-sex desires or relationships in the late 19th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, queer activists, such as the members of Queer Nation, began to reclaim the word as a deliberately provocative and politically radical alternative to the more assimilationist branches of the LGBT community.” [hi-lighting done by me. HH]

Quandary: A state of perplexity or doubt; dilemma.

My eleven-year-old granddaughter who is in fifth grade at a small elementary school texted me about a week ago asking what to say when she confronted people at school. She has a teacher who is openly lesbian and has a partner, which makes her very uncomfortable. The school sponsors an LGBTQ meeting during lunch periodically, offering pizza to all who attend. Natty sits alone in the cafeteria, the only one who does not attend. She also has a girl friend who is gender-confused that she’s been trying to speak truth to.

This movement has hijacked God’s rainbow, the word ‘queer’, the word ‘gay’… I pity the young person who tries to read and understand some of the older classic books which use these words with different meanings! So, is truth relative according to the prevailing culture… does it change? The Bible is truth that comes from our God who does not change. Jesus is The Truth, and always will be the only way to eternal life. In an attempt to be non-discriminatory, our schools have aided and abetted the enemy’s plans to corrupt young children and prevent them from fulfilling their God-given destinies. The devil sees abortion is not killing enough infants, so these plans keep them from being conceived. It allows a same sex “married” couple to adopt a child.

What does God say?

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God created human beings male and female from the start. He made our bodies to create and raise children to populate the earth, giving us dominion and authority to subdue and rule over the earth He created for us. If you research the Hebrew, both male and female are Adom – man and wo-man; a man with a womb. This makes us mankind.

Some people say the Bible doesn’t say anything about homosexuality. Must be they’re not reading the versions I have read! Let’s look at what it says. I am using the NIV. Dr. Kevin Zadai uses it frequently and lovingly calls it the ‘Nearly-Inspired Version‘. The first verse is from the part of the book of Exodus that lays down God’s Law for sexual conduct.

Exodus 22:22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.'”

Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction is where the term Sodomy came from, which used to be against the law in our country. Remember, those cities were destroyed with fire and brimstone from heaven.

Genesis 19:4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

A good portion of the tribe of Benjamin was destroyed by the other tribes of Israel because they had given themselves over to homosexuality.

Judges 19:22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”

It would seem unloving for God to destroy people who perverted God’s sexual design [as you read in Exodus 22], but if the Israelites had obeyed God and put to death those who practice immorality, the sins would have been removed from society and not passed on to the generations. The New Testament compares sexual immorality to the worst sins and depravity that come from the human heart.

Matthew 15:18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 

1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.

1 Timothy 1:9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine…

Well, I did not load Natty down with all these Scriptures, but the pertinent ones, and reminded her to speak the truth in love.

Ephesians 4:15 “… speaking the truth in lovewe will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Her Mom gave me a good report: “She told the teacher, ‘I hope you don’t hate me, but I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and don’t believe in homosexuality.'” Her teacher said she doesn’t hate her. Nat’s mom told me the teacher loves Natty and she’s one of her favorite students! That is what the favor of the Lord looks like on a humble, respectful Believer who stands up for truth [in love] instead of political correctness or pat facts. If we don’t step up and walk in the Spirit’s boldness, the youngsters will put us to shame! Last Sunday a twelve-year-old girl stood up and shared a prophetic dream she had that set many people free. May we all walk in the Spirit, know and speak the truth, and keep loving God and loving others at the forefront.

SHALOM!

Valentine Weekend Musings

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Love Of God Makes The World Come Together!

Welcome to my newest gathering of thoughts. Love is the theme for February, through Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. Combining the two themes, we remember the contributions blacks have made to our country, many of which did not make it into our history books, loving people from all races and those in our personal life. The Law of Love is what Jesus Christ gave to us as He completed the journey through the cross to resurrection. If we claim to be believers in Him and do not love God and the people made in His image, we fall short of what Christ has commanded us to do; what He died for.

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FAMILY

Today, my granddaughter is going to her first school dance after school. My son sent a photo of her in her Valentine dress. This evening, John and I are going to Couple’s Evening at my church for desserts and to listen to several couples share about what a godly, loving marriage relationship looks like. My son Alex and wife Joanna celebrate their seventeenth wedding anniversary on February 12 and my daughter Eliza’s birthday is on the 15. Our month of family celebrations continues with grandson Owen turning twelve on the 18th, grandson Steve turning thirteen on the 27th, and daughter-in-law Jana’s birthday on the 28th.

While looking for something else on Amazon, I found an engineer-themed mug that looked perfect for my engineer daughter. I was a bit put off when the estimated delivery was February 17-20 and chastised myself for ordering late. Imagine my joyous thanks to Father God when I got a shipping update: February 14, just in time! Another little “I love you” from my heavenly Father.

I am on Day 38 in Experiencing Jesus Through Communion by Beni Johnson, hard to believe only two days left! By the way, I had a prayer request. You can join me in praying for Beni’s healing from advanced cancer. Today’s theme: “Partaking In A Worthy Manner” can intimidate, but Beni makes it understandable.

1 Peter 1:18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Here is the communion meditation from page 177:

Father, I am so grateful for the precious, holy gift that You have given us in Communion.

I take the body of Your son, acknowledging that it was Jesus’ sacrifice that washed me clean. I could never have done that on my own.

I take the body as a priceless, sacred gift.

I take the blood of Jesus, that which cleansed me from all unrighteousness and set me free. Your blood covers me, Jesus, so that I might participate in Your worthiness and experience Your miraculous power in my life. I receive everything You paid for on the cross.”

Eating the bread and drinking the cup in an unworthy manner could mean taking communion as an unbeliever, never having acknowledged the lordship of Christ. It can also mean to take the bread without realizing it covers all sinners and the entire Church of Christ; His Body. Jesus allowed His blood to be poured out to seal the new covenant, reconciling Jew and Gentile, man and God. Let us remember to walk in love and to forgive others as Christ forgives us. Realize Jesus paid the price for every person on earth and God’s will is that none would perish. NOTE: love and forgiveness do not mean you need to renew a relationship with a toxic person. It also does not mean you have to accept their sin. You are called to love with the love of God found in Christ, no matter what. No one said it would be easy, but He is with you to help you. There is much freedom in resting in God’s love, forgiving, and praying for Him to change hearts.

The final puzzle in the bunch, another 1,000 piece marvel! America, bless God!