If you are a citizen of the United States of America, it’s time to get out and vote next Tuesday, October 8th. Maybe you already did early voting or posted an absenee ballot. If you did, thank you! I’ve heard that if every Christian exercised their right to vote, the outcome would truly change. Don’t believe the lie that your vote doesn’t count.
Getting back to my 2022 focus on forgiveness and adding the topic of faith, my devotional used the 11th chapter of Mark today. I’m reading it in ThePassion Translation and found some deeper clarity to the chapter.
Lessons of Faith
This begins with the morning after Jesus cursed the fig tree “… which was completely withered from the roots up.” Verse 20-21.
22-23: Jesus said, “Let the faith of God be in you!” He told them whoever has great faith and does not doubt… and believes that what he says will happen, it will be done.
Verse 24: “This is the reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer-be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours.”
Now comes the forgiveness part:
Verse 25: when praying, “… if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults.”
Verse 26: BUT…” if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”
Have you noticed that when Jesus talks about praying, He adds the topic of forgiveness?
It is said that God is more than ready to move in His glory, but He needs willing vessels. If we don’t understand the power and authority we have in the name of Christ Jesus, His blood, and our faithful prayers and declarations, we will continue to ask for more power. We will continue to yearn for people to be saved, healed, and set free.
May we be the mighty army of manifest sons and daughters of God that Jesus paid the ultimate price for. Rise up sleepers and march forth in victory! I expect to hear wonderful testimonies of great exploits and glory as you contemplate the things I’ve shared today.
Forgive me for not having pictures today. I’m experimenting with the WordPress app on my phone and haven’t found how to do that yet. Shalom to you all, in the precious name of Jesus.
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 24:19But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 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 isin 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.
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 12:12For 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 12:4There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 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 HeardA Communication Guide To The Five Filters. As a writer, I was interested!
1 Corinthians 12:7But 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.
Communication is an art, but it’s also work. The work of a committed soul hoping to reach another soul.
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!
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 EconomyAn AngelicVisitation 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
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 10:10The 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!
We sang this song in church Sunday and it really hit home for me! It’s good to stop and remember what you were saved from and what it awakened you to. Here are the lyrics and some thoughts that came to me.
Glorious Day written by Mark Hall
I was buried beneath my shame Who could carry that kind of weight? It was my tomb ‘Til I met You
I was breathing, but not alive All my failures I tried to hide It was my tomb ‘Til I met You
Do you remember the shame that buried you before you met Jesus? I do! I remember feeling like all I could describe myself as was a zombie walking through the halls of high school.
I had a chip on my shoulder; thougth I was a Christian because I sang in the church choir and attended regularly. I dressed in my brother’s cast off t-shirts, jeans and hiking boots. It was the late ’70’s into 1981. I was the “goody-two-shoes”, teacher’s daughter, loved and hated by students and teachers by turns. That’s why I hid under the “work” attire and had a terrible attitude. BUT:
You called my name Then I ran out of that grave Out of the darkness Into Your glorious day
I heard Him call my name when I was twenty years old, already a mother to two babies with the third on its way. Jesus took me out of the shame of fornication amongst other things, and I was gloriously awakened! Two years later, when my fourth child was seven months old, I found a Spirit filled church Sunday evenings teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Within a month I experienced baptism in Holy Spirit fire, then I was truly ALIVE!
Now Your mercy has saved my soul Now Your freedom is all that I know The old made new Jesus, when I met You, whoa, what a day
When you called my name and I ran out of that grave Out of the darkness into Your glorious day I needed rescue my sin was heavy But chains break at the weight of Your glory I needed shelter I was an orphan Now You call me a citizen of heaven When I was broken You were my healing Your love is the air that I’m breathing I have a future my eyes are open
Because He called my name, called me out of the grave of sin and death and raised me to life! Praise Jesus, I have a fresh life, I can see into the wonderful future and I know He is the air I’m breathing; I am nothing without His love! I am adopted and made a citizen of heaven, even while here on earth. Are you walking in this victory, my friend?