Welcome dear readers to another installment in my scattered & collected musings for this week. I plan to expound upon some of these topics later.
First, I’m glad to have read two books from our local library by the Bush family this summer/fall. Good background for these remembrances of George H.W. Bush as he’s “graduated to Heaven”.
Once Saved Always Saved? Many verses in the Bible -old and new testaments-do not support this belief.
Is Salvation ONLY A Ticket To Heaven? Are we just offering “fire insurance”?
Was Jesus Christ Born in December? Jewish history reveals from the things mentioned around Christ’s birth that he was born in the spring around Passover, rather than Hanukkah.
Why do we Celebrate Christmas in December? Something to do with some of the first converts after the original Apostle’s time.
Angel Flight 44? A mission that began with a few Christians willing to obey God’s promptings that led to caring for a lot of people immediately after Hurricane Katrina that involved an old Super DC-3 airplane and two radically obedient men.
What could Happen if we Practice Radical Obedience? Could we do as great exploits as those involved in Angel Flight 44?
What Does Ayurvedics have to do with US? Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra’s revolution in integrated medicine in our country and around the world. As Christians, should we be involved at all with this New Age option for health?
How Can We be Healthy Long-Term? Can integrated medicine fit into Biblical principles?
Am I a Good tree or Bad tree? What does the Bible really say?
Psalm 19:14 Let the words ofmy mouth and the meditationofmy heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
My Psalm 91 study Lesson 12:
Psalm 91:14a: “he has loved me, therefore I will…”
Peggy Joyce Ruth notes that Psalm 91 changes with verse 14. God has been talking about His promises in 3rd person, but changes to speaking to us personally from His secret place, announcing promises in the first person. Verses 14 & 15 & 16 are a challenge to set our love on God; these promises are made only to those who have genuinely set their love on God. Jesus says:
John 14:15 “If you love Me,keep My commandments.
There are so many benefits to cultivating a growing relationship with the Lord God of the Universe! My dear friend, what are you doing to strengthen your relationship with Him?
This week I will concentrate on the concepts in lesson 11 of Peggy Joyce Ruth’s Psalm 91 workbook, covering chapter thirteen in the reading:
Psalm 91:13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
A corresponding verse:
Luke 10:19Behold,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.
We as Christians have been given authority over the enemy, but it is not automatic; we must speak forth the authority we have in Jesus’ name when we encounter the enemy. Peggy’s husband cautions that: too many Christians take authority when they should be praying, and pray when they should be taking authority. (p. 75) She notes that Jesus for the most part prayed during the night and took authority during the day.
The big question: what types of problems are the lion, cobra, young lion and serpent (dragon in KJV)?
LION is a big, bad, boldproblemthat hits you in the face such as a mass shooting, a car wreck, financial or “natural” disaster. A YOUNG LION is a small, irritating problem that can develop into a larger one if we don’t head them off. It’s like the “little foxes” from Song of Solomon 2:15 that spoil the vines.
COBRA is a sneaky, fatal problem like a church split, marital problems…puncture wounds that were undetected until the poison made its way through the body.
DRAGON (serpent) is an unfounded fear; a fantasy, also called a vain imagination. These fears are totally unfounded, but can become self-fulfilling prophecies if we don’t take authority over them. Fear of the future is a big one; dire predictions in the news, agoraphobia, etc.
Peggy notes that up to this point in Psalm 91, God gives us promises. In this verse, the words ‘tread’ and ‘trample‘ reflect authority. Once you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have the fullness of Christ, the same power that was used to raise Him from the grave. Most of us do not realize what this means and very few use the authority He’s given us. Think About It. Have you ever had a premonition? What did you do with it? If you used it as a prompting to pray, I bet the premonition was not fulfilled.
“Sweet Hour Of Prayer”
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
The following verse shows the authority Jesus gave his disciples:
Matthew 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power (authority) over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
Since we have the same authority the first disciples had, I leave you all with a challenge: Pray and live according to Philippians chapter 4:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
Let us use the authority Christ has given us to bring healing, health, and true Shalom to those around us!
I’m told this is the story of a young woman drawn to a young man who was singing about Jesus; that it was the awakening to salvation for Roberta Flack. I grew up hearing it, but the song’s made an even deeper impression since I was told this. Do you remember the first time the Spirit laid your heart open and showed you what was in it? The day Jesus Christ was revealed to you and salvation came; when you made Him your Lord and Savior?
Remember the woman at the well in John chapter 4? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.
This account of Jesus has brought many women in male-dominated countries/religions to salvation, similar to the tale of “Killing Me Softly”.
The Lord DOES think of each of us individually; He dances over us and sings all around us because we are His precious possessions (as in Isaiah 62:5), If we Believers are open to the Spirit’s leading, He will use us also to touch lives and bring His salvation to those in our realm. I remind you that each of us is put on earth for a specific time, given specific gifting to fulfill our destiny; our part of what the Lord is doing on earth at this time.
Lesson 10 in Peggy Joyce Ruth’s study: Psalm 91:10-12
No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
This part of the Psalm transitions from covering individual protection to household. This lesson has a great number of accounts included that cover testimonies of a community that joined in praying Psalm 91 over their soldiers and ALL of them returning from the war, a raging fire that went around a rancher’s home, outbuildings, fields and even his hunting stand, to a wife’s family that was full of calamities and a husband’s full of heart attacks/early death that made a covenant based on the Psalm and claimed it over their entire family. Note: verses 11-12 were used by Jesus against Satan’s challenge. Also, think about God giving the angels charge over us; providing this means to protect us.
Hebrews 1:14 Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits, sent to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
So, Whom shall I fear??? Have a wonderfully thankful end of November, preparing our hearts to celebrate the advent of our Savior; giving praise and thanks to the Father in the name of Jesus!
There’s a LOT of talk about addiction these days; what it really is, what causes it, how to treat it. IS there any REAL treatment?
I’ve had several men in the house due to hunting season, ranging in age from 34-80, who all spend a lot of time on their phones. One plays slots and checks weather and such, one plays card games and checks similar things, one plays whatever games he can and chats with his wife and kids. They all look up anything someone questions to find the answer.
Well, sitting on the couch watching TV with them, I started downloading bubble pop games. Usually I’d read or crochet at these times, but it’s been busy and I haven’t taken time to start either of these. I pop bubbles until my finger’s sore; sometimes I think I’m wearing away the print on it! When I come to my senses, I delete the game; but I’ve been downloading another each night. I found myself playing while we were visiting grand kids as well. After laying in bed this morning playing last evening’s game for over an hour, I realized there must be a “spirit of gaming” or something of the sort. I spoke against it in the name of Jesus and repented.
Guess what Scripture was in the group text this morning?
1 Timothy 1:6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I’ve been joining the group instead of choosing a different path. Each of us has our own addiction and I believe the Spirit has been letting me experience this to humble me & help me understand so I can be more useful to others.
I’m glad I’ve had a taste of what their addiction’s like, but how will they stop if I don’t do it first? The Spirit God has given us is more than enough to deliver ANYONE from addiction if they call on Him and believe He’ll do it. I believe a sound mind includes being able to choose not to do addictive behaviors. His arm is NOT to short to save, His hand not too small to hold us!
Actually, God made us to be addicted, but He meant us to be addicted to Him! Remember the verses that tell us to meditate on the Word? To hide it in our heart? To eat it?
1Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Getting back to Psalm 91, verses 7-9:
“A thousand will fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. Only with your eyes will you behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, Who is my refuge, the Most High, your habitation“
If we believe and trust God to be there, if we choose to make Him our refuge and habitation, we need not fear. Peggy Ruth Joyce shares how they stayed in their friend’s beach house in Alabama a year after hurricane Ivan hit. Buildings around them were gutted; there were still piles of destruction all around, but their house had no damage at all. Also, they owned a beach front condo 3 blocks away. The eye of the hurricane had gone directly over the building, but the windows were not blown out; not a picture on the wall was disturbed in the midst of devastation. The friends had called Peggy when the hurricane was coming, declaring their total trust in the Lord’s Psalm 91 covenant of protection, asking her family to join in faith with them.
She pointed out Jesus suffered persecution, but never calamity, disaster or mishap; accidents never approached Him. We have the same covenant of protection that He had! Choose to hide yourself in the LORD and you will dwell in safety; also, you will be able to keep from hating the enemy because you have God’s perspective.
(Sorry, you’ll have to wait another week to get back to Psalm 91 study with me)
My Life Group (small group from our congregation that gather weekly) has started a daily challenge: Each morning, share a Scripture to encourage the others. It’s been fun getting the group texts each morning as I arise. I find myself taking note of Scriptures throughout the day to find one to share the next morning. It has been encouraging; I’m glad the Holy Spirit guides me and brings things to remembrance!
Lately, I’ve been in several meetings (not just my Life Group) where I got a bit impatient. People tend to want to share blow by blow accounts of their trials, frustrations, offenses and such. An hour and a half meeting can easily turn into 2 hours or more. I wonder what would happen if we shared short, succinct needs, then went right to prayer instead of sharing things that probably glorify evil? If we take Apostle Paul seriously and “pray continuously”, we could have an open line of communication with God in a meeting as things come up, rather than saving all the prayer time ’till the end. If you leave the prayers to the end, the sharing can leave you no time for praying together before people leave the meeting due to time constraints.
It brings to mind Philippians chapter 4 where we are told to (1) rejoice in all situations (2) don’t be anxious about anything,(3) in everything present prayers & petitions to God, (4) with thanksgiving. then (5) things we should think about. Sandwiched between these instructions, Philippians 4:7 promises the reward for doing these 5 things: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
On another note; I was offered a chance to go to Kenya with a work team for two weeks in January. Here are my pro/con musings. Pro:since I went to Haiti 4 years ago, I have most of the immunizations; malaria pills not needed since the work is in mountains where mosquitoes don’t congregate. I have a current passport and can apply for a visa for $50.00 on-line, getting it by email, no need to wait for mail. I have about $1,400.00 in savings put aside for a trip like this and I have basic’helper’skills that would aid the men from our church who are gathering to go on this trip to lead the building work.Con:I’m told I won’t be able to donate blood (I enjoy donating regularly) for 2-3 years after visiting Africa (but if I’m going to get a tattoo, this would be the time!). My husband’s still working on the house we’re going to sell making my traveling at this time a disadvantage to him. Planning for this trip should have begun about July and now it’s November. My summer job ended and not much time to fund raise. Pro: God provides all our needs if He asks us to go! I awoke in the wee hours, going over these things with the Spirit, coming to the decision I’d ask my husband about going at breakfast.
Well, hubby told me we needed to talk first thing, before he got busy for the day. He’d just paid several bills & taxes and the reserve funds from his retirement we’d been using to remodel the house are depleted. He put us on an “austerity” budget until our house sells and can’t give me the monthly “stipend” he’s been supplying, which means I’ll have to fund my monthly giving, gas and other personal needs from my savings. So,I immediately decided not to mention the trip to him. Am I being a wise, prudent wife? OR am I fearing man and not trusting God? I will continue to seek wise council and ask the Lord to show me what to do.
I’m reading The Restless Wave; the last book John McCain wrote before he died. Very interesting what’s been going on behind the scenes between our country and the foreign events. I never realized we have Senators that travel abroad to war-ravaged areas or how much interaction Senators like McCain have with heads of state of other countries. It’s interesting hearing what someone who actually worked with President Obama, VP Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, etc. thought of these people. John believed every person has value, even if he didn’t share their views. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he honored God and did what he could to honor our country and its leaders (As did King David). If you want a balanced perspective of the immigration issue from someone who lived in a border state or a true estimate of Putin’s “follies” and other world events, this is the book to read.
Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina founded Voice of the Martyrs. Both were horridly misused and abused in Romanian Communist prisons for proclaiming the Gospel. If you haven’t read his book Tortured For Christ, I highly recommend it. Richard once said the Bible tells us not to fear 366 times; one for each day of the year. Maybe God doesn’t want us afraid??? Whole books have been written about the following Psalms, so I’ll just share some insights I’ve gleaned, starting with Psalm 23-one of the most beloved Psalms-He is our Shepherd:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
I have everything I need; every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights through Christ Jesus.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He doesn’t want us to be restless and stressed, so Father God leads us to rest, stills and refreshes our souls.
3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
In God alone can my soul be restored; it’s for His sake that He leads us in the paths of righteousness; we don’t/can’t find them ourselves.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
It’s only a shadow; those in Christ will never taste death. I do not have to fear because He is ALWAYS with me; His rod corrects me and His staff rescues me which brings me comfort.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Our good, good Father in Heaven prepares a banquet for us even with our enemies surrounding us; the oil soothes us and wipes out the little niggling things that try to cling to our head (mind). He bountifully provides more than enough so we can minister to others with the overflow.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Remember, He is always with us. His goodness and mercy truly follow us all the time! The reward for choosing to trust Him is dwelling in His house forever, taken care of for eternity!
Psalm 91, also known as The Soldier’s Psalm (I have been sharing it with you as I go through it with Peggy Joyce Ruth so I won’t include it here)
Let’s end with Psalm 139:
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
Verses 19-22 describe the evil, blood-thirsty men David wants to hate because they blaspheme God (I won’t include it here), then David writes:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Next weekI’ll resume sharing my Psalm 91 lessons with you.
These days when many false ideas are running rampant, I thought I’d turn to the Psalms for a little grounding in the truth. Join me as I pause to ponder the wonders in Psalm 104:
Oh, Praise to the Sovereign Lord for His Creation and Providence
Psalm 104: Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
3He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind, 4 Who makes His angels spirits, His [a]ministers a flame of fire.
5 You who[b]laid the foundations of the earth, So that it should not be moved forever, 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters stood above the mountains. 7 At Your rebuke they fled; At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. 8 [c]They went up over the mountains; They went down into the valleys, To the place which You founded for them. 9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, That they may not return to cover the earth.
10 He sends the springs into the valleys; They flow among the hills. 11 They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. 13 He waters the hills from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted, 17 Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock[d] badgers.
19 He appointed the moon for seasons; The sun knows its going down. 20 You make darkness, and it is night, In which all the beasts of the forest creep about. 21 The young lions roar after their prey, And seek their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they gather together And lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes out to his work And to his labor until the evening.
24 O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions—
25 This great and wide sea, In which are innumerable teeming things, Living things both small and great. 26 There the ships sail about; There is that Leviathan[e] Which You have [f]made to play there.
27 These all wait for You, That You may give them their food in due season. 28 What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. 29 You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30 You send forth Your Spirit,they are created; And You renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; May the Lord rejoice in His works. 32 He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke.
33I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord. 35 May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more.