Practicing His Presence

Interesting how the Lord connects things in our lives if we just take a minute to assess what’s happening each day. Call it coincidence or God incidents, I prefer to see God at work in my life rather than fate. I share instances I’ve encountered through my Godly musings the last ten days or so.

I awoke thinking of a rhyme from my childhood I couldn’t quite remember. The next morning, I went to a garage sale for the woman I cleaned for. Lo and behold, I found a tin with the verse on it:

“Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath day

Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.” https://dayology.com/2017/02/26/the-mondays-child-poem/

This got me thinking about what days my four children were born on and what day my siblings were born. I have not delved into those dates to find the days, but probably will another day to see if any of this poem is true.

Saturday after evening church service, I went looking for a packet of seasoning for the greens I picked [from our garden] that afternoon. The woman I currently help gave me a packet her daughter uses, but I read the recipe wrong, thinking I needed two pounds of prepared greens, but that meant two pounds of greens straight from the garden, which were then prepared. Walmart being the closest store, I started there, although Price Chopper had come to mind first. They had the right brand of packets, but not for greens. I managed to buy a small packet of bacon crumbles to add to the pot and came back to the produce section just in time to see Joe, the 94-year-old man I mentioned last week, with his daughter & granddaughter, also shopping after church.

I proceeded across the road to Target, and having to use the facilities, I found a young girl who didn’t know how to use the automatic soap or water faucet. I was able to guide her, and she looked much relieved.

Next, I stopped at Hannaford and cruised the aisles, not finding what I needed, but was able to share a few smiles. When I got back in my car, I surrendered to the Lord’s original prompt and went to Price Chopper, where I was able to encourage a woman in the produce section, then found a rack with the brand of seasonings I was looking for. I found one packet of the greens mix, obviously one that had fallen off the rack and been put on top. I realized Father provided for my needs. I had a good interaction with the young man at the checkout and was able to share how God put it there for me.

Remembering the Monday’s Child episode, I realized the prompts were God speaking to me, so the next morning’s episode trippily blessed me! I had a mental picture of us eating at Cracker Barrel, which we do fairly regularly, but we were seated in the far section of the dining area where we haven’t sat in some time. Yesterday, John decided we’d go to Cracker Barrel for brunch after looking at storage sheds. Lo and behold, the hostess sat us at a table on the far end. It was a blessing seeing things we hadn’t and meeting a new waitress.

I don’t think I’ve told you readers, but I am doing two devotionals at once. I have The Prophet’s Devotional by Jennifer LeClaire, which is a one-year devotional, and recently finished Kevin Zadai’s 60 Day Healing Devotional and began Beni Johnson’s The Joy of Intercession, A 40 Day Encounter. It’s a real God- instance when they frequently jibe.

Genisis 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.

Jennifer used this scripture to point out that “God wants us to walk in an awakening that makes us aware of His presence not just when we are in a worship service or when we hear His voice or when we have a dramatic encounter.” (pg. 221, July 17) She mentions Brother Lawrence and the book The Practice of the Presence of God, how he learned to see God in the mundane tasks of everyday life. Her prayer:

“Father, in the name of Jesus, help me to crucify my flesh so I can be more sensitive to Your heart. I want to know when You walk into a room and when You leave. I want to be aware of what You are doing in and around me. Help me practice Your presence.”

This was Day 7 in Beni’s book, a section titled: “No Agenda Required”. She stresses coming to God without our own agenda, making room for an interaction with Him, agreeing with His will and His Word.

1 Corinthians 1:20-22 Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the Yes of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident. God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his Yes within us. By his Spirit he has stamped us with his eternal pledge—a sure beginning of what he is destined to complete. The Message

Added to these devotions was the sermon from Saturday evening, fighting our giants. God has provided just the right weapons, talents and skills for our battle. King Saul tried to put his own armor on David to fight Goliath, but it was not the weapon God had trained him to use. The slingshot he’d used in the fields was the demise of that giant.

My takeaway from these two devotionals and the sermon is: Don’t bring your own agenda when you want to spend time with God and feel His presence. Our Father in Heaven has a lot to say to us, His children. Let us open ourselves to practicing being in His presence, first reading His Word, then taking time to realize where He is in our daily walk. Adding on the sermon, God has brought us through things in our life that have given us the skills for the plans He has for our lives. What weapons do you have to fight your giants? According to 1 Corinthians, knowing what God has said “Yes” to and adding our “Amen” to it is the way to victory.

By the way, Beni Johnson has gone on to be with the Lord recently and I count it an honor and privilege to have the Lord choose this book for me to use at this time.

Honoring the Life of Beni Johnson

Jul 15, 2022
PRESS RELEASE

On Wednesday, July 13, 2022, Beni Johnson, beloved wife and Co-Senior Leader to Bill Johnson, passed away surrounded by family and friends after a prolonged battle with cancer. As Pastor Bill communicated that evening on his personal Instagram account, “She is healthy and free.”

In our prayers for Beni, our community felt called to fight the good fight, full of faith to the end. Beni powerfully modeled this way of prayer for us. Upon her death, we declare with all God’s Church that He is good, even as we grieve together.

Thank you for your prayers for Beni, and for continuing to pray for the Johnson family. We look forward to honoring and remembering her impact, and celebrating her life at a memorial service in the near future.

https://www.bethel.com/news/honoring-the-life-of-beni-johnson

The Glory of the Lord is found where you look for it.
Our back yard is testimony to His glory and abundance.

God, Our Help

Welcome readers to another musing, a hymn the Spirit brought to mind from my youth. As we go through these challenging times, let us reflect on where our help comes from.

GOD, OUR HELP, IN AGES PAST
TEXT: Isaac Watts
MUSIC: William Croft

1. O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home!

2. Beneath the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure.
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

3. Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.

4. Thy word commands our flesh to dust:
“Return, ye sons of men!”
All nations rose from earth at first
And turn to earth again.

5. A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone.
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

6. O God our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
Public Domain http://ighymns.herokuapp.com/hymns/o-god-our-help-in-ages-past

Yesterday, today, and forever, our God is our help and guide through the deepest waters, the hottest flames, the tallest mountains, the lowest valleys. Jesus is always our grace for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Don’t trust in governments, stay away from the fake news, and fill your life with prayer and God’s Word. Our joy truly comes from no other place but the Lord God Almighty.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help, for my help comes from the LORD, maker of heaven and earth!

Today’s Musing

My dear readers, forgive me for not posting sooner. Life is busy and so much is coming to me that I haven’t settled down to write, but early this morning the Spirit brought some clarity I’ll share here.

I have been following Randy Kay on Destiny Image [YouTube] interviewing people about their NDEs. The one I watched/listened to Saturday while I was ironing pillowcases at the motel was:

Rosemary Thornton was bleeding to death from a surgery in France when she was taken up above the bed, away from her body, and saw Jesus face to face. The things she said about her visit with Jesus brought revelation to me. Rosemary described being so intimate with Jesus that she was the only one He was with.

I know that in Him I live and move and have my being, that I am no longer my own because Christ lives in me. I know the fullness of God in Christ is within me. All these things I believe because that’s what the Bible says, but I am gaining deeper understanding.

Being made in God’s image, Kat Kerr says, “Your soul has layers like the pages of a book.” It holds parts of everything you put in it, which is why we have emotional ties, both good and bad, from the people we interact with and the things we spend our time on. This is the same with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each has layers. Because of this, we have a layer of the God Head inside us when we accept Jesus and Father, Son, and Spirit are in each Believer. Note: each layer is a full part of God, not just a piece! The layers of God are infinite, which is how He can be all over heaven and earth at the same time He’s in our own hearts. Remember, heaven has no clocks and no time restraints!

So, the revelation that came early this morning is each of us has a personal audience with Jesus all the time. Think about that! All you need to do is accept Jesus as your personal savior, then you have access to Him all the time. This relationship means I can turn to Him like He’s walking beside me, attentively listening and responding. I believe when I sit, He’s also sitting with me, which reminds me of a book I once read called Two Chairs.

As we grow in relationship with the God of the Universe, let us grow more intimate with the One who created us. He knows all about each one of us, everything that’s going on and everything that will go on. Psalm 139 tells us He has been from the end to the beginning, has come behind us to shield us from the hurts of our past, and goes before us making the way clear. [my paraphrase of The Passion Translation]

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.
Psalm 139 NKJ

On another note, have you ever thought about living to be 120 as God stated in Genesis?

 Genesis 6:3 And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Saturday evening, after finishing work at the motel, a quick supper, and getting to church by 5 to help with worship at our 6 PM service, I met a man named Joe who is 94 years old. I would have guessed he was in his late 70s. We chatted for over an hour after church and I observed he has his own teeth, a good mind, hears well, and sees well with glasses, walks upright, and doesn’t have “old man” breath! He still has a car and drives once in a while and was telling me he’s got a sore spot on his back from a chair giving way from under him at a picnic he was at with his daughter’s family, but it’s healing well. The joy of the Lord was evident, and I believe he has grown close like Moses did and is healthy and glowing from being in the Presence. I have friends who are 84 & 85 and still healthy and getting around well, which is making me think more about living to be 120!

I am using Kevin Zadai’s 60 Day Healing Devotional for my quiet time and gaining faith that I can live in divine health and share with others to encourage them that they also can be healed and healthy. Yes, some days I look at being eleven months away from 60 years old and can’t conceive living twice this long, but then I get excited and contemplate how many great-great grandchildren I would meet and what mighty works of God I would see. Dream with me, dear ones! I’ll leave you with another sky photo. Shalom!

A view past our garden and solar panels in the back yard

The Comforter/Pentecost

Musings Along Life’s Journey

This is my original photo I want to use for my book cover. I connected with a man on LinkedIn who is working up the actual cover for me.

In my soon-to-be-published book, Musings Along Life’s Journey, I am currently writing about my experiences with The Great Comforter Whom Jesus sent down to us on the day of Pentecost. I share some of what I am finding here. Keep up with my posts and I will give progress reports on my debut foray into the publishing world. I’ve hit the 50-page mark and in deciding what else to include, the Spirit impressed on me to flesh out the chapters/stories I already have in the manuscript. Of course, it’s a challenge going from a weekly blog snippet to a full chapter!

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Before Jesus suffered and died, He told the disciples about the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father would send. This helper would teach and bring to remembrance what Jesus had said. The Helper would also be a strong comforter so hearts would not be troubled, and they would not be afraid.

From Jesus Christ Stock Photos

John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This verse was Jesus’ commissioning of the Believers after His resurrection. He breathed a portion of Holy Spirit on them at this point, then directed them to tarry until the fullness of the Spirit would come upon them. The 120 in the upper room did not know what day Jesus’ promise would be fulfilled, but they may have had an inkling. After Passover, the Jews would “count the Omer” for fifty days to the “First Fruits” celebration. This is what happened:

Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

This is the event that changed the world, turning it upside down, as God’s Kingdom enablement came upon the Believers. Note that they were all in one accord, 120 people in the upper room. Amazing things will happen when we lay down our differences and come together in one accord, lifting up Jesus in our midst.

As you read on in Acts, there were people in Jerusalem from many different countries and languages. Each of them heard the Believers speaking in tongues but understood them in their own languages. About 3,000 came to believe in Jesus as Messiah that day. It was the fulfillment of God’s word which the Prophet Joel saw and spoke from the Spirit, which is still for us today!

Acts 2:16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in heaven above
And signs in the earth beneath:
Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.’

These are the basic Scriptures; in my book I will also share my own first experience with The Holy Spirit along with some testimonies. I leave you with another photo of God’s glory in the skies around Henderson, NY. May you all experience the comfort and communion of Holy Spirit and join with the Lord’s Body, rejoicing in His provision for us. Shalom, dear readers!

Gender Confusion?

*NOTE! Sexual terms used ahead! *

I started writing this post a few months ago. My Google calendar says June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month so I’m posting this in honor of June, sharing the Albany and Ottawa Tulip Festivals in honor of May.

https://www.albany.com/things-to-do/tulip-festival/

Have you noticed the growing list of choices on the list when asked your gender on a form? Male, female, bisexual, transgender, homosexual…I wonder if they will add more? As a matter of fact, the 2022 Albany Tulip Festival Queen is the first non-binary queen for the festival. I notice the last form I saw said to choose the gender that’s on your birth certificate. What does God’s Word say about gender?

Shutterstock photo Ottawa, Canada Tulip Festival

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:26-27

From the metaphors God uses to describe Himself

in the Bible, male and female qualities are both clear. As I study the Bible, it’s becoming evident that God is neither male nor female, but at the same time, male and female. He took parts of Himself to create male and female humans who become one complete unit during the act of marriage (sexual intercourse). God wastes nothing in creation, so He created all our parts to complement each other. Science has discovered the male and female reproductive systems are an inversion of each other, which is how they fit together.

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genisis 1:28

God blessed male and female as partners, created to reproduce their own kind just as He made all the animals to reproduce their own kind. So, all living things on earth reproduce their own kind and we have various breeds of dogs, cats, etc. but not mixtures like dog-cats or raccoon-skunks. Apple trees are grafted to create several types of apples from the same tree, but they haven’t crossed them with grapes. We have crossed plumbs and apricots to make pluots, but not apricots and black berries.

Pluots – Bing Images

In the same way, humans having sex with an animal will not produce a half-man like mythology would like us to believe. Same-sex relationships cannot produce a baby unless a female partner is impregnated by another method, or they adopt. Our sex is determined in our DNA. Even if you take enough hormones to change some bodily features, your DNA is still XX or XY. A penis does not turn into a vagina, or vise-versa, without the skills of a plastic surgeon.

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

Jesus did not come to condemn people, but to make a way for us to be freed from the power and damage of sin and death. The devil and human depravity seek to steal, kill, lie and destroy. God has a plan; a destiny, for each baby before they are conceived in a mother’s womb. Each baby killed by abortion, each same sex couple not having children, each person’s life marred by sexual exploitation that’s afraid to have children; these are just a few ways the enemy of our souls keep God’s purposes from being fulfilled.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

God has a purpose for each and every child that is conceived. Who are we to end a life? Are you glad your parents chose life for you? I realize life is not perfect. I know every one of us has had damage from others who did not love us properly. But…

Jesus came to reconcile all things the devil and evil, loveless, human hearts have destroyed. He forgave us sinners so we can forgive others. The true, sacrificial love of God in Christ Jesus covers a multitude of sins. Which brings me to a little book I just read.

Tim Wesemann

This weekend I read Recipe For Life Feasting On God’s Grace by Tim Wesemann. This book is full of Scriptures to help you feed on the grace of God in Christ and covers setting the table, saying grace, appetizers, soup or salad (making choices), the entree (main thing), side dishes, desserts [sweet blessings], and after-dinner music and a mint. Each chapter has a few recipes at the end and T. Wesemann teaches you how to feast on the Word. This book has some of my favorite scriptures all gathered in one book, small enough to easily carry around. Published in 2006, you can find a copy for less than a dollar on Amazon and it would make a great gift [there’s a to-from page at the beginning]. I actually picked this one up at a fundraising sale for Ukraine in our area.

Ephesians 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, 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.

With the aid of this book, Let’s damage the dark, evil plans of our enemy by practicing love, forgiveness, and restoration of relationships. Let us spur each other on, speaking the truth in love and acting in loving ways, even if it’s tough love, toward those God places around us.

Shalom my dear readers, until we meet again.

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!”