Ease and Comfort?

As I was praying for our nation during my watch on the Fire Wall USA, at about 6:30 a.m. September 9th, Holy Spirit began bringing thoughts to repent for. Forgive us Lord, for working so hard to make our lives easy and to make ourselves comfortable. We have looked toward the world and not You for these things. We have chosen the wide, easy path and not the narrow, rocky one and we are sorry. We want to walk the path of life with You, Jesus, led by Holy Spirit guidance. Lead us into all truth and the path to ever-lasting light. Amen.

Let’s think about this in everyday terms. I’m lying on ‘My Pillow’ on a ‘Perfect Sleeper’ mattress encased in a good mattress cover purchased on Amazon, with microfiber sheets purchased at Ollie’s and ‘just the right’ woven cotton blanket (which was a cast-off from our kids who bought other blankets) perfect for the temperature inside as the evenings get cooler. I’m comforted more by the ‘Hunter’ fan light on our ceiling, which John put up a few months ago during our first days of sequestering, along with a wider, nicer wood door on the bedroom which came from our other home’s remodel. Can you believe we still don’t always sleep well???

Our shelves are stocked with food I’ve canned and staples, the fridge filled with healthy salad makings and all the fixings as well as almond milk, chia seeds, assorted healthy nuts, farm fresh eggs we get from a neighbor, the remnants of last weekend’s rotisserie chicken purchased during our Sams’ Club shopping run, as well as condiments. Don’t forget the ‘pantry drawer’ in the freezer-on-the bottom refrigerator which is filled with a pepperoni stick and shredded whole-milk, part skim mozzarella for our weekly gluten-free pizza as well as pre-cooked bacon and a Mexican cheese blend for John’s fluffy scrambled eggs for breakfast. Most of the food is planned to help with my anti-inflammatory, reduced allergy symptom eating satisfaction. Our freezers are full of assorted venison, lean pork loin chops bought in bulk from Sam’s Club, strawberries and blueberries we picked, green beans, peas, squash, rhubarb from our garden…the list goes on and on. All this food and creature comforts for our ease and for efficient meals.

It is a good thing we love to share our bounty with others, including our family and friends. It’s also fun to have people over to eat with us, but we spend a lot of time deciding what to eat throughout the day and then preparing the food and cleaning up after. I know some people have food delivery services, as the ad says, “We don’t have to cook anymore!” and some eat out a lot. Most of our country runs on our belly’s desires or eating plans developed by many ‘experts’ who all know the ‘best way’ to feed our bodies. What does the Bible say about the way we live? Let’s look at Apostle Paul’s warnings to the Philippian church.

Philippians 3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shamewho set their mind on earthly things.

How should we be living? This being September 11th, we remember the day they awoke us to the realization that our nation is not any safer than the rest of the world. It shook most of us to the core and left us wondering where our faith was at. The Apostle Paul explained how we should be living.

Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul is encouraging us to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, choosing life over death. Let’s look at what our goal in this life should be to give us hope for our expected end.

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

It is not wrong to have creature comforts, but wrong to make them our pursuit and all-consuming focus. Remember, seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things we ‘need’ and want will be added to us. So, let us get back to Heavenly basics. The disciplines of fasting, prayer and meditating on the Word need to come back into style for those of us who claim to be Christ-followers. The early church practiced all these and God provided for all their needs as they turned the world upside down after the Holy Spirit descended on them with fire and power. When this occurred on the first Pentecost, 3,000 souls were saved. We have that same Holy Spirit available and the same power and authority from Jesus Christ, the baptism in holy fire, to do great exploits of miracles, signs, wonders and healings. Let us drop what hinders us and press on toward the goal; the upward call in Christ! That is where our victory lies. It’s where we find the Shalom completeness of God. Fellow followers, join me in this victorious walk on the narrow path that leads to life everlasting!

First Peter Chapter 1

Glory!

As I stepped onto my deck at 7 a.m. this morning, I was under a canopy of clouds, in the presence of Father God. I hope my neighbors heard me yell, “Halleluiah, what a Savior! Thank You Father for a new day!” For today’s post, I have tarried in 1 Peter chapter 1 and want to share some insights from Holy Spirit as we begin with Peter’s ‘Greeting to the Elect Pilgrims’.

1 Peter:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

Peter was not writing just to these pilgrims, but also to those of us who have come after. All of us who are Believers are part of the elect according to God’s foreknowledge of us. The Spirit sanctifies us, accomplished in us by obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. As we walk in obedience and sanctification, grace and peace multiply in our lives. Do you believe He sanctifies you; not by works of righteousness you have done, but according to Father God’s mercy? Let’s dig into the Heavenly inheritance we have.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Our Father God has blessed us with abundant mercy in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have a living hope that will never end; it’s living and growing in us daily. Halleluiah, the power of God shall keep us through faith; which comes from God and grows in us. Therefore, we have hope. Why do we rejoice?

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

We rejoice in this salvation even as we find grief in these trials all around us. These trials come to test our faith, its goal found in Jesus Christ. Blessed is he that has not seen Christ, but loves Him anyway. What inexpressible joy comes as we trust Jesus! The prophets and angels wonder.

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.

Image result for prophets of old photo

Rejoice that you are experiencing what the prophets faithfully proclaimed, even though they did not understand how their words would come to pass. Angels question and marvel at the salvation we enjoy. They cannot experience what we do as we triumph in Jesus’ sufferings and glory. Don’t waste all that we have in Christ Jesus!

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Our hope rests in the grace brought to us with the revelation of Jesus Christ in us. This grace increases as we obey and turn away from fleshly lusts and ignorance. We all wonder how to become holy as He is; it comes from communion with the Lord and walking daily in His presence.

17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

This paragraph explains the worth of our lives in view of Christ’s sacrifice. God’s work which gave our Messiah glory empowers us to put faith and hope in God. The last section of this chapter explains the endurance of God’s Word and what glory there is in the Gospel and reason for spreading it far and wide!

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you
.

Dear friends, join me as I stand on God’s promises and follow the Lord into victory through these times Father God chose for us to be on this earth. Shalom dear readers!

Racism???

Good day dear readers! Racism is a huge sin in this world; not just in the USA! As it’s festering and raising its ugly head again, I will share what I found at http://www.destinyimage.com [full web address after Kelly Varner’s quotes] and some verses from the Bible.

James Goll points out that the three persons of the Holy Trinity are one; they complement each other without competing, jealousy or covetousness. Most of us, even if we call ourselves Christian, are far away from the oneness of Father, Son and Spirit with our neighbors and fellow Believers. People say, “Sunday is the most segregated day of the week.”

As pastor and author Kelley Varner writes, “God hates racism in any form—it is sin. Racism is rooted in degeneracy, pride, superior attitudes, ignorance, and fear. Unregenerate Adamic flesh is the soil from which racism springs. Included here are pride of place (social status),

pride of face (physical attributes),

pride of grace (religious or denominational traditions),

and pride of race (based on skin color or ethnicity). “

Kelley Varner, The Three Prejudices https://www.destinyimage.com/2020/07/02/americas-greatest-generational-sin/?

As for me, I think my social status is middle-class, my physical attributes white European; maybe WASP. I trace my roots back to Germany where I’m sure there were a few Huns in the bloodline, European Ashkenazi Jews, and Scotland where we are from the Douglas and Bowes clans, most likely related to “Brave Heart” (or at least fought with him). As far as denominations and religious traditions, I grew up in a Presbyterian church with many proud “Denominationalists” to learn from, then moved to a Spirit filled church that came from a Mennonite church. I now am part of an independent Charismatic church. Over the years I have been prideful in the fact I can sing, I read my Bible, and am filled with the Holy Spirit and speak in other tongues. But what do I have that God did not give me? Where does pride have a leg to stand on when the ground is level at the cross?

Jesus prayed to the Father for us;

John 3:12 … that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

What does the Bible say about race relations?

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

And again Paul says:

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Let us drop all that divides us and come together. Until each of us sees others as God sees us, until we all accept that every person on earth has intrinsic worth. Because all humans have an eternal soul and blood running through their veins; all of it red. Let us strive to outdo each other in brotherly and sisterly love, preferring others above ourselves. and heed Jesus’ command:

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

1Timothy 2:5  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus... Until we meet again, I pray Shalom over you all dear readers. Amen.