The Ides Of July

Well dear readers, July 15th, 1983 is the day my eldest son was born. As he was growing up, two years in a row there were major events on his birthday. The microburst happened on July 15 and in 1996, Southern Mexico had an earthquake and a Belgian jet crashed.

Jul 15 Southern Mexico hit with 6.5 earthquake Jul 15 A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashes on landing at Eindhoven Airport [from Bing search what happened July 15, 1996]

http://www.wwnytv.com/2020/07/15/years-later-remembering-microburst/#:~:text=WATERTOWN%2C N.Y. (WWNY) – Wednesday marked the 25th,Star Lake took the brunt of the storm.

He wasn’t sure he wanted his birthday to come again! Most people have heard of “The Ides of March” but there’s also The Ides of July! Well, now his wedding anniversary is on his birthday, I think it redeems the date for him. this is his daughter enjoying her birthday!

Jumping off from this topic, I want to share a couple things that stuck out to me this week. The first I want to share is what Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow had to say about cleaning up the evil that’s crept into the church and what to be prepared for as things are exposed in the next days not only in the churches, but in all levels of society; not just in the U.S.A., but around the world. One example the Enlow’s used was the church they were first volunteer ministers in. The core of that ministry was led by a Pastor who had been abused as a child. Through mis-use of Scripture, he had a ‘secret doctrine’ of evil at the core of the ministry that hurt many. I remember one of the first charismatic churches in our area used this Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Many couples divorced and married others because “I’m a new creation; old things have passed away.” The devil loves it when the church descends into sexual sins. Most false religions involve child sacrifice and lewd sexual acts, but Christian churches are not exempt. God created marriage between one man and one woman so the union of flesh would be holy and godly children would be born for the Father’s plans to be accomplished. I wonder how many of God’s chosen ones have been aborted by the enemy trying to thwart God’s plans. If we don’t live by the Spirit, we die in the flesh like our original forbearers Adam and Eve.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

On YouTube, look for JOHNNY AND ELIZABETH ENLOW: IT’S CLEAN-UP TIME! on Elijah Streams July 9, 2021

I am coming to the end of When Faith Is Forbidden; 40 Days on the front lines with persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton. Days 34-35 told of a wife from North Korea who was put in prison for reading a Bible and sharing what she was learning. Mrs. Choi was terribly abused and beaten in prison, but would not reveal who gave her the Bible. Her hands were beaten with a lead pipe until they are no longer useable for her; when she went to trial, her face was so swollen from beatings, she could not speak in her own defense and they sentenced her to fifteen years in prison. Her husband finally sold their house and everything they owned and gathered money from anyone who would contribute to pay to have her released early. Mrs. Choi escaped to South Korea, but is having a hard time forgiving her abusers. This is not keeping her from giving her testimony on Christian radio programs that broadcast to North Korea and bringing salvation to many.

Mrs. Choi’s story brings two things to mind. First, how much should we share about our abuse when the Bible says not to even talk about the things done in darkness; about the things the evil one does? Second, I have never experienced abuse half as much as she has; what right do I have to withhold forgiveness toward anyone in my life?

Day 36 also spoke volumes to me. A man from a small village in Laos traveled to the capitol to experience life and find the jobs people told him were plentiful there. He found no work, no food, ended up living in the streets. Before he left home, he’d been told to find a building with a cross on it and he should find free rice. He had to be shown what a cross looked like! Well, he found a building with a cross, walked into the church, heard the gospel and went away rejoicing and sharing his faith gained from a single sermon! Todd didn’t find out if the man ever got rice, but he definitely got the gospel and the fire of God!

The question is: we have heard so many sermons, so many videos, read so many books; are we hearers of the Word and not doers? This man heard a single sermon and went out with joy to share what he’d heard with many. This is the prayer I wrote out:

Lord, we are as the fatted calf, content in all the provisions and comforts of this life. Help me not become complacent and waste all this fatness meant to feed those You put in my path. Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth and fill me with boldness and a passion to share what is invested in me. Don’t let it stagnate. Your love, Oh Lord, is life to the living. May I share it well as long as You sustain this life in me. Amen.

So many lives depend on what I do; I’m going on with Jesus!

Have You Heard The Shepherd’s Voice?

I read The Shepherd’s Voice, Robin Lee Hatcher’s 1934 depression era novel set in Ransom, Idaho. The heroine’s name is Akira, Scottish for anchor. Her grandfather wanted her to have a powerful name to make her not be afraid of life; he put a lot of stock in meaningful names. The man with a past’s name is Gabriel, which means a strong man of God. Akira has kept the sheep farm her grandfather left when he died, never thinking about marriage, satisfied with life on her grandfather’s farm. Gabe has come back from prison to see his Lumber Baron father, who not only put him in prison, but owns most of the town… except Akira’s farm! Akira is of strong faith, but can even her faith stand up to what’s ahead with this waif of a man whom she found unconscious from hunger under her thinking tree and his blood-thirsty, manipulative father? As usual, Robin has woven an exciting, thought-provoking story with many surprising twists, much history, and faith! I highly recommend this book.

The Shepherd's Voice: A Novel by [Robin Lee Hatcher]

Robin begins with the following dedication:

“To the Good Shepherd, My Lord and King, Who took me from where I was, brought me to where I am, and, praise the Lord, isn’t finished with me yet. May the stories I write please You, Jesus, for if they don’t. they are without merit of any kind.”

The gist of the story is redemption. Has anyone fallen so far that God, in His mercy, cannot save them? Gabe is not the only character in this story that has a past, has a future, and has a choice to make. It makes me think about some people in my own life. Have I got hope for their future to put before them?

I am also reading a new book from The Voice of the Martyrs called When Faith Is Forbidden Forty Days On The Front Lines With Persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton.

Today I read Day 2 titled, “I Used To Beat Him”. The Scripture was 1 Timothy 1: 12-15

Glory to God for His Grace

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

What Todd shared on page 25 truly hit home for me, putting Paul’s story in a new setting. A VOM contact in Colombia has a saying: “‘A race horse can run just as fast in either direction.’ One who is zealous for sin will often become zealous for Christ. One who beat Christians might eventually accept beatings with joy in service to his king.'”

I am prone to categorize people as soon as I see them. This keeps me from loving them as God does and hinders my prayers for them. I put this problem before the Lord today and heard the Spirit of Jesus say:

Love, love, love – My love through you is the key. Love! Let Me say again – Love! Give thanks with a grateful heart for everyone I’ve put in your life. Stop and let Me show you what I think of them. Speak blessing and not cursing. It only takes a moment’s pause – I will give you time for that if you let Me. Pause, My dear one.

I challenge you today to think of one person in your life who is hard to love. What steps can you take to establish a bridge by which you can share the gospel with that one? Remember, without love, we are nothing. Love is of God and everyone who belongs to God has His love, no excuse. In this I am shamed and challenged. Are you?