Working Together — Is It Enough?

God once sent a great flood upon the earth. It destroyed all but those God designated to continue their assignment to earth.

The survivors of the great flood were not so different from the survivors of catastrophes today.

We are currently in the midst of tragedies across the world. Some will die. Others will continue their assignment to planet earth.

When people survive a great disaster, rarely do they just pick right back up and live the lives they did before the catastrophe.

First comes intense gratitude they survived.

Then comes the questioning of why they survived. They look around and realize there were others who seemed more deserving of life, but who lost their lives.

Even if they did not have this thought themselves, often family or friends of those who did not survive, will tell them.

Besides the possible guilt survivors feel, they also discover surviving one disaster does not exempt them from other tragedies.

As other challenges continue, some survivors wish they had died.

But out of the ashes of calamity, often survivors find solace in each other. The trauma of powerlessness is replaced with a common desire to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.

The feeling of control returns and is strengthened by others who have experienced the same thing.

If we survive, shouldn’t we want to prevent any future problems? Yes, that natural desire for good is good.

But we are not The Creator of Good. God is.

Therefore, whatever we do must be God originated, God designed and God directed. We must never forget that while we are God’s Hands and Feet extended, we are not God.

Genesis presents a very vivid picture of what happened when a group of survivors took matters into their own hands.

After the great flood, one would think the survivors would have been grateful to God for His Presence and Provision through the whole ordeal.

One would think they would have seen God’s Love, Mercy, Grace, and Provision. And this would have only led them into a greater trust in God for the new world He was entrusting to them.

Satan needed to stop the gratitude right there. He hated humans getting fresh starts. And He particularly hated humans trusting God. So he was ready to sow seeds of doubt.

As the survivors unkinked from their close quarters with each other and the variety of animals with whom they had just spent an extended time, gratitude was replaced with other thoughts.

Why did this disaster happen in the first place?

Why take away everything and everyone they had ever known besides the few who were left? Could not a few animals have been sacrificed and their closest friends survived too?

And what now? Why were they selected to be the clean up and start over crew?

And how were they going to know God would not come up with some other way to torture them in the future?

Oh sure God made a Promise never to destroy the earth again with a flood, but what about fire, disease or other things?

They knew two things. They had each other. And they were survivors. They figured if they stuck together, they would never let such a thing happen again.

Their communication with each other was unhindered. They all spoke the same language.

They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Genesis 11:4

Note: God was nowhere in their plan. They thought they were in charge.They were not building a tower to The Glory of God. They were building it to make a name for themselves … to show how powerful they were.

At the core of their plan was fear. Some commentators have wondered if they chose a tower because they wanted to be sure to be high enough off the ground if there was another flood. If this was the reason, it meant they did not believe God’s Promise.

It is interesting that they desired to build the tower that would reach to Heaven. Did they think their own works would gain them access to Heaven? It would not.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is The Gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

And they were afraid of being separated. If they did not have each other, they knew they could not accomplish this giant task. If they did not have each other, they believed they would be totally alone.

Satan reinforces that thought. He wants us to believe all we have is each other … or him. He’s only too happy to offer his services.

So what happened with the tower?

God looked over their work. He loved these people. He had chosen them specifically to be the leaders of the new world.

But their fear and distrust of God had led to an arrogance that would have ultimately destroyed them from within.

Even though God was about to do something that would separate them for their own good, He spoke The Truth.

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

Genesis 1:6

The same is true for us. But we must all speak the same language as God. We must be in agreement with Him.

Jesus said, “Again, I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”

Matthew 18:19

Note. If we all agree on the impossible, it will not happen. If we agree in accordance with God’s Will, it will happen.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Luke 1:37

But God needed to get the tower builders’ attention. He caused each to speak a different language. And with that, they considered themselves powerless again. They stopped building.

And The Lord sent them to different places all over the earth. In God’s Mercy and Grace, the whole earth was repopulated.

Even though we can’t say for certain that all the people learned God’s Lesson, we do know The Word of The Lord continued, even to today.

In a future blog posting, I will tell you “the rest of God’s Story.” I will tell you of the great and glorious day when God brought all the different languages back together.

We are in the midst of a worldwide crisis of unprecedented proportion. There is the need for the citizens of this planet to be united instead of divided.

But in order to claim victory over what has become a clear and present danger, we must each first come into unity with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. And then, we must come into unity with each other.

It is the very thing Jesus prayed for. He prayed it, not only for His Followers, but for us who would come after them.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.

May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.

I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One —I in them and You in Me —so that they may be brought to complete unity.

Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”

John 17:19-23

Help! God, I’ve Got A Serious Situation!

Have you ever wondered if God is listening when you pray? Ever have the urge to say to Him, “Do You understand I’ve got a serious situation going on here?”

When something is seriously threatening, I often survey the situation, consider my options, act and ask God to help me succeed.

Sometimes I say a quick prayer before I act and ask God to guide me. But all too often, I have already made up my mind before I pray.

My prayer is really more of, “God, here’s the plan. If I don’t have it right, stop me, because I am ready to roll right now.”

If my plan does not work out, then I do pray “harder.” Sometimes I round up some prayer partners, who will agree with me. We pray more.

We believe we are agreeing in prayer. But unfortunately we are just agreeing with each other and trying to get God to agree with us.

Sometimes God seems not to agree. Our serious situation gets even worse. Why? God may be waiting on us to realize we are out of any other option but Him.

Can He save us? Yes.

Will He do it exactly as we ordered Him to do it? No.

There were once three men who had a serious situation. The king had issued a decree that everyone must worship an idol. The men refused to worship any god but God.

The king threatened to throw them into a blazing furnace. It appeared to be his will against theirs. However, the men relinquished their will to The Will of God.

This is what they said to the king.

“We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, The God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your majesty’s hand.

But, even if He does not, we want you to know, your majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

They knew God was able. They knew that whether to Heaven or on earth, they would be delivered. They accepted their deliverance might not be on earth. They were unwavering in their allegiance to The One True God.

And with that, the king had them thrown into the furnace. Would you have had the faith these three men had?

How much do you trust God, your Creator? Do you really believe Him when He says,

“For I know the plans I have for you, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

When faced with any situation we have, may we follow the example of the three men in the fiery furnace.

Think of your own life right now. I invite you to pray with me.

“Lord, I know You are able to do anything.

Your Will is perfect.

You have a Plan for my life and You have promised it is a Good Plan, to give me hope and a future.

I know You will provide for me in Your Time and in Your Way.

I trust You, however You choose to carry out The Plan for my life.

I thank You we cannot be separated. I willingly give up anything that might seek to separate me from You.

I love You. I trust You. Your Will be done.”

(And by the way, even though God allowed the men to be thrown into the fire, He was right there with them and He saved them to remain on earth!)

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:2

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but The Lord comes to the rescue each time!”

Psalm 34:19

What We Need …

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Every fear we have can be traced to one big fear.

Will God provide?  As the coronavirus continues, the effects are being felt far beyond the possibility of getting sick and dying.  People are asking themselves many questions.

Will the financial planning we depend on in retirement hold up?  Will we get laid off or sent home without pay?  How are we going to pay mortgages, child care, medicines, gas, food?

Will there be food?  Our grocery order was cancelled for the second time last night.  The store shelves are empty of such basics as bread.

Services we depend on are being shut down or cut.  People are being discouraged from going to doctors unless they are very sick.  If one were to go, you may be further exposed to those who are sicker than you are.

Some hospitals do not have enough staff, beds or supplies to meet the needs of this growing health crisis.

Many have needs beyond just the physical.  Those who are in nursing homes are now under “house arrest,” their loved ones not permitted to visit … the patients themselves not permitted to leave.

As anxiety builds, ways of self soothing are being cut off.  Sports events, concerts, even church cancelled.  Everyone is flocking to the internet and hoping it will hold up, so at least distance communication can continue.

The question hangs in mid air.  “Will I have everything I need?”

The answer is a definite yes.  We will have everything we need.

I love Psalm 23:1.  Two different translations get to the heart of the message.

Psalm 23:1 in the New King James Version says,

“The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.”

The Lord is our shepherd.  He is responsible for leading us to food, water, shelter and all the rest.  Therefore, we make a conscious choice not to want anything beyond what He gives us.  “I shall” put the responsibility of choice on us.

The New Living Translation says

“The  Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”

Because The Lord is our Shepherd, we can relax.  We can say with confidence “I already have all I need.”

When we do life from the point of view of gratitude, we begin to realize how much we already have.   When we count our many blessings, we realize how rich we are.

We stop envying.  We stop feeling deprived.  We stop wanting more.

Satan’s key strategy is to make us feel God has not provided for us.  Satan wants us to believe if God gives us anything, it is not enough.  If it appears He gave someone else more, then satan tempts us to feel God shortchanged us.

Satan wants us to believe getting what we need depends on us.  He wants us to believe God cannot or will not provide.

He wants us to remember every place in our past where it seemed at the very least, God was a little late or even worse, appeared not to have shown up at all.

Satan definitely does not want us to remember all the ways God did provide for us, did deliver us, and even gave us extra blessings beyond measure.

How do we put satan on the run and rest in the certain knowledge that God will provide?

Remember all the ways God has provided for you.

“Remember the things I have done in the past.  For I alone am God!  I am God, and there is none like Me.”

Isaiah 46:9

Refuse to think of anything other than God’s Mercy and Grace to you.  Dismiss anything else that would try to rise up and distort your view of God.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Just as we choose “I shall not want,” we choose to use the mighty Weapons of The Spirit to cast down those rebellious thoughts.

We know before the battle what God says.  So we will not be fooled when satan tries to get us to imagine anything different.  We cast down what he offers.

We don’t let our minds spiral into worry.  We capture every stray thought and bring it back in line with God.

When you remember God’s Goodness and totally evict anything else from your mind, you will be ready to truly enter into God’s Presence.

Enter thanking Him and praising Him.

“Enter into His Gates with thanksgiving, and into His Courts  with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name.”

Psalm 100:4

Then listen carefully to what Jesus says.  His Words are timeless and personal.  He is speaking to you right now.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not Life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:25-33

As my father in law used to say, “We have a Great Sufficiency!”

You Are Not Lost!

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When we are lost, we use various tools to help us find our way.  We may reach for an old fashioned map or compass or we may consult the most up to date GPS.

We are convinced if we have the right information, we can find our way.

But what if our location is too new to be in any system?  What if there is no path marked out for us?  No road signs, trail markers, no bent twigs, no footprints.

We may have to face the fact we are lost.  I have told the story many times of becoming lost while driving with my father on an old country road.

I began to panic and I said, “Oh Daddy, I am lost!”  He smiled and said, “You’re not lost.  You’re with me and I know where I am.”

When we are lost, we have a Guide Who knows exactly where we are and where we are going.  Jesus is with us always, just as He promised.

“I am with you always.”

Matthew 28:20

He knows where we are and where we are going.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

But note, that encouraging verse does not say He lays out the whole Plan to us all at once.  He knows.  How do we know the way?

Jesus told us plainly.  He does not just show us The Way.  He is The Way!

Jesus answered, “I am The Way and The Truth and The Life.”

John 14:6

We find our way by following Him.  There are eleven times recorded in the Gospels where Jesus said to follow Him.

One of my favorites is John 8:12.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am The Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have The Light of Life.”

When we follow Him, we must watch where He is going.  He leads.  We follow.

We must understand the route He takes may not look like the way we would have chosen.  We must understand God’s Truth.

“For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways,” declares The Lord.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways and My Thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

He will reveal The Way one step at a time.  We get enough Light to see only the next step.

“Your Word is A Lamp for my feet, A Light on my path.”

Psalm 119:105

In fact, when we wonder why we are not moving forward, it may be that Jesus is waiting on us to fall back in line and start following Him step for step again.

Where are we going?  We are going with Him to places unknown to us yet, but completely known to Him.

Will it be easy?  No.  Jesus was honest about that.

“In this world you will have trouble.”

John 16:33

But look at what else He said.  The rest of the sentence is, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

And He even preferences the statement of trouble in the world by saying, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace.”

These seem like uncertain times.  The world is having trouble.

But we can be certain.  We can take heart.  We can have Jesus’ Peace that passes all our natural understanding.

We are not lost.  We are with Him and He knows exactly where we are and where we are going.

I love rewatching the movie, Matthew, with Bruce Marciano as Jesus.  Here is the link to the scene in which Jesus gives not a parting Promise, but an Imparting Promise with an invitation to come follow Him!

https://youtu.be/9E_jq8scNxM

Have You Heard The Good News?

Many people have events in life that are so traumatizing they become permanent markers.

Memories are divided into “before the accident or after the accident,”  “before the cancer or after the cancer,” “before he died or since he died.”

The trauma becomes a part of us, reminding us of times when life was completely out of control and nothing we did could fix it.

We move on.  We tell ourselves we are healed.  We got through it.  We are grateful not to be in the worst of those places now.

Is being very thankful for God bringing us through the same as freedom?

Are whatever valuable lessons we learned enough to claim total victory?

Sadly no.  When we remember the trauma and how it has affected our lives, we may become subconscious “cutters.”  We pick up the sharp pieces that are left over and we cut ourselves.

Satan is happy to turn a prayer of thanksgiving into a time of replaying the whole ordeal.

As we remember, satan tries to reinforce the thought God let us suffer.  He whispers, “Hey, what took God so long to get to you?”

While we are being tempted to wonder about that, he is setting us up for his next move.  After saturating us with unpleasant memories and doubts about the past, he is ready to get us to contemplate our present and our future.

If we have the smallest doubts about how God handled our past, we may not trust Him completely now.  We may feel we need a backup plan.

Satan will completely agree.  He will tell you that you need to be better prepared this time.  You need knowledge.  You need to know more about what you might have to deal with.

Satan’s playbook never changes.  Go back to the beginning of The Bible.

God created the world and pronounced it good.  Before Adam and Eve decided they wanted just a little taste of the knowledge of evil, they only knew good.  They were content to receive The Blessings of all the good things God had given them.

But once they had knowledge of evil, things changed.  Then they felt worry, anxiety and fear.  They did not know what to do with their new knowledge.  And they could not “unknow” what they then knew.

Many of us have a driving need to know things.  How many ways have you tried to find out more about the current virus that is affecting the world?

Today’s mass media and varied ways to communicate give us an easy way to satisfy that “need to know.”  When a question comes to mind, we simply google or ask Siri.

When we watch the news, sometimes we are given answers to questions we have not even thought of yet.

We are drowning in TMI … too much information.

The more we know, the more we worry.  The more we worry, the more we fear.  The more we fear, the more we are driven into making wrong decisions.  The more bad decisions we make, the more confused we become.

As we tie ourselves in knots, we begin to doubt God and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Is He really there and if so, what are we doing wrong that we cannot hear Him?

Satan laughs.

So how do we escape this pit of Hell?

Refuse to replay your past.  The lessons you learned are already inside you.  Thank God for what He has given you for today.

Be still.  Know He is God.  Whatever missteps you may have taken in the past, know He was with you.  He saved you for this moment.  He wanted you to be here right now.  Praise Him and thank Him that you are together always.

Be still.  Know He is God.  Know He is willing to talk directly to you and give you all the answers you need.

One of my favorite scripture verses is Jeremiah 33:3.

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

God will tell you things that are unsearchable anywhere else.  Call to Him!

Rest.  Be still.  Be confident He is with you.

God said,

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15

What do we need to know?  God said it simply.

“Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

What else is there to know?  Know that God knows.  He knows everything.  And this is what He says about what He knows.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you hope and a future!”

Jeremiah 29:11

And that is the best news of today, tomorrow and always!
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The Weight Of The World

This may be your story.  Sometimes The Bible is like looking into a mirror.  We read about other people.  And then somewhere in the reading, we realize the story is our story too.

Luke 13 tells the story of a crippled woman who was in church (the synagogue) when Jesus changed her life.

She had likely been there before.  Maybe she had been there to seek healing.  Maybe she needed some serious prayer partners.

But it was not working for her.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.  She had been that way for eighteen years.

We don’t know how old she was when she became that way.   I wonder if she became that way gradually.  One burden placed on her.  She might not have noticed at first.

But then there was another and another.  She bent more and more under the weight of the cumulative load.

Who was responsible?  Satan.  Jesus revealed she had been bound for 18 years by satan.  She was crippled by a spirit.  It was on her back.  She could not see the weight.  She just felt it.

She could not straighten up.  Her view of the world became different.

The problem went on for a long time.  Perhaps she wondered why she had been singled out to carry this burden.  Perhaps she felt a little bitter that others had been healed and she had not.

But still there was a tiny part of her that longed for God to do something for her.  She still came to worship Him in the church.  If nothing else, it gave her comfort and a little more strength to hobble back out into the world.

She did not expect healing on that day.  She did not expect the young teacher to call on her.  When He called her to come forward, we don’t know what she thought.

Perhaps she may have hesitated, not wanting to display her infirmity to everyone.  They had all seen her before, but to her relief, they no longer gawked.  To be singled out now might have frightened her.

But I like to believe there was something in the way Jesus called her that reached past any hesitation.

Perhaps He called her by name.  He knew her.  He knew every second of the life she had lived.  He had been with her constantly.

She took the step of faith.  She went forward.  She looked at Jesus.  Don’t miss this.  She could not stand up straight.  I believe He bent down to her eye level.  He came down to her and met her where she was.

And then He simply said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  Luke 13:12

Set free!  All debts paid.  All sins forgiven.  All fears and doubts gone.  All bitterness removed.  Free of years of suffering.  Every burden satan had even piled on her gone.

It is interesting to note the order in which Jesus did things.

He called her.  She had a choice.  Would she respond or not?

He asked her to do something that would begin to activate her faith, even if it seemed beyond her comfort level.  Would she do it?

He came down to her.  Even if she could not straighten up, would she look at Him?

He spoke The Words of Truth to her.  She listened.  She was set free of her infirmity.  Would she believe Him?

And then He touched her.  He touched her after she received.  His Touch was a celebration of what she had already received.

And then she joined Him in celebration.

“Immediately she straightened up and praised God.”  Luke 13:13

She did not wait for Jesus to pull her up.  She believed Him and stood up straight herself!

What heavy loads are you carrying on your back?  How long have you been carrying them?

Jesus is calling you right now.  Will you come forward?  Will you silence all the thoughts in your head that say He would never pick you?

Will you ignore the thought that this is not the right time?  Will you stop wondering what other people will think?

Will you tell satan to back off when he tries to tell you Jesus was never there for you before?  Why should you think now will be any different?

Will you take the first steps and just meet Jesus in whatever condition you are in?  Will you focus completely on Him for a moment and listen?

When He tells you that you are free, will you believe Him?  Simply put aside every other thought and believe Him.  Trust Him.  Line up with The Truth He tells you.

Will you let Him touch you?  Will you let Him make it personal?  Will you celebrate your new life, your new freedom with Him?

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Take My Yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:28-29

 

Why This Test??

Satan is very tricky and persistent. If he loses one battle, he does not stay down for long. He throws another pitch before you can savor his last defeat.

A little more than a week ago, a problem was discovered on a routine eye exam. I received immediate treatment, but then had a complication that made things very concerning. Satan reminded me constantly of ancient history and tried to convince me history was going to repeat itself.

Fortunately God not only brought physical healing, but He also taught me many “desert lessons.”

After Jesus was anointed for His Ministry, he was led by The Spirit into the desert where He was tested by satan. Jesus passed the test. Whatever the devil served up, Jesus stood firm in quoting The Word.

I had just written a blog posting about the devil. I am sure he hated it. Jay and I had just posted the latest teaching on our You Tube channel. Again I am sure the devil hated it. He tried to strike.

We often find it hard to understand why God would allow satan to strike. But when we read about Job, we find God did allow satan to come against Job. And again, it was The Spirit Who led Jesus into the desert. Why? To be tested. To be refined in The Fire. Jesus knew how to respond to the devil. It took Job awhile.

Sometimes tests occur, not so God can find out what we are made of, but so we can see what we are made of. And when we come to the end of ourselves, when we have nothing more to whine or complain about, when we are out of options and as some people say, “I guess all we can do is pray,” we find God.

We realize we are made by Him and for Him. We find what we are made of is Him.

Today when I saw the doctor, he said everything looked great. He said the prognosis for the future is good. Again I am sure satan was not pleased. And so he had to try another strategy.

Even as I have battled a persistent post nasal drip with cough for months now, I was greatly relieved not to have the flu or any virus. Sometimes having an over active immune system comes in handy.

I had not really panicked about the latest virus scare. I was concerned, but careful.

So today, before the good news was delivered about my eye, I had a very unsettling experience. The waiting room was full. You could tell most everyone was looking at each other as if we each had a machine gun hidden on us. The feelings of doubt, dread and outright fear were palpable.

I sat in my corner and periodically, as the post nasal drip hit, I coughed.

Suddenly the clinical manager came over and said, “Come with me. I need to talk to you.” We followed him to a room where we were “isolated.”. He then asked a series of questions seriously and rapid fire. “Had we recently traveled to a foreign country or been in contact with someone who had?” “Did I have fever?” Etc. Etc. Etc.

He then added another patient had expressed concern about my cough and so he had no choice but to isolate us. I was told I had to stay in the closed room until the doctor was ready to see me, I had to wear a mask, and then I had to leave directly without stopping at the desk to make a followup appointment. He said I could call for any questions or to make appointments.

The doctor wore a mask. His scribe wore a mask. I wore a mask. I was escorted out quickly after receiving the good eye news. And I felt the other patients were viewing me like a sentenced criminal.

By the time I got home, I felt the panic try to rise up. All the fear factor of the past week of eye worries got quickly replaced with worries about what I might have. And yes, by tonight, I am back to believing that as annoying as the cough is, it is not a dread disease. I hear satan’s nasty little voice saying, “Made you look!”

The virus is something to treat with the proper concern. On the one hand, I should be thankful the doctor’s office took proper note of any potential problem that might negatively impact their patients.

But on the other hand, I felt a bit traumatized. I will be glad when we can return to the world of handshakes, hugs, close conversations … and being able to clear my throat without being ostracized and isolated! 😳😱😢

So I am choosing to enjoy the victory of The Gifts The Lord has given and pray for health for all of us. Please join me!

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

3 John 1:2

Will Jesus Heal Me?

When we are in distress, we pray.  Satan hates that.  Like any opponent, he is going to try to throw us off course.

His first tactic, of course, would have been to ramp up the misery as much as possible, so we would never think to pray.

But having failed to stop us, he will need to up his game.

Strategy one will be to cast doubt as to whether God is able to help us.  After all, if He could help, wouldn’t He have already done so?

Two blind men once cried out to Jesus for help.  Jesus asked them a pointed question.

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

He wanted them to stop and consider whether their cries were cries of desperation (“Well, I guess there is nothing more we can do but pray.”) or cries of confidence.

They answered yes.  Jesus healed them, telling them, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”

Matthew 9:29

Satan’s next tactic is to cast doubt on whether Jesus would heal us specifically.  He might concede the obvious.  Jesus did really heal some people.  But would He do it for you?

Another man with a big problem called out to Jesus.

A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!”

Matthew 8:2-4

He has The Power to solve any problem you have.  And His Answer to the leper is the same as it is for you.  He is willing.  Do you believe Him?

If you do, then don’t let satan try his last tactic.  You get nowhere believing one minute and doubting the next.  Settle the matter right now with God.  And don’t doubt!

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

James 1:5-7

He Touched Me!

Tonight I am thinking about the beauty of being touched.  Many people have touched me in my life, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  They were The Hands of Jesus extended.

Jesus touched people.  He touched people others would not come near.  He touched lepers, the blind, the lame.  He touched people we don’t even know about.  He washed dirty feet.

As a nurse I remember taking care of patients who were isolated for various diseases.  The most painful part of their illness was often just that … isolation.  No one wanted to come near.  No one wanted to touch them.

In this current season of spreading illness, many have been formally isolated.  But in  sense, many more have chosen isolation as the “new normal.”  We are afraid of each other.  We see each other as a potential danger.  Even a simple handshake might be deadly.  Hugs are even more rapidly disappearing.  Even socialization is disappearing.


What has happened to our world?  And what do we do now?

I would neither blame our current crisis on God or

satan.  But know this.  Satan delights in separating people.  He loves to get people to blame God.  And he is ecstatic when people are filled with fear.

God loves.  His Power is revealed fully when we are united in Him in Spirit and Truth.  He said repeatedly not to fear.  And yes, He revealed specifically what it will take for Him to heal His World.

“if my people, who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

It starts with us.  May we humble ourselves, pray, seek His Face, and ask His Forgiveness for anything that has tried to separate us from Him.  And then may we see His World, as He does, through the eyes of compassion.

We may not touch the world physically, but we can touch them spiritually.  When we are willing to touch, we become a conduit for His Power to flow.  And others will feel His Touch wherever they are.

Begin with letting Him touch you.  Join in this song.

https://youtu.be/5m–ptwd_iI

Do You Want What You Earned?

As we continue our reflections during the season of Lent, I am sorry to have to discuss another prominent player. He is called the devil or satan.

Even though I hate to even think about him, we need to know he is still around. Peter warned us.

“Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

Satan has the uncanny ability to morph into most anything or anyone you always thought you wanted.

I will use the male pronouns to describe him, but he is really an “it” if anything, and is able to appear as male or female.

He can be beautiful. He can be handsome. He can be sexy. He can give you a false high. He will make promises he won’t or can’t keep. He will temp you to give up everything for just a taste of what he has to offer.

And when you bite (no pun intended to Adam and Eve), he will laugh and accuse you for being so stupid.

He will torment you and offer you more “get out of jail free” cards, but nothing is free with him. Everything has a price and it is a steep one.

If you keep him in your life, he will drag you to the bottom pits of hell right here on earth and potentially in the world to come.

Why would we even consider him in a story as beautiful as The Easter Story? We look at him because it was he who sought to be master and Lord.

It was satan who wanted The One God to bow to him.

It is satan who wants to make you pay for every sin you have ever committed. But his way of doing business is a little backwards to that. You commit the sin. He pays you, but not in any way you want.

It was not God Who wanted to pile your sins on you and beat the stuffings out of you. It was satan.

Romans 6:23 summarizes it neatly. “The wages of sin is death.” Hang with satan. Hang on to the sins. He will pay you what you earned.

If you want to get out of Satan’s pay line, then you can accept A Gift from Your Creator, Who never wanted you to suffer.

What’s The Gift? Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Second part of Romans 6:23.

Why would anyone reject a Gift? If you don’t trust the one giving the gift, you may refuse it. You may think it’s too good to be true. You may wonder, “What’s The Catch?”

Satan knows God’s Gift is free to all. He knows it is a good Gift. He know your receiving that Gift is going to make it very difficult for him to hang on to you.

He can’t stop God’s Offer, but he hopes to keep you from accepting it.

Satan’s main goal is to convince us God does not love us. If we believe God does not love us, we will believe He has distanced Himself from us. If we believe God does not love us, we will distance ourselves from God.

And if we cease to communicate with God, we will not seek His Forgiveness for our sins. We will believe He would not forgive us, even if we asked. We will believe He would punish us.

We will believe we are alone. Satan will assure us we are not alone. He is with us. He will offer more things that cloud our mind and make us forget The Truths we knew about God.

Satan has tried to claim what victories he could through the Easter story. He threw everything he had at Jesus.

Even though he could not get us to forget the resurrection, he did succeed in getting some to believe God abandoned Jesus in His Time of suffering on the cross.

Satan loves to play up Jesus’ Words of, “My God, My God, why haven’t You forsaken Me?” Those words seem to fit in so nicely with all the other doubts about God that Satan planted.

God, angry with His Creation. Sending His Son to take a beating and die a horrible death to show the people what He wanted to do to them. And then looking away when His Son was suffering under a load of sin.

Satan, The Accuser, revels in the opportunity to accuse God.

But Jesus told us who satan is.

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

John 8:44

What is The Truth?

God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are ONE. They were ONE at the cross, as they always had been and forever shall be.

When satan wanted to pay everyone for the sins they had committed, The ONE, said, “OK, let’s balance the books right now. Pay Me their wages!”

The horror of the crucifixion allows us to see how satan pays his wages. And if we look at the cross in its true Light, we will see a Loving God receiving satan’s wages in our place.

Isaiah knew someone would think it was God dealing out punishment, but it was not. It was God receiving on our behalf.

“Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him and by His Wounds, we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5

So what about Jesus’ statement that seemed to imply God had abandoned Him? We will talk more about that in a future blog post.

For now, know this. Isaiah 59:2 says, “Your sins have hidden His Face from you.” God will still be there. Remember Paul’s Proclamation.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

God will always be present, but you may think He is not. Your sins will be blocking your view.

Also know this. You should always read all of a scripture passage. Right after God demonstrated what sin can do to your view of Him, He demonstrated what will relieve you of sin and bring you face to Face with Him.

Jesus’ next action was surrender to God. Surrender is not giving up yourself. Surrender to The Spirit of God is allowing God to take off anything that has covered up what He created you to be.

Surrender to God frees you from satan’s grasp and allows you to fully experience being part of The Glorious One.

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your Hands I commit My Spirit.’”

Luke 23:46

And at that moment, it was clear to all Jesus had not been abandoned. The Glory of Father, Son and Holy Spirit turned on all The Lights in the universe.

Satan hates light. He fled.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

Those who were still at the cross knew they were in The Presence of Almighty God.

“And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’”

Mark 15:39