The greatest joy in my life was when I became a citizen in the Kingdom of God. To stand before God and state my acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was a life defining moment. I was brought aware of my sinfulness and the need of repentance through Jesus crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. I reached out and accepted God’s free gift through my confession of sin and unrighteousness. I received, at that moment, the confirmation of my petition and was accepted with certification through the sealing by the Holy Spirit. I promised on that day to uphold the Biblical Constitution. I realized that the Kingdom of God was founded on the principles contained in that Holy “Document.” I promised to follow the Grace that the Biblical Constitution spelled out, and to be a living example of the principles contained therein. I pledged to support the Leader of this great Kingdom. Through this “Charter” I realized that the Kingdom of God brought benefits that I could only imagine. For example, Article sixty- one Section 1:2 states, “According as his divine power has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him.” The more I read over this Document, the more I realized what Kingdom citizenship was all about. I also learned that in this Kingdom there was a difference between a “me” centered life and a Christ centered experience. I continue to study, striving to understand the principles of life. I am so excited about my citizenship and will never be ashamed of the Kingdom and its Divine Leadership.
I promised to defend the Kingdom whenever the need would arise. I realize the threats to the Kingdom are real, and if we do not recognize what they are, it will be too late. I believe there is an immigration crisis facing the Kingdom of God. There are people who are crossing the Church borders illegally. These individuals have no desire to serve God but rather, to corrupt the Church with spiritually treasonest words and actions. They seek to undermine the very tenets of faith on which the Church was founded. They not only have occupied the pews, but have taken over pulpits and administrative positions. Certain churches have ordained individuals with a sexual orientation that conflicts with Biblical standards. Some individuals have publically attacked the validity of the Scriptures. For years, many have advocated an open border policy, letting anyone in with the hope to enlarge their membership as well as to add to the coffers. I believe that the only way into the Kingdom is through the blood of Jesus Christ, and to bypass that route is totally unacceptable. Instead of trying to get the lost to the altar, we need to reach them outside of the building, and then bring them into the assembly of believers to learn the principles of God’s Word. The weekly gatherings are for Believers to experience a communal worship where Jesus is lifted up.
The Kingdom of God is under assault. When we see the changes that have affected the Kingdom over the last few years, we will realize the seriousness of the situation. The Kingdom must adhere to the Biblical Constitution, while at the same time be eager to show the pathway to spiritual citizenship!
Summer vacation is almost over for our little guy, and if you follow on Instagram and Twitter you know we've been trying to fit a few more family-outings like taking in an afternoon movie. Hello, Winnie-the-Pooh! Christopher Robin is only the second live-action movie our little guy has seen on the big screen. Cinderella was the first.
"Have courage and be kind," is the most memorable phrase from Cinderella. For Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh's line stole the show, "I'm not stress,...I'm Pooh." - of course, this only makes sense if you read that in a Winnie-the-Pooh voice, and know the movie context, but....trust me,...it was an adorable scene!
Interestingly Christopher Robin is a movie about a very stressed man 'redeeming' what was lost in his life. After the movie my husband and I decided it was time to redeem a very stressed family outing. Ice cream, anyone?
Ah,...ice cream on a hot summer day!
Is there anything more quintessential than a family ice cream outing in the depth of summer? Our two older guys loved when we'd stop for an ice cream cone! It was a real treat, for them and us. Is there anything more adorable than watching a toddler noshing on a drippy ice cream? The sheer look of delight the very first time they taste sweet, creamy ice-cold, ice cream. Yum City! Such happy hearts sharing such a sweet treat together. Only with little ones make sure to have lots of wet wipes, or dating myself here, in a time before wet wipes, we'd bring washclothes and a jar of water to wipe the happy little messy faces.
Fast forward twenty-three years. Our guys are grown, but the Lord has blessed us with a third son.
Having a child as older parents is like having a grandchild you don't have to give back at the end of the day. We couldn't wait to take our little guy for his first ice cream run,...but life kinda got in the way,...and our little guy was 'mysteriously' a picky eater. Baby food is soft and gooey, but our third baby decidedly didn't like anything soft and gooey, which made meal time quite a challenge until his teeth came in and more solid food could be offered. But hey,...ice cream is ice cream,...and ALL kids like ice cream,...right?
How many ways can you spell fiasco? Our two year old displayed no, absolutely no emotion when we told him we were going to go get some, "Ice cream,..Yeahhhhh!!!" Okay, he's not had ice cream before,...but hey,...it's a fun family outing. We're all together, it's a beautiful day,...we're going to have fun introducing our little guy to the delights of ice cream on a hot summer day,...or not.
The ice cream hut is on a busy thoroughfare with traffic zooming. Our two year old was more interested in running toward this traffic than staying next to us. The words, "Ice cream," - "Treat," - "Fun," - didn't compute. While Daddy got the ice cream, Mama tried to keep their darling little one out of the traffic, and interested in 'shared- interest' - "Look a at the big pig?" Our little guy wasn't having it. There were no tantrums, that we would have understood, it's was just total and complete indifference - to us, the outing, and especially the ice cream.
You'd have thought that ice cream was the most disgusting icky muck. Our little guy didn't want any part of it, "Thank you very much." - not that our little guy could speak - as this was just after his Apraxia diagnosis, so we weren't expecting anything verbal, but believe me - our little guy's expressive face said it all, "If you want ice cream, YOU eat ice cream. I ain't touching it."
Out came the dry pretzels from Mama's purse. Those our little guy munched with a detached expression. Family outings meant 'nothing' to him, and since we weren't letting him run around a busy parking lot....he wasn't having fun. It was a disaster. I didn't even eat my ice cream,...I was too upset. I sobbed all the way home, while my husband held my hand, and we added 'family-outing' to our prayer list for all the questions we had concerning our little guy for he had been 'flagged' for something called: Autism.
Needless to say ice cream runs have been off our charts for the past six years while we've learned to live with Autism. It's not so daunting, once understood. Sensory issues are real. For some reason our little guy is not comfortable with anything soft or gooey,...and forget the whys or wherefores. That's banging your head against the wall. Some things in life,...just are,...except it,..and move on.
My little guy certainly has moved on, and therapy helps. Sorry, but you can't totally avoid soft and gooey things in life. Toothpaste is a necessity. Thus therapy is essential, and for any given issue, therapy can take either three hours, three days, three weeks, three years, or I imagine,...three decades. It's a process, and every attempt is a successful try. Don't give up hope, don't ever give up hope.
Where is our little guy in his present state of progress? Lightyears, absolutely lightyears from that indifferent toddler wanting to run into traffic.
Isaac now eats ice cream!
Ah,...not this ice cream, however.
It didn't meet his criteria,...which is to be completely frozen. Yes, Autism is a puzzle. Our little guy will now eat ice cream...IF it doesn't melt, which means he only takes about three bites, but that's still three bites of ice cream,...and he enjoys them. Progress! Can't call it anything else, and we'll take it. After all real life is never completely tidy with all those loose ends tucked in neatly. Is it?
As for shared interest, "Look Mama, that's a big pig!"
Wow! Mama had to get a pix.
"Hold my ice cream, buddy."
Out comes Mama's phone, and did you notice who is holding the ice cream in those first two pictures? Trust me,...it took a lot of concentrated therapy to get past that soft and gooey stage! It also took Mama whipping out damp napkins to wipe down his little hands, lickety-split, but then I don't like sticky hands either,...and there are worst things in life than being a very tidy child.
You know the thing about a family outing for ice cream, is that it's never really about the ice cream. It's about spending time together in a bonding experience.
Did our little guy eat ice cream?
No, no he didn't.
Did he have fun, anyway?
Yes, yes he did.
"Mama, you like ice cream," said Isaac happily watching us eat the melting treat.
"I like you more," I replied,...'cause it's the truth.
You know, the gift of Autism is that it breaks down life into the most basic components:
I love you.
You love me.
What else is important?
Certainly not what we think is important, it's too easy to get 'very stressed' over nonessential elements in our lives. Micromanagement, anyone?
Micromanagement, you know,...kinda leaves faith by the wayside.
Six years ago when we started our Autism journey we didn't know where we were headed, and we still don't, but we have faith in the one who started us on this path.
Do you have areas in your life you need to redeem? Nothing is too hard for the Lord, nor is nothing too small for His notice,...not even ice cream outings.
"I know my Redeemer, lives" Job 19: 25
Job's inspiring faith wasn't after the fact, but during the darkest days of his trials when he couldn't see a way out of his dilemma. Yet his faith in his 'Redeemer' never wavered.
"We walk by faith, not by sight." - 2 Corinthians 5:7
Knowing you're on the right path makes all the difference!
Life doesn't always turn out the way we plan, but we can trust in the LORD who makes the plans for our lives.
"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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29: 11-13
Here's to redeeming, ice cream!
God bless and keep you!
Of the infinite the Father has given the Son,
an equally everlasting, loving reaction
is that the Anointed will raise it all up.
He has already started, before eternity’s origin,
when the decision was made to let Jesus descend
into His own body, formed in a Virgin,
now seated at the Father’s right hand, glorified,
this completed the Son, not yet His Bride.
Still, Abba’s will is that whomever He makes to thirst,
as part of His promise, shall not be lost on earth.
All glory to God’s sovereign priority,
that losers of grace are won back by belief!
For we are the Father’s own gift to Jesus,
Giver telling the Spirit to share with us this love.
With us this love that forever shall shine,
in the City on a Hill at the end of man's time,
salt with a savour which taste finds new strength
every moment before the Savior's Face.
What a life I’ve lived!
I sought adventures and gathered experiences like a starving beggar gathers discarded MacDonalds wrappings. I was in a great hurry to leave school, and start living. It was n’t the ordinary I desired, but the extra-ordinary. And the experiences came: experiences from all around the World. Sometimes I re-live the worst of them in my nightmares. I wake slicked with sweat: sleep, for the next hour or two, is out of the question.
Sometimes when I am out in public, there is still a subconscious alertness to potential threats: the ear may still be tuned to the sudden rush of feet; to the unusual and shattering sounds of potential danger. Yet here, in our rural community, far from cities or towns, I barely experience that sense of lurking threat that was my constant companion in the city in later years.
It is only in the early hours, when I hear inexplicable noises in the house downstairs, that my nerves jangle, and dam’ it, I’ve got to get up . . . . to be certain. For if I do not, I know I shall not sleep again.
Hah! When I do find the source of those night-hours sounds, there is always a naughty frisking cat behind them.
At certain junctures in my life I have lived through periods of sustained Hell. But here I am today – alive, and living in about the most peaceful, the most lovely, and above all, the quietest part of the British Isles I can find, and I thank God for that mercy.
What I’ve come to understand is that even during the worst times of horror and danger and anguish and pain, the little boy in me had never died. That little boy who believed in Jesus, was still there. And that little boy’s eyes are as wide with wonder and delight today as they were fifty-five years ago; just as alive with the innocent joy of God’s wondrous Creation, and with love for the darling creatures within it, as they were when first he was taken to see the wild places.
That little boy, who would n’t surrender his grasp on me, he was there when at last I submitted to God’s mercy. By then, I was very close to death, and I was living a sort of Hell. My health was broken. I could not eat; I could not keep food nor drink down in any quantities. That was more than sixteen years ago now: sixteen years of healing have passed since that time.
I do not miss those wild, exciting, adventurous years, when eventually I had betrayed every last one of my principles, and broken every last one of my promises. I have come to know Peace again. I live a principled life: I hold Truth close to me, as a drowning man would hold tight to a baulk of timber. My world today is as full of beauty and innocence and joy and delight, as ever it was when I was a scrap of a wee lad to whom everything was new and beautiful and exciting. My God renews those who believe in Him. He gathers us up and knits whole again the torn cloth of our lives, and He does it best when you have become a child again.
Jesus gave Peter two direct commands: strengthen the brethren, (Luke 22:32) and feed the lambs and sheep. (John 21:15-17) Jesus knew that after His physical ministry ended, the responsibility of presenting the Gospel would be left up to His Apostles. They would face tremendous obstacles as they represented God’s Kingdom. Jesus would no longer be the physical evidence of God’s love and, as a result, Faith would be the determining factor in promoting the Kingdom. Satan would gamble that out-of-sight would produce a mind relying on reasoning. He knew that the challenges of life would be a threat to their faith, and without the physical presence of Jesus, they could be easily discouraged and disillusioned. Peter’s calling was to strengthen the Believers. The word “strengthen” means to set fast, to make strong, enforce, and make stable. I believe that today’s Church is ill-prepared to face the challenges that Satan is leveling against the Body of Christ. We are more concerned about “downloading” the blessings, than being conscious of the “unloading” of negative weapons against the Church. We are more concerned with end times and our escape from planet earth than engaging in the battle against Satan and what he represents.
Years ago, I was a Boy Scout which proudly displayed the motto “Be Prepared.” Once a week, I would dress up in my uniform and meet with other scouts to receive training. I would learn how to help people and to be a positive influence in my community. I learned self-respect and how to honor God and my country. My troop did not center on outside negative influences, but on the positives of life. I find that so much of the Church today is locked in a “boy scout” mentality. We are more centered on peaceful co-existence with evil, than realizing the very real threat that evil presents. Churches used to meet twice on Sundays and at least once throughout the week to hear their “platoon” leader instruct them in the Word of God. When the Church should be full of “army rangers” ready to serve at a moment’s notice, we are having a hard time just making our “troop” meetings on Sunday. Army Rangers are on call 24/7, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to meet the challenges against our country. When is the Church going to realize how close we are to losing our influence in our Country?
Jesus told Peter to reinforce the brethren so when the challenges would come, they would be able not only to stand against the devil, but to assault the very gates of Hell. We need more Peters in the pulpit. We need leaders who know the difference between “rosy” preaching and proclaiming the “Rose of Sharon.” We need preachers who know the difference between having a faith of convenience and a faith of commitment.
Peter was also to feed the flock of Believers, from the new Christians (lambs) to the maturing Believers (sheep). To feed means to tend, pasture and keep. There is a call to arms (strengthen), but there is also a time to prepare (feed) the flock so as to develop spiritual warriors. To be a soldier in God’s army, there needs to be training, and that cannot be done with one service per week! “Peter Pastors” know how to minister to the total body of Christ. We need to train the lambs and instruct the sheep as well as strengthen the veterans. Let God’s army arise, and let the enemies of the Lord be scattered!!!
Summer vacation is winding down for us. School starts next week for our little guy. Perfect excuse to get in an adventure! How about some backyard camping? Thankfully we have a large backyard, which helps with the illusion of roughing it in the great outdoors. With our little guy's sensory issues we need to make sure a night in the tent hits all his comfort zones spots. And thankfully we can say it did. Isaac had a blast, "I love it!"
Camping is not new to us. When our older guys were little we did quite a bit of camping. The two most memorable trips were one unforgettably cold weekend in January camping at Shiloh, Mississippi with our guy's scout troop, and a family vacation in South Carolina.
What were those scout leaders thinking? Who in their right minds decides to go camping in January? What a shiveringly frigid weekend! The overnight temps were below freezing, which doesn't make for comfort sleeping as our equipment was inadequate for such extreme temperatures. However, we did have an epic campfire, which felt gloriously warm, and despite the teeth chattering discomfort our guys had a great time, which was the entire purpose of the expedition.
The other memorable camping trip was the next year to Hunting Island, South Carolina in June!
Ahhhh,...those balmy temps were ever so appreciated! There is no two ways about it, camping on an Island is totally cool. The first night our campsite was nearly on the beach, only a huge dune separated us, and saved us!
Thank goodness for that dune! There had been a tropical storm only days before we arrived and the tide was high, which meant that that HUGE dune was the only thing between us and the undertow. Yeah, it's slightly alarming to wake in the middle of the night to the sound of crashing waves only twenty feet or so from your tent. Needless to say the next morning we moved a tad inland, which seemed safer.
What is it about waking up in the middle of the night in a tent that leads to one not feeling safe? Maybe it was the sounds of a fight, shouts, screams, stuff getting thrown about, drunken feet running past your tent, and someone screeching, "Put that gun down!"
Wow! Does one ever feel vulnerable with only flimsy canvas between them and trouble. Not that anything happened. Camp security was there in no time, and then local, island police. We heard their walkie-talkies, the reassurance of their purposeful steps, the strobing lights from their vehicles, all was well.
Camping, like life, is a process.
Okay, I confess in Shiloh we didn't hang around for an extra night. We were new to camping, especially winter camping and we didn't have adequate equipment. Hyperthermia is not a joke, and the weather reports were predicting plummeting temps, and chances of an ice storm. We garnered what fun we could from the trip and some important lessons.
1. Building an epic fire will make you very popular with others. Hello we were with a troop of scouts, but no one else bothered to build a fire and their camping equipment wasn't any better than ours, except those in RVs, lucky them. Whatever, we were only too happy to share, even with the RV folks, it made the experience even more fun. And the experience was a blast! We had the campground to ourselves, we discovered coffee and hot chocolate taste a thousand times better outside when you are freezing, and the random snowflakes drifting down were breathtakingly beautiful in the woodland setting.
2. Be prepared for anything. Did we look at the sleeping bag ratings before we left? Nope, but only because we didn't realize sleeping bags have ratings. Nor did we realize the extreme necessity of having a ground cloth inside the tent. Lesson, learned.
Of course, the process of becoming a camper is all about learning from your experiences. The regrettable January freeze out in Shiloh didn't stop us from attempting our June camping expedition. Nor did the two unfortunate incidents in South Carolina keep us from enjoying the rest of our Hunting Island vacation. Not that we needed to in June, but we checked the sleeping bag ratings before we left the house, and invested in better camping equipment.
3. Investments are worth the investment. Trust me, a ten-man tent for four people feels like a luxury suite with plenty of room to spread out and neatly store your gear. No one got cranky about having to climb over each other to find stuff. Important for a week's worth of camping.
4. Location, location, location. It's the newbies that always seem to make the most mistakes. Hello, there had to be a reason why that ultra-cool campsite right next to the beach wasn't already taken. It had been a long drive, we were hot, tired, and ready to strike camp and get some grub, and clearly we weren't thinking straight. Ocean, dune, tides, storms, no one was there to set us straight, but no one should have had to set us straight. When venturing into a new location - it was our responsibility to know what we would likely encounter. For goodness sakes we were camping on an island. Needless to say we learned, and we learned quick. Have you any idea how loud waves can sound crashing yards from your tent in the middle of the night? It's loud, really, really loud.
5. No matter what you do stuff will still happen. Like raccoons, exceptionally talented raccoons, who got into our cooler and plastic tub. How? I have no idea, I could barely lift the latch on that plastic tub, hence we thought our little guy's pop tarts were safe. Did you know raccoons like pop tarts? And bacon and eggs, and loaf bread, too. The peanut butter jar stumped them. Ha! We got you there Mr. Raccoon, but it was a hollow victory, and a major pain to have to lock up everything into the truck cab. No one was happy about the food situation, not us, nor the sulking raccoons, but it was certainly a lesson in 'go with the flow.' -- a lesson we'd desperately need about twelve years later when our little guy was diagnosed with Autism.
6. Every experience is a training ground. At the time, if anyone had told me camping in Shiloh in the dead of winter was going to be a help later in life, I would have rolled with laughter. How could shivering through the night with chattering teeth in two pair of pants, three shirts, two jackets, a hat, gloves, and wooly scarf, while encased in a sleeping bag teach me anything?
For one, I learned how much I loved my guys. Not that I didn't already know, but it emphasized what I was willing to 'cheerfully' do for them. Make no mistake, we were frozen, but we had a blast that weekend, which leads into the most important life lesson camping has taught.
Happiness is a choice.
Our lives are free will. We get to choose how we respond to freezing campgrounds, wayward raccoons, mistakes made by ourselves, and others. Thank goodness that midnight campground fight didn't escalate into gun fire! Boy, that night were we ever praying Psalm 91: 9-10 "If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent."
The next morning we woke with the dawn with the choice: go or stay. Home is safer, but you can't experience the world from the shelter of four walls. The only way to expand your horizons is to step out on faith.
Faith is also a choice.
Wouldn't you just know it, but that next night I was once again awaken at midnight. Our youngest needed a 'midnight break' -- oh dear,...just him and I wandering through the sleeping campgrounds to the spotlessly clean restrooms. Never have you seen such clean restrooms in a state park!!!! Come to find some of the RV residents cleaned them in exchange for their site. After the previous night's rampage, there was something very comforting about the spick-and-span conditions of those restrooms. Hello, no one expects to find pristine restrooms at a campground, but that elderly couple who cleaned those restrooms expressed their concern for their fellow campers by what means they had. "Love one another, be kind to one another." Certainly it made a midnight restroom run with a nine year so much easier, especially since my little guy was wide awake.
"Let's see the waves!"
Oh dear,...the let's be brave,...let's have faith talks with our little guys had borne fruit.
True, it's not exactly prudent to peek over a sand dune at midnight to see crashing waves, especially when there is a full moon. But either you have faith or you don't, and the sea didn't sound stormy.
Have you ever peeked over a sand dune at midnight with a full moon nearly light as day? The tide wasn't in and before us lay the pristine beach magically lit by the shimmering light that sparkled like diamonds. Okay I am being lyrical, but with the sand and the foam and the waves the moonlight was breathtaking! What an experience to walk on the damp sand with your little one in such a glorious setting with the stars over head, the moderate waves murmuring upon the sand, little crabs scuttling along the surf line.
What a memory!
The rewards of freezing in January? Or perhaps learning that camping like life is a process. Stuff happens, and sometimes it's uncomfortable or unpleasant, but that doesn't mean extraordinary experiences aren't just around the corner.
Did I want to get out of the tent that midnight when my little guy was tapping my shoulder with a desperate, "Mama, Mama,...I gotta go!"?
Ah,...no,...no I didn't, but boy am I so glad I didn't give into fear. The campground was safe, on our way back to the tent with the hem of our pajamas slightly damp from the surf, we could see the patrol cars making rounds. Climbing back into our sleeping bags with our hearts singing with the extraordinary beauty we had just experienced we slept,...peaceful and unafraid.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left,..." Isaiah 54: 2-3
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19
Are you going through a learning process in a wilderness or a wasteland at the moment? Take courage you are being trained for new experiences - some to help others - some to help yourself - and some so extraordinary the only response is to sing, "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" - Psalm 8:1
God bless and keep you!
We talk about Faith so glibly. We tweet out Clichés as if we are writing for a Chinese fortune cookie company. For years, I published tidbits to stoke the embers of the Christian community. Little shots of spiritual adrenalin would hit the internet. It was hoped that these mini-facts would challenge the reader to action. Slowly I began to realize that the growth of a Believer is not in acknowledging the spiritual principles, but rather, in acting on those principles. We can talk, read, and listen all day to spiritual rhetoric, but without affirmative action, it is nothing but words. We talk about Faith in such a general way. Some believe the confessional responses to God’s Word are all that is necessary. We fail to understand that the world is more open to seeing us living what we confess, than hearing what we believe. Satan is not bothered by our Christian “slogans;” it is when we exhibit what we confess that causes him to become concerned.
Christians have a tendency to treat Faith only as an identifying characteristic of their life. To exhibit Faith by attending church with as much regularity as is feasible seems to be an evidence of our Faith. Again, Satan is not bothered by our weekly attendance; rather, he is concerned with what we do outside the church. The success of a church is not by how many people attend, or its financial condition, but by what we do with what we hear. Faith is an ACTION based upon believing God’s Word.
When the day is over, we need to ask ourselves what we have accomplished for the Kingdom. How many people were influenced by our direct or indirect actions? Faith is a total commitment to our Lord and Savior. Jesus told His Apostles that if they wanted to come after Him, they would have to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24, 25) That takes Faith! Talk is cheap, commitment is everything!
As the years passed, and I began to grow older, and strength and supple youth abandoned me, my wonder at God’s love for me - despite the wrongs I had done, the hurts I had caused – grew the greater.
I came to accept with a contrite and grateful heart the truth of my salvation in Christ.
I came to understand with a growing sense of wonder that I was forgiven in Christ: for the past, for the present, and for the future.
I came to understand that it is the mark of a true Christian to feel compassion and pity and sorrow for the poor, the sick, the crippled, the weak, the hurt, the homeless, the exiled, the afflicted.
I came to understand that there exists such an emotion as righteous anger. And that I can channel that anger to empower me in my fight for the Good.
For I understand that a battle is being waged in the Heavens, and that battle is mirrored here on earth, and that along with showing love, it is a Christian’s duty to become a soldier for Christ.
I have come to see that there are certain political parties and regimes around the World whose leadership is utterly evil:- wittingly, knowingly evil; for they advance and exploit human weakness and frailty and suffering for their own ends; they sow discord in society; they teach the great mass of men first, to despise, and then, to condemn as barely human, those who are not like them.
These politicians are the exploiters of humankind. They are the agents of Evil, for they are seeking to re-condition society: they are ridding it of the residue of compassion and pity for the weak and vulnerable that was left over from the Christian era, and substituting in its place, a greedy, self-serving, callous disregard for the poor, the sick, the crippled, the weak, the hurt, the homeless, the exiled, the afflicted.
Such political leaders are the enemies of Christ, for Christ Jesus did not mock the poor, the sick, the crippled, the weak, the hurt, the homeless, the exiled, the afflicted. He loved them.
It is my Christian duty to combat, as best I can, such political leaders. And if my body is weak, then I must use my mind. And if my mind is weak, then I must use my spirit. And if my spirit is weak, then I must pray for strength.
I must never be afraid in Christ Jesus.
The time for turning the other cheek is past. Evil has at its command such technologically advanced tools and resources, such a complexity of advanced social and economic weaponry, as it has never before commanded in all Mankind’s ages. To turn the other cheek, now, in this time, is to betray God. To turn the other check is to neglect one’s duty as a Christian soldier.
Which is why my Christianity is not a milksop’s Christianity: it is a soldier’s Christianity, a fighter’s Christianity. And a Christian Soldier knows that he must be prepared to accept injury for Christ. Our Lord was mocked, vilified, scourged and crucified: it may be that we too will be mocked and vilified, even if we are spared the scourging and crucifixion Our Lord suffered. A Christian soldier will not refrain from defending the Good, merely for fear of mockery, vilification or injury.
Hello, but you know you are a writer when you find a penny and the first thing you do is check to see if the mint-date is the same era of your story setting.
Did I really do that?
Yes,...yes, I did, last week when I found a stray penny,...heads up, no less. The coin was struck in 1975,...only two years before Becoming Portia - New Beginnings's setting in 1977, so I was kinda close. What was Annie Bruce doing in 1975 according to the storyline? Sixteen years old, Annie was homeless and alone. Desperate, she didn’t know where to look for help, although help was closer than she ever knew.
Have you found any pennies lately? Did you pick them up? Or did you pass them by saying, "Nah,...it's just a cent,...worthless."
Not so fast, the value of a penny is based upon one’s perspective. There is sentimental value, that ‘penny for your thoughts,’ which has kept many a cent in many a sock drawer for decades. Don’t deny it, we’ve all got priceless pennies tucked away here and there.
Then there is perception of added value. According to research, in 1996 a (1943) penny, only worth .01 as legal tender, was valued a rarity by a collector and sold at auction for $85,000 bucks. Not bad for a red cent, but such auction prices for coinage are the exception, not the rule.
However for the run-of-the-mill penny, its true value is found in its accumulative power. The latin phrase: E Pluribus Unum - From Many, One, struck upon every coin is our national motto. After all, get a 100 pennies together and you have $1.00. Or even more impressive is the fact that $999,999.99 can’t turn into a million without the humble cent lending its collective power.
Humble cent? It’s okay to speak of humbleness. It’s even more okay to be humble. Humility is not a virtue highly valued in our 21st century society, but only because it is so greatly misunderstood. Humility is not worthlessness, but rather humility is perceiving the worth of the One that gives us worth. While the world would say we’re ‘…worthless,’ – the Lord looks upon us as priceless,…
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Oh yes, Abraham Lincoln was a man of great humility. Please note what follows:
By the President of the United States of America.
Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation.
And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty seventh.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
The above was introduced in 1863 during the height of the Civil War. The national day of fasting and prayer taking place three months before the Battle of Gettysburg, which was a turning point in the war. No doubt the proclamation was inspired by 2 Chronicles 7:14.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land"
The things you learn when you research a blog post about pennies. The theme for this post being – Help At Hand, Closer Than You Know. I meant to highlight the little known trivia about pennies minted before 2009,...
Maybe you know this one. Maybe you don't.
Have you ever looked closely at a penny? There smack in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial is,...Abe Lincoln. No,...really it's teeny,...tiny...microscopic even, unless you've got super great eyesight. On this photo I am using two magnifying glasses, but our 16th president is in there.
Here is a super close up. Can you see him? There's Abe Lincoln,...and he's been there in your purse, in your pocket, on your car's floor board, behind the sofa cushions, and on the bottom of a sock drawer the entire time.
"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln.
Gotta love Abe for his zingers. Happiness is a choice. But you know the thing is about Abraham Lincoln's penny trivia,...is most folks don't know where to look. If you want to see Abe for yourself,...you have to want to find him.
Here is the first attempt to take a picture of Abe on a penny. Can you even tell that's a penny, except for the shape? The only way to take a clear picture was to get closer to the light, and add magnification.
"O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together." Psalm 34:3
If you notice the magnification on the lighted penny,...you'll notice that penny wasn't quite pristine. But then, neither are we. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
All, includes everyone, like in us,...all of us, for we all make mistakes, or rebel, or just mess up,...but yet the LORD counts us as priceless. Those less than pristine pennies,...they are still legal tender, they can still make $999,999.99 round up to a million dollars. Thus every penny could qualify to claim, "I am a million bucks." - so are you.
It's not a big deal if you don't know Abe is on a penny minted before 2009, but it is a big deal if you don't know that the LORD is close at hand, and counts you priceless.
"Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6
Humility,...perceiving the worth of the One that gives us worth.
God bless and keep you!
In 1944, I was chosen to be part of a family to which I had no biological or genetic ties. From rejection to acceptance, I was adopted into a loving family. My birth to the self-realization of whom I was and to whom I belonged brought a sense of security and purpose in life. It was through my parents love, devotion, and commitment to God that enabled them to take a day old baby and bring him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It was through their unwavering faith and discipline that I became who I am today. Godly parents are the conduit by which God’s Word flows into the child. The spiritual welfare of a child is directly correlated to the involvement of the parents. (Proverbs 22:6) Through the relentless prayers and teachings of my mother and father, I experienced God’s love. My horizontal adoption paved the way to another adoption which transcended everything that I had ever experienced. GOD WANTED TO ADOPT ME! No matter how wonderful my life had become, there was a “sin seed” within me that, if not eradicated, could be fatal. Through God’s love, He sent His Son to pay the penalty for my sins. He asked me if I would accept Jesus’ finished work and accept Him, not only as my Savior, but as my Lord. If I acknowledged my sin and asked for forgiveness, the “Adoption” would be final. Needless to say, I accepted His offer. This vertical adoption brought my life into a whole new dimension.
The horizontal adoption offered a life of visible variables, while the vertical adoption offered a life of faithful assurances. My parents taught me the principles of life, while God revealed how to have a principled life. My parents surrounded me with love, while God revealed His love. My parents taught me through the tangibles, while God taught me through the intangibles. My parents showed me the obvious, while God showed me the reality of what faith could produce.
As happy as I am for being physically adopted, I cannot help being overwhelmed by my spiritual adoption. To call God my Father fills me with unspeakable joy. Words cannot express the joy that fills my heart when I think of the eternal family of which I am a part.
The Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15) has caused all fear, anxiety, depression, worry, doubt, anguish, and all negatives of life to vacate my reasoning mind. FEAR comes through the EAR. If Satan can funnel his action words through our ears, he knows it will not be long before we center our attention on what is heard. Believers need spiritual hearing aids that will cancel out the background noise so we can hear Jesus loud and clear.
During my growth pattern as a horizontal adoptee, I learned the importance of expressing my gratitude to my parents for all they had done and were doing in my life. Now that they are gone, all I have is my memory bank that is filled with good memories. (If your parents are still alive, treasure the moments together, for the time will come when you will no longer have them.) As a vertical adoptee, my relationship with my Heavenly Father is never ending! I praise Him daily for what He has done, and is doing, and will continue to do in my life! The God of creation is my Father who adopted me through the sacrifice of Jesus. WOW!!!
Took a wrong turn today in the parking deck after my little guy's therapy appointment at the Children's Hospital. Monsoon-like weather in our area this morning with torrential rains and whipping winds made driving downtown to the hospital a most soggy adventure.
Therapy went GREAT,...our little guy is amazing! Don't let anyone ever say our children on the Spectrum can't make progress. Our son is proof positive they can! But then, our God is bigger than Autism, and bigger than Apraxia, and bigger than any problem we can ever face,...even when we're a little lost.
Have you ever parked in a hospital parking deck mid-morning on a Monday? Nearly impossible task to find a parking spot when everyone seems to have early appointments. Luckily or rather prayerfully we got a spot not too far from the over the street bridge. Of course it was on a different level from our last visit, and to be honest, in the past six years, I think we've parked on every single level from ground to the roof.
Personally, I like parking on the parking deck roof. Usually it's uncrowded, the downtown views are fantastic, and I NEVER forget where I parked. But no roof today, with the rain slashing against our windshield I was grateful to find a relatively dry location mid parking deck. Only one level of the parking deck looks a lot like the next, and when your little guy is excitedly telling you 'cool things' about all that thrashing rain we just came through,...you forget to look at the level identifying colors.
With therapy, check out, adventuring down to the CAFE, and yes, let us cap-CAFE in all caps, because Apraxia kicked in at the end of my little guy's appointment. Oh, but Isaac wanted so badly to tell the doctor where we were going to eat lunch, but with Apraxia, the motor processing just wouldn't let him get the word, "Cafe," out,...so he spelled it, "C-A-F-E!" (Yeah, he's really cool!), well,...needless to say after our lunch of chicken fingers and fries, we took a wrong turn on the parking deck. The grey skies made the cement enclosed deck very dim and gloomy,...as we walked and walked, searching for our car,...which was no where in sight.
"Where car, Mama?" asked Isaac, clearly bemused.
"Well, it's not here," I answered pointing to the honking big truck occupying what should have been our parking space.
Now did Mama panic? No this Mama did not panic, because this Mama's done this little parking deck episode once before, and she used up all her frenzied freaked out panic on that lost car occasion. With the calm insight of experience, I instantly knew exactly what happened. Our car had not been towed away, or stolen, or thrown off the cement banister. When we entered the parking deck,...we merely headed in the wrong direction. No great loss, we got an extra tour of the parking deck, and my little guy was pumped, he really likes parking decks. Once we retraced our steps and were pointed in the right direction, we found our car without further incident, and the rest is history,...
Where are you headed? Hopefully not in the wrong direction, but should that be the case, the solution is so simple, be it parking decks or anything else in life. Stop, evaluate your situation, turn around,...and then go in the direction where you should be.
One thing living with Autism has taught us, is that we truly,..."walk my faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 After all, most eight year olds don't spend their summer vacation attending therapy sessions, although we're sooooo grateful for the phenomenal progress our little guy has made in therapy!!! It's the fruits of our faith when he was a toddler when we had NO IDEA if therapy would even work. During that distressful time, we didn't know where we were headed, but we knew if we kept our sights on the LORD,...we were headed in the right direction.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go,..." Psalm 32:8
"The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8
When the LORD is watching your back, it's really hard to get lost. Even today in the parking deck we weren't really lost, we were merely misdirected. In our fast pace world with everyone zooming at super sonic speeds, its easy to get yourself on the wrong path. It's okay,...we all have to stop and reevaluate our direction from time to time. Where we've been in life is not nearly as important as where we are going! Walking by faith,...takes,...ah,...it takes faith. We might not see a clear path,...but we can trust the LORD's direction.
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way,...walk in it." Isaiah 30:21
The ultimate key is listening.
God bless and keep you!
(after reading Acts 9:1-31)
He came to Damascus,
to Straight Street to ask us,
"Do you follow the Christ?"
Thus Paul became an apostle,
appointed to jostle
us further from a slumber of lies.
Truth is we did not
consider grace so strong
that Messiah could speak to such kind.
But as we, too, were pursued
with wills which God slew,
scales still fall, grace touches our eyes.
The Church sees harassment down to this day,
Christ still says, "Why this to me?"
We must speak to pursuers, "Do you chase the Ruler?"
Pray Jesus so speaks, they receive.
Christ daily walks through
Straight Street, calls us to
stand strong and confess, "We believe!"
Once a person has received the “written” invitation from God to accept His Son, the doorway to the abundant life stands before him. It is the Holy Spirit that carries the invitation through the Word to the “whosoevers.” It is then up to the invited to RSVP his decision whether or not to accept the invitation. If there is a positive response, the written contract is explained in detail to the recipient, either through the Holy Spirit or a ministerial agent. The “binding” document is sixty-six books long. In this spiritually recorded parchment, God also guarantees His involvement in the lives of the beneficiaries. Once the “contract” has been explained, the door to the abundant life is opened. It is the responsibility of the recipient to follow the directions in the contract. If one does so, one will experience the kind of life the Old Testament saints had predicted and longed for. There is no expiration date on the “Eternal Life Insurance” policy.
What is wonderful about this Holy document is that one does not have to wait until death for the benefits, but can immediately draw from the “Treasurer Grove” of the Word. One of the benefits of the contract is the opportunity to participate through personal involvement. The more one responds to the content, the greater the benefit. Obedience brings blessings. Now if an individual chooses not to do anything with the contract, and just files it away, the contract is still good, for the recipient is saved by Faith and not by works, but by inaction, a full and exciting life will fail to be experienced.
Another blessing to this Contract is that there is no pre-existing condition that would disqualify one’s participation in the Heavenly Company. No matter what an individual has done in life, acceptance into the Kingdom of God cannot be denied.
God needs agents to represent His Eternal Life Company, but it seems so many are wrapped up in self-promoted priorities that representing the Kingdom is not on their list. Jesus saw the multitudes searching for the Truth. He saw the fields ripe for harvest, but the harvesters were few in number. He asked His Apostles to pray that God would send laborers into the harvest fields. (Matthew 9:35. 36)
Christians have the greatest contract that the world has ever seen. Let us sign up as agents and be willing to let the Holy Spirit work through us as we share the policy with those in need!
Summer has settled in with heat and humidity, and more heat and even more humidity here in the deep South.
Every year I say to myself, "Let's find something positive about all this heat and humidity," and each summer I conclude, "I am positive, I don't enjoy this heat and humidity."
The weather in Alabama in spring an fall is absolutely GLORIOUS! The mild winters aren't so bad, either. But the extreme summers? Oh dear,...they are icky, icky, icky, and do I dare add one more icky,...to icky hot and humid, and they seemingly last forever. Yet, Alabama is beautiful with all the lush foliage. If you like the color green, Alabama's the place to be.
Where are you?
Is the weather hot? Mild? Somewhere in-between? Or are you like me? Pushing positive thoughts toward all that heat and humidity? If you are across the globe this is winter for you. Enjoy! And think happy thoughts for us here sweating in the deep south.
You know, one must start somewhere if they are going to get around all this heat and humidity. Life is too short to pout about it. It's not fun, but ah,...life's not all fun. Some things are necessary like the extreme heat of summer and the icky humidity that goes along with it. Those gulf streams that make our summers so torrid, also make our spring and fall so pleasantly balmy.
Now spring is filled with the promise of seeds and seedlings, and blossoming trees, while summer is the fruition of that promise. Or in other words,...things grow in summer.
Long days are needed for growth. Plants soak in all that sunshine, the extreme heat and humidity keeps the temperatures in optimal peak for fruit to set seed. The comfortable temperatures we like in spring and fall are too cool for plants, especially overnight. One overnight frost, and plants wilt into a sad, sad, scenario with blacken leaves and rotting half-formed fruit. So it's not like the Lord is torturing us with these summers. All this heat and humidity is actually - love in action.
Think...we gotta eat, folks. Can't do it without the heat and humidity of summer. It's the food chain, plants need to soak in all that sunlight so they can process the energy into photosynthesis, which is converted into glucose, which animals consume, and then people consume the animals/and or plants, which means you cannot have an ice cream cone without heat and humidity!
Ice cream = milk and cream from the cow, who eats grass and grain, which is grown in summer. Sugar goes into ice cream, and sugar cane grows best in hot humid climates. Vanilla beans for vanilla ice cream, cause let's keep this analogy simple, but again the vanilla bean pod can't be produced without heat and humidity.
All that said, I have to be honest and confess, "I still don't like heat and humidity." Can't get around the fact, it's uncomfortable, but then growth in our life rarely happens without discomfort. "For you know that when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow." - James 1:3
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit,... fruit that will last,..." - John 15:16
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." - Hebrews 12:11
Harvest of righteousness and peace? That's worth a little discomfort, and it's nice to know we don't have to 'like' seasons of growth. Duh, discipline isn't pleasant, nor are those high humidity levels, but they are both necessary to produce fruit,...spiritual, and otherwise.
Something to think about next time I am sweating!
May God bless and keep you!
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
Vacation Bible School for us this week.
Nearly 1400 kids at our church campus, that’s a lot of snacks. Pretzels and marshmallows for today, the children made constellations to go with the ‘outer-space’ theme.
Whew! Was it ever hot and humid out there under that porte-cochere, but even so what a quick three hours spent on the snack team.
We were all veterans from the renowned 2017 Snack Team who conquered unraveling Twizzlers strand by strand to make fishing lines for pretzel rod fishing poles to hook Swedish Fish. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to quickly unravel Twizzlers in heat and humidity? Prayer and persistence helped us to prevail for those kiddie-boos, last year. Or maybe it was just the Lord’s purpose at work
Hello? You mean the Lord actually cares about VBS snacks?
Yep, the Lord cares about everything.
Not a hair is lost upon our heads that has not been counted.(Matthew 10:30) Not a sparrow falls, that the Lord is not aware. (Matthew 10:29) Just check out the night sky with all those constellations floating overhead. God brings the stars forth,…one by one,…and calls them by name (Isaiah 40:26),…and yet all those stars out number the grains of sand upon the earth.
Perhaps because we are so small, we forget how big our God really is, and how loving: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3: 16-17)
One and only son, that’s love at an unprecedented scale, and it’s mind boggling how to communicate that depth of love to children,…and others.
Maybe it’s done one marshmallow at a time? Or Twizzlers, like last year. Our team certainly bonded over those maddening things in a way – no team leader could have possibly devised if they plotted for a million years!
Certainly I doubt any of the snack team members will EVER forget those 2017 Twizzlers. Hello, we had over 700 kids on our rotation to feed in just three hours. That takes some mighty quick untangling. I also doubt those kids from the 2017 VBS will remember those fishing poles and Swedish fish, but what those kids will remember is how loved they felt, how accepted, and how welcomed.
Oh yes, we can plot and plan all day long, thinking up grand schemes in our hearts, but no matter what in the end, it’s always the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
That’s a good thing!
Tomorrow the snack team faces the Great Battle of Icing and Sprinkles. More bonding? With the humidity level predicted, no doubt. But nevertheless, it’s a great chance to show love to those kids spilling colored sprinkles from one end of that porte-cochere to the other.
You see, those teeny-tiny sprinkles are like stars – countless to us, but not one sprinkle will go astray, but that the Lord doesn’t know. And that’s pretty comforting. If the Lord can effortlessly keep up with VBS snacks,…well,…then how much more is the rest of our life, and all of its challenges worth? We might worry, and plot and plan, but in the end,…the Lord’s purpose will always prevail.
Until I post again,…may God bless and keep you!
I used to be a blackout drinker. It was always a sprint and not a marathon; I was not drinking to remember, I was drinking to forget. I didn't drink every day, maybe twice a week, but when I did the reason and result were the same. I started empty and ended empty. The never ending loose bandage drugs and the drink became never stopped the bleeding and seldom numbed the pain. It simply left the same valley ahead of me. My mountains had no mustard seed.
Today its been almost 3 years since I've turned to the bottle and found the bottom. I'll have wine or beer now and then but not too much and not too often. I believe with all of me that God took away not the reasons, but the desire to get intoxicated. Overnight in one day just like that. Gone. How can you explain that? I cannot. But in this little life its a witness to our Saviors' knowledge of what chains are fastened to our yokes, and His ability to transform us from the inside out. I never saw it coming. He always knew.
Medicine has given mankind millions of options that are not, faith in Jesus Christ. There is a pill for most every problem, and In this upside down world, the pills are the problem. The Word says this "...for Satan has deceived the world by means of His sorcery". The term sorcery here in Greek is pharmakia- in plain English...drugs. We are deceived to believe that anything in and of this world is our healer and remedy. Jesus ministry in Galilee and Syria saw all and I mean everyone with all diverse diseases, the spirit tormented and demonically possessed, lunatics and those with palsy healed with just His Word. That is the beautiful reality of Gods Kingdom. He came to set the captives free. He gave them new names.
We can either stay in the valley wandering in the wilderness or command our mountains to move. I believe a heart of clay and humble knees in Jesus name moves mountains. Perhaps the mountains we face are there simply to bring us to our humble knees. I know they make you wiser and stronger. My own struggles were not inherent or predetermined. They were my self created and selfish attempts to figure out life on my own terms without faith and hope and love to guide me. I was born with a rebellious heart and a hard head in an authoritarian environment. This is when the struggle began for me as a child, building the very mountains I'd have to one day beg God to help me overcome. It took me 4 decades to realize that pride, not pain, built those hills. It wasn't dad. It wasn't my upbringing. Momma tried, and my brothers just shook their heads. It was always a choice to go against the grain. I sought adventure over refuge, and pleasure over principle. I was the problem. Sin was the problem. Sin is and will always be the problem.
I was thinking this morning how different life would be if I would have listened to my dad back when I was blonde hair, pretty blue eyes, and still green. In my secret place I blamed my dad for raising me with fear and fury; molding me into someone born to run. The path I chose was the hard way and the long way leading to the right way. Gods discipline and love in our lives begins long before our knowledge or awareness of it. All that pain had a purpose. All of that blame, it belonged to me; Daddy tried too. Father knew best.
Walking in truth seems an uphill fight on a downhill road. I believe that it is holiness; righteousness and humility that allows Yahshua to take the wheel in this life. Recognizing God Almighty's work individually eventually leads one to understand the patient and deeply intimate nature of His loyal love. Its beyond words like amazing and awesome. There shall one day be a pure language that will honor the depths of His riches and wisdom, that will pronounce in pure spirit His holy holy name to all. Until that day it is my solemn prayer to let His hands mold this man. Do not let me Lord, be an orphan in the wilderness for nothing. I beg you, use this life for You, make me your possession. May the story of our lives look back in recognition of God's will at work in our lives when we knew Him not. May we be aware of His discipline and thankful for His patience. May it always and forever be His story written in our life for His glory to be known through the little ones. Keep us humble make us holy and give us all new names.
Five years ago, while a graduate student at Cambridge University, Michal Kosinski showed how even benign activity on Face Book could reveal personality traits – a discovery that was later exploited by the data analytics firm that helped get Donald Trump into the White House. More recently, he has shown how face-analysing algorithms could distinguish between photographs of gay and straight individuals. As well as sexuality, Kosinski believes this technology could be used to detect emotions, IQ, and even a predisposition to commit certain crimes.
See the Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/07/artificial-intelligence-can-tell-your-sexuality-politics-surveillance-paul-lewis
These findings constitute another thread in the rich and wondrous tapestry that is the future of Humanity - the day after tomorrow. It is a terrifying future, for with each of these threads being woven into the tapestry of our future, we move closer to a day when freedom of will, freedom of action, and freedom from intensive surveillance by the state, will have become greatly diminished.
In Britain today, it is so far only people claiming social security payments who are beginning to experience a tangible threat to some of these freedoms. In order to qualify for financial help from social security, they perforce give up some of their freedom: they lose the right to move home (unless they are willing to lose their benefits); they lose the right to have a friend or family member stay with them for more than three weeks (unless they are prepared to run the risk of their benefits being re-evaluated, reduced, and/or cancelled); they lose the right to save up money, via dint of huge personal sacrifices and self denial, from their benefits-based incomes, to fund a short holiday abroad: if found out in that action, their social security payments are in grave danger of being terminated.
Some social security claimants have already had their personal data provided to at least one of the big supermarket chains by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP): the supermarket chain then tracks and records their purchases when they shop within one of its outlets, and provides the DWP with data on their shopping purchases, as part of the vast amount of resources the DWP spends on tracking down so-called benefits fraudsters. (Would that the Tory government spent even one tenth as much time and money on tracking down and bringing to account mega-rich tax avoiders).
Sick and disabled people in receipt of social security benefits run the risk of the DWP installing closed circuit TV in some handy location (such as a compliant neighbour's home, possibly the same neighbour who first makes the DWP aware that he thinks that poor Joe Bloggs is a benefits fraudster) in order to surveille his activities and find him out in some activity that will disqualify him from receipt of one or more of the benefits he is entitled to, and render him liable to criminal charges for benefits fraud.
This sort of ever present threat to the individual's well-being, and sense of personal privacy and material security, will in time inevitably be extended, via the sort of psycho-technology under discussion on this page, and other similar devil's workshop psycho-technological and surveillance technology advances, to general members of the public. Its use will be sold to them as necessary tools to "enhance their security; to "keep them safe" (from being blown up by ISIS).
The general public, possessed of a collective gullibility and ignobility of spirit, along with an individual timidity, that no longer astonishes, but still dismays, me, will be eager to co-operate in the stripping away of its rights and freedoms. There will be posts appearing on online forums of the nature "If you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" from the sublimely unimaginative and servile, to whom all manifestations of an all-powerful authority are proof merely that all is well in the world.
As to human, rather than technological, facial recognition of characteristics and inclinations: only a minority of the public can still recognise a right villain when it spots one, by his features and his body language alone. If this were not the case, populist would-be and actual dictators, such as Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would face much more opposition. And some of us will have had our initial take on a person's sexual orientation confirmed at some later stage, or on receipt of further knowledge, on a surprising number of occasions.
We are not always right; we are more often wrong; but we can and do recognise certain "facial signals" (and I'm not talking about being winked at in a bar late at night). However, most of us have no particular prejudice against people of any one particular sexual orientation, and so we are prepared to discount our gut-recognition as either incorrect, or (and this is the more admirable response): irrelevant. And so the world keeps turning.
But once the world that Michal Kosinski shows is possible, has become a reality, there will be no room left for the enlightened contribution of the human spirit: the Nightmare** will have taken flesh.
** AKA known as “The Devil”.
In our zeal to interpret Scripture we have crossed “borders” seeking a fuller life. We have taken Scripture from its rightful placement and occupied its content with the hope of a spiritual benefit. When reading the Epistles, we must make sure who they were being addressed to, and what was the main purpose. To take a verse or chapter out of its context is to open the door to potential actions that may lead to disappointment and discouragement. I cannot stress enough that reading the Scripture without Holy Spirit guidance will dilute the Word from dynamic power to a “sparkler” effect. Some people have a regimented routine in which they read with the objective of going through the Bible in a year. The question is how much do they learn? I knew a person who read the Bible through over seventy times, but when it came to sharing meaningful content with someone, there was a noticeable muteness. I have always stressed the importance of reading the Word, but it is not to be evidenced by how much is read, but by the quality of one’s understanding.
One of the methods of Bible study is by SUBJECT. Here a topic is chosen and then a cross reference is conducted. We then gather all the Scriptures and come to a point of action. The problem is that we fail to see the context in which each Scripture is used. The Word of God will never contradict itself, but the applications will vary. Understand the setting of a verse and then see how that will apply in your situation. When Peter saw the fig tree that Jesus had cursed, he responded with an emphasized response, “Look, the fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus took that situation and turned it into a teaching experience. He basically told Peter to have “faith in God.” If he did so, he could cast mountains into the sea if he did not doubt and believed in what he was saying. Jesus then elaborated by telling him that whatever things he desired, when he prayed, he could have if he believed. (Mark 11:23, 24) Jesus was equipping Peter for the role he would be playing after Jesus’ ascension. In fact, He specifically listed five authoritative actions that His men would display. (Mark 16:15-18) The ending of the fig tree experience is usually ignored by “subject studiers.” While praying and believing for a miracle, we are to pray, forgiving those who have hurt us, for if we don’t forgive, God will not forgive our misdeeds. (Mark 11:25, 26) Many Believers love verses 23 and 24, but ignore verses 25 and 26. We must understand that each verse of Scripture must be taken in its correct context. The Faith thread will flow through the Word of God, but trying to make a tapestry from selective passages will result in a confusing picture.
Before you begin to open the “Treasure Chest” of God’s truth, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for direction and guidance. Bible study is not by random selection, but is an ordered experience. When you are led to a certain Scripture, stay in that Epistle or book until you understand what the Holy Spirit is showing you. Do not speed-read the Word as you may miss important truths. Do not look for hidden meanings, for His Word is open and clear. Do not look for other books to help you understand The Book, for you may end up endorsing someone else’s doctrine.
The Bible is your guidebook through life. Learn how to read and appreciate it, for it is God’s Word to you!
This reminds me of Matthew 16:26. What does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but looses his own soul? To me it says keep your focus on God and not worldly things. God will guide you, just trust in him is right.