Perpetual Student of the Holy Spirit

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them… One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.  Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

Romans 14:1-7

I’ve been learning more and more about how to read the Bible and follow the Holy Spirit. Most days, I don’t believe I do too well. The fact is, however, the Bible, as much as we wish it were, isn’t a full, comprehensive list of rules that we just read and then do in our lives. It would be so easy and straight forward that way, right?

So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive our adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, you are also an heir through God.

Galations 4:3-7

Servants simply need to be told something, with no additional whys or hows, and they should do it. Now, there are circumstances where we don’t know why or how, exactly. However, we are God’s children and Jesus’ brothers and sisters. This is a completely different relationship. We are encouraged to ask questions!

The Bible introduces basic, core principles that guide God and then shows you the various personalities, cultures, and time periods, and how followers of God used the holy spirit to successfully and unsuccessfully follow those principles. The fact is, we have to work for this. This isn’t a Simon Says game. It’s not knowledge of right and wrong that God wants from us. It’s following, as best as we can, His wisdom and Holy Spirit while constantly staying in touch with and developing a relationship with Him. We are essentially, perpetual students, learning how to use God’s words in the context of our lives and circumstances.

When you read about how Paul states that women should cover their heads while in temple or men are more honorable with short hair (1 Cor 11), he was writing to specific churches in a specific time and culture where the circumstances called for this specific direction. Every person in the Bible, from Adam and Eve to the original founders of the Christian churches spreading throughout the post-Jesus world, were trying (or not trying) to follow the Holy Spirit and God’s principles in their unique situations. Just as you need to know the rules of writing before you can write a work or the methods of music before you create a piece, we need to know His voice so we know how to follow Him in differing circumstances and improvise based on His wisdom.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26

What has the Holy Spirit taught you? How has it ingrained God’s love into your heart and life?

God bless!

What is the Measure of Your Worth?

Your intrinsic value as a human being is not determined by what others think of you: true or false? Your answer depends on what part of the world you live in, what culture you were raised among, and even your religion. However, if you have TV or internet access, you are probably aware of the concept of “self-esteem.”  Christianity disagrees with both, and this revolutionary idea of not caring what anyone thinks of you was part of what got Jesus, and many of His followers, killed.

At least in the United States, the pendulum has swung, at least slightly, from one extreme to another. The fear of ostracism still exists in many forms here and around the world, but in American culture, individualism, self-esteem, and “following your heart” are pervasive values, which can carry its own set of issues. We can be, however, conflicted with those “values” and hypocritical when we hold people to their latest mistakes and look at others as incapable of heart changes, especially as Christians.

In the ancient world that Jesus was birthed into, most cultures and Rome had a culture based on honor and shame. Your value as a person was thought to be highly dependment on what the world thought of you. Therefore, you held tight to traditional ways of life and walked the fine line of public approval if you cared at all about you and your family’s life and livelihood. When Jesus publicly renounced rabbis’ beliefs and sat among the dirty sinners, He did a massive taboo, a bigger taboo than we (as modern thinkers) might think upon first reading: He didn’t care about the public’s opinion, and He asked for others to be the same.

Neither basing our worth on others’ opinions NOR OUR OWN OPINION about ourselves are healthy or God’s way. As children of Yahweh, we should base our intrinsic value on God’s view of us. So, how does God view us? We were created as imagers, God’s representatives on Earth. He puts His Holy Spirit inside each of us who allows Him, as we are His personal temples and priests. If that’s not overwhelming and amazing, you’re not listening. We are intended to be breath-takingly awesome. That is our worth. It’s infinitely more honor than anything in this world could give us. Remember this verse:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

The world’s opinion, and our own, can be a heavy load that we must carry through life. It is also an ever-changing, never satisfied master. Let’s not live our lives according to the court of public popularity nor our own self-esteem. Rather, let’s face our God like sunflowers to the sun and live up to what He created us to be, basking in the warmth of His love.

God bless!

Sources other than the Bible: You can check out Episode 204 of the Bible Project Podcast: Honor-Shame Culture and the Gospel, which inspired this post.

The Tapestry of the Word

There are many themes, references, and symbols not readily apparent from a simple scan of the Bible. They tie the whole book together from beginning to end, which is a feat since each book of the Bible comes from different eras and cultures, especially the Old and New Testaments. The written Word is a tapestry of many threads and designs that tie together in ways we may not always realize.

The first theme we’ll discuss is that of trees just because it’s forefront in my mind from listening to Bible Project podcasts. From the moment Adam and Eve are shown the trees of both Life and knowledge of Good and Bad (the Hebrew usually translated as “evil” actually means a more genetic “bad” (Strong’s), trees entered the mind of the children of God. Time and again, trees are mentioned in ways that point back to the garden of Eden and the choice between life and death that first humanity had there. It comes to mean sacrifice (as we sacrifice our own belief of what is good and bad to obey God’s truth on good and bad). In many ways, humans are symbolized by trees, vines, and branches, fruiting when living in the way of the Holy Spirit, serving others. Finally, it springs forth again to show us Eden come again.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelations 2:7

Another theme is the temple, which should be looked at as our true home. The first temple was actually the garden of Eden. It was placed on a high place, with the Holy of Holies in the center (i.e. those pesky trees of Life and knowledge of Good and Bad). The entirety of the Bible is about the journey of mankind searching for the temple to return to their rightful place as priests, ambassadors between heaven and earth in the Promised Land. Noah’s ark (a symbol of salvation), trees, animals that Noah (as a type of Adam) had to rule over, are more symbols of a temple. Mountains count many times as temples, high and close to heaven as to connect man and God, Abraham and countless others perform sacrifices on altars there. Then, of course, Moses and the Israelites built a tabernacle to serve as a traveling temple in order to commune with Yahweh. Solomon and many of his descendants built or maintained actual, permanent structures used as temples where the practice of priesthood was elaborated and cemented. Once Jesus showed up on the scene, as little as they realized at the time, He spoke of another traveling temple that would last until his return: the Holy Spirit would reside in God’s children, and no longer would people have to find the temple: It would come to them. Of course, in Revelations, the final realization of the temple becomes reality, and all of earth will become a grand temple, a massive Eden, where God will walk once again everywhere and with all people.

Honey and honeycomb is a relatively obscure symbol that pops up time and again. It tends to stand for God’s wisdom and decrees. Let’s consider these verses:

The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.

Psalm 19:9-10

The above is pretty obvious.

One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

Proverbs 27:7

When someone is full on their own or the world’s “wisdom,” they don’t long for God’s. However, those hungry for God will seek even His most hard to swallow words. By the way, I’m not stretching anything here. See this source that says something similar.

Someone’s it’s symbolism will help you understand other passages where honey shows up.

All the people came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. When the people were come to the forest, behold, the honey dropped: but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath.But Jonathan didn’t hear when his father commanded the people with the oath: therefore he put forth the end of the rod who was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

1 Samuel 14:27

Jonathon was symbolically enlightened with God’s wisdom despite his dad’s oath, and it ended up saving his life and Israel’s in the end. During the Great Exodus when Israel comes across manna, and that’s the only food for a long while, it tastes of honey as well, for good reason. They were living off more than just bread but off of every word that came from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

Revelation 10:7-11

The truth is not always pleasant.

These are just a sample of the many threads that are woven from Genesis to Revelations. Can you find any other symbols, themes, or references that are consistently sewn into the fabric of the Bible? Does it change how you read the Word?

God bless!

Rotten Trees,Woolly Wolves

Personal circumstances have delayed my writing this post until the day before I will publish it, mainly because they have caused a maelstrom of emotion and mental fogginess. Yet those circumstances have also brought me here to create this very post. I have no idea if this will help anyone, but God laid it on my heart to write it, even if it’s only for me.

Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves…Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’

Matthew 7:15-23

There are many people who call themselves Christians or simply seem like upstanding individuals who are actually dark souls beneath. There are people who we come to trust and love who turn out to be wolves underneath, waiting to strike. That type of betrayal is not foreign to God, who, besides the innumerable people who turn their backs to Him, was also stabbed in the back by Judas while here on Earth as a man. The difference between God and ourselves is that no one can trick God. How would God deal with such a person?

A person living with no remorse for their sins is the rotten tree. We’re not speaking of all sinners, which would include everyone of us. As described in the above verse, many are master manipulators and can don a disguise as easily as breathing. So, you and I will never truly know if a rotten tree ever genuinely feels remorse and turns to God for actual salvation in his or her heart. That is between that person and God on a soul level. However, what is impossible to man is possible for God. He’s raised the dead before and He can do so again.

On a personal level, it is best, when a rotten fruit reveals a deceptively rotten tree in your life, to do three things as a child of God:

  1. Forgive them. You can read a post of mine titled “Forgiveness – What It’s Not.” I wrote another post that’s called “Loving Even the Wolves” about loving our enemies. We don’t do evil against them, exchanging evil for evil. Forgiveness is not absolution. It doesn’t say what they did was right or okay. It does not mean you trust them. It does not mean you will even keep them in your life. However, a rotten apple spoils the whole bunch, they say. Don’t forgive, and you have a death grip on a rotten apple, and that will spoil all of your own fruit. Cast it aside for your own sake.
  2. Cut off the branch. If someone is a manipulator and deceiver, it’s not healthy for you or the others around you to keep him or her in your life. As much as you are able, cut them off. Consider the following verse:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:1-2

Why does God cut off the branches that bear no fruit (or in this case, possibly rotten fruit)? The death of those branches will pull down the rest. If God does this, it’s a sign you should as well.

3. Grieve. The part of our brain that processes emotion does not easily grasp the complexities of human relationships (or maybe that’s just me). If a person has betrayed or hurt you, it’s not easy to let that relationship go because all of the memories and emotions you had before are still there. Let yourself process the symbolic death of who you thought they were and the life you shared.

Another thing to remember, just in case: If a person who claimed or claims to be Christian shows his or her true nature of being rotten, some will use that as a reason to fall away from God. If you stop following God because a follower of God (or fake follower) betrays you or lets you down, you were never following God. You were following the person. A human will always disappoint in some way.

Hope this helps someone one day.

God bless!

Darkness is Inevitably Revealed

It’s difficult to know where to start with this, so I’ll just begin and pray God guides my hand to the correct end. I’ve become increasingly disturbed by images and videos of more and more people coming to light with abject racism and lack of humanity. Agree, disagree, whatever you may believe in this, I subject to you some Bible verses so you can take it up with God Himself.

But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

1 John 2:11

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

You’re probably saying, of course racism is bad. Anyone with any knowledge of God and His love for all creation would agree. However, you may say, this cop recently had this reason to hold him down even through his suffering breath or that person was not intending to shoot but to warn. All things are between God and the person who commits them in the end. None of us can fully know another’s heart, and I submit to my ignorance. Yet you sit there not giving leeway to the black person’s actions in the same breath? Or perhaps, you agree on both of these things but don’t say anything, don’t outright condemn it…

We, who are disciples of God, can not stay silent on issues of injustice or evil. When God measured out the tabernacle in the Old Testament and named the Levis the Holy Priesthood, He told them that their job was to find those who were ill and contagious and to set them aside, attempt to heal, but most of all, to judge the evil that was in their bodies and make sure it wasn’t spread (Leviticus 8-10). It was a symbol of what we all are responsible for now, as his new Holy Priesthood.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

Jesus spent a large chunk of His time tending to His downtrodden, sick, and abused sheep. Now, do the same. The evil ones and the lost will never listen to you unless you repeat their words back to them, like an echo. Tend to those with ears as not everyone is aware. We, as God’s people, must bring the darkness to light and shout out the evil from the mountaintops.

I’m writing all this to say this is wrong. I’ve seen too many black people being abused or dismissed for speaking out about the abuse. I’ve seen too many killed out of misplaced fear. If you come at me with the All Lives Matter business, I will tell you that, while that’s fundamentally true, it’s dismissive of the issue.  I don’t see you asking why a cancer awareness organization doesn’t talk about heart disease or why a 9/11 memorial isn’t reminding people about Vietnam. I will talk about other wrongs tomorrow. Today, I stand by the rampant violence against black people, and if you open your eyes, you will see God there too.

We are seeing it more and more lately because more and more people have access to phone cameras, and many sense the importance of photographic evidence, especially in a situation against people in positions of power. By the way, Jesus called out people in power continually from one end of the New Testament to the other. Why? As said in Spider-Man, “With more Power comes more Responsibility.” God gives those in power the responsibility to protect, guide, and shepherd. It is only natural God would call them out if they fail in that duty.

P.S. No, it’s not right for anyone to riot and destroy businesses or steal, even out of a sense of injustice. Those who do it are either opportunists, who come out during any tragedy and can not represent the whole, or are confused about how to fight for their rights and act out of a sense of hopeless outrage. You can not dismiss the evil committed against someone based on his/her reaction to it.

God bless!

How Much More Does God

If the evil judge serves justice to the sufferers of this world, just to shut up the victims from their constant cries, how much more will God, who is just and loving, serve justice to His children (Luke 18:1-8)? If an evil man is capable of treating his children with gifts, how much more will God, who is the creator of love and holds His little ones to His heart each moment, bless His children (Matthew 7:11)?

You can look around you, pay attention to the expressions of love and selflessness that stem sometimes from the lost, the confused, the consumed, the fallen, the broken, and the terrible. See these things and know that even they understand, in their soul somewhere, the essence of God. They can not escape the truth of Him, even if they don’t know it consciously (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-20)

They are stumbling into good, so how much more wonderful is God who is the very personification of Love, Righteousness, and Peace? It’s understandable, after being steeped in the darkness of the world since your birth, to know no other way than distrust. Know this though, God is not of this world (Numbers 23:19; John 18:36)). He is so much more than you’ve ever experienced: you don’t know love. You think you do, but there is no love in this life that can compare to His.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:1-4

Some of you may already know of all the above, and if you do: wonderful, wonderful, and live in that joy! Some do not or only see a piece of the picture, not understanding the entirety of God’s overwhelming love and concern for us. During these times, they aren’t fully sure of Him or His promises. I write to remind and to teach when possible. Let’s not forget, especially in these days of doubt and darkness, to sing of His love and faithfulness, forever.

God bless!

Listen

Why do you complain to him that he responds to no one’s words? For God does speak – now one way, now another – though no one perceives it.

Job 23:13-14

The world, I believe, is receiving a lesson on listening.

Sometimes, I really long to speak with God, not just pray to Him but hear from Him. Just the other day, I sat outside in the sunshine to eat my lunch while reading Lord of the Rings (I have never read it, just watched the movies). It came to a part where the wizard was rushing out of Frodo’s home, and he promised that although he’d never openly visit again, he would come see Frodo when he least expected it.

“Like me,” I felt God say.

This feeling made me stop my reading and look up. Like Frodo with the wizard, I didn’t want God to just say those words and leave. I wanted Him to stay and converse with me, but I had a sinking feeling that was all He would say.

Then, I noticed the sunlight glinted off the grass as it swayed in the warm breeze, the sound of cars sweeping down our road up front, and the smell of my coffee as I sipped it. The difference, He seemed to say through His creations, between Frodo’s wizard and I, is I never leave. I’m always there in a million subtle ways. Why chatter on incessantly when we can just be together?

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5

I think, during this time of social distancing and standstill, the world is learning to listen: to the rhythm of nature, to the heartbeat of their family, to the essence of what makes us human, to the foundations of our world, to the voice of God even in the silence.

Through the news, social media, and various other outlets, I see people talking about community, family, God, and the care of Earth more than I ever did before. The center of the universe has been shaken a bit from ourselves and shallow entertainment. It took the world being put on quarantine to make it happen.

So, whether you’re still busy or being forced to take a Great Pause, take a moment to really listen out for God’s voice, and realize that maybe He speaks to you by simply remaining by your side through it all.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20

God bless!

What Remains

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already read too many articles about the era of history unfolding before us. It’s a strange time to live, and it came so suddenly upon us, I think most of us are still reeling from the changes that this virus, the lockdowns, and just the fear have brought to the world. That’s the thing though, right? This concerns the entire world. I know I’m young(ish), but I don’t recall any single event affecting the entire world so abruptly and at the same time.

We’re all realizing how connected we all are. If such a terrible thing like this virus can spread so quickly from person to person across the globe, then so can a wondrous thing like love, kindness, compassion, and hope. What if, when you serve your neighbor, that joyful servitude spreads, infectious with love, to a child in Japan within a month or two? We usually never know because the CDC doesn’t report spreading acts of compassion, we don’t pause our daily lives for the bellies filled or the smiles created, and we don’t have world-wide counts on the re-born rates of children of God.

I lay in my hammock yesterday realizing something about all of this. I’ve never felt more like a child since I was an actual child. It’s a weird thing to feel, now, during all of this. I used to play all day, from sunrise to sunset if I could, outside, barefoot and dirty. Now, when I step outside I notice that the world of nature hasn’t changed in the face of the news. The birds still sing over the warmer weather. The flowers have been blooming, bringing the joyful buzz of bees. Some days it rains, and the smell brings me back to memories of sitting on my parent’s porch with the wind chimes ringing in the storms.

I always feel closer to God when in nature. When I’m inside, I feel Him too, but I’m distracted by all the man-made stuff, chattering TV, the chores left to do. When I’m outside, I sense Him in His creation, things going on as they have been when He set them in motion. He can be seen in His creation, too. His hope in reflected in the erupting colors of spring, His calm in the gentle, warm breeze. You can feel how solid He is if you stand, barefoot, on the soil and watch His smile in the cotton clouds above.

I guess I’m writing this to tell you that we’re all feeling super complex feelings about this. It’s temporary; this will pass, but difficult times always feel like they’ll last forever. We’re all grieving the loss of control we thought we had over our lives. We’re all anxious sometimes of what tomorrow will bring. The emotions sometimes hit me out of nowhere. You’re not alone; but you’re probably just realizing this more than ever. Everything you do affects the whole world, at some point. We’ve never been in control. God has been this whole time, still is, and He is calm, hopeful, loving, and reaching out to you whatever you’re feeling. Even if all else fell away, He would remain.

Maybe step outside, take your shoes off to feel the ground beneath your feet, and speak to Him.

God bless!

Lost that Loving Feeling

Have you ever heard someone say that God is silent? Or maybe He doesn’t answer his or her prayers? Did they say they’ve been searching for Him, but He seems absent?

The fact that they feel a lack is a good sign they haven’t grown complacent to a distant relationship with God. If they’ve been searching and praying, God has been showing up and answering. The question is, why don’t they see or hear Him in their lives? Why can’t they feel Him anymore?

He exists and loves you external to and despite your feelings. Whether you perceive Him or “feel” anything in relation to Him doesn’t change the fact He is there, always moving, speaking, and reaching out to you. Consider the oxygen around you. If you didn’t know it existed, would you be unable to breathe? Does it change its existence. No, the truth remains outside of our perception or acceptance. It just is.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

The hard fact about God’s love is that more than just a feeling. It’s an action. If you don’t sense God or feel as though He’s distant, consider that maybe you’re the one who walked off. Walk your way back, and the best way to do that is be called into action to show your love for Him and His creation. Volunteer, donate, spread comfort, love, and cheer to others, tell others of your love for Him, whatever you do, do it in Love. You’ll find Him there.

You should be aware that you’re not the only one to have felt this way. In fact, it is said David (God said he was a man after His own heart) wrote this psalm:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him—
    may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!
Psalm 22

God answered many times during David’s time, which he speaks of in his other Psalms. However, He answered again, this time to all of humanity who felt this way. Notice Jesus mentions this psalm when He hung on the cross:

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Matthew 27: 45-46

He feels the cries of countless souls who suffer in this fallen world, and in answer, He dies to save them from the darkness. Know that although David felt unheard at times, God heard and remembered.

I know many are having a hard time lately with all that’s going on in the world, but know that despite your feelings, God loves you and is still reaching out to you. Know in your heart that He hears and answers. It may not be the answer you like, and it may not come when you want it, but God knows better than any of us. You’ll find it was the right answer and the right timing. Please love one another in action, not just emotion. We all need each other more than ever.

God bless!

The World’s Afraid to Die

Photo by Ian Panelo on Pexels.com

It’s on every corner of the internet, TV, radio, podcast, heck even my Bible app was asking me to wash my hands today… the Coronavirus. I remember when I was a child, everyone talking about mad cow disease, Y2K and the strange weather patterns they called El Nino. As I grew older, the world was discussing bird flu, SARs, gosh I can’t remember the names of all the scary new sicknesses through the years.

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.

John 14:27

I’m not really here to tell you not to be afraid. God is. However, fear can be motivator for action. Maybe we need to know that we aren’t invincible sometimes. Maybe we need reminders that our old, sick, and vulnerable are not being taken care of as well as they should. There’s really no need for worry of the future or whether you and your loved ones will get sick or how this sickness will progress as we learn more about it. Your worry will do nothing. However, if you use the scariness of the situation to pull you into the thick of loving others, if it makes you aware that the world is afraid and many are drowning in storms on a sea of hopelessness without a rock to stand, then maybe all this can be made purposeful.

I was going to repeat my post called “Fear is a Liar,” and you can read that too as it could apply as well in some ways. Yet, I didn’t think it really encompassed this sort of situation where there is a fear about a real and present danger.

If you’re younger than 80 and in fairly good health, you’ll probably be fine and suffer no worse than you would with a flu, according to various sources. But, what if you are older, have bad health, or, like most of us, have loved ones that could be vulnerable? You need to know you have the Rock of Yahweh. He’s here today, like He was here yesterday, and will be here tomorrow. In fact, He exists outside of time itself, so He’s already there in tomorrow before you.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you where you go.

Joshua 1:9

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.

Isaiah 41:13

There are those of us who have already been affected either ourselves, our loved ones, or simply being quarantined and locked down, our normal lives disrupted. I want you to know that God is by your side, arm around your back, waiting for you to speak to Him your fears, to let Him handle them, so you can be the disciple and priest (all Children of God are His priests!) who loves others and brings them hope and comfort.

You were made for such times as this. It’s no accident you were born in the period you were, so rise, rise up on the faith and hope of God. With Him, you are enough to walk through this fire of fear and chaos on behalf of the many who cannot.

The world needs you because there are many who are unbelievers or are weak of faith, and they are awash in this storm. Stand on the Rock, and call them to the firm place beside you.

God bless! May He heal, comfort, and protect you all.