Archives August 2022

These Present Darkness

low angle photography gray sky

These last seven days have been difficult. Not for any one thing to put a finger on. I’m reminded of, I believe it was the first Star Wars movie. At one point Obe Wan Kenobe has been found and I’m not sure at what point the bad star ship vaporizes a planet. Obe Wan comments on the troubling in his spirit when this occurs.

There is a song in our hymn books titled “Troublesome Times Are Here”.

What we must remember is—this song was written many years ago and could have been written in many millennial years ago. In short, troublesome times have come and gone throughout the centuries, yet humanity continues.

Often we believe the times we live in are the worst…

“Matthew 24:

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

In times like these… take heed and let no man deceive you. Do we hear of wars? Do we hear of nation rising against nation? Kingdom against kingdom… famines pestilence, and earthquakes? These have taken place for centuries and yet the ages still roll.

What is a servant of God and Jesus supposed to take away from times like these? First of all, remember we are servants. A servant serves. We need to leave the unshared things in God’s hands. We have a family joke about why God didn’t make woman first—He didn’t want advice.

“Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” We serve where our Lord puts us, and not everyone is given the minute details.

Control. Take heed, God is in control and as the book of Revelation shows us, we don’t need to understand all the nuances of everything written in the scriptures for the culmination of those things to come to pass. In other words, whether we understand the times that God holds in his hands, it doesn’t rest in our hands to bring it to pass.

Peace. We can have peace in this present world no matter the times we live in. We are given our sphere to hold, and standing for truth and righteousness is where we must be.

Take heed, Jesus never told his followers when he would return, we are supposed to be busy about the Father’s work. “Luke 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?”

Take heed that we don’t take upon ourselves those things which belong to the Father. As it says in “Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Don’t become entangled in matters that won’t make any difference. Stand where you are until the Lord comes, or you are relieved of duty.

“Matthew 24:

48  But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth;

49  and shall begin to beat his fellow servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken;

50  the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not,

51  and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

To Stand

belief bible book business

Revelation 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 

I try to begin a new post on Sunday afternoons or Monday as a rule. This week I have been remiss. It’s easy to procrastinate when your world has been effectively shaken to its core.

Last week August 8, 2022, as I was dawdling about on some miscellaneous project, Old Fuzzy stuck his head in my office and asked me if I had heard. Apparently, the FBI had raided President Donald Trump’s home.

That set me off on a trip of valley low, mountain high, moments throughout the week. Now, this isn’t a political post, so I do not intend to go there, but what has struck me is the truth of Jesus’ words.

Luke 12:49-52 ff.

“49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! 51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three…”

I have said/written many times in the past when I see non-Christians complain that they will be glad when all those Christians are gone, just what is it about “thou shalt not steal, or kill, or bear false witness, or any other of the moral teachings of scriptures that they don’t like?

Those uninformed people don’t realize if you take the moral restraint away from Christians the uninformed should be afraid. The restraint that keeps us civil tames a beast they would not want loose.

Just today I read a quote and I’m not sure exactly who made the statement. It could have been the current Pope, someone whom I wouldn’t generally follow nor have a quote from. The quote was “There is no path to holiness without spiritual combat.”

Old Fuzzy had a Sunday lesson lately on II Timothy 3:12. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

I read another post on Facebook by a friend. He attributes his story to someone by the name of David Foster Wallace. To paraphrase what he’s said, It has two young fish floating down the river that are met by an old fish going upstream who asks them ‘how’s the water.’ After a bit, one young fish asks the other what’s water?

The author continues that we in this society are living in “the water.” And the water would be the “Judeo-Christian worldview. Its ethics, respect for the individual, and social structure have created the highest standard of living and freedoms that everyone in the West takes for granted.”

Without this water that we live in, we would live in a world of anarchy. A world that is predicated upon “the feelings of the moment” by the strongest persons of the moment. Feelings that could change at the whim of the moment from whoever is in charge.

They know not of what they wish for.

The scriptures speak of spiritual warfare. Jesus in the aforementioned scriptures and in other places speaks of this war. The Apostle Paul references this war in his revelations as do the Apostle Peter and the other writers of the New Testament as well. It’s a common theme. Keep running the race, fighting the fight, and stay strong. The book of Revelations is a book describing the spiritual war.

Ephesians 6:12 Tells us our spiritual battle is against the rulers of darkness… “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We fight against things we cannot totally understand, but stand we must.

“Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”

Looking for a Long Shot

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.

close up photo of monopoly game items

I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know what it meant. Not really. It was used to begin stuff I think, as in after four they shot off the starter pistol for the race.

My family has been a horse family as long as forever. My mother and her father (Grandpa Magill) at one time raced horses—Back in the day when every county fair had horse races. My father was a jockey and rode at the big race tracks at one time.

However, somewhere in my life, I got sideswiped. I did have a few wake-up calls and our children did have horse availability but only recently have I realized that the Kentucky Derby is still running every year. I knew it ran, but I had stopped paying attention to it.

I realized how far I’ve fallen when my Adorable cousin told me how close she and her sisters had come to being almost millionaires with the last Derby winner, Rich Strike being an 80 to 1. They almost chose him as their horse. And I wondered at how you would decide your ticket, First place, Second place, and show…

I never did know how to read a racing form. I do remember a few terms that go with racing but very few. My mother loved the races, she read the forms, and she understood the lingo. When it tells how many races the horse started, how many it finished, how many it won…who its sire is, who its dam is. She understood the lingo.

To have a horse at an 80 -1 and choose that horse, how would you even know? Of course, Adorable was putting her finger in the air and guessing. Or perhaps like the man who always put ten dollars on the long shot no matter who the long shot was and he came in ahead by $800. But to have an educated guess is what I would call gob-smacked chance and happening.

There are people who believe that God will make a way for all people to be saved. They have all sorts of hoops that God will provide for unbelievers to become believers and come to salvation. It is one of those things that looks good on paper, but there isn’t any scriptural proof that those hoops are God’s plan.

We do know that God has provided salvation for those who seek, and we are told those who seek shall find. And God will make a way for those who seek to find. Some of those examples are amazing.

One example I’ve used, is of the man quite a few years ago traveling by train in Russia when Bibles were banned and the soldiers boarded the train looking for such illegal things. Before they could get to him he threw his study Bible out a window. It had the plan of salvation underlined and his personal notes—all of it went out the window.

Several years went by when he received a package containing the Bible and a thank you note from the person who had found the Bible by the tracks, read and, studied it, and followed the scriptures to become a Christian.

That story is remarkable, but there are others—less pretentious, yet simple and incredible. The stories of people down on their luck wandering into a church building and finding the answer they were looking for. Or coming across a crowd listening to a preacher and being convicted of the truth as they listened.

It’s a matter of God meeting them where they were at and when they were right, or it was right for them.

It’s almost as huge of a stretch as a young girl living in the middle of nowhere in a state with 99 counties and maybe 50 congregations of the Lord’s church in that whole state and that girl finding that one needle in the haystack.

The long shot of a young girl who didn’t drive or have transportation and was from a non-religious family that wasn’t inclined to help someone inclined toward religion to find or get to the right path.

There are many incredible things that happen in this life. There are several takeaways from this. The first ought to be we get what we’re looking for:

2 Thessalonians 2:10  and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11  And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: 12  that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In other words, if you’re looking for a lie, that’s what you’ll find.

And then there is nothing too hard for God to accomplish:

Hebrews 11:17  By faith Abraham, being tried, offered up Isaac: yea, he that had gladly received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18  even he to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19  accounting that God is able to raise up, even from the dead; from whence he did also in a figure receive him back.

If you are seeking the kingdom of God you will find it.

Matthew 7:7  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8  for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Leading the Way

man and woman shaking hands near the window

There is a game people play where one person pantomimes a word or phrase to a group attempting to get them to guess the word. There are more days than I can remember I feel like I’m playing that guessing game. It may have to do with what would God want me to do, or it may have to do with balancing what needs to be done and how does it need to be done?

If there were a chart that showed my progression would I find that I think I’m advancing only to change directions in midstream? And actually, at the end, I’m standing in one spot not going anywhere.

Finding something that hasn’t been told? I had my manuscript accepted at a Christian writers service and was given a free sample copy of a short publication of articles.

At the point I had been accepted I felt discouraged and decided everything I had written or was going to write had already been written, therefore I didn’t need to write anymore. I could sit the next millennial out, thank you.

However, one of the first articles in the free publication addressed that very discouragement. For those who had the view that everything had already been written they would write, who knows that the way you say it, or the way you write it will trigger the heart response in someone? It may have been written before, but not by you, and not in your words.

My father-in-law more than once said I was born a hundred years too late. That was because since my grandparents raised me I’ve lived life in between. Grandpa had horses and a tractor that he used to farm his land. In early seasons of my life, he used horses for his farm work. In later years he had a VAC Case tractor that we used. He was content to live on a small farm and farm the old way.

I mention that only because it gave me a different perspective. My life was transitional. My sister and I didn’t know from one minute to the next. Our mother was a single mom and the only stable foundation we had was that farm and our grandparents but Jackie and I loved it there.

Fast forward to a grown-up world, and I could see the difference between families with a mother and father compared to how I was raised. I could see how important an in-home/homemaker was compared to how I was raised. I could also see through the hypocrisy of what we were being fed.

We have in this new generation what they call influencers. In my life, I’ve not been born one hundred years too late, but seventy-five years too early. In my day most everyone in my sphere didn’t want to hear it.

I’ve presented scriptures and articles on a variety of subjects, including self-determining modest versus immodest clothing. Determining good versus evil. Marriage who, what, when, and how. Being in subjection for wives, honoring your spouse for both. Older women teaching younger women. Why is it important for women to be keepers in the home? Loving your husband and loving Jesus/God—to name a few subjects.

Scriptures such as (1) I Peter 3:1-6 on honoring and being in subjection to husbands, and wearing modest clothing. (2) Ephesians 4:20-25  Learning Christ and putting on the new person of holiness (3) Titus 2:3-5 on older women teaching, on love, and homes (4) John 1:1-51 on the beauty and majesty of scripture, and of God and Jesus (John 1:1-2) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

What I have found is that no amount of scripture will influence either believers or unbelievers to do what they don’t want to do.

Most believers know that it behooves men and women of faith to wear modest clothing, or to be modest in their behavior, but—those who want to follow God will follow God, and to the rest, believers and unbelievers, those scriptures don’t apply to them.

Neither life nor people have changed much in the last ten thousand years.

2Timothy 4:

“1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

What Is Your Focus

moon surrounded by clouds

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we ought to be as happy as kings.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

This morning is beautiful the sky and the view out my sliding glass door are designed by God. As the days, weeks, and years roll by our view may change, but the designer remains the same.

On our computer roll, we have a picture taken by someone else, of someone taking a picture and someone watching the someone taking a picture. As odd as that sentence is, here’s the background.

The picture was taken on one of Young Fuzzy’s mission trips, perhaps taken by himself of a fellow mission worker.

The view she is taking a picture of isn’t particularly pleasant to anyone else. Thus the person watching her take the picture has a look on their face that could be read as What is she doing?

I’ve had pictures like that. Back in the day when you had to send your pictures in to get them developed, coupled with vacations when everything was new and you saw stuff everywhere.

I would get my pictures back and invariably there were a number of them I was sure the developer must have slipped in to raise the price of the picture package…

Maybe not, but I would look at some of the pictures and wonder what I saw that needed to be immortalized in print. Was it a rock, or perhaps a piece of grass, or just what? And we got double prints in those days so we could share.

Seeing stuff everywhere…

Where are we? What stuff are we seeing everywhere? It is important for each of us to slow down and see some of the stuff. Most of us have the habit of barreling on through life and missing stuff.

My grandfather enjoyed watching people. For instance, we were on a mission. After taking grandpa to a doctor’s appointment and as often happens we needed to pick up a prescription on the way home. Old Fuzzy walked into the pharmacy to pick up Grandpa’s medicine and those in the van watched the other people coming and going.

And you see all sorts of things. Some people look worried, and some look Wal-Mart ready. And with all of them, I watch I wonder what their lives are like. When they go home who are they?

Psalms 65:9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

I’m reminded of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we ought to be as happy as kings.”

Sometimes we are, but most of us are tied down. I’m probably not the only one in the world who becomes so snarled in the cares and troubles of this life I don’t see the blessings that shower down around me. Somewhat like the picture of the person taking a picture of… what was she seeing, and in your life, what are you seeing? Being thankful and cognizant of our “number of things” that God rains around us.

Genesis 2:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.