“The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; The deep was round about me; The weeds were wrapped around my head.” Jonah 2:5 ASV
I remember how I loved to be outside. We had a beautiful patio garden where I spent many hours. I prayed, listened to praise music, enjoyed the peace and quiet, or just sat and watched the sparrows eat, play, talk to each other and fight over the one lone bird feeder. It was a beautiful place with rose bushes of every color, perfectly shaped shrubs and manicured lawns. One morning while I was out there God gave me a vision of a huge field of flowers. They were all different and exquisite. He explained to me that this is how he sees his children. Made in the image of a perfect God we are all perfect. Each and everyone of us. Whether we are perfectly whole or handicapped and flawed. We are all unique and made for a special purpose and he looks down on us and smiles. I learned a lot about God’s love watching those sparrows. They are happy and so free because they know God loves them and will always provide for them. They enjoy themselves every minute of the day in that freedom. They don’t need need anything that God hasn’t given them. Well today I went out there for the first time in a long time, because with the COVID virus I’ve been locked in my room. I almost started crying. Since April or May there has been no landscapers and the neglect and overgrowth was just unbelievable. Weeds as tall as me, dead greenery everywhere, but abundant weeds growing from every crack in the concrete. As I sat there I began to see it as a sign of what God sees in his people. We have not tended to our souls and like that patio we have become polluted with the weeds of the world. It is so thick amongst us that you can barely see green life. It’s there but boy do you have to look hard. We have overgrown from our selfish Me attitude and are lopsided and no longer trimmed. So many of the beautiful plants are burned up and barely alive. No longer what they once were. This is how he sees this once Godly country. We used to be filled with God fearing people who took pride in serving God, our country, and our fellow man. But now look at us now. My heart almost broke. I thought about how God must feel. We may not be the Israelites but I believe America became a very special people to him and that is why we were so blessed for so long. Our complacency has let the enemy destroy us. When people were fighting for their rights it got out of hand. I mean to have the right to murder an innocent, living and precious infant for purely selfish reasons is unthinkable. To absolutely refuse to allow young people to learn respect and love for their country and be able to pray for it. What were we thinking?
Do you know a really good landscaper?
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer, I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days, be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10 NIV
We are in the end times and things will get worse. Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and strange weather, wickedness increasing on the earth. It has been that way for some time. But for children of the Lord there is nothing to fear. One day the trump will sound and we will see the Lord coming in the clouds. It will be a day like no other. For we shall see him in all his glory. The dead in Christ shall rise and his followers shall be caught up with him in the air. And then we will all be in heaven together. But what will happen to the many who remain? There will be many who thought they would go too, but will be left with those that made no plans. There will be hard times ahead. The world will be in turmoil as millions of people just disappear. But they will be crowned with righteousness. Rewarded beyond comprehension. Those who remain will struggle just to survive but if you cry out to God it’s still not too late. If you are alive. Right now minutes will matter so much. Marshall law can not be guaranteed because of all that will be going on. We’ve lived through hijackings, shootings, martyrdom because of the evil around us. But with the good, godly people gone it will be much worse. If you cry out to God you can still be saved from hell but persecution to anyone who finds Christ in this time is promised. But God is trying to give you hope. This won’t be a long period of time, but it will be a hard one. But if you are persecuted stand strong, for God is your strength. If you stand strong you will be rewarded for all that you go through. I have watched documentaries about mass shootings and people who survive targeted attacks like bombings or 9/11. So many people draw strength from these times and their courage brings out good in them. People learn so much from these trials and it does make them better people and more resilient. What is of the utmost importance is whose side you are on when this time is over.
Do you want to meet in the air so you miss this time?
I have quoted this verse many times. But I never really understood the words till I heard someone preach on it. It meant so much more after I heard what each word said to me and just had to share it. I hope it can bring some light to you too. But lately I have been praying earnestly for an awakening. Many people call themselves Christians but are they Christ like? People who are not Christians are watching us. Unless they see us as different or special why would they want to be one. If we live an ineffective life and are unsatisfied ourselves what kind of example are we. God has shown me that so much more is required than praying for our country to be changed. So I decided that just like there are many Bible translations I would rewrite this amplified. So I will elaborate. ‘If my people,’ this at one time meant the Jewish people. They were known as God’s people. He had special things for them, his special people. The promised land was a good and rich land where they would be free to worship God the way he wanted. Because they were his people they should want to spend time with him. Especially after all they saw him do for them. And in such mighty and awesome ways. We in America have been richly blessed. We are free to serve our God however we want. Our founding fathers knew how important that was. That’s why the pilgrims came here. But we have not cared for this gift. ‘who are called by my name,’ These we’re not just any people. These people had a calling on their lives. God doesn’t call everyone. There are some who will never accept God. No matter what he does or who he is there is just evil in this world and there always will be. He is not going to spend time on those that will never change. There are those that will and they are important. They are a priority. He doesn’t expect others to pray. They are too proud and they don’t need or want his help. They don’t want God telling them how to act. They are their own God and serve themselves. But they also want us to be like them. Misery loves company. They do things that are sin but everyone is doing it so it’s good. We have gone with the crowd for so long. We can be filthy and not even see it. We are complacent and lukewarm. We get used to our sins and think we are Godly. ‘will humble themselves and pray,’ Get our minds off ourselves and back on the God of the universe. The one who made us and knows us. The one who can help us. He knows what we need and always wants the best for us. If we will just turn back to him. But we need to see ourselves as God does. Totally ungrateful sinners. We are seeking our own pleasures not God. He has done so much for us, and given us everything, even his beloved son. Just so we could be free from that sin. One day he will ask us why we rejected him when he loved us so much and it will be too late. ‘and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,’ We are an imperfect people. On our own we can do no good thing. But we are called by him. He wants to help us. He wants us to seek him and want to obey his ways. To help others and see that their needs are met. We need to really want him in our lives. Because without him, all of him, we will be unsatisfied and our world will keep falling. It’s already so bad that I want to hide in my room and never come out. It will only get worse. We need to turn away from sin for it to get better. ‘then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin,’ To make an effort to sin no more. To obey his commandments. If we make that effort he will forgive all our sins. See us as righteous before him. The people he died for and greatly loves. We need to change first if we expect anything from him. ‘and I will heal their land.’ This nation was at one time founded on Gods principles. We were a very blessed country. He did so much for this country but our sin has brought us down. We are no longer that great and Godly country. Pride has taken over and we have rejected our first love. Younger generations have rejected the God of their parents. Serving themselves and they no longer need God. But our land is in trouble. So much violence and trouble. We need to wake up. Right now we need a cleaned up world and it has to start with Christians. We can’t expect non-Christians who don’t know him to help. This virus has been a wake up call and we need to listen.
Do you want to see our land great again?
A friend of mine was hurting. A close friend of hers was dying of cancer. I promised to pray. But every time I started to pray I was bombarded with thoughts. I felt I needed to write about death. The first thing that came to my mind was a big party I had attended as a girl. A girlfriend of mine’s parents were going on a, well looked forward to trip. It was a bon voyage party wishing them well. As I thought about it, if I was dying, whether from old age, an illness or even COVID 19. I would be packing in my mind. I can’t wait till Jesus comes. Going home! What a comforting thought. When someone I loved died once I felt God say, “they were so precious to me and they did all I asked, but they suffered enough, I want them here with me.” There will be no more pain, suffering, and tears, and joy and rewards to be had. Have you ever heard of a near death case where they go to see heaven. They don’t say, “I want to go back.” They want to stay. The very best day on earth is exponentially better there. There is a big party waiting for them. Friends and family who preceded them are so excited. I know many I miss are waiting. I want to hear that great line. “ Well done good and faithful servant.” I love life and God has blessed me soooo, but here I come. I hope my family can rejoice with me. It is not a sad day but one I have looked forward to all my life. One of the residents in my home got so bad that she just listened to praise music all day. When she died her family held a huge party. So much food, they even brought some for us to enjoy. Flowers too! They were so excited that her pain was over and a party was going on in heaven. So many people get so upset and can hold onto that for a long time. Mourning is normal but at some point you have to see that it is God’s plan. I will see them again. I have hope. No one is going to leave early. God has planned from before we are born the day and just how we will die. It is all planned. God does not make mistakes. He is in control.
Earlier this year I was feeling like I needed to give money to my church above my tithes and offerings. So many people were in need because of the coronavirus. People were out of work, things were shutting down and so many needs. I know that when God tells me to give he knows what he is doing. I felt led to give the money I set aside for camp. Something told me I wouldn’t need it. I was a little concerned because camp is the highlight of my year. I have gone six times and this would be my seventh year. A week with my friends in the pines 24/7 and learning Gods ways. I did not know the plans God had for us but he did. They we’re canceling camps before ours but ours was in September it should be ok. There are several camps throughout the US. Well Florida decided to hold theirs online, virtually. Oh boy I had to watch. It was awesome. It just so happened that I had to be in another unit in isolation for two weeks and I was not real happy about it. God told me to think of it as a fun vacation and do the virtual camp. Attitude is everything! I actually enjoyed my two weeks and every morning I was up by 5:00am to be ready for morning chapel. I was excited and just couldn’t sleep. They did eventually cancel my camp but I was enjoying so much online stuff I didn’t really care. I went to three camps instead of one, each in a different state but online. I met some great new people and really got a lot out of them. The theme was Jeremiah 29:11 God’s got your next. Well he really did. God really does plan our futures perfectly. I don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like but I know he’s already there working it all out for my best. Divine appointments with people, getting my needs met and keeping me safe. I have nothing to fear cause he loves me and will never leave me. I am special to him. We all are. I started fretting after a few weeks locked in my room. God just said relax I got this. I have and do you know some great things have been happening while I trust him. I am so happy. Now after six months of being locked down in my room I’m enjoying myself. I kinda like just me and God. Thanks God!
Just trust, you’ll never know how freeing it can be.
“I have not run away from being your shepherd; you know I have not desired the day of despair. What passes my lips is open before you.” Jeremiah 17:16. NIV
God is always leading and guiding us, he never is too busy for us. Other things don’t consume his time. These are attributes of average people, but never of God. He thinks of us and what we need continually. We are a very high priority. He made us in his image to do great things. And he is always working on our behalf. Even if we are not following him he cares. We have been told so in his word. All his ways are laid out for us. It is not a secret or only available to some on a need to know basis. He wants us to know his ways. What he does, what he says. Good and bad. He does have reasons that really do make good sense if we just get to know him. He is a very righteous God and can not stand sin and evil. Because sin and evil harm good people. Because you are causing trouble or the one hurt by sins caused by another he hates to see it. I will give some examples. My grandson was born a healthy, happy baby , as perfect as normal. But after his first birthday we found out that he had a very rare but incurable disease. Both parents were carriers even though they are perfectly healthy. He was only given three to four years to live. He was such a loving baby. Why did this happen? I prayed every day for him to be healed but just before his fourth birthday God took him home to be with him in heaven. We were all devastated and my daughter got very involved with finding a cure and supporting other parents with children sick with this disease. We lost a great part of our family but God has his reasons. When a drunk driver gets behind the wheel or a murder goes on a rampage, good people get hurt. Sometimes killed. It angers God because it shouldn’t happen. Someone should pay. It can go on a long time before someone is punished. He has warned over and over in his word what happens for sin, but we don’t always listen or care. He does punish eventually and people say he’s not fair. They are only getting what he said would happen. You reap what you sow.
Will you spend some time getting to know his ways?
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whosoever loses their life for me and for the gospel saves it.” Mark 8:35 NIV
We will do so much to have a good life. We join gyms to work out so we can have that perfect body. Spend large sums of money on plastic surgery and the latest treatments to enhance beauty and health. We seldom think about anything after our lives are over. Oh, maybe a beautiful burial plot. To save the family money and grief upon our death. Do you realize that we are only on this earth for a short time, but we will spend forever in eternity. Not just 100 years but millions of years. Most people don’t want to think about it. They choose to think that we just go to sleep permanently. No pain, no troubles ever again. The Bible tells us that a wiseman plans for the future. How do you plan for a future you don’t understand? We need wisdom. God has told all those who want wisdom to ask for it. He has promised to give it to anyone who asks. He has also sent his son to save from all we have done wrong. Even if you have lived a good life, nobody is perfect. We are all sinners and our soul needs somewhere to go when this body gives out. people like to think they will all go to heaven when this life is over. God certainly wouldn’t send a good person to hell. But he has told us that the wages of sin is death. No eternal life. Doing nothing and hoping for the best will only bring eternal death and separation from God. People who do bad things just don’t want to think about it. But there is a way to get eternal life with God and it is not difficult. Just admitting that you are not perfect. No one is. And that you know you need the help of a savior, Jesus Christ. Tell him you do really want to be better and ask him to help you follow his ways. Read his word so you will know his will. Do you know that he loves you and wants you to have the best life. He also wants to spend eternity with you. He can give you wisdom and help you to do what he asks but we need to care more about pleasing God than ourselves. But in pleasing God he will help you to have an abundant life. When you seek to help others and honor God he takes care of the rest.
Have you made plans for your future?
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them, then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23 NIV
God is looking at the heart. What we truly are and think is deep inside of us. Where no one but God can see. We can come across one way on our outward positioning, but what’s in our hearts is the true person. God has called us to love all people better than ourselves. He has told us that whatever it takes, we should be at peace with all men. That’s tough! It takes a lot of patience to get along with even the best of people. It doesn’t take much to get under our skin. To rub us the wrong way. There is no way in and of ourselves. God has to open our eyes to the way he loves others. He loves with such passion no matter what someone looks or acts like. He looks deeper to the lonely scared child that just wants to be loved and accepted. This person is his. He wants us to be there for others. Brothers and sisters making it together. This is more important than offering things. Money, time, devotion come in second place to people. That is why he has called us to care for widows and orphans, sick and hungry, and those who can’t take care of themselves. We may be their only hope. God can do all things but he uses us. He has given us a privilege to be apart of his bigger plan. When he was on earth all manner of sick, both mental and physical, came to him, their only hope for help. They didn’t know if he could or would help but they had to try. And ,Jesus had compassion. He saw their very soul and every hurt they had and he loved them so. That is why he doesn’t like sin. Because they hurt his beloved children. Those that he greatly cares about. Things like adultery, murder, stealing. All commands affect others wellbeing or loving and honoring God. Love covers over every action. If we just love the way he tells us to do we will have it down. We can not change the way others act, try as we may. Their behavior is between them and God. But if we just take a deep breath and ask God for help we can be the best we can be. You never know how your actions will greatly affect others around you.
Will you see others through God’s eyes of compassion?
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.“ Acts 4:12 NIV
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is there any sweeter name? Do you know how important that name is? When Jesus freely offered up his life to pay for the sins we could never pay for, he did an awesome thing. God is perfect and if we want to spend time with him then we have to be perfect. He knows that is impossible though. Someone had to pay for those sins. In the days of Moses many perfect animals had to die so that God’s people could be forgiven. Every day sacrifices were made. But God wanted to see the heart attitude of his people change. The only perfect man who ever lived was God’s own son. He had to be willing to watch his only son being arrested for sins he didn’t commit, being beaten beyond recognition, then to be hung on a cross with hardened criminals till all life drained from his body. Jesus did that for each of us so that we could have eternal life. It was the only way. Not many parents could do that. Not only did he die but he went into hell for us. Bearing all the sins that would ever be committed. After three days God broke the suffering and brought him back to life. Death had been defeated for all those who would believe. But not just believe there is a God. Even Satan believes in God but does not respect him or obey him. We must believe that Jesus loved us so much that he willingly died for us. So we wouldn’t have to. After three days he did raise to life and wants to take away all of our sins. We are justified. That means that God sees you as perfect just as his son. He sees your sins no more after you have asked to be forgiven. Along with salvation you get the Holy Spirit. He helps us every day to follow God’s commands and live like we should. Whenever we need help he is a prayer away. He will hear everything you ask believing in the name of Jesus. That name opens doors and breaks down walls for us. It is the most powerful name you will ever hear. God loves his son so much and now he sits on a throne at the right hand of God. All honor is due him for all that he did. But do you know that he keeps interceding for his followers? He knows that Satan still runs things on this earth and that we need help. But did you know that God is still in control of our lives? Satan can not kill us only God knows when we will breathe our last breath. When we do we are assured that we will be with him in paradise forever.
Do you know Jesus personally?
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelations 2:4-5 NIV
I just finished reading a great book about the church in the last days. Called ‘Salt and Light’. It showed how biblical prophecies of the last days can be interpreted and how we as Christians should stand strong and look to overcome the deceptions that will come. Satan still works to deceive even Christians. He will use anything he can to put doubt in our minds. His biggest area of attack is with our pride and our desires. So many things the world tells us we gotta have. Things are not necessarily bad but can take up so much of our time. Causing us to neglect our time with God. We really need to spend time every day with God to stay strong. If we do not take time to strengthen our spirits then we too risk being deceived. I have been there and it is a slippery slope. I never want the enemy to pull the wool over my eyes again. So many in the church are living defeated and ineffectual lives. Thinking they are just fine. The road to heaven is very narrow and few will stay strong till the end. The one thing you can use to judge where you are at is by the fruit in your life. They will know we are Christians by our love, but without plentiful fruit we are ineffective. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. If these are not abundant in our lives we have cause for concern. Our church has so many different ministries for helping others. Out of our several satellite churches it takes continuous miracles to keep up with all the many needs of all the locations. We just keep stepping up the work as that day grows nearer. Each location has its own unique needs. The biggest thing we need to remember is to live at peace with all men. Don’t get dragged into conflict and turmoil if at all possible. Our reputations are more important now, more than ever. The world is where we reside but we are to be different. We are residents of Heaven first. Just passing through this world temporarily. The world says spend, spend, spend. We may be one of the richest countries and have more available to us than everyone else but we are also so far in debt that we will never see ourselves out of debt. The average household owes thousands but we live for today and worry how to pay for it tomorrow. We need wisdom so badly from God. We need to learn how to live within our means and learn how to save. Those who have learned how to give are blessed so much in their finances. It is a very good place to be.
What are you doing to stay strong?