Posted in comfort, encouragement, paris, tribulation

Paris attacks, more links and more encouragement

I’ll be passing along links and verses and essays during the day on The End Time Facebook page that in my opinion help us work thought last night’s Paris horror, to dampen fear of the same occurring in the US and pointing to Christ.

Here is last night’s essay, I pray it encourages you.

Everything is ALL about man’s relationship to God. He gives peace (reconciliation) that passes all understanding. Those without His peace perform war and horror and carnage. It is nothing new. It only upsets us because it is fresh.

Yet in Christ there are three words:

Reconciliation:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens…. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. … ll this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:5, 11, 18-19).

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Joy

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 2:12)

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The Atlantic: What ISIS Really Wants

As Challies said, “as we were transfixed by the horror of the Paris terror attacks last night, what is there to do but mourn the depravity of man. Denny Burk asks us to consider praying Psalm 10.”

Arise Lord! Break the arm of the wicked man!

Posted in comfort, death, Father, hell, john b. prata, rejection

"My failure to provide for my children is intentional" & My father’s ashes

I received an email stating that “sometime next week,” they were going to spread my father’s ashes. If I wanted to go, my aunt, my dad’s new wife, and my brother were probably going to be there.

I sent back a reply, saying I had no plans to attend, but out of curiosity since my dad owned two residences, was the ash-spreading going to be in FL or RI? I got a reply, “RI, off Beavertail.”

Beavertail is a lovely promontory with a lighthouse overlooking the Bay and was a favorite place my father liked to go. The family would take Sunday drives and would often end up there, the salty wind whipping, the whitecaps on the bay foaming, picnics on the hill, searching for periwinkles in the tidal pool.

http://www.Jamestown-ri.info

It makes sense that they’d want to spread his ashes there. It will make for a poignant send off, and all three of those people who will probably be there will in all likelihood feel saddened and melancholy and perhaps smile wistfully at some memories. None of them are saved by grace of Jesus so none of them know the truth.

I do.

My father never repented of his sins and right now is in hell, paying for them. It is where he will be forever. There is nothing one can say at any kind of a trumped up ceremony, ashes flying in the wind over the sea. I will not be present when his ashes are scattered, but I will be present when his ashes are re-gathered and he stands before the judgment seat.

And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)

Knowing this, it is a hard thing, but I trust my Lord and it is a just thing. There but for the grace of God go I. John Prata’s legacy is a sad one. His heart is expressed in the form below. His Trust reads thus:

The legacy of a hard and bitter man, angry and proud, is an eternal one that he will have to bear for all of eternity. It will be an agony.

It is a hard thing for a daughter, who still hoped against hope that somehow, she could make her daddy proud. That he cared. That somehow underneath it all, a dad really loved his children. That never mind the inheritance, somehow there would be a final letter, an acknowledgement, a word, saying, “It was all a mistake, I loved you after all.” How can it be, that a father can coldly ignore his children while he is alive, then go to legal lengths to prove his rejection wasn’t a mistake? Isn’t blood supposed to be thicker than water? Triumph in the end? No, blood is only as thick as the sin that runs through it.

His rejection is being turned back upon himself at this very moment. He is learning the sin of exasperating and rejecting his children. (Ephesians 6:4). He is learning the cost of rejecting Jesus. (John 3:36). And he’ll soon learn the finality of Jesus’ rejection of him. (Revelation 20:15).

My sadness over my father is going to be short, not eternal like his. When I die, my inheritance will be manifold. My Father will never leave me or abandon me. I am provided for. The emotionality of wounds on this side are softened by knowing that I have a spiritual joy to look forward to of a real Father who provides and loves and cares and does not forsake His children. My sadness now will be wiped away by my real Father then. The contrast is stark.

–The legacy of an angry and bitter father who split his family and reveled in wounding and rejecting.
–The legacy of a compassionate and holy Father who gathers His family and revels in restoring and reconciling.

–The legacy of a proud and greedy father who held on to money more than love but now has neither- forever.
–The legacy of a generous and benevolent Father who delights in giving as one of many expressions of His unconditional love.

If my father sought to permanently hurt or wound by that final pen stroke on 15 September 2009, he is sadly mistaken. My real Father promises:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.” Isaiah 65:17

I will be so consumed with the joys of the New Heavens and New Earth and being with Jesus that my mind will have no room to be wounded over the petty pen strokes of a man who for 50 short years was named a “father” to me, a relationship that will soon not even have any meaning, (Psalm 27:10) a person whom the Lord in His grace will allow me to forget.

Yet though his life was long, his memory will be longer, eternally long.

“Are there not many here that have lived long in the world, that are not to this day born again, and so are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and have done nothing ever since they have lived, but treasure up wrath against the day of wrath? Oh sirs, your case in an especial manner is extremely dangerous; your guilt and hardness of heart is extremely great. Don’t you see how generally persons of your years are passed over and left, in the present remarkable and wonderful dispensation of God’s mercy? You had need to consider yourselves, and wake thoroughly out of sleep; you cannot bear the fierceness and wrath of the infinite God.” (Jonathan Edwards)

When my father woke, it was not to mercy but to wrath, it is too late for him.

No, I have the better part, the much better part. Peace with Jesus, an infinitely long communion with Him, and good and serviceable tasks to perform for Him, worship of Him, in short, enjoying Him forever. There IS a blood that is thicker than water, thicker than anything on earth or heaven. It is the blood of Jesus. This blood covers sin, sustains us as a family, keeps us in His fold.

This is much more pleasing to the Lord than the stained and angry soul that descends to the pit, with the daughter looking down and mourning that final rejection.

source
Posted in comfort, encouragement, god's word, holy spirit, providence, providential care

Jesus’ amazing provision part 1 & 2

Robe of Righteousness, by Lars Justinen

This is a story of how Jesus and God and the Spirit worked in my life this week. I attend a Wednesday night prayer meeting/bible study. We read through a book of the bible a verse at a time. There is no curriculum except for the bible. We have a good teacher. Our teacher allows discussion and comment after he introduces us to the verses and explains.

Last week we looked at Romans 12:9-

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good

This week we looked at Romans 12:14-

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

I find both of those verses very difficult to adhere to the way I should.

About three years ago I started praying for the Spirit to ramp up my sanctification and for Him to grow me in spiritual fruit (Gal 5:22-23), especially love. I had no clue how hard it would be. This is because of my own flesh.

My prayer was more like,

“I think I got this, but just in case I don’t, and I’m only hedging my bets here because really, I’m OK, would you just drip a little note in my heart to help me inch along? Thanks so much.”

And if I was an Old Testament prophet and could hear God reply, it would be like this:

“I will do what you ask. You are not OK. As a matter of fact, you’re a lot worse than you think. Come, I’ll show you. Repeatedly. For three years. You’re welcome.”

And so every morning I’d pray to the Holy Spirit to give me strength to love the way the verse says we should love our enemies. And every day I’d fail. Some days I’d compound my sinful failure with grumbling and hatred in my heart.

And every day I’d come home in tears and sit at my table and repent.

Rinse. Repeat. I felt like my own nation of Israel with all the rebellion, repentance disobedience, and repentance cycles. I learned a lot though.

The bad:

–I really AM worse than I think. Depravity goes so deep I can’t see the bottom of it,
–I disobey God all the time.

The good:

–Every time I repented sincerely, and I did, I felt terrible over my sin, He forgave 70 X 70 times,
–He grew me in all the ways I needed it,
–His grace is one of the most magnificent gifts humankind ever received, therefore my gratitude grew.

So now I have a new opportunity to learn to love the way the bible says to love our enemies. With this new opportunity, maybe I’m a little wiser this time than the last time. Maybe I can love more genuinely and better than I loved before. Since sanctification is ever in-process and won’t be complete until I die, there’s no coasting. This new opportunity began one month after the other situation resolved itself. And so it goes.

Yes I’m a lot worse than I think. But now I know God is a lot better than I think, too.

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I wrote the above to my teacher after the class. I usually keep thinking about what was taught all night and all the next day and all week. I do try to take the lessons to heart and to participate with the Spirit in sanctification, meditating on His word as Psalm 1:2 says to do. Sometimes I share these follow-up thoughts with my teacher so he can guide me.

As I went on from composing and sending it, I got a bit despondent over my failures. It’s heartbreaking to sin and I abhor it and earnestly strive to please my Savior. Sighing and flipping to the next open tab on my browser, I saw this on Twitter.

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A Christian’s life may be attended with many and exceedingly great imperfections, and yet be a holy life.” ~Jonathan Edwards

“Hey!” I thought, “that is a exactly what I’ve been worrying about! Let me follow up on that to find what book or sermon it’s taken from.”

The things tweeted online and attributed to a particular person are often wrongly attributed. Validation is the first order. Context is the second.

I found that it was indeed a quote from Edwards and it was taken from a series of 16 sermons preached to his Northhampton congregation titled “Christian Love, As Manifested in the Heart and Life

Wow. Very applicable to our discussion in bible study night and my continuing thoughts today. I downloaded the book. LOL his 16 sermons wound up being 505 pages.

The larger context surrounding the tweeted quote is this from Edwards’ sermon:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christian, the meaning is not, that the life is a perfect and sinless life. On the contrary, a Christian’s life may be attended with many and exceeding great imperfections, and yet be a holy life, or a truly Christian life. It may be such a life as to clearly, and even necessarily show, that the grace which the individual has, is of the kind which has a tendency to holy practice. His fruits may be such as to be good evidence of the good nature of the tree, and his works such as to show his faith.

And if you ask for still further light, then I would say, whatever your imperfections and failings may be, examine yourself whether you find the following evidences of your grace being of that kind which tends to holy practice.

First: Has your supposed grace such influence, as to render those things in which you have failed of holy practice loathsome grievous and humbling to you? Has it such influence in your mind as to render your past sinful practices hateful in your eyes, and has it led you to mourn before God for them? And does it render those things in your conduct that since your supposed conversion have been contrary to Christian practice, odious in your eyes? And is it the great burden of your life, that your practice is no better? Is it really grievous to you, that you have fallen, or do fall into sin; and are you ready, after the example of holy Job, to abhor yourself for it, and repent in dust and ashes, and like Paul to lament your wretchedness, and pray to be delivered from sin, as you would from a body of death?

Second: Do you carry about with you habitually a dread of sin? Do you not only mourn, and humble yourself for sins that are past, but have you a dread of sin for the future? And do you dread it because in itself it is evil, and so hurtful to your own soul, and offensive to God? Do you dread it as a terrible enemy that you have often suffered by, and feel that it has been a grievous thing to you heretofore? And do you dread it as something that has hurt, and wounded, and stung you, so that you would see it no more? Do you stand on your watch against it, as a man would keep watch against something that he dreads, with such a dread as led Joseph to cry “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Genesis xxxix. 9.

Third: Are you sensible of the beauty and pleasantness of the ways of holy practice? Do you see the beauty of holiness, and the loveliness of the ways of God and Christ?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Genesis 3:15

His comfort and His manifold grace is beyond what words can express. I will never be sinless in practice. Yet by His grace I will have a tendency toward higher holy living, and will have an ever growing hatred of sin. What just happened this morning was a moment of real comfort- a manifestation of this verse

2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Is there any doubt Jesus is an ever-present friend in our lives? That the Spirit is daily growing us and comforting us because He knows us better than we do ourselves? And that the Word is living and active?

Why do people seek superficial miracles when the miracle of how VERY PRESENT He is in our lives is so lastingly precious? How can I not love this Jesus with all my strength and soul and mind, and not seek to follow His ways?

Brother or sister, take comfort in knowing beyond knowing that Jesus is with you every step of the way. His grace IS sufficient.

Above: Depiction of the Holy Spirit dove (ceiling fresco in St. Charles’s Church, Vienna, 1700’s). Public Domain
Posted in comfort, encouragement, revelation

Comfort from Revelation, of all places!

When people need spiritual comfort there is only one place to go: the bible. And I know that many people go to Philippians or the Psalms for comfort. It’s rare to hear someone say “Revelation is such a comforting book!” But I find it to be comforting, and is that so remarkable? All scripture is God-breathed and therefore powerful,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

I can’t hardly open the bible to any location in the Old Testament or the New, and not find comfort. It’s comforting to read of His hatred for evil, His love by sending Jesus, His intellect, power, holiness…it’s all good stuff. So I turn to the letter in Revelation from Jesus via John to the church at Ephesus. It’s fascinating.

photo credit: SBA73 via photopin cc

In Revelation 2:2 we read this:

“I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”

Does that speak to us now in this evil, fallen, corrupt world, or what?!

The evil that men do makes us want to close our eyes! It makes us grow tired of outing one false pastor or teacher after another. It’s enough to make us want to throw up our hands and say of false doctrine, “what’s the use? People believe it anyway.”

photo credit: doovie via photopin cc

But Jesus comforted the church at Ephesus. Now there was an evil world. Christianity was not even known. People were pagans and did much worse than we see today, regularly. I mean, killing slaves for sport in the arenas was the entertainment. Life was cheap, sin was rampant, and Christianity was this weird new religion. It must have seemed like to the Ephesians that they were truly trying to beat back an ocean of sin with a teacup.

Jesus said He would be with us even unto the end of the age. As He was preparing to ascend, he told the Apostles, “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen.” (Matthew 28:20.)

And so he is. We see in the Revelation verse above, Jesus said “I know…”

The Ephesians were sharing the Gospel and working for Christ and part of that work was testing false

Enduring patiently. photo credit:
Elizabeth Thomsenvia photopin cc

ones. The more we are sanctified the harder it is to be with evil ones who say they are apostles but are not. It grates on our Spirit because they are such a blight on the name of Jesus. It’s hard. Just as it was then, it is hard today. But we exhibit patient endurance and keep working and we have the great comfort of knowing that Jesus knows the work we do by the Spirit in His name for His name. He knows.

He said in the next verse, “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.” (Revelation 2:3)

He knows! Every day we bear up patiently, every time we are mindful of His name’s sake, every time we keep moving and not grown weary, He knows. Isn’t that comforting!

I find it comforting in the first place that He is so involved in the church. When He said I am with you always, He meant it. He knows what’s going on.  I know we often examine the disapproval verses in Revelation, looking at why Jesus was disapproving of this or that in a particular church. However, the commendation is important too.

The most comforting thing of all, I find, is the fact alone that Jesus came to John to tell John specific items about specific churches. Jesus is highly involved in His church.

Sometimes it feels like a curse to see the vividness of false doctrine where wolves drag off the unwary and the weak. It is hard to watch the numerous souls who are headed for hell. How did Jesus stand it?! It is like I’m on the playground, and outside the chain link fence of where children are playing is a ring of child molesters, leering, drooling, fingers entwined in the chain link, waiting their moment to grab a careless child. And I know that because the bible says so, some will be carried off by false doctrine or false teachers. Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour.

One reason I’m longing for redemption of the body is so that I’ll finally be in the place where sin will destroy no one anymore… oh what a day that will be!

So do the full work of Christ, which does include testing the ones who call themselves apostles but are not. Love what He loves, and hate what He hates, and keep doing it until the Day he calls us home via death or rapture. He knows, brethren, He knows. He knows you, by name, and all your works for His name’s sake. What a comfort.

Posted in comfort, day of the lord, sin, wrath

The Great Day of the Lord

I just worked four hours on a blog entry about Gog-Magog from Ezekiel 38-39 and in re-reading the passages and praying and thinking, I have paused my thought on it, so I am going to study it some more before I say anything. I’m not posting it yet.

I had also come across this passage from Malachi, and it also weighs heavily on me. This is because someone I knew had performed a great and grievous blasphemy against Jesus. He was chastised and punished. I had hoped that the punishment and trauma of the discovery of his blasphemy and wickedness against Jesus which he had done in the name of Jesus purportedly on behalf of Jesus, no less, would chasten him unto repentance and shake his black and stony heart. I see tonight that it has not. Therefore I mourn for those who persist in their blindness because I know they are storing up great wrath for themselves.

Nevertheless, God is great, and he said to Ezekiel, “And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.” This is a comfort, because I know God has spoken in the situation. On the Day when we all stand before Him, the person will remember the chastening and the words and the fact that God had given opportunity to repent. If the completely ignorant are beneficiaries of general revelation of Himself so they are without excuse, (Romans 1:20), when an unsaved person inside the church who has heard the Gospel so often, and has been beneficiary of being immersed in special revelation, still rejects it, how much more are they truly and eternally without excuse?

So here is my thought for the night, short and sweet:

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. “You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the LORD of hosts.… (Malachi 4:1-3)

The just will have their day. Hang on to righteousness. Cling to Him and stand on the rock. We will escape the fire and skip on the high places

yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:18-19
Posted in comfort, martyr, strength in the Lord

Sunday Martyr Moment: Sanctus, Blandina, and Ponticus

Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book’s purpose was fourfold:

  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.

Text from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

Continuing the Fourth Persecution under Marcus Aurelius, 162AD

Some of the restless northern nations having risen in arms against Rome, the emperor marched to encounter them. He was, however, drawn into an ambuscade, and dreaded the loss of his whole army. Enveloped with mountains, surrounded by enemies, and perishing with thirst, the pagan deities were invoked in vain; when the men belonging to the militine, or thundering legion, who were all Christians, were commanded to call upon their God for succor. A miraculous deliverance immediately ensued; a prodigious quantity of rain fell, which, being caught by the men, and filling their dykes, afforded a sudden and astonishing relief. It appears that the storm which miraculously flashed in the face of the enemy so intimidated them, that part deserted to the Roman army; the rest were defeated, and the revolted provinces entirely recovered.

This affair occasioned the persecution to subside for some time, at least in those parts immediately under the inspection of the emperor; but we find that it soon after raged in France, particularly at Lyons, where the tortures to which many of the Christians were put, almost exceed the powers of description.

Sanctus, a deacon of Vienna; red hot plates of brass were placed upon the tenderest parts of his body; and kept there till they burned through to his bones.

Blandina, a Christian lady, of a weak constitution; who was not thought to be able to resist torture, but whose fortitude was so great that her tormentors became exhausted with their devilish work, and was afterward taken into an amphitheater with three others, suspended on a piece of wood stuck in the ground, and exposed as food for wild lions. While awaiting her suffering, she prayed earnestly for her companions and encouraged them. But none of the lions would touch her, so she was put back into prison. This happened twice.

When she was again produced for the third and last time, she was accompanied by Ponticus, a youth of fifteen, and the constancy of their faith so enraged the multitude that neither the sex of the one nor the youth of the other were respected, being exposed to all manner of punishments and tortures. Being strengthened by Blandina, he persevered unto death; and she, after enduring all the torments heretofore mentioned, was at length slain with the sword.

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Lord, I am weak of fortitude, but I can be strengthened supernaturally, like Blandina, to endure all things. Would I be strong enough to pray for and encourage compatriots whilst impaled on a stick, suspended above milling and hungry lions? No. But I can do all things through You who strengthens me. You did not desert Blandina in her trial, and no matter what comes for me and my faithful brethren now or in the future, you will not desert us. You are Lord, and You are faithful.

Posted in comfort, God who sees

You are not alone- Jesus sees you

We have a God who sees! You do not have to feel alone. You do not have to feel like He is distant from you. You do not have to feel like an insignificant speck, alone in your troubles.

We have a God who sees. Read Genesis 16:1-13:

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Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has  listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

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He found her alone in the desert by a spring of water. Note how many times Jesus comes to those who are troubled when they are by a well, fountain, or water. He IS the fountain of life. Zechariah records this wonderful fact,

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:1)

Ezekiel records this fact:

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.” (Ezekiel 47:1-2)

Joel records this fact:

“And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.” (Joel 3:18)

The LORD sees your affliction, and He cares. Let His refreshing river of love and grace flow over you, cleansing you of all worry and fear. He sees.

As a kid, I enjoyed the long-running 1960s children’s television program, Romper Room. It ran for 40 years, you know! I loved the end when the ‘teacher’ in the room put up a magic mirror and could ‘see’ all of us in our living rooms. She would say goodbye one by one to a few children she said she saw through the mirror. I’d tune in day after day, waiting for the day when she said she could “see” me and said “Goodbye, Beth!” One day, she did.

Today in the kindergarten class in which I work, if I need to quiet the children for a moment before the teacher comes in, all I have to do is go in front of the room, look at the children, and say “Let me see you.” Immediately they all turn to me, and sit quietly, waiting for me to look at them and say their name and something about them. They will sit for quite a while waiting for their turn. All a child wants is to be seen.

That does not change when we grow up. We hide the desire, but we still want to be seen. Just knowing someone ‘sees’ us seems to speak to our spirit and settles us down.

Imagine Hagar sitting there in the middle of the desert, alone.

Yet though she felt like an insignificant speck, unwanted and alone, God saw her. More than that, He cared for her, personally! God does not change so He still cares for each of us, personally. He sends provision. He sends a ministering angel. He sent His Son. He sent the Word. He sends a solution to a problem. He responds to prayers.

If you turn to the Word, you will see Him. If you pray you will see Him. We are not all as fortunate as Hagar to have a heavenly visitation, but through His word and prayer, you can be with Him as He has revealed Himself, and claim the promises He has made there. He sees.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a)

Posted in comfort

I wanna go home…don’t worry be happy

I listened to these sweet songs last night, after an exceptionally hard day and a rough and tumble week. The list shows a progression of thought I underwent, and likely many of you also. I can’t linger or wallow in pity or stay down licking my wounds. I have to rely on the Lord to brush me off and then I go on my way.

“I’m worried.”
“Don’t worry- be happy. In your life, expect some trouble. When you worry you make it double.”
[Petulantly] “I want to go home.”
“I wanna to go home.”
“I wanna to go home.”
“Oh well, Every little thing gonna be all right.”

I’m a Worried Man

Don’t Worry Be Happy

I Wanna Go Home

Take me Home Country Roads

Day O (Daylight Come Me Wanna Go Home)

Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right (Don’t Worry)
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Posted in bible, comfort, inspired, joy, peace

How the bible’s word can comfort you

When times are good and nothing bad is happening, we can take anything, any philosophy or biblical doctrine, and in our leisure time we discuss it and mull over every minute detail. This is OK in the case of biblical doctrine. The Lord gives us time to examine the details. That’s good, to go deep.

But when tragedy comes, we don’t have time for close examination and hyper-detailed discussions over tiny threads of doctrine. Take the Titanic sinking. If I was in the water and someone threw me a life ring, I would not stop to discuss whether it was made of fiberglass or polyurethane or cotton. I wouldn’t have a discussion in the water with the next survivor over the fact that the ring is round and rather should be square. I would simply grab it and cling to it.

When tragedy comes, I run to the bible. I don’t study it. I don’t mull over the lexicon and the different word definitions. I don’t read the parallel verses. I don’t study the overview of the writer and his audience and the message’s purpose.

I just read it.

How does just reading the bible help when tragedy strikes? The bible is a supernatural book. It is from Heaven. It is not just words on the page. It is a heavenly sent Spirit-breathed and God-inspired book. One definition of the Doctrine of Inspiration states of the bible: “It is God superintending human authors, so that using their own individual personalities, experiences, thought processes and vocabularies they composed and recorded without error His revelation in the original copies of scripture.”

As John MacArthur restated it, “God spoke through men without violating their thought processes and their own vocabularies, and yet they were able to produce scripture without violating His truth.”

Thus, the words of God pierce the soul sometimes in ways we cannot articulate, but nonetheless speak truth to us. Here is a beautiful example of that.

I was teaching the first and second grades on Wednesdays night. I had a good-sized group of 6 and 7 year olds. Mostly boys. Active boys, lol. It never failed to impress me and the other leader ladies in the room how the children stilled to hear the bible lesson. Anyway, as we got ready this particular night to start the lesson, one thing the kids had to do was open their bibles and turn to the page of text from which the curriculum was to be taught. Because their fine motor skills were immature, they had a hard time with this. It took a few minutes to get all 12 kids opened to the right page and their finger on the right verse. Some kids got there faster than others.

I had one second grade boy who had turned to the verse very quickly and being in second grade, was able to read well. It was from Psalm 100:1-5

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

This boy re-read the first line by himself, in a quiet voice. I was watching him and listening. “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands…” He stopped. He played with his shoelace and was quiet for a minute. Then he whispered aloud to no one,

“I like that. I don’t know why I like that. But I like it.”

THIS is why reading the bible on days of national tragedy or personal stress can help us. Mark 10:15 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

This boy allowed the Spirit to apply truth and beauty to his heart. He let the Holy inspired words wash over him and rest there, with no ability to articulate why it had blessed him, but he understood it was a blessing and he acknowledged it!

Romans 14:17 says that “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

To me this means not a joy we manufacture or feel on our own, but the joy in Him that the Spirit brings forth to us through His word. I don’t see supernatural things in the world today like the ancient peoples did, of rivers drying up or Red Sea parting or a plague of frogs raining down, but I do see the supernatural. This boy accepting with joy and peace the truth of the Spirit-inspired word to his heart and soul was a visible supernatural event of the Spirit’s work of comfort.

In the trying times, race to the bible. The Spirit wants to comfort you. Let Him. Read it as if it is the Titanic’s life ring surrounding your body, buoying you up over the cold waters that swamp you. Because, it IS.

Posted in comfort, grace, mercy

Wash yourself in the word, let its comforts engulf you!

Sometimes we know that God is so big, we wonder, how can He know us? Why does He care about little old me? Will He even remember me? We know He does, but sometimes it’s hard to think on, that He is so mighty but that He cares about even our daily provision. So when we offer each other comfort, we often turn to the wonderful verses about God knowing all about us. Here is one-

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:4-7).

I am going through Ezra and I read Ezra 2 the other day. I was struck by the verses that make up the bulk of that chapter. It is the part where the LORD puts on the exiled Israelites’ hearts to leave Babylon. The 70-year exile is over and it is time to return, build the temple, and resume life as a person of God in the Land. Fifty-thousand people were to return. The Remnant.

“The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, 2,172. The sons of Shephatiah, 372. The sons of Arah, 775. The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812. The sons of Elam, 1,254. The sons of Zattu, 945. The sons of Zaccai, 760. The sons of Bani, 642. The sons of Bebai, 623. The sons of Azgad, 1,222. The sons of Adonikam, 666. The sons of Bigvai, 2,056. The sons of Adin, 454. The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. The sons of Bezai, 323. The sons of Jorah, 112. The sons of Hashum, 223. The sons of Gibbar, 95. The sons of Bethlehem, 123. The men of Netophah, 56. The men of Anathoth, 128. The sons of Azmaveth, 42.” (Ezra 2:2b-24)

Look how exacting! Look how perfectly God’s records are kept! Look how much He knows! And it doesn’t end there. After the genealogies which comprise the bulk of the chapter are exhausted (so that the generations of priests and Levites will be able to maintain their claim to the office of Priest), we read how many singers and gatekeepers there were:

“The singers: the sons of Asaph, 128. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, in all 139.” (Ezra 2:41-42).

And He is not done, after all the listings of the different types of servants, there is a list of how many horses and donkeys! “Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720.” (Ezra 2:66-67).

Rather than wanting to hurry and read through these extensive lists, I slowed down and lingered over these verses. First, because if it is in the bible it is put there for a reason, likely, many reasons that prayer and meditating upon will bring out. Secondly, I like to picture in my mind the men whose names are listed actually gathering their sheep and packing up the donkey and the women un-pitching the tents. I like to imagine the scene so as to bring to life that this is a real event and these were real people. Third, I was simply struck at the exactitude of the Lord. His record-keeping is as exact and controlled as He is. Of course He knows us! He knows our struggles, our sins, our attempts, our repentance, our thoughts, our failings, our past and our future. He knows. And not only that, this great God of ours, He empathizes. How can such a High and Exalted God sympathize with our puny problems?

Here is how:

“Surely our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4).

Because of this, He personally can sympathize with us. He is our great High Priest:

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Friend, if you are struggling, if you feel lost or alone, go to the throne of mercy. It is not far, only as far as closed eyes and clasped hands. We serve a great and holy God who loves us and knows us through and through. Let Him comfort you–

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)