Like you, we are glory seekers. We have wonderfully, “Tasted and seen, the Lord is good!” The greatest prize is in the pursuit of the fame, splendor and radiant beauty of our Sovereign! We came to Yeshua in the days of the Jesus... Read More...
Riverfront Property in Audio
I am so grateful and pleased to share freely the whole audio book of Riverfront Property: Connecting At The River Of Life! I’m confident you will receive a delicious drink! As you find your thirst quenched please recall those you know who would also love a drink, and pass the cup! Read More...
A Miracle Story
Thursday July 30, 1987, started out as just another hot summer day in Ellensburg, Washington, a town of about fifteen thousand souls in a picturesque valley a hundred miles east of Seattle... Read More...
If your child was abducted, would you fight for their recovery? Let’s say you knew the group who abducted your child, the house where they were captive and the violent men guarding the house. What would you be willing to do to get your child back?
About 240 hostages were taken by the Hamas terrorist group, most Israelis, but a few dozen from other nations. The children pictured here, and more, are among them. A determined fight is ongoing for their recovery, and the end of the terrorists.
In the natural hope for the recovery of the children, men and women is slim. But our God is a compassionate Father. Things impossible with men are possible with God! The Lord will move mountains because of your believing prayer!
Jesus whole ministry is about setting captives free! He ransoms us from sin, condemnation, demons, disease and even death!!! Our Savior delivers from captivity. I urge you to pray with the parents and families of those in bonds. Here are spiritual weapons of war you can take up on behalf of the hostages. Use these verses to pray for Israeli captives to be set free!
There are three real jail-breaks in Acts.
The 11 disciples in Acts 5. “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”
Peter in Acts 12. “And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And his chains fell off his hands.”
Paul and Silas. in Acts 16. “and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.”
Consider the following verses as weapons for warfare on behalf of captives. We appeal to God’s goodness, his mercy and rescuing power!
Psalms 107:10-13 “He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains.”
Psalm 102:20 “To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free those who were doomed to death.”
Nahum 1:13 “So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, And I will tear off your shackles.”
Psalm 68:6 “He leads out the prisoners into prosperity.”
Psalm 116:16 “O Lord, surely I am your servant, I am Your servant and the son of Your handmaid. You have loosed my bonds.”
Psalm 146:7 “The Lord sets the prisoners free.”
To this day God has made Himself famous as the Liberator. Thanks to His merciful kindness there are many contemporary jail-break accounts. May they be multiplied to God’s glory! He opened prison doors for Brother Yun in China where the doors seemed to open on their own. He is a wonder-working God!
Isaiah has much to say about captives being freed!!!
Isaiah 61:2 He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedomfor the captivesand release from darkness for the prisoners.
Is 42:22 But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They have become plunder, with no one to rescue them; they have been made loot, with no one to say, “Send them back.”
This verse tells us the captives here have no rescuer strong enough or willing enough to demand release. I pray for God’s angry mercy to demand, “Send them back!“ adding the sense [OR I WILL BLISTER YOU!]
Is 49:25 “But this is what the LORD says: ‘Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.’”
Is 43:6 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”
In response to your prayers, may the booming, authoritative voice of the Lamb demand, “Give them up!” “Do not hold them back!” “Send them back!”
MAY THE CAPTORS BE STRUCK WITH A SPIRIT OF PANIC!
1 Sam 14:15 “Then panic struck the whole [Philistine] army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.”
Zec 14:13 “And on that day a great panic from the LORD shall fall on them, so that each will seize the hand of another, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of the other.”
JOIN IN PRAYER FOR THE HOSTAGES
Holy Father, Savior of captives, we appeal to Your goodness, mercy and rescuing power!
You told David, “Pursue and recover all.” We speak this word on behalf of the children – clear up through the seniors in Hamas captivity. Sustain their lives and bring them forth!
You sent Your Son to set all kinds of captives free! As Christ’s ambassadors before Your judgment seat we “proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners!”
You hear the groaning of the prisoner, to set free those who were doomed to death.
You tear off the shackles.
You lead out the prisoners into prosperity
You set the prisoners free.
Father may You own voice thunder, “Give them back! Do not hold them back!
Send them back!”
May You send a panic upon the captors causing them to flee, leaving the hostages free!
There is nothing hidden from the eyes of the Lord! Reveal the exact location(s) of the captives! Send Your delivering, rescuing angels as you have many times through the centuries. Send you Heavenly Cavalry to the rescue!
Guide the human rescuers to safely recover these precious souls! Restore them to health and to their families and friends. Bring forth resurrection beauty from the ashes of this atrocity. May sackcloth be turned to joyful dancing!
You said, “call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
Some who prayed for Peter’s release doubted You would answer their fervent prayers, but You graciously answered their prayers! Hear our fervent prayers even in moments when they feel like hope against hope!
Father, You reveal Your true nature in deliverance. Let Your voice resound, “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.”
I would like to speak of things happening on our tiny earth, under the eye of God. God’s eyes are able to narrow down microscopically to even see Israel’s war with radical Islam. I would like to speak of matters surrounding this war.
Here is a briefing on:
God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants to possess the holy land.
Our privileged relationship as gentiles to the Jewish believers
The present war between radical Islam and the Jewish people
The broader threat to Christians and the world at large
Our security in Christ Jesus the Lord
And applying our giftings and callings in this hour
We feel shaking in our bodies and grieve with groans and tears for the people of Israel who have felt such barbarism! Our hearts also go out to the Palestinians in Gaza. Most don’t want these Hamas butchers to lead them. But to argue with them could bring deadly reprisals.
Missiles and bullets, brutal killings and abductions. Just watching the suffering on a screen is too much to bare. We know it is so much harder there on the ground!
The nation is now at war and 360,000 reserves have been called up. The language is severe, on the edge of savage, to counter savagery. The word is, Hamas must be wiped out entirely. We are told in Scripture to pray for this nation and God’s purposes for it, as well as his purposes for the nations at large.
There are two ways we may pray. First, Identificationally, praying as if we were there in the nation dodging bullets and missiles, for we know America may yet experience similar things.
The second way to pray is Authoritatively, as those standing with Christ, looking down from the banister of heaven, praying for the tiny planet and the nations below. We stand with Christ, proclaiming Scriptural and Heavenly decrees.
Be mindful, Israel has an infinitely thrilling future as the City of the great King. It is sometimes difficult to see and appreciate this in the midst of the birth pains.
Here is a prayer I invite you to join in:
Dear Lord Jesus, over your cross was posted, “Jesus, King of the Jews.” Today we acknowledge Your kingly authority and right over Israel, and all the nations. We pray that you would be satisfied with the travail of your soul for this land and the people you designed to inherit it. You have kept Your promise to bring Israel back to the land, their eternal inheritance, according to your covenant.
Father, based on your word we pray peace for Jerusalem, consolation for Israel, and this through the revelation of the King. We pray Paul’s wonderful, mysterious word, “So all Israel will be saved.” “Our hearts desire and prayer for them is their salvation.” Dear Father, what better time is than now for this people to see Jesus, in the midst of the rockets’ red glare?
We declare, Israel has only a partial hardening. Partial in duration and partial in intensity. We declare an end to the hardness. Softening hearts now! We pray the revelation of Yeshua Hamashiach, and the Spirit of supplication that they may see the one they have pierced, mourn for him as an only child, and then turn to Him in resurrection reality!
In the present conflict have mercy even if it involves chastening. We pray you would only chasten, and not condemn, just as we pray you would only chasten America and not condemn. We ask Father, how far are You willing to let the grace from the blood of Your Son extend? Make Jerusalem the immovable stone so it’s enemies only injure themselves trying to move it.
Let Your kindness be felt by a nation who has ignored you. Wisdom, courage and power to the defense forces! Secure the boarders! Safety more secure than concrete bunkers. Yeshua, the Strong Tower and Refuge. The fear of the Lord on Israel, and her enemies. And we earnestly pray the release of captive hostages! May this end with a nation in gratitude as they see Your hand achieve these things!
Father you are our great God. Great in judgment, great in mercy, with a glorious Kingdom plan. May your kindness lead the nation of Israel to eye-opening repentance. And let many in the nations who wish to destroy her come to know the King of the Jews as their own sovereign!
Your word tells us, you work all things together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose. Grant the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy that the Jewish people of this land might come to love you. And cause even this war to work together for their good. Remember you have called this people for a special purpose. This is The Day for the fulfillment of all things.
Let a rumble rise from the soil of this land calling out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Amen!
Please continue to pray for Israel. As you share in her tribulations you will share in her blessings.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity. Ps 122:6-9
I apologize that our entire mailing list received a private blog labeled, “Protected: Revelation Connections Home and About Materials!” Please delete this.
This was private material for a select few regarding a big project we are working on. In the near future we hope to publish this project to everyone but the baby is not ready to be birthed. I checked four times to insure only the selected recipients receive the notice and password. But Mailchimp sent out the notice to everyone.
On a very different note, please pray for Israel! Hamas is causing great mischief and Israel has declared a state of war! It is an unprecedented situation with volatile implications for the whole world, meaning all of us no matter where we live.
I know a man who has seen the Lord Jesus in a vision. He described his physical appearance as common, ordinary, with nothing particularly attractive to him. But the grace of God was all over Him in such a way that this man could not help but think he was the most beautiful person he could ever imagine to meet!
Isaiah and the writer of Psalm 45 describe the same person, our Lord Jesus Christ, but their depictions are utter contrast! Study closely.
He had no dignity or beauty
to makeus take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing that would draw us to him. (Is 53:2)
You have been beautified above the sons of men
Grace has been poured into Your lips
Therefore God has blessed
You for all time. (Ps 45:2 LSV)
Isaiah sees our Lord as common, without beauty, majesty, or dignity. In fact, Isaiah goes on to describe a wretched, abused, torn-up and mangled man. He becomes an appalling figure to be seen in revulsion. Isaiah paints Jesus as our suffering lamb, so abused it is hard to recognize him as a man.
The Psalmist sees our Lord as excelling the beauty of every other human being. He radiates glorious majesty. Gracious words pour from His anointed lips. He is described as riding majestically and victoriously for truth, humility and justice. He is totally blessed with power and dignity, and enthralling to behold!
Many of us wish we could be transported back and see the face of our Lord walking beside the lake, blessing the children, healing the lepers, and walking on water. We’d like to see his expression as he rebuked the religious leaders, as he knelt in prayer and as he fed the multitudes.
Many artists have imagined His face to portray it. Some people report having seen Jesus in a dream or vision. Perhaps you have. Just as we wear many facial expressions, we can be confident that our wonderful Lord does the same.
I am not confident that our Lord Jesus is so physically attractive that fashion magazines would wish to showcase him, but I am confident he is the fairest of all men!
Notice the beauty differences among woman. We’ve seen women who have the external features of beauty but for some reason do not communicate beauty. Other women, although not outwardly striking, come across magnetically attractive. It seems most of the appearance of beauty comes across in the confidence and poise of the woman.
Jesus utter confidence in his Father’s love, in his identity as Son, and certainty in life purpose carried charismatic attraction. Some seek to beautify through ornamentation. Jesus’ was ornamented, beautified by holy grace! One of the meanings and consequences of grace is beauty.
Remember how Paul called for women to be spiritually beautiful?
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” ( 1 Tim :9-10)
The woman in Proverbs 31 is “clothed with strength and dignity.” Virtue is a beautiful thing which adorns both godly women and men!
Peter told women, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. (1 Peter 3:2-5)
There is no doubt that devoted women and men of God are more attractive than those who have not known the beauty of holiness. God beauty when sensed can be overwhelmingly rapturous! But it is not a beauty which can be painted on, or clipped on. It is a beauty to soak in and then radiate outward.
Isaiah saw Jesus not just as uncomely, but repugnant, as he took on the vulgarity of our sin. But the rewards of his labor left Him saturated, infused inwardly in the gracious beauty of the Lord.
THERE IS AN “OTHER-WORLDLY” BEAUTY IN HOLINESS
Four times, and more, in Scripture the Bible talks about the beauty, or splendor, of holiness.
Jehoshaphat, “appointed singers unto the LORD, that should praise the beauty of holiness.” (2 Ch 20:21)
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Ps 96:9)
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (1 Ch 16:29)
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Ps 29:2)
“Other” is a very good word for holy. Holiness is an “other-worldly” substance, and in it we find “other-worldly” beauty. You can’t paint on that beauty, but you can breath it in and dwell in it. You can soak it in and be clothed in it.
Ninety-four times in the NIV Bible the Spirit is referred to as the “Holy” Spirit. The word holy implies separate, other and distinct. God is not animal, mineral or vegetable. His is different. When we pray that our Father’s name be regarded as holy we are asking that the astonishing, uniquely grand things about Him would stand out! This is the work of the Holy Spirit!
To be holy for us means to move from commonness to an exceptional place of separated distinctiveness. The Holy Spirit resting on common people makes them distinctively uncommon.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 20)
Jesus our triumphant Hero, is ascended and ruling in heaven beside His Father, and our Father. He is phosphorescent in lightening-flashing colors of beauty. To be transported to heaven is to catch an eyeful of Jesus awash in the beautiful splendor of holiness!
Isaiah not only has a view of the uncomely, deformed Christ; He sees the glorified, beautified King, and declares an ecstasy; “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and behold a land that stretches afar.” Is 33:17
May we all be transformed as we behold, even today, our gracious, glorified, holy King!
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Ps 27:4
In June of 1999 I was working moving houses. It was big, challenging and dangerous. You didn’t want to end up like the wicked witch of the East. We put steel beams under houses and pumped them up with jacks. We cross braced them as they rose with stacks of timber, put wheels under them and pulled them down the road.
We were pulling a big three bedroom, two story house down the streets of Yakima, Washington. I would drive behind the house in a truck and occasionally get out to steer the back wheels on the house to navigate corners. Sometimes I would be on the roof lifting power lines. As I drove behind with my windows down I would watch people on the sidewalks and listen to their comments.
“It’s so big!”
“That’s a real mobile home!”
“Look the curtains are blowing.”
“Who would think you’d see a house coming down the street?”
“The Pizza is supposed to come to the house not the other way around.”
People would get on their phones and call their friends down the road, “Mable, you need to come out and see this. There is a house coming down the road!” Old and young would come out, gawk and add their commentaries.
As I was driving behind this parade, observing the people and overhearing their exchanges I was blindsided by an experience I could not have predicted; I suddenly found tears streaming down my face. I’m certain I was the only one weeping during this expedition. I asked myself, “What is this?” then realized I was watching a parable.
My spirit was hearing the Spirit of God saying that a day is coming, and is now upon us, when the world will come out to watch and marvel because the static, predictable Church is up and moving big and bold!
When a house sits ridged on its foundation it is camouflaged in immobility. People drive by obliviously. But when the house moves down the road they take notice! Let’s remember that Jesus is the Church’s foundation, and that Jesus is always on the move! Let’s move with Him that the world may notice!
From earliest childhood we learned about death through the fly on the window sill, the bird on the driveway and the dead kitty on the road. As we grew we learned of the mortality of those around us, and of our own end.
Death never seems right. It is always monstrously tragic. It is the grand-daddy of all fears. We instinctively long that life and health continue both for our loved ones and ourselves. Solomon spoke of our common desire for life and health to continue in Ecclesiastes. “He has set eternity in their hearts.” Our deep longing is for nothing short of endless, happy, healthy life.
Job voiced our deep, primordial question; “If a man dies will he live again?”
Our Lord Jesus Christ gives the comforting, even beyond-imagination answer! His answer wipes away every tear shed beside a death bed. His answer calms the heaving sobs at the gravesite. His answer turns our sackcloth to joy and our mourning to dancing!
Our dearest heavenly Friend has got the answer. And it is solid, trustworthy and unshakable! He is the Universal Solvent for our universal wants.
Listen to what our Savior says to Martha in John 11:25-26. “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life?”
The Bible teaching of the Resurrection of the dead has largely been forgotten and replaced by the teaching that when a person dies their spirit goes to live forever in heavenly bliss with God.
Although there is a kernel of wonderful truth in it, you would be hard-pressed to find many Scripture passages which tell us, when we die we will go to heaven and live forever with Jesus.
What does the Bible actually, consistently teach and promise believers about eternal life? It is the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead! It runs parallel to our 2000-year-old prayer, “May your kingdom come on earth as in heaven.”
When Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life” he is saying He is one who will raise the dead from their graves. He has been given authority to raise the dead and will do that when he returns for us!
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (See John 6:40, 44, 54)
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29).
Jesus is in charge of the resurrection of all the dead. He is the One who will pull it off!
Let’s look at the hope of the resurrection which the Jewish people held to before Jesus even walked among them. The Old Testament is loaded with references to the staggeringly, glorious resurrection of all the dead – those in graveyards, those lost at sea, those secretly murdered, those who have returned to wind-blown dust.
Job is the first book in the Bible to share the hope in the resurrection. Job asks a question which is beyond curiosity. It is a question with an ache; “If a man dies will he live again?” (Job 14:14). When we meet death through accident, disease, violence or old age what becomes of us? Is dust the end of our story?
Materialists believe all that’s left is fertilizer.
Some imagine disembodied spirits haunting the earth.
Others believe our comic energy is absorbed into a greater whole.
Some believe we are recycled into other forms.
But the Bible teaches there is a day of resurrection for every man, woman and child, a great day, when our dust is reconstituted and we all stand before the great thrown of God for His evaluation.
“If a man dies will he live again?” Philosophers and religionists fumble for the answer. Jesus Christ’s authoritative reply: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).
Now let’s enlarge the passage where Job askes our universal question –
“If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me! If a man dies, will he live again?
“All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.”(Job 14:13-17).
I believe Job is the most challenging book in the Bible. No wonder we avoid it. Job finds himself utterly devastated with the loss of his children, his wealth, his health and his supposed friends. God’s wrath seems to be upon him. The only thing he can lose now is his life, and it looks like it’s coming quickly.
At this point Job would welcome death for he is overwhelmed with what seems to be the anger of God. “If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed!”
He may think, “When I’m dead, perhaps God’s anger will cool down. He might then remember me, and miss me, and call me forth from the grave.” He makes it a prayer, “If only you would set me a time and then remember me!”
He asks the question, “If a man dies, will he live again?” Then out of his heart comes an answer.
“All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.”
Job is looking, hoping, that God’s anger would pass, that God would remember him in his hiding place in the grave, that God would actually long for his creature, Job, and bring about a supernatural renewal! He is counting on God’s compassion to take away his sin and bring a day of renewal.
Now this is not the last of Job’s hope for the resurrection. When we come to Chapter 19
We can’t miss Job’s prophetic weight as he speaks of his Redeemer.
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth;
And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
Job has a hope in a living Redeemer! “I know that my Redeemer lives,”
This mysterious Redeemer will at The End stand upon the earth. Who is this mysterious Redeemer who will stand upon the earth at the end? He is called, “The Resurrection and the Life!”
Job anticipates that Redeemer arriving after his death. He sees that his skin and body tissues will turn to powder. But here is his resurrection hope.
“And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another.”
Job says that his very eyes, resurrected eyes, will see this standing Redeemer!
He will not have a proxy see this standing Redeemer. He will see the Redeemer who has remembered him in the grave. He will come forth and see Him with his own living eyes!
Then comes this longing cry from Job’s inmost being; “How my heart yearns within me!”
What a bottomless pining, aching yearning! Job believes that God ultimately loves him, that the Creator will long once again for His creature, as that creature lays in the grave, that there will come a renewal and a face to face with his great and wonderful Redeemer. This is longing inexpressible!
Job died 2000 years before his Redeemer stood on the earth the first time, and to this point 4000 years before the Redeemer would come again to stand upon the earth, and raise the dead. Job died with a heart-aching longing. “How my heart years within me!” To know the Redeemer is to yearn for Him, for He comes to bring something so much better!
So, Job asks our nagging question about mortality, but he also shares a vision of a caring, compassionate Redeemer who raises the dead! The deepest of all twin desires is satisfied – God’s longing for his creature hidden in the grave, and the creature’s longing for their Redeemer – met in resurrection!
David says in Psalm 16:9-10 “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”
Secure body! Not abandoned to the grave! God’s plans for David are eternal pleasures!
David continues, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
Now this passage is referred to as a prophecy of Christ’s resurrection, but it also speaks of the general resurrection.
Let’s look at other expressions of resurrection hope in the Old Testament.
Isaiah 25:6-8 speaks of grand Kingdom banquet. So huge it is a spread for all mankind!
“On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”
Those enjoying this colossal feast are those who presently lay in the grave.
“On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.”
The shroud and sheet to be destroyed is death. Death receives a mortal blow! He will swallow up death forever! What a feast we will have at the resurrection table!
Consider Isaiah 26:19. “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”
I was walking through a cemetery quoting this verse and clearly felt an evil spirit say to me, “Stop saying that!” Death and the grave are intimidated with what is about to come!
Jesus said there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed. Isaiah 26 goes on to say that the earth will reveal her bloodshed, and no longer cover her slain. Every grave, every secret murder of individuals or groups will be manifest. Can you imagine a dead woman rising and pointing, “This is the man who killed me?”
Daniel’s testimony of the resurrection is very pointed with no ambivalence.
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt”(Daniel 12:2).
How many will rise? Multitudes!
Where do they come from? The dust of the earth!
Where do they go? To everlasting life, or everlasting contempt!
Daniel is assured of his own path, and death, and eventual resurrection!
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance” (Daniel 12:13).
What a wonderful promise for Daniel! And for us!
Hosea let’s us know that death does not get the last word!
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death
Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” (Hos 13:14).
The grave is powerful but our Redeemer is more powerful. He ransoms us from the power of the grave! There is outright mocking of death. Death, where is your stuff? What happened to you plagues and destruction? You have become impotent and lost your grip because of our mighty, compassionate Savior!
The religious Jews of Jesus day believed in the resurrection of the dead. Yes, there were a few holdouts. The Sadducees did not believe (Acts 23:8). But look how the people of Jesus’ day were putting their hope in the God who raises the dead.
When Martha’s brother Lazarus was dead Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
She responded with a faith in the general resurrection to come. Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 11:23-4).
Jesus affirmed the teaching about the great general resurrection of the dead on several occasions.
“The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here” (Luke 11:31-32).
In Jesus exchange with Martha He goes on to declare, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Then Jesus asks Martha, “Do you believe this?”
It’s a great question for us to answer.
Do you believe Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life?
Do you believe He will, and He does, raise the dead?
Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11:26).
Do you believe it when Jesus says,
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29).
Do you believe Jesus when He says,
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (See John 6:40).
Yes, we can trust Him when He says,
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44).
We can confidently rely on Jesus Christ to keep His promise!
“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:54).
Paul said, “Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8). After all, If God created us from the dust He can bring us back from the dust and give us glorified bodies!
The early message of the Church was that Jesus is alive, He is the first fruits of all the rest of us who will rise from the dead, and our promise of resurrection life is found in Jesus! What an amazing, yet certain, hope we have in our standing Redeemer! We stand heads up in anticipation and confess with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives and will stand on the earth in the latter days!”
Take heart my friend! Your yearning for Him, and His for you, is about to be met in explosive re-creation!
I end with a powerful quote from Joseph Addison (May 11672 – June 171719), an English politician and writer.
“When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me;
when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out;
when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tombstone, my heart melts with compassion;
when I see the tombs of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow;
when I see kings lying by those who deposed them,
when I consider rival wits placed side by side,
or the men that divided the world with their contests and disputes,
I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind.
When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago,
I consider that great Day when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.”
Sometimes we can rattle off a Scripture verse yet be unaware of its context. This morning in Men’s group this phenomena manifest. We were looking at the wonderful verse, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Cor 5:17
The lesser known, preceding verse, says, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer” (2 Cor 5:16). The truth of our new creation is worthy of hours of reflection. But this verse is loaded with practicality and possibilities.
I am intrigued with the reality that we may look beyond the envelope and find the letter within. If you are at all like me you greet someone and think to yourself, “She has a funny accent.” “He’s tall.” “She slouches when she sits.” “He keeps repeating that word.”
I work intentionally to look deeper than the face and external features, asking the Holy Spirit for in-sight to discover the gold within. God has given us the spiritual ability to look deep. It is an ability that all of us can exercise and perfect, but it takes intentionality.
Our Lord Jesus knew what was in a person. He was able to look deep. He saw Peter perfected before he ever got close. He saw the treasure in the heart of the woman at the well. He sees the gold in his people even when it is hidden in failed flesh. Like our Lord Jesus we should look for the new creation in others. When we look deep we find treasures, even if they are surrounded by scrambled thinking, vulgar words and a stinky attitude.
I love to picture Jesus walking on water, embracing the little children and touching the leper, yet there is so much more of my Lord Jesus I would like to see! Three disciples realized Jesus’ fluorescent glory on a mountain top.
John in revelation saw Jesus in another light, or Jesus in His true shining!
His eyes were like blazing fire.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace,
and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
In his right hand he held seven stars,
and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.
His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Rev 1:14-16
We no long recognize Jesus according to the flesh. We also should no long recognize our fellow saints according to the flesh. We know there is a great glory, sometimes hidden, in the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters. Wouldn’t you like to see more!
Our Father has given us the equipment to see by his Spirit deeper into the lives of others, to perceive the treasures within. I encourage you to extend the focus of your eyes beyond the surface and discover the wonders of the new creation in your fellow Saints!
Would you like to give a review of Steve’s new book, Compounds of Encouragement? If so, send us a note and you will receive a free PDF or audio copy of the book. Specify which you prefer. Some comments may be included in the book. Thanks!
God compressed himself into a space on the mercy seat above the ark of the Covenant. In the greatest “communication” God compressed Himself, voiced himself, into human flesh, showing up as man. What powerful mystery! Even the Apostle Paul declared the Flesh-God, a profound mystery.
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great:
He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. 1 Tim 3:16
Our Mystery is substantial, not ethereal! Our auditory, visual, and tactile senses discern the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. The shepherds and later the wisemen witness The Mystery. Later still the followers of The Word testified to it.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 1 John 1:1-2
I prefer calling Christmas “Incarnation Day.” God became incarnate among us wearing human flesh to save creatures made of flesh. “Incarn,” means “in flesh.” All of us are born with flesh, but how exceptionally unusual for God to show up wearing it!
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil. Heb 2:14
The story of Christmas is a rescue mission, but the hero is not a local. He is from out-of-town. Jesus comes down from highest heaven to redeem us! Heaven’s purposeful war strategy utilized a virgin, a baby, a cross and tomb, and a few other items like hosts of angels. These weapons decimate the judgments of death and hell and all their powers!
One of the greatest powers Jesus conquers is the spirit of the antichrist! The antichrist is “anti-flesh.” Note how the Apostle John warns us;
Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 7
Who is the antichrist?
Most people think of the antichrist as a man who is a really bad dude. “We’ll have to watch out for him when he shows up.” The far greater danger is “the spirit of antichrist,” which is already in the world. If we cannot discern and overcome that spirit we will be cannon fodder for individuals who operate as antichrists. Many Christians have been decimated by the subtleties of the spirit of antichrist. The Apostle John warned us:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now it is already in the world. 1 John 4: 1-3
Have you noticed how stealthily, how subtly, this satanic spirit has operated? Each Christmas the radio plays more “Santa and sleigh-bells” and less “Christ-has-appeared-among-us.” I noticed in a large box store that out of hundreds of “Christmas” cards only two had a Christ-message. The message of incarnation, God taking on flesh, has been watered down to dissolve its potency. Nativity has been replaced by naivety.
The anti-Christ is the diabolical Grinch who steals, “Today in Bethlehem is born for you a Savior.”
What is antichrist’s malicious, seductive, intent?
Satan doesn’t want earthlings to know Jesus walked among them in flesh.
Antichrist reduces Jesus to a vague, warm, but powerless, spiritual feeling.
He clouds the realization that Jesus is physical, concrete and touchable.
He obscures Jesus physical incarnation and His ultimate tangible, sizzling, dazzling return.
He muddles the reality that Jesus raises us physically at the resurrection.
Antichrist slanders Jesus, saying:
“Jesus only appeared to have flesh.”
“Jesus can’t relate to you because he doesn’t understand your fleshly struggles.”
“Jesus is powerless to help you in your day-to-day fleshly world.”
“Don’t expect Jesus to do anything world-changing. He will only grant you an indistinct ‘spiritual’ comfort.”
“Don’t expect to live a life of overcoming sin because nobody who has flesh can overcome.”
“Don’t expect much from Jesus because there is not much to Him. He’s vague and insubstantial.”
The spirit of the anti-Christ is fine with us “spiritualizing” everything. This deceiving spirit is fine with otherworldly ideas of our Jesus, but not striking, bold moments of awareness of His tangible presence.
YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY BEEN SEDUCED BY ANTICHRIST IF:
You divide the world into “spiritual” and “material.”
You have an abstract, theoretical, or hyper-spiritual image of Christ.
You are more interested in going to heaven than seeing heaven physically transform earth.
Your hope is in dying and going to heaven rather than the resurrection of the dead.
You settle for Jesus healing the “spiritually” blind and deaf, but don’t expect Jesus to heal the blind and deaf physically.
You don’t expect to see tangible answers to your prayers.
PROCLAMATIONS FOR CRUSHING THE ANTICHRIST SPIRIT
Sometimes we must shake ourselves and speak out loud the reality of our substantial Savior. We can take the truths of Incarnation Day and crush the nay-saying antichrist! Speak out truths like these:
I am a Christian materialist!
There is no division between spiritual and physical.
Jesus pre-existed eternally and “incarnated” as a baby for me.
Jesus solidly, physically lives for me.
My High Priest sympathizes with me because He became like me.
He knows the pain of my stubbed toe, and personal rejection.
He knows what it is to be exhausted and feel hunger.
He knows the pleasures of family and friends.
Jesus touches me in tangible ways, not just vague mystical ways.
When I pray I expect my Lord to respond with tangible answers.
He delivers and heals my flesh.
My Lord Jesus Christ is solid!
Jesus was born in the flesh
Lived among us in the flesh
Ministered to mortals wearing flesh
Died in flesh
Rose in flesh
Ascended in flesh
He reigns in Heaven in flesh. [What does that tell us about heaven?]
He is returning in flesh, to our material world.
The antichrist was overcome at the cross. I will no-longer allow the antichrist to slink around. I uncover and expose Him! I certify the physical victory!
My Lord Jesus has crushed the world of denial of the antichrist by coming in the flesh to save all flesh!
Steven C Johnson
To further fortify yourself in God’s wonderful plan to dwell in flesh and bless His creatures made in flesh look to the Scriptures below. They will be bullets for your gun that you may decimate the spirit of the antichrist.
INCARNATION BULLETS FOR YOUR GUN
Scriptures are bullets for our spiritual guns. Take the following incarnation passages to pow, bang and rat-a-tat-tat against the power of the antichrist. Abide in our dearest Lord Jesus and let His word abide in you. It is open season on Giants. Happy hunting!
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Mic 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Rom 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.
Gal 4:4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law
Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!
Col 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginningand the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
2 Cor 5:19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Heb 1:6 And again,when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
Heb 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Heb 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
Many know that God is offendable. But is God pleasable? The answer is yes!
LISTEN TO THIS BLOG HERE!
A parent who loves their baby can be pleased when it simply coos and squeaks, when it grabs a toy, rolls over, sits up, or takes a first step. Many parents are easy to please. It is a slander to think that God is hard to please.
Before our son was born I had a troubling question; “Will I love him?” I had never met him. Would I find him lovable, have the capacity to love or come up short? At his appearing the doubts vaporized. I loved Brian immediately – before he hit a home run, did well in school, took out the garbage or milked the goats. He was mine. He was a wonder. And he was easy to love. My pleasure with him only increases as I behold his tiny and great accomplishments.
Every sincere Saint hopes to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” The conscientious Christian, focused on their failings and flaws, may forget that Father God is pleasable. They wonder if their flaws will disqualify them from hearing the “Well done.”
The sober truth of Scripture is that God is a righteous judge. Each of us will stand to give account of our lives for our thoughts and actions. Our Lord even weighs our motives. Each of us should tremble over the holiness and justice of God. That weighty truth has a counter balance. It is the mercy of Christ at the atonement seat, and the pleasability of God. God’s grace in Jesus our Savior covers the sins of the humble believer, giving the Father the ability to look for the smallest excuse to be pleased and proud.
We have a schnauzer named Smitty. I’m teaching him to sit, stay, lay down, get up, get down, fetch and give, jump and roll over. When he tries to respond to my commands I affirm him. I do it often. He’s a smart dog and catches on. Perhaps he could use a better master. My point is that I choose to be pleased with the smallest effort, and I affirm with pats, vocalizations and treats. I pray I may be as eager to please God as Smitty is to please me.
What I know is that God is better at affirming me than I am with my dog. Could He be affirming us more than we know? We know there is an ultimate blessing of “Well done.” But don’t you think there is a moment by moment “Well done” going on in the Spirit when we are making the smallest obediences and eagerly seeking to please Him? Perhaps if we were more sensitive we would hear our Lord’s affirmations and at-a-boy or girls frequently. Perhaps our worries, “Am I doing this right? Am I a flunky?” prevent us from hearing His loving approval.
When one of our tiny children learned to tumble, twirl in dance, bake their first muffin, or squeak well in the band, approximating the right note, we are pleased and say, “Well done!” Our Lord Jesus said, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children [in this case a praise or affirmation] how much more will your Father…”
Do you know you can find dozens of verses about the pleasability of our loving Father? Reflect on these:
OUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS CAN PLEASE GOD
Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Ps 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. PRAISE CAN PLEASE HIM
Ps 69:30-31 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.
OUR FATHER IS PLEASED WHEN WE KEEP HIS WORD
Prov 22:17-18 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.
JUSTICE, MERCY AND HUMILITY PLEASE GOD
Mic 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
PRESENTING OUR LIVES IN WORSHIP PLEASES GOD
Rom 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.
RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE AND JOY PLEASE THE FATHER
Rom 14:16-18 Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
GIVING MATERIAL GIFTS CAN PLEASE THE LORD
Phil 4:18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.
CARRING FOR YOUR FAMILY PLEASES THE LORD
1 Tim 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
A FAITHFUL WALK WITH GOD IS PLEASING
Heb 11:5-6 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
SHARING WITH OTHERS PLEASES GOD
Heb 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
FIND OUT WHAT PLEASES THE LORD
Paul said in Ephesians 5:10 “… find out what pleases the Lord.” Once we discover this we can get active and do our best to create pleasure in the heart of our Heavenly Papa. What if we discover pleasing God is easier than we thought?
HAVE A DETERMINATION TO PLEASE GOD
1 Thess 4:1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.
John 5:30 for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
1 Thess 2:4 We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
PRAYERS THAT WE MAY PLEASE GOD
Heb 13:20-21 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Col 1:10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God
In the wonderful and terrible days in which we live, learn what pleases the Lord, and resolve to create pleasure in your Father’s heart!
So sad and happy to announce Mom’s promotion. Leona Jane Peck Johnson was promoted 11/9/22 much to the delight of heaven, a waiting Savior, friends and family!
Words will never do. First rate human being, wife, mom to three, grand to four, and great-grand to seven – with one on the way.
Generous, loving, affirming, good humored, confident, humble, thoughtful – and a few dozen other frail words describe a woman of stellar quality. Dad and Mom produced one of the worlds all-time best love stories, plus kids, grands and greats who had no doubt they were loved. Her smile, congeniality and faith in the goodness of God will be welcomed by heaven’s residents.
Her many memories and stories will be missed. We look forward to The Day of Reunion in Christ!
Mom with Steve, Sue and Scott
Leona and Lloyd, one of the world’s great love stories
Lee with Nathan, one of the seven great grand kids
This movie will mess with you digestion but it is important to see. Our Lord Jesus said, “There is nothing hidden which will not be made know. There is nothing secret which will not be revealed.”
Sometimes it is mandatory to see things which cause revulsion. If you are not watching for lions you can never go on a lion hunt. “Watch and pray.”
Watch this as a believing Christian who is in the war to win! Declare over evil, “No! That’s not the Kingdom of God!” Then pray, “Thy glorious Kingdom come on our planet as it prevails in the highest heaven!”
I urge you to pass this on! Tomorrow may not offer another opportunity.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This movie is for free until Oct 31st.
They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Jer 6:14
LISTEN TO THIS BLOG HERE
If your doctor found you had a serious, threatening health condition would you want him to tell you? It takes courage to face square on challenging news. Many would rather not know, even refuse to know. God wants you to face issues – and overcome.
Today we are ripping off a band-aid of denial which is covering deeper, infected wounds. We are taking off the blindfold which makes us comfortable by preventing us from seeing the signs of the times. I am re-presenting grave concerns regarding famine coming to the world and to our neighborhoods.
I am asking you to endure the ripping pain, and be bold and courageous, and watch this link which shares alarming information regarding our food infrastructure, primarily from farmers’ perspectives.
It will take courage to watch it. It will take resolve to follow the counsel to prepare seeds and gardens this winter for the coming growing season. In a temporal way this is life and death stuff.
After you watch it I want to remind you that God has called you not to be a coward or survivor but to be a triumphant deliverer for your family and neighbors. This is your Esther moment. This is the reason you were born – not to live a comfortable life, but to minister supernatural, regenerative life to others.
We are preparing for something far more monumental than, famine or war, or pestilance. We are preparing for something Colossally, Infinitely Grand!. The birth pains are bringing forth the grandest baby imaginable – the Kingdom of God revealed in our Coming Champion and Bridegroom, Jesus Christ!
NOW MY CHALLENGE – WATCH THIS VIDEO, AND RESOLVE TO DO SOMETHING. WE ARE. I HOPE EVERY WAKEFUL SAINT WILL DO THE SAME.
Short-term power outages can be inconvenient, Long term outages deadly!
LISTEN TO THIS BLOG HERE!
Our Mossyrock, WA Signal Group is sharing how we can be prepared for outages. Most of us can handle power outages for a few hours but how do we prepare for shut-downs for days, and Lord forbid, for weeks or longer? Our electrical grid is more fragile and vulnerable to failures than most realize. Outages can be caused by:
By weather – wind, snow, ice, and wildfires
Brownouts where the system is overtaxed
By aged systems failing
By physical sabotage, terrorism, or war – including cyber-attacks and EMP’s (Electro-magnetic pulses)
Flashlights (regular battery and rechargeable), lanterns, candles, solar yard lights
How to cook and stay warm?
Fire wood, gas fire places, propane, white gas or oil.
Heat a limited area and make sure of proper ventilation
A tent indoors many help you stay a little warmer without heat
Share your heated spaces with neighbors or ask neighbor if you can stay with them
Have fire-starters like lighters, matches, striking rods, and flints
Don’t let your pipes freeze
Have back-up stored water, and the ability to gather and purify
If the toilet stops
If city water sewer systems are closed down use chamber pots and outhouses.
Septic-based toilets can be flushed with buckets. Fill toilet tanks.
When the refrigerator and freezer dosen’t work
Refrigerators keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer for about 48.
Avoid opening the doors. Eat the most perishable first.
Move away from needing refrigeration. Find other preservation methods
Generator backup a couple hours at a time with freezer compartment on coldest.
If you have a generator practice running it safely and have fuel to run it.
When your phone and internet stop
Old style land line phone if phone lines are active
Battery radio You may use a car radio.
When the banks are closed and cash machines don’t work
Keep cash at home and items for barter
When the grocery is closed
Fall back to your food stores
When the gas stations can’t pump
Have stored gas
Car pool with neighbors
Have good shoes and boots and be use to walking
A good bike
A wagon to move things
Other dominos may fall bringing cascading challenges!
Your place of employment
Police and fire services
Hospitals and pharmacies
Delivery trucks and US mail
Farmers’ irrigation water
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS: MOVING FROM PREPARATION TO MINISTRY
A long-term grid-down situation could cause catastrophic social consequences. In a long-term situation refugees will be looking for water, food and heat. This is a good reason for being a praying Christian, to be prepared, and ready to help others. Remember God loves to display His miraculous, saving grace and will to use you as His grace instrument!
This morning I heard the geese. There has been a regular flock flying over our area, low and slow! I think they land in the marsh nearby.
When we first moved to our property on the river, we came on weekends to rest and pray. It was so peaceful and we needed it. There began to be 2 geese who landed on our beach, facing the land they would honk and honk. This happened several times when we were present. As an intercessor and prophetic believer, I recognized the call to pray. It was an all hands-on deck kind of call!
Geese fly in groups and take turns as the point goose to allow the last leader to rest by moving back in the ‘V’. Prophets say they symbolize the intercessors. I agree.
I began asking about prayer in the gatherings I was in. One rather large church had none. Literally none. They made their excuses about busy schedules and folks just didn’t seem interested.
My response, “We have to try!” And so began a Friday afternoon prayer group. We started on ZOOM. Two years later it’s still going, both in person and on Zoom. Its become a powerful political action prayer for Washington and beyond.
The other group I am involved with is still putsing along. It doesn’t have a focus and often its more about fellowship than actually putting prayer to our words. The positive thing is learning to pray and become more comfortable with the, “humble prayer of a righteous man”. Others have come and started to pray aloud, so valuable. Many burdened hearts have come clean and been encouraged.
One night we were returning from a trip late. It is very dark here in the mountains at night, but there was no mistaking the coyote calls. Loud and near, so near I wondered if they were in our front yard. I knew they were trying to get to the nesting geese. “Alarm, alarm, protect the young, fly and fight!” I heard myself praying.
Prayer groups were struggling. They just needed training, prophetic insight and deliverance. And we gathered to assist them in their journey.
So much has changed in the last 4 years for us. A huge move back to the NW, living in West Seattle. Where we made a sweet home for 12 months as we got our lay of the land and figured out where God was opening a space for us. Then the plandemic and all the corruption and evil began to be exposed. Those geese honked and honked, to call the sleepy saints to get busy and pray together.
Others across our nation were already involved in praying for governmental change and actions points. It has only increased and I am pleased. Pleased to see the two geese has become a much larger flock. Since spring they come and nest, honking as they come and go. Then the happy parents gather their goslings on the river and teach them. They learn to fly in those protected places.
As fall approaches more and more geese cross over our area and rest in the protection of the marsh. We are so blessed to encourage prayer and teach the flock. The ones that are injured we show a clear path to health and joy-filled living, covering them as they stretch their wings and fly.
As I heard the geese this morning and took stock in what was and what is today. Big changes, and let us not grow weary as the day approaches. Our Savior hears each one and loves them too. PRAY!
Pamela CG Johnson
EMOTIONALLY FREE: LESSONS FROM MY LORD JESUS
Jesus is a full-spectrum Person. In other words, He is an extremist! He spans the limits! Jesus is fully present with the depths of crushing grief, and the heights of ecstatic joy. He is ambidextrously “bi-polar” able to weep or rejoice freely with all his heart. I learn so much from His freedom to weep and laugh!
Jesus pegs the limits of grief. He is called “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” – not just His personal grief but that of His lambs. We see him moved with compassion for the crowds. We see him weeping for His nation because of His vision of the destruction of Jerusalem. He comes to His personal physical limits at Gethsemane. He is crushed at the Olive Press. He feels utter abandonment by friends, and also feels like His Father has abandoned him. He is not hiding but is present with grief! Could we have such capacity?
Hebrews 1:9 says of Jesus, “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.” Jesus scaled the highest-limits of joy. No person has fully ascended those elevations of pleasure and delight which our Lord has summited.
How do you picture Jesus spinning and dancing with Joy as the Apostles returned with their reports of success? “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:21.
The disciples probably never thought achieving Jesus’ level of joy would be achievable. But He promised them, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” John 15:11. Wow to be so completely full of joy, even having Jesus’ joy in them! We are talking about escalated, sky-high joy! That level of joy is regarded by some as radical and out of the safe range.
Many of us endeavor to stay in the range of the safe and socially acceptable emotional parameters – not too joyful, not too sorrowful. Jesus was emotionally free to fathom the depths and soar the heights!
Jesus is my emotional Mentor. He is teaching me to be uninhibited and secure regardless of the experiences, thoughts and the emotions. He is with me in the most crushing circumstances. I am free to go into the heavy waters of people’s losses and nightmares.
I can also travel to peaks of joy I have never before hazarded mounting, relishing the reality that my name is securely written in heaven! What I have outstrips the joy of new wine, the plunder of battle or the winnings of a lottery.
Jesus is teaching me that I am safe and free to “get emotional” both with sorrow and joy. Some may think me emotionally unstable, but perhaps I am becoming emotionally released.
We like to quote Paul as he proclaims, “Rejoice in the Lord always!” Such great counsel! We might remember that he also said, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” Romans 9:2. Paul possessed a free, full-spectrum emotional life.
One day I was officiating at a funeral in the morning and a wedding in the afternoon. What were my emotions doing? Paul urged us, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” Romans 12:15.
Are you so emotionally free, secure and flexible that at any moment you may join a brother or sister in their unbounded joy, or devastating sorrow? I’m beginning to learn this emotional freedom from my Mentor, the Lord Jesus Christ!
A simple prayer: Dear Father, I want to experience total freedom in every department. Grant me emotional freedom in your Son Jesus Christ.
Today I lead a forum at our church on preparing for coming food shortages. I was impressed with the maturity and evenness of our participants. Some have been “Preppers” for years, others are just getting started. The most important thing was that we all share concerned for every member of the local body.
We keep our eyes on Jesus, not just the wind and waves. Food shortages constitute one wave to be aware of and prepare for – but our eyes must always be set on Jesus!
For those interesting in viewing the notes from our first meeting, Here You Go! I encourage you to consider doing something for your own church fellowship!
Steven C Johnson
Landing Strip Enterprises
RESPONDING IN THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF JESUS CHRIST
TO CONCERNS ABOUT FOOD SHORTAGES. July 24, 2022
Thank you for joining us and caring about your church fellowship enough to be here. Our subject for discussion is, responding in the spirit and power of Jesus Christ to concerns about food shortages.
We will be covering several subjects on this matter and encourage your interactions, questions and suggestions. I hope we will all be good listeners, as well as talkers. Both are necessary to have a meaningful time.
Our end game is
First to discover how to prepare ourselves individually and as families for potential food scarcities. That’s independence.
Our second goal is to learn how we as believers in Jesus can support one another, particularly the vulnerable among us. That’s interdependence.
In the process of sharing we want to stimulate awareness and practical action rather than fear and anxiety. We are determined to maintain a Christ-centered, peace-filled attitude for greater community cohesion.
OUR TOPICS WILL BE
1 Are the danger warnings of food shortages credible?
2 What things cause food shortages?
3 What problems would we face if we had food shortages?
4 How can we prepare ourselves and our personal families?
5 How, as a Christian Church, can we watch out for and support one another in a food shortage window?
1 Are the danger warnings of food shortages credible?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE FOLLOWED THE NEWS ABOUT FOOD SHORTAGES?
From the UN to White House there are reports about food concerns. Economist and food experts are talking about it. Warnings come from economists and food analysts. The most practical and awaking warnings come from everyday farmers.
I was talking to a man who specializes in loan to farmers. Some farmers are asking, “Can I take the risk of taking out a greater loan to cover fuel and fertilizer costs?” Many farmers are down-sizing their crops and herds. Some are quitting. This man said the farmers themselves will be ok. He also told me emphatically, “There will be food shortages.”
Simply type in “Food shortages” and you will find many fact-based articles. One estimate saw 700 million are in immediate peril. It is overwhelming. I can’t blame people for not wanting to know about it. America will do better than most nations. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy.
BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES AND ENCOURAGEMENTS ABOUT FOOD
CHRISTIANS CAN BE HUNGRY.
1 Cor 4:11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
JESUS CHRIST IS THE ULTIMATE FIX FOR HUNGER
John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Rev 7:16 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat.
SOMETIMES WE DELIBERATELY CHOSE HUNGER.
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
A PROMISE FOR THE HUNGRY
Luke 6:21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.
WORKING YOUR LAND AND GAIN ABUNDANCE
Prov 28:19 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
CORRUPT GOVERNMENTS OR INDIVIDUALS MAY STEAL
Prov 13:23 The field of the poor may produce much food, but it can be swept away through injustice.
GOD’S GRACE CAN KEEP US ALIVE IN FAMINE.
Psalm 37:18-20 “The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.”
Psalm 33:18-20 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
GOD CAN PROVIDE MIRACULOUSLY!
MANNA. Deut 8:3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
ELIJAH PROVIDED FOR BY RAVENS. 1 King 7:4 JESUS MULTIPLIED FOOD. Matt 14:13-21
Stored in bottles, rain barrels, water heater
Well water. Generator backups and hand pumps
Purifying with filter, chlorine or boiling
Remember water for washing and toileting. Chamber pot and latrine.
I am amazed how some people have joy in the most challenging moments. Why is it that some seem to soar the upper strata’s of rarified Joy when many have trouble getting airborne? I suspect they graduated in the Joy 800 series doctoral level classes.
Our Lord Jesus graduated from the doctoral Joy class with highest honors! His pursuit of Joy gives him summa cum laud tributes. “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Our Lord Jesus is the greatest model, going for the biggest prize by paying the biggest price. Jesus valued so highly the Joyful outcome He was willing to go the distance! All our Joys are connected to Jesus’ willingness to “Go for the brass ring.”
The Apostle Paul graduated with distinctions. Some might say he was a glutton for punishment but his avarice was for Christ’s Joy! In Romans 5:3-4 he says, “Not only that, but we also reJoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Some athletes reJoice when they, “feel the burn.” Paul rejoiced when he felt the sufferings! That’s advanced level Joy! Little children don’t think of squeezing Joy out of their suffering. Only a crazy person, or farsighted believer, can do this.
James also matriculated in the 800 series Joy classes. He is an expert in squeezing heavenly lemonade out of his trials. He advises in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure Joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James knew things about gaining Joy most of us are backward about. By faith the Lord Jesus, Paul and James knew Joy can be the outcome of the hardest knocks!
Now for the reality of feeling crappy and far from sensations of Joy. These upper lever Joy graduates actually believe, “All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” Romans 8:28
How insufferably, unimaginably crass it would have been as Jesus was sweating drops of blood to sing, “ReJoice in the Lord always.” There are times when the sensations of Joy are drowned by loss, pain and grief. When we are honest with those feelings and yet “faith” it to Joy we are practicing upper division Joy.
Paul’s greatest concentration of Joy references are in Philippians. This is Joy in the jail cell. Paul and Silas added singing to their suffering Joy.They may not have felt “sensational” Joy but rather practiced volitional Joy, doing Joy when Joy is not felt. Note in all the Joy the mix of pain. We do not, “Fake it till we make it” We Faith it until we Realize it. Upper division graduates can feel pain and operate in Joy at the same time.
We must consider Paul’s, “ReJoice in the Lord always” verses as they comingle with other heart-felt conditions.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 2 Cor 1:8
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. Rom 9:2
Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 2 Cor 11:28
Small children think pain and Joy are either-or. Upper division Joy grads know pain and Joy may be realized together.
Habakkuk was a classmate of James and Paul. In his term paper he wrote:
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I Yet will I be Joyful in God my Savior. Hab 3:17-18
Habakkuk astonishes me. Without apparent success, fruitfulness or even something to eat, he is able to reJoice in God his Savior! I wonder if he sat next to Moses in class.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enJoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Heb 11:24-26
I see again and again so many of these doctoral level classes are about perspective and “values clarification.” These people somehow transitioned from the typical worldling’s thinking that early stuff was the highest delight, to Christ is the highest delight! These upper level scholars must perceive something of the goodness of God most of us miss!
David was an Alum of this school. He wrote in Psalm 63:3, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” David’s value system priced God’s lovingkindness weightier in the balance than all the delights of life! He must have encountered God’s love in a way most cannot imagine. I am beginning to learn from graduates like Stephen, when we keep our eyes on Jesus we receive upper division Joy in spite of momentary pain, even death.
Some are unwilling to register and show up for classes because the homework can be crushing. I haven’t taken all the classes, but I can tell you, the few I have taken have been challenging, but so worth it. Hope to see you in class!
Steven C Johnson
Landing Strip Enterprises
SHARE A STORY OF HOW YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ADVANCED TO UPPER DIVISION JOY.
MORE ON FOOD SHORTAGES
If your doctor discovered you had a life-threatening condition would you want him to tell you? If there was danger to our food supply would you want to know?
Recently I have written on this subject. I encourage you to research, pray and be lead by wisdom. Our church is having a meeting on this matter to see how we may care for one another and minister to others in challenging times. Remember fear is against the rules. We are overcomes. We are not ultimately preparing for challenges but for the appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!
Paul and Silas in Philippi Drive the Devil Out of A Woman Possessed by a Spirit of Divination, Pieter de With (c. 1650)
Wanda Alger in a message on false prophets said, “It’s time to be annoyed.” It is worth listening to! See it at WandaAlger.me She writes about Paul’s irritation with the slave girl who had a spirit of divination in Acts 16:18.
It’s time to be GREATLY ANNOYED. There are plenty of annoying issues today. I will not give them time or attention here, AND I ask each of those who receive this email to arise and take your stand.
The body of Christ is attempting to rise but we are distracted and often too busy to penetrate the darkness.
Paul too was doing the work of the gospel as he knew he must and this demonized girl was following him calling out, ” These men are servants of the Most High God.” Now consider what that might look like if she was following you? What would your reaction be?
Last evening at a prayer meeting someone got stuck on the issues (probably watched the news before coming) it was instantly heavy, dark and hopeless UNTIL someone called him out. Declaring Christ has a better answer and we must be believers and do what He said.
I confess I was upset (annoyed) and wondered about the lack of true spiritual awareness. We must stop letting the darkness take over.
Another person came prepared to worship and pray with purpose, and specifically. Nobody took up her lead. We can not let that happen. Even if it is a leader, an elder, a big wig etc. Jesus Christ was unintimidated by the powers of this world. May we so represent Christ that we are unafraid.
Jesus certainly has said to stand our ground, be unafraid and speak what He gives us. Now please do what He says, Be who He tells you to be and let the chips fall where they may!
50 years ago this month I graduated from High School. ( I know I don’t look a day over 45!) I was remembering a few things that annoyed me way back then.
Three boys in our high school were really kicking up the dirt around school and town. They were loud and rebellious and disliked that I was a “Jesus Freak”. They had a few slang handles that were grating to hear and their disrespect for any authority was obvious every day at school. For many years I prayed for their souls. God gave me many opportunities to share the gospel through those High School years, some were truly miraculous and God breathed. Just a few years later all 3 of those boys were saved and followed Jesus Christ.
Did I enjoy the shaming, being the brunt of their jokes, etc? No, I did not! And after I left that community I received calls from several classmates regarding their conversion. You see they all knew who was the Light in that school. I’m glad to say He uses imperfect people and His Love is stronger than the grave, His power working in even the little ones.
They were annoyed that I was upending their dark behavior with the love of God and the gospel of salvation. There was no question which annoying person had the greatest effect!
“STOP PRAYING PITIFUL PRAYERS!
Joshua Commanding the Sun and the Moon to Stand Still, by Raphael
In 1980 I had a class in Clinical Pastoral Care. That’s where I discovered Pitiful Prayer. The class met at a local hospital. After class time we did rounds seeing patients and played at being chaplains.
In retrospect I’m not sure my professor and most classmates were believers. The psychological thoughts of the day guided the process more than Biblical truth. Some of the things we learned were genuinely useful. Other things subtly diluted the power of Christ’s message. It was there I learned how to pray pitiful prayers. They go like this:
“Lord, be with Sarah during this difficult time.”
“Grant you comfort as Angie goes through this treatment.”
“May your grace be with Peter as he faces this surgery.”
The unspoken attitude was, “God, if you are around and listening…we know Your not around much… We know you don’t typically answer prayers… but if you’re there and listening give this person just “a touch” of moral support, perhaps some useful psychological insight to make this situation the tiniest bit more bearable.”
Prayers for “healing” were euphemistically given, hoping in the doctor’s skills rather than a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God.
Prayers were to give a sense that the chaplain cared about them, and some artful words of incantation might give a dash of comfort. Pitiful prayers know nothing about healing, overcoming, prevailing, hope, future and transcendent good!
Have you learned to pray pitiful prayers? They are very useful.
Pitiful prayers make people think you are spiritual and sincere.
They fill in time if you are bored and you can’t think of anything to do.
Pitiful prayers may make some feel that another person cares about them.
There is a fractional possibility the person may receive hope that God might be hiding behind the farthest star, and a wisp of his distant presence might be felt.
When you’ve seen the dead rise you can never be satisfied with pitiful prayers!
I’ve come to be annoyed with pitiful prayer. I repent of the many I have prayed. I know stretches before our great God will result in great answers, even great signs and wonders!
Moses stretched out his rod over the Red Sea and it parted.
Elijah called down fire on his enemies.
Joshua commanded the sun and moon to hang tight until he had destroyed his enemies. It is said, “There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel.“ Joshua 10:14.
Of course, those guys were part of a lesser covenant so more is possible for us. Solomon requested that God answer prayers prayed toward the temple.
When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.1 Kings 8:35-36
Because of the projections of food shortages and famines I’m praying that God will forgive our national sins and change the weather patterns. There are areas where there is too much water. Other areas are in drought. See theUS DROUBT MONITOR
We were passing through Yakima, Washington and stopped at a fruit stand. Disappointment. The cherries were 18 days late because of rain and cold. They expected a 40% harvest. They were concerned for the Walla Walla onions because the moisture and cold could make the harvest rot in the ground. Other farmers in our country have opposite problems. I’m not going to let that stand. By the grace of God, I’m going to help the farmers, and our nation, by shipping moisture where it is needed, and leveling out the temperatures.
Over the years I’ve seen striking answers to prayer for weather. I’m seeing answers today. I’ve been looking at 10 day and one day forecasts and praying the movement of moisture and temperatures. I have prayed up our temperatures and prayed for moisture to move on where it is needed.
Over the past week I’ve see predictions of weather for our area “go wrong” as five days of rain predictions have become three. I’ve seen actual temperatures come in warmer than project. When they decrease I pray with greater determination for stabilization because I am concerned for the food welfare of our neighbors and those in other nations, and I know God is forgiving and mighty to save!
Our eternal, powerful, wise Creator and Savior is not a pitiful God, so we will not pray pitiful prayers! I’m serious about praying for our nation’s weather. I may pray many times per day on this project. Perhaps you’d like to join me. There are many other issues of concern in our nation and around the world. Pray big!
Pray Big or Go Home!
We’d like to know what King-Sized prayer projects you are tackling. Let us know.
“We don’t mind shootings one by one but mass shootings irritate us because we must act either full of grief or indignation. We must pretend we care. The irritating thing is that we must put on the performance every time a mass shooting happens, and they seem to happen more and more frequently. It’s exhausting to pretend at those levels.” (Undisclosed quote)
I’ve noticed that reporters have virtually stopped using the expression, “random acts of violence.” The notion never made sense. There is nothing random. I groan or laugh when a shooting happens and reporters say, “Investigators are looking for the motives for the shooting.” This is not to say there are never motives. Of course, there are. But motives and contexts for acts of virtue, or vice, are typically deeper than we can probe. “The thoughts of a man are deep waters.
Delicious, healthy fruit and noxious, poisonous fruit both come from seeds planted in soil, watered and under the influence of sunlight.
Things booth good or bad spring from:
Soil – the nutritional context of the culture
Seed – a truth or falsehood
Water – our desire for outcomes
Sun – the attention or highlights we give our plants
Here is an example:
Into the soil of permissiveness, inattention and self-absorption seeds of resentment, self-pity, and self-justification are planted. The seeds are watered by unresolved pain or lust, and get expose to the radiation of false media, gossip, and slander.
No one is surprised when a seed grows. Paul was a master gardener. He knew about selecting the best seeds. “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” Galatians 6:8.
We prefer trimming weeds over pulling. Our approach to getting rid of wickedness should be the same as the Lords. Go for the root. John the baptizer told the crowds, “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” Matt 3:10.
I get exhausted with conversations recommending limiting gun rights as a solution for crime. It is beating at the branches. I admit I run out of patience with folly. The scripture says, “There is a way which seems right to a man which ends in death.”
There are financial “solutions” which cause economies to die.
There are ecological “solutions” which cause environments to die.
There are cultural “solutions” which cause societies to die.”
True solutions go for the root. This is a much harder than beating at branches.
Every honest soul knows that hands are not responsible for strangulations, matches are not responsible for arsons, knives are not responsible for stabbings and guns are not responsible for shootings. We must accept responsibility and take ownership!
A sign read, “84,999,987 gun owners did not shoot anyone yesterday.”
A few dozen did.
What is the difference between the two groups?
There were two strong men.
One strangled a woman to death.
The other helped a woman rototill her garden.
Both men had power for action.
What is the difference between the men?
STOPPING VIOLENCE IS HARD WORK
The hard work is getting to our children’s hearts and shaping their character from the inside out. I know some would like to substitute this hard work with measures like outlawing scissors, gasoline and rope. Easy fixes sound appealing, but like overnight miracle health plans to get trim and fit, they don’t work. Our efforts from earliest childhood must be to shape hearts. Did I saw this was easy?
Legislators merely putting print on pages does not work. Chicago proved this with the strictest gun laws. When parents take ownership of raising godly children, and society supports their efforts, we have largely stopped the problem of violence.
I know some immediately say, “It’s too late. We missed our opportunities to shape children.” But is that a copout? Parents should always encourage their adult children to be people of integrity and upright character, caring for the welfare of others. We need to restore the notion that people are precious and valuable because they are made in the image of God!
RESTORING RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
I remember days in my youth when the waitress gave more respect to the customer, and the customer gave more honor to the waitress. Where did we slip in our values for people? When we consider people are made in the image of God we are inclined to be interested in them and honor them as special.
It is said, “Diminish life in one of its aspects and you diminish life in general.” If we dishonor or diminish the elderly the value of people in their teens is also diminished. If we devalue the tiny child in the womb we devalue the life in thirty-year-olds.
Restoring respect for people is a real solution! Did I say restoring value for people would be easy? It may be hard labor requiring decades to accomplish. I’m not aware of shortcuts. But I am aware of the truths which will have to sustain such reconstruction.
RESTORING REVERENCE FOR GOD
The fear of the Lord, the respect and worship of our creator, is what makes respecting and honoring our fellow creatures make sense. Many would like to say morality can be sustained without religion. Our American founders saw this is as nonsense.
President Washington in his farewell speech said,
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens…
And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
Reverence for God is the foundation on which morality is built. Belief in the goodness of God and in our accountability to Him sustains good moral principles. There is no other foundation. Remove godly religion and morality will coast to a stop. Morality will fade over a generation or two when we exclude God from our schools and purge him from government and social discourse.
Restoring reverence for God is key to ending violence. Did I say it is easy? It would be “easier” to ban guns than to cultivate reverence for God. Of course, banning guns has backfired dreadfully in every nation before us! Restoring reverence for God is a hard work which may take decades, although I hope by the power of the Holy Spirit it may be Hastened!
Dog owners are responsible for the brutality of their animals. A violent dog is typically destroyed, the owner is responsible for injuries and must suffer consequences.
The Bible clearly says, “A father is not to be put to death for the sin of their children” Deut 24:16. But parents do have a weighty responsibility for raising their children. We know parents can’t be coerced to be good parents, and many parents don’t have the knowledge or skill they need. Most parents want to do their best. It’s hard work for them and hard work for those who would help them. We can do hard things!
There are food shortages but a more grievous deficit is the father shortage. Fatherless children are missing essential social vitamins. The vast majority of mass shooters are in this group. Fatherless children pact our penal institutions. The young man who abducted our daughter was in this category.
Did I say forging good fathers and mothers is easy? It may take years of hammer and anvil to raise a generator of good parents. Parenting is work we must own to have a healthy society. We honor America’s founding fathers. We are looking for leaders who have father-hearts.
The goal of public, private and home-school education should first be the formation of godly character, built, as president Washington said, on “religious principle.” Then we can learn the three “R’s.” Pretend this section is written three miles long! Most of you could do the writing.
Society’s values and manors don’t turn on a dime. Unlike a little speedboat huge steam ships, like societies, take time to turn.
MEASURES TO TAKE WHEN SOCIETY HAS FAILED TO SHAPE ITS CITIZENS
Now, because the above hard work has not been done we must make efforts to frustrate the mischief of undisciplined, rogue citizens. We have failed to do the hard work, now we must face the consequences. Last-ditch efforts must be employed.
We must convert schools and school grounds into hardened bunkers with locked and supervised doors.
Students must be frisked and their bags searched when they come to school
Children’s mandatory coursework must include self-defense training.
Armed guards must be employed.
School staff need to be armed.
Local police services need constant tactical training and communication systems need to be enlarged between class rooms, administrative offices, security, staff and parents.
Perhaps body bags should be stored in schools in case there is a breach.
Prosecutors must do their jobs. Some prosecutors have deliberately failed to prosecute. The luxury of this permissiveness cannot be sustained. Isaiah 26:9-10 tells us,
When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness
Our nation has gone so far in permissive policies toward criminals I fear it will swing to the other extreme. If the government cannot hold the center the public will insist on harsher penalties which may become gruesome.
When the government fails to discipline its rogue citizens others apart from our judicial system will take it upon themselves to do so. Our judges and government leaders must hold the center!
WE HAVE FAILED TO DO THE HARD WORK
We have failed to do the hard work of planting godly character in the hearts of our children. The weeds have taken over. A state of crisis forces us to trim weeds and beat at branches! The consequences of our neglect have caught up with us. We must take emergency measures.
When a rampaging, mentally ill murderer is at the door it is too late for childhood character lessons. It is time for last ditch efforts. If the dog was never trained and turns violent it must be put down when it attacks. How tragic that mass shooters, most so young, must be killed to stop them, when they might have been stopped as four-year-olds.
Makers of guns do not glorify violence. Creators of violent songs, games and movies do. How dare we suggest prosecuting gun makers before we prosecute these polluters of society! How wickedly tragic when young people practice the evils they have ingested! We have laws about spilling deadly chemicals or sewage. These polluters should be prosecuted!
Use deadly force to stop drug dealers. All of the perpetrators of mass shootings for the past 20 years “were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes.” Stopping the drug dealer would have stopped the carnage.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Several years after our daughter was abducted I met one of his classmates. This man said, “We mercilessly teased him [the abductor].” As this man spoke I thought to myself, “I am talking to an accomplice to the crime.” Don’t you think the people who are responsible for violence should be held accountable?
OK, let’s get personal. Are we able to own our responsibility?
Were you praying for your community the day that crime happened?
Did you confront that unruly child for their folly seven years before the crime?
Were you cultivating positive relationships and activities with that neighbor child?
Were you tolerant of abortion reducing the value of life?
Did you think the drug problem was not your problem?
Did you insensitively tease?
Were you inattentive, lost in your screen?
Are you and I not accountable as accomplices to crimes of violence?
There is very practical repentance we can do. It boils down to the chief commands our Lord Jesus gave us. Love! We can pray for that couple who is on the verge of breaking up and leaving wounded, aimless, fatherless children! We can befriend and mentor lonely children. There are many inconvenient things we can do.
We can again choose the hard work, the heart work, to turn our culture back to godly Christian character. It may take a few decades. Are you willing to pitch in?
This question was posed in my morning Men’s Group. What is your answer?
There are so many things we should know which we don’t! There is missing wisdom, solutions for problems, cures for diseases, and directions for success. We may not sure of what we are wanting, but there is an ache and longing for things which seem to be missing. They are hidden from us, undiscovered as of yet.
John the revelator saw visions which stretched his knowledge of the glory of God, his heart and plans. The things he saw met needs!
Although we may have profoundly staggering revelations of our Father’s goodness we realize our knowledge is scant and fragmentary. We still long to know more of the throbbing, phosphorescing glory of God. We also need solutions, presently unseen, for fixing the garage door and broken relationship.
A man in our Men’s Group shared a story of listeners who call themselves the Sky Walkers. These saints are given challenges for listening. They pray for revelation and solutions. A large building had a water leak which could not be found. The owners did not want to destroy the building searching for it. The group was asked to pray for the location of the leak. Using several thoughts and images from the group a single spot in the building was highlighted. They broke through the wall in that spot and found the leak. Unseen things are findable when we consult with God.
How willing is God to share revelation with His kids, and what are we missing because we fail to seek Him?
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 Cor 4:18
How are invisible things to be seen?
We are unaware of Most of reality. Our limitations for seeing are restricted to the tiny parameters between infrared and ultraviolet. We see a narrow band of wavelengths from 380 to 720 nanometers. There are an infinite number of wavelengths on either side of those boundaries. What are we missing that bees and angels see?
Our human hearing takes in a thin slice of sound vibrations.We hear between 20Hz and 20000Hz. There are infinite things to be heard – below as infra-sounds and above as ultrasounds. What are we failing to hear that our dog and the cherubim hear clearly?
Our senses are wonderful gifts but we should be humble enough to say, “We see in part and prophesy in part.” God’s bandwidths are wider than ours, like the span between earth and the highest heaven! This knowledge inspires us to search for more.
The Lord gave us human equipment for sensing. There are things to be sensed and known beyond our sensation faculties. Our Father wills to reveal them! Ephesians 3:20-21 tells us God is willing to take us above and beyond!
Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God is willing, even eager, to share with His tiny children things yet unknown to sight, sound or imagination!
No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no heart has imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him.
But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. 2 Cor 9:10- 12
It is possible to see unseen things. Paul said this is what saints do!
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 Cor 4:18
How crazy-amazing that God wills us to peer into the unseen and discover things hidden there which we need!
It is God’s will that we seek and find His face. Yes, we are meant to see and fellowship with the unseen God! He also wills for us to find in the unseen word everything we need for life and godliness.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
Why would the Apostle Paul urge us to earnestly seek spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, if there was not much more we need to see and hear? See 1 Cor 14:1.
Who knows the extent of wonders our Heavenly Father would reveal to those who seek Him; things we need to know! James said, “We have not because we ask not.” What would you like to seek and receive from our generous God today?
Seriously, what is on your list? What do you need to see in the unseen world? We’ll join in prayer for you as you venture into the invisible for what you need!
SHARE THE WEIGHT OF THIS LONGING WITH ME
I’m so grateful for all the things you have shown me, yet I long for more! Open my eyes to see the things I have never seen. My eyes ache to see You, Your heart, Your purposes and plans. Show me what You are pleased to reveal. Show me what I need to see.
Dear Lord, my ears long to hear Your voice, they pull like a vaccum to hear what you are saying. This is the day of Your revelation, the day of Your disclosure. I long to hear Your sweet voice and vital words. They are my daily bread!
Lord, I know I cannot bear the full measure of Your voice and the weight of Your words but give me all I can possibly bear!
Unseal Your books for reading. Upgrade my vision and discernment. Turn up the lights.
I’m longing to see You and hear You in ways I have never before. Share with me all the wisdom and understanding I can bear and apply for good.
Help me train my spiritual senses. Show me how to cultivate them.
Share your rebukes and corrections. They show me you care for my safety and success.
Share the assurances that I am on the right path. Lead me in the ways of righteousness for I want Your name glorified.
Share your truths with me. I will take them like seeds and plant them for a harvest of righteousness.
Dear Lord, you see and understand all. You share all good things with me. I give you my reverential devotion, for Jesus Your Son lights my path!
Friend, add the particulars of the unseen things which you need from our Father. Tell us what new windows open and the revelation the Lord shares with you.
One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. Acts 11:28-30
In my last blog I wrote a story reflecting back after 75 years, on the famine of 2022-2023. I am writing today so that story will remain in the fiction category. There are many in the food industry chain predicting world-wide food shortages for this year. Note the links below. What can we do to prevent their predictions from coming about? How should we prepare?
Pam and I have been “preppers” for many years. Perhaps I got the inclination from the Scouts’ motto, “Be prepared.” We have always had first aid kits, extra beans, jugs of water, matches, plastic bags and things which might be handy for emergencies.
By the way, people might call you a “prepper” if you have a spare tire in your car, a flashlight, some extra cans of tuna, and a fire extinguisher.
There are all kinds of emergencies we may prepare for:
Bad-guy problems – home break-ins, terrorism and war.
Our focus is on preparing for potential food shortages.
I must tell you, our first go-to is our Heavenly Father. He is the source of life and peace. He is the wisdom and power. Prayer will always be our first step toward solutions. To rely merely on reasoning, planning and activities without prayer is humanistic presumption. To pray alone without acting and preparing is spiritual presumption.
One of the wisest statements I have heard is, “Make your preparations, then don’t trust in them. Trust in God!”
By the way, Pam and I are not preparing food to ride out an apocalypse. Our spare tire is to get us through a momentary crisis so we can get back on the road and back to life. Having extra food resources can get us through a food-shortage window, so we can get back to life. We are not holing up, but preparing ourselves so we can stay on the road and move forward into higher purposes!
Two approaches for preparing for food shortages.
#1 GROWING UP. Growing, raising and storing up your own food.
#2 STOCKING UP. Stock up your pantry from existing suppliers.
#1 GROWING UP
Food shortages may be prevented or diminished by producing your own. This may be done in collaboration with others.
It typically takes an acre of land worked intensively to produce enough food to keep one person alive. Doing this is impractical for most folks. But you can garden small scale to supplement food you get from other resources. Even in a city you can grow vegetables in planters, and rabbits in cages, and whole gardens in community areas. Take note: A vegetable garden may benefit you more than a nicely manicured lawn.
Pam and I have many raised beds, some fruit trees, blueberries and raspberries. We also raise chickens and quail. We live near rivers with fish and in a land of eatable creatures. There is also lots of land for foraging. We have had friends let us glean their orchard after the harvest. We have picked blueberries at a local farm.
In WW 2 the government encouraged families to have “Victory Gardens.” This was to make sure the soldiers and whole nation would be adequately fed. Millions of Americans had victory gardens. Just a little more nutrition from the home gardens, along with food rations, sharing and making due was the difference between national success and failure.
Gardening may require a little education but you don’t have to be a genius. You just have to have some will and industry. Working with your own hands and getting dirt under your nails is good for the soul and the soil. Planting a seed and seeing it grow has always brought wonderment.
Gardeners gain a greater sense of community, security, independence and self-worth. And the better prepared you are to care for yourself the better your position to help other.
#2 STOCKING UP
We buy beef from a rancher in our church. We just bought a couple lambs from other friends who are raising them. We keep a stocked freezer. Pam does lots of canning and food drying. We buy bulk items from Azure Standard. They have great quality and decent prices.
Have a list of items for your pantry. A list allows you to do your personal assessment of your family’s needs and reminds you of things you might otherwise overlook. (Note the links below)
When we shop we typically get a few more items than we need; perhaps a bottle of shampoo, olive oil or trash bags, dog food or laundry soap. In time we outfit our pantry. When you do your weekly shopping put it in the back of the pantry and move the older stock to the front to be used. Buying food now may save you months from now when the food prices have inflated.
Some will not face the possibilities of food shortages soberly. How easy it is to be sleepy, unaware, or presumptuous. Facing up to the potentials is a first step. Growing and storing up even a few weeks of food will bring you a greater sense of confidence. And if you find shortages are not as severe as some scenarios predict you will have done no great harm in preparing. It’s ok not to need the fire extinguisher, first aid kit or extra food, but it is a security to have them. Seek the Lord, create a plan which is doable for you, and be at peace!
We are people of confidence not cowering! Our confidence is in our Lord Jesus and the covenant made with blood. Don’t let food shortages, or the wind and waves of our time, cause you to lose your sight of Jesus, or forget your mission to shine your light!
A PREFACE: The following is not a prophesy. I pray it will not become reality. The story is fiction but it paints possibilities based on facts around our food infrastructure. I have for many years prayed for farmers, food processors and truckers that they may be safe and prosperous for the sake of our nation. There are things we can do today to keep this story confined within the fiction category.
REMEMBERING THE FAMINE OF 2022 AND 2023
Although it’s been seventy-five years there are still people who remember. The famine of 2022 and 2023 has been the subject of books and documentaries. This is only a historical footnote and perspective based on one man’s remembrances. Jim Farris and ten-year-old son Jerry ended up surviving, but his wife Sally and five-year-old Jessica did not.
Most famines are man-made. Historically corrupt governments have been behind them. In the early 2000’s Socialist orientations and top-down federal decision-making limited free enterprise, innovations and initiatives. Once again, hunger rather than bullets would kill the majority. Best estimates put the loss of American lives at 69 million.
Jim Farris (101) of Buckeye, NY tells us his story 75 years later:
Until late in 2022 my wife Sally and I lived a version of the American dream. I was a successful engineer and Sally did well as an online marketing agent. We lived high on the proverbial hog. It showed a bit over my belt and Sally’s plus-sizes. We had a gym membership and Sally tried diet programs.
The last months of 2022 we dropped the gym membership and dieting. We began looking for accessible and affordable food with lots of calories. So did our neighbors.
In church we learned Jesus predicted, “there will be famines in various places.” We pictured it happening in Eastern Africa or Eastern Europe, not Buckeye. We never considered Jesus words, “Woe to you who are well feed now, for you will be hungry.”
The prosperity we enjoyed vaporized seemingly overnight. It really had been a slow roll down a mountain, till it reached the edge of the cliff. Most were not aware of the threat. The media did not think the staging was news-worthy.
We were drunk on abundance. We had unlimited food options, fast food and cooking videos. The obesity epidemic and weight-related health issues got news. Only muscle-building weight-lifters wanted to gain weight.
Sally and I had great jobs and money set aside so unlike a lot of people we did fine as food and gas prices went up. There were lots of explanations for prices going up. Sometimes we thought we were getting the straight story, and other times not. We knew fertilizer prices went up 400%. Farmers and shippers had trouble getting fuel. Dozens of food processing plants were destroyed by arsonists. It was crazy to see droughts in some places and floods in others.
As food availability went down prices went up. People started to sell off property in desperation. We bought a guy’s $40,000 boat for $3,000. We had the boat for 6 months then sold it for $600. Of course, those were inflated dollars.
I lost my job. Sally marketed cosmetics and hair products. People stopped buying. Sally kept working at one quarter of her income.
Two families we were close to lost their houses and came to live with us. Cars were parked and bicycles brought out. Wheel barrels and kids’ wagons became almost more valuable that cars.
We took our money out of the bank and bought food for friends and neighbors until we realized we were in danger of not having enough ourselves.
Stories of starvation didn’t happen much until the winter of 2023, mostly in the cities, especially with people on public assistance. Gas rationing saved fuel for farmers, food processors and truckers. Food trucks always had armed escorts. The national guard also kept watch. The government helped until they were out of resources. With staggering unemployment government lost tax income and fiat currency was no longer trusted. The government ended up seizing accounts with over $10,000. They raided retirement and pension accounts as well.
Most people had trouble heating their homes, and because it was cold people wanted to eat more food to stay warm. We were on the edge of the suburbs just a day’s walk to a farm. I started working on the farm along with our ten-year-old Jerry. Once a week we walked home with a bag of corn or wheat for Sally and Jessica. I hated to see how thin they looked. No one wanted to look at themselves in the mirror. I remember Sally coming into the house with a weak smile. She had looked through the car and found a bag of cashews beside the spare tire. I never thought I would punch more holes in my belt. It was for the kids.
We hated hearing the news about the deaths. Somehow it wasn’t so bad when you heard of families dying in the cities but it got too close to home when they were in the neighborhood.
Early on some desperate people would raid homes. Sometimes they were shot but most of the time they didn’t find anything. After a while those desperate for food didn’t have the energy to walk to someone’s home to rob it. In fact, we ran out energy to dig graves. We piled the bodies in an abandoned house.
Hunger brought out the worst and best in people. There were some marauding gangs looting people’s food stocks. We killed most of them. There were instances of cannibalism but most of that happened after people had already died.
Our culture had been drunk with food. Hunger brought back our sobriety. The biggest cultural swing was this; people began calling on God! And lots of people in Churches sacrificed and served one another. It was funny but in the worst of times it seemed that God was very close. He kindly spared many of us.
Early on most people pitched in to help one another. Neighbors watched out for each other. Although we wanted to share our food, and did it at first, we later kept our food to ourselves. It tore us up to see neighbor children shrivel to skeletons.
There were lots of amazing acts of sacrifice. Our neighbors two houses over, the Zaleskis, were both in their eighties. They brought out their entire pantry and shared it with the neighbor children. They said they knew Jesus, and had lived full lives. The children needed a chance. Later, after we recovered, we honored them a proper burial.
It may not sound like much but there was a big movement for victory gardens, just like they had in World War II. Just a couple hundred more calories a day from the gardens made the difference between life and death. Those gardens, plus food rations, which were never enough, and sharing, and gleaning, and foraging helped most of us make it.
Those raised by farm people with a custom of having large pantries thought of having stock at home as normal practice. They were sometimes called “preppers.” Most of the population didn’t stock food or store up. They relied on weekly grocery runs.
THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Now for the amazing stories many today wonder about. This was the most painful time of our lives but it was the most glorious because we felt God was with us!
Sally and Jessica both died. But here is the thing – Before Sally passed she opened her eyes and said, “Look, I see Jesus coming. He’s coming for me.” Sally had a beautiful smile but I had never seen her as beautiful as at that moment. [Here Jim Farris choked up for a few moments]
Jessica passed two weeks after her fifth birthday. She was trying to say something. I put my ear to her mouth and she whispered. “Angels, daddy. See?” [This time Jim Farris sat quietly for several minutes while his caretaker got him a glass of water. Then he continued.]
We saw miracles. Real miracles. A prophetic woman talked to our neighbors saying she saw a vision of a bread truck flying over our street and dropping loaves of bread. The next day and for three weeks more we woke with flaky white stuff on the grass and trees. We ate it. I’m convinced it was the same manna that Moses ate in the wilderness! After those three weeks the gardens and farms began producing again. The manna stopped. I don’t know why it didn’t come for Sally and Jessica, but it came for Jerry and me and others.
There’s a story of the last cup of cereal being multiplied to feed seventy people. And it wasn’t just a story. My uncle was there and told me first-hand how a band of Christians prayed for it and it happened!
There were many wonderful stories of miraculous supply. I only wish there had been more of them. My sister and her family were gleaning in a potato field in Montana. It had been gone over by machinery, but they kept digging day after day and found enough to live seven months till the early harvest in the spring of 2023.
Those were the wonderful stories. But there were heart-wrenching stories where people we knew tried to live on dried grass and tree bark. It wasn’t pretty. I think what wrenched my heart the most was when parents decided not to eat their rations but gave them to their children, hoping a relative or neighbor would take care of them. But sometimes the relatives and neighbors didn’t make it. I think that’s enough.
[We asked Jim Ferris if he had any concluding thoughts. He said again,] “No, I think I’ve told you enough.”
AFTER THOUGHTS FROM STEVE
I am the eternal optimist, especially regarding God’s great, generous goodness in Christ our Savior. I believe He wishes to wildly prosper countries who seek Him out and honor Him. The realist within me speaks, “Even so, we cannot presumptuously assume upon His grace. We must be aware of potential problems, seek His wisdom and prepare.”
My next blog will come with practical suggestions for creating stories with happier outcomes. In the mean time I encourage you upgrade your peace in Christ, have extra food and water on hand, and start your own “victory garden.” A wise man said, “Growing food is literally like printing money.”
“The Last Judgment” by Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel
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What I am about to share may offend some. My goal is not to offend but to share a piece of perspective and encourage saints in persevering for purpose.
As a young believer I was taken with the powerful reality of the Second Coming of Jesus. This intelligence was a precipitator of my conversion. My senior year of High School my friend Mike shared that Jesus was coming back. His words hit me! They resonate ever more loudly today. I thought at the time, “Wow, the same Jesus in the Bible! If he is coming back that means he is real, that the stories about him and the things he said are true.”
I was stimulated for I had just started to read the Bible and was seeing Jesus as an awesome figure. I had mixed emotions. What would it be like to see him? Would I be ready? How could anyone to ready enough for such a heavenly Dignitary? Our name, Landing Strip Enterprises, is a Second Coming theme. The mission is to prepare the way and make a welcome runway for our Great Lord’s return!
There is no greater event to look forward to than the blessed hope, the return of our Lord Jesus. There is no greater event to prepare for than the Day of the Lord, the King fully come with His kingdom, the Wedding of the Lamb, the consummation of the Bride and Bridegroom!
A popular book came out as I was in diapers in Christ called The Late Great Planet Earth. It taught that Jesus was going to come before seven terrible years of global tribulation and extricate his believers from those troubles. At the end of seven years Jesus would appear again to judge the earth and establish his kingdom. Many adopted this teaching and I was among them.
Later I was at a Christian college where the professor shared a different view. He taught that Christians go through tribulation. I was alarmed! I thought he was a great Christian scholar but I started to think of him as a false teacher. I looked at my classmates as he spoke. I thought, “They are all being led astray!”
I took it upon myself to be the defended of truth and show the professor and class that the pre-tribulation rapture was the truth. I dog-eared my bible going back and forth to gain ammunition to confront his “heresy” and set things right with my professor and class. My only problem was that my studies lead me to believe, I had been wrong, by siding with a modern, popular teaching which was not rooted in Scripture.
Without going into a prolonged study let me share the basic points which took me back to the millennia-old view of Christ’s second coming.
THE BIBLE OFFERS NO GET-OUT-OF-TRIBULATION FREE CARDS
Tribulation is part and parcel with true Christian experience. Christ suffered and so do His followers. Jesus did not erase tribulation but brings His presence into it. He said, “In this world you have tribulation, but take heart, for I have overcome the world. Paul said all who live Godly in Christ will suffer. You may find many promises for suffering in the Scripture. If you’d like you may clip them out and put it on your refrigerator.
The word “overcome” is often found in Revelation as well as the expression, “the perseverance of the Saints.” Perseverance is a virtue only necessary in difficulty.
So many Christians have died at the hands of totalitarian regimes. Chinese Christians were told by well-meaning Western believers that they would not go through tribulation. Many of them were disappointed as they died or suffered among the millions during the Chinese cultural revolution.
Suppose America suffered horrendously the loss of half of its population because of an asteroid, nuclear war or remarkable calamity. Suppose now you are a survivor in the wreckage. What comfort would it be if someone came up to you and said, “Millions of us are dead and millions more in ruin, but the good news is that Christians will not go thought the great tribulation?”
SOME ARE “TAKEN” AND SOME ARE “LEFT”
We know that good Bible study requires context. Many have taken Jesus’ prophecy “one will be taken and the other left” as if this taught a great taking up of the saints, and a leaving behind of sinners.
I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; onewillbe takenand the other left. Luke 17:34
Two women willbe grinding grain together; onewillbetaken and the other left.” Luke 17:35
But consider the context. The story which sets the pattern a few verses before is that of Noah and the flood.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27
A few verses later we read of the destruction of Sodom
“But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Luke 17:29
Jesus declare this is a pattern which will be duplicated. One group is destroyed and the other group saved, left alive.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:30
Concluding from this pattern the “one taken” is the one destroyed, and the “one left” is the one who has been saved from the destruction. This is polar opposite of the pre-tribulation notion.
DATING THE ORIGIN OF THE PRETRIBULATION ESCAPE THEORY
The pre-tribulation rapture theory is a new doctrine on the block. Pinpointing its beginnings is challenging but it first shows up about 1800. If this teaching was not known today it would be very unlikely it would appear because some biblical scholar stumbled upon it in their study.
Robert Cameron gives an historical footnote. “Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down…. Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church – a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past – that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom – such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.’” (Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73).
THE QUESTIONABLE FRUIT OF THE TEACHING
The pre-tribulation rapture theory seems to make our goal to be getting to heaven rather than getting heaven to earth. The early Church orientation was to prepare the way for the Lord so that the King with His Kingdom would overcome the world. Remember, we have been praying 2000 years for the kingdom, the will of God, to come and be done on our planet! Jesus taught that the good leaven of the Kingdom would work its way through the entire lump. Saints were meant to be trailblazers preparing whole nation as disciples to be ready for the Lord’s return.
My general sense of those who have adopted the pre-tribulation theory is they are waiting for their ticket home and out of conflict rather than engaging in fulfilling the great commission.
Certainly, there are wonderful Christians who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture theory. I can’t blame them for wanting an exit from trouble. But I am seriously concerned they are being oriented to exit and escape rather than labor and fight for Christ’s kingdom and so to prepare a royal welcome.
Jesus taught we will have tribulation. This is a given. In Moses’ day there were two trubulations in Egypt. Pharaoh brought tribulation on the children of Israel, and God brought tribulation on Pharaoh and Egypt. I believe there is a similar template for our last days. Although Christians may experience tribulation from the ungodly, men at their worst cannot dish out tribulation like God.
Be of good cheer. You have been given the privilege of being a soldier of fortune to pillage hell to populate heaven. Don’t look for escapes, hiding places and retreat. Light is meant to be put on a stand. Be engaged in God’s warfare on behalf of mankind. And lift up your head for your Redemption is coming!
Greeting a friend-to-be, I was taken back by their response to my question, “How many children do you have? “
“I have two children. A son died a few years ago. I also have my living son.”
The losses people are dealing with are personal and leave a lasting imprint on their hearts and minds. We must step up in hearing them out. As awkward as it is to hear, the reality is that person loved someone who is now gone from their life. They are left with the haunting and real memories of their face, their memories, and their inability to love them as they once did.
The last 2 years have forced many losses upon us. It seems no-one is exempt. So how can we be present with one who has had loss and honor the life of the individual lost?(We can apply other types of loss as well)
I suggest we learn to be self aware of our losses and understand so we can help others.
As a nurse I have had the privilege and pain to walk with so many suffering physical loss.
When a labor ended in the death of the baby I was holding the parent and the infant as they grieved the loss of new baby, what was not even thought of. I helped them hold their little one and touch her hair, her skin, as they spoke of her tiny fingers, exploring and coming to grips with their loss. Truthfully, I could hardly breath and wept openly with them. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life and I’m so glad I was able to die to my sense of right and wrong and let them live fully in that moment. It looks hours and they spent it holding her little body and speaking of what might have been and what was before them. It was almost perfect pain. Hard to describe, and if allowed I wanted to run from it, yet we let that grief wash over us all by staying in the moment.
I’ve attended at the bedside of hospice patients, holding hands, praying quietly, allowing family time and assisting them in overcoming fears to touch and speak their heart in that very significant hour. Sharing suffering with another is not an easy place to be. Suffering loss marks us for life. Some for better and some not. It’s absolutely appropriate to speak of the loss, it affects the living every single day.
In times past we allowed our aging and ill to die at home with family around them, sharing the memories of their life, laughing at the sweet past and the hopes of the future.
As a pastor I was part of celebrations of life.One that stands out was a gentleman in his 90’s, suffering from liver disease. He was a lovely hue of yellow. While he was still living and alert we had a large circle of friends arrive and set up worship on his lawn. Weshared stories of how his life had impacted and changed ours. With humor and joy we sang his favorite hymn and simply loved on him and his precious wife. It was such a powerfully meaningful time. He was unable to stay till the end, but we who loved him didn’t want to leave as the unity, love and harmony, worship and holiness of that time was imprinted on our lives. The loss was so imminent, yet we pushed it away to celebrate his life.
I suggest when you find yourself in that awkward moment when someone shares a loss you were not expecting, that you press into it. Ask a few questions that pull out the value of that loss.
“Thank you for sharing that intimate detail.
“Is there more you would like to say about them?”
“What is a sweet memory you keep regarding your son?”
“How are you living with your remaining son in light of the loss of your first son?”
“How rich you are to have shared that precious time with him.”
So many can sympathize and mourn with you in light of the last 2 years. Thank you for sharing with me.”
If it seems particularly fresh you might ask how they are making each day count with the uncertainties of this life. As people mention their loses I hope you will NOT just stand there as if a brick hit you, or move on like their words never reached your ears. Identify as a human and respond in compassion.
One very powerful experience I was a part of took place in Jerusalem, Israel. Steven and I were renting a room from a woman who lived in a high rise apartment. Down the hall from her another apartment was celebrating the life of someone who recently passed.
The door to their apartment was open all day, every day for 30 days. 30 DAYS
Any and everyone was invited in to hear the widow tell her story. Pictures of the man and their family adorned every table and wall. A prominent one was draped in black. The widow, to wore black. Family and friends were present sitting, sharing, and attentive always for the widow’s needs.
They soaked in their sorrow and grief every waking moment for 30 full days with strangers, family and friends. No one was turned away and everyone was respected as a guest to give honor to the lost one and their family.
I was so affected by this focus and honoring of the life of one person.
At the end of 30 days the door is closed as any home would be. The widow continues to wear black for 12 months. And the community acknowledges her as his widow. Perhaps we could value others’ loss in that way. Helping them unpack their loss and re-experience the immense thing we call life.
Our Heavenly Father felt it so valuable to experience life He sent His son to share it with us!
In life there is suffering and sorrow. We are greatly enriched by every opportunity to weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh.All of life is worth feeling, experiencing – giving way to our emotions and being with another in the moment.
Yesterday morning our daughter Theresa gave birth to Liberty. She was hard fought for and so is prized! “Giving birth” is too lightweight an expression. This was a serious battle well fought and won. Theresa was the champion “point-woman” in the fight. We are proud of her! By her side was a team of “operators.”
Her warrior prince Darrell was faithfully contending with her. Her mother, the ultimate mother/baby nurse, was as well. The team was larger still.
Such hard pushing, … and one thing after another until IVs n meds n 14 people about to take her to OR n then she pushed enough to get the vacuum on n w episiotomy she came at 7:43 n is now nursing.
She started sucking her fingers n latched right away. 7.1 n 19”
Theresa was exhausted but keep saying afterwards, “This was worth it! This was worth it!” Our Lord reminded us,
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21
Our Lord was not just talking about the challenge of bringing forth babies. He was in labor to bring forth something colossal, anticipating his own cross as well as being sensitive to the grief of his dear disciples.
“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:21
Our new granddaughter Liberty Grace is a parable for us all. It is a fight to gain LIberty. Because of this she is prized!
Our Son Brian reflected on the birth of his niece; “Liberty is a desperate fight. At times it does not look like it’s going to happen. But inch by inch, sometimes backwards she will come for those who are persistent.”
Yes, we own that today and are determine to fight, as God guides and helps us, to the victory! May it be our inner unshakable resolve!
SEEING GOD’S MERCY AFTER THE FIGHT
So often after a fight we realize the gracious hand of God has helped us win the day. We recognize our strength, skill, knowledge and resolve were insufficient to win the day. In every virtuous hard-fought battle God ultimately gets the glory for being our helper and our Sufficiency!
My heart goes out to the heroes and heroines of our Great Cosmic Story who contend to bring forth LIBERTY! They also will say, “This is so worth it!”
I am certain I hear the Lord Jesus saying it!
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.” Hos 11:4
My wife Pam takes her turn at a blog. It seems all painters of Jesus’ crucifixion feel obliged to garb him with a loin cloth. But just as Adam and Eve found themselves naked so did out Lord Jesus. He refused to let shame cling to Him. In fact, the cross was His way to cover ours!