Building a House: Journal Part 4

I know I have expressed this before. Never, no, no, never build your own house. lol We have had few sunny days, and when there is one, no one can be found because they're catching up on other lost work time. This is a huge lesson on patience and endurance, but it's not all bad.

My husband works a night job and needs sleep, so sometimes it's just me, but we do what we can. Lately, I've spent time gathering rocks for use on the house and landscaping. Working to slow down erosion in the drainage ditch is the latest project, using rocks and wood scraps, moving top soil around and planting Ivy cuttings. The work is slow but steady for this 56 year old girl, but it can be especially satisfying on an almost balmy February day. The finishing touch, I tell you, is a very necessary epsom salt bath before bedtime.

It has been a blessed time for prayer, contemplation and learning to wait on Yahweh. What did I learn? One does not need to be unproductive to wait, an ongoing lesson in my life, and probably yours too.

What? A drainage ditch? A good place to spend a beautiful day? Yes, even a drainage ditch can be artsy fun. I am not telling you to literally go and make a cool drainage ditch, lol, mind you, even though you can. Just make the best of your circumstances and discover the blessing in it.

 

 

He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:29-31

Salt and Light? Angel of Light? Beware!

Recently a close family member of mine who usually avoids conversation about God mentioned a local church scandal. I assume she was curious about what my reaction would be since she said that some of the church members actually defended the Pastor who had bought his wife a $200,000. car. It truly weighed heavy on my heart and I told her so. It may not be a sin to own such a car, but the impression it leaves on a community is not good.

It is always so disappointing and heartbreaking to hear of pastors, clergymen, teachers of faith falling so hard into sin, having kept it secret, all the while ministering to people, or even not keeping it secret and thinking their behavior is acceptable. Church scandals can be devastating to a flock as well as a whole community and most of us, unfortunately, have been either directly or indirectly affected and hurt by it.

Increasingly and regularly we hear news stories national as well as local, from megachurches down to small community churches. Accounts range from personal million dollar mansions and cars that cost as much as a house (going well beyond meeting the general needs of a servant of God and his/her family, paid by ministry funds) to involvement in misappropriation of church funds, adultery, pornography, pedophilia, you name it. All of it is inexcusable.

It is harmful enough for a congregation, with some members being so disillusioned that they leave church altogether, never to return. Outside observers and possible seekers of God are so disgusted that they would never enter a church, possibly avoid people they know to be Christian and even Christ and thus may never receive the gift of Salvation. It is this kind of misrepresentation of who God is that sent Yeshua on an angry rampage through the temple. (John 2:13-16) The religions leaders of the day and money changers were hindering the relationship between God and His people by making it difficult and discouraging them from worship. That is the goal of Satan.

 

 

 

Should we be surprised? Jesus did warn us about these people, "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." ~Matthew 7:15-16  The apostle Paul also warned us, "For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." ~2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Even one of those closest to Jesus was a betrayer, remorseful yet unrepentant, committing suicide in the end. No one but the Lord knew who he really was, yet always leaving room for repentance. I can imagine the other disciples also felt betrayed by Judas as they scattered in fear after Jesus' arrest.

As the body of Christ, we are called, not to cover up or excuse, but to expose evil. Who will rise up for me against the wicked; who will stand for me against those who practice iniquity? ~Psalm 94:16  And it should be done as gently as possible within a congregation before, if ever it ends up in a chaos causing news report. Unless a crime is involved, people need only basic information. Gossip and ridicule should be always be avoided.

This is why it is so important to have wisdom and discernment to know what sin is, and what it isn't, to know the difference between a long past sin, a moment of bad judgment and a lifestyle of continuous unrepentant sin, to know whether or not the sin should be known by only a few people or to a whole congregation, if it is serious enough to remove them from their position or not, and of course to consider the effects on the surrounding community. We are all sinners saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the blood of Christ, the only sacrifice able to cover our sins and grant us the opportunity for a relationship with God through this salvation.

We must judge the sin, but only after we confess  our own sin. (Matthew 7:1-5) You see, if we misuse or take out of context, "do not judge lest you be judged in the same manner," we could end up overlooking sin in ourselves as well as in others which could lead to one or more of the destructive tragedies listed above. Brothers ans sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. ~Galatians 6:1

All of us are capable of falling into sin and we must stay accountable to one another. Leaders are especially vulnerable and must keep close friends and prayer warriors whom they can confess to. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~James 5:16  Notice that a righteous person is not sinless and keeping up with lesser sin keeps one away from more serious sin.

We practice repentance, forgiveness and restoring fellowship to the flock. However, consequences do and should linger on as a reminder. It should be obvious that a pastor who has betrayed his congregation in serious sin should not continue in such a role for their own sake as well as for those who have followed him. Teachers of the Word (James 3:1) will be judged more strictly than unbelievers because of their influence, and need all of the diligent prayer and support we can give them.

So pay close attention to how you walk-- not as unwise people, but as wise. Make the most of your time because the days are evil. For this reason, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. ~Ephesians 5:15-17

...set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity....Watch you life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. ~ 1 Timothy 4:12, 16

Even if we think our own personal role in ministry is insignificant, the truth is that we could be the only Bible someone we know or meet will ever read. Accuracy is important.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses it's saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on it's stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:13-16

The Secret Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
(Psalm 91:1 NKJV).
The Hebrew word for secret comes from a root word that means to hide, protect or cover in such a way that sins or wrongs are hidden or kept secret. In other words, the secret place is a protective covering where the stronger covers the weaker.
The first thing that happened to Adam and Eve after they sinned in the garden was that they lost their covering:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Genesis 3:7 NKJV).
They no longer dwelled in the secret place of the Most High or under the shadow of the Almighty. They had lost their holy covering and tried to sew something together so that they could cover themselves.
But in Isaiah chapter 51, God says:
Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn…For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord;  joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song (51:1-4 ESV).
Because God goes on to say this:
I am the Lord your God…And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand, establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, “You are my people” (51:15a-16 ESV).
God has returned his covering to his people, to those who pursue righteousness and seek the Lord. How is this done? Look to the rock from which you were hewn:
They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer (Psalm 78:35 ESV).
The Hebrew word for rock in this verse is also the word for refuge. God is our Redeemer, our Rock and our Refuge.
When we seek the Lord, when we remember the Rock from which we are hewn, Almighty God covers us with his hand and the voice of song is heard in the land:
“Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ …there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:
“Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
    for the Lord is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!”
For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord (Jeremiah 33:10a-11 ESV).
God is our Redeemer, our Rock, our Refuge, our Restorer and our Bridegroom. We are covered by the robe of his righteousness:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10ESV).
If this Valentine’s Day you feel sad, alone or not covered by an earthly relationship; or you’re missing loved ones who have gone on before you, please remember that we who are hewn from the Rock of our Salvation dwell with Jesus in the secret place of the Most High and we abide forever under the shadow of the Almighty.
Jesus Christ is our heavenly Bridegroom. In him all things are restored, and he will never leave us nor forsake us. His love for us is everlasting.
Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all they heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord has taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil anymore.
The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing (Zephaniah 3:14-15, 17 KJV).
Jesus loves you, and we love you. Happy Valentine’s Day.

How Excellent Is Your Name

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your Name in all of the earth,

Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength,

Because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which you have ordained,

What is man that You are mindful of him?

For you have made him a little lower than the angels,

And you have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen,

Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air,

And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your Name in all of the earth!

 

Marty Goetz: O Lord, Our Lord- follow link below:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiaq-eplrngAhUymeAKHRV8DMQQtwIwAXoECAoQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DIgcR80jm_QQ&usg=AOvVaw0Lb-86dCmtaArNJaRxXxrU

In the World, But Not Of the World

What does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world? We are here. We have work to do. Love God and Love people. Make disciples of all nations. But we must understand that we have an enemy whose goal is to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10), and also to bring general confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) to keep us from our goals. Therefore, we must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) as well as be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16).

As a Christian and as an American citizen, it is important that I say this because I still live in this world and desire to seek justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our Great and Mighty God (Micah 6:8). Any governmental system can be corrupted, as we can see the injustice in our world increasing as the value of human life in minimized, families are destroyed, people are confused about who God made them to be, rapists and murderers who are here illegally are being set free and financially supported by so called "sanctuary" cities with taxpayer dollars, human trafficking is rampant, churches are told to be silent, people who speak out are silenced and government officials are getting away, Scott free, for crimes you and I would be put in prison for in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, many are shamefully ignorant of our laws in general, due to substandard educational practices that seem to be intended on keeping them that way. Please understand, this is not about taking a certain political position. It is about decent truth and justice, period.

It is up to us to preserve what we have been given and it is debatable to some as to whether or not our United States Constitution was written and based on Judeo/Christian principles, but it is closer to being Biblically based than any other modern governmental system that I know of. And God is true to His Word, that if we truly follow Him He will preserve this great gift of sanctuary for us, but if we do not, He will not.

 

National sovereignty, border, walls and all are part of that preservation. A sanctuary is supposed to be a place of safety, for the redeemed righteous and the humble and for those who are willing to comply with our laws, otherwise it is not a place of safety, but a place of chaos. Non admittance, removal, prisons and, under some circumstances, death  are for those who insist on continuing in unrepentant lawlessness. There is nothing unbiblical about having a wall and entering through a gate. Heaven has a narrow one whose name is Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:13-14).

King Asa of Judah was careful to obey the Lord and after removing all of the idols and enforcing God's laws, God allowed them to build walls around the city and to live in relative peace and easily defeat attacking enemies for about 36 years (2 Chronicles 14-15). God helped Nehemiah and others to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem for those Jews returning from Babylonian captivity. The opposition was so fierce that as they worked with one hand they had to have a sword in the other hand to fight with. (Nehemiah) The New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) will have a high wall with 12 gates, and only those who conquer evil will be allowed to enter (Revelation 21:7-8).

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs (this is not speaking of acquitting criminals of crime). Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. ~Proverbs 18:5  It is an abomination. (Proverbs 17:15) Jesus came so that we might have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

And even if by some unfortunate turn of events, our laws begin to conform to the world's standards or justice continues to be twisted, partiality continues to be shown to some and officials continue to accept bribes (Deuteronomy 16:19), we are not to conform (Romans 12:2), but to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). So we continue to speak truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), defend the oppressed, the orphans and the widows (Isaiah 1:17), know that we are blessed when we are insulted and persecuted for the sake of Yeshua (Matthew 5:11-12), and that by doing right, the ignorance of foolish men will be silenced (1 Peter 2:15), and our warnings to the wicked will save their souls as well as our own (Ezekiel 3:18-20).

The world (Beast) system which promotes world government and open borders is not concerned with biblical principles and in many cases is against them (anti-Christ), calling evil good and good evil. Understand that until the Lord returns bringing the only true world peace, there will be some level of corruption, but if we allow it to flourish without standing firm against it, in the Lord, then we will be held accountable. All nations will be judged (Matthew 25:32) on their treatment of God and His people, Jew and Gentile, and individuals will be judged on their treatment of those weaker than themselves (Matthew 18:6-10). Continue to pray diligently for our nation and for our world.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~1 Peter 5:8

https://kirkcameron.com/articles/u-s-constitution-and-biblical-principles/