KNEE DEEP ~ in the 23rd Psalm


A path sunny

The Living-Word jumped out at me in a way I’d not seen before.

The 23rd Psalm has been my go-to for perhaps twenty-five years. That would be since I was saved. In that time, I’ve always thought ‘paths of righteousness’ would look something like this lovely photo. I thought those paths would have been put there by God for me to follow and they’d have sunlight and birds singing.

Today the words ‘paths of righteousness’ jumped out at me in a new way. They became living words, or rhama words. That is specific words from the Lord that sort of explode in a person’s consciousness and have special meaning. This is something that can happen to any believer, every believer. I think it most often happens during private devotions when reading and meditating in Holy Scripture, or some other devotional literature, or when deeply listening to worship music.

A path trees

Today I saw ‘paths of righteousness’ as paths other Christians have walked, perhaps even blazed…and I have followed in those paths where these righteous brothers and sisters have trodden. They may not always be bucolic paths where songbirds flit here and there filling the air with their song. Those paths could have hills, bumps, ruts, places where stalwart believers stumbled and got up again, places where the enemy lay in wait.

I got saved during a time of conflict in my husband’s family. Neither he nor I came from an idyllic Christian home where hymns were sung and where family members prayed together. This particular Sunday there was a huge and tumultuous family commotion, mostly in the kitchen. People had been running in and out of the house. Voices had been raised. I retreated to the living room to get away from it, started surfing channels, and found Gloria Copeland. She was smart, obviously extremely well versed in the Bible, and she didn’t have big hair. At the end of the program, I put my hands on the television and gave my life to the Lord. That was twenty-five years ago.

So, this morning, I’m thinking who blazed those paths for me? At that time, I didn’t know anything about Christian churches. I kept watching Christian TV and came under Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Kenneth and Gloria have had the greatest influence upon me in my walk with God. They are my parents in the faith. I soon bumped into a local woman who was under their ministry. Lillian and I began sharing cassette and video tapes (the dark-ages of audio and video). I’d go to her house and she’d come to mine, and we’d be so excited about the Lord.

Very soon, I learned that Oral Roberts was Kenneth’s father in the faith and I began listening to Oral Robert’s Ministry teachings. Of course the prime message at ORM is “God is a good.” And Oral always said, “Something good is going to happen to you today.” I took a course in the Holy Spirit from ORM and received a certificate. In those days, they sent you the lessons by snail mail. You returned your answers by mail, and they sent the corrected lesions back to you. Well, we’re talking 24-25 years ago. So, Oral Roberts became my grandfather in the faith.

I wish I could say there was a local minister/ministry, in that time, that blazed a path for me, but I can’t. I lived in an area where almost all of the charismatic churches had had church-splits and none of them had recovered from that. So, Christian television became my lifeline.  I met another woman who believed the Word as I did and Theresa and I also began sharing and praying together. She and I became volunteers in the Protestant Chaplain’s Office at the local Veteran’s Hospital and attended Sunday services there. We also attended a weekly Bible study and a weekly prayer group there.

Back to trail blazers. I soon found Joyce Meyer, who to me is the Mother of Independent Women of Faith. I particularly liked her practical preaching because she didn’t come from a wonderfully serene Christian home. She came from a nonChristian home with turmoil. I said, okay, I can relate to that.  I was then, and still am now, the only member of my immediate family and almost the only member of my large extended family who knows the Lord. My cousin and his wife on the other side of the county are believing Christians, and I am in contact with them electronically.

Today, I live in northeast coastal Florida where I attend Destiny Church. I’m waiting for the church to reopen from Covid 19. I so want to “do church” again.

Who are your spiritual fathers and mothers in the faith? Whose footsteps have you followed? Who has helped to shape your faith?

Telling The Truth ~ character matters

A crossed-fingers

I Seem To Have A Verse For 2020

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Christians have this thing about lying…we’re not supposed to.

What was so interesting in this verse that so randomly kept popping up in my life since January is that the first two points (what is true, honorable) deal with the deepest realms of dealing with and telling truth.

I discovered that when the thought came to me that I should look up the word “true” in Strong’s Concordance. [No, not Strong’s. Anything but Strong’s.] So, after that thought assailed me for the third or fourth time, maybe even the fifth time, I finally dragged out my heavy, hardcover Strong’s, leafed through its cumbersome pages, and found the ancient meaning of “true” as it appears in that verse. And, the meaning is ‘truth without deceit, without concealing or hiding’.

I immediately thought of the times I’d parsed my words (not often) so that I could say to myself and to others if need be, “I didn’t lie”. Oh, those little white lies. I’d like to say I usually did this parsing to shield others. But of course, that would not be truth without deceit or without concealing or hiding. That statement would not only be a fantasy, but the reality would be a 50/50 toss up.

Returning to the Scripture, I searched Strong’s for honorable. I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB] and Strong’s translates from the King James Version [KJV]. The King James translates the ancient Greek word as ‘honest’. So next I went to Webster’s Dictionary. I used the 1828 edition because our modern dictionaries water-down ‘values ladened words’. And according to Noah Webster, ‘honest’ means: 1. Upright; just; fair in dealing with others; free from trickishness and fraud; acting and having the disposition to act at all times according to justice or correct moral principles; applied to persons. 2. Fair; just; equitable; free from fraud; as an honest transaction; an honest transfer of property. The definition goes on to include ‘frank’ and ‘sincere’.

So, when put on the spot about something in my own life, or someone else’s how do I cease and desist the parsing of words? Dare I say, Biblical dishonesty? First of all, other people do not, repeat NOT have a God given, or constitutional right to the details of my life. And I have NO right to give out the details of another’s life. We believers will feel much better about ourselves, on a deep internal level, if we simply tell the truth.

If someone carelessly, callously, or nosily asks about a personal part of my life, about my private plans, hopes or dreams I can simply say, “I’m not prepared at this time to talk about that.” I can also say that if asked about another’s life. When asked about another, I could say, “That’s his/her story. It’s not mine to tell.” Those statements would be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet.

Here’s a tricky one. What to do when someone asks for an unreasonable favor? Money, perhaps? There’s no need to go round-and round, parsing words to come out with a reasonable sounding negative statement. Here’s a straight forward one. “No, I wish I could, but I just can’t. Not at this time.” I could add, “I’m really sorry,” if I am. If the individual is a habitual user, I’d leave the’ sorry part’ off. That would also be totally true, honorable, honest, and meet. It’s not parsing words, or beating around the bush. Am I good at this? No! Am I getting better? Yes, I am.

Doesn’t the Bible say…

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. ~ Matthew 5:37 New King James Version [NKJV]

Flying Solo ~ so, what’s that about?

Fighter Piolot

Party of One.

Flying Solo doesn’t mean there are no other people around. It means you alone are in the cockpit flying the craft. The fighter pilot has a ground crew, yet, when he’s at the controls, it must often feel as if he is alone. As believers, we are in the army of God, and for some of us who have lost a mate, who have prayed for a mate and are still single, whose mate has repeatedly and consistently been unfaithful or alcoholic or drug addicted or addicted to pornography, those who have outlived all their relatives and friends, or for some other reason are living alone…the reality might be we are flying solo. And we really are. It’s not just a cute statement. We go home and we’re cooking for one, watching TV alone, sleeping alone in the bed. An individual can be in assisted living or in a nursing home surrounded by people and still be solo.

Flying Solo also doesn’t mean that there is no radar system. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit and we must develop a closer relationship with God. That’s an absolute if you are flying solo. You need the best guidance system you can possibly have and that starts with making Jesus the Lord of your life, and getting into the manufacturer’s manual…the Bible.

I’ve been a widow for nearly four years, yet it was only about six months ago that it hit me, as if I’d slammed into a wall, that I was flying solo and what that really meant. I wish I could say I handled it in a delightfully pretty and delectably appropriate manner. I didn’t. Still, I’m pretty stoic. I kept functioning. My house was clean, I fed my strays every morning and my inside cats, walked Sophie the Wonder Dog twice a day and fed her. Published my latest murder mystery release by the deadline. But, but…emotionally, I was messy, messy, messy.

Of course, I went to ‘my’ default. Whining. I whined to friends and associates. And mostly, I whined to God. And I heard very clearly in my spirit that I should pay attention to my feelings and actions because God had given me the gift of writing and my assignment was to write about flying solo for the purpose of helping other people. So, I whined about THAT to God. I’m pretty sure the Bible says, “Whining endureth for a season.” It’s probably in the Taylor Swift translation.

So, what have I learned about flying solo in the last six months? To go back to the basics.

PRAY. Pray for yourself, bless your house, your pets, put a prayerful hedge or protection around yourself and what’s yours. Talk to God. It’s okay to have an out-loud, running convo with God. Talk to Him as if He’s an older, wiser friend, a father, a brother. He’s all that. Pray for others. Pray for their healing, prosperity, the health and protection of their children. Pray for the nation. Keep it up and soon you’ll become a prayer warrior without even trying.

KEEP AFTER THE DETAILS. Get up, get dressed, eat nutritious meals. Keep your home/surroundings in good order. God loves you. Take care of yourself. And, as much as you can, surround yourself with the things you love.

KEEP IN TOUCH. You have a phone, so use it. Phone, text, and/or email friends and associates. Get involved on social media. Facebook has groups you can join. So do other social media platforms.

GO OUT. Don’t stay trapped in your home. Go to church…and also to the mid-week service. Don’t have a church? Go church shopping for a few weeks or months until you find one that’s warm, comfy, and welcoming for this stage of your life. Get your hair cut and/or styled regularly and start a convo with your stylist. Go to the library, sit, read some magazines, recipe books, holiday decorating books, health and beauty books. Ask the librarian to guide you. Start a dialog, but a quiet one…it’s the library.

I hope this is helpful. I’ll be praying for everyone who subscribes and /or reads this blog.

The Epistle to the Hebrews ~ it’s deep, heavy man

fountain

I’ve had HOLIEST OF ALL by Andrew Murray on my shelf for a number of years, and I’ve been meaning to read it. Really. But it’s 600 pages and Murray is no light weight, and I’ve been a wimp.

So, the Lord did me one better. He brought to my remembrance that I’ve been wanting to do a Bible study at home. What better book than Murray’s HOLIEST OF ALL. That’ll learn me to put off a little…ahem…light reading.

I thought, well the chapters are short, I can get through one or more per day. So, I opened the book today. Murray simply prints out the entire book of Hebrews to start. So, I read what was on the printed page, though I’d read it many times before. Murray uses the King James translation.

Here we go…

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, ~ Hebrews 1:1 King James Version (KJV)

And God stopped me right there. I pondered in my heart that if this had been spoken by some guru in an arcane, esoteric, or New Age seminar with crystals all around, wind chimes, a water fountain bubbling in the background, and incense…and if God had been replaced in the text by some nebulous force or source, all the devotees drinking in every word would go “That’s deep, heavy man, awesome.”

And yet, this is the actual, living Word of the Living God, and I’ve glossed over this first line many times to get to the meat of the chapter. So, as I ponder, I’m duly chastened as I realize the “meat” of this chapter starts with line one. It’s deep, awesome, and heavy that our Father God spoke in times past to the fathers (ancient leaders, elders) via the prophets.

Really. How awesome is that? Very awesome. And Christians today have that same, living God within us speaking to us.

And so today, in my Bible study, I just sat with that first line for a while, pondering it in my heart. And also pondering how God can take a line, often read — even often glossed over, and give it new revelatory, living meaning. This can happen with any line in the Bible. And when it does, it’s super deep, exciting, personally meaningful.

Someone may say, “Yeah, but I’ve thought that before.” But when God places the thought or idea as a revelation in a person’s heart, something new and unique happens on a very intimate level. It just happened to be Hebrews 1:1 for me this morning.

Christmas is Coming ~ and I feel like a little child

IMG_2792
My bins are Christmas green.

Thanksgiving Day is gone, though thanksgiving continues as a way of life for me. So, now I’m thankful that Christmas is coming. For me the day after Thanksgiving is the “official start of the Christmas season” which doesn’t end on December 26th. No, I also celebrate the 12-Days of Christmas and end the season on December 6th with Epiphany.

In my house, the day after Thanksgiving is the day for taking out my large plastic “Christmas bins.”

This year I did some research and I found out surveys show that people who celebrate Christmas early tend to be happy people. All I know on a personal level is that I feel great when I jump into the Christmas season with both feet.

Isaiah 9:6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]

IMG_2794
My baker’s rack in happy disarray as I put away “year round” object ‘d art and start putting up the Christmas stuff.

My feeling is that “Christmasy people” enjoy the “Light” the season brings. Even the non religious feel the light piercing the darkness and they like it. I don’t decry the  overabundance of lights on houses as commercialism. Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph don’t upset me. I know Santa Claus isn’t the baby Jesus. I also know the real St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who gave gifts to the poor. I don’t mistake my Santa figurines as “the reason for the season.” Not for one second. But Santa does make me smile. Still, I know if there had never been a Jesus, there would not have been a Santa Claus.

I love to see smiles breaking out on the faces of children when they sit on Santa’s lap. Too often our children are fretful, feeling the anxiety and weight of the world in this angry time. Laughing when they see Frosty or Rudolph is a welcome break. It’s the Light breaking through the darkness. It’s children being allowed to be children, even for a short time. It’s the joy of the season breaking out. It can’t be contained. Darkness can’t hold it back.

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Turkey chili sustains me as I decorate.

I’m a firm believer that you can’t decorate on an empty stomach.

It is up to the church to tell the story of the baby Jesus. If we tell the age-old glorious story, they will listen. We must tell them.

The Birth of Jesus ~ ~ Luke 2 ~ New Living Translation [NLT]

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

Why Christian Evangelicals Bless and Honor the Jewish Feasts and Biblical Culture

 

Rosh
Rosh Hashanah

 

  1. Most evangelical Christians have an appreciation of the Jewish Feasts and many of us study them, especially charismatic Christians. This is a little known fact outside of evangelical circles. We also honor Jewish biblical culture and history. The most basic reason for evangelicals having an understanding of the Hebrew feast days is simply because they’re in the Bible, in the Old Testament. Christians adhere to two testaments, the Old and the New. If God put the Jewish feasts in The Book, they’re important to us. Evangelical Christians are a biblical people.
Hanukkah
Hannukkah
  1. The Gregorian calendar is not God’s calendar. The Hebrew calendar is. The Hebrew calendar is marked by the Jewish feasts, as set out in the Bible. If evangelicals want to have an understanding of how God marks time, and most do, we must have a basic understanding of the Hebrew calendar. Evangelicals are a people of The Book.

That said, Christians have peace with and are reconciled to God through believing in the finished work of Jesus…PERIOD. Nothing else!

Genesis 12:3 ~  And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

The above verse refers to Israel and the Jewish people. Most evangelicals are ardent supporters of Israel and defenders of the Jewish people. Why? Because we are Bible people, and it’s the right thing to do.

 

 

Bring Your Bible To School Day ~ October 4th

Bible, Child 1

 

Christian children all over America will be bringing their bibles to school on Thursday, October 4th. They and their families will be participating in celebrating religious freedom in the USA with this simple act.

Christian children who read and delight in their Bibles, enjoy sharing this very important part of their lives with their schoolmates. On October 4th, these children can let their spiritual lights shine. It’s awesome that American Christian children live in a country where they have the First Amendment religious freedom to bring their Bibles to school. Bring Your Bible To School Day is a visual celebration of this freedom to talk about God’s amazing love for us.

Bible, child