Romans 12, Verse 2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Psalm 46, Verse 10 - Be still and know that I am God.
Excerpt from "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, Chapter 4 - I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred to God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
Excerpt from "The Soul of the World" by Roger Scruton, Chapter 3 - Brain-imaging techniques have been used to cast doubt on the reality of human freedom, to revise the description of reason and its place in human nature, and to question the validity of the old distinction of kind, which separated person from animal, and the free agent from the conditioned organism. And the more we learn about the brain and its functions, the more do people wonder whether our old ways of managing our lives and resolving our conflicts - the ways of moral judgment, legal process, and the imparting of virtue - are the best ways, and whether there might be more direct forms of intervention that would take us more speedily, more reliably, and maybe more kindly to the right result.
Quote by G.K Chesterton - The Snail does the Holy Will of God slowly.
"Prayer of a Contented Boy" by E.W. - St. Paul said, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be contented therewith." I think I've found the way, O Lord, Always contented to be; To like and to see Your will, O Lord, In whatever happens to me.
"Renegades" song by X Ambassadors - A video about those that over-cometh.
Renegade Commitment #10 from the 11 Commitments of Modern Day Renegade by Michelle Murphy - You're not the only one of us who has somehow survived the emotion of extreme undeserved torment. March on with a badge of honor. You will heal. You must. Carry on. For even torment leads to wonder, and wonder to information that heals.
A Wondering Heart - Finding the 1 Percent, Poem by Michelle Murphy
How great Thou art isn't always impulsively rolling
Off my Tongue.
I say, every torment leads to wonder, and wonder
To information that heals. [Renegade Commitment #10]
And so I am a Wondering Heart.
I do not wander, but have a path set before me,
At times that causes delay or may at times reject
All that might be pure, as I instead lay in the
Grease pit & wallow in the mud.
What is the purpose of a challenging path? - maybe
A path crawling with the wormwoods that will One day
Eat away at those who have Forsaken all righteousness,
And harmed another as a way of life.
My path is set by God, but littered with trials set forth by
Evil spirits and evil doers.
What heart do I have left at this point?
Hardly one to cry out to God in pain; hardly one that is all
But paralyzed - not feeling a thing except some anxiety that
Another wormwood will cross my Path - one that is eager for
Me (me - a Godly person) to have the everlasting torment
In Their place.
What is there to be passionate about when all has been lost?
After being fed to the wolves - their tummies full.
I am but a Wondering Heart these days.
Information that heals - it may be what is left that
Can appeal to my once brighter-side - no less than
A hug or a smile or a remark by someone else on a
The healing information is that I can weed out 99% of the
Info and only cling to what really may be true for someone
Like me - someone made in some image - a mistake - an experiment?
A dangerous dagger I carry around though.
A dagger meant to throw heaps of coal on an enemy only God
Life ain't beautiful. There is cruelty in nature - such as we are
A part of nature - co-creators of a living Hell. For my eyes
Have uniquely been opened outside of a reality
Bubble of which I was born into, along with everyone I know.
But I do carry a dagger - a dagger combined with a Wondering
Heart meant to throw heaps of coal on an enemy only
I now await the 1 percent, so I can share it with my
Comrades - Here and Now, Seen and Unseen, stretched
Thin in the Cosmos. Cheers to them!
Excerpt from "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten - Like a small boat on the ocean sending big waves into motion. Like how a single word can make a heart open. I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion. And all those things I didn't say, wrecking balls inside my brain, I will scream them loud tonight. Can you hear my voice? This time this is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I'm alright song. My powers turned on, starting right now I'll be strong, I'll play my fight song. And I don't really care if nobody else believes, 'cause I still got a lot of fight left in me.
I have a psychotic form of bipolar often referred to as schizo-affective disorder. Last year (2016), this otherwise successful woman landed in a mental hospital 4 times. Most of this year (2017) has included depression, and another terrifying six week episode occurred. I understand torment; I also strive towards a healed state everyday. As much as I strive, God has met me there and healed me even more so, bringing my faith along and strengthening me. The healing has not been for the purpose of being in an oblivious type of happy state, but towards a more meaningful goal - one in which I eat with thanks, succeed with joy, and "love others" counting the blessings "loving others" contains. I have lamented on such minute details of life; I never want to forget those details, but focus them in a positive Godly direction. I've already started in that direction.
I have met people who have taken mind-altering drugs and been outside of reality enough to contemplate the bigger picture for a moment. Yet rarely do I meet those that have contemplated altered states enough to really appreciate the shared reality even more - and longterm. But for the bipolar or schizophrenic with psychosis we long to stay in the shared reality at all times, and can often be in poetic rhyme about the dance and song of real life. For to "be still and know that I am God", is something like the process one goes through experiencing life during a depression, mania or psychosis. I've met God in the clouds and in the pit of Hades.
Also not all, but many with mental struggles have learned to rely on God for inner peace and their daily needs - there is something huge about that reliance, and I too have been completely reliant in times of need. There is also a wondrous peace that results from mental struggles, in the sense that you know times without peace - those with mental illness have wallowed in the grease pit, so to speak, and made it through. Thank goodness I am still here. As for my depressing & optimistic poem, "A Wondering Heart - Finding the 1%", I have now (2 episodes later) found the 1% and am in a position to reach out to others and mentor or help.
Asking God for strength during difficult times is essential. God's will for our lives follows. For we want our mind to be renewed in mental struggles, so when we come out the other side we are refreshing to ourselves and others - and renewed to be in harmony with God. Lifelong learning includes learning from experience, not just from the Bible and other books. My experiences with mental health issues are real and lifelong. Being strong during difficult times requires something from Above and I have learned that. I've faced real darkness, often spiritual in nature. The strength I ask from God is necessary to engage in spiritual battle, or to overcome inner turmoil. My choices in dark times have ranged from sinful to pleasing to God, but the spiritual battle has been real. True peace comes from God on a fruitful day, but also also a dark day. My faith has improved as a result of knowing that and through the testing of my faith.
Dear God, When I am not struggling I look back and see my struggles have purpose - purpose in Your almighty plan. I pray for strength when I am in a psychotic state or swept up in depression. I pray for meaning and purpose to continue in my life despite difficulties - this is very important to me. I pray for continued good mental health into the near and long-term future. I ask for forgiveness when I have succumbed to dark forces and sin - I have been tested but I have not always done what is right. Help me to reflect on what Your expectations are and zero in right there - in righteousness. May Your grace shine upon others with mental struggles, as it has me when I have fallen short. May I truly become content in any state of mind - depression or otherwise. I am glad my faith is more mature - fully restored, and my outlook more appreciative as a result of my hardship. You have always been there - many thanks. Thank you for the breeze on a cool fall day and the warm nature of so many people in Our shared reality; life is beautiful. I strive to give back for what has been given to me by You. Your Almighty hand produces so many good works and gives to many! Amen.
A Time for Everything, Ecclesiastes 3, Verses 1-8
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Eye for Eye, Love Your enemies - Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, Verses 38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Psalm 139, Verses 19-24, by David - Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Psalm 18, Verses 20-24, by David - The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
"Love your enemies" is more that just a phrase. "Love your God and love your neighbor" is the first commandment for Christians, but "love your enemies"? There are many types of love, so what does this even mean? For sure, hating our enemies is not loving our enemies. In love, we may consider rebuking, going to war, alarming our enemies, or purging our emotions under duress, but Christians hating?
What of God's example? God gives us grace, but he also deals with evil very harshly. God does not hate Christians, but only their sins. He does hate some of His enemies. Loving and/or hating your enemies is a complex issue. Often complex issues seem to fall in a gray area vs. black & white. But what is gray to us is often righteous to God - no doubt. "Love your enemies" is not a rule or law applied simply or easily, and mere man should not do things as if he were God.
David was beloved by God and He was a righteous king. His role in Biblical history is well known; his line - the line of David, is referred to in Jesus Christ's genealogy. In Psalms 139, David expresses perfect hatred on his enemies. He referred to them as God's enemies in the midst of a psalm where David mentions his own righteousness before God. David, a righteous man, hated God's enemies as a form of perfect justice and perfect hatred. After God's own heart, David had God directly on his mind and heart for the duration of his hatred. Therefore, he did not dwell on his hatred, nor carry out any vengeance with a hateful heart.
When you've hated, was your mind on God? Doesn't hatred usually spawn vengeance? Do we want Christianity to become a "vengeful for God" religion? Hatred has little, if any, Godly purpose among us who are struggling with righteousness. It should be used super-sparingly and wisely if at all, because of the nature of the flesh, and the dark nature of hatred. The Psalms of David are considered the inspired word of God. David is not carrying his hatred around as motivation for words and actions; instead, God is in his heart. As such, hatred should not motivate the heart of a man while he pursues justice, or he will lose sight of God's will in the matter. Curses by Godly men and women are never spawned from hatred or because of hatred, but spawned instead by higher Godly priorities, and this is the case of all the imprecatory passages within the Bible (including this one).
The Messiah's call is for all followers to show love towards our enemies, and this is easily seen as super-practical in heavenly terms, because it's hard to imagine God's will being carried out when hatred is involved. God's will was for Christ to set up a spiritual kingdom here on earth - the church, and His instructions are for those in attendance that day, and for us today. The church has a specific mission to carry out with its greatest commandment to love God and others. So love your enemies! Be very careful if you have any hatred - for the flesh is very powerful and you don't want to lose sight of God and His will for us.
Dear God, I pray that I am always slow to anger and never filled with hate. When I have hate within me, help me to rid of it wisely. If our leaders in authority, or my neighbors, are ever over-swept with hate about our common enemies, may it not be long-lasting. For perfect hate must not be long-lasting, as the hearts of men and women cannot take it. Hate eats at the flesh, and so I pray our common enemies are pursued justly with an even-keel, Godly-motivated heart. Help me to love my enemies. Praise be to the Almighty. Amen.
"Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, Jesus our Lord." - Saint Mother Teresa
Luke 10, Verses 25-28 - And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Romans 3, Verse 8 - Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
Matthew 25, Verses 31 - 46 - “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 3, Verse 2 - I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.
1 Peter 2, Verses 2-3 - Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
James 2, Verses 14 - 26 - What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
1 Peter 1, Verses 3-9 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
The Christian faith is not just a set of beliefs arrived at about our Savior - it is much more than that. Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, so we may have eternal life; and so we must strive towards salvation. Our faith in His sacrifice for us does not appear one day, lead us to saved status, and then lead us by the nose for the rest of our life as if we were a puppet to the Spirit. The obvious nature of our choices exist still - to do evil or good, to fear God or be brazen, to love others or not. And the "working nature" of our faith is evidence for our faith through righteousness. For James 2 says faith without works is dead. Luke 10 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself," and this is required to inherit the Kingdom of God. Matthew 25 lays it out even more clearly. Faith is an important issue in Christianity; it is essential to our judgment before God.
Remember the faith we had as kids? It was fun when we believed in flying reindeer, tooth fairies, magic slippers, flying carpets and talking vegetables. I miss the days of youth when God was my invisible companion through thick-and-thin, someone greater than my parents. There was some truth to my fantastic view, but my faith back then was based on wishes and whims I had for a magical world, and the stories of God and Jesus fit the part. I wanted to believe and my wants took me there. But God did meet me there in my childhood, and I was raised knowing His embrace. I was raised on "milk" through part of adulthood - it takes effort to solidify a more mature faith.
A faith grows more mature with knowledge and experience. The experience lies in loving our God and loving others on a regular basis. "To love" is an action verb. As for knowledge, there is a wealth of evidence for God to the extent that He is obvious, and the actions of Jesus give meaning to our existence. We must study about God and Christ to propel our faith forward. So in answer to today's subject, yes - my actions define my Christian faith - loving actions. 1st Peter 1 says, "Though now you do not see Him (Jesus), yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls." And so our striving in maintaining and exercising our faith is NOT for nothing.
Dear God, Your world is complex and Your Law interweaved with a balance of grace, mercy, love and justice. I know that issues of justice and love are most difficult in my human world, yet I sometimes seek to simplify Yours. My faith will be judged based on Your gracious AND just ways, and only You fully understand the Judgment. My faith must be evident and I must strive to perform goodness for the duration of my life. Have mercy on me and bestow your grace upon me when I fall short! I have and I will sin despite knowing better. In the name of Jesus, forgive me when I sin and expect me to perform good works! It is Your blessing upon me to have been loved, and to be loved this very moment; not only have You bestowed love upon me, but I have close friends and family as earthly gifts. To transform my faith into love everyday, I must aim to love the ones I meet along the way in return. I pray for the potter to mold the clay - mold me Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Statement from "The Songs of Jesus" by Tim Keller and Kathy Keller, page 258 - "Psalm 104:5-9, He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. - You Set A Boundary They Cannot Cross, The psalmist is meditating on creations third day (Genesis 1:9-10), when God divided the sea from the dry land (verses 7-8). Science is based on the regularity of nature - that if X creates Y under certain conditions, it will do so again under identical conditions. But why should nature be regular? It is because we don't live in a completely random, chaotic world but one with set "boundaries" (verse 9). A personal Creator has filled the world with the principles of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and the like. Because of this we have aerodynamics (making flight possible), electricity, medicine - all harnessing a host of givens and limitations embedded in creation that have made civilization possible. Thank God for them all."
The Day God Created Us and Our Fall to Unrighteousness, Ezekiel 28, Verses 12-15 - You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.
Hebrews 9, Verse 14 - How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Revelations 1, Verse 8 - "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Hebrews 13, Verse 8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
John 8, Verse 58 - Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."
Excerpt from song, "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack - "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."
My husband invited me outside this morning to show me a spider and her web. It was amazing. It was much larger than our body sizes together, intricately made, and grounded to a few branches and a couple of plants on the ground. And so we stood there in awe and traced it out. Humans are even more so amazing in their seemingly limitless abilities.
The pictures above show man's activities in reaching towards the sky, so to speak.
Bounded by God's laws, man whittles within. How powerful and perfect are God's laws!
But yet man is limited, and God is limitless. God created man and the spider both - compare that to what we create. God authors life and death, the stuff war and peace is made of. God authors beauty and scientific principles, so that we may harness power and create art. We also observe the microscopic world, even spending billions on collider experiments like CERN. Yet, God authors the entire universe and defines the way it must operate in reality, even at the tiniest sizes. Men have been inspired to complete huge feats of engineering and construction, but it pales in comparison to the mountains, oceans and millions of natural lifeforms on our planet. Since the beginning of man's history, man has been obsessing with the taming of fire for sustainable living. Today we have tamed fire into tiny wires for electricity, and a variety of resources are used to harness energy to deliver it in tiny packets to people across the globe. God is not only the author of fire, but He created light, and the sun shines on our earth because God said it should be so. And so our God is an awesome and powerful God. We are only as great as a lightbulb, compared to God's invention of the sun. Yet we created the lightbulb with gusto because we are made in our Lord's image. Our God is an awesome God.
We often look at nature and say, "nature is wild and free," but nature has a blueprint, it follows laws. I believe God to be the author of that blueprint - a.k.a. God's laws. I believe God works both within His own blueprint and outside of it. For sure, He was outside of the blueprint before he laid its foundation. Humans as part of nature have to follow these laws. We are part of a blueprint.
History, the present, and what is to come, was put into motion from the very beginning as part of God's design. We can therefore, stand in awe of the words in our Bibles and the characters who wrote them. These words were inspired by God directly through the blueprint of prophesy. It says the Son of God, the Father, and the Spirit exist for the duration of history - eternally. Jesus is our eternal priest. The Father is steadfast and never-changing. The Spirit works upon the heart of every one of God's children. All of this has been revealed to mankind. And we are to have a relationship with Him, He who is the Perfect Creator, He who is limitless in Power.
Dear Father, I am reminded of the song "I Hope You Dance" today. In that song, it reminds us to feel "small when you stand beside the ocean", and to "give faith a fighting chance". It is because I feel small compared to Your creation that I can be in awe of it and have faith. The even smaller spider I saw this morning was a gentle reminder of Your great works. Even in the city, surrounded by the inventions of mankind, I have been reminded of Your creation, and of our limitations compared to Yours. It is because we are in Your image that we strive to create. I pray that we are responsible with what we go about making, and how we use natural resources. It seems in our delusional beliefs of randomness, chaos and relative morality, we find ourselves experimenting and pushing beyond healthy limits. We face challenges in nuclear physics and biogenetic engineering; we face moral challenges on every front. We must tend to what seems a small deal because You are a big deal and we need to respect Your laws. In the name of the One who is eternal in three-persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
LAW OF LIBERTY FOR MANKIND
James 1, Verse 25 - But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, [she] being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this [woman] shall be blessed in [her] deed.
CITIES AND NATIONS REFERRED TO AS FEMININE
Jeremiah 3, Verse 8 - And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.
Amos 5, Verse 2 - She has fallen, she will not rise again--The virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; There is none to raise her up.
Lamentations 4, Verses 6 - 22
For the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown as in a moment,
And no hands were turned toward her.
Her consecrated ones were purer than snow,
They were whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than corals,
Their polishing was like lapis lazuli.
Their appearance is blacker than soot,
They are not recognized in the streets;
Their skin is shriveled on their bones,
It is withered, it has become like wood.
Better are those slain with the sword
Than those slain with hunger;
For they pine away, being stricken
For lack of the fruits of the field.
The hands of compassionate women
Boiled their own children;
They became food for them
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
The LORD has accomplished His wrath,
He has poured out His fierce anger;
And He has kindled a fire in Zion
Which has consumed its foundations.
The kings of the earth did not believe,
Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world,
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who have shed in her midst
The blood of the righteous;
They wandered, blind, in the streets;
They were defiled with blood
So that no one could touch their garments.
“Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves.
“Depart, depart, do not touch!”
So they fled and wandered;
Men among the nations said,
“They shall not continue to dwell with us.”
The presence of the LORD has scattered them,
He will not continue to regard them;
They did not honor the priests,
They did not favor the elders.
Yet our eyes failed,
Looking for help was useless;
In our watching we have watched
For a nation that could not save.
They hunted our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets;
Our end drew near,
Our days were finished
For our end had come.
Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the sky;
They chased us on the mountains,
They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.
The breath of our nostrils, the LORD’S anointed,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
Who dwells in the land of Uz;
But the cup will come around to you as well,
You will become drunk and make yourself naked.The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion;
He will exile you no longer.
But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom;
He will expose your sins!
THE CHURCH REFERRED TO AS FEMININE.
MEN HONOR AND CARE FOR THEIR WIVES.
Matthew 16, Verses 18-19 - “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
Ephesians 5, Verses 25-33 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
WOMEN IN THE CHRISTIAN ORDER
1 Corinthians 11, Verses 3 - 12 - 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who has something on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head. 5 But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head. 7 For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8 For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; 9 for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake. 10 Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God.
CHRIST BORN OF MARY
Matthew 1, Verses 18-21 - Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
WOMEN WITH JESUS DURING HIS RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.
Matthew 28, Verses 1-10 - 1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” 8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
THE GREAT HARLOT BABYLON, REFERRED TO AS A WOMAN
Revelations 17 - The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast: 1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. The Meaning of the Woman and the Beast: 7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. 12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” 15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
MORE ON BABYLON, THE HARLOT AND HER SONS/DAUGHTERS (PEOPLE)
Who are the Sons and Daughters Of Babylon?, a poem by Michelle Murphy
“The woman whom you saw,
Is the great city [Babylon],
Which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
So says Revelations, chapter 17.
So who are the sons and daughters
They have blood on their hands for sure,
But sit not in prison,
So they are free.
Who are they?
Their names are synonymous
With “shits & giggles” reasoning,
Obedience is authored
By a God they do not fear.
So who are the sons and daughters
They are dressed and adorned well,
They smell of perfume and wine,
Yet their ideas possess stench.
Sex-less and Sex-consumed,
The sons and daughters of Babylon
Shake hands with one another,
They ignore God,
And hold our Savior in contempt.
So who are the sons and daughters
I think we know already,
For the enemies of God, and anti-christs,
Are often Known.
Our all-knowing, omni-present God,
And the harlot Babylon and her scarlet beast,
And her sons and daughters
Will be consumed.
So who are the sons and daughters
Now, we do know,
For they are being consumed
For holding our Savior in contempt.
Silence and awe.
Men and women have natural differences, both in their roles and in their perspectives. The reasonable joke from the book, "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" is that the phenomenon that occurs between men and women makes you really wonder, "Am I from Venus?" or "Am I from Mars?" God created man with dust, and woman from man - we are different in our origins. Christian teachings honor and respect women; God loves women as He loves His creation and all His children. There are plenty of female references in the Bible. For example, from the womb people are born, and interesting devoted women gave birth to some historical children in Old and New Testament times - they were children of God. When Jesus rose from the dead, several of His followers, all women, were there as witnesses. They spoke with and worshipped Jesus, which demonstrates the tight bond and respect the Son of God has for his female disciples. Women were prophets in both the Old and New Testaments. They hosted church assemblies, evangelized to the lost, raised the next generation, gave to charity, and were edified together with the men on the mysterious spiritual truths about God. They confessed their sins and either strived towards the Law from Moses, or began good works as a faithful disciple of Christ.
Women are under the same "law of liberty" as men. They are regarded equal to men in worth by God. The feminine expressions for key places, nations or peoples, and the church itself, leaves one overwhelmed with the power one possesses being a woman. God is both for and against the members of these she-bodies, for they perform good works of the Spirit, or alternatively devilish work sourced by sin. Eve was fashioned from the rib of Adam, while Adam came first from the dust. Each was fashioned by the same God and wonderfully made for the Garden. When Eve and Adam sin, God finds them naked. He punishes them both directly & individually & together, and the responsibility over the Fall of Man is shared by this couple. Excuses about the serpent's sneaky ways, or the other spouse's tempting nature, were attributed to hog-wash by God. Women should be glad the Bible reflects value and stature onto both men and women, and that they have equal responsibility before God. Having a direct relationship with God, the Father, and Jesus, the Christ, the Son, is a high honor. These relationships shall not be taken lightly by us - if they are, then rest-assured the Lord will not forget. Ah... fear and trembling!
The city of Babylon in Revelations can be viewed as in part symbolic of the world-wide epidemic we face under elitist regimes today. The harlot has been riding her beast. The comparison of Babylon to a grown woman makes Revelations 17 a riveting read. "The promiscuous woman" is leading symbology for nations or cities in trouble throughout the Bible. Israel is called out as a virgin AND a faithless prostitute in the Bible. As real Women we also are unclean - we are dirty before the divine. There is one way to be clean before God, and that way is defined by His law. Again, the law of liberty was brought to us through the sacrifice made by Jesus, the Son of God. The blood he shed on the cross cleanses us, because the sacrifice he made for the forgiveness of sins, was of a magnitude off-the-charts on the Richter scale. Behold the sacrifice of Jesus, and His mother's womb! Behold the mysteries of God that were revealed in His time! Behold the forgiveness of our sins! Can you behold these things, or do you not see what we are when naked? We sit, yawn and laugh at the world and others; for we feel we have nothing to stand up for, and we tire of the small things and regular going-ons, and we have a joke ready for every uncomfortable event. We need to stand up for God, never tire of the small and normal things, and take life seriously when it should be.
Dear God, Thank you for the sacrifice that Jesus made for the forgiveness of sins. Just thinking of the magnitude of His life and Your saving grace, makes me rejoice that the Light came into the world and prevailed. It reminds me of the darkness as well, for we have our Babylon, our harlot and the beast. I pray for what is ahead. Christianity has birthed so much freedom over thousands of years for women and others, and invites diversity in its core teaching - that Your children are all deserving of love by You. I am thankful for your love and watchful eye. I am coming to understand a bit more Your Fatherly nature, and my womanly nature. It is an honor to be Your daughter. Thank you for creating me as a woman, as I have deeply enjoyed the emotional, creative and intellectual exercises that come with my feminine nature. Thank you Jesus for your respect of female disciples - I am trying my best to be one of Yours. Praise God! Amen.
C.S Lewis & Intelligent Design - You Tube video below.
Statement by C.S. Lewis - "If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset."
Statement by Albert Einstein - "Concerning matter we have all been wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter."
Statement by Max Plank - "As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter"
Statement by Werner von Braun - "It is so obvious that we live in a world in which a fantastic amount of logic, of rational lawfulness, is at work. We are aware of a large number of laws of physics and chemistry and biology which, by their mutual interdependence, make nature work as if it were following a grandiose plan from its earliest beginnings to the farthest reaches of its future destiny. To me, it would be incomprehensible that there should be such a gigantic master plan without a master planner behind it. This master planner is He whom we call the Creator of the Universe . . . One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be a Divine intent behind it all."
Statement by G. K. Chesterton - "It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into anything."
Genesis 1 - Genesis 2, Verse 7 - Chapter 1, 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. 6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. 14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. 20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. 24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Chapter 2, 2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. 4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
You were covered in sapphires & pearls when you were made (before the fall of mankind).
"You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created."
Ironside/Lewis Debate, Excerpt from New York Ave Church of Christ bulletin 7/9/17, Notes by Dennis Winebarger - Many years ago, Dr. Harry Ironsides was asked to speak at a street revival meeting in San Francisco. As he finished, Arthur Morrow Lewis (who often lectured against Christianity) challenged Dr. Ironsides to a debate on the subject of “Agnosticism vs. Christianity.” Dr. Ironsides answered: “I accept your challenge on the condition that you defend the worth of your belief by bringing to the platform with you one man who has been rescued by the power of your teaching to a useful life from the grip of some vice against which he was helpless, and one woman of deep immoral background who because of your philosophy is now a modest, pure, honorable member of society. For my part I will meet you with one hundred such witnesses to the power of Christ.” Mr. Lewis shrugged his shoulders and edged out of the crowd.
Before an acorn grows into a mighty tree forces of nature must act on it. And the acorn did not appear from nowhere either. Where do these forces come from, and what is the origins of All? Did we, the earth and its lifeforms, evolve from a universe that previously contained no life or intelligence within it? If you think so, then even soup has more meaningful life-force in it, than random acts by random micro-particles forging their way into the reality we know today. But that is not the case. Meaning and purpose proceeded the origins of man, and a great force created men and women for a meaningful and purposeful reason. Morality stems from this meaning and purpose, and hence there is goodness in our world. We can see that with our own eyes.
Did mankind invent meaning & purpose, codes of ethics, and a fantasy about supernatural reality? Supernatural reality and spiritual reality can be perceived with our prayers and answers to prayers. There is much evidence for the true prophets of Christianity starting in the Old Testament, the miracles in the Bible, and other corroborating Biblical events such as the great flood. Prophets interacted with supernatural phenomenon, and today we have the amazing Word of God - the Bible. There are ancient truths that can be tested over time, putting to rest any manmade-theory for the origins of morality. Morality and spiritual truths were passed onto us by God, and because of God. Our meaning and purpose stems from the creation story and our walk with God throughout history. The existence of a spiritual world is difficult to refute, for even science is recognizing the reality of consciousness and other dimensions--the beginnings of a scientific explanation for our soul and other spiritual realms of existence.
Are we prone to worship gods or God because we have a long history and play of royalty, super-beings, war-heros and religious leaders who drive this type of worship? Yes we are, and No we are not. We are because God is real and royalty, war-heros and religious leaders have bowed down before Him. They have also been involved in idol worship along with the general masses of people, and worshipped other gods and super-beings. In many cases this worship, and the worship of the One God, has been co-opted and re-packaged for the purposes of driving the masses to support the whims of the kings and leaders. But Christianity, for the record, has a fairly decent history of salvation and has spread moral teachings across continents. What is taught is the unchanging laws of God. For when people have heeded His laws, history provides rich proof of the benefits. Thanks be to God.
Dear God, Your laws are unchanging and You are unchanging. For over a century now, science has diverged from studying the laws of nature in reverence to the divine. Science now postulates secular theories to support the whims of the "kings" we have today and their progressive movements. But their movements have been more of a de-evolution than progressive evolution, and Your unchanging laws are being ignored. This falling away has been prophesied about, however, I pray that science move towards a state of awe (of Your design) in its study of Your creation. I pray that meaning, purpose and morality are not taken for granted by people and they understand the Source. I pray that people "see" and "hear" once again, for we are not mere soup. For I see the acorn growing into an oak and it is a true wonder, and proof of intelligent design. I see answers to my prayers over time, which is proof of a supernatural spiritual world. I see people heeding Your laws in various circles and the blessings that surmount. I read and hear Your Word, and see that ancient truths have survived the tests of time and history. I stand in awe of Your design. Thank you for creating us. When I hear of how we were made before the fall and separation from the Garden, I weep in my heart for we are now a broken people. Women and men have a long history of choices, and we must obey rather than disobey. Bring us back to a period of obedience. Glory be to God. Amen.
Oh, You Irreverent Nation!, a poem by Michelle Nicole Murphy
So lay down your arms,
And end the war.
Or your women and children,
Your youth and vitality,
Will weep at the gates,
Cursing their nation.
For you all desire god-status,
But yet you are not gods.
The One who IS,
The Alpha and Omega,
Is Our God. He is God.
So lay down your arms.
Oh, you irreverent nation!
So close your legs,
And cherish your loved ones.
Or your words and flattery,
Your truth and popularity,
Will be a joke among peers,
For their own benefit.
For your vitality builds nations,
But yours is stained.
The One who is not stained,
The Alpha and Omega,
Is Our God. He is God.
So be pure among the land.
Oh, you prostitute nation!
So bear your soul,
To the Alpha and Omega,
The First and the Last,
Ask for vitality back,
Your youth and reputation.
Make your warriors busy
Pray to the One who IS,
The Alpha and Omega,
Is Our God. He is God.
So bear your soul.
Oh, you irreverent nation!
John 18, Verse 36 - Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, Verses 1-11 - When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me."
James 1, Verses 2-3 - Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
1 John 1, Verses 5-9 - This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Matthew 5, Verse 16 - “Let your light shine before men [and women] in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
James 1, Verse 25 - But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
I live in a country, the USA, where its people are productive and capitalistic, and therefore materially abundant. The average low-income person here is richer than the average middle class person in European countries (and richer than the average person worldwide). Since inception the USA was set to establish and grow in power and influence. An in-depth study of liberty-doused material reveals, in general, that our freedoms have always come with strings - those strings are that our peoples support a strong, strong powerful State and the "State's will". The State is our god in America (similar in other nations) and few leaders hold powerful positions in America without the blessing of someone more powerful. The will of the people is molded to the will of the State. We must shape our will to God's will instead.
In the Bible, material wealth is a challenge because it is the poor who more easily inherit the kingdom of God. In the Bible, it is the Jews who expect a king and prophet to rule nations, and instead get Jesus, whose kingdom is not of this world. In the Bible, God deals harshly at times with the nations of the Old Testament, including His own Israel. I think today we are looking for a Savior - one for our nation, instead of looking to Jesus. And we have an inkling that a great judgment may be coming to many nations, including ours. Our leaders and citizens may call today on God to bless the nation, or give easy-speak to religious terms about national issues, but on a whole our nation has gone astray. The Pharisees of Jesus's day are back in a big way, with plenty of listeners. Our god, "The State", is worshipped in all nations, by many peoples. No nation is exempt from the State's will, and every nation is astray from God's will.
No single person is exempt from God's judgment. The Israel of the Old Testament no longer exists. God still deals with the elite, leaders and nations, but he also deals directly with the hearts of every one of his children. So what? Since God deals with our hearts, whether we feel materially or physically free in our own situation, we must seek out a life where we are not counted astray by God. And sharing that vision with others among the members of the church, within our family, friends, peers and fellow citizens is essential - evangelism. Matthew 5, Verse 16 says, “Let your light shine before men [and women] in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." And so we must walk in the light and not in the darkness. And we must have hope and take action that others will do the same. We must not worship "the State" or its leaders, but instead put our faith in God, Jesus and the saints. The the collective judgments on our diverse peoples and nation are counting on it. For James 1 says "testing of our faith produces endurance", and our inkling is more faith-testing and endurance will be needed up ahead.
Dear God, I've often prayed for the leaders of nations and nations themselves. I continue that prayer today. Despite the great power of the State, Your power is much greater. Every person faces an individual judgment and yet our collective nation may have tougher times ahead. I thank you that every woman and man still has the freedom of liberty that Jesus spoke about and James 1 calls "the law of liberty", by which we are judged by our faith according to the sacrifice made by Your son. This is a blessing that is not conceivable most of the time. I pray for a more conceivable understanding of this blessing. Thank you for all the blessings in my life. I pray that you continue to prepare the people I care about, and mankind in general, for their individual judgments. In Jesus Name. Amen
Proverbs 29, Verse 13 - The poor and the oppressor have this in common--the LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
Helen Keller - "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
Mahatma Gandhi - "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind."
Mark Twain - "Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
Psalm 31, Verse 9 - Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am in distress. Tears blur my eyes. My body and soul are withering away.
Philippians 3, Verse 18 - For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.
Job 13, Verses 1 - 5 - Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand. I know as much as you do. You are no better than I am. As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty. I want to argue my case with God himself. As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks. If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.
Psalm 115, Verses 5-7 - They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound.
Psalm 135, Verses 15-17 - The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell.
Matthew 13, Verses 13-23 - That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn't see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn't hear it. "Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they don't last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God's word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God's word, but all to quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred ties as much as had been planted!"
A Christian Prayer from The Sarum Primer
God be in my head,
And in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
And in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
And in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
And in my thinking;
God be at my end,
And at my departing.
Where did you first learn about God? What were your first impressions? What were you feverish about, gung-ho? Do you remember when you first believed? Can you attribute it to something you saw or heard? Go ahead and share in the comment field. I remember first thinking about God when I was 3 years old, as I attended various churches from birth with my parents. I was an early taker and very curious about religion, so my belief pre-dates my full understanding of belief. Youth group during my teenage years was a big past-time for me, and then I fell away from worship until I met a faithful guy in my mid-twenties whom I married. I then recommitted and had a full-immersion baptism. My deeper understanding of God and the Christian faith came in my thirties, and it is still coming along. A mature faith comes from "seeing", "hearing" and "doing" more and more of the right thing over a period of time; it is not just a matter of watering one seed. I think there are many seeds to my faith, and some are just now being tended to--enough to produce new sprouts. This partial delay is because I have ignored some things I've seen and heard for a very long time-period. Aren't many of us just the same?!
What others see and hear of us is sometimes a mixed bag; it's us being a great example of a sinner one moment, and then other times us be doers with God in mind. What example are you that others are seeing and hearing of you? I do work to lay seeds, but there is the work of watering, tending and harvesting. What is your skill? What more would God have you do in your life?
Also, are you weary? I have been often. When personal livelihoods are in question one can become weakened and weary. Troublesome blips on the radar screen can seem long-lasting. Our eyes can tear up and our vision blurred, yet we have choices. God gives us choices. One can be swept up in pity and remorse for oneself and those affected by one's difficulties. One can forget to rejoice and bear witness to a compassionate and just God. One can lose the faith. If we lose our faith is it because we have not heard, or not seen? Have we become blinded and deaf to the truth? Was the seed of truth we absorbed earlier-on planted on good soil? Are we putting up walls so we lose sight of God? Do we really have a choice? I sometimes need reminded that God wants us to stand up for our faith during difficult times. He wants us to lean on Him and stand upright. If we can't rejoice, we are to get on our knees and see where God will meet us in the solitude. Opening our hearts in prayer and being doers of the word is good medicine for faith-under-fire. For we never want to lose sight of God, or forget our understanding of His Kingdom. For our God is an awesome God, and His kingdom is our spiritual home.
Dear God, I have a memory of darkness that sometimes prevents my understanding from being straight—it's like a flashback from an ugly war scene. And I have too often been battle weary, teared up and pitied myself. I lose faith in all but the little things, yet I soon remember seeing You in the skies, on a hill or at the ocean. I also see you in others, and the going-ons through time. Age leaves scars, but today I rejoice that I have my scars, and my sight, and my breath, and still stand upright. Maybe once we are "Your child", we are always "Your child", as I have heard from many churches that is their belief. I am trying to "see" and "hear" and "do" and create a vision that leans on Your wisdom and teachings. I am in transition mode, with the surprise of no children. I need Your encouragement to be kind in all of my endeavors with all people, and to seek charity and goodwill in new volunteer and paid work assignments I am taking on. I hope what people see and hear from me is good; I hope others see you in me as needed. Thank you for tearing down walls in my life so I could see beyond this world to Your kingdom. Send water this way for my newfound sprouts. Praise You--an awesome God! Amen.
Grandfather - G is for Great. How great thou art! You have aged like a great wine!
Father - F is for Faith. Your faith is an example to others! A father of faith is worth rejoicing!
Son - S is for Sunshine. You are like sunshine wherever you go - a true light-bearer in this world!
Grandson - G is for Giving. You have a giving heart! You give me great joy in my life!
Uncle - U is for Unwavering. You do not waver from what is right! You are firm in your beliefs!
Nephew - N is for Noble. You have a noble attitude and are worth all the king's gold!
Friend - F is for Fine. You are one fine person and fine company! You are a fine person to count on!
Colleague - C is for Christ. You have Christ-like qualities and sacrifice in your livelihood!
Husband - H is for Honor. It is an honor to know you for you are a honorable man!
Brother - B is for Broccoli. Broccoli are little trees, and you have been as strong as a tree since you were little.
Exodus 20, Verse 12 - “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Ephesians 5, Verse 25 - Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
1 Corinthians 13, Verse 13 - But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Proverbs 31, Verses 8-9 - Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Philippians 4, Verse 8 - 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.
Romans 12, Verses 4-6 - For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly
Romans 9, Verse 22 - In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.
Matthew 17, Verse 20 - And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
Titus 1, Verse 2 - In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.
The Golden Rule
"You must love your neighbor as yourself." - Romans 13:9
"Do to no one what you would not want done to you." - Tobit 4:15
"So always treat others as you would like them to treat you." - Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31
"One should seek for others the happiness one desires for himself." - The Buddha, Indian
"The true rule of life is to guard and to do by the things of others as one would to his own." - Hindu scripture
"He sought for others the good he desired for himself. Let him pass." - The Egyptian Book of the Dead
"What you would not done to yourself, do not to others." - Confucius, Chinese
"In your dealings with others, harm not that you be not harmed." - Seneca, Roman
"We should behave toward friends as we would wish friends to behave toward us." - Aristotle, Greek
Song of Songs 1, Verses 13-16
“My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts. [woman]
“My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
In the vineyards of Engedi.” [man]
“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves.” [man]
How handsome you are, my beloved,
And so pleasant!
Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! [woman]
Genesis 1, Verses 27-28 - God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 2, Verse 7 - Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 2, Verse 18-24 - Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
Genesis 6, Verse 5-8, Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Cheers to the guys in our life who are Godly and righteous! We all know at least one man who is great, faithful, a light-bearer, giving, unwavering, noble, fine, Christ-like, loving and/or honorable. Such a man will give to the needy and protect his loved ones. He will adore his wife and children, nieces and nephews. He will remember his sisters and brothers, his friends and his community. He will be a blessing to his parents when they are old. He will be known among Christians and a contributing member of the body. He will embody what it means to love others, and stay beholden to the Golden Rule. He will keep his word. For a righteous man is an example for ladies and gentlemen, just as righteous ladies are an example to men and women both. The righteous shall lead by their hearts. Cheers to the righteous men!
Males and females have often lacked the influence of great men in their lives. Sin can take hold through bad influences combined with our own bad choices. Young and old men alike give into reckless desires! Women do it too! God always exercises great patience over sin and reserves judgement for a time. God created man and woman in His image, and then wiped out humanity by flood for great wickedness, except through Noah. Yet here we are today, living in a world of both harshness and blessings, of abundance and poverty, of war and peace. Many of us have a decent amount of personal freedom, and we all have the freedom to choose God's way for our life (unless the hardening of a heart). We should not seek to have hardened hearts through abundant sin, but seek faith continually. It only takes a mustard seed of faith to revive a dusty heart. Cheers to dusting off our hearts!
Losing a great man also causes much grief, but if we have hope in Him and eternal life we can be at ease about someone's passing. When I was 21 years old I lost my dad. It still is a difficult loss 17 years later, but I cherish the upbringing I had from both of my parents. I miss him dearly because he was a great man; he was often my rock growing up. His example still influences who I am today. Women have to be especially careful not to lose their way when someone of good influence exits their life. Instead, people should find healthy ways to heal, love others and give back during grievous times. Cheers to the Godly men from our past!
Dear God, I pray that the righteous men in my life are overwhelmed with blessings throughout their days for striving to be Godly men. There are men in my life who are more righteous, and others who lack more. I pray they all move in a more righteous direction according to Your will. Men are the protectors in our lives; You are also a protector. Some males are givers with helping hearts; You are also a giver and a helper. Others often exercise great patience; Your patience is great. My dad was a warm, loving and kind father; You are a warm, loving and kind God. Yet sometimes men fall short in a number of areas, just as I do, and I pray for those shortcomings. I also pray that as a wife, daughter, aunt and friend that I am always equipped to deal with the shortcomings of others, including those closest to me. Many people are looking for a Godly spouse, or more righteous men and women in their lives. God speed their entry! My husband is an answer to many of my prayers, and I am thankful for the marriage I have today. I always want to enjoy this life, and the more I work on my relationships with others, the more that happens - that work includes my own mental and spiritual growth. Thank you for Your influence and direction in my life (and the life of others) - through exposure to the truth in numerous ways and by the Spirit. For the men, women, girls and boys I know, I ask You to be our rod and our staff to comfort us, and to keep us in good health. Help us all to be an example to others striving to be Godly people, especially to the young people of this generation. The world is in dire need of good leadership in the homes, schools, churches, social groups, communities and workplaces. Thank you for all the righteous men in my life, and for the ones who surround others or take leadership roles in places of dire need. May blessings and peace abound, all around! Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.