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The Signs of the Times

The Signs of the Times

I don’t know about you, but I don’t spend a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Judges. Perhaps we should. I ran across this scripture the other day. You know when the Lord wants you to see something, how it kind of jumps off the page at you? That’s what this scripture did. It was a day or two after the nut job killed those fifty people in Las Vegas. See if these words stick to you like it did to me.

Judges 2:13-16  “So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them so they could no longer stand before their enemies . . . they were severely distressed. Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.”

When that judge died, they flopped right back into evil; into sacrificing babies to these foreign gods; into idol worship. That’s what the book of Judges is all about. I wonder if God isn’t trying to get our attention with all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and slaughter. Perhaps we should ask Him to show us what we need to repent of while there is still time.

Our Place before God

Our Place before God

bowing down

Isaiah 57:15
For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

The word “contrite” means “dust.” “Humble” means “in low station, lowly, humble of spirit.”
All these terms speak of humbling yourself before God. Getting in the dust—recognizing that dust is what we came from. Admitting God is God and we’re not.

Humbling ourselves before God puts us in a position to receive restoration to life and health of our spirit and our soul.

We need to stretch out on the floor, face-down before God; pour out our heart to Him. It never hurts. It’s the best place to hear His voice and receive His answers, bar none.

Father God, God of all comfort, wisdom, and restoration,
I humble myself before You.
Bring me into right relationship with You.
Please meet my needs as You see them.
Fill me with Your joy and assurance.
Thank You that I am Yours and You are mine,
now and forevermore.

In case you’re looking for a great devotional book for the new year or a wonderful historical fiction, check them out here in paperback and e-reader.
Looking Deeper at Amazon.com.Kindle TheLateSooner'sDaughter-cover-mockup2
I also have another blog: familyfavoritesfromtheheartland.wordpress.com

Rend Your Heart

Rend Your Heart

fire.2

Joel 2:13
(The Lord says) “And rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, and relenting of evil.”

God is telling us here to do a 180 degree turn. To examine our will, heart, soul, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, conscience, and heart to obtain moral character. This is internal where only God sees; not external where people see.
He urges us to do this now, not later when He has become angry. “Anger” here means “with flared nostrils.” This passage goes on to remind us He is full of love for us.
He is also “relenting” which means “to be moved to pity, comfort, and compassion,” on us who have been evil in His sight. “Evil” here is “displeasing, hurtful, unkind, ethically wicked.” It is the “evil deeds, thoughts and actions of people.” So He has pity and compassion on people who fall short of His standard—which includes all of us.

Father God, I bow before You today to rend my heart.
Please bring to mind my thoughts, words, and actions
which have grieved Your heart. I confess them before You
so I can be released from the penalty of my wrongdoings.
Fill me again with Your joy and presence
so we may enjoy fellowship together once more.

Check out my new devotional book Looking Deeper at Amazon.com.Kindle

God’s Prescription for Healing

God’s Prescription for Healing

Jesus the Healer
With Ebola banging on our door it might be a wise thing to search God’s word, the Bible, for His prescription for our healing. He has a prescription for all our needs whether it be physical, mental, or emotional healing. Here is a page from my new book Looking Deeper.

Exodus 15:26
And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

In order to enjoy God’s divine health, we must do four things:
Give heed to God’s voice (hear and obey)
Do what is right (pleasing in His sight)
Give ear (listen) to His commandments
Keep all His statutes (His prescribed limits, boundaries, laws and conditions).
God lists some of the diseases of Egypt in Deuteronomy 28:27 which are, “boils, tumors, scab, and itch, from which you cannot be healed.”
But there is hope. Jesus has come to heal us. Perhaps as a nation and individuals, we need to repent to see His healing. As long as we’re still breathing, God’s mercy extends to us. Let us call upon Him now.

Father, forgive us.
We have listened to the world and obeyed its voice instead of You.
We have gone our own way and failed miserably.
We have written our own rules and fallen far short of Your desires.
We have run rough-shod over Your boundaries
and neglected Your conditions.
In Your mercy, please cleanse and heal us as individuals
and as a nation, so we might enjoy Your favor once again.

I’ve published a new 366 day devotional book entitled Looking Deeper. It’s available in paperback and e-reader. Looking_Deeper_Cover_for_Kindle

True Riches

True Riches

goldMy husband’s channel surfing finally landed on the History channel recently. The program listed the world’s resources; gold, oil, and water, among other things. At the end of each segment, they stated the dollar amount of each resource in today’s market.

At the end of the hour, they estimated the world’s total riches in so many quadrillion dollars. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get my head around that much money. All I can understand is that’s one heck of a lot of cash.

The Holy Spirit reminded me of the scripture that says, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NLT)

People waste their whole lives grabbing for a piece of the world. Even if they were to gain the quadrillion dollars worth of riches and lost their soul, they would be the poorest of the poor.

I shake my head when I hear the ads to “buy gold to secure your future.” The Bible says in Ezekiel 7:19 that “their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord.”

It’s best to invest in the Kingdom of God. Buy from Him “gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18).

How do you do this? Revelation 3:19 holds the answer. “Repent.” That word means to quit doing evil; turn around. Go in the opposite direction. No one can do this on their own without the help of God.

Simply ask Him to forgive your sins, place your feet on a right path, and teach you His word in the Bible. It’s as easy as that. No hocus-pocus. No chanting. No hidden mystery.

In doing so, you have placed yourself in God’s hands. He will finish the work in you to prepare you for His soon return. (Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”)

Which riches will you choose, God’s or the world’s?

A Day with My Granddaughter

A Day with My Granddaughter

pp girls praying
Recently I spent the day with one of my granddaughters. She’ll be a senior in high school next year. We spoke of many things, but one stands out in my memory. She told me of accompanying a friend to a Planned Parenthood facility. Her friend’s mother instructed her to go there to get a pregnancy test. I’ll let you hear the conversation we had.

“Mandy’s * mother was out of town so Mandy asked me to go with her.”

“Why didn’t she get a pregnancy test at the drugstore?”

My granddaughter shrugged. “Her mom wanted her to make sure the test was accurate. When we got there the door was locked, so we rang the bell. A big blurry guard came to the door.”

“Wha’dda want?” he asked.

“We’re here for a pregnancy test.”

“The guard eyed us up and down and then said, “Go back to your car. Leave all cell phones, cameras, and recording devices. Then come back.”

“We did as he asked. When we came back a person behind the desk asked us if we had any recording or camera equipment with us. We said we didn’t. Then she shoved a paper at us to sign stating the same. We signed it. Then she warned us we would be in big trouble if we were lying. She directed us to have a seat in the empty waiting area.

“The nurse came out and told Mandy to follow her.”

Mandy asked, “Can my friend come with me?”

“Absolutely not!”

My granddaughter continued, “My friend told me when she got back there, four women employees laughed and joked like this was some regular office gathering around the water cooler. Mandy took the test and it came back negative.

“After the test, the nurse talked with her for a while. ‘I’ve had three abortions myself. I wanted a boy and a girl. After my first boy, I just kept getting more boys. Now I’ve got my boy and a girl. Everything’s good.’”

I wonder. Is this the education Planned Parenthood so proudly touts as they take millions of our tax dollars each year?

For the past forty years, the spirit of murder has run rampant. We have murdered 53 million babies in this nation over that period. In the book of James, chapter 5, verse 16, it says, “The prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Hard hearts, greedy for money, need to be changed. No amount of demonstration or protests on the street is going to do that. There is only one way. Only God can cause that to happen. He will only move if we pray. Will you join me in asking God Almighty to send a sweeping revival so that God’s gift of life is once again revered?

*Not her real name.

Praying God’s Heart

Praying God’s Heart

praying hands“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:35 NASB).

I marvel at what God does when we wait on Him in prayer. When we listen to His heart and then pray His desires, we see mighty things happen beyond what we could ever dream or expect.

In late February and early March this year, the Lord began to urge me to pray for Him to “reveal hidden things.”

When I look back over the last three months, I am overwhelmed at what God has revealed which was hidden before. It seems every day a new scenario is now out in public view.

To list a few:
1. The news that our government is collecting data on our phones and the Justice Department seizing Associated Press phone records,
2. the attempt of the administration to cover up the Benghazi massacre,
3. the targeting of the IRS against Tea Party groups, and their subsequent 5th Amendment pleas,
4. mismanagement of funds by the IRS,
5. the Supreme Court legislating from the bench in overturning the majority votes of seven million California voters,
6. the government’s manipulation of the timing of certain aspects of the health care bill to put the hardest bite on employers until after the next election,
7. and the news media’s attempt to only parrot one side of the issue or sweep everything under the rug, unnoticed.

All these things show us what the true state of our out-of-whack Godless living has produced.

Some wring their hands and complain or cower in fear. I am grateful for the Lord’s revealing. You can’t ask God to fix something you don’t realize is broken.

He gives us many promises in the Bible. One that comes to mind is when Solomon dedicates the temple in Jerusalem just after its completion. God has recorded it for us in II Chronicles 6. Solomon, led by the Holy Spirit, kneels to pray at the temple in front of all the people. In that prayer he covers all the bases with a series of “Ifs” asking God to intervene when people pray.

The “Ifs” cover everything from sinning against a neighbor, to famine, pestilence from grasshoppers, a deluge from enemies, and sickness.

He asks God to hear and forgive so that we may fear (reverence) Him and walk in His ways as long as we live (2 Chronicles 6:30-31).

That evening after Solomon prayed, the Lord appeared to him. That night is recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 (NASB). God said to Solomon, “If . . . My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

So if we do four things:
Humble ourselves
Pray
Seek His face
Turn from our wicked ways.

Then God will do three things:
Hear from heaven
Forgive our sin
Heal our land.

It’s up to us who call ourselves by the true and living God’s name. Will we pray so that He may answer?

(To read instances of how God answers when people pray, read the three-book series God’s Little Miracle Book available at Amazon.com in paperback and e-reader.)

Choices

Choices

jason_collins_t607Jason Collins, an NBA basketball player came out this week announcing he was gay. He’s featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine. It’s reported his Twitter account has thousands of new followers. President Obama called to congratulate him.

There is a missing voice in all this. The Creator of the Whole Universe. The One Who Loves Him Best. The One who laid down very specific instructions both in the Old and New Testaments about homosexuality, among other subjects. Is anyone listening?

Just in case you missed it, let me quote Him.

Leviticus 18:22 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

Revelation 21:8 “But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

God doesn’t give us His Word just to hear His head rattle. He gives us ordinances so we’ll know what pleases Him and what doesn’t; so we’ll know when we’ve crossed the line and need to come to Him and repent (turn back from) our ways that have caused Him grief.

God is just. He told us the way to live. If we choose to live apart from God, we will have to face the consequences. He doesn’t mince words. He tells us what will happen if we choose to go our own way.

Leviticus 26 tells us exactly what He will do. If we obey Him, He promises to give us rain in due season, peace in the land, and promises to walk with us with His presence. By verse 14, He lists what will happen if we do not obey Him. If we reject His statutes and don’t carry out all His commands, among other things He will:

Appoint sudden terror, consumption, and fever.
Our enemies will eat our produce.
We will be struck down by our enemies.
Those who hate us will rule over us.
We will flee when no one is pursuing us.
We will be punished seven times more for our sins.
He will break down our pride of power.
He will act with hostility toward us.
He will bring a sword on us.
He will inflict us with pestilence and deliver us into enemy hands.
Our bread will be rationed.
He will scatter us among the nations.
Our land will become desolate and our cities a waste.
We will have no strength to stand before our enemies.
We will perish among the nations.

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

The scripture from Revelation above is translated into English as “immoral persons.” According the original language, Greek, found at www.blueletterbible.com, that word is “pornos, a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire. A male prostitute. A man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator.”

Another scripture in I Corinthians 6:9 states, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (by perversion), nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

This applies to those who do these things as a habit of life. If any of these habits apply to your lifestyle, you need to stop, ask God for forgiveness, and turn to Him before it’s too late.

Jason Collins would do well to take a second look at his chosen lifestyle.

God’s Promises

God’s Promises

open Bible
Most of us have heard of God’s promises. We used to have a little box of scripture promises on the kitchen table. I’d pull one out each morning. Now I read them from my Bible and my devotional book. I’ve discovered many more than the ones in the little box.

God is true to what He says He will do. Most have conditions like, “If you’ll to this, I’ll do that.” The closer I look, the more specific His promises are. In my book, Daily Walk with Jesus, the scripture for yesterday said, “the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you (II Chronicles 15:2b).

I’ve recently finished an intense study of Jeremiah and Lamentations. The people in Jeremiah’s day heard God’s word through Jeremiah’s prophecies, but refused to heed God’s warnings. Over many years, Jeremiah warned them of impending disaster if they didn’t repent. They refused to worship and honor God, so He had to destroy their temple and homes and send them into captivity in Babylon for 70 years.

In today’s society, I see we are very similar to Israel in Jeremiah’s time. We continually break God’s commands without any regard of His word and way. Our society seems to be in a free-fall. There is only one way back. Seek Him and His forgiveness. Confess our numerous sins and humble ourselves before Him as Daniel did in Daniel 9:4-19. If we won’t, He promises to forsake us.

The prayer in the devotional book for yesterday said:

Father, keep us ever mindful
of your promises, both good and bad.
May we order our steps accordingly.

Candlelight Vigil for an Elk

Candlelight Vigil for an Elk

elk-justice_640_427_s_c1_center_top_0_0

Is the world going nuts, or is it just me?

On the news the other morning they reported that several hundred people gathered for a candlelight vigil on January 6, 2013 in Boulder, Colorado for an elk shot by an off-duty police officer. Reportedly the officer saw the elk limping and thought it was injured. The officer is now on leave.

The people interviewed were crying over the loss of “Big Boy.” One tearful little girl who held a candle said she hoped the elk went to heaven.

Romans 1 talks about people who know God but don’t honor Him. They become futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts are darkened, (verse 21). Verse 25 goes on to say “ . . .they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator . . .”

That word “served” in the above scripture in the original Greek translation of the New Testament of the Bible is, “To render religious service or homage to; to perform sacred services.”

We may not all pay homage to, or perform sacred services to an elk, but what created things do we look to, perform service to, and expect to guide us, that are not God, but merely His creation?

Lord Jesus, forgive us of our service to, and misguided worship of your creation rather than You, the Creator.

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