Start Here

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Hello, and welcome in the Name of Jesus. I have been looking for an outlet for the talent the Lord has given me so graciously and think I have finally found what I am to do to bring glory to His Name.

I am by no means a prolific writer, or even the one with the proper grammar, but how can I keep silent?

Over the past week or so, I was thumbing through old entries of revelation the Lord had opened my eyes to as I read His word. Eagerly, I had been jotting down on luceleeve since January of this year and realized this could be my Kingdom work.

 

On our ladies meeting on Tuesday not long ago we were talking about the Parable of the Talents. The Lord gave each of His servants a talent of how much they were able to handle. It was His wisdom that selected how many to give each. I realized that since I came to know the Lord last year, personally, which is beyond the realm of mere “head knowledge”, after all, as Minister says, “Knowledge is NOT revelation”, I have been burying, ungratefully, the talent He gave me. My greatest desire is to hear “Well, done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of thy Lord.”

And so here is my humble offerings.

May God bless you, encourage you, and give you peace.

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A Godly Sort

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Sundays are a strange day for me. I’m never sure what I should do. During the week I have everything hammered down into a schedule. Saturdays are more difficult as my husband is home and I have to go do groceries and I’ve slept in, and, and… Sundays just throw me. Lazy? Or flesh? I can’t quite tell. I first opted to hurry and try to get all my readings and devotionals in before Sunday service, slimming down my prayer time. I felt it was rushed and I wasn’t gleaning as I do during the week. So I cut down my readings to half, and then to none at all. After all we have such a lengthy service on Sundays, surely it would suffice and I could “have the day off”.

In all honesty, I’m still unsure what to do for Sundays in particular. And today was no different. My husband had to work today. He hasn’t had to work on Sunday for forever… I’m slightly annoyed, and I’m sure that’s partly due to self-righteousness, and not entirely out of purity and zeal for God- Sundays are the Lord’s Day! It stings worse, because he was the one who suggested it vs staying an hour after work for a few days. I sigh, even just typing this, but he has no heart for Christ- yet – so I suppose it’s to be expected. I say “yet”, because I’m working on my faith. I KNOW God can save. It’s just hard to wait on the “untimed God”.

Am I alone on this?

Today I had all that extra time solo. I don’t think I can be blamed for loving solitude when it comes to studying and being with God. Quietness is beautiful in that moment especially. When I have to “read over” the TV, or the daily talks to mom, or the banging around… well, it’s just not as good by far! So I decided, kind of last-minute, spur of the minute, what have you, to go ahead and read at least the one chapter I had written down to read this morning before Church. It’s 8 AM and church isn’t until after 10 AM, so why not. I noticed by now it’s barely after 8.
I should point out that I read 4 chapters a day. I kind of hope to finish reading the Bible, word for word, “in a year”. That’s a bit of a lie. It will have taken me just over a year, 14 months to be exact. After that, I want to reread it, maybe skipping over the “begats” portions. Anyway, so I read chapter 2. Not quite 9, I read my third chapter.

Currently in 1 Samuel, just finished it today, 1 Chronicles, Proverbs and 2 Corinthians, I have read the Corinthians early this year so it’s my second time going through. It’s amazing, when I think about it, how much I glean, even this second time around. I still shake my head in exasperation that I ever dared refer to the precious word of God as dull. Needless to say, of the four books, Proverbs and Corinthians I glean most from. Not to say the other two books are useless! I figured since it was just 2 Corinthians left, and as there’s so much just from one chapter, it would be wise to read my chapter today instead of going along with my original plan to double up tomorrow. So I whipped out the old white-out and readjusted my schedule.

And I’m glad I did.

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I didn’t get much more from 2 Corinthians chapter 7 then I had the first time around. The same parts still spoke to me with such force. I got extra bits and bobs, such as we should strive to be encouragement and refreshment to each other as believers that I hadn’t “seen” the first time, but when it came down to it, it was no different. And, I’m ok with that. I’m thankful that God gives even small revelations, such as how we ought to live, but I believe I (we) need to learn to live in the valleys, maybe even more than in the mountaintops.

When you are on the mountaintops, its fresh revelation, it’s you and God and all is beautiful and blissful. But we live here in the valleys. And, on top of all that there are much more valleys then mountaintops. I think we need to learn to adjust and love God and serve God with just as much enthusiasm and devotion regardless our station. I’d dare to say that it proves our sincerity and devotion with God if we can still cleave and press forward even when the silence comes, or rocky patches, or anything else we tend to face in the “mundane”. I think it shows faith.

I remembered pausing over 2 Corinthians 7 verses 10 and 11. They are deeply underlined and thickly waxed now. I remembered reading and pausing over each part. “… that ye sorrowed after a godly sort,…”

Could it be there was a real genuine difference between a simplistic “I’m sorry” and this “godly sorrow”?

“…what carefulness it wrought in you…”

I’m a bit of a mush. I type this with a tight throat and tears. It’s little wonder why “spellcheck” is my best friend.

What carefulness! There was no more casual walking with the Lord. No more living as I pleased. It was walking with my head up, eyes gazing at the Lord, watching each step I took. “Would this please God?” Oh it went so much farther than the cliché “What would Jesus do”! I didn’t want to displease my God! This is true repentance. Godly sorrow that works repentance.

…what indignation, ya, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves...” I recalled reading over this. How much more repentance is then a “sorry I got caught”, or “I’ll try not to do it again”, even! What hatred there is to be for sin! What zeal there should be to live upright and holy!

“That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27

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I think back to the cry of Paul. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Romans 6:1-2.

No! How can one, truly born again, truly having gone through this godly sort of repentance even dare dabble or justify sinning even the “tiniest” sin? It just doesn’t work!

First of all, it’s sin that Jesus bore in full weight to Calvary! The beautiful, lovely, Lamb of God was killed to redeem us from sin!

It’s so hard to write sometimes.

My heart just can’t express the love I have for the Perfect One. That amazement and flabbergastation to think that it was FOR ME! The nails ripped through His hands and feet FOR ME! The pain He bore, FOR ME! The crown of thorns rammed into His beautiful head. FOR ME! How can I continue in sin? How dare I! It’s like spitting in the Spotless One’s face. Lord, be it far from me.

I was speaking to a dear sister of mine this past week. About that moment when John the Baptist lifted up his eyes and saw Him. The Saviour! The Saviour has come! Behold Him! Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!

Shall I go back?
How much sense does it make to reshackle myself?

Oh God.
As I was pondering afresh the verses from this morning in that chapter I thought of Jude. It’s beyond fitting. I will close with it.
I pray I will never be content with even looking or tiptoeing around the perimeters of sin.

As another sister said, and I wish I had wrote it down as a quote, but it went along as “Trouble us, Lord, when we approach sin.”

Let not sin have dominion over me.

Jude 23 “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; HATING EVEN THE GARMENT SPOTTED BY THE FLESH.” (emphasis mine)

Second Chances

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I’ve been perplexed for the last little while. I’ve read so many different “helps” when it comes to blogging. They say it’s best to keep to a schedule so that the readers know when to expect new material. They say it’s best to schedule ahead. Maybe every third Monday is recipes. That is not for me. I feel like that would be limiting the Holy Spirit. I can’t promise I will blog daily, or weekly, or even monthly. However, I saved all these helps on my Pinterest board and mulled over them, jotting a few notes down. I’m new to blogging. I think once upon a time nearly ten years ago I had thought about it, I may have even wrote one, goodness knows what for or what about, but didn’t follow through. Maybe it’s only now that I’m older, or that I have more time, or… well, honestly the reason I blog today is because I knew God gave me a talent. Oh, I can almost hear the laughter from here. And, in some ways, well, a lot of ways, I would have to join the laughter. Me? Talented? Yeah right! But it is true. You see, a few years back I would spend hours daily writing. In fact those hours accumulated into, well, I lost count, so I will say approximately 4 novels. Well over 40,000 words each. I was a bit obsessed. And my, did it ever come easily. I wouldn’t have bothered to get them published, and I suppose, thinking of it that way it makes the waste of time even worse. So many hours…. and for what?
On the other hand, I’m grateful that they are now in the garbage..recycling… trash belongs in the trash. And no, it wasn’t the writing, but the topics that were trash. Divorced, remarrying. Affairs.. near X-rated content. What can I say? It pleases the flesh. And I know I’m not alone with the filthy history.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
What’s even more frightening to me, is the one in Genesis when God speaks about what He saw IN the hearts of men before He destroyed the earth by water.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and

that every IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” 6:5-6 (emphasis mine)
I will also say that the last sentence makes me so heavy. Man’s sins grieve God.

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Regardless, I loved writing and it poured so easily from the wickedness of my sin-stained heart. I was so proud of my work, and looking back, I had that much a right. It was good. In fact, when I look through these blogs I’m embarrassed. My quality of writing is poor, even though with each post my heart and soul has gone into it.
When I met the Lord last year, I spurned quickly the filth that had come out of me. There was only one novel I can honestly admit that I wiped a tear as I threw it away. It was by far the purest of my novels. I recall telling my sister I would never write again since the only thing that came out of me was filth and since it is not pleasing to the Lord, I didn’t dare pick up a pen again.
And months and months and months went by. Until I came across- for the fourth time- just another gospel account of the talents. The ruler gave each of his servants a set amount. In the New International Version of the Bible, in Luke’s account, it’s called a “Mina”. I’m sure you are familiar with the parable. Most of the servants used their minas and gained more in their lord’s service. Except for one. Slovenly, he buried his mina in the earth and presented it back to the lord when he came.
And was cast out.
Unprofitable servant.
For months after I came to know the Lord I wondered what I could do for the Kingdom. I’m only a nobody. I don’t have much of a “circle”, I have next to no “influence”. It was then that I remembered the little talent He gave me and I hurried to unbury it.
It’s not much. It’s the widow’s mite. It’s the boy’s lunch of loaves and fish. It’s peanuts. But it’s the Truth, the Word of God and God has said not one of His Words will fall void. And I’m so happy to give it to Him.
Over the past few days I’ve heard a bit that people assume that this is Spam. Or that they don’t understand “Mina” and it’s confusing. Just yesterday I was trying to come up with a new name for the blog so that it would be easier for you all. One name that came to me so quickly was “His Gallant Soldier.” I even renamed my Facebook Group that I have for input and correspondence and discussion.
I asked my sisters what they thought and during the time that it took them to get back to me I’d realized something a little on the sickening side as I reread what I’d sent them. Firstly, I’d wrote, Our last name is Gallant, and secondly, we are soldiers!
Hello, pride.

Oh Jessica, don’t forget that it’s all about Him. Where’s the transparency?

I’m thankful that I got the word back to keep it as is, and in fact, this is first time I’ve mentioned the sneaky suspicion that it’s pride is so quick to surface. It didn’t take me long to return to my original name. My Mina. It was the name that first came to me before I’d even started to blog. I never second guessed it. And well I shouldn’t have.
That’s all it is. A loaned talent. And it’s to give Him glory, and give back to Him. And… the Lord is faithful. He will recompense. He is faithful not forget the labor of His servants.

The Plan II: The Day of the Lord

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It isn’t hard to see why people become infatuated with apocalyptic events and the like. Before I knew it, I was one of the, well, goodness knows how many, that had thousands of ideas and plans built up, compiled on Pinterest. I’d scoff a little at the reasons behind (I would dare to say) the great majority. Zombie apocalypse, transmitter blow up (man, can you tell I’m not entirely sure about it all?). I’d be in the less then 10% whose reason it is is the Great Tribulation was afoot. Drinking tablets that purify water, heavy-duty cookware, even ideas that a crayon can be used as a substitute candle in case of emergency. I was ready.
One thing that stood out to me during this time was the fact that technology has increased. Knowledge. Even now as I type this, it’s been four years or so since this time I speak of, and, technology and knowledge has even more increased. It’s crazy, really. I can’t keep up. And, even crazier that that also fulfills prophecy. Daniel prophesied it.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4
I’d read apocalyptic based books that had the Christians survive the Great Tribulation by burying underground or whatnot. Although I’m not quite sure and really not here to debate, I’d wager that when these books were dreamt up that infrared technology may not have existed. I was alarmed to find out that body heat can show up on various gadgets, determining whereabouts.
Where can you hide?

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Panicked I poured over my pins, over articles, until I located it.
Apparently there’s some sort of blanket or tarp that will block this infrared technology.
Definitely breathed a sigh of relief there.
But think about it for just a moment. Where can one flee? Are you going to enwrap yourself in this tarp 24/7? To me, it’s not foolproof. Maybe it would buy you a few months respite before you are inevitably located.
This past week I was finishing the book of Amos and I smiled wryly, recalling the years I spent devising my escape plan. As a prophecy teacher pointed out in similar wording, I had it all sorted out how to grow anemic, hiding away instead of being as Daniel wrote, “They that know their God will be strong and do exploits.” No anemic church described there.
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.” Daniel 11:32-33
I’m not saying it’s particularly wrong to want to save your life. I don’t think anyone daydreams about dying with a huge smile. Right?
I’ve said it before, whether in a blog or in person, I don’t recall now, but I said a lot of the time, the reason my personal devotions draws out without me planning it, is because I get thinking, daydreaming, pondering, meditating, whatever word you’d like to plug-in to finish the sentence. Sometimes I push my Bible aside, or simply lean back in the kitchen chair and stare, letting what I read spin through my mind.
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What if it were possible to completely avoid the “bad guys”? Antichrist henchmen as my sister called them once upon a time. What if it were possible that infrared or other “we’re gonna find you …” hadn’t been invented? What if the believers, or hypocritical believers were able to escape unnoticed. What if persecution stayed only in the Middle East and other high risk countries? What if? What if?
Jeremiah 23:24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord
It hit me. Fast and hard.
Psalm 139:7-12 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

“Wither can I flee from Your presence?” David wrote.
David, the sweet Psalmist. Israel’s king. The man after God’s own heart… surprisingly…amazingly… after all his screw ups. Wow, God is GOOD. So, David was God’s and he went farther on to say that wherever he went, God was with him, upholding him. Beautiful, really. However… what about those who are not God’s?
Where can I run from You?

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Boy, that changes everything! Really, it’s something that could easily be referred to as a terrifying turn of events.
You can either find comfort in it “You are always with me.”
Or terror, “I can’t flee.”
Amos 9:1-6 I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. And the Lord God of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name.

 

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I recall my dad saying so many times about how when the flood came in Noah’s day (a parallel situation, by the way, to the end of the age…) the people would clamber to the tops of the hills etc, so that they wouldn’t be carried away and drown in the waters, those that had rejected God’s offer of salvation, getting IN the ark, while in the last day when fire and brimstone fall, they will be crying out to the rocks, “Fall on us!” trying to hide from the wrath of the Lamb, all those who rejected God’s offer of salvation, getting IN Christ.
Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
Wow.

Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
I guess to sum it all up, I’d say the point I’m trying to get across is this. Fear not man who can kill the body, but fear God.
Again, I had all my plans set up. Hours pouring over “how can I stay alive”, new gadgetry and the like. My soul wasn’t a concern then.

And it comes down to this. Had I been able to survive all 7 of the final 7 years, how long could I stand before Christ?

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Man can only do so much to you. They can take your life, but that is the worst of it. Even all the torture a man can inflict is nothing in comparison to the never-dying soul’s torment of being found OUTSIDE of Christ.
Recall my blog, “In”? Oh, reader, it’s so vital!

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
All the gadgetry of the human world can’t stand. The arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own!

Christian, that doesn’t mean be petrified of God. It means utmost respect and reverence. He alone holds the keys of life and death, He alone has all power in heaven and earth. He alone is Just, Holy, and Right. He is the Lord, let Him do what He sees good.

Sinner, tread carefully. You may live as you please now, but that day will come as sure as your next breath where you will face the Lord.

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord of the Lord, we persuade men..

Who can abide in His presence?

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Joel 2:11-13 And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

 
Be found in Him, for who can abide the wrath of the Lamb?

The Plan

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Once upon a time there was a silly girl.
No, that’s too kind.
Once upon a time there was a foolish girl. She grew up under admonition not to play with fire, but as soon as she was on her own, she spurned the warning and played with fire.

It was only mercy she was not consumed.
The end.

Really, that could be the story of my life in a nutshell. I grew up in a religious home, which, might have made things more difficult. I can hear gasps. Let me explain. It’s very easy when you know about God, and Scriptures are memorized since infanthood, to think you know God, when in reality, you don’t. But because it’s so familiar, you and others are easily fooled.
What’s that line I heard, singing hymns but don’t know about Him.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
That was the story of my life.

30 years later, it’s only by the grace of God that I still can’t wrap my finite mind around that He has pulled me from the oozing, miry clay and set my feet upon His solid Rock.
Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

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Rewind to 2010. 8, well, nearly 9 years ago, I thought I knew Him. Once saved, always saved, right? Boy, I said the sinner’s prayer nearly every sunday! Surely I was His. And even though my lifestyle would call me out as being not much different then the worldly counterparts, I wasn’t afraid. Once saved, always saved. Right?

I recall dipping my big toe into the prophecies. Intrigued and bold, I poured myself in them. I psyched myself up, and as a previous blog post mentioned, I was the one pumping my fist, “BRING. IT. ON.”

Oh you silly, silly foolish girl.

Its mercy that that wasn’t when the Lord said, “Tonight thy soul is required…”

Luke 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

Over the next four or so years, I never reformed. I never sought after God. The prophecy phase still stuck with me, but I wasn’t as gungho as earlier.

It was then that I made up a plan. A lie, I suppose. Something to comfort me and soothe me.

I knew all about the final 7 years. I had everything figured out to a T. But just in case I had a plan “B”. That’s always smart.

Plan A went like this. During the first 3 1/2 years of the final 7 years I would be living in peace, false peace, of course.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

It would be during the Great Tribulation that I would make sure I was right with God. Seemed reasonable. Besides, why jump the gun and wreck the fun I was having… changing my lifestyle until the last possible moment? I couldn’t be considered a “death bed Christian”, either, since I’d still have 3 1/2 years, provided I wasn’t killed right off. So genius, I thought.

Plan B was worse. If that is even possible. Plan B had no plans for making my calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10) It was a thought, “God will see that at the moment they tell me to recant or die, when I refuse to recant, He will let me into heaven for my faithfulness.”
Foolish girl.

I had every plan in place. I had my stock pile list I would buy to survive. I had a plan to farm rabbits. I had everything detailed and ready to go. Except for the most important issues.

 

My soul.

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I’m sure you can see obvious flaws, as I can now, too. But, for the sake of time and brevity, I will focus on one blaring one, especially with the past two Bible studies we’ve had on Matthew 24 fresh on my mind.

I never thought about death.
Not the death by persecution. Regular death. Sickness. Old age. Accidental.

There is NO repentance in the grave!

On Tuesday we were told to read the last half of Matthew 24. I wasn’t hip-hip-hooray about it, as I am easily troubled, and I KNOW I shouldn’t be. As our sister said, the Lord didn’t tell us about the events and prophecies to come to frighten us, but in love, as to friends, He has told us so that we can be assured that He is coming. After all, all that is in His Word will and must come to pass.
One of the things that stood out to me was in verses 48-51.
Matthew 24:48-51 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Maybe it stood out to me because of the above. It’s how I’d lived my life for a good 5 years, minimum. With the same attitude. Well, the Lord isn’t expected to arrive until… *counts on fingers*… do you understand what I’m saying? This is wrong! This is when the Lord will come and take this wicked servant unawares. Why are they unaware? Caught off guard? They stopped living righteously. They grew weary of waiting.

And the worse part is, fellow believer, don’t assume that this is only directed towards old-me that spurned the grace of God so much. This is for us too! In the event that we become weary of well doing, we can easily slip and before you know it the love of many has waxed cold in us because iniquity is abounding. (Matthew 24:12)
My God! Keep your heart with all diligence!
You see, on top of the blaringly obvious that I never knew God personally, if I even now were to become lax and lazy and careless about my salvation, eating and drinking with the drunkards, being no different then the world with a careless attitude of, “Grace will cover,” when the Lord comes if I am living in sin, where will I go? Hell. How we live NOW will determine where we will spend eternity. Sin cannot abide in His presence.
Psalm 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.
Again, there is a massive difference between sinning through ignorance and willful sinning (grace may abound is willful sinning!). Even those sins done in ignorance must be repented for, by the way. (Psalm 139:23-24). Pray God in His mercy to show what it is, and run from it! Flee from evil!
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

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On Tuesday, they continued into the parable of the 10 virgins in the very next chapter in Matthew. Righteousness ran out of the 5 foolish virgins. When the Lord came, they were not ready. We have to live holy and righteously every day! Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

 

When that day that the Lord returns, we can’t be getting ready. It will be too late! We must be ready!
Matthew 24 STILL isn’t my favorite chapter, but as Minister said, this is given so that as we see the prophecies being fulfilled we can make sure we are living for God. Man it goes so much beyond lip-service!

My sister wrapped up Tuesday’s meeting with 2 Peter 3. Asked us to read it.

And I did.
And found this.

 

2 Peter 3:10-14 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

 

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God’s “delay” isn’t for us to live carelessly, with a grace may abound attitude. Oh, no. It’s for us to come to Him in sincere repentance.
Just like I tossed the products that can cause cancer, (see blog: A Little Lesson) we must just as quickly and sincerely shun what will hinder and damn us.
Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Proverbs 14:16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

The Joneses’ Can Have It

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I’m at a conflict. Not quite as pious as Paul was when he wrote that he was in a similar dilemma. On one hand he desired to be with the Lord, which is far better, and on the other hand he knew he wasn’t finished his job given to him by Jesus Himself. Me.. well, I long to be with Jesus. In fact just about every night before I go to bed my prayer runs by a “Lord, I long to worship before Your throne.” And then the very next moment, I forget that I am merely a pilgrim and I’m clinging on every blade of grass and trying to grasp the leaves that are scattering my lawn… also known as, I don’t want to die! I’m scared! This is my home! This is all I’ve ever known!
And I’m not quite sure if God looks upon me with disappointment or mirth.

I’m not sure if I’m just a naturally pathetically afraid person, or if I’m not alone with not getting all pumped for the end of the world. Especially when I see more and more prophecies coming to pass.
For a while I would tend to shove my head, ostrich like, into the sand, hoping that by avoiding this chapter, avoiding watching the news, la-la-la-ing when I heard anything dismal or prophetic it simply would go away.
It’s hard to believe that I can look back to 2010 (amazing how I remember the exact year) and remember a much younger version of myself ra-ra-ing the end of the age. “BRING IT ON.”
1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
I pray against the love of the world. It’s passing, Jess, it’s passing. Why hold on so tight? In fact, one of my favorite missionaries, Hudson Taylor, penned, “Live loosely.”
He was a smart man.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

 

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It’s funny what lengths we go to to keep up with the Joneses’ or accumulate even without competition. We nearly sell our souls to our jobs. Yes, I’m well aware that prices have gone up dramatically, trust me, I nearly keeled over when I saw the 5 pack of chicken breasts at Walmart have increased from $10 to $11.
I’m not saying we don’t need to work, in fact God created mankind with a job. Adam’s first job was naming the animals. No time for sloth. But, I’m afraid we sell ourselves out for what’s perishing.

 

Matthew 6:19-20 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Verses like “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world but lose his soul?” spring to mind rapidly.

 

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

 
I guess I should point out that it’s not only those who are trying desperately to climb the ladder, get ahead, accumulate, what have you that are in danger of forgetting there is something so much more important, but also for people like me who can let the little foxes spoil the vines.

What do I mean?

For me, it’s all too easy to live my life as follows. I’m a direct seller. I need to be online, posting, trying to drum up business. And that can become all-consuming as is, where every moment I have essential ois on the brain. It often, for me, doesn’t stop at that. Selling, working… isn’t inherently evil, don’t get me wrong. But before I know it I’ve lost several hours scrolling through feeds, since I’m obliged to be online anyway. And that’s disconcerting for me since more than once now, even after severe repentance and even a stern reprimand from God Himself, I have “just a few more minutes, Lord.” What we place before Him, even if not particularly intentional becomes our idol. Our god.
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Psalm 81:9 There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

 

The Lord doesn’t look lightly upon this.
I recall minister pointing out something a few Sundays ago. I’m so thankful and blessed to have a man of God that doesn’t preach fluff. He said that we are given six days to work, to “live”, to do our own business, and we have one day to refresh, to be before God, to give all of ourselves to Him and it seems to be an issue? What’s wrong with us?
Exodus 34:21 Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.

 

I think had he preached this a few weeks, or even a few months prior I would have stuck my self-righteous nose in the air and mumbled to myself, at least I don’t work on Sundays. At all. If at all possible I let everything pile for Monday. I don’t post business posts on Sundays. It is the Lord’s day, I’ve known this from my youth.
Man, where’ve I read something similar like that before?
Mark 10:17,19-24 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

 

Go and sell all you have.
But I have nothing to sell.
Oh, wait, I get it.
The fact isn’t so much that I don’t do anything work-y on Sundays as that I’m splitting half the day for God and half for me. For pleasure! And that can be a huge problem. After all, don’t I whine that I’m tired of sitting for so many hours, but I have no issue sitting for hours after the fact browsing the internet?
Oh, oh, strong rebuke!
And it was exactly when the Lord wanted me to hear it.
Nothing, absolutely nothing can take God’s place in our lives. Yes, we’re busy, but if we don’t have time for God, we had better take a step back and check to see if we’re not on the downward spiral of backsliding.
Backsliding isn’t always sudden. You don’t wake up one day not feeling like praying and the next day you’re dancing on the bar. It’s a slow slope, but a slope indeed.
Guard your heart.
Proverbs 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Minister concluded with this, and I will too. “Can’t go to church? Quit your job. God will provide. It’s better to have bills then to lose your soul.”
What’s that song?
“You are God, You hold the whole world in Your hands.”
He is the possessor, the creator of heaven and earth. The cattle on a thousand hills are His. He will provide. But we must honor Him with our firstfruits.
Proverbs 3:9 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Genesis 14:18-19 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:

A Little Lesson

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Yesterday I was alarmed to find out a product I use daily can potentially cause cancer, and a myriad of health problems. More distressed then I can tell you, as I was selling said product. I told my husband about it today and he said he doesn’t believe it, and I’m sure that there are many who would argue the fact so, due to that I won’t bother mentioning any companies,but leave it as paraffin wax, candles and the like can emit dangerous chemicals and are best avoided, or swapped even for natural products such as beeswax
I instantly ravaged my house yanking out full-sized product, scraps and samples I had “hidden from sight” (my prefered method of cleaning, apparently). I didn’t second guess my decision. I had spent a good hour before this confirming that this product (two different companies) DID contain even trace amounts of toxins. with that confirmation it was nothing for me to begin throwing away these potential health hazards. Cancer runs rampant through both my and my husband’s side of the family. People have been “Dropping like flies” and I’ll be danged if I keep this in my home! Money, and a lot of it is out the door along with the products. Besides a twinge of remorse, that was the worst of it. I hate wasting money. I hate wasting food. I hate wasting.
As I was sorting through the chemical laden items, a thought passed over me. I never thought to delay, to debate, to cry, to make a scene to get rid of things that may hurt my health. Am I the same when it comes to things that will destroy my soul? Lead me back to bondage? Hinder me in my walk with God? Am I willing and as quick to part with things that could lead me to the lake of fire?
“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,…” Hebrews 12:1

Sobering.
Truth.
I paused to dwell upon this and I felt in my soul this was God speaking to me. His voice is the “weirdest”. It, to me, is stern love. Loving rebuke. It’s something I can’t describe really. But I just know.
Trust me, I’m too much a sinner to think of these things on my own.
I pondered how quick I was to chuck things into bags and get rid of them. I remember the Scripture that said we are to do the same with sin. Put it away from us with all hatred. Abhor that which is evil.
“Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9(B)
It kind of just sobered me. And I think it was worth sharing.
Maybe that’s why God inspired so many verses along the lines of this. After all, all Scriptures is given by inspiration of God and is useful for reproof, correction and instruction, right?

“Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 23. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” Proverbs 4:15,23,27

Some Have Compassion

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I was reading in 1 Samuel chapter 15 on Friday. It was the chapter that contained the all-familiar verses “To obey is better then sacrifice” and, of course, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” I noted a few things I never have before.
Before I go into the main context of what I’m blogging for I thought it was rather interesting, rather, frightening, the extent to which God thinks of sins that are familiar or “not a big deal” to us.
Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.
Stubbornness as idolatry.

Witchcraft and idolatry both are heinous sins in the eyes of God. So much so that the entire Bible finishes with that those that practice these things will have a part in the lake of fire that burns forever and ever, where the worm dies not…

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

My God!
Heinous sins! A slap in the face of the Almighty who has said over and over that He is God alone, His glory He will share with none!

“Yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”Hosea 13:4

If God considers rebellion and stubbornness as seriously as those sins that are going to hell, how dare we consider them any lighter?

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

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What scares me is that, yes, I was a teenager too, in fact, I’m mom to two pre-teens. I am aware and familiar with the “teenage phase”. But how is it so belittled what is so grotesque in God’s eyes? Pardon my own transgressions Lord. All sin is sin in God’s eyes. No sin to Him is greater than another. Let it be so to us too!

But I continue. I intend on pointing to another thing from this chapter that, well, pretty near broke my heart and convicted me terribly. I’ve had people point out that I am too sensitive, overly emotional, but in all honesty, I am thankful God has softened me to the point of being a “crybaby” so that I am more sensitive to His voice, corrections and “visions of rapture”, as the song-writer said.

I am also thankful that I am either blessed, or cursed, with a vivid imagination. If nothing else, it helps me envision, and feel “in” the story, it helps me picture much better then just monotonously reading. I do not claim that my imagination is true, as some things in Scripture aren’t clear, or told, but in this case, I will go ahead.

The Lord had told Samuel that it was wicked for the children of Israel to ask for a king, since He was their King, and more than powerful and merciful enough to be their God and Savior. Yet, He complied and told Samuel it was Saul who would become their king. Samuel was faithful to relate to the people that they had done wickedly, and obliged them and God in anointing Saul. I think over time Samuel became affectionate toward Saul, maybe he taught him about God, maybe he gave him advice. Maybe he took the man under his wing. I don’t know, but I know that Saul broke Samuel’s heart. (1 Samuel 11,12)

God told Saul to fight against the enemies of Israel, and to spare none as they had done so wickedly against the Lord and HIs people. He was to spare neither human or animal. (1 Samuel 15) To quote Eli, “It is the Lord, let Him do what He sees right.” (1 Samuel 3:18) Fact of the matter is, whether our flesh wants to admit it or not, HE IS GOD and EVERYTHING He does, whether we understand completely or not, is just and holy. God is such a merciful God, it still blows my mind. Over and over He extends mercy and forgiveness and over and over He is spurned, even today. It is just of God to pull His Spirit. He is altogether perfect and holy, in ALL His doings.

Saul had other ideas. He and his men not only saved the king, but also the choice goods, animals and else.

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God is not mocked. Nothing is hid from His knowledge. So He tells Samuel, who hurries to Saul to rebuke.

And Saul turns into Adam… In excuses, that is. “The people did it!”

I’m actually curious if I’m the only one when reading the Word shakes my head in earnest and throws up my hands in frustration. “Are you serious, Saul?!”

The fact is, though, that there is no such thing as the blame game with God. He knows man’s deeds, man’s words, man’s heart, man’s thoughts, man’s motives.
NOTHING is hid from Him.

I was also confounded by how many times he referred to God as “your God”. Hmmm. Maybe it’s just me.

And also confounded how it seemed Saul just wanted pardon to save face. Especially before the people. If I “read between the lines” I can almost point out a “Don’t embarrass me!” in 1 Samuel 15:30.

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Oh Samuel! I think if it had been me I would have been the one wagging my finger, turning around to everyone, “Told you so! Told you so!” Or worse… “You made your bed, lie in it.”

In all honesty I was surprised to find the chapter summarized as, Samuel mourned after Saul.

I speak to myself. I don’t know how many times I have felt “godly anger” that might have begun “righteously” but ended up in sin. The cross-leg approach. Well, can’t help some people. They want to sin, let em sin. Nothing I can do about it.
When I reach down into my reservoir of shame I pull out my husband. I lost count of how many times I told my family, “Even God said to *so and so* (did I mention my mind is going?) ‘Pray not for these people’.” I was nearly as expert at quoting, “Shake the dust off your feet…”
Oh man.

It was Friday I realized there’s a delicate line.

Firstly, we are right to expose unfruitful works of darkness. We are to judge righteous judgment. If we see something not in line with God’s word, we have to speak out. So many have been influenced or compromise by twisted Scriptures, and false doctrines. Deception is rampant. I believe I’ve mentioned that a few times, and will likely continue to do so.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11
“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24

A recent example would be that I found on Facebook a post by a music company that has a Christian channel that posted that a certain worldly singer was basically turning Christian because she used the word “Jesus” in a song. (Something along that line). The Christian world (at least those that were online at that given moment) blew up the post with “Likes” and “Amen’s”. I was, on the other hand, flabbergasted. And have every right. Because not all that say they are Israel, are Israel. Just because someone calls themselves Christian, just because someone uses the Name of Jesus in a song, or in a book, does not make them saved. It’s by their fruits you will know them. Deception is rampant!

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It is wise to point out this folly. It’s a horrid thing when someone in influence causes others to stumble. We must be a holy and separated people. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord!
But we can’t stop there. We should seek to restore people to fellowship. We must point them back to Christ. In Christ there is mercy to restore!

I just feel the need to point that this above point is not for us to become like them. To dress as they dress and speak as they speak. If we as the Church are become as the world with the guise of “reaching them”, how is this righteous living? It doesn’t work.
” Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Galatians 6:1-3
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” Romans 12:3,10

Which brings me back to Samuel. I noticed something else. He didn’t gloat over him. He didn’t laugh and look down on his weakness. He didn’t mock his stumbling.

Where’s our excuse?

 

Saul adamantly rejected the command of God, a clear order, and yet godly Samuel still grieved over him.
Which brings me to my next point.

Our prayer lives.

Believe me, I am aware that there are gifts given to all of us, and God is the Giver. I know. I know some have the gift of prayer and intercession. Some people can earnestly pour their hearts out to God and it takes them hours in their prayer closets. And some can only say “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!”

The time amount of our prayers isn’t what matters, it’s the sincerity.

But since when is it ok to be so selfish? I look at Samuel, I look at the finale of the chapter. Samuel cried out all night to God for Saul. He… well, who was first, and possibly last (I told you my mind… right?) to sincerely intercede and stand in the gap? I’m thinking Abraham for Sodom and Gomorrah. Which blows my mind because of the wickedness of that city! How can you pray for such sick people, Abe? But he did! That’s the heart and mind of Christ, I believe. The burden for souls. God is not willing that any should perish. Where is our crying out for the lost, no matter how wicked?
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 20-23

Again, I speak to myself. Why do I grow so weary and tired of interceding? It’s a sobering, convicting thought, especially when I think that 80% of my prayer list is my FAMILY. What about our nation? What about our government? Our missionaries? The persecuted?

 

Lord, give us a burden to pray! Give me… Give ME the burden to pray. And faith that can move mountains to KNOW You are able.
And give me a glimpse of eternity. Give me a heart of eternity. Press eternity upon me.

Have we used the word “hell” so many times in day to day conversations that it becomes something trivial to us now? Lord, forbid.

Jesus spoke more on hell then heaven. Not because He was morbid, but because it’s a real place.

Hell was only ever created for the devil and his angels but because men CHOOSE to continue in sin, it is just of God to render judgment. Never for one minute think that the Holy One of Israel is unfair!

If we spent time pondering what we know about hell from God’s word, I think that would stir up more desire to pray.

God, I don’t want ANYONE going there, much less my own family!

I realize this is most likely my lengthiest blog yet. Sometimes it’s hard to get a point across within a certain word limit. I will stop here…
Over the weekend I read through what my commentary had to offer as insights as to this chapter and let my eyes skip ahead to the next.

 

Isn’t that just like God?

 

When it feels like our hearts are ripped out of our chests, when it feels like the burden is too heavy, when it feels like we can’t bear it anymore… He’s right there.
I’ll read it tomorrow, but it just so happens that this next chapter is the one where God tells Samuel to go looking for Israel’s next king. Which just so happens to be David, the man after God’s own heart.

And Samuel’s, too, I’d reckon.