All posts by Darlene's Ponderings

Hello, I am Darlene. My sweet husband and I have been happily married for almost 43 years and counting as I write this. We have three wonderful children. Between them, we have 12 grandchildren, counting one step-grands. And we have three great-grands (one blood born). I have long been a writer and author for God. A Christian for over 50 years, I love the study of His word and love to write out what He teaches me in our times together and to share His ways with others. Though I have been published in magazines, I believe the new frontier is the WW Web, having potential to reach the world long past my days on earth. That is where I sense God's call for my publications. Thus begins Darlene's Ponderings, as I seek to share with you thoughts from Scripture and from life in the hope of helping other God-seekers through Jesus Christ to know and live for Him with greater strength of character, hope and faith.

Conscience Tells

“I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.” The Apostle Paul

As far as the Jewish understanding of law in their day, Paul stood condemned. But Paul knew He was following God in all his decisions that led to this day in his life. He was working to bring in a new covenant, according to God’s will. Though the people did not understand and deemed him guilty, his conscience was clear.

This is the litmus test of our paths, for there is no condemnation in Christ. It doesn’t matter what others judge of us as long as God gives peace and assurance to our heart’s righteousness before Him. He leads to righteous paths. He tests hearts and minds. Seek Him. Follow Him. Hear Him. Obey Him. Walk in peace unscathed by the turmoil around us.

Be BLESSed, Beloved.

(Acts 23:1; Rom. 7:14-8:1)

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 3: that I may know God’s repose.

“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His…”. (Hebrews 4:1-10)

To date we discussed Gods call for us to be still, cease striving, let go and let God be God. We do that through obedience that leads us into God’s rest, where we find Him waiting, ready, and able to empower our ability to obey. In His rest, we find rest – stillness.

In my study on this topic, God showed me something that took me deeper in understanding His rest and it’s provision for us. Before looking at that, let’s lay some groundwork, turning to where God’s rest is first revealed to us.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 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. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” — Genesis 1:1, 31, 2:1-3

Rest here has the same meaning. God stilled Himself, ceased all striving, and took time to enjoy the good of His labor.

One thing that has always struck me in the Genesis story is God’s enjoyment of the good. We see it at the end of each day, as He surveys the day’s accomplishments and sees it is good. He does that every day except day two. When He created the expanse to separate the waters, putting some below and some above the expanse, He did not note it’s goodness.

I asked God the first time I truly noticed that change of pattern why that was. The understanding He inspired in me is this: the God, who knows the beginning from the end, was brought to sadness in the moment of creating the separation between like-waters, because He knew the people He would create in His likeness would be separated from Him by the great chasm of sin sickness.

God does not like being separated from us and, in that moment of sadness, could not call it good. However, by the end of the sixth day, when all was finished and in play for His eternal purpose, surveying the work accomplished from beginning to end, He said to Himself, “It is ALL good.”

We enter His rest with Him best when we can trust God, who knows the beginning from the end, and we say with Him, “It is all good.” He has a purpose and a plan that He is working, and all we survey is playing into the completion of all things good and wonderful. The best we can do is our best to follow His will and do it. When we are sure we have done that, the expanse is bridged by obedience and we enter His rest assured of His faithfulness. In that place of rest, we are one with Him: which leads to the thing God showed me that I pray I can rightly and truly express to you. Read it with me.

“‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord, ‘Or what place is there for My REPOSE? Was it not My hand which made all these things?’” – Acts 7:49-50 NASB

I noticed this scripture because it was in the list of NT verses using the same word that is translated “rest”, listed in Part 2 of this series. God is saying that man cannot make for Him a place where He can cease striving, be still, and rest. Or, as Jesus put it, He has no pillow on which to lay His head and find His rest – His Repose: a putting to rest, causing to cease. (Matthew 8:20)

Here is the thing I understood as I considered all of this. We cannot make a place good enough, big enough, sufficient enough for God’s repose, BUT HE DID. He sent His Son, Jesus, to bridge the gap and fill the expanse that separates us from His likeness. And through Jesus, He gave us His Spirit to empower our obedience, so that we may be as He is, those created in His likeness. As we walk in His provision for us, we enter His Rest and He makes us to be His Temple – the place for His repose.

As we rest in Him, He finds the place for His grace to fulfill it’s purpose. His power is perfected as it finds in us the place His power is intended to work. His power is perfected in bringing strength that transforms our weakness. When we reach the place of abiding there with Him, we are made one with Him, in whom we rest, thus giving Him a resting place: a place for His repose.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; …” because He is my rest, my ability to cease striving and find stillness in the midst of the storms ravaging this world. (Psalms 23:1-6 NASB)

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS ”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.” Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” – Hebrews 4:1-10 NASB

The election that started me on this journey is done. I sought God and voted according to His will as He instructed me. My work in it is done. Now, I enter His rest with Him and wait to see what comes. He who knows the beginning from the end will not fail His purpose. It is finished. Repose.

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 2: that I may know God’s resting place.

As I shared in the first part of this series, concern over the presidential election led to God’s instruction for me to be still and know God. Be still, cease striving, let go and let God be God. I know He is the one who lifts up one and brings down another for His purposes.

Though many feel the election is being stolen, scripture assures us that no one can thwart God’s purpose. He is on His throne and He has not surrendered that authority to another. I know and believe this true. So, though I grieve the direction this election appears to be going as I write this post, I do not have to let grief rob my rest and destroy peace in me. Nor must I surrender faith in God to fulfill His purpose, giving self over to fear of things I see.

We ended Part 1 with a verse from the New Testament book of Hebrews: “For we who have believed enter that rest…” (chapter 4:3). “Rest” in the Hebrews passages we will look at today means “a putting to rest, causing to cease”. Those who succeed in entering God’s rest through believing trust in Him find the power in Him that puts them in the place of being rested, ceasing the peace disturbing thoughts and emotional upheaval of doubt and fear. That said, let’s look at this author’s warning to the Hebrews, and through them, to us.

“And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His REST, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” – Hebrews 3:18-19 NASB

Hebrews 3:18-19 warns that unbelief leads to disobedience that blocks our ability to enter God’s rest. In God’s instruction for me to “Be Still”, I immediately recognized that as a call to think on the things I believe true of God. Doing so was my act of obedience spurred by all I believe true of God in these days. God was faithful to respond to my obedience in taking every thought captive by putting me in the place of rest, ceasing the peace disturbing thoughts and emotional upheaval of doubt and fear within me. Whatever comes of this election, I can trust God’s purpose and plan, and I can know that He will be with me as we walk through life together in whatever life brings in the days to come.

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. … For we who have believed enter that rest…. FOR THE ONE WHO HAS ENTERED HIS REST HAS HIMSELF ALSO RESTED FROM HIS WORKS, AS GOD DID FROM HIS. …” ‭‭- Hebrews‬ ‭4:1, 3, 5, 10-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬ (More on this in Part 3).

Obedience spurred by faith causes us to enter God’s rest, where He takes over by putting our fears to rest, causing them to cease, thus making our work of faith easier.

God Told Me, “Be Still”

Part 1: that I may know God.

“Coastlands, listen to Me in silence, And let the peoples gain new strength; Let them come forward, then let them speak; Let us come together for judgment.” – Isaiah‬ ‭41:1‬ ‭NASB

God used this verse last evening to instruct my heart to “be still and know Him” so my strength may be renewed.

The noise of a hotly contested election entering my thoughts, mind, and heart had me flustered and distressed with everyone else. This instruction is vital to any hotly contested issue. We cannot reach peace and unity until we listen: to one another, yes; but, more importantly, to God’s opinion, His judgment, His instruction. That, of course, took me to:

“Be still, (cease striving), let be and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭AMPC‬‬ (NASB)

The purpose given in Psalm 46:10 for stillness is to know God. We cannot please Him or rightly represent His interests on earth when our hearts and minds are so caught up in the noise that we can’t hear Him, so as to know Him. Being still enough to hear God through the noise means we must deliberately cease striving for our own understanding and desires long enough to discern and know Him, how he would have us respond.

I have this cool Bible app one of my sweet granddaughters put me onto, The Literal Word app. It links each word to it’s original language from the New American Standard version of scripture. In it, two defining parameters of this stillness catch my attention. One is to be quiet. We must still our thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, anger, fear, etc., so we can hear God and others to truly know them.

The second word is “sink”. As I considered that, my mind went to movies where someone has fainted or been knocked unconscious, or incapacitated in some way requiring another to carry them. You know the best, most trusting actors by the way they sink into the arms of the one carrying them. They give their entire weight to the part: arms, legs, and head limp and bobbing with every move.

That’s what God wants me to do right now: to trust Him enough to sink my entire being into His capable arms and let Him bear me up to carry me through these days.

How about you, Love? If we are to truly hear God so as to know Him that we might rightly and truly represent Him, thus exalting Him, we must trust all we are and all around us to Him.

That doesn’t mean we never say or do anything in response to the noise. It means we speak and do, think and pray, out of this position of complete trust in God, rested with full assurance in Him, in this place that enables right and true hearing, and that stands us on the firm foundation in strength and power.

“For we who have believed enter that rest, …” – Hebrews‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NASB

The Right of Choice

I am anti-abortion and pro-life. I vote for life, because I cannot be a part of killing babies. However, I am also pro-choice, because choice is God ordained.

God’s words of instruction through His servant, Moses, tells the hearer to choose “life or death; blessing or curse; good or evil; prosperity or adversity” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). And through Joshua, we are advised to choose whom we will serve, whether God as Lord, or the gods of the land – those of the world around us (Joshua 24:15).

Those who choose The Lord God follow in His ways, choosing life, blessing, good, and prosperity. Denying His Lordship chooses the ways of the world to walk in death, curse, evil, and adversity. The greatest good of humankind is as filthy rags to a Holy God. The scale of good and evil is God’s scale, not man’s, thus the need to choose God or not god.

We cannot remove choice from people. It is their God given right to choose whom they will serve. Our responsibility as choosers of God is, not to remove choice, but to give people the information needed for wise and discerning choices. Let them know their options and how each leads to life and blessing, or death’s curse.

Listen to the Voice of the Lord

“Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the LORD our God to whom we are sending you, so that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the LORD our God.” ~ Jeremiah‬ ‭42:6‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

The message throughout Jeremiah essentially says that, if the people will surrender to the Babylonians and go willingly into the captivity God was sending them into, that He would be with them to provide a good life, see to their welfare, and bring them safely out at the end of their days of punishment. He warned the king to not fight God in this. The king refused to listen, went into captivity by force, and the last thing he saw before Nebuchadnezzar took his eyes was the death of all he loved. His days in captivity were harsh. In contrast, the prophet Daniel is one of the royal family who went willingly into God’s will and experienced His protection throughout his days.

The question is, were we in that situation, which would we choose? I have a friend that God instructed me to give this warning to. Following the instructions received through the reading of Jeremiah, he was told to admit his guilt to the courts, as he had done to me, take the deal they offered, and he would have God’s protection and his prison stay would be shortened. He refused to listen, fearing that his family would hate him. That was years ago. He is still in his forced captivity today, and his suffering is great.

Are we willing for God’s will, whether pleasant or unpleasant? Decide now, and stay the course. The first decision we must make is to believe all the scriptures teach about Jesus, the Christ, receive His sacrificial gift as our own, and lay our lives at His feet for His use in our days. Have you done that, Beloved? Today is the day of salvation, for we are not promised another. Your next breath could be the last.

None of us has assurance that we will live beyond our now. So, choose now: Jesus or not; life or death; blessing or curse; good or evil; prosperity or adversity. Choose Jesus, that you may have life, and have it abundantly despite the challenges of our days.

Dwell on The Land

I think I will camp here today.

Today, as I read the words “‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and DWELL ON THE LAND which the LORD has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever”, a question arose in me, followed immediately by its answer. The Spirit said, “What is the Land the Lord gives us? He, God Himself, is the Land on which we stand; The Solid Rock immovable.” Stand firm, Beloved.

Jeremiah‬ ‭25:2-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Bless the Lord Written 10/2/18

BLESS The Lord

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” (Psalms‬ ‭103:1-2, 20-22‬ ‭NASB‬‬ )

BLESSed: Happy, fortunate, to be envied, that’s the way the Amplified Bible (Classic version) defines “blessed”. When scripture calls us to “bless the Lord”, it is telling us to be one in whom He finds happiness, joy, rejoicing. To be one that takes part in His sense of being fortunate. To be a cause for His being envied. Here, in these verses that tell us to bless The Lord, we find instruction on ways we do that.

First, in verse one above, we see that BLESSing God requires all our soul. By way of reminder from previous posts of late, our soul includes our mind – the way we think, the thoughts we hold to; our will – the choices we make, our stubborn resolve; and our emotions – the full gamut of them. All that we are, leaning into God with full commitment to Him, desiring to bless our Holy Father.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits” (vs. 2).

We bless our God when all that we are remembers all His benefits, being rightly influenced by all we know and trust of Him. This blessing from our soul remembers all He has done for us as expressed throughout scripture; it believes and trusts all He does to and through us in our here and now lives as promised to those who serve Him; and it endures to the finish out of faith in His promises for our future / eternity.

“Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!” (Vs. 20)

We bless the Lord when we believe His Word, receive His Word, and act upon it in wholehearted agreement with God.

“Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will” (Vs. 21).

We bless the Lord when, out of wholehearted love for Him, we choose the life of a bondservant, constantly ready, willing, and able to do His will, out of wholehearted trust in Him, who equips and makes us able. We do His will despite personal hardship, sacrifice, or loss. We give all for Him, who gave all for us.

“Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

We bless the Lord as we recognize ourselves as a work of His hand, being wholly “confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NASB‬‬). He is blessed when we remember that we are the works of His hands and we surrender to His work in and through us through all places, seasons, times, and epochs.

We are a work in progress, Beloved, and He’s not finished with us yet. So set yourself on the eternal and keep set, knowing God’s perfecting work draws you closer to completion day by day. We do this realizing that His work in and through us reveals Him to others, making us a light to the path of those seeking to find and know Him.

“All things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:15-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Rejoice Always

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Finding things to pray about is not hard. There is always something going on in us, through us, or around us to ask God to tend. Finding things to pray about is easy. It only requires us to open our eyes.

Rejoicing always? Giving thanks in all things? That appears way harder than it is because our eyes are too readily opened to and focused on the need. Rejoicing always, with thankfulness in all things, requires us to make our eyes glance at the problem, then focus on the Lord, and, with that focus, to OPEN OUR HEARTS.

We open our hearts to God, so we may know how great He is and how He loves us. We open our hearts with faith that trusts His faithfulness and His purposes. We open our hearts to the greatness of His name – expressive of His character, His nature,M; to the assurance of His truth, and the power of His word. When our eyes focus on these things with open hearts to our God and His grace sufficient for us, rejoicing with thanksgiving in the midst of EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE is easy.

Look up, Beloved, and open wide to Him who loves you, knowing that He truly cares for you personally, affectionately, and watchfully. Now, REJOICE!

Feasting on Jesus

“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” — John 6:57-58

“Eat” here can also be translated “gnaw”. To truly learn of Jesus and feast on Him in nourishing, life giving ways, we must be like a dog with a coveted bone. This “eating” requires persistence, focus, time, and energy. Chewing on Jesus is to meditate on who He is and what His being means for our living. We gnaw on the truth of His being until we get something to chew on that is digestible; and we make that part of who we are.

In Matthew 11, AMPC, Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” (Matthew‬ ‭11:29-30‬ ‭AMPC‬‬)

This describes feasting on Jesus as a benefit to life. Note that the benefit is such that, when we grasp it into our lives, Jesus becomes a bone to tempt others to covet Him for themselves. They, too, desire the benefit of chewing on Jesus. The exciting thing about our Jesus bone is that we can give Him away to others without losing our own. Make Jesus an appealing truth to gnaw on.

That said, this month on Ponderings (FB) is a call to apply the truths shared as prayer thought for schools: teachers, students, staff, and parents, wherever possible. As I write about gnawing on Jesus, I recognize that all learning requires gnawing on the subject matter. I pray that teachers can so love the subjects they teach, that they can cause it to be a bone so appealing, that the students will desire to gnaw on it too. And may one of the bones found in our schools be Jesus.

The Vital Need of the Rod of Discipline

“Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭23:13-14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The word “rod” used here is an “offshoot”: a twig. My Aunt says it should be 6-8 inches long, no bigger around than your pinky finger. It is used on small children who have no concept of time and need immediate consequences; and is meant only to sting. As the child gets older, parents often graduate to wooden spoons. The rod grows with the child until the method of discipline changes to meet the child’s way of learning.

The point is, the rod is not a bat or something big enough to do mortal harm. It is strictly for discipline and training, and is vital for life worth living. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become (Proverbs 13:24).

Another meaning for “rod” here is “authority“. I know many today who just want to be their child’s friend. A friend does not have the authority of a parent. They are equals, piers. They can influence, but have no real authority, so such parents wonder why, when the chips are down, their children do not possess respect for their parental role.

Training children to respect our authority as parents influences their respect for all other authority figures, even their ability to bow to God’s authority. Children need parents to be parents. Those who spare the rod, hate their child, showing lack of care for the type of person they become.

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” ~ ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Ending Mirth

“Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth is heaviness and grief.” ~ Proverbs‬ ‭14:13‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

Mirth = gladness, merriment, laughter, joy.

Have you ever had a time when you excitedly anticipated something that didn’t happen? You expected someone to do something that they didn’t do? Sometimes we set ourselves up for sorrow and sadness. Some things we may hope from others, things we believe they will do, become an overblown expectation. Unfulfilled and grieved, it brings an end to joy. In those times, if we focus on that or make sure the person knows how they failed us, we bring sorrow to the day, even ruining the good memories made.

Thinking ahead to how things may go can help us be prepared for various situations, but we can’t rely on that. Seeking the Lord’s control and provision, even of right and good communication, is vital to protecting relationships and preserving memorable, joy-filled encounters.

Father, I pray You, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable and honoring of You. Grant us life giving, joy producing, memories filled with love. In Jesus, amen.

The River’s Streams

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” – Psalms‬ ‭46:4-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As I read this in preparation to post it, I saw us – the people – as the river that flows through the dwelling place of God. We flow in and out, primed with the Presence of Him who is ever in the midst of us. Flowing with and trough our lives, He touches all we touch and feeds all we flow through.

Of course the Psalmist is speaking of Israel and Jerusalem. But in this vision, we, the dwelling place of God, indwelling Him, are the streams of the river, fed by God. God, in us, is faithful to help us every morning to be His springs of life on the earth. Let Him help you as you head into this day. A spring is only as deep as the river feeding into it. Feast on God and have a BLESSed day.

That’s worth repeating!

“O Lord, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing Your enemies and all who oppose You.” Psalms‬ ‭8:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you see it? Did your heart thrill? Like mine!

Look at the victory given to us here, through this truth about God’s victory that forms a weapon given our mouths. As we “tell of Your strength,” we silence “Your enemies and all who oppose You.”

God’s enemy attacks Him through his assault against God’s people and our faith to believe and trust Him. When we STAND, stubbornly set to trust God’s strength, speaking that believing faith from hearts set on Him, we enter His victory!

Praise the Lord!

Red and Yellow, Black and White! Precious.

All the racist reports of late truly rial me. Stuff like the subject matter of this report causes me to ask who the true racist is? The one pointed at as being racist? Or the one pointing the finger? Top that with raising the blame card at any one race while ignoring each person’s responsibility, no matter the color is socially irresponsible, adding fuel to a fire that’s already out of control.

You know, I believe all any of us want is to be treated fairly, righteously, with respect, and equitably, as people of worth and value. Two examples from my younger years come to mind.

One involves a black man my daddy worked with. No disrespect intended in the use of the word “black”. It’s what we grew up calling one another, black and white; and I was raised to do so, not in disrespect, but as a distinguishing characteristic. We’re still called “white” today. Black, white, brown, red, etc, is fair and equitable.

Anyway, back to my dad’s friend and co-worker, Mr. Benny (given name, not sir-name) was a fellow mechanic in the same shop. He was such a nice, smart, and caring man, and daddy called him “friend”. He still gets credit today for helping my daddy quit smoking. He is a beloved man from our past.

He told daddy one day in some conversation they had, “Just call me niger. It’s what I am and have always been called. It doesn’t bother me.” Daddy balked, “I’ll call you a black man or a negro – which means black, but a niger is a worthless person; and, Benny, that’s not you.”

I am acquainted with numerous black people. Not one of those are a niger. But I know numerous white nigers that I will not run with. Worthless people can come in all colors. I was taught that being a worthless person is a choice we make in the way we live life and the person we want to be. Choose better.

The second memorable occasion happened when I was a young divorcée, working a night job at a local mini-mart. A nice looking black man came to the counter to pay out and struck up a conversation. He shortly asked me out. When I declined, he said, “What? Are you racist? Too good for me?” My facial expression was obviously shocked in a way that put a surprised expression on his face. I never thought such a thing. I replied strongly, “No. it’s just my choice to not mix. I’m simply not interested. Besides, I have a boyfriend and am not in the market.” He then looked pleasantly stunned at the straight forward honesty, and replied, “Well, ok. I can respect that.” That was that. No problem. No trouble when he came in. No trouble with others.

Today I am aunt to three, beautiful nieces, a nephew, and several great nieces and nephews that are black-white mix. They are beautiful people who add strength to our society. And they are greatly loved by my husband and me. I also have a granddaughter who is seriously dating a young black man. I haven’t met him personally yet, but I am told he is a Christian man of great worth, making a good life for himself, and for Savannah, if their relationship continues to flourish.

I am extremely upset with all the racist horror going on in our nation today. Those who are working with honest hearts of integrity to make a better world for our babies, I stand with you. But those using this situation for evil means and destruction, that is worthless behavior. And it’s not just blacks out there. I’ve seen a lot of whites in the mix as well. Racism and the rainbows of colors that could be deemed as a niger is a heart issue. Many pointing fingers reveal the truth of their own hearts. And programs that only serve to bring further separation and produce hate should be outlawed.

All on my friend lists, I know as people of worth. Knowing each makes me a better person by their influence. I am happy to work together for a stronger nation. Red and yellow, black and white, I love you!

Speak to the Mountain

“Truly I say to you, whoever

SAYS TO THIS MOUNTAIN,

‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” – Mark‬ ‭11:23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

When God gives us a Word against a mountain in our lives, 1. We must trust The Word; 2. We must receive The Word as a gift to possess; 3. We must speak that Word TO THE MOUNTAIN from ever growing faith.

From personal experience, I can tell you that, when God gives us a Word of promise or instruction concerning some issue in life that looms over us like a mountain, that Word is a seed, planted. Each time that mountain pops up to grab our focus, but our hearts turn in faith to the seed of God’s Word to us, speaking it against the mountain is like rain to our souls, nourishing and growing those seeds. The stronger that seed grows within us, the more powerful our voice of authority in Christ. Before we know it, that mountain sinks to the bottom of the sea as pulverized dust, never to rise again.

Grasp hold of God’s Word to you, Beloved, and speak it out with the power of assurance in Christ. Have a BLESSed and glory-filled day.

God-watched Path

“The Lord watches over the path of the godly.” – Psalms‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The godly seek the Lord, desiring His will and way above all; desiring His very nature, His character to shine through their lives to the glory of His name. The godly seek the Lord and His righteousness first and foremost, to walk in it. Those who seek God with wholehearted fervor, find Him faithful. And His faithful love watches every step with care and affection, directing their path and protecting each footfall. Those who trust the God-watched path, find the path of peace.

Trust the Lord with each step in your day, Beloved, for your walk of faith pleases God. Have a BLESSed, glory-filled day.

The Vital Materials of Healthy Boundaries

In these strange times, we need to be people with “healthy boundaries – to have the proper wall and gates in place so as to keep the good things in and the bad things out.” Unknown

Not an exact quote, but adjusted from a reading I’ll link below, it is a desperately needed thought for me today. Father has been inspiring in me the past several days concerning the truth that I have lost focus.

The unbelievable chaos and upheaval and uncertainty of our days have grabbed my thoughts and broke down some vital walls. As a result, conspiracy theories, contradictory information, false reports, and the chaos of riots flowing too readily into my living room have me reacting out of confused flesh. God is telling me that, despite all these things, my focus as His child, His ambassador to this area in which I live, is unchanged: God, First and foremost, His Word, His truth, His message, His love, His faithfulness…etc. Just typing that out, my heart lifts, my spirit stills, my hope rises, I enter my Rest. That truth deserves a “Selah!” Pause, and calmly think on that.

Today, as I read the author’s reminder to remain within our healthy walls of protection, as I read it my prayer is to understand the materials of our walls and gates, so we have focus to reestablish and maintain it. Of those materials, two things arise in me: 1. our walls are all these things I’ve listed, that outlines our God and His faithfulness, and 2. our gates are the fruit of His Spirit working in us who represent and serve God.

God, His Word, His truth, His message, His love, His faithfulness…etc., provide the impenetrable wall and rampart of protection. Every arrow shot at us through this world chaos is stopped and it’s fiery dart squelched by God’s faithfulness. Keeping that vital focus is paramount to the strength of our walls against every attack of Satanic resource. Remembering that God is not the author of confusion, signals us when an area of our wall is under attack and in need of focused attention. Reaffirming our faith in God’s faithfulness is our tool for every repair job.

The fruit of the Spirit working in us are our gates with their powered control systems that help us know what can come in and go out from us. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control/temperance, along with humility, faith, and trust, are the 12 gates we possess as God’s temple: the gates through which we protect what we have and bless those around us, without the world getting at us and tearing down our walls – our faith in God’s faithfulness.

I am so grateful for God-thoughts, those truths of understanding inspired by God’s Spirit that are His voice to us, calming, stilling, instructing, and commissioning us for righteousness, fruitful service in our day, and peace with the still-more-excellent-way of love as our focus even now. These truths help me, causing me to STAND, and stand firm. I pray they help you as well.

God is faithful. This we know full well. All the confusion and chaos of this world is squelched and set in order as we remain within the walls He provides and the gates He controls.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-26‬ ‭NASB‬‬

(Near quote is from Walk Through The Bible 365 – July: Day 23 • Devotional)

Dr. Bartlett: effectively treating COVID

Excellent interview of Dr. Richard Bartlett, a Midland, Texas, doctor using science in the use of inhaled anti inflammatory meds against COVID. Very good information, alleviating the fear of COVID with successful treatment using Budesonide. Scroll to the bottom of the article linked below and watch the video. Well worth your time. Take this to your doctor.

God Report interviews Dr. Bartlett

Destroying A Lofty Thing

“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB)

There is a philosophy of man floating around that is as old as the ages. I conversed with one of this philosophy’s evangelists recently. The poor person does not see they are ensnared by the very sin that caused Lucifer and one third of the angelic hosts to be cast out of God’s kingdom.

This person was trying to convince me that not only can we grow in likeness to God – truth; but that we can eventually sit with Him as equals – lie. This is the sin of Satan, who thought himself God’s equal, which quickly turned to desire to overthrow the One True God and be god in His place. Such arrogance and pride not only led to Lucifer’s eviction, but it is the lie Satan used to cause the fall of man, getting them cast out of Eden.

Lucifer came to Eve through the voice of a serpent, using a luscious looking piece of fruit. “If you eat this fruit, God knows you will be just like Him, equal to Him, knowing good and evil.” Pride, arrogance, desire to not only emulate God as He desires, but to be His equal. Before you come down too hard on Eve who was tempted through her curiosity, realize Adam fell too, not out of deceit, but from a place of willful disobedience; desiring to please Eve, yes, but he also wanted this great, God-like power.

God is ALL knowing, ALL powerful, ever present, complete and perfect within Himself. He needs no help to be all that He is in purity and perfection; and He cannot be tempted to the dark side of all He is. He is love and He, alone, is good. We can be neither apart from Him.

We cannot come close to Him apart from His provision for us. Only Jesus can open the curtain and empower us to draw near and gaze on His glory. We cannot do that and live apart from the blood covering of Christ. Which leads to another aspect of the falsehood spoken by this deceived disciple of Satan. He not only denies Christ, but the God who would require His will done His way. This is the spirit of Antichrist, active in the world today. Beware this satanic ploy.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. …” (2 Corinthians 10:3-7 NASB)

“… I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. …” (John 15:1-8 NASB)

Peace, Be Still.

In these days, so many are finding themselves struggling with worry, fretting, depression, fear, and so many emotional issues that hinder function and ability to know Wisdom. We need peace of mind, heart, soul. But if we keep looking at things outside ourselves to bring it, we will continue to miss it, thinking it something we must chase after when, truly, if we know The Christ and are home to His Spirit, Peace – True Peace is within us, ready to flow to us and through us as a fresh, spring flow of Living Water.

We don’t have to chase it, learn it, or grapple for it. We only have to be still, cease striving, let be and know God, and He will give it – His good gift, pressed down, shaken together, and running over for others to feed off of while in our presence.

We can’t give others what we, ourselves, do not have, and we can’t truly possess that which we fail to recognize as belonging to us. Love, joy, peace PATIENCE, and all the nine flavors of the Spirit are our personal possession because we are His and He is within us. Take a deep Breath of stillness, receive your Peace, and have a BLESSed day.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God’s Story In Each Tear

“Tears are not our weakness. They represent everything we’ve endured to get to where we are right now, and maybe they ultimately speak of a truth that nothing else can.” Brian Hardin

Psalms tells us that God collects our tears in a tear bottle (Psalm 56:8). Tears through the ages have been collected as treasured memories. Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, frustration, repentance. Whatever brings tears marks time in our lives, and, like women of old, God collects them. They are signs of all it took to make us as He is.

God cares, Beloved. He sees all. He has purpose in it all. He is working a good plan. And one day, He will pour those tear bottles out on the altar of sacrifice, a fragrant aroma of His glory established in you. So rest all with Him. Tell Him about it, let it rest secure at His feet and in His special bottle, made just for you. Enter your Rest and have a BLESSed night.

Beginning quote From, Sneezing Jesus by Brian Hardin

Choose Healthy Breeding Ground

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James‬ ‭1:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I don’t know about you, but in this season of discord with riots, business closures with COVID, inconvenience of shut downs and lock ins, I have been tempted to anger more than ever, that I can remember. On FB, I was too often using this response to posts: 😡.

God reminded me that anger and it’s stress are breeding ground for all sorts of sickness. He instructed me to change 😡 to 😢, grieving my sin and the sin of our nation before Him, surrendering all to Him. Following that instruction has helped my stress level, stopping up the flow of unrighteous anger, and increasing trust in God. Refusing anger over things out of my control has increased umpire-peace in me.

If you are struggling as I have, join me in standing against unrighteous anger, resting by faith in God, and, with surrendered spirit, shining of His strength in our troubled society today. “Hangeth thou in there, O Baby,” and have a BLESSed day. (Kay Arthur)

Call Me “Sheep,” But Recognize My Shepherd.

Lately I have seen posts calling those in face mask compliance, “sheep”. To me that is a compliment, not by the way intended, but from the standing of my knowing Him Who is my Shepherd, God, King, Lord, and Savior.

When I choose to comply with national, state, and city leaders, it is because I TRUST MY GOD, taking Him at His Word. When I choose to wear a mask in public, I make that choice out of the love my God calls me to walk out in His name.

My God’s word tells me that He controls the heart of kings-governing officials as a river flows at His bidding, for His purpose. He tells me to obey the dictates of those leaders – as long as it does not go against the Law of God – and to pray for them in their oversight.

I hear people making their decisions from what they believe is the heart purpose of those they believe are pushing their will on us. I don’t know the hearts of any, not even my own fully, so I cannot judge the heart of another. But I KNOW my God is trustworthy, so I choose to believe Him, knowing that when it comes time to take a stand one way or the other, I will not be following the opinion of man, but the dictates of God, my Rock on whom I stand. Thus, I continually advise to prove truth. Do not be swayed by the he says-she says, conspiracy theorists that fail to produce undeniable proof of their truth.

I choose to wear a mask in close quarters because I choose to love my neighbor as my God loves me, to my own hurt. Wearing a mask actually puts the wearer at greater risk, unless they have sufficient supply to change them out every 30 minutes or so. The good of a mask is to slow a breath/sneeze/cough and lesson it’s trajectory, so those nearby will be less likely to be reached by my germs. Even still, while masked, I should sneeze/cough in my elbow. But if a sneeze catches me by surprise, a mask helps me love you. So when I wear one, I choose to wear it for you. I CHOOSE. It is my right to do so.

People are correct that we are under attack. We are being assaulted and effected by two spirits that come readily to mind.

One is a spirit of rebellion. It is what turns a peaceful protest into a deadly and destructive riot. That is the spirit that pits the “my rights” movement over that of obedience to God in trusting the heart of kings to Him and obedience to do what is best for those around me out of a love that flows from Him, for others. It is the sound of a spirit of rebellion that saddened me when a nearby sheriff-hopeful voiced refusal to comply with state regulations. A spirit of rebellion looks to be against man made rules, but it truly stands against our ability and willingness to trust God and His plan.

The other enemy spirit I see working in our lives is that of fear. Fear is the biggest enemy against faith that trusts God at all times. When fear grabs us, we lose sight of God, His will, and His way. All our desire turns to self-protection, “my rights,” and “my wants”.

I choose to follow the Spirit of peace. In the AMPC version of Colossians 3, we are told that peace from God is an umpire, leading us on the path of His desire. I trust God to direct the heart of our governing officials because His peace tells me I can. I trust God to protect me while I choose to love you to my own detriment, because He gives me peace to know that as His desire for me. Follow peace.

Yes! I am a sheep, resting peacefully at the foot of the throne of my Shepherd-King. Demanding your right of choice while belittling me for practice my right of choice is between you and God. May He bless and keep you as only He can.

Ashes to Beauty

“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” ~ Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

With everything on the news and in my newsfeed on issues troubling our nation today, I find myself tapping 😡 a lot. Lately, the Spirit of God has stopped me doing that, for fleshly anger is said to give the devil opportunity to use me to make things worse and to dishonor my God.

There is a righteous anger, but often in that flash of anger, I am not concerned with insult to God, but my own sense of insult, based on some pride of personal possession. So I find myself clicking 😡 and immediately God tweaks my conscience and has me change it to 😢 or 😭 as I grieve the sin and shame seen and lift it to the throne of grace.

I saw a post and read other items in the past two days that lead me to recognize anew that God is doing something. Even in these evils, there is purpose planned by God. Throughout scripture, time and again, we see God move to use things in life to reveal decay, remove the cause, bring healing, and improve life.

I don’t know what God is doing in our days and through all this mess. Yes. I find my heart facing the east and watching for Jesus. This is definitely end time prophecy at work. But there have been evils in each generation that had God’s people facing the east, yet, we still wait. No one knows the day or time of His return but the Father, alone. These type issues cause hearts to be alert and make ready, and they should, for one day soon, those clouds will part.

What I do know now is that each challenge of the past led to a victory that brought good changes. Beauty came out of the ashes. So watch for Jesus, yes. Make sure your lamps are ready, absolutely. But live each day to be a part of the beauty, rising up.

I am watching and praying with earnest expectation and hope to see the beauty of the Lord in the land of the living. I am refusing anger and choosing repentance, trusting God’s word, “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.” (2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Am I ready to fight the good fight, if need be? You better know I am. But if a fight comes, it will not be done in anger wrought in my own flesh mind and heart. By the grace of God, it will be fueled by desire for righteousness, done in love for God, this nation, and family, and it will lead to the beauty of a better and stronger life while awaiting the Day of Christ.

Making Criticism Constructive

“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Words that seem harsh toward us can be a #selah moment that makes us better, or and angry, fuming moment that makes us bitter. The choice is ours to make.

When taken to the Lord for His opinion and understanding, He shows us truth that either leads to positive, godward change; or that lifts our countenance so we stand firm in confidence.

Take every thought captive to God. Let Him transform thought and understanding, renewing our minds, and leading us to surrender all we are to Him as a holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. In this way, we always seek to please Him, entering His Rest for a glorious life.

Illumination

“O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:29‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sometimes God does not show us the clear path and destination ahead. He may only light up our next step, and often only when it is time for us to take it. Patience is required for following God, thus He GIFTS it to us.

Patience is also required with self and others as we become as He is. I was years praying for understanding of a memory I had that effected my life. When God finally illumined that dark place, the freedom achieved was nothing short of miraculous as chains fell from my heart and scales from my spiritual eyes.

Enter your Rest, Beloved. Wait patiently on the Lord’s Light and have a BLESSed night.

“In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In Christ

This is what I understand from scripture, as I believe the Spirit has revealed it to me.

I can do nothing apart from Christ. In the Spirit, I am one with Him, His death, and His resurrection; thus it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. By His power I kill the flesh with its passions and desires, giving Him full sway in my life. By the Spirit working in me, I possess the mind and thoughts of Christ, being a woman after God’s own heart, rightly representing Him, doing the works of God in the power and authority of Christ. Without this life and possession of full understanding of it, I am impotent. But in Him I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

All things are possible for me because nothing shall be impossible with God. I am fully perfected as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, while still being perfected until the day of Christ, as I continue to grow more and more into who I am in Him. Thus, as He does, I do.

He is the head of the body in which I live, seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ. By His power, I am all God created me to be. Without Him, I miss the mark. By Him, I bow to His authority, walk in His ways, and accomplish His purpose. As the Father and the Christ are one, so I am one with them in Christ, by the power of the Spirit. He is the Vine. I am a branch, abiding through life in Him. To God be the glory, great things He has done.

(John 15:1-8; Galatians 2:20, 5:24; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 2:4-7; John 17)

Seeds of Unforgiveness

“Festering” of anger is caused by unforgiveness. Bringing old hurts to new situations is a symptom of unforgiveness. Unforgiveness breeds hate. Forgiveness, “for one’s own sake,” choosing to forgive for the sake of one’s own freedom from resentment and hate, is healing and promotes healing conversations for healing of relationships. One cannot relate well and press forward from insult without forgiveness.

Our world is aflame with hate because of refusal to forgive past insult and deal with the issues of this season and this generation. Those who bring the sins of the parents to peace talks stab old wounds with the bloody knife of old issues. We feed hate, and love dies.

“… You have wearied Me with your iniquities. “I (God), even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:24-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Selah

Pause, Ponder, Pray, Praise, Practice His Presence

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2 NASB

The Selah moments in scripture are calls to practice Psalm 1:2. It is opportunity to meditate on what one just read. Meditation is only truly effective when done so as to place within our hearts the truths of God for use in living Him out into our daily lives. If the Selah does not change us and direct us, it is wasted.

Psalms are chalked full of Selah pauses, but the Spirit of God also calls us to “Selah” – stopping us at some passage we need to understand in facing the day or a situation in life. We must be alert to God’s call to Selah: pause-ponder-pray-praise-practice so as to put on Christ.

One such moment happened to me while reading in Isaiah. In chapter 46, the Spirit of God tweaked my heart as I read verse 25. I recognized that sensation and noted the verse, but continued on. God’s Spirit wouldn’t have that. He kept drawing me back to it, 5 times, 6 times, until I finally stopped with a “What? What, Lord? What are you trying to show me?” That is the day I learned that forgiving as God forgives means forgiving “for my own sake,” so my effectiveness in fulfilling the purposes of God in relationships is not hindered or stopped by bitterness, anger, or such show-stopping issues as a desire for vengeance.

Selah moments are vital for spiritual growth and commitment to following God through life’s challenges. Selah moments grow us in areas significant for things coming into our lives. Selah moments empower knowledge of God and His ways, making us more like Him.

When God inspires a Selah moment: Pause and reread it; Ponder what is said; Pray for understanding of what God desires to teach you and how it fits in your day; Praise God for truths revealed and for His love in teaching you; Put on Christ by putting the truths revealed into Practice. Write it down or bookmark it to revisit it until satisfied that our Spirit-Teacher is finished instructing our hearts. This is Selah.

We are going to spend some time looking at the Selah moments in Psalms. And I may share some personal Selahs with you along the way. The goal is to fine tune our seeking after God through the ministry of The Teacher. God sent His inspired, Living, Life giving Word to teach us about Himself and His ways. Selah, pause and calmly think on that. Are you an effective student of God’s Word under the tutelage of His Holy Presence?

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