He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, April 23, 2018

Noah, The Original Prepper

There are advertisements everywhere about being ready for a catastrophic event.  It seems at least once a week there is a commercial on television for large quantities of food stuffs, all prepared and packaged for the purpose of survival.  Families are re-learning the process of gardening; and planning for the big natural disaster, since grocery stores, even if only being threatened with a good snowstorm are plummeted with shoppers who clear the shelves of everything in sight!

Some might describe “prepping” as big business and that might not be too far from the mark, although there actually may be such a need for this kind of preparation.  At an expo about “prepping” in this area, survival shelter plans have been presented that have the potential to help functionality for up to 200 years!  

Others are creating “homesteads” and going “off the grid,” in an effort to leave behind all the hustle and bustle of city life and “normality” as we have come to know it.  This requires time, a bit of funds and lots of planning, but it can be done successfully.  It is often heralded (and rightfully so) the healthier alternative, both physically and emotionally.

Those who were once considered fanatical for “prepping” and fearing the world ending from some catastrophic event, there is a shift.  It is not only the “common man” or uneducated person preparing for something big to happen, however un-likely.  Highly educated people like lawyers, doctors and “high-end” professionals are also seeking the resources necessary to be prepared should there be a terrorist strike, natural disaster, war, loss of a job, or other circumstance that would require self-sustenance over a long period of time. 

As Believers, we see the end of time through the information afforded through God’s Word.  As prophesies continue to be fulfilled, we recognize events that are closing in on Christ’s return.  Preparing for a catastrophic event is not a ridiculous idea, since the “end times” assure us we will be facing persecution and troubles as the day draws nearer.

What’s interesting in all this is to recognize that “prepping” is not a new idea.  Noah might be considered the “world’s first prepper.” Consider that he was given a directive by God to build a big boat before it had ever rained!  Not only did he have to build this boat, he had to collect two of each animal, for an undetermined length of time!  It’s reasonable to assume that after he corralled all the animals on his boat, he also had to have enough water and food to feed all those critters plus his own family!

Joseph was yet another Biblical hero who found it necessary to “prep” for an upcoming drought.  God told Joseph, Pharaoh’s dream meant seven years of plenty to be followed by seven years of famine.  After explaining to Pharaoh this event, Joseph prepared.  He gathered and stored provisions for people across the land to sustain them for the upcoming famine.

I encourage you to consider the idea of “prepping.”  What does it mean to you? The “end times” are drawing nearer. God expects us to have prepared hearts, and given his examples through Noah and Joseph, it may not be such a bad idea to be somewhat prepared externally, as well. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lean On Me

  Passenger pigeons roosted in forested areas throughout North America in regions east of the Rocky Mountains, while their breeding range was primarily in the southern states.  Stories from years ago, about the pigeons roosting, sound almost like something from a horror movie!  It seems they traveled in great masses; so large in fact, in some towns when the scream of the birds arrived, the towns people would take cover, horses would bolt and children would scream in terror.  
Ultimately, these birds are now extinct. Although humans are not totally responsible for this, the pigeons are completely wiped out in part, from hunters for eating and from those who just didn’t like them; choosing to exterminate them in whatever way they could, including blowing up roosting and nesting areas, killing hundreds of birds at a time! 
We live in a country of incredible freedoms: speech, print, religion and other rights. Yet there are those who believe those freedoms are for a particular race or religion.  There are people in our world who choose to demoralize and demonize other people with their hate and vicious cruelty just because they are different from what their twisted minds see as right. 

 God has a grand design we can’t recognize because we can’t see the whole picture. He created all people and loves everyone.  That doesn’t mean He approves of bad behavior that goes against the teachings found in His Word; and there are consequences when we do! Easter just passed as we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection.  He went to the cross, died and rose again as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so we can have a life of eternal glory.  

Just like the pigeons that met together in such mass and strength, the sturdy limb on the tree would break, we need to join forces as believers who will not succumb to those who would do others harm because they are different.  Our traditions and culture is what makes us unique.  It’s the blend of all this diversity that make our world and workplace such a wonderful place to belong.

It doesn’t mean we will always be safe.  These pigeons once traveled by the thousands from area to area and ironically created a setting that left them vulnerable and ultimately set the stage for hunting that caused the birds to now be extinct.

God gave each person a unique responsibility and purpose in this life.  As believers we have a distinct duty to follow in God’s footsteps as discharged by Him.  Jesus was a strong force that changed our world, but he came as a servant and wants us to use courage, vision and faith to move forward. 

We are to be committed to making a difference in an imperfect world that has turned ugly and mean.  But we need to stand tall and strong, dedicated to service, while leaning on the Rock of our faith, listening for His guidance and then willing to go out into a world that does not always accept us.  It is His message.  Are you willing?          

Monday, April 9, 2018

Be Inspired For Christ

                     It is absolutely exhilarating when walking through the mountains on a trail when you observe deer or elk, a turkey, or even an occasional bear (although I’m not positive I’d ever want to walk upon a bear!)  But being surrounded by nature with the colorful, sweet smelling flowers and trees laden with gold, crimson and orange leaves can be breathtaking. It’s an amazing place to feel close to God.  It is also a place to be inspired.

            There are different ways people feel and express inspiration.  Some are filled with courage, or an overpowering feeling of caring about someone or something.  Other times it’s nearly a tangible enthusiasm, a determination to reach down deep within to enable them to reach for the moon while they chase their dreams, or it’s being filled with a confidence that seems boundless!

            When the first settlers began crossing the mountains and plains of the “New Land,” they were inspired by the beauty and freedom of this place we now call the United States!  They loved the land and surrounding nature with a feeling of inspiration that surpassed places they had moved from.  Their journey carried them across wide expanses of water and then land until their hearts were filled with the wonder of these new places.  They found a peace, acceptance and kinship with the mountains and prairie they likely hadn’t expected.

            Their enthusiasm about the land created a deep determination to survive regardless of the odds.  They had to care about their neighbor through hostile situations, shortages, winters, droughts and other unknowns; having courage that surpassed perhaps anything they had experienced formerly, while having confidence, that in the end, they would prevail!

            In a world that seems filled with hate and distrust for nearly every neighbor around us, it gets increasingly difficult to feel the inspiration we need to even carry forward a single day.  Our media is filled with unkind tongue lashings for anyone who would disagree with a particular thought or idea, that seems to be the “trend of the day.” 

Crime and violence continue to worsen, as our laws continue to change, while seemingly accommodating those who are first to disagree with the moral institutions on which our country was founded.  Expressing our positive feelings about God can be challenging even on a good day!  As Believers, we are denied the right to share our faith, yet those who oppose our faith have been given legal right to speak untruths and vile words against us.

            How, then, can we share Christ with others like we would share the excitement of a sports game?  Where can we find inspiration to push onward? The only answer can be through prayer and the Written Word along with fellowship with other Believers.  

            I encourage you to take a walk in the place you call “home.”  As you are walking, contemplate your conversations with others.  Be inspired by helping others in need, recognize your strengths and use it to serve, read a biography on one of your heroes, learn something new or create a vision board!  And then…. use all this to deepen your relationship with God.  

Monday, April 2, 2018

To Be A Sheep

           I remember seeing old Western television shows where there were huge range wars between cattle ranchers and sheep herders.  The cattle ranchers were certain the land could not sustain both cattle and sheep.  Yet, over time, with compromise on both sides, the differences were alleviated and peace reigned. It’s wonderful to see sheep being pastured throughout countryside, across our nation and know sheep have become a very important part of the economic industry.

         As Christians, we’ve heard the expression of being sheep lead by the Great Shepherd.  We know that the sheep know their Shepherd’s voice.  The implication being that as children of God, we know when Christ is speaking to us.  

          As it turns out, scientists have discovered that sheep actually have quite the memory and really do know their shepherd’s voice. In fact, they can remember faces of other sheep for at least two years and can recognize human faces they’ve been around for a while and are even reputed to be able to recognize human faces in a crowd, perhaps even as well as humans!1

          It’s interesting to know that sheep really are potentially, very smart animals.  They are not stupid, nor do they follow blindly.  They band together against predators, much like Christians gather together to strengthen their understanding of God’s Word.  While we know we can stand alone in Christ, standing together as a group of believers solidifies our stand.

         David, the Psalmist was a shepherd before he became king, and recognized the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep.  He writes about this relationship in Psalm 23. In 1 Samuel, David explains to Saul that when danger lurked, whether in the form of a lion or bear, he would rescue the small lamb that was taken from the flock because that was his responsibility. He took his assignment very seriously. David knew his flock and they knew him.

        Jehovah means “to become known,” and our God unceasingly makes himself known to us if we avail ourselves to Him. God is called Jehovah-Raah which means “The Lord my Shepherd,” or “the Lord Shepherds me.”2  Jehovah God shepherds his flock and knows the voice of each one.  As he makes himself known, as one who leads his flock, he also desires a close relationship with us, His sheep. 

        Jesus, through God the Father is the Shepherd who knows our voice, knows how many hairs we have on our head and knows everything about us.  He wants nothing more than to rescue us from all the “wolves” in our lives much like David rescued the small lamb and any stray sheep when he was shepherd before he became king.

         So, I challenge you to “know God-Jehovah.”  He is the Great Shepherd who knows your name and wants to be your Strength, Strong Tower, and Protector.  Be His sheep!  Read His Word, communicate in prayer and learn to hear His voice.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Human Wisdom

Tax season has descended upon us and I am completely unable to comment with any amount of knowledge, on the massive math problems and supposedly logical “fill in the blanks” on the forms, in preparation of the filing procedure.  I am totally intimidated by the whole process, yet can’t escape it!  Thank goodness there are those who honestly can master the “beast” and those who even enjoy being, “death slayer!”

Another area where I feel totally inadequate is on the subject of UFO’s.   I was reading recently about a person who questions, yet leans towards, the belief of UFO’s.  I admit, I’ve never seen one, and won’t claim to be wise enough to even have an intelligent comment on the subject!

It seems, however, there are areas in the US who have reported UFO sightings. One such incident in Tennessee describes a person being chased by two UFO’s while on a rural paper delivery route.  It seems he saw the unidentified objects, lost power to his cell phone and car radio.  The objects seemed to follow him.  When he slowed down, the UFO’s slowed down.  After a while, when the UFO’s finally left, he pushed the button on his cell phone, had power and service.  While this incident completely rattled him (it would have me, as well!), there are those who contend these sightings are usually explained through some natural or man-made occurrence.

 Logically, I agree with those who believe UFO sightings ultimately can be explained, but I really don’t know for sure!  I do know, however, regardless of how wise any of us are, whether it be taxes, UFO’s or any other subject, human wisdom is frail and not totally in “the know!”  There is much discussion on how the world was created (and vastly different depending on religious views), how our bodies are so intricately made, how seeds can grow into just the right plant, how the planets, stars and sun know just where they belong in outer space so our Earth doesn’t freeze or fry, or how as humans, we are filled with emotions, have a need to nurture, and desire our children to reach their God given potential. 

            Our daily lives require we use our minds to fulfill the needs necessitated by simply being alive and taking care of ourselves and our loved ones.  Yet often, even in this environment many people have difficulty. There are some who have amassed great wealth and seemingly have the means and capabilities for all things, and still fail at relationships causing their entire world to fall apart. 

            So, where does this leave our “human wisdom?”  This knowledge, or lack thereof, leaves us with a great need for wisdom greater than our own, and its something we must diligently seek.  We are weak, and even in areas where we seem to have strength, are fragile and frail compared to what we are able to achieve.

            So, I challenge you to reflect on whatever “problem” you are facing.  This could be the ideal time to seek wisdom ---through faith and from those who are more knowledgeable than us.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Life Giving Water

         My husband was checking out posts on the internet today and came across an article which kind of surprised him.  It seems Henry Winkler was a good deal older than his character “Fonzie” when he was cast on “Happy Days” back in the ‘70’s.  We knew Richard Thomas was older than his character “John Boy” on “The Walton’s,” and there were others, like in the movie “Grease” whose characters were a good deal younger than the ages of those portraying them.
            As we get older, many of us cringe when we look in the mirror.  We want all the “age lines,” gray hairs and those little things that age us, to disappear so we look ten or twenty years younger.
            There are all kinds of creams and formulas that claim to reduce age wrinkles and spots.  They claim a person can look ten to fifteen years younger than they really are.  We are a society bent on stopping the aging process.  I admit there are practices I use to help me look better.  I suspect we all do, as we fight the inevitable, aging process! We all want to keep younger looking, as well as, feeling as if we aren’t encumbered with illness that steals our vitality.
Spas have become the rage of our country.  It seems the health benefits include reducing stress and hormone issues, being a pain reliever, mood enhancer and more, should you allow yourself to treat yourself to this type of relaxation!1 The more wealthy in society even have surgeries in an effort to recapture some of the youthful look.
            The truth is, however, it doesn’t matter what we do to keep the aging process at bay, it will catch up with us and the inevitable will happen.  We will all age and eventually pass from this life.  It’s what happens after this life that really matters.  Depending on our decisions today, we can look forward to “really living” in Paradise or we can know we will be in a place of eternal torment.  What we choose in this life really does determine our eternal destiny.
            It has nothing to do with drinking the best mineral water, eating the most nutritious foods, having the perfect exercise routine or even the least stressed life.  Life is what it is and we each have to deal with our individual circumstances.  So our choice of living our life for Christ is the best “life giving water” available to us.  The “life giving” remedies available in this life only applies to our mortal life.  It has no bearing on our eternal future.  Only Jesus has “water” that sustains throughout all eternity.

            So I challenge you to consider how you view aging and all you are doing to keep the process at bay.  Our lives will never be free of challenges because we are human and we all have daily circumstances that test the strongest and hardiest of us!  The best “Life Giving Water” is the water given through and by Jesus Christ.  It is through Him we can find the kind of refreshment we need, that can be found no where else!