The Chapel Door is Open

One of the things we’ve talked about on the open threads is provided for in the Chapel in the Woods which Sundance has constructed at the lower right.  Comments and conversations about what the Bible has to say about world events have always been welcome here in the woods, and the Chapel is where we can extend those conversations.  It will be open 24/7, just like the Prayer Request thread, functioning as a “perpetual open thread.”

The Chapel is the place to drop in when we notice that our questions or statements, reasonings or fears are best expressed with a Judeo-Christian historical and spiritual context. Anyone who doesn’t care to talk about or pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is  just as welcome in the Chapel as they are in the Treehouse.

The tone and content of Chapel conversations is expected to be the same as elsewhere in the Treehouse: honest and thoughtful.  The Chapel has been built to provide a place for folks to discuss what the Bible says about any number of things~~past, present or future.

Argumentiveness and unkindness will be quickly deleted.  Anyone who comes through the Chapel door to argue against the Bible as our primary source of information about God and what He thinks about things will be ushered out by the ushers.  Anyone who comes to the Chapel for the purpose of Christian-bashing will be thrown out on their ear.

This nation has been a gift of God for well over 200 years, displaying among the nations what a fine thing it is when people are allowed to enjoy those things given by their Creator; among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The United States of America is our nation-house, and there are people trying to burn it down.

This nation is a blessing given to all of us, and there is no supposed “spiritual reason” for people who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to sit back and fold their hands and somehow assume that it would be wrong for them to stand up and fight.  We will fight and we will stand~~and we consider ourselves free to talk about, refer to, think about and pray to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob while we do it.

So come on in.  The Chapel’s open.

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356 Responses to The Chapel Door is Open

  1. Finished sweeping up the sawdust and putting the final creases in the beautiful cushions and pillows that Sharon has provided. We lit a candle then opened the door. The Chapel is open for all to enjoy and participate.

  2. freedom1781 says:

    Yay!! What an awesome place. I love the pictures.

  3. freedom1781 says:

    I just read this on World Net Daily and had to post the link. I fought back tears.

    Boy, 4, says angels sang to him while lifeless
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=266025

    • Sharon says:

      That is so neat. It reminds me of the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake in California when our son saw two giant angels with his Dad and I when we were able to finally make our way to his bedroom, where he and his little brother were sleeping. They were just 5 and 3. We were only about 4 miles from the epicenter so got quite a shaking. He didn’t start talking about them for a few days because he assumed that we saw them, too, and also assumed they were just there to help us. He kept talking about “the men who came to our house the day the house shook.” I knew NO ONE had been there that day. So I asked a couple casual questions, not wanting to “feed him ideas” and finally he said, a little disgusted that I was so dense, “Mommy, they were the big men wearing white dresses.” He really had not understood they were angels, so I was so glad he brought it up, so that he could understand how God does, in fact, have angels do things like that; in that case, to reassure him. I’ve always been so grateful he told us about it! Like the little boy in this article, if they didn’t “tell the story” we wouldn’t know, would we?

      • freedom1781 says:

        Awesome story, Sharon. I loved reading it.

        Over 10 years ago, we had a massive flood in the city I lived in at the time. It was very traumatic for me. In a short amount of time, I watched my car get swallowed up by the rising water. Words can not describe how hysterical I was. I screamed at the top of my lungs, “GOD PLEASE HELP ME!!!” Within nanoseconds a strong citrus smell filled my kitchen where I was curled up in a ball. A voice told me that everything would be okay; I immediately felt calm. It felt like someone had arms wrapped around me. It was one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me.

        • Sharon says:

          What always blows my mind is that behind these time-limited experiences we have is the fact of a loving God who knows.

          • Sad4theUS says:

            Way before I became a Christian, when I was going in and out of jail, my final time in, God touched me in such a miraculous way! When I was processed into jail they placed me in a dorm. I was there for about a month when my boyfriend broke up with me for another woman. I took it really really hard, and was filled with jealousy and rage that consumed me daily! As fate (And I use that loosely) would have it, she wound up in jail too. She knew about me and feared me and requested to be placed in another dorm, but she couldn’t escape my wrath! Whenever she got out to mop the floors in front of the dorm I was in, my friends and I would taunt her mercilessly! We were so cruel and vicious that we’d make her cry… she was very timid. Well, on Wednesdays there was a woman named Beth who would come to the jail for Bible studies. I went only because it got me out of the dorm for awhile. We’d gone through the study and at the end, as she started the prayer session she said, “If there’s anything weighing heavy on your heart offer it up to the Lord.” So the next thing I know, I’m asking the Lord to take away the anger and hatred I was feeling. Then suddenly, a very warm feeling started radiating down my body, beginning with the top of my head and slowly passing on down until it completely enveloped me! I felt like I was being comforted and held in two large hands! I’ve never felt anything like it! Plus the intense hatred for that woman was completely gone in a second! In it’s place was compassion and love for her! I started crying, so hard that the people in the group became alarmed, but I couldn’t articulate what had just happened! When the meeting was over, as we headed up stairs, we had to go by the small dorm she was in, I looked right at her and she looked back, but she could tell something was different… I smiled a loving compassionate smile. In fact, I had a smile I couldn’t take off my face for three days… I was so filled with joy! People kept wondering what I was up to! The next time she came around to mop, my friends started in on her and I asked them to stop. I went to the bars and I said I was sorry. I wish I could say that I had given my life to the Lord then, but unfortunately it would be another thirty years before I came to Him. I didn’t understand at first what had happened, it was several years later before I did. I was watching TV one morning and as I was flipping through the channels, I paused at a station where a young man was talking about his heroin addiction and how he had cried out to the Lord to take it away and suddenly, he said, he was enveloped with a very warm sensation that traveled through slowly through his body, from top to bottom! I froze, realizing that I had apparently been touched by God! Like I said, it was a while more before I gave my life to Him. But what a blessing to know He’s always been close!
            BTW, that young man had been completely cured of his addiction, with no withdrawals or anything, at that very moment! He went on to become a Christian counselor for drug addicts.

            I wrote this poem about a month ago in praise of Him.

            “Great Is Our God”

            Praise to our God for all He provides; for great is His power with which He divides;
            the light from the dark, the good from the bad; the trials and tribulations that can make us feel so bad.
            His judgments are righteous; His statutes are sound; and the way of the wicked, He’ll turn upside down.
            He will uphold the humble who fall; and answers the cries of the desperate who call.
            Great is our God, mighty in power; He is our strength, our only strong tower.

      • weeweed says:

        One angel for each of them, Sharon. My daughter saw hers when she was about 8 or 9, walking home around sunset from a friend’s house (a mere two blocks.) She said he was about 6’6″ (her description now – she still remembers him), male, dark hair, white robe and – wings. She made it into the house just fine, I’ve never known what was after her nor did she. But he was waiting for her at our next door neighbor’s house outside on the front porch to make sure she got home. She also didn’t mention it for awhile, because I was outside waiting to see her – like your boys, she thought I saw him, too. I’ll never forget that.

      • Patty says:

        Sharon I love your story of your son! In 1979 I was on the way to my mothers home when I wrecked a motorcycle very badly on a curve. It was out on a stretch of road that had bad curves and not well traveled. I recalled looking up and seeing this kind face of this lady telling me things would be ok and covering me with what felt like the warmest blanket I ever had on me! Later another lady was hovering over me and next thing I recalled was getting to the hospital. They tried to tell me I was in shock from the amount of blood I lost and there was no lady there who covered me with a blanket. Years have passed almost 35 and I still see that face and know it was that of an angel who protected me from being run over or hurt worse! I retired a few years ago and do genealogy. Recently I was given a photo of a great grandmother who passed away long before I knew her! When I saw that face I was stunned and I swear that day it was my gr grandmother who helped me. I will never know this side of heaven! But I beleive with all my heart in angels! They exsist and so often some people fail to note their exsistence! Your son saw those angels and God protected him! May God bless you always and your family!

  4. stellap says:

    My mother told me a story about what happened to her in the 1950’s. She was a new Christian, at the time a stay-at-home mom, and had a problem she couldn’t find a way out of. My sister was pregnant out of wedlock (a divorcee too), and it was such a shame to her that she didn’t even confide in my father (my sister’s stepfather).

    Anyway, my sister needed rent money – $50 – and my mom didn’t know how to get it. She said she was scrubbing the floor, and just stayed on her knees and asked God to take it from her because she couldn’t solve the problem on her own.

    A few days later she received a letter from her oldest sister in California. In the letter was a check for $50, and in the letter it said, “I thought you could use this”. Keep in mind that her sister was a widow, and $50 was a lot of money to her. My mother was overcome with gratitude, and sank to her knees to give thanks for the answer to her prayer. She said that a ‘being’ – not one that she could see – covered her with his wings. She was absolutely terrified, but so convinced of God’s grace, and the presence of his angels, that it changed her relationship with God forever.

    I’ll bet you that lots of people have stories like this.

    • Menagerie says:

      I think you are right. And those stories weave a beautiful tapestry of love, unseen by most of us in this life. At a point in his life where he was really burning the candle at both ends, and risking his health, my husband had a dream that he was sitting at a table having a very pleasant conversation with his mother and father, and his former boss, who was also his father’s former boss and friend. All had been deceased for a number of years when this happened. They told him his workload was going to cause him great physical harm, and that he would never be able to get his health back, that he needed to slow down and not abuse his body so much since he was no longer a very young man. My husband, the most practical of men, says this was not a dream. He was actually with his mother and father at that table. He is very adamant about this.

  5. MRM says:

    i just want to say that I soooo love you all. Thank you for this special place.

  6. Sharon says:

    I see someone had a piano delivered to the chapel this afternoon. I’m so glad it’s here. I love to sit and play the old hymns. I always start with a lifetime favorite, “Day by day, Thy mercies, Lord, attend me….”…. who else plays the piano and wants to give us a favorite?

    • Ad rem says:

      Errrrr…..don’t get too attached to it. It’s only a loaner…..’til the pipe organ gets here.

      • Sharon says:

        aw, please? I love my piano. If I just play it when nobody else is in here?? I do love pipe organ music, too, but not for sitting and playing quietly in the evening when the sunset colors are fading away and the birds are quieting down and the little bunny rabbits are sort of snuggled down only about 20 feet away from the door because they don’t have enough sense to be afraid….maybe cuz they know they’re safe with us…

  7. Wraith says:

    Not to impose, but I’m hoping some of the more knowledgeable followers of Jesus can provide a new Christian with some guidance.

    Fact: God is good, and He loves all His children, to the point that His Son has exhorted us to love our enemies.

    Fact: We have enemies who would destroy America, Christianity and much of human progress, whether we ‘love’ them or not. (Leftists to the left of us, Jihadists to the right…) There is a growing possibility that we may have to defend ourselves against them with lethal force.

    How am I to reconcile these two facts? Or, more simply, how am I to ‘love my enemy’ if I’m forced into a ‘them or me’ position? I’m trying to understand, and perhaps I can find an explanation here.

    Sorry for dropping something this heavy on y’all. :?

    • weeweed says:

      Dr. Ann (iamdagny) explains this very well, or I am dreaming. And she had a specific article about it. I shall go hunt the article – could be SD or somebody has it saved (help me out, you guys!!)

    • Sharon says:

      I’ll give a “simple answer” that is not meant to be anything more than a simple principle, but it is helpful. Because of the frustration of being unable to easily solve our perceived dilemmas, we sometimes take a short cut (just to relieve the mental pressure!) and choose one truth over another; i.e., it is true that God in His sovereignty has designed governments to govern nations. It is also true that God Himself has carried out (and will carry out) judgements against those in government who abuse their position.

      Now the short cut would be: “Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. Either government is of God all the time or it is not….so are you saying that bad government is God’s idea?” A wise pastor of ours pointed out that we don’t have to obliterate either of two truths that seem to oppose one another (and in the process choose to dispose of one truth). Both are true. So the principle is this: Truth-in-Tension.

      We do this in everyday life alot and don’t even think about it. It’s not theological gameplaying to realize that truths that seem to oppose each other at first glance do not actually oppose each other in the big (bigger and biggest) picture. Easy example: Truth #1: The speed limit on the freeway is 70 mph. I must not drive faster than 70 mph. (Scripture says I am to obey the authorities that are rightful authorities) Truth #2: The tornado coming down the freeway behind me in western MN is gaining on me. I must drive 85 mph to save my life. (Scripture clearly teaches that life, my life, has value, and is to be protected)

      Would you like some specific examples from the Bible that illustrate this principle? If so, if others don’t add them, I can pop some in here by tomorrow. This is exactly the kind of discussion that the Chapel provides for: we don’t have to wrap it up on a same-day basis because the thread’s not going to disappear :)

      So~~the two facts you state do not have to be reconciled/pushed together/smushed. Both are true…..does that make any sense?

      • MRM says:

        yes please… I would love some specific examples from the Bible.. (I hope you feel better in the morning)

      • Wraith says:

        Kinda sorta. Examples would be welcome if you can spare the time.

        So, it’s basically a matter of priorities, then? (Man, I wish I were still an atheist, when I had all the answers…! )

        • Sharon says:

          I’ll post something tomorrow morning, ok? I found some notes that I had done last year on exactly this issue a couple of days ago, but hadn’t added the Scripture references yet (had just noted the incidents). So I’ll pull those together. I find that taking Scripture as the source of understanding definitely never leaves me feeling like I’ve got all the answers: however, it’s amazing how satisfying it is that taking Scripture as the source of understanding does equip us to get at some difficult issues. It’s all good. Here in the morning~~somebody bringing coffee and donuts? (I’ll bring my own Diet Coke…)

        • Sharon says:

          Wraith, I put the information further down so it wouldn’t be so narrow here…I know it’s not morning yet, but got a couple of examples to start you on….So see my next comment below.

  8. Ad rem says:

    This is the very first hymn I remember singing as a child. It instilled in me a lifelong love of music. (Emma….I hope this isn’t too loud for our little Chapel. I do loves me some good organ music! )

    1. This is my Father’s world,
    and to my listening ears
    all nature sings, and round me rings
    the music of the spheres.
    This is my Father’s world:
    I rest me in the thought
    of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
    his hand the wonders wrought.

    2. This is my Father’s world,
    the birds their carols raise,
    the morning light, the lily white,
    declare their maker’s praise.
    This is my Father’s world:
    he shines in all that’s fair;
    in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
    he speaks to me everywhere.

    3. This is my Father’s world.
    O let me ne’er forget
    that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father’s world:
    why should my heart be sad?
    The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
    God reigns; let the earth be glad!

    • Sharon says:

      Love that song! and love organ music (just don’t send the piano away!)….

      • Ad rem says:

        I’m sorry you’re not feeling 100% Sharon. Perhaps a little lemon tea w/honey….and early to bed?

        Seeing that this is a wee chapel in the forest, I’m afraid my 13,000 pipe, 265 stop W.W. Kimball pipe organ was a tad overkill. :-) (I was getting it really cheap ’cause it had some racoon bite marks on the console.)

    • Kathleen says:

      “This video has been removed ‘by the user’.” I’m sorry I missed it!! :-)

  9. An important consideration from Todays open thread 2/22/11: h/t IamDagny and RedPill.. (edited for format) Good Stuff :)

    One of the most widely misunderstood (spun by progressives for decades) is the freedom of Religion in our constitution. It is not freedom from religion, it is entirely freedom of religion. Unfortunately, many people are so culturally illiterate that they don’t understand that many of the non-Catholic countries in Europe established State Churches after the protestant reformation and Anglican schism in the 1500s.

    There is a Church of England, Church of Norway, Church of Scotland, Church of Ireland, Church of Sweden, Church of Finland, Church of Denmark, etc. to this day. The Founders wanted to prevent an Anglican/Episcopalian or Lutheran “Church of America” with specific governmental sponsorship and preferential treatment like the national churches in Europe. And that is what the Establishment Clause is all about. Freedom “of” religion.

    The commentaries contained in the Geneva Bible, read by many of the Protestant reformers, challenged the monarchy’s fascade of the “divine right of kings”. So, King James outlawed the Geneva Bible and had the “authorized” King James Bible produced… which is basically just the same translation as the Geneva Bible, minus the commentaries.

    In the American colonies, the British Crown would not allow the printing of any Bible in English unless it was the authorized, King James version.

    Colonists did print a Bible translated into an Indian dialect, but the first Bible printed in English in the U.S. was the one “endorsed by the U.S. Congress”. Yeah YOU READ THAT RIGHT “endorsed” by Congress.

    http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=46

    This simle truth is another example of progressive liberalism re-writing history to fit their ideological narrative. But, at least now you know.

  10. Sharon says:

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/ This link is for an easy-to-use Bible search site, and gives you the option of many translations. I would recommend the New King James or the New International Version if you don’t already have a preference.

    First example showing how “the simple truth” is twofold and two different ways that the same person acts in a single situation: Acts 21:27, the Jewish leaders who don’t much like the Apostle Paul grab him and start working him over in public. In v. 31, it plainly says their plan was to kill him.

    The Commander from the Roman Garrison hears about it~~decides he better do something (Basic context: Jerusalem [in Judea] was under Roman occupation at this point, and the Romans were really really sick of all the trouble they constantly had with the Jews in Judea, who didn’t take much to being occupied by Rome). So the Roman Commander shows up on the scene, and puts Paul in chains (21:33). Now check out v. 37: Paul says to the Roman Commander: “May I speak to you?” Commander is shocked that Paul speaks Greek. (Inwardly he’s saying, “Oh, crap, this guy is educated. I thought he was just some Egyptian causing trouble.”) v. 38 “Are you not the Egyptian…..?” And Paul says, in v. 39. Nope! “I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia…” so the Commander gives Paul permission to address the crowd. THEN, in chapter 22, it gets better. (Paul is still holding a vital piece of info back on the Commander.) Acts 22:24, the Commander says, “Bring him back in the barracks, let’s whip him awhile, and see if we can find out more…..” and then, v. 25, Paul says to the Roman centurion, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman….?”

    They had no idea Paul was a Roman. They were just playing politics with a volatile situation. Now, not only is this Jew a Christian who’s preaching and “causing trouble”…turns out he’s a Roman citizen. So he demands his rights, basically. Asserts his privileges and his protections as a Roman citizen. In 22:28 the Commander finally gets the word, “This man is a Roman citizen” and he says, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” And then Paul says, “But I was born a citizen.” V. 29: “Then immediately those were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.”

    So Paul is full of punch and gumption and gusto and “in yer face” here, actually playing the Roman Commander, and in the process scaring the poor guy half to death probably. But look what happens in Ch. 23:1-5 (just a few verses later): I’ll summarize: Now he’s speaking to the people again, and the high priest (from the temple, the Jewish high priest) commands someone to hit Paul across the face. And Paul says, “God will strike you, you whitewhashed wall….!” Someone then says to Paul, “Whoa! You revile God’s high priest?” And Paul immediately says, “Oh, sheesh. I had no idea he was the high priest…” and then he himself quotes the Scripture from the Old Testament warning against calling the high priest names.

    So in the first case, we have Paul standing up boldly to the Roman Commander, yanking his chain a bit, and demanding his rights as a Roman citizen. Then, in the second case, we immediately see Paul backing down in the face of the abuse from the high priest~~not because the high priest is right in what he is doing, but because Paul is willing to obey what the Scriptures said about honoring the high priest. So like you mentioned in your comment: yes, it’s a matter of priorities. And priorities are not set in cement. Christians (and Paul illustrates this beautifully) are not expected to be automatons who run around checking off boxes. They ought to be people who can think on their feet and respond appropriately in sometimes wildly vascillating situations.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Another example that I’ll just give the brief contrast/references for:
    Peter left prison when he could, when the authorities wanted him locked up (may have cost the jailer his life??): Acts 12:3-11
    VS.
    Paul and Barnabas stayed in prison when they could have left, probably saving the jailer’s life: Acts 16:25-30

    Decisions and actions literally opposite in almost identical situations. God does not ask those who serve Him and believe Him to be automatons or lay their brains and judgment aside. Priorities are exactly the issue. Herein lies the very core and heart of the matter as to why Christians pray (to talk to and hear from God) and read their Bibles (to learn how to reason as believers and how to be wise). It’s not a list of rigid rules.

    There are more, but these can move us down the road a bit? I’m sorry I don’t know how to do click-through links yet. I’ll try to learn that, then anyone reading can click right on a reference and go straight to the Blue Letter Bible text and then come back and continue reading, if that isn’t too awkward. Whatever you and anyone prefers.

  11. Sharon says:

    GracieD mentioned the loop playing in her mind, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” which was written by the Apostle Paul as he sat in the prison in Philippi because he had been running around the area talking about Jesus, the Christ. Gracie, when I saw that comment, it reminded me that having faith makes the journey possible, not unnecessary (and someone else mentioned this morning on the open thread I think…about having eternity in view as we fight through these things now)…

    My tendency as a Christian has been to stay in my own world, not because I was looking down on those events that seemed to be “outside” of my world, but because I just didn’t think I was smart enough or tough enough to engage them effectively. So now as I’m trying to learn to speak and fight on the political/events front, I need to “remember to retreat” to that deeper, wider ground that is eternal life. This present life is a gift of God, but in a broader truth, “This ain’t it.” so “…through Christ”: who He is, what He did and what He does (intercedes for us). He takes our present day struggles seriously. He never expected us to “do all things” through ourselves.

    I was thinking about Sundance’s post of David’s 23rd Psalm as well: we go through “the valley of the shadow death”…even there, it’s not “actual death” but only the shadow of death. David spent much of his life literally on the run from King Saul who wanted to kill him physically, and David chose from day to day to stick with the bigger picture. I’ve got a little rant somewhere about David that I’m going to have to find and post…

  12. ZMalfoy says:

    “it reminded me that having faith makes the journey possible, not unnecessary ”

    Yes. This is a good thing to keep in mind. Thank you.

  13. Sharon says:

    Found my Word Picture of David:

    David had a spiritual boldness by which he addressed issues instead of dancing around symptoms.

    He was a musical sheepherder from a dysfunctional family
    who had a wife who mocked him,
    a son who wanted to kill him,
    a baby who died because of him,
    a father-in-law who pursued him with murder in mind,
    a grandson whose choices resulted in the destruction of everything he and his son, Solomon, had built~~
    spiritually, politically, nationally and militarily.

    He himself was a shepherd,
    a king,
    a murderer,
    an adulterer,
    a musician,
    a general,
    a poet,
    a survivalist,
    an outcast,
    a victor,
    a worshipper of YHWH,
    a lousy father,
    and a man after God’s own heart.

    He was not equipped for his calling except by the call.

    He lived out the calling of his life by refusing to be defined by the events and failures of that life.

    He kept staking his life to God’s call, not to his family photos.

    • Menagerie says:

      Sharon, you bring up an old memory. My middle son graduated high school in 1998. One of our priests, who is just hilarious, as well as a very educated man and a psychologist, was his religion teacher his senior year. During a discussion in class on King David, my son referred to him as “a spazzed out dude”, to which the priest, after a moment of consideration, replied, “yes, he was”. I believe this was during a discussion of Uriah.

  14. Sharon says:

    This morning GracieD gave us this on the open thread: “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

    My frustration and angst reminds me that I am one of the weary ones: I just get so tired of the lies and the intrigue and refusal on the part of our “leaders” to think and use honest common sense. I am one of the weak ones: there are limits to my physical, mental and emotional abilities. I can’t fight as well as some. There’s a point where I can’t think straight when I get overwhelmed.

    There’s a false picture that’s been put out via media about Christians~~that we think we’re right about everything and that we think we’re better than anyone else. Actually, the opposite is the truth: we have recognized we are wrong about so many things and that we are, at our very core, sinful. So we cling to the Word of God and recognize our need for a Savior.

    Wow….I have Pandora radio loaded 24/7 playing and this morning I have 2 of my stations playing: all-piano and Gospel. As I started typing the paragraph just above this one, some great group started singing, “Because He Lives” so I sit here with tears running down my face, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fears are gone. Because I know He holds the future, my life is worth the living~~just because He lives!”

    And it was one of those convinced groups with a convinced audience: When they finished the final chorus (after the key had bumped up twice) their audience was wootin’ and hollin’, yelling and whistling!!

    So I’m all better now;) That’s just a nice solid reminder of why I get in the line with the “weak and the weary.” The line leads to the real presence of a powerful Savior.

    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it! Prone to leave the God I love!
    Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above. (just playing now)

    • MRM says:

      Sharon, once again – as you so often do – you’ve given your beautiful voice to what I have been thinking and feeling. I meant to write these words to you after another recent post but they fit here as well. Thank you so much for putting into words those vague feelings, and for reminding us all that our peace is in God.
      “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth”
      Psalm 46:10

      • GracieD says:

        Sharon, I definitely understand how you must feel. It can be overwhelming watching all of the craziness going on in our Country and the rest of the world. I get all stressed out, then I spend some time with God, and He reminds me that I cannot fix things. I do, however, know The One who can! I can only do what He tells me to do. When I get frustrated with all of the goings on, I just have a conversation with God, and unburden myself with all of the worries and problems that face us as a people. I read the back of the book, and WE WIN!

      • Sharon says:

        Our encouragements for one another mean a lot…thanks….

  15. Sharon says:

    I went to RedPill’s site this morning to see his recent posts…and noticed this scripture reference:

    Proverbs 1:33 “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

    The qualifying action on my part is to actually listen to what God says. (Parents all over the world have said for centuries something along the lines of, “I know you heard me, but you’re not listening.”) Listening takes time. However, it’s completely reasonable. It something I can choose to do at any time. Then, having made the decision, having listened…there’s a much-needed result: security. Not security from events necessarily, (Hebrews 11 documents that)….but security in the absence of fear. And this is what struck me: God does not promise here the absence of evil. He promises the absence of fear of evil.

    • I like your comment.

      You may also like this:

      The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
      The righteous run to it and are safe.

      Proverbs 18:10

      • Sharon says:

        IS IS IS….one of the best words in all the descriptions of our God. He is…..and His name is…..

        The righteous……are safe. I like that.

        We are going through some exercises that will, I believe, teach us by experience how to eat in the presence of the enemy (Psalm 23:5) and how to experience safety in the presence of evil. It’s quite a ride.

  16. Isaiah 19
    A Prophecy Against Egypt
    1 A prophecy against Egypt:

    See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud
    and is coming to Egypt.
    The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
    and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

    2 “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
    brother will fight against brother,
    neighbor against neighbor,
    city against city,
    kingdom against kingdom.
    3 The Egyptians will lose heart,
    and I will bring their plans to nothing;
    they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
    the mediums and the spiritists.
    4 I will hand the Egyptians over
    to the power of a cruel master,
    and a fierce king will rule over them,”
    declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

    5 The waters of the river will dry up,
    and the riverbed will be parched and dry.
    6 The canals will stink;
    the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
    The reeds and rushes will wither,
    7 also the plants along the Nile,
    at the mouth of the river.
    Every sown field along the Nile
    will become parched, will blow away and be no more.
    8 The fishermen will groan and lament,
    all who cast hooks into the Nile;
    those who throw nets on the water
    will pine away.
    9 Those who work with combed flax will despair,
    the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
    10 The workers in cloth will be dejected,
    and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

    11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
    the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.
    How can you say to Pharaoh,
    “I am one of the wise men,
    a disciple of the ancient kings”?

    12 Where are your wise men now?
    Let them show you and make known
    what the LORD Almighty
    has planned against Egypt.
    13 The officials of Zoan have become fools,
    the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
    the cornerstones of her peoples
    have led Egypt astray.
    14 The LORD has poured into them
    a spirit of dizziness;
    they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
    as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
    15 There is nothing Egypt can do—
    head or tail, palm branch or reed.

    16 In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the LORD Almighty raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the LORD Almighty is planning against them.

    18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the LORD Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun.[a]

    19 In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. 22 The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

    23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing[b] on the earth. 25 The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

  17. Kristi says:

    I am starting a novena to St Jude today.

    I will be including all of you, your family and your intentions in the novena prayers.

    • MRM says:

      Kristi, that’s awesome – thank you for thinking of it.
      I remember when I first learned that St. Jude was the patron Saint of hopeless cases … it was around the same time I learned that St. Anthony was the Patron Saint of finding lost items……… and it just occurred to me that perhaps a Novena to good ol’ St. Anthony might produce the “missing” birth certificate. ha ha!

      • Kristi says:

        Tony, Tony, turn around somethings missing and must be found..

        Obama’s proof of citizenship!

        ; )

      • Kristi says:

        St Jude is my favorite Saint… he came through for me in a big way.
        I will forever be grateful to him for his intercession.

    • RedGrandma says:

      My husband wears a St. Jude medal all the time — his middle name is Jude. I believe that helped to carry us through a difficult time this week (along with prayers from The Treehouse).

      • Kristi says:

        St Jude is amazing.

        Jude is my confirmation name. ; )

        • Kristi says:

          If anyone wants to join me in my Novena.. here is the prayer to be said every day for 9 days.

          PRAYERS FOR SPECIAL INTENTIONS
          “St. Jude, glorious apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, the name of the person (who betrayed our Lord) has caused you to be forgotten by many, but the true Church invokes you universally as the Patron of things despaired of. Pray for me, who is so miserable; pray for me, that I may finally receive the consolations and the succour of Heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (ADD YOUR PERSONAL REQUEST HERE), and that I may bless God with the Elect Throughout Eternity.”

          “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be Adored, Glorified, Loved & Preserved throughout the world, now & forever. Sacred Heart of Jesus, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Worker of Miracles, please pray for me. Saint Jude, Helper of the Hopeless, please pray for me. Amen.”

          “O most holy apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, people honor and invoke you universally, as the patron of hopeless cases, of things almost despaired of. Pray for me, for I am so helpless and alone. Please help to bring me visible and speedy assistance. Come to my assistance in this great need that I may receive the consolation and help of heaven in all my necessities, tribulations, and sufferings, particularly (state your request) and that I may praise God with you always.”

          “I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron, and to gratefully encourage devotion to you by publishing this request. Amen.”

          “Holy Saint Jude, Apostle and Martyr, Great in virtue and rich in miracles, Near kinsman of Jesus Christ, Faithful intercessor of all Who invoke your special patronage in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depths of my heart And humbly beg to whom God has given such great power To come to my assistance. Help me in my present and urgent petition, In return I promise to make your name known And cause you to be invoked. Saint Jude pray for me and all those who invoke your aid. Amen.”

  18. Sharon says:

    Psalm 33:20-22

    “Our soul waits for the Lord.
    He is our help and shield;
    for our heart shall rejoice in Him
    because we have trusted in His holy name.
    Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
    just as we hope in You.”

  19. Sharon says:

    Lyrics of the one of best old hymns:

    O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come;
    Be Thou our Guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.

    Under the shelter of Thy wings, Thy saints shall dwell secure;
    Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.

    Before the hills in order stood or earth received her frame,
    From everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same.

    A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone.
    Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

    Time, like an ever rolling stream bears all its sons away;
    They fly, forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening day.

    O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come!
    Be Thou our guard while life shall last and our eternal home.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In the present stresses, it’s intellectual honesty of a fine kind to acknowledge that (1) this limited lifespan “ain’t it” for the one who is trusting the Lord of the Universe and that (2) the fact that “things” are apparently out of control does not mean that God is not in control.

  20. Ad rem says:

    The hymn, “To God Be the Glory”. the way it should be done.

    1. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!
    So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
    who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
    and opened the lifegate that all may go in.

    Refrain:
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    let the earth hear his voice!
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    let the people rejoice!
    O come to the Father thru Jesus the Son,
    and give him the glory, great things he hath done!

    2. O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
    to every believer the promise of God;
    the vilest offender who truly believes,
    that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
    (Refrain)

    3. Great things he hath taught us, great things he hath done,
    and great our rejoicing thru Jesus the Son;
    but purer, and higher, and greater will be
    our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.
    (Refrain)

  21. Sharon says:

    Here are some references regarding the “mark of the beast” from the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (I like using the full title of the book because it emphasizes what what the subject of it is: the subject is actually Jesus Christ).

    There are actually only 7 mentions of the mark of the beast in Revelation: 13:16,17; 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20 and 20:4. In each case, it is clearly an applied “mark” (not a condition in the skin or a callous, etc.); it is something that was not there one day, and is there the next day. Think of the hand stamp you might receive when you go into a concert or large park. It might be a tattoo or an injection of a data-bearing dot injected into the skin (like security dot used to identify pets…).

  22. Sharon says:

    II Peter 3:1-4
    “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

  23. Sharon says:

    Even those who trust God and believe the Bible is His Word often miss or seriously underestimate the reality that sin has horribly impacted the operation of creation as it was originally designed to function. This is one passage that talks about this fact. There are many, both Old and New Testament.

    Romans 8: 19-22 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself will also be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

    For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”

    Just before He was arrested, tried and crucified, Jesus said to His disciples, “Let not Your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You have believed in God; believe also in Me.” In that context (in John 14:1) He was specifically teaching them that He (alone) is the way to the Father, but that encouragement to “not let the heart be afraid” is a general teaching as well.

    Far from seeing His child as forever helplessly “needing” to be caught up in fear and terror, He basically says (in many places in Scripture) “come on, now, don’t let that happen….I understand how overwhleming it is…but because you have faith in me, it does not have to overwhelm you today…I am your refuge and your strength…”

  24. Sharon says:

    So much of the news of the last few days has specifically reflected chaos, death and evil, in a variety of ways. I was skimming through some of the chapters of Proverbs; there are many, many verses in the book of Proverbs having to do with the effect of the wicked on society, the effect of the wicked when they are in leadership, and cautioning “the righteous” in how they relate to and react to the wicked. There is real power in evil~~we all recognize that. I think one reason we shy away from directly confronting evil at a personal level is that instinctive sense of “not wanting to get too close.” Just something I’ve been thinking about today.

  25. butchcracker says:

    “…Humble yourself,therefore under God’s mighty hand,that He may lift you up in due time.” “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
    1st Peter 6/7……
    wow..powerful…
    I learned that “cast” is latin for drop,and ‘all” means everything..
    How blessed,we can just “drop” “all” upon Him……
    Blessed are we…..

    • Sharon says:

      The Emperor Nero was getting up to speed in Rome when Peter wrote that passage to Christians who were facing persecution and martyrdom, as the Roman authorities were tightening their focus on them as being a subversive group. The people reading this letter received from Peter were literally dealing with daily realities of fight or flight, life and death, and it was just beginning. That’s a good reminder. Scripture is very realistic about the difficulties and traumas of life. Thank you….I just dropped in to the chapel to see if anyone had been here…and here you are with such a good word.

  26. Sharon says:

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

    When His mercy meets our need, there is peace. Such a deal.

  27. Ad rem says:

    I’ve had these lines from the Messiah running through my head all day…

    2But who shall abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: 3And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:2)

    Who shall abide the day of his coming? Only they who shall believe in his name.

    • Sharon says:

      “The day of His coming”….yeah. That will be something unlike anything we could imagine or think. Arrogance and wickedness will be dealt with, and they WILL acknowledge Him for who He is.

      • Ad rem says:

        I’m troubled that I can’t seem to get this quote out of my thoughts. Events in the Middle East are weighing heavily on me…..

        • MRM says:

          Me too, Ad rem… It’s difficult not to be concerned over what is going on in the world. This verse came to mind:

          Philippians 4:8
          “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

          I’m trying to balance being aware of what is going on in the world with keeping my focus on what is uplifting….. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”

        • Kitty sez……
          I’m troubled that I can’t seem to get this quote out of my thoughts. Events in the Middle East are weighing heavily on me…..

          Boy did you say a mouthful with that little comment. I’ve spent days and days reading all the 3 dimensional angles from Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Syria, UAE, Saudi, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya…. The knot on my neck is about 3 inches high, and my heart is very, very, heavy.

          It is so so dark over there.

          • Ad rem says:

            Must the world enter a new a dark age….must it be put through a “refiner’s fire”?

          • GracieD says:

            SD & AdRem, I understand where y’all are coming from. There IS evil in the world, and that evil is being manifested in the ME. The only consolation that I have is that God is in control, and He will win in the end.

            • MRM says:

              Amen. and since WordPress has detected a duplicate comment… here’s another verse:
              “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

              • Ad rem says:

                Yes….not to be driven by fear, but to be perfected in God’s love. I will try to remind myself of this passage, and not let despair overcome my capacity for love.

              • Sharon says:

                This is something I suspect many of us are dealing with: the desire to be honest in dealing with the darkness and the danger while still functioning and thinking like people of faith. Some days I find I can do one or the other: most days I find it difficult to do with….to do both!

                • GracieD says:

                  You suspect correctly, Sharon. I think we are all a bit weary from time to time.

                • Ad rem says:

                  Sharon…..Thank you so much for opening up this little chapel in the woods. I hope you can see how important this has become for all of us now; and it will become even more so in the future.

                • MRM says:

                  I agree. I think my fear was brought home when I realized that I wasn’t thinking very far into the future… some friends were talking about vacations they were going to take in the next few years, discussing what they thought would happen with neighborhood development over the next 10 years … and like a slap in the face, I realized I didn’t think we would still be here then. It was that moment that made me step back and begin to focus on more positive thoughts. Light trumps darkness, Love trumps fear.. Good trumps evil.
                  Thank you all for being here – for being a very real reminder that there are people who operate from Love.

  28. butchcracker says:

    “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers,against the authorities,against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…”
    Ephesians 6;11-13

  29. GracieD says:

    “When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you, the hard trials that come will not hurt you.” Isaiah 43:2

  30. Michael F. says:

    I didn’t realize until this evening the extent of anxiety and grief within this treehouse community. Aging brings compassion, doesn’t it? Then eventually acceptance of the way things are.
    Here is something of a meditation I just found, and thought of as a work of the Northern Deities. (You may have to allow it to download completely before you click to play; hover over lower left corner):
    http://vimeo.com/21294655
    Peace be with you.

    • Sharon says:

      I think part of the depth of feeling (and honesty about the “negatives”) comes from the desire to be honest about both good and evil. I’m a Bible-clinger, and it’s irritating for me when even other Bible-clingers sometimes seem to want to just pretend that everything is dandy. Everything is not dandy. So as one who believes that God is good, in spite of all the bad, I want to be honest about the bad….and see things through by faith as described in Gracie’s and Butchcrackers references above. Thanks for being in The Tree, Michael! You are so welcome…hope you’re finding good branches to enjoy.

      • MRM says:

        Sharon, I can’t disagree with anything you said. but I find that, as you also said in your comment above, “the desire to be honest in dealing with the darkness and the danger while still functioning and thinking like people of faith. Some days I find I can do one or the other: most days I find it difficult ….to do both!” the verses i’ve posted recently have been reflective of my own need to turn my focus to the positive – having overdosed on the negative that comes at us from all directions lately. I hope my comments didn’t come off as a frivolous attempt to ignore the very real evil we are facing.

        • Sharon says:

          Oh, absolutely not at all!!! Your putting those things forward is part of what is so important for all of us….we actually aren’t equipped to directly bear the full burden of evil. God didn’t design us to bear it. That’s why we have a Savior. So I know that, no matter what my reasons may be, it would be neither safe nor useful for me to constantly overload myself and expose myself to evil “just because I have to pay attention.” You’re right on….thanks for sharing those thoughts.

          I was referencing the frustration I feel with Christian friends who literally refuse to have a conversation about the facts of what is going on, and the danger our nation is in because of incompetent, dishonest leadership….it’s almost as though they think that if they admit how bad it is, that somehow that means they are not trusting God. Crap. Facing how bad it is drives me to trust God more, more specifically….God does not design us to “bear the burden of evil”….neither does He design us to ignore evil. We need to be careful about how we are impacted, but that doesn’t mean we don’t respond. That’s why I love a group like this (where obviously, we don’t assume or expect that everyone is on a Judeo-Christian path, but we specifically acknowledge that those who are, are free to say so, and to deal with (or struggle with) the issues from the perspective of their faith. So thank you, my friend! You’re fine! ;)

          • MRM says:

            thanks so much for the clarification! I so appreciate this gathering – and this is just another reminder of why.
            and, re your comment, “Facing how bad it is drives me to trust God more..” I am observing a major movement back to God and faith…. people going to church again, reading the Bible again… and while some might look at this cynically, I like to think it’s a very good thing and that current events are bringing about a resurgence in our faith in God. Again, thank you for being so quick to clarify!

            • Sharon says:

              One last encouragement for the night…I was just reviewing some of the verses I’ve been memorizing, and see this one from Psalm 37:39-40:

              “But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble, and the Lord shall help them and deliver them. He shall deliver them from the wicked and save them because they trust in Him.”

      • butchcracker says:

        As always,spoken with grace and truth…
        May God bless you Miss Sharone….
        Faith and trust…always

  31. Michael F. says:

    @MRM;
    I do think with you that accenting the positive is the correct thing to do. It is not frivolous.
    I’m in this local cyber-chapel, although I’m not a practicing Christian, not practicing any religion. If I were, it would be Zen Buddhist and Taoist.
    But I know from my psychospiritual journey, which dates seriously back to a psychic break in the early Eighties in the cultural foment of San Francisco, that we cannot dwell day-after-day upon the trials of the world without coming down with depression and despair or some other affliction. We are not spiritually responsible for the world’s evils and ignorance; we are responsible for our own errors (I’d lots of early experience in that!). We are responsible for simply demonstrating to those in our circle the validity of our own way of living in the world, where we are. No more is needed or expected.
    The world as it has been is a corrupt system that cannot endure. It is rapidly breaking down into unpredictable chaos. Sundance and Sharon are personally experiencing the brunt of the engendered anxiety and upset. Others seem to feel safe. I do. However, we can live sanely and serenely in the midst of chaos by maintaining focus on faith in our path and on what we need to do in the moment, in the situation at hand. Our intuitions will guide us; panic will fail us. It would be helpful to consult the fine books by our contemporary mystics Suzanne Segal and Bernadette Roberts to see our probable spiritual future.
    And so, at the head and tail of it, I count as having: a lived-in sanctuary-apartment, a couple great “eternal friends” out in the world, this quite wonderful tree-house community of ‘misfits’, and just enough money. On the downside, I have a slow, terminal medical condition, yet I’m at peace with the idea of exiting this life to a superior realm – but no rush on that!

    • Sharon says:

      The conservative expression of Christianity that I am familiar has never been that silliness of “just pie in the sky by and by” but has recommended living in peace in the present world, dealing with reality from a faith perspective. However…..however, in real experience, I am realizing that I have apparently sifted “what hit my innards” over the years, because now I notice that my thermostate occasionally malfunctions. “…we can live sanely and serenely in the midst of chaos by maintaining focus on faith in our path …” Thanks for your comments, Michael. “our path” for Christians is the person of Jesus Christ because we have believed His claim to be the only way, the only truth and the source of eternal life (John 14:6). The high point of my “conversational-life” on the inner tubes came a couple of years ago, I think, when I found a self-declared athiest who actually willing to have a dialogue….

      participation in the chapel is not dependent on being a practicing Christian. Thanks for joining in the Chapel conversation. (although you will have to deal with me occasionally slipping over to the piano and sitting down to play 30 minutes or so of eyes-closed, old gospel music just to tidy things up in my heart of hearts!)

      • “we cannot dwell day-after-day upon the trials of the world without coming down with depression and despair or some other affliction.”

        So true, Michael, regardless of the path you are on.

        Sharon, come tidy my heart next, please?

      • Michael F. says:

        Good music is non-sectarian, right? I’d enjoy it.

        • Sharon says:

          ….hmmmm!….well, that might be the test for me as to whether or not I’m producing “good music”!!! Using the music I enjoy, I’d like to think that at my most frilliant, I wouldn’t drive George Winston crazy. I hope he might say, “Well, m’dear,I think you have some potential!”

      • MRM says:

        Sharon, I would so love to actually be able to hear your music…

    • Patriot Dreamer says:

      Oh my, Michael. What kind of medical condition, if you don’t mind my asking?

      • Michael F. says:

        Prefer not to say. Nothing special. Everybody has to deal with his/her own exit — with the manner of it. I don’t have that decision, but I’m at peace with the One who decides.
        That said, I do find a peace and pleasure these days which I couldn’t find during all those years when I thought I was immortal!
        I’ll be around for a while, unless I’m not!

    • MRM says:

      Michael, thank you so much for the reminder that I can only control my own “stuff” (feelings, spirituality, focus). This is something I know, but had lost sight of in all the chaos ….

  32. Sharon says:

    The prophecies of Ezekiel 38, 39 seem to be setting up; and it’s getting easier to understand the details of Daniel 9. The prequel called The Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ (I know we always call it “Revelations” but that’s shorthand…I love the complete title as it specifies that it’s actually a singular revelation of a single person, not only a series of events) is sort of playing out in the headlines. Just a reminder that the advance information has been provided to us for our understanding and to motivate us to trust in the Sovereign God. The advance information has not been provided to us to scare us to death or to make us think we should “do something about it.” We are to live out productive lives in the midst of it; but we’re not responsible for it! I think there’s a lot to be said for understanding that! ;)

  33. Sharon says:

    I sure do appreciate Red Pill’s Scriptures quoted in the OT this morning.

    You know, mockers mock Christians as being too weak to deal with reality and suggest that is their real reason for believing in Jesus. I guess they found us out! And whenever they decide to deal with reality, if it’s not too late, they will want to do the same.

    Jesus loves me, this I know,
    For the Bible tells me so,
    Little ones to Him belong,
    They are weak, but He is strong.

    During our years in California our neighbors and close friends were a couple who both worked at Northrup. She worked as an assistant in the engineering offices and was known to be a Christian. Her boss was always aggravated by the simple fact that she was a Christian who trusted Jesus, the Christ, for salvation and forgiveness of sins. Even if she didn’t say much about it, her mere presence was a constant aggravation to him, so he would pick fights with her about it, wanting to make her feel silly or put her on the defensive. He really should have known better, since she wasn’t ever one to shrink from a fight. (Think Ann Coulter or Dagny)

    One day in frustration and anger, having picked a fight with her, he exploded and said, “You just believe because you want to!” And she delivered the perfect comeback, “And you don’t because you don’t want to!”

    Accepting the reality of the situation (we are weak, we are damaged merchandise because of sin, evil is real, there is an accounting coming for both nations and individuals) drives us to the real solution (the verses RedPill shared, that God has invited us to trust in Him, that He actually is available to provide, through Christ, the peace and comfort we need fer real). And that makes us fools? I think not.

    I think that makes us the emotional and spiritual adults in the room who are willing to face reality, present and future, head-on, stand before a Holy God now, on His terms (His terms include both repentance and forgiveness), and choose to live productive lives. We don’t do it perfectly, so we’re open to criticism or Jon Stewart slaps….so what? We’re the ones dealing with reality and a Holy God now. They are not dealing either with reality and a Holy God now. But they will. They will.

  34. Sharon says:

    Psalm 34:21, 22

    “Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.

    “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.”

  35. Michael F. says:

    @Sharon:
    Our chat about the weather we share along the High Plains border had me recall a particularly fine memoir by Kathleen Norris: Dakota: A Spiritual Geography. She is a Dakota native, a poet, and lay Benedictine.
    We along the border also share a geography and a worldview particular to it – one in which the people become metaphors for their inhabited land. She explains that we are at the point of transition between east and west, “geographically and psychically isolated from either coast, and unlike either the Midwest or the desert west.” We are at the uneasy state or balancing point between “hospitality and insularity, change and inertia, stability and instability….between hope and despair, between open hearts and closed minds.” Here interior and exterior landscapes tend to blur and merge, one becoming the metaphoric mirror for the other.
    While this is not a place for faint hearts, it is a home and a lifestyle of open spaces and broad possibilities, freedom and safety, and tight communities which sustain their trusted members. I’ve lived elsewhere east and west, and have visited much of the two Americas North and South; now I would not be happy to live elsewhere.
    I suggest that much the same independent yet accepting worldview applies to the members of this conservative tree-house.

    • Sharon says:

      Michael, that’s really a marvelous use of words, on both your part and Kathleen Norris’. I’ve not known of her before, but I like the description you quote, and that “uneasy state” between “hope and despair, open hearts and closed minds….” Very well expressed!! It also makes me think of a (perhaps tongue in cheek? or maybe dead-serious) survey that someone did a few years ago to try to analyze various nationalities to determine where in the world the happiest people hailed from. They concluded that the Danes were actually the happiest (in the deep, hidden sense) of all nationalities….not for any particularly upbeat reason, but because they had learned to maintain very low expectations. My siblings and I have laughed at that….perfect description.

      Isn’t it interesting that “independent, yet accepting worldview” is true of those who hold strong opinions, and yet that does not mean they have to blend into a meaningless mush of some kind. Thanks for sharing those thoughts.

      Based on my own family characteristics, along with what you share here, I’m reminded of the frustration I sometimes feel with the negatives attached to the meaning of the word “stoicism”….it’s so often used as meaning just sort of “digging in and gritting the teeth and putting up with things….” I know for fact that my ancestors were certainly stoics of a sort, as are hubby and I, but it’s a stoicism based on acceptance and optimism, not of bitterness or helplessness. Your comments sort of give me some glue for those thoughts. I like your observations about the Tree very much. Thanks for all of that.

      • Michael F. says:

        Appreciate the thoughtful feedback.
        Your concept of ‘stoicism’ seems to be closer to the original philosophy than the current meaning of ‘endurance in suffering.’ Dealing with all events calmly and realistically is to me the ideal, not to say that I achieve that ideal!
        You’d like Kathleen Norris’ books, I believe. (Available from Amazon.com.)

  36. Sharon says:

    MichaelF, I’ve ordered up the book through our local library, and may choose to get my own copy later. There’s never enough money to spend on books, so that’s my usual procedure ;) Thanks for the suggestion.

  37. Sharon says:

    Rush is talking about the ignoramus on some Sunday show who thought he had discovered a marvelous hidden truth when he “realized” that the reason the Muslims react the way they do when the Quran is burned is because to them “it really IS the ‘word of God’ “…..the problem we have folks, is that we have about 3 generations of Americans who are almost completely ignorant about the context, the infrastructure and the doctrines of Christianity. And yet, because they don’t want to deal with Christianity or the Bible, they make up their lies as they go along to keep themselves looking smart.

    Just a couple of references that might be helpful in clarifying exactly what the Bible teaches and Christians believe about the “Word of God.”

    In John 1:14, John writes about Jesus, “The Word (Greek here is logos) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…”

    In Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God (Greek here is logos) is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.) Throughout the first part of Hebrews 4, the writer repeatedly quotes from the Psalms, and clearly considers the Psalms (to make a minor illustration here, since this applies to the whole Bible)….he considers the Psalms “the Word of God“.

    In both usages of the Greek “logos” it is, (if you’re interested in checking the detail) Greek #3056. In other words, the writer of the letter to Hebrews considered the Psalms of the Old Testament on par with the words of Jesus (Who, by the way, is the One who created the world, see Colossians 1:15-17) (whom John identifies as “the Word become flesh” [in the Nicene Creed called "very God of very God"]_ and Christians consider the entire New Testament to be on the same level. (Sorry to throw so much detail in here!….just a heads up from an amateur Bible Student that people who appear on talk shows shouldn’t be so quick to say stupid things about the Bible.

    Neverthless, we press on: Using their logic (that when and if you believe that your written document is really “the Word of God” you get to kill people who burn it) I guess we Christians have some fires to set, since the United States military burned Bibles in Afghanistan a couple years ago to keep from offending those who live to be offended: the Muslims.

    You see, our national danger comes not just from the fact that the left is anti-Christian, but from the fact that they are completely ignorant of what constitutes Christianity. The person Rush quoted from yesterday’s show who was discovering this wondrous thing (he thought) kept referring to the Bible as “a book written by men.”

    The most junior Bible student knows that that is not the Christian perspective of the Bible. It is the perspective of a whole bunch of religious church leaders and schools who are constantly undercutting the authority and source of the Scriptures but it is not a Christian perspective, and some ignoramus saying it is doesn’t make it so.

    • GracieD says:

      Well said, Sharon! I can only speak for myself, but as the daughter of a Baptist Preacher, I can tell you that I believe that the Bible is God’s Holy Word. Some folks twist and turn what Scripture says to suit their needs. Those people will have much to answer for when they reach Judgement Day.

  38. Michael F. says:

    Some spiritual music for your forest chapel:
    http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/grace_notes/something_wonderful_jesu.php
    (Before the Muslims go postal.)

    • MRM says:

      Michael – that is awesome!!! thanks so much for sharing – I’ll be passing it on.

    • WeeWeed says:

      That was so cool, Michael! That was played (not the forest version) at my wedding a zillion years ago. Thank you!

    • stellap says:

      Amazing! Human invention never ceases to surprise. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Sharon says:

      Michael! I’m sitting here with my mouth hanging open. Good grief, that is an amazing piece of work….and besides the music…. I want those woods. I want those woods….right now, please. Good grief, that is beautiful.

      Wasn’t that ending amazing!….? where the camera is looking straight up all the little pieces, and the little wooden ball is rushing towards its finish.

      Michael, thank you.

      • Sharon says:

        BTW, I already got the book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography from the library today, so am anxious to peek into it later tonight…

  39. butchcracker says:

    .”…He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
    Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not faint.”

    Isaiah 40/29-31
    Amen….

    • Sharon says:

      Hoping in the Lord is not just a passive action, is it? Believing, as used in Scripture, is not a passive thing. Thanks.

      • butchcracker says:

        No mam,not for me..
        My Hope in the Lord is my faith…my rejoycing in all things,the forgivness for our past,power in the present,and hope for the future He gives..
        Thank you….
        Such a blessing to have you walking up ahead,such wisdom you bring…

  40. Sharon says:

    This link is to Blue Letter Bible which is a terrific and easy to use Bible Study site with a variety of tools and resources. This specific link is to the Daily Devotional on the site, written by Bob Hoekstra. His theme is always Grace. I love his writing and his direct way of expressing some marvelous things.

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm

    • MRM says:

      Sharon, thank you again for the Blue Letter Bible link! What a wonderful website/resource! From your link, I also found the Daily Promise … another great reminder of God’s love for us

      And, for the iphone using treedwellers, there’s a free BLB app!

  41. Sharon says:

    “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.”
    ~~~C. S. Lewis

  42. Sharon says:

    There is something stupendous in the fact that we are indeed guilty of sin, but God never says that we are” sin. Jesus the Christ was never guilty of sin, but God said He “became sin.” II Corinthians 5:21 “But He became sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

    The horror of what He experienced in His death was not primarily because of the physical horror of crucifixion or the shame of public nakedness but by the fact that in those hours on the cross, He “became sin”. Others were crucified that day, but they did not experience that horror: they were indeed guilty of sin, but they did not become sin. That has never been said of us, and never will be said of us. It will never be said even of those who refuse to acknowledge God.

    His Holy Father looked at Him that day and said, “You ARE adultery. You ARE theft. You ARE murder.” And then the Father looks at us and says, “You are guilty of adultery. You are guilty of theft. You are guilty of murder,” and then offers the following plea deal:

    “The perfect one became what you did, when He had done nothing. He did that so that you can become what He is, righteous. Not pretentiously righteous, but beautifully, peacefully, forgivenly (new word there) righteous. What do you think of that?” And waits for our answer.

  43. Sharon says:

    There are ten documented post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus. It’s interesting to keep in mind that neither the Roman government (which was desperately trying to maintain control and impose order on that troublesome Judean province) nor the temple authorities (who were desperately trying to get Peter and John and later, Paul, to shut up about Jesus, the Christ and about the resurrection) never challenged them on the facts, and never refuted the basic facts of the resurrection.

    Early Sunday morning, He appeared at the empty tomb. (Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-9)

    Early Sunday morning, He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18)

    Sunday at midday, He appeared to two travelers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)

    During the day on Sunday, He appeared to Peter in Jerusalem (Luke 24:34)

    Sunday evening, He appeared to the ten disciples in the upper room (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25)

    One week later He appeared to the eleven disciples in the upper room (John 20:26-31)

    One day at daybreak, He appeared to seven disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23)

    Some time later, He appeared to the eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18)

    Some time later He appeared to more than 500 ( documented in I Corinthians 15:6… by the Apostle Paul who was a Roman, taught by the lawyer Gamaliel [Acts 5:23; 22:3])

    Some time later, He appeared to James (I Corinthians 15:7, Paul)

    Forty days after the resurrection, He appeared to them on the Mt. of Olives at the time of the Ascension (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:3-8). Zechariah 14:4 informs us that the Mt. of Olives will be His point of return someday in the future.

  44. Sharon says:

    Psalm 37:7

    Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

  45. butchcracker says:

    “If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
    he makes his steps firm,
    though he stumble,he will not fall
    for the Lord upholds him with his…”

    Psalm 37;23

  46. butchcracker says:

    “As for me,I will call upon God,and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray and cry aloud,and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.”

    Psalm 55;16-18

  47. butchcracker says:

    “You who have shown me great and severe troubles,shall revive me again,and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness,and comfort me on every side.”

    Psalm 71;20-21

  48. butchcracker says:

    “God ,You are our refuge and strength,a very present help in trouble(Psalm46:1). You have invited us to “come bodly to the throne of grace,that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”(Hebrews 4:16).I come before your throne and ask for grace for us all. Strengthn our hearts for this battle and give us patience to wait on you(Psalm27:1-4) Build us up so that no matter what happens we will be able to stand strong through it. Help us to be always “rejoyicing in hope,patient in tribulations,continuing steadfastly in prayer”(Romans12:12)
    Give us endurance to run the race and not give up,for you have said “a rightous man may fall seven times and rise again”(Proverbs24:16)
    I pray we will look to You to be our”refuge untill these calamities have passed by”(Psalm57:1)
    Deepest prayers for all…
    Thinking and praying for all of you and yours here in our refuge!
    love abound…
    Thank you….

    Amen

  49. butchcracker says:

    “Be anxious for nothing,but in everything by prayer and supplication,with Thanksgiving,let your requests be made known to God;and the peace of God,
    which surpasses all understanding,will guard your hearts and minds,
    through Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians4:6:7

    “Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving,
    and into His courts with praise.
    Be thankful to Him,and bless His name.”
    Psalm 100;4
    Blessed be the name of the Lord…
    Praise Jesus…

    Amen

  50. butchcracker says:

    He is soooo good!!
    Amazing grace!!
    Blessings!

  51. Mikey says:

    There are so many beautiful post here. Truely you have shared your talents, That our GOD has so freely given you, with all of us. I am grateful for all of you.

    I am only 1 of many here in our little spot of the world. I am blessed with ten children, a God loveing wife and my father, mother, brothers and sisters who are united in our FIRM beliefs. Richly blessed and sorely tried. It is not easy, to live the way we do, against so much of the “way of the world”. We find strenght in our individual relationships with God. This is what inifies us. It is always so reassuring to find others who share in our beliefs, with conviction. We live an a part of this great country that has tried to take away our “pearls of great price” and have had to build our own school, our own church and it is good. The road has been very difficult, but very richly Blessed. You are all in our daily prayers, and will continue to be. We are all personally tried and I have had quite a few, the last of which I almost lost one of my sons to brain surgery, but God always shows His Face and the good that comes from these things always mystifies me. The love that God has for each and every one of us is incomprehesible. Yet he has asked us to do the same for each other. “Love one another as I have loved you”. If ever one of you needs special prayers, just ask, and we will happily add you the our list. For I know that if we ask Him for a loaf of bread that He will NEVER give us the head of a snake. We might feel that God is not there sometimes, but He is ALWAYS there!

    Lord Bless You And Keep You!
    Lord Let His Face Shine Upon You and Be Gracious To You!
    Lord Look Upon You and Give You All His Peace!!

  52. Sharon says:

    Peeking in and appreciating you all. Referencing the verse butchcracker posted above…..”….let your requests be made known….” reminds me to say to the Lord what I need. Of course we know that He knows…..but there’s something about taking the time to say it…..and remembering it’s “Abba” I’m talking to. DH and I had a great evening at a bluegrass/gospel concert.

  53. GracieD says:

    Great to see you, Sharon. Prayers going up for you!

  54. butchcracker says:

    “For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord,
    plans to prosper you and not harm you,plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,and I will listen to you.
    You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,declares the Lord”

    Jeremiah 29/1

    “Restrain your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears
    for your work will be rewarded,declares the Lord
    They will return from the land of the enemy.
    So there is hope for your future,declares the Lord.”

    Jeremiah 31/17

    Praise the Lord…

    Hope…ahhhhhh..
    Amen

  55. butchcracker says:

    “God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever present help in trouble.
    Therefore we will not fear,though the
    earth give way,
    and the mountains fall into the heart
    of the sea,
    though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with there surging.”

    Psalm 46;1/3
    Peace be with you..

  56. Ad rem says:

    Photobucket
    Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:
    Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
    Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
    Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.

  57. Sharon says:

    The rejection of Israel’s best interests on the part of our State Dept and Executive branch has (perhaps) arguably, until now, been a matter of neglect and nuance and interpretation. We probably all expected (with dread) that the day would come when it would become a matter of policy. I guess that’s today, huh? Ordinarily, we would look to the Congress to refuse to authorize or implement such things, but our Congress is no longer consulted; and even if they were consulted, they are no longer trustworthy.

    Genesis 12:1-3 says: The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

    “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

    Those who believe the Bible to be the Word of God acknowledge that our nation is no longer in a place to expect blessing according to this passage. God does not owe the United States a blessing. He is not obligated to bless any nation that curses Israel. He plainly says He will curse them.

    He still provides mercy, strength and guidance for individuals within such a nation who approach Him on His covenant terms offered through the cross. As individuals, we are not without hope or resource, but the worst is apparently beginning to unfold.

    Romans 1:18 describes wickedness as having an inherent effect of “suppressing the truth.” Deliberate, chosen wickedness is against God, is opposed to God, is anti-God: so by its very existence, it displaces truth. There can be no sharing of influence: wickedness displaces truth. Truth displaces wickedness.

    I’m also reminded of Daniel 5:5, 6 “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king (Belshazzar) watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.” And that was before he knew what it said. v. 30 gives us the end of the matter, “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain….” I think we need some writing on some wall.

    Holy God, rise up and show Yourself strong on behalf of Your people Israel. They are surrounded by enemies on every side, and our nation who has been their friend is no longer. Have mercy on us. Have mercy on Your people, Israel.

    Psalm 25:22: “Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!”

    • Menagerie says:

      Thank you for posting this. My prayers have been with Israel and her people all day.

    • Ad rem says:

      Have mercy on us indeed. Eloquently said.

      • GracieD says:

        Lord, please show mercy to We the People of America most of whom do support Israel. The heart of America is with Israel, regardless as to what the present Administration does. Thank you, Father that your mercy is new every day.

  58. butchcracker says:

    Amen….
    Thank you….

    Prayer,protests,boycotts and other campaigns ((frilliant web sites,frilliant people)) all can be utilized to bring about change,
    but all must be couched in love.”

    1Co 16;14

    love to all……
    I am humbled by your wisdom..

  59. Sharon says:

    A couple of pumpkin pies need creating, so I’m just going to toss a bottom line out here for what it’s worth for those who are curious or perhaps just a little stirred up by all the talk about the end of the world that someone has scheduled for tomorrow. Instinctively, most normal folks sense that this actually is a serious subject for conversation, but because of the limitations of online conversation, it gets sidelined mostly for practical reasons. Those who’ve never had the opportunity to have that conversation might not know that there is plenty of allowance made for differences of opinion between Christians when and if that serious conversation it is held.

    Just a heads up by which I want to point out the major nonsense of the pieces I’m seeing.

    The purposes, timings, participants and processes of (at minimum, these four) 1) the Rapture; 2) the Judgment; 3) the end of the world; and 4) the Second Coming of Christ to the earth do NOT overlap.

    The purposes and processes of these four things do NOT overlap. They do NOT occur simultaneously.

    Unfortunately, the core subject is deadly serious, and this kind of foolishness creates a setting and a profile that makes it easy for folks to mock if they want to, or brush the subjects aside as not worth thinking about. Deadly. This is a media event that the MSM has found useful for mocking core Christian beliefs. It hasn’t occurred to them that the God of the Christians isn’t so easily mocked as some of His kids. At some point it will. Off to pie-make now.

  60. Michael F. says:

    This seems the right place to comment on Ascension/Rapture. Some may recall an experience I had reported, out-of-body, in which the Elevator had no Up or Down, but only lateral transfers to left or right. Some got it, I think, as I did eventually.
    I’d add this, written in reply to a friend who joked about some ancient reptiles having missed the first Ascension:
    I was told that Ascension or Rapture was a fervent hope of people who wanted to escape this life to what they perceive as Heaven. The counterargument is that if they were qualified for the easy way out, they’d already be gone.
    I’ve been rereading essays on the spiritual path. Even those who attain enlightenment have to return to day-to-day life in the marketplace; and they realize that. They teach, write and set an example, and generally stay out of media spotlights (Nyogen Senzaki, Peter Matthiessen, J. v.d. Wetering and Issan Dorsey in Zen; Bernadette Peters, Suzanne Segal, Maggie Ross, and Kathleen Norris in Judaeo-Christian tradition — to name a very few.)
    And I might add that we don’t have to attain enlightenment in order to practice the principles of right living. We know what the are. We even practice them at times.
    You’d know, you who are….

  61. butchcracker says:

    “The joy of the Lord is your strength”

    Nehemiah 8;10

  62. butchcracker says:

    “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him
    and He shall make your paths stright.”
    Proverbs 3;5;6

  63. Sharon says:

    Nothing new in today’s news. Here’s what Psalm 36:1-4 says:

    An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:

    There is no fear of God before his eyes.
    For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
    When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
    The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceipt;
    He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
    He devises wickedness on his bed;
    He sets himself in a way that is not good;
    He does not abhor evil.

    Many of you have probably heard the old one liner: If God doesn’t punish the United States of America, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gommorah. There’s stuff going down here between good and evil that has nothing to do with our Constitutional Republic. It will play out in the context of our Republic and will have consequences for our Republic; but when our Republic is cold history, the things of good and evil will go on. Amazing times to be alive. We’re witnessing a public outbreak of evil and spiritual conflict I doubt we could have imagined, even if we have feared its coming and understood that it could happen.

    From Jude 17, 18, “But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts” and II Timothy 3:13, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” It may still “get worse” but it is quite bad enough already to qualify for the descriptions of Old Testament prophets and writers in the New Testament.

    In Isaiah 14:9, the prophet is addressing an evil entity (apparently Satan himself, referenced as “king of Babylon” in v. 4…so it could also be an evil human being in view) but look at the chilling language of the prophet: “Hell from beneath is excited about you to meet you at your coming……” The mocking ungodly ones are indeed going to meet the ones they serve, but it’s not going to be what they think.

  64. G8rMom7 says:

    Gator great Danny Wuerffel sent out this email that made it around to fellow Gator football players (of which my father-in-law is one). Beyond football, Danny started working with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans (when he played there for a short time for the Saints). It is a school for under priviledged youths from the Desire Street area in NOLA. He has since become the Director there and had to move the whole school after Katrina which devestated that area (including Danny’s house…he’s married with three cute kids). Anyway, this is the guy that Tim Tebow admires and is the reason I have the number 7 at the end of my screen name. Super super good guy and Christian. Please pray for him…

    The following speaks for itself—please send your thoughts and prayers to Danny and his family.

    A prayer request on my end. I caught a stomach bug last week on our Desire Ministry retreat in Colorado and my body got screwed up fighting the virus. I didn’t recover well. I started losing feeling in my legs, and then while in Montgomery this week visiting our ministry partner, Bryan Kelly, I started losing feeling and strength in my hands and arms. After a series of crazy tests all day Friday (it was actually a blessing to have been in Montgomery ), I was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome (www.mayoclinic.com/health/guillain-barre-syndrome/DS00413), a pretty dangerous type of temporary but progressive paralysis. It was my immune system overreaction to the stomach bug that started attacking my nervous system. Fortunately, it was diagnosed early and I’m on a week-long treatment that should make everything be ok.

    Crazy stuff. I’m doing well and very thankful to be getting good help. I’ll be in Montgomery at least until next Tuesday. Please pray for a full and hopefully quick recovery.

    I’m in good spirits. Bryan and his family are great hosts, and I got the sweetest hug from their neighbor, an inner-city girl yesterday. She heard I was sick and just came in the room, gave me a hug, a gentle pat on the shoulder and walked off. I thought I was coming to encourage the folks here, and I just continue to be blessed by them. God is good.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    God bless,

    Danny

    *********

    Since he penned this message he has taken a bit of a turn for the worse. He developed a headache from the spinal tap that was done last week in the diagnostic phase. He will receive treatment for this later today and is currently in the hospital on heavy pain medication. Additional testing will be done tomorrow afternoon. I will keep you updated and you are more than welcome to contact me via email or by cell.

    Thank you for your prayers and support.

  65. Sharon says:

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm

    Today’s BLB devotional reviewing God’s preparation and promise for an everlasting kingdom….doesn’t change what’s going on around us today, but reminds us of what will be going on around us in God’s planned future.

  66. Sharon says:

    About 2 hours ago, we got a call from our realtor informing us that the buyer has requested (we have no choice in the matter, so it really isn’t a request, unless we want to throw the whole deal away) for a two week delay in the closing. Turns out the land he’s selling must have some new (federally-mandated) special kind of survey splitting it into smaller parcels (it’s farm land) for the title records. He has not been able to get a surveyor to do the work soon enough to close this Friday. So the closing is now July 29. Therefore, I refer myself to what I wrote at http://mailboxesandoldbarns.com/2011/03/01/when-money-is-quiet/ :

    “One hot day in August Dad was up behind the garage tuning up the 6-foot combine because the wheat crop was ripe and ready to be harvested. Canvasses are tightened. Belts are checked. Auger operation is tested. Everything’s looking good. And then, about 4 pm, perpetually rain-starved eastern Montana gets dumped on. A violent 20 minute thunderstorm with heavy hail comes, roars, pounds and leaves. As the thunderheads head for North Dakota and dissipate over the horizon the combine looks a little embarrassed, sort of “all dressed up in John Deere green with nowhere to go.” Dad walks out into the fields near the house, gets down on one knee and holds a broken wheatstalk in his hands. Then he gets in the truck and drives down to the far fields. Much later, when he comes back, he pushes the little combine back into its place in the line of machinery. The wheat is gone and the combine isn’t needed tomorrow.

    “Now every morning at the breakfast table Dad would read from a little devotional slip that he tore off a 1-year supply in a small wooden frame that hung on the wall. It had a Bible verse and a little reading, and after he read it, we would sing a song from the little blue Danish songbooks (English translation). Then he would pray. The Night The Harvest Was Destroyed I went to bed wondering how he would pray the next morning. Was he disappointed in God’s failure to act? Or in God’s decision to act?

    “Dad was never rude or demanding toward God~~God being the Sovereign King of the Universe and all~~but neither was he dishonest. So, of course, when he prayed the next morning, he was neither rude nor dishonest, and he never mentioned the crop. I realized he didn’t think God owed him an explanation and didn’t figure God had changed, so there really was no need to mention either the hail or the wheat.”

    So at this moment on July 12, I have reminded myself that God does not owe me an explanation. God has not changed. ….He knew this was going to happen and, as He did yesterday, He will do today–providing for our needs and our peace. (One of my favorite hymns is “Day by Day Thy Mercies Lord Attend Me”….those of you who know know how that will help me today)… And I’m not saying this stuff to be magical or spiritually superior. It’s the rock bottom truth and if I don’t call truth to mind in this circumstances, I will go into complete meltdown. We all hate when that happens…..just makes such a mess, doncha know.

    Could y’all get me some crazy smileys or some silly cats, please? That would help…because the tears are about to start. I’m so very tired, and now we have to go into town and sign a piece of paper that says it’s ok with us that the closing is delayed two weeks.

  67. GruntOfMonteCristo says:

    Menagerie, if you don’t mind me asking, I was wondering if your youngest son had ever come around to belief? I recall that you’d asked for prayers for him a while back after he bought into the whole “Bible as myth” argument. Any improvement? I have 2 sisters who I’ve been arguing with for decades about the same thing, and unfortunately made very little progress. Just curious.

    • Menagerie says:

      Grunt, I do not mind at all, I thank you for your interest. No, David is very openly resistant to the idea of one Christian God, says he believes in “something” which sounds all fantastical new age and very incoherent, quite frankly. Several things don’t ring true however. First, not only have my husband and I taught David to think critically, he comes from a large Irish Catholic family who value faith, common sense, and hard work. He is, quite frankly, running from his own convictions, I believe. His arguments have lost the ring of conviction, and he is touchy to even an invitation to attend church from his girlfriend. If he were quite comfortable with his beliefs, he would be relaxed and confident. Further, he truly admires and emulates his dad in lots of ways, and my husband provided a rock solid example of a man who lives his faith, just as his father did, and if stories are to be believed, his grandfather as well. David has just discovered that he is to become a father. I believe this event will eventually have a great impact on his faith. He will ultimately choose to raise his child as a believer, I pray sincerely. And as for my role? Why I am remembering St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, and her relentless faith. I shall use her as my example, and pray for her intercession on David’s behalf. We mothers don’t give in. I have a grandchild on the way, so I now consider this a “prayer battle” I guess you could say, but not in the sense that I fight against God. Just the stupidity and pride of my son.

      If I haven’t worn you out yet, here’s a little of the backstory:

      http://theconservativetreehouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/his-name-was-jack/

      • GruntOfMonteCristo says:

        Thank you for the excellent backstory and update. I’ve got to run to a Scout Committee Mtg, but I’ll respond later tonight. Thanks again!

      • GruntOfMonteCristo says:

        Oh, Menage. You are a wonderful mother, and I pray that you will never blame yourself for your son’s struggles. You and your good husband have given him the best of examples, and now you are doing exactly what the very best of mothers, Our Blessed Mother and St. Monica would do. Please don’t grow weary or discouraged in your prayers for him. I know they are effective. My own mother prayed for me ceaselessly, and the Lord, in response, would not let me rest until I surrendered my stupidity and pride. Your son’s loss of conviction is a good sign. The Good God is wearing him down with love, through his girlfriend, his new child, his family. Hold fast to your hope. I can tell that you’ve never lost it.

        I became interested in your son’s story because you described his objections to God so lucidly in your old Honey Trail posts about a year ago, and the same objections have come up recently with people close to me who have been taken in by the same modern myths. The myths are easy to debunk, but our culture has been infused with them for so long that intelligent people let them go only with great difficulty. I was one of those idiots. Sounds like your son is one as well. No offense.

        You mentioned that he was convinced by the “multiplicity myth,” which is widespread among anthropologists and Biblical scholars who say that since the same Biblical stories, such as the global flood story, show up in all ancient accounts, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible must have been copied in part from these “older” works. What they fail to mention is that they hate the Bible and accept as an axiom that the Bible is younger than these other works, despite the evidence, just so they can dismiss it. Isn’t it more likely that the Hebrew Scripture (Genesis in particular), which was zealously guarded and preserved over millennia, like no other scripture on the planet, is just what it claims to be? If it is, in fact, older than any other account of mankind, wouldn’t you expect to find fragments of it scattered throughout all other important recorded works the world over? That is exactly what you see, but modern “scholars” hide that fact along with their agendas. Partially educated men, like your son and I, buy it hook, line and sinker at great risk to our souls.

        A similar “multiplicity myth” is used to convince people that since there are so many religions in the world, that none can be True. It is always formulated as a classic logical fallacy, but that doesn’t stop people from thinking it completely reasonable. But it’s dead wrong.

        As a scientist/engineer who’s authored technical papers in prestigious international journals, I could tell your son that he’s on the wrong side of logic and science in his arguments, but it wouldn’t matter. Truth is “seen.” It cannot be “thought up” or explained. Keep up your prayers. I believe it is how he’ll be made to see the Truth. By the Author of Truth, Himself.

  68. Menagerie says:

    Grunt, how I thank you for your kind words. You give me inspiration at a time when I need it. I missed (OK threw away) so many opportunities to teach my kids more about their faith when they were younger. Now I can only pray. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a little of your history with me.

  69. GruntOfMonteCristo says:

    Well, it’s not just my history, right? We’re surrounded by people who think they’re smarter than God. In my work it’s pretty much everywhere. You just want to wipe the smugness off their faces when they’re asking “where’s the proof?” Really? Did you ask your mother for proof before you “allowed” her to give birth to you? That’s kind of what these people are asking God. With a smirk. But I was there, too. We’re all just fools, like it says in Wisdom 13:1.

    Anyway, I just wanted to encourage you about your son. It sounds like you have and continue to give him EVERYTHING he needs spiritually. Bless you for that. Please, please have faith that your prayers are not going unanswered. Many of us are praying for our kids and parents and friends for the same thing, and it bears fruit. My dad found faith and peace just before he died last year (that was Mom’s prayers, naturally). I’m still working on my sisters, one of whom is named Monica, ironically, after the saint. We’ll keep it up. I’ll pray for David! And for Jack’s doggie place in heaven. We know he has a mansion doghouse up there somewhere. Sharon says so!

    • Menagerie says:

      Thanks so much. I also continue to pray for the needs of my fellow treepers. I will continue to keep you and your sisters in my prayers. Yes, I believe our prayers will bear fruit.

  70. Sharon says:

    Bob Hoekstra’s “Day by Day by Grace” (at the Blue Letter Bible site) for today is so encouraging…..so here ’tis:

    The Lord Promising a New Heaven and New Earth

    The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance…Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:9, 13)

    In our previous meditation, we considered Jesus’ promise to return for His people. “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). Many centuries have come and gone with that promise remaining unfulfilled. Consequently, some are inclined to scoff at this promise. The Scriptures have prepared us for this by giving us another promise. “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days…saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Nevertheless, we who believe God’s promises are convinced that He will keep His word and return for us. When He returns, He will fulfill another promise as well: the promise of a new heaven and new earth. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

    Two insights are offered here concerning the Lord’s delay in His return. The first one pertains to God’s compassion and patience in allowing more opportunity for people to repent and not perish. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The second insight pertains to God’s perspective on time. For our eternal Lord, it is as though He made the promise of His return only a couple of days ago! “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

    Yet, some day the Lord will fulfill His promise to return for us. Then, the new, eternal reality will come. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” It is delightful to consider! “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth…And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'” (Revelation 21:1-4).

    • SylvanSylph says:

      I’ve only recently discovered this blog and only today clicked the link to this thread. My husband and I both cling to the idea of the Lord returning for His bride. We had an interesting discussion this week about the birth pangs mentioned in association with the Last Days. He considered them a sign of the Rapture; I countered with the idea that the Tribulation period itself may be the birth pangs, with the second 3 1/2 years corresponding to the later stages of labor just prior to actual birth, culminating in the physical return of the Lord. WDYT?

      • Ad rem says:

        Welcome SylvanSylph….always wonderful to greet a new ‘Treeper’.

      • Sharon says:

        SylvanSylph, I’m late checking in here because we’ve been on the move…from MN to Oregon, and that is now “done” and finally have internet back as of today. Yeah!!! What you describe in your conversation with your DH incorporates ideas that hubby and I are certainly familiar with, and generally in agreement with. The reason I say it that way is that over the 60+ years of our lives, we have heard so many excellent Bible scholars, who have genuine and thoughtful differences of opinion on how the details play out. I’ve been content to realize that the Sovereign God doesn’t need us to be in agreement, He already knows what He’s going to do. However, having said that, I will agree that there is potential in your point that the “Tribulation period” may be the birth pangs and I have heard several well-grounded students of the Word indicate in the last 3 years that they have shifted their perspective a bit because of the seriousness of events that are unfolding–more serious than they expected to see “prior to the Rapture.” Amazing times we live in, and I’m so grateful that the Word provides us a context and some understanding so we can be at peace in the midst of it all. (And not “mindlessly” at peace, but intelligently and thoughtfully at peace.)

        • Ad rem says:

          Welcome home Sharon! So glad to hear that having landed in your new state, you are making yourself at home and the essential services are all in working order. You’ve been greatly missed.

        • GracieD says:

          Glad to see you Sharon!

        • Sharon! I like the way you put that. Not “mindlessly” at peace, but otherwise. Welcome back and glad you have a keyboard and a pillow of your own again! I hope you took notes on the trip? Is everyone all right?

        • MRM says:

          Ahhh, Sharon…. so nice to “hear” your voice again. I’m happy you’ve arrived and are back on line. :)

        • sylvansylph says:

          Sharon,

          Having made the cross-country trek on a couple of occasions (and half-country treks on a few more), I add my well-wishes for your safe arrival.

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply. My own views of end times have shifted over the last couple of years, also because events are unfolding at such an accelerated pace. Even knowing that our country’s influence must diminish to allow for the rise of Islam does not make the decline any easier to watch when it’s happening right before my eyes and in such an invidious manner. I have wept for America in a way I never imagined.

          John and I rejoice that we are sharing this time, as we met and married just last year. God is good in His oversight, from events on the world stage to His watch-care of His children. I am glad we can rest in His peace, knowing that no matter how events play out, that nothing can reach us without His permission.

          Thanks again for your insights. I lok forward to getting to know everyone here.

  71. Sharon says:

    In Jeremiah 2:11, Jeremiah quotes God as saying,
    Has a nation changed its gods,
    Which are not gods?
    But My people have changed their Glory
    For what does not profit.”

    In Romans 1:21 a/the basic problem is clarified (about both Old Testament Israel/Judah and those who live today), “...although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened….”….and then–two things happened:

    (#1) in v. 22: professing to be wise, they became fools and (#2) in v. 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image.

    v. 25 gives further insight into what happened to twist the thoughts of those who actually knew better, those who “knew the truth about God“. In v. 25 they are described as those “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,….”

    Who God is, what He is like and what He will do is pretty much set in stone. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Mass murders within nations. Injustice dominating in the affairs of men, in third world nations and in the nations of so-called western civilization.

    What may also be set in stone is the heart of the man or the society that has decided not to believe what is so about God. Unbelief is a decision; never forget that. And it’s not a decision made in a vacuum. It’s a decision made in the face of evidence of the truth. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attribute are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse.

    Interestingly enough, v. 20 follows v. 19 . Which follows v. 18. Check it out! http://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm is my favorite site for finding stuff quick….just put in Romans 1 and after it finds it for you, you get to choose a particular translation if you care to. Recommendations: NKJV (New King James Version); NIV (New International Version); NAS (New American Standard).

    If our media, our “leaders,” our weathermen, our geologists really are so over-worked and blown away by the occasional massive volcano, the occasional “unexpected” earthquakes, the occasional 9.8 earthquake; the occasional Cat 5 hurricane…..they should start eating their Wheaties, because when God sets loose His conclusions about the matter, their brains are going to fry.

    Everyone will worship God: either now or later.
    Sins and violations will be exposed: now or later.
    Everyone will, indeed, end up with just as much God as they say they want….AFTER He has finished with displaying His sovereignty, His holiness and (in fact) His grace.

    Think about how it will infuriate the enemies of our souls when those who are forgiven stand peacefully strong in His presence, and in their fury–if they could–they would spit and fume and say, “Don’t you know THIS about her? Don’t you know THAT about him???? That is NOT a good person!” And He will say, “Yes. I know all of that. The only difference is that they forgiven and you are not.”

    Jeremiah 5:31 says, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My peole love to have it so, But what will you do in the end?” (“priests” here is a reference to the Old Testament priests (Tribe of Levi and descendants) who were in charge of, first, Tabernacle worship, and later in the Temple of Solomon…)

    The overlapping, cumulative and accelerating events of this year, this month, these weeks….keep reminding me:

    None of us are getting out of here alive.

    Each of us will have as much of God as we want.

    It’s barely begun…y’ain’t seen nuthin’ yet–either of the ugliness of man or of the righteousness and wrath of God.

    • sylvansylph says:

      Lately it seems we receive almost daily corroboration of the total depravity of man. Those with open eyes can observe the principles of sowing and reaping in action and can see the results of minds given over to unrighteousness.

      Jeremiah, 5:21: “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes and see not; which have ears and hear not.”

  72. Sharon says:

    Whenever there an overload in terms of human experience, things can go very wrong and we can get in trouble in a variety of ways.

    Overload of affection: we feel smothered or get swept away in foolish decisions.
    Overload of stress and work: we suffer physical collapse eventually.
    Overload from powerful people who are not safe: we get angry and fear for our survival.
    Overload of unrighteousness and evil: the fight or flight response is massive.
    Overload of lies, distortions of facts and–worse–using lies and evil from ten years ago to manipulate and dominate us today: we get angry. We get very. very. angry.

    Here are three statements that are true: God is full of wrath all the time at sin and evil. He expresses that anger in His time and in His way. Our expressions of anger are problematic for us, in terms of timing, manner of expression, goals, etc.

    May I refer our hearts to Psalm 37. (I’m not quoting every line or every verse…but want to show the flow of the chapter….it’s a “back and forth” thing) God does not deny the reality of evil and He doesn’t ask us to deny it. But because He knows we can be consumed in our efforts to respond to it, He does invite us to listen to His suggestions about how to handle it so that we don’t bring injury on ourselves.

    Do not fret because of evildoers….they shall soon be cut down like the grass……trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness……commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him….rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…..do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger and orsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.

    For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth, for yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more…..the wicked plots against the just and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him for He sees that his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword….to slay those who are of upright conduct….the arms of the wicked shall be broken……the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord…..(skipping to v. 34) wait on the Lord, and keep His way….when the wicked are cut off you shall see it.

    vv. 35 and 36 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree. yet he passed away, and behold he was no more,; Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.

    v. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

    Of all the lines in that chapter that make me “chill” just a bit, the most significant to me is this (speaking of the wicked) “The Lord laughs at him for He sees that his day is coming.” Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to have Elohim/Sovereign God/YHWH laugh at you? I can’t.

    Frequently in the prophetic books of the Old Testament (Jer 21:13; 50:31; 51:25; Eze 5:8; 21:3; 26:3; 28:22; 29:3 for just some of them) God declares about nations or individuals, “I am against you…..” People of faith have properly learned that God is “for them” and have appreciated the provisions made for our salvation, for forgiveness of sin, for guidance in life. But sometimes I think that we have so emphasized those true things that we have not firmly learned that God also chooses to be “against” specific people (and nations) for specific reasons.

    It is proper to occasionally encourage our hearts to remember that God is AGAINST evil and HIS DAY will come when those scores are settled, deeply, completely and once for all.

    We are not equipped to do that “total settlement” and if we try, we will come to harm. All of that is why I love Psalm 37 (and Psalm 73 as well) because they remind me that God acknowledges the facts, the power and the damage of evil lies and evil doings. In the face of our frustration and anger with regard to evil in our midst, at some point–if our heart is listening–we can always hear the Spirit of God say, “I know. I know.”

    Well, this is way long. Sift. Take what is useful. Ignore what is not.

  73. zmalfoy says:

    I haven’t been sleeping well lately. It all started a little over a month ago, when I had a dream of two, huge beasts. They looked like giant sloths– the size of a brontosaurus– with the faces of Kachinas. They grazed on dust and bare rocks, in a hilly, barren place of howling winds and blowing sand. In my dream, I identified this place as Missouri.

    Since then I haven’t remembered much of my dreams, except I wake troubled and uneasy, wanting to warn everyone of– something. I don’t know what. I am haunted by an instinct to sound the alarm, even though I don’t know of what. Rumors are many, facts are few.

    So, I’ve been praying, praying that if there is indeed something to warn people of, that I be given words. This evening, the following popped into my brain, and I knew I had been given an answer.
    ____________________

    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord

    (Romans 8:38-39)

    And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house. But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
    (Luke 9:61-62)

    Remember Lot’s Wife.
    _____________________

    I can’t explain why these are the words of warning. There is a picture here, but it is for each of you to discern for yourself. I am hoping that once I have shared this, that my sleep will be restful again. I am quite sleepy.

    And no, I have no idea when this is for, either. Maybe soon, maybe a long time from now. Maybe this is just a Test of the Divine Emergency Broadcast System. Maybe the End of Fiscal Year stress has gotten to me and totally fried my brain. Maybe these are simply words that one of you or someone you know needed to be reminded of. I don’t know. Just, please, take these words and file them away. Pray on them and carry on. If you feel the need, share them. All I want is to sleep again.

    Thank you. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

    • stellap says:

      That first scripture was used by Pres GW Bush in his address at the National Cathedral on Sept 14, 2001. That, of course, was the memorial service for those killed in the Sept 11 attack.

      I hope you sleep well tonight, Zophiel! I will ponder what you have said and see if I can make sense of it. I think there will be bad things happening in the next year. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you, Z. We don’t “know the end from the beginning” but since we know the one who is the Alpha and the Omega, we put our confidence there. We recognize our encouragements, warnings and sharings as being imperfect even as we know they are needed. So thank you…praying some peaceful sleep on you tonight.

    • WeeWeed says:

      Sleep, dear Zophiel. We’ll discuss it later, you cannot if you’re not rested. Ooooohhhmm. “Our Father, …..”

      • GracieD says:

        Get yourself some well deserved sleep, Zophiel. I have had a feeling of unease for quite a while. I’ve been praying on it, and watching the 2nd hour of Glenn Beck today struck a nerve within me. It was about the history of Israel, and it was profound. The world is aligned against the apple of God’s eye, and our President is falling into lockstep with the bad guys. I pray guidance and wisdom for us all. We are going to need it!

        • How can you say that, Gracie? The Launch Attack Watch website specifically says that’s a lie! It’s just a right-wing smear campaign that says that Obama hasn’t been a strong ally of Israel! (*snork!* Hee-he-heeeeeeee! …..Sorry!)

          But seriously, Zophiel, I’ve said those words (about sleep) many times before, regrettably. I have a long history of experience with what you’re talking about. I know you are very busy, but if you ever want to talk about it, you have my email or can get it from the other admins. Don’t hesitate to contact. I might be able to ease your mind about some things, even if there are legitimate messages in the queue. Peace to you, dear Z!

        • Ad rem says:

          Totally agree…..GBTV is a godsend. If I only had the time to read all the books he recommends. Sometime I think we’re entering another round of the Dark Ages. We need to guide our country to a mass consciousness through prayer.

    • zmalfoy, could you e-mail me please. I came across something recently that might be related. Thanks!

  74. NM Pancho says:

    I haven’t felt God’s presence for years. Last time? When I was in the desert over there.
    Nothing seems to help. Nothing seems to work. Granted, I’m not drinking myself stupid, using copious amounts of nicotine or doing anything else that is self-destructive and maybe that’s all I need from him right now…
    But, is it too greedy or something to ask for more? Like feeling good more times than not, feeling some kind of success in what I’ve done during the day or anything more? I’m drained. I’m empty. I’m tired. Comparing my “half-empty glass” to someone else’s empty glass doesn’t work. It’s not my nature, never has been. To me, comparing my “haves” to someone else’s “have nots” is a simple cop out. I work for more. It’s that simple. If I don’t have it and I need or want it, there’s but one solution: Work to get it, or do without. But, I’m not talking about material possessions either. It’s more. I help other veterans out. Nothing. I do favors for strangers. Nothing. I go out of my way to lend a hand. Nothing. I ruin my day to make someone else’s. Nothing. I don’t feel anything. I’m not looking for awards or trophies or standing ovations, either.
    Isn’t there something a guy needs to feel after something like that? Maybe that’s why people brag. Well, yeah. No. I’m not going to pick up that vapid habit to bolster my self-esteem.

    I’m empty. Am I over-extended and tired, or am I missing something?

    I felt a little “joy” ripping into AW yesterday. That scared me. But, I’m a soldier. I attack. It’s what I’ve always have done. Lived it for years. Now, I can’t do that. But, when a chance like that comes up, I can still move. I thought about it. It shocked me a little to think that’s what I lived for and still live for. What’s wrong with me. I don’t seem to feel anything unless I’m on the prowl or protecting something or someone, doing something my parents told me I shouldn’t or couldn’t do. Mind you, I’m no criminal. Never have been. But, operating in the grey has always motivated me. So, in a civil world, what the hell is it that I’m to do?

    I’m just not cut out to be a PTA dad, a soccer coach or a cubicle warrior. I do need to find something that I fit into. Something that gives me purpose again. Something that brings me into some kind of light. Something that brings a smile to my face again, because, literally I don’t think I’ve smiled in years. Or laughed. I’m not a miserable grouch, I work hard all the time, but I really don’t have a purpose. It’s like I’m not on a path, a road. I’m not on a journey because I don’t have a destination. I just am, but I’m empty. Prayer? Meaningless, lately.
    I thought that I needed new goals. Ok. Achieved them. Still. Nothing. No self satisfaction…nothing.
    I read for new thoughts and ideas. Yeah. Bluh. Nothing.
    Mid-life crisis? Really? No.

    A hobby? Eh, kinda burned out on everything I’ve done now…

    What brings the light back?
    Go back to church? No thanks. I don’t need a person to dictate to me anymore.
    The churches here are full of babbling folks who tell you “what you need to do” with every little aspect of your life, and their life is a wreck. Sorry. I don’t need that. It’s irritating to top that off with.

    I’m missing something.

    • freedom1781 says:

      I totally understand what you are talking about.

      • NM Pancho says:

        Yeah? Are you going through it now, or did you fix it?
        It’s like funky mud up to the knees kinda stuff….a funk.
        A brain fogging funk. Clinical depression? No. I’m not stuck on a couch.
        I’m reading. I’m operating. I’m not clinically depressed or anything.

        Just have no direction.
        I’m just wandering around without a compass or the need for GPS.

        • freedom1781 says:

          Going through it now. Some days are better than others. I have no idea what my purpose in life is supposed to be.

          • Freedom, please click on my name and leave a message for me on my website. I want to ask you a few questions, but only if you don’t mind an email exchange. Commenting will provide me with your email, so if you want to keep it secret, don’t comment over there. Thanks!

    • I’ve been there, Pancho, but I wasn’t the one who fixed it. Yes, you’re just missing something that’s right in front of you. You’re a good man, Buddy. I think you’ll get some answers here. In my experience, it seems some of what you’re stuck in is actually due to depression. I know, it doesn’t fit the clinical mold. It never does. But the answer is spiritual and even if you fix that, it will take some time for your body to find equilibrium and feel good again, so don’t be impatient. You will.

      Here are some words for you from others who know what they’re talking about. I’m guessing you will scoff at them at first. Read it again. It will make sense:

      St Catherine of Genoa (d1510): “Man was created for the end (purpose) of possessing happiness. Having deviated from this his end, he has become deformed by making for himself a self which in all things struggles against the soul‘s true happiness. Hence it is necessary for us all to submit to God this self of ours, which does all it can to fill our minds with obstacles to our straight progress. God must consume it till nothing is left but Himself, else the soul cannot find firmness or contentment, not having been created for any other end.”
      “All sufferings, displeasures and pains are caused by attachment to the false self. Although adversities may often seem to us to be unreasonable, because of certain considerations which we believe to be true and indeed quite evident, yet the fact is that it is our own imperfection that does not allow us to see the truth, and this is the reason why we feel pain, suffering and displeasure.”

      St. Teresa of Avila: “The whole mischief with prayer comes from not realizing that God is near to us and imagining Him far away.”

      St. Alphonsus Liguori (1723): “Lord Jesus, too long have I resisted your grace; do with me what you will.”

      St. Philip Neri: “Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you the strength.”

      • NM Pancho says:

        ungh….life was easier with direct and written orders…..

        • You want orders? Here ya’ go: Drive north to a rustic, unmarked hot springs on the banks of the Rio Grande between Santa Fe and Taos. I don’t know exactly where it is. It was dark last time I did this. You must go there on a moonless but clear evening, park your truck off the road and make your way down the overgrown path to the boulder-rimmed hot pools right on the river. Here the river runs moderately fast and cold, but the springs are about 103 deg. Pay no attention to the bearded guy and his 2 naked hippie girlfriends. They’re not that attractive anyway. Focus.

          No swim trunks allowed. Soak for an hour or so until it gets quite dark and the stars are out. You may have a little whiskey to sip on, but not much, because if you hurl in the water, the hippie chicks will whine, and it will ruin the mood. Try to forget why you’re there or where you are. Resist the urge to worry about your physical safety in any way. Think about the FACT that you did not create yourself, nor do you sustain your own health or well-being in any way, aside from a little clueless maintenance here and there. Realize that you’re not alone. No, I’m not talking about the menage a trois over there. Focus. God is there with you. Despite your attempts to see it otherwise, he has guided your steps and provided every breathe you’ve ever taken and created you lovingly before that. Every thought you’ve ever had and every laugh you’ve ever enjoyed has been either inspired by him or corrupted by that other voice that you hear from time to time. You know what I’m talking about. Silence that other voice. Surrender yourself to the reality of His presence.

          Now, stand up. Tell the 3 hippies that you’ll be right back, and roll over the rock wall, plunging into the ice-cold water of the Rio Grande. Swim for a while, touching nothing but the current, maintaining your position off the wall while looking up at the stars. Resist any urge to care about whether you live or die, but cling to HIM, knowing that whatever happens, He will not abandon you in any way. Forget your training for a few minutes. There are no military buddies here to mock you if you cut your foot on a rock climbing back into the hot springs. Stop caring about stuff like that. Now climb back in and warm up before you get pneumonia or something. ;) Repeat as necessary, but don’t blame me if you really do cut your foot on a broken whiskey bottle or a Gila monster bites your ass. It’s all part of the therapy. :)

          • Sharon says:

            Grunt, I really like the set of your heart.

            I would say it more complicated probably, but it boils down to “be still and know that I am God.” Which is what you said. I so often realize that He is saying, “Sharon, please know me as I Am, and stop attributing to me stuff that comes from you.”

            My favorite “religious plaque” thingy is something I bought about 25 years ago, a quote that the designer obviously is attributing to God, speaking to His child, and it just says, “I know.” I can’t tell you how many times I have struggled, in either joy or frustration, to express my heart to Him and when I eventually have the good sense to shut up and listen, I hear Him say, “I know.”

            God bless you, Panch. Just know that God does not play games or toy with us. He’s always on the lookout for an honest heart.

          • NM Pancho says:

            Road trip

          • NM Pancho says:

            I’m back.
            It’s about equilibrium.
            The balance.

            It’s something I already knew, I just needed the reminder.
            I have to go fix some things now.
            Thanks all.

          • Michael says:

            I’ve been to that exact spot and I agree, it is one of GODS therapies. And I believe I saw the exact same guy and two hippie friends.
            The guy had piercings in ALL kinds of places! The last time I was there, they had 8-9 more friends show up with beers in glass bottles. They were a motley looking crew. Still I soaked with my Jameson in a plastic cup. But, then they started throwing the bottles against the rocks and glass was shattering everywhere. When I asked one to be careful as the glass was getting in the pools and hitting some of us, he cursed at me. We casually got up and left which is probably what they wanted and why they threw the bottles against the rocks. Wonderful place but, not the same anymore. Hopefully it is still the sacred spot it has been for many years.
            Oh I’d love that soak right about now!

            Merry CHRISTmas!

    • sylvansylph says:

      NMP- Several years ago I experienced much the same emotions you describe. I found myself at the end of my rope, on many levels, personally and professionally, with no apparent way of escape. Somehow I was led to contact Nancy Missler at The King’s Highway; she sent me a copy of her book, Faith in the Night Seasons, which proved a great blessing in opening my eyes to God’s purpose in my dark night of the soul. As life crumbled, a generous friend offered me a temporary haven and a loan to relocate.

      The ensuing years were not easy, but God saw me through. As 2010 arrived, I remember journaling a defiant message to God that if He didn’t reveal Himself to me soon, I was done chasing after Him. He proceded to show me Jeremiah 29:11 from so many varied sources that I had to take notice. A month later He used a fellow-employee (an unbeliever) to introduce me to an employee who, like me, had spent years in the wilderness wondering if God would ever again be a discernable influence in his life.

      We were married in June, 2010. This summer we have been listening to two series by Nancy Missler: The Way of Agape and Be Ye Transformed. We both have commented that though the messages are hard to bear at times, we needed to hear the lessons they contain. I cannot recommend these series highly enough. I have the Agape series on cassette and would be pleased to send it your way.

      I pray God reveals Himself and His plans for you, as I know that is His heart’s desire.

    • sylvansylph says:

      While working on some household engineering (aka housework!), I decided to listen to an online message. I clicked on Tony Evans most recent broadcast which focuses on fellowship with God. I immediately thought of you. Here’s the link, if you’re interested:
      http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/the-alternative/listen/the-activation-of-the-cross-part-1-221582.html

    • zmalfoy says:

      I am praying that your road trip progresses well!

  75. Sharon says:

    The following is an excerpt (about the first half) of today’s Blue Letter Bible Devotional. http://www.blueletterbible.org/devotionals/dbdbg/view.cfm

    “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life…with the humble is wisdom…The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 22:4; 11:2; and 9:10)
    Many of our previous meditations have clearly demonstrated that walking in humility is the pathway for living by the grace of God. “God…gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). In our present verses, we see that humility and the fear of the Lord are related.

    Humility and the fear of the Lord result in the same blessings. “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.” The closing trio (“riches and honor and life”) are an Old Testament description of a life that is fully blessed by God. The New Testament counterpart would be fullness of spiritual life. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Humility and the fear of the Lord also result in wisdom. “With the humble is wisdom… The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

    Humility is the candid acknowledgment of our absolute need for the Lord to work thoroughly in our lives day by day. The fear of the Lord is respect and reverence toward our great God. It is not a fear involving terror or apprehension. Rather, it is based upon profound admiration and dependent devotion.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In the stress of life as it is, there is rest in God as He is. We need rest, and we need to find that rest in Him. No other will be able to sustain us or restore us.

  76. freedom1781 says:

    Precious Bible

    Precious Bible! What a treasure
    Does the Word of God afford!
    All I want for life or pleasure,
    Food and medicine, shield and sword:
    Let the world account me poor–
    Having this I need no more.

    Food to which the world’s a stranger,
    Here my hungry soul enjoys;
    Of excesses there is no danger,
    Tho’ it fills, it never cloys:
    On a dying Christ I feed,
    He is meat and drink indeed!

    When my faith is faint and fickly,
    Or when Satan wounds my mind,
    Cordials to revive me quickly,
    Healing medicines here I find:
    To the promises I flee,
    Each affords a remedy.

    In the hour of dark temptation
    Satan cannot make me yield;
    For the word of consolation
    Is to me a mighty shield:
    While the Scripture truths are sure,
    From his malice I’m secure.

    Vain his threats to overcome me,
    When I take the Spirit’s sword;
    Then with ease I drive him from me,
    Satan trembles at the Word:
    ‘Tis a sword for conquest made,
    Keen the edge, and strong the blade.

    Shall I envy then the miser,
    Doating on his golden store?
    Sure I am, or should be wiser,
    I am rich, ’tis he is poor:
    Jesus gives me in his word,
    Food and medicine, shield and sword.

    – John Newton (1725-1807), author of the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace.”

    • Sharon says:

      Freedom….that’s a marvelous poem. How very true-to-reality John Newton always. There’s a man who knew what the marks of sin and the walk of deliverance was about. Thank you so much for this…I had not seen it before. Will be printing it off and passing it on in various ways.

      Last week (different subject) I was reading in Psalm 109, and found some rather encouraging things about how God is willing to deal with those who lie. Verse 2 describes the Psalmist’s situation: “For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me…they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. (Verse 3) They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.”

      Then he goes on to clarify what he’as asking for from the Lord: (beginning at v. 6) “Set a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is judged, let him be found guilty, and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few, and let another take his office.” (in spite of the chuckles we’ve all had on that one, it doesn’t just apply to king zippy. it applies to all those who lie with deliberate destruction in mind) “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also from their desolate places. Let the creditor seize all that his has, and let strangers plunder his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him, nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off, and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.” skipping to v. 17: “As he loved curisng, so let it come to him….”

      And that’s only a portion of the curses he speaks against those who lie with destruction in mind.

      The level of frustration and helplessness that I sometimes feel in the face of the monstrous deceptions that are dripping over our nation has some connection to my failure to remember that God is a holy and awesome God who will not forget the wretched liars and their wicked plans.

      While we do not take pleasure in the death of our enemies the way the Muslims do, or laugh about their deaths the way Hillary does, it is proper for us to KNOW that God has an end in mind both for their judgment and destruction and for our deliverance and safety. I need to sink into that truth more often.

  77. freedom1781 says:

    I had to post this here today. I’m going through so tough stuff and this song really “spoke” to me.
    Enjoy.

  78. Sharon says:

    It bothers me that I sometimes end up with mud all over myself because I’m trying to deal with the mud being thrown at us and at our nation by supposed Americans. As a Christian, I don’t believe that my flesh is an appropriate resource for fighting things that do really need to be strongly opposed…..but I sure do have a problem fighting back without my flesh getting into the act.

    However, neither will I accept that the only alternative to the discomfort of living on this learning curve is to silently withdraw and, in so doing, basically yield the field to those who would destroy liberty on both a personal and national level.

    Perhaps the simple answer is this: do the best I can do with where I am now and what I know now….and then, whichever comes first, I will either get better at fighting this battle or it will end.

    I know that the Spirit of God has declared Himself willing to teach sinners (Ps. 25:8)—so, at the very least, may I present myself to Him today, again, as a learner.

  79. freedom1781 says:

    This poem was read on K-LOVE radio the other day.

    Lord Undo Me
    I don’t really worship these days
    I don’t really stand up to praise you with songs
    Or prayers or actions
    or with anything
    I am full of all the right moves
    I am full of all the right words
    I am full of all the right religion
    But it is all just illusion
    I am really
    Lonely
    Lost
    Calloused
    Jaded
    Cynical
    Too religious
    Too realistic
    and well really just too lazy
    to worship you anymore
    I have lost my first love
    I have lost the joy of your presence
    But most of all I have lost the fear of your glory

    Father I need to see you again
    Like Isaiah I want to stand in awe of your glory
    To fall down at your feet
    To come face to face with your
    Perfection,
    Radiance,
    Goodness,
    Holiness,
    Awesomeness
    I want to stand before you and see you for who you are
    and me for who I am
    I want to be undone

    I want to know me for who I really am
    I want to see the depths of my heart
    And know that you are the only way
    You are the only truth
    You are the only life
    I want to see me and understand
    What it really must have taken for you to
    Love me
    Care for me
    See me
    Speak to me
    Want me
    Communicate with me
    Die for me
    Die for me
    Die for me

    Lord, I want to stand in that place where all I can see is your glory
    And my sin
    Because in that place I can’t help but worship you.
    Lord let me come undone
    Undo my heart
    Lord, undo my heart
    break down these walls that I love so much
    No, wait don’t,
    I’m scared I don’t know if I can handle this
    don’t
    But I can’t live this way anymore
    I can’t stand here in this half-life
    this going through the motions life
    this not really alive life
    Father, I need you so come in and do what you must
    Cut out the tumor on my heart
    Break down the walls that I love
    Lord let me come undone
    Undo my heart
    let me worship you again

    —by Blake Williams

  80. Sharon says:

    I thought some might be interested in reading this passage from the gospel of Luke and consider the issues involved with the desire of James and John, and the response of Jesus about something He saw in their spirits.

    Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was [set] for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw [this], they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did? ” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save [them].” And they went to another village. (Luke 9:51-55)

    This is a good example of dynamics in conflict which were touched on in the “Succinct…” post and ZMalfoy’s later commentary. Jesus, Lord of all, with all power at His disposal, did not use it randomly or pettily (and that is not to say that He never used it…) In this situation, his disciples were wanting to clock some brains and take some names. Their reason for doing it was factually based, but He turns to them and says “Knock it off, guys….you’re right about your facts but wrong in your response….stop it.”

    There are many similar examples in Scripture where folks who “are right” are also wrong. So I need to be careful about having “being right” as my sole basis for action.

  81. Sharon says:

    I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:13, 14

  82. Shalini says:

    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Colossians 1: 15 – 20

    I got reminded of this passage when I was reading about Obama’s deliberate attempt to deny Christ’s divinity.

  83. Sharon says:

    The Incarnation:

    He who never began to be but eternally existed, and who continued to be what He eternally was, began to be what He eternally was not. –Author Unknown

    ….and it’s good to remember that “the incarnation” did not occur in Bethlehem with a baby. The incarnation occurred nine months earlier–with two cells.

    • zmalfoy says:

      “….and it’s good to remember that “the incarnation” did not occur in Bethlehem with a baby. The incarnation occurred nine months earlier–with two cells.”

      Yes. As is made abundantly clear in the story of The Visitation, when unborn-John reacts strongly to the presence of the unborn-Jesus, leaping for joy within Elizabeth’s womb.

  84. Andrew Donnachaidh says:

    Obama never denied Christ’s divinity. He is a Christian. If you are able to judge a man’s true soul I guess you have no need for the bible. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” ; “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone”; “And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” Remember that we have never been commissioned by God to judge others and we have been strictly warned against it.

  85. Andrew Donnachaidh says:

    That link also has links to the Mayan apocalypse timeline. Are you practicing Mayan paganism? I celebrate Christmas but it was originally a pagan holiday called Saturnalia- does that make us Roman pagans? I have read two books by Mr.Obama and he confesses in both that he is a Christian. Other than the sacrament of baptism I know of no other “christian confession” that is demanded in the bible.

  86. You are singing in the wrong choir here my misguided friend!

  87. MRM says:

    I just wanted to stop in and say that I attended Mass on Sunday – voluntarily – and not because of a wedding or a funeral. And, not only do I intend to go back this coming Sunday, but I’m going to a Bible Study tomorrow. I grew up Catholic but gave it up a very long time ago and began a journey that seems to have come full circle. I just wanted to thank you for your part in the process. The insights provided by so many of you on various subjects, Zurich Mike’s posting of prayers I remember from childhood, and the strong faith that is so apparent in every post have all played a role in moving me toward this place. So, thank you. Pretty soon you’ll have me eating bacon again ….. ;)

    • zmalfoy says:

      Well, welcome Home! Just keep in mind, we’re all sinners in here!

    • Menagerie says:

      Thank you for sharing this with us, and welcome home. My heart is glad for you, and filled with hope.

    • MRM, I had no idea! Somehow, I missed this back in Feb, but it makes me so glad. Thanks for sharing this. If your parish offers a “Christ Renews His Parish” retreat for women, I strongly encourage you to consider it. My wife and I have been involved in these for some time, and it is a wonderful way to ease in to the community and meet good people (men and women of faith – not unlike the Treehouse community!). If you don’t mind the question, what parish have you been attending? I’m familiar with most of them on the north, central and south sides of town, but not so much far west or far east.

  88. barnslayer says:

    ‘I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

  89. Lady_Dr says:

    While God has protected me in so, so many ways I still lack faith. Today I stumbled upon this website and ask for someone out there to pray for me. My room-mate left 3 weeks ago and the rent is much too high for me to pay it all myself, and my job terminiates at the end of March. To top it all off I live in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language (my life is VERY complicated). So I need an answer soon. Your prayers would be very much appreciated.
    But I also want to report, and give praise to God for the most amazing job the last 18 months which was very easy for me and made it possible for me to work from home so that I could blog. In addition to my job I have been blogging, co-writing for someone who has good ideas but is a poor writer, and fighting the good fight against the evils of the secular, progressive (read communist) left which is attempting to take over America.
    May God bless you all, and God bless America.

  90. Just wanted to do a little praying in the chapel tonight about someone I know in a bad place. My daughter, the EMT/bartender has a good friend and former roommate (whom we all know) who has been living an outrageously promiscuous life for the last few years, and has been difficult to reach. Her family life is extremely troubled, but she’s extremely stubborn and independent and hard to help. Recently, she revealed that (*surprise*) the birth control let her down and she was pregnant from her boyfriend of the week. Our daughter has always been a very heartfelt pro-lifer and strongly encouraged this girl to find a way to have the baby and offered help. The boyfriend also seemed to be willing to help. Things looked like this could be a good thing.

    A few nights ago, DD was tending bar, and her friend walked in and ordered a beer and made light conversation. When she ordered a shot, DD complied, but became concerned that things were not right. When she made her next order for more shots, DD asked what was going on, and she confessed that things had gone south with the boyfriend and she’d had an abortion. Stupid dusty keyboard. Not asking for any prayers. Don’t think there’s much hope, except for the little one. Just shedding some tears in the chapel over another one who couldn’t be saved, even by good friends who care.

    • Menagerie says:

      My heart is heavy with you Grunt. The loss is ours, all of ours, when this happens.

    • MRM says:

      Oh gosh, Grunt… I’m so sorry, and so sad to hear about your daughter’s friend. Sending prayers even though you didn’t ask… for all whose hearts are aching.

    • zmalfoy says:

      Oh. . . oh dear. . . I will pray for all involved. From what you say, DD’s friend was upset, even though she tried to hide it under a wash of alchohol.

      But, I’ve known people exactly like that. Stubborn and hard to help, and how they never listen, and end up . . . well. . . ever worse situations and places. . . The little one is safe, of course, but DD and DD’s friend (and her boyfriend) need prayer . . . How tragic. . .

      • Thanks, Zoph. Was just talking to DD about this earlier today, and she was expressing such frustration with the secret, snap-decision aspect of it. So much she could have said, like pointing out that her only other pregnancy ended in miscarriage (at 17), and with an abortion, the chance of never being able to carry to term later go way up. This could have been her one blessing. Thanks again, All!

        • Aussie says:

          Marianne Faithfull. How many of you remember when she was just a 20 year old? Her boyfriend was Mick Jagger even though she was married to another man a the time. She had a son, Nicholas. She became pregnant and that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Marianne Faithfull almost managed to commit suicide here in Sydney, not long after the miscarriage.

          Years later, she wrote a book on her life. She gave out the information that she had been pregnant before she met her husband and she had an abortion…. I am not sure that this is the reason for the miscarriage but that abortion made it harder for her to have children and retain a baby in the womb. Her doctor thought that drugs had been the cause.

          I read something similar about another of Jagger’s lovers – Jerry Hall. She also made the claim that her former lover (prior to Jagger) had got her pregnant and demanded she have an abortion… she did… and then she could not get pregnant again until she had an operation… followed by having 4 children.

          Women who miscarry naturally are also at a higher risk of not being able to carry a baby to term. Your daughter is doing well to put forward the case against abortion and the harm it does with regard to ever having children.

  91. freedom1781 says:

    My song of the day….

  92. Sharon says:

    Gaither Vocal Band…..on a distressing day in a distressed nation …. something that will hold: “The Love of God”

  93. Walther PPK says:

    Greetings to my brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ

    • Sharon says:

      I like that artist’s rendering of Jesus embracing the young man so much. I think that much of what we experience face to face will be very different–and in some ways far simpler–than we can understand or think now.

  94. Walther PPK says:

    I can only imagine but have no good idea…maybe you imagine better

  95. Walther PPK says:

    Maybe something like this

  96. Sharon says:

    Romans 1:18 gives some insight into how seriously God sees and will deal with those who suppress truth: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrightness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

    I will not be so frustrated or feel so helpless if I take time to think about the fact that God is a holy and awesome God who will not forget the wretched liars and their wicked plans. He notices them. He sees them. For our part, it is worth it to struggle against untruth and wickedness–there is power in what we do as we take our place in opposing them. By its very existence, the wickednesses that drive us crazy and that we attempt to do battle against are both displacing and occupying the place of truth. There IS no such thing as shared authority between wickedness and truth. It is a matter of wickedness OR truth.

    There’s no “titer mix” that is safe here as though 2 parts of godlessness with 1 part truth is workable. It is not. Being drawn to truth and desiring to internalize truth as we oppose untruth and wickedness is no easy task. There is good reason for our internal discomfiture and dis-ease as we discover that our cultural training (for many of us) that says “keep a low profile” and “keep your own nose clean” and just “stay away from the bad people” won’t cut it any more. Our inexperience with opposing untruth and open wickedness will exact a price. Experiencing that should not cause us to abandon the battle, but rather cause us to just plan to get better at advancing the truth.

  97. Walther PPK says:

    Count me in on any plan for advancing the truth. Chapel attendance seemed to be down a bit and I sort of had the feeling posting religious music here may be putting the light under a bushel and/or preaching to the choir. You have seen those bumper stickers saying I brake for imaginary animals. Maybe my bumper sticker reads Baby Jesus On Board, driver is subject to occasional inspired outbursts of hymns, gospel music, and bible verses.

    • Sharon says:

      “Chapel attendance” is not a scheduled event! ;) and we don’t assume group events necessarily. As described in the opening post for the chapel, there are those times in current events when subjects such as evil, what’s happening with Israel, does Putin’s visit to Jerusalem this week have any connection to a future peace treaty?….such things invite discussion on the part of Jews and Christians. Most blogs and news sites certainly do not invite such discussion. To the contrary, most of them discourage it and some flat out forbid it, just because it tends to brings the kooks out–kooks on both sides of the issues, and the resulting mess makes actual discussion of issues almost impossible, even for people of faith who desire to have an intelligent and heartfelt discussion. Having the chapel gives us a place to welcome that conversation and make it less likely that we go to either extreme–that of forbidding open and casual discussion on one hand, and that of driving readers away because of dominating threads that are not intended for faith discussions on the other hand.

      The purpose of the chapel is simply a place for conversation what we notice “that our questions or statements, reasonings or fears are best expressed with a Judeo-Christian historical and spiritual context.” That’s all.

      I have another thought that is connected perhaps: Over the decades we (DH and I) have experienced the burnout of churches, groups and individuals who are so afraid of “preaching to the choir” and were so determined to become a gathering point for those who had no interest in being in the choir and, in their success at NOT preaching to the choir, they attracted so many who had no interest in the music or the lyrics or the composers or the point that eventually the choir is outnumbered about 10:1. The choir wants to sing. The choir wants to have a place to practice. The choir needs a place to talk about the music, and discuss the meaning of the music. That’s what the chapel is for. It is not good to ignore the needs of those who are already motivated and thinking and reading. The letters of Paul and the pastoral epistles are almost exclusively addressed to “the care of the choir” and, in fact, being careful about how they relate to those who do not choose to be part of the church.

      The purpose of the chapel is not a place for preaching to those who aren’t interested in being in the chapel, nor is that the purpose of the open thread. Genuine expressions from individuals are welcome on both threads.

      Be encouraged about another angle: the views of items posted in the Chapel, in terms of actual count, are always much higher than the numbers of posts…so just posting it in the chapel does not equal “nobody will look.” Not true at all!

      We have never moved posts from one thread to another, and certainly would not do that to the music posts that are put on the open thread, but I wanted to encourage you to realize that if you have a number of Scriptures or musical good stuff to post, please don’t assume that putting it in the chapel thread means it will not be watched. It always catches my eye when there’s a chapel or prayer thread entry in that right hand margin where posts are listed….and I always, always go to look, read and listen.

      I’ve just started rereading Randy Alcorn’s Heaven. Oh, my, I like that book! His care with hermaneutics, his willingness to deal with historical theological problems and his desire to encourage disciples of Jesus, the Christ, with regard to conscious anticipation of the “new heaven and earth” –all of these things he does with such skill and heart for the Body of Christ.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts plainly! :) I hope I’ve shared mine appropriately and without causing offense. I can certainly “do” plain speaking, but sometimes in so doing I create problems because of thoughtlessness. I hope I have not done that here.

  98. Walther PPK says:

    Hmmmm okay how about this

  99. Walther PPK says:

    • Sharon says:

      Beautiful….and love the visuals. On my Pandora radio, I have one station set up to bring me the Russian Orthodox choirs, St. John’s choir and anything I can find from the old Cathedral music. So excellent. As you can see from earlier postings above here I’m always drawn toward old hymns and everything Gaither Homecoming.

      We didn’t have electricity on our farm in Montana until I was about 8 years old. One of the wonders that came from that was that finally we had more music than that which we made ourselves! To be able to turn the radio on and later, “play the hi-fi” with Her Majesty Royal Marines Band was sort of a bit of heaven for us.

  100. Walther PPK says:

    You may like this one. It has an unusual sound and I’m still working on the latin give me time

  101. Sharon says:

    Here we go..WPPK!

    No need to mince words on this. Payday arrived for TM Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord

    While physical death (as in TM’s case) may be an obvious result of personal sin and foolishness, the “wages of sin” in its doctrinal meaning has particular reference to that final separation referred to in Revelation 21:8. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    In general, the physical death of any of us is actually a result of the damage that sin has brought on God’s creation; so I suppose we might acknowledge that Romans 6:23 applies to any of us in that general sense.

  102. waltherppk says:

    Yeah that payday comes for all of us one way or another and it is not entirely within our control nor is that necessarily the only reason for an early departure, but certainly there is foolishness that can increase the chances of dying sooner rather than later, and that is surely what the reckless conduct of TM did. i have said already that TM in effect committed suicide by his own reckless bad choices, GZ just pulled the trigger and GZ could have been anybody. If a person does something highly likely to get them killed and they do get killed then whose fault is that ?
    If a person steps in front of a train and gets killed is it the locomotive engineer’s fault ?

  103. Sharon says:

    Well….pffft….the one I was putting here was “A Pile of Crowns.” I’ll leave this one for now and see if I can still get the other one up. The following comments had to do with Pile of Crowns. Ok…I can’t get the other one to set in. so I’ll just leave this one up–it’s excellent also, of course.

    These were my “Pile of Crowns” comments anyway……This was good for my heart this evening. Sometimes it’s hard in the daily chaos for folks of faith to clearly remember, know and THINK that there is a day coming when, in a new heaven and new earth, life will continue and enlarge and be exactly what we were created for to begin with. That’s the essence of redemption: something being actually redeemed. Not thrown away. Not discarded as no good. Redeemed. Amazing grace.

    Any time there are attacks on believers who may have stumbled in their lives or expressed themselves poorly and then there come the attackers who want to use those flaws to discredit their faith or the Gospel…. well, that just illustrates they really don’t get it. We know how flawed we are. That’s why we accept the premise of redemption as arranged for by the Triune God who had both the willingness and the ability to work out the legal and physical and spiritual details.

  104. Sharon says:

    The Bible was written over about a 1500 year span and had more than 40 writers. Some of it was written in times of war and sacrifice(King David) and some in times of peace and prosperity (King Solomon). It was written on three different continents in three different languages. Humanly speaking, the folks involved were those who experienced the realities of life with hardships, victories, defeats and messes (some of their own making, some not).

    I was reading Psalm 35 this morning and got to thinking about King David and George Zimmerman. If we forget that King David was a real person with mighty big troubles–over a long period of time–we may miss the comforts and the challenges of the Scriptures. Psalm 35 is King David’s prayer in a time of trouble, and it is a reality-based prayer for George Zimmerman and his family as well.

    Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;
    Fight against those who fight against me.
    Take hold of shield and buckler (a buckler is simply a small shield),
    And stand up for my help.
    Also draw out the spear, and stop those who pursue me.
    Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
    Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor
    Who seek after my life;
    Let those be turned back and brought to confusion who plot my hurt.
    Let them be like chaff before the wind,
    And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
    Let their way be dark and slippery,
    And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
    For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
    Which they have dug without cause for my life.
    Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
    And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
    Into that very destruction let him fall.

    (that’s about the first 1/4 of the psalm, which ends with this verse….)

    And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness
    And of Your praise all the day long.

    King David is telling the truth both about his adversaries’ tactics and his own limitations. He is seeking God’s help from a place of humility (“I can’t stop them, Lord, and I’m gonna go under unless you help”). King David is not looking for a God-Gotcha. The last verse let us know that while the difficulty continues and without knowing the outcome, David shares his heart-thoughts–it’s all about God’s righteousness and the fact that He deserves praise.

  105. waltherppk says:

    David was a real sinner too a murderer and an adulterer with the wife of the murdered man which seems remarkable as bad conduct for such a prayerful God fearing man as David…but it is true. The devil sure can make a mess of things, even for a righteous king. Then it could be that beautiful women are just automatically going to be trouble even if through no fault of their own.

    • Sharon says:

      Here’s a word picture of David I wrote some years back trying to get “the big picture” of the chaos of the life of this man

      David had a spiritual boldness by which he addressed issues instead of dancing around symptoms.

      He was a musical sheepherder from a dysfunctional family
      who had a wife who mocked him,
      a son who wanted to kill him,
      a baby who died because of him,
      a father-in-law who pursued him with murder in mind,
      a grandson whose choices resulted in the destruction of everything he and his son, Solomon, had built spiritually, politically, nationally and militarily.

      He himself was a shepherd,
      a king,
      a murderer,
      an adulterer,
      a musician,
      a general,
      a poet,
      a survivalist,
      an outcast,
      a victor,
      a worshipper of YHWH,
      a lousy father
      and a man after God’s own heart.

      He was not equipped for his calling except by the call.

      He lived out the calling of his life by refusing to be defined by the events and failures of that life.

      He kept staking his life to God’s call, not to his family photos.

  106. waltherppk says:

    That’s good verse , I like that. I could say I can relate to David in some ways but not all.
    I’m thinking you may like this

    • Sharon says:

      That’s wonderful. The visuals are amazing and the lyrics unique. The creativity that comes out of the hearts of individuals is something to behold, isn’t it? ….illustrates that we are indeed made in the image of God. Thank for posting this.

  107. waltherppk says:

    BTW Please tell me if you know the reason why my every reply is delayed awaiting moderation. Thank you.

    • Sharon says:

      It’s been happening alot this morning with several commenters with no reason that we know of. Sorry about that!

      • waltherppk says:

        The delay awaiting moderation is still appearing for every reply I make sometimes only for a few minutes but sometimes for nearly two hours and this makes real time blogging impossible. I think somebody put a filter on me. Maybe a babysitting cookie I can get rid of, What do you think?

        • WeeWeed says:

          I’ll try to check when I get home, PPK – it might be in your IP address but I can’t check for a bit. Sorry – I DID notice that a lot of folks are going straight to moderation but I’m not sure why…. :(

          • Sharon says:

            waltherppk, I’m sorry you’re still having problems with that. Weed, I did a quick check, and I’m not seeing any issues. Will look it over again…..

            ppk, I won’t be right here all the time, but I will make it a point to frequently check the spam bucket today to let you out quickly if you get caught. Sometimes things get squirrelly and it’s just hard to figure out why. I’m sorry this has continued. We’ll work on it.

            • waltherppk says:

              Thanks WeeWeed and Happy Birthday. I can change my IP with a mouse click so I will try that too as well as a clear cookies reboot. Logging out and back in didn’t help.
              Sharon not your fault and thanks for unspamfiltering me. I thought wordpress had maybe put me on a watchlist for being such a big friend of Obama and all…hehehe.
              Replying is like getting past the TSA checkpoint at the airport somebody is checking me out, going by the varying times to clear it looks to be manual review and authorize filtering.

  108. Sharon says:

    Isaiah 12:2 says “I will trust and will not be afraid.”

    Psalm 56:3 says “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.”

    So we’re covered either way–we may trust (the verb form of “faith” sort of) when we are afraid; or trust as a way to avoid becoming afraid.

    BTW, Psalm 34 and Psalm 56 are both written by David in the context of one event. It is the only event connected to two psalms like this.

    Here’s the setup: King Saul is trying to kill him. (I Samuel 21:10-15)

    He flees to King Achish at Gath, thinking to find safety there.

    Some of King Achish’s soldiers turn on him and ruin that place of refuge.

    So David has to pretend to be a crazy man and takes a whiz on the wall and spits all over himself.

    Achish derides him as a crazy man, and David ends up hiding in a cave in the earth. (I Samuel 22:1)

    David’s psalms never came out of his heart because he was artsy-fartsy. They came out of his heart because he was often in desperate need [physically, mentally, spiritually, militarily, politically and in danger of being murdered by family (King Saul tried to kill him both before and after David married King Saul's daughter)] combined with his confidence in YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Sovereign God, who would have mercy and come to his aid.

    Soap operas could save a lot on their writers’ salaries if they would just tap into some of the stories in Scripture. Seriously.

    So when I am fearful because of overwhelming events (most of which I have no control over) or want to avoid becoming fearful, my choice to trust God alleviates my fear and provides genuine peace in a context of “deep waters and the grace of God.”

  109. waltherppk says:

    There is a spring which flows from a rock that was split by a bolt of lightning. Do you know it ?

    • Sharon says:

      I know that spring. I also find that the gunk and chaos resulting from deliberate reality-contact increases my need to go there.

      I like some of the rewritten lyrics in this version. Very nice. Often lyric-rewrites on the old hymns are a disaster–not so much this one.

  110. waltherppk says:

    It is not just speaking figuratively that I mean, that also being true of course, but I speak of real places on earth today where the water from those springs there still flows…… so far as I know.

    • Sharon says:

      Our amazingly wonderful and very, very deep fresh water well in Montana from which the entire region pumped (by hand for many, many years) their household water was a deep, underground artesian spring/well. Oh, goodness! That was wonderful water! So yes–both kinds are wonderful.

  111. waltherppk says:

    Water is a beautiful thing

  112. texan59 says:

    A place I start this day every year with a prayer for the original Mrs. Tex. Without her I wouldn’t be here. January 31, 1935 – October 2, 1992.
    :(

  113. Sharon says:

    http://www.redstate.com/2012/11/02/50000-feet-looking-down/

    Erick Erickson writes a good one–a review of the big picture…no matter what….

  114. Sharon says:

    During these cross-over hours–headed for what we cannot yet be certain of–my thoughts keep going to these facts:

    The Apostles John and Peter lived their entire lives under Roman occupation.

    The Prophet Daniel performed both his prophetic and national administrative duties serving the empire that conquered his homeland.

    The Prophet Isaiah served under a derelict national leadership and very likely died being sawn in two by one of the forces fighting to snuff out resistance to their influence.

    Believe me, I could go on and on. But I won’t. My spirit can’t easily bear even a portion of the weight that theirs did, on days that were far worse for them than this is for me.

    My thoughts remind me that millions over the centuries have lived and served, survived and died, fought and ministered under diabolical authority.

    All of this is true in the wake of a Romney victory as well. We do not hold any other standing before the Sovereign God than they did. We stand in the sanctuary as they did, asking for His mercy and intervention. My spirit is focused on these truths pretty clearly right now.

    Winston Churchill said, “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” That’s also true regardless of today’s election results.

  115. LRRP says:

    While I’m sure that God wants us to be politically involved and to vote, I’m sure that He does not hold us responsible for the _outcome_ of the election. That’s in His hands. (Thankfully!)

    It’s my job to line up the sights, hold my breathe, and squeeze the trigger. Once the round leaves the tube, my responsibility is over.

    Whatever happens today, we’re still in His hands.

  116. Jenny says:

    “Our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everthing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase… If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death”.

    Lt. Col. William Travis
    Alamo

    Hold on to your beliefs, no matter the cost.

  117. Sharon says:

    King Solomon was king over Israel from 970-930 AD after his father, King David.

    The following is part of Solomon’s prayer to God in I Kings, chapter 8, at the time of the dedication of the magnificent temple that is spoken of to this day as “Solomon’s Temple” —

    44“When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, 45then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
    46“When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; 47yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; 48and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: 49then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, 50and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51(for they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out of Egypt, out of the iron furnace), 52that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You. 53For You separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance, as You spoke by Your servant Moses, when You brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”

    Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all their troubles!

  118. Sharon says:

    Proverbs 1:33 “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

    The qualifying action on my part is to actually listen to what God says. Listening takes time. However, it’s completely reasonable. It something I can choose to do at any time. Then, having made the decision, having listened…there’s a much-needed result: security.

    Not security from events necessarily, ….but security…without fear of evil. And this is what struck me: God does not promise here the absence of evil. He promises the absence of fear of evil.

    Another verse I was thinking about yesterday and then it was mentioned by our pastor this morning: Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” and there is a promised recovery from sinful failure promised in Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.”

    If we are to move through what’s ahead of us with peace and strength, I believe it is necessary for us to do it on God’s terms–asking Him for His provision.

  119. Sharon says:

    As we struggle to anticipate positive momentum in national and international events, we cannot sustain ourselves if we get caught up and deceived into a mindset of “I’VE GOT TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.” (or “we”)

    Even in the greatest battle, those who speak of faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob always come back to the point of acknowledging that there is nothing within themselves that will bring the desired haven or the power-driven result. There’s great energy and focus in individuals of faith because they do not look to themselves. That’s not a contradiction or a problem–it’s a feature of faith.

    We do not think much of ourselves in terms of being good (because we trust in the goodness of God) and do not think of ourselves as being all-powerful (because we know God to be all-powerful and we know ourselves to be in need of His work on our behalf–including in the affairs of men and nations.

    So–thinking about this aspect of how we do not think much of ourselves–there is something else that we ought not to “think much of.” We ought not think of Islam as an unconquerable evil force.

    Neither the devil nor his demons, in all their array and all the depths of their evil, constitute an equal opposite of God, in all of His omniscience and omnipresence. The devil (evil) is not the equal opposite of God.

    Even as it is necessary and wise to identify evil and arm ourselves against it, there is no need for us to do that in a way that suggests that the evil manifested the enemy is just as strong as holiness is in the Sovereign God.

    The Sovereign God and the demons of hell (and their leader) are NOT equal opposites. Demons were originally created as angels and rose up in rebellion against God. They are a defeated foe (the book of Revelation describes Satan as “knowing his time is short” which inherently confirms that he also knows he is, literally, under authority….under the authority of the Lord God. And when the Lord God yanks his chain, he is going down in that very moment. (the “well, why does God allow evil??” is for another conversation).

    I said all that to say this: even as we realize, experience and recognize that Islam is inherently evil, that should not “make the situation worse” in our eyes. That kind of destruction, chaos, darkness and murderous living comes from spirits that are evil, personalities that are fighting against the Lord God in this day.

    There is no “false god” in Islam because there is no god in Islam at all. Demons are the power behind the spiritual facade and they are not the equal opposites of God.

    Jeremiah 10:10 describes the Lord God this way:

    But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide His indigation.

    Then verse 11 gives a “negative identification” to His evil opposition:

    The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.

    It’s necessary to contend with evil. The outcome is certain. Our portion is simply to stand in the evil day

    Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” We are not told to win. We are not told to “make him pay.” We are told to stand. That’s quite enough of an assignment, to be sure. But “standing” is a distinct assignment that does not require chasing down, exhausting myself, being smarter than, being scared of, trying to outwit or trying to outshout the enemy. Our task is designed with our capabilities in mind. None of us is asked to do hand-to-hand combat with evil.

    So, then, let us stand.

    This may be awkwardly expressed, and I may revisit it, but it’s been on my mind and I had to try tonight….this is the main point of what I’m trying to get at in my thoughts (repeating from above):

    There is no “false god” in Islam because there is no god in Islam at all. Demons are the power behind the spiritual facade and they are not the equal opposites of God

  120. Sharon says:

    In the midst of the chaos of reality, partially focused national and local events that are ugly, even though only partially focused, I notice that faith, in one sense, is not a “default position.” Even though it’s my habit born out of some level of discipline over the years, even though faith is clearly a gift from God, faith is also, still, a choice.

    In the midst of chaos, clamor, confusion and intermittent fear it is possible to choose faith, to choose to believe.

    I’m reminded of that comment “If it were easy, everyone would do it…” That applies to lots of stuff. It also applies to exercising general and specific faith in the Sovereign God in these difficult days.

    May God’s mercy deliver the Marine sitting in jail in Mexico.

    May His mercy deliver back into the light the survivors of Benghazi–wherever they are.

    May His consuming light blind and burn the deceivers and liars who are destroying our nation.

    May His light of healing touch George Zimmerman’s heart and his family tonight, giving them rest.

    May the Lord of the Hosts strengthen those who are standing on the walls of liberty tonight, laying down their lives and their strength hour by hour, for the sake of those rights which still are–no matter what they do to us–unalienable: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those rights came from God and man can’t take them away.

    Father, we need to see reality from your point of view so that we don’t slip into just enduring, but instead, persist in pressing on.

  121. Sharon says:

    Psalm 73:38-ff

    Surely You set them (the psalmist is speaking of wicked and violent people) in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction…they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, so, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.”

    vv. 25, 26

    Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

  122. Sharon says:

    How will God help us?

    How has God helped “His people” in the past? (“His people” may mean specifically Israel, or the church [including both Jews and Gentiles] or those nations who acknowledge God as the Lord of their nation) I keep going back to Jeremiah to see how He deals with nations.

    In Jeremiah, He deals specifically with rebellious Judah, which was neck deep in idolatry at the time. He also deals specifically with the Gentile nations surrounding Judah, some of which took great pleasure in being the tool God used to punish Judah; not anticipating that when He was quite finished using them (as His tool) that His wrath would turn on them for their destruction, specifically because they so enjoyed cleaning Judah’s clock….completely missing the fact that Israel’s God was, literally, using them. So when it was all done, He cleaned THEIR clocks.

    In Jer. 4:22 God gives this description of His own people, and it is a sharp and accurate description of our formerly/so-called “Christian nation” today, a nation which was founded on Judeo-Christian principles:

    For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

    That verse is a descriptive denunciation of our culture and our government today. Our nation has long since ceased to even pretend to be “God’s people” and has publicly bellowed against him–see the DNC in September in Charlottesville.

    On. p. 142 of Eric Metaxas’ biography Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the bottom paragraph, there is this chilling sentence,

    “Of course Hitler never publicly denounced God.”

    So there it is: the twists of evil in the Third Reich trumpeted by the evil Adolph Hitler did not include any public denunciation of God. Ever! That is quite different than the 2012 convention of the democrat party.

    Evil will adapt its own presentation according to its audience: I find it very disturbing that Adolph Hitler knew better than to denounce God, because (as another sentence in this paragraph says) “He knew well that there were many churchgoers in Germany who had some vague idea that real authority should come from their God…” Adolph Hitler accepted in his behaviors and public pronouncements that a public denunciation of God would not serve him well.

    The democrat party and barackhusseinobama suffer no such limitation: the evil that resides within them freely and easily mock God, the church and Christians. They have taken the measure of this nation and have realized there will be no significant political or personal loss of stature as a result of such statements. They bellow their opposition against Israel, the apple of God’s eye, publicly and with visible fury.

    What Adolph Hitler did not dare do in Germany, obama feels free to do in the United States in 2012.

  123. tessa50 says:

    I am having trouble posting as wordpress keeps kicking my email to diff carrier, but if this goes through just want to say thank you to sharon for letting people know the other day that this is here. I didn’t know and I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read this part of the tree. Am only about maybe a third through reading and just uplifts me. I can see that many here are much more knowledgeable about the Bible than me so am absorbing the answers as I find them and feel that it would be ok here to ask questions. Thank you again sharon and I hope others saw your post.

    • Sharon says:

      tessa50, I’m glad you found the Chapel. Do feel free to ask questions as they occur to you. The CTH is not a “religious” site or a “Christian site” but when we first put it together, we were well aware that many of our readers are people of faith, and we just wanted to make a place available where they could have conversations that focused on faith issues. We thought it would be helpful to just create a separate spot for that rather than having it mixed it with other threads.

      Since you just happened to come in now, I will let you know that probably tomorrow we will be splitting this large section of comments and starting a “new Chapel thread.” You will still access the Chapel exactly the same way, and the comments that are here will still be available by clicking in an archive of sorts. The comments from the last couple of months will also be here still as a transition to the new thread. This thread has just been getting so long to scroll down, we think it will make it easier to start a fresh thread.

      What you have just posted will be here, as will my response. Look forward to conversation with you…drop in any time.

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