Distraction and Lampstands

Will you be ready when Jesus comes? Some prophets believe we are in the end of times. I choose not to live in fear but instead carefully choose who I listen to, in church leadership or online. I want to follow those whose discussions line up with the Bible. I must spend time reading the Bible myself so I can learn Godly wisdom and discern the truth.

Our world of distraction is set on keeping you unsettled, and being like a dog chasing his tail. If we feel fear, panic, dread or uncertainty, we may be even more susceptible to listening to the wrong voice.

Even worse, apathy may lead us to believe we have plenty of time to get wisdom, read the Bible and seek Jesus. This mindset from the devil may be our undoing. It isn’t about being a good person. It is about seeking a relationship with Jesus and growing in our daily life with words and actions that reflect Him. Not perfection but transformation in our time with our Savior.

What is the distraction that keeps you staying away from Jesus? Consider the distraction of the dog in the movie, Upwards. It is like a dog who hears the word Squirrell and runs into the street instead of staying safe.

Noise, more noise, people, media, the hustle of life, looking at the stock market, trying to make ends meet, what a distraction. It can be the comparison trap whether you are a child, teen, young adult, or any age. We can take the bait. A trap of distraction is just a screenshot away.

But when Jesus comes, will you be ready? Do you think you still have time? Scripture tells us, “Jesus knows the number of our days, but no one knows when Jesus will come”.

Matthew 25:1-13 NLT
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. [2] Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. [3] The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, [4] but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. [5] When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. [6] “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ [7] “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. [8] Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ [9] “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ [10] “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. [11] Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ [12] “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ [13] “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Have you ever heard of the 10 Bridesmaids? Will you be one of the five with ready lamps or not? This story in scripture may bring a feeling of conviction. I know it did for me. Conviction isn’t bad, because it can prompt you to change to a better future, even more, an eternal future with Jesus. I need a poke on occasion, how about you?

Merriam Webster definition of conviction : the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth. Conviction can lead to transformation, condemnation comes from the devil.

So on those days when your distraction, “squirrel”, seems to chitter loudly, reconsider your position. Seek first Jesus, spend time reading His Word, the Bible, accept Jesus as Savior, believe He is Lord, let Him be the Lord of your life. James or Matthew are great places to start, and be ready with your oil and lamp.

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 MSG
May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.

His Infinite Names

I don’t know anyone who’s known by hundreds maybe even thousands of names other than our Lord: Faithful Father, Lamb of God, Creator, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords. The list is endless.

Something to meditate on: this is the same person; Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit, and Creator God who wants to know you.

I heard the song by Sean Curran “1000 names”, it’s so powerful to hear and take. Because it reminds me that within those thousand names I can find the right name I may need for today, tomorrow, or my future.

If I’m in a happy content place, I might find the name King of Kings or Lord of Lords to be cool! If I’m in a time of confusion, Wonderful Counselor may be the correct name to impact my mind and life. If I’m needing relief through conflict, Prince of Peace may mean something to me. If you are struggling with mental or physical health, He is the Healer ( Jehovah Rapha)!

We need to share His infinite Names with those we love; friends, family, children, teens, young adults, and even strangers. It may be the beginning of their walk with the unchanging God of the universe.

I hope you enjoy the song as much as I did. The same God who has multiple names wants to know yours. Even though he has various names, there is only one King Jesus!

1000 Names Sean Curran

Amazing to think, God is immutable but His Names are multiple in the description of His reach. He will finish what He starts! He will not give up on You! Sing to Him who is worthy of praise.

Living Water

Do you feel dehydrated? The summer through fall heat can surely parch us physically. However, the emotions and spiritual needs of our body need the help of our Creator God. The world culture and political climate alone can feel overwhelmingly toxic and heated with conflict. Are you seeking the only place for Peace, Jesus?
He wants to guide our path with Living Water to replenish our lives
.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
[7] “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. [8] They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

The story of the Samaritan woman stands the test of time. She went to the well to draw water in the height of midday, the sun was intense, the heat of the desert was exhausting. She went to draw water at hottest time.

Why would the Samaritan woman choose to avoid people In her town? Jews and Samaritans did not talk, it was forbidden. She did not feel worthy of their communication. She felt judged by all since she had more than one husband, she was known as an adulterer. Women judged and some men took advantage of her poverty.

Jesus knew who the Samaritan woman was, He planned to meet her at the well and share His unconditional love, she would have her testimony of grace, mercy and unconditional love. Jesus loved her and spoke truth into her life. He accepted she was a sinner. But He wanted to provide a new life. He even let her know “ you have had many husbands.” He gave her a chance to repent and receive His Living Water.

The story has not changed. Even today, humans can seek Jesus. He is not available for one people but for all. If our sins were revealed, not one of us could stand before Jesus.

Read the Samaritan story for yourself. It is a story of God’s grace and mercy on display. It is amazing.

John 4:1-15,23-24,26 NLT
[1] Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John [2] (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them-his disciples did). [3] So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. [4] He had to go through Samaria on the way. [5] Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. [6] Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. [7] Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” [8] He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. [9] The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” [10] Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” [11] “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? [12] And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” [13] Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. [14] But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” [15] “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” [23] But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. [24] For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” [26] Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

Today, could be the day you accept the free gift of Jesus your Savior. He wants to restore broken places, bring refreshment in Living Water, and guide you to a new life with Him. Get ready for a new beginning.

Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Refreshment is just a step away. He will restore and guide. Be like a well watered garden, be fruitful.

Isaiah 58:11 NLT
[11] The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

The Lord will give Living water, you will thirst no more. Say aloud: Jesus, I am a sinner, I need You Lord. I believe You are my Savior, I want You to change my life from the inside out. Please forgive my sins. Make me whole in You alone.

John 3:3-21 NLT
[3] Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” [4] “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” [5] Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. [6] Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. [7] So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ [8] The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” [9] “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. [10] Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? [11] I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. [12] But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? [13] No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. [14] And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, [15] so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. [16] “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. [17] God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. [18] “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. [19] And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. [20] All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. [21] But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

If you have made this declaration aloud, I rejoice with you.

Praise You Lord for the new journey, it takes the first step, hold onto Jesus, turn your life over to Him daily. He will restore you.

I love you Jesus, You are the Living Water. There is no better place for refreshment.

Rivers flow

Photo by Chris Larson on Pexels.com

What fills your mind when you think of white water rafting? It’s a risky sport; amazement as you hear the crashing waves against the boulders and trees, large branches float alongside, it’s a pretty fantastic experience.

Just watching the power of nature and feeling so small when you listen adds to the excitement. From the roadside, it may seem a beautiful peace but experiencing it while being on a raft is something entirely different.

Preparation, before you get on the raft, reminds you of the importance of the river guide. His expertise in river safety teaches you the proper fitting for a crash helmet or the proper fit to snug your vest so tight that you could barely breathe.

As the expert guides, you learn the paddle strokes: forward, back, or how to work as a team on the left or the right of the raft, how to back up a raft, and how to turn a raft. I see the river guides’ purpose: fun, memorable stories, love of nature, and safely bringing you back with an amazing experience.

The guide is your safety net and your compass while on the river. His purpose is to help you avoid the pitfalls or the obstacles that may stop you from having a safe track down the river. Obstacles such as huge boulders, swirling cesspools that are under the water, or trapping trees in different parts of the river might entangle.

Working as a team is huge when you’re on a raft which is why listening to the voice of the guide is so important. You have to be able to hear him above the crashing waves.

It is a metaphor for life to be able to listen to the guide above the voices or the noises in the crashing waves in our lives. To be able to listen to our Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, is priceless.

Revelation 22:1,17 NLT
[1] Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

In 1995, I had a rafting experience that changed the trajectory of my life. I still reflect on what I learned daily. Because I almost lost my life on that white water rafting trip on the Cache de Poudre River.

I was hyper-vigilant listening to the guides’ instructions because I wanted to have a great trip and was scared to go on class 4-5 rapids. I needed to trust the guide to give me the right directions. The crash position is looked as if you were a baby with your arms wrapped around your knees bobbing in the water. I figured it was important to listen to these things. I hoped I would not be thrown out of the raft.


Photo by Walter Rock on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, I realized my need for the crash position when all eight of us were sucked out of the raft in a bend called Cardiac Corner. We were trying to help the raft ahead of us to propel out of the suction in a cesspool, Cardiac corner is a class 4-5 rapid, risky because of spring runoff. I felt the flaying legs of the people who were in the raft above me as I was in a cesspool trying to figure out where the sky was.

All eight of us scrambled to swim to the shore. I was below everyone, I was the last rafter rescued, crashing and entangling trees, smashing into boulders, twirling upside down, in the crash position, even as the raft went over my head.

I prayed for a calm mind and had an amazing conversation with my God. I felt as if I was sitting in the hand of the Lord once I humbled myself and said “Lord if I’m supposed to survive this and help me to be calm and not get too badly injured”. It was a transforming experience in my life. I ended up with many bruises head to toe, but no head injury. I determined to follow the Lord’s plan for my life not Mary’s plan. My husband, who was on the raft, could not believe my peacefulness. We relocated to Colorado and my journey with my God has never been the same.

Life has many twists and turns, however, God is immutable, never changing! I still go back to those key transforming lessons. I hope this reflection might be a help to you as you navigate the waters and the raging rapids life can bring.

Reflections to meditate on:

  1. We can’t do this life alone. There’s something bigger than us, our Creator God who made all things.
  2. Expect the unexpected but don’t be afraid. Behind the scenes the Lord is orchestrating great things, don’t be afraid of the bends of your river journey.
  3. The crashing waves may feel overwhelming at times but reach out to Jesus who walks on water and wants to be your guide.
  4. Every bump and bruise will have a purpose you may not see initially. But you will grow through the challenges of life, especially when you ask Jesus to guide you.
  5. His plan is to bring you abundant life, so reach out for God‘s goodness.
  6. It takes faith and something bigger than ourselves the Father, His son: Jesus, and the Holy Spirit can be our compass and our guide. He really does want the best for us!
  7. There may be those around you that live in fear and want to keep you back from God’s best. Don’t allow someone else’s journey to stop you from yours.
  8. And trust Jesus in all things, He is the healer of mind, body, and soul and through his Holy Spirit, You will be blown away at how far He takes you in this river of life.

[17] The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.

Letter of recommendation

Paul writes the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life! The law can tell us the will of God but only the Spirit can give us the power to live it. Therefore, live by the Spirit of God and you fulfill the will of God for your life. Jonathon Chan The Book of Mysteries.

I never thought of my testimony as a letter of recommendation for Christ Jesus. My walk with Jesus took multiple decades. I understood the need for wisdom and peace beyond my human mind. I was raised in a religion with doctrine of law and regimented steps of route sayings, responses after the priest, and even songs dedicated to expound on the religion. However, I felt hollow inside, as if something was missing.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 MSG
[1-3] Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it-not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives-and we publish it. [4-6] We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this-that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!

My near death experience on a rafting trip in Colorado, brought a determination to seek the One true God and His plans for my life. Where I felt insecure or punished by life challenges I found a new perspective.

God uses everything in our lives to draw us to Himself and Jesus’ loving arms. He awaits our reliance on Him for all things. We must not be afraid, walk to Him.

He is peace, hope, wisdom, counselor, and a voice of life. I was asked by my child when I accepted Jesus and allowed Him to direct my life. I replied, “32! My child it took a while.” She replied, “what took you so long, Mom?” I said, “ I am stubborn and a control freak, but I am so glad I took the steps.”

I avoided the deep connection with Jesus. I was goal driven and relied on myself alone. I was wrong.

Psalm 139:7-12 MSG
[7-12] Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute- you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Don’t wait until you feel near perfect, it is not possible, and that’s what the enemy bets on for your life on earth. Satan speaks lies, “you will never measure up, you will never be forgiven for the past.” These are lies!

Matthew 11:28 tells us Jesus extends His hand, saying, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”, He is patient, seek truth from the One who knows all things.

No limits – MM

Psalm 139:1-6 MSG
[1-6] GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too- your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful- I can’t take it all in!

Let Jesus guide your steps! His Holy Spirit will not fail you.His love is unconditional. His gift is free just take it and live a life of freedom with Jesus. Your letter of recommendation is from His Holy Spirit to your spirit, His life reflected in you, amazing!

Titus 3:4-7 NLT
[4] But- When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, [5] he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. [6] He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. [7] Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

It’s about a Mirror Ball

When I was a teen, I helped decorate the high school gym for a homecoming dance. I was so new to that experience, totally insecure, as a high school freshman, and yet I wanted to learn how to decorate for Homecoming. The homecoming committee leaders were able to visualize the finished product before even seeing it. I don’t process life this way.

The potential of a central light with a small little globe that had mirrors hoisted up in the center of the gym seemed insurmountable. A part of preparation was using a horrendous amount of heavy duty string and making what appeared to be a spiderweb on the ground.

Yes, the volunteer high school students and I were going round and round attaching strings by knots from one string to the next in the fashion of a spider as if we’re making a Web. The next step, was attaching a little tiny mirror to each piece of string and strategically placing them all over this huge spiderweb.

When we completed this process, the spiderweb of string and mirrors was lifted up and attached to ceiling beams high above the teens heads.

As a newbie at this decorating thing, I just couldn’t picture it and the upper class men with more wisdom under their belt were excited to see the amazing creation come into view.

We taped huge black butcher block paper to all the walls in the gym. I questioned, “why would you do that?” They looked at me like you’re such a stupid freshman but when they explained the walls will be dark and the mirrors would reflect from the light in the center, I understood. Stars would magically shine all over the room. I was beyond awe.

Isn’t this a wonderful description of preparation as a believer in Jesus? Life is a tangle of string and knots with the occasional shiny mirror reflection of kindness and character traits of Jesus.

We have work to do in order to see the finished product. However, it is not our human actions but Jesus supernatural power that makes the Light shine in a dark world.

Ah yes, pick up your scissors cut off the mistakes, tie knots to join the places of new beginnings and add a mirror tile straight from the hand of Jesus. It is a visual reminder of repenting turning back to Him asking forgiveness and Letting His Light shine.

Pick up the spider web of your life, let Him craft you into an amazing reflection of His character.

Psalm 27:1 MSG
[1] Light, space, zest- that’s GOD! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.

Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
[14-16] “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Transitions

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are a reminder this is a new day or time for transition at the end of a day. August or September brings a return to school, the changing of the weather; cool mornings from a scorching summer, watching geese fly in V formation traveling to new destinations; life is ever-evolving.

Whether you have a kid in school or you’ve changed jobs or locations, whether there’s been a change in your family dynamics: life is about transitions.

Are we OK with change? What kind of change are we looking for? Are we seeking the right answers to the questions or are we just trying to plot our path?

God can transform us from the inside out.

Romans 12: 1 – 2 tells us we’re not to be conformed to this world but instead be transformed by renewing of your mind. We’re not to be afraid of transitions or be anxious.

Psalm 34:9-10 NLT
[9] Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. [10] Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

Proverbs 19:23 NLT
[23] Fear of the LORD leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.

We are called to anticipation, that’s not in fear but it’s an excitement and awe. Yes, life does march on even if we want to scream, “ I am not ready for new things.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
[7] For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Our transition with God can propel us to see the old become new. Life transitions become a place of new beginnings instead of anxiety filled dread.

As I watch my youngest transition to new friends to new beginnings to a new school, I’m reminded that even this mom has to be OK with transitions.

The Merriam Webster definition for transition is: a period or phase in which such a change or shift is happening.

Synonyms: Evolution, adaptation, passage. Antonyms: conclusion, sameness, decline, end

What do you want to be in awe living a transformed life with your Creator God or to remain the same or decline? Our kids watch our emotions and actions. We can pretend we believe the Word of God or we can learn to trust him to our deepest soul.

Singles, married, parents or not, we have a choice: trust God or not? Are we showing our kids that we trust God with their lives? School violence, society unrest, bullying and a host of other things can take us to a fearful life. However, does that bring comfort to our kids or make them question all the foundational promises from God?

Our kids faith will grow independent of our own, let them see their parents believe God and walk in faith.

If there are days when this feels exceptionally hard, we must take our concerns to Jesus, listen to a favorite worship song, reach out to our tribe of Sisters and Brothers in Christ and march with Him anyways!!

“I Stand Here”, by Hannah Kerr, really encouraged me this week. Powerful promises of standing firm are in its lyrics. May it bring strength to you as you turn up the volume. God bless you warriors of the faith in Jesus alone!

Galatians 6:15-16 NLT
[15] It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. [16] May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Leaping Calves

Pain whether emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual can be conquered when we lean into Jesus and His healing. We all have our mountains and valleys.

One leap at a time, ladies and gentleman. One relationship can change the world, Jesus came to do just that, change the world.

Our spirit man, soul, must reach for His Holy Spirit. Let the transformation begin.

Malachi 4:2 NLT
[2] “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.

Has the world filled you with eternal peace or joy? What are you waiting for, the time is now? I don’t have the answers but I am learning He ( Jesus, Father God and the Holy Spirit) does.

John 3:16-21 NLT
[16] “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. [17] God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. [18] “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. [19] And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. [20] All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. [21] But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

On Guard

We are in a battle, every day, we are in the fight for our lives. Do we listen and march to public opinion or discern with the Lord’s help from which voice to listen?

We are given our brains for a reason. We have our ability to hear with two ears, see with two eyes, and think with an open mind. The enemy knows we want to have a life of peace and as a result , we may choose to let others guide our truths. This mindset may just destroy our free will, our sense of peace and our own voice.

We may feel fear or anxiety, it’s a normal human emotion especially at these times. But we don’t have to stay in fear or anxiety. Joshua 1:9 is one of my favorite scriptures. “Be strong and courageous, do not fear, for the Lord your God is with you”. There is an alternative emotion, hope in the trial and endurance on the journey. Which emotion will you choose?

The Bible is full of reminders to fix our eyes on Jesus, to be transformed by the renewing of our mind that is connected to our Creator God.

Scripture meditations: Matthew 10:26-33,40-42 MSG
[26-27] “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. [28] “Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in his hands. [29-31] “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail-even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries. [32-33] “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you? [40-42] “We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”

We don’t walk this world alone unless we choose to ignore the spiritual stirrings of our soul which started at our conception. I believe that scientist have observed a spark of light as the sperm and egg meet in conception. This must be our Father God and Creator, bringing His light to our beginnings.

Psalm 139:13-16 MSG
[13-16] Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God-you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

There is a still voice that brings us wisdom, hope, and instruction, are we allowing our minds to pause and hear our God? Or is the loud opinions of the world, in media, news, music and social media crowing out His voice?

I used to be uncomfortable with silence, quiet times seemed to bring anxiety and unrest. However, the more I make time to listen for my Fathers voice, in the Bible, in solid Godly examples of friends willin to share their brokenness and turning to God. I am in awe, Jesus ( our Father God, the Holy Spirit) speaks.

Stand firm at this current time, be strong in Him, seek His Words in scripture, and be blown away at how it can transform your life.

We are One Human Race

It came to my attention recently as I was watching the integration of our chicks and hens the similarity of these chickens with my observation of society.

You see, we had six, white adult hens and a menagerie of 7 colorful chicks integrating themselves together into one coop. As I watched the survival of the fittest I was amazed to see how each one of these colorful groups managed to stay pretty much within their social constructs.

The Clucky Ladies

Even as the younger ones are getting older and becoming more prominent than the white, the adult hens allowed them food and a community. Of course, one hen would ruffle her feathers and poke away, pulling feathers from the small ones and making sure that everyone in the group knew she was the lead hen.

The lead hen is Stumpy because she lost a toe when she was a chick. Perhaps her attitude was a result of being bullied when she was young. Regardless, the other five hens do not allow her to be mean to the colorful group. Instead, they show teamwork enabling everybody to get along.

It would be nice if our world and country reflected community more. Kindness, compassion, and loving each other more. We are one as a human race created in a kaleidoscope of colors, beautiful and unique.

As I watched other backyard or farming chicken coop owners on Youtube, I learned how to integrate the small chicks with the hens without causing a bloodbath of pecking. I’m grateful for their wisdom. Yes, there are some good things about Youtube. God’s Word, the Bible is even better as a resource because it never fails me.

This morning as I walked into the coop I saw two of our Black Rock Chickens standing next to our big white adult hens. Every day I see the combination of all these colors mixed together. Today, the Clucky ladies were one, no pecking, just united. It reminds me God calls us to be united and He calls us to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter, check it out. It’s not easy to be patient with people nor is it easy to put down a grudge and forgive people. It’s not easy to love even if we’re hurt. But those are the things God calls us to do because one of the greatest commandments says to love God and love his people.

John 13: 34 – 35  So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

I’m so grateful for these ridiculous chicks who make me laugh and give me work to do. Because they remind me of the importance of God‘s creation and I learn from them how to be in my own world.

Today’s reflection reminded me of a song from my youth, We are One in the Spirit. This message of unity was awesome by Jars of Clay. Do you reflect Christian love? If you need a reboot, today may be the day. Be blessed! We are one human race!!