Posted in Christianity

Shiloh or Euphrates?

“Inasmuch as these people have rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, And rejoice in Rezin and the son of Remaliah; Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks. Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through, It will reach even to the neck; And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

Isaiah 8:6-8.

According to a number of Bible commentaries, the waters of Shiloh represent the Davidic Monarchy, in their most immediate application of these verses. Prophetic writings often have layers of meaning – from their immediate application, to their greatest fulfillment in the Messiah, and also a general pattern of how God relates to His people. By extension they represent the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ.

The waters of Shiloh are compared with the flooding waters of the Euphrates, which refer to political or spiritual alliances made with other powers unauthorized by God that should never have been formed. Those alliances will then become like swelling, overflowing waters, carrying havoc and ruin wherever they flow, and they are spoken of as the wasting sweep of the Assyrian king whose capital stood on the banks of the Euphrates. Pictures are painted with words that define these happenings.

In light of the current situation this is well worth pondering very prayerfully.

All of these also find their applications which address general principles of how a soul relates to the gentle kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ – as the waters of Shiloh. These gently flowing waters depict in type how our Lord rules those who receive Him – He cares for us with His love and His servanthood (and that is the “mind of Christ” we are to allow to dwell within us).

How often is this rejected, however, in favor of surrounding ourselves and our lives with alliances we think will benefit us – worldly things, worldly thinking or doing, persons, political movements, false religions, or things about which we feel passionately? At some point these things that turn us on turn on us and become tyrants in our lives!

If we do not receive and live from the gentle waters along which the Good Shepherd would love to lead us, then the other choices which deceptively offer help, become oppressors. This is the basic take away from these verses. There may also be the choices of sinful pleasures, or even “innocent” things we are “passionate” about, vices, addictions, and the like. Many things have the power, if we choose them, to wash over us and sweep us away like a mighty river – because we reject the gentle waters of Shiloh! This rejection always amounts to faithlessness and idolatry.

The choice of Christ or the other “helpers” determines freedom or servitude. It is something of an irony we need to understand: To serve Christ is to find freedom in Him; or we can continue to choose other alliances which ultimately lead to servitude – often of spirit, soul, and body! Individually, nationally, or internationally.

The “current” situation seems to reflect the choices much of the world has made, especially the USA, whether it is the gentle current of Shiloh, or the flood of the Euphrates. We complain of being captives in our own homes, but is the real source of this flood of oppression a refusal of Christ and His gentle easy way, where we are asked to simply surrender ourselves to Him and to be receptive to the power of His Grace, where we should have been led by His Holy Spirit, and learned of Him, thus finding rest for our souls?

What has befallen the USA and much of the world has come about by many unholy alliances – on personal and political levels. Sadly this also is the case on the part of churches, pastors, and patriarchs who have allied themselves in their thinking and doing with worldly ways and potentates rather than putting on the mind of Christ! This should disturb us as a “mark of the beast” more than receiving some sort of computer chip into our body! For us it not the thinking of our head and the doing of our hand already an alignment with the Beast?!

So now the flood overflows its banks as we refuse the gentle waters of Shiloh. It overtakes many and sweeps away life and liberty. Christ’s offer of servanthood has been rejected. The tyranny of “serpenthood” has been allowed to supplant Him and the Kingdom of God.

The results are obvious. The flood of tyranny grows and overflows. At this point the only way out is probably to go through, to live under the result of these choices. We may, like the ancient Jews to whom this was written, need to learn the hard way that our choices have consequences and that Grace is not cheap.

But then the freedom to choose is actually the god at whose altar many worship , is it not?

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Rethinking Much

One day at a time. It’s all we can manage. The evening and the morning of any day God called “good” – right from the beginning.
 
I don’t care if the predictions are made by wannabe prophets, preachers, politicians, prognosticators, potentates, or profiteers. Jesus’ directive, as King of kings, Lord of lords, and the Prince of peace – to Whom all authority is given in heaven and on earth – is applicable to any day. Whether we call it good or bad in our perception.
 
Consider the birds of the air how they toil not. God cares for them.
 
Consider the lilies of the field, more gloriously clothed than the great King Solomon. God cares for them.
 
Now one greater than Solomon is here. This is His take on things:
 
Take NO THOUGHT for tomorrow.
 
Be anxious for NOTHING, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -think on these things.
 
It requires pulling away from the darkness and saturating our mind and heart in whatever is light and right! A concerted effort.
 
Therefore, since you have been raised with Christ, strive for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
 
Where do we “live” in our consciousness as believers? Do we believe the foregoing with our heads, or do we KNOW it – having received it – in our hearts beyond the shadow of a doubt?
 
Who or what possesses our hearts and affections?
 
I heard someone say yesterday, and it makes perfect sense in the light of what’s been happening, that “anxiety is the litany of idolatry!” Wow! Yes! This begs the question, what are we rehearsing and repeating most of the day every day?
 
Mostly, “Ain’t it awful?” Right?
 
Where is the mind set in that worry modality?
 
(Guilty as charged. Trying to repent and amend my ways.)
 
Let’s pray for one another to let our hearts and minds be centered in Christ Jesus, in our remembering that God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
 
Let’s kick doubt and fear to the curb, and walk that highway of holiness!
 
PS: I didn’t include any of the references. Thought it might help if you look them up yourself, and that will give you more time to explore and absorb His Truth, the only Truth, and nothing but the Truth.
 
We need to remember that the nature of discipleship doesn’t change just because the times do.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
Posted in Observations, Uncategorized

Absurdity

Yesterday’s adventure took me to the grocery store. Which now has only one entrance, inconveniently and dangerously leading up a step significantly higher than is normal for any curb or a staircase step. The lady in front of me (I was still crossing the drive between parking lot and the entrance) tripped and fell. I called out to her to see if she was OK. She sat there rubbing her knee. Said she was fine, got up, limped into the store.

For Pete’s sake, if you’re going this route, grocery stores and “essential” businesses, at least put the entrance by the wheel chair accessible part of the sidewalk, which cannot even be accessed by those in wheelchairs, or those motorized grocery carts, so people don’t trip! Even people who can walk have trouble getting up that spot on the sidewalk! Especially with a mask on their face which they cannot see around because that’s not something they’re used to. There is a certain amount of reduced access to fields of vision around these masks. I know, as I wore surgical masks day in and day out for many years. And there’s a “learning curve” believe it or not to seeing around them.

I had a cart with me, which I usually try to do, taken from the cart coral. A courtesy I’ve maintained over the years. So I had to juggle to get it onto the sidewalk. Then you get inside and this recording keeps playing. Over and over it’s the same thing about how we are “keeping you safe” with our protective shields at the checkout. And maintain your social distancing. Dystopian brainwashing. I thought I was on some dark futuristic sci fi set. Too bad you don’t care as much about your unsafe roped off entrance! My mood of course steadily improved, keepin’ it on the sunny side. Right. Guess again.

The lady who fell had a mask on. As did many others in the store. There were also glove wearers. Here’s my take on this absurdity, as someone who worked in O.R.s for 43 years, military and civilian, – until I retired in 2011, based on what I was seeing juxtaposed to what I know to be proper usage.

First of all, these things are meant for specific uses under controlled conditions, where everyone involved understands the protocols for wearing masks and gloves. People are trained to do this. There are techniques for donning them and for removing them, so that you don’t add to the contamination problem. None of which the public understands. These practices also occur within controlled environments to which the public has no access, so I am not blaming them. However…

Out there on the street it’s anything but controlled. Homemade masks made of t-shirts that looked like dirty underwear, gloves of the winter variety – not even exam type or food handler rubber or nitrile gloves – were being worn. People will get sick just from having wet filth from their own breath, rolled up around their mouths and nostrils and eyes that grows bacteria in warm, moist growth medium. A fly could crawl through the weave of many of them! The protection these masks provide the wearer is dubious, and their gloves certainly don’t provide any protection for others, after they handle door knobs, car doors, the family dog, grocery carts, produce cans, and cereal boxes! One is better off simply washing one’s hands, or carrying along hand sanitizer. (Oh I forgot, we ran out of that.) Especially anyone who is not wearing gloves so you don’t get a disease from the glove wearers! These uneducated practices are setting up more disease than they prevent. It is also self protectionism without regard to anyone else – due to ignorance.

The postal carrier came by the other day with 2 packages, which she handed me. She had on “exam” gloves, which were filthy with dirt and ink that came from the packages I watched her rummage through before she got out of the mail truck. I pled the Blood of Jesus, and took the packages with a smile anyway. That might protect you, honey. But you’re sure not doing anyone on your route any favors with all that filth on the outside of your gloves. And of course your hands are not getting washed much either, because you are under the illusion that this protects you. But guess what? Your hands are growing their own little animal farm underneath those gloves.

Then I had a friend tell me she wears 2 masks and her winter gloves in the store. I saw a lot of that. Filthy wool or leather gloves. This IMO is due to the fear porn over no one coming up with any verifiable evidence on a consistent basis as to what the coronavirus is, where it came from, its nature, or frankly if it even actually exists. Much nebulosity IMO. Or any viable knowledge about PPE. People are grabbing at straws.

This is all reaction, not emergency response. The best idea is, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then don’t try to help or be part of the solution. Get out of the way! Or better yet – educate yourself on the Internet with mask and glove protocols. And it’s pretty clear no one knows what they are doing! It is fight / flight reptilian brain response all wrapped into one. The fear is palpable. One is likely more at risk from being attacked by the Toilet Paper Snatchers than a disease!

Incidentally, I’d also like to ask why – since there is reportedly a shortage of medical masks – the US government is reported to have sent one million medical masks to Israel, and then our government reportedly turns around and asks our US military personnel to just make do. They are reportedly told that they will have to make their own masks out of whatever they can find. Where’s the respect for our military’s needs, when this thing is being handled like it’s an enemy? Don’t they need the proper “protective shields” that have been given away to this little country, which for some reason reportedly seems to have such a strong say in whatever goes on in the USA. Or outside of it.

One wonders if the war model is always the best solution. War on drugs. War on cancer. War on terror. War on, war on, war on… Well, most of us are war out (pardon the grammar)! But which of these wars is ever won? Yet every time something comes along, it’s the same old modus operandi. Did you ever wonder why that is?

It’s time to cast aside these outmoded models of relating to everything by reacting. Supposedly, it’s reported, we have all these defense organizations designed to protect us. Remember 911? How well did that go? Remember Katrina? How well did that go? You name your favorite disaster… But we have TSA keeping us safe at the airport, right?

Who is running this show from behind the curtains, backstage? We need to stop going to the theater. In fact maybe the “theater of war” needs to be closed down. We’re all fed up with these reruns!

Follow the money. Who benefits from all this bungling in a big way?

By the way, anybody get that stimulus check yet?

Posted in Christianity

Wall Of Water Current Events

Ps 78:52,53. “But He led forth His own people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; And led them safely so they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies.”

This entire Psalm is a recitation of the Lord’s dealings with His people in 72 verses, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. To hear the singing of it was a way of learning not only their history, but of the interactivity of the Lord in it, and how faithful He is.

It would be incredibly complex, but one wonders how that would look if we would see all of history that way. Not only that, but what if we were to see and acknowledge our Lord in current events unfolding, especially where His people who love and trust in Him are concerned?

When God’s people walked through the standing walls of water of the Red Sea, that had to have seemed frighteningly unnatural. What if it doesn’t hold? What if it crashes in on us? Yet there’s only one way through!

However, He led His people safely so they did not fear. Yet the Egyptians – careless and crazed in hot pursuit, mad with the goal of regaining control – went after them, only to be swallowed up and drowned as the walls of water crashed down and closed in upon them.

Pause here. Full stop. Ponder. Meditate on this.

What seemed deadly and threatening became a way through and out into freedom for those pursued; but to their pursuers it became a deadly trap and their demise.

Primarily the Red Sea is about Baptism and entering a new life in Christ. It is also reminiscent of the rending of the veil as Jesus died, splitting open the Way for former slaves of darkness and of the devil to walk forward into the freedom, righteousness, and blessing through the cross and the empty tomb. We walk forward by faith into His truth for us!

All is according to His plans and purposes – for us, in us, and through us whom He loves and calls to follow Him. We must keep following right on through. He always makes a way for us – even though to the natural eye it may seem as if what we pass through is about to fall upon us and engulf us (like 2 walls of water).

What is life to the sons and daughters of God will be death to the servants of darkness, although to the natural eye it may seem as if it is the other way around. We need to see with the eye of faith, not according to sight or here say! They will eventually, inevitably fall into their own traps.

Our ”work” is to keep our eye on Christ as the former captives to Pharaoh kept their eyes on Moses, up at the head of the line. Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has us covered on both sides and also “covers our 6.” Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.

The evil one may have all his high tech weaponry combined with his designer diseases ( or the illusion thereof?) within his “chariot” full of tricks, in hot pursuit of the sons and daughters of God. Yet at the right moment, those walls of water are scheduled to fall upon and cover the evil one and those who follow him. Their own schemes will be their demise, while the people born of the Holy Spirit walk forward, set free to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, enjoying His every benefit and blessing.

Soli Deo Gloria!!!

PS: This is not one of those “hope they get theirs” messages. It does make the case for divine justice, or “what goes around comes around.” The hardest thing to do is to pray from someone who hates us, but that is always the first desire, in keeping with God’s desire to have all men saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is a time and a purpose for everything under heaven.

Posted in Christianity, Uncategorized

A Present Cross

Suffering, grieving, death, illness, restraint put upon us… Some things that happen to us can be mighty difficult for a very long time. We undergo these strange times, where – with our Burger King, instant gratification, have it your way mentality getting in the way, we have forgotten the meaning that is always behind times of testing. It is not meaningless.

Skylights Cross.png

The following paragraph is from T. Austin-Sparks on: The Cross and the Way of Life – Chapter 1

“Yes, we pass into a time of excruciating spiritual and soul suffering. We do not know what the Lord is doing, what He means by this, what He is after, but we know the features of our experience and know what it is that we are suffering, and it goes on. We, of course, ask the Lord to stop it, to bring it to a quick end, to deliver us from it. He takes no notice of us, and it is only those people who get out the other end who say, ‘Thank God, He did not take any notice.’ In the meantime, we think He is anything but kind and good and doing the right thing, but as we get on under His hand, we begin to see and to sense that He is dealing with something. Maybe He is dealing with our pride, our independence, or our irresponsibility, for example. That is the issue that comes up, and we are faced all the time with something about ourselves that is almost devastating. We would not have believed that that was so strong in us.”

In all things we are brought up to remembrance that He is the Creator and we are the creature – fallen, derelict, in need of salvage like old shipwrecks. “We” are being dismantled and refit with Christ in us, our hope of glory. He has made us. We blew it. He is remaking us in Christ.

Times like this remind us of our need. Lost sinners, in need of the one and only Savior Who calls, enlightens, and sanctifies us by the Holy Spirit.

“The sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” This we must remember and confess, as we give thanks always in all things. We also do well to recall the words of Jesus, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” Could we say that we are to pick up what He in His infinite wisdom places before us, as He also took up His cross?

It is never without eternal meaning.

Posted in Christianity, Uncategorized

Is The Church Under Caesar’s Control?

Please read linked article first.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/april/01/does-the-church-belong-to-caesar/?fbclid=IwAR24hAZ6soWI4JeiTfiPI2RfqN98sspK0Gr-dSf_fDrQkNjTnZ1UEpceslg

“Don’t claim that a ‘national emergency’ renders the Constitution moot.” (Quote from article.) Or is it about the Constitution? In some respects, yes. In others, no.

Then there’s those non profit statuses which shouldn’t be there in the 1st place. If going to church is a matter of a tax deduction, it’s time to examine one’s relationship to Christ. Think what Christians did when “Caesar” commanded them to worship him, or other pagan gods. What was the cost to martyrs when the faith was outlawed? There was no constitutional republic then.

Sure, 21st century church, roll over and play dead. Oh, but we can “worship online.” Baloney! The BODY of Christ is meant to be a physical container on earth for His Spirit, meeting together with the saints and angels in heaven in Divine Service, not a digital sham. We need to rethink Whose we are, who we are, and what we are.

While I concur that God is omnipresent, what this capitulation amounts to is for the technocrats to control everything through the Internet, including whether or not we participate in Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ – which is by no means “virtual reality”. 

And there are forces unseen who know this and have attacked the very heart of the Church with these draconian mandates. Beware of “guidelines” which become “mandates” which then are made “law”.

But know that Christ also promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against His true Church. The houses built on sand will fall and tumble, however.

Or is He using these events to tear down the false so as to reveal the true? We may be seeing something entirely new going on.

 

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

What Time Is It?

Sound Familiar? Power, signs and false wonders, deception, wickedness – to deceive those who do not receive the love of the truth. (It’ a “heart condition.”) Do you think “he who now restrains” is being taken out of the way, so that even “virtual” or “augmented reality” will be on the loose to bring in great deception? This is the time of revealing, which is the meaning of “apocalypse”.
 
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12.
Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Christ Alone!

They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has been my stronghold, and my God is my rock of my refuge. He will bring upon them their own iniquity and destroy them for their wickedness. The LORD our God will destroy them.” Psalm 94:21-23

Times do not change. Degree of magnitude of difficulty (as in global versus regional in past) may be the only thing that is new under the sun. But the Lord Jesus Christ never changes. We call upon Him alone. We can fully trust in Him to bring us through the clouds, great darkness, and tempests in this life. There is no other! He asks us to follow Him and to trust in Him. And so the psalmists (their authors were more than just David) spoke, expressing their faith and prayers, that oppressors will not be allowed to continue their rebellion against the Lord, nor to continue their assault on those whom He has chosen to follow Him. We can follow the psalmists’ examples in praying and even singing these great affirmations of God’s love and authority.

My Stronghold.png

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

“I will keep watch for You, O my strength; for You, O God, are my fortress.” Psalm 59:9

“From the ends of the earth I call out to You whenever my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2

To pray and sing the psalms in a reflective, contemplative way is a very ancient practice. As we do so, it is also an effective way to confess the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and to learn the ways of God as He guides us through life’s challenges. There is something about doing this that teaches us from the inner being, and wraps itself indelibly upon our consciousness. Then we are taught by experience that He is wholly reliable and loves us beyond imagining.

Personally I find it helpful to make art with these themes as well. Then it becomes prayer that can be shared.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Pause

 
This evening I went for a ride into a nearby ordinarily bustling tourist town. Yes, in the rain. It looked like a ghost town. Odd even for this time of year. Or maybe it just resembled the town after 5pm the way it used to look back in the 1950s, 60s (when it was normal that folks were actually home, having dinner together, kids doing homework, cleaning up, getting to bed at a decent time, and not staying up half the night isolated in your room – locked into, addicted to, mind bending computerized games).
 
No one even thought about “going to the store” just to have something to do in the evening. I recall Dad watching the news, reading the papers, or working in his vegetable garden in the summer. And Mom loved to read Reader’s Digest Condensed Books after dinner (probably nobody now even knows what those were). She delighted in flowers and plants too, indoor and outdoor. ALL were gathered as family in the living room after supper, not off “doing your own thing.” I loved to do art and practice my music, after finishing homework – done at the dining room table adjacent to the living room (piano was in the dining room too, guitar next to it). No arms had to be twisted, nor was it resented. That’s just how it went. Because there was love there.
 
Occasionally there were some after school activities, but it was not an ongoing string of exhausting competitive events, night after night. People lived simple and lightly disciplined lives, and it was frankly a very pleasant way to be. We lived in a time where the world shut down on regular hours and days. Many businesses closed around noon on Saturday, in honor of getting ready for Sunday as the Lord’s Day. There may have been a few places open for Sunday dinners, but not many – the exception, not the rule. It was only for special occasions that we got to eat out.
 
Picnics and pot lucks were often held at the homes of relatives. Most extended family gathered together for dinner on Sundays at someone’s house. It was a rare treat to go out to one of the few restaurants open on a Sunday. There were special times of gathering too, usually Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 
There were “breathers” in life, where toil and work STOPPED. And I wonder if this “strangeness” that has entered our reality isn’t a time for us to take stock, to re-evaluate the crazy pace at which most of us live, to slow down, to pause, to actually THINK, to reset. Instead now we must have classes on how to breathe to relax, with a hefty price tag attached. What?
 
Riddle me this. Where did this simple goodness go?
 
Personally I never liked living like a machine, or being treated like one. All it does it create hypertension, anxiety, depression, dysfunction, and even disease – which comes from dis-ease. Sometimes I wonder if we know how to be anything but a list of our diagnoses, disorders, and disabilities. And that is truly the saddest commentary when that becomes chief part of one’s identity.
 
Even while we’re crippled and wounded, we’re still prodded to “dream big,” be all you can be, achieve, and push ourselves to the next pasture where we think the grass will be greener. We think that is the cure, when it’s a symptom of the disease of chasing the world!
 
“Motivationalism” is the foremost pop religion, the god at whose altar so many bow (race, compete, and jockey?). Push, push, push! And much of it sadly is done in the name of the Prince of PEACE. You remember – the One Who makes us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and restores our soul, Whose yoke is easy and Whose burden is light. Yes, that Guy. The One Who said to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things necessary will be yours.
 
Perhaps this strange pause might give us a chance to find out what our real identity is, as dear children created in the Image and Likeness of our Creator Father. And then once we capture the “vision,” of that, to take back who we really are. It will require pulling away long enough to reflect, to pray, and to LISTEN, so we can hear Him Who says, “Be still, and KNOW that I am God.”