The Book of Jeremiah

 

A few months after the beginning of January, 2017 I decided to start reading the Bible through from start to finish. In the Old Testament, I’m only in the book of Jeremiah. I wouldn’t want to be a false prophet. God’s anger seethed against them and they either got imprisoned or they ended up dying before the end of the year.

 

Some years ago, I had a next-door neighbor. She never wanted to be on a jury because she could always feel sorry for the law-breaker, no matter what she or he did. I think she thought God doesn’t get mad, either. In Jeremiah, he prophesies by saying, “Thus says the Lord God Almighty,…”

 

Jeremiah 28:11, (NKJV)  And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.’ ” And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.

Jer 28:12  Now the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying,

Jer 28:13  “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron.”

Jer 28:14  For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also.” ‘ ”

Jer 28:15  Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Hear now, Hananiah, the LORD has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie.

Jer 28:16  Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the LORD.’ ”

Jer 28:17  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.

 

God allowed the Babylonians to capture the Israelite’s, both North and South kingdoms-Israel and Judah, and take most of them to Babylon. The ones that stayed behind, God told them they’d be devoured by the sword, famine and pestilence, in Jeremiah 21:9.

 

It concerns me when I read Jeremiah because one of the sins the Israelite’s committed was to follow and worship Baal, the god also known as Satan. They threw their babies into the fire as an offering to Baal. We in America have killed over 63 million babies. God says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Surely, He’s furious with us as a nation. I don’t even know how to pray for our country, other than for revival and repentance. Even after the Israelite’s repented over the years, they seemed to go through cycles and when they chose sin over God, He eventually sent punishment. He’s merciful, but after a while, He says, “Enough is enough!”

 

That is the benefit of reading the Bible through from cover to cover. We can see the character of God and His behaviors. He is loving and kind and compassionate and gives us undeserved grace, but after we’ve wallowed in sin for a long time, and ignored His Word and His prophets, He usually sends severe weather, famine, plagues, etc. Mostly to get our attention so we’ll cry out to Him, but as in Jeremiah, even our most merciful and loving God says, “You’ve gone too far. What kind of a loving parent would I be if I didn’t discipline you and try to turn you around?”

 

Some people resent the authority of God. Some want to serve Satan. If they studied those who allowed Satan to be their god, they would see that many end up committing suicide. Satan is dark and hateful and wants the glory that belongs to God, so he deceives multitudes of people. I see young people wearing a tattoo around their wrist. I asked one, “What does your tat represent?”

 

“It’s my pledge, I belong to Satan.”

 

A friend and I talked to him and found out his heritage is Jewish. I said, “You are one of God’s chosen people, why would you bow down to Satan?”

 

I then told him many of the things God had done for me over the years. One is: I’ve never been hungry a day in my life unless I chose to fast.

 

His mouth dropped open. “You’ve never been hungry?”

 

My dad was a hard worker and a good provider. If he couldn’t work in his home town, he drove an hour or two to another city to work until he could be gainfully employed at home again.

 

My mom stayed home with us and sewed clothes, canned fresh produce, baked and cooked for us all, cleaned the house, nursed our wounds, and helped us with homework. She welcomed our friends with open arms, taught us about Jesus, and listened to us when we needed to talk. She wasn’t perfect, nobody is perfect, but I’ve found Jesus to be faithful to me even when I messed up. She would agree, based on 1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, God forgives us and cleans us up.

 

I hope that young man reconsidered his allegiance to Satan. From all that Jesus spoke about hell, I wouldn’t wish that place on anyone.

 

May God bless you. He came to give life and that abundantly, according to John 10:10.

 

 

 

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Love Conquers Hate

 

I heard the news about White Supremist’s group gathering in America in Charlottesville, VA  and the tragedy of a person’s reaction to those standing against the ideology of white supremism.

 

This is a quote from Reclaim Our Republic blog on WordPress.com at the address:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/693245/posts/1559598312 : “Some have suggested that the violent atmosphere and lack of police presence was a factor in the decision and ability of 20 year old white supremacist James Alex Fields to drive his 2010 Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32 year old paralegal Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.”

 

Some time ago, then-President Obama said that America is not a Christian nation any longer. Our country has never been perfect even when considered a Christian nation, but it is becoming increasingly worse since many are trying out new philosophies.

 

The New Testament of the Bible in 1 John 4, (GNB), says this,

“1John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.

1Jn 4:8  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1Jn 4:9  And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him.

1Jn 4:10  This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.

1Jn 4:11  Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.

1Jn 4:12  No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us, and his love is made perfect in us.

1Jn 4:13  We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit.

1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and tell others that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

1Jn 4:15  If we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, we live in union with God and God lives in union with us.

1Jn 4:16  And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them.

1Jn 4:17  Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgment Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s.

1Jn 4:18  There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

1Jn 4:19  We love because God first loved us.

1Jn 4:20  If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen.

1Jn 4:21  The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also.

 

There is no racism in God’s kingdom. God made every person in the image and likeness of God. See the beginning of the book of Genesis.

 

Also, God is no respecter of persons, it says in 1 Peter 1:17.

 

Here are verses with 1 Peter 1:17 included, in the CEV version of the Bible, a little easier form of writing to understand:

 

1Pe 1:13  Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears.

1Pe 1:14  Behave like obedient children. Don’t let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be.

1Pe 1:15  Always live as God’s holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy.

1Pe 1:16  That’s why the Scriptures say, “I am the holy God, and you must be holy too.”

1Pe 1:17  You say that God is your Father, but God doesn’t have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth.

1Pe 1:18  You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever.

1Pe 1:19  You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.

1Pe 1:20  Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days.

1Pe 1:21  And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God.

 

God loves variety. He may have created different skin tones and types of hair that differ from one group of people to the next, but nowhere does it show that one race is superior or inferior to another. I’ve blogged about George Washington Carver. He sought God about knowing things in the universe and supposedly God said it was too big for any human to comprehend. So God chose to answer Mr. Carver with lots of information about the peanut. I’ve heard it said that God tells us in His Word that he gives people witty inventions. Professor George Washington Carver came up with a multitude of uses for the peanut–some in food products, many for businesses, with paint thinner as one example.

 

Neo-Nazis, KKK members, all who say they are Christians had better read their Bible. God is against hatred and Jesus said in John 10:10, (KJV):   The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

God, please help our country to be unified by love and kindness and graciousness towards each other, I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Bewitched

I looked up the word “bewitched” in the search section of e-sword, a digital Bible and reference site available online. There are three listings of verses in the New Testament, one in Galatians 3:1 and the other two are in the book of Acts.

I was thinking of the television show, “Bewitched” with Samantha and Darren and baby Tabitha as some of the main characters. Elizabeth Montgomery played the pretty mom, Dick York as the first actor to portray the dad, with Dick Sargent as the last, and Erin Murphy as the little one.

I was doing dishes and thinking that I didn’t dislike housekeeping as much as I did years ago.970617650-woman-washing-dishes-housewife-housework-comfort-retro-style ... (Photo from:  http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.zw__H3aWQZEZ0wVQ3YpDcQEUDi&pid=15.1&w=126&h=103&p=0 )

 

Suddenly an image of Samantha’s vacuum cleaner working around the house after she twitched her nose came to mind. I used to wish I was a witch so I could get my work done and go outside many years ago. Immediately, I’d negate that thought. I’d been brought up going to church on Sunday and I felt a love and respect for God from childhood on up. It just felt wrong to think I wanted to be a witch.

That television show introduced me to witches’ jargon I’d never been aware of. Possibly many in the country felt the same way. Such beautiful people with powers, and the nosey Gladys Kravitz–the neighbor, seemed annoying. She was played by Alice Pearce at first, and then Sandra Gould stepped in as one of the performers. She used to dress up with white gloves and wear a white hat, on occasion, probably on her way to a service to worship God, the foolish woman who was just seeing things, according to her husband’s point of view.

Initially remembering the show gave me a warm feeling inside, but as an adult it occurs to me that the normalization of witchcraft, which God abhors, is not a good thing.

It’s funny how as a child I instinctively knew that certain things were taboo. In the book of Acts, we hear of sorcery from God’s point of view.

Act 8:5, (ESV):  Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.

Act 8:6  And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.

Act 8:7  For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.

Act 8:8  So there was much joy in that city.

Act 8:9  But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.

Act 8:10  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”

Act 8:11  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.

Act 8:12  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Act 8:13  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

Act 8:14  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,

Act 8:15  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,

Act 8:16  for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Act 8:17  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Act 8:18  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,

Act 8:19  saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Act 8:20  But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

Act 8:21  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.

Act 8:22  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

Act 8:23  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

Act 8:24  And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

In the King James Version, it says Simon had bewitched them with sorceries.

Exo_22:18, (KJV):  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Deu_18:10, (KJV):  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, (Practicing magic) or an enchanter, or a witch,

As I continued around the house I got thinking of Galatians 3:1, (ESV) and beyond:  Gal 3:1  O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.

Gal 3:2  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Gal 3:3  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

Gal 3:4  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Gal 3:5  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—

Gal 3:6  just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Gal 3:7  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Gal 3:8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Gal 3:9  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal 3:10  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Gal 3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Gal 3:12  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

Gal 3:14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

“Satan is an accuser of the brethren,” it tells us in Rev_12:10, (KJV):  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

He works against all people in very subtle ways. As a writer, I’ve had the thought that Christian concepts could be boring to people. If that is not a thought from God’s enemy, I don’t know what is?

When I felt the power of God heal my left side a couple of Sundays ago, I was filled with joy. I had noticed a sharp-edged bone as I exercised and on Sunday I thought the still, small voice of the Lord asked me to go forward and pray for me and anyone else that needed healing. I did that in our small church and it wasn’t easy to take that step of faith. Warmth flooded me from the hip down to my ankle. After church a lady asked if I was getting physical therapy without having had an X-ray or an MRI. I admitted I hadn’t had one. So, my dr. sent me for an X-ray and all was well.

I can’t say that my muscles are completely better yet, but there is much improvement. God is far from boring and His Word delights and speaks to internal issues I need to deal with and relationship helps I should take advantage of, and so much more. Plus, after life, there is an awesome eternity that we can’t even imagine, it says in the New Testament.

I really went on a long time, and if you stayed with me, I pray God will bless you big time. Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Rest

 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, (ESV), “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I feel more refreshed today than I have been because I don’t feel as overwhelmed. We started a prayer group this week at church and when we finished it felt jarring to talk to people in the coffee room. The presence of the Lord was so strong, to be smack dab in reality again is what felt unsettling.

I hope you’re finding time to be in the Word and to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet. What a privilege we have to cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us as noted in 1 Peter 5:7.

I find I need others. When temptation comes my way, I can let an accountability partner know about it and ask for prayer. Christians can remind other Christians that to be tempted is not a sin. To step toward the temptation and to take action is the sin. That’s when we need to repent and ask God’s forgiveness. If we’re tempted and don’t act on it, we pray to be delivered from temptation and then walk away from the temptation and walk away from any condemnation the devil tries to put on us. He’ll do anything to distract us from God and being obedient to God.

Romans 8:34, (ESV)  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Rom 8:36  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Rom 8:38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

Rom 8:39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God bless you!

Strong

My husband preaches about Jesus being a strong man. Jesus walked up mountainsides with His disciples. He was a carpenter without power tools. He ate healthy foods, like fish and figs.

I’ve been re-reading the book of John because a woman in her nineties came to Christ and we are studying the book of John a chapter or two at a time. We’re on our second time around instead of going to another book.

This last time, I was listening to her read. Ninety-four and she reads well and understands. She used to be in the Navy and then she was a librarian at the VA. A tough cookie with a tender heart.

Anyway, we were reading where Jesus taught the Jewish people and some of the leaders questioned His authority and His deity. He spoke with strength of character and pure truth. Joh_8:44,(ESV) “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

It hit me as if I’d never read those words before. Jesus said what He felt needed to be said. He told them that where He was going they could not go when He went to the Father. I thought, my goodness, He’s telling them out right, they’ll not make it to heaven.

Then they told Him the miracles He performed were from the devil. Some people have no fear of God. They saw Him raise a young man from the dead, so his widowed mother would have her son to provide for her. It doesn’t ring true that the devil would heal a young man and be kind. He hates us because we’re made in God’s image. Jesus said in John 10:10, (ESV): “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

When I see hatred and tragedies, I think how the devil is stirring people up. I understand it, too. Sometimes I feel ugly inside, and then I have to pray and ask God to help me, and repent if I’ve acted out at all. His perfect peace that passes all understanding, (Philippians 4:7) comes upon me, so I can gain control over my emotions and I think once more, how great is our God!

 

May God bless you!

 

Suicide – the Great Deception

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I saw my doctor for a routine check-up and I told her I’d been to the hardest funeral the day before, a suicide of a young person. She said they are altogether too common, and this young doctor dropped her head.

The funeral on Sunday broke my heart. The tightly held tears wracked my body for this precious girl and her family. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give life and that abundantly.”

We are in a spiritual battle and God, the creator of the universe, invites us to fight for life and righteousness through prayer and loving Him and others, and witnessing. He gives his children free will to choose Him or to choose Satan’s course, a life rejecting God and going our own way.

From what I’ve read in the Bible, Satan relishes his hatred of mankind and uses his influence to cause havoc around the world. He hates people because we are made in the image and likeness of God, Who kicked Satan out of heaven for wanting to take God’s place, as found in Isaiah 14:12.

I remember thinking of suicide in college because the thought of it kept hitting my brain. When I mentioned it to my boyfriend, now my husband of nearly 40 years, he said, “Why would anyone think of suicide?”

I told him I would never do that. But Satan wants people to kill themselves. He is a liar and a thief. I don’t know how many suicide victims make it to heaven, it depends on their belief in Jesus Christ and their repentant heart. I prayed long and hard that none of the people at that funeral would succumb to the well-meaning phrases of the pastor.

He called her death a tragedy twice in the midst of a long eulogy extolling the wonders of heaven and God’s incredible love. As this beautiful, 28 year old daughter lay in her coffin, her mom and dad poured out memories as they tried to keep their woundedness at bay. The dad did better than the mom. As her mom told us of the ignored text, “Please, please, don’t do it,” her daughter chose to end the gift of life from God above, and her mom bawled as she ended her talk.

Her first-born and only daughter will never text her again, listen to advice or offer her mom insight and hope that young people often impart back to their parents.

I can’t help but cry as I write this because I knew her as a baby, I’ve been close friends with her grandmother for years, I saw her as a college graduate with a degree fashioned so she could help others. I witnessed the pain of her loved ones.

I’m sad. I’m mad. America embraces a culture of death when God’s plans, as stated in Jeremiah 29:11-13, are for a future, a hope, peace, a life filled with a relationship with God.

I shopped for infant wear last month and skipped racks of clothes with skulls on them in a local department store, which I found appalling.

“Dear God, protect our young people from suicide, I pray. May they know Your love and protection and hope and guidance, I ask, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”