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Now That’ll Wreck Your Day


Driving home from Santa Rosa one night, my nerves were as tense as a drum head. It was about two in the morning, and the elk traveled that highway at night.

To hit an one of these majestic creatures while driving a compact car,

well, that’ll wreck your day for sure.

I was on high alert, my eyes peered into the darkness outside the headlight beams. I hoped to spot the large animals in time to avoid a collision.

Suddenly, in my mind, I “saw” my car hit one. My body was instantly upright, and I popped through the roof of my car like a piece of toast ejected from a toaster. Quick as a wink, I shot through space and was caught in Jesus’ arms. I’d have passed Him by if He hadn’t caught me. Jesus was chuckling at the surprised look on my face.

Just that fast, I was no longer afraid. Instead I began the “wheet, wheet” whistle of a person who called their dog. “Here, elk! Here, elk!” I called merrily.

When the Lord brings the light of truth to our darkest dread, fear flees!

A few weeks later I drove to the store. I saw a large black butterfly as it flitted around me – and then it swooped in front of me.

The instant I imagined it hit my grille, I “saw” it gently pushed through a gossamer-thin veil where it became the most beautiful iridescent blue I’d ever seen. The world around it was too stunning for words. “Pure color” is the only thing that comes remotely close. It was amazing.

In 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10 we read, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.”

Why He chose to give me these “visions,” I don’t know, but I can tell you this:

Death has lost it’s ability to wreck my day!

*****

{More on this topic in my next post. You can find it here “In Your Wildest Dreams.” Don’t miss it!}

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Angels long to understand the story of Grace


Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:10-12)

Whenever I’m feeling a little confused by God’s mysterious ways I find it comforting to remember that even angelic beings do not fully understand the mind of God. We imagine that since angels are in God’s presence, they would know why God is doing what He is doing. But they don’t. Peter spoke of this in his letter above. He says angels long to look into ‘these things’, to fully comprehend God’s mysterious plan of redemption, in which they SERVE us! What an amazing thought! They obey God, they follow the plan, without fully understanding why.

We humans are so privileged. Not only have we have been told the story of God’s grace, shown in his Son coming to redeem us and restore us to relationship with God, we also benefit from this grace! We have eternal life. Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, ANGELS WISH, develops these thoughts in a beautiful way. He looks forward to the time when he will sit down with his angel friends and explain to them the “story of grace”. I know things angels only wish they knew!
How privileged am I?

ANGELS WISH:

Was God smiling when He spoke the words and made the world?
And did he cry about the flood?
And what does God’s voice sound like when He sings, or when He’s angry?
These are just a few things that the angels have on me

Well, I can’t fly, at least not yet
I’ve got no halo on my head
And I can’t even start to picture Heaven’s beauty
But I’ve been shown the Savior’s love
The grace of God has raised me up
To show me things the angels long to look into
And I know things the Angels only wish they knew

I have seen the dark and desperate place where sin will take you
I’ve felt loneliness and shame
And I have watched the blinding light of grace
Come breaking through with a sweetness
Only tasted by the forgiven and redeemed

And someday I’ll sit down with my angel friends
Up in Heaven
They’ll tell me about creation
And I’ll tell them a story of grace

Blessings from Ros (sevennotesofgrace)

You may also like: FILM REVIEW City of Angels – God’s gracious warriors and guides

Peace, Anyone?


Sometimes it is good to take a leisurely stroll through Psalm 23. Care to join me?

The Lord is my Shepherd

but I must choose to follow Him. Why would I make this choice? Because His plans for me are for good and not for evil, to bring me to a glorious end.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

Sometimes, if I keep myself too busy, this will be through trials or illness. He does not afflict me, but allows affliction. His purpose is to feed and nurture me; to bring healing and growth.

He leads me beside the still water.

This is a symbol of peace and tranquility. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

I do well to remember that Heaven is my home; I am just a pilgrim passing through this earth. It is my training ground – boot camp, if you will. His plan is for me (and you) to rule and reign with Him during the millennium, and He does not want whiners or tyrants ruling, but humble servants like Himself.

He restores my soul.

When I wander from the flock, and return after a while, He restores me to fellowship. Part of the restoration involves my transformation by the renewing of my mind. As my thinking is corrected, I become conformed into the image of God’s Son, and less prone to wander.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness.

He is holy, and His desire is for me to be holy as well. He leads me in righteousness because it is in His nature to do so.

For His name’s sake

– not so I will make Him look good, but because He is faithful to complete the work He began in me. I am  His workmanship – His project; and He is at work molding me into His Son’s image.

Even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

– note that it is the “shadow”…and not death itself. Jesus said that if I obey His commands, I will not see Death. Death seems to be an entity, and not a process, for the Bible states that Death and Hades will both be cast into the Lake of Fire. One day this mortality will be swallowed up by life. “Death, where is your sting, Grave, where is your victory?”

Death is nothing to fear: Absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.

His rod and staff comfort me.

The rod is used for protection, and sometimes for correction. Both are a comfort, for the Bible tells me that only illegitimate children go undisciplined…and who doesn’t want protection??

His staff is used to guide and also for deliverance as I am pulled out of snares when the enemy manages to entrap me.

He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

The Bible is full of everything I need for life and godliness. My enemies are forced to look on whenever I partake of its nourishment – either through reading the Word or by listening to others teach from its contents.

He anoints my head with oil

– and my enemies are forced to watch while I am equipped and given authority to defeat them. The word anoint also denotes being made fat…I must be in pretty good shape in the anointing department. 😉

My cup overflows

…If a waitress is carrying a tray of full glasses of orange juice and she is bumped, orange juice will slosh out of the glasses – not milk or tea. When I am “bumped” emotionally, what sloshes out of me? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control – or bitterness, anger, or resentment? This is an excellent test of the condition of my heart, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

– every good and perfect gift is from above, I have a Father who loves to spoil me – and can afford to. It is not always in material goods, but also in love, grace, mercy, peace, or a variety of other ways.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

This is my destiny. It must be my goal – something I long for. (What will we be doing a million years from today? We will certainly be doing something – and it would blow your mind if you knew what that would be!)

There is no such thing as being so heavenly minded that I’m no earthly good. The Bible exhorts me to set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. To try to keep an earthly mind is contrary to His Word. I will be of no earthly good until I am heavenly minded, for then I will have an entirely different set of values – a different mindset.

When I know God’s purpose is good, I can:

Trust in the Lord with all my heart – like a toddler: joyous and carefree.

Not lean on my own understanding. The Bible says that God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…that would be me! My understanding does not amount to much, for His thoughts are higher than mine, and so are His ways.

In all my ways acknowledge Him: this pertains to more than just my plans. It includes my road, journey, direction, manners, habits, course of life, as well as my moral character. Because He is my good Shepherd, I can confidently seek His direction in everything.

He will make my paths straight – no dead ends, no drop-offs, no overgrown trails, but He will put me on the Highway to Heaven!

Scriptures used (although not in order – sorry :():

Psalm 23                       Jeremiah 29:11
John 14:27                  1 Peter 2:11
2 Timothy 2:12          Revelation 20:6
Romans 12:2              Romans 8:29
1 Peter 1:16                 Philippians 1:6
Ephesians 2:10          Isaiah 64:8
2 Corinthians 5:4     John 8:52
Revelation 20:15     1 Corinthians 15:55
2 Corinthians 5:8     2 Peter 1:3

Luke 6:45                    Galatians 5:22,23
James 1:17                 Colossians 3:2
Proverbs 3:5,6          Matthew 18:3
1 Corinthians 1:27   Isaiah 55:9
1 Thessalonians 5:17

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Taking a Stand


Some months ago I wrote the following article and posted on my blog. The more recent stand made by Ted Cruz provides more reason for those that stand for righteousness to get to their feet and relent not to oppressive opposition. It is time to stand not only for a country but also the Word of God.

 

Taking a Stand

 

     Recently Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator, took to the Senate floor in Washington D.C.  He did not take to the floor because he had nothing else to do. In fact Paul had no plans of filibustering. But he had had enough with lies, untruths and misleading insinuations in respect to the use of drones and the prospective Central Intelligence Agency director’s view of such practices. His stand on the Senate floor was a stand to return to The Constitution and the principles which it holds.

 

     After nearly thirteen hours Paul’s stand proved to be effective. Some have asked questions regarding the constitutionality of the use of drones at best the answers were evasive. So, Paul sought to take a stand for The Constitution and a victory was won. The report is that:

 

The filibuster was a tactical win. Paul delayed the vote on Brennan because he was seeking White House clarification on what limits they believe the law places on the use of drones to kill Americans. He got his answer. Attorney General Eric Holder promptly sent a response on Thursday. During his afternoon briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney emphasized that the administration had responded to Paul. “The answer to that question is no,” Mr. Carney reiterated.[1]

 

     With this evidence of taking a stand for what is right won out. But Paul is not the only one taking a stand for The Constitution. Many sheriffs are up in arms about the very idea that some politicians are working tirelessly to strip the rights of the people to “keep and bear arms” (U.S. Constitution, Article 2). The false premise is to protect the children in wake of the slaughter of many at one school. And while no one will argue against the tragic loss of all human lives had there been one person properly trained and armed those lives might have been saved. Nonetheless employing the Sandy Hook tragedy into the “gun control” discussion is within itself tragic. Even so many are standing for The Constitution.

 

     A number of politicians are seeking a number of ways to greatly limit this absolute right. For instance the State of Maryland presently has in place regulations stating that one needs to prove that he needs to carry a firearm before being given a permit. With this regulation in place the courts have determined that the requirement is too stringent and needs to fall more in line with The Constitution. As of this writing necessary changes have yet to be made but some are standing for The Constitution. So, too, are the sheriffs in Nevada. They refuse to give in to the political overtures of those that seek only to strengthen their own hands of power rather they stand firmly for The Constitution. The report is that “Stating they support citizens’ right to bear arms, the Nevada Sheriff’s Association last week issued a letter signed by all 17 sheriffs declaring their intention to uphold the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”[2]

 

     Along the same lines Sheriff James Singleton refuses to relent to winds that would tear at the very fundamental values that have kept this nation strong for more the two centuries. He is taking a stand by upholding The Constitution and has made that very clear with these words:

 

That oath has not changed, nor have I wavered in my promise to keep that oath. And as long as I am your sheriff, I will continue to uphold that oath. My deputies and I “will not support, assist or condone any unconstitutional infringement of your right to keep and bear arms as set forth in the Second Amendment.

Changes in our laws do need to be made to keep criminals and the mentally impaired from being able to obtain firearms. So many times people with mental problems wind up in jail on some petty charge until someone can find a place for treatment. Jail is not the place for persons with mental issues.[3]

     Many applauds are made for those that hold to the truism of a great and wonderful nation. Stands certainly need to be made and those that stand for what is right deserve utmost accolades. But whatever happened to those that are supposed to uphold the standards of Scripture? Where are those that confess that they trust in the Most High? Is there a reason unbeknownst to the general populous that would cause the otherwise brave-hearted to retreat to a world of passivity and apathy? While these are certainly rhetorical questions the fact of the matter is that it is high time for Christians to take a stand.

     Ephesians 6:12-14 reads, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” In this the evidence shows that the Christian will face certain contrary winds. The winds will come from the ungodly as well as the unrighteous. Opposition comes from the spiritual realm as well as the natural. Despite this the Christian is encouraged to stand and then stand again.

     Much like The Constitution the Word of God is under attack. There are many that want God out of the picture as they want The Constitution to be nonexistent. Yet God is not to be ignored. He is and will continue to be. Nevertheless Christians need to take a stand. The stand is upholding that which is true and right. It is not compromising because of the lack of popularity, or the appearance thereof, of the Standard rather it is holding fast in the face of what seeks to tear down that which is true. It is holding onto the vow to serve God even if it means our own demise. After all if the Christian is in fact a disciple of God then he is a martyr. Taking a stand means that there is none more important than that which is stood for. It is high time that passivity and apathy became things of the past and that the Christian put on his boots and take a stand!

 

Welcome to a New Voice


Please welcome a new author to “Armor of God”, “The Christian Gazette”, and “A Needed Word.” His name is Steven Sawyer and if you haven’t read his blog or any of his posts that have been posted elsewhere, you should really take time to check out what he has posted in the past. You can find his blog, “For His Glory,” here: http://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/

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My Mother-In-Law was Lost on the Mountain


“You can’t find her?” I asked.

“I looked all over the place. She’s not there. I was hoping you picked her up,” my father-in-law replied, a tinge of anger in his voice. “Did you show Wendel where I left her? Did he or Jim come and get her?”

“No. I gave you my word. They don’t know where she is,” I said.

“Maybe her cousin came and got her. Oh, I don’t know. What am I going to do? I can’t leave her here, and I won’t be able to come much longer,” he said with a sigh.

“We’ll come help you look on Saturday. She will be okay until then, I’m sure. I’ll have Wendel call you when he gets home.

That night I told our home group that my mother-in-law was lost on the mountain about an hour out of town.

“Oh no!” exclaimed one of the women. “Is there a search party? How long has she been missing? I hope she is all right.”

Giggling, I explained, “She will be fine. She’s in an urn. My father-in-law can’t remember where he buried her, that is all.

Okay, so sometimes I can be overly dramatic. This was too good an opportunity to pass up!

We arrived at the cabin just before lunchtime. My father-in-law was both upset that he couldn’t locate her urn; and angry because he was certain someone had come and collected her remains. We reassured him that she would be found, even if we had to search the entire range. Then we headed for the steep incline that was the foot of a foreboding mountain.

A little while later, we were standing before the rock that my father-in-law had originally shown me.

A couple of years earlier, he’d walked me up to this place. As we leaned against the rock, he took his walking stick and thrust it into the ground between us. “This is where you mother-in-law is,” he’d said. “I don’t want anyone else to know where I put her because I don’t want them to take her away. She loved it here, and this is where I want her to rest.”

We’re not irreverent people, disrespectful of the dead…we just have a little different understanding about “remains,” because we know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. When the time comes for Jesus to come collect us, He will know right where to find us. Consequently, I was positive that neither my husband nor his brother were going to come “steal” her ashes.

“I promise not to tell a soul,” I had reassured him.

Now keeping his secret didn’t seem like such a good idea. Only we two knew where she’d been buried…and I hadn’t been back since the day he showed me the place. Besides, I’m a girl. I get lost walking around in my back yard!

We began to dig at the base of the rock. Sure enough, nothing was there. We glanced at the mountainside. It was speckled with  boulders and rocks of various sizes. This was going to take a bit of doing.

“Maybe it wasn’t this rock after all,” my father-in-law said.

“Well, that must be the case. I’m fairly certain she didn’t walk off,” I replied, trying to lighten the atmosphere a bit.

We dug around the base of every rock for a hundred yards or so. Nothing. He was getting tired, so I suggested that Wendel take him back to the cabin and the two of them get some lunch. I offered to continue looking.

As they turned to go, my father-in-law said, “Oh. I put her urn in a blue plastic bag before I buried it.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll see you two in a little while.”

I turned once again to the mountain and sighed. So many boulders. Such a tall mountain. Where should I begin?

Of course. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Where should one always begin?

Ask – then seek.

“Oh, Abba Father, You know the exact location on this mountainside where my mother-in-law’s remains are placed. I really need Your help. This is a big hill and there are hundreds of boulders. Would You please lead me to her?”

Looking around, I realized that we’d only looked to the right of the trail we came up – and not to the left.

Hmm. Why not check over this way?

I poked around a couple of large rocks, but to no avail. I walked a bit farther to the left. My heart skipped a beat. In a hollow under a medium-sized boulder I saw something blue. It looked like it might be a tarp, though. I tried not to get my hopes up as I cautiously stuck my hand into the tiny cave.

Woohoo! I felt the hard, smooth container through the plastic.

“Oh, Lord! This is awesome. You totally rock! – uh, no pun intended.

Thank You for taking me to the right place. This is great!”

My father-in-law had selected the downhill side of the boulder as her resting place. Neither of us had considered the amount of snow that fell there every year – or the effects runoff would have on the terrain. I glanced back at the rock, and the little cavern beneath it. One more winter, and the dirt around the boulder would have eroded, causing it to crush the urn beneath.

With my prize in my arms, I gleefully skipped my way back to the cabin and presented it to my father-in-law. I excitedly told them how I’d found her – but only after I asked for God’s help.

Looking into my father-in-law’s eyes, I said, “God loves us even more than we love our children. When one of them lost something, we would help them search until it was found. Our heavenly Father knew your wife’s urn was important to you, and was delighted to show us where she was. Isn’t He so good?”

(Oh, Lord, please let him hear what I’m saying.)

Jesus told us that we need to become like little children. After meditating on this for a bit, I realized that when my kids were little, they depended on us for everything – food, shelter, clothing, help when they hurt, care when they were ill, and all the rest. I began to understand that this is how our heavenly Father wants us to relate to Him as well.

God is no “Genie in a bottle” that I conjur up whenever I want something, but a loving Father who cares for me. He is pleased when I depend on Him to meet my needs, be they spiritual, physical, mental or emotional.

Time and again He has helped me locate important items that I’ve put away and forgotten where they were stored – insignificant things, not unlike helping a child locate a beloved stuffed animal. I matter that much to Him.

Valued – um hmm, that’s how I feel when He demonstrates His interest in the little details of my life.

John 17:3 reads, “This is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

How do we get to know someone? We spend time with them. Through the course of life, we ask things of them. By the way they respond to those requests, we begin to understand how they think; what kinds of requests we can make of them, and which sort are a clear,”no.”

We also learn what pleases them, and what behaviors hurt or offend them. As the relationship grows, and we come to know and love them more, we naturally desire to bring them pleasure and not pain.

It took several decades for God to finally break through my defenses. By showing His tender care for me – even in the small matters – I’ve come to see that He truly is good all the time, completely trustworthy, and worthy of all my praise.

What an honor and great privilege it is to call Him “Father” and “Lord!”

By the way, we won’t be losing my mother-in-law again. She now has her own little “home” in a memorial park! My father-in-law has since joined her there, along with my brother-in-law.

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