Sunday, September 21, 2014


For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth,, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him Colossians 1:16 ESV 

The first law of thermodynamics, also called the law of conservation of energy, simply put, is that energy is neither created nor destroyed.

Thermo:  heat

Dynamics:  Physics. The branch of mechanics that deals with the motion and equilibrium of systems under the action of forces, usually from outside the system

Please do not assume that I am suggesting that it is virtuous to give for the purpose of being blessed. Too many others are (wrongly) espousing that idea. That is equivalent to the Pharisaical practice of broadcasting their alms-giving for recognition. By pouring out I imply more of a sacrificial act, something that, on our human side, is difficult, sometimes painful. Yet in our spiritual nature this kind of giving is joyous, and it results in blessings both inward and outward. Still, our humanness is relentless in its pursuit of happiness. At the core, the striving for happiness is self-centered, dependent upon getting something from the world that creates an emotion. This is an exchange of sorts. “What can I engage in to feel happy?”

Some give their bodies for immoral or addictive pleasures. On the lighter side we will engage in anything else that might be pursued to maintain a feeling of happiness. Most of which are not effective. It is cliché to list them – things such as fortune, fame, achievement, philanthropy. The hope of gain from experiences.

Happiness comes from gain, Joy comes from loss

What in the world are you talking about?” There was a saying I once heard regarding pastoral ministry which went something like “Lord, you keep him holy, we'll keep him poor.” It has been thought over the centuries by some, that poverty and lack made one more holy and fit for service. Okay, not loving the world or the things that are in the world is certainly virtuous. However, giving away everything to gain one ounce of holiness will not work. Holiness is a result of God in us living through us.

I briefly explored the concept of joy in another blog, in a post entitled A Cup of Joy? Happiness is a noun, something passive, dependent on receiving something. Joy is a noun as well. The conclusion was that joy as referenced Biblically is a word (Gr: chara) that is better translated rejoice. Rejoice is a verb, an action. What does anyone have to rejoice about? The one who is surrendered to God has much, and it has to do with living in a perpetual state of grace.

Can you see how joy comes from an exchange?

First we exchange our insistence of running our own life, and living with many failures due to our nature as humans, for falling upon the eternal strength of God who created us and seeking to do his will above ours. Literally exchanging our life for his. Jesus demonstrated this to us on the eve of his barbaric murder when he said (as a man) “Father, if you are willing please take this cup of suffering away from me” and then (as a man submitted to God) “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

After that initial exchange, life becomes a series of exchanges. Loss is not really loss in God's economy.

Loss: detriment, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get.

We expend so much energy in striving to get, have, and keep in order to be happy. Then loss comes and deprives us.

What if we are always prepared to lose for the sake of bowing to God, and to obtain joy in exchange? Are we able to welcome loss, knowing that the exchange is so superior to the loss, that we will rejoice in spite of pain? That is a secret of which many are unaware, including those who follow Him. That is what prevents us from wailing “why, God?”

Pouring Out

We do not easily give up. It is in our nature to fight for our lives, defend our own, and cling to that which is in our possession. But our new nature, His nature, is to give, give up, pour out. And we can practice this new virtue if we welcome the small opportunities. Giving to others in need, while yet in need ourselves is one example of pouring out.

See the widow at Zarephath.

...there was no rainfall anywhere in the land. Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zaraphath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
So he went to Zaraphath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don't have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
But Elijah said to her, “Don't be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you've said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what's left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days.
There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:7-16 NLT

Joy is resting in the assurance that whatever loss we suffer, God will fill the void, salve the pain, bring forth good in our lives and others', and sometimes enlighten us to a greater purpose behind the loss.

King David, while in the wilderness, in the midst of battle with the detachment occupying the town of Bethlehem, rashly longed for the good water from the well near the gate at Bethlehem. His men, eager to please their beloved leader, forced their way through and brought some of that water back to him. As he often did, David realized his foolishness.

But he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it out as an offering to the Lord. “The Lord forbid that I should drink this!” he exclaimed. “This water is as precious as the blood of these men who risked their lives to bring it to me.” 2 Samuel 23:16-17 NLT

What is your experience? Has God ever asked you to do the “impossible”? Did you stiff-arm him? Or did you yield, only to be surprised at how it all turned out? May I challenge you to pour out an offering to the Lord?

God is Light

I have loosely applied the concept of the first law of thermodynamics, and the equation of relativity to the human spiritual experience when the relationship with God asks us to let go. Remember that speed of light squared in the equation? The energy is equal to the mass multiplied by the speed of light squared. Literally, the speed of light squared makes it possible to turn energy to mass or mass to energy. God is that very light. It is he who created, and nothing more can be created, only converted or exchanged. Leave your losses with him; he will convert them to good.

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. Mark 10: 29-30 NASB

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blog Reboot

Update:  I began this blog a couple years ago, and have been away from it as a result of some life upheavals. During the past nine months my writing has been focused on a book. The book is a slice-of-life memoir highlighting my move from a metropolis to the north woods.  To say it is simply an account of contrast of cultures is to understate it.   Woven into the tale is the same theme that has been the focus here - the wondrous work of growth through drastic change. Having no computer internet service is proving difficult, as I am using the finger tap keyboard of a Galaxy S 3 MINI! However, I have decided to bring some of that writing to the blog. Again, this is all about being poured out as an offering, and being deeply blessed as a result. So welcome back, and look for frequent posts again.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nehemiah's Revival

Part 4

We are separated…when you hear the trumpet rush to where we are.  Neh. 4:19

Who decides to sound the trumpet?  Can just anyone amongst the people do it?  That seems a disorganized plan.  After all, Nehemiah was a highly organized leader.  Up to this point he had ordered continual prayer, defensive preparedness – stay clothed, weapons in hand even while working, organized by families, strengthened leadership, with threats against those who did not comply, even the priests.  He was a man of strategy and a man of valiant faith.


The use of the trumpet to rally the people has deep roots to the Jews.  The shofar is a sound to which mystics attribute voice like qualities, even linking it to the human soul, or neshama. 

“Chazal use this same concept to teach us that the sound Adam HaRishon heard on wakening from his creation, was the sound of a shofar, the sound made by his neshama as it entered him. This suggests that the shofar can take us back to the very moment when our neshama entered us.” From The Significance of the Shofar (שופר) By Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)

Hillel ben David also describes the root meaning of the word shofar as “a sense of incising”.  It is a sound that is able to cut or burn into our consciousness.  It is believed to have the power to stir a heart to repentance.  It is used for the voice of God that went walking in the garden sending out that most piercing question of where Adam was (spiritually).  Isn’t it much like the word of God which has the ability to pierce between soul and spirit? 

The shofar was the sound heard when Moses called the people to Mt. Sinai; they begged Moses to speak, not God, for fear of dying overtook them with the smoking and shaking of the mountain and the sound of the trumpet (Exodus 20: 18, 19).  This is yet another reference connecting the sound of the shofar with the sound of God’s voice.

So what, then? -  the sound of the trumpet is likened to the sound of God’s very voice, carrying on its loud and startling note the call to gather, to repent, to war, to be without hypocrisy.  This seems like the call to revival.  And to answer the question of who will sound the trumpet, clearly only a leader who follows closely after God, with no compromise, no fear of man in his character.  Men such as Gideon, Joshua, Nehemiah, Moses, priests, and upon the return of Jesus, angels are the ones responsible for sounding this heavenly call.  It is the ram’s horn that signified God’s faithfulness to Moses when he was prepared to make the most terrifying sacrifice of all, his son Isaac.

The Role of the Leader

It is undeniable that leadership has an initiating role in summoning revival.  We know that we are all like sheep.  Jesus told us that.  Sheep are not very smart.  They fall over and can’t get up; they eat poison plants, they wander away from safety.  Without the vigilance and the staff of the shepherd they would likely not exist long.  Yet how the corrupt strength of our own souls drives us to compete, covet power, and insert soulish desires into the operation of Christ’s precious Body.  It is not for the strongest, loudest, cleverest, or most talented to lead a congregation.  “For God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” I Corinthians 12:28

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11, 12

Our leaders are appointed by God.  He chooses them for their ability to sound the alarm even in the midst of opposition and ridicule.  Like Moses and Paul, they may not be eloquent.  “…my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God”. I Corinthians 2: 4.
Leaders who rally us to seek revival have one outstanding quality that drives them.  Nehemiah began by grieving the remnant who had escaped the captivity, and the broken wall of Jerusalem.  So intense was his grief that he prayed and fasted night and day seeking to rebuild.  It is the task of the leader to recognize the demonic attacks, warn the other leaders and the people, and command them to rally.

“But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:13, 14

If our leaders are so grieved for the state of the church, we ought to listen as intently as if the shofar had been sounded. But just as Nehemiah purposed to rebuild, Sanballat approached with ridicule that was rooted in hatred.  We need to beware of allowing the wicked works of Sanballat to affect our ability to follow those who lead us.  He will say things like “you are rebelling against the king” (corporate church authorities?), “What are these feeble Jews (Christians) doing?”  The accuser will say that the congregation is too small. He will send for secret meetings with the leader intending to do harm.  He will plant suspicion and disrespect amongst the flock, saying that this leader is not well-spoken enough, not in tune with the people, convincing them that he could not possibly lead them to do such a momentous task. He will use, as did Sanballat, personal or family connections to important people to intimidate the congregation. All along he serves as a distraction to what the Most High God is calling for – a repentance that leads to rebuilding, to revival.

The Responsibility of the People

The first thing that Nehemiah conveyed to the people after he received approval of God and of King Artaxerxes was that the hand of God had been favorable to him, and that the king had also.  Their response was immediate “Then they said, ’Let us arise and build.’  So they put their hands to the good work.”  Clearly these people recognized the hand of God in a seemingly impossible situation.  Did they ask about resources?  Did they meet amongst themselves to see if Nehemiah was bringing a true word, or to maybe find him insane?  Did they ignore him, wishing to keep things as they always had been?  No.  The high priest and other priests rose up first, helping lead the way.  Chapter 3 outlines the specific areas of repair led by specific workers, a long list of priests, officials, skilled workers, servants and all manner social strata working tirelessly and in unity. 

Even during the work of revival, Nehemiah addressed a great sin which had been infecting the people for some time.  Chapter 5 tells of the usury that was being practiced by brethren against brethren, bringing great financial hardship to many.  Nehemiah rebuked the nobles and rulers for this, and they were speechless.  In fact they said “we will do exactly as you say.”

The work of the people is to respond to the sound of the shofar.  Simply that.  Not to question, not to agree with opposition and discouragement.  This is not to say that leadership should always be blindly followed.  We have been warned about false teachers; we have been equipped with gifts of discernment.  But the sound of the shofar is unmistakable.  When we hear the final trumpet sound will we question whether it is real, or whether it is being sounded by a fallen angel?  No!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (TNIV)

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Building Involves Battling

Part 3

In setting our faces toward giving out of need, we ought not to think that we will avoid encounters with discouragement, fear, and ridicule. If we desire the admiration of the world we might as well just go ahead and serve the world with all we have. There is no in between. There is no both. Jesus already told us that to follow him means to put our hand to the plow and not look back.

The focus of ALABASTER FLASK is the blessing of sacrificial service. We are continuing to follow Nehemiah and his encounters with his vicious enemy Sanballat. What does this story have to do with us, with giving unreservedly?

  •  Following Jesus demands being sold out, setting our face like a flint, shunning the world system and its enticements
  •  Following Jesus is first about him, second about others, and lastly about our selves. 
  •  The more we give, the more persistently and intensly Satan attacks

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” 1 Peter 4:1

Arm Yourselves 

Today we look at how Nehemiah and the people of God fought against the attacks of Sanballat (which we looked at yesterday).

Satan’s Anger

Over and over Sanballat and his cohorts were angered.

· Neh. 2:10 is the first account that Sanballat was greatly angered. The word angered (grieved KJV) is translated from the Hebrew yara, “to tremble”. It is the same word used to describe Abraham’s reaction to Sarah’s plea to cast out his son Ishmael. It is used to describe Hannah grieving for the want of a son.

· Neh. 2:19 says that Sanballat despised Israel. This word in Hebrew is basah “to hold in contempt” or “to trample with the feet”. It is the feeling that Goliath had for David; Esau despised his birthright.

· Nehemiah 4:1, 4:7 Sanballat was wroth. Heb: charah, “ to be hot, furious, burn, become angry, be kindled “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael” 2 Kings 13:3

The anger of Sanballat against any attempt to help God’s people was a

Trembling, Foot-Trampling, Blazing Hot Anger.

As a type of Satan, he reveals to us what we are up against. Last time we summarized the expressions of his anger, the tactics he uses to defeat, as

Accusation, Mockery, Demoralization, Assault, Threats, Harm, Discouragement, Entrapment, and Discrediting

Pretty intense enemy isn’t he? How do we deal with him?

Nehemiah’s Response


Here’s how Nehemiah did it. The enemy never let up, but Nehemiah and the people did not let down their guard, even during the times that it appeared the enemy had backed off. They didn’t even take time to change clothes or lay down their weapons

Neh. 4:23 “So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.” ESV


After every threat Nehemiah prayed intensely.

Neh. 4:4 "Hear, O our God, how we are despised!  Return their reproach on their own heads and give them up for plunder in a land of captivity.  Do not forgive their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out before You, for they have demoralized the builders.” NASB

Neh. 4:9 “And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.” ESV

Neh. 6:9 “For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.’ But now, O God, strengthen my hands.” ESV

Neh. 6:14 “Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.” ESV


Neh. 4:13 “So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows.” ESV


Neh. 4:14 “And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’ " ESV

All of chapter 5 recounts the anger of Nehemiah against the leaders of the people of God, and his demands that they stop their unfair practices against them.

Neh. 5:7 “I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, ‘You are exacting interest, each from his brother.’ And I held a great assembly against them.”

Neh. 5:12b, 13 “And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised. I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said ‘Amen’ and praised the LORD. And the people did as they had promised.”


Neh. 4:19-20 “And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.’" ESV

Next time we will look at the role of a leader and the responsibility of the people.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why We Need to Know the Story of Sanballat: The seeds of revival

Part 2

When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard all this, they were very displeased that someone had come to seek benefit for the Israelites. Nehemiah 2:10 NET 

The Hater of God’s People 

The slightest forward movement under godly leadership enrages the enemy. He hates Israel and he hates the Church. Sanballat was awakened to high alert that Nehemiah was about to usher in a revival. From the beginning of a call of God to restore the broken down places, Satan begins his assault. We must know and expect this, and be prepared for victory.

So, how do we stay ahead of the enemy and not be sidetracked by him?

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1

Got that? We are targets. It starts when we obey God’s call and NEVER LETS UP. Follow Sanballat following Nehemiah. Learn. See his tactical strategy.

Ø 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard all this, they derided us and expressed contempt toward us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” ACCUSATION

Ø 4:1 Now when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall he became angry and was quite upset. He derided the Jews, 4:2 and in the presence of his colleagues and the army of Samaria he said, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they be left to themselves? Will they again offer sacrifice? Will they finish this in a day? Can they bring these burnt stones to life again from piles of dust?” MOCKERY

Ø 4:5 Do not cover their iniquity, and do not wipe out their sin from before them. For they have bitterly offended the builders! DEMORALIZE

Ø 4:7 When Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the people of Ashdod heard that the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem had moved ahead and that the breaches had begun to be closed, they were very angry

Ø 4:8 All of them conspired together to move with armed forces against Jerusalem and to create a disturbance in it. ASSAULT & CREATE CHAOS

Ø 4:11 Our adversaries also boasted, “Before they are aware or anticipate anything, we will come in among them and kill them, and we will bring this work to a halt!” DEATH THREATS, FEAR

Ø 6:2 Sanballat and Geshem sent word to me saying, “Come on! Let’s set up a time to meet together at Kephirim in the plain of Ono.” Now they intended to do me harm. HARM

Ø 6:9 All of them were wanting to scare us, supposing, “Their hands will grow slack from the work, and it won’t get done.” DISCOURAGE

Ø 6:13 He had been hired to scare me so that I would do this and thereby sin. They would thus bring reproach on me and I would be discredited ENTRAP & DISCREDIT

Accuse – Mock – Demoralize – Assault – Threaten – Harm – Discourage – Entrap – Discredit 
My dear readers, these are the tactics.  We cannot credit any of this to mere human rancor.  This level of intense anger and scheme originates in the hater of our souls.  But he is not always as blatant as was Sanballat.  He instigates his chaos within our very midst.  He compels us to turn our eyes to one another through suspicion and blame, effectively untying the bond of unity that is our safety net against him.  This is why I see the mighty work of Nehemiah and the people of God whom he led as the story of revival.  In that day the temple was restored, and even more importantly, the hearts of the people were stirred to repentance, followed by great unity, joy, and a return to holiness.  THAT is revival.  It is what we need today.  It is what Finney, Spurgeon, and others, facilitated and wrote to us about.

Yet…we balk, we stick out our chins, we turn on our leaders and one another.  When we begin to be aware, as did Nehemiah, that the walls have been broken down and the church lies in disrepair, our first (and human) response is blame.  We blame a lack of eloquence.  We blame the minister for not doing things our way, not considering that God may have sent him to cause us to look at ourselves.

"If we had the Spirit sealing our ministry with power it would signify very little about talent. Men might be poor and uneducated, their words might be broken and ungrammatical; but if the might of the Spirit attended them, the humblest evangelist would be more successful than the most learned of divines, or the most eloquent of preachers.
“It is extraordinary power from God, not talent, that wins the day. It is extraordinary spiritual unction not extraordinary mental power, that we need. Mental power may fill a chapel but spiritual power fills the church with soul anguish. Mental power may gather a large congregation. but only spiritual power will save souls. What we need is spiritual power." - Chas. H. Spurgeon

What our Response Should Be

The power of Israel under Nehemiah was prayer, unity, and obedience.  The response to the enemy starts with prayer.  Everything Nehemiah accomplished was done through a strong, unwavering habit of prayer.  In my next blog I will examine Nehemiah’s responses.

Special thanks to brother LaRoyce Jones for permission to use his wonderful painting of  Nehemiah "Building the Wall".  His works can be seen at The Light and Dark Series

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Part 1

The Reason for Spiritual Warfare

 "Amongst lnjuns, a tribe's greatness is figured on how mighty its enemies be."  Del Gue from the movie Jeremiah Johnson

    What is the measure of greatness in regards to enemies?  David’s enemy was a giant.  Is it comparative size?  Jezebel was a wicked woman with great power – the enemy of Elijah.  Is it the greatness of power of the enemy?  

Enemies can consume our time and energy, rendering us weak and ineffectual in the pursuit of the calling to spread God’s good news and care for the hurting.  Recognize that this is by design.  The more our lives are focused on the antics of the enemy the less we will overcome.  If we let him, our enemy will wear us down and prevent us from building.


    After days of mourning, fasting and praying over the desolation of Jerusalem, Nehemiah received approval from God to go and rebuild.  His master, Artaxerxes of Persia (Iran), was moved by Nehemiah’s sorrow, and granted him a journey to Jerusalem

As soon as evil men in the city heard of Nehemiah’s intentions they began to relentlessly oppose him.  Isn’t that how Satan approached Jesus when he was led by the Spirit to fast and pray (and “to be tempted by the devil”) in the desert?  Satan questioned God’s word; he attempted to destroy the eternal mission of Jesus to bring the people of the earth back to relationship with God.

 “But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us…” Nehemiah 2:19 ESV

The Moabites and Ammonites were people who lived east of the Jordan River in what is now the nation of Jordan.  They were descendants of Lot, from incestuous relationships between Lot and his daughters. They worshipped Moloch, a god who required sacrifices of children, and Baal (different name, same religion).  They were fearsome warriors.

“Like some other gods and demons found in the Bible, Moloch appears as part of medieval demonology, as a Prince of Hell. This Moloch finds particular pleasure in making mothers weep; he specializes in stealing their children.”

Ammonites were descendants of Lot and his daughter. 

“On that same day, as the Book of Moses was being read to the people, the passage was found that said no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be permitted to enter the assembly of God.”
Nehemiah 13:1 NLT

An enemy is usually perceived as being unfairly hostile and undeserved by us.  And this is probably the case most of the time.  There are, of course, those situations where one actually deserves of the wrath of an enemy.  These earn their enemies.  That is how things operate in this world.  This is why there will always be wars. 

But there are situations where evil just rises up against seemingly innocent humans. The greater the enemy, the greater the tribe.

We (the church) are the tribe of God that has been grafted in. If you were naturally part of a wild olive tree and you were cut off from it, and then, contrary to nature, you were grafted into [Israel] the cultivated olive tree… (Romans 11:24) 

Our mortal enemy, the hater of our souls, is that Snake, Satan.  He is the ultimate enemy.  In comparison to humans he is mighty beyond imagination.  But though our tribe is human, it is more.  We have the Spirit of the living God empowering us.  We belong to the one who ascended after descending.  (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) Ephesians 4:9,10.
    Along with Israel the church is the greatest tribe, hunted by the greatest enemy.  What about enemies of the human kind?  Paul acknowledged them and warned of them.  His advice was to live as citizens of heaven.  

“My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

     But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.  Phillipians 3:17-21 CEV

Jesus also spoke of human enemies and what to do about them.
“This is what I say to all who will listen to me:

Love your enemies, and be good to everyone who hates you. Ask God to bless anyone who curses you, and pray for everyone who is cruel to you.  Luke 6:27-28 CEV

            So, what about Satan – the Sanballat who stands and taunts us, defying us to build the Kingdom of God?  How do we deal with him?

Please return for a continuation of these thoughts.
Janet McDonald
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Because of His Mercy...

"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:4-5 (NLT)

I live,
I sing in the dark, like a bird,
like a mocking bird,
and my soul is safe,
because of his mercy...

In her’s and her husband, Michael’s website, Diane Porter writes, “Although all adult male mockingbirds sing during the day, only a bachelor sings at night. The night music that's driving you crazy is a love song…As soon as your mockingbird wins a mate, he'll stop singing at night.”

According to Mike of the website 10,000 Birds “It’s considered a sin to kill a mockingbird, or at least that’s what we’re told in the book of the same name. Why? As Harper Lee says, ‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’ ”

“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,

And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.”Song of Solomon 2:12 (NKJV)

...Mercy is God’s love song.
the bridegroom calls to his bride at night,
he calls her into the light to share his life,
because of his mercy. 
©Janet McDonald

As written in an article by Lee on his Birds of the Bible blog “The turtle-dove is a name of endearment for one belovedinnocence, harmlessness, timidity, gentleness. The thought here is that of a people dear to God, now timid and alarmed. It is the prayer of a people beloved by God that he would not deliver them to their enemies.