Repent: Associate

Consider what Jesus preached:

Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Repent [3340- metanoeōchange of mind, repentance, the state of changing any or all of the elements composing one’s life: attitude, thoughts, behaviors concerning the demands of God for right living. From 3326 (meta – marker of association) + 3563 (nous – mind, thinking; understanding, insight; “to open the mind” means “to understand something”)]

What He was saying to the lost sheep of Israel:

1. Associate with God and understand something.

That’s an odd thing to say to a people whose culture revolved around God. Maybe they really weren’t associated with God in the way or to the extent that He wanted them to associate. So how is that done?

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2. Change your attitude, thoughts and behaviors

about the demands of God

for right living.

They were “expert” with the demands of God. Why change anything?

…for the kingdom of heaven

Heaven 3772 – ouranos – sky, air firmament, any area above the earth; heaven(s) the place of sun, moon and stars; heaven, in which God dwells; heaven in some contexts is a euphemism for “God”

…is at hand

Near 1448 – engizō – at hand, come near, draw near, close

Because God is close? How close? Very close.

26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His [a]saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him,admonishing every man and teaching every man [b]with all wisdom, so that we may present every man [c]complete in Christ. Colossians 1:26-28 (NASB)

Even after the God-man, Jesus, left this earth to sit at His Father’s right hand, all peoples everywhere were entreated to participate in this same repentance…this same change of mind and subsequent change of behavior.

29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge [a]the world in righteousness [b]through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men [c]by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:29-31(NASB)

What do we share with the nations about association and change?  Do the things we say include that Jesus is close at hand? …That He is our King? …That He will judge all peoples in righteousness?

May our words be chosen intentionally to that purpose…brought about to align with that good news.

What is your calling ?


“What is your calling ?”?

Desperately trying to process what the information was she was attempting to extract from our conversation in the short time we shared, all I managed was a semi-blank stare.

She was frustrated.

So was I.

Was she asking me what “gifting” I had? Was she asking about the time I first met Jesus? Was she asking me what work I wanted to focus my life on as a career? Did she want to know what I chose to pour myself into? My solution was to talk about all the options and hope I hit the right one.

Nope. That wasn’t happening.

“But what is your calling?” She repeated.

Dang! I thought. “Woman, if you can’t figure it out by what I’ve already told you, neither one of us will probably ever know.” How could I articulate something I did not understand?

This church-people concept of “the calling” continued to bother me. What is it? Did I have one? Is it really such a big deal? Or is this just an annoying religious trend people can get caught up in? 

In our Voices: Hearing God in a World of Impostors Bible study this past week, I came across the topic of a person’s calling again, hiding out in the middle of one of our assignments.

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart [a]may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the [b]saints, Ephesians 1:18 (NASB)

Well, Yes. I had to investigate this “calling”. Where did I go? To the concordance. First I had to define the word.

The word used in Ephesians 1:18 is Strong’s word #2821 – klēsis – call, calling, situation, situation in life.

A light bulb went off.

Situation in life! That’s what this calling stuff was all about?!

Ok, I can tell people my situation in life. Rejected the day I was born by my mother, saved by Jesus’ divine intervention at age three, abandoned at age five by my birth dad, divorce survivor, childhood commitment to lifetime Christian service, exposed to the fakery in religion and false teachers at age seven, discipled by strangers arranged by my Heavenly Father. Currently, I am married, loved and in love – Steve and I have been together 31 years. We serve our local church family together, I am a mother of four grown children (2 boys and 2 girls), I am a grandmother to one boy who will turn 2 next month, and one 5 month old baby girl both of which I take care of each week on the evenings they need me. I am not employed. I write. We are a one income, one small house, family. Some would classify us as poor but that really depends on the window they look through. :)

Paul was talking about the hope of Jesus’ calling. His calling is His situation in life. This calling belonged to Jesus but I could learn about it. I should learn about it because of its connection to the word ‘hope’.

OK, I can tell people about Jesus and His“situation”. He was born to a mother who wasn’t catered to and during his ministry called him crazy. He was raised by a daddy who wasn’t a blood relation. He learned obedience by what he suffered. He was tempted, hated, schemed against, betrayed, abandoned, and killed. He was also loved, affirmed, supported, strengthened, and raised to life, witnessed by many, and currently lives to intercede for all the saints. Wordpress banner compass

Does Jesus situation in life matter in any way when I think about my own situation? It does if I want to follow Him.

I have been trying to be a doer of the Word not just a listener. There are some defaults that go along with that choice. …Blessings and challenges. While I prefer the blessings over the challenges, if I am connected to Jesus’ situation in life, I cannot divorce myself from either the challenges nor the blessings. Both come into my situation by personal invitation... my calling.

Here is Paul’s situation in life…that he told people about as he defended his right to minister and as he shared his defense of the Gospel

But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the [a]Council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!”Acts 23:6 (NASB)


22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they[a]descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in [b]far more labors, in [c]far more imprisonments,[d]beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, [e]through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and[f]exposure. 28 Apart from such [g]external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is [h]led into sin [i]without my intense concern? 2 Corinthians 11:22-29 (NASB)


Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to [a]torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [b]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with [c]insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NASB)

Paul was personally invited into this life by name. 

Paul was called and so are we. Though not called as he was.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-31 (NASB)


Concerning Change of Status

17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches. 18 Was a man already circumcised when he was called? He should not become uncircumcised. Was a man uncircumcised when he was called? He should not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. 20 Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them.

In this passage ‘calling’ is separate from ‘situation’. This ‘calling’ is #2564 – Kaleō – To call, invite, summon – The authority of the speaker determines the nature of the calling; friends invite, kings summon. Also translated, “to name” – the giving of attribution to someone or something.

What has Jesus invited us to? When does He summon us?…and for what purpose?

Where did we start? Where are we now? Where are we going?

We are called heavenward in Christ Jesus of course!

13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.15 Let us therefore, as many as are [a]perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; Philippians 3:13-15 (NASB)

Win the prize people. Pay attention to your personal situation. Use it for Jesus … In Jesus’ Precious Name. Amen.


Doing the Word: Honoring My Father and Mother

As a part of Doing the Word of God this year, this bit about parents came up a few times. Honor is problematic. 

How does one honor the disrespectful? How does one give recognition to parents who have abandoned their offspring? …or done worse? Why would I want to promote someone who makes consistently bad choices that harm others? Am I trying to be nice because people want me to rather than because God wants me to? Is diplomacy at the expense of my wellbeing what the LORD really wants from me?

It’snot that I’m trying to get out of honoring my folks. It’s that it is really hard to honor them the way I think honoring should be done. Time and time again I find the need for secure boundaries…for the rescue of God in family relationships.

 My choice has always been to speak factually in regards to the choices of family members.

Never-the-less, I must find a way to honor Christ’s commands. Five times Jesus himself restates this command to honor our fathers and mothers – twice really. (Matthew 15:3-10; Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20) This good advice is also revisited in Ephesians 6:2. The first mention is about what we say regarding our parents. The second is Jesus teaching on what must be done to be saved. The third effects the conditions of our livelihood here on earth.

Can we, the afflicted, the abandoned, the trampled, find a way to obey this Biblical exhortation without lying to ourselves or to others? Let’s investigate.

And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, Honor [5091]your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil [2551] of father or mother is to [a]be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been [b]given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother[c].’ And by this you invalidated [208] the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

10 After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. Matthew 15:3-10 (NASB)

Some definitions are a must.

Honor (5091) timaō – to honor, show respect, give recognition

Speaking evil of, curseth :- (2551) – kakologeō, to curse, malign, speak evil of. From (2556 + 3004) / Kakos – evil, wicked, wrong, bad, a perversion of what pertains to goodness; as a noun, an evil thing can refer to any crime, harm, or moral wrong + lego – a general term for speaking.

Invalidated (208)- akyroō – nullify, to make void, to make of none effect


Honor your parents. Do not speak evil of them. Don’t forsake them in order to “give” to God. Got it.


What if parents are actually evil, wicked, perverted (using good things for purposes other than they are intended), criminal, harmful, or morally wrong? How do I speak of them then?

I suppose we could take the path of saying nothing about them at all. Except for the fact that they hold positions of primary relationship in our lives and we interact with each other and with others regarding them.

Shall I make an effort to honor, show respect, and give recognition to evil? Shall I support what indeed is harmful? NO!!!!

Am I then condemned to cause Heaven harm? Heaven knows I do not want to place myself in a position of making God’s Word ineffective or worthless.

This is where all of God’s word comes into play not just pieces of it.

We are also supposed to speak the truth to each other.

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Ephesians 4:25 (NASB)

AND we are to call things as they truly are.

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who [
a]substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who [
b]substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20 (NASB)

It hurts to say, “ Yes, I am so-and-so’s child. They are _____. That is provable. The consequences in my life are a testimony to it. Circumstances do not change reality… nor does wishing alter the truth.” It’s a shame that lingers. Mostly because we all know and want our own family to be all kinds of good things as they should be… but some families aren’t.

God knows this.

Wordpress banner compassBoth of my parents made some pretty bad choices. No matter how I word it, those will always be bad choices. Yet, I do not fall into depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. Instead I call on God, The One who exists and causes all things to exist. I say only two words. Sometimes they are a barely audible moan. “Save… me…” At other times those same two words come out like a battle cry as I lower my head and charge into the fray.

My hope is that God will take the reality of the bad primary relationships I call my own, transform them and at the end of time, show me that sorrow indeed is turned to joy. My worthless looking, heavy rocks were gem stones at the core… my irritations, treasured pearls . … or as in Isaiah, my grieving heart found among fallen tree debris is a precious acorn of great splendor waiting to be born.

To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [
a]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. 
Isaiah 61:3 (AMP)

My hope, my trust, is in God and that kind of hope never disappoints.

5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, [a]we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and [b]we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but [c]we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5(NASB)

Go. Recognize your father and mother in the Name of Yahweh who Saves (Jesus). Tell them and everyone else that HE loves you even if they do not.  In that way we can draw attention to good and love sincerely with His love while hating evil.

…And may God go with you, Friend. Amen.

Anger Lesson #1: Don’t Throw It Away

Everybody gets angry. Older people to child people. Some more. Some less.

God never said , “Throw away your anger.” He said through the voice of Paul. Be angry and sin not. 

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil [a]an opportunity. Ephesians 4:25-27 (NASB)

The first Anger in this passage is defined as #3710 – orgizō – to be angry, enraged, to feel strong displeasure and hostility; this can range from petty human anger to the righteous anger of God toward sinful disobedience.

The second ‘anger’ is actually “wrath” # 3950 – translated as wrath, indignation, or vengeance.

Sin in this passage is #264 – hamartanō – to sin, do wrong; usually to do any act contrary to the will and law of God. (So then, This applies to those who have decided to make God their boss.)

A little later in the same chapter Paul urges us to put away all anger. What does he mean? Is he conflicted? No.

The third ‘anger’ is #3709 —orgē —  the word from which the second anger springs–wrath, anger, the feeling and expression of strong displeasure and hostility; this can range from petty human anger to the righteous anger of God toward sinful disobedience.

Feeling angry is not wrong.
What we do with it can be wrong.
It can also be useful.
We decide.

Here are some thoughts to help you make those choices.

Where does anger – (unfriendly, antagonistic, opposed) hostile thoughts – come from? Well, we know where they do NOT come from. They do not come from God. We also know where they originate. They come from within us.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted [a]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [b]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [c]is accomplished, it brings forth death. James 1:13-15 (NASB)

How we think about things like justice and injustice, kindness and self-control may ignite our thoughts. One of the benefits of anger is its power to alert us to function and dysfunction…who or what is not the way it is supposed to be.

Previous experiences and the knowledge base we call our frame-of-reference have a lot to do with how we think about what goes on in our world and therefore a great deal to do with those things that make our blood boil.Wordpress banner compass

When sorting all these out, it is wise to also separate out opinion  from facts. Those ideas that make your anger alarm go off are just as important as which hard evidence data takes you to the red zone.

Decide whether you are viewing an event from the nosebleed section of the situational “stadium” or if you are up close enough to smell sweat and the grass your cleats dig up on the way to the goal’. This may regulate the amount of personal resilience investment and help you to perform well within the proper boundaries allotted to you.

When do thoughts morph into hostile feelings? When do my emotions begin to dictate what I do? At the very instant I snap the ball to their waiting hands.

What am I supposed to do with unfriendly antagonistic thoughts?

  • Take all thoughts captive. Do not allow them to carry you away. (footballs don’t carry people, do they?) It is no accident that Ephesians 4 mentions anger twice and also mentions captivity. Who leads captivity captive? Christ Jesus Does! When we cannot cope with or control our thoughts Jesus Saves. Ask him to control your thoughts and rescue you.
  • PRAY
  • Leave room for God’s wrath. There is no receiver more qualified to carry your thoughts – hostile or otherwise to make a great play. God’s wrath is one way He shows his love for us. Let Him fight for you. :)19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but [a]leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (NASB) This is a real pleasure to watch unfold because of the satisfaction that good triumphing over evil brings.
  • Let God’s anger be complete. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Or the Lord will see it and [a]be displeased, And turn His anger away from him.  Proverbs 24:17-18 (NASB) (This works in football and in parenting relationships too. Incompletions don’t score.)

How is my anger transformed into something of great value to God? Answer: When my thoughts are renewed and brought into alignment with the will of God. The “anger” book of the Bible is Psalms. You will find in its pages many prayers that transform angry hearts into properly functioning praises. One essential part in all of them is the acknowledgment of a lack of personal dominance and/or control in comparison to the dominance and control of the King of the Universe. It’s awesome!

Rebuke is one expression of displeasure. If I rebuke somebody sharply (#664 – harshly, sharply, severely, rigorously), have I sinned? No. Neither have you, friend.

Titus is admonished to do just that with rebellious people, empty talkers and deceivers. (Titus 1:13)  The goal of such a rebuke (#1651- elenchō – to expose; rebuke, refute, show fault, to convince, convict) is so that they will be sound in the faith. That would be a good thing. Be warned, it is not always well received but such a treasure when it is. In parenting, and in any governance really, it’s an essential skill set.

So think through your opposing and hostile thoughts. Benefit from your anger. Allow the LORD, who causes all things to exist, to achieve God’s purpose through your totally valid emotions. Don’t throw away God’s good gifts to you. Use them to score for the team.



When I was a child, my single mother tried very hard to keep all the holidays. What she believed didn’t really dictate what she did. Instead, competition and circumstance did. We always dressed for Halloween. We always had candy ready by the door. We always carved pumpkins.

I never objected to all that. I rather enjoyed the creativity of the carving contests.

What I utterly despised was being dressed in rags. Somewhere in my child heart I believed I was just as special as anybody else.

But not in my birth family.

For those of you who don’t know, I was rejected by my mother who bore and raised me on the day I was born because of a misunderstanding about a blood issue at the hospital and three times subsequent to that. My childhood was experienced living with a primary caregiver who emotionally abandoned me on a daily basis…holidays were just more blatant rejection opportunities. Can’t you remember anything good, she has said since. Well…

Bo-PeepThis Halloween I’m sure mom thought she was being creative. She pulled together quite the ensemble without spending a penny. It was obvious she had no time for my perspective. This particular year I was “Little Bo-Peep” and I would smile … like it or not … on demand. Mom found all the most disgusting garments and threw them on me – my sister’s rejected gingham dress that didn’t fit, a sheer whatchamacallit from her own bedroom, a long discarded Easter hat and absolutely hideous shoes.

I suppose shepherds are rag tag social outcasts but I had no idea how pivotal that  dress up day was. I felt degraded. Mom and I experienced a little war as I tried desperately to convey my take on it all. My pleadings and antics fell on deaf ears. Results didn’t matter. The struggle was lasting.

I carry these awful memories with me through whatever happens because someone somewhere also suffers with emotional abandonment and might benefit from my story. It’s not something that gets fixed. The fall out is something previously abandoned people fight against every day in every relationship. Take heart. Jesus knows our personal afflictions. He is willing and powerful to save each of us.

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Like the apostle Paul, I can boast about my weaknesses because the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of Yahweh are made perfect in my weaknesses. Heaven knows I am not flawless.  In some mysterious way God even uses the discarded things and people of life to impact those who don’t know what it means to be forsaken and in such a way that His glory shines brighter.  I am honored to be counted worthy to share in Christ’s afflictions. He was also forsaken. He knows me and loves me. His love…. Now THAT is a treasure!

Raising our four children, my choice was to allow dress up opportunities as a regular course of play. The children got to choose what they wanted to dress up as and were allowed to gather those things they thought they needed to pull it off…without going shopping for anything and with minimal “guidance”. Sometimes that got pretty interesting. Other days it was surprising. Some choices were kind of funny.

I have two rules for Halloween…criteria really.

  1. Does what I do or say set itself up against the knowledge of God? If so, into the burn trash it goes.

for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but [a]divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NASB)

So I best be knowing what it is to know God. Right? God clears that up. Thank you Jesus!

15 “Do you become a king because you are competing in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
And do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
16 “He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy;
Then it was well.
Is not that what it means to know Me?”
Declares the Lord.

17 “But your eyes and your heart
Are intent only upon your own dishonest gain,
And on shedding innocent blood
And on practicing oppression and extortion.” Jeremiah 22:15-17 (NASB)

2. Does it make me honor what is vile?

“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”

The words of the Lord are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
You will preserve him from this generation forever.
The wicked strut about on every side
When [
a]vileness is exalted among the sons of men.
Psalm 12:5-8 (NASB)

Elevating what is vile is a promotion of wickedness and wicked people. I choose to abstain because I want to live in a place where doing right is celebrated, children are affirmed, their hearts are set in safety and needs are met.

Here, let me define ‘vile’ and ‘wicked’ for you with a blend of Strong’s concordance and the common English dictionary:

      1. Vilest 2149 – from 2151 Vileness [the state or quality of being utterly evil wretchedly bad, highly offensive, unpleasant, or objectionable, repulsive or disgusting, as to the senses or feelings, morally debased, depraved, or despicable, foul; filthy , Miserably poor and degrading; wretched, of mean or low condition]; to profligate [promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources], be a glutton [habitual greed or excess in eating , another term for wolverine], to gorge oneself; to tremble (of mountains); to despise, treat contemptibly
      2. Wicked = 7563 – wicked, evil, guilty / from 7561 – to do evil, act wickedly; to be guilty; to declare guilty, condemn, to inflict punishment; to do wrong.

OK. So that pretty much limits costumes but does not put an end to them. It might severely limit Halloween TV …and horror shows any time of year. It puts limits on candy consumption but does not abolish candy eating. (Moms, this is an incredibly good time to stock up on chewable vitamin “C” as schools generally have more kids out sick following festive days where candy is a prominent part)

We expect ghouls, ghosts, goblins, fake guts and skeletons, wolves, spiders and their webs, witches with pointy hats, etc….the creatures of our imagined hell,  to be expressions of wickedness at this time of year. In my world, cute and creative Little Bo-Peep was vile. Who knew?!

No, appearances didn’t matter. My heart did.

Caring limits are good things to teach children and adults. October 31st is a great opportunity for everyone. Care for the children in Jesus name and see what happens.

In the Name

 17 Whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him
to God the Father.
Colossians 3:17

In this year of making an effort to do what the Bible says, I have run into a couple truths. First, I need to know EXACTLY what is said, to whom and why.  Second, if I truly obey, I’m going to appear different… not only look different but actually appear quite odd to people around me.

Can I do that?

Will I?

Get ready world. I’m about to bumble through this.

I don’t really have a problem with covering my head when I pray or read the Bible (1 Corinthians 11). I have a problem with covering my head when I read the Bible or pray in the presence of other people who don’t give a rip about covering heads and think it’s silly.

I don’t have a problem thanking the LORD for everything… in the quiet of my own mind. But I have stopped actually doing it out loud in front of other people. It gets awkward. There is SO much to thank God for. People turn inward and feel hurt because I am so very blessed but they have trouble seeing the LORD’s blessing in their own lives.

Oh how I wish they would thank God for the blessings God gives them in their lives.

Though I’m getting more comfortable with bringing attention to God’s work in my life, the number one thing I have disobeyed, passively or intentionally, is to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Out loud.

Does it really say ” do all”?


OK then.

Today I am washing clothes — in the Name of the Lord Jesus. And it feels …silly.

Headed to the bathroom. Uh … OK.  I am…in the Name of the Lord Jesus.

Before you make this weirder than it has to be, body function is doable because He made it to work that way. Digestion. Movement. Brain activity. Eyesight. Sex.

Can we go to the gym and exercise in Jesus Name… out loud?

Cooking. Cleaning. Eating. Driving. Shopping. Chopping wood. Comforting a grandchild in the middle of the night.  Meeting my husband’s boss.  Traveling.  Typing.

Meeting up with friends.  Caring for aging parents. Watching football. Gardening. Crocheting. Knitting.

Doing everything in Jesus Name is not difficult to do…technically.  It is immensely hard to accomplish and then keep doing as a habit of daily living no mater who is around or what is going on. Yet, I can’t get away from this life altering exhortation.

31 Whether, then,
you eat or drink
or whatever you do,
do all
to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)

Talk about realigning relationships! This’ll do it.

Heaven help all who choose this path…In Jesus’ Name.

Oh, I forgot to tell you what the Name means. Here is Strong’s definition.

Jesus [#2424 (it is used 974 times in the New Testament) ] Yahweh saves.

Who is Yahweh?

Yahweh [#3068 (it is used 6,829 times in Scripture)] The proper name of the One true God; knowledge and use of The Name implies personal or covenant relationship; the Name pictures God as the One who exists and causes existence.

Doing this bit of the Bible is a little less silly now isn’t it?

The Law Still Lives

Recently at Bible Study a girlfriend of mine made this comment, “ …But Christ did away with all that” in reference to the Mosaic Law and the prophets.

Did He?

I felt a Bible Challenge boiling up inside me. I imagined myself fumbling through my purse, finding one of my black knit gloves and thwopping it down on the table in front of her as an invitation to duel. Next I imagined grabbing my recently recovered NIV from the adjacent table and thrusting it forward in my left hand as my legs lunged and my right arm curled into a comic, theatrical, yet balancing swoop behind me.

Did I? :) Hmmm. No, but investigation was inevitable.

We have been concentrating on Jesus words in Bible study (represented here in red) because those are the words that will not pass away. What does Jesus say directly about the law?

Let the battle … uh … investigation… begin.

17 Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not [a]the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [i]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [j]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-18 (NASB)

‘Abolish’ and ‘fulfill’ are two different things. Christ Jesus did not ‘abolish’ the law, he ‘fulfilled’ it.

Abolish in the NASB is translated ‘destroy’ in the KJV. It is word # 2647 – katalyō:- Throw down, abolish, destroy; to be a guest, rest, find lodging. It comes from ‘kata’ ( against, contrary to, opposed; down, throughout) plus lyō (to loose, release, untie; to break, destroy).

Christ is not breaking the law. He does not want others to break the law. Rather, He desires these people – the Jews – to keep it.

Fulfill is word # 4137 plēroō :-to fulfill, make full; to be filled, full, complete (often used with reference to the fulfillment of Old Testament Scriptures) The same word is used both in Matthew 5 (see above reference) and here in Romans 8.

Christ did fulfill the law. Every word that was spoken about him from the law and the prophets was absolutely fulfilled in the very smallest of details. He had the opportunity to declare it on the road to Emmaus and made good use of it.

25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the [a]Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning [b]with Moses and[c]with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Luke 24:25-27 (NASB)

23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and [b]cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! Matthew 23:23-24 (NASB)

Jesus is telling the Pharisees to do BOTH; to adhere to the letter of the Law and to administer the concepts the Law advocates. But what did Jesus advocate that the common Jew do? Obey the law.

23 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. Matthew 23:1-3 (NASB)

It would appear that obeying the Law is not exactly the same as following the example set by the Pharisees.

Again Jesus directly advises those He has healed to perform the duties that the law requires for a specific reason: testimony.

8 When [a]Jesus came down from the mountain, [b]large crowds followed Him.And a leper came to Him and [c]bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus *said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the [d]offering that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.
Matthew 8:1-4 (NASB)

Is the law nullified by grace? No. It still exists. Quite the same way gravity exists.

It still prompts me to know exactly what wrongdoing is. BUT while hanging on the cross, Christ canceled the written code (the law) which stands against us. What that means is that even though the law does its job and brings our sin to light, it now no longer has the power to kill us.

Falling can be lethal. Yet, when gravity is disengaged, falling is no longer an issue. Other skill sets for the new environment are essential.

12 In everything, therefore, [a]treat people the same way you want [b]them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12 (NASB)

25 Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Matthew 5:25 (NASB)

Paul talks more about this new skill set:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24 Now those who [a]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:22-24 (NASB)

The law teaches kindness but it doesn’t make people kind. Included are things like restitution, marital fidelity, etc.

Because the law says don’t do this, I experience what it is like to live not doing thus and so. I can spot wrongful action  like some people can spot counterfeit money because right and wrong are described by the law.

I also get an opportunity to witness what happens when that “law” is broken. Justice comes into play. Justice is another good thing we would never experience without the existence and function of law.

16 But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is [a]true. 18 I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” John 8:16-18 (NASB)

The words “your law” are interesting aren’t they? The Mosaic law belongs to the Jews.

Let me whisper a little secret in your ear. The Law was never given to Gentiles. They are not now nor have they ever been  required by God to burden themselves with it. 

The Law belongs to the Jews.

For I could [a]wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is [b]the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all,God blessed [c]forever. Amen. Romans 9:3-5 (NASB)

12 For all who have sinned [a]without the Law will also perish [b]without the Law, and all who have sinned [c]under the Law will be judged [d]by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers [e]of the Law who are [f]just before God, but the doers [g]of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have [h]the Law do[i]instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having [j]the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:12-16 (NASB)

How do the Gentiles get God’s law? God writes His law on Gentile hearts. Thank you Jesus!

The Jews, to whom the law belongs, are privileged to point out when the Gentiles are keeping God’s law, what it looks like to keep or not to keep God’s law and encourage Gentiles to obey God with faith and joy (trying ever so hard not to be incredibly jealous).

Incidentally, the penalty associated with not keeping the law (Matthew 5:19) and teaching others to do the same is to be called least in the kingdom of Heaven. Conversely, to do and to teach them comes with a reward – being called the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

This remains,

16 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB)

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)

I am ever so glad the LORD alone is my judge and that He loves me. That he has given me rules to live by and that his burden is light.

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29(NASB)

Conclusion: The Law still lives. We who obey Christ and walk in the Spirit of Life can really enjoy His goodness. 

The Master’s Compassion

If the game is compassion, the foul is withholding.

26 For the Lord will be [a]your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

27 Do not withhold good from [b]those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do 
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give 
When you have it with you. 
Proverbs 3:26-28 (NASB)

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;

No good thing does He withhold [a]from those who walk [b]uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:10-12 (NASB)

We should be like Him, right?  He is strategic about whom He shows compassion to. We are cautioned to do the same.  Jesus instructs His disciples not to withhold kindness from their  fellow disciples referred to as 'those that walk uprightly' in Psalm 84 and as 'slaves' in this next passage .

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven [v]may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him [w]ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he[x]did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion [4697] and released him and forgave him the [y]debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred [z]denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling [aa]and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy [1653] on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from [ab]your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 (NASB) Strong’s Concordance numbers added 

There are two things that stand out here. The generosity of the master’s compassion and the limits of his goodwill.

A compassionate act is a personal choice. Both the Master and His servant made choices.

Tenderheartedness should give birth to more tenderness but sometimes it does not. Pity (internal feelings of sorrow for the misfortunes of others) should give rise to more pay-it-forward external actions of kindnesses.

Unfortunately, compassionate choices can be derailed by shame, self importance, or fear. With God’s help we can be healed of those impediments and show this sorrowing type of pity towards those who have not been kind to us. If you judge  your opponent’s deeds too foul, commit everyone involved to God because He can take care of all that

If your heart is not tender, only God can make it that way. Perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love can also only come from the LORD.  I can be compassionate to others because I trust in God’s great love for and encouragement towards me.

2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassionmake my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from[d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:1-5 (NASB)

How can we show Christ-like compassion? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. Thank you for stopping by. I pray that both you and I will get better “doing” the Bible and becoming Biblically compassionate; meeting real needs and pleasing our Savior. Amen.

The Remnant

A remnant is a chosen few the King of Heaven sought,

Not a small discarded cloth hoping to be bought.

Common to these chosen is a trial they survived.
It does not mean that faith in God nor honor has revived.

When the awesome truth of God, by His wrath has been revealed,
Selected are the witnesses. Their proclamation sealed.
Revelation 11

The witness could be praising God in Heaven, or anguishing in hell.
What matters most is what he tells and that he tells it well
Luke 16:19-31

God reserved a remnant His zealous prophet did not know
He was amazed. Others obeyed – Oh! God was in control
1 Kings 19:13-18
Disciples came upon a teaching difficult but true
Most went away but the remnant said, “We believe in You.
John 6:6-71

Which Parts Belong?

Our need to belong is intense. Belonging drives club attendance, club activity, and club durability… any club … any gathering of humanity really.

How do you decide if you belong in a certain place? …With a certain bunch of people? …Doing a certain thing?

Part of that has to do with whether or not you are welcomed. And part of it has to do with personal confidence in who you are. In personality? Yes, but also in function.

Consider Paul’s anatomical take on this issue.

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [a]any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [b]any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, [c]it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we [d]deem less honorable,[e]on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no[f]division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is [g]honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 (NASB) Here is the link to the Amplified version. It is longer but has valuable insight. 

There are two important phrases prevalent and damaging among believers…church attendees. The first is that some say to themselves, “ Because I am not a … , I do not belong here.” The second is similar, “Because you are not a …, I do not need you.” If you listen and watch, you will find these very same phrases at work in churches today. Both are damaging.

I realize it might be difficult to think of our body parts talking to each other this way. Please try. In point of fact, our bodies have a special way of talking to their parts. Complete from head to toe, the body’s voice is “heard” either biochemically or physically communicating to each and every part. Without this communication “part” we wouldn’t function very well, would we?

If we ignore our body’s speaking mechanism, we open ourselves up to disease conditions. If body speak is in error, damage results.

So let’s pay attention. Imagine the church as a human body and that you can really hear its parts talking as conversation pathways move through to each of the congregational “parts”.

With the first phrase,  “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” why do you think a part of the body would entertain the idea they don’t belong? Wouldn’t that be absurd?

In Paul’s description, they are self aware. This does not mean that they are self appreciative. We are commanded to love our neighbor AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. Being self appreciative is essential.

26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [a]How does it read to you?”27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:26-28 (NASB)

Over the years, I’ve learned that those who have been abandoned in other relationships are somewhat broken in this connected aspect of body life. They are ready to say, “I know I’m not wanted, I’ll leave. I’ll just disappear. Nobody will care if I’m gone. I’m not good enough. I’m not talented that way. I’m not needed. Good-Bye.” They allow themselves to believe the lie that they are not worthy to be included into the body as a whole.

It simply just isn’t so. Every part is needed. Isn’t that Paul’s point? Separated parts cease to live.

It is also an observation that self appreciation and its balance can be taught. Proper recognition of self can be formulated into certain routines or habits that are healthy. So instead of focusing on the depreciation of self in order to avoid self aggrandizement, unwarranted pride or narcissistic behaviors, building each other up with encouragement and comfort seems to be just what the Doctor ordered.

As regards our own responsibility to our constitution, our function our make-up …our self, it is much better to train our body speak to be, “Thank you Almighty God, for making me according to your will. Help me to be healthy and function properly for your glory within your body. Amen.”

Regarding the second phrase, “I have no need of you.”, why would one part want to do away with any of the other parts?

It is easy to say, “I got this. I can do this without your help. In fact, our society rather encourages that independent attitude among managers and among workers who have their eye on higher corporate ladder rungs.

Getting it done is good. Getting it done quickly is great. Getting it done quickly without oversight or hand-holding propels you forward.

Such methods do not always work well. According to Paul such independent mindsets are counter intuitive within the body of Christ. The body of Christ is an interdependent organism — we depend on each other to function.

Again, there is also a habit developed among believers ranking body parts and then proceeding to compare them,  assigning a ranking system and value code to each.

Who does not want to be valuable?

But if I am an eye and I am told by whatever means that this is a hands of service church where many hands are wanted and valued but… eyes …not so much, might I not desire to be other than I am (the eye that wants to be a hand) in order to to be accepted, or to belong?

Efforts in this direction cause dysfunction. Eye-hand coordination is a good thing. Both organs are needed to accomplish the benefit.

Whatever the verbiage or the desire, reality does not change. An eye is an eye. An ear is an ear. A hand is a hand. A foot remains a foot and so on. The reality of who God made us to be and the function He gives us do not change. They do not change because they are best when they work together.

Know your place and function. Live with it. Embrace reality. Continue being the best you you can be.

We do need each other. We could not function properly if our other parts were not functioning properly. Though we may not all function the same way. If our functions are similar we may not necessarily function the same way at the same time. Each one is needed.

It is for sure and for certain that all our body parts have differences. We actually depend on those boundaries to be solid and distinct. We also depend on those completely separate functions to occur in a healthy and timely manner so that the body as a whole responds and reacts appropriately at any given moment.

Paul approaches the solution to diseased and nervous body speak by bringing up how we consider others and treat those different from ourselves. How do we speak and treat those weaker? … those with more say-so, or those with less? …those with more or less honor than ourselves?… the presentable parts and those we should cover?

When I was told by the church leaders to walk away from my ministry – a ministry for which I was particularly suited and for which God had time and time again shown His favor toward – to not look back…I was no longer wanted, it would have been so very easy to actually sprint in whatever direction took me as far away as possible. I told the LORD I would never go back. Ever.

That would require me to leave that congregation but I couldn’t. My husband also has a ministry there and he would not let me go. We are not separable by Divine statute. It’s a flesh and bone kind of deal.

I still serve in that church but I serve under my husband’s protection. I serve in a place and in a manner that are not as well suited to my gifts and abilities. In those conditions, I find myself still honored by the LORD for acting upon the gifts that are unique to me.

And I pray.

My position in the body of Christ is God’s decision. I am valued if He thinks I’m valuable. I should perform the task He gives me. Honor and function come from Him. It is His body.

His body retains its parts. His body lives.

In that we can all rejoice.