These days are not ordinary days.

February 14, 2022: These days are not “ordinary days”. The absence of Nativity symbols or Christian references on last year’s “Peoples’ Capitol” Christ-mas tree was an unsung and virtually unnoticed symbol of the days we have endured….and are continuing to endure.

A Christmas with no mention of Christ…..and now, as the fraudulent Resident continues his reckless agenda of trying to destabilize and minimize the world’s greatest and free-est country, our return-to-freedom and return-to-God struggle in America is far from over. The installed head of country and his fellow globalists would like nothing more than for this beacon of God’s goodness and salvation to be permanently dimmed, then extinguished.

My Spring-Summer Journal and, now, Fall-Winter Journal, have had few entries because my concerns and focus have not varied since my last post many months ago: our nation is in trouble. An illegally-manipulated/impacted 2020 election has been allowed to stand and operate in America for over a year. This remains inconceivable to me, to my sense of justice and faith in our American structure of governance — in spite of the reality before my eyes. I intellectually understand the various factors, the misrepresentations, the misinformation, the soulless cowardice and deliberate inaction on the part of those elected to maintain a Constitutional Republic. Yet I remain in disbelief of its continued reality even as increasing days of illegitimate governance add up on a new-year calendar.

I remain in disbelief because of the firm conviction that God is in the midst of this turmoil and this is NOT the slow winding down of “the American story.” God founded our nation through our Founding Fathers, God sealed our nation unto Him as our forefathers covenanted with Him, and He has intervened at various points of our history to draw us back to Him and reset us on a steady path.

And He is in the process of doing it again.

I actually began this post back in December, then updated it in January. Yet I did not publish it in either month because it “felt incomplete.” For the very reason mentioned above, I think I now know why — God’s move of victory in this nerve-wracking saga also remains incomplete.

Yet I believe we are currently feeling the stirring of the waters around us being reversed, un-muddied, infused with the freshness of His Spirit in a river that flows to Him and from Him. My faith in the unwavering intention of God to intervene, to work through and bring about the just and right end to this nightmare remains unshaken.

In that well-known Ephesians scripture, Paul explained that our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) I have never seen this principle play out on the world and national stage more clearly than watching the daily/weekly events of the last year.

Virtually every nation in what has been called “the free world” has been subjected to a tyranny of governmental control beneath the guise of a health-required “vaccine mandate”, and now the citizens of those nations continue to emerge in unified marches by the tens of thousands to resist the destruction of their liberty. Canada, Australia, Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy — we as American news consumers do not know the true extent of the number and scope of freedom marches across the globe because our mainstream sources of information — the supposed bastions of support for our First Amendment — choose not to reveal that particular truth as it unfolds.

And I sit back and ask why. Why would such worldwide movement result in virtually no mention among mainstream media outlets?

I have formed a bit of an hypothesis: to reveal such impassioned expressions demanding freedom would bring courage and hope to others, and it is hope that the enemy resists at all costs. Romans 5:5 proclaims that “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.”

I believe we are seeing a manifestation of the march of God’s Spirit and the prayers of His elect, taking physical form; of His angelic hosts carrying on warfare in the unseen realm, His servants carrying on warfare in the visible world, all working together in unison — and in unison, re-taking ground that was unwittingly yielded and calculatingly stolen. God is claiming back what is His, as the psalmist states in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who live in it.” (NASB)

The Lord has spoken recently through many prophets that “the harvest has begun.” His Glory is being released in greater and greater measure upon people, ethnic groups, nations. This epic era we are in is more than a painfully slow, worldwide political transformation; God-given freedoms are being rediscovered and fought for, but not within a carnal void. This position in time is ushering in great spiritual renewal as hopeless people find their only direction to seek guidance and deliverance is to look upwards, to seek the Creator of heaven and earth.

And this, in unison with the spiritual forces of righteousness calling out to each nation, “Lift up your heads, you gates, and be lifted up, you ancient (everlasting) doors, that the King of Glory may come in! Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.” (Psa. 24:7-8, NASB

He is not leaving His world and people bereft of His action and intervention.

Your Future Self and a New Day of Destiny

IMG_5432

New Year’s Day.

I am thinking about a poster I photographed on my camera phone, which read, “Do something today which your future self will thank you for.”  I posted that picture on social media and subsequently deleted it from my storage…but I have thought of it often in the year or two since then.

Your future self.

Sometimes it’s difficult to think of yourself as anything except “what” or “who” or even “where” you are, right now – and the details of that identity probably involve considerable time and energy to fulfill the routine and responsibility that is attached.

I certainly fit that category.  But I know there is “more to me” than what I currently see and express, because there is “more of Him in me” that is constantly seeking to be released.

Envisioning my “future self” can be a tangible motivation to seek my heavenly Father Hope candle w flowersand ask His participation in bringing me to those steps, that growth, training, discipline and focus necessary to “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

The “same image,” of course, is His – “Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.”  But He chooses our individual and unique flavor of “the glory of God” to tangibly display His amazing, multifaceted love, mercy and transformative power to the world and populations He loves.

New Year’s Day is a fitting time to take a few minutes and think about that concept.  Of the many tasks and engagements involving you, right now – which of them touch others with His Presence or cooperate with Him to develop those giftings, opportunities, assignments He has for each of us?  Which are those activities which Paul describes to those of us who are “His workmanship” as being “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

It is our ability to “walk in them” that is impaired by endless routine and responsibility which the world’s system is happy to throw our way.  It is one of the enemy’s schemes that we are so thoroughly deterred and drained by earthly focus and demands that we have no energy or vision for heavenly opportunities.  No energy or vision to make preparations for “your future self”…a forthcoming, fresh release of His Presence, Christ in us, “the hope of glory.”  (Col. 1:27)

Today is a good day to “take a stand.”  Today is a great day to ask His guidance in sifting through the necessary and the assumed-necessary.

The Passion Translation begins Romans 13:12 with the words, “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.”

IMG_5368I like that phrase, “new day of destiny.”  As 2020 starts, we actually face a new decade of destiny.

In this New Year’s Day context, I think of “night’s darkness” as being those deceptions and busy-work the enemy endlessly shovels onto our path to drown out His Word and stifle His “light to my path.” (Psa. 119:105)

Today is the perfect day to consider your plans and strategies with a  future thanksgiving in mind.

Heavenly Peace in the Afternoon

IMG_5329It’s December 1, and my first post in a fairly long time.  I have missed the act of sharing small insights the Lord has shared with me, with you and others.

In a timespan that started on October 28, I can now count two family surgeries, two-out-of-three craft shows, and one major holiday as “in the past.”  Whew!  I had really underestimated the emotional and physical toll all that would take.

But today, December 1, feels different.  After a week or so of brutal winds, considerable snowfall and walkways covered with ice, the sun is shining and it is relatively warm to sit outside.  IMG_5332This California-Arizona sunshine girl is thoroughy enjoying what heat can creep through a midweight sweatshirt and sweatpants on this wonderful bright afternoon.

I am sitting on the front garden deck.  A few birds swing by to pay their respects and share their songs…then they pause to gauge how stradled birdmuch birdseed remains in the feeder before moving on to nearby pine branches.

My garden blooms do not sit with me, of course.

IMG_5327And the garden sign is wrapped with Christmas lights, not greenery.  But no matter.  Even without glorious blooms and bright colors, this remains a garden.  Dormant roots rest before vigorously pursuing their production again in a few months.  Each brown stalk reminds me of a green one yet to come.  My snow-covered containers are tubs filled with a hopeful future, each one waiting for its season to transform anew into an object of beauty.

Although it is daytime, I hear the refrain of “Silent night, holy night; all is calm, all is bright,” run through my mind.

It occurs to me that sometimes as we sit in the dormant garden of our lives, we most clearly see, and most deeply appreciate, our Savior, Comforter and Encourager.

IMG_5330Jesus always sees our snow-covered brown stalks as promises of the next season to come, of new life and new vigor, new glory and new strength.

Heavenly peace.  I may not be sleeping, but I can certainly sense it all around me…

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”   (Rom. 15:13)

The Kingdom and a Cup of Coffee

June 11, 2019:  I must be tired this morning, as evidenced by the fact I poured the sugar into my coffee cup…before I poured in the coffee!  That may be the common sequence for you or most of my coffee-drinking friends, but not for me.  And as I stared at the granulated crystals in disbelief, I started to chuckle.

The Lord often brings Scriptures to my mind at the oddest times.  In that moment, glaring into my sugar-only coffee cup, that act represented the futility of effort without purpose, and I thought of Ahimaaz.  No, not by his exact name at first…but I recalled the Old Testament incident of the youth who insisted on running a considerable distance to King David as if he had an urgent message — even though he had been given no message to carry.

In 2 Samuel 18:19-32, Ahimaaz the son of Zadok earnestly requested that Joab allow him to carry news of Absalom’s death to King David.  Joab refused his request, stating, “You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news another day.”  Ahimaaz repeated his request to run, to which Joab responded, “Why would you run, my son, when you have no reward for going?”  Finally, Ahimaaz insisted that even without a message to deliver, “But whatever happens, I will run.”  Joab finally gave consent for him to go ahead and carry out his plan.

Ahimaaz not only ran the full distance, but ran with such great speed he actually passed the Cushite messenger Joab had commissioned to perform the task.  And, upon arriving, bowed before King David with a greeting of generically good news.  Since he was unable to answer the specific questions on the king’s mind, he was instructed to “Turn aside and stand here.”  The actual messenger had been observed from a distance and was now approaching.

Sugar in a cup devoid of coffee.  That’s what Ahmaaz was, on that day.

And unfortunately, we all fall into that category at one time or another.

Path up mtn, RMNPThe apostle Paul pointed out to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win…therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air…” (I Cor. 9:24, 26)

Tiredness.  Distraction.  Misdirection. The monotony of too-full days following one after another.  The world and the enemy work overtime to procrastinate or eliminate any sense of divine destiny we may contemplate. The goal is to conform us to a role of subservience, being little more than slaves whose lives unceasingly focus on meeting worldly obligation and expectation.

IMG_9112Prayer.  Worship.  Reflection on His thinking, His priorities, His lifestyle.  Aligning choices with His wisdom.  Discovering our part in His plans and consciously choosing to focus and move forward in that direction with deliberation, acknowledging that we are His hands, feet, and voice on the road we travel.

In Acts 20:24, Paul makes reference that he needed to “finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus.”

It is not only Paul who had a course and ministry to finish, but the same Christ Jesus also gives to each one of us a course and a ministry.  Paul taught those in Ephesus, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

Some of our courses are what the world labels “grand” or “extraordinary”…and some are what the world would consider modest, perhaps even inconsequential.

Zach with cakeYet, was Jesus’ command to His disciples, “Permit the children to come to Me” (Mark 10:14) any less holy, God-breathed, or manifesting-the-Father’s-love than His command to Lazarus, “Come forth!”?  (John 11:43)

Not really.  There is no greater wonder than an omniscient, all-wise and loving God who states that “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” with respect to children.  As translated in The Message, Romans 9:21-22 asks the question, “Isn’t it perfectly obvious that the potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?”

IMG_9172And there we are.  Some of us shaped as coffee cups that are truly breathtaking in their intricately shaped handle and elaborate gold-leafed, colorful adornment….and some who are one-shaded, simply designed, functional without any specific distinction.

The shape of the cup is not ours to choose…our choice is to liberally be filled with His coffee and not conduct our lives as empty vessels containing only a small scoop of sugar.

Bird Steps and the Path of Wisdom

I was watching a small black bird carefully weave its path through piles of birdseed recently kicked to the deck by a sunflower seed-thieving chipmunk.  I was amazed at how carefully the bird chose which seeds to eat, walking right over some kernels while stopping to furiously peck at others.  Despite a diverse mixture of shapes, sizes and textures, I consider the round-and-the-long to all fit into a single category:  birdseed.  Each and every kernel providing a perfect diet fit for any bird to eat.

And then the Lord brought the word wisdom to my mind.  That quite-small bird possessed an even tinier brain.  Yet its loving Creator had instilled the appropriate amount of divine wisdom within it to recognize and choose which seeds were most beneficial to eat when presented with a wide selection to choose from.IMG_5447

And in that moment, I “got the message” — at least one of the messages:  quite often the seeds we choose to accept for our personal life-nourishment lack the wisdom God gave a bird.

Twice in Scripture, the word “leaven” is mentioned and each time it shares the same warning: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (I Cor. 5:6, NASB) To the Galatians, Paul spoke, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”  (Gal. 5:9)

These are short but significant statements, worthy to serve as launch pads for personal reflection and assessment.

It’s no secret that the world offers us many different seeds; on some occasions, they are hurled in our direction with such force that it feels like we are being blasted by a sandstorm.  Like the bird, we need to proceed with caution as we look around us and see what has landed at our feet.  For each one will bear its intrinsic destiny of fruit.  Just as we have the free will to choose nutrition-anemic Twinkies over vitamin-packed blueberries for our bodies, so we have the same free will to choose “junk food” (or even poison!) to plant the rudiments of future devastation into the soil of our souls, into the gardens of our faith. IMG_3318

Which brings us back to being mindful regarding the leaven in our lives.

Hebrews 5:4 teaches, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (NASB)  The Passion Translation states that scripture in this manner:  “But solid food is for the mature, whose spiritual senses perceive heavenly matters.  And they have been adequately trained by what they experience to emerge with understanding of the difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.”

Perceiving spiritual matters.

The most public current flowing through our culture is to portray “spiritual matters” devoid of any relationship with a relational, holy and good God.  Or, to flip the coin, that same current pulls in philosophical and socio-political dregs that attempt to redefine the nature of the phrase “spiritual matters,” blurring and twisting boundaries between “truly excellent” and what may be categorized as “evil and harmful.”img_7251

Think about the practical applications of knowing and embracing this discernment:  The difference between what is truly excellent and what is evil and harmful.

I sometimes feel like the Ben Gates character in National Treasure, when he reads a key phrase on future destiny from the Declaration of Independence and then states, “Nobody talks like that anymore.”

The truth is, we should.

We breathe and walk in the midst of a generation and culture in desperate need of understanding these two concepts.  We carry out our everyday lives in the midst of a generation and culture whose surrounding influences have flipped and twisted the concepts of “truly excellent” and “evil and harmful” nearly beyond recognition, enticing us all to eat that harmful seed of non-distinction.

And some of us have.  The leaven of each concept, mixed and roiling internal conflict within us, silences our voices and dulls our convictions.

Yet His Spirit encourages us with the words, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if IMG_8744there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil. 4:8, NASB)

These are not mere “good thoughts” to keep a smile on our faces throughout the day.  These are terms of warfare.  Standards by which crooked paths may be set straight.

Truth.  Honor.  Right.  Purity.  Loveliness.  Good repute.  Excellence.  That which is worthy of praise.  Each of these is leaven to be stirred into the dough of our conscience, courage, and love towards others.  Each of those, once planted, is a seed from which roots will form and a powerful crop will emerge.  The enemy is always seeking to supplant each one with a counterfeit, a substitute loyal to himself.

Urgently, brethren, we need to order our path with “bird steps” – carefully examining the seeds that are thrown before us, rejecting as unpalatable those seeds that defy His wisdom.  Let us carefully embrace and nurture those that will enable us to walk as He walked, “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16, NASB)

Reflections: Dancing In The Rain

dancing in the rain01As I scrolled down the Twitter posts, a colorful-but-familiar poster caught my eye: “Don’t wait for the storm to pass – learn to dance in the rain.”

I have previously read and seen this quote many times, presented on many different backgrounds. But on this particular occasion, I re-read it several times because the Lord began to unwrap different depths of impact to the words; He was opening my eyes to a deeper level of significance than I had previously noticed.

Several scriptures came to my mind: “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45); “Let them praise His name with dancing” (Psa 149:3); “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world;” (John 16:33) “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you”; (John 14:20) “I am with you always…” (Matt. 28:20)

Learn to dance in the rain.

The more I pondered the full thirteen words, the more broad-reaching they became. I could see them as stones dropping into a pond on unruffled surface water, sending ripples out to the very perimeter.

The equivalent of ripples through our souls, perhaps. Continue reading “Reflections: Dancing In The Rain”