The Importance Of Last Words, John 19:30

Buddy chastising me.

When I leave Buddy alone for what he considers too long a time, he chews me out when greeting me upon my return. But he quickly forgave me this instance above when he sniffed out the lunch meat in one of the grocery bags I’d brought into our home.

I recently had to rush to Chicago in the dead of winter to witness my uncle pass away in the hospital. Since there was no hope of recovery, he was permitted visitors. (However, to protect us from the coronavirus, we were confined to his room.) He was unable to speak the final day before his death, but remaining lucid till the end, could nod “Yes” or “No” to questions.

However, the day before he could speak with difficulty. His final words were, “I am fortunate.” He knew that he was loved by his family and friends, because he was a kind man who served others without complaint. He cared for his ailing mother-in-law, brother-in-law and wife for many years. And when he needed help, his friends, family and neighbors gladly stepped in.

Before He gave up His Spirit on the cross, Jesus also had some final words to speak, which reflected the completion of His mission on earth: “It is finished (John 19:30).”

Jesus had stated that to enter heaven, “you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:30).” That must’ve struck terror into the hearts of His listeners for who is perfect but God alone?

Any honest person knows that they’re not perfect. Especially after driving in heavy traffic.

Perhaps back then it was chariot drivers cursing at their recalcitrant horses that kept a person humble?

The Jewish people were forbidden to do work on the Sabbath. During the Exodus, they were instructed to gather double the amount of manna that God provided them to eat as they were not allowed to obtain any on the Sabbath day. This rule was a foreshadow of the true Sabbath rest embodied in the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1-2).

Just as the Jewish people were to rest from their works, so those who believe in Jesus are to rest from their works: righteousness is now a gift given to believers by faith rather than earned by good works.

The Apostle Paul reprimanded the Galatian church for mixing works, ie. good deeds, with faith to be declared right with God (Galatians 3). In facts, he called them “foolish (vs 3:1) for trying to earn God’s approval through good works. Faith alone in Christ and His works, not ours, satisfies God’s requirement for perfection.

When Jesus cried out with His final breath, “It is finished,” He was declaring that He had perfectly fulfilled the requirements for righteous living: He had met the standard for being declared “good” enough to earn the right to enter heaven into the presence of a holy God.

And when He was raised bodily from the dead, it demonstrated that His sin sacrifice was accepted by the Father.

There is no way you or I or anyone can earn our way into heaven. The standard is perfection. I know I’ve blown that standard today with my words and thoughts, and likely also by what I should have done but didn’t.

If you’re an honest person, you know you’ve blown it at least once this week. If you don’t believe that, ask your family member or friend if you’re perfect.

Once they’ve stopped laughing, you might not want to hear their answer!

I hope I’ve made it understandable that Jesus has done it all to earn a spot for you in heaven. He lived a perfect life for you because you cannot. He suffered for your sin at the cross when He died in your place, so that you don’t have to pay the price for your own sin—separation from God’s love for eternity. The price of sin is death and Jesus paid it for you (Hebrews 10:12-19).

Jesus is “the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).” If you haven’t been born again, please ask Him for the faith to believe. He loves you and is just waiting for you to ask.

You don’t need to clean up your act first—it’ll never be clean enough to earn His favor.

“It is finished!” Jesus earned your spot in heaven for you.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

Never Alone, Even During the Lockdown, John 3:8

Buddy in the living room.

Many of us had our plans destroyed or delayed this year due to the COVID19 pandemic. Depending upon the circumstances, different states locked down their populations for varying lengths of time. Not too long after Buddy and I had settled into our new home in Arizona, the Governor issued a mandatory state at home order during the month of April. I suddenly found myself in a new state, divorced from any human contact, except via the phone or the rare occasion when I had to buy food. (Fortunately, I was stocked up on toilet paper due to the recent visit of multiple guests.) I was unable to develop the new relationships I was forming or to attend the new clubs I had joined.

My sole companion was Buddy. I was very grateful to have my furry pal and not be totally isolated from physical company.

Or was he my sole companion?

Many people make the mistake of believing that God, if He does exist, has no physical presence in, nor concern for, His creation. Even if people believe that Jesus did exist, and perhaps also that He was indeed God in the flesh come to visit us (Matthew 1:23), Jesus is only sitting up in Heaven now, waiting for the right time to return and reclaim His throne on earth.

But God does have a physical presence here on earth–NOW.

Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind:

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

We cannot see the wind, but we know it exists because we experience its effects: We feel it against our skin, see it blow things about and experience its mighty destructive power at times.

The Holy Spirit cannot be seen, but believers experience His presence.

When I was born again, after repenting of my sins and acknowledging Jesus as my Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit swept into my body to indwell me. Many persons have a powerful born again experience, but many others only gradually become aware of His presence. God knows what each of us needs to assist us in our walk with Him.

Often, when I praise God or tell Him that I love Him, I feel the Holy Spirit “embrace me”: I feel Him loving me back. Or at times I experience a surge of power when I’m weary that comes from deep within, not from my physical body.

Sadly, because of evolution or Liberal theology, teaching on the supernatural has been removed from many churches. As a result, many Christians and non-Christians are totally unaware that God’s indwelling presence and power is vital to the Christian experience.

(My blog was just interrupted by Buddy’s insistence that we go for a “walkie” in the desert heat.)

After His bodily resurrection from the grave following His crucifixion, Jesus emphasized the importance of the Holy Spirit for Christian living when He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…” Acts 1:8 “You are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49

So if you are born again, you are never alone. The Holy Spirit indwells you, to give you power to live the Christian life, to be His witness, to bear fruit for His kingdom–and to encourage you and be your helper and companion.

God bless you, from Dawn and Buddy.

***

And if you don’t have a Buddy in your own life, there is a great God Who is just waiting to be invited into your life, if you’re willing, to be your best friend.

“Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”–Revelation 3:20

Why not invite Jesus into your life tonight, to be your Lord and Shepherd?

 

 

Plucked Out of Satan’s Kingdom, Colossians 1:13-14

Buddy resting peacefully on my bed.

My bed is too high for Buddy to leap up onto by himself, so he sits by the bed and stares at me expectantly. Since he asks, I pick him up so that he can rest.

What most people don’t understand is that there is no spiritually neutral territory: We are all born into Satan’s kingdom. The Lord Jesus claimed that Satan was “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30 and 16:11) and the Apostle Paul referred to the devil as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

No one exists in a neutral zone.

The problem is: Just as Buddy has to ask me to lift him up onto my (our) bed, because it’s impossible for him to reach it on his own, so, too, we must ask Jesus to lift us up out of Satan’s kingdom, because it’s impossible to lift ourselves out.

Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

When Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority over their lives, they unwittingly chose to place themselves under Satan’s rule and authority. As a result, all humanity is born separated from God–spiritually dead. As a result of our dead spirits, we are self-willed and act contrary to God’s holy standards. The “soul that sins must die” (Ezekiel 18:20) as punishment for sin. But because God loves His creation, Jesus died for our sins, suffering the punishment we deserve.

What we are doing, when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and accept His rule and authority, God plucks us out of Satan’s kingdom and makes us one of His children, binding us eternally to Himself. We are no longer under Satan’s authority.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”–Colossians 1:13-14, Apostle Paul

So where do you prefer to dwell? Continue in the kingdom of darkness?

Or dwell in the kingdom of light?

“This is the message we have heard from Him (Jesus) and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”–Apostle John, 1 John 1:5

***

You may notice, despite all your efforts to distract your heart and mind, that you feel incomplete, that there is an inner emptiness that can never be filled. Made in the image of God, we are meant to be triune beings: body, soul and spirit. The Holy Spirit left humanity when the first couple rejected God’s authority, so we are all missing the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2): We are all born incomplete. Yielding your life back to God’s authority restores you to the original relationship with God. He is a God of Love (1 John 4:16) and cannot tolerate sin. When we come under the power of the Holy Spirit, He guides us into being more loving people.

Why not ask God to forgive your sin and ask that He become your Lord? Also, request that the Holy Spirit indwell and guide you.

Please find a Bible-based church to grow as a Christian. And begin reading the Bible each day and praying. It is God’s main way of communicating His will to us–and speaking to our hearts.

Power For Living, Ephesians 1:19

Buddy resting after a long trip.

Buddy and I recently drove down HWY101 on our return trip to Arizona. We stopped for a few nights at Seaside, Oregon and then for a night at Gold Beach, Oregon so that Buddy would have some ocean beach time before returning to the desert. The entire trip lasted 6 nights as I avoided I-5.* Apparently, fussing for several days in the car and attempting multiple times to get onto my lap exhausted the little guy; he ran out of energy.

Like many Americans, I celebrated the successful launch of the SpaceX spacecraft, Dragon. Pastor Ben Davis of Hope Fellowship, Maple Valley, Washington compared the rocket that sent the two crew members to the International Space Station to the Holy Spirit: Just as it took a massive amount of power to transport astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley into outer space, so there exists a mighty force to empower the body and soul of the human race.

One of the most vital components of being a Christian was totally unknown to me as an ubeliever: that a person becomes born again when the Holy Spirit indwells their inner being. No one had ever told me what being born again meant, not even the Christians who had tried to convert me. So it was a total shock when the Holy Spirit entered into me after I’d given my life to Christ via a volunteer phone counselor during a Billy Graham Crusade TV program.

God created people to be triune beings: body, soul and His Spirit. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God’s authority, wanting to be their own gods and decide for themselves what was good and evil (Genesis 3:5-6), God’s Spirit left them. Therefore, all of their offspring–the human race–was, and is, born devoid of God’s presence within their inner being.

There is great power available to transform a person’s life, but they are usually unaware of it.

As I was.

Therefore, the problem with humanity is not that we sin, but that we are sinners.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”–Apostle Paul, Romans 3:23

We are sinners because the human race is separated from God Almighty, who is the source of all life. He created us, gives us a soul and a personality. But we have no spiritual power because we are incomplete, devoid of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that at some point in their lives, every person becomes aware of this inner emptiness, but most try to ignore it or don’t understand why it exists and just limp along, living with the awareness that something is wrong in their soul.

Or attempt to quiet the distress of their souls through “enlightenment” or politics or other compulsive behaviors.

The true cure for this inner emptiness is a relationship with Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the One through Whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16) and Who is our life (Colossians 3:4).

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know…the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”–Apostle Paul, Colossians 1:19

With the help of God, my energy level is improving, despite some chronic health issues. When I choose to forgive, I can literally feel a heavy weight lift off of my mind and soul. Loving, grateful and kind thoughts are slowly pushing out the bitter, selfish and unkind thoughts that once characterized most of my thinking.

Letting go of these heavy anchors of sinful thoughts…

My soul feels lighter!

And like a Dragon, I can soar toward the heavens!

***

Do you want to experience the power of Christ in your life? Please pray this simple prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I’ve done things that grieve you because I’m spiritually dead. I want to repent of my sinful, unloving and selfish behavior, and invite you to be my Lord and Savior. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, taking the punishment I deserve for my wrongdoing, because you love me and want me to spend eternity with You. You don’t want me to suffer the consequences of dying for my own sins, separated from You, the source of all life and power. Jesus rose bodily from the dead, conquering death and proving that He is God. I humbly ask the Holy Spirit to come into my life and make me a new Creation. Thank you in Jesus’ great name. Amen

Please start reading the Bible daily. Before you begin to read, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into understanding what you are reading and how to apply it to your life. And, if possible, please attend a church or Bible Study where the people truly believe in the Bible. It is much easier to withstand the pull of our ungodly culture when you are not walking alone. If COVID19 is preventing you from going to a church, there are great ministries on YouTube, the TV or radio. I highly recommend Dr Charles Stanley’s ministry at In Touch (www.InTouch.org).

*Sorry to state this but the landscape in Nevada was generally pretty boring. I recommend a different path heading South. It appeared to me that God dumped the rubble from digging out the Grand Canyon into the Nevada desert. (Don’t take me too literally! I’m being a little facetious here!)

Is The Coronovirus God’s Judgment? Romans 8:28

Buddy rests after a long day.

Sometimes I wish Buddy could tell me when he isn’t feeling good. We’re heading to the vet’s office tomorrow as I found some sort of fatty cyst under his skin near the ribcage.

Some people are declaring that COVID19 is God’s judgment on our sin. But I totally disagree. Jesus declared on the Cross that “It was finished” just before “He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). Jesus had taken all the sins of humanity upon Himself and paid the punishment for our sins, reconciling us to God.

I believe that people wrongly attribute Satan’s cruelty to the Lord. Lies and concealment about the severity of the outbreak by the Communist government, a refusal to stop international air flights out of Wuhan despite domestic flights being stopped for months from the infected province within China, disappearance of its citizens who were trying to warn the world about the outbreak, refusal of assistance from the WHO and the United States in the early weeks of the outbreak to help contain the virus, and refusal to give information outside the country about the genetic code– that’s what caused the worldwide pandemic.

Not God.

Lies and pride and secrecy and selfishness caused the spread of the virus. These are characteristics of Satan and not our life-giving God.

Jesus described the strong contrast between the character of God and Satan in John 10:10, describing Satan as a thief who wants to harm people: “The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Jesus wants to bring our souls rest, not distress. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)”

The entire time Jesus walked the earth, He healed people, not harmed people.

Jesus declared that He did not come “to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).” God, as our Good Shepherd, is seeking the lost.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel declared that God takes “‘no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,’ declares the Lord God, ‘Therefore repent and live.'”

God, in fact, is so eager not to punish that He allows evil to continue to give people time to repent of their behavior. The apostle Peter declares in his second letter, 3:9: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Yes, God is sovereign. But He allows people free will. He didn’t make us puppets because He wants us to freely choose to love and follow Him, or choose not to. That means the freedom to choose to do good, or freedom to do evil. Those involved with the coronavirus decided to be deceptive and, therefore, infected the entire world.

God, however, does bring good out of evil. He will use the fear people are experiencing to draw their attention toward Himself FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT.

It is the “kindness of God (that) leads you to repentance” apostle Paul stated in Romans 2:4.

“For we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,” Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:28.

God is self-sufficient: He can exist quite fine without us. He is the source of life and love. He doesn’t need our companionship, because there is eternal fellowship and love within the all powerful Trinity of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But His nature is to love unconditionally, so He created people to shower His love upon. “God is love,” the Apostle John declares multiple times in his first letter.

So if you’re afraid right now, please know that there is a God Who loves you and is waiting for you to run into His arms to find comfort. He wants you to get to know Him as your loving Father. And reject the fear that Satan loves to torment us with.

“Shout to God with the voice of joy.” Psalm 47:1

Love from Dawn and Buddy, sole companions for weeks…

***

“By this the love of God was manifested to us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” Apostle John, 1 John 4:9

Jesus came into the world to take the punishment we deserve for our sins so that we can fellowship with a holy God. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of death but to give us eternal life with Him. This fear is what makes us slaves to the enemy of our souls:

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Hebrews 2:14-15

Jesus defeated death for us when He rose bodily from the grave. Which is why we commemorate Easter to celebrate this event.

Please repent of your sins and invite Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior. He can help bring peace into your heart, regardless of the circumstances of life.

“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.” Jesus, John 16:33

PS. Please note all words in CAPS are my emphasis. NASB Bible version is usually utilized for my blog posts.

Why Didn’t Jesus Roll Away The Stones? Matthew 28:2-4

Buddy listening and trying to figure out what Dawn is saying.

Buddy often stares at me, cocking his head and listening when I am speaking, as if trying to understand the meaning of what I am saying. However, being a dog, he has a limited English vocabulary and only understands some of what I am babbling.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus Himself didn’t roll away the stone sealing Lazarus’s tomb?

“So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”…So they removed the stone.” John 11:38, 41

He could’ve proven to the crowd of skeptics that He was the Lord God by zapping the stone out of the way or by using superhuman strength to shove it out of the way.

And why didn’t he perform a Marvel superhero event and zap the stone out of His tomb with laser vision or fingers radiating cosmic rays to demonstrate His power to the two Roman guards and prove His deity? I think we can understand why He just didn’t walk through the boulder, because His followers wouldn’t have known that His tomb was empty and that He had risen if the stone was still blocking the mouth of the burial cave.

“And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.” Matthew 28:2-4

I wonder if it’s because Jesus invites others to partner with Him in rolling away the stones in our and other’s lives?

Rolling away stones of poverty.

Rolling away stones of depression and discouragement.

Rolling away stones of sickness.

Rolling away stones of oppression and tyranny.

But God Himself rolled away the biggest stone of all–our sin that keeps us apart from Him. Because the penalty of sin is death, and all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), we must die for our sins. But Jesus, living a perfect life that pleased the Father, was able to die for the sins of humanity, not having committed any sins Himself. He invites everyone into fellowship with Him because He loves us and wants to roll away that stone in our hearts keeping us from experiencing eternal life with Him.

“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord (i.e. God in the flesh Who should be obeyed), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Romans 10:9

Happy Easter! Partner with God to roll away the stones in your life and the lives of others.

The Holy Spirit, Your Ticket to Heaven, Ephesians 1:13-14

Buddy looking over the impassable path.

Buddy is examining the branch which is one of many blocking his path around the lake in our old neighborhood. As he could not navigate through each obstacle, I had to pick him up and climb over the branches or move them out of our way.

Jesus is the good Shepherd Who came to earth to help us out, to pick us up and carry us over that impassable divide to Heaven. Like Buddy, we have an obstacle in our path that is preventing us from getting to Heaven without assistance: sin. God hates evil: even the tiniest lie separates us from Him. Our wickedness prevents us from fellowshipping with Him.

But the problem is even worse: We are “dead in our trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1. Jesus came in order to give us life.

“I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus, John 10:10

You see, we were designed to reflect God, Who is a Triune being. We are supposed to be Triune beings, also: body, soul and Spirit. But when Adam and Eve rebelled against God, declaring that they wanted to decide what was good and evil for themselves and not have God tell them, the Holy Spirit left humanity. As a result, all of their offspring are born incomplete, broken: no longer triune beings but only soul and spirit.

The way to become complete once again is to receive the Holy Spirit back into our lives. But that is impossible to achieve in our own strength: We can never be good enough to earn God’s presence and blessing. The path is impassable. Jesus said to enter the kingdom of heaven, “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Jesus, Matthew 5:48

Everyone is imperfect, no matter how sweet and kind we think they are. No one can earn their way into heaven, because “the person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 19:20). Everyone must die for their sin to pay the penalty for not living a perfectly loving life.

So humanity was in a terrible bind. God hates sin and must punish it, but loves us and doesn’t want to be separated from us. So He sent Jesus, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), to live the perfect life that is impossible for us to live. Because Jesus did not have to die for His own sins, having none, He was able to die to take the penalty for our sins instead.

All we have to do is reverse the curse of Adam and Eve by admitting we’ve grieved God by sinning against Him and humbly ask Him to be our Lord, that we want to follow His ways instead of our own. That we believe that Jesus is the Lord and died in place for our sins. And that He was resurrected bodily to give us eternal life.

And then you receive your ticket to heaven: The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who will change your heart and make you a new Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). You will become whole again, a triune being: Body, soul and Spirit of God.

“After listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14

The Holy Spirit seals you as God’s promise that you have eternal life with Him. Without this indwelling presence of God, you cannot get into Heaven. You will still be incomplete, separated from God.

The Holy Spirit is your ticket to Heaven.

And it’s a ticket you cannot earn, but to receive as a gift of grace by casting aside your pride and humbly asking for His salvation.

God bless you in this time of crisis.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

***

If you’d like to get that ticket to Heaven, please pray the following: Dear Lord, I’ve sinned and grieved You. I no longer want to decide what is right and wrong for myself but follow You as my Good Shepherd, Who knows perfectly the correct path to follow. Please forgive my sin. I believe that Jesus is the Christ, who died for my sin and was resurrected bodily and returned to Heaven. Please grant me the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me into all righteousness.

If you prayed this prayer, congratulations. May God bless you richly. Please ask the Holy Spirit to guide your understanding as you read the Holy Bible. I suggest starting with the book of Matthew in the New Testament as it is easy to understand. And please find a godly, Bible-based church because it is hard to stand strong alone in our ungodly culture. There is strength, and encouragement, in numbers.

Take care!

Unforeseen Consequences of Obedience, Deuteronomy 34:10

Buddy is looking back at the flooding last Month at a nearby park in Scottsdale, Arizona. Normally, when it rains here, it pours and the parks quickly flood. As a result, often the parks are closed until the paths have cleared.

“Since that time no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Deuteronomy 34:10

After the death of Moses, Joshua took over the responsibility of leading the Jewish nation into the Promised Land. Moses could not have foreseen the future when he was a shepherd in the wilderness and led his flock near “Horeb, the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1)”. The day probably began just like any other day as he went about his daily duties instead of being idle. But the Angel of the Lord appeared to Him, commanding him to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

The Lord identified Himself as “I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14)” and commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt and the most powerful kingdom at that time (Amenhotep II, 1446 BC), to demand that the Jewish people be set free from their slavery. After God sent a series of 10 Plagues upon the Egyptians to judge their idolatry and allegiance to false gods (Exodus 11:12), Moses and his brother Aaron led the Jewish people into the wilderness to begin their trek toward the land that the Lord had promised to give to the descendants of Abraham (Exodus 17:8).

Because Moses became angry and disobeyed God in the sight of the people of Israel, God did not permit him to enter the Promised Land (Exodus 20:12) but did show him the land from a high vantage point, Mount Nebo, before he died (Deuteronomy 34:1-5).

The point is this after this brief summary of history: Moses could not have foreseen that he would become the most famous man in all of human history, (except perhaps the Jewish patriarch, Abraham), when he chose to obey God and traveled to Egypt with his brother Aaron after exile in the wilderness for forty years. If he’d said “No” to the Lord, his name would probably have been lost to history, except in someone’s Jewish ancestral tree. Nor could he have foreseen that, although assuming the responsibility of leading such a mighty army of people according to God’s will, that one spell of anger would cost him entrance into the Holy Land.

When we choose to obey or disobey God’s commands as listed in the Bible, or choose to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit within us (if you’re born again), we cannot ultimately foresee the consequences. One small act of obedience, or disobedience, may have a snowball effect that we cannot predict.

Because only God knows the future.

You might feel like today is just another day. You’ve been trying to do good, but the seeds you’re planting do not seem to be blossoming and bearing fruit. But don’t despair. Seeds take time to grow. You cannot foresee the snowballing consequences of that one act of kindness or obedience that you’ve sown today. That encouraging word to a frightened unbeliever during this time of crisis might lead them to start their journey toward God.

And you cannot know when God may call you to greater deeds in the midst of an ordinary activity.

“Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

God bless and take care.

***

Information regarding who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was researched on the website: CrossExamined.org

Handling Criticism: Who’s Holding Your Hand? Jude 1:24

Buddy Looking Upward From The Other Side

Buddy is looking through the screen door at my previous home, requesting entrance. As a dog, he isn’t wondering about what the future holds: He is focused on getting into his home from the outside.

As pop culture continues to encourage people to abandon God, Christians are increasingly subjected to open mockery and legal persecution. Recent information shows that 70% of children who are raised in the Church are abandoning Jesus when they get to college. Atheism, though illogical, continues to dominate so-called critical thinking.

Please remember: When someone mocks you for your Christian beliefs, to remember that your ultimate destination is Heaven, which is so wonderful that both the apostles Paul and John were incapable of fully describing Heaven when given a glimpse.

When you leave this current life you will “stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”–Jude 1:24

It’s not easy to always remember to keep your focus on a future blessing when you’re suffering now. It’s easy to allow your self-defense mechanisms kick into autopilot, becoming silent, angry or argumentative in response. But I challenge you to condsider this:

On Judgment Day, is that person or persons who is mistreating you going be holding your hand and defending you before the Lord?

Obviously not. They’re not going to give you a single thought because all they’re going to be focused on and worrying about is the great Lord on His mighty throne, surrounded by lightning bolts and a rainbow while they tremble in fear.

The only One Who will be holding your hand, even thinking about you at all, will be the Lord Jesus, Our Advocate before the Father’s throne. (1 John 2:1)

Instead, have mercy on the one who is condemning you, because they have no clue about the terror they are going to experience on Judgment Day when God separates the sheep from the goats and casts out those who reject Him.

As Apostle Paul stated to the Philippians that we are not to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents–which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you…” (Philippians 1:28)

I don’t claim to be perfect in this regard, but I’m trying with God’s help. I hope it helps you to maintain your joy as you walk through life.

Have a blessed evening.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

***

Jesus stated that the path to eternal punishment was broad (Matthew 7:13); it is the path most people will follow. But you don’t have to follow the culture. Join the true CounterCulture and yield your life to Jesus.

Because God is perfect and holy, He is a just God who punishes evil. However, because He loves us, He sent Jesus Christ to earth to be punished for our sins instead. All you have to do is confess that you are a sinner, deserving of judgment, and ask Jesus to enter your life and heart and be Your Lord. That means that you want to repent and start following God and His ways written down in the Bible instead of listening to what the culture says is right and wrong. Please confess and ask Him to be your Lord and God. And that you believe that Jesus was crucified to pay for your sins and was resurrected bodily to prove that He was God in the flesh, Immanuel (Matthew 1:23). If you did pray, please find a Bible-based church to learn about God and to fellowship with other believers, who can encourage you to stay the course on the “narrow path that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14).

And everlasting joy!

God Still Parts The Red Sea, Psalm 103:19

Buddy

Though Buddy has been my pal for nearly eleven years now, he still perplexes me. At times I have no clue what he is trying to communicate.

Today I thought he was demanding attention because I had left him for two hours to have lunch with my mother. I held him and danced about my living room, giving him quality time. Then tried to play “chase the biscuit.” As you can see above, he didn’t want to play “chase the biscuit.” He kept looking at me like, “Are you nuts?”

Sometimes we are just clueless at what God is doing in our lives. Like the Israelites fleeing Egyptian slavery, we find ourselves trapped by a Red Sea, unable to move forward while our enemies draw nearer. Or confronted by a mammoth giant like Goliath, who taunts us for our weakness while we are immobile with fear. Or like ancient Jerusalem, surrounded by the armies of three nations, bent upon their destruction, despite being led by a godly King, wondering what we could have done wrong to find ourselves in such a dilemma or big mess.

We wonder: Does God care? Does He see what’s going on? Why is He delaying?

I like what Dr. Charles Stanley, a pastor with In Touch Ministries, wrote about King Jehoshaphat who was a godly king: “Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, faced an enormous challenge as three nations simultaneously threatened to attack. The king immediately sought the Lord’s help. Notice that the bulk of his prayer (2 Chronicles 20:6-12) focused on God’s greatness—acknowledging His almighty power, authority over all nations, past acts of faithfulness on Israel’s behalf, and willingness to hear the prayers of His people when they cry out to Him. (In Touch, Daily Readings For Devoted Living, June 2021, June 17th.)”

When I visited the Bozeman Natural History Museum (Museum of the Rockies) to see their T-Rex during my last road trip to Montana, I decided I may as well view their IMAX presentation of the Hubble telescope, featuring some of the images this mighty machine captured of our universe. I was awestruck. Outer space is far more magnificent and massive than I could possibly comprehend.

Yet, what does the Psalmist, King David, tell us: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all (Psalm 103:19).”

Or as Apostle Matthew, former tax collector, quoted the Lord Jesus saying: “With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).”

Jesus knows what you’re facing. You’re not alone.

God still parts Red Seas, defeats giants and mighty armies.

Please hang in there.

God bless you. Love from Dawn and Buddy.

***

Knowing Jesus doesn’t necessarily make life easier. But you’ll stop self-sabotaging yourself with ungodly behaviors that used to trip you up with unnecessary troubles. Some people change overnight while others of us, like myself, make incremental positive improvements in our personalities as the Holy Spirit works within us, guiding us along His path of “righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”

Maybe COVID19 has got you wondering if you need a change in your life. You haven’t been able to keep as busy, quarantined at home, realizing that there is an inner emptiness that you’ve been trying to ignore.

We’re all born incomplete. We were created to be triune beings—body, soul, and Holy Spirit, but after Adam and Eve rejected God’s authority, His Spirit left the human race. As a result, as descendants of this infamous couple, we’re all born just body and soul, with an empty spot where God’s Spirit is meant to dwell.

People find all sorts of ways to fill this hole: shopping, reading, entertainment, partying, drugs, alcohol, food, even doing good deeds: but nothing but God can fill that emptiness.

If you’d like to become born again—meaning that the Lord God transforms your heart when you invite the Holy Spirit into your life to guide, counsel and encourage you, please pray the prayer below:

Dear Heavenly Father, I ask the Lord Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins. I want to live for You and get to know You. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to live for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you sincerely prayed that prayer, congratulations, you are born again. Please find a Bible-based church to attend or a Bible Study group to fellowship with fellow believers and grow in the knowledge of Hod. Also, please start reading the Bible. I recommend starting with the book of Matthew in the New Testament.

If that’s not possible, please check out these three ministries. There are others, but these are my favorites. They also have apps to listen to: http://www.InTouch.org, http://www.LTW.org and http://www.BasicGospel.net.

When you give your life to Christ, it’s the first step in an eternal journey. You won’t understand it all at first. It takes a lifetime to truly comprehend that “you’re saved by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

God bless you. Buddy and I will see you in heaven.

PS. I do believe there are animals in heaven. I’ll do a few blogs in the future about that.

Are You Good Enough? A Meditation On The First Passover, Exodus 12:21-23

When I first met Buddy, he was in a cage at the dog festival in Enumclaw, Washington. I had no feelings for him, only a desire to have a Silky terrier in my life and to give a rescue dog a forever home. I thought, “I’ll learn to love you,” when looking at those sad, scared eyes.

My desire to adopt and protect him had zero to do with how good, special or personable Buddy was. It was based solely on my desire to have a Silky in my life, to have a companion dog.

When the nation of Israel was in bondage to Egyptian slavery, God desired to rescue them from His final judgment on the Egyptian nation and its false gods, known popularly as the Tenth Plague: “For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all of the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. (Exodus 12:12).”

And what would save each Hebrew family from this plague? A seemingly odd request: “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.

“You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

“For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your house to smite you (Exodus 12:21-23).”

I have a black and white illustration of this event, with the blood on the lintel and doorposts colored in red. It is a daily reminder to me that, just as the blood around the doors of the ancient homes saved the Hebrew families from God’s wrath, so the blood of Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God—is on the lintel and doorposts of my own heart, protecting me from God’s punishment for sin.

Just like the ancient Israelites, I’m not protected by how good I am or how well I perform each day. God did not demand that the Jewish people clean up their act or obey certain moral rules to escape punishment; they only had to obey one request, apply the blood of an innocent lamb to their home’s entrance.

God loves and accepts me, not because I perform well each day—I don’t—but because He offered to love me and adopt me into His family, taking me into His eternal home one day. I accepted His invitation—that the blood of Jesus was shed for the payment and forgiveness of my sin.

And because of the blood of the Holy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, I am loved and accepted.

God’s acceptance of me is not based upon my own performance, but the perfect life of Jesus, His performance under the Law of God.

Please consider how the First Passover illuminates God’s love and acceptance of you as a child of the living God. He loves you because you accepted His love, not because He expects you to be perfect.

God bless you.

Much love from Dawn and Buddy

***

You don’t have to clean up your act first to come into a relationship with the Living God. You just need to humble yourself, acknowledging that it’s impossible to be good enough to enter Heaven on your own merits, and accept that He alone is God and has the right to rule your life, as your Creator.

If you’re willing to enter into a personal love relationship with the holy, Triune God, please repeat the following prayer. It’s not about being good enough, but about admitting you need His love, protection and guidance.

Dear Holy Father, I call on Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. Please forgive all my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to You. Reveal Yourself to me. In the name of Jesus, amen.

If you prayed with sincerity, congratulations: You are a child of God, adopted into His family. “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”—Apostle Peter, Acts 2:21

Please find a Bible-based church to fellowship and grow in a knowledge of God. If that’s not possible right now, these are three ministries that I recommend. Though there are others, these are my favorites: http://www.LTW.org, http://www.InTouch.org and http://www.BasicGospel.net. All three also have apps.

God bless you! See you in Heaven!

Thank you for reading!

Buddy and I thank you for liking our blog. Time is precious, so we appreciate your spending some of your time with us. Have a lovely week. Love from Dawn and Buddy

Heaven is not segregated—and neither is Hell, Joel 2:28, 32

Buddy is always keeping an eye on what I’m doing. But since he only has a balcony, and no yard to run around in, he really doesn’t have much else to look at. I cannot deceive myself that I’m really that interesting as there is not much competition in our home for Buddy’s attention.

During tonight’s church service I watched a middle-aged African American male hold the arm of an elderly white woman to ensure that she did not stumble as they approached the communion table. Arm-in-arm they walked up to the wafers and wine to commentate Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of ALL humankind. Christ died “once for all (Hebrews 10:10)”.

“It will come after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;…And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered (Joel 2:28,32)”.

Famously, the apostle John recorded Jesus echoing that God saves everyone who chooses to believe in Him: There is no consideration of ethnicity or skin color. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16-17).”

In Heaven, there will be people rejoicing before God from all races and times: “For You (Jesus) were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).” Enoch and Abraham, Moses and the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar from ancient times, to Christ’s apostles, to the Ethiopian eunuch converted by Apostle Philip from the court of Queen Candace, to Coptic Christians from Egypt, brothers and sisters from China and Taiwan today—you get the point. People from every nation and tribal identity throughout history will be standing before God’s throne, rejoicing in their salvation and God’s mercy and goodness.

Conversely, we grieve to watch recent newscasts of people beating each other up because of their skin color or ethnicity. But what did Jesus also say?

“He who believes in Him (Jesus) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).”

It doesn’t matter what nationality or skin color a person has—their eternal destiny is determined by their acceptance of Christ as their Savior or not. Hateful bigots are going to have a horrible shock when they discover they’re sharing forever together—if they don’t repent.

God sees only two groups of people—those who acknowledge their sinfulness and need for a Savior to guide their lives or those who refuse His offer to spend eternity with Him, wanting to be their own god and remain spiritually dead for eternity.

Only two groups of people.

Each group identified by their rejection or acceptance of Jesus.

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).”

Which group are you in?

Much love from Dawn and Buddy

***

Jesus warned that “the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it (Matthew 7:13).” But no one has to walk that path. Jesus came to earth to die for everyone’s sins—no matter how awful—because only a perfect person could die to take the punishment a sinful person deserves. As God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), Jesus was perfect. He took God’s wrath on the Cross, died, and rose bodily from the grave because it was impossible for a sinless being to remain out of fellowship in the Trinity.

That may not make total sense now. But if you’d like to become born again, become spiritually alive, please pray the following: “Dear Heavenly Father, I call on Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to you. In the name of Jesus, amen.”

If you prayed sincerely, congratulations. You’ve just joined the biggest family in history, with brothers and sisters of all nations and times. But you need help to grow in your Christian faith. Please start reading the Bible, preferably starting with the New Testament about Jesus. And join a Bible-based church. If that’s not possible right now, these are three great ministries (which also have apps, if you prefer): http://www.LTW.org, http://www.InTouch.org and http://www.BasicGospel.net. There are other great ministries, but these are my three favorites.

God bless you. See you in heaven.

Dawn

You Don’t Have To Be Masochist, Proverbs 27:12

Buddy’s food dish.

Poor Buddy! He entertains me at his expense. I buy this particular canned dog food that he seems to enjoy—except that he hates peas. This food has lots of peas in it, and I get joy from noting how many peas the poor little guy manages to spit out while chowing down. Somehow he manages to spit them out every time.

God isn’t entertained by unnecessary suffering. He doesn’t amuse Himself by giving us stuff we don’t like. But somehow we Christians believe that if we enjoy a particular task or career, that it’s probably not God’s will to engage in it, as He’d rather we suffer for our own good.

Pastor Blaine Smith of NehemiahMinistries.org notes that our particular talents are what God designed into us to lead us to His particular will for our lives. He doesn’t give us gifts to ignore or deny them, but to equip us for our most effective work and influence in this world.

One movie that impacted me was “Patch Adams” which featured the late Robin Williams. In this film (spoiler alert) the doctor warns his beautiful, blonde assistant not to associate with a particular man who he says is very disturbed and potentially dangerous. But the woman, filled with compassion for this suffering soul, ignores Patch’s warning and meets the man alone, and is murdered.

Jesus commands us “to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44),” but the Bible is a book of balance, which is why it’s so important to base decisions, and beliefs, on more than one passage. Jesus also warned, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).”

Jesus doesn’t require that we be masochists. He clearly warned not to deliberately seek out trouble, that we should exercise discernment as to whom we engage with, not placing ourselves into unnecessary danger.

One of the best spiritual practices you can engage in is to read one proverb for each day of the month. I don’t believe it’s just a coincidence that there are 31 proverbs, one for each day.

Proverbs 37:12 warns: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naive proceed and pay the penalty.”

And there’s the more familiar saying: “Fools enter where angels fear to tread.”

There may be times when the Holy Spirit leads you into danger so that those hostile to Christ come to faith. But I think that’s the exception, not the rule.

In summary, don’t think it’s more spiritual to suffer. Avoid the hair shirt and Cat O’ Nine Tails self-flagellation mentality. Life’s hard enough. Don’t make it harder by being an unnecessary masochist.

Trouble will find you on its own. You don’t have to seek it.

Love, from Dawn and Buddy

***

Maybe you have unnecessary problems because of sin in your life. Few overcome their problems overnight, but accepting God into your life can get you off that broad path that leads to destruction and onto the narrow path that leads to life everlasting and the right direction (Matthew 7:13). If you’re ready to step in a new direction by accepting God as your Lord, the one Who guides you into what is the right or wrong way to go, please pray the below:

Dear Heavenly Father, I call on Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you prayed with sincerity, congratulations on becoming born again and a child of the Living God. Please find a Bible-believing church to attend or Bible study to grow in the knowledge of God and Christian belief. If that’s not possible right now, please be sure to read the Bible daily. I recommend these three ministries, and all three have apps, also, to listen to: http://www.LTW.org, http://www.InTouch.org or http://www.BasicGospel.net. There are other godly ministries out there, but these will get you started in growing in your faith.

God bless. See you in heaven!

What Do You Think About This Interpretation? Revelation 14:13

Buddy

Buddy often stares at me and I have no clue whether I am interpreting his thoughts or needs correctly or not. We’ve been together almost eleven years and my furry pal is still a mystery to me.

The Apostle John in Revelation 14:13 states: “And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, ‘Write, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!” ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.’”

I was lamenting to my fellow cartoon illustrator friend, Valerie, that I have spent most of my life developing my artistic talent, but would that talent continue in Heaven? Would the particular style I developed be lost forever when I die?

But it turns out that we have both been considering this passage from Revelation, independently.

We believe that our talents follow us to Heaven, just as our good deeds do. That the skills we strive to perfect during our earthly lifetimes will continue, as we have already started walking the path of our eternal lives when we became born again.

I’ve sometimes pictured Michelangelo up in Heaven, painting frescoes in the mansions that Christ said were waiting for us. And others may be sculpting or weaving marvelous rugs and tapestries or carving lovely balconies. Or embroidering garments with gold thread and jewels in glittering patterns.

Perhaps Jesus is explaining how things work to Isaac Newton?

It’s obvious, from observing nature, that God loves beauty. I’m frequently awestruck by the striped sunset of red, purple and gold framing the mountain behind my home.

So, what do you think? Are Valerie and I engaging in wishful thinking?

Or do our talents follow us to Heaven?

God bless you. Love, from Dawn and Buddy

***

You may be a Creative, also. Do you want assurance that your life will continue after death? Our sin separates us from a holy and perfect God. But, because He loves us, Jesus came down—God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23)—to take the punishment for our sin that we deserve. If we accept this sacrificial gift and desire to make God our Lord, in other words, acknowledge that He’s God and the boss, not us, we can fellowship with Him for eternity.

If you’d like to become born again, accepting Jesus as Lord, please pray the following: Dear Holy Father, I call on Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you prayed with sincerely, congratulations, you’re a child of God. Please find a Bible-believing church to join. And begin reading the Bible, one of the ways God communicates with us, besides during prayer.

If that’s not possible for you right now, please check out these three ministries, which also have apps: http://www.InTouch.org, http://www.LTW.org and/or http://www.BasicGospel.net. There are other great ministries out there, but these are my three favorites.

See you in Heaven!

Oops!

Sorry, folks! For some reason my prior posts defaulted back into the drafts folder. I had to republish them to get them back out there. Have a lovely night.

The Problem of Evil—My Perspective, Psalm 100:3

Buddy

When I adopted Buddy nearly eleven years ago, I promised to love and take care of him, to give him a forever home.

As humans, we cannot understand why an omnipotent God, Who is supposed to be perfect and loving, allows great suffering. Not only do animals chase down, tear apart and eat those weaker than themselves, but humanity suffers from sickness, warfare and all sorts of evil.

People often refuse to come to Christ because they cannot understand why God allows children to suffer cancer and die. Why didn’t God prevent the Holocaust? Or even today, prevent the Communist Party in China from bulldozing hundreds of Christian churches? Or prevent children from being maimed during their Cultural Revolution? Why do famines occur because of drought, causing the poorest to suffer even more greatly? Or Ebola to ravage Africans?

Dr Michael Youssef, in his excellent book, “Counting Stars In An Empty Sky”, has an interesting perspective on the suffering of Job.

God declared Job to be the best of all people at that ancient time: “For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 2:3).” In fact, God listed Job as one of his all time top three people, along with Noah and Daniel (Ezekiel 14:20). Yet, He permitted Satan to kill Job’s children, thieves to steal his livestock and murder most of his servants, and afflict him with a disfiguring and painful disease. On top of that, his angry wife wished Job dead and well-meaning friends accused and discouraged him with false accusations. Basically, Satan was permitted to destroy Job’s family, relationships, wealth and health.

Totally unfair treatment for an honorable and god-fearing man.

Dr Youssef postulates that Job, by refusing to turn away from God despite suffering hellish treatment, was an object lesson to Satan and his demonic followers. “If a mere flesh-and-blood man like Job could remain obedient in the face of so much suffering and the silence of God, then the rebellious angels who had seen God face-to-face were without excuse (Page 123).”

The pastor makes a great point.

But poor Job was totally left into the dark as this supernatural lesson was in play.

Many persons over the centuries have postulated and mused over the problem of evil. I’m not claiming to be more intelligent, or as brilliant, as those who have gone before me. But after many years of consideration concerning the problem of evil, I’ve come to a conclusion that works for me.

I could be correct—or totally off base. But this is my perspective.

Satan and the demons had the very best God had to offer—not only life in heaven, but the ability to communicate face-to-face with the Lord. Life with no disease, no war, no tears, no suffering at all. Every need was perfectly met. Satan also had a top leadership position, being one of the three archangels with Gabriel and Michael, just below the Trinity in authority.

Satan was also beautiful and favored: “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…You were the anointed cherub… (Ezekiel 28:12, 14).”

Satan had it all.

Yet it wasn’t enough. He wanted to be his own god, not obey and trust the Lord. And for some odd reason, he was able to convince a third of the angels to follow him into rebellion.

Because of evil, we don’t have it all. We are suffering on this planet because people rebel, and have rebelled, against God. Human greed and selfishness cause horrendous suffering, such as the Holocaust, warfare and poverty. Jealousy, self-righteousness, sexual immorality, envy, covetous and other sins cause unnecessary suffering.

Because the first couple rebelled against God’s authority, the Holy Spirit left the human race. All of Creation was subjected to the result of our Fall and rejection of God’s indwelling presence. Sickness, pain and murder entered the world.

Because we’re living in Hell now, we can appreciate heaven. Those who choose to accept Jesus as their Lord, will enter His presence one day with great rejoicing: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying or pain…There will no longer be any curse (Revelation 21:4, 22:3).”

Because we’re suffering now, we will realize how blessed we are to be in heaven under the Lord’s rule in His presence. We won’t reject God’s best because we will have suffered a lifetime of what life is like in a world in rebellion against Him.

Those who receive Him as the Lord now have an eternity of joy and bliss to look forward to.

The Apostle Paul wrote the following two passages, a man who suffered greatly to tell people about salvation through faith in Christ Jesus in Roman times:

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).”

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).”

That’s the best that I can do, to explain the problem of evil.

Is it fair that some suffer so terribly? No. Life is not fair. God never promises a problem-free life.

Ultimately, we’re commanded to trust in God’s ultimate plan, His goodness and to submit to His authority.

“Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He Who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3).”

Hope you find my solution helpful—or a jumping off point for your own contemplation on the problem of evil.

God bless you. Love, from Dawn and Buddy

***

Heaven is God’s house. To live in His house, which is Heaven, you have to submit to His authority. No one who rebels against Him will be permitted to remain in His presence after the Great Judgment.

Please consider making Him your Lord so that you can join with millions, perhaps billions, who will enjoy a future of His very best.

If you’re ready, please pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I call on Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Forgive me all of my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to You. In Christ’s name, Amen.

If you prayed sincerely, congratulations. You’re born again. Please find a Bible-based church or Bible Study group to grow in a knowledge of God and His word. If that’s not possible right now, the following are three great ministries, which also have podcasts: http://www.LTW.org (Leading The Way with Dr Youssef’s teaching), http://www.InTouch.org and http://www.BasicGospel.net.

See you in heaven!

Smiling At The Future, Proverbs 31:25

Buddy has a peculiar, yet entertaining, personality. He cannot tolerate closed doors. Every interior door in the house must be open at all times or he scratches at the door and pitches a fit. Buddy must know what lies beyond each door. It can be very inconvenient when trying to dress or use the restroom when there are other people in the home.

Buddy also wants to apply this rule to my patio door. However, I’m trying to get him to understand that the outer door cannot be open while the air conditioner is on or the groundskeepers are using the leaf blowers, blowing noxious dust and pollen into the air. But in his mind, the patio of part of “inside.”

In this broken world, it’s easy for me to get discouraged. I’ve been struggling with my creative writing, an activity I’ve joyously engaged in since first grade. I’ve been trying to figure out why I keep procrastinating, despite having numerous ideas for stories.

Perhaps you’re feeling stuck and also wondering why. Maybe this blog post will help.

Yes, nine years of severe insomnia likely burnt me out as I got only 1-4 hours of sleep a night for 6 years (later 4-6 hours for 3 years), while still getting up at 4:45 to pray then drive to work.

Yes, publishing and promoting the first book and short story collection was hard work and cost money. But it was fun too.

My computer died just before completing book two, already delayed by the insomnia. Surgery and moving also created delays.

Self doubt: Definitely an issue. Does God approve of my spending time this way? Am I wasting my time? Does the world really need my cartoons and books?

But what I’m realizing is that the true issue is—a lack of faith.

I’m wanting the outcome guaranteed before I risk the time and effort it takes to produce quality material. Or to strike out into new endeavors, like podcasting.

I’d like to think that I’m more like Peter, the only one of 12 apostles to step out of the boat to walk toward Jesus on stormy water. Or like David, marching out to fight the giant Goliath with just a sling and some smooth stones.

But too often I’m like the apostles, huddled in the boat, watching Peter step out.

Or like King Saul and the army of Israel, quaking in fear for 40 days, listening to the giant’s taunts, then watching a teenage boy run to meet the challenge.

I’m like Buddy, wanting to see what’s on the other side of the door at all times.

I want a guaranteed outcome. I want all my ducks lined up in a row, knowing how it’s all going to fit together before starting.

But that’s not trusting God.

Nor is it reality. The only predictable thing about life is that it’s unpredictable.

God tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

God says there will be times that I will be baffled by life but just keep doing what I know is right, as defined in His Word, the Bible, and He’ll work it out.

God wants us to have positive expectation of our future, that He’s in control.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all (Psalm 103:19).”

There are many traits listed in Proverbs 31 which define a godly woman, and one of them is optimism.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she SMILES at the future (Proverbs 31:25)”.

I’m not promoting the false teachings of “name it, claim it” or “positive confession” which claims that we are like God, speaking things into reality.

But I do believe that our attitudes inspire us to persevere or train or learn what is necessary to succeed if we believe it is achievable.

A realistic assessment of the talents God has given us, can give us an idea of the direction God wants us to take in our lives, since He’s designed each of us with a purpose in mind.

And a knowledge of “the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1),” can show the obstacles of personality that need to be overcome through confession, repentance of that is hindering us.

So I need to admit: I’m just not trusting God before taking the next step.

I need to smile at the future, knowing that God has my back and will redirect me if I start to head in the wrong direction.

“If you stray to the right or to the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ (Isaiah 30:21)”

“You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5)”

God bless. Love from Dawn and Buddy.

Hope this was helpful.

***

If you’re feeling stuck, perhaps you cannot move forward because your life is stuck in the “miry clay” of sin. Have you considered that it’s Jesus Who you need to invite into your life to become unstuck?

“He brought me out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; (Psalm 40:2-3)”

By confessing your sin and need for Jesus to be the Lord of your life, making Him your God and forsaking being your own god, determining right and wrong for yourself, it’s my opinion that you’ll start to be unstuck.

I’ve never regretted becoming born again; I only regret not giving my life to Christ ten years sooner.

If you’re ready for change, please pray the following prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I call on Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Please forgive my sin. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. I give my life to You. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

If you prayed with sincerity, congratulations for becoming a Christian. Please find a Bible based church or Bible study to grow in your faith and knowledge. God speaks to us primarily through the Bible and prayer.

These are also good ministries which all also have podcast apps: http://www.LTW.org (Leading The Way), http://www.BasicGospel.net and http://www.InTouch.org.

God bless you. See you upstairs!

This IS Your Time! 2 Timothy 1:9

Buddy

After my beloved Silky terrier, Buster, died just after his 9th birthday, our family was devastated. My heart only began to heal six months later while sitting in a tourist boat on the harbor of Croatia. Few tourists were in the boat or floating in the harbor of Dubrovnik, so I was able to focus on how peaceful and beautiful the water was rushing below me. Staring into the harbor’s depths, my spirit calmed.

About a year later, the sense of emptiness in the dogless house became stronger than the heartache of losing my soulmate doggie. It was time to bring a new furry pal into my life.

And, God provided. I accidentally hit the Silky Terrier Reacue bookmark and up popped Buddy on the screen, the first rescue available in Washington State in a year. I truly believe it was the Lord Who prompted me to pop open my iPad and hit the wrong link, as Buddy has been a blessing, being as strange as me. He has personality to burn: He could give some away to some boring dog and still be entertaining.

We live in tough and perplexing times. People are dying of a pandemic that, in my opinion, could have been prevented. Hatred for others who refuse to conform is on the rise and self righteous virtue signaling is not recognized as pride. Rioters and looters are excused while prominent people lie without conscience for money or power.

I’m sure you could come up with a list of many more but you get the point: We are living in the perilous times predicted by Apostle Paul nearly two thousand years ago in his letter to Timothy, pastor in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”—2 Timothy 3:1-4

Hundreds of churches are being mowed down in China while churches are being burned in the West. The rise in evil is palpable—it seems as if Satan’s activity is on the rise and growing stronger in influence each year.

Yes, we live in evil times and it can be discouraging. But God has you WHERE you are RIGHT NOW for a reason.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline…Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”—2 Timothy 1:7,9

Just as it was God’s timing to bring Buddy into my life, your living right now in these perilous times was planned by the sovereign King of the Universe.

You are not an accident of the universe. Your life was planned by God. You are loved by Him. And He called you into His family, His kingdom, for His own great purpose—as the Biblical verse above states.

You are important.

Your life matters.

You are helping to push the brakes on the downhill slide in our culture.

Don’t give up, get discouraged and tune out.

Please!

Ask God daily to give you the faith to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. To overcome discouragement. To discern truth from error, fact from fiction. To recognize who is deliberately, or unintentionally, trying to deceive you. To help you see anyplace you’re deceived and bring truth into that area in your life.

You’re the nightlight, preventing someone from stumbling in the darkness.

Shine on!

Much love from Dawn and Buddy.

***

Many thanks to my friend Kathy who helped me to rewrite the sinner’s prayer below.

If you sense that you’re empty inside or want to rid yourself of the burden of anger, hatred and bitterness, it could be that you do not have the light of the Spirit of Jesus Christ shining in your soul.

You see, we’re born incomplete. We are body and soul but we’re meant to be triune beings, reflecting the image of God, our Creator: body, soul and also God’s Holy Spirit inhabiting us.

But God is holy and cannot tolerate sin, yet wants to fellowship with us. His solution? Jesus died for our sins, taking the punishment we deserve, so that we can enter God’s presence. Because we’re imperfect, we must die as punishment for our sins. Because Jesus was God in the flesh and led a perfect life, He took the punishment instead. Then rose from the grave, proving that sin and death had no power over Him. Through faith, we accept His punishment in our place and avoid eternal separation from Him after physical death.

If you’d like to become born again and start a new spiritual life, please pray the following:

Dear Jesus, I call upon You to be my Lord and Savior, my friend and King. Forgive me my sins. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I give my life to You. Amen.

If you prayed with sincerity, congratulations for starting your faith walk. Please find a Bible-based church or Christian friend to mentor you and to fellowship with. Absolutely reject any church or teaching that does not accept all of the Bible as true. Through the Bible and prayer, God communicates to our soul by His Holy Spirit.

Following are some helpful ministries: http://www.LTW.com (Leading The Way), http://www.BasicGospel.net, http://www.InTouch.org and http://www.Creation.com.

God bless you. See you in heaven one day.