Archive | July 2019

Overcoming by Trusting God, Psalm 2:7-8

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“Experts” claim that dogs live in the present, always in the now. They don’t ruminate over the past or contemplate the future. Perhaps that is why they generally appear to be happy and forgiving. Buddy’s elation at my return home tonight certainly brought me great joy. (Or maybe he was gleefully greeting the piece of chicken I had hidden in my hoodie pocket for him.)

For some reason I have never heard a sermon on Psalm 2, although there is quite a lot of great stuff in the 12 verses. Jesus does not quote from this Psalm when resisting the devil’s second temptation in the wilderness before He began His earthly ministry, but it likely assisted Him.

“He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.'”–Psalm 2:7-8

Satan showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (Luke 3:5)”, claiming that he had the authority to give its treasure and glory to anyone he wished. He offered Jesus a quick and easy to claim “the very ends of the earth as (His) “inheritance” by bowing down and worshipping himself, Satan, instead of dying an agonizing and humiliating death on the cross to pay for the sins of humanity. Satan wanted Jesus to claim the world by disobeying God the Father.

This is really what Satan is all about: tempting us to get what we want the easy way, by disobeying God, instead of being patient and obtaining our goals or treasures the hard, slow and, often, not so glamorous route.

But God wants us to trust His instructions in the Bible, His word over the ways our culture tempts us to take the quick and easy route to success, wealth, fame or influence.

Jesus announced in the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth that He was the Messiah, quoting from the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-21) shortly after successfully passing Satan’s temptations. He knew that He was the begotten Son of God described in Psalm 2. And the Father had promised the Son that He “SURELY” would give Him the nations and the very ends of the earth as His possession. The Father had already promised the world to Him. There was no doubt what God had said in Psalm 2.

The Cross was the hard way, but Jesus looked ahead into the future, past the suffering at the Cross, down the road ahead, instead of focusing on His present need. (He was exhausted from 40 days of fasting and famished.) He visualized the many millions who would be brought into relationship with God and be given eternal life, resurrected from spiritual death through His blood.

“…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”–Hebrews 4:2

Jesus kept His focus on God’s promises to give Him the world as His inheritance and many souls. He kept it on “the joy” beyond the Cross, the results of His obedience–on what He could not presently see but was promised.

The way to resist temptation is to look ahead to the fulfillment of God’s promises, to trust Him to bless you–and me–if we strive to accomplish our goals His way, refusing Satan’s shortcuts.

And believe me, I am not claiming to be faultless. I need to remind myself daily of God’s promises so that I can stand strong against the “schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11)”. These posts exist because these are things I need to think about myself.

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I’m trying to shorten up my blog posts. I know you have a life. Thank you very much for reading and, also, for enjoying the photos of my beloved Buddy. I hope that these posts are beneficial to you in some way.

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

Love from Dawn and Buddy

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The Roaring Lion, 1 Peter 5:8

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If Buddy ever roared like a lion, I’d go check my hearing, because we all know that a little, 19 pound dog is not going to roar. He’s going to bark, growl, snuffle, howl and “talk,” but not roar.

The Apostle Peter warned believers in his letter, 1 Peter 5:8, to be on the alert, not to be passive about evil.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Searching the internet, there were multiple claims that lions do not roar to frighten their prey into paralysis, as is commonly believed. I did find that the below website, http://www.Reference.com, had the most compelling reason:

“Lions use their roar as a way to remind other lions that they are in control over an area.” (https://www.reference.com/pets-animals/lions-roar-68fa05e474d85126)

As Christians I believe that we too often let down our guards and then wonder why Satan is able to “zap us” and cause us harm in life. We forget that, although Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross (Colossians 2:13-15), He has not yet returned to claim His kingdom. At this time, Satan is being permitted to rule over the entire earth.

“The Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking on it.'”–Job 1:7

My NASB version of the Bible has some apt descriptions of Satan in its Concordance:

“accuser, adversary, deceiver of the world, devil, dragon, enemy, evil one, father of lies, god of this world, liar, murderer, ruler of the demons and ruler of this world.”

We must question what we hear in the media, what thoughts come to mind and what other people around us are saying. People may not be telling us the truth: It might be deliberate or because they are just wrong, they are deceived themselves, or they are presenting opinion as fact. Before I turn on the radio, I pray some variation of: “Lord, please help me discern truth from error, and fact from fiction. Help me know when someone is trying to deceive me or just making a mistake. Help me know when someone is presenting opinion as fact. Help me now when I am being told the truth or not. And help me to tell others the truth and not mislead them.”

And even the health books I read, the authors claim to have the whole truth about the healthiest way to eat is, with the scientific facts to back their claims up, yet directly contradict one another: grains are bad, grains are good; wine is bad, wine is good; coffee is bad, coffee is good; beans are bad, beans are good, etc.

Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life.”–John 14:6

When we stay in God’s Word, we are entering into Jesus’ protection from lies. He is a good Shepherd Who sleeps in the doorway of the sheepfold to protect the sheep from the wolves who want to enter into the flock and kill the sheep (John 10: 1-18). Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthian 11:14, warned us that Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light” in order to deceive us and lead us astray. Only by knowing God’s Word can we discern when someone is twisting Scripture or lying to us, telling us something is OK to do or believe when it isn’t.

I am not blogging about Buddy and God because I think I know it all, but these are things I, myself, need to remind myself of and am mulling over in my mind.

There is so much slander and deliberate lying in the media and by government officials nowadays. One must be constantly questioning what is being said–or consider what is being concealed and not said.

I was thinking about what I’m hearing recently and feeling afraid, not at peace. I wonder if people who hate this country or Capitalism or Christianity will gain more power and destroy our economy, our livelihoods and our freedom. I am letting the roaring of Satan frighten me. Yet Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross: The devil is now a toothless lion; He cannot have my soul, but he can still be very dangerous if I let him pounce upon me or tear me with his claws, but if I can stay out of his reach, I should remain safe.

And out of Satan’s reach is by staying close to my great shepherd, Jesus.

So when I get scared, I remind myself that Jesus GIVES me peace as a gift. I don’t manufacture it myself. It’s a gift He gives when I ask for it.

“My peace I leave with you; My peace I GIVE to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”–John 14:17, emphasis mine

And also have to remind myself that God is sovereign over all history and people. There is nothing out of His control:

“Who works all things after the counsel of His will.”–Ephesians 1:11

So please ask Jesus to grant you His gift of peace if you are afraid. He loves you and will take care of you, if you are in His flock. And, also, please ask for discernment every day, because no matter how smart or sophisticated we think we are, some people are very devious–or just very wrong.

Love from Dawn and her beloved Buddy

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If you aren’t in Jesus’s flock, why not? My main regret in life is not coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus ten years sooner. I would’ve avoided so many dark and depressing days in my 20s with His guidance and love in my life. Why not sooner, you ask? So that I would never forget that there is nothing to return to before I came to Christ. Knowing God loves you and experiencing His presence is the greatest gift anyone can have. Why not ask Him to forgive your sins and invite Him into your life, to be your Lord and protector today?

 

 

 

The #1 Error NonChristians Make, Genesis 3:9

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My first sight of Buddy was at pet fair in Enumclaw, Washington. He sat in a cage stacked on top of other cages housing Silkies that his foster mother was exhibiting at the show. I took one look at Buddy and thought, “Well, I don’t know you now but I’ll learn to love you.”

The number one mistake nonChristians make is believing that Christianity is just another religion. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in if it teaches wisdom and how to be a good person.

Christianity is not just another of many religions teaching right living and how to treat others or a self-improvement program. It is about reuniting in a love relationship with the living God Who created us.

Five thousand years ago, Adam and Eve had a perfect love relationship with God. He would walk about in the garden of Eden and fellowship with them. Their lives, gorgeous environment, nutritious food and animals as friends were freely given to them to enjoy. When they rejected God’s authority by believing Satan’s lies that God didn’t really loved them, didn’t have their best interests at heart and was holding out on them, their relationship with God fell apart.

By rejecting God’s authority, the Holy Spirit left the human race.

So we all become incomplete beings at birth, souls and bodies but no Spirit of God indwelling us.

In Genesis 3:9, you can almost hear the anguish in God’s voice as He walks the garden, looking for His companions, “Where are you?” He cries out.

But Adam and Eve are hiding from God. “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid…so I hid myself,” Adam answers in verse 10.

Humankind has been fleeing from God’s presence ever since, making up their own rules of how to get back into relationship with Him. Most people sense that something is wrong, that they are incomplete, but, just like Adam and Eve, they don’t want to approach the God of the Bible because they know that they fall short of His expectations, His standards. Humanity’s solution is religion, a system of reaching up to God.

Christianity is about God reaching down to us, the second part of the Trinity becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14). Not us reaching up to Him. When Jesus came to earth to live among us, He didn’t sit on a throne in the temple of Jerusalem (aka Herod’s temple), announce His deity and demand that people approach Him with fear and trepidation, present gifts and bow down to Him. No. He sought out people and showed that He loved them by healing them, encouraging them, feeding them, comforting them and even resurrecting their loved ones from the dead. Jesus likely walked over three thousand miles during his three years of public ministry, seeking and saving His lost sheep, inviting people to follow Him and enter into fellowship with the Triune God.

Jesus explained why He came to earth: “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11) Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13) No one has ascended into Heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man…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 3:13, 16-17)”

My pastor, Ben Davis of Hope Fellowship, frequently quotes this verse from the last book of the Bible, “Behold, I 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

If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, He is knocking at the door of your heart, waiting for You to invite Him into your life. Why not ask Him now? Tell Him you’re sorry for your sins, for falling short of His holy expectations, and want Him to guide Your life and open up your eyes and heart to understand how much He loves you.

“Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”–Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:7

And enter into the greatest love relationship you will ever experience with the true and living Triune God who created you, loves you and wants you to know that you are special. You are not an accident of the universe: You were planned (Psalm 139), your life has a purpose, and He wants to be your Lord, Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and best friend.

“If you being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”–Jesus, Luke 11:13

Love from Dawn and my best little Buddy

 

True Liberty, Ephesians 2:1-6, 8

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As you can see, Buddy wore this hat to please me, but he wasn’t at all pleased about having his photo taken. His ears are pulled back because he is not at all happy about having the hat on his head. But he loves me so he put up with it.

On July 4th most* Americans are celebrating the founding of the United States, the declaration of our Independence from the rule of Great Britain. We are a unique nation because our Bill of Rights and US Constitution were designed to check the power of government over the population and balance that government’s power between the states and the different branches of the Federal Government, to ensure the freedom of our citizens.

Sadly, however, most people think they are free but they live in bondage.

Unbelievers live in bondage to sin but do not realize it, having never experienced the true freedom that Jesus Christ bought for us by dying for our sins on the Cross. Jesus paid the penalty to free us from our desires–and then was resurrected to give us eternal life. This life comes via the Holy Spirit Who indwells each believer after they accept Jesus as Lord and God in the flesh and what He did to free us from spiritual bondage.

Apostle Paul summarized this dilemma for unbelievers in the epistle of Ephesians:

“And you were dead in the your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan), of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience…indulging in the desires of the flesh and of the mind and were by nature children of wrath…But God, being rich in mercy, because of HIs great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions and sins, made us alive together in Christ…” Ephesians 2:1-5

Until I became a Christian, I had no power over my sinful desires. I tried to be good but often failed. Christ’s Holy Spirit freed me from this bondage. Now I can choose right (as God defines it in the Scriptures) or wrong. Having been a nonbeliever till I was 28 years old, I have a lot of bad attitudes, wrong habits and sinful thinking to overcome, so sometimes I choose to do wrong, even if I know it’s wrong. But I now have a choice: before, I didn’t. I was in slavery to Satan. When I lose my temper, it’s not because God’s Holy Spirit doesn’t have the power to prevent me from being angry, but because I have sinful and selfish attitudes–self absorption–that is prompting me to be unkind that I have to learn to overcome with HIS help.

But believers also unknowingly, or willingly because of pride and/or arrogance, are in bondage. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the moral Laws of God, yet many believers remain in slavery because they still try to win God’s approval by being good. However, Jesus declared that only God is good (Matthew 19:17) . No human being can be good enough to earn their way into Heaven and God’s presence.

Ephesians 2:6 was not completely quoted above:

“even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…”

And Apostle Paul continues to explain in Ephesians 2:8:

“For by grace you have been saved 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.”

Some people come to Christ and come under legalistic teachers, where they are led to believe that, if they continue to be good enough, God will be pleased with them.

“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law (obeying God’s rules), then Christ died needlessly…Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish, having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”–Galatians 2:21-3:2-3

Pleasing God and obeying His rules is a good thing for our lives. We still reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7) and God disciplines us for His name’s sake and out of love for us, like a good Father does when His children go astray (Psalm 23:3, Revelation 3:19). But it does not make us right with God. Accepting the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf by faith put us into right relationship with God, and only faith in Jesus Christ keeps us in right relationship with God. (Another post for more details in the future.) Apostle Paul made it clear that the Galatians were being foolish by trying to make themselves right with God through their own efforts, rather than continuing to live by faith in Jesus Christ.

So whether you are in the bondage of unbelief in Christ or in the bondage of a legalistic relationship with God, why not celebrate true freedom and ask Jesus to set you free?

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”–Jesus, John 8:36

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*Some mistakenly believe Socialism is a good thing. The United States was founded on the principle that the government exists to serve the people. Under Socialism, the people exist to serve and, be ruled over by, the government. Karl Marx made it very clear in his writings that Christians were fools and that Socialism was created to destroy the middle class and its bourgeois, Christian values. Check it out by reading his writings for yourself; don’t rely on what others say about what he wrote or meant, even me. I’ve read the Communist Manifesto multiple times. I know when I am being lied to because I’ve read it myself.

And please read the Bible for yourself. If with true sincerity, you ask God to guide your understanding as you read, He will. Apostle Paul applauded the Berean’s for verifying what he was teaching them by checking the Scriptures (Acts 17:10-11).