Archive | April 2020

Maybe This Is Why Life Sucks, Psalm 16:4a

Buddy showing me that he’s eaten his dinner and needs a napkin.

Before I adopted Buddy from Silky Terrier Rescue, he had a different master who mistreated him. When he came under my protection, his life dramatically improved for the better, as he is now loved, adored and doted on, instead of being abused.

Some people wonder why their lives continuously suck and never improve. The Psalmist, King David of ancient Israel, gives a clue why:

“The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;” Psalm 16:a

Now, honestly, I cannot recall why it was recommended in a book I’ve been reading that a person should memorize this Psalm, but I’ve been working on it, one verse at a time. And whenever I repeat this verse, I feel sad for people who have rejected Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christian faith, because they don’t realize that their lives could improve if they would accept Christ as their Shepherd and follow His direction.

Jesus never promised an easy life free of care, but that life would be “full of tribulation” (John 16:33). He did promise rest, peace and His love to help cope with the circumstances of life. After all, Satan still “prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” warned Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:8. Jesus is our only protection from our “adversary”.

But what will happen is that you’ll stop shooting yourself in the foot. By faithfully reading the Word of God, the Bible, and asking the Holy Spirit to help you apply what you’re learning (which is wisdom, the application of knowledge), you’ll do and say fewer stupid and sinful things that get you into unnecessary trouble.

As I’ve grown in the knowledge of God’s love for me and others, I am learning where I fall short of perfect love. Like all Christians, I’m learning where my attitudes and behavior is unloving and how to grow and change. I know that I am a much better person than I was the day I became born again March 7th, 1989, and I will be a kinder person next year as God, through the Holy Spirit, continues to shine His flashlight of truth into the dark rooms of my soul and cleans out the dirt and cockroaches of selfishness.

So, please ask yourself: Are you shooting yourself in the foot?

God bless from Dawn and Buddy

***

If you said, “Yes, I’m tired of having sore feet,” please pray this short prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I have fallen short of your perfect standards and deserve punishment for my sins, which is eternal separation from You. But you sent Jesus to take the punishment that I deserve, because You love me and want to be my best friend and father. Please forgive my sins. I believe that Jesus died for my own sins on the Cross and was resurrected bodily from the grave. I ask Him to be my God, Lord and Shepherd. I ask for the Holy Spirit to enter into my life and be my guide. For Jesus promised, “your heavenly Father (will) give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).”

If you prayed that prayer, please read the Bible every day and ask that God lead and guide you. Seek a Bible-based church to attend, once the lockdowns are lifted, so that you have fellow Christians to help you learn more about God and encourage you in your faith and life. The 23rd Psalm is a great Bible passage to memorize. It’s short and will encourage you.

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.

Why Did not The Apostles Get It? Matthew 8:27

Buddy likes to lay in his bed and guard me while I do my private Bible study in my bedroom. He often watches over me (unless he’s hiding under my bed).

I placed my eyeglasses on the bed the other afternoon while studying as I don’t need them to read and, for some reason, absolutely could not find them again for three days. They were on the bed the entire time; I even slept next to them, yet could not see them.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke tell the story of how Jesus, traveling with his twelves disciples across the Sea of Galilee, was fast asleep in the stern of the boat. A “fierce gale” (Mark 4:37) arose, threatening to swamp the boat and sink it. The disciples were frightened and woke Jesus up, accusing Him of not caring whether they perished or not.

“And Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm…They (the disciples) were fearful and amazed…” Luke 8:24

“The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'” Matthew 8:27

Why didn’t the disciples realize that Jesus was Immanuel, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23) when the Old Testament made it clear that it is God Who calms the wind and the waves in several passages?

“You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves arise, You still them.” Psalm 89:9

“For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea…He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.” Psalm 107:25, 29

“Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His son’s name? Sure you know!” Proverbs 30:4

Just like I couldn’t see my eyeglasses that were right in front of my eyes, the disciples couldn’t see the Messiah, despite the many miracles He had already performed in their presence. Apparently they didn’t know the Scriptures well enough to be aware of the passages that God was in control of the wind and the waves. So they were afraid and feared that God didn’t care and wouldn’t keep them from drowning, when God the Father would obviously not allow His Holy Son to die before it was His time to suffer on the Cross for humanity’s sin.

If you are a child of God (born-again), take heart. Jesus knows the boat you are currently traveling in on the river of life. When the time comes, He will either calm the storm or get you safely to the other shore through the storm. It helps greatly to read the Bible and get to know God better and how He loves you. His Word gives you the knowledge to rest your faith upon.

“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you and you will honor me.” Psalm 50:15

God bless you. The current storm our nation is going through shall pass into the current of time.

Love from Dawn and Buddy.

***

If you’re afraid of death, why not allow Jesus to calm your fears? He died for your sin on the Cross and then was resurrected to give you eternal life through the power of the Holy Spirit. But He doesn’t force Himself into a relationship with you. You have to admit that you are a sinner and need God to lead your life, to give up your own way of doing things and follow Christ and His commands. If you invite Christ into your life, the Holy Spirit will enter into your heart and make you a new creation.

You see, it’s impossible to be good enough to meet God’s standards of holiness, because He demands perfection (Matthew 5:48). So Jesus came down, God in the flesh, to live the perfect life we could never live and then died for our sins in an agonizing death on a cross. He could die for your sin because He did not have to pay the penalty of death for His own sins, not having sinned.

But you have to invite Him into your life, by admitting you’re a sinner, need to be forgiven, accept Jesus’s payment for your sin by faith, and ask Him into your life, repenting and following Him by His freely given grace.

If you’ve done this just now with a sincere and honest, heartfelt prayer to God, congratulations. Please find a Bible-based church to learn more about living by faith, trusting in the finished work of Jesus at the Cross, and trusting that you are holy and righteous in His sight and have eternal life.

Or contact these godly ministries: InTouch.org, LeadingTheWay.org, or BasicGospel.net. They’ll have staff and resources to get and keep you on the right path.

There are too many false teachers out there, so you must get good, sold Christian teaching to start out on the right path.

God bless you.

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