The lunar New Year started on the 25th. Completed this update a few days late due to lugging boxes out of storage wore me out each day.
Have a great year!
Love, Dawn and Buddy
PS. Have a Gouda year!
The lunar New Year started on the 25th. Completed this update a few days late due to lugging boxes out of storage wore me out each day.
Have a great year!
Love, Dawn and Buddy
PS. Have a Gouda year!
I am progressively moving boxes out of my storage unit into my condo. I am not a strong person so I don’t want to transport and carry the boxes up the stairwell into my home in one day, so am doing it a few at a time till my intended move-out date.
Buddy insists on coming with me in the car and particularly enjoys visiting my storage unit. I have no idea why he enjoys it but he seems to like to observe what I am doing.
I don’t want Buddy to get knocked on the head, so I usually rope him to the adjacent unit, leaving my keys nearby for him to guard. This time, I also left my cellphone next to him. Usually I don’t bring my phone with me and but usually leave it in the car, but I thought, “What if I get locked in down there (my unit is in the basement) and need to call for help?” So I took it along.
After removing several boxes and setting them onto my cart, I locked the unit and then untied Buddy. I was preoccupied with Buddy and forgot my phone on the cement floor.
Later that night, I wanted to make a phone call and realized that I did not have my phone. I looked everywhere. By then it was dark and I had to use a flashlight to investigate the ground around my condo; I looked several times everywhere that I had walked Buddy with no luck. It was nowhere in my car nor my condo.
After searching for a few hours, I got confused and couldn’t recall where I’d last held or seen the phone. I kept praying and asking God about it.
This verse came to mind while praying: “Do not be anxious about anything,…”. Apostle Paul admonished the Philippians in his letter, verse 4:6, not to worry but to trust God.
I asked the Lord to give me a new idea of where to look as I’d run out of ideas and He knew where it was. The image of my cell phone on the floor by my storage unit came to mind. I’d thought I’d picked it up but as I’d said above, confusion had already set in, particularly as I was tired from being anxious.
I pictured Jesus in the boat, sleeping peacefully and trusting God even though the boat was being swamped with water because of an unusually severe storm on the lake. That is how I should have slept, nice and peaceful trusting that the situation was in God’s hands.
But I didn’t sleep peacefully, trusting in God.
You see, I was worrying about all the photos of my adorable Buddy on my phone that I had not yet downloaded and may never see again. And the cost of purchasing a new phone when I wanted to wait for Apple to upgrade their current phone to the G5 network.
I was worrying, even though I knew I shouldn’t.
Hebrews 11:1 defines what faith is:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
One of my favorite verses in Psalms is 57:2:
“I will cry to God Most High, to God Who accomplishes all things for me.”
As I was praying, God had already reassured me not to worry and had given me an image of where the phone was. But because I could NOT SEE the phone in my hot little hand, I lacked faith that all was well. Unlike Jesus, I fretted and didn’t sleep well. As a result, I woke up the next day exhausted and not able to accomplish the task I’d set myself for the day before attending an evening class.
Thank goodness that God is forgiving when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9). I confessed my lack of faith, knowing that Jesus had already taken the punishment for my sin on the cross. God was not going to punish me for my lack of faith.
I had punished myself by fretting.
And, yes, the next morning, after the storage unit had reopened for the day, I found my cell phone exactly where the Holy Spirit had already revealed it was to me during prayer. No one had picked it up and made off with it.
You can bet that I started downloading my Buddy photos that same night.
Please remember that God accomplishes all things for those who love Him. He loves His children and helps them in times of trouble. He never promised a problem free life but to assist us when trouble comes.
God bless you this year in 2020.
Love from Dawn and Buddy
God loves and helps His children. But the Apostle John makes it clear in the gospel of John, verses 1:12-13:
“But as many as received Him (Christ Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born…of God.”
Every human being is a creation of God, but not a child of God. Therefore, if you are not born again (John 3:1-3), ie. do not believe in Christ, you cannot claim God’s promises in the Bible. Because God is loving, He does a lot of good for people who do not know or love Him, but God’s revealed promises in the Bible cannot be claimed.
Why not start the New Year with a new 2020 vision of your future by praying the below prayer of faith:
Dear Father, I confess that I have sinned and fallen short of your righteous standards. I deserve Your judgment. But Jesus, God in the flesh, died on the Cross to take the punishment for my sin that I deserve. Please forgive my sin and make me a new creation in Christ by circumcising my heart by the Holy Spirit. I want to be born again.
If you are truly repentant, the Holy Spirit will abide in you and make you complete in Christ, connecting you to God. Please find a godly, Bible-based church to learn about, and grow, in Christ. I also recommend the radio and TV ministries of Charles Stanley (InTouch.org), Michael Youssef (LTW.org), and Basic Gospel (BasicGospel.net).
Have a great year as a new believer!
As Buddy was abused before I rescued him through Silky Terrier Rescue, I have usually rely upon the more modern approach of dog obedience: praise every time he does something correct. The only time I use more harsh methods is if he is in immediate danger, like trying to get under my legs when I’m driving down the freeway. He is generally a good-natured and sweet boy who, though willful like most terriers, is fairly well-behaved.
This is merely my opinion, but I believe that when the Church is in imbalance, it gives an opportunity for bad teaching to enter.
When the Church is overly focused on rebuking, rather than, praising/encouraging believers.
“…our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”–Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:4-6
Under the Old Covenant, before Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins and resurrected to raise us into new life with Him, people were made right with God through following a set of rules for living, as detailed in the Old Testament Law given to the Jewish people through Moses. This is the “letter” that “kills” referred to by Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians. The Old Covenant Law was given to show humanity their complete inability to follow it perfectly, to prove their need for a New Covenant through the blood of a someone who could totally fulfill the rules 100%: Jesus Christ, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Shortly after leaving Egypt during the Great Exodus, the Jewish people promised Moses that they would obey all that God commanded and worship Him only, but they couldn’t even keep their promise long enough to wait for Moses to return from the mountaintop before creating a golden calf to worship and dance before. They weren’t lying: they just couldn’t obey because as, unredeemed people, they didn’t have the Holy Spirit to assist them.
What I have found, after being a Christian for 30 years now, is that many pastors are very good at rebuking and exhorting the people of their congregations. But not so good at encouraging them. I think the reason is that they are eager for the people to obey God and be a positive influence in their city and culture, to stand out in a godless society to help lead others into a relationship with the Lord.
But, this is my opinion, most pastors are not trusting the Holy Spirit within each believer to lead and guide them “in the paths of righteousness”. So they tend to focus on preaching that people should obey the Law and not so much on encouragement–or how to do so.
But Apostle Paul made it clear, not only in the above verses from Corinthians, that the Law kills, but that we do not grow in sanctification, i.e. become more godly people in our walk with God–by obeying the letter of the Law but by focusing on Christ.
One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is from Galatians, where the Apostle Paul rebukes the Galatians for trying to obey the Old Testament Law instead of following the guidance of the Holy Spirit:
“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are so you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, as you now being perfected by the flesh?”–Galatians 3:1-3
Apostle Paul was pointing out that the Christian believer came into fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the Old Testament Law. They had witnessed the Holy Christ die for their sins. They received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit by believing in Christ’s sacrifice for their sin, not by following the Old Testament Law. Paul pointed out that they were to walk in faith, to trust in Jesus as their righteousness, and not in how well they could obey.
I hope you are still following me here. The prosperity preachers focus on God’s blessings and encouragement of believers because too many preachers are focused on exhortation, leaving many persons feeling dispirited and discouraged after a sermon. I’m not advocating that pastors should never rebuke or talk about God’s standards. But they need to balance out their rebuke and call to holy living with positive messages.
Many pastors focus on what the believer can do FOR God. They make the Gospel bad news because, after a person is convicted of their sin, convinced that they are unholy in their behavior, the new believer is exhorted that they have to try really hard to meet those impossible standards.
But the Gospel isn’t bad news: It’s good news.
It’s about what Jesus DID. The focus is on God and not on us.
God initiates a relationship with us and we receive it by His grace as a freely given gift (Ephesians 2:8-10). We cannot earn it.
Charles Spurgeon, the great Victorian preacher in London, got the balance just right, in my opinion. His focus was not on what the believer could do FOR God, but always on what we can do BECAUSE OF Jesus. We are victorious BECAUSE JESUS has already won the victory over sin, death and Satan at the Cross. We can walk in the newness of life BECAUSE JESUS took our sins upon Himself and crucified them on His Cross.
When I was a young believer, I got involved in an ungodly relationship with a nonbeliever. The Holy Spirit made me horrendously miserable in my soul till I gave up the relationship. God also sat a pastor next to me during an airplane trip who gently rebuked me. The Great Shepherd kept His promise to keep me on that path of righteousness for His namesake. The pressure of the Holy Spirit was reinforced by the pastor, but without God’s pressure In my soul–my desire to obey God because I had become a “slave of obedience” (Romans 6:16)–the rebuke wouldn’t have “stuck”.
It’s about Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit. It’s not about us.
It’s about God keeping His promise, as our great Shepherd, to lead us and guide us.
Let the true Church get back into balance: rejecting the false promises of the prosperity teachers and encouraging the believer to walk by faith alone in Christ alone.
Let’s keep the focus on Jesus, the eternal God, and get it off ourselves.
“And, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”–Jesus, John 12:32
Lift up Jesus.
If you don’t know Jesus, why not ask Him to reveal Himself to you? If you are sincere, He will, because He loves you and wants you to be in a relationship with Him. How He does this is as individual as each of us are.
I’ve been absent for several months as firstly, I had foot surgery, then spent a week in Alaska with no Internet service, then packed and moved from Washington State to Arizona. It was an exhausting move for both Buddy and I to our new home, more so than I had expected. I hope to be back on track now.
I very much appreciate your reading my blog. I hope today’s blog is helpful to you. Though the language is more florid than we are accustomed to nowadays, I heartily encourage you to read some of Pastor Spurgeon’s sermons. Particularly his sermons on spiritual warfare. You’ll feel even more impassioned about what Christ has done for you.
For some reason Buddy loves to watch me vacuum the rugs and wash the vinyl floors. He doesn’t do anything but just sit and watch (or get in my way, occasionally). I don’t understand what he finds so endlessly fascinating, but I can always count on him to be there.
One of the verses I treasure when I feel discouraged is Hebrews 13:5: “for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.'” I often say it out loud when I feel downhearted and thank the Lord for being with me. (Probably quoted from Isaiah 41.)
But in writing this blog, I realize that I often don’t quote the next verse, which is also one to treasure, verse 6:
“so that we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will an do to me?'”
I don’t believe that anyone has a life without its sorrows or problems: They are just different, dependent upon your circumstances.
Jesus promises us in John 16:33 a tough time in life, but to be of good cheer:
“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.”
I realized, after reading a short excerpt from Martin Luther about expecting trouble in life, that I DO expect life to be smooth–to never have to overcome any problems or have trials or sorrows. But that is not reality.
The dictionary defines to “forsake” as being abandoned in time of trouble. (I use the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.)
What God promises is to be with us when we have problems in life and to help us to endure with the right attitude or to overcome. Paul and Silas could sing hymns and praise God in prison because they trusted that God was with them (Act 16:25). When you are born-again, the Holy Spirit indwells you and is ALWAYS with you. You are never going through any circumstance in life alone.
God not only helps us endure but can give us the strength to overcome the circumstance:
“In my distress I called upon the Lord and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple and my cry for help before Him came into His ears…For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall…The God who girds me with strength…”–King David, Psalm 18:6, 29,32a
Please note that Paul and Silas had their focus on the Lord and not their imprisonment by singing and praising God, despite their harsh circumstance. And David was able to overcome his enemies by praying firstly, then acting.
Praise and prayer to the God who always with you is your winning combination.
Love from Dawn and Buddy
The Lord promises to be there for the believer. But if you are not a believer, you cannot always count on God to come through for you. Because He is a loving god, He often helps those who call upon Him, even if they again turn away. I truly believe that, on Judgment Day, unbelievers are going to be told how many times God in Christ intervened in their lives to protect them and they chose to ignore Him. Please don’t ignore Him any longer. He loves you but cannot be in a relationship with you unless you admit that Jesus is the Lord God, came in the flesh, died to take the punishment for your sin and then was raised bodily from the dead to give you eternal life. Please ask Him into your life by acknowledging your sin and your need for His salvation so that you can begin to reap the benefits of a loving relationship with the Almighty Savior.
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
*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).
There’s been several times when Buddy has fought me while I’ve been trying to hold him to ensure that he lands safely: whether placing him in this washtub in the laundry room to check that he doesn’t have an injury to his back paw and wash it clean or when I try to place him on the ground in the garage after a drive in my car. He spreadeagled himself across the laundry tub tonight and he often fights me to leap out of my arms onto the carport, instead of trusting me to hold him tightly and guarantee he has a safe landing on the concrete.
This verse is one of my favorites and has sustained me emotionally in many an unstable or frightening situation:
“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”–Isaiah 41:10
And “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand. Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'”–Isaiah 41:13
God makes these statements after reminding His people through the prophet Isaiah that He is omnipotent, omniscient and cannot be conquered.
He loves us and carries us close to His heart as our great Shepherd. Isaiah 40:11
He needs no counsel. Isaiah 40:13
The nations are as nothing compared to His power. Isaiah 40:15
No judge or ruler can defeat Him. Isaiah 40:25
He is so powerful that He created the stars, sustains them and calls these many myriad celestial bodies by name. Isaiah 40:26
He has no equal. Isaiah 40:25
He never becomes tired. Isaiah 40:28
He gives strength to the weary. Isaiah 40:29
He gives power to those who lack it. Isaiah 40:29
He is impossible to understand (in other words, He cannot be tricked). Isaiah 40:28
If you are born-again, you can be assured that, regardless of whatever situation you are currently finding yourself in, God is with you and can guarantee a safe landing–if you don’t try to wrestle out of the safety of His might arms.
Please don’t reject His ways and try to solve your problem apart from His godly wisdom. It may not seem like it at first, but eventually you’ll be glad you followed Biblical wisdom and counsel, instead of doing what felt right emotionally or succumbed to what the culture said was right. I can verify this statement from personal experience–positive and negative.
Another favorite verse of mine:
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now I keep your word.”–Psalm 119:67
A wrong reaction can make a bad situation, worse.
God bless you. From Dawn and Buddy
I lost five good friends and one relative during the period November 23, 2018 through April 9th, 2019. The last death was a bit of a shock and I felt rather depressed, mourning my elderly friend’s death. Several times I got to share the gospel with him before he passed on–the last time was several hours before a massive stroke incapacitated him and led to his death two days later. Between the efforts of his cousin and I, I think he made it to Heaven by God’s grace, giving him the extra months to come to salvation. I’m looking forward to seeing my friend again one day.
Do you have the hope of reuniting with your loved ones in Heaven? Please consider Jesus, Who died to pay the penalty for your sins, a penalty demanded by a Holy God, and was raised to life to give us eternal life by the power of the Holy Spirit, the seal of our promise of eternity (Ephesians 4:30). Why not invite Him to reveal to you how much He loves you right now?
I hope to be more regular with my blog posting throughout the summer. Thanks for reading.
Revealing to my followers another side of myself: cartooning. I was thrilled last year when I discovered there was a National Packrat Day so that I finally had a use for this cartoon I drew years ago.
I learned that my identify does not rest in my talent. I am not a cartoonist. I am a Christian who does cartooning. First and foremost I am a child of God. But I’m thankful for this talent He has given me as it has provided me with endless hours of amusement and some cheer to others.
Have a ratty day!