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Thank You from Dawn and Buddy

Thank you.WP

Thank you for sharing your time with me by reading my Buddy Blog. I know you could be spending your time doing other things and, instead, you spare a few minutes for my thoughts. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much. God bless you.

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Lamest Sermon Ever! Jonah 3:1-10

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I can’t say that I’m always eager to take Buddy for a walk when I return home from work. He’s always so excited to see me, however, that I “suck it up” for his sake and we trudge out into the rain and/or cold weather to please him.

Probably everyone knows the spectacular aspect of Jonah’s story, that he was swallowed by a whale. What the average person doesn’t know is why. God told Jonah to travel to Nineveh, which was in ancient Assyria, and preach that they repent of their sins or face God’s judgment. Jonah, however, hated the Ninevites because they were cruel and wicked people: He wanted God to judge and destroy them.

However, it seems that Jonah didn’t know God too well. He takes a ship to Tarshish in the opposite direction of Nineveh, to escape “from the presence of God” (Jonah 1:3). Seems he didn’t know God was omnipresent, i.e. everywhere. God tosses the ship around in a violent storm because of Jonah’s disobedience, so the crewmen reluctantly throw Jonah overboard. Here’s the big irony: The pagans did everything they could to save Jonah’s life as they didn’t want to toss him overboard to his death. When the sea suddenly calmed when Jonah hit the water, the seamen repented and acknowledged God as their savior from the storm. These pagans had more compassion on Jonah, even though he caused them great distress, than Jonah, one of God’s representatives, had on the Ninevites.

A whale swallows Jonah, saving him from drowning. After he finally repents of his disobedience after three days and nights in its belly (this was one stubborn dude), the whale vomits him up onto dry land. God then commands Jonah once again to go preach to the Ninevites to repent of their sin, “120,000 persons (Jonah 4:11).” Jonah obeys, but with a sullen attitude. He walks an entire day through Nineveh, proclaiming this greatest of all sermons:

“Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”–Jonah 3:3

That’s it. Charles Spurgeon or Martin Luther probably produced greater sermons during their sneezes.

Yet the King orders everyone to fast and put on sackcloth as a sign of repentance–even the animals were clothed with sackcloth:

“When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.’

And when God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”–Jonah 3:6-10

God loved the Ninevites, despite their wickedness, and didn’t want to destroy them. He wanted to give them a chance to repent.

Jonah was very angry that the city repented, but that’s another point for later. What I want to emphasize now is that Jesus encourages us to pray and promises to answer our prayers. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22)” But we often think that we aren’t eloquent or fervent enough to be heard, or that we aren’t important enough to warrant God’s notice or don’t know how to spin out long-winded prayers that convince God to respond. We might read the Psalms of King David and think, “I fall far short. I sound really lame compared to him.”

Our prayers may be puny or weak–or maybe just two heartfelt words, “Help, Jesus!” What we just need to do is only this: pray to the One True and Living God.

“…whatever you ask of the FATHER in MY NAME HE may give to you (John10:16b)”. Because “All authority has been given to ME (Jesus) in heaven and on earth (Mark 28:18)”. (CAPS mine for emphasis.)

The Ninevites repented because God’s power was already at work in their hearts; it was His desire to see them repent or He wouldn’t have bothered to send Jonah. He could’ve just zapped them all with fire and brimstone, like Sodom and Gomorrah, and gotten it over with.

I truly believe that Jesus was not able to do “many miracles there (Nazareth) because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58)” as the people in His hometown of Nazareth didn’t believe that He was the Lord God in the flesh, Immanuel, having lived with him since his childhood, so they didn’t ask. They didn’t realize that He was the Incarnation that the prophet Isaiah prophesied about, even though Jesus had declared Himself to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the coming Messiah in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4:17-21) at the beginning of His ministry.

About 700 years before Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, Isaiah prophesied that God would become flesh and dwell amongst us (Matthew 1:23):

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…”–Isaiah 9:6

So the point I’m trying to make is: Pray and trust God to work. The power is not in how eloquent or long or interesting your prayers are; the power flows from The Lord Of Hosts (Lord of Angel Armies) Who answers your prayers. And proclaim Christ as Lord, trusting not in your power and effort but in God’s power that works in the hearts of people.

“God rules over the nations.”–Psalm 47:8

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains; The world, and those who dwell in it.”–Psalm 24:1

“The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear…” Psalm 10:16-17

Pray your feeble prayers and trust an all powerful, loving God to answer.

***

It’s my prayer that this blog blesses you. If I was relying upon my eloquence and not the hope that God is using my words, I’d despair because I often feel like I’m falling short. God wants us to honor Him, not honor ourselves. Not because He’s arrogant but because Dawn cannot save your soul; only He can redeem you. If your prayers aren’t being answered, are you sure that you’re praying to the true and living God as depicted in the Bible? Many people deny the Deity of Christ, but He clearly instructs us to pray to the Father in His name. Would you please consider who your faith is in: yourself or Jesus, the loving Savior? The One Who died for your sins so that you don’t have to pay for them yourself on Judgment Day. Your efforts, your works–or His work?

God bless you. Dawn and Buddy

 

The Way of The World, Psalm 2:1-4,10-12

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I was going to blog about cowardice, but changed my mind due to recent current events.

I will be deeply grieved if Buddy were ever to leave me. Why? Because I love and know him.

This world, however, does not know Jesus: His might, His kindness, His mercy, His grace, His patience, His love, nor His authority. I’m sure those who know our Great Shepherd can come up with many other attributes to add to the above. As a result of not knowing Jesus, the world mocks and rejects the God of the Universe and His church. Our American society, led by the mainstream media, is progressively hostile in its attitude toward Christians and anyone who believes in the Bible.

This Psalm was written over three thousand years ago, yet accurately reflects our world today:

Why are the nations in an uproar? And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Messiah (Jesus), saying,

“Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”

He Who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them…

Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.

Worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled.–NASB version, Psalm 2:1-4, 10-12

Increasingly we see the Ten Commandments, Crosses, and other symbols of Christianity being removed in our society, or people making attempts at removing them. In Europe, hostile groups are tearing down Christmas trees or causing Christians and Jews to flee or deny them sanctuary. Recently, a group attempted to prevent Franklin Graham from entering the UK to preach the gospel. A Syrian Christian returned to Syria after immigrating to Austria, because he “felt safer” in his home country.

Although Jesus promises us freedom–freedom from sin, defeat, the devil, eternal punishment, self-destruction, negativity–the world sees Jesus and His commandments as enslavement, a “fetter” that must be “cast off” so that they can have the freedom to do whatever they want, to define their morality as they see fit, often in the disguise of a religious belief.

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

Out of love for us, God sent Jesus to suffer the punishment for our sin. Jesus is our mediator, the bridge between a perfectly holy, sinless God and imperfect humanity.

“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.”–Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 3:9

But as some point, His patience is going to run out.

Because the world does not know Him, we must tell them, out of love for their welfare, even if they don’t want to listen.

Before “His wrath is kindled…”

***

My dear reader, Jesus loves you far more than I could even possibly love my beloved Buddy. He created you and sustains you every day. He wants to be in a loving relationship with you and not be estranged from you. Could you please consider giving your heart to Him today? He wants to be your Father–and your best friend.

Wagging Tail, 1 Thessalonians 5:16

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I intended to write on another topic tonight, but when I was in the bathroom this morning, Buddy joyously greeted me with a wagging tail because I had returned from attending church. He was happy just to see me and be in my company. And it made me feel good because my dog cares about me and wants me around.

It got me thinking, “Am I happy just be in God’s company? Am I rejoicing because I’m  a child of God and know that, through my relationship with Jesus Christ, I will be “rescued from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10)? Am I enjoying God for Who He is and not just what He can give me and those I pray for? Or do in this world?

Jude says that one day I will stand before Him in the Afterlife, “blameless with great joy. (Jude 1:24).” Apostle Paul also echoes this in Colossians 1:22, “He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

Because Jesus died for my sin, I don’t have to fear approaching God. He now sees me clothed in the “righteousness of Christ” and “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103: 12).” Jesus encouraged prayer and making requests of God. To see Him as our Father, our encourager and our comforter. King David often poured his heart out to God to find comfort and strength in his suffering and travails, as written down in the Psalms. Apostle John frequently emphasized in his letters that God is love and loves us: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God (1 John 3:1).”

Apostle Peter also encouraged us to open our hearts in prayer to God, “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).”

After the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt, the Jewish people wept because of their nation’s sin which had caused God to allow the destruction of their city by the Babylonians in 586 BC. But God admonished them, telling them to rejoice instead. “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10

I know Psalm 100 by heart. But it’s time that I try harder to apply, with God’s guidance, this great Psalm’s encouragement to enjoy God:

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing…Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Because God is good and loves me, I can enjoy His presence: through prayer and giving thanks, rejoicing in my blessings, in this beautiful world and family and friends and living in a wonderful country. Instead of focusing on the hurt and trouble and evil in the world.

Or as the shorter version of the Westminster Catechism teaches:

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Have a blessed week.

***

God loves you and sent Jesus to die for your sins. You can become a child of God and enjoy His presence by admitting you are a sinner. Why must you do that? Because, when Adam and Eve ate the apple, they were telling God that they didn’t need His advice on how to live, they were going to decide it for themselves. As a result of rejecting Him, God’s Holy Spirit left the human race and so every generation has been born separated from God since. When you ask God to forgive your sin, you’re admitting to Him that you don’t have all the answers and want His guidance and presence in your life, that you want Him to be your great Shepherd and leader. Please ask Him to forgive your sins and ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit, to guide your through His Word, the Bible, on how to live this life. He’s waiting for your invitation to let Him enter into your life and heart.

“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

Please open your heart to Him for “God is love” (1 John 4:16).

 

 

 

Ghosts, Luke 16:26

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When Buddy turned 10 years old this past August, it was rather traumatic to me. It was a reminder that I won’t always have my little pal living with me, as he is in his second decade now.

I believe that there are three main reasons that people want to believe in ghosts: a morbid fascination with the occult/supernatural, a desire for proof of life after death and missing loved ones.

Before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, when the apostles were being trained by Jesus, they demonstrated a belief in ghosts. In one of the most famous stories in the New Testament, Jesus goes to the mountain to pray and leaves the apostles, so they begin to row across the sea to Bethsaida without Him. Later, during that windy night, Jesus walks toward them on the water, frightening them greatly as they believe they are seeing a ghost (Matthew 14:22-26, Mark 6:47-50). Jesus tells them they don’t need to be afraid and gets into the boat; immediately the wind stops. Yet the apostles don’t get it, that Jesus is God Who can do anything, even walk on the water. (Jesus had just earlier fed 5,000 men plus women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish.)

Jesus did NOT censure them for believing in ghosts.

True confession: I believe ghosts are real.

But they aren’t what is typically depicted in movies.

Over the years, dramatized in movies and television shows, there have been cute and friendly ghosts–“Topper”–or romantic, handsome ghosts–“The Ghost And Mrs. Muir”–and downright nasty and frightening ghosts–“The Amityville Horror”.

I love my beloved Buster, the Silky terrier who preceded Buddy, in 2009. I wish he could come visit, but he cannot. Neither can my grandmother Vera, with whom I was very close my entire life till her death in 2010.

Jesus tells the story in Luke 16:19-31 about a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus (not the one He resurrected out of the tomb). The rich man lived luxuriously while poor, suffering Lazarus lay at his gate, starving and longing for some crumbs from the rich man’s table. Lazarus was in such a wretched state that even dogs licked at his wounds.

Both men die. The rich man goes into the eternal torment of Hades while the poor man finds comfort with Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish people. (Note that the rich man may have made a great name for himself on earth but isn’t remembered by name for posterity; his efforts to be remembered didn’t last past his death.)

In the afterlife there exists a great chasm between the place of torment and the heavenly place of comfort, yet the inhabitants of both locations are capable of not only seeing one another but also communicating with each other. (I believe this changes after Judgment Day, however.) “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom (verse 23).” Although he did nothing to ease Lazarus’s suffering on earth, he dares to ask Abraham to allow Lazarus to venture down to Hades “that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame (verse 24)”. Abraham admonishes him, saying that he had lived his good life and shouldn’t expect Lazarus to come down and help him out.

But Abraham also states that it was not possible for Lazarus to come relieve the rich man’s suffering in Hades, even if he wanted to.

“Between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us (verse 26).”

There is no possibility for people, after they have died, to leave their appointed destination.

Now apparently the rich man, though totally inconsiderate of the woeful state of the poor man suffering outside his magnificent villa, must not have been totally depraved as he longed for Abraham to return to earth and warn his five brothers so that “they will not also come to this place of torment (verse 28).” Although he was suffering greatly, he still thought about the welfare of his family.

What I believe is that ghosts are demonic spirits. They will appear to be anything that a person will accept in order to enter into a person’s life to cause them harm. Satan himself will “disguise himself as an angel of light” to deceive people (2 Corinthians 11:14). If you believe in ghosts, they will appear as ghosts. If you believe in fairies, elves or genies (jinns), they will come to you in the guise of fairies, elves and genies.  If you believe in aliens, they will appear as aliens. Author and novelist Whitney Strieber, famous for his nonfiction novel, “Communion” and accompanying follow-up series of books, finally came to the conclusion, as do many paranormal investigators, that the alien phenomenon was likely the manifestation of the paranormal.

Satan enters into a person’s life “to kill, steal and destroy”, but that Jesus comes into a person’s life so that “they may have life, and have it abundantly.”–John 10:10. Apostle John warns in 1 John 4:1 not to “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Satan is a deceiver, and so are his demonic followers. Apparently there are differing levels of evil in the demons, as the most dangerous are being kept bound till they are released in the End Times to wreak havoc on earth.

People who reject Jesus become fascinated with the supernatural. They “resort to idols and ghosts of the dead and to mediums and spiritists” (Isaiah 19:3); in this verse, preoccupation with occultism is a curse from God.

God wants us to be preoccupied with Him, the source of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 6:22).

Be preoccupied with the source of life, Jesus Christ, the “author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)” who sits “in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet…” (Ephesians 1:20-22).

God bless. And if you miss a loved one who has departed from this life, may He comfort you.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

***

Jesus showed that He loves you by taking the punishment for your sin. You see, God understands that you can never measure up to His perfect standard for entering Heaven into His presence, 100% holiness, so He sent His Son to pay the penalty for what you could never pay. Please ask Jesus to be your Lord and enter into your life. Confess that you fall short and need His resurrection life. Ask Him to give you the abundant life and meaning and purpose you seek.

How to Fight Evil, Ephesians 6:10-18

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As much as we love our pets, they are not made in the image of God, as we are.

Buddy does provide me with unconditional love, his companionship, and another listening ear to keep me from feeling afraid at night when I’m alone. He would risk his life to protect me from someone far bigger and stronger than he is.

But Buddy cannot protect me from supernatural danger.

Based upon the story of the prophet Balaam and his donkey, it’s possible that the animals are able to see spiritual entities more easily than we can. (Numbers 22:21-33) But this is speculation on my part.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day…”–Ephesians 6:10-12

So what is this armor? The summary is: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). (versus 14-17)

And how do we do that? Pray (vs 18) at all times and “be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might” (vs 10).

Please note: HIS MIGHT, HIS STRENGTH. And we access His power and might through prayer, reading and memorizing the Word of God (Holy Bible), and believing what the Bible says (faith) and acting according to its instructions (obedience).

Faith in the Word of God: trusting in the hard times that God is faithful, loves us, and will keep His promises to us. Obeying and acting according to God’s ways, although sometimes it FEELS better to do something else. But we cannot know what those promises or instructions are if we aren’t reading the Bible, the source document for those promises.

The Word of God is our only offensive weapon against evil. It’s really important, in these difficult and deceptive times, to meditate upon the word of God day and night (Psalm 1:2). Its our filter to recognize lies.

Jesus gave the example of how to defeat the devil and his deception, by quoting from the Old Testament, and relying upon the Word of God when Lucifer came to tempt him after his 40-day fast. After successfully passing the three temptations, Christ began his earthly ministry (Matthew 4:1-11).

And it’s vitally important to pray that the Holy Spirit guide us before we begin reading a Bible passage. It is spiritually discerned, requiring His guidance. (I Corinthians 2:13)

The world offers lots of distractions: movies, video games, YouTube, Facebook, the Internet (blogs–EEK!), cable news, etc. that can keep us from taking some time to read the Bible.

I’m planning to blog more on these verses, but please note that in these trying times, when we see so much fake news and anti-Christian bias (and anti-Semitism) increasing in the USA, to remind ourselves not to be angry or hateful toward those who who are in bondage to untruth.

For instance, I just read this verse recently:

Apostle Paul adjures us to be “in no way alarmed by your opponents, which is a sign of destruction for them…”–Philippians 1:28

I really needed to be reminded of this admonition. When I hear the news, it’s easy for me to be alarmed. The Holy Spirit has to check my thoughts frequently some days as I get frustrated with deceived, or deliberately deceptive, people who spread lies and seem to get far more media attention than the good people trying to protect our laws and Constitution. I have to remind myself that it’s a sign of their ultimate destruction, their pending separation from God forever, and to feel sorry for them, rather than be angry, and pray for them to repent and escape judgment.

By praying for someone else in spiritual bondage, I am blessing not only the other person, but also myself: My spirit calms down and someone is getting prayed for who really needs it. Following God’s instruction is better for my health, because I’m not stressing my spirit with anger. Also, I am reminding myself, when I pray for those I feel frustrated toward, that I too was once deceived and separated from God and His life-giving Spirit, and needed mercy, before I finally believed that Jesus was Immanuel, God in the flesh (Matthew 1:23), Who died for my sins and was resurrected to give me everlasting life through the power of the Holy Spirit. It helps to humble me and not “virtue signal” or feel superior to someone else.

God bless you.

Please stay cool in these hot times.

Dawn and Buddy

PS. I do believe animals go to heaven. I’ll blog on that one day. (Revelations 5:13) And once again, where I was intending to go with this posting, I meandered elsewhere. But I pray what I should blog about before writing one word. I have to trust that this is what someone who reads this posting needs to “hear” right now.