Archives

Wagging Tail, 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Buddy.Wagging

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).

 

 

 

Advertisements

Ghosts, Luke 16:26

BuddyWithSkeletons.WP

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

Buddy.prayer.WP

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.

What Passover Means to Christians, Exodus 11:13

BuddyInHutch.WP

Buddy likes to hide in his cubicle which gives him the illusion of being safe. He doesn’t realize that he’s only safe because we choose not to intrude upon his “safe space”. We could easily pull him out of the cube or pick it up and drop him out of it.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Old Testament, Moses was sent by God to lead the Israelites out of bondage to the ancient Egyptians and into the Promised Land (modern Israel is only a tiny portion of this original territory). With each refusal of Pharaoh to let the people go, God sent a plague which was a judgment against each Egyptian God, proving that He was far more powerful. The last and final judgment was the most severe: God would kill the first born son of everyone in Egypt, including the cattle.

However, a family could be spared this judgment by slaying an unblemished male lamb and “take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses…”(Exodus 11:7)  The passover meal was to be eaten that same night the destroying angel came to strike the firstborn.

“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”–Exodus 11:13

The people were spared, not because they were holier than anyone else or because they were more deserving by their good behavior, not to have the avenging angel visit their home; they were spared if they BELIEVED what God said, that Judgment was coming, and placed the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. When the destroying angel saw the blood on the house, He would PASSOVER the house. Their response by believing and acting on the warning spared their family the death of the firstborn. The innocent lamb died instead.

This mighty night symbolized the coming of the perfect Lamb of God Who would live a blameless life and die for our sins on the Cross. ‘The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!'”–John 1:29 God sent His own firstborn Son to die in our place.

We are spared the judgment of God for our sins on Judgment Day when the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on the doorposts of our hearts. When God sees our belief in Christ and His sacrifice for our sin, He PASSES OVER us in judgment and declares us righteous.

There is no other way to escape our judgment for our sin but to believe in Jesus and His sacrifice in place for our sin. We don’t work or earn our way into Heaven, because the standard is too high: We can never meet it.

People call Christianity too exclusive or unfair. It’s not fair that Christ had to die for our sin, set aside His divinity, and die when he had never done anything evil to deserve punishment. He never rejected us; humankind rejected His rule and authority and fellowship with Him. It’s fair because everyone, no matter who they are or where they are or how old they are, need only humble themselves by admitting their need for a Savior.

“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.”–Ephesians 1:8-9

Only God is perfect and only God could meet the standard of perfection to enter Heaven.

“You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Jesus, Sermon On The Mount, Matthew 5:48

Have a blessed Easter.

Love from Dawn and Buddy

***

It’s true. To rejoice in God’s mercy on Judgment Day, you need only humble yourself, confessing that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior to pay the penalty for your sin, and believe. Please say the below prayer if you’d like:

Dear Lord, I confess that I’ve fallen far short of the standard required to enter Heaven and live in eternity with You in great joy. I believe that Jesus lived a blameless life, was crucified to pay for my sins, and rose from the dead, proving that His sacrifice was accepted by the Father. I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and rose bodily from the grave. Please save me and grant that the Holy Spirit enter my heart so that I’ll be born-again. Please grant me eternal life and walk with me throughout this life. Teach me Your ways.

If you prayed this prayer, please find a Bible-believing Church and get a Bible in some form to grow in a knowledge of God. Congratulations on starting your eternal life.

 

 

Evil for Evil, 1 Peter 3:9

Buddy.Looking.WP

I have an elderly neighbor named Fran that loves Buddy, so we try to visit him most nights so that he can have some dog time. His daughters have been visiting and brought a little Chihuahua-Chow mix with them called Sammy. Sammy is one pound of fur, one pound of dog and a hundred pounds of nasty. He growled and snapped at Buddy’s nose when Bud walked over to him to say “Hi”.

Now Buddy considers Fran’s house his second home. Sammy is an interloper. But how did Buddy respond to having his nose nipped? Surprise. He didn’t snap back, growl or attack the little runt. Everyone in the household enthusiastically declared what a sweet dog Buddy is.

Now, as you can see, Buddy has a better attitude than I do. I was not at all happy that this “little runt” attacked my dog. I love Buddy and am very protective of him. But he’s more noble than I am. He didn’t even bark at the dog but I feel irritated that Sammy tried to hurt Buddy.

I wish I could be more like Buddy. Both the Old and New Testaments command us to “treat others the same way you want to be treated,” Apostle Paul exhorts us to not to “return evil for evil” (Romans 12;17), and Apostle Peter wrote:

“not returning evil for evil or insult for insult but giving a blessing instead;”–1 Peter 3:9

Too often my first impulse is to retaliate when someone insults or mistreats me. Even though I know that Proverbs says, “sweetness of speech increases persuasion,” I still want to verbally thump someone who says something I think is ignorant, ill-informed, or just plain wrong.

Sometimes I think God put dogs into our lives to show us that it really is possible to be kind when others are unkind, to love unconditionally. Often Buddy shows more mercy and kindness than I do.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:44-45

When I take a moment to reflect on Jesus, I realize how the majority of people ignore or hate Him. Being omniscient, God knew that most people would reject Him, yet He still chose to give up His glorious home and restrict His divine power to live as a human being and die on a cross for our sins.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”–Romans 5:6-8

God did it so that He could turn enemies of God into children of God by removing the sin barrier between us. God cannot tolerate evil and must punish it. Yet, instead of destroying the human race, He chose instead to suffer horribly and take our punishment for our sin.

What keeps me from being kind at times is a lack of humility.

Because when I’m rude and retaliating when someone is unkind or selfish, I’m forgetting that I once was an unbeliever till God had mercy on me. Who knows what kind of person I’d be today, or what foolishness I’d believe, if Jesus hadn’t convicted me of my sins on March 7th many years ago. Or “there but for the grace of God go I” the old saying goes.

“…to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…”–Titus 3:3-5

And, sadly, what keeps people from knowing God is a lack of humility, the inability to admit that they’re sinners and need a perfect God to die on their behalf. Most people think they’re good enough to get to Heaven and don’t need someone to pay for their sins.

But God only accepts perfection to get into Heaven. “Therefore you are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:48

Personally, I know I fall short and cannot justify myself before a perfect God on Judgment Day. I just need to remind myself, before I’m tempted to “return evil for evil or insult to insult,” that God commands that I be kind, because He is kind to all.

In a rambling sort of way, what I’m saying is, that I need to be reminded to be kind when other people fall far short of how I think they should behave, because God is kind to me and accepts me as His child although I fall far short of His standards every day.

It shows how fallen I am that I even NEED to be reminded to be kind.

Thank God for His kindness and great mercy to me.

And bringing such a sweet and loving dog into my life to remind me what unconditional love really is like.

Thanks for reading and for your time. God bless you. Love from Dawn and Buddy

 

 

Discouraged, Psalm 43:5

Buddy.fur.on.nose

When I feel discouraged, cuddling Buddy really helps to lift my spirits. Another way I lift my spirits is to read the Psalms. The Psalmists were honest before God and often admitted their discouragement or fear that God wasn’t answering their prayers or dismay that He was delaying too long. But after admitting their discouragement, they’d remind themselves of God’s care for them and His faithfulness.

“Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” Psalm 43:5

After reading their raw feelings, I don’t feel so alone in my doubt and discouragement.

This wasn’t what I originally planned about blogging tonight, but I feel really discouraged. A close friend is very ill and doesn’t know the Lord. Another good friend again reminded me how far away she is from knowing Him. Sometimes I feel like giving up because it hurts too much to care about their souls. I know that Heaven and Hell are real: I had a born-again experience March 7th, 1989 and know that the Holy Spirit is real. But no matter how many hundreds (and thousands) of prayers on their behalf, there seems to be no crack in their armor.

You get discouraged? I’d like to hear some stories about God’s answer to your prayers for someone who was far away but came to know Him. Thank you.

While I wait, I’ll give Buddy some more hugs. And remind myself that I was once lost but now am found. Someone’s prayers for me were answered.