The Delivery Business

Colossians 1:13 (Weymouth New Testament), “It is God who has delivered us out of the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us into the Kingdom of His dearly-loved Son,”

God is in the delivery business. I know, in the past I have said that He is in the “Family business: saving souls” but this is still a branch of the family business!

We recently started a business of our own. We specialize in expedited (you needed it there yesterday) delivery. People contact us because they have a load that the customer wants ASAP and we can get it there fast in our little sprinter van. So maybe I have had delivery on my mind. However, the month of January our church always goes on a corporate fast (and prayer time). During one of those times of praying and listening, this thought popped into my head, “God is in the delivery business” followed by this scripture in Colossians. Soon I couldn’t even stop the thoughts that bombarded me. I am going to share a few.

God has delivered me!

Out of darkness and into the light. II Corinthians 5:1 (NIV), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

From my past. “Philippians 3:13 KJB), Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”

From fear. I John 4:18 (NASB), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

From sickness (including tumors, anxiety, and some ugly stuff you don’t want to hear about.) I Peter 2:24 (NIV), “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

God has delivered to me:

Forgiveness. I John 1:19 (KJB), “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Blessings. Ephesians 1:3 (NASB), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

Mercy. Jude 1:2 (NLT), “May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.”

 

Grace. I Corinthians 15:10 (NIV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”

Wisdom. James 1:5 (KJB), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

I am sure there is more to be found. I sure love to think of the Father hand delivering all of these wonderful things to me. A personal gift. Free of charge.

Now, our company, JW Expedited LLC, delivers for money, our purpose and motivation is to please the customer so that we get paid well.

God’s motive? Love.

Frail No More

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Proverbs 23:7a (ASV), “For as he thinketh within himself, so is he:”

Years ago, in my early twenties, a doctor spoke these words over me, “You are like a frail and fragile flower.” At the time, I was going through some health issues and feeling like a weakling. These words flew into my mind and quickly my heart agreed, “Yes I am like a flower! I am fragile.” I finally felt like I was validated in some way. Of course this was a self fulfilling prophecy and for years I struggled with health issues, anxiety, and stress. Like a fragile flower petal, life crushed me over and over. Unlike that fragrant rose petal that lets off a wonderful aroma when crushed, I stank! Life was about me, my sickness, my symptoms, my anxiety, my fears, my, me, mine… You get the picture.

Thank God for deliverance and healing, for sending His Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth. I have been free from that mess of a life for years now, but just this morning while listening to the message at Church, God reminded me of those ugly words spoken over me years ago. I never related those words to my constant struggle with life until just this morning! Maybe God was waiting for me to be stronger, or maybe I am just hard headed. However, now I recognized that lie of Satan coming through the foolish words of that doctor. As those words came to my remembrance, I rebuked that lie and this truth rose up in me- “I am not frail! I am a woman with a sword! I have been trained and equipped, I have the full armor of God, and I am battle ready. ”

Proverbs 23:7 explains this phenomenon, how we think about ourselves, what we choose to believe in our hearts, that’s who we become! That is pretty scary isn’t it? How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought, “I hate my hair/or chin/or nose/or whatever?” Or said to yourself, “My life sucks,” “my kids never listen,” “My husband doesn’t care,” and the list can go on and on. We even confess quite frequently, “I don’t feel good.” An older visiting preacher, who has gone on to be with the Lord, once told us that he got up every morning and looked in the mirror and said, “You look good, you feel good.” Then he would echo within himself, “We feel good, we look good!” He was rarely sick. We need to take a lesson from Dave Duel, and from the author of proverbs 23. We need to line up our heart thinking with what God says about every situation and about ourselves (about Him as well) and not allow any foolish thinking to take place.

Have you already latched onto a lie like I did? Well, it’s never too late. Repent, rebuke that thought, and thank God for tearing down that stronghold. Then change the way you think!

Luke 6:45 (NIV), “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Fill your heart with good! Fill it with the Truth, with His word. Then that will come out.

I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world! Amen!

Book Review for “An Exalted Depravity”- Christian YA Dystopian

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What the book is about:

“Amendment Thirty to the Constitution of the United States of America: The education of young American persons between the ages of five years and twenty years shall hereby and indefinitely lay in the hands of the United States government. Any form of alternative schooling without government sanction shall not be permitted.

It all started with the rebellion. Teens in the streets, throwing bricks through every storefront, slashing every tire, and beating any stranger who looked at them twice. But sometimes the solution is worse than the problem. This is the lesson Zak learns after being ripped from his humble family and thrown into a new school, where open sexuality reigns and chastity is a vice.

There, the question in his mind remains: what exactly is the cost of discipleship?”

My Review:I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am a fan of Logan Judy, so when he offered me a copy of his latest book I accepted. I loved this YA dystopian book. This one had a whole new take on dystopian. I found it very relevant and couldn’t help thinking of “Brave New World” as I read it. The story is set in a society that is void of morals with a government that thinks they can do a better job raising the children than their own parents.  A must read for Christian teens! I give it five stars, and am looking forward to more of this series. Though this clearly is book one, it could be read alone. No swearing. There is a lot of talk of sexual contact, but not in a graphic way, only as a description of societies values. Some violence and bullying. Though geared for teens, I think any adult dystopian fan (like me) would like it.

 

Hard Stuff

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II Peter 1:5-9 (NASB), “for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

Life is tough, living in this fallen world isn’t always easy, and we have an enemy who loves to tempt our fleshly nature to take over. On top of all of that, sometimes we are just plain stupid and we do stupid things, think stupid thoughts, and say stupid words. One of my favorite quotes is a John Wayne quote: “Life if hard, it is even harder when you are stupid.”

That kind of stupid can only be fixed by one kind of education, educating yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit, in the word. Finding out who God really is and how He thinks of you. Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a Christian keeps you from living a life that is harder than it has to be.

I Corinthians 10:13 (NIV), “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Sure we all go through stuff, hard stuff, ugly stuff, and unwanted stuff. Stuff happens! We don’t get to choose what we are handed, but we do get to choose how we handle it. I want to learn from my mistakes, don’t you? In fact I would prefer to learn from other’s mistakes and not have to deal with it in a close and personal way, but sometimes I am hard headed and hard hearted and God allows me to go through the fire to get rid of the junk. When I do, if I really surrender to Him, I come out looking, feeling, and living better. The dross is skimmed off of the top and all that is left is the precious metal. Like silver and gold that goes thru the furnace so that it can be purified, I come out stronger, with more faith, and more confidence in the Father.

Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to so that our lives get better. We stand in the gap for a loved one (or an enemy). We do the job no one wants, we work out things in our lives that shouldn’t be there, when the easy thing is to just pretend it isn’t there. We tell others when we mess up, we confess our sin, we repent, turn back to God and move on. I choose to obey God, to follow instructions, to submit to those in authority over me because they watch over my soul.

When I do this I grow up, I mature. My weaknesses are shored up, and my strengths are used for His glory.

Today I will do what others want so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” – Football player Jerry Rice

We all go through the same stuff, but in Christ, we don’t lose our joy over it.

The Law Couldn’t Change Me

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Galatians 2:21 (NLT), “I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

I knew at a very early age that I wasn’t what I wanted to be. Sure, maybe dreams of being an astronaut, a ballerina, and a rock star weren’t exactly part of the purpose God had for me, but at the time they felt like something attainable. I did know I was destined for greatness. I just didn’t know how to get there. My legs were too short for ballet, my stomach couldn’t handle the tilt-a-whirl, let alone outer space, and my voice was less than stellar. So where did that desire for greatness come from?

From God.

He has purposes and plans for each one of us that would either excite us to delirium, or scare us enough that we would hide in a closet the rest of our lives. We are destined for greatness.

I Corinthians 2:7 (Weymouth New Testament), “But in dealing with truths hitherto kept secret we speak of God’s wisdom–that hidden wisdom which, before the world began, God pre-destined, so that it should result in glory to us;” (emphasis mine)

We are pre-destined for glory. His glory will be revealed in us! When Jesus returns we will be just like Him.

I John 3:2-3 (NSASB), “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is and everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

That is the reason He came. The law couldn’t change us into the image of Jesus. In fact Paul calls the law, “The law of sin and death.” Jesus had neither in Him. Jesus is full of the Father’s love. When we accept that love, then we are changed. Not by outward conformance, but by inward repentance. The word repentance actually means “to change”. We change the way we think, how we see God, how we see ourselves, and what we think of others, by accepting the finished work of Jesus. We change from the path to hell to the path to life. We become more like Him. His blood justified us, that is something the law could never do. At best it covered our sin, it never wiped it all away.

Galatians 2:16 (KJB), “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

If then, we have been changed by the blood of Christ, and by His great love, why would we ever want to go back to the law again? Why would we expect others to live a performance based existence? That would make us just like the some of the early Jewish Christians who wanted the gentiles to adhere to the law. But, Paul’s answer still resonates today:

Acts 15:10 (NLT), “So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear?”

The whole reason for the law was because of the hardness of men’s hearts, because of the fall of mankind. God did it to protect the whole race. That is the same reason we have some of the same laws today, don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t mistreat children, etc. They are for protection. Now under grace, those who have accepted His atonement for our sin, those of us who know His love, don’t need a law to tell us not to kill, steal, and destroy. We know those are the actions of the enemy and we don’t want no part of that. We also don’t need laws to tell us how to dress, what to eat, or where to live. We allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in these areas. If we had such laws, most of us wouldn’t be able to live up to them!

So we certainly can’t expect others to conform to any weird laws we have made up in our own imagination to prove that they are truly saved.

When we surrender our hearts to the Father, then real change takes place. Changing a habit, changing what we say and do, by self-work, either won’t last, or it will cause pride. True, inside, heart change only happens through the love of God and the work of the Holy Spirit (and neither of those ever come by force!).

The law can’t change us, at least not for the better.

Praise God, His love can!

Book Review for “The Land’s Whisper”- Fiction/Fantasy

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I was given a copy of “The Land’s Whisper” in exchange for an honest review. This is a very well written fantasy. At first some of the language and names had me a little confused, however after a bit of reading I was able to work out what was meant. (in example measurements of miles and time were given fiction names). After finishing the kindle version I found the definitions in the back, so that might be a good place to start. The main characters are flawed and fleshed out. The story had me crying and laughing, and some places just plain cringing. There is no swearing or sexual content. There is torture and violence. It is after all a story of good versus evil. I give it five stars and can’t wait until the next book is out. Though it is part of a series, it has a clear ending. I give it five stars. I loved it.

Then They Will Know

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Ezekiel 39:28 (KJB), “Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there.”

All through the book of Ezekiel God uses this phrase, “Then they will know that I am God.” Some may have a few words added like “The Lord God” or “Sovereign Lord” but they all say the same thing I started counting in the seventh chapter and gave up. Over and over again God uses these words as He is explaining to Ezekiel what He is doing, what Ezekiel needs to do, and what the prophet needs to tell the people. All of this takes place during the exile to Babylon.

I have often pondered the events that took place in Jerusalem all those years ago. At first glance, it seemed that God was a tad cruel. After a few readings I began to understand a little better. After years of reading through the Bible, I began to side with God, feel deep sorrow in my heart for His spurned love and care. Eventually I understood as much as I am able, of why He allowed His chosen people to go as slaves into other countries.

Let’s take a look at Ezekiel 16:4-14 (NASB),

“As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.   When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you numerous like plants of the field. Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare.  Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands and a necklace around your neck. I also put a ring in your nostril, earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you,” declares the Lord GOD.”

Who is He talking about? Unfaithful Jerusalem. His chosen people. Unwanted, cast out to die, picture a baby still with its umbilical cord attached thrashing, hungry and cold in its own blood, in the garbage dump. Unloved! Then along came the Creator of the Universe and chose them. While they were in that state …He loved them. He had compassion. He cleaned them up, dressed them, covered their shame, and decked them out in jewels. Till they were exceedingly beautiful! What a perfect picture of Perfect Love. It’s better than any fairytale and more romantic than any novel, so we expect a happy ending for Jerusalem, right? The “she loved Him for all of her days, thankful for all that He had done for her.” Let’s keep reading.

Ezekiel 16:15- 22(NASB), “But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame, and you poured out your harlotries on every passer-by who might be willing. You took some of your clothes, made for yourself high places of various colors and played the harlot on them, which should never come about nor happen. You also took your beautiful jewels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images that you might play the harlot with them. Then you took your embroidered cloth and covered them, and offered My oil and My incense before them. Also My bread which I gave you, fine flour, oil and honey with which I fed you, you would offer before them for a soothing aroma; so it happened,” declares the Lord GOD. Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had borne to Me and sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter? You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols by causing them to pass through the fire. Besides all your abominations and harlotries you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare and squirming in your blood.”

What? No way. After all this great Lover did for her, she cheated on Him! Can you feel a little righteous anger rising up in you? Can you see things from the eyes of the one who was spurned, mocked, laughed at, and stolen from? Now before we get all self-righteous… He is also writing about me. You. His Church. The Bride of Christ. Weren’t we unwanted, unloved, cast out to die, hungry, and cold wallowing in our own blood, our own filth, in the refuse heap. Then along came the Lover of our souls. Yet, while we were in that condition He loved us. He had compassion. He saw something in us that no one else did. He cleaned us up, dressed us, covered our shame, decked us out in jewels. Till we were exceedingly beautiful.

Our own sin took us there, that awful place where the unwanted, used up, garbage goes. He took us out of the dump and placed us in a palace. He exchanged our ugly garments stained in dirt and blood and dressed us in robes of praise. He did that.

Jesus said that those who were forgiven much, loved much. Yet look at Israel. They turned their backs. How could they? They didn’t really know who their Lover was. When we know Him, really truly, know Him, we won’t leave. Never. We will be like Job and when those around us say, “curse God and die” we will reply, “I know that my redeemer lives, and even if He slays me, yet will I praise Him!” Job lived before grace, so did those adulteress Israelites, but even now under such glorious, scandalous grace, people still turn away from Him. If only they understood how much He loves them. If only they realized that no matter how “green” things look on the other side of the fence, it’s all lies, an illusion, its mirrors and parlor tricks by our enemy to lure us away. Or no matter how rough the path we are on looks, it’s His way. He planned it, He knows where it ends, and He walks with us.

Even after all of Israel’s sin. He saved a few faithful. His word did not return void. Some “knew that He was Lord” because of all they witnessed. Shouldn’t all of His goodness cause us to say, “I know that He is God, He truly is my Lord, the Lover of my soul?”

He will gather them back, if you stray, He will call for you, asking you to come back to Him.

But, the best plan would be to never leave, to remain faithful to your first love, to love Him all the days of your mortal life and for eternity beyond this one. To dedicate yourself to pleasing Him, to showing His love to others, to proving how much you love Him by word deed. It may be lawful for us to do anything under grace, but the question shouldn’t be “is it legal” but “does it please Him?” Don’t run away from the best thing that ever happened to you. Let yourself be “exceedingly beautiful” under His love. Show the world your beauty. It will glorify Him.

Then they will know… that He is Lord.