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Courtroom in Beverly, Yorkshire, England.

The disciple, John, said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.”

But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.”  Luke 9:49,50

In a sermon, W. Clarkson says, “We are in danger of counting among our opponents those whom we should reckon as allies. It did not seem to be a service of a any particular account that a man should use the name of Jesus to exorcise demons, even though he may have had a measure of success in his attempts. But Christ said he was not to be forbidden as an outsider, but rather hailed as a friend and as an ally. What then, would he not say now of those who go so far towards the fullest declaration of his truth as many thousands do, but who remain outside the particular church with which we may be connected? Would he have us blame and brand these because they “follow not with us?”

The spirit of persecution is cruel, foolish, and emphatically unchristian. Rather, let us rejoice that there are found so many who, while not feeling it right to connect themselves with our organization, are yet loving the same Lord and serving the same cause. These are not our enemies; they are our allies.”

I like what Clarkson said. I know of how some people look down on Christians of other denominations. Not only sneer at them and their beliefs, but say they are not saved. I remember hearing in my church how “we have the truth,” and visiting a different denomination where a woman told me, “we have the truth.”

I think that is spiritual pride, and a kind of putting God in a box where he is only with the people in that box. Someone once told my husband he was not a Christian before he was baptized into my church. No, he was a Christian for a year and a half before he was baptized.

Human beings, all of us and I definitely include myself, judge other human beings constantly. That can be good or evil. We must use our judgement in deciding who to marry, who to be close friends with and who to do business with. God doesn’t want us to be blind to the faults of others. But when we judge whether someone is saved by grace or not, we move into God’s territory. Only he knows the heart of each person, and each person is on a path only God knows. He is patient. We are not. He is all loving. We are not. He is God. We are not.

 

Jesus Came for You.

I published this without any explanation. This is not the entire sermon, only a few paragraphs from it.

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Sermon by C.H. Spurgeon, 1891

“Then I said, ‘Lo, I come.”  Psalm 40:7

All religion which is not spiritual is worthless. All religion which is not the supernatural product of the Holy Spirit is a fiction. One breath from the Spirit of God withers all the beauty of our pride, and destroys the comeliness of our conceit; and then, when our own religion is dashed to shivers, the Lord Jesus comes in, saying, “Lo, I come.” He delights to come in his glorious personality, when the Pharisee can no longer say, “God, I thank thee I am not as other men”; and when the once bold fisherman is crying, “Lord, save, or I perish.”

If you feel that you need something infinitely better than Churchianity, or Dissnterism, or Methodism – in fact, that you need Christ himself to be formed in you – then to you, even to you, Jesus says, “Lo, I come.”

When man is at his worst, Christ is seen at his best. The Lord walks to us on the sea in the middle watch of the night. He draws nigh to those souls which draw nigh to death. When you part with self you meet with Christ. When no shred of hope remains, then Jesus says, “Lo, I come.”

The Lord Jesus is to come a second time; and when will he come? He will come when man’s hope is a failure. He will come when iniquity abounds and the love of many has waxed cold. He will come when dreams of a golden age shall be turned into the dread reality of abounding evil.

Do not dream that the world will go on improving and improving, and that the improvement will naturally culminate in the millennium. No such thing. It may grow better for a while, better under certain aspects; but afterwards the power of the better element will ebb out like the sea, even though each wave should look like an advance.

That day shall not come except there be a falling away first. Even the wise virgins will sleep, and the men of the world will be, as in the days of Noah, eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. On a sudden, the Lord will come as a thief in the night.

Receive him; receive him at once. Dear children of God, and sinner that have begun to feel after him, say with one accord, “Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.” If he says, “Lo, I come,” and the Spirit and the bride say Come; and he that heareth says, Come, and he that is athirst comes, and whosoever will is bidden to come and take the water of life freely; then let us join the chorus of comes, and come to Christ ourselves. “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go you out to meet him!” You who most of all need him, be among the first and gladdest, as you hear him say, “Lo, I come.”

Don’t Follow the Crowd to See Jesus on Earth.

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When I am on Christian social media, I have noticed many believe Jesus will come to earth and appear in his temple. I have read some say Jesus will walk upon the earth again for the thousand years mentioned in Revelation.

I feel inside me Jesus saying, “Warn them, warn them.” I could be wrong, but these are the thoughts I had this morning. Jesus warned us there would be false Messiahs and false prophets.

“…Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light.”  2 Corinthians 11:14  

“It (the beast) performs great signs to cause even fire to come down to earth in the presence of men.” Revelation 13:13

Like Israel misunderstood Jesus’ first coming, many Christians misunderstand Jesus’ second coming. The disciples thought the Messiah would come to fight their enemies and make Jerusalem powerful. They were taught that and they believed it.

Even when Jesus returned to heaven, the disciples were expecting to be rescued from Rome.

Acts 1:6

Then they gathered around Jesus and asked him, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He told them it is not for them to know times and dates the Father has set up.”

The teachers back then read the verses that apply to the new heaven and new earth, where righteousness dwells. They thought the Messiah would bring that to pass. God will indeed rule earth and the universe. But that will be after the holy city comes down from heaven and lands on earth, as it says in Revelation. That will be the great judgement day when the wicked are raised and punished for what they have done. The Bible says what they have done to others will be done to them. Then they will all die the second death. They will hurt others no longer.

Jesus’ followers asked him about his second coming. This is found in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. I haven’t put every verse here. We all need to read and understand for ourselves.

Luke 21

Jesus said:

25“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Matthew 24

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Revelation 1:7

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…”

Acts 1:11

“Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand looking into heaven. This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Mark 14:62 At his trial Jesus said:

“…and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 

Years ago, I had a dream. I looked out my dining room window and saw it was a desert land outside. Then thousands of people were walking past my house. I went outside to see what was happening. I looked toward where the people were walking. There was a large, beautiful, white building with pillars. There were women in front of the building dressed in white. I decided not to follow the people.

I looked out my window again and all the people were gone. I went out the door and saw the building swallowed up by the sand. It was gone and so were the people.

 

 

 

Pray When You Don’t Want To.

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I am re-reading a book by Cole Casey, a Franciscan Friar, entitled, “Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God.” He has great insights into walking with God and growth in the Christian life.

His chapter on prayer is wonderful and yet simple. He said that even though he loved God, he hadn’t made prayer a priority in his life before his first year as a friar. But when he started his lessons, one of his teachers said, “Unless prayer is the foundation for everything you do, you will not become good Franciscans.”

Here is an excerpt from his book:

“While I knew I could not control how tired, distracted, interested, comfortable or happy I was going to be during prayer, nor could I affect the outcome of the experience, I knew I could control my attendance. Within the first couple of weeks of novitiate, I made a commitment quietly sit in the chapel for thirty minutes a day. All I had to do was show up. And let me tell you: a lot of mornings, that’s all I did. There were days that getting out of bed to sit in a cold chapel was the last thing I wanted to do. There were days when I could have spent that time doing “more important” things. There were days when I was angry at God, my brothers or myself and didn’t want to deal with them. There were days when showing up, literally, was all I could have done. And yet, in the past I wouldn’t have even done that.

What I came to realize was that showing up, having fidelity to prayer, was in fact a prayer in and of itself. I found that it offered an insight into God’s fidelity to me, that God was always there, showing up for me, not because I deserved it, was particularly enjoyable to be around, or offered a fulfilling experience, but because of his commitment to my life. Showing up, even when I didn’t want to, offered me the opportunity to return that love, to emulate the God who had never failed to love me.”

Although, I have done this kind of praying for years, I hadn’t thought about how important it is that God is always showing up for me, whether I’m aware of it or not. He is right beside me, a word away, a breath away. His faithfulness to me is constant. After reading this chapter, I felt the weight of the privilege we all have in Jesus. What a wonderful and amazing God he is!

 

Nightmares of a Sexually Abused Girl. (Warning: Trigger and not so nice shit going on.)

I had a dream this morning. I don’t think I have ever shared a dream like this before, but I felt God wanted me to share it because of other women who were abused. So they don’t feel alone. So they know someone understands.

First of all, I used to have terrible nightmares for years about my father and sex. At first, I had blood on my nightgown in the dreams. This changed into excrement. So many dreams where I had poop all over myself, trying to hide it, horrified at the smell and running from people so they wouldn’t see or smell me.

In this dream, I met a wealthy, older man in Las Vegas. He was large and wore black expensive clothes. H met me through my paintings. He saw them and liked them and wanted to meet me. He encouraged me to keep painting and one day have a showing that he would finance. He was nice, but I could see he wanted to have sex with me. I became attracted to him, but he was married and so was I so I told him I had to go home and I told myself I would never see him again.

A few of my family members were there too and we had stayed at his place for a couple of days. I wanted to give the man a gift, but when I tried to do that, his nice vases and figurines got all tangled with the gift. I couldn’t untangle it and there was a huge mess in his living room because of me. I told him I would clean his house before we left.

He and my family were cleaning up when I had to go to the bathroom. I had been sweeping, but had to stop. I ran to find a bathroom and they were full so excrement was leaking down my legs. I finally found one and got poop all over the place. A man was in a room next to mine and shoved something through the wall. It was a key with a wooden piece on it that said, “Men.” I grabbed it and got poop on it and threw it on the floor. The man came in and looked at me with disgust and left. I heard the rich man call out to me, “Where are you? It’s just like your family to make a mess wherever they go! And why aren’t you helping?”

I felt so worthless and helpless. I knew he would also be disgusted with me. I walked to the door and opened it a crack and told him I was having trouble. I didn’t know I had poop smeared on my face.

He looked at me, at first with anger, and then his face softened and I saw love, forgiveness and understanding on it. I was amazed he could love me the way I looked. I woke up.

I know I had always confused God with my father. I always had the seemingly impossible task of believing God loved me. God was my father. My father was a sexual pervert and physically abusive. At church they told me over and over that God was a father. Well, I was always afraid of my father and of God.

Lately, the last few years, I’ve grown closer to God and have begun to finally see his love for me. I think the dream shows that. It is a good sign, I think. I’ve always been too embarrassed to admit I am many times covered in poop in my dreams. I felt like sharing, because I think other women may dream this too.

Right now, I am close to our dear God, but because of my mental illness, I’m not so close to my family. They love me very much, I know that, but they don’t understand me and are afraid of saying something to make me want to kill myself. Also, I talk about God all the time and I think they get bored with that and with me. I don’t think they really enjoy being with me, and I don’t blame them. I don’t enjoy myself either. Lol I get sick of my sickness.

I have no friends. I rarely leave the house because I’m afraid I might run over someone or hit another car. The traffic in my city is totally crazy. Even when I do go out, I can’t wait to come home. I seem to always say the wrong thing to people or I start sweating up a storm until it is dripping off my nose.

I have come so far in therapy with dealing with the abuse. I’m sure after reading this, you with think, “Um, No, you haven’t.” lol  But I have. I used to want to die every day. Now I usually wake up happy at the thought of spending the day with God. I talk with him and pour out my heart to him. He is everything to me. I do have small lapses, but I’m glad I’m not completely mad and in an institution somewhere.

I also think one reason I’m this crazy is my father burned my hands on a stove when I was three. I kind of left my body when that happened and have been royally fucked up ever since. BUT I got married (twice), had two beautiful girls, have a good husband, and have 7 wonderful grandchildren who love me. So, all in all, I think God has paid me, “double for my trouble,” as Joyce Meyer says. The fact I could have a semi-normal life is a very big deal and I thank God for it.

One thing about my family. Every one of us believes in God. We will all be together in heaven. I mean, that is a huge, wonderful miracle! I know my two grandmas prayed for all of us and I’m thankful for their prayers as I’m sure it made a difference. We are a stubborn, pleasure-loving family, yet God pulled us to himself by a series of calamities that made us see how stupid and wasteful it is to love this world and the things in it. We don’t care about the world any longer. We care about our family and being together in heaven. We learned the pleasures of this world end up as ashes in our hands. But the ways of God fill our hands with people to love and a glorious future.

 

A Berry Tree and Samson.

I listened to a 3-part sermon last night about Samson. I’ve never liked Samson. He seems brutish and stupid to me. I’ve always been disgusted at his behavior.

I listened to these sermons on Spotify on a podcast called, Creekside Church. I also found their sermons online at http://www.creeksidechurch.org/sermons Every sermon I’ve heard there has been terrific.

I saw something this morning that reminded me of the sermon. It was two trees located in the neighboring apartment parking lot. I love these kind of trees because in the winter, when the snow clings to their branches, birds come and eat the red berries.

But in the 5 years I’ve lived here, the trees have never been pruned. The one in the foreground has branches growing in all directions and there are bare spots where nothing grows. It looks a mess, which reminded me of Samson’s life. He was always reaching out to find a woman who could fulfill his life. This always turned out messy and sometimes deadly.

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The pastor said Samson’s life is an example for us what NOT to do. Yes, of that I am sure. He said his problem was his unchecked desires. Samson would say: “I want it, I deserve it and I can handle it.”

I remembered those were the very words I used to say to myself about my gambling addiction. I said to myself, “I want to gamble. It is so exciting and there is nothing like the thrill of winning.” I said, “I deserve this. My life is hard, constantly spent helping other people. I deserve some fun.” I said, “I can handle this. “I will stop before I lose too much.”

And I tried to, but I couldn’t. I spent too much, way too much. I usually spent all the money I had that was for my clothes or extras for the house. One time, when I was also an alcoholic, I spent $400 my husband had saved to fix the car.

I had prayed about it, and one day I thought of making a solemn vow to God to stop gambling in my city and the nearest cities. I’d leave a door open for vacations. Lol So, I did make the vow and kept it except for one time when I had a breakdown and was in the hospital all day. I did go to the casino that one time, but I know God forgave me as he forgives all things.

I now see myself as a tree not pruned. I reached out for happiness, excitement and love from things and people around me. It never worked. I didn’t feel much peace and little happiness until I had pretty well lost everything and everyone and was left with God alone.

I said to him, “Well God, it’s just you and me. I need you to fill the loneliness and emptiness of my life. I couldn’t see how he could do it, but he did. (I know I’ve written about this before.) Slowly he did it. He gave me reasons to live and enjoy life and I still feel that way. He showed me how not to let people hurt my heart. Yes, I can get sad sometimes, but I go to him right away. I pour out my heart to him and he shows me the way out of the sadness. He is enough for me. He is more than enough. I have never felt this joy inside before and it was well worth the pain to find his loving arms and faithfulness to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Girl and God.

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This is a picture of me at 6 years old. My mother used to cut my hair. Lol  I thought I looked like the Dutch Boy on the paint cans. I remember being a bit embarrassed and by the time I was 8 I had a nice pony tail like the other girls.

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I’m not sure if I’ve written this story before, but I feel compelled to tell it so you’ll have to forgive me if you have already read it. It was 1956 and I was six years old when my parents decided to leave Canada and move me, my sister and brother to a drier climate. My brother had severe asthma and the doctors said he wouldn’t survive another winter.

So, they applied to move to the United States and my father got a job in Loma Linda, California at a hospital working in the accounting office. We packed up and took off in our roomy car. On the way, my father would break into song, “California here we come; right back where we started from…” I was very excited since I knew about Hollywood where all the movie stars worked and the TV shows were made. I imagined it was beautiful. (At the time, it was definitely not beautiful and we were terribly disappointed.)

The drive down south was certainly beautiful. We took Highway 101, which is famous for its fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean and the giant Redwood trees. We stopped at the Trees of Mystery, drove through a hole in a tree and had our picture taken in front of a huge sculpture of Paul Bunyan. We also stopped at the Sea Lion Caves, which were wonderful. Then we came to San Francisco, where we got out of the car and walked on the Golden Gate Bridge. It was all very exciting for me and I suppose that trip is the reason I have loved to travel.

The day we left the bridge and came back to the hotel was a day I will never forget. We entered our room and my father said, “My wallet is gone.” We looked all over the room, but Dad figured he must have lost it in the car or at the bridge. One of my parents said, “Let’s pray.”

We all knelt down on the carpet and my father prayed. I guess I prayed too, I don’t remember. But I do remember one of them saying, “All the money we have in the world is in that wallet.” I would guess it was the first time I had ever seen my parents afraid., so I was afraid too.

We drove to the bridge. Dad got out of the car to retrace our steps. We waited, feeling very nervous. He came back with the wallet. He said it was lying open on the sidewalk. The money was sticking out for all to see. Yet though people were walking by, no one saw it or picked it up. I believe the Lord put his hand over it.

From that moment until now, sixty-two years later, I have never once doubted the existence of God. I don’t know what that answered prayer did for my brother and sister, but for me – I knew there was a God who hears us. And come to think of it, they never had doubts about God’s existence either. None of us were Christians when we were teenagers, but as adults we all came to him. My brother died of asthma at age 21. Before he died he wrote an article about how he was ready to meet Jesus. My older sister has become very close to God in the last 15 years. I became a Christian when I was 19.

I’m so thankful to God for showing us kids his mercy and kindness when the whole family needed him. I’m not sure what we would have done back then to keep traveling and staying in motels and eating. Actually, I’m sure the Lord would have provided in a different way. I just want to say a big, “Thank you,” to God for showing a 6- year-old girl what you can do.