How Long, Lord?

How Long, Lord?

Quite a few people in the Bible have asked God, “How long do I have to put up with this?” Even Jesus asked this question when his disciples and the Pharisees (religious leaders) were arguing. Mark 9:19 He was human as well as divine and knows how we feel.

Habakkuk was a prophet during a time when the king and leaders of Jerusalem were especially wicked. This was in the late 500s BC. The Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Habakkuk, but we can see what he is like through his prayers.

“O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?

Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.”   Habakkuk 1:2-4

God answers and tells Habakkuk he will punish these rulers of Jerusalem by sending the Babylonians to destroy them and the city. The Lord had told many prophets this and had warned the people of Jerusalem for years.

God said, “They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I never commanded or mentioned, nor did it even enter My mind.” Jeremiah 19:5

Isaiah the prophet wrote about the people of Judah: “Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever eats their eggs will die; whoever cracks them will hatch a viper. Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood.

They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways. The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths. They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks along them will know peace. So, justice is far from us, and righteousness does not reach us. We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.”
 Isaiah 59:3-9

I’m not so sure Habakkuk was happy with God’s answer. At first, he acknowledges the right of God to punish, but then he told God what he thought of the Babylonians and asked, “Is he to keep destroying nations without mercy?”

Then Habakkuk says something bold,

“I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
and what I will answer concerning my complaint.”

We can also pray like this. We can ask God anything and then wait for an answer. I’ve done this many times and he has always answered my questions. Either he puts the answer in my mind, I find it in the Bible or gives me a dream. My sister Liz asked God a question about 15 years ago and recently got the answer. She laughed about that, but it just shows that God will answer one day. We must be patient.

God tells Habakkuk to write down what he is going to tell him so many can read it. His answer to this question is long and I believe is not just about the king of Babylon. It looks to me like a judgment of the nations of all the world. And he specifically says, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  Habakkuk 2:3

The Pulpit Commentary says:

“The prophecy personified yearns for its fulfilment in “the end,” not merely at the destruction of the literal Babylon, but in the time of the end – the last time, the Messianic age, when the world power, typified by Babylon, should be overthrown.”

In verse 4, God compares the wicked and the righteous by saying, “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.”  Instead of relying on their own strength, those who follow God live by faith in the strength of God.

So, what does God say? It seems to me I should copy down everything from Habakkuk from this point to the end of the book, but I won’t do that to you. It would be good to find the book online and read it, asking God to help you understand.

Suffice it to say, God tells of the evils the nations have done; how they have hurt the innocent. In chapter 3 he moves on to judgement, when he will come down and allow the earth to be destroyed while he saves those who are waiting for him. They are hiding from their persecutors, but he knows where they are.

When this earth is dying from global warming, which will cause heat from the sun to burn our food and people, then Jesus will return and rescue those who believe in him. This is told in the book of Revelation and is one of the last plagues to fall on earth.

“The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.”  Revelation 16:8

God doesn’t cause the sun to burn us, be he allows the world to reap what it has sown. We have sown chemicals into the earth and sky and one day they will rain down on us. But there is hope in God. He will save those who wait on him. Jesus will come the second time in the clouds of heaven and call us to himself.

“I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  Isaiah 46:4

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Evil Begins with One Thought.

I was watching a British show about Sherlock Holmes the other day and noticed that in the story a whole family was destroyed by one person with one evil thought that turned into an obsession.

The story was about three sisters who lived together. One of them got married and one of them wanted her husband. It ended in murder of one sister and the other two sisters estranged.

That day, I also listened to a podcast called, Joyce Meyer’s Talk it Out. Three of Joyce’s friends talk about a subject that affects their lives. It’s a lovely podcast.

They talked about “thoughts” and how when they were first Christians, they didn’t understand that thoughts are not always our own, but many can come from God or Satan. I had felt the same when I was first a Christian. I would have evil thoughts and was horrified by them. I wondered if I was really a Christian. But eventually I came to see that the thoughts were temptations from Satan.

I do know the Bible supports this theory. I will share some Bible verses with you.

How Satan speaks to us:

The evening meal was underway, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  John 13:2

 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.

The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

But Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-4

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  

Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   Ephesians 6:10-17

How God speaks to us:

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.   Isaiah 30:21

 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  Matthew 16:23

… some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”

But Jesus knew what they were thinking and said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.”  And the man got up and went home.   Matthew 9:3-7

Jesus said, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. “  Matthew 6:1

How we speak to ourselves:

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires, he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15

Like the woman in the Sherlock Holmes story, she had a desire. She desired her sister’s husband.

The remedy to these temptations is easy: quote the Bible, as Jesus did, say to God and yourself, “I will not think about this anymore”, and pray for God to help you to throw that thought into the sea.

The quotes I use the most are: “You are a shield around me, my glory and the lifter of my head.”  “May everything that breathes, praise the Lord.” “The Lord is a strong tower I run to and am safe.” “The Lord is the strength of my life and my portion forever.”

Evil thoughts don’t hang around when the Lord is praised.

Worry and Its Remedy. Anger and the News.

I give permission for anyone to use my posts for any reason.

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.    Philippians 4:6,7

I can’t count the number of times this verse has come to my mind when I am upset or worried. I say it to myself and immediately feel relief. God leaves nothing out of this verse. We are to worry about nothing.

I was listening to a podcast where the woman quoted this verse and then asked, “How do we do this? She says the remedy to worry, after giving it to God, is in the next two verses:

“Finally, Brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Verses 8,9

I know that when I listen to Christian podcasts or music that this is hearing and thinking on good things. I am so happy to hear of the good things God’s people are doing in the world. It encourages me. And songs of praise lift me up to the skies where God abides. These things bring me joy.

But we don’t have to bury our heads in the sand on the bad things going on all around us. As we all know, reading the news is discouraging. Yesterday, I read there will be supply shortages due to the cargo ship blocking all traffic in the Suez Canal. The article said that toilet paper (Lol) might become scarce, along with other goods. I live in Canada and all our toilet paper is made in China.

I no longer get mad about politics. There is nothing I can do about that and the craziness that is going on. But I still get mad when I read how all our supplies come from China or some other country. Global Trade and the Global Economy has ruined the lives of millions of people, at least that is my opinion.

I live in an area that is chock full of apple orchards. We have an apple juice factory here. But when I buy apples at the grocery store, I see a tag saying, “Washington Apples.” I live just over the border from Washington State. So, we buy their apples and they buy ours.

How is that good for the people of our country? I have to pay $1.84 per apple. Why? Transportation costs, I would guess. Why do we do this little dance? I have no idea except to say that everything is about making more money for companies.

They say, “We can’t take in refugees. There are no jobs. Well, why are there no jobs? Global Trade. If we had lots of factories we could take in thousands of refugees. The poor here, who can’t find a job because of lack of education, could work in a factory.

We have all been screwed by the rich and powerful and this is something that has happened since the beginning of time. Read the Old Testament. God speaks of it often.

Yep, this is a subject that infuriates me and I need to pray about that because anger is an ok emotion if you can remedy a situation, but if there is nothing you can do, you might as well let it go. I did write the government about it and that is my part. I could protest about it in the streets, but I’m old and sick.

So yes, I need to lay all this aside, all the bad news, all the hatred, all the racism, all the politics and lay it all before God, and then do what I can do, and that is write. I can write about God’s love and write about Man’s hate and greed and hope it makes a difference.

Majority Racism.

I am in the midst of reading, “Freckled: A Memoir of Growing up Wild in Hawaii,” by T.W. Neal. (Toby) It is a fascinating story of a girl growing up with Hippie parents. (This takes place in the 1970s.) Her mother and father both love to surf; I should say they live to surf.

The parents moved from La Jolla, California to Hawaii in order to live their lives surfing and getting by on odd jobs and selling jewelry made out of seashells. They lived in their van or a shack near the beach.

What struck me most about this story was the racism enacted by native Hawaiians against them and all whites who moved there. I believe the native population despised the whites because they crowded their beaches with surfers, leaving them less room, and fished for food, which perhaps made an impact on their own fishing.

Toby’s family was threatened, called names and harassed. They tried to stay off the radar by not leaving their home except to buy groceries and go to the beaches. When Toby entered first grade, she was bullied and physically hurt constantly.

As I was reading this, I of course thought about the racism in North America against the black and brown population. I’ve read many books written by black authors and know a bit about what they have gone through. They have had to bear horrific, ugly, systemic racism since they were brought here from other countries.

Toby’s family was frightened, the police wouldn’t help whites. Sound familiar? And if you think it is better now, you are wrong. A co-worker of my husband went to Hawaii recently and he and his family were harassed by people in an all-Hawaiian town that was off the beaten track.

While sitting on my balcony, I heard some young men outside discussing racism after the death of George Floyd. They were all white. One of them said, “A black guy said to me, “You don’t understand racism.” I told him, “I grew up in India and was beaten every day going back and forth from school. I was the only white kid in the neighborhood. Don’t tell me I don’t know what racism is.”

I know someone who went to prison and found out the population there is separated into two classes: The Native Americans and the Whites. (We live in Canada.) The natives there outnumber the whites and harass them. During a riot, they hung some white and half-white men.

I have a family member who was not a racist at all. She once moved to North Carolina and had a great relationship with a black guy at her job. She said to him, “Let’s go for a beer after work.” He answered, “We can’t. If I go with you to a white bar, they will kill me. If I take you to a black bar, they will beat me up. She was stunned.

Later, when she moved to Florida, she moved into a black neighborhood and got a job cleaning apartments and houses. Men at her apartment building started threatening to hurt or rape her. Men at the building she cleaned did the same. She quit her job and moved to a white area.

So, people say, “The white people flee when black people move in.” Well, yes, but has anyone asked them why? I read about a white boy who was beaten by black boys every day walking to school, just like the white boy in India.

So today, after reading about Hawaii, I realized that racism is a sickness of the majority or dominant culture. Wherever you go, it will be the majority hating and harming the minority.

What’s the answer to this? A loving heart. How I wish I could open racists bodies up and shove a loving heart inside them. God can do that for each individual but only if that person asks him to do it. He never forces himself on anyone.

Some people say education will help eradicate racism. I   think it will help a bit, but I don’t believe racism will ever be overcome in this world. There is good and evil here, and evil will play out its nastiness until Jesus returns.

The Bible says God isn’t a racist. He doesn’t care about our race or gender. Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

I pray we all might see each person we meet as a brother or sister who needs our respect and love. I pray we might love our enemies, as Jesus told us to do. I pray we will try to understand people who are different from us. And I pray we will forgive.

Born Again. What is it and How Does it Work?

(Anyone can copy my posts for any reason.)

Lately, I’ve been listening to Tim Keller’s podcasts. He is a wonderful speaker for God. He brings things out of the Bible that I’ve never known because he has studied the culture of those times and explains the meaning of words from the Hebrew and Greek.

Today, he told a story of a woman who had become a Christian as a teenager. But through her life she tried to find peace and joy through men, work and volunteering. Finally, she saw that the love of God for her was what she had been seeking all along.

Her story is my story. I did the same things she did. When I realized no one could ever love me enough; no one could love me in the exact way I wanted to be loved, that is when I moved closer to God and found that love.

I will say, I still struggle with believing God loves me. When you have been through a rough childhood, it is hard to believe anyone loves you. But I know the feelings of not being loved by God are wrong and just feelings. He does love me, just as I am.

Here is a link to Tim Keller’s sermon. It is inspiring how he talks about being born again, how it happens and what it does.

Can God Set A Table in the Wilderness?

File:1963 - Hikers heading to Malduce Peak in Dick Smith Wilderness.jpg

“They spoke against God, saying, ‘Can God spread a table in the wilderness? True, he struck the rock, and water gushed out, streams flowed abundantly, but can he also give us bread? Can he supply meat for his people?’”   Psalm 78-19.20

These verses are speaking of the nation of Israel when they wandered in the desert. God had been sending a food called manna for a long time but the people were tired of it. They wanted meat to eat instead. God said he would send meat, but even Moses asked God where he would get meat for these thousands of people. Then God sent a wind that blew quails into their camp and they ate.

These are dark times in the world. Not only are we living through a pandemic that has turned the world upside down, but there is strife and violence within the nations. Because of global warming, we could be facing another disaster: famine.

If this happens in Western nations, where we have had plenty of food to eat all our lives, violence will fill the land. People will kill even their own neighbors for food. I pray this won’t come to pass, but as Christians we need to fortify ourselves by asking God to strengthen us and also by believing He will feed us if there is ever a shortage of food. There are also many stories in the Bible of God feeding his followers when they needed it. God has shown us he will take care of his children during a famine.

When there was a famine in the land, God fed Elijah. “Then a revelation from the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Brook of Cherith, east of the Jordan. And you are to drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”

“So, Elijah did what the LORD had told him, and he went and lived by the Brook of Cherith, east of the Jordan.  The ravens would bring him bread and meat in the morning and evening, and he would drink from the brook.  Some time later, however, the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.” 1 Kings 17:2-7

God then sent Elijah to a widow whom he knew would feed him. “Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Get up and go to Zarephath of Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Verse 8

“So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, so that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread.”

But she replied, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I have no bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. Look, I am gathering a couple of sticks to take home and prepare a meal for myself and my son, so that we may eat it and die.”

 “Do not be afraid,” Elijah said to her. “Go and do as you have said. But first make me a small cake of bread from what you have, and bring it out to me. Afterward, make some for yourself and your son, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be exhausted and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain upon the face of the earth.’ ”

So, she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and there was food every day for Elijah and the woman and her household. The jar of flour was not exhausted and the jug of oil did not run dry, according to the word that the LORD had spoken through Elijah.”

Notice how the widow obeyed and even served the prophet first? God sent Elijah to her because he knew her faith was great. She is a shining example for us.

When Jesus had been with crowds of people for days, he felt sorry for them and fed thousands of them with just a few fish and a little bread.

       In the book of Isaiah it is asked, “Who of us can dwell with a consuming fire?

Who of us can dwell with everlasting flames?”  (The context is seeing God in his glory when he comes again.)

The answer is:

       “He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity,

who refuses gain from extortion, whose hand never takes a bribe,

who stops his ears against murderous plots and shuts his eyes tightly against evil—

he will dwell on the heights; the mountain fortress will be his refuge;

his food will be provided and his water assured.

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and behold a land that stretches afar.

Your mind will ponder the former terror:

“Where is he who tallies? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?”  Isaiah 33:14-18

Evil people can terrify us, but remember who made the earth, food, water  and animals. We will see the King in His beauty and wonder why we were afraid.

Fibromyalgia and the Brain.

I have had fibromyalgia for 25 years. I have fiddled with my eating habits for a long time in order to find foods that make me feel worse and then eliminate them from my diet. I have found a low-histamine diet works best.

I came across some interesting information about fibromyalgia and the brain:

Fibromyalgia Pain Linked with Glutamate and Histamine – Wellness Resources

(What I have copied and pasted below is just a part of what is discussed on the site above.)

Two neurochemical compounds altered in fibromyalgia amongst others include the excitatory neurotransmitters glutamate and histamine. A significant study pertaining to fibromyalgia and the neurotransmitter glutamate was just released in the Clinical Journal of Pain in October 2017. In this systematic review, it was confirmed that elevated levels of glutamate are present in several regions in the brain (posterior cingulate gyrus, posterior insula, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and amygdala). High glutamate levels were also associated with amplified fibromyalgia symptoms. Those who follow fibromyalgia research may not find this completely new, but the review study confirms just how big of a concern it is. This makes management of elevated glutamate critical for fibromyalgia management.

Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released in the brain by nerve cells and is necessary in small amounts for brain function with learning and memory. However, excess glutamate damages nerve cells. This occurs either because too much is produced or nerve cells are overly sensitized to “normal” amounts. Too much glutamate exposure leads to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and provokes oxidative, inflammatory stress to the brain. Symptoms of excess glutamate may lead to increased pain, anxiety, restlessness, sleep disturbance, depression, restless legs syndrome, increased itching, poor focus, and other decreased cognitive skills.

There are many reasons for too much glutamate in the brain. Elevated glutamate may result from neurodegenerative diseases, concussions/traumatic brain injuries, stroke, hypoglycemia, and noise stressChronic, sustained stress is another reason for elevated glutamate as the stress hormone cortisol triggers a release of glutamate in the brain. Stress refers to anything (physical, mental, or emotional) that upsets the body’s normal homeostatic balance.

Elevated thyroid hormone levels, like chronically elevated cortisol, may raise blood glutamate levels. Elevated blood glutamate levels may be problematic for the brain if the blood brain barrier is dysfunctional and leaky.

Elevated Histamine Levels:

Histamine, like glutamate, is another excitatory neurotransmitter that is also released by stress and is elevated in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patients. Histamine is involved with the immune system, skin, and digestive tract, but it plays a major role with wakefulness, blood pressure, satiety, and numerous other brain functions.

The brain and body contains histamine in immune cells called mast cells. Mast cells release histamine in response to various signals, like an allergen or other immune stressors. A major storage site of mast cells in the brain exists in the thalamus, which is located next to the hypothalamus. This region is the sleep-wake center of the brain.

When mast cells release high levels of histamine in the brain, it signals the hypothalamus which leads to wakefulness, disrupted sleep or insomnia. The release of histamine within the thalamus/hypothalamus is thought to lead to impaired sleep quality seen in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Histamine release also perpetuates central sensitization or chronic widespread pain as histamine releases substance P and glutamate that causes oxidative stress, wind-up, and chronic tissue irritation.

Some individuals do not process histamine well because of the DAO gene variants. Others may have a diet high in histamine foods that the body cannot handle in significant amounts. Sources of histamine in the diet include fermented beverages and foods like wine, champagne, beer, kombucha, kefir, vinegar, yogurt, cured meats, and vinegar containing foods.

Mast cells are also highly abundant in the skin, which is why histamine release in the skin creates itching. Fibromyalgia patients have been found to have 5-14 times more histamine in their skin than others. Mast cells in the skin provide an immune defense in the skin against outside pathogens.

(You can read about Glutamate here.)  What Is Glutamate? Roles, Benefits, Foods and Side Effects – Dr. Axe

(You can read about DAO here)  Diamine Oxidase (DAO): Benefits, Dosage, and Safety (healthline.com)

I hope this information will help someone with fibromyalgia. I have found that digestive enzymes (DAO) help me as does antihistamines and cold pills.

Our Past Follows Us.

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My husband loves the dozens (actually, a lot more than that I think) of Christmas movies that are found on Netflix and Amazon Prime. He has always liked action movies too, but lately he has focused on these Christmas movies. I find most of them sappy and badly written, but some of them are really good.

Last night, when we were watching one, my husband said, “I like these kinds of movies because they show happy families. I grew up in an unhappy family so it’s nice to see.” I’m so glad he told me that, because as tough as my husband is, and anyone could tell you he is a tough guy, I wondered why he liked these movies.

I know someone who loves crime shows. But she only likes the ones where the criminal is caught. She wants to see that person go to jail or executed. I think she gravitates to these shows because in her childhood, her life was threatened by a family member in the middle of the night. She would wake up with a sharp knife at her throat.

I like to read books or watch movies about real people who have overcome great difficulty: abuse, neglect, an illness. I think I am always searching for answers how to overcome my past.

Years ago, I used to have a recurring dream. My father and I were in a bus; he was driving and I was in the passenger seat. I looked over at him and he was laughing maniacally while speeding along the highway. Then I would wake up.

After years of therapy and talking with God I began healing. One night I had the same dream, except this time I was driving and he was in the passenger seat. I was feeling peace.

I have healed quite a bit, but I’m not cured of my mental illness. I still have problems with how I see myself. I still have automatic thoughts that plague me. But I am better, by the grace of God who helps me every day.

I have to ask him for that help. I can’t sit back day by day leaving God out of my life. I need him. If I don’t give myself to him each day, I start waking up wishing I was dead. I start getting depressed and hopeless. He keeps me from all that by prayer so that even if these thoughts pop up, I know he will help me. I just say, “God, I don’t want to think that. Give me something good to think.” And he does.

May God help all of us who have psychological problems. They can be devastating, but may God give us strength to walk through them.

These Dark Days.

(I give permission for anyone to copy any of my posts.)

In these dark days, we need encouragement, hope and peace. God will give that to us in many ways. One way is asking him for them, another is listening to uplifting music. Somehow music feeds our soul. Like everything else on earth it can feed our souls for good or evil. The last few years, I have found music lifts my heart up to the heavens. The earth seems to fade away.

Below I have printed the lyrics to a song that comforts me. This artist sings some of the most beautiful words I have heard in music. I hope you look him up and give his music a try.

Always Good.

Written and sung by Andrew Peterson

Do You remember how Mary was grieving?
How You wept and she fell at Your feet?
If it’s true that You know what I’m feeling
Could it be that You’re weeping with me?


Arise, O Lord, and save me
There’s nowhere else to go

You’re always good, always good
Somehow this sorrow is shaping my heart
Like it should
And You’re always good, always good

It’s so hard to know what You’re doing
So why won’t You tell it all plain?
But You said You’d come back on the third day
And Peter missed it again and again

So maybe the answer surrounds us
And we don’t have eyes to see


You’re always good, always good
This heartache is moving me closer than joy ever could
And You’re always good


My God, my God, be near me
There’s nowhere else to go
And Lord, if You can hear me
Please help Your child to know


That You’re always good, always good
As we try to believe what is not meant
To be understood
Will You help us to trust Your intentions for us are still good?
‘Cause You laid down Your life and You suffered like I never could


And You’re always good, always good
You’re always good, always good

We Christians should never forget what happened to the followers of Jesus right after he went to heaven. There was death, imprisonment and persecution. Many Jews were thrown out of the temple, excommunicated. This meant no one could trade with them or talk with them. They lost everything for Jesus. That is why the believers needed to share among themselves. The need was very great.

Remember what happened when Rome turned against Christianity. They tortured and killed thousands. Remember the suffering of the Holocaust. Not only Jews, but Christians, gays, mentally disabled and those who resisted Hitler were wiped out. Remember the suffering of the war itself. I had an uncle who died, who left a wife and two daughters behind.

It seems to me that we, North Americans, are surprised by suffering. We don’t seem to think we should have to suffer anything. Even the wearing of a simple mask in order to not spread an illness to others. No, we think that is too much to ask. It is a sacrifice we aren’t willing to make.

Many believe there is no virus. It is all untrue! So that means every news service in all the world is lying about all the people who are suffering and dying. There is some vast (worldwide) conspiracy against – who? Them personally, I guess.

To me, these are the scary people of the world. These are the ones who will persecute others to the death – like the ones who go surround government officials with weapons and send death threats. If they can, they will overthrow the democracy of the United States and keep Trump in power.

We are in our own era now, with our own wars against a virus, against ignorance and against pure evil. We don’t need to fear though, because God will walk through this time with us. He may let us suffer as he has done for millions in the past. We may lose our lives to violence by the hand of evil people.

But as the song says, Jesus did too. Aside from the torture, his death was much worse than any that can happen to a human, because he had the sins of the world on his heart and his Father turned away from him. The Father did this so Jesus could experience the second death: knowing we will be separated from God forever because of our sinful lives. At the judgement, God will show us our sinful lives and why he can’t take us to heaven. Then we will die and be dead forever. Jesus went through that to take our place if we want him to. He endured it so we don’t have to, and he endured it for every person.

God is Waiting on Us.

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“And yet will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious to you, and because of this he will be exalted. He longs to have mercy on you, for the Lord is a God of judgement. Blessed are all they who wait for him.”   Isaiah 30:18

In the book, “Waiting on God,” Andrew Murry points out that not only are we to wait patiently on God, but that God waits patiently on us.

Murray writes, “Look up and see the great God upon his throne. He is love…and has an inexpressible desire to communicate his goodness to all his creatures… He waits with all the longings of a father’s heart. And each time you come to wait upon him, or seek to maintain in daily life the habit of waiting, you may look up and see him ready to meet with you.”

There is a picture in the Bible of God waiting for us. It is in the story of the prodigal son, who left his father and home to go into the world to find happiness. The son finds fun, but no lasting happiness and decides to go home and ask to be a servant in his father’s house.

But the father is watching the road. He is waiting and hoping for his son to return. And when he sees him coming down the road, the father jumps up and runs; he runs until he is with his son and he hugs him and welcomes him with open arms.

This is a picture of God waiting for us. And even if we are Christians and have given our lives to God, he waits each day for us to come spend time with him – telling him about our thoughts and feelings. Asking him for wisdom, and reading in the Bible those things he would like us to do. He waits, and sometimes he waits all day for us to come give him some attention and we ignore him. He wants to share our lives with him. We need to share our lives with him.

If I had shared my deepest pain with him on a certain day, I wouldn’t have taken sleeping pills and passed out. He would have taken my pain and helped me through the problem of my aching heart. He would have shown me that he is bigger than any pain this world can give.

C.S. Lewis told a friend that after 30 years of praying, he had finally forgiven someone who had betrayed him. I think perhaps he meant he finally had the feeling of anger and hate gone towards that person. I think if we say, “I forgive this person,” then we have forgiven. Our feelings confuse us and lead us astray. But still, it took 30 years for his feelings to catch up with his wanting to forgive. So, this may be a kind of waiting on God. Waiting means staying with God and not giving up, like being tired of waiting in line at a store and finally giving up and leaving. No, we must stay in Jesus, because he is our only hope in this life.

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”   John 15:4-6

Murry writes, “The giver is more than the gift; God is more than the blessings he gives. And our being kept waiting on him could be the only way for our learning to find our life and joy are in him himself. Oh, if only God’s children knew what a glorious God they have, and what a privilege it is to be linked in fellowship with him, then they would rejoice in Him!”

(I changed a few words when I was quoting Murry. He speaks in old English, so I cut a few words or changed them a bit. The book is well worth buying.)