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.

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

This is a post by Colin Pickering. I think he says some things here that are important for Christians of the United States and Canada.

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter.

Without God, morality is just an arbitrary rule destined to change on whim and convenience. This doesn’t mean that Christians and other religious individuals don’t make the same moral concessions, but there are some among us who hold to doing what God has instructed us to do. Some probably thought that we could hold each other to a high moral standard. Considering the current state of our country’s political system, our ability to hold such a standard is incredibly limited. Morality does not overrule our fears and instincts to survive without a respect for a higher power and belief of consequences worse than what we expect through our actions or inactions. Humans naturally want control over their own future, so we make decisions to concede defeat on morale grounds if it improves our prospective futures. True Christianity is about giving up control. It is about trusting completely in God and not being afraid. The world, the United States, and the greater Christian community is full

via Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

Suicide. A Story of God’s Love.

Fragile_Emotion

Statue:  Fragile Emotion

Photo by: Don  http://www.flickr.com/people/97224989@N00

My beloved nephew, Ian, killed himself a month ago. He was 45 years old. He had paranoid schizophrenia. 

I remember reading some religions believe suicide is a sin. Even a sin God can’t forgive. I don’t believe that. I’ve been suicidal myself; I have a mental illness because of my abusive father. Elijah wanted to die, so did Jeremiah and Job. God didn’t tell any of them they sinned in that wish.

Ian quit taking his medication, which a lot of people with schizophrenia do. He kept refusing to take it until he was having delusions every day. I won’t go into detail about his illness, what I wanted to share about him was his journey to God.

About a year or more ago, Ian started getting interested in spiritual things. He wanted to find the “true” religion. He studied Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. He used to call me and we would talk about these religions. He asked me why I thought Christianity was the true religion and I told him. Then he started asking me about the different Christian religions. I told him of some of the different beliefs that were out there. He asked me about the church I grew up in, which is the Seventh-Day-Adventist Church.

I explained our beliefs to him. So, he went and visited some churches in his community in Washington, State. I asked which one he liked best, and he did say the Adventist church. He asked about why we worship on Saturday instead of Sunday, and I told him all the reasons.

When my mother broke her hip and was in the hospital, Ian came to see her and stayed with us. He came twice. We talked some more about God, and why I believed he was the true God. All the rest of the time he talked with me it was about his delusions of being followed and how he was putting us in danger just by visiting us. He thought the government was after him, but I never did understand why he thought that. He talked about conspiracies, but I don’t know what kind. He thought he had special powers.

The only time he talked sanely was when he talked about God. The last day he was here, he said he had made up his mind and believed in God and Jesus and also would not work on Sabbath again. I was very happy for him. As he drove away for the last time, I said to God, “Oh Lord, what are you going to do for him?”

He killed himself a few days later. I think God stepped back and let it happen. Ian had turned to God, given himself to him and that was what God was waiting for. Ian will now have the peace he longed for when Jesus returns. We will see him and hug him again, and he will be all well. I’m so looking forward to that day. I’ll see my brother, grandson, Ian, my grandmothers and who knows who else? And of course I will get to see Jesus and the face of my father God. Oh yes, I am excited about that day.

I Lied.

I was reading a blog today about what causes us to sin. I thought about the sin I committed just 2 days ago. Someone asked me where their canvases went (for painting pictures) and I immediately said, “I don’t know.”  But I DID know. I ran out of canvas and used hers. I was going to buy her some new ones to take their place, but I had forgotten.

I gave her one of my canvases and she was happy. But when I was at prayer last night, the Lord convicted me that I must confess my sin to her and apologize. I will do that when she comes over this week.

What really, really got me was the fact that I lie so rarely I can’t even remember the last time I did. But I know why I have lied in the past and I know why I lied 2 days ago. I was afraid.

I was afraid she would be mad at me for using her canvas without asking first. My past lies were to my husband because I was afraid he would get mad at me. So I would lie about what I bought or lie about lots of things that I knew would make him angry.

I’m very ashamed of my behavior, but I realized I haven’t really prayed about my fears. Social phobia is part of my mental illness. I am terrified of being around people now. I wasn’t always this way, but after I had a mental breakdown, I became afraid of everything.

I was afraid of flying, driving over a bridge, shopping, going to church, meeting people, social situations etc. I went to two anxiety clinics which did help me with the flying and bridges; but I’ve never gotten over social anxiety. I was like that in school as a child and teen too, but was better in my thirties and early forties.

I think now is the time to pray about my fear. I have just given into my fear and stayed home as much as I could and I’m very happy here at home. If I do go out, it is usually with my daughters or husband because I’m now terrified of driving! I’m 67 and tired of trying to be normal, but if this fear of mine leads me into sin, then I want Jesus to heal me. I started today to pray about it. I ask for your prayers too.

I think one reason I have never really prayed for God to heal my fears is that I figured it was all bound up in my mental illness and abuse as a little girl. Well, if God wants to heal me, he will; if God doesn’t want to heal me, that’s fine. I’ve asked him to make me aware before I open my mouth not to lie when I’m afraid. I trust him, he will strengthen me to do his will.

Daniel & Revelation: The United States in Prophecy.

I am posting chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” Available at lulu.com

Continued from previous post.

King of the North/Lamb from Earth        King of the South

  In Daniel 11:1-30 we see a repeat of the three world empires that followed Babylon:  Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  More detail is given as to the events that occurred under each empire, but we have already covered all this in enough detail to suit our purposes.

All we need to recognize is that in Daniel Chapter 11 the king of the North usually represents the dominant power and the king of the South represents a secondary power.  In verses 31 through 33 we find the Catholic Church described.  We know it is the Catholic Church because it is described as doing away with the regular sacrifice, as setting up the abomination of desolation, and as persecuting those who do not fall into line (see chapter five of this book).  To confirm our identification of the Catholic Church here in Daniel, verse 37 says that he (the church, or the Pope) shows no regard for the desire of women.  Catholic priests are celibate and show no regard for the desire of women.

Daniel 11:40 says, “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him…” meaning a secondary power will wage war with (the) Catholic Church.  Catholicism is the largest and most visible of all Christian denominations, so if any other religion, such as radical Islam, were to want to attack Christianity, this would be a logical description for the Bible to give of the first target. 

Verse 40 continues; “…and the king of the North will storm against him (the king of the South) with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he (the king of the North) will enter countries, overflow them and pass through.”  So what is this dominant power that will fight for Christianity against the king of the South?  The answer to that question is found in Revelation Chapter 13.

cross                              cross2

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.”  Rev. 13:11  We know that a beast represents a nation, kingdom, or political power.  And we learned that the beast in the first half of Revelation 13 was the Catholic Church (see chapter five of this book), and that it came up out of the sea, meaning it arose out of a population of people (see Appendix 2). 

This new beast, however, comes up out of the earth.  This can only mean that it is a new power, one that does not rise out of an established population.  There were two brand new nations that arose around the time of the decline in the power of the Catholic Church in 1798:  Australia and the United States of America.  The United States was the only one to become an independent nation around this time and is the only one that is a dominant world power now.  Therefore, this beast from the earth must represent the United States.

 

Kingdoms Rise…Kingdoms Fall.

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Photo by: Ambenalain

 

Nebuchadnazzar was King of ancient Babylon. At that time, Babylon was the world’s dominant kingdom. It’s realm covered most of the known world. 

 

One night, the king had a dream from God. He dreamed of a large statue made up of different metals. The head was gold, the chest silver, the thighs bronze, the legs iron and the feet were made of iron and clay together.

 

The story of this dream, and the prophet Daniel to whom God gave the interpretation, is found in Daniel chapter 2 of the Bible. Daniel told the king God had sent the dream to show the future. God used Nebuchadnazzar to proclaim to the nations that the God of the Hebrews was the true God. He did this through two proclamations that were sent throughout the kingdom.

Depiction of statue.

God showed the rise and fall of kingdoms through this statue. Daniel told the king that he himself was the head of gold.

Head of gold: Babylon

Chest of silver: Persians/Medes

Thighs of bronze: Greece (Alexander the Great)

Legs of iron: Rome

Feet of iron and clay: Nations of the world. No one nation would rule the world again.

While gazing at the statue, Nebuchadnezzar saw a rock cut out, but not by human hands, strike the iron and clay and smash them to pieces. This rock was God, who will set up his universal kingdom at the end of time.

We are living in the time of iron and clay. There have been mighty nations after the Roman Empire, but none that ruled the entire world. Britain was powerful, Germany tried to rule the world, and now the strongest nation on earth is the United States, with Russia coming in second and China third. They all have the power to destroy the world with their bombs, if they so desire.

United States

Russia

China

Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. These kingdoms will also fall one day like all others, and the way the world looks right now it could be soon. But God has told us not to fear what nations do. He says he is the one who sets them up and pulls them down. 

The night Babylon fell, Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, was king. He gave a large party, inviting all the important people and his wives. As they drank, the king sent for the golden goblets that the Babylonians had taken from the temple of God at Jerusalem. They poured wine in them and then gave toasts to their own gods.

All of a sudden, a hand came into the room and began writing on the wall. 

“Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.”   Daniel 5:5,6

No one could understand the writing. The king sent for Daniel and he interpreted the words for the king. 

“Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

 

“But you, Belshazzar, his son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

 

“This is the inscription that was written:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN

“Here is what these words mean:

Mene : God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

Tekel : You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

Peres : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.i      Daniel 5:18-30

 

I believe God weighs each nation on the scales of justice. When evil is rampant, as it was in Sodom, as it was at the flood, then God will act to put a stop to it. God had shown the Babylonians over and over again how powerful and loving he was. Now a new nation would take over, and God would work with them through Daniel to show himself to these new people. 

I see the United States as coming into judgement. For many years, morality has been cast to the ground. Not only cast down, but laughed at. This has become especially apparent when it comes to sex. 

Then there is the opposite side of the pendulum. People who say they are Christians, yet act like they hate those who don’t agree with them. There is a middle group. These people go quietly through life believing in God and doing good for others. If they are persecuted, they don’t get angry and strike back. They just keep working for the Lord and waiting for his coming.

Some Christians, want to unite Church and State. They think this will mend the country. They think God will be pleased with this and I can understand that. Unfortunately, every time Church and State are united there is persecution of those who don’t believe the same. This will happen in the United States if they amend the Constitution in order to pass religious laws.

I’m not sure if there is anything worse than persecuting good people for their religion. That is what they did to Jesus. The church leaders joined with a Roman Governor and nailed him to a cross. He was teaching things the leaders thought were blasphemy, things that put them in a bad light.

After Jesus, they started killing more believers. This happened again in the Dark Ages with the Catholic Church that tortured and burned those who believed differently. Then the Protestants persecuted the Catholics. Quakers were persecuted by other churches. Mormons were persecuted. Now ISIS is killing everyone who won’t join their brand of Islam.

What can we do when it feels like the world is falling apart? Trust in God and do good. That’s what Jesus did.

Do not fret because of those who are evil

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,

like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,

your vindication like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord

and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,

but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more;

though you look for them, they will not be found.

But the meek will inherit the land

and enjoy peace and prosperity.

The wicked plot against the righteous

and gnash their teeth at them;

but the Lord laughs at the wicked,

for he knows their day is coming.

The wicked draw the sword

and bend the bow

to bring down the poor and needy,

to slay those whose ways are upright.

But their swords will pierce their own hearts,

and their bows will be broken.

Better the little that the righteous have

than the wealth of many wicked;

for the power of the wicked will be broken,

but the Lord upholds the righteous.

The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,

and their inheritance will endure forever.

In times of disaster they will not wither;

in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

But the wicked will perish:

Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,

they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

 

Psalm 37:1-20

Small Beginnings.

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Photo by, Boby Dimitrov

Once, Jesus was a small, little, wee baby. Yet he was God. Mary and Joseph were small people in a big world of famous Romans, Greeks and Jews. Kings would have looked on them as insignificant. Beneath their notice. But they held the Saviour of the world in their hands.

Jesus’ ministry started out small. Two followers of John the Baptist turned to Jesus and asked him where he lived. “Come and see,” said Jesus. This was the beginning of a church that would go around the whole world even until this day.

When Ezekiel was in a vision he saw something that was a parable of the growth of Christianity:

The man (God) brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.”

 

After this, the man (God) showed Ezekiel the result of this living water. Some of these same words are used to describe the city of God in heaven.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

 

Ezekiel 47:1-11

Jesus said our growth as Christians would be small at first, like a shoot coming out of the ground.

He said, “First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.  Mark4:28

Water flowing, leaves growing, yeast rising, such are the small steady ways of God. Until a trickle becomes a mighty river and a leaf becomes a tall tree and a lump of dough becomes a loaf of bread.

In this way, we are to become like Jesus. We cannot see ourselves growing; (the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. Mark 4:27but if we give our lives to him every day, we are growing.

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.”   Ephesians 4:15   

Eternal Life.

If someone would have asked me what eternal life is; I would have told them it is living forever.

 

I heard a preacher say that was wrong. Jesus told us what eternal life was.

 

He said, “And this is eternal life, that they might know you (God the Father) and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  John 17:3

 

The preacher said eternal life is not a time-span.

 

Eternal life is a person.

 

I was at a family dinner one time and one of my son-in-laws asked me, “Do you know God, Belle?”  I answered, “Yes.” Then he asked everyone at the table, my daughters and their children, “Does she know God?”  They said, “Yes.”

 

But, now I would say, “I know him in a small way. I am learning about him and knowing him better day by day.”  Because what I thought I knew about God has grown and expanded from the day I gave my life to him when I was nineteen. And I won’t fully know him until I am in heaven and can learn more and more of his love and goodness.

 

How can we know God? Read the Bible each day and tell God you want to know him. It’s that simple, but also hard because we must persevere and not give up.  ““You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

 

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24

 

“I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”  Jeremiah 24:7


“And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”  Hebrews 8:11


“If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  John 14:7


“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.”  john 10:14


“Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”  John 14:9