He Knows Our Name.

I was reading Jeremiah when I came across this verse:

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.  Jeremiah 7:13

I didn’t remember reading it before, but the thought came, “That is like the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus bend down and wrote something in the dirt. What he wrote convicted the men who wanted to stone her and they walked away from doing so.” John 8.

Many think Jesus wrote the men’s names down and also the sins they committed. I think that is right because these men were the hypocrites of Jerusalem who were always trying to trip Jesus up so they could kill him. They were self-righteous men and yet men who did great evil. I think when Jesus wrote, the men saw how evil they were and also did not want their sins to be made public.

If our names are written on the earth it means earth is the place we consider our home. We belong to the world and want to belong here. All our thoughts are on this world and our role in it.

Jesus talked about people who consider this earth their home. He said they are like good seed planted by the thorns. He said, “The seed sown among the thorns is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

We can have our name written in heaven, in the Book of Life, if we so choose. It means heaven is our true home. Instead of constantly thinking about jobs, houses, movies, family, romantic love, sex etc. we will choose to make time to talk with God, ask him to be in us each day and study about him in the Bible.

There is a verse in Revelation that always makes me smile. It is about a new name that God will give us. That name will only be known between us and God,

“To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’  Revelation 2:17

Here are some verses about the Book of Life:

Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:20

And all who dwell on earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.  Revelation 13:8

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books.  Revelation 20:12

And of course, there is the Name Above All Names: Jesus Christ.

Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place

and gave Him the name above all names,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Philippeans 2:9-11

God Surrounds Us.

I haven’t written lately. My mother had a few minor heart attacks and was in the hospital overnight. They sent us home with some pills and nitroglycerine spray, which is working very well. I’m glad she is still with us at 92 years old.

 In the third chapter of Joshua, the people of Israel are prepared to go into the promised land and take it. The Jordan River flows between them and Jericho. God tells Joshua to have the priests take the Ark of the Covenant to the river. They were to go ahead of the people with the ark and stop in the middle. Then the people could pass over. The river stopped flowing the moment the priest’s feet hit the water.

I thought about how God promises to go before us. “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

My granddaughter just finished taking a college course on office work. She has been doing very well and is now in her practicum at the college itself. She loves the people there along with her desk space which has a lovely view out the windows. She would like to get a job there but there are no openings right now. She is concerned about getting a job. One reason I love God is that he says, “Don’t worry about anything.” I’m not worried for her because I know God has gone before her and she will get a job.

A job is a need, and he promises to supply all our needs. Many times he doesn’t do this swiftly. Many times he does. However long he takes, we can ask him to make us patient and to learn how to trust him in the waiting.

In Isaiah chapter 58, God tells us that if we are good to our neighbors and help the poor he will be our rearguard. The rearguard is a detachment of soldiers protecting the army as it marches ahead into battle. Yes, that is God. Isaiah 58:8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

God also promises to be beside us. “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:18

Finally, God promises to surround us. Psalm 3:3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

Treasury of David: Bible Hub. “Here David avows his confidence in God. “Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me.” The word in the original signifies more than a shield; it means a buckler round about, a protection which shall surround a man entirely, a shield above, beneath, around, without and within. Oh, what a shield is God for his people! He wards off the fiery darts of Satan from beneath, and the storms of trials from above, while, at the same instant, he speaks peace to the tempest within the breast.”

It is good to meditate on these words. We can picture Jesus in front of us, beside us, behind us and then realize he is all around us. When I think hard about the fact that the God of the universe, a being that powerful and amazing, walks with me through life, I stand in awe and I am filled with gratitude.

“I Will Never Leave You.”

I’m 69 and I take care of my mother who is 91. She has short-term memory loss. She can still play games; we just have to explain them each time. She can read and talk about politics, but she usually forgets that Trump is president and what we have said about him. She remembers the past very well and talks about her childhood.

Her favorite show is “Father Brown.” It is a British show about a priest who solves murders. He is also a kind and spiritual priest who says wonderful things about God. The thing is, she doesn’t remember the shows after she watches them. At first, I found different shows after we had watched all of “Father Brown”, but she would see a picture of him on Netflix and say, “I love “Father Brown”. I’d like to watch that.” So now, I just have that show on all the time for her when it is just the two of us up and about. My husband and her watch other things.

What I found really interesting is that we also watch Joyce Meyer, the preacher, every day. But there is a big difference. She remembers the shows! If there are two of them to watch and I choose the one we watched before she will say, “We’ve seen this one.”

When my husband was in the hospital for a procedure that went all wrong, he became very sick. I went in his room one morning and he looked at me and said, “Who are you?” I left the room and started bawling in the hallway. A nurse ran up and asked me why I was crying and I said, “My husband doesn’t even know who I am.”

All hell broke loose; doctors came running from everywhere. It turned out that during the procedure the doctor had cut open his liver and didn’t know it. They did save him and he was okay. He got his memory back.

He told me later that when he had woken up, he had remembered God and Jesus, but that was all. He hadn’t even known who he was or why he was in a hospital. He said remembering Jesus gave him peace of mind. He wasn’t worried.

When my nephew became very sick with schizophrenia, the only time he talked sanely was when he talked with me about whether there was a God and what he was like. We talked on and off for about 6 months. The last time I saw him he told me he believed in God and given his life to him. A few days later he was dead by suicide.

I find all this beautiful and encouraging, how God can speak to and live in our minds no matter how sick we are, no matter how our minds are affected.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38,39

Words We Say to Those in Pain.

When reading about what to say to people when they are suffering, I would say the most common advice given is to just listen. Don’t give advice, don’t quote scripture and don’t say it was God’s will.

I agree with this, up to a point. The day after a loved one dies is not the time to do a lot of talking. It is best to listen and say how sorry you are this happened and you are sorry for their pain. Later on, if the person asks you for help you could tell them how God helped you in a similar situation or perhaps give them a book that helped you.

Some people are even offended if a person says to them, “I am praying for you.” I think they are being too touchy if this offends them. It is a great privilege to be prayed over by a believer. It opens heaven’s doors to do more and more for you. (In my opinion.) It is so easy to offend people when it is the last thing you ever want to do. (I have hurt people’s feelings on Instagram and I didn’t want to do that at all.)

But I have learned a lot from other Christians giving me advice and quoting scripture. Joyce Meyer gives tons of solid advice on what to do with sad and negative feelings. Praying, reading the Bible (especially the Psalms) and listening to Joyce’s advice has finally helped me see I can fight depression and win. I didn’t think it was possible before I watched her program.

I’ve written about this in other posts, so I won’t go into detail on what Joyce says; but I was thinking about what God has said to those going through a hard time. I don’t think people would necessarily agree with God.

Job suffered the loss of all he owned and all of his 10 children. When his friends came to visit him, they said nothing for 7 days. They just sat with him. I’m sure this was comforting to Job, but silence can’t last forever.

Now when they did finally speak, they said all the wrong things. In fact, they blamed Job himself for his troubles. They said he must have some secret sin and God was punishing him. My advice is to never say this to anyone. Let the Holy Spirit do the job of convicting of sin.

So finally, God shows up. Did he say comforting words? No! He basically said that Job had no right to question why God did what he did. He was the creator and God of the whole universe. He was wise and knew what he was doing.

When Jeremiah was crying and complaining to God about his miserable life (and it was very miserable), God said, “If you can’t keep up with the foot soldiers; how can you run with the horsemen?” In other words, things were going to get worse so you better man-up!

What did Jesus say to people who were sad? He said, “Don’t cry,” to a woman who lost her son and then raised him from the dead. He said, “Don’t be afraid,” quite a few times. When the disciples were terrified of drowning in a storm on a lake he said, “Why were you afraid; where is your faith?

When the disciples were sad about Jesus saying he was going away, he said, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.” Then he told them he would prepare homes for them in heaven and would return.

When Martha and Mary told Jesus their brother would not have died if he had been there, Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” I think people today would not like what God and Jesus said to people when they were suffering.

A few years ago, I was suicidal and took some pills. I survived, but wasn’t too happy about it. The next day I lay in bed and said to God, “Please get me out of here!” God spoke to my heart and said, “I could do that. But what if I told you that if you, live you will be a help to people.” I thought about it and said, “Okay, although I don’t see who I could ever help anyone.” Then he said, “You have need of endurance,” which is somewhere in the Bible. “Endurance!” I said. Who cares about endurance?”

But I kept that word in my heart, even though I didn’t care about it myself. I figured if God cared about it then I should care. Eventually, I began praying for endurance. Now that word pops off the page when I see it in the Bible. Yes, I can see I don’t have endurance. I want everything to be done and over and be in heaven with Jesus. I don’t want to suffer again as long as I live. I don’t want to go to one more funeral.

But I also remember how God was my comfort at those funerals. His grace was ample. His comfort overwhelmed me each time. Knowing this helps me to endure; and praying about endurance gives me hope he will give it to me when the time comes that I need it.

I do think we should be careful what we say to people. All the time. But we all make mistakes; none of us is perfect. I think we need to be forgiving of others if we think they said the wrong thing to us. We should not be touchy and quick to judge. We shouldn’t never go around telling people what so-and-so said. I’ve been guilty of that. My mother used to tell me, “It is hard for me to take offense. I always think they didn’t really mean what they said.” She gave grace to the person and I like that.

Heaven: Boring or Exciting?

My granddaughter, Hope, enjoying the snow.

I dreamed last night someone asked me why I would want to follow God. I said to him, “Imagine the best day you ever had with people you love. That is what God wants for all people. We will be one big happy family enjoying each other, enjoying God, having interesting work to do, eating wonderful food, getting to know the animals, traveling, sightseeing, singing, playing musical instruments, gaining knowledge,

One of the best days I’ve ever had was when our whole family packed a picnic and we drove up into the mountains to a park. There was an abandoned gold mine there, an old train trestle no longer in use, a river flowing by, and trees everywhere. I remember looking at my children and grandchildren and thinking, “I must always remember this beautiful day.”

The river was deep so my husband and son-in-law were jumping from the trestle. We walked over to the abandoned mine and found some rocks with gold dust on them, we walked among the trees and saw a large woodpecker. Simple things, but so very wonderful because we were all together discovering this park and enjoying the happiness of the children who were excited by everything they saw.

One of my sisters, who has a chronic illness and cannot work, told me she thought heaven might be boring. She couldn’t imagine having fun there. I said, “Look at what we are doing this minute. We are playing video games. We are enjoying ourselves, aren’t we?” She agreed we were. “I said, “If we can enjoy playing these simple games, I think the God of the universe will have interesting things for us to do.”

My daughter once told me she hadn’t wanted to be a Christian because she thought heaven would be boring. But now that she knows she will meet her deceased son in heaven, she can’t wait to get there.

I think the thoughts of being bored in heaven come from going to church and being bored as a kid, or even an adult, and perhaps by being a party/sex/drink/drugs lover. You know that won’t be going on in heaven so it turns you off.

 But all those thoughts show a lack of imagination. If people will spend a lot of money to go see the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park for two weeks, then I think we will all enjoy heaven. Think about how most people love snorkeling or just swimming at a beautiful beach. All the things we love about nature will surround us in heaven. And the more we get to know God, the more we will enjoy his company. I’m sure the angels will be interesting to meet and get to know.

As the Bible says, we have no idea what awaits us in heaven.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

1 Corinthians 2:9

My Peace I Give You.

My own photo taken in Kelowna, BC.

I write this as a person who has wanted peace of mind most of my life. When I read about peace in the Bible I thought, “Once I have it I will feel nothing but peace always.” I couldn’t understand why the peace I would have in my mind would fade away. But I think I get it now. Each day, when we give our lives to God anew we can ask for peace. And when a problem or heartache comes, we can turn to God and ask for peace of mind in the situation and he will give it. We may have to ask him time and time again, when fearful thoughts come into our minds as we go through our days.

Our minds are full of thousands of thoughts each day. Some are from God, some from Satan and some from ourselves. If the thoughts we have are disturbing our peace we must fight against them by prayer. We can ask God to fight against these thoughts by his power and he will. Here is what I found on Bible Hub about peace:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27

Ellicots Commentary for English Readers.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.”—The immediate context speaks of His (Jesus) departure from them (his disciples). (John 14:25; John 14:28

He will leave them as a legacy the gift of “peace.” And this peace is more than a meaningless sound or even than a true wish. He repeats it with the emphatic “My,” and speaks of it as an actual possession which He imparts to them. “Peace on earth” was the angels’ message when they announced His birth; “peace to you” was His own greeting when He returned victorious from the grave. “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), and this peace is the farewell gift to the disciples from whom He is now departing.

Christ’s gift of peace does not dispense with the necessity for our own effort after tranquillity. There is very much in the outer world and within ourselves that will surge up and seek to shake our repose; and we have to coerce and keep down the temptations to anxiety, to undue agitation of desire, to tumults of sorrow, to cowardly fears of the unknown future. All these will continue, even though we have Christ’s peace in our hearts. And it is for us to see to it that we treasure the peace.

It is useless to tell a man, “Do not be troubled and do not be afraid,” unless he first has Christ’s peace as his. Is that peace yours because Jesus Christ is yours? If so, then there is no reason for your being troubled or dreading any future. If it is not, you are mad not to be troubled, and you are insane if you are not afraid.

Your imperfect possession of this peace is all your own fault. Conclusion: I went once to the side of a little Highland loch, on a calm autumn day, when all the winds were still, and every birch tree stood unmoved, and every twig reflected on the steadfast mirror, into the depths of which Heaven’s own blue seemed to have found its way. That is what our hearts may be, if we let Christ put His guarding hand round them to keep the storms off, and have Him within us for our rest. But the man that does not trust Jesus is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.

A. Maclaren, D. D. writes:

Peace with the outer world. It is not external calamities, but the resistance of the will to these, that makes the disturbances of life. Submission is peace, and when a man with Christ in his heart can say what Christ did, “Not My will, but Thine, be done,” then some faint beginnings, at least, of tranquillity come to the most agitated and buffeted.

The Wilderness.

Photo by: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing.

I’m reading in 1 Kings now and found many interesting and beautiful things about God. And I learned something new about Elijah, a great prophet of God.

You may know the story of when Elijah was on top of Mount Carmel. It hadn’t rained for three years because the people of Israel were worshipping Baal, an evil god to whom the people would sacrifice their live children by burning them to death.

Elijah told King Ahab to bring the people and the prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel. They would have a contest between Baal and the Lord God. They would build altars and pray; whichever God answered by fire, he was the true God.

After many hours of praying, Baal did not answer. Elijah prayed and immediately fire came down from heaven consuming the sacrifice and altar. The people said, “The Lord, he is God.”

Elijah thought the nation would change; he thought Ahab would quit worshipping Baal and turn to God, but this did not happen. In fact, his wife Jezebel sent a message to Elijah telling him she would kill him by the end of the day.

Elijah ran. He ran into the desert, the same desert that Israel had to cross to get to the promised land. And this is the part I had forgotten; he wandered in the wilderness for 40 days.

I thought of Jesus and when he went into the wilderness for 40 days. I thought of Israel and how they had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. God has patterns throughout the Bible and here was another one.

Most commentators of the Bible say Elijah was discouraged by the outcome of his work for God. He probably thought his work was fruitless and wondered why he had risked his life for nothing. He couldn’t see what God was doing or why. His faith in God was tested.

When Israel wandered through the wilderness, their faith was tested also. They came to a day when there was no water. They thought they were going to all die of thirst so they complained and wanted to go back to Egypt. They got angry at their situation. God provided them with water, not just once, but many times. They had no food left and were frightened. They didn’t trust God to feed them. They said, “Can God make a feast in the wilderness?” Yes, he can and he did. These things happened to make their trust in God strong but it didn’t work with that first generation.

For Jesus in the wilderness the test was the same. Did he trust his father? Would he complain about being hungry and save himself? No, he didn’t. He could have made the stones into bread but he knew if you or I were in the wilderness, we could not do that. He came to live a human life, depending on God for everything.

Joyce Meyer talks a lot about Christians going through a wilderness time. Everything around them feels dark and hopeless. They cannot see the way out and wonder why God allowed this to happen to them. We have a choice in these times, to trust and praise God in the midst of them, or to complain and rebel against him.

I found two songs lately that are so inspirational. The words are fitting for this subject.

No one can take away, my hallelujah.

No darkness can contain, my hallelujah.

Your cross has made the way, for my hallelujah.

From the song: My Hallelujah, by Brian and Katie Talwalt.

Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness.

Give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den.

Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense.

Then I can fight my giants with confidence.

From the song: Confidence, by Sanctus Real.

“No darkness can contain, my hallelujah.” We must not allow darkness to stop our praise and love towards God. Remember how Jesus and his disciples suffered. No one is immune to suffering; you are not alone. This world of pain is not our home; Jesus walks beside you.