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Perilous Times Are Here


Stick Figure in Peril by Flickr User Kenneth Kiffer Fong, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial

Stick Figure in Peril by Flickr User Kenneth Kiffer Fong, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Because peril is a serious subject, let me start out with some lighter fare. The image above is from a Flickr group called Stick Figures in Peril. People post images of warning signs, and then group members comment on them. For example, on the above image, someone wrote, “Skipping like a girl will get you shot.” It’s a fun group since some of the warning signs are not exactly evident, especially if they’re in languages other than English. Plus, many of the stick figure warnings look less like people, so they will not have gender or age issues, and the comments often make fun of the figures themselves. For example, many will say something like, “Don’t do this, or you’ll end up with a detached head and no hands.” The older images have more comments of course.

As for the serious subject, we have this warning in 2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV): “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” In other Bible versions, the words used instead of perilous include hard, grievous, terrible, distressing, difficult, terrifying, dangerous and trying. Some versions are more detailed and give other descriptions. They say there will be times of stress, much trouble, times of difficulty, and violent periods of time. In The Living Bible (TLB), Paul speaks to Timothy this way…

You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian.

And so it will be, and so it is, but what kinds of peril do we most often hear reported or complained about these days? Stepping away from what the Bible calls “perilous” for a moment, let’s think about some troublesome times I’ve heard about just in my lifetime. My grandfather worked three part-time jobs before he came into a career. It was difficult to find full-time work, and even with all the jobs he put in, it was hard for him to feed his family. His family of five shared a small travel trailer on a lot, and their most frequent meal was pinto beans and fried potatoes. (Those years did teach my grandma how to make the best beans and potatoes though, hence my strong desire for those foods now.)

Anyway, those were truly difficult times, but my grandparents persevered until they were able to buy a home. Once they both has jobs, times got much easier for them. They went from a hand-dug pool to a professional pool, and eventually they got a retirement home with riverfront property. But even when times were better, they were frugal and thrifty about most things, like only using the pot belly stove for heat while everyone was awake. I lived with them for some of those days, and only using upstairs heat meant my downstairs bedroom was really cold, but it also meant a few more times out to eat too.

When people complain about being poor in today’s society, it usually means they can’t afford a smart phone with an unlimited plan, a flat screen television, and premium cable. They feel left out if they don’t have a computer and high-speed Internet. Oh, and don’t even think of telling them to be satisfied if they don’t have steak for dinner and a refrigerator full of 2-liters. Where my mom and her siblings would’ve been grateful for hot dogs to go with their beans and potatoes, people are selling their food stamps for cigarettes and then griping if they run out of soda. I’m telling the truth here. And I’m not saying everyone should have to deal with eating from food banks where you get mostly canned mixed vegetables (I still think Veg-All is disgusting) and off-brand mac and cheese. I’m just saying that people complain when they could have it much worse. They could have to work for a living and still struggle for beans and potatoes.

Now, though, let me tell you what the Bible calls perilous times. I’ll share 2 Timothy 3:1-5 from The Message Bible

Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

The KJV Bible lists the last of verse 4 and first of verse 5 like this…

“…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”

And doesn’t that explain perfectly why we are where we are in the last days? The real power of God can change everything. Religion is a form of godliness and only changes some things. Ethereal power (angels, miracles, etc.) have their place, but that’s still not the power people deny. The power too many of us are missing now is truth and balance; trusting that God is on His throne, in control, and absolutely knows best even when we don’t understand. We put too many things in our own thoughts and understanding, so we end up with statistics like those shown in a recent article where 63% of active Christians think sex outside of marriage is fine. The article calls them “sexual atheists” and makes very good points.

Yes, perilous times are here in so many ways, but if you know Yahveh as your Lord and Savior, you know from His word that none of this comes as a surprise to Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and is just as able to deliver us from these end times as He was to deliver Israel from her enemies of old. He can and will govern our lives and minds if we let Him. We have the power of His Holy Spirit to carry us through. His wisdom from Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible) gives us a perfect promise…

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scared of a Little Leaf


Dried Leaves by My Sister & Flickr User Candiece Nelson, CC License = Attribution

Dried Leaves by My Sister & Flickr User Candiece Nelson, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

You’re walking down a country road at dusk. No one is around, and the only sounds you hear are the birds and the light rustle of the breeze blowing through the trees. All at once you hear a loud crunch, and you jump and start running. You never look back to see that it was simply a loose branch that fell into a pile of dried leaves left over from winter.

In today’s reading from Leviticus 26:10 through Leviticus 26:46 (the end of the chapter), we will see what might make a whole community of people jump and run at the sound of a leaf. The reading actually starts with a paragraph of promises. God tells Israel they will have such an abundant harvest, they will need to throw away food from last year to make room for this year’s harvest. He says He will put His tabernacle among them and not reject them, and that He will be their God, and they will be His people. He reminds them how He broke the bars of the yoke of slavery from Egypt, so they could be free and walk upright before Him.

But the remaining paragraphs paint a grim picture for those who do not want to keep the laws and commands of Him who set them free. God basically says, (in paraphrase), “Because you do not value the freedom I’ve given you, and you do not honor Me for giving you that freedom, I’m going to show you a life of what it’s like to live without the peace and true freedom of My presence.”

The warnings are numerous. God tells Israel that if they reject His covenant and worship other gods, He will bring terror upon them. The terror will be so bad that the sound of a driven leaf will frighten them. More than once He tells them that they will flee when no one is chasing them, and they will stumble and fall as if they are running from the sword. In addition to terror, He will bring them wasting disease and sickness that saps their strength. And He promises them the opposite of the promise of harvest when He says they will plant seeds, but their enemies will eat the crops.

A few different times in the reading, He breaks to say something like, “If these things don’t make you listen to me…,” and concludes with a warning of punishments that are seven times worse. Those worse punishments include such things as not being satisfied with bread, cities laid to waste, desolation of lands, and the inability to rest. (Unfortunately, this sounds like many metropolitan areas in the United States.) He goes on to warn them that when He turns His face against them, they will eat the flesh of their own children.

Finally, however, He tells them that if the uncircumcised in heart will humble themselves and turn to Him, and confess their sins and the sins of the ancestors, He will remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even though the lands they left will lie desolate without them, He will not forsake them while they dwell in the lands of their enemies, and He will not loathe them to the point of breaking His covenant with them. Instead, He promises that, for their sakes, He will remember the covenants He has with His people.

There is so much more in the actual reading, but it’s hard to read because the warnings are so grievous. I can hear the pain of a Creator who gave His children everything only to have it completely rejected. His laws are not grievous, but the breaking of them certainly can be.

For each of us who has been delivered from our own Egypt–from the bondage of slavery to our sins or ways of living that did not glorify our Creator, we have the promises of His covenant with us no matter what land we now dwell in. And because He paid the debt we owed for that deliverance with the blood of Yeshua, that covenant has been sealed for us forever. We have the greatest peace and the least fear when we walk according to His life-giving laws instead of walking according to the ways of the flesh where there are no good promises. We can choose to fear a loving God, and let that fear keep us fenced in on a land of spiritual prosperity, or we can reject God and end up in some desolate place where even the sound of a leaf can startle a man to death.

May 5, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leftovers Again


Leftovers for Dinner by Flickr User Avi and Elina Flax, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Leftovers for Dinner by Flickr User Avi and Elina Flax, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab with access to original image and user’s photo stream at Flickr.

Well over twenty years ago, I read a story in Reader’s Digest from the Life In These United States section. It was a story of a mother who was talking about how much television was beginning to influence her family. She served leftovers for dinner, and one of her children complained loudly, “Aw Mom, reruns again?” For some reason, it was cute enough that it pops into my mind almost anytime I think about leftovers.

In today’s reading from Exodus 10:1 through Exodus 10:11, Pharaoh should have thought about his leftovers with gratefulness. In this new portion, Parashah 15 titled “Bo” in Hebrew and meaning Go, Yahveh is talking to Moses about going to Pharaoh with another warning. He encourages Moses by reminding him that the great works He is doing in front of Egypt will be stories Moses can pass on to his children and grandchildren, so that future generations will know that He is God.

The warning to Pharaoh is that if he does not allow God’s people to leave for worship, God will send, as plague number eight, so many locusts that they will eat up every growing thing that is left over from the hail damage. He warns it will be worse than anyone in his generation, or in previous generations, has ever seen, and that it will fill all the houses of Pharaoh and his servants. Moses gives his message, and then he turns his back and leaves.

After he’s gone, Pharaoh’s servants begin to beg him to reconsider. They basically ask Pharaoh how long Moses must be a thorn in their side, and Pharaoh relents and calls Moses back in to tell him the people can leave. But, he does add one caveat. He asks who they will take with them, and when Moses tells him it will be men, women, children, livestock, etc., Pharaoh tells him there’s no way they can all go and assumes it’s a trick. He tells them that only the men can go, or no one can go. And then Pharaoh drives the men out of his presence.

Because Pharaoh did not know God, he did not understand that it is not up to mankind to question God’s request or try to make changes to God’s will. He opened the door to allow even more loss into his life, and the hardness of his heart would cost him a greater price than he could ever have imagined. It would do us all well to take this lesson to heart and to use it to teach others that they do not have to lose everything before they turn to God. Resistance will not change God’s mind no matter how much those in sin might think it will. It’s as simple as this: God is God, and we are not.

January 4, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Oh The Games Pharaoh Plays Now


The Games People Play by Crystal A Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

The Games People Play by Crystal A Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Image from our messy game closet at our old house. It was up in a closet I couldn’t reach well, so I basically had to toss most of the games up there. The new closet of games is a little better. 🙂

Sing with me…

Oh the games Pharaoh plays now,
Every night and every day now,
Never meaning what he says now,
Never sayin’ what he means.
La la la la la la la la…

If you don’t know the song for the tune, here’s a link to a YouTube video of it…

So, in today’s reading from Exodus 8:19(23) through Exodus 9:16, we have the continued warning from God to Pharaoh about the fourth plague, an abundance of bugs (some say flies) that would swarm Egypt yet be spared from God’s people. All this if Pharaoh did not release the people to go worship, which, of course, he didn’t. So God kept His word and sent the swarms of bugs just when He said He would. I even contemplated a title for this post of “Vex and Bugs and Stock with Boils” but since hubby didn’t figure out the connection to “sex and drugs and rock and roll,” I wrote the parody title instead.

Anyway, Pharaoh summons Moses and tells him the people can worship, but they must do it right there in the land. Moses wisely explains that the animals they would sacrifice would be an abomination to the Egyptians, so it would not be a good idea for them to stay in the land. Pharaoh concedes and says they can go out to worship, and Moses warns him to stop playing games if he doesn’t want to see more plagues. Of course, as soon as Moses prayed, and God took the plague of insects away, Pharaoh recanted and refused to let the people go.

In Chapter nine, Moses takes God’s word back to Pharaoh to warn of a plague that would hit only Egypt’s livestock. After all of them died, and none belonging to Israel died, you’d think Pharaoh would wake up, but he didn’t. That was the little-talked about plague number five.

When Pharaoh would not obey God’s commands or warnings, Moses followed God’s direction to begin plague six. He blew some kiln ashes into the air where God turned them into infected sores on all the men and animals. This time, the magicians couldn’t even stand in the presence of Moses because of the sores, let alone try to work any of their magic. Of course, Pharaoh remained hard-hearted.

As today’s reading comes to an end, Moses comes with a warning that God Himself will now send plagues that will infect Pharaoh and all his top officials. It’s hard to tell if they had been under the previous plagues. Never-the-less, God’s word to Pharaoh is that He could have sent such severe plagues that Pharaoh and all his people would’ve been wiped off the face of the earth, but He chose to let them live, so that they would see that God has no equal. He warns that He will now show them a power that will cause His name to resound throughout the whole earth. Not that He ever did, but I think we can safely say that Yahveh Almighty does not play ANY games.

January 2, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hugging Porcupines


Have you ever tried to hug a porcupine? No? Well, me either. But even if I had the opportunity, I don’t think I would want to do so. I have hugged someone wearing wool, and the itchy scratchy feeling that makes me feel like I have little pins sticking me all over doesn’t make me want to continue for long. It’s just not pleasant to hug something that hurts. Well, sin is like that to God. He wants to spend time with us, but He doesn’t want the prickles of pain caused by our being covered in the sin in which we immerse ourselves. So, He asks us to “come out from among the unbelievers and be separated from them.” (See 2 Corinthians 6:17.)

In today’s reading from Genesis 19 verses 1 through 20, God sends angels to Sodom. Abraham’s nephew Lot recognizes them, and he knows the situation in the town is something these men should not have to deal with, so he asks them to come stay at his house. Maybe he feels that if he hides them out of sight, they will be protected, but the sinners in that city are so bent on defiling all that is good, they show up at the house and demand that Lot send his guests out to them as playthings for their disgusting lust. It’s as if they can smell purity and innocence and will not be satisfied unless they can destroy it.

Since Lot has lived with these people for so long, maybe he has learned to ignore much of their behavior thinking that as long as he is not part of it, it doesn’t matter if he lives in the midst of it. But he doesn’t realize how much can change just by being in the constant presence of sin. So, while he knew it was wrong to let the men have their way with his angelic guests, he apparently did not see the harm in trying to appease them by offering them his virgin daughters. In that moment, he forgot that part of his role as a father included protecting their innocence.

In the end, the angels pulled Lot in from trying to make deals with the evil men, and then they blinded the men at the door so they could no longer find the door. They protected Lot and his daughters and then warned them not only to walk away, but to run away, from the coming destruction. Unfortunately, though freedom was also offered to his other children who lived in different parts of the city, they chose to stay rather than to heed the warning.

I guess the moral of this story, whose ending should come in tomorrow’s reading, is that it is better for us to come out from among unbelievers and keep ourselves pure and separate than to try to pry ourselves away when we finally get a clear vision of where sin is leading. Lord, please separate us and keep us out of the miry clay. Set our feet upon You–our Rock and our Salvation.

October 21, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When I Said, “I Knew It.”


Having ears, they hear not, and eyes, they see not. They are blind leaders of the blind. And so is every person who does not listen to the word of God.

I said it when Todd Bentley came on the scene. I said I felt in my spirit that something was wrong. I quoted Scripture. I had many discussions with other followers of Christ. Some were downright heated. I warned that people needed to look beyond the “miracles” to see that something was wrong, but they kept worshiping him and his miracles as if he were the Messiah. And when it was finally revealed that he was having his 2nd affair with a staffer, & that his own wife had medical issues and was never brought out for any of his “amazing miraculous prayer,” he just quietly slipped away. And I said, “I knew it.”

Now, I’m saying the same thing about Barack Obama. I felt it back in 2007 when I first saw him in front of a room full of people. This was before it was announced that he was officially a nominee; before I knew he founded the criminally-acting organization of ACORN; before I knew his law office was suing banks that refused to write the risky loans that got us into the housing troubles we’re in now; before I knew his parents were Communist; before I watched him take 6 weeks to produce a birth certificate that most of us could provide for only the amount of time & money it takes to get to the county seat where we were born. Surely, the President of The United States of America could snap his fingers and an office full of employees would drop everything to pull the file, make a certified copy, have it notarized, and put it in the next overnight package out the door. 3 business days max. But, I digress.

Everything I saw in that first event was before I watched him blame the housing problems on his opponent, before our government got so big for its britches that ordinary citizens could go to jail as criminals for violating laws they didn’t even know existed (and will even more when they are jailed for tax debts incurred under Obamacare), and before I watched him divide our country more than unify it. It was before all the proof out there that, like Todd Bentley, the “winds of change” do not always blow with the Spirit of God.

What I saw that first night was a dark power. An evil being born that held more sway over the people than what I saw with Bentley and those who supported him, wrapped him in a robe, put a “special” ring on his finger, and called him “blessed of God” and “specially anointed.” The way people threw their arms up in the air and practically worshiped the man on the stage like he was some kind of rock star… well, it scared me then and it scares me now. It scares me that on the night before the election, so many are still so swayed that they would call themselves Christians and still vote for someone who thinks it’s okay to kill the innocent via abortion. It scares me that the candidates are even close when so much of what Obama has done is against the constitution, for bigger government, and opposite the foundations laid by the founding fathers of this country.

But I should not be surprised after reading Proverbs 28:5 where the book of wisdom says, “Evil men do not understand justice, but they who crave and seek the Lord understand it fully. ” Every person I have heard so far that is still in support of Obama has been that way for selfish reasons. They, or someone they know or are close to (or maybe related to) is in need of something the man has said he will provide. They cite his provisions for health care or other “free” supplements to their lives without noticing that he is also saying he will tax the very people from whom he is now getting all the provisions so many fear they will lose under Romney. They do not cite how great Obama will make our country for their children and grandchildren; only what he will do for them in the here and now. That smacks of pure selfishness. And, since the word “evil” means “minus God,” it makes sense. As it was in the days of Noah, men’s thoughts are continuously “minus God,” even in “the church world.” They are focused on what answers they can get from a man and not from God.

So, I urge and beg those who even begin to think they love God Almighty to humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked (selfish) ways and vote for one who is more apt to truly love our country. Vote for one who’s party does not vote to remove God from the party platform. Vote for one who’s pastor has not damned our country. Vote for one who’s wife has not complained of how she hated our country. Vote for one who supports Israel rather than bowing to her enemies. (And for those still thinking of voting for Paul, he said Israel was her own problem, so even if I was not urging you to change your vote to keep the balance toward Romney, I would urge you to change it to keep us from losing the benefits we gain with God by being an ally to the country where God will someday place his throne.)

And whatever happens tomorrow, I know that Yahveh, God Almighty, is still on His throne, and I know that the righteous will not be forsaken. I know that God will protect us, and I even know that He will forgive those who vote for the ungodly Obama in ignorance and selfishness. Yet, even as I know these things, I still put out my plea to unseat this man who has continually lied to us from promises of a balanced budget to new jobs that he only managed to give to the many new czars he placed in charge of his many new committees. Please be led by the Spirit of God and not by the spirit of selfishness or greed that would make it okay to believe the report of a liar instead of the report of the Lord. I am convinced in my spirit that it would be a grave mistake to bring the man in for another four years. I believe he will walk away with information that will create damage even with a lost election, but I believe it will be even worse if he maintains his commandeering position. (One former high-ranking official from the Pentagon even warned that if Obama wins this election, it will be the last free election we know in this country. I don’t claim to know prophetically if this is true or not, but I do believe in the depths of my heart that we are in danger from the first election and will be in even more danger from a repeat.) Please do not be one of the blind that needs to repent later when our country ends up in bondage and those like me are saying, “We just knew it.”

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

   

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