Friday, June 15, 2018

Guard Your Gates


This is an article that I don’t really want to write.  I don’t even want to think about it, and perhaps that is the whole problem.  Nobody does! If I were to phrase this as a riddle it would be: What do millions of people think about and explore every day, but never in the context of sin?  This is a sin that flies under the radar.  It is hidden, personal, and therefore, taboo to discuss or admit guilt.  And those who do admit to participation in this sin relegate it to a ‘victimless crime;’ or 'it hurts no one.'  “Everybody does it.”  Really?  We are instructed in scripture to guard our gates.  That means everything we touch, consume, hear, speak and see is a gateway to our body, heart and mind: in other words, our temple.  There are many avenues I could address with regard to guarding our gates, but this article will deal with pornography.  



Does the Bible say anything on this topic?  


SO, WHAT HAS THIS GOT TO DO WITH ME? 

A few days ago, I was trying to look up something on my phone through the internet.  My phone is small, I was a passenger in a moving car, and my screen was difficult to read.  So, these being the conditions, I accidentally touched the wrong thing on a side-bar.  Instead of finding the definition of the term I was looking up, I wound up with a hard-core pornography site on my phone.  Not only was it disgusting and absolutely opposite from what I was seeking to find, it turned itself into my ‘home’ page!  When I tried to sweep it away it opened yet another porn site!  The second one was even worse as it was targeted specifically to TEENS!  To say I was horrified is an understatement. 

I was not only horrified, I was angry.  Here were images that I didn’t want to see, from a site I didn’t seek out and that I stumbled on unintentionally, and that was designed in such a way that it was difficult to remove! The predatory nature of this incident was just horrible! 

I just wanted it gone!  I didn’t want to look at it while I tried to remove it either!  I couldn’t help but think how easy it must be for our children to accidentally find this kind of trash!  And, when I saw the linked one was billed as the ‘best Teen site in HD’ I lost it.

WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT OUR SOCIETY?

Today the porn industry brings in well over $12 Billion dollars a year (these figures are from 2004, so these figures have exploded exponentially).  The porn industry is sustained, in part, by sex trafficking (slavery and kidnapping that are condemned in Torah)!  It is largely a part of our society that gets little overt attention.  On the contrary, it is mostly hidden in the cloak of darkness.  It is the dirty little secret that everyone knows about and few condemn lest they be called a prude or intolerant. 

Not many feminists decry the exploitation and objectification of women (or men for that matter) into purely sexual objects.   There is little discussion from the clergy about this either.  This is probably a reflection of the wide-spread nature of pornography.  Users cross all ages, ethnic, economic, and social lines, and it is just as prevalent within the religious community as otherwise.

 So how did we get here? Only 40 years ago Elvis Presley made rock history with a few well-placed pelvic thrusts, and Marilyn Monroe shocked our sexual sensibilities with modest bathing suits and demure glances. Now Carmen Electra’s stripper workouts are a staple of household aerobics, and 12 percent of the worldwide web is devoted to pornographic sites. Pornography is in our living rooms, on our computers and television screens, and buried deep in the experiences of our spouses, children, and siblings. And, by all accounts, it’s here to stay.” - See more at: http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo2/2coleman.php#sthash.5ud3l02j.dpuf

This article is not going to give you all the facts and figures.  For that I recommend reading the article on Salvo sited above for more information.  To say the statistics are horrifying is an understatement.  The most awful is this: “The average child is 11 years old at the time of his or her first exposure. Twenty percent of all children have been sexually solicited on the web; more than 90 percent of 8 to 16-year-olds have viewed pornography online, and 80 percent of 15 to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hardcore pornography.”

Yeshua said, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Mat 18:6 )

So, even if we don’t participate in this industry by indulging in it, we are complicit when we sweep it under the rug and say nothing!

ISN’T THIS JUST A PERSONAL THING?

The effects on society are profound.  It is not just a personal vice or a harmless addiction.  It exploits children, women and men, and irreparably damages the most basic foundations of our society: fidelity, morality and the sanctity of marriage.  It glorifies sex without relationship, and to those addicted by this, there is an ever-expanding need for ever more deviant behaviors to watch to achieve the desired sense of excitement.  It destroys marriages, relationships, childhood innocence, distorts sexual expectation and satisfaction between partners, and feeds the already damaged among us to transform fantasies into horrific acts of child molestation, rape and murder. 

Side effects of our acceptance and participation in pornography are wide-spread.  We are all reaping the fields of the seed sown by this world-wide and insidious preoccupation with sex, and much of that is deviant sex at that. Pornography diminishes any sense of modesty.   It contributes to the sexualization of our children. We are all desensitized to its filthiness as it is commonplace in films which allude to or depict infidelity, meaningless sex, homosexuality, sadomasochism and worse.  It is creeping into our television programs as well.  R-rated movies are equivalent to what used to be labeled as X-rated in the past. 

The slippery slope is well greased, and one wonders where the bottom can be found.

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

The 7th Commandment is the prohibition against adultery.

Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Yeshua made it clear as he explained the heart connection in Torah.  He said, “You know the commandment which says, "Be faithful in marriage. But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts.” (Mat 5:27-28 )

Pornography meets the requirement of transgressing this instruction.  It is sin.

BUT, WHAT IF I AM UNMARRIED?!  HOW CAN IT BE ADULTERY THEN?



Paul spoke about the works of the flesh. 



God wants you to be holy, so don't be immoral in matters of sex.

Respect and honor your wife.

Don't be a slave of your desires or live like people who don't know God.

You must not cheat any of the Lord's followers in matters of sex. Remember, we warned you that he punishes everyone who does such things.

God didn't choose you to be filthy, but to be pure.

So if you don't obey these rules, you are not really disobeying us. You are disobeying God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1Th 4:3-8)



Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, (Gal 5:19)

Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things.  (Col 3:5-6)



And our Father said this through his prophet, Isaiah:



I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig's flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, "Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you." These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. (Isa 65:2-5)



WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?



Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eph 5:11)



The Council in Jerusalem addressed sexual matters that are found in Leviticus 17 & 18.  See the article Letter to the Gentiles for more detail.  If we wish to be in covenant with our Creator, we must clean our house!

Scripture is clear.  We are not to be double-minded.  Water that is pure and undefiled cannot exist with that which is not.  Darkness has no part in Light.  The addiction and acceptance of pornography is against everything that Torah teaches us. 

It must grieve the Father that we choose to pollute our temple by letting this inside our gates.  YHVH is all about life, honor and the marriage covenant he designed.  Anything that diminishes that has to be examined and expunged from our life.  Will the Spirit of Holiness abide with filth and worldly lusts?

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. (Heb 13:4)

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (1Co 6:18-21)

Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. (Jas 1:27)

Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.  (Php 4:8 and Rom13:14)

 


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Royal Wedding


This week the world tuned in to watch a modern fairytale come to life.  All eyes were on Harry and Meghan as they held a royal wedding at Windsor Castle.  In the aftermath, and even before the day was over, every petty and sarcastic comment to express how much ‘no one cares’ was made.  What is it about us that we cannot celebrate with anyone who doesn’t walk in the same social sphere as we do?


This article will not bash the royal family, Harry and Meghan, or the spectacular wedding day they enjoyed.  In point of fact, I shared their happiness as did a huge number of British citizens who camped out for days to get a glimpse of the royal pageantry.

You can pat yourself on the back at how much you don’t care and make disparaging remarks over any number of things about it.  But, who are you to rain on their wedding day?

Can we not see this as a delightful metaphor for all of us?  What value may we place on a fairytale?  Just as Yeshua (Jesus) taught in parables, might we try and see beyond the envy and holier-than-thou attitudes that animate the snarky and disparaging comments leveled at the entire event?  Can we see this as a parable, a metaphor, for what we all carry in our hearts?  Can we not believe they are entering a marriage based on love? 

Just because their wedding was beyond what we common folk have, does that mean it was trivial to them?  They are just human beings like ourselves. So-what that they happen to have an enormous wealth and privilege that we, in America, find hard to grasp!  Can we really justify our disdain because we can’t relate to it?

Or can we?

How many people flooded Chicago when the Cubs won the pennant?  Did people gather to celebrate the inauguration of a President?  Do people tune in to the Academy Awards, or get excited for the premier of the next Star Wars movie or the like?  How about American Idol?  The Super Bowl? Miss America? Pick your event that touches your heart.  You know you have your favorites, so why lift your nose that the ‘Royals’ are unworthy of your interest?

What satisfies your personal fairytale?  Is it the rags to riches, pauper to king theme that beckons to your spirit?  Is it overcoming life-threatening events?  Or are only Royal Weddings relegated to ‘fairytales?’

Speaking of fairytales, what is it about a fairytale that resonates with us?  I know, our current culture vilifies the stories like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.  God forbid we should tell our daughters and sons that there is such a thing as true love, or happy-ever-after!  Maybe we should just crush their dreams of an ideal because it doesn’t reflect real life. 

I have news for you.  The princess thing is not going away.  Just look at how Disney has capitalized on this.  How many little girls are fascinated with being a princess?  I dare say it would take a conscious decision on the part of the parents to discourage this fantasy.  And why should we, really?

What does the fairytale tell us?  A person who is enslaved (Cinderella), hated without cause or due to envy (Sleeping Beauty) or dead (Snow White), can be rescued by ‘true love.’  We all bought into that phrase when we fell in love with the Princess Bride…why do we begrudge anyone from that in real life?

Most fairytales tell us that the noble and selfless Prince falls in love with the young maiden that will become his bride.  He will rescue her and carry her off on his white stallion to live forever in his kingdom.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?  Is it simply a fairytale, or is it telling the story that resonates within all of us?

Those of us who are seeking the Kingdom of God view the whole thing in a similar, if not identical, fashion. 

We who are lost, broken, dead in our sins, asleep, or slaves to sin, yearn for the perfect Prince (of Peace) to rescue us from our circumstances.  We even picture him on a white steed (see Revelation), coming in power to vanquish the enemies of life eternal; to remove the forces of darkness that prevent us from living in and with Him!  His perfect love will give us the happily-ever-after of eternal life in His Kingdom.  Who doesn’t long for that, ye that call yourselves ‘believers?’

So many of the events that occupy our attention fall in one or more facets of the perfect fairytale.  You can figure it out.  What was the 108 year drought before the Cubs won the pennant?  (Sounds like echoes of Rip Van Winkle to me.)  How about American Idol? The Prince and the Pauper? Rags to Riches?  A nobody becomes famous!  A commoner joins the royal family.

So many parallels that you really must suppress the ideal from your lexicon to call it a fairytale.  And how many of the things Americans are consumed with focus on love and marriage?

It used to be that little girls sought a man that would fulfill her desire to be loved and cared for.  It used to be that love was the goal instead of hooking up until the next new thing comes along. 

It used to be that we were happy for people who were in love and  marry each other in front of God and everybody.  Why should we NOT be excited for the institution of marriage, even if it is done in a lavish fashion few of us can hope to enjoy?

I don’t know if Harry and Meghan will live happily ever after, but I sure hope they do!  And I tuned in for their wedding!  It was a lovely affair that expressed love, culture, tradition and celebration.  It was fun to see marriage treated with respect and elevated as an event worthy of interest. 

When is it horrible when people come together to share and celebrate with two people who are in love and choose to vow a covenant between them until death? 

As the minister that spoke at their wedding said, “Two people fell in love, and we all showed up.”  I prefer to show up for love and commitment, regardless of the magnitude of the event.

Congratulations and best wishes, Harry and Meghan.




Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas? Bah Humbug!

I find myself in agreement with Scrooge!  You all know the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  It is a classic that has been made into innumerable plays, staged readings, movies and cartoons to retell the wonderful story of how an old miser like Scrooge could find generosity and forgiveness by embracing the Christmas spirit.  Before his conversion his curmudgeonly retort to all who espoused Merry Christmas was, “Bah! Humbug!”

After some study, I now think that Scrooge was on to something!  He certainly needed a change of heart, but he was right about Christmas being a humbug!  Why do I say I agree with Scrooge?



I looked up the definition of Humbug. 

Here it is from the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary:

humbug

noun hum·bug  : language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people : someone or something that is not honest or true : a hard peppermint candy

Full Definition of HUMBUG

1 a :  something designed to deceive and mislead

b :  a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person

2 :  an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception

3 :  Nonsense, drivel

Hmmmm.  Am I saying that everyone who celebrates Christmas is ‘willfully false, deceptive and insincere?’  Not exactly.  I believe that the majority of Christians are sincere in their wish to ‘keep Christ in Christmas,’ and have no intention to deceive or pretend the holiday is anything other than a celebration of the birth of our Savior.  They would be, and are, offended to have their celebration characterized as nonsense or drivel.

But, and this is the hard part for almost everyone to swallow: What if the concept of Christmas is offensive to the Father?  What if Christmas itself is humbug?

If you are still reading this, I guess you are willing to explore the possibility that Christmas might not be based in Biblical instructions.  I am hoping you are looking for me to explain what I mean so that you can make an assessment of whether I am sincere, or a humbug.

Everyone can point to the lovely Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon where Linus reads the recounting of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke.  “That is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown;” and, for many, that is enough.  It is a justification for all that Christmas has become.  The fact of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds abiding in the fields by night, and the singing of the heavenly hosts is familiar, inspiring and gives us all that warm fuzzy feeling.  Christmas is the memorial of this event that brought Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men, isn’t it?

We are all drawn in by our memories of movies and Christmas stories.  Films like It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas and many others are perennial favorites that show the spirit of Christmas as a generous and loving heart for our fellow man.  But, no story other than A Christmas Carol concentrates on the Spirits that animate our love-affair with all things Christmas.

So why did Scrooge call Christmas a humbug?

Scrooge was a bitter and disillusioned man.  His spirit was so darkened that he couldn’t accept that people might actually have love and goodwill in their heart, and certainly that these feelings were not the result of Christmastime.  Until he was visited by four spirits (Marley, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future) he was unable to recognize that his misery was the result of his own heart and behavior.  He became a miser that worshipped money and it cost him the love of his life.  To him, all of the good cheer and love others portrayed was a deception.  It was, indeed, a humbug.  A spirit of deception, insincerity and dishonesty.

Let’s look again at the definition of Humbug.  It is “language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people, someone or something that is not honest or true, or a hard peppermint candy.”

Now, let’s look at the other definitions.  “Someone or something that is not honest or true.”  Christmas celebrations probably fall into this category.  If we are honest, we must conclude that Christmas and its attendant trappings of trees, holly, mistletoe, Santa and reindeer etc., are all based on myths or ancient pagan practices.  A quick search on the internet yields an abundance of evidence that places all of these things we associate with Christmas as pagan symbols and celebratory customs that we have ‘Christianized.”  They are found nowhere in the Scriptures.  The reason all of these pagan practices were adopted by the Christian church may sound okay to you, but it flies directly in the face of what the Father asked of us.

He said, “Do not learn the ways of the heathens and say you do them unto me, it is an abomination!” (Deu 18:9, Jer 10:2)

You will not find in the Bible, including the New Testament, an instruction to celebrate the birth of our Messiah.  None of the apostles observed Christmas, and for centuries it wasn’t even on the radar screen!  In fact, it was well into the 1800’s before it was even legal for Americans to erect a Christmas Tree because our founding fathers (you know, those folks who fled England because of religious persecution) understood that it was a pagan practice!

So, aside from the traditions that have been co-opted from pagan celebrations (which surely we could conclude fits the definition of a deception), the dark under-belly of Christmas is also a deception.

Why do I say that?

Sadly, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ is not for many people. It is well-reported that there is a spike in suicides during the Christmas season.  The expectation and hype associated with this holiday results in further alienating those who are alone, mentally unstable, or are experiencing a down-turn in their lives. When the magic of Christmas fails to materialize, many cannot cope with the disappointment.

Another deception is our ability to ‘rational-lies’ to our children.  We tell them fantastic tales of flying reindeer, Santa and elves that bring good girls and boys the desires of their heart, and elves on shelves that watch everything they do and say in the run up to Christmas morning.  We think we are creating a spirit of ‘magic’ when in fact we are just lying to our children and setting them up for disappointment and disillusionment when the truth comes out.                                                                                          
                                                
                                          Deception! 

On every level!  We all want to embrace the thought of ‘good will and peace on earth.’   And many actually attain a level of that, until the post-Christmas crash and bills for how much we over-spent in the ‘spirit’ of generosity arrive in the mail.  We have substituted honest emotions of love and goodwill for Black Friday fist-fights over material goods.  We feel pressured to purchase gifts for everyone we see lest we fail to embody the Christmas spirit.  We strive for and expect the ‘Christmas spirit’ during December, and fall back into our everyday mode the rest of the year!  If it is from the heart, it should be apparent all year round, don’t you think?

If you really examine the theme of It’s a Wonderful Life, it really isn’t about Christmas at all.  Although it is a holiday classic and the climax occurs on Christmas Eve, the real story is the culmination of a life well-lived.  George Bailey is a man of integrity.  He honors his father and mother by giving up his dream to leave Bedford Falls in order to handle his father’s business.  He lives his life with a heart to help others, and because of that, this honest, hard-working man is rescued by his community in his hour of need.  Incidentally, his rescue from his own suicide was the result of a prayer for help, but it is easy to gloss over that and hang the entire ending on the ‘Christmas Spirit.’  It makes for a nice setting, but the story could have been told without Christmas in the picture and the result would have been the same.

Now I guess I have ruined your favorite Christmas movie.  It shouldn’t have.  It is still one of my favorite ones too, but I can see it as a reward of a life well-lived and an answer to prayer.  The setting is irrelevant although the snow is nice, and the winter-time ties it all up in a neat bow.  It wasn’t Christmas that caused the happy ending, it was love.

       SHAMELESS PLUG: for more on It's a Wonderful Life go here

So, now that Christmas can be properly characterized as humbug (deception), what should we do with that information?

What if we love the Father enough to search out the truth?  What if we discover that He instituted Feasts that He does want us to observe?  What if we understand that Leviticus 23 is for all mankind, and not just for the ‘Jews?’  What if we realize that celebrating Christmas that began as a pagan festival is no different than the Israelites who built the golden calf and declared it a feast to YHVH?

What if we rightly call Christmas a Humbug?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

RULE OF LAW



We are a nation of Laws. Here are some facts/figures.  I didn’t do an exhaustive search, but probably these are fairly accurate; just open up the yellow pages in any town in America, if you can still find a phone book! 

According to the American Bar Association there are currently 1,116,967 lawyers practicing in the United States. That is approximately one for every 300 people, or approximately 0.36% of the total population. These statistics relate only to those currently practicing and maintaining their licenses. There are far more with inactive or retired status.

We, as Americans, are in love with the Law.  We are a ‘nation of Laws.’  America has more lawyers and legislators who are lawyers than can be construed as random chance.  And a large percentage of them make their home in the halls of Congress!

According to the Congressional Research Service 170 members of the House and 60 Senators are lawyers. Out of a total of 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 Senators (535 total in Congress), lawyers comprise the biggest voting block of one type, making up 43% of Congress. Sixty percent of the U.S. Senate is lawyers and 37.2% of the House of Representatives are lawyers.

So, what can we conclude about all this in the wake of yet another horrific terrorist attack? I don’t care if he is home-grown or not…he was a terrorist. Shall we seek our lawyers to draft another law to keep us safe?  Shall we ponder if the 2nd Amendment is necessary?

Gun-grabbers say yes.  Average Americans say no.

All of this is just too ironic for words!  In a post-Christian America we idolize the rule of law.  Sorry folks, that’s the way I see it based on our culture and what we enact as lawful (abortion comes to mind).  We want the rule of law!  More laws will make us safe!  More laws make us free!  Really?

Now, that the knee-jerk emotional response is past let’s look at this from another perspective.  All of you will not like it, but it is the way I see it.

Thirty-five hundred years ago, give or take a few years, the Creator gave his prophet, Moses, a list of laws.  The concise list was only TEN.  Ten Laws that support the remaining detailed instruction for man to live peaceably with each other and with our Creator Himself.
TEN.  Not 100, Not 1,000, not 40,000 (which is just a rough estimate of the laws Obama signed into effect just days after his 2012 election).  Forty thousand on top of the uncountable numbers of laws, statutes and ordinances we are living beneath in America today.  And that is just the Federal government!

Yet, as soon as some lunatic decides to put ‘I hate everyone, including God’ at the top of his list, the first response is: “There ought to be a law against it.”

Well, duh.  How many laws did the shooter in Vegas break?  Did it prevent him from carrying out his sick plan?  No.

I highly doubt another law is going to make a difference.  Do you?

But the real irony is this: YHVH (God/Creator) gave us a pretty concise, pared-down-to-basics list of do’s and don’ts.  But, today, many believe those laws have no force and can be ignored.  The Christian Church claims that we are no longer ‘under’ the Law of Moses (even though, if you would study it, you’d see that Yeshua (Jesus) never said any such thing).

We find it impossible to ‘keep’ simple instructions like: Do not murder.  But we are more than willing to enumerate some secular laws to make all modes of murder illegal.  Do you see the problem yet?

It is not our laws (nor even YHVH’s Laws) that make us safe.  It is our heart.  If we really and truly loved, feared and revered YHVH and each other, we could live very happily under His instruction.  Adding to his basics hasn’t gotten us anywhere, has it?

Someone posed the question (as they always do): If there is a God, why didn’t he stop the shooting? End the hunger? House the homeless?

Why? 

It is a good question.  If you believe that we are free and have rights, what does that mean?  Are you responsible for yourself?  Your family?  Your community?  Is it your job or is it the job of some bureaucrat?  You want it to be the government that stops evil, but you don’t trust the Creator.  What is the difference?

YHVH gave us a list of instruction whereby we could live together in peace.  He also gave us freedom.  Freedom to choose to follow Him, or do our own thing. 

I ask you: Has ‘doing our own thing’ made us safer, happier, cured hunger, violence or greed? 

You say a law to limit guns will keep us safe?  How are we doing so far?

I think we have placed our faith in the wrong entity.  The government will not keep us safe.   The government has no moral authority.  It sticks its proverbial finger in the air and tests to see which way the wind blows before enacting another ‘rule of law’ for us to follow.

We rail against God, but we won’t take Him at his word which says he will bless us if we are obedient to His instruction.  As far as I can see, He is the only One who can intervene.  But, I ask you: would you recognize Him if He did stop the killing?  What would it take for you to place your faith in Him?  The bad stuff that never happens is invisible to us.  Does that mean He never intervenes?  How could we know?


 We expect the ‘government’ to be effective in changing the heart of men, all the while rejecting the Creator who loves us enough to allow us to live in this imperfect nation called America; who allows us the freedom of choice.

Until we get our hearts in order, until we allow someOne with moral authority to give us laws to follow (oh wait!  He already did that!) we are still relying on men to purify their own hearts. 

Who can truly help us?  When is the last time you read some lawyer-inspired legislation that taught you how to love your fellow man?  Give us the Law!  Or give us the Law-giver? 

Mat 19:16  Now behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good shall I do to have eternal life?”

Mat 19:17  “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” Yeshua said to him. “There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”






Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lessons from IRMA


This is not going to be a lengthy post.  Just some observations in the wake of riding through Hurricane Irma on the east coast of Central Florida.

First thing: I am so grateful for good friends!  Being by myself while the hub is working in Colorado made for exciting preparations!  I confess to grumbling over having to accomplish it all myself! But, it was manageable!

We bought our house nine years ago.  One of the big selling features were the accordion shutters on all the windows, and three big roll-down Rolladens on our back lanai to button up for storms. 

Being on the north fork of the St. Lucie River (a peninsula at that!) gives us wonderful views of the river.  We hardly know we have neighbors; although we do.  Several houses on our lane lead up from our house to the top of the ‘hill’ - if there is such a thing in Florida.

So, after buttoning up the house (which makes my bright and open home feel like a cave! YUCK), I learned they wished those of us in the flood zones to evacuate. 

Fortunately for me, a couple who are among our Shabbat Family live west of town and were going to stay instead of evacuating.  They have a solid home, hurricane impact windows, and an automatic generator should the power go out.  They invited me to stay since I was alone. 

I took them up on it!

It was not terrible at all!  Gusty winds, lots of rain, but I felt snug, and my friends were great company for me. 

The Second Thing: In the sunny and cool aftermath of the storm, aside from standing water and downed limbs and a couple of trees, when Monday came it was as if the storm had never even happened!  What amazed me…orchids were still blooming, birds were chirping, and most amazing of all, butterflies…a LOT of butterflies, were floating around in the clean air! 

It occurred to me: why should we be afraid?  Our Father protects them during the raging storm!  I don’t understand how, but it is all part of His great design.  It was evidence of Him.  His care for All his creatures.  Everything else is just stuff.

Blessed that our home was spared major damage.  A missing downspout, a broken dock, a little water in our garage (the neighbors said there were waves in our driveway!), and a lot of yard debris…that’s it!  Our neighbors at the top of the hill were not so lucky.  A huge tree landed on their home.  I don’t think it penetrated the house, but I hear them clearing it away this morning.  Chainsaws.

Those who know me (and think I am nuts) know that I love the sound of chainsaws.  Why?  My dad was a tree surgeon.  The sound always makes me think of him.  He would have had lots of work to do here in our small town. 

I am Blessed beyond measure to have avoided major damage and flooding.  Thank You, Abba!  My Father who watches over the butterflies.