Start Over

Start over; and this time, make the priority obedience to God’s will.

Remember this?

Hollis10
Dad’s New Testament Page 381

Two years ago I was at this very spot.  I was at the end of Dad’s message he wrote in his little pocket New Testament.  There are two verses circled, Hebrews 4:12&13, that speak of the Word of God being sharper than any two-edged sword and that before Him no creature is hidden.  But that is not why I need to start over.

Today I realize that I am right back where I started.  I must learn how to be obedient to God’s will.  Just as Jesus walked out His life in a fleshly body here on earth in accordance with God the Father’s will, so I must follow.

The reason I need to start over is not found in chapter 4 of Hebrews, but chapter 5:

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him (Father God) who was able to save Him (Jesus) from death, and He (Jesus) was heard for His godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered; and being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 5:7-10

So, beginning with persistent, loud, tearful and fearful prayers, Jesus was heard by the Father who allowed His Son Jesus to suffer so that He could learn obedience to God the Father’s will and to perform God’s will perfectly.

Got it.  I am just having the hardest time ever walking it out.  Oh, I have prayed, hollered and cried; I have complained about all kinds of suffering, but the Apostle Paul has me tagged:

About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s Word. You need milk, not solid food; for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil. ~ Hebrews 5:11-14

Prayer:  Lord, forgive me for being dull of hearing.  Help me to practice distinguishing good from evil in this complicated and dark world.  Help me to learn to be obedient to You by becoming skilled in Your Word.  Help me to start over with enthusiasm, resolve, and godly fear. May I boldly occupy until you come, and glorify the Holy Name of Yeshua, the Messiah, Amen.

Hollis2Dad’s New Testament – pg 194
I made known to them thy Name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. ~ John 17:26

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Anything

I just wanted more time together.  Just another hug . . . one more chance to hold his hand . . .  tell him how much I love him again . . . I would have given . . . anything.

My stepdad battled Alzheimer’s for over ten years.  Our last days with him have been crying days – mostly for him.

One family member said, “I hate what Alzheimer’s does to people.”

I agree.  As my stepdad slowly broke down under the insidious disease process, we crumpled emotionally beside him.  There were times as we held hands at the dining table that he would look away with a hurtful expression on his face and mutter to the wall, “Oh well . . . It is what it is.”

In my heart I waged war; won his battle by finding a miraculous cure; traded places; did more; did anything to prevent what we all knew was happening.  But in reality, I had no such ability or power.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  ~ 2 Tim. 4:18 NIV

My stepdad was a Christ believer.  His heart was huge for everyone he knew; and he was so loved in return.  Then our prayers for a miracle were painfully answered as our family expected – but dreaded.  My stepdad was released from Alzheimer’s torment a few days ago.  Even though I am mourning the loss, I am thankful to God for mercifully calling him Home.  He will no longer suffer.  He is leaping for joy in Heaven with Jesus, friends, and family in Glory.

My friend, John, called yesterday to pay his respects to Mom.  He told me to “just look at it as if he has graduated.”  Thank you, John.  That simple encouragement has comforted me more than anything else.  Graduation means a reward at the end of the struggle; the victory over life’s hurts.  His diploma is now a page in The Lamb’s Book of Life with his name written there for all to see.  It means honorably finishing the course and moving on to a new beginning.  Thanks to Jesus, It is finished!  Jesus paid the price for our sins and didn’t leave anything undone.  He has done everything that no one else is able to do.  Thank you, Jesus.  I know that I will see my stepdad again when it’s my turn to graduate.

My stepdad was a boxer as a young man – a fighter; and he fought the ravages of time (he was 85) and of Alzheimer’s right up until the end.  Even though he could no longer speak the Words, I will copy them here on his behalf; as I am confident he owned this scripture as he took his last breaths:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ~ 2 Tim. 4:7-8 NIV

My stepdad was also a race car driver when he was young.  He always drove a pickup truck and never relinquished his set of keys after he quit driving.  I’m sure he hoped he would need those keys again someday because that truck is still parked in his garage.

Gosh!  I would give anything to see him driving it around in Heaven right now . . .

Do your best to come to me quickly, ~ 2 Tim. 4:9 NIV

 

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Expect a Miracle

At any moment in time there must be multitudes of people who expect a miracle to manifest in their lives.  Each circumstance is different, but oh! so equally important.

Would some expect a miracle of healing from God after fervent prayer, while others place their trust in a team of doctors?  Do miracles manifest with or without any human expectation?

I think so.  For instance, our planet earth is spinning around the sun at an astounding speed of  18.5 miles/sec (30 km.sec).  Even more shocking is the fact that earth is rotating at 1000 mph (1600 km/hr) near the equator without any person or object flying off into outer space!  Gravity is a miracle that I have come to expect.  I don’t pray or hope for it, as it has existed for millennium.  However, just because I don’t expect it doesn’t make it any less of a miracle.

Are you expecting a miracle today? – Perhaps a miracle to land that “perfect” job? Rather than adopt, some barren parents might be praying to conceive a child when the doctors have given no hope.  In medical circles, that would qualify as a miracle.

Whatever miracle you are expecting today, consider that a miracle is likely the glory of God revealed.  Wait for it patiently.

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I pray God gives you favor and that you receive the miracle you expect.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ~ Romans 8:19 NIV

God’s blessings and thank you for visiting

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Photo Credit: Couple on beach at Maldive – ©Can Stock Photo/haveseen

The Glory Snap

Last night I wakened at three a.m. to a common local phenomenon.  It’s the closest thing in nature I have witnessed to what the Glory of God must be like.  Last night a heavenly display of color exploded in the night sky like a glorious snapshot.  I call it The Glory Snap.

In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. The former term was coined by Galileo in 1619, from the Roman goddess of the dawn and the Greek name for the north wind. Aurora – Wikipedia

Last night every window of my house showcased greenish ribbons of Aurora Borealis snaking through a myriad of stars like a needle and thread.  If you can imagine the Big Dipper and other northern constellations buffeted by a sort of fan-dance of colored lights against the background of a midnight sky, it sort of looks like this:

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Northern Lights

Oh, of course there are more dramatic and colorful photos of the Northern Lights.  But this is the closest one I found to what happened over my house last night.

However, God’s Glory shall never fade like the Aurora Borealis with the rising sun; or dim in the arctic twilight of winter.  No.  The brightness of God’s Glory is eternal and defies my comprehension.  I searched the Biblical scriptures for illumination and these verses spoke to me:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ~ Isaiah 6:1-4 NIV

Wow! Picture a universal kingdom where ultimate power emanates from the throne of God.  The train of God’s robe fans out just like the Northern Lights dancing across a velvety dark sky.  The thundering proclamations, “Holy, holy, holy”  by the angelic beings called seraphim shake the very foundations of God’s temple in Heaven.  My spirit tingles in recognition of The Eternal One; The Creator; The GREAT I AM:

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” ~ Romans 14:10b NIV

It is spectacular!

What is your understanding of God’s Glory?  For me, describing the Northern Lights is my feeble attempt to explain just a fraction of God’s Glorious Awesomeness.  Perhaps you see a glimpse of His Glory in a sunrise or sunset.

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“Thank You, Father, for giving us many descriptions of Your Glory in Your Word.  The knowledge that You are “high and lifted up” gives me the understanding that You are to be revered; You are The One and Only God; that You are perfect, and unchangeable.  Praising You today for creating the Northern Lights in our sky that gives us a wondrous snapshot of the magnificence of Your Glory.  Thank You for Your unquenchable love, justice, and mercy towards humans.  Thank You most of all for Your Son, Jesus, who died for mankind, in order for every sinner to experience Your eternal glory by simply repenting and accepting Your free gift.  We lift high His Matchless, Beautiful, Glorious Name.  Amen.”

Some people on the earth have never witnessed The Glory Snap.  Have you?

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More photos at #Auroraborealis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora
Photo Credit: Aurora Borealis – ©Can Stock Photo / Jamenpercy

Dad’s Whetstone

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17 NIV

“Iron sharpens iron”It reminds me of Dad’s whetstone.  My father would spend hours in the evenings sharpening kitchen or hunting knives with a small rectangular block of stone called a whetstone.

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Sharpening a large hunting knife with whetstone

Dad rhythmically ran the blade over the stone – back and forth – sometimes spitting on the stone to moisten it.  He tried to teach me how to do it by giving me my own whetstone and knife to practice with (sharpening my iron with his iron), but I never developed the skill to his level of expertise.  That means that I can’t sharpen a knife to save my life!  But Dad played that sharpening stone like a musical instrument.  Sometimes he would hum a tune as he worked.  Then test every blade he sharpened by shaving the hair on his arm with it.  Or he would slice a thin sheet of paper with it.   Then he would commence to sharpening it some more.  Dad repeated this process two or three times before he was satisfied that the blade was really, really sharp.  Then he would grin just a little bit.

Have you ever had a friend or mentor who helps you solve problems, bone up for exams, or takes you to a higher level just by sharing ideas?

I think God wants us to live well by instructing us to have good friends.  Their wise counsel can sometimes spare us from making mistakes.  And of course, our best forever friend is Jesus.  Jesus is definitely The Iron that I want to sharpen my iron.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.            ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV

Regularly meeting with a sounding board friend or group of friends, i.e. Bible Study Group, can help sharpen our focus on understanding our world, each other, and God’s Word.  The way we think, work, sing, dance, worship, or learn can be influenced by our friends.

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.ª  ~ Proverbs 27:19 NIV
ª Or so others reflect your heart back to you. (emphasis added)

What is the condition of your heart?  Follow Jesus.  Choose friends wisely.  Live well.

“Thank You, Lord, for You are good; and Your love endures forever”.

And THANK YOU READER for following

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PC: Male hands sharpening large hunting knife with whetstone by © Can Stock Photo / alltatts

Divine Wilderness

A wild, empty, or remote area (wilderness) is what most people rarely frequent.  Wilderness is mostly inhabited by untamed animals that thrive in a mysteriously desolate, yet awesomely beautiful place.  It is a place without highways; crisscrossed randomly by well-trodden game trails.  When I meet with my Heavenly Father in such a place it morphs into a Divine Wilderness.

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Ramon Crater at Negev Desert, Israel

I must come alone.  But I will not be lonely, as the Holy Spirit will be there with me.  In fact, He is my guide – just as Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to pray.

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, ~ Luke 4:1 KJV

Jesus was always our perfect example in every aspect of His life in the flesh:

  • He always retreated from others when He prayed.
  • He sought isolated places to be alone in prayer with His Father; often ending up in the wilderness just like Abraham, Moses, and John the Baptist.
  • Multitudes followed Jesus into the wilderness and He spoke The Word to them.  He fed them out there – bread and fish (about 5,000 men plus women and children).
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.      ~ John 6:33-35 KJV

Since I am a night owl, my wilderness is located somewhere in the far distant gloom of night.  It’s sometime between midnight and four a.m.  Others speak of morning devotions and I have never been successful finding time with God in the morning (I’m talking crack-of-dawn morning).  But while others sleep, I become unfettered to the cares of this world.  I am free to be alone with my Father with no interruptions.  Mind you, I am not saying that I have made every appointment – far from it!

But that is my weakness, not His.  He awaits in perfect faithfulness to me while I am wasting all that Divine Wilderness on nothingness.

“Father, forgive me for not making our time together the highest priority each night.  I am often absent when I should be searching Your Word nightly in the Divine Wilderness of Your love.  Thank You for patience toward me, and for giving me another chance to work on this, as I need Your Wisdom and Presence to recharge my soul every night so that I can shine for You every day.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.”

No matter what time of day or night, are you spending time alone with your Father in His Divine Wilderness?  If not, will you join with me in re-dedication to daily devotions?

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PC: ©CanStock Photo Inc/Flik47