Photo of the Month | August 2018

1962Fireweed
Psalms 103:15-17

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is  gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children;

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Photo of the Month | July 2018

KENAI CABIN
Historical Cabin, Old Town, Kenai, Alaska

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. ~ Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT

Follow the words of Jehovah God for blessings individually and nationally.  Those who have gone before us knew that freedom is not free.  They founded this nation based upon God’s Biblical laws; erected monuments to the Ten Commandments; raised up Christian churches with crosses on their steeples; and sent missionaries worldwide to spread the gospel.  Tomorrow is more than just a day to have a cookout with family and friends.

TURN!  Bow the knee.  Pray, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior!

Praise the Lord for the USA!  Happy Independence Day!  Be blessed.

Video of the Month | June 2018

The May Tree blooming in June.  It has a friend that lives beside it – A Siberian Larch.

Even the wilderness and the desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the Lord will display His glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you. ~ Isaiah 35:1-4 NLT

Persistent Unfaithfulness

What an unpopular subject! Warning a nation that has run amok:

Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.” ~ Ezekiel 14:6b NKJV
“The word of the Lord came again to me, saying: “Son of Man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it…” ~ Ezekiel 14:12-13 NKJV
“And I will set My face against them. They will go out from one fire, but another fire shall devour them. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I set My face against them. Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have persisted in unfaithfulness,” says the Lord God. ~ Ezekiel 15:7-8 NKJV

No matter how much God loved His people, Israel, He eventually had to turn them over to their own depraved lusts and rebellious minds.

What about America?  Does any of this apply to our nation?  Despite what is currently taught in our public schools and universities, I believe our nation was founded on the same Biblical laws set down by Almighty God for His covenant people, the Israelites.  As long as our people held God in esteem as a nation, I believe we were blessed with God’s favor on many fronts; plentiful natural resources, educational and technological advancements, wars won, and a per capita quality of life that leads the world.  Our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee individual freedoms (including religious freedoms) that are second to none.  Many nations around the globe have copied our national model.

So why, after this much blessing, does our nation turn its back on God?  Just look at the ancient history of Israel for the answer.  It is all there in the Old Testament.  Israel turned away from God to worship idols and practiced abominable acts such as child sacrifice to those idols.  Legalized abortion in the United States is just as abominable or more so in the sight of God.  Our abortion laws have caused more loss of life than Israel’s child sacrifice to the idol Molech in ancient times – over 60 million since 1973 Roe vs. Wade, according to U.S. Abortion Clock.org.

Don’t be deceived.  God doesn’t change.  He pleads with His children to repent and turn back to Him before it is too late.  Now is the time to repent as a nation and humbly seek forgiveness.  This requires a change of heart at the leadership level.  Yes, God punishes the people of a rebellious nation by the actions of its leaders.

Take 1 Chronicles, Chapter 21 for example: King David decided to take a census of all of his subjects (actually, just the men).  This angered the LORD, who gave David three choices of punishments.  David chose what he must have thought was the lesser, of three days of death across the land.  God sent a plague that killed 70,000 Israelites.  God showed mercy and stopped His angel of death just prior to wiping out the City of Jerusalem in order to give David a chance to repent.

How many chances has He given us?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Otherwise, according to Wisdom in Proverbs 1:27b-30:

“When distress and anguish come upon you, then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD, They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.” ~ NKJV

Invisible Army

Perry Stone claims that an invisible army greatly influenced the election of Mr. Trump as President of the United States in 2016.  Just who is this army?

2bNow teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. ~ Apostle Paul in 2Timothy, 2:2b-3 NLT

Christ’s Invisible Army should be visible, but in America, it is difficult to recognize these days.  What would it look like if we could see it?  I suppose the army would consist of good soldiers.

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Hmmmm … is there a teaching somewhere in God’s Word about this?

Well, Paul goes on to say:

4Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer (Jesus) who enlisted them. 5And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand these things. ~ 2Timothy 2:4-7 NLT (italics added)

Have soldiers in Christ’s Invisible Army used verse 4 as an excuse to let this nation decline into immorality and godless shame?   Good Christian soldiers are not ashamed to pray for America, or even to possibly:

15Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive His approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 17This kind of talk spreads like cancer. ~2Timothy 2:15-17 NLT

So Christ’s Army should not look like an apostate church.  It would not spew forth wicked argumentative speech (like reality TV); or believe that “anything goes” or that “all forms of religion lead to God” (New Age).

1You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! ~2Timothy 3:1-5 NLT

One would hope so!

 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24A servant (soldier) of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. ~2Timothy 2:23-26 NLT (italics added)

We have religious freedom in this nation (so far) and do not suffer persecution for our faith as do our brethren in other parts of the world.  Yet I hear that more believers in America are afraid to share the Good News than those across the seas who are losing their heads for not denouncing their faith in Jesus.  Believers in the United States need to become Christ’s Visible Army.  That means:

10Willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen. 11This is a trustworthy saying:

If we die with Him, we will also live with Him. 12If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 13If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. ~2Timothy 2:10-13 NLT

Who are we, Church?  Are we visible or invisible?

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PC: ©Canstock Photo/leolintang

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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Pray for Ourselves

canstockphoto1609863

Do we forget to pray for ourselves?  Most believers have a prayer list that includes the lost, the sick, the dying, the hungry, the poor and needy; but where do we ourselves fit into that list?

Shockingly, when I thought about this recently, I realized that I have not prayed for myself in some time.  I do not mean praying for forgiveness of sin, or coming to God in prayer with a repentant heart.  No, I mean, I forget to pray for my own needs on a regular basis.

So what?  Here is the thing: my relationship with my Heavenly Father suffers.  He wants to do many good things for me, but first I must ask.

A very strange thing happened about four months ago.  I was in a church service on the birth date of a family member and responded to the altar call at the end of the service.  I went forward for prayer that God would bless me and that God would open doors causing astonishing things to happen in my life.

Within a few short months that same relative was diagnosed with cancer and asked me to visit during the cancer treatments to lend support.  I did go; and we have basically been supportive of each other ever since; but I did not make the connection at all that this may be God’s answer to my altar call prayer.  Probably because it was a door that I least expected that God would open.  Only recently did I connect the dots to the birth date of my relative being the same date that I went forward to pray for myself in church.  So the take away for me is that when I pray mostly for others and not for myself, I am very far from knowing God’s plan for my life or His calling upon me.

Praying for myself will draw me nearer to God – not praying for others (although I believe that intercessory prayer is truly His calling upon me).  I cannot be led by the Holy Spirit to know God’s will for me unless I draw closer to Him in this manner.

Frankly, I am astonished at the rapid changes in my life in just the past four months – and all I did was pray for myself.  If we ask God to open doors of His choosing, it’s a pretty good bet that He will give us a very important job.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 13: 47 NIV

Ultimately, if we answer His calling, and walk through the open doors of His choosing, each of us really needs prayer to be equipped to perform God’s will.  So let’s not forget to pray for ourselves.  Amen brethren?

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Photo Credit: ©CanStock Photo Inc/LincolnRogers