The Crying Days

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Everyone has them, and most of us just want them to end.  For me, that is not happening; so I am left with a journey I call “living through the crying days”.  At least I am not traveling this road alone.  Jesus fights my battles for me when I think to ask Him, and the Holy Spirit consoles me as the tears flow.

Whether illness, grief, loneliness, or unwelcome burdens – sometimes one can only cry.  Our Heavenly Father knew this, of course, before He even created the cosmos.  He lovingly created tears for all broken-hearted souls.  The ancients collected tears in bottles as highly prized keepsakes.

Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle, are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know, for Elohim (Supreme God) is for me. In Elohim will I praise his word: in Yahweh (Self-Existent; Eternal; Jehovah) will I praise his word. In Elohim have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O Elohim: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before Elohim in the light of the living? ~ Psalms 56:8-13 RSB  (Parentheses added)

The act of crying has a bad rep in many circles.  “What good does it do?”  “Just buck up and take it on the chin!”  “Crying doesn’t solve anything!”  But God’s Word is clear:

The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah in 713 B.C. that Hezekiah would soon die.  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed for mercy:

And Hezekiah wept sore. Then came the word of Yahweh to Isaiah, saying, “Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith Yahweh, the Elohim of David, thy father, I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.” ~ Isaiah 38:3b-6 RSB

So Almighty God not only added fifteen years to the life of Hezekiah, but He vowed to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the invading Assyrians and to fight the battle for them.  Wow!  Hezekiah hadn’t even prayed for that!

Our God is SO GOOD!  He promises to one day create a new heaven and a new earth.  There will be no more crying days.

And Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4 RSB

Today there are reported over 900,000 believers martyred every year on this earth.  These are Crying Days, folks.  Don’t hold back on the prayers or tears for our persecuted brethren suffering for their faith in Christ; for our nation in peril; and for those lost and on their way to eternal outer darkness.  These crying days are the last days before Christ returns.  Pray tearfully for the sick, the dying, the poor and the needy.  Remember to love one another as He loves us and in the words of Jesus, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  Few of us are called upon to make that level of sacrifice, but prayer changes things.  Sincere prayer can even change the will of Almighty God, as we have seen in the case of Hezekiah.

Prayer:  Thank You, Lord, for meeting our every need with your tender Spirit of love and truth; for hearing the prayers of your church; and for noticing tears of the humble being shed during sorrowful days.  We look forward in faith to victory in the Only One Who Fights Our Battles For Us – our Savior and Redeemer, Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus The Anointed One.  In His Holy Precious Name Above All Names, Amen.

I pray that you are encouraged by God’s Word as you are living through your own crying days – whatever they may be.  God bless you, and thank you for following importantstuff.live.

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Unity|The Great Mystery

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Skyline of downtown New York, New York, USA

Today much of humanity is praying, hoping, and working for peace and unity.  There are many proposed solutions to global unrest; but unity continues to remain a great mystery to most of our world’s leadership.

Unity comes in many forms and shapes.  It is often tagged with titles including peace, freedom, or social reform – just words.  If anyone could solve the Middle East Crisis, avoid a dreadful WWIII, or somehow conquer pestilence and famine; that person would be worshiped as a god by many.  This will actually happen at the end of days during The Great Tribulation, according to Bible prophecy, but what does God’s Word say about our global divisions now?

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) – remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ~ Ephesians 2:11-13 NIV

Yes, it is God’s miraculous gift to man who is the answer to all forms of unrest and human division – His name is Jesus Christ (Yeshua in the Hebrew), our Messiah:

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in His flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2: 14-22 NIV

I love the fact that Paul makes it clear that we, too, are mortised right into the walls and foundations of God’s temple.  We will never be separated or divided again, as long as Jesus is our Lord.  That is true unity.  No peace treaty; no two state solution; no “barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”.  In Christ’s kingdom, we will have not only one global government but also a global economy that function perfectly in unity; because we will finally have Jesus, our King of Kings to rule with an iron hand against the current chaotic world view of divisive power and greed.

Paul goes on the say in Chapter Three:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles … Surely you have heard … that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation …This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 3: 1-6 NIV

I can’t make this up, people.  God’s Word is infallible and tells us His almighty solution to man’s sin problem without all the complexity of political deception.  The answer is simply Jesus.  Christ is God’s gift to redeem both the Jews and the Gentiles.  What a crying shame that the world is still unbelieving and nation is still against nation when Jesus already settled this over two thousand years ago at the cross!

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~ Ephesians 3: 16-19 NIV

So how does being “rooted and established” in the power of God’s love for us bring about unity?

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ~ Ephesians 4:1-5

So it is the unity of the Spirit that holds us together like mortar glues together the stone walls of God’s temple building.  Then why do divisions persist with the church?

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4: 14-16 NIV

If we stop chasing after the world but speak the truth in love, we will grow spiritually and experience God’s gift of unity.  God’s solution to global crisis is Jesus. The love of Jesus makes all people fit together perfectly into God’s plan for reconciliation.  Through faith in Jesus, we become one family and no one is excluded if he or she simply believes that Jesus is the true Son of God who gave Himself up to be crucified for man’s sin.  There is no other Name under heaven whereby we shall be redeemed or have eternal peace.

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Please don’t fall for the talk-talk-talk which produces no unifying solutions to world or national problems.  God has already provided the true solution in His Son, Jesus.

Do you feel lost and alone?  Or perhaps confused over world events and how they relate to you?  Does fear, guilt or shame rule over your life?  Are you tired of “looking for love in all the wrong places”?

If so, ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life.  The Holy Spirit will enter your heart and live there forever.  He will guide you in all ways of holiness and righteousness in the eyes of God, the Father.  You will once and for all be reconciled to a right relationship to God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

For he says, “In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV
This is why it is said: “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”              ~ Ephesians 5:14

Unity does not have to remain the great mystery to you.  Be saved by the grace of God by faith in Jesus.  It is so simple and requires only a sincere act of confession.

If you are a Christ believer, you can have victory over church divisions by growing in grace the way God intended.  His Spirit power lives within you – just tap into it with prayer and daily study of God’s Word.

May your walk with Christ be guided by His Living Spirit and thank you for following Importantstuff.live!

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Confidence Means Not Backing Down

Today’s Nugget

Somehow your faith is being tested by a situation or circumstance beyond your control or power.  Mine too.  Let’s agree​ to persist in prayer, while pressing into the generosity of our Father as we continue in faith.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” ~Hebrews 10:35-36

Practice Rejoicing

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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4 NIV

The Apostle Paul wrote these words in his final message to the church at Philippi from prison.  I have become so negative in the past year I realize that I need to practice rejoicing.  What a difference I can make in God’s kingdom if only I will remember Paul’s message to believers:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:5-7 NIV

On Resurrection Day, the victory belongs to Jesus.  He conquered the grave, and the angels proclaimed to the women who discovered the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid! ” “Do not be afraid!”.

Jesus appeared to the women near the tomb and to His disciples later with greetings of “Do not be afraid!” and “Peace be unto you!”.

Today we can rejoice in our faith that Jesus is a Living Savior.  There are no decayed remains of Jesus in a tomb or grave somewhere in Jerusalem. We can rest in the knowledge that God’s Word records a world shattering event when Jesus rose from the darkness of the grave.  Jesus broke the chains of the penalty for our sins, and therefore salvation is free to all who believe in Him.  Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven today.  PRAISE GOD FOR SO GREAT SALVATION!

Even though the church is under attack  and believers suffer persecution for following Christ (over 900,000 Christians killed per year); don’t let anyone steal your joy as you observe Resurrection Day.  Celebrate the fullness of life in Jesus with family and friends and remain steadfast in your faith that Jesus is Risen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:8-9 NIV

“I will practice, Lord.  I will practice rejoicing and enjoy your gift of peace.”

Thank you for following importantstuff.live!

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Oldest-Old

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Some of the greatest people I know are seniors.  I enjoy their frankness and their willingness to share themselves with others.  They give me hope.

I think that by the time the baby boomer generation reaches the Oldest-Old stage, that whole chapter of human development will be rewritten possibly more than once.  Humans are living longer.  If this trend continues, humans may live to be 200 years old by the end of this century.  Regardless, I think that my generation is much too absorbed with trying to defeat the aging process.  Why not just accept it, enjoy it, and live it?

We are blessed to be living in the greatest age in human history.  Now seniors live longer and can enjoy a relatively high quality of life compared to our ancestors.  Many diseases of this life stage are treatable, if not curable; and despite the harsh living conditions of some third world countries, life in these United States “ain’t that bad”.

I certainly could go for becoming one of the Oldest-Old.  It sure beats the alternative.  I am not making light of the prospect of aging and all of the related declining health issues; but there is always something to look forward to each day.  Put a bit differently; the human spirit is indefatigable, and does not seem to age.

This brings me to the subject of spirituality (you all knew it was coming).  Some studies show that religion can be a positive factor in longevity.  There is more to life than just the mortality of it.  No matter what a person’s faith persuasion is, faith gets a person a lot further down the road.  Faith is self-defining.  With faith comes hope.  Faith believes in more.  If you believe and hope there is more than just this life, then there is.

It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. ~2 Corinthians 4:13,14 NIV

The key is to embrace what you have.  I would much rather dance closely with a partner than in an open embrace.  The dance is much more fluid and graceful when the intimacy is there.  I plan on embracing my late adulthood stage as gracefully as possible; for life is a dance and the last dance is always the best.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV
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What Can You Do?

Dream the impossible.  Go out and make it happen.  I walked on the moon.  What can you do? ~ Captain Eugene A. Cernan, Commander of Apollo XVII, “The Last Man on the Moon”

I am haunted by this quote after recently watching “The Last Man on the Moon” documentary.  Afterward, I visited a memorial website to honor one of our nation’s most revered human treasures, Captain Gene Cernan (1934-2017).  Like so many others, I sought to find out more about the man behind the astounding achievements recorded in his book and documentary, “The Last Man on the Moon”.  To me, his life symbolizes sacrifice and perseverance in the face of daunting perils associated with exploring the unknown reaches of space.  He faced such challenges with unwavering resolve and great faith in himself and in countless others who worked behind the scenes to place him in orbit around the earth and, ultimately, on the moon.  His story empowers me to ask the same question he did:

What Can You Do?

Or more importantly, What Can I do?

What can I do with God’s personal and precious gift of mysterious energy we call life?

On my own, I realize that my life’s achievements are insignificant in the eyes of the world.  I am a mere speck of dust – or perhaps less.  On the day of my departure from this world, I will be missed by a few friends or family members briefly and then – nothing…. but Captain Gene Cernan will live on in the hearts and minds of Americans far into the future.  In recent years Captain Cernan wanted to leave us a piece of himself while he still lived among us.  He wanted us to know that we should never give up on ourselves.  His message was to strive for our dreams and never give up on us.

Today I choose to take that advice literally both as an individual and also as a nation. Even though we live in times of negativity, division, or defeat, I am encouraged – no, inspired – by the exemplary life of  a national icon who reached out to the stars and beyond for answers to questions about our universe.  What he achieved is really BIG when you think about it.

So back to, What Can I do?

The strangest thing happened to me this morning as I pondered this question.  I felt a spiritual spark begin to pulse within me.  Do you ever get ignition – right out of nowhere? – that moment of thought conception that tugs and stretches until it becomes realization?  I’m talking about the sort of realization that comes from the gut; who knows – from the Holy Spirit?  It is the gripping realization of some genetically placed truth that I have known from before the womb.  In my case, it is the knowledge that “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me”, confirmed in God’s Word in Phil. 4:13.  If my obedience pleases God through Christ, it has all been accomplished under the direction and strength of His Holy Spirit.  That’s a ton of power and God-Given No-How.  Therefore, it will be remembered for eternity.

WOW!!!

I guess Gene Cernan was right.  There is unlimited potential in each one of us, and since our Heavenly Father never gives up on me, then I shouldn’t either.

They will still yield fruit in old age, They shall be full of sap and very green, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.   ~ Psalm 92:12-15 NASB

The Lord reigns… For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts… ~ Psalm 93:1a, 95:7-8a NASB

“Father, please guide me by Your Spirit to live up to my potential for service to You and Your Kingdom.  Give me strength to perform Your will and the wisdom to understand it. Glory and Praise to You for Your everlasting love toward mankind.  Thank you for planting Your Greatness in me before the earth and moon were ever formed; in the powerful and matchless Name of Yeshua, our Messiah, Amen.”

I guess that brings us back to Gene’s question, “What Can You Do?”

God Bless and keep you all.

“The Last Man on the Moon” Wins Award for Best Documentary Film

Photo credit: NASA

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Life’s Reflection

Is my life reflecting God’s Word?

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” ~Titus 3:8 KJV

Father, please forgive me for my thoughts, words, and actions which are unprofitable, vain, or an obstruction to the reading, understanding, and acceptance of Your Word.  In the Name of Jesus, our blessed Yeshua Messiah, amen.

 

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Everything

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him (Christ) at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His (Christ’s) feet and appointed Him (Christ) to be head over everything for the church, which is His (Christ’s) body, the fullness of Him (Christ) who fills everything in every way. ~Ephesians 1:17-23 NIV (Emphasis added)

This God-inspired prayer sent by the Apostle Paul via Tychicus in his letter to the church in Ephesus (founded in 53 A.D.) was written while Paul was a prisoner in Rome.  Even though Paul was living in the valley of death, these verses are a powerful testimony of his love for brothers and sisters in Christ.  He had not lost his priority of  encouraging believers to live for Christ while here on earth.  My heart is to constantly lift up, encourage, and give thanks for the wealth of God’s kingdom here on earth – true believers. I have much to learn in this regard.  Glory to God!  The Holy Spirit is my Patient and Wise Teacher – ever and always.

God Bless you today and thank you for following Importantstuff.live!!!

 

Growing Up

I recently read a post that stated simply, “The first 50 years are the hardest part of growing up.”

Can I get an amen?

After living over half a century my response is, “Still working on it!”

I used to think that growing up was so complicated.  I took life’s challenges seriously and wore myself out trying to live up to public opinion instead of what God’s Word has to say about it.  My moral compass was skewed by the changing times.  I was more intent on meeting expectations of the world system than I was on finding out what God’s plan was for my life.  Decades passed and after my nest emptied I began to realize that getting an education, raising a family, and making a living was just getting me older.  I did not feel as grown up as my image reflected in the mirror each morning.

Thank God for not giving up on me!

He has not given up our nation, either.  Nations also struggle with growing up.  Our United States is groaning under the stress of moral decline.  It’s time to grow up!  We as believers are part of the problem, but we can be part of God’s solution, too.  I want to be part of God’s plan for my own life and for that of my nation.  I want my nation to turn away from foolishness, repent, and place our government once again under God.  Our loving, faithful Father has delivered us and shown us the way:

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  ~John 16:33

It starts with me.  It’s time to grow up spiritually.  It’s time for me to be His Voice and spread good cheer in a time of national tribulation.  His promise is that in Me you may have peace.  Praise and thank you, Lord!god-is-good

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What Pattern Have I Been Weaving?

All day long have I toiled and striven; but now in the stillness of heart and in the clear light of Thine eternity, I would ponder the pattern my life has been weaving.    –John Baillie

Reflection on the past ten months of blogging finds me still toiling and striving.  Hence, the re-posting of this quote.  If my life is a cloth, what pattern have I been weaving?  canstockphoto25752804

What will the clear light of God’s eternity reveal about the threads of my life?

Well, I have been weaving for a long time now, so the entire pattern of my life is just too much for one post.  How about just a swatch?  canstockphoto1496099

Drilling down on last week;  it began with disaster.  I strove to keep pace with shifting circumstances.  I toiled to solve problems in my own strength (being a sucker for challenges).  Not willing to let approaching winter snows cover all the falling leaves in the yard, hours were spent in futile attempts at raking, bagging and shredding every last one for the compost heap.  Within three days I was down with a headache.  canstockphoto5418035God knows how to get my attention.  I was beginning to feel like King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38:12 ~

Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.

But, our Father is indeed good all the time.  The wind blew hard and then our first snow dusted the landscape.  Thank you, Lord!  The last of the leaves blew only He knows where and the cares of life eased up a bit.  I came to my senses and gave up wrestling with life’s dilemmas.  I did what I know I should always do and turned it all over to Him.  He is the Master Weaver and His pattern is so perfect, so divinely stunning; my efforts will never stand the clear light of His eternity.

By week’s end, every problem that I viewed as disastrous God transformed into a miracle. Getting the leaves raked was never God’s priority – only mine.  Toiling at chores was not what was needed last week.  Tempers had flared  at the beginning of the week and left me with a sad heart for those involved.  I prayed for an opportunity to encourage someone to do the right thing and God answered my prayer with a miracle.  Family tensions melted into forgiveness.  Broken stuff got fixed.  My pattern swatch for the week was replaced by the one Jesus wove. canstockphoto14841253 Giving Him glory, life with Him at the center brings all the scattered threads together.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the Light of the world. Whosoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.~John 8:12 NIV

Today I am praising my Father in Heaven for weaving a blanket of pure linen that covers the mistakes and sin in my life.  He doesn’t see my pattern anymore – only the shed blood of His Son, Jesus.  When Jesus sacrificed Himself for me, He made sure that His pattern does not need to be pondered.  It WILL stand in His clear light of eternity.

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