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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Christmas Past

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Dad brought home a Christmas Tree – circa 1965

Many people experience sadness or actual depression during the Christmas season. When this happens to me, I search my memory bank for past Christmases that were joyful – hoping to lift my spirits. The Christmas Past that I chose this year is the Christmas of 1965. Nothing sets it apart from other Christmases except for the changing times.  It has become remarkable to me only because 51 years of Christmases have come and gone since then; so I have a lot to compare it with.

Life was so simple in 1965. Our family lived close to the land in a very humble home that my parents built mostly by themselves.  We lived far from the nearest town and the winters felt even more isolating as darkness spread over the northern landscape.  We seldom had visitors but our parents made sure they took us to town for church and school activities.  We would join up with carolers and walk around the community singing all of the classic Christmas songs.  People would come to their front doors to hear us sing and then invite us in for hot cocoa to warm up.  Christ was always the center of Christmas, thanks to my parents, and I wish it was more like that in our nation today.

My brother and I were in our early teens in 1965 and certainly did not appreciate how special that Christmas was.  Looking back now, I could not appreciate it more.

Undaunted by our adolescent apathy, my parents did everything in their power to bring cheerfulness into our home at Christmas.  We trimmed the tree with ornaments that we made at school in our elementary days and smothered the tree in lights and silver icicles popular for the times.  It may have looked gaudy, but we loved to plug in those lights and sit for hours in the evenings eating popcorn while we played checkers or old maid.  I don’t remember if we had a television then, but if so, it only had one military channel with very limited programming.  Dad made sure it was off most of the time.  He was against TV.  He wanted reality and his focus was always on the people in his life.

I remember our parents gifted us with snow skis that Christmas; including all the gear we needed to begin learning how to ski.  This must have been a big financial sacrifice for them at the time.  Of course, we were excited to be able to join our peers on the local ski hill, and within days we abandoned Mom & Dad for the slopes.

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I never became a good skier, but it was fun.  We spent some of our Christmas school vacation ice skating on the frozen ponds near our house, too.

This trip down memory lane may not seem relevant to your Christmas, but I guess the Lord put it on my heart to show that even though over half a century has passed since this Christmas Past, the true Christmas story as recorded in the Gospels never changes.  Nowadays it seems that Christmas is celebrated far differently than in 1965.  Jesus is not the center of the season and even the word “Christmas” has disappeared from most greeting cards.  No wonder some people feed sad at this time of year!  Rejoice in the belief that Jesus is our divine Messiah who became flesh in order to redeem mankind from a sin debt we could never pay.  That is the true joyful message of Christmas.

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I hope that your Christmas 2016 is one to be remembered as a happy time spent with family and friends; that is spirit-filled, and full of peace and hope that only the Holy Spirit imparts.  Regardless of your circumstances, may your hearts be lifted up this Christmas with the knowledge that our divine Savior came down to earth as a tiny baby who chose to be born in squalor in order to bring us hope, love, and peace.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. ~ Luke 2:10-14 KJV

MERRY CHRISTMAS PRESENT and may God bless you all.

I Need a Heart Renovation

Something happened recently that showed me how important it is to open my heart to the Holy Spirit.  It had to do with caring for my elderly mother after a surgery.  I was feeling pretty good about myself to be able to help her out and then one evening I came home from cooking a simple meal for my folks and saw a Facebook posting about appreciating your mom more after having kids of your own. Before I could scroll down, I believe the Holy Spirit put a thought into my mind something like this:

“No, you will never really appreciate your mother until you have the privilege of caring for her when she is frail, hurting, and injured – the way she cared for you most of your life!”

The first week after her surgery I stayed at my parents’ house.  I realized by the third day that Mom was recuperating nicely, but I was feeling stressed somehow.  I asked God to heal Mom completely and then to give me the heart to love being with my folks; in their home; to be respectful and positive; to give encouragement; to serve cheerfully; and most of all, to show them love like I have never shown them in my life.  I asked Him to give me joy, understanding, and peace without being torn between my world and theirs.

God is so faithful and He rewards those who seek Him by giving them the desires of their hearts.  God answered the prayers of healing for Mom right way.  She is recovering rapidly and the joint repair has already healed in three weeks (according to her physical therapist).  He says a few months of therapy with exercises at home should deliver her a good outcome.  Thank you, Jesus!

As for me, within days my whole attitude improved.  My spirit is singing and my relationship with Mom is moving to a higher level of trust and respect.  Each morning I waken with anticipation of what blessings God has in store for us today.  As I drive to their house, bring in the newspaper and start breakfast; Mom already has the coffee made (with one good arm, bless her).  We swing right into the day as they catch me up on how things went overnight.  We have always had a good relationship, but now I believe that God is doing an amazing work in the three of us.  It feels like He is drawing us into His Spiritual realm of abiding love.

So what is this abiding love of God?  I am still learning about it as the Holy Spirit reveals. For now, I believe it is the love that sticks; that binds; that never fails; that doesn’t quit; doesn’t expect; doesn’t fault.  It is the love that knows I need a heart renovation and is giving me one.  Thank you, Lord!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” ~Galations 5:22,23,25 KJV