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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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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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.

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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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Operation Magic Carpet

My daughter recently took me to the Alaska Jewish Museum at 1221 E. 35th Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska, for my birthday. What a treat! I especially enjoyed the exhibit “On the Wings of Eagles: Alaska’s Contribution to Operation Magic Carpet”.  The exhibit offers an inspiring account of the most dramatic humanitarian effort of all time to airlift over 47,000 Yemenite Jewish refugees to Israel from 1948 to 1950. img_9429I was moved to tears by the powerful personal accounts of heroic Alaska Airlines pilots who, against all odds (including hostile fire and other dangerous flying conditions), performed the Operation Magic Carpet airlift successfully without loss of life, despite one plane crash.

How could I have been a resident of Alaska for over 56 years and not heard of this amazing story? Or of this Jewish Museum, for that matter? I have traveled the skies with Alaska Airlines for decades and never realized the brave sacrifices Alaskan pilots made while flying missions for the mass immigration of God’s chosen people back to their homeland, Israel. Truly, I can only chalk it up to being out of touch with important stuff at the time; residing comfortably in my mother’s womb during the final months of Operation Magic Carpet – that, and it wasn’t taught in history class at public schools I attended back when – OH NO!

History:

In 1948, the isolated Yemenite Jews were very distrustful of leaving their homes to return to their promised land of Israel. They had become assimilated into the country of Yemen, but after the State of Israel was created, Arab persecution of the Jews increased. It soon became necessary for the Yemenite Jews to escape to Israel. But how?

Link to brief history lesson on how Alaska Airlines helped put the project together.

When Yemenite Jews heard they would be flying in airplanes to Israel, most had never seen an airplane and could not imagine flying in one, but the word of this adventure spread fast as thousands gathered to be carried home to Israel on “the wings of eagles” – excitedly proclaiming that Biblical prophesy was to be fulfilled:

On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt – on that very day – they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” ~Exodus 19:1-6 NIV

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31 NIV

To learn more about Operation Magic Carpet, there are quite a few online articles of this historical Yemenite Jewish aliyah (immigration to Israel). Click here for a great example.

These vintage photos of the airlift are priceless.

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I have been paying more attention in recent years to ongoing importantstuff like global humanitarian efforts to transport thousands of Jews back to Israel. Check it out at Israel Breaking News “On the Wings of Eagles, Yemen’s Last Jews Arrive in Israel”; plus “The first group of 78 Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel after waiting for three years will arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport on a flight approved by the Interior Ministry in 2013—one that never took off due to lack of budget for their absorption, which includes housing allowances for at least two years.” – Read more …

I highly recommend a visit to the Alaska Jewish Museum if you are traveling to Anchorage, Alaska. If you can’t make the trip, here’s a link to the museum’s online 3D Tour.

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God’s blessings upon you all, my brethren, and, “Thank you, my precious daughter, for the unique gift! I truly enjoyed our visit to the Alaska Jewish Museum.”

Photos credit: C’Les Jensema

What is Love?

Shouldn’t we understand the meaning of love in order to love?  There have probably been more songs written about the subject of love than any other topic.  Entire libraries and art galleries have been filled with inspiring works about love.  But what is love anyway?

Jesus left us with this parting message during the Last Supper:

34A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
 ~ John 13:34-35 (NIV)

The greatest definition of love that satisfies my heart and fulfills the entire law of God Almighty was written by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth. Corinth was a corrupt city whose system and culture was driven with idolatry and immorality.  Believers at Corinth were struggling with divisions, as some were falling prey to the influences of their environment – trying to blend their newly found faith in Jesus with the old traditions of “enlightenment” (what is right is wrong and vice versa).  Other church members at Corinth were feeling the crunch of living for God in heathen surroundings.  The spiritual warfare must have been intense!

Doesn’t that resemble the church today?  But Paul was inspired by God to reach out to them with this treasured poetic teaching on God’s perfect love that has stood the test of time:

1”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries
and all knowledge, And if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3If I give all I possess to the poor
and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy;
It does not boast, it is not proud.
5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease;
where there are tongues, they will be stilled;
where there are is knowledge, it will pass away.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
11When I was a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man,
I put the ways of childhood behind me.
12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain:
faith, hope, and love,
But the greatest of these is love.” ~ I Cor. 13 (NIV)

I wish this scripture on love would be broadcast on the news channels, social media, and printed in every newspaper every day.  I wish that it would be the highest ranking bit of propaganda ever spread throughout the nations; because true love really is world-changing.

That’s what love is – world-changing!

 

Another thought: When our time on earth is done, will we be remembered for having a heart poured out in true love?

God bless and thank you for following ImportantStuff.live.